The parish council has responsibility for local issues, including setting an annual precept (local rate) to cover the council’s operating costs and producing annual accounts for public scrutiny. The parish council evaluates local planning applications and works with the local police, district council officers, and neighbourhood watch groups on matters f crime, security, and traffic. The parish council's role also includes initiating projects for the maintenance and repair of parish facilities, as well as consulting with the district council on the maintenance, repair, and improvement of highways, drainage, footpaths, public transport, and street cleaning. Conservation matters (including trees and
listed buildings) and environmental issues are also the responsibility of the council.The village falls within the Non-metropolitan district of South Somerset, which was formed on April 1, 1974 under the Local Government Act 1972, having previously been part of Langport Rural District..The district council is responsible for local planning and building control, local roads, council housing, environmental health, markets and fairs, refuse collection and recycling, cemeteries and crematoria, leisure services, parks, and tourism.
Somerset County Council is responsible for running the largest and most expensive local services such as education, social services, libraries, main roads, public transport, policing and fire services, trading standards, waste disposal and strategic planning.It is also part of the Somerton and Frome county constituency represented in the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. It elects one Member of Parliament (MP) by the first past the post system of election, and part of the South West England constituency of the European Parliament which elects seven MEPs using the d'Hondt method of party-list proportional representation.
Parish Council Meeting 9th January 2019.Public Question Time. A neighbour of The Barton raised their objections to the height of the roof, as it had been built higher than the approved plans. This additional height affects the view from their property which is a Grade 2 listed building.Cllrs were informed that there would be a change to the lay out at the May Festival and for safety reasons part of Folly Road, from The Wyndham Arms to The Methodist Church would be closed to vehicles for the day. The probable diversion route for all festival traffic would be via Broadmead and not from the Langport side. It was also asked whether the Parish Council would grant monies to the provision of portaloos for the event. Present: Mr D Wakely(Chair), Miss A Cox, Mrs C Paul, Mrs P Warren, Messrs K Cox, M Johnson and Cllr Yeoman’s. 1. Apologies for Absence: Miss S Brooks,Mrs J Pearce, Mrs L Langford and Mr C Aplin,2. Declarations of Interests: It was agreed that a dispensation be granted to all cllrs present, regarding the planning application for The Barton, Folly Road, Kingsbury Episcopi. As the applicant Mr S Jones had previously been a Parish Councillor.3. Confirmation of previous minutes: Minutes for the 6thDecember were agreed and duly signed.4. Planning applications; Cllrs resolved to approve the following planning application.To vary condition 02(approved plans) and 03(materials) of planning approval 14/00563/Ful in respect of height of two storey extension, porch design and materials(Retrospective) at The Barton, Folly Road, Kingsbury Episcopi.5. Cheques:It was resolved to approve the following cheques for payment.SSDC - £168.72 – Parish Ranger.Came & Company - £400.28 – Parish Council(Clerk to question one part of the cover that stated only £10k in the event of death caused by personal assault) 6. Village of the Year Competition: Tickets are going well, 66 so far. It was agreed to provide a ploughmans type supper and the bar would be open for drinks. Cllrs Brooks and Pearce would arrange the food and cllr Warren had organized the rolls and cake from Bakery Royal. There would be an ideas session during the evening for everyone to put forward any thoughts/ideas for the sensory garden. The sensory garden would be situated within the play area and new sensory play items would be purchased by the Amenities Committee. A group of people has been put together to oversee the project and the competition winnings will be held and ring-fenced by the Parish Council.
7. Amenities and Community Shop Update: Shop and Post office still going really well and all volunteers doing a sterling job. Solar panels are to be fitted in late January and it was asked that if money was precepted to the shop it would be help fund this project. Cllr Warren has now resigned from the committee but will be running the shop for a year in order to pass on all her knowledge to the Manager and Assistant Manager, she will then stand aside. The Parsish Council thanked her for all her hard work over the years in bringing this valued asset to the Parish as she deserves a rest.Two weddings have already been booked for 2020 and lots of children’s parties and weddings are being held this year as well.8. Setting of 2019/2020 Precept: After and full and frank discussion and taking into account that Parish Councils would soon be capped, it was agreed that the precept be increased to £35K and although that is an increase of nearly 14% in real terms it would give the Parish Council an additional £4390 for the year at a cost of an additional 65p per month to our parishioners. Clerk would place an article in the Parrett Talk.9. Parrett Talk request for funding: It was agreed that the Parish Council would underwrite the printing of the Parrett Talk up to the sum of £1000 for the year as they do have sponsors for some of the issues and this will help with any shortfall through the year.10.SSDC: Cllrs were reminded of the Rural Housing Plan Consultation that closes on the 25th January, 2019.11.Avon and Somerset Police:Cllrs were informed that due to the local policing team’s shift patterns they can only attend parish council meetings on the 3rd week of each month and were asking whether we were able to change our days. As there are at least 19 Parish Councils in the area it would still not be possible for the police to attend every Parish Councils meetings in that week and as our meetings have always been held on the first Wednesday in the month cllrs resolved not to change the day. The police now have lap tops and are able to visit community cafes, coffee mornings to meet with the public anyway.12.Footpaths and bridleways: The Parish Paths consultation ends on the 31st January. Bob Warren is considering which paths should be put forward for regular maintenance. 13.Highway Matters: Cllr Johnson asked whether any decision had been made regarding becoming a snow plough contractor for Highways. All paperwork had been sent in, clerk would chase it up. Cllr Cox commented on how many villages around the area now have new SID’s. It was agreed that he would look into the pricing of them as it still felt there is a need for a SID on the approach to the recreation ground. Clerk would also contact local Parish Councils who have them.14.Date and time of next meeting: The next Parish Council meeting will be held on Wednesday 6th February 2019 at 8.00pm. As this year is an election year it was also agreed to hold the Annual Parish meeting on the 19th March 2019 at 8pm at The Community Centre to encourage more parishioners to stand for Parish Council.
Public questions/comments.Cllr Wakely addressed the public present with a statement of the situation along Thorney Road at present, what actions have been taken so far to try and remedy the speeding problem and what has led us to this proposal now being made by SCC. Few drivers appreciate that the 30mph limit that started at Muchelney actually continues all the way through Thorney, Kingsbury Episcopi and Stembridge. The last 30mph sign being at the river bridge in Thorney. As there are street lights from Thorney towards Kingsbury Episcopi, legislation dictates that repeater 30mph signs are not allowed.The Parish Council put forward in 2015 a ‘Small Improvement Scheme’ for a permanent ‘Vehicle Activated Sign’ on the approach to the recreation ground, unfortunately in 2017 SCC rejected this request as they did not feel there was a speeding problem going past the recreation ground. This has now prompted SCC to put forward this new scheme where the limit be reverted back to 40mph along Thorney Road, from just past Norton House to just before Moor View, a distance of approximately 800metres, this would enable new signage to be erected, stating 30mph from Moor View towards Thorney and 30mph from Norton House towards Kingsbury Episcopi. Theory being that the new 30mph signage will act as a reminder to drivers to slow down. A zebra crossing has also been requested near the recreation ground, but this is not possible as there are not pavements on both sides of the road, and it is not possible for a pavement to be made on the recreation ground side of the road.At present this latest proposal is out for consultation, so nothing has been decided, and the public’s voice will probably be more effective that the Parish Council, it is therefore advised that the residents send their comments/objections/suggestions to SCC.The Small Improvement Scheme team will look at alternative ideas to try and slow drivers down on Thorney Road and especially past the recreation ground.Several questions were then asked by the residents.Who proposed the 40mph limit? SCC as the limit had previously been 40mph(2003) as this would enable new signage to be erected reminding drivers of the speed limit as at present there are no reminders.It seems ridiculous to increase the speed limit when the aim is to slow traffic down, the police speed enforcement van won’t attend at Thorney Road as it is deemed too dangerous because of speeding traffic. If you are hit by a vehicle travelling at 40mph you would probably be killed but at 30mph you could survive. The benefit of a 20mph the mortality rates drops tremendously.Was Martyn Evans from Highways invited to this meeting? Yes
but he would not attend as it is only at the consultation stage. If this scheme goes further and a wider consultation is held he probably would attend a meeting.What happens to the Small Improvement Scheme budget of £50K if this proposal is pulled? These funds will still be available to our County Councillor who can then put forward other schemes.Can the Parish Council not purchase their own Vehicle Activated Sign? Yes they could, but it would need to be placed on private land. Ongoing costs for maintenance, calibration and also who is liable if there was an incident in which a member of the public states the flashing light caused the accident, would it be the landowner or the Parish Council.What happens at the end of the consultation period? Martyn Evans will look at all responses and consult with County Councillor Paul to look at alternatives and come back to the Parish Council.Cllr Paul assured the parishioners that she would continue to campaign for a scheme that would slow traffic down on Thorney Road and on the approach to the recreation ground. District Councillor Yeomans reiterated that something needs to be done outside of the recreation ground before a serious accident occurs. Can residents put their own homemade signs at the front of their properties? Yes you can, as long as they are on your property and not the highway verge, but be aware, if someone has an accident because they claim they were reading the sign, you the householder could be made liable.Have Highways agreed there is an issue with speed at the recreation ground? Not exactly, although the figures recorded by the temporary Speed Indicator Device that has been placed there on occasions do indicate 55% of motorists are travelling between 30mph and 40mph. They calculate the 85percentile speed is the speed at which 85% of all vehicles are travelling either at or below the speed check limit of 37mph on the approach to the recreation ground. Present: Cllr D Wakely(Chair), Mrs C Aparicio-Paul, Miss S Brooks, Miss A Cox, Mrs J Pearce, Mrs P Warren, Mr C Aplin and Cllr D Yeomans.Apologies for absence: Mrs L Langford, Messrs K Cox and M Johnson.Declarations of Interest: None.Proposed traffic calming measures on Thorney Road: See public questions/comments. It was reiterated that the Parish Council are made up of cllrs to represent the Parish and will always put the safety of the public first. Highway issues are always on the agenda and we would welcome more of the Parish to attend our monthly meetings. It was reiterated that all residents should send their comments to Martyn Evans at SCC.,
Extraordinary Parish Council Meeting held on Thursday 22nd March 2018
Public questions/comments.A resident of Little Lane asked that the Parish Council contact Highways regarding the drainage in Little Lane, it floods regularly, drains are blocked. He also asked about the damage caused by the verge cutter to the street name signs. He was informed that this had already been passed to SSDC to replace/repair the signs. Several residents from Stembridge attended the meeting to voice their opinions regarding the proposed development of 5 houses on land south of Giffords Orchard. The main objections being:1.loss of privacy from neighbouring properties. 2.Concerns whether existing services, water, sewerage, mobile phones and broadband could cope with more properties. 3.The Primary School has no capacity for more children and although the parish has key services, because of there being no pavements to walk to them, vehicles will be used to access them. 4.Concern was also raised over the amount of additional storm water from the roofs of these properties, which will all drain towards Little lane, that cannot cope already with heavy rainfall and regularly floods.5.Although parking provisions have been included in the proposal, in reality vehicles will park on the side of the road, including the entrance into the site.6.It was also felt that these houses are not for the local people and are not for present or future generations from here, they are not affordable housing.7.It was also asked why the apple trees were removed when other local growers are planting acres of new cider apple trees and was the intention to remove more of the orchard in years to come and build more houses.The agent for the applicant then responded to resident’s concerns. 1.It was felt that there was little loss of privacy because of the distance between the new properties and existing and the use of obscure glass in some of the first floor rooms.2.Wessex Water has been consulted and sees no problem with water pressure in the area.3.Parking provisions proposed are in accordance with SCC standards.4.As yet SCC has not responded with regards to whether existing storm drains are adequate for this development.5.From the local authority point of view, this site is deemed a good location for development, and the services the parish has to offer meets the requirements.6.With regards to the trees removed, these were removed because the buyer for the apples has greatly reduced the tonnage they will accept, as to the rest of the orchard, this now has a Tree Preservation Order on it, so will not be removed and therefore no future development.The agent was then asked about responsibility for the hedges that would be planted, this would be the new owners responsibility. It was also asked whether the high Leylandi would be removed, as they have caused damage to some of the garages at Giffords Orchard . Yes they would as they were owned by the applicant .A resident asked for better fencing down at the recreation ground near the river, as at present small children could get through to the river.
Present: Cllr D Wakely(Chair), Miss S Brooks, Miss A Cox, Mrs L Langford, Mrs J Pearce, Mrs P Warren, Mr K Cox and Cllr D Yeomans.Apologies for absence: Mrs C Paul, Messrs C Aplin and M Johnson.Declarations of Interest: Cllr Wakely regarding planning application for Mr R Stuckey.Confirmation of previous minutes: Minutes from the 4th July were agreed and duly signed.Planning Application: Having listened to neighboursconcerns regarding the proposed development of 5 houses on land at Giffords Orchard and after a full and frank discussion cllrs resolved to object to the application for the following reasons.1.Storm water from these new properties will run down the hill into Little Lane, which already floods within hours of a heavy downpour.2.Residents in Gifford Orchard and at Beech House will lose some privacy if these properties are built and although the new properties may gain the views of the remaining orchard this will be at the detriment of the existing properties in Gifford Orchard.3.Infrastructure, Broadband speeds are already very slow and mobile phone coverage is very poor. Water pressure is low and does the mains sewerage have enough capacity for five more large dwellings. 4.Parking provisions on paper appear to be adequate but in reality there is never enough parking and inevitably the side of the road will be where vehicles will park, including the entrance into the site.5.SS2 development in Rural Settlements states that housing should only be permitted in rural settlements that have key services. a.Stembridge has one public house, Kingsbury Episcopi has one public house, two churches, a recreation ground which now has a community centre and shop, but as there is no pavement between Stembridge and Kingsbury this will inevitably add to more vehicle movements to access them. b. The Primary School is within walking distance, but again there is no pavement, and at this time there is no capacity for more children, they are being turned away, and as these houses could well be occupied by families, again this will mean more vehicle movements to transport the children to other schools. 6.These new properties are not for the present or future generations from this area and it is highly unlikely they would be purchased by local people because of the purchase price.New bench for recreation ground: Cllrs discussed replacing the broken bench at the recreation ground, details of a very sturdy teak bench which has 6 legs to give it more stability was shown to the cllrs and it was agreed that as this bench was on offer at a price of £325(including delivery) it should be purchased.Date and time of next meeting: The next Parish Council meeting will be held on Wednesday 5th September 2018 at 8.00pm.
Extraordinary Parish Council Meeting held on Wednesday 8th August 2018