SEDGEMOOR DISTRICT COUNCIL
Mark and Wedmore Ward
Polly Costello – firstname.lastname@example.org 01934 713564
Will Human – email@example.com 01278 641795
There were two Full Council meetings before Christmas including an important budget approval. Part of that budget was the proposed allowances for 2019.
There was some controversy sparked by a small number of local Councillors who objected to the level of increase for the Executive that was accepted by the Council. It is therefore worth providing the Parish with the facts behind the increases.
Allowances for Councillors are recommended to Sedgemoor District Council by an Independent Remuneration Panel, which is made up of independent business representatives and members of the community. The Panel recommended that all members of Council (cross party) received a 2% pay rise. Members had deferred any increases in their allowances until staff had received the nationally negotiated pay rises for public sector workers. This allowance is known as the Basic Allowance and is paid to all members. Executive members and committee chairmen (and their deputies) also receive a Special Responsibility Allowance for their additional duties as well as the Basic Allowance. Until now, this allowance was set at around £6,000 per annum. The new rate is to be set at £9,000 per annum. This appears quite a large increase but the Panel considered that this allowance was inadequate for the number of hours that the post required and that Executive members actually input into the role.
Based on 35 hours a week, an Executive Members' allowance comes in at £5.40 per hour. Given the number of hours worked by Executive members, which were verified by the Independent Panel, the allowance does not even take the 'wage' up to the level of the Living Wage Foundation from 1st January 2019 of £9.00 per hour.
MARK PARISH COUNCIL
A Meeting of Mark Parish Council was held in the Church Hall, Mark on Tuesday, 8th January 2019 at 6.30pm.
County Councillor David Huxtable gave an update on the financial position of the County Council and the debate on forming Unitary Councils in the South-West – as a cost saving measure.
During a discussion on highway issues, Councillor Huxtable advised that he would ensure that the extension of the 30mph speed limit at Blackford Road be graded as top priority, as well as speed controls at Mark First School. He undertook to investigate the repair of definitive public rights of way by volunteers. Also discussed was the damage caused by HGVs using Butt Lake Rd and River as a short cut to and from the industry in Westhay, instead of using the approved freight route via the A39. The risks are narrowness of the roads, damage to cars being forced off the road and the ineffectiveness of repairs.
Finance. The Balances of accounts are healthy
PUBLIC AREAS PORTFOLIO
Fly Tipping and Roadside Litter. The Parish Council is keenly aware of fly-tipping and discarded rubbish thrown in verges and reports such deposits to Sedgemoor District Council. Councillor Human has met with Adrian Gardener, Assistant Director – Environment & Regulation, Sedgemoor District Council to discuss the issue. Clean Surrounds has an investigation capability and will challenge suspects provided there is the evidence, such as labels, invoices, documents giving names and addresses and, of course, sightings. Local intelligence of offenders is essential. While ‘professional’ fly tippers tend not to leave anything linked to them, someone, somewhere knows who these people might be. In the meantime, the Parish Council will continue to report deposits, at present about once a week. Mr. Gardner will be the guest speaker as the Parish AGM in March.
Annual Clean Up Day. Your Village Needs You! To take advantage of the thin vegetation along the roadside and verges, the annual Village Clean-up Day is scheduled to take place on Saturday 16 February, meeting at Mark Village Hall at 10am where you will be given all you need to get the job done.
Blocked Drain. It was agreed to report a blocked drain near the Old Toll House in Church Street.
Littlemoor Road. The part of Littlemoor Road from the B3139 towards Paddock Grange is often tricky for drivers because of parked cars and pedestrians. All have a legitimate right to use the road, however the various competing risks ofpedestrians, car drivers, HGV drivers and those using agricultural machinery sometimes results into disagreements. The Parish Council supports the installation of a small No Parking Zone at the top of the left hand slope, however the Police and Highways are not supportive. Therefore those who park on Littlemoor Road are asked not to leave their vehicle in a position where it may present an unnecessary obstruction of the road. This also applies to visitors. Equally drivers of HGVs and vehicles pulling trailers are asked to consider using an alternative route.
Mark School. Mark First School was originally built for the village population, however it now draws in pupils from elsewhere which, as most parishioners know, has resulted in increased traffic and pedestrians along Mark Causeway at drop-off and pick-up times during term time. After listening to the concerns of parishioners, talking to parents/guardians and discussions with the School, the Parish Council has drafted a briefing on parking and accident prevention based on the Highway Code for circulation among parents and guardians. Councillor Mrs Corkish represents the Council on such issues.
Bus 67. There is no recent update regarding the operation of Bus Service 67.
Refurbishment of Fingerposts. Councillor Francis reported that five fingerposts have been refurbished. Donations are still sought in order that we can complete the job.
PUBLIC RIGHTS OF WAY
Definitive Rights of Way. Councillor Francis reported that five out of twelve upon a Parish Path Consultation organised by the County Council on the usage of paths by the public. His suggested response was approved.
Jubilee Green. A litter bin damaged by a vehicle has been replaced by the District Council.
Village Hall /Football Pitch Area
Play Area. It was agreed that the height of the hedge between the Play Area and the bowling green would be reduced by two feet.
Defibrillator. Following advice from the South-West Ambulance Service, it was agreed that the Village Hall defibrillator be replaced and that a site for a second defibrillator somewhere in the Mark Causeway is being sought.
The following planning applications were considered:-
Waggon Nursery. Sedgemoor District Council is investigating planning issues at the Waggon Nursery, however with just two investigators to cover the District, this will take time. In the meantime, a property which was once greenfield is now brownfield and possibly contaminated.
Sign. The District Council has been asked to investigate a possible unauthorised sign at Harp Road.
NEXT PARISH MEETING – ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING
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