SEDGEMOOR DISTRICT COUNCIL
Mark and Wedmore Ward
Polly Costello – firstname.lastname@example.org 01934 713564
Will Human – email@example.com 01278 641795
Joint Statement of the Leaders of Mendip District Council, Sedgemoor District Council, South Somerset County Council, Taunton Deane Borough Council and West Somerset District Council.
On Wednesday 2 May 2018, Somerset County Council announced it intends so start a conversation with the district councils and other partners to explore whether a unitary model of local government could be a better way to deliver public services in Somerset.
All the district councils in Somerset recognise the need for change in local government in Somerset. A growth in the demand for Adult Social Care is a national challenge and its financial impact on Somerset County Council, together with the lack of progress in transforming the way it does business, means that the County Council is not financially sustainable in the near future. Somerset’s district councils cannot stand by given the risk this poses to services and the communities we are here to serve.
The assertion that district councils in Somerset are in financial difficulty is inaccurate. All the district councils in Somerset have taken tough decisions and actions to secure their finances and protect services. It is because of this that they will be financially sound for the future, and the claim that a unitary authority is needed to protect district council services is misplaced and just plain wrong.
The district councils are committed to implementing further changes in the future to continue to increase our efficiency, effectiveness, improve our services and ensure we deliver for our communities. At this stage, given the progress we have made, the district councils believe the projected savings from establishing a unitary council suggested by Somerset County Council are unrealistic and not based on a sound analysis of our position.
Given its financially precarious position, the districts intend to work with Somerset County Council and other partners to examine all the options for reform in Somerset local government. This conversation could include unitary councils but all other options should be objectively assessed as well.
The district councils’ central aim in participating in any discussions will be to ensure that priority is not to protect any one or group of existing organisations but to arrive at the best proposals for the residents and businesses of Somerset, recognising that we need to meet the needs of our communities over a large geographical area. The District will ensure any change is the right change for the communities of Somerset.
MARK PARISH COUNCIL
Elections. Councillors elected Councillor Nick van der Bijl and Councillor Geoff Francis as Chair and Vice-Chair respectively.
Finance. The balance of accounts as 1st April stands as 1) Current £4,911.92 and 2) Reserve of £31,652.34.
The next Parish elections are scheduled for the spring of 2019.
REPORT OF COUNTY COUNCILLOR
Councillor Huxtable reported that for financial reasons, Somerset County Council is examining possible County and District reorganisation that could involve replacing the existing six local authorities either with several single-tier authorities or just one. The estimate is to save £18m to £28m annually. Pressing issues are increasing elderly population and a rise in the number of young people. Judging by the comments from the Joint Statement above, it appears that the Local Districts do not agree a unitary strategy is the best solution. The entire consultation process could take up to three years.
Kirsten Rushby, a Village Agent associated with the Community Council for Somerset, gave a presentation on her role. Somerset is the only county in UK to develop a network of Village Agents in response to identifying needs of our rural communities and an increasingly older population. Their role is reduce isolation and help isolated and vulnerable people to connect with community services in order to give support and improve independence, health and well-being. Somerset Village Agents are seeking volunteers, so if you feel you can contribute, contact Kirsten on:
How about a network in Mark?
PUBLIC AREAS PORTFOLIO
Village Hall /Football Pitch Area
Play Area It was agreed to enter the Play Area to the 2018 SPFA Field of the Year Competition. It was noted that the repainting work had now been completed. Users of the Area are asked to ensure that litter is placed in bins.
PARENTS, CLUBS AND SOCIETIES USING THE VILLAGE AREA - please note
Outside the Village Hall to the left of the main entrance is a blue box. This houses a defibrillator. A defibrillator is a device that gives a high energy electric shock to the heart through the chest wall to a casualty in cardiac arrest. Defibrillation is an essential first aid life-saving step in the chain of survival.
South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust will be running Defibrillator training on:
Somerset Waste Partnership
In the week commencing Monday 16 April 2018, Kier and Somerset Waste Partnership restructured their collection rounds in response to new developments and population spreads and to improve efficiency. While most residents in Somerset will probably not notice changes, some in Sedgemoor District Council, whose collection day has been changed, will receive a letter informing them of their new collection days along with a calendar showing collection dates for the rest of the year. There will also be media releases and social media updates. Key messages for residents:
Enquiries services should be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org
Public Rights of Way
County Council will soon be refurbishing a collapsed foot bridge on public footpath AX 23/3 (Yardwall Farm/Solar Panels to Southwick Farm).
Highway Matters Damage along Butt Lake Road is largely being caused by HGV’s using the road as a shortcut from peat premises in Westhay to the M5 - as opposed to using the A39 to join the M5. This has been reported several times and will be pursued.
Defective drains at Church Street have reported. The proprietor of Coombes Cider Farm Holiday Park is again to be requested to clear rubbish from the rhyne alongside Harp Road. No further information had been received from Somerset County Council regarding the subsiding pavement opposite the White Horse Inn. It has been in the ‘request’ file at County for about 18 months . Safety improvements in the vicinity of Mark First School and the possible extension of the 30mph limit at Blackford Road are also still awaited. Councillor Francis is investigating the refurbishment of historic finger post signs in the Parish.
Information on Bus Service 67 usage has been circulated. A Joint Meeting will be held in June to review progress.
Mark Community Speed Watch
Councillor Francis reported on the feasibility of sharing a Speed Indicator Device with Burnham Without and East Huntspill Parish Councils. He is also exploring the purchase of four “Kill your Speed” signs.
White Land Rover Discovery This vehicle was reported to be speeding along Mark Causeway on 6 March. The Police were somewhat reluctant to pursue this allegation until the persistence of Mike Schollar, Mark CSW Co-ordinator, persuaded them to investigate. Their investigation discovered the vehicle had no MOT certificate since November 2017 and no road tax since January 2017 and the keeper claimed that it was used only for on-site business. The owner claimed to be unaware that the vehicle had been used on the road.
PLANNING PORTFOLIO (33/18)
Mark Cricket Club
Mark Cricket Club are no longer pursuing their plans to develop a cricket ground at Mark Causeway due to difficulty in complying with planning conditions and financial issues. The field is to be sold.
After several names were suggested, the one preferred by the Parish Council was the suggestion by Mr Philip Duckett of Tucker’s Close. The land on which the houses are being built was owned by Mr Duckett. He gave his reasons thus:
‘My mother's maiden name was Mary Tucker and her family lived in Locksbroad Farm (on the junction of The Causeway and Yarrow Road). They also owned Hart House and Over-the-Way on The Causeway. The farm was mainly dairy and sheep farming and also a cheese making and selling enterprise, trading as E.C.Tucker and Son Ltd. We inherited the land from our mother and since her brother, Edward, and sister, Kathleen, had no children, so we would like the name Tucker to live on in Mark’.
Councillor Mrs Horn presented an update on the log of issues raised through the Liaison Group. There has been another theft from the site by thieves who managed to steal equipment and fuel. The gang were well organised and sufficiently quiet that no-one, not even dogs, heard them raid the site.
Northwick Road will be closed (except to access for residents) from Monday 7th May to Friday 1st June for work related to the project.
Southwest Housing Society will be holding a ‘Drop in’ session on Monday 25th June from 3pm until 7:30pm at Mark Village Hall for those interested in applying for one of the homes. It is anticipated the homes will be ready for occupancy in early autumn. All applicants must register on Homefinder Somerset (www.homefindersomerset.co.uk) to be eligible to apply. Further information can be obtained by emailing ‘housing.advise@Sedgemoor.gov.uk’ or telephoning 0300 303 7800.
UK Cycling. On Sunday 15th July 2018, UK Cycling will be holding the Wiggle Mendips Sportive. The Start and Finish is Strode College Sport Centre and there will be three circuits of ‘Epic’ (99 miles), ‘Standard’ (65 miles) and ‘Short’ (34 miles). ‘Epic’ includes the Causeway and Mark Causeway. Event Management (Contact: 01425 653372) on behalf of UK Cycling Events is responsible for all aspects of the organisation and smooth running of the event. This will include signage, marshals, event administration and emergency procedures.
Website Portfolio/Superfast Broadband
Councillor Mrs Weekes is still seeking assistance to help administer and develop the Parish website.
NEXT PARISH MEETING
The next Parish Council Meeting will be held at the Village Hall beginning at 7.30pm on Tuesday 3rd July 2018.
Nick van der Bijl
Mark Parish Council