This report is steadily getting more difficult to write each year. This statement is not intended to put off any future Chairperson, it is simply a reflection on the very high quality of reporting and recording of our activities during the year. This certainly gives one lots of material to work with, whether it be the formal committee minutes, the Chairman's report in the newsletter, the newsletter itself, the reports of the various subcommittees or the reports and minutes from the Records Project or Calverton Cuppa's. There really is an enormous amount of information which has been already published during the year and which hopefully you will have already read and inwardly digested.
Additionally there are agenda items today separately covering the activities of Cuppa's and the CRP as well as the two major issues which we have had to deal with during the year, being those of emparishment and the Milton Keynes Local Plan.
Not wishing to steal thunder from elsewhere, I am, therefore, limiting myself to very much an overview of the year.
I can once again report an excellent attendance at our usual six bi-monthly committee meetings plus one extraordinary meeting to deal with specifically with the issue of emparishment. This has taken up much of our time this year and I am very grateful to all those who put in so much work and to the village as whole for the support given to our proposals. Despite all this urgency we will now have to wait on the Boundary Commissioners deliberations, before we will know if Calverton will become formally parished.
The Milton Keynes Local Plan has been the other big issue covered during the year. Representatives from the CRA have attended virtually all the Council's Consultation Meetings which were held monthly from November through to April. In addition we have also attended various pressure group, public and Council meetings in order to put forward the views of the village against expansion into the Calverton area. However we also entered into the wider discussions as to whether Milton Keynes should go for growth and, if so, how and where should it be accommodated. Our considered responses were put forward in a paper to the Council in June covering - City Expansion v. Density, Rural Issues, Quality of Development, and Leisure & Amenity.
As a result of a public meeting held in Stony Stratford, it was agreed that a separate pressure group should be set up to fight the planning and development proposals for the area to the west of the A5. This group operates under the name of CaWS (Calverton is Worth Saving) and brings together people from Stony, Galley Hill, Calverton End, Fullers Slade, Kiln Farm Two Mile Ash and Crownhill as well as ourselves to provided a focus for support for all those who are against peripheral expansion of MK into the Calverton area. (CaWS had its first public exposure on August Bank Holiday Monday at the Stony Stratford Town Fayre where some 200 signatures were collected from local people in support of the campaign and where we were able to lobby two of our local Councillors.)
Easter brought the worst floods for 50 years to the village. Much has already been written on this subject and more will follow in this years' Calverton Records Journal. However it is worth noting that the authorities are intending to replace the two runs of narrow pipes under the road outside Causeway House and Rectory Farm/24-26 Lower Weald with a combination of substantially larger pipes and a concrete box drain. This should help get the backlog of flood water down through the village rather than having it spill out over the road. Flood attenuation of the brook above Ardvassar and possible lowering of the causeway in Calverton Place is then proposed to allow easier dispersion of the water away from Lower Weald. There is no indication as to when this might happen but the speed with which the waters rose due to high ground runoff indicates that we are still very much at risk and adds significant concerns to any proposal for development in the west of A5 area.
On the social side we have once again had an eventful year. Calverton Records Project had its first birthday in November and Christmas was celebrated at the Lourie's with a Carols Sing Along accompanied by Peter Bowtell, much mulled wine and some excellent mince pies. There was also a full and successful programme of events throughout the year sponsored by Cuppa's as reported elsewhere.
Claire Krajnyck and Lesley Carr took over most of the organisation for the summer party which was very enjoyable despite the weather, with the cricket match being more of a case of 'bad light started play'. We were better prepared after last years' washout with a decent roof over the barbecue and a rearrangement of tables undercover. A 'Bouncy Castle' was provided for the younger generation and although it looked like it was going to be too big, we did manage to get it undercover too - but only just! Later in the evening our very own Auctioneer, John 'Gavel' Lourie surpassed himself in the promises auction raising an amazing £287.50. Many thanks to all who worked so hard to make the event such a success and to Richard and Judy Fountaine for hosting it once again.
Looking to the future, we now have Claire Krajnyck and Lesley Carr taking over the newsletter after a number of years of sterling work by Keith Hope-Lang and Lucinda Lourie - so many thanks for past efforts and much encouragement to the new publishers including Stephen Stewart who has kindly agreed to continue with the printing.
Finally many thanks again to Keith for his accurate reporting of the committee minutes, also to Maggie Toliday for her work on emparishment, Local Plan issues, and as Committee Treasurer. Thanks too to Andrew Donaldson for bombarding the 'powers that be' with well aimed correspondence from his position as Secretary and of course to the Committee as a whole for their support and wisdom in analysing, discussing and seeking the best way forward for the future of Calverton in these uncertain times.
David Muston, Chairman