Saffron Walden's mayor reflects on 2021 and looks to the New Year 2022

Saffron Walden Town Council's mayor, Cllr Richard Porch on grass with a black dog called Hardy, Saffron Walden, Essex

Saffron Walden's Mayor Cllr Richard Porch with dog Hardy - Credit: Celia Bartlett

Saffron Walden Town Council mayor Richard Porch reflects on 2021 and looks ahead to 2022.

2021 went out with a “bang”!

It was a strange and challenging year, starting with a Covid lockdown.

During 2021, many Town Council events were focussed around community needs as staff and councillors supported local residents with prescription runs, shopping, supporting local groups and charities, including the Foodbank.

As we came to the end of 2021, it felt right and proper for the Town Council to host again its annual Christmas Light Switch On and Lantern Parade, which did not happen in 2020.

The countdown to turn on the Saffron Walden Christmas lights 2021

The countdown to turn on the Saffron Walden Christmas lights, with Santa's chief elf, Santa, Saffron Walden mayor Richard Porch and MC Stuart Vant - Credit: Celia Bartlett

Saffron Walden's Market Place was filled with families who came to see the Christmas lights switch on

Saffron Walden's Market Place was filled with families who came to see the Christmas lights switch on - Credit: Celia Bartlett

A number of events and activities were arranged from October to the year end, and these were all very well attended.

I know from the feedback I received that these events were greatly enjoyed by the many people that attended.

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One of the big events of the year was the re-opening of the refurbished play area at Golden Acre and we are delighted with the end result. It is great to see the children enjoying this play space.

Daisy, who won an art competition, and the Mayor of Saffron Walden cut a ribbon to open the Golden Acre playground

Daisy, who won an art competition, and the Mayor of Saffron Walden cut a ribbon to open the Golden Acre playground. - Credit: Archant

We are also making plans for the refurbishment of play areas at Anglo-American Playing Fields and Little Walden; we will consult with residents in the early part of 2022.

We hope to continue with our community work and activities in the coming year and planning is already in hand to do so.

We can look forward to some major events, including the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee when it is intended to organise some town-wide proceedings.

Saffron Walden carnival

Archive: Saffron Walden carnival - Credit: Saffron Photo

Events for 2022

The Round Table will be running the Carnival again this coming year which is always a great success for both the town as a whole and raising money for local charities. The Town Council will be supporting the Round Table in that endeavour.

I am grateful to the Saffron Walden Rotary Club who have agreed to work with me and the council to arrange other events to support my chosen charities this year, including a race night which will take place in the town hall on Saturday, February 19 and a sponsored walk around the town on Sunday, May 15.

Council tax

The town councillors and staff were mindful of the financial pressure that residents are facing because of increases in inflation, fuel, electricity, and the forthcoming tax increase.

The percentage increase paid by residents in local tax to the Town Council has therefore been set lower than the inflation rate for the coming year.

Innovative ways of fundraising to make up that shortfall are currently being reviewed to ensure the quality of services provided by the town council are maintained.

Mayor's thanks

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the various organisations and individuals that supported me in the role of Mayor last year and the generosity shown to my chosen charities: Uttlesford Foodbank, Uttlesford Children’s Clothing Bank and Opendoor.

This year has been financially difficult for many local groups, charities and individuals so the generous offerings, gifts and support given at this time is even more poignant and heartfelt – thank you!

I look forward to working with you all in 2022.

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