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Letter: Holy Trinity Amenity Group Celebrates 50th Anniversary

Published on: 13 Sep, 2021
Updated on: 14 Sep, 2021

From: David Stokes

Chairman of the Holy Trinity Amenity Group

HTAG (Holy Trinity Amenity Group) are celebrating their foundation 50 years ago.

The residents group was set up in 1971 in response to a building boom in which it was felt that inappropriate redevelopment and visitor parking took precedence over residents’ needs and historic buildings in the town centre.

Celebration for the HTAG 50th anniversary. Jean Bridger, the founding mother of HTAG, with Jackie Jackman, the original treasurer in 1971, at the cakes.

The group began a policy of scrutinising all the planning applications in their area (approximating to the Holy Trinity electoral ward) and taking action where residents disagreed with the proposals.

One famous campaign in 1979, dubbed the “Battle of Pewley Hill”, blocked the use of the historic Pewley Fort vaults as a warehouse for a carpet company. The impact of such residents’ activism was recognised when HTAG were given the Mayor’s Award in 2012 for helping to maintain the quality of the town centre, something that was a major concern in the founding of HTAG, and remains so today.

Over the years, HTAG became more than just a planning watchdog: the group have also arranged a huge variety of friendly neighbourhood events that create a sense of community identity.

At a tea party held on Sunday, September 12 in a garden next to the Castle Grounds, over 50 residents gathered and recalled many of these: summer picnics in Racks Close, Maypole dancing, Halloween processions in Charlotteville, Christmas carol singing in the streets, garden open days, outings and coffee mornings for senior citizens, sunflower and pumpkin growing competitions.

I pay tribute to all those who have served the community through HTAG over the years, either as officers or as part of the group’s network of road representatives. In particular I thank the “founding mother” of the group, Jean Bridger who took on the role of secretary and search officer in 1971.

Jean personifies both the planning and the social aspects of HTAG. As search officer, she scrutinised hundreds of planning applications to the borough council in our area for many years. She has also been at the heart of our many social activities. At Halloween, I remember her leading the torch-lit procession down Addison Road into Cline Road where residents had put up stalls for apple bobbing and other games for the children. Today, she still helps plan our social events. She epitomises what HTAG stands for.

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