Leigh-on-Mendip Parish Council

Newsletter April 2002



The annual general meeting and annual parish meeting will be held on Tuesday 7th May at 7.30 and 8.00 p.m. respectively in the Hall. If you have anything that you would like to raise as being of concern to the Village the APM is your opportunity to do so.

No elections were held during 2001.

One councillor left the council, - Neville Park.

The Councillors are:

Tony GouldFirwood, Wyke Champflower01749 812287
Gerald Jeanes Gatcombe House, Stocks Lane813121
Peter Knowles 20 Park Hayes812149
Margaret Loten 6 The Old Sawmills812922
Paul Moore 11 Bellfield812392
John Wright The Post House, Leigh Stree812317
Parish Clerk:
Jackie Longley Doors Hill Farm, Soho812050
Cemetery Clerk
Mary Mears Brookfield, The Old Sawmills812415.

Parish Council Vacancy. There is presently a vacancy on the Parish Council for a co-opted member. Any parish member who would like to join the council should give their name to the Parish Clerk. The quadriennial elections are due in May 2003, so the initial (sampling?) period would be twelve months.

Cemetery. The funding of the closed churchyard is still under discussion with the District Council, and depends on the completion of adequate maintenance before the PC assumes responsibility, the continuing insurance cover, and an indemnity against major funding requirements in the future. The new cemetery extension continues to mature, and is presently self financing. Our thanks to the Cemetery Clerk, and to the willing helpers in maintaining it.

Planning. A number of planning applications have been considered during the year, and noted in the published minutes. There are no particularly controversial applications outstanding. Of those noted last year, the Cotswold walling at the Pastures development was approved by an employee in the MDC planning department, and our efforts to remedy this have met with no success. This is still being pursued, and is currently with our M.P. The Halecombe development was not objected to by the PC. but met some opposition at DC level.

There has been a suggestion that the village should apply for help in establishing some low cost, rental or starter houses. This would of course, depend on suitable land becoming available. and finance being raised by a housing association. It would depend on a firm requirement for such housing by villagers, or close relatives, or returning villagers, and we anticipate having a survey to establish this.

Precept. The precept for the present year is 3422 which represents an annual charge for a band D property of 17.96, and whilst average for similar councils, has been increased to cover anticipated grants, and leave an adequate reserve,

Web site. The comments made in the last Newsletter do not seem to have been taken to heart. For this to be a viable entity it must be updated regularly. Meetings, events, Hall functions, Pub menus, Rec Field matches, school functions, Church events. The question for all villagers should be " what have I got to put on the web site?"

Footpaths and roads. The responsibility for the roads has passed back to Somerset CC, although in practice this seems to mean that WS Atkins continue to do the work. This work is generally unsatisfactory. Following the long predicted accident at Towsnend in December, we were assured that the road markings, and the approach signs would be modified as a matter of urgency. A letter received in March now claims that an order to do something about it will be issued in April. The lack of funding does not appear to have inhibited the indiscriminate digging of scrapes in the verges of single width roads, which seems likely to cause trouble in due course. The highway department have also been asked to apply the "30" roundels within the village which have been painted in Chantry, Stoke, and other villages. We propose continuing with the substitution of kissing gates for stiles, subject to the agreement of the landholder and the availability of adequate funding.

Youth facilities. The Somerset Youth services, who were contacted at the time of the last annual meeting, provided a forum for one evening a week for twelve weeks. It was generally considered successful, but could only be continued at a cost far beyond the parish means. Unless a volunteer youth leader could be found then the scheme is in abeyance.

Parish Wardens. The Parish Warden scheme has been in operation for nearly nine months, and following comments from villagers, they were asked to make themselves more widely known in the village. They have addressed various meetings, and their telephone numbers

01749 840156 or 07810 719305 should be noted for contact if any requirement arises.

Amenities. It is to be regretted that the village shop has had to close, but the Post Office continues for two mornings a week in the hall. The Library attends fortnightly at the Hall, and the bus service continues to be appreciated.

General. There are many central government initiatives being proposed in respect of Parish Councils. After the hastily withdrawn requiem from Michael Meacher, we have had Village Plans, Vital Villages, Parish Code of Conduct, Parish Council Training, Quality Parish Councils, Planning role for Parish Councils, and Grass Roots Democracy. It is perhaps difficult to imagine the funds for these projects reaching beyond the publicity and administration of the organisations set up to administer them. We shall see.

As Chairman, I would express my appreciation of the hard work put in by the councillors, by the Parish Clerk Jackie Longley, by Mrs Green at the Post Office, and by Mrs Baker as prescriptions holder and by all those who help so ably to keep the village organisations running,

Read the Parish Council Newsletter - April 2001