Leigh-on-Mendip Parish Council


Newsletter   April 2009




The Annual Parish Meeting will be held at 8.00 pm on Monday the 18th May 2009 in the Memorial Hall, all parishioners are encouraged to attend.  This is an opportunity for you to hear what has been happening in your village and to raise any issues which concern you. The Parish Council Annual General Meeting will precede the Annual Parish Meeting at 7.30pm.


We have sustained a full and committed Parish Council all year. However, after several years on the Parish Council Ty Schlechter has resigned and we are now looking for another parishioner to be co-opted. Many thanks to Ty who has been a very active councillor especially in his roles on the Memorial Hall Committee, as Footpaths Officer and liaising with the police.


Councillors have attended forums and Mendip DC meetings where they have an impact on our village.  We are pleased to have support from both our District Councillors (Claire Fleming and Philip Ham) at most of our meetings, as well as our County Councillor (Gloria Cawood).  Of course all of this only happens because of the efficient organisation and guidance by the Clerk. Sandrine has continued to keep order within the bounds of the red tape and to deal with increasing amounts of communication.


The present council is:

Chris Cudmore:         2 Oak Leaf Court      813735     (Chairman & webmaster)

Frank Higgins:          Fox Hollow                812087     (Highways rep)

Rose Martin:            2 Park Hayes             813680     (Rec Field rep & Police Liaison)

Marsha Read:           Grove Shute Farm     812917     (Memorial Hall rep)

Alf Smith:                Ivy Lodge                  813478     (SALC and Quarry rep)

Vicki Taylor:             3 Perrys Cottages      813942     (School rep)

One vacancy                                                     


Parish & Cemetery Clerk

Sandrine Vaillant:      Burleigh Cottage        812563     Email:    lom.pc”at”btinternet.com



Aims.  The Parish Council represents the parish objectively and without prejudice, to liaise with both county and district councils to ensure effective services, manage the spending of precept for the benefit of the parish and to protect and improve the parish’s assets. We do this through consultation – Parish Plan, Village Design Statement, ad hoc open meetings and at monthly Parish Council meetings - and through delegation to management committees for the Memorial Hall and the Recreation Field.  Representations can be made at any time to the members of the Parish Council or the Clerk. Communication is by the two Parish Noticeboards and the Village Website.  Recently the Clerk has set up an emailing list for those who wish to receive Parish Council news and events directly (contact the Clerk if you wish to participate).


During the last year the Parish Council has made responses to various Mendip District Council planning documents including the “Time to Plan” workshop and the Sustainable Community Strategy and Local Development Framework Core Strategy papers.  This consultation process will eventually set the policies for local planning and the shape of our village in the future.



Precept. The parish precept for the present year is £5,957. This was an increase of 2% but only resulted in a 0.3% increase in the annual charge for a band D property (£29.50).  The budget was a balance between keeping any increase to a minimum whilst allowing for continued support to facilitate various options and choices which were popular responses in the Village Plan but without significantly reducing our reserves required to secure land for a new cemetery.


Expenditure in the last year was again split between (a) grants to support actions from the Parish Plan, (b) maintenance & administration and (c) salaries of Clerk and Cemetery Clerk.  The cemetery maintenance costs were covered by the cemetery fees. Our largest grants supported the Memorial Hall extension, a mower for the Recreation Field and the new roof for the Recreation Field.  The Parish Council also obtained a grant of £1,800 from the East Mendip Community Partnership for the Youth Club, summer bulbs and a Village Welcome Pack.



Cemetery. The management of the closed churchyard still remains with Mendip District Council.  The grass mowing and hedge trimming continue to be contracted by the parish. We continue to keep an eye open for land suitable to extend the cemetery.  This is becoming more urgent each year. 



Planning.  Eleven applications have been considered and recommendations made to Mendip DC.  The Parish Council has only an advisory role to uphold the long-term interests of the parish within the current planning policies.  Planning information is now available on the Mendip DC website. The main issues have been to conform with the Village Design Statement and to minimise street parking. 



Parish Plan.  Following the issue of the Parish Plan in December 2006 a number of the actions have progressed this year including the completion of the Memorial Hall extension, further refurbishment of the Recreation Field Clubhouse, planting of summer bulbs and the drafting of a new Welcome Pack.  Volunteers within the village have made tremendous efforts to establish activities for the young (Youth Club) and not-so-young (LOMCA). Graham and Caroline Harris being awarded a Somerset County Council Chairman’s Award for Service to the Community.    



Highways. A frustrating year. Following the site meeting with SCC Highways Department in December 2007 the Parish Council has been lobbying for action at all levels.  Eventually lines have been re-painted at Townsend but not in the agreed position to emphasise the poor width and visibility.  Drop-off parking around the school remains a problem to which there appears no easy solution apart from encouraging parents to walk, park further up the road or use the Hall car park. On a more positive note a driver awareness course was held in March and a speed indicator device is scheduled for the village at regular intervals.



Street cleaning has continued 5 times per year. Dates are advertised on the Noticeboards and on the website, but leaflets have proven to be the most effective way of reminding residents to move cars; unfortunately there are still a small number who ignore the request.  The cleaning contractors are now cleaning the full extent of the pavement towards Soho.  It is the responsibility of the landowner to cut hedges adjacent to roads and footpaths.



Street Lighting – Following a request by a parishioner, restricted street lighting options have been discussed (e.g. none, restricted hours, alternate lights, less bright) in order to reduce light pollution and save energy. However there are safety and security risks and changes must be agreed by Somerset County Council who are currently running a trial scheme.



Police Community Support Officer. We were pleased to welcome Yvonne Mears as our new PCSO in 2009.  Regular patrols continue to be carried out, reassurance leaflets have been posted and all Neighbourhood Watch coordinators have been contacted.



Footpaths.  Our Footpaths Officer has dealt with several issues during the year to ensure that our footpaths are available for the public and that the landowners’ rights are protected.  Dog owners, please remember to control dogs wherever there may be livestock and remember it is an offence to foul pavements & public areas such as the Recreation Field.



Quarry.  The Parish Council visited Halecombe quarry in June and a Halecombe Quarry Liaison Meeting (chaired by our County Councillor, Gloria Cawood) was held in January. New terms of reference were agreed and meetings should now be held quarterly. Tarmac continue to be responsive to village requests including providing stone for the hall car park and sponsoring the Fair.



Website. The Village Website, at www.leigh-on-mendip.org.uk, is kept up to date with events, minutes, contact information and pictures. Graphics are minimised to provide quick access with dial-up for those without Broadband.  All are urged to make use of the facility to advertise events, submit pictures and any village articles, suggestions, and comments via the Webmaster (Chris Cudmore) or the Clerk.  Thanks to Dave Turner for hosting the website and Tom Turner for his technical support.



Finally, a “thank you” to the Councillors for their (unpaid) enthusiasm and efforts, additionally the Parish Clerk for her communications and organisation;  and all those who work to keep the village organisations running smoothly.




Chris Cudmore


April 2009