News from BATCOMBE
December Parish Council Meeting
The next meeting of the Parish Council will be held on Wednesday 4th December 2019 at 7.30pm in the Old School, Batcombe. Residents are welcome to attend and to participate at the discretion of the Chairman. The Agenda and Minutes of the previous meetings can be downloaded from the Minutes and Agendas page. Please note the earlier start time in the winter.
Details of the winter salting routes for 2019/20 have now been published. The County Council has reversed many of last year’s cuts to the salting routes and the Bruton-Evercreech road will be salted this winter. However, the road through Batcombe and the Evercreech-Westcombe road will again not be salted, so great care will be needed in on the roads in the parish during icy weather.
The Parish Council would like to express its grateful thanks to those who helped with and supported the Bonfire Party despite the wet weather. After expenses, the event raised £617.30 for the new play equipment. Cllr Jayne Cox writes on behalf of the Parish Council:
I feel I have to write this letter to express how proud I am to be a resident of this parish and to thank all of the people (adults and children) who contributed in many different and important ways: from the planning stage; the use of the venue; the donations of wood and building the bonfire; donating fireworks; catering; selling tickets; providing and manning the bar; and the all-important clearing up afterwards! And also all the people who turned out in the cold and rain to support this event.
We not only raised money for the new play equipment, but proved what an amazing community team effort we can achieve. Credit where credit is due - to everyone who has helped in anyway and everyone who has donated to the Playing Field fund. Thank you. You are all brilliant!
Playing Field – New Play Equipment
Many thanks to those who have very generously responded to the letter from the Parish Council asking for donations/sponsorship to help raise the funds for new metal play equipment in the Playing Field. We have now reached our initial target of £6,000 from fundraising and donations, which should allow us to obtain a grant of £60,000 towards replacing the play equipment. However, we will continue fundraising to allow us to do more to improve the equipment in the Playing Field, and so would still welcome contributions from anyone who has not yet donated but would like to do so. Ideally, we will have enough additional money to replace the zip wire, which will need to done within the next few years.
Removal of the Multi-play Equipment from the Playing Field
Following a recent act of minor vandalism, the Parish Council decided that the multi-play equipment in the Playing Field was no longer safe for children to use and so have removed this piece of equipment. Removal of the equipment revealed that all the main supports, apart from the one under the central bridge, were rotting badly.
The Parish Council is aware that some questions have been raised as to how the multi-play equipment, which was installed in 2013, has deteriorated so quickly. The money for the equipment – the multi-play and the zip wire – was raised by a group of young mothers who called themselves “Keep on the Grass”. This group wished to use a local company to design and install the multi-play equipment rather than one of the large play equipment manufacturers and the Parish Council agreed to this.
The company produced an innovative design for the multi-play equipment that incorporated some locally-donated tree trunks as the main supports (as well as a small bridge designed by Richard La Trobe Bateman). Unfortunately, within a couple of years it became clear that the wood for the main supports had not been properly treated before being installed and the supports began to show evidence of rotting where they entered the ground.
Attempts were made to correct this, including painting the supports with rubberised paint, but there is only a limited amount that can be done if the wood is not properly treated before installation. It should be noted that the support for the central bridge was made of treated wood and showed no sign of any rot on removal.
The Parish Council is planning to replace the multi-play with a new piece of equipment. To avoid the problems with the equipment just removed, the Parish Council will purchase the new equipment from a recognised play equipment manufacturer and will install metal equipment so that there is no danger of it rotting. It is worth noting that the metal swings were installed in the 1950s and show no signs of deteriorating.
The Parish Council is continuing to raise funds to replace the multi-play and details can be found below.
New Play Equipment Needed
All residents should receive, or may have already received, a letter (below) from the Parish Council explaining that the Council is seeking to replace the current wooden play equipment with metal equipment to avoid the problems we have had with the wood rotting. The Council is hoping to obtain a grant of £60,000 to cover the cost of this for which we need to raise £6,000. We are currently half way towards this target, so any contributions are welcome. Please contact the Clerk for further details.
Play Equipment Letter.pdf
Adobe Acrobat document [287.2 KB]
Batcombe Film Society
The new season begins with Can You Ever Forgive Me? (2018/104 mins/15) a hugely enjoyable tragi-comedy starring Melissa McCarthy and Richard E Grant about biographer Lee Israel's career as a forger of literary letters. The programme for the next season and details of how to join can be downloaded from the Clubs and Societies page.
All ten allotments are now taken. If anyone would like to join a waiting list for when an allotment next comes vacant, please contact the Clerk.
Parish Council Accounts for the Year Ended 31st March 2019
The notice of the period for the exercise of public rights to inspect the Annual Governance and Accountability Return (AGAR) can be found on the Audit and Transparency Code page. The various sections of the AGAR: the Certificate of Exemption; the Internal Audit Report; the Annual Governance Statement and the Accounting Statements for 2018/19 can also be found on the same page.
Parish and District Council Elections
Only five candidates were nominated for election to the Parish Council and so these five candidates - Mary Comley, Jayne Cox, Peter Glaisher, Janet Jones and Ian Sage - have been elected without a contest and took office from Tuesday May 7th. See below for the Declaration of Result from the Returning Officer.
The two remaining spaces were filled by co-option at the first meeting of the newly elected Parish Council on May 8th. Five people expressed an interest in serving on the Council and after a paper ballot David Stevens and Justin Witcombe were co-opted onto the Council. The Parish Council would like to thank all those willing to serve as Councillors.
Michael Gay from Wanstrow has been elected as the new District Councillor for the Postlebury Ward of Mendip District Council (which includes Batcombe).
Declaration of Result - Batcombe Parish [...]
Adobe Acrobat document [12.7 KB]
Annual Parish Meeting
The Annual Parish Meeting took place at 7.30pm on Wednesday April 3rd in the Jubilee Hall. Chairman John Sommer reported on the past year's activities of the Parish Council and there were comments from our retiring District Councillor Dick Skidmore and our County Councillor Nigel Hewitt-Cooper. This was followed by a slideshow of photographs from the Heritage Room illustrating the changes in Batcombe over the 125 years that the Parish Council has been in existence.
Annual Parish Council Meeting
At the Annual Parish Council Meeting on Wednesday 8th May 2019 Mary Comley was elected the Parish Council Chairman and Janet Jones the Vice Chairman. Justin Witcombe was re-elected as the Parish Council's Village Hall representative.
At its January meeting the Parish Council agreed to increase its precept for 2019/20 to £9,750 to contribute to the costs of new play equipment in the Playing Field and to cover the cost of the Parish Council election. This is an increase of 6% on this year’s precept. However, an increase in the tax base for Batcombe means that the resulting increase in residents’ Council Tax will only be just over 4%.
Planning Application for five social rented 3 bedroom dwellings and one market housing 3 bedroom dwelling on land at Westcombe Stables Lane, Westcombe. (Ref: 2018/2819/FUL)
Shortly before the extraordinary Parish Council meeting called to consider the above planning application, the Parish Council were informed that the application had been amended to being for two social rented 2 bedroom dwellings, three social rented 3 bedroom dwellings and one market housing 3 bedroom dwelling. As the Parish Council could only consider the application it had before it, it decided to recommend refusal of the application for six 3 bedroom dwellings, on the understanding that an amended application had been submitted, and to ask that the full consultation period be provided for that amended application. However, instead of being amended the application has now been withdrawn by the applicant.
The Parish Council is aware of a letter from "several concerned residents of Westcombe" that has commented on this application, but which contains a number of misunderstandings about the nature of affordable (social rented) housing and the Parish Council's position on this. The paper below seeks to address these misunderstandings.
Social Rented Housing - Westcombe.pdf
Adobe Acrobat document [66.0 KB]
Playing Field - Zip Wire
The zip wire has been repaired with Mainstay Projects reconcreting the stays to prevent the flexing of the timber supports. And following the annual RoSPA safety inspection of the Play Field the zip wire can now be used again. Please note that the zip wire should only be used by one child at a time.
Batcombe Telephone Kiosk
BT have now removed the telephone kiosk in Batcombe, which had not been used for a year. The Parish Council adopted the telephone kiosk in Westcombe, which is now a listed building - but decided not to adopt the Batcombe kiosk, as this was a modern replacement.
Somerset County Council - New Telephone Number
0300 123 2224 is now the single telephone number for all enquiries to Somerset County Council. This number replaces the previous 0845 numbers including the number for reporting safety defects on the roads.
Priority Services Register
Scottish and Southern Energy Power Distribution have a Priority Services Register for anyone who needs electricity for home medical equipment, or who is disabled, has a young baby or receives a state pension. Those on the Register are promised support during a power cut. To register call 0800 294 3259 from a landline or 0345 072 1900 from a mobile or see the webpage for more details of the Register: www.ssepd.co.uk/PriorityServices/
Details of all applications the Council considers can be found by following the link to the District Council's planning search page from the Planning Applications page.
Guide to Information Available from the Parish Council
The Freedom of Information Act requires the Parish Council to publish "A Guide to the Information Available from the Parish Council." Now that the Council has a website, this guide is available to download from the Parish Council Documents page along with the Parish Council's Standing Orders and other policies and papers that the Parish Council is required to publish.