Please see below for the latest news from Newent Town Council.... 
Mayor’s Update – Cllr. Christine Howley – Spring 2021 
On 23rd March I took part in the National Day of Reflection at St Mary’s Church. This service was led by Rev Simon Mason; prayers were said for the people affected by the pandemic over the course of the year, those that had lost their lives to this dreadful virus, and those that were left grieving. A two-minute silence was held, and after it was a privilege to tie a yellow ribbon to the church railings in memory of and a support to all those affected, on behalf of Newent Town Council. 
 
On 25th March I attended a zoom meeting held by the National Association of Local Councils entitled Build Back Resilient Communities. The main discussions were how councils had coped during this year of the pandemic, and what could be learnt from their experiences. I came away assured that Newent had held together and dealt extremely well with this pandemic in a community minded spirit. We were very lucky that we already had the Lord’s Larder in place, and they had taken on the greater challenge and ensured that all vulnerable families were catered for. We also had the We Will Help Newent group who came together and took the town through the first lockdown, covering food shopping, prescriptions, befriending, etc. We were very lucky and should be very proud of what our community achieved. 
 
On 30th March the Deputy Mayor and I attended a zoom meeting held by Sue Ryder Leckhampton Court Hospice. We were deeply moved by the reports given to us by the Hospice Director; we are sure that most people are aware of the challenges faced by all groups attending the needs of the seriously ill during these times, but to hear it first hand was very humbling for us. 
 
I am pleased to confirm that a tree planting project at the Lake has been completed. The planting took place over two sessions, involving Councillors and members of the public, Castle Fruit Farm, Girl Guide Rangers and Neil Evans from Leaf Creative.A representative from our sponsor arrived to see the area a few days later and was impressed and supportive of what had been undertaken so far. Although in normal circumstances the project should have been completed many months ago, we had been given an extension due to the pandemic we live with. We are grateful for the support received from Leaf Creative who worked with us and enabled us to purchase several large expensive trees at cost. 
 
Just a reminder the Council’s Annual Parish Meeting will be taking place on 22nd April. Residents are welcome to attend to hear what work the Council has undertaken in the past year and to put forward any questions to the Councillors. Questions should be submitted to townclerk@newenttowncouncil.gov.uk by 15th April. 
 
Thank you 
Christine Howley 
 
 
NDP Countryside, Habitats and Wildlife Survey 
From the wooded slopes of May Hill to the orchards and meadows of Botloes Green, Newent is set in an attractive, diverse, and productive landscape. 
 
This new survey is the first of two dealing with environmental matters. A subsequent survey will collect information about pollution, flooding and climate change. Your responses will help us to ensure that the priorities of local people concerning the environment are represented in the final Neighbourhood Development Plan. 
 
If you live at a GL18 1** postcode, please complete our anonymous survey by clicking here: http://bit.ly/ndp-countryside 
 
The survey will also be available in paper form, which can be collected and dropped off at the Market Square Co-op in Newent. The blank forms and a collection box for completed surveys are situated behind the tills. 
 
If you didn't manage to complete our first short survey on transport, it is not too late. Just visit the NDP website 
 
 
New Hospital Consultation 
 
Please see here the Town Council's response to the New Hospital in Cinderford consultation. HospitalConsultation.pdf 
 
 
 
Town Council Sets Budget 
Newent Town Council approved a budget for 2021/2022 at its meeting on 11th January and will raise £302,439 through the Council Tax, which equates to an increase of 8p per week for a Band D property. 
 
The Council has striven to address all actions that are required in the forthcoming year, balanced against the knowledge that it is funded by the ratepayers of the town. 
 
Part of the increased funds will be used towards improving youth facilities, as well as supporting local organisations. 
 
Councillor Mrs Howley, Mayor of Newent said, “The Council was very mindful of the impact the pandemic has had and kept the increase to an absolute minimum, whilst ensuring projects benefiting of the town can still be progressed”. 
 
Tree Planting Project at Newent Lake 
 
A special tree planting project was recently completed at Newent Lake. This project was a joint venture between the Town Council and the wider community and stems from the Council adopting the Tree Charter in 2019. 
 
The Council’s Tree Charter group identified the Lake area as being suitable for enhancement by the planting of trees and some shrubs. A variety of trees & shrubs were proposed, which would be attractive whilst complimenting the wildlife and general environment. 
 
The Council applied to Severn Trent’s biodiversity fund and was successful in securing funds to pay for the project. 
 
The project was delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic, but was completed in two stages. Neil Evans from Leaf Creative and Town Councillors assisted in the first stage of planting. A representative of the sponsor, Severn Trent, visited the site and was impressed with this initial work. 
Early this month, final planting was completed - with generous help from Michael & Christiana Bentley of Castle Fruit Farm, Newent Girl Guide Rangers & Leader and the Mayor. 
 
Councillor Mrs Howley commented “We are extremely grateful to everyone who contributed to this exciting project: Severn Trent for funding the project; Leaf Creative for their expertise and allowing us to purchase several, large, expensive trees at cost; Castle Fruit Farm, local Girl Guide Rangers and members of the public who helped plant the trees. The project enhances Newent Lake which will be an even more pleasant and balanced natural environment for residents & visitors to experience and enjoy.” 
Recycling Banks - Consultation 
Newent Town Council is undertaking a consultation during the next six weeks seeking the public's views on requesting the Forest of Dean District Council to relocate the Recycling banks from their present site - adjacent to the Lake entrance in Lewall Street car park, to a less intrusive location. Please follow the link and let us know your views. https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/BG6C2T9 
Residents’ and Neighbourhood Associations Initial support 
 
Newent Town Council encourages residents of this parish to set up local voluntary associations which can help organize community action and engagement. Building a cohesive, strong community is regarded as essential for sustainability and resilience in the future of the town and parish. This factsheet sets out some guidance and offers initial support to any group of residents wishing to start up their own association. Help, advice and information is available from the following organisations: 
 
1. Forest Voluntary Action Forum (FVAF): 01594 822073 Forest wide, based in Cinderford https://fvaf.org.uk 
 
2. Your Circle (was Gloucestershire Rural Community Council - GRCC): County wide, based in Gloucester https://www.yourcircle.org.uk 
 
A grant of up to £50 is offered to each proposed association to cover room hire, photocopying costs for start-up publicity. As an example, this would cover printing costs, in house, of approximately 400 one sided, colour A4 leaflets in a basic design. Content to be submitted by the organisers and approved by the Council. By offering this support, Newent Town Council wishes to ensure that no group of residents is disadvantaged. Further grants, if needed, are available from other sources. The organisations mentioned above can signpost appropriately once an association is constituted. 
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