Mark and Wedmore Ward

Polly Costello – polly.costello@sedgemoor.gov.uk 01934 713564

Will Human – will.human@sedgemoor.gov.uk 01278 641795


Polly and Will have attended several meetings this month including the Blackford ‘Paradise Barton Development’ meeting and the Mark Community Land Trust. both of which are looking at increasing housing in the communities of Mark and Blackford, albeit via different routes. They have also attended Parish Council meetings.


At the Full District Council meeting this month, the recently created Somerset Rivers Authority was the topic for discussion. Created after the floods to oversee vital works to the water drainage systems and rivers in Somerset, this organisation received funding for the first year from central Government and other organisations. This funding will not be repeated but the work continues and so the District Council debated and agreed on how this could be achieved for the future. At the same time, funding for the Internal Drainage Boards was also debated. Sedgemoor have historically paid a significantly higher proportion to the IDB’s (£1.2M) compared to other District councils and interested parties. The Executive are seeking to correct this anomaly and try to spread the load of funding more evenly across the whole of Somerset.





A Meeting of Mark Parish Council was held in the Village Hall, Mark, on Tuesday 8th September 2015 at 7.30 pm.


Report from the County Councillor. County Councillor Huxtable reported upon budgetary and highway issues. Flashing warning lights for the School have been approved as a minor improvement scheme for next year.


Play Area. Mark has again done very well in the 2015 Somerset Playing Fields Association by winning the Silver Award in the Play Area Category, with Woolavington claiming the Gold. The Village has thus won six awards for the Vole Rd Play Area since 2008.


Accounts. Balance as of 1st June:

  • Current   £4,121.62.
  • Reserve  £16,936.15.


The External Auditors made no comments for 2014/2015.


Authorisation for Payment. The following was agreed:

  • 000803. £120. Grant Thornton UK LLP Ltd; external audit fee.                    
  • 000804. £832. GWB Services grass cutting.
  • 000805. £99.87. Parish Clerk expenses.



Highway Matters. It was agreed to apply for a brown directional sign to the playing field at the Vole Road/Church Street junction.


Road Closures. There will be significant road closures and traffic control needed by Wessex Water from Dutch Road along Mark Causeway between 28 September 2015 to 29 February 2016 inclusive. Their plans appear to be fluid and, at present, are regarded as ‘Watch this space’. More detail will emerge from the company. Services to Mark, such as post deliveries, buses, have been included in the information loop. 


Harp Rd. Reference was made to the spate of accidents at the Z bend in Harp Road and that a report is awaited from the police outlining the causes before further action is taken. In short, is the road a problem or are drivers not paying appropriate attention to road and weather conditions?


HGV Traffic. A discussion was held with the Chairman of Wedmore Parish Council’s Highways Committee relating to the number of HGVs taking a short cut through local villages. A map shows that Mark is not on recommended HGV thoroughfare routes, apart from those which need to access commercial ventures and farms on the Moors. Wedmore undertook to explore possible solutions and it was agreed to take part in a joint meeting with the other villages affected in due course.


Tractor Traffic. The Council discussed public concerns in Mark highlighted by tractor traffic. Bearing in mind changes in agricultural practices and the width, size and length of modern tractors and their towed units, concerns included:

  • Inadequate reference to the road conditions, such as acknowledgement of cyclists and also pedestrians on roads where there are no pavements.
  • Inappropriate speeds and unrealistic judgement of braking distances for heavy vehicles towing heavy trailers or equipment.
  • Damage to ditches and verges and the effect of vibration on properties close to the road
  • Use of handheld mobile device while driving. Using a mobile while driving or stopped with the engine running has been an offence since December 2003. Being seen is enough for a prosecution. Convictions can lead to points on a licence, a fine, victims’ surcharge, prosecution costs and criminal court charges, all possibly totalling several hundred pounds.


Other parishes have expressed the same concerns.


Dog Waste Bins. It was agreed to install a dog waste bin at Jubilee Green, but not at Churchlands where it was felt that dog owners/ walkers should dispose of the waste.


Public Rights of Way. Councillor Francis reported that the kissing gate near The City has been repaired. Councillor Champion reported on the maintenance on Green Drove and Coombe Drove.



The following applications were considered:-

  • 031 Erection of building to form garage and carport with first floor ancillary accommodation; ‘Knox’, Blackford Road, Mark. Mr. and Mrs. M. Hemmens. Supported. 
  • 032 Change of use of annexe to holiday let; Old Vicarage, Vicarage Lane, Mark. Mr L.C. Gazzard. Supported.
  • 033 Erection of rear extension; ‘Perran’, Mark Causeway; A. Chapman. Supported.


  • 034 Erection of agricultural building over open cow yard/silage pit: Chestnut Farm, Vole Road, Mark. G.A. Durston & Son. Supported.


School Parking/Mark Cricket Club New Ground Development. Thanks to the intervention of James Heappey MP, at the request of the Parish Council, representatives of the Property Department, Somerset County Council, Mark Cricket Club and Mark School met on the 16 September to discuss the Cricket Club application to move to a field it owns behind The Croft and the associated traffic problem during Mark’s ‘rush hour’ in Mark School term time. An accord was reached between the cricket club and Somerset County Council that should see cricket being played on the new ground within the next two or three years.



National Grid. Councillor Mrs Corkish reported that the Planning Inspectorate was scheduled to announce their recommendation to the Secretary of State on 19th October 2015.


Readers may have noted media reports that National Grid intend to bury/remove pylons in National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty at a cost of £11 million each. The company also wants to erect a line of high and wide T-Pylons across a potential area of outstanding natural beauty across the Somerset Moors (at least it was until 2010 when National Grid first made their proposals). The T-Pylons were selected by an energy cartel that included the Council for the Protection of Rural England (!!).

Comment. The stated objectives of the Council is to ‘campaign for a beautiful and living countryside. We work to protect, promote and enhance our towns and countryside to make them better places to live, work and enjoy, and to ensure the countryside is protected for now and future generations.’  



Councillor Mrs Weekes advised that more information had been added to the website since the last Parish Council meeting, especially in connection with the Community Land Trust.



The next Parish Council Meeting will be held in the Village Hall on Tuesday 3rd November at 7.30 pm. Members of the public are invited.


Nick van der Bijl

Mark Parish Council


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