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Be Involved Blog

 

Bleadon Be Involved Blog is for anyone who would like to raise an issue about, affecting or concerning Bleadon Parish Area. Please send your information for a new blog item to us using the normal contact us page and we will add it as soon as possible then anyone can add comments to it. These comments can be made in your name or anonomously but we reserve the right to take down anything we consider inappropriate or likely to offend.

 

You may be interested in other Bleadon BOB pages: Parish Council , Parish Council Precept , Parish Plan and Issues. Also remember that historical posts can be viewed by selecting the drop down menu at the top of the blog home page. More Blogs on Whats New, Neighbourhood Watch, Events and Classified/Lost and Found. Also see new Action Group page

 

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Potential ELECTION opportunity

Posted on 20th April, 2018

Next Parish Council Meeting

7.00pm Monday 14th May 2018, Coronation Hall.

This will be the Annual Meeting of the Parish Council.  The first items on the agenda are to elect the Chairman and the vice-Chairman.  You are reminded that there are 6 vacancies on the Council and applications are welcomed!!

 

Click here to view Agenda and Minute documents

NOTICE OF VACANCY - 5th April 2018

Due to the resignations of Richard Dobson and David Chinn there are two vacancies on the Parish Council. 

If by 25 April, 2018 (14 working days after the date of the notice) a request for an election to fill the vacancies is made in writing to the Returning Officer at Town Hall, Walliscote Grove Road, Weston-super-Mare, BS23 1UJ by TEN electors for the Parish then an election will be held to fill the vacancies, otherwise the vacancies will be filled by co-option.  If an election is called, it will take place not later than 29 June, 2018.  Click here for the formal notice which was posted on the noticeboards on 5th April 2018.  Click here for eligibility criteria.

 

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Information above as kindly provided by BPC website on 19 April 2018.

 

Co-option information from CPALC

It`s been done before and an Election was called NSC info here

A Planning Application for Big Storage Barn and new access road on Bleadon Hill near Purn Hill Nature reserve off Purn Lane / Purn Road. Notice on gate to field. Resident spoke to council but letters only received by residents 16th April. Deadline for comments is Thursday 3rd May. North Somerset Council Reference is: 18/P/2709/FUL  Looks an odd application due to Nature reserve / wood vicinity, blot on landscape (size) and access road (transport issues with farm vehicles)!

 

This would appear to be another top access road and additional barn to the same land as the 2015 'Blackstones' Agricultural Building Applications 15/P/1952/PDA and 15/P/1571/PDA that has access at bottom via Facum/Fakenham Lane (the old original Bridgwater Road, adjacent to A370 along from Coombe Farm, bottom of Purn Lane).

Google Maps Location of Application

 

If you prefer to post your comments then the postal address is:  

North Somerset Council

Development Management

Post Point 15

Town Hall

Weston-super-Mare

BS23 1UJ 

If you do make comments on this BOB blog (below), please also make sure that they are made to, and appear on, the North Somerset website link as above. As otherwise they will be ignored by NSC.

 

 

Enlarged Image

 

Outline planning permission for the erection of up to 200 dwellings, a Health Centre, a Doctors Surgery, retail outlets and office/employment space with all matters reserved for subsequent approval. Land Off Bleadon Road Bleadon North Somerset.

 

Comments deadline is 03 May 2018. Here is the link to the application 17/P/5545/OUT on North Somerset Council Planning website.

 

If you prefer to post your comments then the postal address is:  

North Somerset Council

Development Management

Post Point 15

Town Hall

Weston-super-Mare

BS23 1UJ 

If you do make comments on this BOB blog (below), please also make sure that they are made to, and appear on, the North Somerset website link as above. As otherwise they will be ignored by NSC.

 

 -------------------------

 

Important Dates

‚Äč

Application Received DateFri 15 Dec 2017
Application Validated DateTue 20 Mar 2018
 NB: Press AdvertMon 9 Apr 2018
Expiry Date (comments)Thu 03 May 2018

 NB: Next BPC Public Meeting

Mon 14 May 2018
Statutory Expiry DateTue 19 Jun 2018
Determination DeadlineTue 19 Jun 2018

 

NB: When did NSC officers, and or District Councillors, notify BPC about this application? This application was published on the NSC Planning Weekly & Monthly Lists, validated week beginning 19 Mar 18, accessible to Parish Councils? BPC met on 12 & 28 Mar 18, and APM on 10 Apr 18. There was no BPC Full Council meeting scheduled in April and there is none scheduled until 14 May 18 (as of 10 Apr 18).

 

What policies and plans can be used to protect Bleadon?

 

Bleadon Parish Plan

In the adopted 2009-29 Parish Plan, as seen in the 103 Improvements, Residents of Bleadon made it quite clear that they wanted to retain the character of Bleadon "Ensure that new development remain the scale and style of our Somerset village . Ensure that all new development remains within the Village Settlement Boundary" Also, "Through the Planning process vigorously question all development outside the Village Settlement . Protect and enhance bio-diversity and the rural landscape through the District Council's Planning and Environmental policies"

 

Bleadon Neighbourhood Plan

In Dec 2012 BPC originally investigated a Neighbourhood Plan but ultimately decided against one (Min 249.5.5). In Aug 2017 BPC "Estimated two years to complete the full plan, however highlighted that if there is an emerging plan it is something that will be considered in local planning decisions." (Min 298.25). In Feb 2018 stated "The initial urgency [for a NDP] was due to grant funding ending in March 2018" ; acknowledged that the "opportunity to limit current over-development has [already] been lost" and then "Agreed that the Neighbourhood Plan Process be suspended." (Min 305.10). In Apr 18, at the Annual Parish Meeting, BPC were asked to update 'all' residents on their NDP Project to date. Hopefully BPC will release the project information, and state whether there is an 'emerging plan' from their project work since July 2017, that can help Bleadon with this application, ASAP.

 

NSC Local Plan

"The Core Strategy is the main planning document which guides development choices and decisions in North Somerset. The strategy was adopted on 10 April 2012. Following a high court challenge nine policies were remitted for re-examination". Hopefully BPC can update residents on this and how it can help Bleadon with this application ASAP.,

 

NSC New Local Plan. "Work has now commenced on the new Local Plan which will provide detailed policies and additional housing, employment and other land allocations up to 2036. It will review and roll-forward policies and allocations in existing development plan documents and plan for the housing, jobs and infrastructure set out in the Joint Spatial Plan (JSP)" Hopefully BPC can give residents an update on these projects and how they can help Bleadon with this application ASAP.

 

NSC Sites & Policies Plan

In Jan 2018 District Councillor Porter stated "... With regard to NSC’s Sites and Policies Plan, he was hopeful that the Inspector would sign it off as acceptable in the not too distant future and this would put the planning authority in a much stronger position." (Min 304.4) Hopefully BPC can give residents an update on this and how it can help Bleadon with this application ASAP.

 

Settlement Boundary

In Aug 2017 BPC "To review and discuss the correspondence regarding North Somerset Local Plan 2018-2036 - Bleadon Settlement Profile." (Min 298.7) Hopefully BPC can give residents an update on this and how it can help Bleadon with this application ASAP.

 

Previous information on this site can be found here.

 

If you would like to object to this application a resident has asked BOB to post these objection notes.

 

 

UPDATE: 10 Apr 18: We're not sure what precise resolution was voted on, or indeed what the outcome was, as we've received conflicting feedback with some people saying they needed further information in order to vote, and BPC publishing "the resolution to continue the Neighbourhood Plan process was carried with none against. Full minutes will be published ... within the week"? From feedback, people just wanted to go home as this crucial item was at the end of a slow meeting. One thing's for sure clarity is needed to help with the latest development application in Bleadon.

 

------------

BPC has called a meeting for Monday, 9 Apr 18, at 7pm. This should be residents' first opportunity to openly discuss all issues surrounding a Neighbourhood (Development) Plan with BPC, District Councillors and others since BPC suspended the project in Feb 18. BOB can not find any BPC policies relating to Annual Parish Meetings, like Stratfield Mortimer, but the Local Government Act may help.

 

Unfortunately, there appears to be no presentation by NSC or BPC on Bleadon's NDP project to date. Also, the two key councillors involved in the project, Cllr Dobson and Cllr Chinn resigned with immediate effect, in Mar 18 after this first open public meeting was announced, so which of the three remaining councillors will be leading this project? There is no NDP project page on the BPC website with FAQs, reports, TOR, minutes, etc.; no Spring Newsletter, and no NDP information for this debate despite BOB and residents asking since the project began in July 2017. There is no alternative view of NDPs presentation from a parish that has decided not to implement a NDP, e.g. Locking

 

We feel that BPC has mis-represented BOB's request for residents to be given access to NDP information before undertaking a vote with the public and have asked them to post and discuss the original version. Our submitted resident questions (later annotated) and associated agenda/resolution item (later annotated) was:

  • Do you (residents present at the meeting) feel fully informed by BPC about Neighbourhood (Development) Plans and fully understand the process, its financial, environmental and community implications, and are happy for BPC to continue to spend an undeclared amount of public/resident money in developing a NDP (i.e. potentially tens of thousands of pounds);
  • OR do you think that, as this project is already 9 months old, BPC should fully inform and ask ‘all’ residents before they continue with the NDP project?

Did all 3 remaining councillors agree the wording of BPC's posted agenda item for resolution? i.e.:

  • The electors present at this meeting support Bleadon Parish Council continuing to pursue the Neighbourhood Plan process to the point of a referendum. 

Clearly BPC do not want all residents to have equal access to information throughout the NDP project. How can less than 150 residents vote for or against this resolution, on behalf of all 1000+ residents, if they do not have access to BPC project information beforehand? If they do have access to the information then why don't 'all' residents have the same access via the BPC website? NB only 9 members of the public attended last years' Annual Parish Meeting where BPC declared the adopted 2009-2029 Parish Plan 'lost and obsolete` yet made reference to it in their NDP submission to NSC and its 'invaluable' use in the NDP creation process? What about the thousands of pounds spent on the PP? Why did BPC decide not to implment a NDP in 2012? Other BPC NDP references can be found here.

 

BPC's other agenda item for resolution is:

  • The electors present at this meeting seek the continuing support of the Parish Council to sort out the A370/Bridge Road junction.

FYI, there were BPC updates on this subject in Jan 18 (Min 304.12) and Feb18 (Min 305.12). 

More Resignations

Posted on 5th April, 2018

 

The last 12 months has seen 7 councillor and 2 clerk resignations. The key persistent theme seems to be very poor openness, honesty, transparency and respect both within BPC between councillors, and towards the public.

BOB is pro-resident access to information relating to BPC decision making, to ensure residents have equal information, inclusion and engagement in all issues, as is a resident's right. If this is considered by some as anti-Parish Council then democracy in Bleadon is in serious trouble. See Nolan Principles of Public Office that welcomes public scrutiny, which BPC include in their own Code of Conduct; especially accountabiity, scrutiny and openness!

 

There has been an increasing trend towards closed undocumented meetings with little public access to information on decision making. Consequently some of these decisions have been contrary to the majority of residents' views as indicated in Bleadon's currently adopted 2009-29 Parish Plan. BOB has offered several times to discuss and resolve issues and residents' concerns with BPC but they have declined to meet since the 'Meeting of common ground.' in 2016, so issues and concerns remain unresolved several years on.

 

Things seem to have come to a crisis point with the resignation of two more councillors, resigning after the announcement of the Annual Parish Meeting where residents should be able to ask questions of parish and district councillors directly without having to presubmit a question to BPC. Unfortunately, this year there appears to be no presentation by NSC or BPC regarding their NDP project or progress to date? Also, BPC has mis-represented BOB's request for resident access to information before undertaking a vote with the public.

 

The council is now down to its minimum of three councillors. We believe that until BPC's current secretive and undemocratic culture changes residents will continue to be reluctant to join this closed 'group' of people. 

Sign this Petition

Posted on 30th March, 2018

Stop Developers and Land Speculators destroying our lovely towns and villages.

 

Hi,
Are you fed up with Developers and Land Speculators trying to destroy our lovely Towns and villages with inappropriate developments that lack infrastructure where nobody wants them on green fields? 
Developers and Land speculators actively boast how they can get planning permission, on any unsuitable site on green fields or even the green belt, by using the National Planning Policy Framework against our Councils when they refuse planning permission for their planning applications.
We have had enough of this, so we have created a petition on the Government website, to send a clear message to Parliament that we want this to stop and give our elected Councils and residents the final say where developments go.

https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/212794

Please sign our Petition and support it on your website to send a loud and clear message to Parliament that “We have had enough of this and we want it to stop”.

Many Thanks,

Colin George

Open Spaces Society

Posted on 30th March, 2018

Here is the OSS latest online Ezine

Extra-ordinary meetings indeed

Posted on 24th December, 2017

 

It seems that the pantomime (or is it a farce) came early to Bleadon this year with BPC calling three meetings in one month, leading to four resignations offered … oh yes they did ... , oh no they didn't ..., oh yes they did.

 

More information is available but, in summary, we now have: 

5 parish councillors, after

4 resignations offered (Cllrs Hartree, Dobson and Strong & the Clerk), at

3 council meetings, leading to

2 confirmed resignations (Cllr Strong & the Clerk), leaving

1 council in disarray!!

.. not one partridge or a pear tree in sight, although BPC did finally get around to ordering a Xmas tree.

 

Be assured that BOB will continue to ask BPC to be open, honest and transparent in its actions and to ask them publish timely, accurate and accessible documentation to support their decision making process. We'll all have to wait and see what else the New Year brings (apart from the recently agreed 13% increase in BPC precept and who knows, even perhaps a Neighbourhood Plan).

 

Have a great Christmas, Chris & Jo

 

-----

 

BACKGROUND NOTES

 

At the beginning of November Cllr Hartree resigned as Chair (for the second time since his co-option Sept 15), the new Clerk resigned after 7 months (the fourth clerk resignation in three years) and Cllr Dobson offered his resignation (for the second time, after 6 months) (Min 301.26.4). By mid-November Cllr Hartree was again Chair (Min 302., Cllr Dobson had withdrawn his resignation but the Clerk unfortunately stuck to her word and had resigned (Min 302.8). This was all on top of various rumours of discord amongst councilors. By the beginning of December Cllr Strong had resigned (after 8 months) with reference to BPC's secret meetings, bullying and lack of transparency, these comments were not however minuted. (Min 303.6)

 

What is going on?

 

For the best local governance Councillors should be elected by members of the public. This process happens every four years with all BPC councilors up for election in 2019. In the interim BPC councillors can choose who to co-opt onto the council (as seen last month), and can also refuse to accept those that they do not feel would represent residents or compliment their BPC role and views (as seen in previous BPC minutes). Unfortunately, co-option can lead to reduced representation of residents, without diverse views and opinions being discussed or represented (e.g. the exclusion of residents concerns and views via BOB for over a year, until at least Feb 2018).

 

BPC seem unclear on their duties and powers, needing to result to legal advice (Min 301.10) discovering that “The Council cannot request any office holder to vacate office” and that if they submit a vote of no confidence to the Clerk they have “no authority to act” on the proposal. NB Councillors should be elected/not elected by residents via a democratic vote. BPC then proceeded to agree to exclude but then include an amendment to the BPC Standing Orders, perhaps we’ll find out if/when they publicly publish the documentation (Min 302.9). BOB will continue to ask BPC to state and clarify their powers, duties, roles and responsibilities.

 

BPC have informed residents many times that “the only opportunity during the meeting to speak regarding items on the agenda” (Min 296.4) is at the start of the meeting and that “it must be remembered that these are not public meetings, but are meetings which are held in public” (Min 295.2). This means that residents cannot interact with councilors in BPC meetings to clarify information and/or misinformation being discussed. The Chair/councilors can choose at their discretion to “suspend standing orders to allow further public participation” but they can also choose not to allow public discussion/interaction if they do not want to openly discuss a particular issue.

 

Currently BPC seems to be delegating to the closed Management Working Group, which in itself is not a problem except that its Terms of Reference, membership, decision making processes, etc. are undeclared and unminuted. This means that residents do not know who is influencing the decision making processes, when or how e.g. the undeclared projects (Min 301.14) including the Neighbourhood Plan.

 

NB Government guidance states "The relationship between any group and the formal functions of the town or parish council should be transparent to the wider public ... The terms of reference for a steering group or other body should be published and the minutes of meetings made available to the public". From recent minutes it's not clear whether we now have a Steering Group and another Working Group, none of these groups have published Terms of Reference or membership e.g. whether the influtential groups contain householders, landowners, developers, etc.

 

Also, rather than holding announced two-way public discussion meetings BPC seem to be using the village market as a means of unannounced consultation with residents, as indicated by councilors referring to Road Safety on the A370 (Min 302.8) and the Neighbourhood Plan. “A Parishioner [not BOB] asked which meeting a request to discuss the Neighbourhood Plan in the public session should be addressed. The Chairman highlighted it should be addressed to the Planning Committee Meeting Agenda” (Min 302.7). The day after submitting the request BPC informed the resident that it had cancelled the Monday Planning sub-committee meeting “due to the lack of planning applications to be considered”, with no further planning date announced. Why is a Neighbourhood Development Plan discussion subordinate/dependent upon ad hoc developer’s application to NSC?

 

BPC's preference for a closed and unminuted approach to their public duties was again confirmed in Cllr Strong's resignation statement with her reference to BPC's secret meetings, bullying and lack of transparency (these comments were not however minuted).

 

Hopefully the pantomime will finish at the end of the Christmas season but be assured that BOB will continue to ask BPC to be open, honest and transparent in its actions and to ask them publish timely, accurate and accessible documentation to support their decision making process.

 

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

BELOW is BOB and BPC email correspondence regarding Cllr. Strong public resignation statement and Cllr. Chinn reponse, consequently BPC decision of 14 February 2018 was to extend their 'Vexatious Policy' against BOB for a further year. See here.

 

From: Parish Clerk <parishclerk@bleadonparishcouncil.co.uk>
Sent: 13 February 2018 15:58
To: 'Bleadon BOB Community Website'
Subject: RE: Publicly available response
 

Dear Mr Butler

 

Thank you for your email, the contents of which are noted.

 

I will be writing to you shortly.

 

Kind regards

Marian Barber

Parish Clerk

Bleadon Parish Council

Coronation Hall

Coronation Road

Bleadon

BS24 0PG

 

Email:  parishclerk@bleadonparishcouncil.co.uk

 

Tel: 07453 358 318

 

Website: www.bleadonparishcouncil.co.uk

 

This e-mail and any files transmitted with it are intended solely for the use of the individual or entity to whom they are addressed. It may contain unclassified but sensitive or protectively marked material and should be handled accordingly. Unless you are the named addressee (or authorised to receive it for the addressee) you may not copy or use it, or disclose it to anyone else. If you have received this transmission in error please notify the sender immediately.

 

From: Bleadon BOB Community Website [mailto:bleadon@live.co.uk] 
Sent: 13 February 2018 03:51
To: Bleadon Parish Clerk
Subject: Re: Publicly available response

Dear [BPC Interim Clerk],

 

Apologies for my delay in reply due to other circumstances but many belated thanks, a very interesting response considering BPC's approach to access to information over the last few years, hopefully access to crucial decision making information will now finally be accessible.

 

Please can you therefore send us, or point us to the place on the BPC website where all the Terms of Reference, Membership, Agenda and Minutes for all the working group meetings and sub-committees can be found, including those referred to by Cllr Chinn?

 

You may recall all the Parish Plan working and steering groups documentation was originally hosted on the BPC website (quite rightly), so it follows that residents would expect to also see similar documentation for ALL BPC working groups, that by Cllr. Chinn's statement, seem to clearly influence and steer BPC full council's decisions for the strategic direction, resourcing and finance of Bleadon. 

 

For example, as far as we are aware there is no publicly accessible information on the Council's proposed Neighbourhood (Development) Plan despite being asked several times in June/July 2017 when the BPC project started. We have previously asked for ALL information on the Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group and Management Working Group(s) to be made available to the public from their inception, not just that produced from now onwards. This is particularly important as BPC's consultation strategy seems based on presumption that all of the Bleadon electorate (1000+ residents) attend the market, a local social interest group and/or BPC meeting (where the average attendance is less than 10 residents) which is clearly false. It has been noted that the whole of Bleadon Parish was asked about a Parish Plan, yet the NDP process appears to only be asking a subset of residents, why? BPC ultimately, incorrectly and inappropriately ignored the adopted Parish Plan and so many residents became disengaged; the secretive BPC approach to communication as voiced by Cllr Strong to date has not improved the situation, has not been inclusive and is not democratic.

 

People with extensive government experience, including us, know that public representatives should act in a fully open, honest and transparent manner in relation to their decision making and that also includes the parties involved in that decision making process, especially if they want public support. Unfortunately despite BPC stating that information is available, our requests for resident access to it have been deemed vexatious for over a year and ultimately the public still have had no access or information.

 

With this current BPC statement in mind we therefore look forward to this situation being rectified and prompt access to the documentation and information given accordingly to all via the BPC website. As recommended for ALL Parish Councils by the Information Commissioners Office 'Model Publication Scheme'.

 

Kind regards,
Chris Butler
twitter: @bleadon
facebook: BleadonBOB

 


From: Parish Clerk <parishclerk@bleadonparishcouncil.co.uk>

Sent: 24 January 2018 09:39

To: 'Bleadon BOB Community Website'

Subject: RE: Publicly available response

 

This is the statement made by Cllr Chinn at the last meeting.

 

Comments were made at the Parish Council meeting in December 2017 that require a response.

 

The comments related to:

 

Meetings

 

Decision making

 

Failure to utilise the local knowledge of long standing Councillors

 

The operation of the Council is not transparent to the public

 

Bleadon Parish Council holds regular public monthly meetings. Parish Council Committees also meet on a less regular basis. All meetings are subject to the setting of an Agenda which is publicised on the Council website, noticeboards and some village social media, in advance of the meeting. “The Parish Council welcomes and encourages public participation during a part of the meeting specified for that purpose. In order for the Parish Council to provide a full response where appropriate, a member of the public may only speak if prior notification has been given to the Clerk by noon on the Friday preceding the meeting. However, the Chairman has discretion to allow members of the public to speak without prior notification, if felt appropriate”.

 

This invitation is printed on all Agendas so that members of the public know ahead of the meeting how to bring questions. It is my experience, that the Chairman always allows discretion at each meeting to allow questions not previously notified. Furthermore, the Chairman frequently allows for a suspension of standing orders to allow for public comment and participation after the public session has ceased. Members of the public have a time limit to speak during the allotted section of the meeting of three minutes. Again, the Chairman is usually happy to allow more time than standing orders permits. This is in the interest of public inclusion and participation.

 

The meetings are all minuted and these minutes made available to the public for them to see what has been on the Agenda, discussed and agreed upon. The public can view the Minutes on the Council website or request a copy by email or mail. 

 

There are some areas of Parish Council business that are not open to the public at meetings. They form part of the agenda. Examples of such business are:

 

Discussions connected with employees of the Parish Council. Discussions connected with Confidential matters.

 

Councillors do meet outside of public meetings to work on specific projects or matters affecting the Parish, District and National matters, either in pairs or larger groups. They report back to committees or full Parish Council. Such meetings can involve just Councillors, members of the public, local businesses and professional advisors. Any recommendations that require Parish Council or committee decisions are taken back to those bodies.

 

Some examples are:

 

A group which meets with management representatives of a local business - Marshalls, Bridge Road, Bleadon. The review of  planning applications and to make some site visits ahead of planning committee or full Council meetings. To review publicly available consultation documentation upon which the Parish Council has been required to comment. Working groups to research subjects and to bring recommendations and proposals to committees or full Council meetings. E.g Neighbourhood Plan Attending advisory sessions arranged by the District Council or ALCA to provide training, specialist knowledge and briefings. Councillors then bring that information to committee and full Council meetings to advise before any decisions are made. These Committee and full Council meetings are publicly advertised, publicly open and minuted. Visits by Councillors who attend locations for fact finding and inspections. Examples include Access to footpaths and conditions of gates, stiles or stairways. Verification of unauthorised planning activity in support of referral to the relevant authority.  General reporting of matters affecting the Parish which come under the responsibility of other agencies or District Council departments. Confidential meetings – Examples can include a) short listing of job applicants; b) Councillor or Staff welfare or personal matters. Councillors can be pre-authorised by decisions made by full Council when attending meetings An example would include site visits at the Church Yard when work was needed on the crumbling wall.

 

In respect or taking into consideration Councillor’s  local knowledge, there are currently  two eminent Parish Council members who have many years living and working in the village. The remaining Councillors may have limited time as residents in the Parish but they have come forward in answer to public appeals of assistance to help as Parish Councillors. When decisions are made at Committee or full Council meetings, all Councillors present at the meetings provide guidance and points of view irrespective of their background. Members of the public also contribute either directly to Parish Clerk or Councillors before or at the meetings. All views are taken into consideration when decisions are made.

 

The Parish Council does acknowledge that the website should have better content. This would assist in improving the public view that more information should be made available.

 

The Parish Council also provides information during the year in a free magazine called the Village News. This media also has contribution from parishioners, local groups and businesses.

 

The Parish Council should have an operating strength of nine Councillors, in order to carry out the work needed by the Parish. Currently there are only five. This means that the Councillors have to undertake a greater responsibility each to try and keep on top of Council business. We do our very best under difficult pressures. We seek to become knowledgeable in the various aspects that affect the community and Parish. We do take into consideration advice and comments from Parishioners and groups that meet in the village and other agencies such as Police, District and neighbouring Parish Councils. Councillors have regularly attended the monthly village market to canvass views and pass on information.

 

During the course of each month Councillors make contact by email, telephone and personal visits in pursuit of these activities. The Chairman Steve Hartree reminds us that such contact is acceptable but that any decision making will be made by committee or full Parish Council. The Chairman has extensive experience in local Government and is the best person currently to lead the Parish Council. He is devoted to the Parish. He has my full support.

 

Regards

 

Interim Parish Clerk

Bleadon Parish Council

Coronation Hall

Coronation Road

Bleadon

BS24 0PG

 

Email:  parishclerk@bleadonparishcouncil.co.uk

 

Tel: 07453 358 318

 

Website: www.bleadonparishcouncil.co.uk

 

This e-mail and any files transmitted with it are intended solely for the use of the individual or entity to whom they are addressed. It may contain unclassified but sensitive or protectively marked material and should be handled accordingly. Unless you are the named addressee (or authorised to receive it for the addressee) you may not copy or use it, or disclose it to anyone else. If you have received this transmission in error please notify the sender immediately.

 

From: Bleadon BOB Community Website [mailto:bleadon@live.co.uk] 

Sent: 23 January 2018 19:24

To: parishclerk@bleadonparishcouncil.co.uk

Subject: Publicly available response

 

Hi [BPC Interim Clerk],

 

As per the BPC January minute 304.6, please can you send me a copy of the publicly available response given by Cllr Chinn to Cllr Strong's resignation statements.

 

Kind regards,

 

Chris Butler

twitter: @bleadon

facebook: BleadonBOB

 

 

BPC, NDP and BOB ...

Posted on 11th December, 2017

 

As another year of actively campaigning for access to public information draws to an end BOB would like to clarify a few things regarding the rumours about Bleadon Parish Council's duties, powers & responsibilities, both in general and more topicly in relation to the Neighbourhood Development Plan, and BOB's view of them.

 

It would help if people keep the following in mind when reading any correspondence from BPC and/or BOB:
  • BPC is residents' elected/co-opted representative and Statutory Consultee. In order to carry out these roles they need to actively communicate and engage with all residents, including access to documented information. The Government has produced best practice guidance documents and model advice to advise all councils how best to do this, which BOB is asking BPC to follow and deliver.
  • Government has reiterated, especially in relation to the NDP process, "The relationship between any group and the formal functions of the town or parish council should be transparent to the wider public ... The terms of reference for a steering group or other body should be published and the minutes of meetings made available to the public" (e.g. BPC Management Working Group, Steering Group, etc.).
  • On average, 97% of residents do not regularly attend BPC meetings. This makes access to documented information regarding councillors' actions and decisions, taken on behalf of residents, essential if BPC truly want to represent residents.
  • BPC demand an annual precept, stated to be £44k (an increase of over 13%) for 2018/19. Access to information is required for the public to understand how this is being spent on their behalf whether through the purchase of assets or employing staff, etc. Also, whether money is coming from precept or reserves, and why.
  • Residents are aware of how, at times, BPC negatively speak about each other and the public, and so some people ask BOB to raise their concerns and questions indirectly. In response BPC has invoked a policy stating they will not answer any communications from residents via BOB for over a year, until Feb 2018. Therefore BPC has a communication issue with all concerned residents, not just BOB.
  • BPC started the NDP process in July 17, yet there is no publicly accessible information. BPC "look to hold" the first public discussion meeting "early next year", i.e. 6 months after the project began. They are currently discussing whether to take money from BPC financial reserves to start financing a NDP, without any NDP costs yet being publicly declared.
BOB is not asking for any special treatment. BOB has been asking for many years, on behalf of residents, for BPC to be open, honest and transparent in its actions and decision making (Nolan Principles of public office); asking for simple access to timely and accurate public information; and for BPC to hold interactive public meetings on large projects such as NDP. BOB has been asking BPC to actively communicate and engage with all residents not just a select chosen few..

 

So, to reiterate, BOB is not necessarily against a Neighbourhood Plan but with no/little publicly accessible information from BPC, nor its aims or its decision making processes, it will be very difficult for residents to make any informed decisions of their own on the matter.

 

To help clarify information on the NDP we have been collating a variety of information as summarised on the BOB Neighbourhood Planning and Planning Policies pages. Also Public Representation.

Are the Bright Quarry Lights a Problem to You?

Posted on 11th December, 2017

 

Quarry Lights at Night 3 Dec 17

 

Please see below a message BOB received regarding the very bright Quarry lights affecting our wonderful dark skies:

"I have contacted North Somerset Council about this issue with the quarry lights and have today received a call from a local environmental officer. It seems there's little we can do ourselves as the legal position seems to be based around intrusive light into the home. As we in our location ... don't have these terrible lights beaming directly into our house then our hands are tied somewhat. Do you know if anyone else in the village nearer to the quarry has raised the issue? If so, if we can get further calls into NSC to complain then I think there's a decent chance of getting a result based on what I've been told today."

These lights can also affect our wildlife like Bats too, so is your environment/home/garden adversely affected at all by the bright quarry lights and if so, would you be willing to complain to NSC directly or alternatively, for BOB to pass on your name and details to be contacted with further details?

 

Residents in the immediately vicinity have already started to respond to NSC but would like your support, so please reply and I will pass on the message as appropriate, it would also be very helpful if you could also inform your friends and neighbours too.

 

-------------- Further related information below --------------

 

BOB 08/12/2017 email to NSC Development and Environment Department:

 

We have been passed your contact details with regard to the above issue.

 

As you maybe aware many Bleadon residents have noticed that the Bridge Road, Bleadon (Marshalls) Quarry 'yard lights' are now very much noticeably brighter, possibly because they have been 'upgraded' to LED lamps. Apart from the increased intrusive 'light pollution' into neighbouring properties (I understand some residents have already made complaints), and the loss of our valued 'dark skies', many other Bleadon nature lovers are also concerned about the effect on wildlife, particularly nocturnal mammals like Bats.

 

We believe that the Quarry is within a known feeding habitat range of legally protected species of Bats. See http://jncc.defra.gov.uk/protectedsites/sacselection/sac.asp?EUCode=UK0030052

 

Also see attached information from Bat Conservation Trust and according to North Somerset Council Local Plan (Core Strategy) Development Management Policy DM8 "Development proposals should ensure that, where appropriate, provision is made for: any lighting scheme to avoid adverse impacts on light averse wildlife"

 

Please can you confirm that the original quarry lighting scheme was approved under relevant past and present NSC Local Plan policies and also if the Quarry lighting 'system' has subsequently been upgraded or changed, and whether this should also need NSC approval?

 

If this is not a responsibility or concern of Environmental Protection, please can you forward/advise to whom this should be referred E.g: Planning Policy Enforcement or perhaps another relevant NSC or public service department?

For reference: North Somerset Council Local Plan (Core Strategy) Development Management Policy DM8 is here https://www.n-somerset.gov.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/Sites-and-Policies-Plan-Part-1-Development-Management-Policies-July-2016.pdf

 

 

Below is information received from Bat Conservation Trust.

 

Thank you for contacting the Bat Conservation Trust about bats and lighting. We are a small charity and regrettably cannot get involved in individual cases. We therefore rely on concerned residents like yourself to help us protect bats by bringing matters such as this to the attention of relevant authorities.

 

Bats are amazing animals that are important to ecosystems in the UK and worldwide. As natural roosting sites have become scarce so the number of artificial roost sites has increased in the form of houses, bridges, barns etc. We have 18 species of bat in the UK, all of which are protected under UK and European law such that it is illegal to damage, destroy or disturb any bats or roosts. A roost is defined as any place that a wild bat uses for shelter or protection, and the roost is protected whether bats are present in it or not. The ‘Supporting Legislation’ section in ‘The planning system’ leaflet attached provides a more in-depth overview of bats and the legal system.

 

Bats and lighting

 

Bats are nocturnal animals that have adapted to low light conditions. Therefore the artificial lighting of bat roosts, access points and foraging pathways can be disturbing to bats and should always be avoided as much as possible. Artificial light falling on or close to a bat roost can delay or prevent the bats’ emergence, resulting in reduced foraging time and missing the peak time of insect abundance (just after dusk). As all bats in the UK feed on insects this missed opportunity can have a serious impact on their survival.

 

Artificial light falling onto roost access points can in some cases lead to bats abandoning the roost, which is likely to be considered a breach of legislation as both bats and their roosts are protected by law.

 

Artificial lighting has also been found to affect the feeding behaviour of bats away from the roost. Slower flying species (lesser horseshoe, greater horseshoe and the 6 Myotis species) avoid illuminated areas and therefore lose foraging grounds if they are lit. This results in slower flying species having to use poorer quality foraging sites and losing out on prey, which are attracted to the surrounding lit areas. Unfortunately these light-avoiding species include all of the UK’s rarest bat species. However, even our faster flying species recorded more widely (noctule, Leisler’s, serotine and pipistrelle bats) can be impacted by artificial lighting. Some may feed under streetlamps, as insects are attracted to the short wave length light they emit (UV), but suitable commuting and foraging routes have been shown to be avoided if there is artificial light spill onto these areas.

 

It is very important to take bats into account when planning to light an area they are known or suspected to use. There are a number of factors that will need to be considered under expert guidance, such as:

  • Which species are present?
  • How are they using the habitat – roosting, commuting, foraging, etc.?
  • What are the existing light levels?
  • Have the principles outlined in the attached lighting guidance been applied? (e.g. Minimising spread of light, considering height of lighting columns, using appropriate lighting sources, minimising amount of space and time lit, using fencing to protect dark areas etc.)

 

In the first instance we would recommend that the owner of the property is informed of the presence of bats and the potential for lighting to affect them. As bats and their roosts are protected by law if bats are known or suspected to roost in an area that needs to be illuminated a survey will need to be completed prior to work being carried out. The owner is welcome to contact our helpline on 0345 1300 228 for more information and help ensuring the bats are not affected.

 

If the council is involved (e.g. if planning permission is required) we would suggest that you contact the local council planning authorities and alert them to the presence of bats and the need for a survey before works proceed. The most effective way to contact your local authority is in writing, but we advise that you follow this up with a phone call to ensure your enquiry is on record. Where possible we would also encourage you to send the letter to the applicant making them aware of possible bat presence.

 

To ensure your letter is taken seriously we recommend you:

·         Don’t include hearsay or information you are unsure about.

·         Don’t include unsubstantiated criticism of the property owner, e.g. personal circumstances or character.

·         Don’t exaggerate your claims.

·         Don’t include information unrelated to the issue of the lighting.

·         Don’t make reference to the effect of the lighting on property values.

 

If your enquiry relates to pre-existing lighting you may be directed to Environmental Health (who deal with disturbance to people). In that case, you will need to make it clear that your enquiry relates to the impact on wildlife and needs to be directed to the appropriate person.

 

If you witness an offence being committed (e.g. bats being disturbed or a roost entrance being illuminated) please inform the Police Wildlife Crime Officer in your local area by calling 101 or calling the local Police Force directly, mentioning ‘Operation Bat’ and request an incident number. (If the Wildlife Crime Officer is not available it should not affect the reporting of the incident, please do so anyway). Please also report this incident along with the incident number obtained from the Police to the Bat Conservation Trust so we can follow this up. If you are aware of a licence breach in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland this should also be reported to the police in the same way. If the licence breach is in England however, then the matter should be reported to Natural England’s Wildlife Enforcement Specialist on 0300 060 1099.

 

The documents attached (Artificial Lighting WildlifeHelping to Protect Bats and Living with Bats) provide more information on bats and lighting in the UK. I also recommend visiting the lighting section of our website: http://www.bats.org.uk/pages/bats_and_lighting.html

You can also find information from our 2014 Artificial Light and Wildlife Symposium, including video clips of talks on our website: http://www.bats.org.uk/pages/artificial_light_and_wildlife_symposium_determining_solutions_for_practitioners.html

I hope this information is helpful for you. If you have any further questions please contact the National Bat Helpline on 0345 1300 228.

 

Kind regards,

Bat Advice Officer

 

Out of Hours project coordinator

 

Lot coordinator for East Midlands and Yorkshire

 

National Bat Helpline, Bat Conservation Trust, Quadrant House, 250 Kennington Lane, London SE11 5RD

Helpline: 0345 1300 228 - Please note that the helpline number has changed

Office (9am – 5:30pm): 020 7735 6663

Fax: 020 7820 7198

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Above response to email below from BOB 15/12/2017

I hope you can advise me, our local quarry (Marshalls in Bridge Road, Bleadon adjacent to South Hill SNCI) has recently changed it's 'yard' lights to LED and now, in the dark longer nights,  locals have noticed that they are now extremely bright and seemingly on 24/7. Some neighbours have already complained to North Somerset Council Environmental Protection due to the intrusion of light into their homes and some have complained about the affect on their astronomy hobbies.
However, my further concern is the effect on our wildlife. I know the quarry is located in a North Somerset and Mendip Bats SAC 5km 'bat habitat' consultation area, for any lighting scheme designs on 'new' developmentbut I also wondered if there was any legislation for existing development and management of the effect of their (new)lighting schemes? 
I have read http://www.bats.org.uk/pages/bats_and_lighting.html and North Somerset Council policy DM8 from https://www.n-somerset.gov.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/Sites-and-Policies-Plan-Part-1-Development-Management-Policies-July-2016.pdf but we would appreciate some further specialized guidance on who best to contact for 'pressure' in this regard to reduce/remove the light pollution and rectify the situation?