APRIL 2017





Mark and Wedmore Ward

Polly Costello – polly.costello@sedgemoor.gov.uk 01934 713564

Will Human – will.human@sedgemoor.gov.uk 01278 641795


A letter in the last edition of the Parish Magazine queried why a councillor living in Wedmore would be commenting on a proposed development in Mark and so to help understand why this is the case, Polly and Will would like to take this opportunity to clarify the situation regarding how the ward system under Sedgemoor District Council works.

Wedmore and Mark are one ward in Sedgemoor which also covers the surrounding smaller settlements such as Blackford, Sand, Clewer and Theale. The ward enjoys two councillor seats at Sedgemoor. The only requirement for a councillor to be eligible to take those seats is that they either live within the ward boundaries or have a business connection in them (and, of course are then elected at the local elections).

As Mark and Wedmore are the largest settlements, it has been Conservative group policy to try and recruit councillors one from each settlement but there could be a situation where both councillors actually lived in either village or one of the other villages between.

Both councillors are obliged to treat the ward as a whole entity and to be involved in any decisions regarding the whole ward regardless of where they live. It might be viewed that there is a positive to be gained in a councillor who is not directly affected by decisions relating to one of the settlements being part of that decision making process as they can be ‘independent minded’.

To that effect, both of our ward councillors have been and will continue to be, involved in any planning applications that are submitted in the Mark and Wedmore ward and are expected to submit their views on any application made in the ward as part of their role as District Councillors.








Matthew Wall and Anthony Dowden gave an informative overview of the work of the Axe and Brue Internal Drainage Board. Considerable comfort was drawn of the work undertaken by the individuals and agencies to reduce the risk of flooding in our part of Somerset. 




Introduction. It has been another busy year for Mark Parish Council. Wessex Water have finished improving sewerage infrastructure along parts of Mark Causeway, although we still their vans checking on flow.  


Mark Parish Council

Chairman                          Nick van der Bijl BEM

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


In February 2107, Councillor David Champion resigned for personal reasons. Invitations to replace him have been posted on Parish notice boards.


The Council has an apolitical approach to its business and focuses entirely on serving the community.


Our finances are healthy.



Rights of Way. Footpaths and bridleways are regularly checked and defects reported to Sedgemoor District Council and Somerset County Council. The Council invites public support of our Rights of Way to ensure they are kept in good condition. Fly-tipping continues to blight the Parish with rubbish thrown into verges, hedgerows and watercourses where it risks blocking water flow, thereby raising the possibility of flooding. On four occasions, Community Payback has cleared up places, notably the Village Hall and some Right of Way, at minimal cost.


Speed Watch. It is disappointing that Mark Speed Watch is no longer active. To those members who continued to turn out, in all weathers, and made a significant contribution to road safety and speed reduction along the B3139, we owe a vote of thanks for their commitment. The Council is inviting someone to re-invigorate Speed Watch.


Public Places. The Children’s Play Area and MUGA are regularly inspected and are in a good state of repair. Defibulator awareness and training took place at the Village Hall during the year. 


A seat was placed on Jubilee Green to commemorate the 90th Birthday of HM Queen Elizabeth11 on 21 April 2016.



Statistics for 2016/2017 are




Applications submitted to Council




No Observations






Applications referred to Sedgemoor


No Observations granted


Refusals granted


Refusals supported


Refusals withdrawn


No Consultation


Permitted Developments



Village Plan. The Parish Council has recommended to the Sedgemoor District Council Local Plan 2011/2030 that future development, subject to the usual provisos, be permitted along The Causeway from Croft Farm to the Locksbroad Y-junction. The stretch west between Croft Farm and  Harp Road junction has been excluded because National Grid intends to erect a 35 meter high T-pylon in this section.


Affordable Housing. Mark Parish Council fully supports the principle of affordable housing, in particular for those with an association to the Parish. When Mark Community Land Trust (MCLT) presented its planning application in November 2016, the Parish Council had concerns only about the Highway plan, which led to it voting ‘Not Recommended’. Sedgemoor District Council Development & Planning Committee recommended the application in December 2016. Such was the nature of opposition against the project and MCLT that in February 2017, Mr. James Heappey MP, who was in receipt of several emails, contacted the Parish Council. Joint mediation was agreed, which is now underway. It remains to be seen if another project would be through a Community Land Trust or something else, possibly less forgiving. There is a significant challenge ahead. 



National Grid are planning to conducting borehole and trial pits surveys in March to determine the composition, contamination, strength and water content in preparation for erecting T-Pylons. A borehole survey takes two to three days while trial pit surveys last about one day. National Grid intends to carry out about 90 surveys along the whole route, seven of which will be in the Parish of Mark. Further information will be circulated in due course.  


It is understood that National Grid intends to demolish Wainbridge, even though it is a listed building. 



The Mark Village website is functioning well. There is evidence that those who grew up and who lived in the Parish regularly visit the site. As always, businesses and commercial enterprises are invited to promote their activities on the website. The Council always welcomes practical advice and suggestions to ensure that our website is vibrant, informative and current.



As Chairman of Mark Parish Council, it is my pleasure to thank:

  • Members of the Council for their commitment and good humour for the good and benefit of our Parish. I would like to emphasise just how much patience, time and effort our Councillors contribute to the Parish of Mark. 
  • Richard Young, our Parish Clerk, for his support and expert advice. 
  • Somerset County Council David Huxtable for making our case at County.
  • Sedgemoor District Councillors Will Human and Polly Costello for their support and guidance.

And finally and, most important, to Parishioners of Mark, the Church, Parish Magazine editors, clubs and organisations and businesses for the commitment to our Parish. 




Following the Annual Parish Meeting Council, the Parish Council held its planned March Meeting.



Cemetery Sign. It was agreed to accept a quotation in the sum of £146.00 + VAT for the supply of a new sign for Mark Cemetery.


Highways. After further public representations had been received regarding the Highways risks in the vicinity of the Mark School during drop off/pick up times. Mark School is to be asked to reinforce Highways Code road safety education to pupils and parents and to reconsider a financial contribution to the proposed wig-wag lights on the Mark Causeway. Very little progress has been made by County Highways to improve the safety of pupils waiting for school transport opposite the Perry Lane junction. This is being pursued.


Despite several enquiries, the County Council has not responded to repairing the subsiding pavement opposite the White Horse Inn. This is also being pursued.



The following applications were considered:-

  • 004 Erection of 9 holiday cottages, associated landscaping, parking and access and ancillary agricultural buildings, Rookery Farm Creamery, Northwick Road, Mark. Recommended.
  • 006 Retention of wall, widening of access and replacement gates, The Chestnuts, Poplar Lane, Mark. Recommended.



The next Parish Council meeting is scheduled for Tuesday 2 May 2017 at 7.30pm at Mark Village Hall. Members of the public are invited.


Nick van der Bijl

Mark Parish Council

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