THE PARISH ANNUAL REPORT 2018/2019
It has been another busy year for Mark Parish Council. Of note is that Wessex Water spent eight months improving sewerage infrastructure along parts of Mark Causeway and the South West Housing Society affordable housing project at Tucker’s Close was completed on time in September 2018.
MARK PARISH COUNCIL
Chairman Nick van der Bijl BEM JP
Deputy Chairman Geoff Francis
Planning Portfolio Anne Hanlon and Sally Flack
Public Areas Geoff Francis
Special Projects Eileen Corkish
Website Jendy Weekes
District Council Will Human
Clerk to the Council. Richard Young
The Council has an apolitical approach to its business and focuses entirely on serving the community. Our finances are healthy.
Fly tipping continues to blight the Parish with rubbish dumped onto verges and into watercourses thereby affecting water flow and raising the risk of injuries to livestock and wildlife. Rubbish includes takeaways, deposits by drivers and cyclists, evidence tape left by the police and Viridor bin collectors not closing the flaps of their lorries. For several years, the Parish Council has asked Viridor to remind their bin crews to close the flaps of their lorries - with little success.
Councillor Eileen Corkish reports that, for the last 10 years, the Parish Council has invited residents to participate in Village Clean-Up Day. This year, 24 villagers volunteered to clear litter along the 15 roads that pass through the Parish and along some droves. The volunteers are always given a safety briefings. 50 bags collected, 30 on the day and the rest by Mr Mick Lockyer, who has been riding his bike around the village since February picking up rubbish. He deserves a Special Thanks for his commitment to Mark. For the last two years, the initiative has been supported by offenders of the Community Punishment programme which has allowed the clearing of some less accessible public areas - admittedly at a cost to the Parish Council. We must thank Sedgemoor District Council who have removed large deposits of rubbish, for instance, tyres, building material, wreckage left by crews recovering vehicles involved in crashes.
Also to be mentioned are new plants described as small black plastic bags (baglets) found in hedgerows, on sports fields and on pavements. Most contain dog poop. Some have split. It is inappropriate that public spaces are used for the disposal of such waste. When exercising dogs in public places, please take the baglets home for disposal or place in the bins on Jubilee Green and at the Village Hall.
Highways. Thanks to the persistence of Mike Schollar, a former resident of Mark, Mark Speed Watch has been reactivated. Mark, East Huntspill and Burnham Without Parish Councils have purchased a shared Speed Indicator Device (SID). The Mark SID has shown some interesting results. Between 18 January 2018 and 7 January 2019, our Speed Watch conducted 60 sessions covering the B3139 through the village. Of the 17,487 logged vehicles logged, 815 drivers were speeding of which the highest recorded speed was 70/75mph with speed of between 65/69mph in Church Street.
We must thank Mark Speed Watch for their commitment to road safety in Mark. And also to Mike Schollar for his management of Speed Watch and production of comprehensive reports.
Rights of Way. Councillor Geoff Francis reports that footpaths and bridleways are regularly inspected and defects reported to County Hall. We must thank Rights of Way, Somerset County Council (Chris East) for his support in supplying gates and refurbishing bridges Public Footpath AX 32/3 from Southwick Rd, past the solar farm to Yardwall. The Council welcomes defect reports of public rights of way from Parishioners and members of the public. Please give a location and, if possible, a photograph.
Refurbishment of Fingerposts. Councillor Francis reports that in early 2018, the Parish Council surveyed the Parish fingerposts to confirm the number and their state of repair. To prevent them falling into disrepair and then probable loss to the community, it was decided to refurbish them. The project raised £5,000 from members of the public and businesses and then Somerset Forge submited quotes. One fingerpost base has been donated. The first fingerpost to be refurbished is at the Harp Road crossroads. This was moved to prevent further damage by lorries. A further four refurbished fingerposts are in place. Six and a shared one at Burtle Bridge are awaiting funding. The project has very recently been granted £2,000 from the Nuttall Trust
Public Places. The Children’s Play Area and MUGA are regularly inspected and are in a good state of repair. Defibrillator awareness and training took place at the Village Hall during the year. Negotiations are underway to install a second defibrillator somewhere along Mark Causeway.
Councillors Mrs Sally Flack and Mrs Anne Hanlon report:
23 planning applications Recommended by the PC.
22 planning applications Granted Permission by SDC
1 Refused Permission by SDC
1 Permitted Development SDC
2 Withdrawn by the Applicant.
When Mark Parish Council submits comments on planning applications and appeals to Sedgemoor District Council, it does so to reflect the culture, appearance and history of the Parish within the context of the personality, geography and ecology of the Somerset Moors countryside. It is therefore sometimes regrettable that decisions higher up the planning chain reject our recommendations. Nowhere is this more evident than the imminent construction of the National Grid T-Pylons. It is interesting that while parishes associated with Hinkley Point are benefitting financially, the same cannot be said for those parishes to be blighted by National Grid.
As the name implies, Waggon Nursery was once a plot producing vegetables and flowers, but is now a noisy and unseemly ‘breakers yard’. Intervention by Sedgemoor District Council has been slow and non-inclusive in keeping the Parish Council and those living in the immediate vicinity updated.
Councillor Jendy Weekes reports the Mark Village website is functioning well. There is evidence that those who grew up and used to live in the Parish regularly visit the site for news about Mark, its activities and clubs and organisations. The Council welcomes advice and support to ensure that the website is vibrant, active, informative and current.
As Chairman of Mark Parish Council, it is my pleasure to thank:
And, most importantly, to the Parishioners of Mark for your encouragement and commitment to our Parish.
NEXT PARISH MEETING
The Annual General Meeting of the Parish Council Meeting is scheduled to take place at 6.30pm on Tuesday 10th March 2020 at Mark Church Hall.
Nick van der Bijl
Mark Parish Council