Coleford Town Council

Coleford Town Council Clocktower

Welcome to the Historic Market Town of Coleford with its Clock Tower. This is a focus for many occasions throughout the year, ranging from the Carnival of Transport, Sealed Knot through to the Festival of Words and Christmas Lights Switch-On.

Coleford is a centre point to attract visitors to the Forest of Dean with emphasis on Local History and walking and cycling routes passing through the Town.

Cllr Paul Kay  Mayor of Coleford  

Annual Report 2014 / 2015

This has been a very busy and exciting year. We have started and completed several big projects which has seen our expenditure double to over £400,000.00. However we will be leaving the Council in a strong financial position for the next Council to build on.

2 major projects have dominated the year, to improve the leisure facilities in the parish. The Town Council have replaced the substandard pavilion at the King George V Recreation ground with modern modular buildings providing excellent changing rooms for home and away teams, more than one ref plus a huge hall that can be hired for parties, classes or conferences. This has been a long time in the planning but this Council is delighted that we have finally brought this much need improvement to fruition

The other major development has been the purchase of the Bells Grammar school playing field on Lords Hill. This is a nine acre field that we hope will be dedicated to providing diverse leisure opportunities for all ages. The Town Council employed some professional people to help run a true consultation with the community to find out exactly what was wanted. We are delighted that so many people have taken the time to participate and the results so far have been fascinating. This Council will hand over those results to the new Council with a concept plan of what could be provided. Exciting times are ahead

Regeneration of the town is dear to this Council’s heart and we have actively sought to bring more events and visitors into the town. The full scale re-enactment of the Battle of Coleford was a thrilling weekend. The Sealed Knot did us proud with the number of soldiers present. The battle was fearsome and a joy to watch. Thanks must go to the trustees of the Angus Buchanan VC Memorial Ground for allowing us to use their fields.

I would like to thank the other mayors and dignitaries who came for the day.

But this is not the only event we have commissioned or funded. The Carnival of Transport continues to go from strength to strength, a second busking festival was a real treat and great success. The Festival of Words as well.

We have begun a marketing strategy creating a new Coleford logo – Coleford Pride of the Forest and show cased some products at the Activities event last Sunday at Speech House. There is also a new pocket sized tourist guide which is being distributed across the parish and beyond along with an events leaflet highlighting all this is happening this year

But sadly this year was not all plain sailing, the Christmas Lights committee were not able to provide a volunteer force to put up the lights and very late in the day the Town Council stepped in and did what it could. The lights were much more low key but the parade of the lanterns by the children was spectacular and the fireworks were great fun.

It is with some relief that we hear that a new committee has been formed and are planning to get things back on track this year.

I was also pleased that so many shops chose to take part in a window display competition and I do hope that the next Council will continue with this.

The Christmas markets held in December were a great success show casing many local artisans. Thank you to Dean Properties and Mr Bath for allowing us use of an empty shop.

Last year saw the Commemoration of WW1 a very poignant mark in our history. The exhibition provided by the children of local schools will stay with me for a very long time. The research into life during the Great War, the men from Coleford who went to fight and the stories of those left behind were extremely moving. We were able to keep the exhibition open to the public every day for a month only with the help of Coleford British Legion who helped man the event. A very sincere thank you to all those that participated nearly 1000 people passed through the doors.

This Council has also tried to ensure that the parish is in good order looking spick and span to residents and visitors alike. The installation of the rainbow benches has continued with 5 more popping up around the parish but along with that every other bench has been repaired, repainted or re -varnished.

The beautiful Mushet mural has been painted by local artist Tom Cousins on the wall of Mushet Walk. It’s a stunning piece of artwork that really brightens up the town centre and reminds us of our history

Improvements have been made at Coleford Cemetery with the installation of a new lych-gate at the entrance to the Natural Burial Ground. This will give some shelter to mourners who choose this type of ceremony as well as a place to install a plaque in memory of a loved one interred in the burial ground. The gate was made from local oak sourced from the Bathurst Estate by local crafts man Clive Smith.

On a personal note I would like to thank everyone who helped me raise funds towards my 2 chosen charities this year. Hope for Tomorrow & the Great Western Air Ambulance. Through many events and particularly the Civic Dinner the Council actually raised just over £3000.00. It was great fun but at times quite hard work but I have to say extremely enjoyable.

The NDP Steering group continues to gather information and consult with residents about the future plans for Coleford and the Council has continued with its support.

I would also like to take time to thank my predecessor Cllr Sue Merrikin for the work she did in the first three years of this administration. Sue gave her heart and soul into being Mayor of Coleford and I would like to thank her for the very solid foundations laid that I have been able to build on.

My fellow councillors need recognition too for the work which they have done, attending meeting manning exhibitions delivering leaflets and many other varied tasks. Councillors are volunteers, we do not get any financial payment for doing this work, it is grass root democracy at work by people with a true desire to serve their community. Thank you for all that you have done.

A special thank you to those that who are not re-joining us after the election, Steve Cox, Iain Baird, Sue Merrikin & Geoff Prosser.

The backbone of the Council however is the work done in the office by Annie and Carolyn. As councillors we come up with the plans and ideas and its they who do all the hard work bringing them to reality – without their efforts all our schemes would come to nothing.

I can’t finish without my thanks going to, Nick Penny my deputy who has been a sounding board, a rock and an innovator, without his drive and determination we would not have achieved so much this year. Thank you Nick for all your support.

Lastly a huge thank you to my wife Michelle. She has been at my side at nearly every event. She played a major role in setting up the Civic Dinner, she has turned out to clear rooms and to set them up. Annie has said that she has never known such a proactive Mayors partner. I know that we have both really enjoyed this year.  Thank you to Coleford for giving us this opportunity.