Myself, Clare and Graham met with members of Basildon District Council and Essex County Council on Saturday, to talk about the Town Council project and its progress. A Town Council is a third tier of local government and it’s important that Town, District and County Councils work collaboratively to address local topics. I’m really pleased with how the meeting went. We had a very long and open talk about the issues that we, as residents, perceive and what we can all do respectively to ensure Wickford has a great future.
Right now, we’re in the initial phases of setting a Town Council up, and it’s a long process. After we submit the petition to Basildon Council, it initiates a Community Governance Review, which will likely take a year. The earliest a Town Council would come into effect is therefore May 2020 when the elections are due. That’s a long way off, but today our Basildon and Essex Councillors asked whether there were items on the Town Council’s agenda that would be useful to review in the meantime.
From speaking with many hundreds of you in recent weeks, there are two key themes which have come up and which have a clear opportunity to have something done sooner rather than later. These are:
1. Cleaning up the Town Centre: This is about weeds, fixing the broken railings and giving them a lick of paint and steam cleaning / jetting the pavements.
2. More focus on the market. We know that ECC are going to trial Saturday High Street closures. To make these a success, the current market needs to be more dynamic and attract more people from out of Town.
Obviously they’ll need to go away and look at what can be done, and those are both quite broad briefs which need some detail adding. We’ve offered to work alongside them to achieve these objectives and hope we can make something come of it. Will keep you up to speed with progress.