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HBPC. May 2020 Newsletter.

Good morning. One more beautiful day and a nearly silent village. What a strange period this is, and we still don't know how long it will last.

As I explained in my last mail, our Parish Council is suspended because it can't meet properly and decisions can't be made without meetings. That left us with a degree of discretion to get on with things under the supervision of our Clerk, Clare Winter. I’d like to thank our great team of volunteers, managed by Caroline Noble and Christine Scott, for all their work, and the speed with which they got it up and running. Thanks to others, too, such as members of the Village Hall Trust, who took needed actions promptly and efficiently. We did not activate a hardship fund because no case came to our notice, but that could change.

I would also like to thank all those, especially the Farthings Hotel and the Hatch Inn, who have made provisions and food available in the village, saving unnecessary travel.

That certainly doesn't mean we've done everything right. I hope you will always tell us if you think we can help with something.

Good news. A village team is getting ready to restart allotments and a community garden and they are beginning to investigate how to make it happen. They are already looking for green spaces in the village that might be available at a reasonable price. That’s being led by Katie Piper (

There continues to be a problem for some villagers over noise and other disturbances from the Sterling Services site on Station Road. We hope Sterling will do their best to keep the noise down and start promptly on the new landscaping proposal that is a condition of their recent planning permission. As for the dualling of the A358, that seems to be in suspension. Not a word. We have asked our MP, Rebecca Pow, to find out what she can.

One other active issue is the village’s continued resistance to the proposal for 12 homes on the Station Road site, as you go down the hill out of the village. This was rejected on December 5 by West Somerset Planning but is now subject to appeal. The Parish Council has organised a petition which has had to be released on Facebook because of Lockdown. For those who do not have access to Facebook, pages for signing will be posted on village noticeboards from 2pm on Monday May 25, where you can add your name if you choose. The doors to the council boards will be left unlocked temporarily, but please close firmly. A warning: petitions must be signed promptly because consultation closes on May 28. We will remove the notices at 2pm on that day. Villagers have also made personal comments, designed to reinforce the points of refusal. To do that, go here. If that does not work, go to the Planning Inspectorate and enter 3246143 when asked for a case number.

Petitions clearly do sometimes work! Remember the pavement that was resurfaced just before lockdown.

Finally, this is my last newsletter as chair of your parish council. It was always part of my plan to finish this May, but, as it happens, the pressure of Covid 19 has required a return to full-time work and I have to hand over to the Vice Chair, Christine Scott, immediately. It has been a pleasure working for you and I know we have a good succession waiting in the wings when new appointments can be formalised.

Very best wishes and, as ever, stay safe. David.

All quiet in the village.

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