Nabil Najjar - Report - March 2022
It has certainly been a busy start to 2022 at Wiltshire Council and I am continuing to work hard to deliver on my promises from last year’s election – tackling speeding and road safety, supporting my communities and residents, and lobbying for more funding for Fovant and the Chalke Valley.
I’ll start this report by expressing my relief that the waste collection strike has come to an end – I know this was an inconvenience for everyone, and I know I’m looking forward to seeing the mountain of recycling that has accumulated in my shed finally being removed. Thank you all for your patience while we worked through this issue with the unions and our contractor.
In more positive news, we were able to secure Wiltshire Council funding for a whole host of projects across my villages. This was the result of a lot of work at my end, and a huge amount of work done by parish councils across the division, and I would like to thank them all for their support.
We secured funding for new speed indicator devices in Barford St Martin, and Berwick St John, in addition to the three SIDs we funded for Fovant last year, which will go a long way towards improving road safety and tackling speeding through these villages.
We secured £5,000 for a new playground in Barford St Martin, helping the village develop lasting assets for the community, and we delivered a further £4,000 for the Chalke Valley Sports Centre to help them expand their offering and grow their membership. I know this money will be well spent.
We were also able to provide funding for new pedestrian gates in Sutton Mandeville, footpath improvements in Fovant, and financial support for the Summer Concert in Compton Chamberlayne.
These are just some examples of how I am working to ensure that my villages receive their fair share of Wiltshire Council funding.
Alongside this, I am developing a creative solution to address speeding and road safety more widely in our area. I formed the Chalke Valley Speed and Flood Working Group, bringing together representatives from all 15 of my parishes to help develop a holistic solution for the whole area.
I recently invited our Cabinet Member for Highways, Cllr Mark McClelland, and John Derryman from the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner, to help us develop these plans, to ensure we make our roads and communities safer.
More broadly, I continue to engage proactively with our major stakeholders, such as the Cranborne Chase AONB, and I was delighted that Wiltshire Council has continued its current funding levels for the AONB, despite budgetary pressures.
I continue to work with communities to ensure that contentious planning applications are addressed openly and transparently, and I worked with the community at Heath Farm Park to help voice their concerns about proposed developments in their area.
In my role as the Council’s Portfolio Holder for Arts, Heritage, and Tourism, I continue to promote the importance of our fantastic natural, historic, and cultural assets across the county, making sure they are the heart of our economic regeneration, and the future of our market towns. I have some very exciting plans for our High Streets, and a potentially game-changing programme called What’s On In Wiltshire, on which I hope to release more details soon.
I was also delighted to have been given additional responsibility for the Environment within my portfolio, and I will be working with colleagues across the county to encourage and promote sustainability, biodiversity, protection of landscapes and habitats, as well as celebrating everything great we are doing at Wiltshire Council to support the environment.
It has now been almost a year since I was elected as your County Councillor, and the experience has been thoroughly enjoyable, albeit challenging at times. I am committed to delivering on my election promises, and I hope that this update reflects the progress that we have made to date.
As always, please feel free to get in touch if you’d like any more information on the work we’re doing, or if I can help.
Councillor Nabil Najjar
Fovant and Chalke Valley division – Wiltshire Council
Portfolio Holder for Arts, Heritage and Tourism