Annual Parish Report for 2012

Following the elections last May, the present Council was formed with the addition of Peter Langmaid who was co-opted to fill the space vacated as a result of  Wayne Closier’s decision to resign from his seat on the Parish Council.

An important role of the Parish Council has been to consider Planning Applications submitted to us.  Whilst the Mendip District Council Planning Authority doesn’t have to agree with our recommendations it must consider our views before making a decision.

During the year we have considered in the region of 30 planning applications.  These have ranged from Change of Use of land, Tree works, Renovations and Extensions, Renewal of permissions, Conversions and  we have also been included in consultations regarding the siting of a wind turbine at Warren Farm. Our recommendations are based on materials used, effect on neighbouring properties and the impact of the design on the village.  We have tended to support applications where the local economy can benefit and have taken into account where appropriate the comments of parishioners who may be affected by planning decisions.  I am, however, pleased that the Council has remained true to its Vision Statement.  The development at the Brewery will meet Mendip’s anticipated build for the village.  We do not need a further large development in the village.

On the question of The Brewery Development, we have been disappointed with the lack of progress and concerned with the general state of the site and in response to our own and those of parishioners have requested that the developers take steps to make it safe, and to remove heaps of rubble which are an eyesore and may be devaluing the price of neighbouring properties.  We have been told the developers are awaiting the results of a Bat Survey before any further work can continue!

The Finance sub Committee have yet again have managed to keep the precept at £9000.  We receive a monthly statement from Sandrine and the only major budgetary overspend has been on the election, where we were advised to budget £500, but due to more candidates  wishing to stand, additional costs were incurred for the printing of  ballot papers.  My thanks to Phil Briscoe who chaired the committee.

The Council made the decision to take part in the Diamond Jubilee Celebrations and we have been very pleased with the Diamond Jubilee Committee’s plans for June 3rd.  We hope the village will come together and celebrate through the exciting programme of events that have been arranged.  Perhaps this could be the first of many future annual events in the village.  I would like to extend the Council’s thanks to Pam Dennis and the Jubilee Committee for their hard work in the months leading up to the event next month.  I would like to thank the many sponsors who have given generously and I look forward to meeting Amy Williams who has agreed to join us in our celebrations.

We have continued to welcome Steve Priscott and Harvey Siggs to our meetings to update us on both district and county issues.   Wayne Closier has been unable to attend but will forward any information that may be of interest to the Council and is available via email or telephone if we need him to follow up anything for us.  

Training is available to Councils, organised either through Mendip District Council or through Somerset Association of Local Councils.  To date Janis Thomson has attended ‘New Councillor’ training, Peter Dennis and David Barlow have attended ‘Code of Practice’ training and David Barlow has attended training for Chairs of Councils. Sarah Emery,  Sandrine Vaillant, Peter Dennis and David Barlow have attended a Planning update.

Highways and Footpaths
Brian Wells continues to badger Highways over potholes and signage, while we have also registered our concerns the amount of litter on some of our roads, the state of the pathway leading into the village, and the damage to the verges and excessive mud along Simbriss Lane and Pound Lane.  We regularly receive update regarding speed monitoring through the village and recently discussed with Harvey Siggs, the safety issues surrounding the top junction leading into the village.

We are indebted to Lis Rose who undertakes Footpath clearance and David Perkins who cleared Hogs weed from the pavement leading up to the junction with A37/A367.  We have pushed to have this pavement surfaced and await a decision from Harvey Siggs.  Lizzie Lewis has taken on organising the Village Litter Picking group, and any footpath issues should be sent to myself who then will notify the County Footpaths Liaison Officer.

Parish Newsletter
The first Parish Council Newsletter was published in October.  The aim was to update parishioners on our work.  I received very positive feedback and I hope our initiative showed everyone that as a Council we welcomed comment, attendance at meetings and generally promoted transparency in our dealings.

Parish Website
The Village website has continued to develop thanks to Peter Langmaid and should be visited regularly as there are often surprises in store!  It is an excellent source of information, regularly updated  by Peter with minutes, photographs exclusives, club news and village events. 

Thank you also to Jack Stringer who occasionally looks after technical problems.

We received a presentation from Paul Weller who advised us of Government changes which would affect running of the Post Office.  We would urge all parishioners to make use of this excellent facility.

The Agenda and draft minutes are always available on the Parish Notice Boards, at the Brewery, the pound and outside the Post Office in Gurney Slade.

In conclusion
I would also like to extend the Council’s thanks to Sandrine, our Clerk.  She has brought a wealth of experience, patience and her laptop to our meetings and kept everyone well informed.  Thank you.

Thank you to my fellow councillors for your valuable input, and your patience.

Finally can I thank two stars, Jamie and Alex Williams, who have run, cycled and walked around our parish distributing fliers for this evening’s meeting.  


David Barlow
Chair, Ashwick Parish Council