A busy start to 2017

Dear Transitioners

We’ve had a busy time already in 2017. We started with a very useful Members’ Meeting when Mark Hand, MCC Head of Planning, outlined the MCC proposals for an overhaul of the Local Development Plan + listened patiently to all our bright ideas – more in due course. We planted more trees with Coleg Gwent at Monmouth Cemetery + made progress with projects involving St Thomas’ Church Hall, Monmouth Rotary’s new Community Champions scheme, Monmouth Comprehensive School + development of our new website. More stuff in the pipeline – but please let us know if there are issues you think we should address.

Monmouthshire Well-Being Assessment for the Well-Being of Future Generations Act Requirements

We like the Well-Being of Future Generations Act which basically says that all developments + projects need to be sustainable in order to ensure no detriment to future generations; this is exactly what we are about. Moreover there is a legal requirement for County Councils to produce a well-being assessment. So, since August 2016 the County’s Public Service Board were out + about across the county asking communities:-

What do you think is good about where you live?
What do you think could be better?

The draft findings – see http://www.monmouthshire.gov.uk/app/uploads/2016/12/Summary-Well-being-assessment-v1.0_Eng.pdf – have yet to be finalised so there is still time to make your input. Responses are required by Monday 27 February. You can complete the questionnaire at http://www.monmouthshire.gov.uk/ourmonmouthshire or get involved on twitter using the hashtag #OurMonmouthshire. You can also share your thoughts on Monmouthshire Made Open or write to Policy + Performance Team, Monmouthshire County Council, County Hall, Usk NP15 1GA or e-mail to improvement@monmouthshire.gov.uk. But the best way is to go to one of the drop-in events:-

Chepstow Hub: Monday 13 February, 10 till 3
Caldicot Hub: Tuesday 14 February, 10 till 3
Abergavenny: Wednesday 15 February, 10 till 12.30 at the One Stop Shop, 1 till 3 at the Library
Usk Hub: Thursday 16 February, 10 till 3
Monmouth Hub (Library): Friday 17 February, 10 till 3

You might be sceptical about yet another consultation but the Act could be a force for good. It is up to us to make sure this happens as the findings will form the basis of policy for the County. Please use this opportunity; if you think things are missing, misrepresented or given insufficient priority, now is the time, or forever hold your peace!

Tidenham Turbine at Severndale

You may remember that last year the successful planning application was reversed on the basis that ‘community benefit’ of the scheme had been taken into account in the planning application. Doom + gloom – a blight on all community schemes. The Resilience Centre has, however, persisted + at last been granted permission to appeal, with the order accepting that the case is ‘sufficiently arguable to have a real prospect of success’ + that ‘the potential implications of the judge’s decision for relevant national planning policy can be said to give rise to compelling reasons for the appeal to be heard’.

The bad news is that, as a community project, + given the legal costs already incurred, the Resilience Centre is unable to fund the appeal alone. They have, therefore, launched a Crowdfunder campaign seeking contributions towards the legal costs. Please consider a contribution at http://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/appeal-re-community-benefits-in-planning-decisions

Real Bread in Monmouth

Dilly Boase has started a new bakery, Madeleine’s in Beaufort Arms Court (behind the Shire Hall) where she bakes an amazing range of real bread, ranging from soft olive oil ciabatta to dense + dark german rye sourdough, as well as cakes + treats. She makes sourdough from scratch using organic flour from Shipton Mill in Gloucestershire + water + salt – no preservatives or chemical ‘improvers’; the bread is made in a 48 hour process which gives it flavour, digestibility + longevity. You can sit in the shop for a bite + a superb, locally roasted coffee, + you can buy organic teas + chocolate bars. Go try!

Now, some dates for your diaries:-

Members’ Meeting: Wednesday (note the radical change from Tuesday!) 8 February, 7.30 at the Punch House – much to talk about – the Local Development Plan, taking forward the Well-Being of Future Generations Act + what we can use it for in Monmouth, community engagement by Interserve (the very nice contractors at Monmouth Comprehensive School), Earth Hour + who knows what else …..

Seedy Sunday: Sunday 12 February, 11 to 3 at Abergavenny Community Centre, Park Street – seeds, seed bombs, plants, + stalls to make posies, eat cake, make woolly bees, drink tea/coffee, find out about bee-friendly plants, solar power, recycling tools etc as usual

Stop Climate Chaos Cymru: Make Wales’ Heart Green: Tuesday 14 February: A Thunderclap – the idea is a bit like a social media flash mob. Sign up, + social media accounts will send out the same message automatically at the same time/date to, hopefully, create a ‘trend’ – http://stopclimatechaoscymru.org/

Community Canteen: Saturday 25 February at Holy Trinity Church Hall, Abergavenny, 7 for 7.30: An Italian themed meal followed by singing to raise money for Hope Not Hate which seeks to challenge + defeat the politics of hate + extremism. Please book early to avoid disappointment as places are limited by email to community-canteen-group-1@googlegroups.com

EV – Electrical Vehicle – Open Day: Saturday 4 March, 10 till 4 at Bridges Community Centre, Monmouth: Electric vehicles, solar + battery storage systems, charging points, community transport schemes, local renewable investment opportunities + more. Light refreshments available – see http://www.EVOpenDay.com

Swap Shop: Saturday 4 March, 10 till 12 at Monmouth Priory: Seeds + plants to swap or buy, tools from Tools for Self Reliance Cymru, fairly traded goods from Oxfam + Love Zimbabwe; Fairtrade refreshments by Monmouth Fairtrade Forum

Members’ Meeting: Wednesday 8 March, 7.30 at the Punch House

Fairtrade under Fire in Palestine: Friday 10 March, 7pm at Monmouth Priory: Talk by Cathi Pawson, the Communications Director of Zaytoun, an award-winning social enterprise with a mission to develop the UK market for fairly traded Palestinian produce. Cathi was a founder member. Tickets £5 to include a drink + nibbles – at the door or from Madeleine’s in Beaufort Arms Court

Earth Hour: Saturday 25 March @ 8.30pm: The world’s largest demonstration of support for action on climate change: Join millions of people around the world, switch off your lights + take part in an event or throw your own party – see http://www.wwf.org.uk/earthhour for ideas

Spring Greens Fair: Saturday/Sunday 29/30 April at the Court of Noke: A wide variety of talks, activities + entertainments for all the family – https://springgreens.org.uk/

And, don’t forget your Local Produce Markets:-

Usk – Saturday 4 February – 10 till 1
Grosmont – Saturday 11 February – 10 till 2
Usk – Saturday 18 February – 10 till 1
Abergavenny – Thursday 23 February – 9.30 to 2.30
Usk – Saturday 4 March – 10 till 1
Grosmont – Saturday 11 March – 10 till 2

We hope to see you soon, hopefully at the Members’ Meeting next Wednesday, 8 February.

Other Transition Treasures are on the website http://www.transitionmonouth.org (currently being rebuilt but getting there – thank you, Chris Were) + on the Transition Monmouth Facebook page