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Minutes of the Annual Parish Meeting held 23rd May 2012


Cllrs Allen Baker Lennard Triggol Oxman and Smith

ALSO PRESENT Cllr Hall (SCC) and Cllr Turner (SDC), Mr Woodward, Mr P Dodge and Mr and Mrs F Hunt.

2. MINUTES OF THE PREVIOUS ANNUAL PARISH MEETING of 24th May 2012 were read, agreed and signed.

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


In the past year the Bus Shelter Garden have been transformed and I am sure that all must agree that it is a great improvement. Of course this has come at a cost of £3167 (plus any additional cost of repairing the Site edge ) but I hope that everybody is happy with the finished garden.

The Parish Council continued to support Village Organisations and we have con tribute £1000 towards the cost of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations.

We also help the Playing Field by continuing to cover the cost of grass cutting £210 and we donated £162 to the Church to help with the upkeep of the churchyard.

The Playing Field are in the process of applying for considerable grant aid to enable it’s complete renovation , and in order to legitimately facilitate the reclamation of vat on the whole project , the Parish Council has agreed to head up the application process. Considerable grant aid has been secured from the RTL2 pool of money held for the Village’s use for this type of facility, and the prospect of perhaps the bulk of the balance coming from a further grant application to the Viridor Company, in due course when the application is submittedand , it is hoped, a successful response received. A new committee of the Parish Council will oversee the process.

We have moved any money we held on deposit to a new account with Natwest which is yielding a much better rate of interest.

I would like to thank my fellow councillors and Clerk Chris for all their support throughout the year.

4. COUNTY COUNCILLOR – David Hall addressed the meeting :-

It has been another very difficult year financially for the County Council, but I am pleased to say that we are turning the corner.

The main source of income from central government grant is being reduced by 28% and is set to reduce by even more. We all understand the reasons for this – we are paying for past profligacy, and failure to regulate a small number of irresponsible bankers adequately.

The previous council borrowed more than £350 million and these debts have to be serviced at a cost of £35 million a year which equates to £100,000 a day. This is the third biggest budget area for the council. The money used to service loans cannot be used to pay for services.

The demand for many of the council’s care services are rising fast. We are of course pleased that people are living longer and are surviving more complex medical conditions, but this is expensive. We act as corporate parents for children who have no one else to look after them, and the numbers have risen steeply since the “Baby Peter “tragedy. We are of course glad to do this, but it all adds to the costs of the council.

This means that there is less money to pay for rising demand, some very tough decisions for the council and a relentless focus on priorities. These priorities are summarised as follows:-

  • To help people who need care and protection and have no one else to provide it

  • To achieve best value for money and balance the books of the authority

  • To help bring new jobs and future prosperity to Somerset

Prices for food, electricity and petrol are rising fast and many wages are frozen right across the county. Hardships are being faced by individuals and families everywhere. The Council has therefore worked hard to provide some relief by freezing the Council Tax again this year – this is the third year running it has been frozen.

We have broken the Council’s habit of borrowing money. This year, for the first time in a generation, we will start to reduce the Council’s longstanding debt. This will free up money which can in time be spent on services.

The number of people working for the Council has reduced by more than a quarter, and new ways of working by those remaining are making significant improvements in productivity. Every area of the Council’s work is currently under fundamental review. We are talking with District, Town and Parish Council’s to investigate how we can find the best way through tough times together.

There is the prospect of thousands of new jobs : at Hinkley Point where there is likely to be a new power station ; in Taunton where new roads are opening up derelict parts of the town ; and in Bridgwater where there are new jobs at Morrison’s , Mulberry are expanding and there are two brand new state-of-the-art schools opening later this year. There are many more across Somerset.

The County’s roads are in better condition than they have been for years in spite of two of the harshest winters on record. We are leading an initiative to improve the A303 as a main spine route into the south-west peninsula , and we are at the forefront of a project to bring high speed broadband to the south-west sub region, working with national government to help show others how to bring the benefits to remote rural areas.

So, much has been done. There is still more to do. There is a great deal to lose if we do not work hard to get it right. But we are turning the corner. We are working out ways towards a more sustainable future.

5. SEDGEMOOR DISTRICT COUNCILLOR. Nobby Turner addressed the meeting:-

HOUSING :-During the last year Sedgemoor has secured £25 million for housing, £32.6 million for affordable housing with 309 new affordable housing units built in 2010/11 , the highest total for many years including 100 rural affordable units under construction.

Secured a £1.3 million budget for disabled facilities grants across the district , enabling over 210 adaptions to be carried out.

EFFICIENCY :-£2.2 million worth of efficiency gains has been made over the past two years.

COUNCIL TAX :-Sedgemoor has the 27th lowest average band D council tax out of 201 districts nationwide .

HINKLEY POINT C , Huge resources ,time and effort are being put in by Sedgemoor, along with West Somerset and S C C to make sure local communities are compensated for the impact of the largest construction project in Europe.

NORTH EAST BRIDGWATER: - The total site will eventually have 2000 houses, the Morrison’s Distribution Centre, a regional distribution centre as well as a banana ripening centre, a vegetable packing centre and a new primary school.

NEW POOL IN BRIDGWATER:-enebling works on the new pool have commenced at the Chilton Trinity site.

NORTHGATE: - Sedgemoor has agreed to accept the offer from Tesco Stores for the Northgate site.

ENVIRONMENT:-Sedgemoor’s recycling remains the best in Somerset.

WEST QUAY :- Sedgemoor took the lead after the emergency phase of co-ordinating the river wall collapse in West Quay.

CORE STRATEGY :- (Local Development framework) was adopted – the first in Somerset – reorganising Planning procedures.


The meeting was declared closed at 8.20pm

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

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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