The Christmas holiday is now behind us and we are at the beginning of the New Year. 2012 was a special year with much to commemorate and celebrate.
HM The Queen marked 60 years of her reign in 2012, her Diamond Jubilee year and we all joined in the celebrations in our local communities.
This year also saw the Olympic and Paralympic Games come to this country and even though London hosted the Games the whole country got behind Team GB and basked in the feel good factor engendered by the success of Team GB.
As the Jubilee and the Olympics Games have shown even though our lives seem to be lived at a much faster pace and perhaps in more isolation than they were in the 1950s we can still come together to celebrate a national event.
At the other end of the scale 2012 managed to throw at us some of the weirdest weather on record.
The driest spring for over a century gave way to torrential downpours – a dramatic turnaround from drought to flood. It almost certainly goes without saying that one of the main stories of 2012 has been the sheer amount of rainfall.
In the local area we have not suffered the extreme flash flooding seen in other areas, although I know that will be of little comfort to those residents of the Springfield and Minerva Court areas.
In addition problems with the sophisticated warning system has also meant that on more than one occasion the pumps on the River Tut have failed to kick in when the water rose and flooding was only averted when personnel arrived to operate them manually.
Highly technical systems are wonderful when they work but perhaps we need to ensure we have the necessary back up when they fail. Hopefully the cause of both these problems will be addressed so that similar problems will not arise in the future.
The Boroughbridge area is of course no stranger to flooding having suffered major incidents in the past but we are fortunate in that we do have a well-established Flood Plan and an Emergency Committee which and in the event of flooding this will be central to ensuring that local efforts are co-ordinated.
We are now at the beginning of another year with all that brings. Certainly one of the first challenges to face us as a community is the appeal against the Secretary of State’s decision to refuse planning permission for a Motorway Service Station at Kirby Hill.
An extremely controversial service area, Kirby Hill was first proposed in 1997 and the decision in October 2012 was the third time the proposal had been refused yet it would appear the developers have not yet got the message, surely enough is enough!!
Also at the end of last year we also learnt that North Yorkshire County Council’s Planning Committee approved the proposal for a waste incinerator at Allerton Park.
Local people and parish councils mounted a vigorous and persuasive campaign against this proposal showing it to be unnecessary for many reasons.
We are now waiting to hear whether the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government will call this application in for a decision.
I hope that the Secretary of State will decide to do so as this application has wide ranging implications for our area and it seems to me that there is something not quite right about any Council granting itself planning permission.
The start of a new year is traditionally the time for resolutions for the future. It will probably be another difficult year and we will all need to be positive.
One of the Town Council’s resolutions will be to continue its efforts to improve our surroundings and engender a sense of community spirit and pride in our local area and make it an even better place to live, work and visit.
Whatever your own personal New Year’s resolutions do not worry if you can’t stick to them all, as research has now deemed them to be bad for us because we set ourselves impossible goals and we feel dejected when we fail to keep up our good intentions.
Whether you subscribe to this view or not perhaps the answer is to remain positive and aim to get the most out of every day.
Hopefully by doing that we can achieve something worthwhile!
A happy, healthy and worthwhile New Year to you all.