A370 Consultation - 13 August 2018

Posted on 9th August, 2018




UPDATE 16 JULY 19: Email response from BPC Clerk after BOB requested the official BPC Public meeting agenda and minutes:

"The A370 meeting was a public meeting called by a resident. It was not a BPC meeting and I believe did not have an agenda beyond what was put on the poster. Again, I attended for interest as it is a key issue relating to my job. Any councillor present was there as a resident. I captured comments and received an email (to the Parish Clerk email address) subsequently from an attendee."


Confusing response seeing as BPC called the meeting (Min 311.8) and is quite clearly involved in the A370 project (Min 310.9)? Also see additional references below.



  • Residents voted to reject the current BPC proposals and asked for more considered options and costs, hoping the new proposals will include the whole Bleadon road and junction network e.g.  Accomodatation Rd, Bridge Rd, Bleadon Mill, Devil's Bridge, Celtic Way, Shiplate Road, etc. as issues at one junction have a knock-on effect on all others.
  • BPC's following extra-ordinary meeting agreed with resident outcome and decide not to commit any Bleadon Reserve fund at this time (Aug 18 Min 312.7 & 312.8) No indication of what this £46K Reserve was collected for, or what projects may be affected if it was used for the A370 project.
  • The resident meeting was chaired by BAT.
  • These proposals for a traffic island and speed reduction were put forward by District Cllr App-Rees in consultation with BPC & a group of residents - not by NSC although they have costed the project.
  • It was stated by Cllr App-Rees that "NSC would not be funding any of these options as the officers were not in support of the scheme" (Aug 18 Min 312.7). Costs stated varied from £10K for speed reduction to £200K for traffic lights?  [The BPC green leaflet sent to some residents was therefore considered misleading]
  • BPC are investigating a loan option from the Public Works Loan Board (Aug 18 Min 312.7)
  • There has been no information published by BPC on any potential S106 funding for Bleadon (May 18 Min 309.19).
  • BPC's following extra-ordinary meeting acknowledged that attending residents had put forward some interesting alternative ideas -  to be typed up, shared and considered by councillors in a sub-commitee. to come back with costed options, fund raising ideas, etc. (Aug Min 312.7 - not yet publicly shared with residents?). Will all residents get asked by BPC to input their ideas, as discussed by councillors in May? 
  • [Note: BPC A370 project decisions/actions May Min 309.19 including payment for leaflet (Aug Min 312.12 - £85), hall and newsletter article?]
  • BVN109 the Chairman's address states, "Now to the future, your Councillors represent a wide range of both age and background and wish to maintain, improve and innovate. We are actively seeking to resolve the Road Traffic problems on the A370 through the village with a Public Meeting arranged for Monday August 13th in the Coronation Hall at which we are promised North somerset councillors and hopefully the Police will attend. This will be a great opportunity for att Parishioners to have their say." 


Bleadon Parish Council (BPC) has convened a resident consultation meeting for Monday 13 August 2018 at 7pm to discuss A370 road safety improvements. Some of you may have received a green leaflet inviting you to attend and discuss parishioners’ proposals. NB This green leaflet was not on BPC headed paper, nor was it posted with an agenda on the parish notice boards, nor was information posted on the BPC website or in their parish newsletter 


No one wants to see any more road accidents or deaths, as we have sadly experienced, but this project needs to have input from ALL residents in relation to all projects and aspirations in the parish. Things to consider for this project include:

  1. Why do residents need to pay up to £32K for a NSC statutory duty?
  2. What happened to any Section 106 and CIL funding from existing developments (Riverside Caravans, Old Boot Sale Site, Wake Park, Quarry)?
  3. Would any proposed developments pay for this project if applications went ahead (e.g. Sanders Fields, Devil’s Bridge)?
  4. Why the lack of prior access to project information, reports and resident inclusion?
  5. Why the urgency of an immediate BPC full council decision following limited consultation?
  6. Will the use of Bleadon’s Reserve funds affect other projects that this money was perhaps saved for?
  7. Some accident statistics June 18 Min 310.9

    • 13 accidents with 27 injuries (1 fatal) at Accommodation Road and
    • 4 accidents with 8 injuries (1 fatal) at Bridge Road.
  8. The new A370 project costs are as follows (Aug Agenda item 312.8):
  • 40mph Speed Limit Only -                             £10,515.97
  • Crossing Point by Bridge Rd Junction Only   £28,015.07
  • Both -                                                              £31,582.16 [£7K discount??]

It is good to see that some items raised in the adopted 2009 Parish Plan process are being considered by new councillors but, as BOB has frequently said, surely this should involve a more open, transparent and inclusive approach involving ALL residents not just a select few that are informed or able to physically attend BPC meetings? 


For more information see May Min 309.19,  Jun Min 310.09,  July Min 311.18, see also 1972 LG Act and parish polls e.g. Yatton, and notes below.






1. NSC Duty: The green leaflet and BPC website indicated that North Somerset Council (NSC) has drawn up a plan for improving road safety that may require residents to fund up to £32K. If NSC has a statutory duty for highways, and this is a NSC plan, why are residents being asked to fund this potential £32K project? Why no access to reports before now e.g. Feb 18 Min 305.12?


2. S106/CIL: There have been several major planning and development projects in Bleadon in the last few years but none of these has addressed the speed limit or crossing issues to date, why? What has happened to S106 and CIL funding in Bleadon, did BPC receive S106 information from NSC in May, if so why hasn't any information been published yet? (May 18 Min 309.19)


3. New Developments: It should be noted that if the Sanders Fields development is approved it may be conditioned to pay for road improvements through Section106/CIL thus negating NSC/BPC to pay at all. Precept reserves could then be kept for other parish projects. So could we wait for that decision?


4. Access to Information: Consequently residents will now only be given 2 hours access to this A370 project information, costs and safety statistics. Attending residents (not all parishioners) who have been informed will then be asked their views, suggestions and any other options BPC could consider. Why hasn’t this information been released to all residents prior to this BPC convened meeting? (May 18 Min 309.19.2) Surely ALL the parish households should be consulted, perhaps by a referendum of multi choice like a mini 2005-9 plan questionnaire? After all BPC has twice managed to get green leaflets out to some residents, they could also have included information and a return slip of ideas.


5. Urgent Meeting?: Immediately after this consultation meeting BPC is holding a full council extraordinary meeting, at 9pm, to decide whether to spend resident’s money on this project and if so how much. Residents may only speak at the full council meeting if prior notification has been given to the Clerk by noon on Friday, 10 August 2018, yet residents will not have access to the project information until 2 hours prior to the council meeting on 13th August 2018? (Aug 18 Agenda). Why the urgency of the A370 project without inclusive consultation and full information? What is NSC’s deadline for BPC’s decision and why?


6. Affected Projects?: At the Aug 18  meeting BPC are "To Consider the use of Parish council reserves [both?] for A370 road safety improvements (Agenda Item 312.8).

  • General Reserve  £25,000.00
  • Special Reserve*  £21,000.00 *this is a restricted reserve specifically for improvements in the parish."

What is the difference between BPC's General Reserve and its Special Reserve, what are they reserved for? Especially in relation to the guidance?


The Good Councillor's Guide to Finance and Transparency on Reserves states, "A council should typically hold between 3 and 12 months expenditure as a general reserve. If the general reserve is too low then it may not be enough to cover unexpected expenditure or emergencies, whilst if the general reserve is too high then local electors have paid a tax which is not being used for the benefit of the local community.


Local councils have no legal powers to hold revenue reserves other than for reasonable working capital or for specifically earmarked purposes, therefore the year-end general reserve should not be significantly higher than the annual precept."


So what projects were the reserves being held for, and what will happen to those projects now? How will this affect the precept next year?


7. Accident Statistics: The original 2009 Parish Action Plan planned to resolve pedestrian safety, traffic management at junctions and reduce speeds throughout the village, involving Accommodation Road, Bridge Road and the A370 but many other areas were also identified. June 18 Min 310.9 Accident Statistics: "Clerk has received the accident statistics for the two junctions from 2008 to March 2018 showing:

  • 13 accidents with 27 injuries (1 fatal) at Accommodation Road and
  • 4 accidents with 8 injuries (1 fatal) at Bridge Road."

8. Project Costs/Payment: There is a lack of clarity with regards to Bleadon’s financial reserves, and the costs and funding approach to projects to date but BPC appear to be currently holding a total of £56,600 of resident money in reserve (July 18 Min 311.11 vs 311.9 vs May 18 309.19). Councillors  appear to be considering using either or both the General (£25K) and Special (£21K) allocations of the reserve for the A370 project (Aug 18 Agenda item 312.7) but it is not clear whether this is paying the full cost of the project or 50% as indicated in Feb 18 Min 305.12, nor is it clear what residents may have agreed to at the April APM (Resolution 1). The new A370 project costs are as follows (Aug Agenda item 312.8): 

  • 40mph Speed Limit Only - £10,515.97
  • Crossing Point Only -        £28,015.07
  • Both -                                 £31,582.16 [£7K discount??]

NB There is  indicating that it is good practice to only hold 3–12 months of the £44K precept. BPC appear to have protected the current reserves by increasing this year's precept demand from residents by £13.44% (Nov 17 Min F&P Min 52.5). So what projects were the reserves being held for, and what will happen to those projects now? How will this affect the precept next year?


09 July 18 Min 311.11 To Approve the allocation of Reserves. RESERVES 
  • Staff contingency       £ 3,500.00
  • Staff gratuity/pension £ 1,000.00
  • Election expenses      £ 3,100.00
  • Special reserve*         £21,000.00 restricted specifically for improvements in the parish.
  • General reserve         £25,000.00
  • Church Grounds         £ 3,000.00  
  • TOTAL                       £56,600.00

9. OTHER: A Parish Poll is a (seldom used) democratic tool which allows for a ballot of local government electors in the parish to be called on any question arising at a parish meeting. Although non-binding, meaning that the results of the poll do not have to be followed by BPC/NSC, the poll will provide an indication of support, which should guide the Council(s). See also 'Ask Your Council' website.

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