News from BATCOMBE
March Parish Council Meeting
The next meeting of the Parish Council will be held on Wednesday 4th March 2020 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 a week before the meeting.
New Play Equipment
Thanks to our County Councillor, Nigel Hewitt-Cooper, we have been awarded a grant of £1,250 from the County Council’s Improving Lives Grant Scheme. This brings the total raised for the new play equipment to £9,100. The Parish Council has obtained a number of quotes for the new equipment and after looking at these in detail will be asking the play equipment suppliers to admend their quotes slightly so that there are three comparable quotes for the grant making body.
At its January meeting the Parish Council agreed a small increase in its precept of £200 to £9,950. The 2% increase in the precept will allow the Council to cover increasing costs of administration (this year it has to ensure that the Parish Council website complies with accessibility standards) and has reserves to meet any contingencies, such as paying for additional road salt in a bad 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 has arranged for large dumpy bags of road salt to be placed at the top of Hincombe Hill and Mill Lane; and at the top of Spargrove Lane and by the War Memorial in Westcombe. Please note that any volunteers applying the salt do so at their own risk.
Bingo Evening and Bonfire Night
Many thanks to all who supported the Bingo Evening on December 7th and especially to Clare Kingston who organised the evening to raise money for new play equipment in the Playing Field. The evening raised a total of £502 for the new play equipment.
The Parish Council would also 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!
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.
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.
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.