ANNUAL PARISH MEETING
Wednesday 22nd March at 7.00pm BACH
1. Welcome and introductions by the Parish Council Chairman, Cllr H Ellis
Adoption of the Minutes of the APM meeting in March 2016
Annual Report of West Monkton Parish Council for 2016/2017
2. APM Panel of speakers
Brief reports from:
· Philip White, CEO Hestercombe Gardens Trust
· Georgina Wood, Canal and Rivers Trust
· Ian Robinson, Headmaster West Monkton Primary School
· Rev Mary Stiles, South Quantocks Benefice
· Audrey Mansfield Village Agent
3. Questions from the floor to the Panel of Speakers
Ø Written Reports will be posted on the Parish website:
Ø New residents to the Parish can request a Welcome Pack
Ø Enjoy the opportunity to meet other residents and talk to the speakers
This event is free. Light refreshments will be available. All residents of the Parish are very welcome
Message from Audrey Mansfield -Village Agent
New text number to combat rural crime – 81819
The Police are launching a new text service to help prevent and detect rural crime.
You can provide information and intelligence about suspected crime in your area by texting the Rural Crime Team on 81819.
No matter how small or insignificant people may think information is, it may be a vital piece of a jigsaw that helps the Police fill in the gaps and either prevent a crime or bring offenders to justice.
The number won’t be monitored 24/7 but the team will be looking at it when they are on duty, so it shouldn’t be used for reporting crimes, or anything which requires an immediate police attendance. In those circumstances please dial 999.
You can still pass on information via the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111. They never ask your name or trace your call.
AVIAN INFLUENZA (BIRD FLU) OUTBREAK IN THE UK
Brittons Ash Community Hall
The BACH is up and running and we are looking for people to join us in making this a fabulous hub for the community.
Would you like to do any of the following:
join the Management Committee,
lock up at night and open up in the morning,
take bookings and manage the diary?
Please contact Cllr Gage 07752723311, Cllr Cavill 07739079464, or
email [email protected]
If you would like to make a booking please contact any of the above.
West Monkton Parish Council
Comments on M5 Junction 25 Improvement Scheme
Overall, West Monkton Parish Council supports the scheme, since the modelling that has been done would indicate a faster movement of traffic through the junction. It is good to know that there is an anticipation that the new road will link into the larger scheme being delivered by Highways England improving the A358.
Thank you for explaining the issues with the culvert of the Broughton Stream and the utilities that follow the same path. The Parish Council supports the forward thinking behind building the new road to the south, so that the employment site is opened up for development and at some point in the future the pinch point created by the culvert can be addressed without the unacceptable need to close the A358.
The major disappointment is that the improvements to the Creech Castle junction are not rapidly following behind this scheme. Despite comments in the presentation that a faster motorway junction would relieve congestion at the Creech Castle, those with local knowledge of this part of the road infrastructure would disagree. As the Improvement Scheme must be completed by 2020, would it be possible to increase the pressure for funding for the Creech Castle junction? West Monkton Parish Council understands that the scheme at Creech Castle is now top priority for SCC, and in the top 6 for LEP funding, but is there anything else that can be done to strengthen the case? West Monkton Parish Council is very keen to see this related part of the ‘jigsaw’ delivered, together with the Western Relief Road, so that traffic flows through the parish are alleviated; and the steady destruction of the back lanes in West Monkton is reduced. The cost of repairs to the back lanes has an impact on West Monkton Parish Council finances. The Parish Council notes that the reference to Creech Castle in the presentation was in terms of improving the Toneway and access into Taunton. Please be aware that the few ideas that West Monkton Parish Council has seen for the Creech Castle improvements will not help traffic flow on the Eastern Relief Road or Western Relief road, and this consideration needs an equal priority to the access to Taunton when the improvements to Creech Castle are undertaken.
The lighting scheme for the Junction 25 Improvement Scheme was explained to be very ecologically friendly, using down lighters and led lights. West Monkton Parish Council supports ‘Dark Sky’ policies and the lighting scheme as described seems to be the most acceptable in the circumstances. Additionally, West Monkton Parish Council would support tree planting and landscaping as appropriate, and use of wildflower/meadow planting for the verges.
West Monkton Parish Council hopes that the most recently available data was used in the traffic modelling so that projections for the effects of the increased number of houses in the Urban Extension are included and the effects of push button controls on the junction to allow cyclists and walkers to use the cycle/footpaths to safely cross the junction.
To increase the connectivity of the employment site with local housing, West Monkton Parish Council suggests that the footpath which connects Ruishton with Bathpool,(T22/18, T22/19, T 22/11 and T32/4) is upgraded for its full length into a cyclepath/footpath. The footpath is part of the Sustrans network, but the landowner does not maintain the footpath in a user friendly condition.
West Monkton Parish Council
Response to government consultation on ‘The 2017/18 Local Government Finance Settlement Technical Consultation Paper
The government invited responses to the paper in a series of questions: West Monkton Parish Council responded to those questions that were relevant to Parish Councils of a comparable size to WMPC. You can see all the questions in the consultation document on www.gov.uk. Consultation closes 28 October 2016.
Question 4: Do you agree that referendum principles should be extended to larger, higher-spending town and parish councils in 2017/18 as set out in paragraphs 3.3.3 to 3.3.4?
The area called Monkton Heathfield in the parish of West Monkton has been determined as an Urban Extension as part of Taunton Deane’s Core Strategy Growth area planning. This means that by 2028 the parish will have grown from a semi-rural parish of 1200 houses, to a small town of 6000 houses with associated services and employment areas. This makes our Parish the second largest development area in the southwest. Currently our precept falls below the level of ‘Referendum Principles’. This freedom has so far allowed the Parish to respond quickly to unforeseen needs of the rapidly growing community, whereas Referendum Principles would not. The effect of introducing Referendum Principles would be to stifle the delivery of local democracy to local communities. Special circumstances would need to be considered where Urban Extensions are rapidly increasing the size of communities: those councils would need to be able to raise their precept beyond Referendum Principles to keep up with the growth and needs of their communities.
Question 5: Do you agree with the proposed approach to take account of the transfer of responsibilities to town and parish councils as outlined in paragraph 3.3.5?
The increase shown in Table 1 only reflects the cuts at County and District level, meaning that Parish Councils are delivering more services, not necessarily by devolved services, but simply by default. To seek to control this increase is to stifle the natural growth of communities.
The proposed approach is simplistic since in many cases principal authorities have cut a service without any consultation with Parishes. To expect devolution of services to happen ‘provided the parish council and the principal authority agree on three conditions’ imposes a level of negotiation and legal/financial expertise that Parish Councils do not easily have access to. Expert services are expensive to hire, and probably not budgeted for, and the skills base of the Parish Councillors may not cover the conditions. Unlike district and county authorities, there is often only one employee the Clerk, quite probably employed part time, and this level of bureaucracy is undeliverable in those circumstances as the extra work required would be unlikely to be able to be accommodated within the Clerk’s working hours. If the government’s position would be to increase the hours in the Clerk’s contract – this would place extra pressure on the budget working within referendum principles.
Question 6: Do you have any comments on the suggestion that referendum principles may be extended to all local precepting authorities as set out in paragraph 3.3.6? If so what level of principle should be set?
Parish Councils should not be subject to the sort of capping that is proposed: although government may wish to set a cap at a much higher level, so that profligacy is avoided e.g. £8.00 increase on tax band D. The proposed government intervention to control the handing over of services is unwieldy, overly bureaucratic, and likely to be undeliverable: therefore allow Parish Councils to continue to negotiate with their District /County Authorities as they do at present. This would avoid the ‘one size fits all’ type of legislation, and respects the spirit of the Localism Act 2011 whch was all about local government by local people for local communities. West Monkton Parish Council, with many others, has embraced the empowerment the new legislation provided. Suitably qualified, the Parish Council has been able to support a number of schemes through its grant giving powers (from bread making classes to burial ground toilets) and is working with the community to make a Neighbourhood Plan. The absence of Referendum Principles means that West Monkton Parish Council is able to respond quickly and effectively to events that reflect the rapid growth of the community in this Parish.
If the government does extend referendum principles to all local precepting authorities, then where a parish is located within a Growth Area, as is the case of West Monkton Parish within Taunton Deane, it should be possible for the Parish Council to apply for special exemptions which would remove referendum principles from increases in precept due to factors associated with said growth.
Question 7: Do you have views on the practical implications of a possible extension of referendum principles to all local precepting authorities as set out in paragraph 3.3.7?
The cost of a referendum would be prohibitive. Issues of proportionality, practicality and cost therefore absolutely would (not ‘could’) be raised by such a step.
So practically speaking, as would be the case for West Monkton Parish Council, a budget would be created and a precept set that stayed within the limits. This would be ridiculous – an increase of 1.99% on the current precept (£36485.00) would in broad figures, yield £726.00 which barely covers the cost of one notice board (circa £600.00) or one dog bin including emptying services. If the alternative of a £5 increase on the band D tax base was taken, it would allow more flexibility, as the precept could increase to circa £43,000.00 from £36,485.00 but even so, larger schemes, such as the employment of a part time assistant Clerk will be difficult to deliver in addition to other growth and grants. (Rough maths – 10 hours per month at £10.00 per hour = £100.00 per month PLUS the cost of tax/insurance/pension = total per annum £1620.00). And delivery of multiple large schemes due to growth, as West Monkton Parish Council is doing at the moment (employment of extra staff, delivery of new community hall, management of website/other social media, outreach to new community of 6000 homes by 2028, making a Neighbourhood Plan) would be restricted by a need to avoid triggering referendum principles.
West Monkton Parish Council has embraced the growth that has come to it in the form of an urban extension, and views its role as facilitating the development of a new community and successfully integrating it into the existing. But government must be aware that volunteers such as Parish Councillors and others who work to enhance their local communities need helpful support, not stifling restriction. Parish volunteers are perfectly capable of working within a sensible budget; but people get disenchanted by endless obstacles and growth will slow as enthusiasm fades.
So the government’s proposals could result in nothing more than standing still and no improvements or increase to services that the community may request.
West Monkton Parish Council
Register of Assets of Community Interest and Right to Buy
The Register of Community Assets is a recent initiative set up by the government to allow Parishes all over the country to register Assets of Community interest with their Local Authority. The assets can be land or buildings. A number of local Parishes have registered Assets of Community Interest and you can see the list on Taunton Deane website www.tauntondeane.gov.uk.
Once registered, the Parish Council has the right to buy the asset, at market value, and has 6 months to exercise the right if the asset were to come on the market.
At the Parish council meeting in May, it was agreed to register certain assets within the parish with Taunton Deane. Accordingly, a list was created at the Parish Council meeting in June under Minute 105/16.
The list follows: do you have any suggestions to add to the list? Please contact the Clerk or any Parish Councillor.
105/16 Assets for consideration: Farriers Green Park, new football pitches, strip of land west of Greenway down Allens Brook, Monkton Inn, new tree planted area at Hartnells, Rugby Club, West Monkton Village Hall, Spital Almshouses and allotments, Tacchi-Morris and Space, Heathfield School, traditional orchards, Bathpool chapel, St Augustines, Heathfield Drive Community Centre, Camping park at Tanpitts, ancient parkland at Walford.
|Somerset County Council
|Next phase of road improvements for Monkton Heathfield|
|The next phase of major development in Monkton Heathfield will get underway this summer with the start of key road improvements.
Plans for new homes, a new local centre and the relocation of West Monkton Primary School were approved by the Planning Inspector back in 2008 and included a legal agreement for the developers Persimmon and Redrow to improve the road network.
Part of this work included the construction of the Eastern Relief Road – now recategorised as the A38 – which opened in late 2015 to provide a safe bypass around the village.
With the new primary school building now on track for an October opening, the next step will see Persimmon and Redrow deliver a package of improvements to Bridgwater Road (the old A38). These include a whole new frontage near the school and local centre, new 20mph zone, traffic calming and a bus gate.
The bus gate will be placed just past the Milton Hill junction and means only buses will be able to use Bridgwater Road. All through traffic except buses will be directed along the new A38 Eastern Relief Road instead.
These road improvements will be funded and delivered by Persimmon and Redrow and were agreed through the planning process to allow the new development to go-ahead as part of a masterplan for the whole area.
Hazel Ellis, chairman of West Monkton Parish Council, said: “We’re all looking forward to the completion of the new school and village centre which should be something the whole community can be proud of.
“The changes to the road network are key to this, as by reducing the volume of traffic on Bridgwater Road it will prevent Monkton Heathfield being split by a busy road and help preserve the community feel of the village.
“We’re pleased the work is starting soon and look forward to receiving confirmed plans from the developer.”
Ian Robinson, Headteacher of West Monkton CofE Primary School, said: “We’re very excited about our new school and very much looking forward to relocating in the autumn. However, if the school opened tomorrow I would have major concerns about children having to cross the busy road as it currently stands.
“These plans should greatly reduce the volume and speed of traffic to make a much safer environment for our children, which will hopefully encourage more families to leave the car at home and walk to school instead.”
Cllr Roger Habgood, Taunton Deane Borough Council’s executive member for planning and transport, said: “I am delighted these works are about to start as they are an essential part of this important development.
“This work will provide a better environment for residents by directing through traffic around the village and is therefore another important step in delivering the overall Monkton Heathfield urban extension.”
Cllr David Fothergill, Somerset County Council’s Cabinet Member for Highways, said: “We’ve seen a great deal of development in this area in recent years and we need to do our bit to provide the community with the infrastructure it needs.
“I’m pleased to see the new primary school taking shape, and we’re now doing the necessary paperwork so the developer can start making the agreed improvements to the local road network.
“We’ll all have to adjust our journeys to allow for these changes, but it’s a minor detour which will soon become second nature – and it will make a huge difference for the people who live in Monkton Heathfield.”
The exact dates and programmes for the road improvements are still to be confirmed by the developer but are expected to start in mid-May. The works will require a closure of Bridgwater Road at times, with though traffic instead directed along the A38 Eastern Relief Road.
For further information, please contact the Press Office on 01823 355020 or email [email protected].
Next meeting of West Monkton Parish Council will be on Weds 10th August 2016 at 7.00pm at West Monkton Village Hall. Public Question time has a place on the agenda, usually reached by about 7.15pm. Agendas will be posted on the Parish Noticeboards and also in this web site under Parish Council meeting agendas. Members of the public are welcome to attend, and at the discretion of the Chairman, they can be invited to speak. Agenda is posted on ‘Next Meeting agenda’ and will appear on noticeboards in the Parish.
Parish Council meeting dates in 2016
All meetings are at West Monkton Village Hall, all start at 7.00pm on the second Wednesday of the month. All meetings are open for the public to speak during Public Question Time, which is usually reached by about 7.15pm.
COMMUNITY INFRASTRUCTURE LEVY ANNUAL REPORT
PARISH COUNCIL: West Monkton
Reported year: 1st April 2015 to 31st March 2016
Total CIL receipts for reported year: £4527.00
Total CIL expenditure for reported year: nil
Summary of CIL expenditure:
NB: All CIL monies must be spent within 5 years of receipt.
Total value of CIL receipts, subject to notices served in accordance with Regulation 59E during the reported year, required to be repaid to TDBC:
Total value of CIL receipts, subject to notices served in accordance with Regulation 59E during any year, not yet repaid to TDBC:
Total CIL receipts from this reported year retained for future spending:
Total CIL receipts from previous years retained for future spending:
Copy of report to be emailed to [email protected]
Report to be published on Parish Council website by 31 December.