SEDGEMOOR DISTRICT COUNCIL
Mark and Wedmore Ward
Polly Costello – firstname.lastname@example.org 01934 713564
Will Human – email@example.com 01278 641795
Will attended the first meeting of the Axe Brue Drainage Board under the new constitution with reduced members. A very good talk was given by the new CEO of the board about his vision for the purpose of the Board. He thought that meetings should deal more with planning and policy and less with the day to day jobs that the field officers should just get on with. Jeff Fear was re-elected as Chairman of the Board and Andrew Gilling (Sedgemoor District Councillor) was elected as his deputy. Will volunteered to sit on the sub committee dealing with Finance and Governance.
There has been much comment in the local press recently about the County Council idea to become a Unitary Authority. This basically means that there would be one local authority covering the roles that the County and District Councils perform. The argument for this idea is that it should increase efficiency by reducing top level management and also the number of Councillors. The counter argument is that the District councils are run very efficiently and perform their tasks well, whereas a change of leadership may affect this governance negatively. There are a number of meetings planned with the leader of County and local MP's to hear their views. Polly and Will remain committed to helping SDC to run as smoothly as possible in the interim but to listen very carefully to both sides of the debate before making any views public.
MARK PARISH COUNCIL
A Meeting of Mark Parish Council was held in the Church Hall, Mark on Tuesday, 4th September 2018 at 6.30 pm.
Our financial balance of accounts is healthy.
A growing factor on the horizon is the dire financial straits of Somerset County Council, which has led to the Council placing at risk about 130 staff and also cutting public services, one of which will be reducing winter road gritting from 23 to 16 routes. It is perhaps inevitable that most of those routes are in rural areas and includes Mark Causeway.
PUBLIC AREAS PORTFOLIO
Several highway defects and fly-tipping deposits had been reported to appropriate authorities. Continuing drainage problems in Church Street and Northwick Road have been reported, again. There are no updates from Somerset County Council on the proposed safety improvements in the vicinity of Mark First School, the possible extension of the 30-mph limit at Blackford Road and other measures in Church Street area.
Councillor Francis reported that sponsorship has permitted refurbishment of the historic finger post signs at Harp Road, Perry Road, Locksbroad and Kingsway. HGVs still using Mark as a shortcut along will be addressed. Donations are still welcome so that the project can be completed.
Village Hall Area
The burglary of the Village Hall and damage/vandalism to parts of the play areas was discussed.
South Western Ambulance Service had advised that the the Village Hall defibrillator (in the blue box) should be replaced soon. Locating a second one somewhere in Mark Causeway was agreed.
PUBLIC RIGHTS OF WAY.
Since Somerset County Council has not carried any work on maintaining footpaths in the parish, it was agreed to investigate the possibility of the Parish Council or a voluntary group taking the lead on such matters.
A Community Punishment team helped clear undergrowth on the verges at the junction of Vole/Northwick Roads. The work was done within the environmental period and care was taken not to block the rhyne bordering The White Horse grounds.
PLANNING PORTFOLIO (33/18)
In welcoming the residents to Tucker’s Close, the Parish Council thanks:
While the Parish Council acknowledges the opposition to the location, Tucker’s Close has been a key project for the village and provides much needed affordable homes. The allocation of the properties was made by the South Western Housing Society working with Sedgemoor District Council using accepted criteria. 293 applicants applied for the 12 properties as follows:
49 for 2 x 3 bedroom houses
89 for 4 x 2 bedroom houses
45 for 2 x ground floor flats
38 for 2 x first floor flats
72 for 2 x 2 bedroom bungalows
Three applicants turned their offer down, one to accept an offer elsewhere, one to purchase their own property and the third gave no reason.
Sedgemoor Local Plan
The Sedgemoor Local Plan to develop the District was submitted to the Secretary of State for the Environment in August 2017 and sets out the strategy to deliver growth for the District between 2011 and 2032 by building a minimum of 13,530 new and affordable homes, the development of 75 hectares of land for business, general industrial and storage and distribution to help meet the need for new homes, and create 9,795 new jobs. Most of the development will focus around Bridgwater and Burnham-on-Sea.
In relation to the parishes, Mark is in Tier 3 (along with such villages as Ashcott, Brent Knoll, East Brent & Rooksbridge) as ‘more rural settlements with adequate but basic levels of key local services and facilities necessary to meet the needs of the community with development constrained by environmental considerations, such as flood risk and areas of outstanding beauty.’ The Parish Council conclusion, at present, is that the Parish will not unduly affected by the proposals.
The Inspector invites comments on the main proposals between 28th August and 5pm on 10th October 2018 inclusive. Viewing and making representation consultation documents are available as follows:
Representation should be:
Members of the Parish Council attended a meeting at Watchfield Village Hall at which Global Tunnel Experts Ltd presented a pre-planning proposal to employees supporting Hinkley Point in portacabins on the Watchield Inn property for about three years. Watchfield was one of several sites examined. The company has recently bored the Crossrail project in London. Unfortunately, the nature of the opposition meant that the company representatives departed before they had an opportunity to describe their proposals declaring that they would not be back. Interestingly, a Global Tunnel Experts manager said that it would have been possible to tunnel from Hinkley to Avonmouth but the company had not been approached by National Grid. It was something that Mark Parish Council asked National Grid.
SOMERSET VILLAGE OF THE YEAR COMPETITION
You may have seen in the Cheddar Valley newspaper over the last few weeks that Mark Village is one of the finalists in the Medium Village of The Year competition. The Judges came to the village on Wednesday 12th September to meet with several members of the community and then walked around the village to get an overview of how we look and what we are about. The final decision will be made in October.
MARK COMMUNITY LAND TRUST (MCLT). Some people have asked about the activities of the MCLT. Unfortunately, the Parish Council is not and has not been made aware of any projects being planned by the MCLT on behalf of the community and therefore cannot comment.
NEXT PARISH MEETING
The next Parish Council Meeting will be held at the Church Hall on Tuesday 6th November 2018 at 6.30 pm.
Nick van der Bijl
Mark Parish Council