When you last persuaded me to sit in this chair in 1993/4, I started my Annual Report with some comment about how trite it was to say that it had been a busy year. Still trite, still busy. Like some small irritated insect, Calverton seems to be buzzing or perhaps humming - with a variety of activities which quite belies the size of our community, Calverton is even on the Internet now, whatever that means.
In the past year the old Village Pond Area in Lower Weald has been rehabilitated, your Committee has kept the grass mown and the weeds under control, and the next project will be to restore the pond itself. The Lion's Mouth is currently in rather a sorry state; although the area has been kept reasonably clean and tidy, the Mouth itself is currently suffering a severe blockage and requires urgent surgery.
At the request of the Borough Council a draft of the Conservation Area Character Statement was discussed at a small public meeting, and some modifications suggested. These included an application to extend the Area to include the Village Pond, Lion's Mouth, and adjacent field.
Your Committee have also been in communication with the Stony Stratford Parish Council Working Group during the past year, with particular reference to possible boundaries of any future Stony Stratford parish, and also the boundaries of the Linear Park north of Calverton adjacent to the River Ouse. Although designated as part of the Linear Park in the Local Plan, we have been assured that this "does not imply an intention to secure either public ownership or unrestricted public access".
Perhaps one innovation for which this past year may be remembered in the 3rd. millennium has been the Calverton Records Project, which was launched at a Public Meeting on 18th. May 1996. One-quarter of the entire population of Calverton attended, and a second meeting two months later was also well supported. Material for a village archive is being accumulated, and some is on display this evening. The Calverton Historical Bulletin has also made its appearance, and there is clearly ample interest in the village in "uncovering the past and recording the present for the future". The next public meeting will be on Wednesday November 6th. at Oakfield House, Lower Weald. Don't say no-one told you.
Calverton Cuppas is now a very well-established and popular facet of village life, and continues to provide regular informal social gatherings, which have in the past year included pub lunches, swimming and a croquet party. The admirable Three Wealds Newsletter thrives, and is already up to issue No. 19.
The Summer Party was once again a great success, much enlivened by the resurrection of the Village Cricket Match after some 40 years. This proved so popular with the crowd, the players, and even the taller drinkers at the Shoulder of Mutton who could look over the wall of Manor Farm, that it will surely have to be repeated on an annual basis. Many thanks to all who helped to organise this event.
Another Village Produce Show was well attended and much appreciated, as was the Christmas Party. A small bus outing of intrepid villagers visited a Parish Map exhibition in Daventry, perhaps stimulating some to consider embarking on this means of celebrating and recording our unique local character. A visit to Sulgrave Manor's Apple Exhibition, and the ever-popular Apple and Conker Party are in the immediate offing as this Report is being written.
Fire has been a worrying visitor to Calverton this year, with several hectares of barley and stubble destroyed on one occasion, and on other occasions a field store, bales of hay, and the landmark stone barn on the corner of Calverton Lane in Upper Weald.
In the past year we have sadly had deaths, but we have also had births. We have had long-standing residents depart, and new residents arrive. We welcome those who have joined us and regret the parting of those who have left.
And finally but by no means least, I would like to thank the Committee who have supported me throughout the past year, keeping the books in order, cutting grass, making coffee, organising functions, and producing almost instantaneous minutes of meetings. And, too, a particular thank-you to Sue and Peter Brown for their hospitality this evening.
The Committee and I wish all of you a happy, healthy and successful year ahead.
John Lourie Chairman