MARCH 2016


The Annual Report 2015/2016



It has been another busy year for Mark Parish Council. We have had Wessex Water improving the sewerage along The Causeway and also the building of a solar panel farm at Yardwall. The risk of floods has been reduced with work to improve the flow of water on the Moor.  


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 and David Champion

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.



Councillors Francis and Champion report:

Fly tipping continues to blight the Council with some rubbish thrown in ryhnes and ditches where they risk blocking water flow, thereby raising the possibility of flooding.


Highways. Somerset County Council has decided, with little, if any, consultation, that it will no longer refurbish finger signposts within Somerset. The Parish has several of these iconic signs and consequently the Council intends to responsibility by organising cleaning and repainting.


County Highways has indicated that a request to extend the 30mph speed limit past Mark College towards Blackford to help protect schoolchildren joining or leaving buses at Perry Lane is unlikely to be approved. The Department has also indicated that once the sewage work is completed, arrangements will be made to finance repairs to Southwick Road, Harp Road and routes damaged by HGVs and other vehicles diverted by the Wessex Water closure of The Causeway from the public purse. .


Mark Speed Watch continues to monitor speeders along the Causeway. All those contribute are thanked for their commitment and patience. 


By-ways. Footpaths and bridleways are regularly inspected and defects reported to County Hall. At present, the north end of the Wall bridleway is slightly overgrown and the middle section of Coombs Drove has been damaged by joy riders using quad bikes and Land Rovers.


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


It is intended to replace another seat on Jubilee Green to commemorate the 90th Birthday of the HM Queen on 21 April 2016.



Councillors Mrs Flack and Mrs Hanlon report:


45 applications submitted.

29 Supported; 6 withdrawn leaving 23 Granted.

4   Objected; 2 withdrawn; 1 Granted; 1 Refused

6   No Observations and Granted.

4   Granted Permission by Sedgemoor District Council

2   Permitted Developments



Councillor Mrs Corkish reports:

National Grid. On Tuesday 19 January 2016, Mark Parish Council received the unwelcome news that Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Alison Rudd had approved the National Grid application for the Hinckley Point C Connection of erecting T-Pylons across the Somerset Moors. For the past seven years, the Council has endeavoured to persuade National Grid that other technologies than applying a 20th Century solution to a 21st problem exist, for instance subsea. The Council does not believe that the Secretary of State has adequately considered the impact on investments, livelihoods and visual environment that these follies will have on Mark as a Parish. That said, the Parish Council is one of several Councils working with James Heappey MP to determine the feasibility of a Judicial Review of National Grid’s process and potentially stop the line of pylons from crossing our village. 


In any event, the Parish Council wishes to thank all residents, families and friends of our community who have given their time and effort in oppose this application. Be assured that the Council has represented the views of Parishioners in a wide range of forums and meetings, however the Council is disappointed at the quality of support supplied by Sedgemoor District Council and Somerset County Council. This is in stark contrast to the efforts that James Heappey and Tessa Munt who both represented our views in Parliament and with Government.



Councillor Mrs Weekes reports that Mark Village website is functioning. There is evidence that those who grew up and used to live in the Parish regularly visit the site for news about the Parish and its clubs and organisations, but news is lacking. Similarly, businesses and commercial enterprises are invited to promote their activities on the website. The Council would also welcome advice and support to ensure that the website is vibrant, active, informative and current.


Mark Cricket Club and Mark School. It seemed that the issues around Mark Cricket Club being able to relocate to the fields behind Mark School were resolved in September at a meeting with various interested parties, Somerset County Council and James Heappey MP. However, further work appears to be needed to finalise the plans


Village Plan. We have submitted our views regarding the consultation document. These can be viewed on the SDC website. The new plan will be presented to full District Council this year for ratification.


Community Land Trust. This vital new development for the village is in its early investigative stages but we will continue to support it as it progresses.



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

  • Members of the Council for their commitment for the good and benefit of our Parish. I would like to emphasise just how much time and effort our Councillors contribute for good and benefit of Mark, much of it self-help.
  • Richard Young, our Village Clerk, for his support and sound advice. 
  • Sedgemoor District Councillors Will Human and Polly Costello and Somerset County Council David Huxtable for their support and guidance.


Finally to the Parishioners of Mark for your encouragement and commitment to our Parish.



The Annual General Meeting of the Parish Council Meeting will take place at 7.30pm on Tuesday 8th March 2016. Members of the public are invited to come and hear the keynote speaker the Somerset Police and Crime Commissioner and to ask her views on the future of policing, particularly in rural areas, such as Mark.  



Nick van der Bijl

Mark Parish Council


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