THE GENERAL ELECTION – 7th MAY 2015
Mark Parish Council
Elections were not held for Mark Parish Council because four people who indicated their wish to serve our community replaced four Councillors whose terms of office had come to an end. After the formalities were completed at the Parish Council meeting on 19 May, Mark Parish Council now consists of:
Chairman Nick van der Bijl
Deputy Chairman Geoff Francis
Planning Portfolio Anne Hanlon
Public Areas Geoff Francis
Special Projects Eileen Corkish
Website Jendy Weekes
District Council Will Human
Richard Young remains as Clerk to the Council.
Mark currently has an apolitical approach and focuses entirely on serving the community.
In welcoming the new Council, we must also bid farewell to those whose terms of office have come to an end:
District Councillor Diana Bayliss and Councillors Simon Emary, Carol Gibson and Mike Schollar, all of whom have made major contributions to the development of Mark Parish as a community.
Diana Bayliss served on the District and Parish Councils since 1999 and writes ‘It has been a pleasure to serve the Community over the past 16 years and hopefully I have managed to make a difference in some small way’. She was heavily involved in monitoring numerous planning applications and has proven particularly valuable in explaining the mysteries of the decision-making process made at District and County level. She also helped keep the Council on track to ensure it abided by current official policies. Carol Gibson has been on the Council since 2002 and, with quiet determination, has led initiatives to keep ‘Mark Clean’. Mike Schollar was first associated with the Parish Council in 2000 when he was among volunteers who formed a play area committee in conjunction with the Mark Community Association. Mike took over the lead role to renew equipment and acquire additional items, in particular safer surfacing. Two years later, he was co-opted onto the Council and continued as Chair of the Play Area. After the committee was disbanded, he continued his interest by seeking financial aid. He was a member of Multi Use Games Area and the Skate Park Arena committee throughout their development. The Somerset Playing Fields Association has presented Mark Parish Council and the MCA with several awards in recognition of the high standard of the amenities. In 2008, the Play Area was runner up in the Somerset Playing Fields annual award and then won first prize in 2009 and second in 2010. In 2012, the Village Hall recreational area was awarded the Gold Award for outstanding facilities. Two years later, the Somerset Playing Fields Association awarded Mark the Wood Trophy in recognition of its valuable contribution to the provision of community play and sporting facilities Mike was also instrumental in establishing and organising Mark Community Speedwatch.
The Council would like to take this opportunity to thank Diana Bayliss, Simon Emary, Carol Gibson and Mike Schollar for their meticulous and energetic dedication and commitment to the Parish of Mark. Such service is a shining example of community spirit. We wish all four and their families the best of good fortune for the future
Member of Parliament:
In welcoming James Heappey (Conservative) as the MP for the Wells constituency, we must also thank Tessa Munt (Liberal Democrat) for her commitment and support to the Parish during her tenure.
Sedgemoor District Council
Will Human and Polly Costello, both Conservative Party, were elected to the Wedmore & Mark Ward.
Somerset County Council
Elections were not held and consequently Councillor David Huxtable represents Mark at County Hall.
PC Tracey Stiles, who heads the Community Beat Team with responsibility for Mark, at Cheddar Police, reports that ‘In the month of April we have received 174 calls; either via 101 or 999 and a total of 39 crimes reported; these include 3 non-dwelling burglaries and 12 criminal damages. These figures are for the whole beat area and are not specific to Mark village. Two Section 59s of The Police Reform Act 2002 have been issued to motorcyclists for pulling a wheelie on a public highway in the Cheddar Area. Four dog bites have been investigated with written undertakings signed by owners to keep their dogs under control in a public place. One person has taken part in Community Resolution after a dog attacked live stock. For reparation for the actions of the dog, the livestock owner accepted £400 in compensation.’
Sedgemoor District Council advises that someone is telephoning residents claiming to be from Sedgemoor District Council, Somerset County Council and the NHS claiming to have compensation for them for their recent accident and asking for bank details. Sedgemoor suggests that anyone receiving such calls should take the person’s name and number and phone Sedgemoor Direct on 01278 435435 to check authenticity. Under no circumstances should personal details be given to the caller. The Police and Trading standards have been alerted.
PARKING ON THE CAUSEWAY
Parking in the general area of Mark School continues to generate a little friction between residents unable to leave or enter their properties, parents and guardians collecting children from the School and users of the road. The creating of a larger than expected yellow ‘no parking’ hatched area astride the School by Highways with very little warning has not helped. Unfortunately, the rejection by Somerset County Council, citing a legal issue, to contribute to a solution of using a one-way road to and from the Causeway past the proposed relocation of Mark Cricket Club near the School has not helped. The Police are unable to enforce no parking on yellow hatched zones because parking restrictions, such as double yellow lines, single yellow lines and school markings, have been decriminalised and are the responsibility of Somerset County Council Parking Services. Since the likelihood of seeing Somerset Parking Services outside urban areas is very rare, conceivably the painting of the hatched is a waste of public money because its use is not being enforced. Nevertheless, the Parish Council, the School and Mark Cricket Club are working together to resolve a difficult situation.
Councillor Eileen Corkish represented the Parish Council at the majority of hearings held by the Planning Inspectorate in Weston-super-Mare over the last two months relating to the National Grid proposal for a 400kv overhead transmission line suspended on T-Pylons to run through part of the Parish. Topics covered by the hearings are:
These hearings, which usually lasted into the early evening, were detailed and designed to give the Inspectorate the opportunity to explore submissions made by National Grid and the Joint Councils. Parish Councils provided the Inspectorate with local knowledge. Mark continues to respond to all Deadlines laid down by the Planning Inspectorate. Public ‘open floor’ hearings between 19th and 20th May and from 15th to 17th June will address other specific issues and compulsory acquisition. The deadline 7th to 13th July will be the last dates for interested parties to make final written submission to the Planning Inspectorate. The inquiry closes on Sunday 19th July.
The Parish Council accompanied the Planning Inspectors site visit to the Parish so its members would have some idea of the impact the T-Pylons and haul road would have on the Parish. Accompanying the visit were National Grid and Sedgemoor District Council. .
On 23rd April, Councillors Mike Schollar and Nick van der Bijl took the opportunity of an offer by the prospective Conservative candidate to meet Liz Truss the Secretary of State for Food, Environment and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) to discuss the impact that the proposed pylons will have on Mark Parish. Accepting the political motive of her visit that the meeting took place in the middle of the General Election campaign, the Secretary of State, who is a rural MP for a constituency in Norfolk, sympathised with the predicament of Mark and expressed opinion that there should be tighter control to preserve the cultures of rural communities. She has been appointed Environment Secretary.
THE CAUSEWAY – WESSEX WATER
Wessex Water will be installing a more reliable sewerage network along the Causeway in two phases thus:
Inevitably the work will cause traffic problems along the Causeway.
MARK WAR MEMORIAL
Largely due to the commitment of Peter Higman, of the Mark British Legion, English Heritage has granted a Grade 2 Listed status to Mark War Memorial.
In 1919, the War Memorial was going to be erected at Locksbroad, however the Somerset County Surveyor raised objections and it was agreed to place it the Churchyard. In 2014, British Legion member Peter Higman developed an initiative which saw the Memorial and the headstone of Driver Arthur Hillman, who died on VE Day 1945, refurbished by Wells Cathedral stonemasons. A memorial bench in the Churchyard donated by Mark British Legion to commemorate those who died in both world wars was blessed last Remembrance Sunday.
Complaints have again been received of dogs fouling pavements. While it is accepted that the Parish is a rural community in which animal waste is a hazard, dog owners are invited to sympathise with the users of pavements and recreational areas by collecting dog faeces. The Village Shop sells useful ‘baglets’ into which waste can be collected.
This consideration applies equally to horse riders. One horse deposited several pounds of waste on the pavement near the Village Shop, where it lay for several days and forced some pedestrians to walk onto the road. If riders exercising horses welcome drivers taking care, the least that riders can do is to clear up horse waste posing an environmental and slip hazard to pedestrians.
Nick van der Bijl
Chair, Mark Parish Council