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Minutes of the Annual Parish Meeting held on Wednesday 18th May 2016

The Annual Parish Meeting, held in the Village Hall on Wednesday 18th May 2016, at approximately 7.45pm (actually started at 7.30pm), following the Annual Meeting of the Parish Council.

1. Apologies. None.

Present: Cllrs. Martin Allen, Martin Baker, Brian Gale, Pat Lennard, Katrina Maxwell, Terry Oxman and Ray Triggol- also present Cllr. David Hall (SCC), Derek Alder and Liz Perry.

Members of the Public: Mrs Lynne Allen and Messrs. Francis Hunt, Richard Woodward and Rodney Young.

2. Minutes of the previous Annual Parish Meeting of 19th May 2015 were read, approved and signed.

3. Chairman’s annual report. Martin Allen reported as follows:-

Nothing of huge moment has happened in the last 12 months that has not been thoroughly reported in the Parish Council minutes, Chedzoy News and Polden Post.

We are very fortunate in having excellent records produced by Chris Fry, outstanding news gathered and produced by Don Johnson, and the superb Polden Post.

Together with the village notice boards, this enables people to know what’s going on. This circulation ensures the fullest and most transparent dissemination of information.

Flooding has been an ongoing topic of conversation, development and improvements. We are indebted to John Rowland for coming to talk to us and for his guided tour.

The Pop-in Coffee Morning, and various village sales go from strength to strength. The community benefits that flow from these events are far greater than just financial.

Chedzoy Parish Council continues to support the Playing Field and Churchyard maintenance. Increasing the Precept this year enables this to be done without exhausting reserves.

This year is the end of the first 5 years of the Sedgemoor Local Plan Core Strategy. Chedzoy has undoubtedly been disadvantaged by its “unsustainable” designation.

We have submitted our comments for consideration in the Local Consultation Review. We hope as a result of this to be re-classified to become a 'tier 4 sustainable settlement'.

Broadband continues to be a hot topic, but we have made some significant progress. David Hall’s help in putting us in touch with Paul Coles of BT is much appreciated.

Rodney Young is now our Civil Contingencies 'First Contact' in case of emergencies. Now that we’ve lost Helen Whitehead, we hope Sue Mountstevens will look after us.

That is about all, except to thank everyone for their continuing hard work and support. We look forward to an interesting year and the new Development Plan for Sedgemoor.

4. Somerset County Council Report. David Hall reported as follows:
  • Hinkley Point. The Final Investment Decision is close, he feels, and an announcement during 2016 is hoped for.
  • Election 2017. We saw the first Council Tax increase in 7 years this year. With the removal of the Central Government Support Grant, such an increase was inevitable. The 2 %  increase levied for Adult Social Care was also a factor.
  • Somerset Rivers Authority – there is still no Government legislation to fund SRA and there was a one year dispensation to load the Council Tax. There is good ongoing preventative work going on. The SRA needs to stand alone and there could be a move to force legislation through via a Private Members' Bill if the Government continues to prevaricate here.
  • Broadband. With Central Government repeating its aim of 95% superfast national coverage by end 2017, Chedzoy’s connectivity problems are likely to be overcome only when a fibre connection is nearer to the village than at present. The phase 2 Devon/Somerset rollout may bring this about.
  • Playing Field. David said he had been pleased to obtain grant aid through the Health and Wellbeing budget for £1000 of aid for the Chedzoy Playing Field Association to level the outfield.
  • Highways. Webber Bus company’s collapse:- He handed the Clerk up to date information about the routes affected – Webber was one of the County’s  main bus companies.  Information obtainable from SCC’s Newsroom www.somerset newsroom.
  • SCC Leader’s aspirations. One of these is for a Somerset University to be created.
  • Garden Town - there is talk of additional high quality homes being built to attract professionals to the area.
  • Roads and Highways. Significant extra funding had been granted by Central Government for pothole repairs.
5. SDC Report. Derek Alder reported as follows:-
  • New Homes. He said a total of 989 new dwellings had been created in the past year, against the target of 1000 with 51% of these were on brownfield sites. Further substantial funding to allow a further 3500 over the next 4 years was hoped for. Construction of new Council Housing was continuing.
  • Lifeline Callouts. In the past year 100% of these had been responded to within 45 minutes.
  • SDC staff sickness. This is running at 5.2 days per year on average, a big improvement.
  • Fly tipping. A total of 1234 fly tips were dealt with, all within 2 days from reporting.
  • New Businesses in Sedgemoor. 150 new businesses were started in the past year – creating 250 new jobs.
  • Grant Aid. £56000 in Grant Aid had been given out to local worthy causes.
  • Flood Relief. £80000 in aid was made available here , with the residual funds being used to reduce the Council Tax Levy needed to fund SRA.
  • Hazardous Waste. Mr Francis Hunt told the meeting that the Broadlands Waste Tip now charged people for this disposal and he was concerned that this could increase the fly-tipping problem.
6. Matters brought forward from the last Annual Parish Meeting.
  • Civil Contingencies Unit Representative. The Clerk reported Mr Rodney Young had kindly volunteered for this position.
7. Questions from the floor. None

There being no other business the meeting was declared closed at 8.25 pm.



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