Chairman's Report 2014-2015
We have now completed our first year under the new title – Horncastle History & Heritage Society, and it has been a busy year with many open meetings which have attracted 18 new members, & which was one of the aims of the re-working of the Society.
 
We have held meetings covering, the Horncastle Floods, Uniforms of the First World War, John Cussons and the showing of  films on WW1. We all enjoyed a visit to  Lincolnshire Life Museum for a WW1 exhibition and our Xmas celebration at the Durham Ox was well attended.  I think that most Members also enjoyed the picture quiz at that event which was won by Lucy the dog (not Bob) as she knows this town better than most. We still have a lot to look forward to this coming year and I hope you will all continue to support events.
 
Of course, as you can see above, many of the items last year were connected to the commemoration of the start of World War One and the Society took a lead part in the town’s commemoration, which took place over two days in September and was attended by 1100 visitors.  Definitely a success and important in bringing the new name of the society to the town’s  notice.  We were grateful to have the support of many organisations in the town for this event and some private businesses and I should like to record my formal thanks to all those involved who worked so hard to make it such a success.  Hopefully, we shall soon be on our way to producing a book to continue to remember those Horncastle people who gave their lives in that awful war.
 
But much of the work of the Society goes on behind the scenes and one of the most onerous jobs this year has been to respond to the many planning applications that have been received.  We haven’t  responded  to all of them, but definitely to the ones that we feel would have a major impact on the town and its character.  Amongst the most time consuming of these has been Langton Hill development and Mareham Road.  We felt both would add to the problems of flooding in the town amongst other things and it was largely thanks to the tenacity of David Lawrence that the Mareham Road application was refused three times, before the applicants finally addressed the flooding problem and it was passed by the Planning Inspector.  Not entirely a satisfactory outcome but the best we could do.  Langton Hill was also passed on appeal and with the lack of a current Local Plan from ELDC, we often feel that all we can do is push for improvements on these large applications as it is unlikely that they can be stopped. Of course, the normal run of smaller applications continue to fill David’s time as well as monitoring building work to ensure they stick to the plans.  Protests to Planning enforcement are often necessary, as with Foundry Street development and the advertising at the Pizza place set up in the Punch House. David with the assistance of Michael Hieatt has made a positive response to the proposals for flood defence scheme, but with some very appropriate additions and suggestions as well as some concerns.
 
David still manages to fit in some time to work on projects. The horse sculptures continue to attract attention and we get many enquiries about these.  As a result, David & Co have been working on a sculpture of airmen for RAF Ingham which should be completed soon.  David can then get back to work for us on a sign board for the horses and sketches for murals near the post office and Achurch Alley.  Dorothy & Marilyn do a fantastic job of keeping the planters around the town full of colour.  Plants always welcome and any assistance with some running repairs would be appreciated. Karel & Sheila are continuing with their work on protection of the Roman Wall and recent meetings may be leading to getting some essential maintenance work done.  Watch this space.  Rod has worked tirelessly on the Neighbourhood Plan this year which is now awaiting final approvals, ready to be incorporated in the ELDC Local Plan.  Hopefully he will now be free to take forward the External Artwork project which would really enhance the town.
 
Fund Raising has been successful although the coffee morning did not realise as much as we should have liked but the Summer and Xmas Fairs certainly helped to swell our coffers thanks to locals love of all things chocolate, and should enable us to carry out more work. Please remember we need chocolates or chocolate cakes for the Summer  Fair in June.
 
We have a lot to look forward to in the coming months with a small group working on our Heritage Open Day event, which will take place at St Mary’s church and is all about Horncastle’s role in the Lincolnshire Rising.  If you want to get involved or help let us know.  Thanks to those who have volunteered to knit rats for us.  We also have the outing to Lincoln Castle Magna Carta in September, which I can personally endorse as an excellent experience. Ideas for Christmas celebration would be welcome.
 
We hope we are keeping you all informed now with the Newsletter, copies of 3 Way meetings, Executive meetings and Planning Reports.  Also the website is kept pretty well up to date.
 
Finally I should like to thank the Executive Committee which has met every 6 weeks and has kept the basic work of the Society going.  If you have any comments on the minutes of these meetings or disagree with anything, please let us know.  We are trying to work on your behalf but keep the more boring parts out of general meetings so that you can just enjoy them.  Special thanks must go to David Lawrence for his tireless work on Planning, Claire for keeping the accounts in order which has been more onerous this year due to the WW1 fund, and Trevor who has provided us with clear, informative minutes, and who will be missed on these duties.
 
I hope new Members to the Society will enjoy the work the Society is doing and hopefully get more involved in their areas of interest.  Always remember it is your Society and officers of the Society just wish to help you enjoy it and always welcome your input.

M Silverton May 2015
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