From the Chairman
As the bursting champagne bubbles tickled our noses welcoming New Year 2020 and we looked forward to a full year’s programme of distinctive Society events who would have thought that, after only two of these events, the roof would come crashing down on our well ordered and tranquil world. A new word ‘Covid-19’ would dominate our conversation and its incursion would become the driving force in totally reorganising our lives – restricting our freedoms and considerably increasing awareness of our vulnerability. However, in spite of the confusing and gloomy prospects, we have adapted well with the sterling efforts of community groups and individual stoicism and, very swiftly it seems, we are at the end of the year with ‘light at the end of the tunnel’. Our increased knowledge of the characteristics and treatment of the Virus together with Vaccine availability in the immediate term, allow considerable cause for optimism. Of course there are huge issues in addressing the national collateral damage but it does seem there is now a distinct possibility of ‘face-to-face’ meetings after Easter.
Additionally we have continued to lend support to the ‘Stamford Millstream Improvement Group’ as the restorative and development project, that will considerably enhance the Meadow-side attractiveness, progresses to the next significant phase of channel works.
Urban Group Project Update
Following our lobbying, Stamford Town Council has committed to re-arrange the benches to provide better access into the square and to properly maintain the planters. We have also requested that the benches be refurbished after years of neglect.
A project to replace old lighting on the Cosy Club building with new lights to match Red Lion Square was completed at the end of last year. Funding kindly provided by the Cosy Club.
New floodlighting at St. Mary’s Church was completed recently, the result being a spectacular improvement. Funding was provided by the Skells Trust, Stamford Civic Society and two individual donors.
A trial was also carried out at St. Martin’s and St. John’s Churches but approval has yet to be agreed.
St. Michael’s Churchyard
Removal of unsightly skip bins was achieved following months of lobbying.
In conjunction with Stamford in Bloom (Duncan Lingard) a rainwater storage tank has been installed behind the car park to provide a supply for watering of plants and trees in the vicinity. A new tree has been set to replace the one damaged by landscaping contractors.
A project to re-model and improve the area of Sheepmarket next to the bus station was designed and budgeted to create a more attractive and user friendly social area. Unfortunately the pandemic stalled progress somewhat particularly with regard to input from SKDC. A recent meeting with the SKDC leader has however re-started the process with funding commitment albeit on a reduced budget. Design is currently being “value engineered” and it is hoped that the project can go ahead early next year.
Incorporation of the vacant building as a Visitor Information Centre/Café would be desirable but is not currently part of the scheme.
Following our issue of an updated paving survey in March 2020 and several meetings/discussions with LCC councillors, £50k of funds were set aside by LCC to carry out long overdue remedial work. Our comprehensive paving survey has recently been further updated and issued to the appropriate parties.
Historic Plaques and Information Boards
Recognising the importance of ‘presentation’ we have researched and produced, for the first time, an inventory of all plaques and information boards in the Town. Each has been photographed and entered on a location map and an appropriate maintenance schedule put in place which will be managed by the Civic Society and supported where necessary by Stamford Town Council.
The weather damaged Sundial information board at All Saints Church is being kindly replaced by the original supplier, Rivermeade Signs.
The impressive ‘bronze’ plaque on Albert Bridge has now been sympathetically conserved reflecting the plaque’s provenance with evidence of an old previous attempt at repairing the lettering.
We continue to lobby the authorities for removal of illegal and unsightly signs and advertisement banners around the town centre.
Stamford Conservation Area Planning Matters
Let me sign off by wishing you a joyful, if ‘different’ Christmas, followed by celebration of the commencement of a completely new year of unspoiled optimism - let’s raise a glass with cheer and stride towards that ‘light at the end of the tunnel’! Your Committee is very much looking forward to meeting up with Members again as soon as it is judged safe to do so.
Jim Mason, Chairman