April Update

No Parish Council Elections in 2022

Nominations for the 13 Parish Council seats are now in and the result is that 9 residents have been put forward for election. As the Parish Council has 13 seats, all 9 people gain a seat automatically without having to face the public vote. So, there will be no Parish Council elections this time round.

Attention now turns to the remaining 4 seats. The 9 members of the Council can now co-opt (elect) a further 4 people of their choosing onto the Council. This co-option will take place at the Annual Meeting of the Council on Tuesday 10th of May (7pm in the Council Chamber of the Town Hall). Anyone who is interested in standing for co-option is asked to contact the Parish Clerk. 

None of the above affects the elections to the new Somerset Council and these will be taking place on Thursday 5th of May. Please use your vote. 

Annual Parish Meeting

The Annual Parish Meeting took place on Tuesday 26th April at the Village Hall and was chaired by Cllr. Tim Carty.   All local groups, organisations and members of the public were invited to attend and to submit a report; these reports will be collated and published on our website within the next few weeks.  Many thanks to all involved.

New Chat Bench

Chat benches are fast becoming a standard facility in Towns and Villages across the UK. The very simple idea being that if you fancy a chat with someone, you head down to your local chat bench and either join the person already waiting for a chat or wait and see if anyone comes along for one. The idea of nominating a specific bench is that it breaks down the social barriers. We are all very good at not talking to each other and many may find it a bit awkward just to sit down next to someone and start talking to them. With a chat bench you know that that person sat on the bench not only won’t find it odd if you start taking to them, but in fact they want to talk to you and they will be pleased to see you.

To start with one bench in the Village has been designated as a chat bench, this is the bench in the Ball Court just off the High Street. If it proves to be a success, then other locations will be looked at.  

Other Items in Brief:

  • At the April Full Council meeting a grant for £300 for the History and Heritage Group was approved. This is for the printing of history information leaflets to promote the Village.
  • The ordering of a Climbing Wall for the Playday in August was approved. This has a capacity to entertain up to 80 children per hour and will complement other activities being put on by South Somerset District Council.
  • The old rugby pitch at the bottom of Springfield has now had works finished on it to turn it into a functioning football pitch.

April Update

Annual Parish Meeting

The Annual Parish Meeting will take place on Tuesday 26th April at 7pm at the Village Hall. 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.

Please follow the link below for the agenda for this meeting.

Annual Parish Meeting Tuesday 26th April 2022 agenda

No Parish Council Elections in May

Nine people have been nominated to to stand for election in May to become members of the Parish Council.

As the parish has thirteen seats available, all nine nominees will automatically gain a seat with no vote taking place (this is called being return unopposed).

We would still like to hear from people who are interested in joining the council, as there are still four seats to fill.

List of new council members from May

Parish Council Elections: New Members Needed

Many of you will already be aware of the forthcoming elections and as you would expect, the Parish Council is very keen to welcome more councillors into its membership. We are encouraging as many local residents as possible to put themselves forward for this very important role.  The Parish Council has 13 seats, but over the last few years we have struggled to fill them all. The local elections in May now offer a good opportunity to welcome a new group of community minded people onto the Council.  

Now is the time to act;

you can be nominated from 9.00am on Monday 21 March, with nominations closing at 4.00pm on Tuesday 5th April. South Somerset District Council manage the entire process, here is a link to their website page https://www.southsomerset.gov.uk/your-council/elections-and-voting/current-elections-and-referenda/  

Why become a Parish Councillor? 

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. 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?

We will also be trying to get leaflets out to houses and you are very welcome to give the Parish Clerk a call our call into the Parish Office (in the Town Hall) for anymore information and to cover any questions you may have.  

The Parish Council is very keen to welcome more councillors; we are encouraging local residents to volunteer to put themselves forward for this very important role. 

Extra Parish Office Opening Times:

The Parish Office will be open extra hours to help you with your nomination.

We can assist by printing off the forms for you and with the completion.

Parish Office Opening Hours; all 9AM to Midday

  • Tuesday 15th March
  • Wednesday 16th March
  • Saturday 19th March
  • Tuesday 22nd March
  • Wednesday 23rd March
  • Friday 25th March
  • Saturday 26th March
  • Tuesday 29th March
  • Wednesday 30th March
  • Friday 1st April
  • Saturday 2nd April

January Update

Members’ Roles
There have been a few changes in positions and committee membership over the last few months:  Cllr. Rob Lockey is now the Vice-Chairman of the Council; Cllr. Tom Campbell is the new Chairman of the Planning & Environment Committee with Cllr. Rob Lockey as the Vice-Chairman.  Cllr. Robert Tizzard has just joined our Management Committee.  Our new councillors, Mrs Anna Wagner and Mrs Lyn Harrison now sit on the Planning & Environment and Management Committees respectively.  We wish them well in these new roles.

Important date for your diary!  Local Council Elections – Thursday 5th May 2022
Many of you will already be aware of the forthcoming elections and as you would expect, the Parish Council is very keen to welcome more councillors; we currently have 9 councillors out of a possible 13 so we are again encouraging local residents to volunteer to put themselves forward for this very important role.  South Somerset District Council will be managing the entire process so we will let you know when they have posted the information on their website.

So why become a Parish Councillor?  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. 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?

New projects for 2022
Our different committees have been working hard over the last few months to decide on priorities for the Parish Council from April 2022 and to research the likely costs of these projects; this can be quite a tricky process, especially at a time where costs are particularly unpredictable.  However, careful management of current resources and of predicted expenditure means that the extra precept that Milborne Port Parish Council will be asking for will constitute a rise of only £2.50 per year for a Band D household.

So how does the Parish Council plan to spend its precept?  Well, in addition to the usual business of the Council, there are plans for an increased allowance for the care of overgrown amenity areas around the village, for improvements to the skate park, for clearing overgrown areas of the cemetery and the installation of a fence and for a new Youth Council, driven by Cllr. Lockey – and more!

January 2022 Full Council Meeting

In order to keep everyone as safe as possible, the Parish Council will be holding a remote (Zoom) Full Council meeting on Tuesday 4th January @7pm

Everyone is welcome to attend, the joining details are on the agenda or you can contact the Clerk if your unsure how to join.

Full Council Agenda – 4th Jan 2022

As the Government has removed the Council’s ability to hold decision making meetings remotely, an identical-twin in-person meeting will take place the next day to ratify the outcome of the remote meeting. The in-person meeting will be attend by as few councillors as possible and shouldn’t take longer than 10 minutes as a box ticking exercise. We are not encouraging attendance at this meeting.

In-person meeting – 5th Jan 2022

December Update

Gainsborough Hedge

At the beginning of 2021, a straggly part of the allotment hedge was removed so that it could be replanted, and the new hedge seems to be doing really well! We hope that it will go from strength to strength and form the future home of many creatures!  The photographs show its progress:  February, July and November! (Funny how the November picture looks more ‘summery’ than the July one…!)

High-speed broadband coming to Milborne Port?

The current BT service in Milborne Port is circa 30 MB/s, which is just a little above the barely acceptable minimum, which means that whenever there is a glitch, the village tends to drop below that level; historically we have been somewhat at the back of the queue for upgrades.

Our Deputy Clerk attended the first part of the South Somerset District Council presentation (via Zoom) in early December which disseminated information about what different providers are doing in our area with regard to high-speed broadband.  The main options are summarised below:

  • CDS (Connecting Devon and Somerset – a government-led partnership) – Susie Jones spoke about how CDS has been helping people access broadband provision. The main bodies and initiatives are:  Rural Gigabit Voucher Scheme; Community Challenge Programme; Project Gigabit. There is also a Mobile Boost Scheme – residents can apply through the CDS website if they are eligible. https://connectingdevonandsomerset.co.uk
  • Wessex Internet – providers of fibre optic broadband, primarily focused on rural communities. Milborne Port is not included in their initial 3 year roll-out in South Somerset as they focus on communities below 30 megabites per second.  https://www.wessexinternet.com
  • Konnect Satellite – satellite providers for those who struggle to access 4G, when ground-based broadband does not work. A satellite dish is required, plus a modem/router, professional installation within 3 weeks. Free trials available until the end of January 2022.  https://europe.konnect.com/en-GB
  • Jurassic Fibre – You might well have seen this company working in the village recently, preparing for the roll-out of fibre optic broadband. They have been establishing Point of Presence (PoP) hubs. The PoP sites closest to Milborne Port are now in Yeovil and there will be one in Wincanton. Tim Carty, our Chairman, spoke to someone from the company when they were working here and understood that they have completed a mapping exercise, stage one of a three stage project to offer high speed fibre optic broadband in Milborne Port.  The stage two work they are doing now is to validate the stage one plans. This process has Milborne Port split down into 5 areas, three of which are now surveyed, and they should have the last two (the Tanneries area is one of these) completed shortly. This information is then sent off to head office for sign-off, and once it is done then the village is viewed as ready for implementation in stage three, which is to an extent a commercial decision. All residents will apparently be contacted to see whether they are interested in having high-speed fibre optic broadband installed. If enough people indicate an interest, then that location will be prioritised; prioritised areas are likely to be implemented in 2022, maybe in as little as eight months. If there is limited demand, then Jurassic will likely focus on other locations first; they claim that they can provide broadband from 30 all the way up to 950 megabytes per second. The higher the speed the greater the cost. https://jurassic-fibre.com 

The quality of the broadband in the Parish has been something of a variable feast. If you are totally frustrated then you might wish to opt for Konnect Satellite (or other similar providers) and that is an individual decision, and you may be able to source support from the CDS initiatives. However, both Wessex, and especially Jurassic, are more dependent upon our community as a whole. The more residents, organizations, and businesses in the parish who register an interest, the more likely they are to install high speed fibre optic broadband here. You do not need to wait until asked, just go to their websites and register; make it a New Year’s Resolution! The Parish Council has already done so. There is no commitment to buy.

November Update

East Hill Viewpoint

Many thanks to our extremely versatile ranger, Martin, for coming quickly to the rescue to mend the fence at the East Hill Viewpoint at the end of September.  It looks great and is, of course, much safer than the previous fence which was in a very poor state of repair.  Before and after photos to prove it!  And not only does Martin have many practical skills but he also has a real eye for a photo…

Foxes leaving their ‘calling cards’ at Gainsborough play-park!

We are aware that people have been finding piles of very dark animal poo at the playpark.  We assumed at first that some residents must have been taking their dogs onto the site and whilst we suspect that this might be happening on occasions, we are now sure that these piles are what the local foxes are leaving us, rather than dogs.  Martin, our ranger, picked up 21 piles of this poo a few weeks ago and will be keeping a regular look-out for more.  

Town Hall Health

Much up-and-down of stairs and a ladder were involved but the clock is now working again!  We are aware that it is two minutes slow…  Fixing that is the next mission!  The technical issue is that the time can only be accurately reset at the exact time that the hands are telling us… Therefore, we need a number of people in the right places at the right time to put it right.  To our great relief, we had a number of people in the right places at the right time to fix the leak in the roof (no more buckets required!) and to re-plaster a section of the upstairs office; next there is some re-decorating to do and then the works will be completed.

 

October Update

From our new Chairman…

Hello.  It is all a little strange to be the new Chairman, and I am very grateful to residents for electing me to the Council and to fellow councillors for trusting me as their Chair.  A little bit about me.  I am a non-working partner in one of the Big 4 accounting firms.  I spent most of my career in Eastern Europe, including 12 years based in Moscow.  I became very ill about seven years ago and had to drop out of work, and in 2019 I had a (successful) heart transplant.  Helping the Parish Council seems like a good way to give a little something back, and I now have fewer hours on airplanes!

Milborne Port has had a lot more than its fair share of new buildings and I have done my best to ensure that those that go through are as good as they can be and that those that are less good for our wider community are rejected.  The Parish Council is just a consultee and has no decision-making rights on planning. We currently have two significant applications coming, along Wheathill Lane (in addition to the 65 residences approved with Redcliffe Homes), and along Court Lane.  Fortunately, the developers of both have been kind enough to involve the Parish Council in their plans and I feel this has helped.  Do please look at the South Somerset District Council website and register your views on the applications as they develop.  We will continue to work with the developers and to assess the merits of the final applications as to whether we support them.

There is an ongoing issue with phosphates in our area and until this is solved it is unlikely that any major applications will be given the final sign-off; this means that across South Somerset as a whole there is now less than 5 years housing supply and hence South Somerset’s Local Plan is viewed as redundant in assessing applications.  Given the move to a Unitary Somerset, there will not be a new Local Plan for some years and we are therefore somewhat vulnerable to speculative planning applications as a Parish.  We met recently with the acting Head of Planning at South Somerset District Council and he strongly advised us to reignite the Neighbourhood Plan which had stalled with the Covid crisis; this will give our community much more say in planning issues affecting Milborne Port Parish and will be something of a focus over the next 18 months.

The precise details of how a Unitary Somerset will work are evolving but it has been outlined that the County will be providing a base level of cover for services and that enhancements to those services will be possible by parishes and towns, either individually or in groups.  There is a series of meetings being held to explore further how these might work and whether Milborne Port will wish to be involved and if so, how.  We will keep you updated.

Parish Councils have relatively few powers and relatively few obligations.  One of the main statutory requirements we have is to consider the environmental and ecological obligations of any actions we take.  This is both a heavy and a somewhat vague burden.  We have been planting trees and trying to ensure that the management of our public spaces and verges is as eco-friendly as possible.  The solar farm makes the parish as a whole quite carbon positive.  We are also looking at building-based solar panels to make the Parish Council at least carbon neutral going forward and once again considering trying to establish a safe cycle route to Sherborne.

During the Covid period many community activities went into hibernation.  Historically, the Parish Council has given small grants to community groups to assist them in helping our parish to be a better place.  We would very much like this to start again, so please do ask.  We have slightly underspent as a Parish during Covid, and though the repairs to the Town Hall roof have eroded some of that, we are keen to see our clubs, societies and groups reinvigorated.  Do please follow up with the amazing Simon and Nathalie, our Clerk and Deputy Clerk.

Management of the Recreation Ground is properly a matter for the Trustees, but the Parish Council does still have residents expressing concern about the vexed question of ‘poop’.  We would encourage residents to follow the rules and keep your dog on a lead at the Rec, not because you do not clear up after it, but because some others do not, and it is a lot more embarrassing to ignore Rover’s doings if he is on a lead.  If all dogs are on leads, it will therefore probably mean less ‘poop’ where the Parish plays sport.

I am very much looking forward to serving our Parish.  My family has been made incredibly welcome since we moved here in 2006.  The Parish Council is here to try to help.  We do not always get everything right and we cannot always solve all the ills of the world – but we can try.  I am deeply indebted to the three chairmen since I have been a councillor – John, Richard and Austin – and I hope I may stand lightly on their considerable shoulders as we go forward in this wonderful place to live.

Tim Carty, Chairman of Milborne Port Parish Council

September Update

Big kids and small mark the installation of the new equipment at Gainsborough playpark

24th August, we gathered at the Gainsborough playpark to officially ‘welcome’ the new play equipment to the park.  Our event was attended by Council members as well as by South Somerset District Councillor Sarah Dyke (pictured below with Cllrs. Robert Tizzard and Tim Carty); some local residents and their children were also present, as well as some residents who were considering co-option onto the Council.  We did speak to Cllr. Tom Campbell about his being a little too old for the tractor but he refused to get off…!

A warm welcome to our new Councillors!

We are delighted to announce that at the Full Council meeting on 7th September, two new members were co-opted onto the Council:  Lyn Harrison and Anna Wagner.  Once they have found their feet, they will be invited to join one or more of our Committees, so more news to follow.   Also, we are equally delighted to announce that Cllr. Carty was elected as our new Parish Council Chairman and we look forward to working closely with him during his tenure.

Your Parish Council requires more Members

The Parish Council’s membership is still a little low and so over the next month or so the Council will be continuing to drum up some interest and to encourage some more 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.

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?

The deadline for applications for co-option at the November Full Council meeting is 25th October 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 (see below).

Blue Recycling Bags

If you are still without a blue recycling bag or would like a second, we have a stock of these in the Parish Council office in the Town Hall and we can issue one to you if you come to the office on a Tuesday morning between 9am and 12noon; we will ask you for your name, first line of your address and postcode so that we can inform South Somerset District Council that you have been issued with a bag.