I would like to thank my fellow councillors for the honour of electing me to the Chair of the town council last week. I also wish to thank Martin Lovell for his excellent work as outgoing Chairman. He has served the town with great care in these past years delivering for and working with our community.

With the recent by-election result, it is clear that townspeople and new councillors wish Shepton Mallet Town Council to be more open. People want to be more involved in our deliberations. To that end, the Council has been already been reaching out by holding regular public engagement events.

Two weeks ago we were in Collett Park discussing our plans for the improvement to the park. Last weekend, at the May Sunday Market, we were talking to people about the future of our library, and the need to not only keep the service in the heart of the town, but also to maintain a professionally-run facility. Many of us recognise how fortunate we are to have Janet, our Librarian, here in Shepton. She is a true professional who cares for the library and Shepton, who is always there to help.

The Sunday Market saw the launch of “Shepton’s Fairy Trail” after various fairy characters recently moved into town. Full details can be found in the Fairy Godmother Shop in Town Street. Try to spot the fairy doors all around Shepton, including one belonging to “Kyte the Great”, who, we are told, enjoyed the great atmosphere of the Sunday Market.

It’s really wonderful to see community-minded people willing to roll up their sleeves for the benefit of Shepton. Two of our newly-elected councillors, Helen Reader and Edric Hobbs, have been out with James Johnson, Richard Cooke, Caroline Amor, Claire Goodman, Mandy McKenna, Glenice Cox and Robin Horton to clean and paint the railings at the bottom of Town Street. All the materials were supplied by Dredge and Male in Shepton and Bradfords at Evercreech. Thanks to everyone involved.

In the next weeks we will be finalising all the arrangements for Collett Festival 2018 (9th10th June). Again this will be our showcase for Shepton, and this year’s events all celebrate 700 years of us holding our Market Charter. There is still time to book a stall or volunteer to help. Please contact the town council for details.

Chris Inchley, Chairman, Shepton Mallet Town Council