The parish council has responsibility for local issues, including setting an annual precept (local rate) to cover the council’s operating costs and producing annual accounts for public scrutiny. The parish council evaluates local planning applications and works with the local police, district council officers, and neighbourhood watch groups on matters f crime, security, and traffic. The parish council's role also includes initiating projects for the maintenance and repair of parish facilities, as well as
consulting with the district council on the maintenance, repair, and improvement of highways, drainage, footpaths, public transport, and street cleaning. Conservation matters (including trees and listed buildings) and environmental issues are also the responsibility of the council.The village falls within the Non-metropolitan district of South Somerset, which was formed on April 1, 1974 under the Local Government Act 1972, having previously been part of Langport Rural District..The district council is responsible for local planning and building control, local roads, council housing, environmental health, markets and fairs, refuse collection and recycling, cemeteries and crematoria, leisure services, parks, and tourism.
Somerset County Council is responsible for running the largest and most expensive local services such as education, social services, libraries, main roads, public transport, policing and fire services, trading standards, waste disposal and strategic planning.It is also part of the Somerton and Frome county constituency represented in the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. It elects one Member of Parliament (MP) by the first past the post system of election, and part of the South West England constituency of the European Parliament which elects seven MEPs using the d'Hondt method of party-list proportional representation.
Parish Council Meeting 3rd October 2018.Public Question Time. Cllrs were asked if the footpath sign at Gawbridge could be replaced as it had been broken off, clerk would report to SCC. Also the hedge behind the bus shelter at West Lambrook was overgrown and would be damaging the roof if not cut back. This job would be added to the list for the Parish Ranger and the clerk would ask the land owner if he could cut as much of the hedge as possible before.Signs from the recent gas works for the diversion have been left at New Cross, clerk would report to South West Gas to have them removed.A resident passed comment that it was disturbing to note that a Tree Preservation Order had been placed on a commercial orchard at Stembridge.Concern was raised about the parking outside of the school during taking in and leaving school. Large vehicles are really struggling to get through because of inconsiderate parking. It was asked whether the school had a travel plan and suggested that the school should call a parents evening to suggest car sharing or perhaps stagger the times of the classes arriving.An email had been received regarding the incident at last year’s bonfire/fireworks night where a young girl was injured. Cllr Langford informed cllrs that action has been taken to avoid this happening again, a first aid company has been secured for this year’s event which will be held in a larger field so that the distance between the public and the fireworks would be greater. As yet insurance had not been secured for the event and if it wasn’t secured the event would not take place.Mr Langford read a statement regarding their planning application at Willowood stating that they had carried out research regarding the size of the building, the distance from the boundary and carefully considered its siting with no windows facing the neighbour. All the services are connected to Willowood. It was although thought that permission was not required as cabin is ancillary to the house. It will be used as a granny annexe and when that is not the case it will used as either storage or a music room perhaps. They didn’t realise that if the cabin was not in two parts it would need planning permission. They did try to converse with the neighbours, prior to the work starting, but unfortunately it didn’t happen. The Change of Use was included on the application as it seemed the sensible thing to do, to regularise it as the land had been used as the garden for over 20 years. With regards to increased vehicle movements, these are less now since Willowood was converted from a Commercial building to a residence.Neighbours appreciated the reasons for the log cabin, but felt that had they been consulted before it was erected some of their concerns could have been dealt with and perhaps the siting of the cabin moved. They also felt that Cllr Langford should have asked SSDC if planning permission was needed. Present: Mr D Wakely(Chair), Miss S Brooks, Miss A Cox, Mrs L Langford, Mrs C Paul, Mrs P Warren, Messrs C Aplin, K Cox, M Johnson and Cllr D Yeomans
1. Apologies for Absence: Mrs J Pearce.2. Declarations of Interests: Cllr Langford regarding planning application at Willowood. It was also agreed that a dispensation be granted to the majority of the cllrs, as they felt they had a prejudicial interest in the application. Without a dispensation the council would not be quorate and unable to vote on the application. 3. Confirmation of previous minutes: Minutes for the 5thSeptember were agreed and duly signed.4. Planning applications; Cllrs resolved to approve the planning application for the demolition of existing buildings and the erection of 5 dwellings with car ports at New Cross Fruit Farm, New Cross. Although it was a shame the fruit farm would be lost.Cllr Langford left the room.After a full and frank discussion and taking on board neighbours concerns, was there a planning reason to object to the application for the erection of a granny annexe(retrospective) at Willowood, Stembridge. As there was not, cllrs therefore approved the application but will ask for conditions to be applied to ensure that there would be no future development, the annexe would be tied to Willowood and not treated as a separate dwelling and therefore cannot be sold or let out and the annexe should only be used by the family. With regards to the change of use, this was added to the application to regularize the use of the land as it had been used as domestic garden for over 20 years. Cllr Yeomans did state that as another log cabin in the Parish had already been allowed under permitted development he would struggle to ask for the application to be brought to the Area North Committee. It was stated that had the planning department been consulted prior to erecting the log cabin, the concerns raised by the neighbours could have been addressed. 5. Amenities and Community Shop Update: All still going really well, children’s parties really busy. Unfortunately the café manager is off long term sick so they will appoint a replacement shortly. The Post Office will open on the 23rd October. Training is happening at present. The new till with scales and a card reader has now been installed. Judging has now taken place for best Community Shop, presentation evening will be on the 26thOctober together with the Village of the Year. 6. Kingsbury Episcopi Primary School: As cllr Pearce was not present would carry forward to next meeting.7. SSDC: Notification that the TPO on the remaining orchard at Giffords, Stembridge was now in place. Guidance notes had been received regarding the Community Infrastructure Levy. 8. Footpaths and bridleways: It was reported that a stile halfway up Burrow Hill was broken, clerk would report together with the damaged footpath sign at Gawbridge. 9. Highway Matters: The state of New Road between Higher Burrow and Hambridge was raised again. Clerk has already reported this but will report it again as its condition is getting worse by the day. Also the hedge at The Rusty Axe still needs cutting back. Cllr Paul has already spoken to the Landladies and will follow up. Parish Ranger could carry out the work with their permission. 10. Date and time of next meeting: The next Parish Council meeting will be held on Wednesday 7th November 2018 at 8.00pm.
Public questions/comments.Cllr Wakely addressed the public present with a statement of the situation along Thorney Road at present, what actions have been taken so far to try and remedy the speeding problem and what has led us to this proposal now being made by SCC. Few drivers appreciate that the 30mph limit that started at Muchelney actually continues all the way through Thorney, Kingsbury Episcopi and Stembridge. The last 30mph sign being at the river bridge in Thorney. As there are street lights from Thorney towards Kingsbury Episcopi, legislation dictates that repeater 30mph signs are not allowed.The Parish Council put forward in 2015 a ‘Small Improvement Scheme’ for a permanent ‘Vehicle Activated Sign’ on the approach to the recreation ground, unfortunately in 2017 SCC rejected this request as they did not feel there was a speeding problem going past the recreation ground. This has now prompted SCC to put forward this new scheme where the limit be reverted back to 40mph along Thorney Road, from just past Norton House to just before Moor View, a distance of approximately 800metres, this would enable new signage to be erected, stating 30mph from Moor View towards Thorney and 30mph from Norton House towards Kingsbury Episcopi. Theory being that the new 30mph signage will act as a reminder to drivers to slow down. A zebra crossing has also been requested near the recreation ground, but this is not possible as there are not pavements on both sides of the road, and it is not possible for a pavement to be made on the recreation ground side of the road.At present this latest proposal is out for consultation, so nothing has been decided, and the public’s voice will probably be more effective that the Parish Council, it is therefore advised that the residents send their comments/objections/suggestions to SCC.The Small Improvement Scheme team will look at alternative ideas to try and slow drivers down on Thorney Road and especially past the recreation ground.Several questions were then asked by the residents.Who proposed the 40mph limit? SCC as the limit had previously been 40mph(2003) as this would enable new signage to be erected reminding drivers of the speed limit as at present there are no reminders.It seems ridiculous to increase the speed limit when the aim is to slow traffic down, the police speed enforcement van won’t attend at Thorney Road as it is deemed too dangerous because of speeding traffic. If you are hit by a vehicle travelling at 40mph you would probably be killed but at 30mph you could survive. The benefit of a 20mph the mortality rates drops tremendously.Was Martyn Evans from Highways invited to this meeting? Yes
but he would not attend as it is only at the consultation stage. If this scheme goes further and a wider consultation is held he probably would attend a meeting.What happens to the Small Improvement Scheme budget of £50K if this proposal is pulled? These funds will still be available to our County Councillor who can then put forward other schemes.Can the Parish Council not purchase their own Vehicle Activated Sign? Yes they could, but it would need to be placed on private land. Ongoing costs for maintenance, calibration and also who is liable if there was an incident in which a member of the public states the flashing light caused the accident, would it be the landowner or the Parish Council.What happens at the end of the consultation period? Martyn Evans will look at all responses and consult with County Councillor Paul to look at alternatives and come back to the Parish Council.Cllr Paul assured the parishioners that she would continue to campaign for a scheme that would slow traffic down on Thorney Road and on the approach to the recreation ground. District Councillor Yeomans reiterated that something needs to be done outside of the recreation ground before a serious accident occurs. Can residents put their own homemade signs at the front of their properties? Yes you can, as long as they are on your property and not the highway verge, but be aware, if someone has an accident because they claim they were reading the sign, you the householder could be made liable.Have Highways agreed there is an issue with speed at the recreation ground? Not exactly, although the figures recorded by the temporary Speed Indicator Device that has been placed there on occasions do indicate 55% of motorists are travelling between 30mph and 40mph. They calculate the 85percentile speed is the speed at which 85% of all vehicles are travelling either at or below the speed check limit of 37mph on the approach to the recreation ground. Present: Cllr D Wakely(Chair), Mrs C Aparicio-Paul, Miss S Brooks, Miss A Cox, Mrs J Pearce, Mrs P Warren, Mr C Aplin and Cllr D Yeomans.Apologies for absence: Mrs L Langford, Messrs K Cox and M Johnson.Declarations of Interest: None.Proposed traffic calming measures on Thorney Road: See public questions/comments. It was reiterated that the Parish Council are made up of cllrs to represent the Parish and will always put the safety of the public first. Highway issues are always on the agenda and we would welcome more of the Parish to attend our monthly meetings. It was reiterated that all residents should send their comments to Martyn Evans at SCC.,
Extraordinary Parish Council Meeting held on Thursday 22nd March 2018
Public questions/comments.A resident of Little Lane asked that the Parish Council contact Highways regarding the drainage in Little Lane, it floods regularly, drains are blocked. He also asked about the damage caused by the verge cutter to the street name signs. He was informed that this had already been passed to SSDC to replace/repair the signs. Several residents from Stembridge attended the meeting to voice their opinions regarding the proposed development of 5 houses on land south of Giffords Orchard. The main objections being:1.loss of privacy from neighbouring properties. 2.Concerns whether existing services, water, sewerage, mobile phones and broadband could cope with more properties. 3.The Primary School has no capacity for more children and although the parish has key services, because of there being no pavements to walk to them, vehicles will be used to access them. 4.Concern was also raised over the amount of additional storm water from the roofs of these properties, which will all drain towards Little lane, that cannot cope already with heavy rainfall and regularly floods.5.Although parking provisions have been included in the proposal, in reality vehicles will park on the side of the road, including the entrance into the site.6.It was also felt that these houses are not for the local people and are not for present or future generations from here, they are not affordable housing.7.It was also asked why the apple trees were removed when other local growers are planting acres of new cider apple trees and was the intention to remove more of the orchard in years to come and build more houses.The agent for the applicant then responded to resident’s concerns. 1.It was felt that there was little loss of privacy because of the distance between the new properties and existing and the use of obscure glass in some of the first floor rooms.2.Wessex Water has been consulted and sees no problem with water pressure in the area.3.Parking provisions proposed are in accordance with SCC standards.4.As yet SCC has not responded with regards to whether existing storm drains are adequate for this development.5.From the local authority point of view, this site is deemed a good location for development, and the services the parish has to offer meets the requirements.6.With regards to the trees removed, these were removed because the buyer for the apples has greatly reduced the tonnage they will accept, as to the rest of the orchard, this now has a Tree Preservation Order on it, so will not be removed and therefore no future development.The agent was then asked about responsibility for the hedges that would be planted, this would be the new owners responsibility. It was also asked whether the high Leylandi would be removed, as they have caused damage to some of the garages at Giffords Orchard . Yes they would as they were owned by the applicant .A resident asked for better fencing down at the recreation ground near the river, as at present small children could get through to the river.
Present: Cllr D Wakely(Chair), Miss S Brooks, Miss A Cox, Mrs L Langford, Mrs J Pearce, Mrs P Warren, Mr K Cox and Cllr D Yeomans.Apologies for absence: Mrs C Paul, Messrs C Aplin and M Johnson.Declarations of Interest: Cllr Wakely regarding planning application for Mr R Stuckey.Confirmation of previous minutes: Minutes from the 4th July were agreed and duly signed.Planning Application: Having listened to neighboursconcerns regarding the proposed development of 5 houses on land at Giffords Orchard and after a full and frank discussion cllrs resolved to object to the application for the following reasons.1.Storm water from these new properties will run down the hill into Little Lane, which already floods within hours of a heavy downpour.2.Residents in Gifford Orchard and at Beech House will lose some privacy if these properties are built and although the new properties may gain the views of the remaining orchard this will be at the detriment of the existing properties in Gifford Orchard.3.Infrastructure, Broadband speeds are already very slow and mobile phone coverage is very poor. Water pressure is low and does the mains sewerage have enough capacity for five more large dwellings. 4.Parking provisions on paper appear to be adequate but in reality there is never enough parking and inevitably the side of the road will be where vehicles will park, including the entrance into the site.5.SS2 development in Rural Settlements states that housing should only be permitted in rural settlements that have key services. a.Stembridge has one public house, Kingsbury Episcopi has one public house, two churches, a recreation ground which now has a community centre and shop, but as there is no pavement between Stembridge and Kingsbury this will inevitably add to more vehicle movements to access them. b. The Primary School is within walking distance, but again there is no pavement, and at this time there is no capacity for more children, they are being turned away, and as these houses could well be occupied by families, again this will mean more vehicle movements to transport the children to other schools. 6.These new properties are not for the present or future generations from this area and it is highly unlikely they would be purchased by local people because of the purchase price.New bench for recreation ground: Cllrs discussed replacing the broken bench at the recreation ground, details of a very sturdy teak bench which has 6 legs to give it more stability was shown to the cllrs and it was agreed that as this bench was on offer at a price of £325(including delivery) it should be purchased.Date and time of next meeting: The next Parish Council meeting will be held on Wednesday 5th September 2018 at 8.00pm.
Extraordinary Parish Council Meeting held on Wednesday 8th August 2018