It is my great pleasure to announce that the Council will have a new Town Clerk early in 2019. We are fortunate to have attracted a very high calibre candidate in Mrs Charlotte Starkie, who is currently working for Chippenham Town Council.

Charlotte impressed the interview panel with her knowledge and enthusiasm. After her appointment was confirmed, she went on a walkabout around town with our present Clerk, Sam Winter. She saw for herself the potential that Shepton has to regenerate and thrive.

Charlotte was visiting in a voluntary capacity and while here was invited to conduct the Christmas Raffle draw at the Tourist Information Centre. Lots of happy winners have now been contacted by Lorraine Pratten and her staff, but sadly I can reveal that I was not one of them! Of course, we are all winners since the real prize is the money raised to support our thriving Tourist Information Centre.

With John Parham, I manned the council’s gazebo at the recent Christmas Market to seek opinions and suggestions to develop the town’s Neighbourhood Plan. You can join in and contribute to the debate online at

Despite Storm Deirdre’s best attempts to dampen Shepton’s spirit last weekend, our extended Christmas Market was a success, even despite having to cancel on Saturday. Our thanks to the Mendip District Council market team, and a very special mention to volunteer Jude Jackson and our Town Crier, Andy Neal, for their amazing support. We also owe a debt of gratitude to Sue Ayton of Pocket Money Studios in organising the artists and entertainment, and of course, our thanks to the traders and Santa Claus for turning up at his busiest time of year!

The concept of a three-day Christmas Market has been proven, but there are improvements that can be made to secure the extended event for the future. In the coming year, we must build on the successes of last weekend, and see what we can add to the mix. It is very positive that we have such great people who are willing to give their time and energy to create community gatherings. Your town council will continue to support high quality events, including the magical Lantern Festival this weekend.

Come to the bandstand in Collett Park at 6pm on Saturday to follow the Lantern Parade to the Market Cross and see this year’s crop of amazing glowing creations. Share in the joys of Christmas with this wonderful and growing celebration of the best of Shepton.

On behalf of all our councillors and the Town Council staff, I want to wish everyone a very happy and peaceful Christmas.

Chris Inchley, Chair, Shepton Mallet Town Council