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.
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.
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.