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Sep 2007 Park and Ride Scheme Latest 2007-09-27 16:12:27

Article received from Mr D Garrett of Creech St Michael
September 24th 2007

Open letter from Mike Marshall Vice Chairman Ruishton & Thornfalcon Parish Council

By the time that you read this, Somerset County Council will have unveiled their plans for a Park and Ride site at Cambria Farm. I hope that you took the opportunity of viewing their proposals at their exhibition which were held at Ruishton Village Hall on 13’ September. The computer simulation was interesting, showing the increase in traffic that the Park and Ride will generate: not only on the A358 but also in Ruishton Lane where they estimate an extra 74 vehicles between 8am and 9am with the queue back to the Ruishton Inn.

As you will be aware, the Parish Council has been critical of the way that Somerset County Council has handled the consultation aspect of this proposal and despite of the representations of the Parish Council and the parishioners, the County Council has continued to ignore concerns of siting the Park and Ride so close to the Motorway Roundabout.

Just to give you an insight in to the way that this proposal is being handled by Somerset County Council, who will be deciding the planning application themselves, I should like to make aware of the following:

  • Somerset County Council state that they intend to submit their Planning Application at the end of September/early October and that they intend to consider the feedback from the public exhibition. It makes you wonder just how much weight will be given to views of this area.

  • We have consistently asserted that a one day public exhibition is not sufficient consultation and that proper consultation should take place before plans are drawn up.

  • As I write this Somerset County Council have yet to supply the Parish Council with a copy of the Traffic Assessment report. We were promised 8 months ago that this report would be made available as early as possible to enable us to study it ahead of any planning application. This report is essential in the formulation of the plan to site the Park and Ride at Cambria Farm as it will provide details of the effect that traffic lights at its entrance will have on the vehicles using the Motorway roundabout and the A358.

  • At the time that letters were sent out informing you of the exhibition, Somerset County Council did not have the reports themselves making you wonder how they could present a meaningful plan to the public.

  • The Highways Agency has yet to receive the Traffic Assessment reports from SCC

  • The new Leader of the County Council has said that she would be willing to talk to the Parish Council prior to the planning application; however she has yet to respond to our letter sent to her at the beginning of July. This procrastination seems to have made a pre planning application meeting impossible, but we have written again asking for her to attend the Parish Council meeting at Ruishton Village Hall on Wednesday 5 October but as yet we have not received a response.

  • If you haven’t done so please write to Richard Needs, Overall Project Manager, Somerset County Council, Transport Development, County Hall, Taunton, TA 4DY and send copies to the Leader of SCC, ClIr. Jill Shortland

    Please be prepared to respond when the planning application is announced as we will only have six weeks to do so.

    For those of you that wish to do more, there is an organisation that will provide free planning advice and support to community groups (but unfortunately not to parish councils!). It is called Planning Aid ( the contact is Clive Smith telephone 0870 850 9807.

Sep 2007 Foot and Mouth Alert and Its Implications 2007-09-20 16:11:56

Letter received from Jill Shortland, Leader of Somerset County Council, County Councillor South Chard, Chairman South West Regional Assembley
September 20th 2007

County Hall, Taunton, Somerset TA1 4DY
Tel: 01823 355014
Fax: 01823 356239
Email: jcshortland@somerset.gov.uk

Dear Sir/Madam,

I am writing to you following the confirmation of another outbreak of Foot and Mouth Disease on a farm in Surrey on Wednesday 12th September 2007. Defra has introduced a general ban on the movement of cattle, sheep, pigs and other ruminants, and restrictions on animal movements are likely to continue for some weeks.

Information on restrictions may change on a daily basis. Somerset County Council’s Animal Health & Welfare team is supporting Defra by receiving enquiries from livestock owners on information on movements and animal welfare. Contact details are as follows:

1. Defra

www.defra.gav.uk or via their helpline on 08459 33 55 77.

2. Somerset County Council

Somerset County Council’s Animal Health & Welfare team can be contacted on 01823 660050 or you can visit www.somerset.gov.uk

I understand the enormous pressure these restrictions will place on Somerset’s farming community at this time of year and have written a similar letter to all of Somerset’s livestock owners. Somerset County Council is working closely with Defra to identify the key issues we face locally and to support the farming community. Members of Somerset County Council's Animal Health & Welfare team will be attending local Defra stakeholders meetings. Anyone who has concerns about specific local animal welfare issues that they would like to be raised at these meetings can contact Eirian Williams or Mike Marriott in the Animal Health & Welfare Team on 01823 660050.

Somerset County Council’s Animal Health & Welfare team will also be stopping all non-essential visits to farms whilst the restrictions remain in place and we are asking for co-operation from other partners to do the same. The County Council is also liaising with the Farming & Wildlife Advisory Group (FWAG).

Rights of Way

Somerset’s Rights of Way remain open to the general public. The contribution of tourism is vital to our local communities, however, we also want to stress the importance of accessing the countryside sensibly at this time. Enclosed with this letter is a template notice that has also been included in the letter to livestock owners. We have consulted with the National Farmers Union and the Country Land & Business Association on this and would like to ask for your support in using this guidance where appropriate to promote the message of accessing the countryside in a sensible way. If you would like additional copies of this template, it can be downloaded at www.somerset.gov.uk by clicking on the Foot and Mouth link on the home page.

Finally, I would like to thank you in advance for your close co-operation in supporting Somerset’s communities at this time. If there are any broader issues you would like the County Council to raise on your behalf, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Yours sincerely,
Jill Shortland

Sep 2007 Creech St Michael website wins best village website award 2007-09-19 16:11:31

The Creech St Michael website, www.creechstmichael.net, was judged the best large village website in the annual Village Communications competition organised by theCommunity Council for Somerset.

The award for the winning the category was presented to the website designers, Somerset Web Services, at a special award ceremony at Edington village hall on September 11th 2007.

Shown below is the certificate awarded to Somerset Web Services.

Click here or the image below to show enlarged copy.

Certificate awarded to Somerset Web Services for best village website

Sep 2007 Park and Ride scheme presentation 13th and 25th September 2007-09-18 16:11:10

Article received from Mr D Garrett of Creech St Michael
September 6th 2007

The plans for the proposed Park & Ride scheme are to be shown at Ruishton Village Hall Thursday 13th September 10am to 9pm.

Somerset County Council saff will be in attendance to answer questions and explain the proposals. There will also be a display at the Old Market Centre, Taunton, on Tuesday 25th September 10am to 5pm

The Park & Ride facility is proposed to provide facilities for commuters and shoppers travelling on the A358 from the Ilminster direction, and the M5 towards Taunton.

Construction of the Park & Ride scheme is believed to be starting in December 2008, with the facility planned to open by Autumn 2009.

However, Somerset County Council state that feedback from the public will be taken into account before a planning application is made in early Autumn. They are also delivering letters to local residents inviting them to attend the displays.

Whether you are for or against the scheme, it’s worth attending the display of the plans, which will no doubt affect both Creech St Michael and Ruishton by the proposed location of the site.