2020 – well what a year! Certainly 2020 has been a very challenging year! Covid brought lockdown in March which, for some, brought heartbreak, suffering and difficult times. But the tremendous community spirit from the people of Higham brought assistance, help and support.
The summer brought respite for many and a near to normal life. However, the dreaded second spike started to emerge from October and by the end of December the numbers of the community succumbing to the new variant increased rapidly as it swathed through the south east as a whole.
Once again, I would like to thank all those ‘heroes’, such as NHS staff, Care Workers, Police, Fire & Rescue, Prison Officers, School Teachers and Staff, Volunteers and all the Essential Business Workers
I would also like to reach out to those whose businesses have suffered or those who have not been so lucky and have suffered deeply.
We have had to learn a new way of life with masks, public hand sanitising and social distancing and new ways of carrying out our business and employment.
From a Parish point of view, we have been and still are being tested to the limit. We have seen successes this year such as the wonderful new play equipment installed on the Recreation Ground and assisting with the re-vamp of the Sports Courts. But, we must not forget the battle with the Lower Thames Crossing for the best interest of the village. Nor, the blight we are under with the threat of losing our green belt, which our neighbours living in Medway are succumbing to. 31st January was the last day to submit your views on the Gravesham Local Plan and the Parish Clerk was inundated with response letters which she collated and submitted to the Borough Council on your behalf. Hopefully, many of you also responded online.
Sadly, this brings me to another fight – to stop the Nuralite Development! So much work has been done behind the scenes by the residents most affected, the Parish Council and our Clerk in bombarding the Borough, County Councils, our local MP and Government Departments. This development, if permitted, WILL AFFECT the village as a whole, along with ALL ROUTES in and out of the village – not just for now or the next three years but for a long time in the future.
This has been a very, very busy period but we WILL fight these issues and will continue to FIGHT to keep our VILLAGE as a VILLAGE.
One thing I do know is the resilience and camaraderie that this village has and the ability to come together when needed. However, I will not finish on a negative note! I wish all the people of Higham and their families a better 2021 than 2020. 2021 may be difficult to start with now going into a second lockdown; Covid may not let up straight away and also Brexit will bring many challenges – BUT let us remain positive as a village community and work together to keep everyone well and safe from suffering as much as is possible.
I care about this village greatly and wish the people of Higham, whom I serve, hopefully a better and more prosperous New Year and thank you all in this difficult time.
Keep well – keep safe!
Your Borough Councillor
Leslie Pearton