Congratulations. To Mike Scholar for receiving the Somerset County Council Chairman’s Award for Service to the Community. Mike has made a significant contribution to the Parish in looking after the Play Area, which has several awards, and for managing the Mark Community Speed Watch, which is regularly said by the Police and also Somerset County Council to be the best in Somerset. Mark owes him a debt of gratitude for his innovation and persistence.
MARK AND WEDMORE WARD
Polly Costello – firstname.lastname@example.org 01934 713564
Will Human – email@example.com 01278 641795
Polly Costello and Will Human attended several meetings as part of their District Council duties, including Full Council, the Annual Meeting of the Axbridge and Brue Drainage Boards and Parish Council Meetings. Will went to a meeting hosted by James Heappey MP regarding the roll out of Superfast Broadband (SB) to the area. Mark from Mark College to around the White Horse pub should soon have access to SB; to obtain it, contact your provider as ‘switch on’ is not automatic. The Causeway and Mark Causeway will not know anything about SB until spring 2016. Will will keep a watching and report back when he obtains more information
New loan scheme launched for local first time buyers. Sedgemoor District Council has launched a new funding scheme to help local first time buyers onto the property ladder. A first-time buyer loan scheme of up to £10,000 per applicant is available from the EDF Energy Hinkley Housing Funding to help moves from social housing or private rented properties in the area. First time buyers can apply for a subsidised loan to assist with purchasing costs. Those who have lived in Sedgemoor for the last three years, a loan may be available to top up a deposit or assist with moving costs and fees. The scheme will be delivered by Wessex Resolutions CIC, a not-for-profit organisation working across the South West. Mel Richards, Development and Delivery Manager, said: ‘We are thrilled to be able to assist local residents in purchasing their first home. Home ownership may have been a dream for a long time for a lot of people and we hope this scheme will provide a helping hand’. For more information or to apply for an assessment, call 01823 461099; email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit https://urldefense.proofpoint.com.
MARK PARISH COUNCIL
Mark Parish Council held a meeting in the Village Hall on Tuesday, 3 November 2015 at 7.30pm:
Report of the Police. PCSO Matt Hawker reported an increase in doorstop crime of cold-callers convincing elderly and vulnerable residents to have work done of their properties and then seeking inflated payments. In some instance, the ‘doorstep dodgers’ have entered the property and stolen cash and property. The message is keep that door chain secure.
Police priorities are modified vehicles and anti-social driving in the Cheddar Gorge area and Rural Crime, in particular theft of livestock and agricultural equipment. A problem is that the Farm and Horse Watches appear not be linked to each other and to Neighbour Watch. The police have changed their method of advising communities thus:
County Council. County Councillor Huxtable reported upon budgetary and highway issues and mentioned the availability of grants from his Health and Well-Being budget.
Play Area. The annual safety check on the Play Area, MUGA and football field unearthed several low risk and non-urgent maintenance items. These will be addressed accordingly.
Public Areas Portfolio
Mark Causeway. With Wessex Water at last carrying the long-awaited work to the sewers, peace and tranquillity has descended with the road closed except to residents and diversions in place. Daily bulletins received from Wessex Water are posted on the Parish notice boards, on the website and e-mailed on a limited basis through the Parish Council. At present, the sewerage system is labour intensive to maintain and fails during poor weather, causing backing up, internal flooding and loss of service. Wessex Water monitors the system daily and removes sewerage weekly. The work is designed to convert 530m of most problematic section of the existing vacuum sewerage to a conventional gravity/pumped system and thus alleviate internal sewer flooding to 38 properties with the added potential to add more properties. On completion, Mark will be placed on a watching brief, and if necessary, Wessex Water will return to convert further sections.
Wessex Water regularly issue Situation Reports and predicted work for the next week. In the absence of a village communication system, this will be posted on the village website and on Parish notice boards. Discussions have been held between the Poplar Rd residents and Wessex Water to resolve parking and access issues.
Perry Road Junction. A request to extend the 30mph national speed to near Somerlap enable children to wait safely for school transport near the Perry Road junction is being investigated.
Northwick Road. A culvert is scheduled, sometime, to be constructed at the rear of the White Horse Inn to reduce the flooding risk.
Planning Portfolio. The following applications were considered during the month:
Sedgemoor Local Plan (Core Strategy). A Special Parish Council will be held on at 2pm on Monday, 30 November at the Village Hall to review the Sedgemoor Local Plan (Core Strategy) five year review of development as it affects the Parish. Further detail is on the District Council website for individual responses. There is also a link on the Parish website.
Mark Community Speedwatch. After a meeting with the police about Speedwatch in general, Mark Community Speedwatch will be resuming it is operations with effect from 23 November.
Somerset Waste Partnership Safety. The Partnership is urging motorists to be patient when refuse collections are taking place from properties. Crews have experienced revving engines, abuse, assault and being hit by cars trying either to bypass the lorries or mounting pavements or narrowly overtaking them. The advice is simple:
For more advice, go to www.somersetwaste.gov.uk.
Special Projects - National Grid. Councillor Mrs Corkish reported the petition against the project being organised by James Heappey MP is to cover Wedmore and Axbridge. It is important to register in order to register and reinforce Parish objections. Amanda Rudd, the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, is due to make her recommendation on 19 January 2016.
Cheddar Valley Cluster Meeting. Every quarter, Mark councillors attend Cluster Meetings of neighbouring Town and Parish Councils to be given briefings and to compare notes. At the Cluster meeting held on 22 October in the Church Hall, there was a useful briefing on Mendip Community Transport and on the District Council budget consultation. Sedgemoor does appear to have something of a reputation of being imaginative in providing a responsible budget. Perhaps the most surprising figures to emerge was that for every £1 Council Tax, 11.9p was distributed to the police while Sedgemoor District Council received 9.5p for all the services that it provides. Town and Parish Councils receive 3.5p while Somerset County Council takes the lion’s share of 69.8p.
Next Meeting. The next Ordinary Parish Council Meeting is for 7.30pm on 5 January 2016 at the Village Hall. Members of the public are most welcome.
Finally, Mark Parish Council wishes a Merry Christmas and a Prosperous New Year and thanks to the Parishioners for your support.
Nick van der Bijl
Mark Parish Council