The monthly meeting was held on 3 April and covered the usual agenda items. Instead of summarising all topics covered, this month’s report comprises two particular bits of news:
The Parish Council is pleased to report that the long awaited reopening of the toilets has now happened! It is perhaps appropriate to provide the background to the project, which became a longer running saga than originally anticipated. The toilets were first transferred to the Parish Council by Taunton Deane Borough Council in 2017, following which they operated up to March 2020. The decision was then taken to close the toilets for refurbishment, three weeks before the first Covid restrictions were imposed. The lockdowns made obtaining a design and then getting quotes for the work incredibly difficult. Fast forward to 2021: it was ascertained that rather than do a patch repair of the roof, it would be preferable to replace it completely, this was done in early 2022. With the building watertight the inside works could go ahead, following a tendering process by interested contractors. Works were scheduled to commence in October but this slipped to November, by which time the weather was affecting the ability of the paint to dry and further delays brought the completion into April 2023. Everyone is encouraged to visit the new toilets to see what all the fuss has been about. The decision was taken at the design stage to make the old Ladies a unisex facility with disabled access, plus a separate urinal,. The old Gents remains mothballed at present but the longer term aim is to re-open this when funds permit. The project has been handled on a day to day basis by the Amenity Committee of the Council, for which all past and present members are thanked for their contributions. Two members deserve special mention, firstly the late Roger Cotton, the previous Committee chairman who lead the early period in very difficult circumstances, and secondly Rod Burton, who took over from Roger and who has overseen the work to completion, which has been a time-consuming process, for which the Council is duly thankful.
Somerset officially became Unitary from 1 April, so Somerset West & Taunton Council and Somerset County Council are now replaced by Somerset Council. There is no longer the question of which Council is responsible for what, it’s all under one roof. There is intended to be little discernible difference to residents but the signs are that there will not be a new pot of gold that results in an immediate improvement to services. There are to be Local Community Networks, each representing about 17 parishes, that will look at matters on a more local level, though their exact role will evolve over time.
Full minutes of the meeting will be posted on Milverton Parish Council.
The Annual Parish Council Meeting will be held on 3 May in the Victoria Rooms.
The next meeting will be held on Tuesday 9 May at the Methodist Chapel (please note change of day and location).
If you have any queries on any Parish Council matter, please let me know.