All of the Parish Council were deeply saddened to hear of the sudden death of Ian Ainsworth-Smith. Ian had been a member of the Parish Council for over 10 years and had been the Chairman since 2019. Being a long-standing resident of Milverton, he was deeply committed to working for the benefit of the village and his knowledge and wisdom will be sorely missed.
There are a number of matters that the Parish Council has been involved with over the last two months:
The kissing gate on the footpath between Wood Street and High Street has frequently been taken off its hinges, presumably to allow access to wheelchair/buggies and the like. The kissing gate was originally installed around 2008 for the reason of stopping motorbikes, though it is appreciated that it does also make access difficult for other users. Instead of replacing it, the gate is now to be left off to see what, if any, impact it has, and if problems arise, alternatives options will be investigated.
This is a perennial problem, not just in Milverton but nationwide and the issue has been raised again recently. The Council has previously installed several dog waste bins in the village to encourage owners to act responsibly but there is unfortunately little to be done to make those who continue to leave their pets’ contributions on pavements/footpaths etc. Our Police Community Support Officer would speak to anyone seen not ‘picking up’ but the chances of her being in the right time are slim. Additional bins, signage and the provision of bags are options to be considered.
Due to cars parking less considerately than they might, the village bus can have problems negotiating North Street. In the absence of positive responses from a polite request, our PCSO will be monitoring the position. This is an important matter since the village would no doubt not wish to lose the provision of the bus were the level of delays to make the bus company consider if it could no longer continue the service.
The Parish Council is in contact with Somerset County Council Highways in trying to deal with, and ideally eliminate, the problems that large lorries cause by travelling down Fore Street and Silver Street. It would be very helpful if anyone who has any photographic evidence of either damage to property/cars or just congestion, could forward this on to the Council. Please contact either Phil Young 01823 400171 or the Clerk.
The natural spring that appeared in December has caused the closure of the footpath between Fore Street and the Creedwell Orchard Car park, via Jubilee Gardens, does not, unfortunately have a straightforward solution. The Parish Council is working with Somerset West and Taunton Council and SCC, as well as with Cllr Gwil Wren, who has taken the lead in trying to get the different bodies to agree to a plan to control the flow in way that will not impact on the usability of the footpath.
Street furniture improvements
The seat by the Church entrance in Parsonage Lane has been seen to need quite a lot of TLC and the Parish Council is grateful to a donor providing the materials and Martin Young of Sand Street who has agreed to make the repairs free of charge.
It would make sense to also undertake some repairs to the brickwork before the seat is refurbished so if you have the necessary skills to help do this the Council would be very pleased to hear from you. Please contact either Phil Young or the Clerk.
The Parish Council notice board in Woodbarton also required extensive TLC and again the Council is grateful to Martin Young for effecting the repair to allow notices to remain dry and also now be readable through clear glass!
Nearby residents will be aware of increased sound levels from the woodyard over recent weeks. The Parish Council are in contact with them to try to identify if any steps can be taken to lessen the impact.
New Councillor and vacancy
The Parish Council was pleased to co-opt a new Councillor to fill its vacancy but must be fairly unique in now having two Councillors with the same name. Phil Young of Bartletts Coach House is welcomed with no cases of mistaken identity so far.
Through sadly losing Ian, there is a vacancy to be filled in due course. If you are interested in putting your name forward or require any information as to what the role entails, please contact a Councillor or the Clerk.
The Council has now had presentations about the two options for a Unitary Authority for Somerset and will be determining its response at its April meeting. The consultation period runs until 19 April and is open to the public. A link to the survey can be found on either proposals’ website: Stronger Somerset or One Somerset. Please contact the Clerk or a Councillor if you need any further information
Following a review based on having adequate disabled access, it is hoped that the final design for the toilet block in Creedwell Orchard will be shortly agreed by the Council. Quotations can then be sought to effect the renovation.
A new defibrillator supplied by South West Ambulance Service has been fitted to the Victoria Rooms. Although using it should be straightforward if ever needed in an emergency, verbal instructions being given electyronically, training sessions will be organised when Covid restrictions are relaxed.
Grants – PCC/Rec
The Council has passed on grants from SWT to the Recreation Ground and the PCC for grass-cutting and has also agreed to donate new cricket mats to the Rec which hopefully will be back in use in the Summer. A grant was also given to a rainwater harvesting proposal for the allotments, which should be in situ in time for the British Summer!
The next meeting will be held remotely on Monday 12 April. If you would like to ‘attend’ or have any queries on any Parish Council Matter please let me know.