About 53 parishioners attended tonight's Annual Parish Meeting.
15 village societies and organisations took stalls in the opening 'Market Place' section. They were:
The Twinning Association; Milverton Amateur Dramatic Society; The Fair Trade Cafe; St Michaels Church; Milverton Community School; Wellington Police/Neighbourhood Watch; Milverton Women's Institute; Milverton Concert Society; Milverton Film Society; Milverton Parish Council; Milverton Garden Club; Milverton Footpaths; Victoria Rooms and the Milverton and Fitzhead Society.
After apologies and the signing of the 2009 minutes Parish Council Chairman Geoffrey Godbert gave his report
"I will have been a parish councillor for 7 years this month. Not long, but long enough to realise it's a demanding and satisfying job with the inevitable bit of frustration along the way. So I thought I'd remind you of what your councillors get up to on your behalf every year. Naturally this contains some serious stuff but I hope this won't totally restrain my being light-hearted from time to time.
In the past 12 months, there have been 12 general Parish Council meetings (to which, incidentally, the public has the absolute right to attend). These meetings have taken up 27 consecutive hours of discussion and monitoring in dealing with more than 200 items. In addition, the Council held 12 seperate planning visits to more than 30 different locations in the village which further consumed 12 consecutive hours. Planning takes a major share of the Council's business and last year was no different to other years. We are proud that we continue to be one of the very few parish councils to be asked by a borough council (in our case Taunton Deane) to be responsible for decision-making on certain planning cases.
With planning a major concern, it isn't surprising that Creedwell continued to have a leading presence at Council meetings of the last 12 months aiming at helping Milverton to fight off attempted incursions into our countryside. It is good to know that the Action Group also continues to battle on under a new, thrusting and enterprising team determined to win the day for the village. Naturally these endeavours have the Council's warmest support and on a personal level, if I may say so, I am particularly proud that my poem "The Field" has been included on the Action Group website.
Other regular items at Council meetings range from making sure our many footpaths are and remain accessible to both the community and visitors (complete with the required range of rather murderous cutting edge tools and devices to help clear the way), monthly police reports (which is not to say that Milverton has anything like a criminal nature), to the search for a village Tree Warden and the satisfactory provision of village allotments (a favourite subject of mine). If you have never visited the allotments off Courtfield you are missing a treat.
One of the most frequently visited items on the Council's agendas is under "Matters to Report" in which all councillors have the opportunity to report on any item or items they think fit. And although this is the last item of any meeting when councillors could justifiably feel a bit tired, nevertheless it successfully runs the whole gamut of our village life: faulty street lights, blocked drains, pollution, trees needing protection, overgrown vegetation and a multiplicity of matters affecting roads - traffic, road signs, parking and safety to name a few; then there is the progress of carbon footprints, grants to those organisations who best deserve them and, of course, the challenging issue of how to quiz dog walkers on how they dispose of their pets' mess. It all makes for a demanding life which is willingly given by Councillors in the service of our community.
And thinking of that service reminds me that next May is election time at Milverton Parish Council (and elsewhere of course) and so I hope you won't mind too much if I express my liberal (small l!) view on how the future might be. Although I am a sprightly athlete in my young seventies, more seriously I think it would be wonderful if younger people could be the next generation of councillors. All you have to offer is a love of Milverton and a desire to protect its present and future. So why not? We are already on the brink of developing a small unit of affordable housing in the Milverton (which is the subject of a later talk) and which I am delightedf will allow local first-home users to be able to stay in the village they know and love. That is a definite start and, just as definitely, must be built on not only for the sake of our prosperity but also for our future itself.
Finally, it falls to me to honour the memory of Cllr Roy Whittle who died recently and who served for more than 30 years on Milverton Parish Council.
I should also like to pay tribute on behalf of the Council to former Cllr Trish Hennah who retired after giving 15 hard-working years to our footpaths."
The next item was an informative presentation about Affordable Housing from the Taunton Deane Housing Enabling Lead, Lesley Webb which included the wide variety of types and how they work in practice for communities and developers.
PC Jo Jeffrey then gave the Crime Report for the year and confirmed that we lived in one of the lowest crime areas in Avon and Somerset.
She reported on the success of the Community Speed Watch who had undertaken 16 watches leading to 158 letters being sent to speeding drivers.
She also confirmed that TDBC Housing Department were prepared to support the Village Clean Up by providing skips and equipment. It was proposed that the event should finish with a barbecue and paintballing on the Recreation Ground. She was going to liaise with the school over a possible date.
It was agreed to publish full details in a forthcoming Parish Magazine.
An up to date on the Creedwell situation was read. Essentially a final decision on the Judicial Review is awaited.
The next item concerned the future of the annual Street Fair. The Milverton Trust who had run it since its inception had now decided to give it up and were offering other village organisations and societies the chance to run it as a fund-raiser.
The last formal item concerned a suggestion put forward that the village start to record some of its local wildlife in particular swallows and swifts to see whether the population was stable. The idea was that those who wished to would submit a bird or nest count on an annual basis with the information being held on an website. There was broad agreement from the audience and the Clerk and Cllr Phelps agreed to take this forward.
The meeting finished at 8.45.