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Free Festive Parking across Sedgemoor

Sedgemoor District Council is offering free parking in all its car parks on the two Saturdays running up to Christmas.

People will be able to park without charge in all eighteen of the Council-owned car parks across Sedgemoor on Saturday 15th and Saturday 22nd December.

Cllr Duncan McGinty said “We are keen to support our many local and varied traders in the towns and villages across Sedgemoor and give residents and visitors an added incentive to shop locally in the festive season”.

There will be notices on the tariff machines in the car parks advising of the free parking.

Background information

Sedgemoor District Councils owns and operates eighteen car parks across the district with a total of 1,691 parking spaces.

Sedgemoor relies on income from the car park to help pay for the cost of running the car parks such as business rates; CCTV; cleaning; looking after the shrubbery etc; repairs and maintenance to the tarmac; white-lining; maintenance/replacement of ticket machines; insurance and electricity costs for the lighting.

Car Park locations

Bridgwater

  • Eastover & St. John St. Shoppers
  • Mount Street (East)
  • Mount Street (West)
  • Northgate
  • Eastover Short Stay
  • Market Street
  • Dampiet Street
  • Blake
  • Eastover Park

Burnham-on-Sea and Highbridge

  • High Street
  • Oxford Street
  • Pier Street East
  • Pier Street South
  • Pier Street West
  • Discount car park
  • Bank Street, Highbridge

Cheddar

  • Church Street
  • Cliff Street

 

Drop in road deaths and lowest number of collisions on record

The number of deaths on Somerset’s roads fell by 12 per cent last year, the lowest level in five years and bucking the regional trend.

Department for Transport (DfT) figures recorded 22 deaths on the county’s roads whereas nationally there was no change, and in the South West region a 15 per cent increase over the same period.

The statistics also show there were 1,000 injury collisions in the calendar year of 2017  – the lowest number ever reported in the county. However, there was a 4 per cent increase in the number of serious injury collisions from 158 to 164 casualties, echoing the national trend.

Injury collision data is collected by Avon and Somerset Police and analysed by Somerset County Council’s Road Safety Team. A Road Casualty Review is published each year to highlight trends and make recommendations for possible solutions to problems.

The figures for 2018 are currently being monitored and up to the end of June 2018, being the latest available,  there were 14 fatalities, 76 serious and 499 slight injury casualties recorded.

Councillor John Woodman, Somerset County Council’s Cabinet Member for Highways, said: “The continued trend of falling deaths and people involved in collisions is positive, but there is more to be done and we’ll continue to work closely with our partners to improve things further through our recently adopted road safety strategy.”

Somerset County Council aims to prevent collisions in a number of ways – from engineering work, targeted training of road users, or requesting support from the police. The Council works closely with a number of other partners to promote safe road use.

The 2017 Road Casualty Review analyses collision and casualty statistics, comparing them to the previous five-year period and focusing on defined target groups – such as road user types and different age groups. The full report can be downloaded from www.somersetroadsafety.org.

In 2017, Somerset Road Safety provided training or advice to nearly 23,120 members of the public. This included meeting 5,235 people at public events, training 3,310 motorcyclists, reaching 1,180 senior drivers through Route 60+ workshops, and teaching thousands of school children at various education programmes.

Police launch Youth and Policing Education website

Avon and Somerset Police have launched the Youth and Policing Education Hub, a new website offering free online access to a range of resources for schools and youth groups.

Resources include lesson plans on subjects including county lines, sexting and knife crime. The website launch is part of a strategy to strengthen local policing and will build on existing relationships with schools. Since launching the site has been accessed by over 600 users.

The Youth and Policing Education Hub gives schools and other youth groups access to a number of downloadable lesson plans which fit within the PSHE (Personal, Social and Health in Education) curriculum as well as the National Child Centred Policing Plan. The new site streamlines our existing offering and enables us to provide expert approved, quality lessons to young people.

We know every school has unique needs. Our lesson packages can be downloaded and used by schools independent of any police involvement. Alternatively, an online request can be made for a police representative to come to the school and present the lesson package as part of a wider police-school partnership.

Assistant Chief Constable Steve Cullen, head of Neighbourhood Policing and force lead for Children and Young People says; “The support we provide young people gives them a better understanding of crime, helps protect them from harm and builds safer communities in the long term.

“The launch of the Youth and Policing Education Hub is new approach to improving engagement with schools and creating better relationships with young people. In addition to this, we’ve allocated a PCSO or PC to every school in our force area as part of a wider strategy to strengthen neighbourhood policing.”

Police and Crime Commissioner, Sue Mountstevens says; “It’s important that we invest in young people from an early age and this initiative will help support schools and youth groups in educating children on crime. It’s also a great opportunity for us to build on existing relationships with young people and increase their confidence and trust in the police, helping to keep our communities safe.”

Lesson packages reflect current police priorities and align to relevant government strategies. They have all been assessed for relevance to the PSHE curriculum. Most are designed for Key Stage 3 pupils but can be adapted for younger and older pupils. The current lesson plans include:

  • Alcohol and drugs
  • Child Sexual Exploitation
  • Consent
  • County Lines
  • Digital resilience and online safety (including cyberbullying)
  • Domestic abuse
  • Hate Crime
  • Knife Crime
  • Radicalisation
  • Youth Produced Sexual Imagery (‘Sexting’)

Teachers, youth group leaders, other professionals and volunteers can visit the Youth and Policing Educational Hub at https://www.youthandpolicing.co.uk/

Would you pay an additional £1 for policing?

Residents are being asked whether they are prepared to pay an additional £1 a month towards policing from April, 2019.

Last year the Government unexpectedly gave all Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) across the country the flexibility to raise the policing part of the council tax by £1 a month for the average band D household.

Sue Mountstevens is hoping that PCCs will be given that flexibility again this year, she said: “With last year’s £1 rise we were able to start an ambitious programme of recruitment and commit to employing up to 300 police officers. We were also able to protect neighbourhood policing, the police officers and Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) in your local area, all thanks to your support for the rise.

“The Chief Constable and I have agreed that next year’s focus will concentrate on serious violence. The threat from serious and organised crime has changed rapidly, increasing in both volume and complexity and preying on the most vulnerable in society.

“If we are able to increase the policing part of the council tax by £1 a month next year and the Government grant for policing stays the same and there are no additional surprises we are committed to a new focus on burglary and drugs. We must continue to dismantle the recruitment of vulnerable young people into ‘county lines’ drugs gangs. It’s clear that this leads to an increase in knife-crime and serious violence, including stabbings and gang-related disorder and it must be tackled and given the right resources.

“I absolutely recognise that any increase in household bills will be felt by residents and it’s not easy to keep asking local people to contribute to the issues that we are facing in policing and as a society. It’s really important that residents tell me what they would be prepared to pay. These are difficult decisions and I need to be sure that I have heard from as many local people as possible.”

Sue Mountstevens is asking for people’s views in an online survey on her website www.avonandsomerset-pcc.gov.uk which closes at midnight on January 14, 2019.

For further information or to request a copy of the survey please call 01278 646188.

Ms Mountstevens has also spoken to hundreds of residents while visiting events across the summer. Sue will continue to talk about the policing part of the council tax at her surgery sessions find out where she will be on her website www.avonandsomerset-pcc.gov.uk

St John’s Conservation Area Consultation

Since 2015, extensive work has been carried out to update the character appraisal and formulate a management plan for the Bridgwater St John’s Conservation Area.

A consultation draft is now available for a six week period of public consultation on the document, ‘Bridgwater St John’s Conservation Area: Character Appraisal & Management Plan 2018’.

The document consists of two parts; the first part is a Character Appraisal, which outlines the historic development of the area and including a character analysis outlining what makes the conservation area special. The Appraisal includes a boundary review identifying amendments to the existing boundary.

The second part, the Management Plan, outlines how the conservation area will be managed to ensure existing special character is preserved or enhanced where possible. This includes an Action Plan highlighting how this will be achieved as well as opportunities for redevelopment and general design principles.

The six week period of public consultation begins on Monday 5th November 2018 until Monday 17th December 2018. The ‘Bridgwater St John’s Conservation Area: Character Appraisal & Management Plan 2018’ will be available to view online at: www.sedgemoor.gov.uk/article/877/Historic-Environment

Hard copies of the document will be available at the Reception of Bridgwater House, Sedgemoor District Council’s offices and Bridgwater Library, during normal opening hours, throughout the consultation period.

All comments should reach us no later than 5pm on Monday 17th December 2018 and all comments must be submitted in writing.

Comments can be made either by:

  • Email to: [email protected]; or by
  • Post to: Conservation Officer, Inward Investment and Growth, Sedgemoor District Council, Bridgwater House, King Square, Bridgwater, Somerset, TA6 3AR.

Please note that any comments made will appear in the public documents and we cannot accept confidential or anonymous responses. Your comments and name will be published when the consultation is complete, as part of Appendix 5 of the document. Personal information (such as your address or email address) will remain confidential.

Dampiet Street Car Park, Bridgwater partially re-opened

Dampiet Street car park in Bridgwater has been partially re-opened following a Police investigation. Some spaces remain out of bounds, but the car park is operational.

Customers can now use the car park, but are requested to avoid the coned off spaces until such as time as the car park is fully back in use.

Design Team Appointed to Transform Town Centre Site: Northgate Cinema and Leisure Scheme

The redevelopment of the Northgate site in the centre of Bridgwater has taken another step forward with the appointment of a Design Team, consisting of Corstorphine and Wright Ltd as Architects, supported by Aecom Consulting and Enborne Consulting.  Montagu Evans, as Managing Agents are already advising the Council.

The scheme will include a multi-screen cinema, restaurants, a gym and car parking. Open space on the Brewery Field will also be improved to include a park suitable for use all year round that will complement the facilities. The scheme will also include outside dining areas, places to meet and socialise and create a strong link from the docks area through Brewery Field and to the town centre.

At the beginning of 2018 Sedgemoor District Council determined to self-fund and develop the project and have subsequently been developing the concept. This will be the third phase of the Northgate development following the successful implementation of the new Northgate Primary School by Somerset County Council and the new Blake Car Park by Sedgemoor.

Montagu Evans, as Managing agents for the scheme have reported significant interest from potential occupiers for the cinema and restaurants providing assurance that the scheme can move forward with a high degree of confidence.

The project team will be submitting a planning application in the first quarter of 2019 and will then be looking to appoint a contractor during the summer with a fully costed and detailed design.

Work starts on Bower Ponds Park Improvements

Sedgemoor District Council is pleased to announce that refurbishment works costing around £70,000 at Bower Ponds Park are due to commence on 23rd October 2018. The project has been jointly funded by Sedgemoor District Council, LiveWest and Bridgwater Town Council as follows:

  • £40,000 SDC’s RLT3 developer’s funds
  • £22,000 SDC’s Parks Development budget
  • £6,000 from LiveWest
  • £2,000 from Bridgwater Town Council

There will be a new activity trail assault course and outdoor gym (fitness area) that will be aimed at juniors and youths. These facilities came out as the most desired during the consultation event held in June, where more than forty families took part. The assault course will promote balance, climbing and swinging, as well as general fitness. In addition to this, there will be outdoor gym equipment installed and the current toddler area will have most of its equipment replaced with new, consisting of a trampoline, climbing frame with slide and varying swing types.

The front access to the site will also be widened making it accessible for both wheelchairs and pushchairs. The tarmac pathway will be extended to make the park more accessible all year round and provide the opportunity for runners to include the park into their journey; making use of the outdoor gym equipment and assault course en route. Sedgemoor’s Clean Surroundings Team have been carrying out extensive tree works in preparation and will be providing new benches in the near future.

Leader of Sedgemoor District Council, Councillor Duncan McGinty said “I am pleased to see the work commence on refreshing the facilities at this much loved local park and join with LiveWest and the Town Council in thanking residents for sharing with us your thoughts on how best to improve the park at the consultation event in June. I hope you enjoy the new facilities.”

A representative from LiveWest commented: “LiveWest are delighted to work with Sedgemoor District Council, to support the Bower Ponds Park in their exciting refurbishment project. We know that this is an important nature reserve and recreation park for all ages and will help to bring pleasure to LiveWest residents and the wider community for many years to come.”

Bridgwater Town Council also stated: “Bridgwater Town Council are pleased to support the refurb and upgrade project and have contributed £2000 through the ward grant scheme courtesy of Cllrs Granter, Glassford & Cresswell – Fairfax Ward.”

Changes to the licensing of Houses in Multiple Occupation to be introduced in October

Changes in Government legislation will see the requirement to licence a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) widened to include two storey properties.

From Monday 1st October 2018, all privately rented properties which are occupied by five or more people who form two or more households will now require a licence.

Sedgemoor has several HMOs and it is expected that with the new Government regulations more properties are likely to be identified. Sedgemoor District Council is keen to work with landlords who own two storey properties to make the licensing process as easy as possible.

New regulations are also expected to be introduced that will bring in new mandatory conditions such as covering the minimum sizes of sleeping rooms, the maximum number of occupants permitted and the provision of refuse facilities.

A spokesman said, ‘Generally we have a good relationship with landlords in the district. In recognition of the importance of the sector, we are keen to work with landlords to ensure that the condition of the rented properties is up to standard and build a thriving, robust private rented market.

Licensing of HMO’s ensures that our Housing Standards Team are working with landlords of lower and higher risk properties. It also ensures that appropriate management arrangements have been made for the property.’

Landlords who believe that their property falls into the new licensing requirements are advised to contact the Housing Standards Team at Sedgemoor District Council by emailing [email protected]r.gov.uk or by calling 0300 303 7794 for advice.

An application form can be downloaded from our website at www.swpshp.org or you can request one on the above email and telephone number. Our website will also provide more information on the new licensing regime.

There are severe penalties for landlords who fail to licence with the Council including fines and possible prosecution.

Find out if highways improvements are planned at a road near you

A new webpage to help residents find out about planned maintenance on Somerset’s roads is now available.

Somerset County Council’s dedicated travel and roadworks website www.travelsomerset.co.uk already includes a live map showing details of current and future planned roadworks.

But previously this only included works when dates were confirmed.

The new webpage now allows people to view the structural maintenance programme for the current financial year, so people can find out if improvement works are planned in the near future. The exact dates and timings of work are added to the live map when they are finalised.

The works are split into categories – principal resurfacing (resurfacing on A class roads), non-principal resurfacing (resurfacing on minor class roads), footways (works on the pavement), drainage and earthworks – with lists of schemes and maps showing the locations. You can also find FAQs and definitions of each type of roadworks scheme.

Councillor John Woodman, Somerset County Council’s Cabinet Member for Highways, said: “We’ve worked hard to make it easier for people to find out what’s happening on our roads. We started by offering live travel alerts using Twitter and then created the Travel Somerset website to improve the quality and reliability of our roadworks information.

“This summer we’ve added our surface dressing and grass cutting programmes to the website and now you can see all the structural maintenance work we have planned for the next financial year.

“This is another welcome resource and we’ve got plans for more in the months to come.”

The new webpage can be found at www.travelsomerset.co.uk/structural-maintenance. Don’t forget, you can also use the site to find live travel information 24/7 and find details of all planned roadworks, including those carried out by third parties, like developers or utility companies.

Follow @TravelSomerset on Twitter for live traffic alerts and get in touch if you have any questions about travel, roadworks or the highways team in general.

Could you lend a hand to help restore Somerset’s iconic fingerposts?

More volunteers and community groups are being urged to get involved with a ground-breaking project to restore historic signposts in Somerset.

In response to stretched finances, the Somerset Fingerpost Restoration Project was set up by Somerset County Council and the Southwest Heritage Trust in 2016 to help preserve and protect the signs by harnessing the goodwill of volunteers and exploring alternative funding options.

Exmoor National Park Authority, with support from the Council and the Heritage Lottery Fund, has since run a hugely successful project in West Somerset with more than 100 volunteers recruited and more than 60 signs restored to date.

Communities in other parts of Somerset have also been able to secure sponsorship from local businesses or have successfully applied for grant funding to help pay for repairs. One example is Williton Parish Council, which has secured sponsorship funding from Magna Housing to restore some of its fingerposts.

More volunteers and community groups are now being sought to get involved to carry on work that the Council no longer has the money to fund.

Councillor John Woodman, Somerset County Council’s Cabinet Member for Highways, said: “We are very lucky in Somerset to have one of the most impressive collections of fingerposts in the country.

“With the strains on our finances we just don’t have the budget to restore these beautiful signs ourselves, but this is a fantastic example of communities coming together – with help from us – to take the responsibility on.

“It proves what we already knew, that there are amazing people out there willing to give something back. We’ve also found that community groups have access to sponsorship and grants which are not open to us. I’d urge anyone with an interest in preserving these iconic landmarks to get involved.”

Back in the 1960s, councils were advised to remove all fingerposts and replace them with the modern, standardised road signs which can now be found all over the country. In Somerset, this advice was ignored, and as a result the county still has a wonderful back catalogue of fingerposts.

Somerset County Council has cared for these unofficial highways signs for more than 60 years, but having had to find around £130m of savings and efficiencies over the last eight years, it is becoming increasingly difficult to justify spending precious resources on non-mandatory services.

Somerset County Council and the Southwest Heritage Trust have produced a handbook that provides all the information required to enable community groups to decide if they would like to take part in this valuable project. It also contains a fascinating potted history of fingerposts in Somerset. You can view the handbook at http://www.somerset.gov.uk/policies-and-plans/schemes-and-initiatives/somerset-fingerpost-restoration-project/.

Exmoor National Park’s Charlotte Thomas, who is leading the Exmoor project, said: “The interest we’ve had from local communities has been just fantastic. We have teams of volunteers all over the project area who are helping out. There is even a group in Minehead who are a roving team and have helped refurbish signposts in neighbouring parishes.

“Others have kindly let me know when they have found broken fingers and we have been able to use local contractors to fix them. It just goes to show the important role these signposts play in the personal and regional history of Exmoor.”

Mike Neville and Stuart Lawrence, two volunteers from Minehead, have been busy working with others to restore numerous signposts along the A39. Mike said: “I got involved with the project because I wanted to make a difference in my local community and I’d noticed the signs starting to look scruffy.

“It’s really satisfying seeing them looking all pristine by the side of the road and good to know you’ve done your bit in restoring a local heirloom. I’ve even made a few friends along the way!”

Tony Murray, housing director for Magna Housing which is sponsoring Williton Parish Council’s fingerpost project, said: “We support the communities we are based in so we were really pleased to be able to help with this project. Fingerposts have been a part of our landscape for decades and we want to see their use continued. We really hope that other people are encouraged to join in and do what they can.”

Please contact your local parish council if you would like to get involved, or email [email protected] for further information.

Cheddar Neighbourhood Plan

Click here to view/download the Cheddar Neighbourhood Plan Report

Memorial Testing

Sedgemoor District Council is undertaking a programme of memorial testing and repair in the Quantock Road Cemetery and Bristol Road Cemetery in Bridgwater. The work is necessary to ensure the safety of those visiting or working in Sedgemoor’s graveyards.

Each headstone will be tested for stability and safety. If any stone is found to be potentially unsafe, the Council will take temporary safety measures and will contact family members where possible so it can be decided how to make it safe long term.

Graves and/or memorials are the responsibility of the family or relatives of the deceased.

For newer memorials, the grave or memorial should be under guarantee and the memorial mason who carried out the original installation should be able to correct any faults, if found.

Bridgwater Tidal Barrier Scheme Newsletter

View/Download the first issue here

Bridgwater Tidal Barrier Project

Please find attached, a summary of the feedback received during the Summer/Autumn 2017 consultation period.

For further information about the Bridgwater Tidal Barrier, please go to https://www.sedgemoor.gov.uk/article/1659/Bridgwater-Barrier or contact the Project Team at [email protected]

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