Chairman’s Letter December 2022

Clare Escombe


Writing this newsletter with Christmas rapidly approaching, I am struck by the fact that we have had yet another unsettled year. The spiralling cost of living is having an impact on us all, and that includes HPC.

When setting our budget for the next financial year, we all agreed that we wanted to do our best to limit the burden on residents despite our rising costs. However, we are also determined to continue with our current focus on repairs and improvements to our facilities. It took a fair bit of work, but I hope that you will agree that we have managed to get the balance right by setting a budget with an increase of just 0.3% on the precept (just under 40p a year for Band D).

Reflecting on 2022, the Parish Council has been putting a lot of effort into improving facilities in the village. Everything seems to take so long: the lead times on play equipment are unbelievable! We have replaced the climbing frame/slide at Heartenoak, and we are hoping the replacement piece of play equipment for the KGV will be installed early in 2023. Work at the Copt Hall has included upgrading the heating and a beautiful new kitchen, all of which has made it far more pleasant for our users. At the KGV, we have had new fencing installed and replaced the boiler for the showers. The cemetery restoration project is also continuing. These are just some of the more noticeable items; we seem to have had a constant stream of smaller items of work this year. We still have a very long to-do list, but I hope that you are starting to see the impact of the work we have been doing to ensure that the village has the facilities it deserves.

Thinking about financial challenges, the Parish Council has decided it would like to provide a warm space for residents. We only agreed this on Monday 19th December, so we still have to finalise the details, but we hope to be able to open the Copt Hall for one session a week to provide somewhere warm for residents to drop in. We are looking for volunteers to help with these sessions. If you think you might be able to spare some time to provide a cup of tea and a warm welcome, please email me at – thank you.

A quick reminder that we have our first consultation event for our revised NDP on 14th January. We would love to see you if you could make the time to pop into the Primary School for a chat at some point between 10am and 2:30pm.

I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Let’s keep our fingers crossed that 2023 is a little kinder to us all.

Clare Escombe
Chairman, Hawkhurst Parish Council