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Minutes of the Annual Parish Meeting held on Monday 20th May 2019, at approximately 7.55pm

The Annual Parish Meeting was held in the Village Hall on Monday 20th May 2019, following the Annual Meeting of the Parish Council.

The meeting commenced at 7.55 pm.

Present: Cllrs Marion Dethier, Brian Gale, Simon Howes (Chairman), Patricia Lennard, Katrina Maxwell and Rodney Young.

Also present: Cllrs David Hall (Somerset County Council (SCC)) and Anthony Betty (Sedgemoor District Council (SDC)).

In attendance: The Clerk (Chris Fry) and seven members of the public.

1. Apologies. None.

2. Minutes of the previous Annual Parish Meeting of 9th May 2018 were read, approved and signed.

3. Chairmanís annual report.

Looking back over the last year, the Brexit debacle seems to have dominated almost every aspect of national news, and now threatens to carry us into an uncertain future. Whatever the rights and wrongs of the situation may be, at a local level, we still have to get on with our lives and business, in spite of all the rancour, inertia and indecision.

In the 2018 Chairman's Report, I identified several areas that merited special mention. I take this opportunity to refer to them again, in the light of present circumstances, conscious of the fact that there is still unfinished business. There are also significant changes afoot. Chedzoy Parish Council will need to be well informed and decisive.
  • Broadband. I am disappointed to tell you that we are no further forward regarding the provision of Fibre Broadband in Chedzoy. Giggaclear have yet to deliver, and are now at loggerheads with Connecting Devon and Somerset over breach of the contract. I'm afraid we have to persevere, frustrating though it is, and let CDS resolve the issue.

  • Sedgemoor Local Plan, 2011-2032. The Local Plan was finally adopted in February. It sets out the policy framework for future development in Sedgemoor. Under the newly created tiered settlement hierarchy, Chedzoy is the lowest at tier 4. Small scale infill, in keeping with the character of Chedzoy, merits care and empathy.

  • Chedzoy Parish Council. I am pleased to report that we shall welcome some new faces to the PC. It is important that that we have some new expertise on the PC to take us through the next four years. I shall be stepping down as chairman, but I shall be happy to contribute with any help that may be necessary, during the initial overlap period.

  • Chedzoy Community. The enthusiasm, commitment, energy, skill and good old fashioned friendship in Chedzoy, is just amazing. The number of activities and events organised for the benefit of everyone in the villag e, and many charities, is wonderful and also very humbling. This is a remarkable village, and it is the people who make it.
4. SCC Report. David Hall reported as follows:
  • He thanked the councillors for their help and commitment and thanked the outgoing Chairman (Martin Allen).

  • Budget.  The financial challenge goes on with central government support funding being cut. He was able to say that it is to be hoped no further significant cuts are in the pipeline. This too goes on and it continues to take up so much government time that it is very difficult to obtain decisions on day to day matters.

  • The Local Elections. These results have brought about many changes to the makeup of councils throughout the West.

  • Unitary Authority. Discussions need to continue taking place. There are many savings to be made.
  • Roadworks. These continue with the Cross Rifles roundabout works to soon start. Those at Bristol Road/Wylds Road will bring significant improvements to traffic flow in the longer run.

  • Giggaclear.  The current state of play here is very disappointing, particularly in Chedzoy who are still waiting for effective broadband speeds. The immediate future looks bleak and alternative projects will be difficult to arrange. One good thing is the funding has been ring fenced and David is contact with Paul Coles of BT and a meeting will be arranged when appropriate.

    In answer to Simon Howes question, David Hall outlined the position to date.

    Connecting Devon and Somerset was set up to cover areas which the commercial roll out hadnít covered. Chedzoy was originally to be included in the commercial operation but because of the long distance the parish is from the enabled junction box (outside Mole Valley Farmers) Ė 1.9 km, it wasnít, so Chedzoy was included in the ill-fated Phase 2. There were also problems with the capacity of the pipework which made it difficult to connect even landlines at one time. Although Giggaclear passed due diligence it seems they 'bit off more than they could chew'. There are alternatives which will be explored with BT (who own EE).
6. SDC Report. The new Sedgemoor District Councillor. Anthony Betty, introduced himself and said he has yet to attend an SDC meeting so had no report to present.

7. Matters brought forward from the last Annual Parish Meeting. None

8. Questions from the floor.
  • Fingerpost restoration. It was reported the fingerpost at Cross Tree in the village was last restored some ten years ago and was now again in a sorry state. The Clerk was asked to contact SCC Heritage section to enquire if any assistance and guidance was available. In the meantime he would have a word with the volunteer who agreed to clean it up, to improve matters. This will be included on the agenda of the next meeting.

  • Litterpick. With many other nearby villages organising litter picking events it was suggested Chedzoy should do the same. The best time is in the early spring and SDC Clean Surroundings are happy to supply the necessary equipment and collect the resultant bags of rubbish afterwards. The matter will be added to the agenda of the next PC meeting.

  • Heritage Plaques. These commemorate the fact that Thomas Hardy once resided in the village, later emigrating to Australia where he founded the Hardy wine company. Another plaque commemorates the milk churn method of collecting milk which was used before bulk tanks and tankers came about. The Clerk offered to have a ward with the current residents of Court Farm house to see if erection can be agree

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



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