Please find below links to the Notices for the Police and Crime Commissioner election.
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!
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
Please find below the links to the agenda for meeting and to the minutes of the last Annual Parish Meeting, held in April 2019.
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.
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.
Getting down to the nitty-gritty
We have installed a new grit bin on Pope’s Lane where the road meets the Higher Gunville pathway.
Like fire extinguishers, things that we must have but hope to never need to use… Like so many things in Local Government, grit bins are not straightforward. All the grit bins within the Parish are owned by the Parish Council, but it is the responsibility of Somerset County Council to fill them. The Parish Council regularly checks the bins and has been reporting the empty ones to Somerset County Council. Fingers crossed that they fill the empty ones soon.
New Community Website
Some residents might not be aware that we have a new community website: Milborne Port Community – Working Together. It is at the same website address as the old one www.milborneport.org.uk
If you are part of a community group and you would like us to publicise what you are doing, or even if you would like your own page on the website (at no cost to community groups), please get in touch by e-mailing email@example.com. As well as promoting community events on the website, we will post local news and information.
Finger post Near Canon Court Farm
Somerset County Council (SCC) is the authority responsible for public rights of way and they do their best, with support from the Parish Council, to keep the public rights of way well signposted and the stiles and gates in good repair. One of our councillors, Cllr. Debbie Barsby, often walks all the paths and reports defects to SCC and in the summertime, Cllr. Barsby can often be found out with a small group of volunteers, clearing back undergrowth and strimming grass to keep as many footpaths as accessible as possible.
There are others in the village that take a keen interest in the public rights of way as well and it was very disappointing to have been contacted by several of these interested residents at the start of January to report that, once again, the finger post that had been installed by SCC to indicate the public right of way that leads into Canon Court Farm has again been stolen. This is of course a criminal offence on two counts: one – the criminal damage to have removed it from its anchoring and two – the theft of the sign. This has now been reported by SCC to the police and we can only hope that it is investigated; if anyone witnesses anything untoward taking place regarding this issue, then do please contact crime stoppers (0800 555 111).
Badger Culling on Parish Council land
At the Full Council meeting in January, the Parish Council passed a motion stating that the Council has set a policy of always refusing permission to cull badgers on Parish Council land. The motion was passed by a large majority. Some that supported the motion did so owing to the practicalities and health and safety implications of having people using guns in or near play areas, rather than to make a political statement.
Support for Milborne Port Foodshare
The Parish Council has pledged its full support for the emerging village Foodshare group and has agreed to supply the group with a fridge/freezer and mobile phone.
Please see below the updated information regarding the virus:
Also, some residents might be interested in these:
A discussion about guarding mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic.
While the normal ceremonies of Remembrance Sunday were curtailed the Chairman of the Parish Council, Councillor Austin Fletcher spent some time of reflection with the Parish Clerk at the war memorial ahead of Armistice Day. Cllr Fletcher laid a reef on behalf of the whole of the Parish in remembrance of those who have made the ultimate sacrifice.
26th November 2020
For those of you that do visit the Cemetery, you may have seen a little yellow digger going up and down the path at the far end over the last few days and have wondered to yourself what was going on. Tongue-in-cheek speculation that a bypass for the busy A30 was being built just isn’t true.
In fact the whole length of the gravel path was being moved over by one metre as at some point in the past a grave has been dug into the path. While no records remain of why this decision was taken, clearly it feels disrespectful to the person laid to rest and their relatives to have a grave that is in the gravel path. Members of the Management Committee were keen to see the situation rectified and so Sherborne Garden Services were appointed to move the whole path over by one meter.
The area will now look a bit muddy until late spring, but it has been seeded and by the summer it should all be blending back in.
The Parish Council is delighted to welcome a new member of the team in the form of our new ranger, Martin Amos. Some of you might already have seen him working his new patch in the last few weeks, especially at Coldharbour and Pope’s Lane. Martin is an employee of South Somerset District Council but is deployed by the Parish Council on a Wednesday to complete a variety of maintenance tasks, including hedge cutting and tree surgery, clearing overgrown areas and helping the volunteers who tend to the Ball Court and Grove Garden. Do say ‘hello’ if you see him!
Safety and Parking Improvements Requested by the Parish Council
Over the last year, the Parish Office has been in receipt of many complaints with regards to dangerous parking along the A30; complaints have also been made to South Somerset District Council, Somerset County Council, and the Police. It seems it is not a case of waiting for an accident to happen, as two already have.
Back in late summer, some Members of the Parish Council, the Deputy Parish Clerk and the Senior Highways Officer from SCC conducted a site visit, walking the full length of the A30 as it passes through the village; they also looked at some other areas that have featured in complaints.
The SCC Highways Officer was then able to make recommendations to the Parish Council as to what SCC could do to address the problems. Originally, the Parish Council wanted time to consider and consult on the changes but the council was informed that a decision needed to be made by early November if the safety improvements were to be put into SCC 2021 programmed works. So, at the Full Council meeting at the start of November, Parish Council members agreed to approve the Highways Officer’s recommendations. The proposed changes are:
- Yellow lines around junctions coming off the A30 (as parking on the same is dangerous).
- Yellow lines in the narrow parts of the A30 (as parking in the same is leading to accidents).
- Yellow lines at the top of South Street to stop parking in front of the dropped kerb (following complaints that it has been blocked).
- A disabled parking bay introduced opposite the chemist.
- Time restricted parking directly outside the shops (with the support of the proprietors).
The council considered and rejected the notion of parking restrictions in North Street and Gainsborough.
The Parish Council has now issued a formal request to Somerset County Council (SCC) Highways Department for these safety improvements to be made. Somerset County Council will begin a consultation process in the new year.
Large Grant Awarded to Milborne Port Primary School
The Parish Council has been approached by the Primary School for financial support towards the purchase of 35 Chrome Books for pupils who, under the current Covid-19 restrictions, are studying from home. The school has no budget for this contingency and is applying to every source of grant funding it can find. Members of the Parish Council were pleased to be able to award £2,390 towards the total costs; this should buy 10 Chrome Books.
Springfield Play Park Refit
At the risk of raising expectations of anything happing soon, it is a fact that work is underway for planning for improvements to the Springfield Play Park. One of the upsides of new homes being built in the village is that each housing developer is obliged to help fund improvements to local infrastructure and money is now becoming available for extending the Play Area at Springfield. Over the coming months, many different ideas and plans will be looked at and consultation will be undertaken with the users (and parents!) to see if there is any preference as to what people would like to see added or changed. As with most projects in local government, it is likely that there are many hoops to be jumped through before any work on the ground starts but this is certainly a project that the Parish Council hopes will be completed by the end of 2021.
We would like to say a really big ‘thank you’ to local schoolboy, Ben Smith, who has started a year-long stretch of weekly litter-picking duties at our two playparks in order to achieve his next Duke of Edinburgh Award. So if you see Ben out and about in his hi-vis jacket with his trusty litter-picking gadget in hand, do say hello and give him some words of encouragement, especially if it is blowing a gale and pouring with rain!