MARCH 2019








Mark School Parking:  Mark First School was originally built to educate the village children. It now attracts pupils from outside of the village, which has resulted in the increase of parking and traffic at drop-off and pick-up times along Mark Causeway. Residents acknowledge that most parents/guardians respect the limitations of Mark Causeway.   While speeding is often cited as a high risk, the amount of traffic at drop off and pick-up times means that it is normally impossible for road users to speed. Traffic jams are not unknown. Having said that, incidents can and do happen.  The risk during term is:

  • The exponential growth of parked cars and pedestrians
  • On both sides of Mark School
  • To a total distance of about 800 metres
  • For an hour or more
  • Twice a day during term-time.  

After negotiations to improve road safety and maintain the quality of life for those affected by the increased parking during term time, the Governors have offered to promote such road safety and accident prevention principles such as ‘Stop, Look and Listen’; children should walk, not run and not to push a pram/buggy toward the centre of the road when passing a vehicle. Using the Highway Code as a guide, the Parish Council has requested that drivers turn off engines when waiting, not park in front of access to properties and not use private driveways for three-point turns – unless permission is granted. Running engines and they pollution they produce is being cited as a probable cause of Asthma in young children.


Speeding:   From 29 December 2018 to 12 January 2019, a Speed Indication Device (SID) was fitted covering Church Street and the Vicarage Lane junction.  The first week recorded approaching eastbound traffic (past the White Horse) and the second covered westbound traffic (from Blackford). 85% of traffic were recorded travelling at an average speed of 29mph, leaving 15% travelling at 30mph plus.  The slowest speed was 5mph and the fastest was between 65 to 69 mph recorded on Monday 7th January at 12.55 hours!   Mike Schollar, the Community Speed Watch co-ordinator, wrote ‘This is almost unbelievable and clearly highly dangerous driving when bearing in mind the time of day it happened; whereas the vast majority of high end speeding normally takes place mainly at night and in the early hours of the morning, as you yourself had indicated and the stats prove out.’  Unfortunately, the SID does not record who was speeding.  




Little Black Bags:  There are lots of walks along footpaths and bridleways in the Parish of Mark, some of which pass through private properties and others cross farmland.  But, we have a growing blight of small, usually black, bags either left on paths or thrown into rhynes or left hanging in bushes.  These Little Back Bags invariably contain dog faeces and those left on ground are at risk of being torn upon by other animals or being stepped on by a person and spreads Toxocariasis.  Toxocariasis is a public and animal health risk infection caused by the deposits of larvae of parasitic worms usually found in the intestines of dogs and cats. Human symptoms include a cough, high temperature of 38C plus, headaches and stomach pains.


Dog walkers are requested not to deposit their Little Black Bags on public and private property but to take them home or to the dog waste bins on Jubilee Green and at the Village Hall in Vole Road. .   


PLANNING (33/19)


Traffic Management - Extension of 30mph Speed Limit:  Somerset County Council have issued a formal notice to extend the 30mph speed limit that begins near Mark College 270 metres east to the brow of the hill at Orchard Batch.  This is excellent news!  The reason is to improve safety for pedestrians, in particulare for pupils using the B3139 to walk to and from a school bus stop on the brow of the hill.  Anyone wishing to comment, for and against, should write to Somerset County Council, Traffic Management, B2 West, County Hall, Taunton, TA1 4DY.


00002/JAB. Removal of one side of 700m consisting of three hedgerows for ditch clearance on Reed Drove and, River Road, Mark to enable ditch clearance.  Recommended.


The Planning Process:  Planning is probably the most contentious and most difficult subject that our Parish Council has to address and sometimes results into impoliteness. Some applications can be administered, after due consideration, usually by voting using e-mail with the result posted to our Parish Clerk. Others may result in debate either within the Parish Council or during representation from members of the Public either by letter/e-mail or verbally at meetings, such as with the affordable housing project.


It is important to appreciate that the Parish Council is a Consultee, as are members of the Public, and vote either Recommended or Not Recommended.  Applications are then passed to Sedgemoor District Council where they are reviewed by the Development Committee, in an executive role, which votes either Approved or Refused. It can and does override Parish Council recommendations, which happened with virtually every application from National Grid. Applicants also have right of appeal to the Planning Inspectorate in Bristol against a decision of the District Council.


Methods of Publicising Applications:

  • Sedgemoor District Council notify residents in the vicinity on applications with details of how to make representations.
  • Sedgemoor District Council post notices near the entrance to sites, such on telegraph poles or a gate.
  • Sedgemoor District Council broadcasts planning applications to the local press e.g. Burnham Weekly News and on line.
  • Five days before the next scheduled Parish Council meeting, planning applications due for consideration are listed on the two Parish noticeboards at the Village Shop and the lay-by at Laurel Farm.
  • The Parish Council lists results of planning applications in the monthly Parish Briefing.   



The next meeting will be the Annual Parish Meeting be held on 5th March 2019 in the Church Hall beginning at 6.30pm.  The guest speaker will be Mr. Adrian Gardner, Assistant Director, Environment & Regulation, Sedgemoor District Council.


Nick van der Bijl

Mark Parish Council


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