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Minutes of the Annual Parish Meeting held on Wednesday 22nd May 2017

The Annual Parish Meeting was held in the Village Hall on Wednesday 22nd May 2017, at approximately 7.30pm, following the Annual Meeting of the Parish Council.

1. Apologies: None.

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

Members of the Public: Messrs. Richard Woodward and Rodney Young.

3. Minutes of the previous Annual Parish Meeting of 18th May 2016 were read, approved and signed.

4. Chairmanís annual report. Martin Allen reported as follows:

As with last year, nothing of huge moment has happened in the last 12 months, and the normal round of parochial matters have been well recorded in the PC minutes, the Chedzoy News and the Polden Post. A good deal of time has been spent on dealing with the problems over Broadband, but at least we have an interim solution, and the promise of a more comprehensive upgrade to a fibre system (by GigaClear) in the not too distant future.

Having said that, after a period of five years of comparative inertia, as an Unsustainable Settlement, we are about to enter the second phase of the Sedgemoor Local Plan, which has gone to the Secretary of State for approval, and is expected to be approved for implementation by next spring. Under this new plan, Chedzoy has now been designated as one of eleven Tier 4 Sustainable Settlements, and it is likely that this will become the case.

Furthermore, we are embarking on this new chapter for Chedzoy in the context of an imminent General Election, the gathering pace of Hinkley C, and the wider effects of whatever Brexit may bring. All these things bring a new sense of energy and urgency to sorting things out, and facing up to the procrastination that always plagues important national decisions. Whatever the outcome of these things, we are all affected, including Chedzoy.

As for parochial matters, we remain financially sound and stable, thanks to Chris Fryís good offices, and we continue to comply with all the various legal and contractual requirements as a Parish Council. All accounts have been presented and audited as required. Chedzoy Parish Council continues to support the Playing Field and Churchyard maintenance, and repairs to the Battle of Sedgemoor display board are now in hand.

Our thanks must go to Don Johnson for his stalwart work in producing Chedzoy News, and repairing the notice board so beautifully, and my personal thanks to Rodney Young, particularly for all the legwork he put in delivering all the Broadband flyers to everyone in the village, and for looking after the Village Hall so well. Our thanks also to Amanda Triggol for the Pop-In, and all the others who work so selflessly for Chedzoy.

In conclusion I re-iterate that we are entering a new chapter in local development that may require a more pro-active input from Chedzoy, and many other small communities like us, in local affairs. Our opinions are important, and we must make sure that they are heard. The Chedzoy Action Plan, produced when John Weeks was Chairman of the Parish Council in 2009, is still remarkably fresh and relevant, but we should now give serious thought to any revisions.

5. Somerset County Council Report. David Hall reported as follows:
  • Hinkley Point. Things are now moving ahead at a pace and the site is changing all the time.
  • Road Improvements. A lot of these are triggered by the Hinkley Project, but also by the strength of the local economy. The current Bristol Road workings are ahead of schedule and two-way traffic will be shortly restored.There are more substantial roadworks ahead.
  • Broadband. We have experienced some frustration but Phase 1 has now completed. Chedzoyís interim solution is providing some satisfaction.
  • Political situation. The County Council is becoming more accountable and sustainable. The retention of 100% of local business rates is in the pipeline, although details are vague. With regard to the Somerset Rivers Authority, legislation to make it an independent precepting authority is still awaited.
  • SCC elections. The Leader John Osmanís demise at the hands of the electorate was surprising. The new Leader is David Fothergill with David Hall retaining Deputy Leaderís position. The make-up of the new council: - 35 Conservatives 12 Liberal Democrats, 2 Greens. 3 Labour and 3 Independents.
  • Short Mat Bowls. Bawdrip Parish Council has a permanent lack of storage space, but David will approach Bridgwater Without PC.
6. Sedgemoor District Council Report. Derek Alder reported as follows:-
  • SDC Annual meeting. This was held recently and Mike Cresswell was elected as new Chairman, with Paul Herbert as Vice-Chairman (both these men are from Bridgwater and Woolavington respectively). All portfolios are staying the same.
  • Council Housing. 21 council homes have been completed in the last year Ė at West Huntspill and Burnham. All these homes are designed to be easily converted for disabled tenants. Other sites, such as at the old Withy Cutter public house in Sydenham, Monmouth Street and the old Cattle Market are in the pipeline. Additionally, there are plans for five new hotels in the Bridgwater area.
  • With regard to the Northgate development, the car park will be rebuilt as soon as the new school is completed.
7. Matters brought forward from the last Annual Parish Meeting. None.

8. Questions from the floor. None.

There being no other business the meeting was declared closed at 8.20 pm.



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