Chair’s Report 2020-2021

Nick Andrews2020/21 will be remembered in history for the Covid-19 Pandemic and the year the UK left the European Union.

I am sure we all have our own views, including the way the pandemic and Brexit have been handled, but we will leave that to be discussed and debated elsewhere.

Fairfield and the Parish Council saw several changes during this period, including Simon Little leaving the Parish Council, so we had a vacancy for a new Councillor. We had three residents apply, from which Vinesh Khatwa was selected for co-option by the remaining Councillors, to replace Simon. Also, Anna Papakosta, who was unsuccessful this time in applying for this position, has taken up the vacant role as Secretary of the Fairfield Community Hall Trust.

At the end of the December 2020 FPC meeting, Councillor Dack notified the Parish Council, he would be resigning as Chair, due to ill health. At the January 2021 FPC meeting, I was elected by the remaining Councillors as the new Chair for the Parish Council. We would like to thank Councillor Dack, for his time and commitment in being the previous Chair since 2019 elections. He has also been a mentor for me and all the new Parish Councillors, that were elected at that time.

We need dozens of volunteers to make Fairfield work together as a community.

This brings me to my first thank-you. To all the volunteers that registered with the Parish Council, plus the various resident groups that helped and supported one and other during the pandemic, freely giving their time, money, and energy to support one another.
A great example was when a group of residents came together to help manufacture over 5,000 PPE masks, using their ingenuity, time, and money, distributing these masks across Hertfordshire, Central Beds and beyond, when there was a real shortage.
We would like to see this spirit continue. If you have a neighbour who is struggling, maybe a quick hello and an offer of help, or even a chat will often help with their mental health and wellbeing.

Several residents are already volunteering to help those less fortunate locally, either helping in the Garden House Hospice shop or the `Need Project’ in Stotfold.

Fairfield as a village is unusual in the way it is set up, with a Parish Council, Resident / Management Companies and Associations and finally the Community Trust, which runs the Community Hall. All needing volunteers, giving up their time and energy to make Fairfield the community residents enjoy living in. We would ask you to remember these people are only volunteering their time to support you (the Residents) so please be supportive and respect what they do for the Community on a daily/weekly basis.

The second thank you is to all the community groups that have remained active, using modern technology to stay in touch and keep their groups running and interactive. These have included the First Fairfield Scout leaders, the WI committee, and the Fairfield Community Church. I am sure there are also other groups that have managed to stay in touch and are supporting each other.

A third thank you is to all the residents who act as the Wombles of Fairfield and regularly pick up litter. If anyone wants to do this bin bags and litter grabbers can be collected from and returned to the Community Hall. Further details are available on the FPC website, and we will also be taking part in the Great British Spring Clean during the campaign (28th May – 13th June 2021).

Coming together as a community was really highlighted when the Bowls Club decided to extend and refurbish their clubhouse and changing rooms. Little did they know at the time, we would be going through a Pandemic.
Many residents, both bowls club members and non-members came together to help make the club a real asset for the Community. The Parish Council was also happy to support this with a grant to help the refurbishment.

Fairfield has a unique design and layout that is based around a Victorian asylum which was opened on the 8th March 1860 and cost the sum of £53,626.00. The building was designed by George Fowler Jones in a Gothic Romantic style with a medieval French influence. He had taken inspiration from a visit to Hatfield House.

This year, we have had approved by the Secretary of State for the Environment, especially the area west of the Hitchin Road, an article 4 exemption. This now means that all home extensions on Fairfield will require planning approval and hopefully we can keep the unique award-winning character of Fairfield as it was originally developed.

The local plan (East of Arlesey) enquiry has continued through the year, with the Parish Council making representations.
So far, this has led to agreements with CBC Planning Team, that no land, East of the National Gas pipeline, will be built on and the land between, will be used for either farming, recreation, or as natural resources.

A red line for no more development, has been drawn at the edge of the western shelter belt on Fairfield, but at present, does not include a small square of land off Livingstone Way. The Parish Council will continue to make representations through its legal team and advisors, to try and get this area of land included. The reason we are doing this is to prevent coalescence between Arlesey and Fairfield.

During this year, the Fairfield Park Residents Association have shown the way by using the Urban Park to introduce us to various different food and drink outlets from different countries. Hopefully, this can be built on in the future.

Looking forward, your Parish Council would like to invite all residents to a Community Event. ‘Fair-stival in the Park’ is planned to be held in late summer (Covid-19 restrictions allowing) or early 2022 to celebrate the various different cultures, religions, community groups living in Fairfield, with music, food, and entertainment, highlighting the diverse nature of our Village.

Hopefully, we can look forward to our annual Apple Day Event in September. We will again be looking for volunteers to help and support on Apple Day. Volunteers will also be required in keeping the orchards in magnificent condition, with continued planting of new and ongoing management of existing fruit trees.

In the last couple of years, the Parish Council and Community Trust have actively supported groups and activities for the seniors in Fairfield, with the set-up of Fairfield Friends, Café in the Park, Short mat bowls, Exercise classes and Table Tennis, held in the Community Hall.

We can also see a need for the younger generation. We already support the 1st Fairfield scout group, but are aware, we need to do more for this demographic. The Parish Council would welcome any new ideas from the Community, we could possibly develop and get involved with.

Finally, I would like to thank my fellow councillors as well as the current Parish Council Clerk (Katrina Henshaw) who more recently, has had to deal with constant requests for advice from both myself and the newer Councillors. Katrina’s help and knowledge have been invaluable.

Councillor Nick Andrews
FPC Chair
April 2021