Grindleford Parish Council. 

March 2022: Summary of Quarter’s Main Activity

 

There has been a fair bit going on this quarter:

 

Flooding. 

The immediate issue affecting us the most is of course the recent flooding, which we had so hoped to avoid this year after a dry January.   At the behest of our District Councillor, we were able to arrange a village meeting with the Parish Council, the Environment Agency, Derbyshire County Council and a number of village residents.  (St Helens Church kindly provided a venue to fit everyone in, and the shop provided heaps of very nice cake – thank you).  

The EA and DCC were sympathetic and willing to do what they could to help mitigate the possibility and impact of flooding, although it is quite clear that they have no funds and will not be able to provide any financial support.  Nevertheless a few positive actions came out of the meeting.  The Parish Council signed up to taking over liaising with agencies from the Grindleford Flood Group, to whom they extended their very grateful thanks for the huge amount of work they have done.  The two Flood Wardens, Bob Wilson and John Baily, are taking over from Nick Bater and John Wood and will continue to play a vital role in on-the-day emergency support.  They can offer help moving items above the water line, placing sandbags and offering advice.  At the moment Bob is taking calls on his phone, but this is far from ideal, so plans for a central coordination number to link those needing help and those volunteering to help are under consideration.  More on that later. 

The Flood Wardens past and present play such an essential role and we are very grateful to them.  Elsewhere in this News you will find a little piece on what it was like to be one of them during the last flood – quite a story. 

There will be a standing item at each Parish Council meeting to discuss and progress plans.  The full note of the meeting was sent round on the village e-newsletter recently, and if you didn’t see it and would like to, please contact the clerk on grindleparish@gmail.com.   There is recognition that we cannot completely eliminate the threat of flood, but there is much which has already been done (tree clearance upstream, for example) which probably averted the early 2020 flood and reduced the impact of the water earlier this year.  Further measures discussed at the meeting will be pursued as quickly as possible. Hopefully there will be no further flooding this summer, but winter will be upon us again soon enough. 

 

Telephone Box. 

A rather more joyful tale.  You will have seen the Box in all its new shiny red glory.  The story so far:  before lockdown the Parish Council made the decision to buy the box for £1.   After a tussle with special instrumentation to crack it open, our favourite electrician managed to break in and do the necessary upgrade work to keep BT happy, and BT now pay the electricity bill which keeps the box aglow at all times.  (With the right bulb, the energy consumption is minimal).  That was a while ago now; it took a few more months to get the new wooden door surround replaced, as it was very badly rotted and beyond saving; the Parish Council ultimately taking the decision to buy   a new one.  Learning from the new noticeboard (more on that later) the door was delivered direct to John M’s house, who kindly accommodated it until Matt and Sam and then Matt again wrangled it off and on and replaced the glass metal frame insert and sorted out the fittings and were generally very admirable, because it was all very heavy and had rusted in over a great number of years.  (Caesar might have been of some help with the transportation had he arrived a bit earlier).  I think all still have ten fingers, so overall a success and many thanks to those good people.  Nina acquired the required new toughened glass and Matt put it in.  Matt is Mr Telephone Box is he not.

Then a bit of a hiatus while we puzzled over how to get it painted.  We had seen some fairly horrifying quotes from other village phone boxes, and then – To The Rescue! – Ben Furniss, who lives in Grindleford and is one of the nation’s hidden treasures.  Here he is, doing a fab job as you can see from these photos.  (At time of writing he was just off to paint the little crown gold.  Finishing touches).  Ben’s quote was so reasonable that the funding we have been able to raise from our County and District Councillors was enough to cover it, so that very difficult part of the project has now been completed.  

Now various good people, and some dogs apparently, are working out how to fit the shelves and put up the village map, again more on which can be found below.  Janet, Rachel, Claire, Nina, Carrie, Marcus and Jane being some, with Blue and Nefi playing a vital part in proceedings. 

I am mentioning everybody who has got involved with this project by name because it’s been such a lovely process of collaboration, common sense and generosity that it feels like it’s worth sharing, especially right now where in other parts of the continent those qualities seem to have been forgotten.  Simon’s lovely post of Facebook sums it up.  “That the same sun rises on lucky me in my bucolic valley as it does on the bombed citizens of Ukraine and on everything in between, is both obvious and somehow impossible. One must be grateful.”

 

Ukraine Flag. 

On the same subject, District Councillor Peter O’Brien reported that DDDC are flying the Ukraine flag from the Town Hall and villages might like to consider following suite.  The Parish Council were strongly supportive of the proposal, but it was going to take a month to find a flag online.  Hilary Malden made this beautiful flag in literally an afternoon and Ray hoisted it the next day.  I am so impressed as I think we all are, it’s only a gesture but writ large across the country and across the world it is saying something.  Also spotted, all the ribbons on the Lent cross are blue and yellow.  

 

Climate and Biodiversity Emergency Declaration Action Plan. 

We now have one of these but it is rather techy and unreadable.  While I am recuperating I will turn it into something a bit more approachable.  Lots going on behind the scenes.  In this edition of the News, you will find a one-pager on EV charging points, which is the first in a hopefully never-ending series of information sheets on how we can tackle climate change and our biodiversity crisis.  I hope you will find them useful. 

 

Jubilee arrangements.  

We were full steam ahead on this until the news from Ukraine, when other more important considerations took over.  But the Parish Council does have a plan.  So, the aim is to have a bring-your-own Party in the Park (street parties being a bit more tricky due to the local topography) on 5 June – the Sunday.  We hope that date will mean more people who are away for half term will be home and able to join in.  There will be formal Opening of the Telephone Box, which will also be one of two lasting commemorations of the Jubilee in Grindleford; somewhat as other places might have a plaque or a bench or a tree.  We like to do things differently in S32.    From there, there will be short family village walk, taking in all the sights (school, church, pubs, railway station, etc).  You’ll be able to do this in your own time, missing out bits to make the walk as long or as short as you like and taking in the local bars should you care to do so; your only mission will be to get the party by 3 pm, with your picnic.  The Parish Council and possibly County Council are chucking in a bit of money for a band and some frivolity, and we will ask Alan if he can do us an onsite bar.  To add to the celebrations, the walk will also take in some new signed footpaths in the village.  John Morton and Alan Jacques have been scoping out our hidden pathways, some of which have lovely and almost forgotten names, and are making signs to make sure those names are perpetuated.  For the Jubilee we will attempt to get some little information sheets under the signs to tell the story.  A proper and important part of Grindleford’s heritage.

And then the jewel in the Crown so to speak.  Alan Jacques has devised a marvellous circular walk round the perimeter of the village, taking in the local landmarks and starting and finishing at the community shop, where walkers can recover with tea and homemade cake.  It will be called the Platinum Jubilee Walk (with the shorter walk known as the Queen’s Walk).  There will be a big reveal at the opening of the phone box, because a map with both walks on it will be affixed to the side wall.  Walkers can pick up a hard copy leaflet from the phone box, or download a QR code, to get the route. 

We hope it will be a lovely day for everyone, young and old. 

 

Bins. 

Not the best winter for bin collection, but everyone pushed through and we survived.  There has been a recent enquiry into what happened with Serco.  I do think the staff at DDDC did their very best in difficult circumstances, and their comms officer Jim Fearn kept us well up to date, even with the gloomy news.  Hopefully things will improve from here on.  

 

Wildflowers. 

DDDC were really positive about this, and a very nice man came out  last year to scope the sites.  Cutting to the chase, they have scarified a site or two and the Parish Council has caused to have purchased a big tub of wildflower seeds.  Our very own Andrew Battye, which as most of you know has very useful combined expertise in the environment and horticulture, has taken on the job of making it happen.  So with luck things are going to look lovely in the spring and summer.  Thanks, Andrew!  Come June and again in the autumn we will be looking for rakers. So that the wildflowers will bloom again next year. 

 

The new noticeboard. 

We have Bob to thank again here, with help from John Morton, and his Kango drill.  The noticeboard was delivered to Chez the Parish Clerk, up an inconveniently steep hill, where it maundered for a while until Bob scooped it up and took it back to his shed.  It was extremely heavy.  Bob and John dakker-dakkered out the old board, concrete blocks and all, replaced it with the new one, and I think we can agree it looks pretty good.  We’re working on a sign to announce it as Grindleford Parish Council’s. 

In an hilarious coda, I tried to take down a notice Bob had put up and couldn’t reach.  I complained about this to the Chair of the Parish Council, who replied, “it’s the same height as the old board Sarah, you are shrinking”.

 

Sarah Battarbee, Parish Clerk

 

 

 

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