Reprinted from Newsletter 93, dated 1999 September

Chairman’s notes

John Brunsdon

Congratulations to our Glastonbury in Bloom team for an excellent show again this summer. Coming second to Street cannot detract from the very high standard achieved with far more restricted availability of resources. No doubt new ideas will emerge and blank spaces filled in, but the team will be hard put to even maintain such a high standard. Why not offer to give them a hand?

The Town Traffic Study presentations were well advertised and attended, and the analysis of ideas put forward will be interesting. Tables and chairs at the Market Cross have helped to endorse this pedestrian area.

Generally the town has been full of visitors, and shopkeepers mostly happy with their summer season’s trading. Certainly there are relatively few empty premises, and with the economy set fair, long may this continue.

At last we are rid of our dilapidated litter bins in the High Street, with stronger and more secure replacements. Flyposting has been unsightly and this must be removed promptly and reported to Mendip council, which has been alerted to the problem. Likewise spray graffiti has been a problem again. Please be alert and report instances at once. There are resources in the town-centre fund to deal with it.

One of the mountain ash trees at the Market Cross will need replacement. Fortunately the newly planted holy thorn at St John’s is responding to spraying. Along with the the big thorn tree and others in the town they have suffered a bad attack by fungal mildew to the point of defoliation.

Very dry weather followed by torrential storms has put the town’s water drainage system to severe test. The higher rainfall has encouraged greater growth of grass and weeds to overhang and block our country footpaths. Clearance under the Parish scheme has continued, backed up by the advanced training unit. Several problem areas are clearer in consequence.

The Tor has looked very overgrown this year due to high rainfall and problems with stocking. Sheep grazing has now been augmented by cattle again, and already the grass is better controlled. One bonus of undergrazing has been a profusion of wild flowers. Next year we should see more grass-feeding butterflies, especially the marbled white.

There have been a number of gatherings at the Tor during the summer — for the solstice, eclipse and 99­9-9, in addition to the Roman Catholic pilgrimage. Experimental road closure and one-way systems in Wellhouse Lane suggest that a seasonal order would greatly improve the setting of the Tor, less dominated by traffic.

Once again we are indebted to Alan Gloak and Colin Wells-Brown for their generous hospitality. An evening spent in such a lovely garden is one to remember, and the weather was kind during an unsettled spell. Many thanks indeed.

All our regular activities have continued over the year. Meetings with talks, tree planting and country footpath maintenance, and the guidebook Glastonbury Footpath Walks, continue to sell well. No major problems have occurred that could endanger our listed buildings, and we comment on planning applications as appropriate. Numbers on our membership list remain about the same. We are glad to recruit new members, especially newcomers who may have settled into one of our historic buildings.

The derelict Morland site remains the worst problem site in the county in spite of efforts to resolve the matter. A planning application is imminent.

Who knows what the next millennium will bring? Hopefully the town will develop in a manner which will respect its historic Christian past and prosper in doing so, and that Glastonbury Conservation Society will have a role to play in this happening.