Thank you and please keep in touch

Thank you to all my supporters who voted me in for a further four years in Somerset County Council, representing Frome North Division. I was thrilled to be voted in with a majority of 43%, taking 52% of your votes. Thank you so much. I must also thank everyone who worked with me in my election campaign.

I was so relieved to be able to carry on with the work I had already started or that is in progress. There are many things I have been working with the Parish Councils on and with Somerset County Council officers. We can now continue the work we started and achieve some outcomes.

It is not easy ensuring that local residents I represent actually get to know what work I am doing on their behalf. For many of you, it will feel like us councillors only show our faces at election time. Believe me when I tell you that I work every single day on council matters. The one thing I find I do not have the time to do, is to let you know what I am doing. But this point marks a change, as I have decided to ensure I keep time aside for this from now on.

There are over 7500 electors in the Frome North Division and getting information to you on a regular basis can generally only be guaranteed through delivering leaflets through your door. As you can imagine trying to deliver to more than 4000 homes in the villages and the North of Frome is a challenge in itself.

Most of my contact with the local community is through the Parish Councils; direct contact from residents; and my website. In addition, I have now set up this Facebook page to try and engage with my constituents even more than I already do. I want to use it to promote all the work we are doing here in Mendip and Somerset and welcome your feedback, your views and concerns.

Some of the areas I continue working on and supporting you with are:

• The retention of the 267 evening bus service;
• Highways and pedestrian safety issues across the division;
• To provide a link between the County Council and the community making your voice heard on issues that matter to you;
• Seeking solutions to fly tipping in the area.

Please follow my new Facebook page to keep up to date with my work.

You can trust Conservatives

Trust in us

Trust leaflet Conservatives v LibDems

In this election you have a clear choice. A choice between a financially prudent Conservative administration with a clear plan to improve the lives of all Somerset residents or the Lib Dems who have no plans for the County except to tax and borrow.

The Conservatives have frozen your council tax for 6 of the last 8 years. In comparison the Lib Dems when they were last in charge raised your council tax by 62%, at a recent Council meeting one of the Lib Dem Councillors even said that the Council should consider a 15% council at increase. Hard working Somerset residents simply cannot afford the Lib Dems.

The Lib Dems left the County Council £350 million in debt. They took out 50 year loans at high interest rates with massive early repayment penalties. We have worked hard to reduce this crippling debt but it still costs nearly £100,000 a day to service. If we did not have this debt, we would be able to invest more in Somersets services. The Lib Dems if elected in May want to start borrowing again. I would rather we spend more money on services, than interest paid to the banks.

The Conservatives are proud to have recruited over 50 new Childrens social workers. This is on top of the staff that are already employed. This provides better care to those children in the County who need it. The Lib Dems complain that we have spent money on agency staff fees. However agency staff are needed to care for our children and the elderly when are regular staff are unwell or retire and then only until we find a replacement. The Lib Dems appear to be suggesting that we should not employ agency staff, well in which case, can they tell me who they do not wish to care for?

Our Childrens services have been on an improvement journey and I pay credit to the hard working members of staff who have made this happen. The improvements have been recognized by Ofsted, the Government and other local authorities who we are now assisting improve their own childrens services.

The Conservatives are proud to have created the Somerset Rivers Authority to prevent future flooding throughout the County. In the 2014 floods over £147 million pounds of damage was done to the County. Road links from Mendip to Taunton and rail links to the South West were flooded. The Conservatives have managed to bring in £50 million to help prevent future flooding. The Lib Dems on the other hand, do not support the Somerset Rivers Authority and investing in protecting our homes, jobs and transport links.

Over the last four years the Conservative Administration has brought £200 million of investment into the County. This investment has paid for superfast broadband, new roads, new congestion reducing traffic schemes, new enterprise centres to help create jobs and apprenticeships and new community facilities. We have successfully sought this investment without borrowing any money.

Conservatives have successfully lobbied for £22 million of additional funding to our schools. We have freed schools of County Hall regulation and allowed them to do what they do best, teach. There is no coincidence, when we freed the schools of regulation, that school results, especially in GCSE have vastly increased.

We have presented a clear plan for the future to build a new University, homes for Somerset residents, new schools and jobs throughout our county. This is a plan, that Somerset needs to be competitive and to raise the standard of living for all its residents.

If you vote Lib Dem on 4 May you will pay vastly more council tax and the Council will have to pay of more debt. Somerset Conservatives care for you and the services the council provides. We have a track record of dealing with the issues head on and a clear plan for the future. I ask you to make a clear choice and vote for the party with the clear plan.

Kent residents supporting our campaign to use the 267 bus service

Many thanks to our friends from Kent, Leigh and Bev for supporting the 267 bus service. Instead of us ferrying them to and from the Bath railway station they used the 267 to get to and from Bath to Norton St Philip. The bus back to Bath was full of young people. The recent surveys highlighted how important bus services are to young people. Our challenge next week is to get our friends from Heswall to use the 267.Leigh & Bev on 267 to Bath Leigh & Bev catching the 2

Save the 267 evening bus service

Why are buses so important for Frome and the villages?

For so many, a bus is the only form of transport available. Even in homes that have a car, one or more members of the household often don’t have access to it as someone else is using it. So to avoid being isolated in market towns and rural villages, very many people are reliant on public transport, and for most, that’s the bus.

But it’s hard to make rural buses pay, so we need to encourage as many people in communities where there is a bus service to ‘BUS IT’ as often as possible to try and ensure those services continue.

I have battled alongside bus campaigners in Frome and the villages to win subsidies from Councils to maintain the midweek evening 267 bus. I am grateful that Frome, Beckington, Rode and Norton St Philip Councils have agreed to step in and make up the shortfall in funding so the service will carry on through to September.

We now need to try and ensure the bus service continues later this year. As this recent BBC report shows so many people depend on the Frome/Bath 267.  We got national coverage from the BBC when they used our 267 bus subsidy cuts to demonstrate what is a national problem.

Frome and the villages BUS it

Nervous wait for results of village green inquiry

Residents grateful for support

Residents in Norton St Philip have a nervous wait ahead as evidence is reviewed over the submission of an application for village green status for Shepherds Mead.

The five-acre meadow has been used for grazing, haymaking and recreation remaining unspoiled by cultivation for generations. The absence of intensive farming allows wild flowers and other plants to thrive, supporting an abundance of insects including bees, beetles, grasshoppers and butterflies which provides a feeding habitat for birds, bats and small animals. Surrounded by dwellings on three sides and crossed by four public rights of way, the location and features of Shepherds Mead makes it a vital green space where village residents and their families enjoy nature.

It follows a four-year process during which Linda Oliver has worked doggedly, outside of her capacity as a councillor, with other residents of Norton St Philip, on gaining the successful application. Over the last two weeks, she and many others have given more than 36 hours of witness evidence at the inquiry. This is compared to just 15 hours of evidence from objectors.

Linda Villlage Green 2

Linda said: “I am eternally grateful for all the support from all our witnesses which has been overwhelming. Thank you. When local people have used land for a long time for informal recreation, they grow to love it, and they assume it will always be there. When it is threatened, they want to protect their rights to enjoy it and village green registrations is the means to record their rights. Communities may want some developments but they also want their ‘village greens’, which they have enjoyed for decades.  I am determined to fight any inappropriate development proposals across my ward.”

A decision on the application should be made in around two months.

Latest News March 2017

A summary of news to March 2017

You may have seen Somerset Voice (Spring 2017) which has some great news from the Conservative team in Somerset.

Here’s a brief summary:

Elections on 4 May – vote Linda Oliver

There’s a clear choice for residents on 4 May at our County Council elections.

Linda Oliver is your local choice for Frome North and Surrounding Villages

Somerset Voice states: Vote for investment in services, jobs, infrastructure and communicates; or return to the reckless build up of debt and gambles on risky investments putting our county’s future at risk.

Council leader John Osman says: “It is vital that we continue to invest in Somerset’s future success, do not return to crazy tax rises and borrowing ways, and that means voting Conservative on 4 May.”

More investment in transport infrastructure

Over the last four years, the Conservatives have built 19 miles of new roads and resurfaced a further 75 miles. We’ve surface dressed 4000 miles and repaired 78,000 potholes. There’s more to do and in the next four years, we’re dualling the A303 and A358, as well as making improvements to the M5.

The rail network is also important and we’re working to improve stations locally as well as promote new stations at Langport/Somerton and Wellington.

Locally in Frome North and Surrounding villages, public transport is close to my heart and I have worked tirelessly over the last year on the 267 bus service.

Supporting local people, young, old and vulnerable

Somerset County Council is providing more jobs and apprenticeships for local people and we are supporting adults who need care. Over the next four years you will see investment in enterprise centres, business parks, and an extra £16million in adult social care.

We’re also seeing unprecedented improvements in our GCSE results across the county as the Conservatives have invested £22 million extra funding to support Somerset schools.

Flood protection

£50million of investment has been made in Somerset to protect us against flooding in the future. There is a comprehensive plan for the next four years.

A clear plan for Somerset

The Somerset Conservatives have a clear, ambitious plan for the county that will be delivered to improve the lives of all Somerset residents. I hope to be a part of making this plan work.
You can read about the plan in detail in Somerset Voice Spring 2017.

Latest news October 2016

Latest update – 12 October 2016

Two key areas tend to dominate the work I do – planning (District Council) and highways (County Council).

I have an interest in planning policy since I was on the planning board at Shepway District Council. I make it my business to keep myself up to date with national and local planning policy. Much of my work here is assisting the parish councils and local residents in their considerations of planning applications and working with them when necessary to represent them at the planning board.

Quite often local communities are at odds with the recommendation of the planning officer. My role here is to assist in preparing a sound statement supporting an alternative view to that of the planning officer.

Highways issues are predominantly speeding and the associated road safety issues this brings. Without exception there are issues across my area. In Rode, Norton St Philip and Farleigh Hungerford there are two very active Traffic Action Groups. I work very closely with both and have been trained to do Speed Watch activities which I take part in when I have the spare time.

There are often other issues to work on besides planning and highways and they often come out of the blue, but need urgent attention.

Current Issues

Broadband

During the last 18 months or so, Superfast Broadband has been very much on everyone’s wish list. None more so than the number of businesses within my area who cannot do their work effectively because of very slow download and upload speeds.

Whilst I cannot deliver broadband for everyone what I can do is work with local campaigners to raise the profile of communities who have a very limited service. I am pleased to say that Rode, Norton St Philip and Beckington are now live. There remain some weak spots due to a number of problems but a large amount of the community should be able to get it if they wish.

For others, particularly small hamlets like Farleigh Hungerford, Rudge, Tellisford, Lullington and Berkley the roll out is not necessarily covering them. In my position I was able to link in the broadband champions with each other in Tellisford, Rudge, Berkley, Lullington and Laverton. Through their combined efforts there are alternative solutions being taken forward to enable them to access broadband services.

Planning

I am working on planning applications in Farleigh Hungerford, Rode and Norton St Philip and assisting Beckington Parish Council whenever necessary. I have provided advice on highways matters as part of responses to planning applications. Recently this included advice to the district councillor, Adam Boyden regarding an application in Frome at the former Mendip Lodge Hotel site.

267 Bath/Frome evening bus service

By chance the local bus campaign group, `Frome and Villages bus user group’ (FAVBUG) became aware of a Bath and North East Somerset Council (BANES) public consultation on bus services. In this consultation there are proposals to cut their subsidy for the 267 evening services. It was a short consultation period and I was advised late in the day.

I have been working with FAVBUG, local Parish Councils in the affected areas and Frome Town Council to try and retain the subsidy. I have been in contact with Somerset County Council, Mendip District Council, BANES and First Bus senior managers. I have also presented on the issue and made recommendations at BANES Scrutiny Panel meeting which was held on Monday 19th September. First Bus announced at this meeting that they are committed to deliver the Friday and Saturday services and continue with the Monday to Thursday Bath to Frome 19.10 service.

Efforts to get BANES to continue with this subsidy are ongoing and there are a number of councillors working to protect it.

Next steps are to find out exactly how many people use the service, when and what for and to find out what the funding shortfall is. With more information we will help try and seek funding from other sources to secure the future of the service.

Highways – Frome

Speed and volume traffic readings have been requested and approved for Welshmill (in the vicinity of the Care Home) and Olford Hill. All of these have been arranged in order to gather information on both speed and volume of traffic. With this information it will help to highlight the issues there.

I am also working with the Police to seek speed surveillance in the Oldford Hill area.

Discussions are taking place with Highways to introduce a 40mph speed limit at Oldford Hill area and move the 30mph limit back further back Bath Road in the Frome direction.

Consultation is about to commence on a number of additional yellow lining proposed in the Frome area. One area in my division includes the corners of Park Hill Drive.

District Councillor, Town Councillor and County Councillor for the Welshmill area will be holding a public meeting at St Mary’s Church on 6 October.

Highways – Norton St Philip

Long outstanding 20mph zones and speed changes are shortly going to be introduced.

The small improvement scheme submitted last year with the help of a Norton St Philip TAG member is progressing.

Highways – Rode

Another area of Rode will be monitored for speed and volume readings shortly. The data will determine the next course of action.

Negotiations are taking place to extend the 30mph speed limit back passed Parkgate Lane. Ashford Homes are working with me on achieving this.

The small improvement scheme submitted last year with the help of Rode TAG members is progressing. A further application submitted before my time will shortly. This scheme was delayed because of land ownership issues.

Highways – Beckington

Negotiations are taking place to introduce some additional road lining to prevent parking in an area of Bath Road that creates problems for buses and other larger vehicles.

Highways – Woolverton

There are longstanding issues with accidents and traffic speeds in the Shawford area of the A36. However, this is not a Somerset County Council Highway. It is part of the Highways England road network. The Tellisford Parish are working hard to get support for lower speed restrictions. So far Highways England is not being supportive. I am hoping SCC Highways will assist in getting some support from Highways England.

Thank you for taking the time to read about my work. Please keep in touch.

Take care for now.
Linda

Somerset County Councillor

• Each Somerset County Councillor has a grant of £5000 from the Health & Wellbeing budget scheme to spend in their local communities. This year there is a particular emphasis upon projects which address loneliness and health inequalities.

Campaigns and Meetings

• Successful discussions with the general manager, Colin Miller, with the help of the Facebook messages from Traffic Action Group (TAG) members, in getting Redwing Coaches to stop coming through Norton St Philip. Because of the A36 diversion more traffic was driving through the village. Some of this was large coaches and large HGVs. Facebook and Twitter address is Norton St Philip TAG.

• Campaigned locally for the District Council elections (7th May).

• Organised a meeting on behalf of Berkley Parish Council to discuss the issue of fly-tipping in the area. Present were members of the Parish Council, Somerset County Council Highways, Somerset Waste Partnership & Mendip District Council Enforcement Officer. It was a good opportunity for the Parish Council to have their say on the problems, explore solutions to prevent fly-tipping and agree a way forward. A site visit to the main fly-tipping area was enlightening. Whilst we were there three vehicles full of green garden waste came onto the site. It was clear they were intending to tip their waste illegally. One other vehicle was about to come up the lane but one of the other vehicle drivers spoke to him. He turned around immediately and made a hasty retreat. This gives you an idea about how serious the problem has become. And costly!