Chair’s Report 2022-2023
2022/23 was the last year of the four-year term of the current Fairfield Parish and Central Bedfordshire Councils.
The elections has brought to an end, the service of two Councillors who were part of the original Parish Council in 2010.
Barrie Dack, the “Dick Whittington” of Fairfield, was the Chair of the Parish Council twice and had various roles since the inception of the Council. Barrie was originally on the Stotfold Town Council and with others, brought the Parish into being. While on the Council, Barrie was responsible for the new Community Hall and website/newsletters. Barrie was also heavily involved in the East of Arlesey proposal, pulling together comprehensive documents and supporting our legal team at the Enquiry.
Penny Daffarn has been a major reason why the Orchards are in their current healthy state, not only by organising the contractors but also, often with her husband Gavin, doing the work themselves or with the volunteers group, ‘Friends of the Orchards’, with the annual highlight event being the Apple Day. Penny has also been the Parish Council representative on the Etonbury Green Wheel, which has recently seen the completion of the pathway around Fairfield. Penny was also the first Vice-Chair of the Parish Council and held the post again during the last term.
Shawn Reader also left the Council after four years and has been very involved in getting the Garden of Remembrance and allotments off the ground, which this week has been submitted to CBC Planning for planning permission.
As Chair, I would like to thank all three for their time on the Council and the passion and commitment they have shown the community.
Over the last year, we have had several community events, including Apple Day, Christmas tree light-up and Remembrance service. We have started to see new and interesting events in the Community Hall, which is now owned by the Parish Council, but run by the local Fairfield Community Trust. This has included wrestling, concerts, craft fairs, and also the first events aimed at SEN children. All the above would not have gone ahead without the energy and enthusiasm of Jessie Sahota from the Community Hall team. I would like to highlight some residents who have gone above and beyond.
A new initiative that has been brought to Fairfield is RHS ‘It’s Your Neighbourhood’. Sara Chick is the driving force behind these projects, which have included bulb planting, Community Hall gardens, Community Garden, and the Orchards. Bringing together all the Resident groups, Parish Council and Community Trust. Already this work has been recognised by the RHS by giving Fairfield an award (Its your Neighbourhood Level 4 out of 5).
The 1st Fairfield Scout Group, which is supported by the Parish Council, is going from strength to strength and is now looking to add a Squirrel Group for 4-6-year-olds. During the year, John Turner retired as Chair of the group and received a medal of merit for long service. John has not put his feet up, though, and is now Chair of Fairfield Bowls Club, which is also flourishing since the pandemic with growing membership and an active Petanque Group.
Fairfield WI, which now has nearly 50 members, has been dressing our local post-box for several key dates through the year. This was crowned off by them winning the Margaret Smart Memorial Trophy for the best Coronation Topper in the County of Bedfordshire.
Resident Companies play a large role in Fairfield. Often, residents are not aware or seem to pay little interest in an area that could, in theory, and as I understand has cost residents’ considerable amounts of money that solicitors/legal representatives don’t seem to point out when houses are bought and sold. Since the start of this Council, we have been concerned for the residents of Fairfield Gardens, but recently, after a meeting with FPC and representatives from other Resident Groups, a group of residents led by Ryan Herd have been picking up the baton and have started to make sure that the roads/pathways and lighting, etc. are to a standard acceptable for the residents to take on as a Management Company.
Finally, the last thank you goes to our Society Wedding of the Year couple, Robin and Christine Horsley. Robin is always the first to volunteer, whether it’s working in the orchards, cutting the bowls club hedge, or picking up a screwdriver in the Community Hall.
We have a growing army of volunteers, its great to see the Fairfield PTA up and running again, looking to run Community events and fund raising for the school, but we do need more, especially those with specific skills in marketing and finance.
A new initiative that will need specific skills is a Community Energy Group, not run by the Council, but run like the Community Trust by residents with an interest in green energy and the production locally. If you are interested and believe you have skills to offer, please contact the clerk.
During the year, we have also extended the Bowls and Cricket Club car park with a pathway that was promised by the constructors to the Bowls Club. This was funded 50% by a CBC grant and the rest from FPC Funds. This was to help relieve the parking around Dickens Boulevard , Palmerston Close and Kipling Crescent.
The election on the 4th of May has brought us three new Councillors, Marcia Epstein,
Neil Jones, and Tracey Riley. We welcome all three to the Parish Council.
The Parish Council is always open to new ideas and welcomes residents to contact them through the clerk or directly. We welcome residents to share ideas that could benefit the whole village.
Finally, I would like to thank my fellow Councillors as well as the current Parish Council Clerk (Katrina Henshaw), who has been supporting both myself and fellow Councillors with the projects we have undertaken in the past year.
Councillor Nick Andrews