Painting of the Lower Court Hall was duly completed by the end of February and (in an exact repeat of last month’s entry) an information plaque should have been fitted to the outside of the building by the time you read this. Sounds a bit like drones at Gatwick, but factors beyond our control prevented this being completed, as had been hoped, in January.

The Fabric Committee completed its work on the five-year maintenance plan and a final version will go to the Corporation for approval in March. The capital work that this covers are the Town sign, a rolling programme of vegetation removal on the Gates and two projects on the Court Hall, essentially involving stone and woodwork repairs and rainwater removal. Affordability will continue to depend on the support of FOAM and all those who contribute to their good work, Corporation fundraising and donations and grant bids.

For some years now, it has been the aim of the Corporation to have someone pop round and welcome newcomers to the Town, soon after they move in. The idea has been to give them a bit of background information and to let them know something of the many activities that go on in the Town. The feedback on these visits has always been positive and the task has traditionally fallen to the incumbent Mayor. It is, however, a pleasure to announce that Bernie Scott has offered to take on a leading role in this, but it would be quite wrong to think of this as a one person band job. The task is important and is potentially hugely beneficial to the Town, but it is not easy to keep track of individual comings and goings, both in the Town and on the Strand. Phil Laverton, our Postman is enormously helpful in this respect, but we would be really grateful for help from all residents. If you do know of a newcomer, or see that a house has been vacated, please tell Bernie or the Mayor, so that a call can be planned. They can be contacted on 01797 224637, or 01797 223458 respectively.

The Mayor, Deputy Mayor and Town Clerk have had an initial meeting with the Seneschal of the Cinque Ports, Ian Russell. He is the senior administrator of the Confederation of the Cinque Ports and the aim of the meeting was to discuss the two major Confederation events to be held in Winchelsea this year. These are the meeting of the Standing Joint Committee of the Confederation in May and Speaker’s Day in October. While these will be quite demanding in terms of planning and resources, we are fortunate to have plenty of expertise to hand and were reassured that our planning to date is on track. Probably the most pressing things to sort out early are bands and catering and that is underway.

First up, of course, is the Mayoring Ceremony on Easter Monday and details of that will be covered in next month’s magazine, after the Corporation has agreed them at its next meeting. Feedback has been very favourable following the precedent of the Town Clerk Hundred last year, where a public ceremony was held in the Church. It is extremely tempting to do the same for the Mayoring and this would have the added advantage of not having to cart 100 chairs up to the Museum and down again. However, there are different views on this matter and we’ve probably got a year to think about it anyway, as we cannot yet be certain that the Church will be cleared of scaffolding in time. That said a possible procedure will be derived for discussion and potential future use. Views are welcomed!

John Rodley, Mayor

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