July Update

Gainsborough playpark fun and games!

At the time of writing, work is well under way to install the new play equipment at the playpark.  It has been really exciting to see this work in progress and the new units taking shape.  We plan to officially ‘welcome’ the new equipment (there might even be the cutting of a ribbon!) on Tuesday 24th August, 5-7pm, so please come along with your children to mark the occasion with us.  Here are a few photographs of what it was all looking like mid-July.  We are very much hoping that the work will have been finished (or nearly so!) by the time you read this! 

Town Hall Office re-opens to visitors

The Parish Office, situated on the ground floor of the Town Hall, has re-opened to in-person visitors on a Tuesday morning from 9am to midday for residents to be able to just ‘drop in’.   All the doors will be open, and a new A-frame sign will be out on the pavement to indicate that someone is in the office.  Inside, you will find either Simon or Nathalie who will be able to assist you in any matter relating to the Parish Council, or if it not a Parish Council’s matter we will be able to work out whose it is.  The best way to contact the Parish Council remains by email or phone. 

Strimming Licence

Our very own local footpaths action warrior now has a Public Strimming Licence.  Cllr. Deborah Barsby, who has often over the years organised footpath clearance days, has now attended the training course offered by Somerset County Council (SCC) and has obtained her public stimming licence.  As part of the SCC scheme, Cllr. Barsby also has the use of an SCC strimmer and so armed with this, her new steel top capped boots and a few other implements, she is now smashing her way through undergrowth along some of the local rights of way.

Footpaths are the responsibility of SCC, but they do rely on local volunteers to keep many of the paths passable in the summer.  You can report any issues directly to SSC on their website at www.somerset.gov.uk/roads-and-transport/report-a-problem-with-a-public-right-of-way/   Cllr. Barsby then works in tandem with the Footpaths Officer at SCC to try and resolve the issues.

Community Grants

The Parish Council’s community grants pot is well and truly open for applications. The grants are available to most local community groups, so if you 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 more quickly than you think.

Last year, the Parish Council was delighted to be able to support Milborne Port Primary School with £2,390 to buy some tablet computers for the children who had to home school.  The playing fields committee received £2,775 grant.  Sherborne Community Kitchen received £500 for the Covid relief efforts in the Village.  The Milborne Port Food Bank was also supported through the lending of equipment.

Play Day

We are sorry to report that the organisers of this event have again put it on hold this year due to the Covid concerns. The event was to be held at Springfield Rec on Sunday 22nd August. This is of course disappointing, but we can only hope it will finally be back next year.

Laptops4Learners Drop Point

The Parish Office has become a drop point for Laptops4Learners; please see the community website for more details.  www.milborneport.org.uk/2021/02/07/laptops4learners/  We are collecting in old laptops, computers, and other electronic items so they can either be re-purposed or broken down and recycled. You can drop off on a Tuesday morning or email/phone for an appointment.

Sign of the Times

While talking on the phone and looking out of the parish council office window about three months ago, I observed the ‘South Street’ sign that is at end of the road, mounted on to one of the houses. This street sign is visible from the main High Street and I was taken aback as to how old and shabby it looked.  This raised a question that I had not thought of before: what do the District Council do about old and faded road name signs? – so I asked them.

South Somerset District Council (SDDC) were very helpful but wanted to know if it was just the one sign that was faded or were there others in the village? – only one way to find out… Armed with her mobile phone camera and a Border Terrier, Nathalie visited and photographed every street sign that looked like it needed some TLC.  Photos and locations were duly sent off to SSDC. The first thing SSDC wanted to try was just to give all the signs a wash, so they despatched one of their team to power-wash them all; this not only did not work, but in fact in many cases it has removed some of the last bits of black paint that were clinging on! So, the plan now is that black lettering is going to be hand-painted back on.  Do look out for Picasso painting a street sign near you soon!

Rotten Railings

The wooden railings at the end of Church Walk (footpath) where it joins Church Street (road) have become so rotten that they have had to be removed.  Cycling along the footpath is prohibited and it is likely that the wooden railings were originally installed in order to prevent (or at least put off) people from cycling along the path.  Since the rotten railings have been removed, the Parish Office has received conflicting views from local residents as to whether they should be replaced or not.  Some think that the railings were serving a useful purpose in discouraging cycling along the walkway; others have said they impeded people with walking frames/wheelchairs.

The pavement is part of the highway and so the responsibility for replacing the railings lies with Somerset County Council. Their local Highways Officer says that the railings can be replaced but that they would now be stainless steel ones not wooden, but they do not have to be replaced.

The Parish Council would be interested to hear your opinion if you are a regular user of this footpath. Would you like to see some new metal railings in just the same place as the wooden ones were, or are you aware that they were restricting use of the footpath for those using mobility aids? Do let us know; by email is the best way. The Parish Council will decide in September whether to formally request a replacement or not. 

A-door-able!’

Many thanks to Dave Gay who has done a fantastic job of refurbishing and repainting the tired old Chapel Museum door; it is looking really smart now! 


Make a difference

Do you want to volunteer to make a real difference to your local community and make important decisions that affect the residents and environment of our thriving village?

Your Parish Council is keen to recruit more councillors and is looking for local people aged 18 or over from a range of backgrounds and with real passion and enthusiasm to make a positive contribution to the life of Milborne Port.

If you have time to spare, skills and experience that you could bring to the role and a genuine interest in our village, why not consider putting yourself forward to become a councillor for Milborne Port Parish Council?

Don’t take our word for it!

Come and meet some of our councillors at the event to mark the installation of the new children’s play equipment at the Gainsborough playpark on Tuesday 24th August, 5-7pm; they will be happy to share their experiences and tell you what a satisfying role it is!

The deadline for applications will be Wednesday 1st September and the plan is to co-opt new members in a meeting of the Full Council on Tuesday 7th September 2021.

For further information and/or an informal chat about the role, contact our Clerk Simon Pritchard by calling 01963 251267/07375 892631 Tuesday-Thursday, or by e-mailing him at clerk@milborneportpc.org.uk.

June Update

Playtime is about to get better!

This month we are very much looking forward to the installation of new play equipment at the Gainsborough playpark!  This will be the culmination of many months of research and planning on the part of the Parish Council, especially Cllrs. Rob Lockey and Lucy MacArthur, who have spent many hours on site visits, meetings with each other, meetings with the Planning and Environment Committee, meetings with representatives from South Somerset District Council and meetings with the providers of play equipment (that’s a lot of meetings!) in order to ensure the best value and best quality outcomes for the parish’s young people.  We are so excited to be able to take advantage of the Section 106 monies that have been provided by SSDC for infrastructure developments, funded by income from Bovis Homes and the Gainsborough housing development. 

Watch Your Speed!

Members of the Planning and Environment Committee resolved at their June meeting to reinstate the Speed Indicator Device (SID) at key locations in the village where speeding is an issue and have created a Speed Watch Working Group, headed up by Cllr. Tim Carty and Cllr. Rob Lockey, to manage this activity.   The group would like to invite any interested members of the public to volunteer to join this group and help to monitor speeding in the village.  Training in mounting the SID would be provided to someone willing to commit to this initiative.  Please contact Nathalie Hetherington by email if you are interested in volunteering.

Clean-up at the Gainsborough Play Park

The Parish Ranger, Martin, has been busy in the Gainsborough Play Park and he has managed to haul his high-powered jet wash up into the park and spend a day power washing all the bird muck and other substances off of the play equipment.  Before this, Martin had spent half a day in the park removing weeds from the bushes and strimming back all the nettles from the sides.

If you are aware of any areas around the Parish that could do with a bit of attention from the Ranger, do let the Clerk know by sending an e-mail.  Martin can sweep, unblock drains, strim and hack back overgrown bushes but please note that he is not able to undertake any work on private land.

Parish Council requires more Members

The Parish Council’s membership is now a little low and so over the next month or so the Council will be trying to drum up some interest and encourage some new people to put themselves forward to become Members.

Maybe you are new to the Parish and want to become involved with local matters, or maybe you have lived in the village all of your life and you are now looking to give something back. To qualify, you must be 18  or over and on the electoral register. The Council would benefit from a membership representing various backgrounds and various ages.

The Parish Council is involved in many different activities, from local planning matters, to managing the open spaces and working with our community groups, to delivering projects.

The Council will be looking to appoint some new members at its September meeting.  If you are interested or want to know more, do send the Parish Clerk an e-mail and we will arrange to have an informal chat.  

Playday is coming!

Playday is a South Somerset District Council initiative where for half a day some play equipment is set up for kids to enjoy. The Parish Council has made a contribution of £450 towards the hiring of equipment this year. The Playday itself is planned for Sunday 22nd August 10am – 1pm @Springfield.  Put that date in your diaries now!

Town Hall Office Reopening

In common with everyone else, we would like to start working our way back to a new normal and start to open the Parish Office once again to allow residents to just drop in and see the office staff but the postponement of the end of Covid restrictions has put this on ice for another month.  However, next month we hope to be able to confirm the days and times that the Parish Office will once again be open to the Public. In the meantime, there has been a mobile number available to call since March 2020 published both on the noticeboard and on the Parish Council’s website, or simply send an email and we will get back to you.

Laptops4Learners Drop Point

The Parish Office has become a drop point for Laptops4Learners; please see the community website for more details. For now, you will need to email for an appointment to drop off your old bit of equipment:

www.milborneport.org.uk/2021/02/07/laptops4learners/

Town Hall Roof

I am sure that you will have noticed that the Town Hall continues to be surrounded by scaffolding but with not much going on! The Town Hall roof developed a leak just before Christmas and by early new year it had become rather severe; the Council needed to install the scaffolding to allow a full inspection of the problem and a specialist surveyor was required as the Town Hall is a listed building.  Many months later and the problem has been identified, a tender document drawn up and a contractor appointed to fix the issue. However, the contractor cannot start until late July. In the meantime, it would cost more to have the scaffolding taken away and then re-erected than just leaving it in place.  All repairs should be complete by mid-August, and we will finally be able to wave goodbye to the scaffolding.  

Paving the way…

A path improvement project has been completed successfully at St. John’s, a joint venture between Milborne Port Parish Council and the Parochial Church Council. These re-laid areas now provide much easier access for those with mobility difficulties and for coffin bearers. Many thanks to all those involved in this work, which has greatly enhanced the beauty as well as the functionality of the churchyard.’There is no path to Happiness. Happiness is the path. There is no path to Love. Love is the path. There is no path to Peace. Peace is the path.’ (Dan Millman, writer and lecturer)

Happy rambling!

If you are a keen walker and user of our many wonderful local footpaths, you might be interested to know that a new sign has been erected by the Rights of Way Warden at Somerset County Council to show where the footpath starts at the junction of Bathwell Lane and Canon Court Farm.

May Update

Ben Smith – our litter picking hero

Congratulations to teenager Ben Smith who has completed his six-month stint of volunteering for the Parish Council for his Silver Duke of Edinburgh Award!  Ben has been diligently picking up litter at the Gainsborough and Springfield play parks since the start of last October and we are extremely grateful for the great job that he has done.  What is particularly great, though, is that he has volunteered (no pressure from us – honest!) to continue with this work for the foreseeable future.   Many, many thanks from all of us, Ben, for making this valuable contribution to your community.

Reporting crime in our area

Unfortunately, there have been more incidents of anti-social behaviour in the village over the last few months or so, including further vandalism of the drinking tap at Gainsborough and further graffiti and the playing of very loud music at the skate-park.  If you witness or are aware of criminal activity which does not constitute an emergency, this can be reported easily by calling 101 or can be reported online at www.avonandsomerset.police.uk/report.  You do not need to know everything about an incident in order to report it; the police welcome any information that the public has which helps them to build a picture of what is happening in the area. 

Allotment land wanted!

The Parish Council needs more land for allotments in or close to Milborne Port.  The pandemic has resulted in a significant increase in parishioners requesting plots and the waiting list is growing…  We are currently exploring our options and would be interested to hear from anyone who has or knows of a suitable area of land (with access to a water supply). 

April Update

Gainsborough Play Area Drinking Water Tap

We are very sorry to report that the drinking water tap that was installed last year at the Gainsborough play area has now been vandalised twice and therefore is currently out of operation. This is such a shame as we know that this facility was much appreciated by most of those using the play area. The Management Committee is currently exploring its options so that the provision of drinking water can resume.  If you have any information about who might be responsible for this vandalism, we urge you to pass on that knowledge by calling 101.

Gainsborough Allotments

The allotments holders are working extremely hard on their plots and it is a delight to walk around the site to see what everyone is planting; it is especially satisfying to see some plots that have been unused for a while gradually come back to life.  The new hedge plants are looking healthy!

Annual Parish Meeting

The Annual Parish Meeting took place remotely on Thursday 1st April at 7pm via Zoom; this was a meeting the parishioners, not a meeting of the Parish Council, but was chaired by the Chairman of the Parish Council and organised by the Parish Clerk.  All local groups were invited to attend and submit a report.  To see a report of the meeting, please go to the Milborne Port Community website or follow this link:

http://milborneport.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/Annual-Parish-Meeting-Report-2021.pdf

Parish Council Grant for Springfield

At a meeting of the Full Council on 2nd March 2021, councillors approved a grant of £2775 to Milborne Port Memorial Fields Charity; the charity plans to use this money to pay towards the upkeep and maintenance of the recreation ground at Springfield.

Improvements at Johnsons Stalbridge Linen Services, Higher Kingsbury

Last year, the Planning and Environment Committee was approached by some of the tenants of Old Tannery Way who were experiencing levels of noise and dust particles from the laundry which were having an adverse impact on their well-being.  In order to support the tenants in their efforts to encourage the company to carry out improvements to its silencers and filters, the Parish Council wrote to the company to lend support to these tenants.  We have recently learnt that the company has carried out extensive alterations in order to reduce noise and emissions, which is an excellent result, demonstrating that it is possible for interested parties to work together for positive outcomes.

Consultation on Parking Restrictions on the A30

Following many complaints to the Parish Council, the District Council, the County Council and the Police, The Parish Council made a formal approach to Somerset County Council (as the Highways Authority) to see if they could suggest a solution with the main issue being cars parked along the A30 in a dangerous spot, but also to prevent cars from parking at busy junctions leading onto the A30 and blocking dropped kerbs.

Somerset County Council is now running a consultation on the proposed remedy. The Parish Council has already approved this approach.

Notice of new restrictions

Maps of new restrictions (includes all the changes in Somerset)

Detailed maps of new restrictions (includes all the changes in Somerset)

Second consultation

Somerset County Council are re-advertising the consolation from Thursday 27th May 2021

March Update

Town Hall Clock

We reported last month that we were hoping to see the restored clock mechanism and face reinstalled by the end of March but we were very happy to see everything in place and working again on 9th March!  And very lovely it looks too!  I wish that I could say the same for the weather!

February Update

New hedge plants at Gainsborough

Some allotment tenants and local residents were concerned about the gap in the hedge on Gainsborough so we hope that all residents are happy to see that 30 hedge plants are now in situ, thanks to our ranger, Martin.  This photo was taken on that very cold, snowy and windy day on 9th February.

Crackmore Crossing

Good news from our Somerset County Councillor, William Wallace.  The plans for the creation of safer crossing arrangements near the Crackmore/Goathill junction are progressing well and are now in the detailed design stage; the safety audit is scheduled for some time in March.  We don’t want to get our hopes up too much but there is a potential start date of early June, subject to Covid-19 restrictions, of course.

Town Hall Roof

It started off as a trickle, turned into a dinner plate full and eventually the floor was an inch thick. That just about sums up the progress of the leak in the Town Hall roof.  First spotted before Christmas, the leak has in a short space of time snowballed and has now damaged the upstairs room in the Town Hall.  Further damage has been prevented by Cllr. Lock and his daily bucket-emptying regime, along with his mopping skills.

Listed building experts have been engaged and scaffolding erected so that the issues can be accurately assessed.  Unfortunately, the initial prognosis isn’t good, and it seems that the final bill could be in excess of £20,000.  

Council Tax Freeze

Sadly, this headline is not as it may seem as Somerset County Council are going to increase their part of the Council Tax bill by 4.99% and South Somerset District Council by 2.91%, and as these two organisations’ taxes make up the vast majority of your Council Tax bill you will be seeing an above-inflation increase to it this year. However, the Parish Council’s portion of the bill will not be increasing this year as members of the Parish Council voted in January for a freeze. 

In No Time At All

You would be forgiven for having to ask the time in the Village over the last six months.  What, many would ask, is going on with the Town Hall clock?!  It was reported back in the late summer that the clock was to be repaired, then the clock face disappeared, and we had some horrid boarding to cover the gap.  Since then, time has march on and seemingly nothing has been happening. Well, in fact a lot has been happening and slowly but surely the clock face has been restored and the workings behind tested.  We are now at the stage where we are ready for the installation and are aiming for the end of March.  

Annual Parish Meeting

The Annual Parish Meeting will take place on Thursday 1st April at 7pm. This year, no matter what the Covid restrictions are in April, it will be taking place on Zoom. The Parish Meeting is a meeting of the Parishioners; it is not a meeting of the Parish Council.  However, it is Chaired by the Chairman of the Parish Council and organised by the Parish Clerk. All local groups will be invited to attend and submit a report; there will also be a general forum at the end for exchanging of ideas and comments.

The Zoom Meeting ID: 889 1799 3444 & Passcode: 245619 – see the Parish Council website nearer the time for further details.