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Minutes of the Annual Parish Meeting held on Tuesday 20th May 2014

Minutes of the Annual Parish Meeting held in the Village Hall on Tuesday 20th May 2014 at 7.30 pm.

1. Apologies: None.

Present: Cllrs M. Baker, M. Smith, R. Triggol, P. Lennard, M. Allen, J. Bunney and T. Oxman.

Also: Cllr D. Alder (SDC) and Cllr D. Hall (SCC).

Members of the Public: Mr and Mrs Watts, Mr R. Woodward, Mr and Mrs F. Hunt, Mr S. Hill and Miss Hill, Mrs C Russ, Mrs A. Jarvis, Mr and Mrs Maxwell, Mrs L. Allen, Mr A. Jeffery and Mrs Aubrey (Stop Hinkley campaign).

2. Minutes of the previous Annual Parish Meeting of 28th May 2013 were read, agreed and signed by the Chairman.

3. Chairmanís report 2014.   
Cllr Triggol reported that the Parish Council were pleased to continue to fund maintenance costs for the bus shelter and garden at £400.00 per year. He thanked Mr R. Beale for his hard work. Also, the cost of grass cutting at the Playing Field by Mr P. Clapp at £350.00 for the past year. Amenity Grants continued to the Playing Field Association at £221.00 and Village Hall Committee at £137.00, together with funding towards the cost of Churchyard maintenance (under s 137) at £171.00. He reported on the two Health and Wellbeing grants received from the County Council through David Hall which had funded the village defibrillator (£1920.00) and training and the acquisition of the carpet short mat bowls set (£966.00) for use by villagers. Cllr Hallís efforts were very much appreciated. Cllr Triggol reminded the meeting that the substantial funds held in the Nat West enhanced bond (£12013.39) were earmarked for future use in the cost of establishing and fencing a new burial ground behind the Churchyard when it eventually becomes full up.

Cllr Triggol ended by thanking the councillors and the Clerk for their hard work during the year,

4. Somerset County Council report.
Cllr Hall updated the meeting as follows:-
  • Flooding on the Sonerset Levels.  With flood waters having subsided he emphasised the need for pressure to be maintained on the authorities for continued funding in the future for flood defences. At present there were adequate funds and strong involvement by the Government, especially Owen Patterson, (Environment Minister). The long term action plan is available on line for public consumption and he would supply hard copies on demand. There were plans to raise the A372 to try to ensure better access to Muchelney in future (funds already earmarked for this). Dredging of an 8 km stretch of the rivers Tone and Parrett were well under way. Moves are afoot to restructure the levy to spead the cost of flood defences more evenly and fairly amongst the general public (i.e those residing in areas where the affected rivers were sourced as well as those living in the flood affected areas). Cllr Smith reported an area between Peasey Farm Bawdrip and Temple Farm Chedzoy Lane, behind his house, had flooded for the first time during the winter. The former ROF plant at Puriton used to pump vast amounts of water away from the KSD using the pumping station near Crandon Bridge. Cllr Alder reported the equipment there had not been maintained and was now useless. He went on to say there appeared to be no flooding problems around the river Brue towards the Huntspill area.
  • Highway damage. Although sufficient funding was available here, there was likely to be a scarcity of manpower.
  • Roundabout at A39 at Cannington. This is progressing and Cllr Hall added that there was optimism that there would be final agreement by all parties for the go ahead of the Hinkley Point expansion plans, hopefully towards the end of 2014.
  • High Speed Broadband. This is now back on track after delays to necessary roadworks due to the flooding closing the A361 and the diversion of traffic along the A39. Government funding of £22.5 million was available and Somerset was fighting to get a share.
  • Health and Wellbeing budget. He said there was likely to be further funds available this coming year and he advised the Parish Council to give some thought to what they may think is suitable items to spend this on.
5. Sedgemoor District Council report.
Cllr Alder reported the following:-
  • Flooding demands on staff. He said Sedgemoor Council had provided manpower to run the flooding rest area 24/7 for 4 weeks. 30000 sandbags had been distributed and 20 porta-loos and 90000 sandbags removed.   
  • Sedgemoor had built more houses.
  • 34 staff membersí posts had been lost.
  • Funds of the order of £100 million had facilitated the new hospital, additionally Morrisonís distribution centre provided many new jobs (68% of which were taken by local residents), together with Mulberry, The Range and the expansion the Portaloo distribution centre.
  • 60 new businesses had been set up in the last year  (one man enterprises).
6. Questions from the floor.
Glastonbury Town Council letter.
The Clerk said this letter which opposes the expansion of Hinkley Point and seeks support from all town and parish councils in Somerset, had been received and considered at the last parish council meeting, but it was felt appropriate to delay any response until consideration had been given by this eveningís public meeting.

Cllr Smith said he thought it was a bit late in the day for the matter to be debated. Cllr Oxman said that if the expansion did not go ahead then where would the electricity supplies come from? Cllr Allen felt it would be a fairly futile gesture at this stage, but it was only correct for the letter to be considered. He said the engineering was sound, it was a pity the matter was in the hands of a French company (although someone like Westinghouse was now foreign owned). The terrorist threat was everywhere these days. The radioactive waste would in all likelihood be staying on site. The strike price agreed at £92 per megawatt hour seemed high. Ongoing expertise was needed well into the future to ensure the safe operation of the plant. David Hall said that we had been through 5 years of public consultations with all aspects having been exhaustively explored and the decision had already been made in principle to proceed. The Chairman invited all present to raise issues and Mrs Jarvis said she had always been uneasy about the movement of radioactive waste, although she conceded we do need electricity supplies..

Allan Jeffery said that in Japan following the earthquake, all nuclear plants had been shut down and yet there had been no subsequent power cuts. He felt renewable sources could be expanded. Mr Hill said he thought Chedzoyís views would not make any difference at this stage, and further that disruption by construction activity and traffic would be a problem even if alternatives were developed, like a Severn barrage.

The Chairman made sure all views were aired, and then called for a vote by the councillors on the general matter of the expansion of Hinkley Point, the result of which was as follows:-

For the expansion: 6     Abstentions: 1

The Clerk was asked to reply to the letter appropriately.

There being no other business the Chairman declared the meeting closed.



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