MARCH 2018





Mark and Wedmore Ward

Polly Costello – 01934 713564

Will Human – 01278 641795


Polly and Will both attended the Licensing Committee meeting this month. One of the main items on the agenda was the Council’s response to a Government request for input into the current gaming legislation around maximum amounts and frequency of bets with particular focus on fixed odds betting terminals. These machines enable gamblers to bet up to £300 per time and within 20 seconds of each bet. They are known to be highly addictive and for gamblers to lose thousands of pounds in minutes. The committee decided it would take the opportunity to respond to the Government and supported the proposal to reduce the bets to a £2 stake.

Will also attended the Audit and Governance Committee. Reports were heard from the Council’s auditors. A good indicator as to the well-managed running of the council was the lack of any outstanding high risk items to report on, the second consecutive period as such.





Mark Community Speed Watch (CSW). Very many thanks to those who have reformed Mark CSW and also to Mike Schollar, for his commitment to the issue of speeding.

Between the 8th and the 23rd January 2018, the Southwick speed indicator device (SID) on the Causeway (B3139) calculated that 85% of vehicles were being driving at 39mph, which is 9 mph over the speed limit. Of the total of 19,259 vehicles, 214 were being driven over 50mph, 2,190 between 40--50 mph and 12,293 between 30 and 40mph. Mark CSW re-commenced operations on 5 February and in the first hour clocked 14 speeders of which 3 were High End Speeders i.e. driving in excess of 45 MPH. One motorbike was clocked in excess of 50 MPH.

It spite of the value this SID, it is with considerable regret that financial constraints have led Somerset County Council posting their intention to withdraw this valuable resource from town and parish councils from March 2018. Parish Councils have the option of purchasing their own device or sharing with adjoining parishes at their own cost.


The Parish Environment. Several Parishioner have again highlighted the proliferation of fly-tips and litter within the Parish boundaries. Generally, reasons include:

  • The deterrence of financial charges levied in public tips.
  • General lack of social awareness by some that litter and fly-tipping is anti-social and unsightly. 

Examples in the Parish have included tyres, butchered animal parts and gas canisters thrown into watercourses and plastic bags containing household rubbish deposited on verges. Sedgemoor District Council is requested to move such rubbish. While the Parish Council organises the annual Village Clean-Up Day at this time of the year in order to take advantage of the less dense vegetation, this is an entirely voluntary event. That said, the community as a whole is requested to keep verges and property boundaries free of litter.


County Library Services. A consultation on the future of Somerset County Council library services is underway until 22 April 2018. The public, businesses and organisations being asked for their views. Proposals and questionnaires are available through the County Press Office on 01823 355020 or online at 





33/17/00038 - holiday lodge at Southwick Road – Not Recommended.

33/17/00039 & 00040LB - Erection of a link between main dwelling and stone outbuilding and erection of extension to stone outbuilding at Northbrook Farm, Harp Road – Recommended.


One item very regularly discussed in Town and Parish Councils training is the tricky, indeed sensitive, subject of planning. Planning laws are based on the 1947 Town and Country Planning Act, which essentially allowed Government to transfer development from property owners to officials. While the decision prevented rampant building, it still has not always led to developers submitting proposals to suit community needs, which has resulted in acres of empty brownfield sites. Basic principles are:

  • Parish councils either Recommend or Not Recommend.
  • District and County Councils, as the Planning Authorities, decide. While they must take into account the conclusions of Town and Parish Councils, they can reject the opinion.  
  • Applicants can appeal at any executive stage.

Below is a table of principles that are generally considered to be ‘material’ and ‘immaterial’ to applications:





Layout, density and design

Loss of light

Loss of outlook and privacy

Boundaries and Highways issues

Landscaping and Appearance


Smells and fumes

Ecological impact and Heritage

Drainage and flooding


Exceptional Circumstances

Applicants personal circumstances

Problem associated with construction

Loss of view by neighbours

Loss of property value

Land boundary disputes

Legal covenants

Rights of access

Applicant’s behaviour track record

Matters covered by other legislation, e.g. Fire, Building regulations.

Alternative developments



The Annual Parish Meeting at the Village Hall will begin at 7.30pm on Tuesday 13 March 2018. Donna Johnson, the Chief Executive Officer, South-Western Housing Association Society, is the guest speaker. Members of the public are most welcome.  


Nick van der Bijl

Mark Parish Council

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