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Minutes of the Annual Parish Meeting held 18th May 2010


PRESENT Cllr Weeks, Cllr Baker, Cllr Edmunds, Cllr Joyce, Cllr Oxman, Cllr Triggol
ALSO PRESENT Cllr Hall, Mr Friend, Mr Horrobin, Mr Lennard, Mr Sutton, Mrs Weeks, Mrs Winter, Mr Woodward.

MINUTES OF THE PREVIOUS ANNUAL PARISH MEETING were read in note form, approved and signed.


The Chairman welcomed those present and thanked them for attending the meeting.

Generally this has been a good year for the Parish Council but it has been marred by the loss of two of our number. Sadly, Rob Williams lost his long battle with cancer and, at the time of last year’s meeting, Ian Wallace resigned on moving to Scotland. Both are sadly missed. Ian has been replaced by Martin Baker, the other vacancy is currently being advertised.

Let me start by referring back to last year’s report. The pavements in the village have not been improved but some have been marked by the District Council so, with luck, there may be some improvements before too much longer. After several attempts by our Clerk, the major potholes in Chedzoy Lane were eventually repaired: we have been told that the lane will be top-dressed within the next few months.

The Parish Council has continued to support the Playing Field Committee and Village Hall Committee by making small grants and has also made a grant to the church towards the maintenance of the churchyard.

Since last year a hearing loop, partly financed by a grant of 500 from the Parish Council, has been installed in the church and, if you have been to a service, you will know that this is a great improvement. At the end of last month work to restore the church bells was completed and the Council has paid the promised grant of 1,000 towards the cost. Those of you who heard the “trial peal” will know how nice it was to hear the bells again after three or more years of silence. A dedication service will take place on 30th May.

After a bit of a delay, and the loss of our order, the heritage plaques for Court Farm are again on order and we hope that these will arrive and be displayed before much longer.

So this brings me to more recent events. Although the Parish Council has continued to support the Playing Field Committee with a small grant and also by paying for the cutting of the grass and buying a replacement bench, I am sorry to report that the Committee has not had the support which it deserves: only two villagers attended their recent AGM. The lack of support means that they have decided to cancel the village show this year and, unless more help is forthcoming, then the event is unlikely to be resurrected. The playing field is of great benefit to the village and we really do need younger members of the community, especially those whose children benefit from the facilities, to step forward and help.

My thanks are also due to the Village Hall Committee for their work on our behalf - remember the hall belongs to all of us - and, although no longer located within the parish, we have made a grant of 100 towards Chedzoy Pre-School for the purchase of toys for the children.

We have been investigating the possibility of a village web site on which things such as Parish Council minutes, planning applications, etc. can be seen and also with links to the various village organisations. The cost of such a site is not excessive.

Whilst I was on holiday last October a public meeting took place in regard to the new Children’s Home at West End Cottage. I am pleased to report that a liaison committee of Cllr. Edmonds, cottage staff and members of the public has been established and this seems to be working well. There has only been one minor problem which was resolved in an amicable fashion and we trust that things will work out well.

Although not within the Parish, there have been several instances of fly-tipping between Ruggs Drove and Westonzoyland Road - these have all been reported by our Clerk since it is unlikely that anyone in Bridgwater Without Parish would be aware of them. In the event that you should see anyone dumping rubbish, then would you please take the vehicle number so that we can try and do something about this as it would appear from what has been tipped that the same person is responsible.

David Hall, our County Councillor, has been very supportive during the last twelve months. During the severe weather earlier this year he secured a stock of salt for the village and this was used to clear some of the footpaths. Cllr. Hall did offer grit-boxes to the village but we were unable to suggest any location where they would be of real use and his offer was declined, but we were most grateful.

However, never ones to refuse money, we were delighted to receive a cheque from Cllr. Hall, on behalf of Somerset County Council, for the magnificent sum of 2,500. We had been considering purchasing a modern bus shelter to be sited on the opposite side of the road from the existing shelter as that it is where people stand whilst waiting for the bus. A site meeting with the manufacturers has recently been arranged so that details can be decided.

As ever, I would like to thank our Clerk, Linda Friend, for her never ending efforts on behalf of the village. It really is Linda who does all the work and I am sure that most people simply do not appreciate much of what she does for all of us. I am sure that my fellow Councillors will be pleased to join me in thanking her publicly for her efforts on our behalf.

Chedzoy Playing Field Association

Mrs Winter, current Chair of Chedzoy Playing Field Association, reported that the Committee deeply regretted the need to cancel the Village Show, but there were simply not enough people willing to help. The Committee was disappointed that only two villagers attended the AGM. As required by the CPFA Constitution, which stipulates six committee members, the whole committee stood down at the AGM. Only three of the outgoing committee were willing to stand for the Committee and no-one wished to take up an Officer position. It was therefore decided to abandon the Meeting with the Committee remaining in abeyance pending an Emergency Meeting, which was held on 12th May 2010. The options available to the Committee were as follows:

1. Close the field and hand the lease back to Oxford University.
2. Ask another village committee (Village Hall, Chedzoy Ladies, Church) to take over the running of the field and/or Show. (There is no constitutional requirement for the Playing Field Committee to run the Village Show).
3. Co-opt enough members to meet the requirements of the Constitution (six members) and keep the field open for the time being to see if another group comes forward to take on the management of the field.

For the sake of the village children the Committee adopted option 3, but it does not wish to continue in this situation for very long.

Mr Lennard advised that the Village Hall Committee were going to discuss the matter at their meeting on 9th June to see what was involved in taking over the running of the Playing Field and/or Show.

New Bus Shelter
Mr Woodward asked where the proposed new bus shelter would be sited. The Chair explained that in the Parish Plan, some villagers asked for a bus shelter where the bus stops at Cross Tree House for both those who catch the bus into town and those who catch/meet the School Bus. The Parish Council has organised a site meeting with a representative of Queensbury Shelters at 2.30 pm on 8th June to ask for his advice on the matter. The Meeting will be advertised on the notice board and people in the village are encouraged to attend and join in the discussion. It is expected that the 2,500 Grant received from Cllr Hall will almost fully cover the cost of the shelter.

County Council Finance

Cllr Hall reported that the County Council is now under a new administration and its current priority is to slow the rate of debt increase. It hopes to make savings and find cost effective ways to deliver frontline services. It is also continuing to repair the large number of potholes caused by the hard winter.

Cllr Edmunds asked whether the County Council had any plans to improve the facilities in Bridgwater. He advised that unfortunately, most retail properties in Bridgwater are privately owned, however the refurbishment of Northgate with the possibility of a new Tesco store and the refurbishment of the Town Hall were in hand. He agreed that there was a need to attract investment and encourage people into the town, but that it was a difficult problem to solve during a recession.

Children’s Home at West End Cottage
Cllr Hall was pleased to advise that the children’s home was running smoothly and had encountered few problems. The staff to child ration is high, which is working well.

A meeting is being held this evening (18th May 2010) concerning the location of the electricity pylons. There will no doubt be protests but the undersea/underground options are likely to be rejected because of cost. The pylons have to go somewhere as we obviously need electricity. Whatever decision is made about the route, some communities are going to be unhappy with the decision.

The Chair asked if there were any other matters that those present wished to raise.

Speed Watch

Mr Lennard advised that Cllr Baker, Mr Don Johnson and he were now trained for Speedwatch and were waiting for the Police to carry out a risk assessment before the scheme can start in the village.

Mr Woodward reported that a young person was regularly seen riding on the road on an electric scooter after school. He was concerned that an accident would eventually occur.

There being no more business, the meeting closed at 8.05 pm and was followed by a break for refreshments and an ordinary Parish Council Meeting at 8.30 pm.

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