SEDGEMOOR DISTRICT COUNCIL
Mark and Wedmore Ward
Polly Costello – email@example.com 01934 713564
Will Human – firstname.lastname@example.org 01278 641795
VIEW FROM SEDGEMOOR
Polly and Will have now taken up where they left off after the May elections. Will attended a meeting of the Axe Brue Drainage Board Finance and Governance Committee. This committee looks at the finances of the board and considers expenditure and income. Will suggested that more income could be generated from changing to a different cash banking system and this is now under consideration as a proposal for the next meeting.
Traffic conditions in Mark have deteriorated since the closure of Harp Road, especially on the Causeway during school drop off and pick up times. Will attended a meeting with Anna Yates and the Parish Council to consider ways to try and improve the situation. He then joined members of the Parish Council in trying to help with some traffic management between 0820 and 0900 in the morning. From that meeting and his experience, he would suggest the following to try and help alleviate the problem:
MARK PARISH COUNCIL
MARK FIRST SCHOOL TRAFFIC ISSUES
Approximately 2 years ago, the Parish Council working together with the school and Highways agreed to address the traffic issues and improve child safety, at school drop off and pick up times. A plan was submitted to the County Council for “Wiff Waffs” (flashing warning lights) outside the school. This was supported by our County Councillor David Huxtable. The Parish Council agreed to contribute £2000 towards the cost of the scheme. Unfortunately, despite several approaches to Highways and David Huxtable from the Parish Council and the school, the lights are still awaited.
The closure of both Harp Road and Kingsway, has of course exacerbated the situation and led to chaos on Mark Causeway during school drop off and pickup times and caused much frustration among parents and residents. The Parish Council and the school have again made requests to Highways and David Huxtable to have this scheme implemented as a matter of urgency. We are advised by David Huxtable that these lights will be installed this year, but have no firm time line. We will continue to lobby to get this scheme implemented as soon as possible.
During this particularly difficult time, Parish Councillors will attend the school during drop off time, to encourage those dropping off or collecting children to approach from Watchfield, and to continue along Mark Causeway, as opposed to trying to turn right when leaving the lay bye at the school driving into opposing traffic. It would also be helpful in relieving congestion at this busy time, if parents kept their arrival/parking time to a minimum as practically possible and to switch off vehicle engines whilst waiting.
The Parish Council fully understand the frustration and challenges being faced and will continue to monitor the situation and assist where possible. Should you wish to raise further concerns with the Parish Council our email address is MarkParishCouncil@Gmail.com
CLOSURE OF HARP ROAD AND KINGSWAY
The Parish Council was surprised to note on Friday 31st May that Kingsway was to be closed on Thursday 6th June until 27th June at the same time as Harp Road. No prior information had been received other than the appearance of signs giving just seven day’s notice.
We immediately spoke to Highways England who informed us that the Kingsway closure was not under their jurisdiction and to discuss with Somerset Highways. Having checked the Somerset CC Highways web site we learned that the closure of Kingsway was on behalf of Gigaclear by their contractor Telnet under a blanket agreement issued by Somerset Highways on 26th June 2018.
We emailed and telephoned Gigaclear and Telnet and eventually spoke with the Telnet build manager and explained the difficulties from the potential increase in traffic, using Mark Causeway, due to it being the major diversion route from the A38 whilst both Harp Road and Kingsway where closed. He was to discuss with Telnet head office and Gigaclear. We contacted Somerset Highways with little success so discussed with David Huxtable, our County Councillor, the potential traffic and safety issues caused by increased traffic especially at school drop off times in the morning and pick up times later in the day. Cllr Huxtable said our concerns would be passed on to the Somerset Highways department.
Regrettably the Kingsway closure went ahead.
Mark Community Speed Watch (CSW).
Two CSW sessions were held during the first week of June. Monday 3rd June at 1900hrs and Wednesday 5th June at 08.30hrs outside Over-the-Way. At these two sessions, 63 speeders out of a total of 412 vehicles were recorded. What is discouraging is that at least 16 of the 63 speeders are repeat offenders having been caught speeding through Mark alone since the CSW was reformed in 2018. Even with the Speed Indicator Device (SID) operating over the past two months at four different locations in Mark, it did not appear to slow down some of these drivers. Avon and Somerset Police are running a trial and consideration is being given for neighbouring parishes to purchase an Auto Speed Watch unit to work alongside the SID operating 24 hrs a day and recording vehicle detail. Many thanks to our Speed Watch volunteers for the time they spend supporting the safety of the community.
Extension of the 30mph limit, Blackford Road.
Approval has been given by the Police and Somerset County Council for the speed limit on the Blackford Road to be extended to cover the Perry Road junction. We hope the work will be implemented shortly.
Landowners and occupiers are required by law under the Highways Act 1980 to trim vegetation (hedge, bushes, trees) next to public highways that are or adversely affecting the safety of the highway user. In Mark, the road user includes pedestrians, some with prams and dogs, and riders. Where landowners ignore this responsibility and/or informal requests to keep public highways free of obstructions and restrictions, for instance ignoring a formal letter or email from Parish Councils, arrangements can be made for the work to be carried out and the invoice sent to the offending land owner.
Defibrillator at Richs Cider Farm
A defibrillator, for emergency use by the community, has been installed on the roadside wall at Richs Cider Farm, Watchfield.
Next Parish Council Meeting
Please Note. The next Parish Council Meeting will be held on Tuesday 2 July 2019 at the Church Hall starting at 7.00pm.
Mark Parish Council