Milverton, Somerset
22/06/2024

Community Review Project 2024

The Community Council for Somerset (CCS)  is undertaking a Community Review Project to enable parish councils to engage with their communities in an inclusive and meaningful way to create a Community Plan to address the needs and ambitions of the parish. 

We are pleased to announce that Milverton Parish has been selected to participate in this process. This will commence in the Spring of this year and conclude in the Autumn – it will involve forming a ‘Steering Group’ of around six to eight volunteers from within our community. All aspects and issues affecting our community are up for discussion – be it traffic, parking, public transport, amenities such as a youth club, environment, education, new development, etc. 

We are looking for volunteers from around the parish of all ages and interests to participate. There will be some online training (with flexible timings) and we have already been allocated an advisor to help us through the process. The idea will be to put together a Community Survey for distribution mid Summer to all parishioners. The results of the survey will be collated and analysed  and, in conjunction with the Steering Group, 

CCS will produce a Community Review Report and an Action Plan incorporating recommendations for projects within our community as well as potential funding streams to help finance these projects. 

If you would like to know more and/or volunteer for this project please contact Milverton Parish Council at clerk@milvertonpc.org.uk  no later than Friday 5 April.



Parish Council March meeting summary

 Summary of the meeting held in March 2024 is as follows:

  • The Council agreed to support the applications for Listed Building Consent in respect of 3/4 Chapel House and Little Carlton House, though the latter being conditional on several suggested amendments being made
  • The Council is to push for Somerset Council to undertake the CCTV inspection of the culvert that would highlight any deficiencies needing to be addressed as well as improvements to the grill by Woodbarton. The Council is willing to consider making a financial contribution to these works if it would enable them to be actioned sooner rather than later
  • There is no news on when works will be undertaken to deal with water appearing from a well by Jubilee Gardens which causes the run-off down to the carpark. This too is being chased though will be impacted by the monies set aside for such works by Somerset Council
  • Whilst the Parish Council was looking to prune the tree outside the toilets, this was in fact cut back by persons unknown. It remains to be seen if this will regrow from its reduced size

Full minutes of the meeting will be posted on Milverton Parish Council.

The next meeting will be held on Monday 8 April at the Victoria Rooms.

If you have any queries on any Parish Council matter, please let me know.

Tim Payne
Clerk to the Council
Phone 01823 432959 or email clerk@milvertonpc.org.uk

Parish Council vacancies

There are currently two vacancies on the Parish Council which gives an opportunity for new blood to get involved and contribute to the future well-being of the parish.

Given the issues being presented as a result of the problems with Somerset Council, it is even more important for residents to be aware of and take decisions on matters that the parish is faced with.

If you are interested in finding out more about the role of a Councillor, please contact either me or any Councillor. 

Tim Payne
Clerk to the Council
Phone 01823 432959 or email clerk@milvertonpc.org.uk

 



Parish Council vacancies

Due to a resignation last year and more recently Helen Burton stepping down in February, there are currently two vacancies on the Parish Council. Thanks are due to Helen for her work whilst on the Council but this does give an opportunity for new blood to get involved and contribute to the future well-being of the parish.

Given the issues being presented as a result of the problems with Somerset Council, it is even more important for residents to be aware of and take decisions on matters that the parish is faced with.

If you are interested in finding out more about the role of a Councillor please contact either me or any Councillor, see contact details in the magazine.

Tim Payne
Clerk to the Council on 01823 432959 or email at clerk@milvertonpc.org.uk

 



Update on the buses

Subsequent to the February meeting, First Bus announced cuts to the #25 bus service from April 2024, though the proposed new schedules have not yet been confirmed. DIscussions were also due to take place with Somerset Council before any final decision is taken.

If you have any queries on any Parish Council matter, please let me know.

Tim Payne
Clerk to the Council on 01823 432959
 or email at clerk@milvertonpc.org.uk



Parish Council February meeting summary

summary of the meeting held in February 2024 is as follows:

  • The Council agreed to support the planning application in respect of 3/4 Wood Street  (building works) but did not feel that it had been shown conclusively that the criteria required for allowing conversion of Higher BIckley barns under Class Q had been met
  • It was also noted that the solar farm on Preston Farm had been approved by Somerset Council’s Planning Committee (works are scheduled to commence later in 2024)
  • A preliminary report into the 2023 flooding should be available for review in March
  • There had not been any significant information made available from Somerset Council as to what precise cuts in service would be made therefore the PC resolved to set the 2024/25 precept level at £50,200. This is effectively a 60% increase but as noted previously, it is felt that the PC has to be in a position to pay for essential services that could be cut by Somerset Council. At the time of writing there is still no clarity but the position will become clearer in the coming weeks and months, enabling the PC to plan for these services to be continued where possible. It is reiterated that if expenditure is not made at the levels per the budget, any underspends will be taken into account in setting the next year’s budget
  • The Annual Parish Meeting was set for Tuesday 21 May at the Victoria Rooms


Full minutes of the meeting will be posted on Milverton Parish Council.

The next meeting will be held on Monday 4 March at the Victoria Rooms.

Tim Payne
Parish Council Clerk
Email at clerk@milvertonpc.org.uk or on 01823 432959

 

Milverton Parish Precept

The January meeting of the Parish Council (PC) included discussions on the services that it was felt the PC should budget to pay for in 2024/25 if these were cut, or even scrapped, by Somerset Council (SC). As suggested in last month, there was support for the PC to be in a position to commission gullies be cleared, litter bins to be emptied and to maintain roadside verges, as well as being able to contribute to local bodies who provide much needed services to the parish, and whose funding previously provided by SC is under threat.

The difficulty faced by the PC is that exact details of how the parish will be affected by the inevitable budget cuts will not be known until late February/March, which is unavoidably after the date by which the PC is required to have set the level for the 2024/25 precept. It is also only possible to get best estimates of, for example, the cost of hiring a gully-emptying crew for a day

Despite the uncertainties, the PC has to confirm its precept at its February meeting and based on discussions in January, this is likely to be in the order of £51,000, a rise of £19,500 from its current level, a 62% increase. It is calculated that this will enable the PC to provide necessary services that it is thought will impact the most on the parish were they to be withdrawn.

There is no getting around this being a significant rise, which would lead to an annual increase of approx. £32 for a Band D property. This is also separate to the rise expected in the Council Tax of Somerset Council itself, which is being suggested at a 10% increase (if allowed by Central Government), being close to a £200 increase for a Band D property.

As previously noted, this does not commit the PC to spend the money and were it found that expenditure was not required at the levels provided for, future years’ precepts would be adjusted accordingly.

Feedback has already been provided by several parishioners, which is welcomed, and further comment may be provided before or at the February meeting when the final decision will be taken. 


Tim Payne
Clerk to the Council
Phone on 01823 432959 or email at clerk@milvertonpc.org.uk

Parish Council December summary

  • The Council agreed to support the planning applications in respect of Little Fort, St Michael’s Lodge and Lynbrook (all building works)
  • The meeting was attended by the new PCSO for the area, Brianna Whelan, who it transpired had family living in Milverton when growing up
  • The preliminary report on the May 2023 floods is due to be completed by May 2024
  • The start date of highway works by Somerset Council in Sand Street (kerbs/giulies) and the major works required in Wood Street are not yet known and given the uncertainty with Somerset Council, dates are unlikely to be confirmed before 1 April
  • There is similar uncertainty in respect of the future of the #25 bus service. The period of review is continuing to March and use of the bus is encouraged. Unfortunately there seems little prospect of alleviating the difficulties with the current situation of passengers needing to walk down Station Road to the temporary bus stops
  • The Parish Council gave its support to lobbying against the imposition by Somerset Council of a £1,250 fee for the road closure in respect of holding the May Street Fair (the following day SC announced that there would be no fee for 2024 so the immediate issue was averted)
  • Discussion was again held on the level of the 2024/25 precept

    Full minutes of the meeting will be posted on Milverton Parish Council.

    The next meeting will be held on Monday 5 February at the Victoria Rooms.

    If you have any queries on any Parish Council matter, please let me know.

    Tim Payne
    Clerk to the Council
    Phone on 01823 432959 or email at clerk@milvertonpc.org.uk

Parish Council December summary

 Many topics raised in the meeting were being affected by the financial position of Somerset Council (SC). See separate article on the potential impact on parishioners’ pockets.

  • The agreed works to gullies and kerbs scheduled for Sand Street were postponed, apparently due to the correct footpath closure not being applied for. A replacement date is unknown, though  this is now likely to be impacted by SC reviewing all of its expenditure
  • Defibrillator training to be arranged in the New Year
  • The previously suggested upgrade of a kissing gate on Footpath 07/16 is again now likely to be affected by SC’s restrictions on expenditure
  • It was noted that potholes have been repaired in Creedwell Orchard though not without disruption to residents at the time
  • Attempts have been made to alleviate the issues caused by Wood Street being closed and bus-users having to walk down Station Road. First Bus are unwilling to come into the village and turn round and enquiries to make the walk safer for pedestrians are ongoing
  • A working group has been set up to investigate parking and traffic problems and the possible means of making improvements. It is accepted this issue has been looked at before but given it is a regular concern, a review of options is felt to be warranted
  • Attempts continue to have dialogue with Airband but communication does not appear to be a strongpoint
  • Confirmation was given that a Bank Hub is to open in Wellington at the Lloyds Bank premises when it shuts in March 2024

Full minutes of the meeting will be posted at Milverton Parish Council.

The next meeting will be held on Monday 8 January at the Victoria Rooms. If you have any queries on any Parish Council matter, please let me know.

Tim Payne
Clerk to the Council
Phone 01823 432959 or email clerk@milvertonpc.org.uk



Parish precept important information

if you look on your Council tax bill sent out each year, you will see it includes sums for services provided by various Authorities. The largest amount will be for Somerset Council, then it will be the Police and Fire Services and finally the sum you pay for your Parish Council. For those not aware, the amount paid through residents’ Council Tax (the precept) is the only income of the Parish Council and last year the total amount received was £31,500. This is used to pay for the administration of the PC as well as community expenses, (eg the defibrillator, the running of the toilets, some grass-cutting and dog bins etc) as well as making grants to parish organisations to assist with particular projects.

As was highlighted in the December article, due to Somerset Council’s financial woes, there are likely to be cuts in the services provided, though at the time of writing, no details on specifics are known. When the position is clearer, the Parish will have to decide whether, due to the negative effect of not having a service, it wishes to pay for that service itself. The sorts of things that may arise include litter/dog waste bins not being emptied with the same frequency, grit bins not being filled, gullies not cleared, verges not cut. These are all services that would have an impact in Milverton, by being noticeable and in the case of grit and gullies, affecting car safety and flooding respectively. It should be be noted that Somerset Council does not intend to provide any funding to the Parish Council to help pay for those services which will be cut.

The PC, therefore, will be deciding if, and how much it thinks it needs to have available to pay for services that have previously been provided by SCC and the decision will have to be made in January or early February 2024  Whilst the PC does have a contingency in the funds it holds, it needs to assess what it may need at 1 April 2024 through the precept, as it cannot after that date  get any additional monies until the same date in 2025. It is almost certain that the precept will rise, to ensure the PC has enough to meet potential costs, though it should be pointed out that if monies are not spent, savings would be reflected in a lower precept for 2025/26

It is important residents are both aware of this issue and let Councillors know their views, since they will be impacted by higher costs, reduced services or a combination of both. Contact details for Councillors and the Parish Clerk are in the magazine and on Milverton Parish Council.

Tim Payne           
Clerk to the Council
Email clerk@milvertonpc.org.uk 



Parish Council November summary

  • The Council agreed to support the planning applications in respect of Higher Bickley Farm (building works) and 1 Sand Street and Grateful Cottage (tree works)
  • It was confirmed that (finally) the writing of the report into the flooding in May is set to commence, and an interim report should be produced around March 2024
  • It was noted that there is still a need to encourage passenger use of the bus service in order to demonstrate that it remains viable, though this has been severely impacted by the closure of Wood Street for repairs, for which the works are now scheduled to last until late March 2024
  • A grant application was considered from the Recreation Ground to enable the CCTV to be enhanced and a storage facility for various equipment to be constructed. The Parish Council agreed to a grant of £1,000
  • Figures were reviewed outlining the precept level for 2024/25. Given the financial position of Somerset Council (SC), it will be necessary for the Parish Council to consider if it can or should provide some services if these are potentially reduced as a result of SC budget cuts
  • The provision of high speed broad by Airband continues to be planned though the PC has been unable to obtain final plans as to where new poles to run the cables will be sited. Airband have agreed to a meeting but at the time of writing the date of this is unknown

Full minutes of the meeting will be posted on the Parish Council website

The next meeting will be held on Monday 4 December at the Victoria Rooms.

If you have any queries on any Parish Council matter, please let me know.

Tim Payne
Clerk to the Council
Phone 01823 432959 or email clerk@milvertonpc.org.uk