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.

 

Media interest from BBC, ITVSkyUK Column (& Archive), CNN, RT, Al Jezeera, and others.

 

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40 New Homes Lympsham

Posted on 1st August, 2022

Enlarge Image

 

40 New homes to be built in Lympsham, despite flood risk

 

BBC Local Democracy Reporter (LDR) states,

"The plans to build houses in Lympsham were narrowly approved on July 21, just over three years after they were first submitted.

 

A local resident said the new houses will be "generating demand for local services and employment on a scale that cannot be met"

 

Speaking on behalf of Lympsham Parish Council, Heather Allsop said the justification for the homes was "very questionable indeed", in light of much of the site being deemed at high risk of flooding by the Environment Agency (EA)" . (ArticlePDF)

The full planning application can be seen on the Sedgemoor District Council website, Planning Application No. 31/19/00016. Also see the associated Committee Agenda Pack.

 

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See also:

  • Consultations
  • Lympsham - 31/19/00009 (Planning Granted) This development consists of 20 new homes, with 8 of these being an affordable housing product.

Bleadon Parish Council Precept Setting

Posted on 18th July, 2022

 

The Parish (and Town) Council may charge a 'precept', an additional tax,

to fund itself and the activities they want to undertake on behalf of your community

 

Each parish must forecast how much they are going to need in the following financial year.

 

The parish council's Budget includes a number of things including planned expenditure, financial reserves and expected income. This is usually discussed in publicly held and minuted meetings, e.g. Finance Committees, and then agreed by Full Council, usually around January.

Bleadon Parish Council (BPC) 2022/23 Budget was set at £64,157, with some information in the associated Appendix (Jan22 Min 349.3)

 

The precept is calculated as part of the parish council’s budget. It fills the gap between the parish council’s planned expenditure and its estimated income. BPC's 2022/23 Precept was set at £54,000; an 8% increase on last year's £50K precept (Jan22 Min 349.4) Previous precepts shown here.

 

North Somerset's Council Tax Guide 2022/23

  • page 11 shows where to find the precept figure on your Council Tax Bill.
  • Page12 shows information for each Parish and Town Council, for each Banding A-H, i.e. £54,000 for BPC. (previous Council Tax Guides)

More information can be found in the NALC Good Councillor Guide to Finance and Transparency

 

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Also see:

2022

2021

Bleadon Quarry Bought

Posted on 16th July, 2022

 

Former Bleadon quarry site bought with plans to build 42 homes

 

Housebuilder Edenstone has acquired the site previously owned by concrete manufacturer Marshalls

 

Outline planning permission for the properties and 500 sq m of flexible use space has been secured.

 

“Subject to planning, we hope to start work on site in the Spring of 2023. This will mark another important step in our growth in the South West region, alongside developments in Sampford Peverell and East Brent"

 

“We continue to be actively pursuing greenfield and brownfield sites in the region and confidently expect to announce the acquisition of further new sites in the very near future.” (Article)

 

Other articles - TheConstructionIndex and BusinessLive

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See:

  • Land near Brent Knoll bought by developer for 40 new homes by same developer

 

Bleadon Parish Council (BPC) has demanded nearly £500K taxes from Bleadon residents, yes half a million pounds, in the last 11 years since 2011, what have they spent it on?

 

Bleadon Parish Council (BPC) has demanded nearly £500K taxes from Bleadon residents, yes half a million pounds, in the last 11 years since 2011. This doesn't include include any additional income or windfall payments, what have they spent it on

 

For a period of 30 days only, Councillors are inviting residents to view the councils' accounts, you can ask BPC to view last years accounts before Friday 22 July 22. (BPC Notice and previous Rights)

 

NB: The notice to view the annual accounts still has not been posted on the village noticeboards four weeks into the six week process. This process is also known and minuted as AGAR (Annual Governance & Accountability Return). The additional Public Rights information has been removed compared to the three page AGAR Notice 2019.

 

Despite BPC's public statements to the contrary, BPC is the Custodial Trustee of the Halls, park and the land under the Youth Club. These are managed, and financially accountable, as three different charities:

  • BPC are Custodial Trustees of The Coronation and Jubilee Halls, which are managed by the independent Halls Management Committee (Charity No: 1042602), who signed a protocol agreement with BPC in 2010 to hold quarterly public meetings. Where are these meetings announced, and where are the minutes published on the BPC website?
  • The Park is managed by BPC as a Playground Charity (Charity No: 304491), who appear to have spent nothing on the park in the last 5 years, yet the finances to date via the minutes indicate there has been money spent on monthly play area inspections, e.g. June expenditure #204
  • The Youth Club is managed and financed independently by the Bleadon Youth Club (Charity No: 304492

This year BPC has demanded from residents an increased £54K precept, and has given itself a budget of £64K (Jan Min 349.3), yet in 2011 BPC had financial reserves of £84K (Annual Report 2012 pg6), so what are the reserves now, as they're not published in the monthly minutes, despite previous requests and verbal agreements? Recent Minutes state, 

  • "General Reserves were seriously depleted. Steps should be taken to reduce some of the unused Ear Marked Reserves." (May 2022 Min 353.13.1)
    • UPDATE: "To Resolve to note the current level of Reserves - The Clerk advised the members of the current perilous level - not considering the ERMs [Ear Marked Reserves] of the General Reserve showing a deficit figure of £450.00. When asked what immediate positive steps need to be taken. The response was to formally resolve what ERMs are not required and as a result transfer them back to the General Reserve." (Jun 2022 Agenda Min 354.7.3
    • UPDATE: "To resolve to move the following EMRs into General Reserves" (July 2022 Agenda Min 355.7.1) NB no EMRs were stated? How is this transparent?

Why is some expenditure and authorisation seemingly missing from the agenda. For example,

  • items 24-27 are missing from the agenda, who authorised them? Compare May Agenda Min 353.14 to May Minutes Min 353.14 Items 16-27, who authorised (May 22 Min 353.14)
  • Items 35-47, who authorised? (Jun 22 Agenda Min 354.8)

BOB has been asking BPC to be more open and transparent for many many years in its finances especially the reserves, asking it to reinstate its Finance Committee, which was abandoned after 2019. Also, to reinstate the publication of its finances in its newsletter, and fter 8 years it seems it may be about to do it! BPC is yet to publish the April 22 resident APM minutes, usually published a year later, but in its May minutes BPC wrote:

"It was noted that due to one report being unavailable it had not been possible to produce the Minutes for confirmation. Resolved that in future the Minutes of the Annual Parish Meeting (Annual Report) would be produced as a booklet and to be included in the Bleadon Village News." (May Min 353.15.12)

  • NB1 - These should be noted as DRAFT minutes, as Residents should confirm the April APM minutes, not BPC. Approval is made/or not by residents at the next resident APM meeting, scheduled for Apr 2023. Although, as BPC reference them in their May meeting, BOB/residents believe that residents should have access to the minutes as soon as possible.
  • NB2 - APM minutes are not the same as BPC's Annual Report. The minutes are supposed to be the issues, questions, discussions raised by residents at the meeting. The Annual Report is what the council chooses to say at the meeting, and includes what it has been doing over the previous year, which usually dominates the residents' APM meeting time, but it should at least include a financial report.
  • NB3 - Is the proposed booklet an additional cost, or is it included in the budget allocated for its newsletter this year, published by its independent Village News Editor?
    • Budget: Editor for 4 Editions £1,600 + Printing last year £4,600 = £6,200
    • The newsletter budget for this year 2022-23 has to be guessed, as BPC seems to have reduced the quarterly financial information available to heading totals only compared to Q3-2021/22?
    • UPDATE 11JUL22: If the 'independent' newsletter costed £6,200, it's interesting to note that BPC appears to be transferring £7,697 from the Special Reserve (purpose unknown) to the General Reserve to cover the £7,697 budget deficit created in January this year (Min 349.3). NB: This can't be confirmed until BPC publish their July minutes, which might not be until September, as they don't usually meet in August, and don't usually release their minutes until the week before the next meeting !!

If BOB gets any clear answers, we'll let you know.

 

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NSC Travel Plans

Posted on 11th July, 2022

 

"... to help facilitate travel by sustainable means and reduce car dependency"

 

 ConsultationOpensClosesInformation

Travel Plan Supplementary Planning Document

20 Jun 2201 Aug 22 Midday

"A Travel Plan is a long-term management strategy put in place at the planning application stage to help facilitate travel by sustainable means and reduce car dependency"

 

 

See the Updated Travel Plan Supplementary Planning Document and the Executive Report

 

North Somerset Council state:

"We are updating the existing Travel Plans SPD and would like your views on the proposed changes.

 

This consultation is open to all but will be most relevant to transport consultants and developers.[BOB comments:

The consultation will close on Monday 1st August 2022 at midday.

 

A Travel Plan is a long-term management strategy put in place at the planning application stage to help facilitate travel by sustainable means and reduce car dependency. They are required for all developments which generate significant amounts of movement, or where the location is traffic-sensitive, including residential, businesses, schools, retail and leisure facilities.

 

The current SPD dates back to November 2010 and is therefore in need of a comprehensive update, particularly in light of the council’s 2019 declaration of a Climate Emergency and ambition to be carbon neutral by 2030.

 

The updated SPD proposes a number of changes including those set out below to enable the council and developers to better manage Travel Plans and Travel Plan Statements and ensure a consistent approach across North Somerset, in line with other local authorities.

  • The revision of thresholds at which a Travel Plan Statement or Travel Plan is required for each type of development site.
  • The introduction of two options for delivering Travel Plans – a council-led or developer-led approach.
  • The revision of minimum requirements for Travel Plan measures and monitoring.
  • The use of ‘Modeshift STARS’, an online platform where a Travel Plan can be stored, developed, managed and monitored over time.

The Travel Plans SPD supports Development Management Policy DM26 Travel Plans and sets out the council’s requirements for the implementation and monitoring of Travel Plans at new developments. Benefits of the Travel Plan can include:

  • lower travel costs
  • improved health and wellbeing
  • more travel choices including opportunities for active travel
  • improved community links with reduced social isolation
  • reduced health inequalities
  • reduced traffic congestion and improved air quality
  • reduced demand for parking
  • helping meet local, national and international climate change commitments"

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Purn Way Housing Granted

Posted on 11th July, 2022

 

The outline planning application to build 14 new dwellings has been GRANTED by North Somerset.

 

This is in line with North Somerset Council's Local Plan Preferred Options 2038 for Proposed Residential Development (map) showing the importance of resident and Parish Council feedback to all NSC consultations that affect our community (see also Delegated Report)

 

See original blog and application information

 

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Parish Council Annual Accounts

Posted on 30th June, 2022

 

Only 3 weeks left to view last year's Parish Council Accounts

 

Every year resident's are invited to view the parish council's accounts,

"Any person interested has the right to inspect and make copies of the accounting records for the financial year to which the audit relates and all books, deeds, contracts, bills, vouchers, receipts and other documents relating to those records must be made available for inspection by any person interested. For the year ended 31 March 2022, these documents will be available on reasonable notice by application to:" the parish clerk via parishclerk@bleadonparishcouncil.co.uk or mobile 0745335318 (BPC official AGAR notice as at 30JUN22, updated 01JUL22

 

Full Rights as seen in the 2019 AGAR Notice p2&3 including "...If you are a local elector, your right to ask questions of the external auditor is enshrined in law."

It is interesting to note:

  • that the AGAR notice is not currently published on the five village noticeboards that is usual practice to bring the public's attention to the AGAR process, especially as we are now nearly three weeks into the six weeks mandatory period.
  • the viewing dates are incorrect, i.e. commencing on Monday 13 June 2020 and ending on Friday 22 July 2020
  • Q3-2021/22 and Q1-2022/23

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See also:

Wind Turbines and Solar Panels for Bleadon

Posted on 29th April, 2022

 

What will be the future of rural Bleadon?

What will be the outcome of North Somerset Council's Consultation that ends today, 29 April 2022?

 

 

 

BOB's presents to BPC

26 April 2022

 

 

BOB's consultation submission

to NSC

BPC consultation submission to NSC

 

NSC will publish all consultation responses on 31 July 22

 

 

 

Submit your comments to North Somerset Council ASAP, details on BOB's Local Plan Consultation blog

 

The local plan timetable is as follows:

  • March/April 2022 - Consultation on Preferred Options (Consultation Draft)
  • November 2022 - Consultation on pre-submission plan
  • January 2023 - Submission to Secretary of State 
  • April 2023 - Examination 
  • October 2023 - Inspector’s Report 
  • December 2023 - Adoption 

UPDATE 08JUL22 - The planning application to build 14 new dwellings has been GRANTED by North Somserset in line with North Somerset Council's Local Plan Preferred Options for Proposed Residential Development showing the importance of resident and Parish Council feedback to al NSC consultations 

 

UPDATE 31JUL22 - Consultation Responses

  • Preferred Options Consultation Statement - Main Report
    • "Bleadon Parish Council did not support the proposed changes to their boundary"
    • "Some of both the objecting and supporting comments included suggestions for new strategic gaps, including the following locations: ... and Bleadon/Weston-super-Mare"
  • Appendix 1: Summary of Responses to Strategic Policies
    • "Bleadon Parish Council recognises and wants to protect Bleadon’s Bronze Age rural farming heritage and its settlement character and culture."
  • Appendix 2 
    • "Bleadon • Land North of Amesbury Drive (HE2051) should be included in the settlement boundary for Bleadon

      • Bleadon Parish Council want no changes to the existing settlement boundary

      • The field opposite Catherine's Inn, behind the Fiat garage should be included in the settlement boundary. It is close to public transport, cycling and walking into the village are easy, and it would not be detrimental to the local environment.It would also contribute to the district's correctly identified need for affordable housing as defined in SP8.

      • Suggested inclusion of Purn Farm and Holiday park.

      • Suggested inclusion of walnut Cottage, Catherine Inn and the garage.

      • Suggested inclusion of land to the east of Bleadon House."

       

    • "Weston-super-Mare: • Settlement boundary should extend around Land south of Bleadon Hill (HE2035)"
    • "a strategic gap is needed north of Bleadon to help prevent ‘encroachment’ from Weston, and protect the setting and character of Bleadon settlement"
  • Appendix 3: Summary of Responses to the Development Policies

UPDATE 03AUG22 - Wind Turbine Catches Fire in Hull

 

UPDATE 08AUG22 - BOB asked NSC Planning Poiicy Team to take into consideration the CPRE reports regarding:

  • the "... call for land strategy and new planning rules to guard food security" (20 July 22 and PDF), which was published after the 29 Apr 22 deadline, and
  • the related "New research shows space for 1.3m homes on recycled land is being ignored" (18 Nov 21 and PDF, Data and Spreadsheet).

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Residents Meeting Monday 11 Apr at 7pm

Posted on 10th April, 2022

 

A reminder that the parish meeting tomorrow, Monday 11 April 2022 at 7pm, is a RESIDENT’S MEETING not a parish council meeting. We understand the council’s legal obligation is to widely inform residents 7 clear days beforehand (not including weekends), to arrange the hall booking and provide a chairman for residents to raise their views and concerns regarding the parish. It seems that councillors and the clerk are not required to attend.

 

It’s therefore interesting to note that the undated chairman’s agenda puts the residents ‘Open Forum’, the main legal purpose of the meeting, at the very end of her agenda, putting residents after parish councillors and her chosen speakers have spoken. The agenda appears to be a twist on the usual council meeting (where residents are not permittted to talk or question councillors during the meeting) and a 'Contact Us' meeting (where village organisations promote their services to new residents).

 

It’s also interesting to note that there is no update on planning development, no mention of local, district or national consultations affecting our community e.g. potential Bleadon wind & solar PV farms, and no update on roads and travel (buses) from the council? Nor is there an indication of BPC’s plans for our community, having ‘lost’ the residents’ agreed and adopted Parish Plan (£10K+?) and stalled its Neighbourhood Plan (£8K+?) pre-covid. So whose views are councillors basing their decision making and expenditure on?

  • Why is there no mention of North Somerset’s potential plans for Bleadon wind and solar PV farms (consultation started on 14 March ending 29 April 22, i.e. before the next BPC meeting,
    • Why not visit one of the drop-in sessions to talk to NSC officers about how the Local Plan process will shape the future development of North Somerset up to 2038 - Wednesday 13 April from 4pm to 6pm at The Campus, Weston-super-Mare)?
  • Considering the current energy crisis, what about an update on the existing fracking licences that cover the whole of Bleadon, WSM and into Somerset? What about the expansion of Bristol Airport 4,000 night flights, or geo-engineering in the skies over the area? With WSM stated as being the fastest growing town in Europe, where is Bleadon’s ‘Strategic Gap’ to stop urban sprawl invading our rural community? Do NSC have any plans for Bleadon's rural lanes?
  • When NSC’s Local Plan is agreed will applications be auto-approved or will resident’s still be able to comment on individual proposals?

What about the changes to Bleadon’s bus services and associated safety issues? Or an update on the A370 speed changes, central reservation, traffic lights, ‘village’ one-way system, etc.?

 

Bleadon is a rural village, so with global leaders indicating possible food shortages what is BPC doing to promote local food security? How is it supporting our rural farmers and workers?

 

The COVID elephant in the room has also been ignored, what was the £10K grant awarded to BPC in 2020. used for (COVID, Cllr ipads, church clock)? Local, district and national government policies have undoubtedly had a huge effect on all residents’ emotional, mental, physical and economic well-being. It’s also had a huge effect on local, district and national democracy with more and more meetings and decision making being made behind closed doors, resulting in an increasing lack of transparency.

 

This year, during the current economic crisis, Bleadon Parish Council gave itself a £64K budget financed by a £54K tax/precept demanded from Bleadon residents (£50K in 2021 makes a 8% increase), with £8K taken from reserves. If the parish council exists to democratically represent its residents, do residents feel that BPC uses its newsletter and website to inform and gather residents’ views of government activity effectively? E.g. How does it inform residents of consultations and available BPC grants? (e.g. the ‘independent’ Bleadon in Bloom group was given a grant of £8.5K+ in 2021/22 and £? in 2022)

  • BPC’s ‘independent’ newsletter, is subsidised up to £4.6K p/yr. It was delivered this week with an article from the clerk and one from the chairman but none attributed to councillors? Why doesn’t it mention the bus changes or the NSC Local Plan seven week consultation (ends 29 Apr 22), both affecting the whole of our community? How does BPC ensure that its newsletter is delivered in a timely manner to ensure that events aren’t missed? How does BPC ensure that it’s ‘Letter to the Editor’ is used in an appropriate and respectful manner towards other residents, business owners, developers, etc. (e.g. Page 3)? Is the newsletter balanced or generally village rather than parish focussed? Is its circulation outside Bleadon appropriate if those residents don’t pay Bleadon taxes?
  • Do residents feel that BPC and its councillors practice transparency of its decision making and expenditure? Does it encourage its clerk (£48K+ pro rata) to ensure that its communications are clear, timely and accurate to avoid miscommunications between the council, working groups and residents as highlighted in its newsletter delivered this week, pg 3? (BPC represented Working Group minutes, actions, decisions and agreements are not generally published; monthly, annual, and ad hoc sub-committee minutes are generally only published 3 days before the next meeting, usually without appendices)

It appears only councillors and invited speakers attended the Parish Meeting last year (related blog). Perhaps, if a large number of residents attend on Monday, the chair might put the residents ‘Open Forum’ first, to enable residents to have sufficient time to voice their views and concerns regarding their community. Maybe residents can reclaim their ONLY OFFICIAL ANNUAL RESIDENT’S MEETING.

 

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Additional info:

 

Click to Enlarge Image

UPDATE: Consultation submissions

 

 ConsultationOpensClosesInformation

North Somerset Local Plan 2038 Preferred Options

14 Mar 2229 Apr 22 at 5pm"The draft Local Plan sets out the councils preferred options for delivering the number of new homes and associated infrastructure such as schools, transport and other facilities that are needed in North Somerset up to 2038"

 

North Somerset Council are inviting you to take part in the consultation (PDF

  • If you wish to discuss this consultation you can raise it at the annual resident meeting, Monday 11th Apr 22, 7pm at the village Hall.
    • [UPDATE 12APR22 - Following above meeting BOB writes to NSC Cllr Porter re: fracking, turbine and solar pv proposals for Bleadon; request for letters to/from NSC re: fracking; and hoping for BPC to call a widely publicised extra-ordinary meeting for residents before the consultation deadline (PDF)]
  • Visit one of the drop-in sessions to talk to officers about how the Local Plan process will shape the future development of North Somerset up to 2038.
    • Monday 14 March 12.30pm to 7pm at Banwell Village Hall
    • Thursday 17 March from 3pm to 7pm at Hangstones Pavilion, Yatton
    • Thursday 24 March from 3pm to 7pm at Churchill Methodist Church Hall
    • Tuesday 29 March from 3pm to 7pm at St James Church Centre, Winscombe
    • Friday 1 April from 3pm to 7pm at Tithe Barn, Nailsea
    • Thursday 7 April from 3pm to 7pm at Portishead Library
    • Wednesday 13 April from 4pm to 6pm at The Campus, Weston-super-Mare
      • Only the Vice-Chair of BPC attends. BOB and the councillor take the opportunity to briefly discuss the Local Plan Consultation and Neighbourhood Development Plans with a North Somerset Planning Officer.

What about Food Security?

UK Report (PDF)

Previous NSC Local Plan Consultations

  • Nov 2020 - Local Plan 2038 Consultation Part 2 (Blog)
  • July 2020 - North Somerset Local Plan 2038 Challenges and Choices Part 1 (BlogVid)
  • Mar 2020 - Local Plan -Pre-commencement (Blog)
  • Sep 2018 - North Somerset Local Plan 2036 - Issues and Options (Blog & Blog)
  • Nov 2017 - Local Plan 2036 - Generating Ideas (Blog)

BOB ppt (26Mb)

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Other info: