Good morning and welcome to the last newsletter of the year.
First a reminder: the Community Car Scheme is really up and running now. I have used it myself and can recommend it. The booking number is 07942 231145 where you will get Elizabeth or Alan. If you want to be taken into Taunton and brought back, helped to visit friends in a neighbouring village, taken to the station to get a train…it’s there for you. Fares are based on the allowable per-mile rate for businesses, that’s 45p. The fare structure may be further reviewed to meet the varied needs of villagers.
You all know about the A358 dualling scheme. Further consultation starts soon – unless the new Government shelves it. Our Road Group will continue to challenge Highways England on the detail. In the next month I personally will be consulting our farmers. Under the proposed route plan, they will have to carry large loads much further to join the A358 and even further to cross it. One crossing HE propose is Griffin Lane, running under the bridge, up over the hill, and down into West Hatch. This just does not work for farmers. But what are the other options? The debate continues. We would welcome your opinions.
The plan for 13 houses on Station Road was turned down after a strong response and village presence at the planning committee in Taunton. The reasons: poor design, weak sustainability – it would require more car journeys to shops, doctors, schools et cetera, – and a rather obscure term on the subsidy required for the affordable homes. I'm informed that the developer is likely to appeal.
This has led some of us to think the village should be more proactive when it comes to development. Being opposed to any development would not be clever. We should study our regional development policy carefully, look at the kinds of homes that would be most suitable, – the current proposal was rejected for being too "suburban". I expect there will be more proposals in the relatively near future.
As a Dwarf/Friend I'm prejudiced, but I can't tell you how wonderful it was to see the pleasure on people's faces as the lights went up at the end of the Pantomime. Seen by over 325 people, involving 50 villagers of all ages, it raised £1000 for our Village Hall. Special thanks to “Dame” David Derbyshire for his direction (and performance, of course!)
As for your Parish Council, in a new initiative we've asked members to think about what would most benefit the village in the years to come. Shortly we will be putting those ideas you - and asking for others.
One technical issue: we will be discontinuing, as far as possible, email versions of the newsletter using the SendInBlue app. Instead you will get an alert and a link to the website version. 24 hours after this has been posted, I will ask people using SendinBlue if they received it. You should only reply if you did not receive it, or had difficulty with it.
Have a very good Christmas holiday.