SEDGEMOOR DISTRICT COUNCIL
Mark and Wedmore Ward
Polly Costello – firstname.lastname@example.org 01934 713564
Will Human – email@example.com 01278 641795
Superfast Broadband. It came to the attention of Will that a company is routing fibre optic cables through the Chew Valley with spurs to villages such as Badgworth for Superfast Broadband connection. Having visited the website, www.Truespeed.com, there is a ‘register your interest button’. Apparently if enough members of a community show an interest, then the company will investigate running the service into that village. The company explains that it is committed to spreading speeds of more than 100Mbp/s throughout the rural communities in the South West. They are based in Bath and Will is encouraging interested residents to register. He has already done so. The company is quoting subscription charges from £47.50 per month once connected.
Waste Collection. At a recent Council Meeting, it was agreed to adopt a 3 weekly cycle of rubbish collection starting in early 2018. Councillors were told that the current collection cycle was becoming too expensive thanks in large part to the landfill tax rates. Recycling and garden items are to remain at weekly and the items that can be put out for recycling are to be increased to include plastic pots and containers. The Council agreed that recycling must be increased for the benefit of future generations and welcomed. Somerset Waste Partnership (SWP) propose to accept more materials. While concerns were raised about bins remaining unemptied for 3 weeks, special arrangements will be made for larger families, especially those with babies using nappies, have pet waste and those of us who forget the collection dates. SWP are aware of these issues and are testing the new programme in the Mendip areas. A pilot scheme in the Taunton area established that residents did not find the 3 weekly system too problematic so long as residents recycle all the material that they could and thereby reduce the ‘rubbish’. Nevertheless, the additional charges at tips has seen an increase in fly-tipping.
MARK PARISH COUNCIL
A Parish Council meeting was held on 3 January 2017.
FINANCE AND RISK MANAGEMENT.
The Parish balance of accounts on 1 December 2016 remains healthy. It was agreed the Council will again adopt an accepted model of Financial Regulations. Members also approved a Risk Management Report for 2016/17.
PUBLIC AREAS PORTFOLIO
Highway Matters. After a survey of the Parish, several blocked drains have been reported to County Highway. Highways reported that ‘our routine planned gully emptying operation is currently ongoing in the Mark area so if the gullies of concern haven’t been emptied yet, they will be shortly’ Highways also advised that it is planned to repair and surface dress Church Street in the summer. A request has also been made for the Blackford Road end from Church Street to be resurfaced.
Subsidence to the pavement opposite the White Horse previously reported to County Highways has been met with silence. The matter is being pursued. A sign indicating road works along Church was placed in error by County Highways. No further information has been received from the County Council regarding safety issues in the vicinity of the Perry Road/Blackford Road junction.
Temporary Road Closure (B3139), Blackford. County Highways has announced the closure of Poolbridge Road in Blackbridge in the vicinity of the Church from 13 February 2017 for least for 12 days, including the weekend, to enable earthworks to be carried out. Details have been posted on Parish notice boards
Mark Community Speedwatch (CSW). It is with great regret that the Council must report that our CSW is longer operating because the position of Co-ordinator is vacant with the departure last autumn of Mike Schollar from Mark.
Mark CSW made a significant contribution to road safety not only by its visible presence, but also logging vehicles that were speeding.
Bus Service 67. The collapse of WeberBus in May 2016 led to Somerset Council County financing Baker Dolphin to cover the route until, initially, December when a considerably restricted timetable mostly confined to weekdays, was announced. At a meeting held with ‘Transporting Somerset’ in Wells in December, County Bus Management were forced to delay the changes until March 2017 to allow a public consultation. Mark Parish Council and other Parish have objected very strongly to any changes to the timetable, which is scheduled for 2018, because Bus 67 is an important link to Highbridge/Burnham/ Blackford/Wedmore and beyond to Wells for access to doctors’ surgeries, vets, family and friends, shopping, Wells Cathedral and general days out. There does appear to be an assumption at County that Mark looks towards Burnham-on-Sea and Highbridge whereas parishioners also look towards Wedmore and Wells. It is evident that insufficient consideration has been given to the social value of this important rural bus service to Mark and other villagers en route and too much to financial reasons. The fact is that Somerset is largely a rural shire and ‘Transporting Somerset’ needs to organise/supply the same level of bus services to support villages as it does for towns. Interestingly, a housing project in Bridgwater is supported by Somerset County Council funding.
At a meeting held on 12 January 2017, the options seem either to offer a very limited service between Wells and Highbridge or cut out the service between Wedmore and Highbridge, thus:
The proposed solutions conflict with local and national strategies to link rural communities and as well as encouraging such settlements to adopt affordable housing projects. That said, the withdrawal of Bus 67 is entirely financial. It is a case of use it or lose it. Mark is in danger of losing it.
Parishioners are strongly invited to address their views to Tom Main, Public Transport Manager, Transporting Somerset, Somerset County Council, County Hall, Taunton, Somerset, TA1 4D and via firstname.lastname@example.org,
PUBLIC RIGHTS OF WAY
Mark Village Clean-up Day. Our annual Clean-Up has been provisionally set for 25th March 2017.
Rights of Way. Somerset County Council manages an initiative in which Rights of Way are monitored by volunteers checking access of paths and the maintenance of obstacles, such as bridges and stiles. Rights of Way are defined as:
The rationale of volunteers includes walking for social and health reasons and running.
Mark Parish has about twelve public Rights of Way prefixed by AX. Most are in reasonable condition although it has been reported that a stile giving access to Southwick Road on AX 23/3 from Yarrow past the solar farm is in a very poor state of repair.
Maintenance Issues. The two Council notice boards have been refurbished and erected outside the Village Shop and Laurel Farm, Mark Causeway. The Council would like to thank Iain Jones for undertaking this task and completing a very good job. Those wishing to advertise their events are strongly advised to waterproof promotions by laminating notices. Please remember to remove notices once the event is concluded, not only from the noticeboards, but also from telegraph poles, posts etc.
A painter has been being requested to repair and paint a gatepost/gate on a path off Littlemoor Road, repair a sign in the cemetery and paint specified railings.
Village Hall Play Area. Repairs to the play equipment and safety surfacing have been ordered. This is usually undertaken when weather conditions were suitable. A financial grant from the Nuttall Trust is being sought.
The following planning application was considered:-
036. Erection of 2 storey extension to side elevation, installation of replacement dormer windows to rear elevations, erection of replacement porch, alterations to access and formation of additional parking area. Crooked Ham, Vole Road – Recommended.
Following the rejection of the Mark Community Land Trust application for the Northwick Road project, Mark Parish Council was represented on the planning hearing at Sedgemoor District Council on 6 December. Parish Council objections of highways issues and access to the site were rejected by a sizeable majority decision.
NEXT PARISH MEETING
The next Parish Council meeting will be the Annual Parish Meeting on 14 March 2017 at 7.30pm. Matthew Wall and Nick Stevens of the Axe Brue Drainage Board have accepted our invitation to be guest speakers. Members of the public are invited to attend.
The Sedgemoor District Council Local Plan Consultation will start its consultation on 30 January and will require a Special Meeting in February to comments on any matters affecting Mark Parish.
Nick van der Bijl
Mark Parish Council