Spring News Views

Posted on 19th May, 2014

As usual the publication of Bleadon Village News (edited/produced & funded by BPC) has stirred BOB to put proverbial 'pen to paper' on some of the views heard about it's thought provoking content.


Marshalls Quarry Re-DevelopmentMarshalls Quarry

An outline planning application has now been made and following an agreed extention with North Somerset, Bleadon Parish Council Planning Committee are meeting on 19th May 2014 to consider it. See the Agenda or on village notice boards and previous BOB blog posts can also be read. Please make every effort to attend. 




It is sincerely hoped that all comments originally made at the Marshalls presentation events will be considered again for this formal application, and any future development application that arises, to ensure the final decision has reflected them. Many people who made those original comments may not have had the opportunity to comment again at this stage of the process or may assume that having made comment previously then they need not again!


It is also noted from North Somerset website that names and addresses have been published with the comments made at the youth club presentation evenings. I'm not sure if this was intended as originally BVN stated that comments could be made anonymously at the presentation evenings.


As regards the quarry site, BOB's original comment was "While the Marshalls market advertising (as a going concern) failed to attract sector interest there is no reason that a new mixed use development could not include commercial premises with domestic properties. How about incorporating a Nature Reserve theme such as the Weston Town Quarry including small art & craft studios, community cafe and leisure areas with seating and perhaps a pond/small lake etc." Not much of that is obvious in the outline application but perhaps the eventual developer might take notice.


BOB especially hopes that the junction of Bridge road to A370 will be greatly improved as part of this development as increased traffic (estimated >100 cars) needs to try and merge with a 50/60mph speed limit at peak times, OK if you have a Ferrari I suppose, but very difficult on foot, cycle or slower vehicle.


Also, North Somerset stated in their Core Strategy - Sites & Policies (Development Plan) Consultation that 25 was the allocated number of Domestic properties for this site, so BOB assumes NS would need a very good reason to change that policy, let's see if BPC agree? Whilst I am sure the BPC interest for Section 106 money that might come with any successful application for development is very strong, in order to replenish the depleting reserves after years of BPC taking on extra responsibilities from NS without funding, let's hope they ultimately do what is best for our community without incurring further ongoing costs.


For further comments on the NS Consultation see http://consult-ldf.n-somerset.gov.uk/consult.ti/spdraft/listRepresentations by searching for Marshalls or Bleadon Quarry. See also http://www.n-somerset.gov.uk/Environment/Planning_policy_and-research/localplanning/Pages/Strategic-housing-land-availability-assessment-FAQs.aspx for how NS get these numbers.


PROWPublic Rights of Way

BOB, via the BPC Clerk, asked if the presentation made at the APM in April could be made available to BOB's website but so far nothing received.


As a member of The Open Spaces Society, BOB has no misconceptions but is increasingly concerned with some councillors open laissez faire support for the use and maintenance of our Public Rights of Way yet at the same time openly willing to increase our parish precept to cover what is, as far as can be ascertained, actually a North Somerset (as The Highway Authority)/landowner/occupier) responsibility.


As far as BOB is aware, and as stated in the Spring BVN article, this is a function that should also be funded by NS/landowner/occupier, not our local parish taxes (unless of course, for certain aspects if 'we' (BPC) are the landowner/occupier).


To identify financial accountability BOB has previously asked BPC (with no answer) who actually owns the land our footpaths are on so that we can transparently determine who is actually responsible for financing the legal maintenance of the various footpath aspects. See http://www.iprow.co.uk/index.php?page=page&catId=11#9 or https://www.gov.uk/public-rights-of-way-rights-and-responsibilities for details about our historic public rights regardless what BPC and current landowners may feel or state.


Moreover, one of the reasons services may get cut is that they don't get used or have the persistent support of elected councillors fighting for funding on our behalf (see also 83 Bus). All our PROWs need regular maintenance so how & why is BROW workload decided? What does it cost and please can it be stated clearly and publicly why they bother spending their time and our money on particular routes and not others?


On a positive note, It is refreshing to see a private sector company, Wessex Water, offering to "make the surrounding land more accessible to walkers and more habitable for wildlife, water fowl, flora and fauna". We will watch with interest to see what they propose happen and how it is maintained.


Number 83 Bus

It would seem from an email BOB received that Weston Town Councillors have had a successful input into the number 83 bus changes on behalf of their residents and have come to a satisfactory compromise, i.e. a reduced but more reliable service.


"Crosville claimed they did not have sufficient time to complete the route and were missing out bus stops on Oldmixon Road in order to catch up, we also had complaints from Cllr Pilgrim that people from Worlebury were being stranded in town due to buses not turning up. The outcome was a revised timetable agreed with North Somersets Public Transport Manager Paul Conolly, so hopefully we should now have a more reliable if slightly less frequent bus service."


Conversely, according to our latest Village News editor's comments, Bleadon Parish Council may not have had such a positive outcome? Yet, the BPC March minutes clearly show they have been consulted and also commented, so presumeably the BVN editor was openly frustrated at their inability to influence NS as they wished! (Especially having already lost The Veale bus stop with WebberBus contract). BOB feels reducing the frequency of service will not encourage more people to use it but, I suppose at least turning up when expected will be a start.


I sincerely hope that the next BVN does not suggest we now need to operate our own bus service as well as clear our public footpaths and maintain highway footpaths because those with responsibility cannot or will not! See the A370 footpath adjacent to proposed Solar Farm fields as an example. (BOB has been asking NS to clear this since August 2013 and BTW, Sedgemoor have done their bit from Bleadon to Lympsham).


If BPC continue to take on unfinanced services and then expect volunteers to assist when we have no Bus service & can't afford petrol for motorised transport, we will need to carry secateurs while we walk or ride!


Neighbourhood WatchDoorstep Trading

Bleadon is now officially a 'no cold calling' area. BOB feedback thinks this is a good thing and hopefully everyone now knows how this is actually enforced. If not see WATCH blog for more information.


Weston Wake Park

Weston Wake Park Planning ApplicationBOB, via the BPC Clerk, asked if the presentation made at the APM in April could be made available to BOB's website but so far nothing has been received. The North Somerset Planning Application has now actually been made (DEADLINE 23rd May 2014 but please still comment)


The BVN Editor writes that this proposal will be "a regional leisure and sporting asset throughout the year". I, like many BOB and BVN readers, will look forward to how the likely issues of increased traffic and noise related issues will be addressed especially if this is a successful venture involving participants travelling and using the venue all year round. It would also been interesting to see what specific benefits this proposal is likely to attract for villagers and other businesses in the area.


The junction of Purn Way/Bleadon Road & A370/Accomodation Road will surely need to be seriously improved if this application happens. I also wonder if Bleadon residents will receive discounted admission when/if this project is successfully delivered if they wished to visit?


It`s stated that "A small beach area is proposed as it is envisaged that the Lakes will provide a range of opportunities from the high-adrenalin water sports through to quiet enjoyment at the water’s edge". I can't see how anyone can have quiet enjoyment of any type whilst there are loud engine powered boats towing skiers around the lake, perhaps that was why more emphasis has been made of the "low-noise solar electric powered cable tow system will provide an energy efficient continuous loop for wakeboarders". Although the latter seems a good environmental solution.


50/50 opinions have been expressed thus far, so make sure your views are given to North Somerset ASAP.


Parish Council Election 2015Election 2015 - Time to start thinking.

It would be helpful if the BPC could clearly identify within articles, or when notifying villagers of meetings, whether they constitute an official legal neighbourhood consultation. This would make it much easier for villagers to easily identify when they are being consulted and via what mechanism they need to input their views and concerns. If BVN articles and APM presentations are intended as some form of neighbourhood consultation then I do hope the costly rate payer funded productions of the BVN & the APM meeting costs receive some significant contribution.


Finally, 2015 will be election time for the whole existing parish council (currently 9 councillors), so now is a good time to start monitoring and reflecting on exactly what our individual councillors have done, are doing and why. Then a properly considered choice can be made at the ballot box for those who are genuinely interested in the good of the whole parish community and protection of the public purse. Hopefully, a few new faces will also be willing to put themselves forward at the appropriate time to make the ballot box competition and ultimately BPC meeting's debate even more interesting and democratic?


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