Applications for Community Grants

Are you involved in a local organisation or group that needs some extra funding to support its activities?  If so, here is an excellent opportunity to access a grant so that you can maintain or develop the service that you provide for the local community.

Milborne Port Parish Council is committed to supporting the local community by continuing to fund groups and organisations that bring direct benefit to residents.  In order to do this, the council sets aside an amount of money to help those groups and organisations and is now inviting them to apply for 2020/2021 funding to support existing or future initiatives.

Last year, the council awarded grants to six local organisations, including the Village Hall Management Group, which applied for a grant to fund the Moviola film showings, and the Play Days scheme.  In so doing, the council was able to make a significant impact on the quality.

This year we are particularly keen to hear from any local group or organisation that is suffering due to the effects of the Covid crisis. The application form is not too onerous, and the Council Officers will be happy to help you complete it.  

The Grants Policy, the Community Grants Criteria and the Grants Application Form can all be found at the following link:

Wessex Water Volunteers at Gainsborough Skate Park, Milborne Port

On Tuesday 29th September, a group of volunteers from Wessex Water took on the not insignificant task of jet-washing and re-painting the ramps at our skate park.  They worked really hard to try to remove all of the graffiti but unfortunately some of it was so engrained into the concrete that it would not come off.  However, they did a great job and it looks so much better up there as a result.

Huge thanks to their team and to Fiona at The Gainsborough for her hospitality and to staff at the Co-op for allowing the volunteers to use their loading bay in order to position their vehicle as close to the site as possible.  Below are some before, during and after photographs!  We hope that you agree that the area looks much smarter now!  There is still some work to do and we are hoping that this will be completed by some other village volunteers before long.

September’s News

News from the Parish Council

Visitors to the play area at Gainsborough will have noticed that a drinking water tap has been installed at the east end of the site, just near to the entrance and the two mounds; this happened as a result of some very quick thinking by the Parish Council and some fast grant application processing by South Somerset District Council (SSDC).  During the summer, we had all the old underground piping replaced because a significant volume of water was just being lost through leaks.

Repair was made in early March, but no sooner had one part of the old pipe been replaced than the next part would start to leak, so Members decided that total replacement was the best bet.  As we had a team of pipe fitters on site, it was suggested that drinking water could be provided in the playpark for a better price than binging back all the equipment and men at some other time. The water company were willing to do a deal, but as the Parish Council did not have all the money needed for the project, an application was made to SSDC for a contribution towards the cost.  Support was gained from ‘Plastic Free Milborne Port’ and a Facebook survey revealed 100% support for the project. Within a week, SSDC had awarded the Parish Council half the costs and the order was placed.  And here it is!

Eagle-eyed residents will have noticed that the work to repair the Town Hall clock has begun!  A tower went up so that its face and mechanism could be removed for repair and refurbishment by a professional team. We are not sure how long we will need to wait before we can see time flying again but keep a look-out!

We are anticipating a visit on 29th September from a team of volunteers from Wessex Water who plan to clean and paint the ramps and other equipment at the skate park at the top of the Gainsborough playpark, in so doing removing from sight the ugly graffiti that has appeared over the last few months.  We will report on their progress with some ‘before’, ‘during’ and ‘after’ photographs in November’s edition!

Some residents will already know that on Wednesday 9th September, South Somerset District Council gave the Reserved Matters Approval to housing developers Redcliffe to proceed with development of land on Wheathill Lane for 65 houses.   Some of you will know that any new development brings with it funding to provides s106 infrastructure support to the community.  At this Wheathill Lane site, part of this funding will come in the form of a Community Hub building provided by Redcliffe.  Councillors tried hard to ensure that this building would be provided with all of its facilities in place but unfortunately that was not to be, as South Somerset District Council agreed that will be provided in a ‘shell and core’ state.  It will be for the local community to access grant funding in order to finish the building and prepare it for use.  A  committee has been set up to manage this process over the next few years and no doubt we will be reporting on its progress in the future editions of this magazine and on our website.  We are working with District Councillor Sarah Dyke, the Friends of  Milborne Port Library and the History and Heritage Group to secure this community asset.  Other planning conditions, for which we have been lobbying, include a village square, viewing area towards East Hill and a proposed new commercial building, for which we welcome all ideas for potential users.

Finally, a reminder from Tim Russell, our PCSO, about how to report a crime:

  • 999 should be used when there is a danger to life or property for an immediate response.
  • 101 is our non-emergency number – for reporting incidents to the police that do not require an immediate response but need to be recorded and police action taken.
  • Avon and Somerset Police website – again for incidents that do not require an immediate response. Also contains lots of useful information.
  • Make a report at the front office of Wincanton or Yeovil police stations.

The police do not monitor Facebook so any incidents should be reported to using these options.

Parish Council Vacancies

The parish council has two vacant seats for a parish councillor. The parish council now wish to Co-opt a least one new person onto the council. Could this be you? Are you interested in becoming involved your local community?

  • Do you want to serve your Community?
  • Do you have time or expertise which could benefit your Community?
  • Do you want to make a difference to all those around you?
  • Are you concerned about your local area?
  • Do you want to represent the views of local people?
  • Do you have spare time to give to marking projects happen?
  • Are you able to work as part of a team?

If you would like to make a difference, and be involved in shaping the future of your local Community, why not step forward and apply to become a Milborne Port Parish Councillor?


You could be someone who has local knowledge of the history of the parish or has interest in the environment & planning – but mostly you would be someone with enthusiasm and time.

If you are interested, would like more information or an application form, please contact the Parish Clerk, Simon Pritchard. Email: clerk@milborneportpc.org.uk or call 07375 892631


Eligibility Criteria:
You must be registered as a local government elector for the parish; or you have occupied as owner or tenant any land or other premises in the parish during the whole of the 12 months before the day of co-option; or your main or only place of work during the 12 months prior to the day of co-option has been in the parish; or you have lived in the parish or within three miles of it during the whole of the 12 months before the day of co-option.

Timetable:

Closing date for completed applications to be with the Clerk: 30th September 2020

Co-option meeting to take place on Tuesday October 6th 2020 @ 7pm  

All the Parish Council meetings are taking place via Zoom

August News

Water, water everywhere!

Visitors to the play area at Gainsborough will have noticed that a drinking water tap has been installed at the east end of the site, just near to the entrance and the two mounds; this has happened as a result of some very quick thinking by the Parish Council and some fast grant application processing by South Somerset District Council (SSDC).  During the summer, the allotment are has had all of the old piping replaced in the ground as a significant volume of water was just being lost underground.  Repair was made in early March, but no sooner had one part of the old pipe been replaced than the next part would start to leak, so Members decided that total replacement was the best bet.  As we had a team of pipe fitters onsite, the idea was suggested that drinking water could be provided into the Play Park for a better price than binging back all the equipment and men at some other time. The water company were willing to do a deal, but as the Parish Council did not have all the money needed for the project, an application was made to SSDC for a contribution towards the cost. Support was gained from ‘Plastic Free Milborne Port’ and a Facebook survey revealed 100% support for the project. Within a week SSDC had awarded the Parish Council half the costs and the order was placed.  

Time Stands Still for No Man

While we have always been led to believe that time cannot stop, you may believe that it has if you have been using the Town Hall clock to keep the time. The current clock has been at a standstill for years. Members of the new Council were very keen to get it working again, as well as to see the clock-face professionally restored. The work has been commissioned and is now under way!

Happy 300th Birthday to our Market House!

Our Town Hall building celebrates its 300th birthday this year… probably!

There had been a market in Milborne Port from 1086 which had presumably lapsed by 1397 when the bailiff and burgesses were granted a market on Wednesdays.  The market then lapsed again but attempts were made to revive it in about 1720 when the market house was built, comprising a vaulted cellar, arcaded ground floor and room above, later referred to as the Long Room (which is where council meetings take place under normal non-Covid 19 circumstances!)  Anticipated business did not materialise and by around 1785 the arcades had been bricked up. The building was used in 1791 as a warehouse and later as a Sunday school, a day school and as a natural history museum.  The Fire Engine was even stored there between 1790 and 1830. 

The building was bought with the manor of Milborne Port from the Marquis of Anglesey by the Medlycotts in 1835 and in 1949 was sold by Sir Christopher Medlycott to the parish council for £300, the first council meeting being held there on 19th September 1950. 

In the course of repairs to the floor, the underground chamber was discovered (see photo below), a ‘vaulted brick basement’ (Western Gazette, 1950); the theory at the time was that there had been a tank there for the use of providing water to the fire engine.  Despite the advice from the Somerset Archaeological Society to create an accessible opening in the west end wall for future inspections, a concrete floor was laid, making future access to the basement impossible.  Restoration of the building, including the dismantling and rebuilding of the bell turret, was carried out in 1971.  It is now a Grade II Listed Building.

Accounts record various repairs and other expenses, such as ‘Cleaning the New Town Clock’ for which a Mr S. Game was paid six shillings in 1827; the mechanism for that clock is probably the one currently housed in the Chapel Museum on Wheathill Lane.

And have you noticed the weather-vane on the bell-turret?  This dates from 1820.  And is not serendipitous that the recent pandemic has seen a new and very successful temporary market on the Weighbridge on Saturday mornings?

So Happy 3rd Centenary to our great building and let’s hope that it will still be here in another 300 years!

Public Notice

Notice is hereby given in accordance with Section 87 of the Local Government Act 1972 that a vacancy has occurred on the Milborne Port Parish Council.

Unless a request for an election to be held is submitted in writing to the Proper Officer of South Somerset District Council at The Council Offices, Brympton Way, Yeovil, Somerset, BA20 2HT by Friday 14th September 2020by ten electors for the Parish of Milborne Port, the Parish Council will proceed to fill the vacancy by co-option.

Please note: If an election is requested, a poll cannot currently take place until 6 May 2021 as a result of the Local Government and Police and Crime Commissioner (Coronavirus) (Postponement of Elections and Referendums) (England and Wales) Regulations 2020 and the Coronavirus Act 2020.

Simon Pritchard

Clerk to the Council

25th August 2020

Email: clerk@milborneportpc.org.uk

Tel: 01963 251126

Address of Clerk: The Town Hall, High Street, Milborne Port, DT9 5DF

Gainsborough & Springfield Play Parks

Gainsborough Play Park- UPDATED (09/07/20):

As of this morning, the Play Park / Skatepark at Gainsborough is open. The same rules as Springfield apply so please see the notices at the entrance.

Springfield Play Park – UPDATE (07/07/20):

As of this afternoon, the Play Park at Springfeild is once again open for use.  Whilst the play park has had a clean today, the equipment will not be regularly disinfected.

Please heed the warning / infomation signs that have been displayed:

  • Wash your hands before and after use
  • Keep to the 2 metre social distancing rule
  • Do not enter the play park if it is already busy
  • Do not use the equipment if you’re feeling unwell in anyway

We hope to have Gainsborough play park open for this weekend.  

Gainsborough and Springfield Play Parks – Parish Council Statement (03/07/2020):

From July 4th the Government is allowing Play Parks to reopen in line with new government guidance. Having taken time to read this guidance, the Parish Council is concerned about its ability to conform to it. The guidance is written in the same style as guidance given to schools and retail business and puts all the responsibility on to the Parish Council to ensure that the Play Parks are Covid-19 safe.

The common-sense approach would be to say that a Play Park is a Public area and residents that use it would know the risk they are taking by being out in public and using equipment that you cannot expect is being disinfected in anyway. The Parish Council would be happy to take the common-sense approach and re-open the Gainsborough and Springfield Play Parks. However, it is apparent that the responsibility for Covid-19 virus safety cannot simply be passed on to the users of the Play Park and remains with the Parish Council.

At this point in time and until further advice is received, the Parish Council is simply unable to mitigate the risk as the Parish Council does not employ full time staff to be able to police and regularly clean Play Park equipment.

Over the coming weeks it may be possible for Parish Councils across Somerset to share information and we hope to receive further / better guidance from higher authorities. Hopefully, with the information sharing and further advice the Parish Council will be able to conclude that it is possible to safely open both Play Parks.  

Of course, the Government may also in time change the national guidelines to put less liability onto the owners of Play Parks. This would also enable the Parish Council to open the Play Parks.

Sadly, for now both the Gainsborough and Springfield Play Parks will remain closed and out of bounds. Anyone entering them is committing trespass and that would be a police matter.

We are sorry that, for now we have had to reach this conclusion, the Parish Council wants nothing more than to see the Play Parks back in full use, but it has to take its responsibilities seriously and the health and wellbeing of residents has to be at the heart of that. We will ensure that as soon as this situation changes that it is well publicised.

New Home for Arbour

You may have noticed a change to the streetscape along the A30 as the Arbour that once sat over the top of the bench by the bus stop has been relocated to the Cemetery.

While the Cemetery has a few benches for quite reflection, one thing that it doesn’t have is anywhere to shelter in the rain, so the Arbour is a welcome addition to this special place.

It is possible that in years to come the Arbour may have a bench fitted underneath it in the Cemetery, but for now it has been installed at the end of the new remembrance garden that is now under development.

The garden will be having a lot of shrubs and bushes planted along it this autumn that will separate it from the main burial section and it will soon be in use for the interment of ashes as current remembrance garden is now full and has been closed.

The Arbour in its former location was the subject of numerous complaints by many individuals over many years, so the new council has made finding a more appropriate location for it a top priority over the last 9 months.

The solution of relocating the Arbour to the Cemetery works very well as it is very much needed at the Cemetery and the project came in just under its £3,000 budget.

It is hoped that in the years to come stakeholders can work together to look at the development of the area around the public toilets and old phone box and come up with a re-design that works for all parties concerned.

The Council in Lockdown

We may have been in lockdown for April and May but that did not stop activities for the Parish Council.

Virtual Meetings: 

First there was the new technology to start getting used to, and the council now subscribes to Zoom to enable it to continue to hold meetings. Many a trial run was had in early April before the council held its first formal remote meeting, this being a meeting of the Planning & Environment Committee. The format has proved to be workable and the Planning & Environment committee will continue to meet in this way every third Tuesday of the month @6:45pm (its normal time slot).  Residents are welcome to join the meeting and can contact the Deputy Clerk for the joining details.

Allotments: 

Even in lockdown, the Allotments revolution continued. The allotments are now managed by the Deputy Clerk who has wiped-out the waiting list by getting all the plots that were overgrown and not in use back into use with some incredibly happy new allotmenters.  We are actively working on getting the very last of the useable areas back into use; one area involves the cutting back of some exceptionally large evergreen trees which are in private ownership.

The water leak has been fixed – sadly a rather expensive affair as it was two days’ work for two people and a lot of equipment.  We are also now exploring what to do about the entrance to the allotments as the rut is getting worse.

The gaps in the hedge are also going to be addressed come the Autumn; they look quite bad now as the undergrowth has been cleared away in anticipation of the forthcoming planning.  Also, the mound of earth that has built up over the years is to be cleared tto make more car parking spaces. The Allotments now have their own Facebook page that you can request to become a member of; this mostly involves allotment holders posting photos of vegetable growing or ones that they have just pulled out of the ground, with the occasional photo of a Terrier sleeping in the back of a car for good measure.

Playparks:

The playpark along Gainsborough has sadly been closed since lockdown. A project  has been started to install a chain-link fence around three sides of the playpark, with possibly a hedge and a more rustic wooden fence dividing the Playpark from the allotments. Also, the installation of at least one water fountain is being pursued.

Both Gainsborough and Springfield Playparks have had digital surveys carried out on them in the last month to enable projects to bring in more equipment to them. Now that we have had the surveys done, we can start to look at how things could be extended.

Springfield:

The Springfield playpark has had some remedial work done to it, fixing down some of the rubber matting and filling in the gaps with a liquid rubber. We have also had a professional carpenter in to look at the wooden shelter with a view to doing it up.

The Town Hall:

Talking about things needing doing up.. the poor state of the Town Halls window frames has been noted by the Clerk and estimates to paint them all gained. Sadly however, this highlighted that there will be a requirement for scaffolding onto the road; this will mean gaining special permission and maybe even temporary traffic lights. This will probably double the price, but the windows really do need some attention.

Community Grants:

The community grants pot is well and truly open. Organisations that benefited from it last year have been written to and invited to apply again. The grants are available to most local community groups, so if your are involved in a local organisation and need some money for doing something, do have a look at the grants policy on the Parish Council’s website to see if you would qualify and if so download the form and send it in. The cheque could be in the post quicker than you think.

Pew It’s Gone:

The pew that was advertised as being for sale in April has now been sold. This has made more space in the chapel for the History and Heritage group to have displays.

Room to let: 

The room above the Parish Office is still vacant; this may interest someone who has been working from home but now needs more space. It is a good size room that will easily take two desks and is noticeably light as it has two good size windows. Downstairs there is a small kitchen and toilet that you would have shared use of. The downside is the small wooden staircase to access the room; this makes it inaccessible for the disabled and a little difficult to get furniture up to it – difficult but not impossible. Apparently is was used as a barber’s until recently, but I think we are envisaging it being used as an office or for storage. The monthly rent would be open to negotiation, and we are looking for a long-term letting.

The Cemetery:

The Cemetery continues to look a little bit more special every year and the volunteer workers continue to do a wonderful job. Later this year we will be carrying out some work to all the yew trees as they have become excessively big and they have many brambles growing up through them. Over at the far end, a large amount of planting has taken place of various species of trees; sadly, a few did not make it through the very dry and hot May but the vast majority did and they are now enjoying some June rain.

The Parish Office:

This is currently not open for the public to visit. However, you can contact the Clerk by email and by phone. As well as the established office landline number, there is now also a mobile number you can call. The phone will only be answered during the Clerk’s working days and hours, normally a Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday.

Election of Chairman:

The Council held its Annual Meeting remotely on Tuesday 2nd of June and Members re-elected Cllr Austin Fletcher as the Parish Council Chairman, with Cllr Tim Carty serving as the Vice-Chairman. The Chairman of the two committees will be elected at the first meetings of the committees later this month.

Council Vacancies:

The Council now has two vacancies due to two resignations. So, we are actively seeking residents to become involved. If you would like to know more about any of the council’s activities and how you could help, do contact the Clerk.