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Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Report of Milverton Parish Council Meeting
7th September 2015

The meeting was preceded by a presentation from Nicky Gibbard who has recently been appointed the Village Agent for the area. Village Agents were created by the Somerset Community Council to help rural communities who have poor access to services. Local Authorities often struggle to extend their remits beyond urban areas and Village Agents can help bridge that gap by helping with such diverse issues from checking benefit entitlements through to disposing of old freezers. Nicky accepts that she does not know all the answers but is able to find someone ho does and that is often the most difficult issue when trying to resolve a problem. Some examples are:
  • Helping carers receive support they are entitled to by putting them in contact with agencies and charities like Age UK.
  • Arranging for the Fire Brigade to carry out a free smoke alarm test for the over 55s.
  • Helping communities survey service provision to help spot gaps and vulnerable groups.
  • She also helps to redistribute winter fuel payments that are offered up by those who do not need the money.
The service that Nicky offers is free, confidential and available to everyone of all ages. The Community Council has a website with a section for Village Agents and these can be accessed from public computers like the one in the Creedwell Community room. She is keen to work closely with Parish Councils and was very pleased to receive the invitation from Milverton. It was agreed that she would be put on the mailing list for agendas and be most welcome at any future meeting. She can be contacted by email on or by phone on 01823 331222 or 07746 340546.

The Council received questions from residents about the Market Cross and speeding traffic. There are increasing concerns about traffic speeds in the village particularly into Sand Street where a recent Police camera picked up 30 drivers exceeding the 20mph limit in three quarters of an hour. There are also concerns about the size of vehicles and the damage that large lorries cause to historic buildings and underground services like drains and electric cables. Councillors acknowledge that these have been long standing problems with the highway authority, Somerset County Council having little interest in improving the situation because of pressing issues elsewhere. However, Councillors did agree to contact SCC again to see what options there were for traffic calming on the approach roads to the village.

Under Creedwell the Chairman reported that the application was unlikely to come to Committee before the end of October.

Several crimes in and around Milverton were reported by PCSO Louise Fyne. These included motor vehicle theft, Actual Bodily Harm and criminal damage.

Following a request to remove the kissing gate on the footpath between High Street and Wood Street the Council and SCC had been trying to establish who owned the land. Since no owner could be found Councillors agreed to remove and store the gate temporarily to see how the path worked with out it. They reserved the right to restore it if it became a rat run for cyclists and motor bikes.

The recent visits to the village by SCC Highways officers was noted with thanks. Several of the issues discussed had been dealt with but others, such as vegetation and the collapsed wall in Butts Way were dependent on cooperation from the landowners.

In relation to the proposed transfer of the toilets to the Parish, the Chairman reported that TDBC had finally responded to the Parish Council's counteroffer in and had roundly rejected it. Councillors felt that this was extremely disappointing and were perplexed as to why TDBC needed to retain a hold on a facility that it had rejected as too expensive. The Chairman agreed to draft a suitable response for circulation and approval.

The Clerk reported that he had recently established that the contractor engaged to look after the Jubilee Gardens had taken a full time job. The gardens were now in some need to tidying up so he proposed contacting the Gardening Club to see if they could tidy it up for winter. He would then tender for gardening and grass-cutting services for the 2016 season.

Under the provisions of the Localism Act local Councils can award themselves the Power of Competence to become involved in or carry out non statutory activities including expenditure to benefit local communities. Milverton Parish Councillors were satisfied that they met the criteria laid down by legislation and and voted unanimously to award the Council the Power.

The Clerk reported expenditure of £1783 in August on salaries, subscriptions, Councillor training, grass-cutting and audit.

Gwilym Wren
Clerk to Milverton Parish Council

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