Quantock Futures Project

What future do we want for the Quantocks? We can be sure that change will continue whether we like it or not. This project brings a wide range of people together to chart a course that embraces the future but preserves the best of our inheritance. Climate change, a changing agricultural economy, different environmental and recreational expectations – if we want to influence the forces driving these changes and make informed decisions for the future this is the time to do so. Through a series of workshops and a wider public consultation we aim to agree what sort of future we all, collectively, want for the Quantocks. 

The first workshop was held in December 2021, with a follow up workshop happening in October 2022 and the web-based wider public consultation now open until 31st July. It is important that we bring people together even if they may start with very different views, so we have commissioned an internationally award winning team of specialist environmental facilitators, Dialogue Matters, to help us reach a common view and chart a route map to the future.

The survey is now live and there is more information and access to the survey here (at the bottom of the page). You’ll find some supporting documents there as well if you want to do some further research.

Information from Quantock Landscape Partnership Scheme – contacts

www.qlps.org
https://www.facebook.com/quantock.lps

Parish Council Accounts and Audit 2022/2023 updated

Annual Governance Statement and Accounting Statement (unaudited)
Notice of public rights and audit – please note the dates have changed slightly
Local Authority Accounts: a Summary of your Rights

The Local Audit & Accountability Act 2014 and the Accounts & Audit Regulations 2015 set out the responsibilities of all local councils in respect of their accounting and auditing procedures. As part of this process, the Council must publish the unaudited Annual Return and must make arrangements for a period in which interested persons can inspect the Council’s accounts and related documents. The period this year is Monday 13 June until Friday 29 July, during office hours or by appointment. Please note the office is unavoidably closed from 18-22 July so the period has been extended by a week from the original dates.

Each year, the Council’s financial accounts and statements are examined by an independent ‘internal’ auditor appointed by the Council to advise them. This year our accounts are being audited by MJ Dodden & Co in Bridgwater.

The Council is also required to complete an ‘Annual Return’ which includes the findings of the Internal Auditor, together with Governance Statements and Financial Statements. This Annual Return is then submitted to another independent ‘external’ auditor, PKF Littlejohn, for examination. The External Auditor is appointed by Smaller Authorities’ Audit Appointments Ltd (SAAA), not the Parish Council.

If you are a registered local government elector (i.e. you appear on the electoral register for the parish) you can also ask questions about the accounts and object to them. Details about your rights are given in Local Authority Accounts: a Summary of your Rights

PARISH COUNCIL MEETING MONDAY 13 JUNE

The meeting will be held at the Church Centre and will start at 7pm. Everyone is welcome.

The agenda is available here

Draft minutes: Minutes of the previous Parish Council meeting on 16 May are here.
You can find earlier minutes at Previous minutes

Audit Documents

Planning applications:
Links to planning applications on the agenda are below (opens the  application in the Sedgemoor Planning website):


Parish Council meetings are open for the public to attend but are not public meetings. In order to facilitate contributions by members of the public there is a public session at the beginning of the formal meeting. 
During the public session, members of the public are welcome to address the Council on any matter relating to the agenda or on any other matter that they would like the Parish Council to consider at a future date. It is helpful if you inform the Chairman or the Clerk beforehand of any matter you wish to raise. This is so that the Clerk can have to hand any necessary information. Further details are available on page 2 of the agenda.
The Council is not required to give a response to a matter raised during the public session but may do so. Alternatively, the Chairman may direct the Clerk to follow the matter up or give a written response at a later date.
Please note that no decisions can be made and no expenditure approved on any item raised during the public session unless the matter has been legally notified on the agenda in advance.
At the end of the public participation session, the Chairman will resume the formal meeting under standing orders.

Members of the public are asked to respect the fact that this is a meeting of the Council to conduct Council business. They are not permitted to enter into the debate of agenda items unless invited by the Chairman. In this case, he will temporarily adjourn the meeting to allow that person (only) to speak.

The conduct of Parish Council meetings are governed by the Parish Council’s Standing Orders (amended and re-adopted on 11 October 2021). These are available from the Clerk (by e-mail on request) or on the Council’s website by clicking the document name above.

Mobile Boost Scheme

Are you a business or household struggling with poor indoor mobile coverage? Connecting Devon and Somerset may be able to help. The Mobile Boost Scheme offers vouchers towards technology to upgrade indoor 4G coverage in “not-spot” areas.  

Businesses and households can apply for a voucher of up to £1200 towards the cost of one of a number of mobile signal booster options from a registered supplier. The value of the voucher will be dependent on the type of technology most suitable for the premises. Suppliers will be able to advise on the most appropriate option. Businesses and residents will be required to make a contribution to cover the cost of installation.  

For more information and to apply visit Connecting Devon and Somerset – Mobile Boost Scheme 

Footpaths and Countryside Safety

Our surroundings have acres and acres of lush green fields, pastureland and hills and we are lucky to have so many Public Rights of Way from which to enjoy it. The words “public footpath” means exactly that – public, however, if you do find yourself wandering off the designated footpath you could find yourself in trouble or more to the point in danger. The “Right to Roam” or more properly designated “Open Access Land” does not give automatic access to all land and especially not to private land. There is no designated open access land with in Nether Stowey Parish. The bottom line is that all of the above, including miles and miles of tracks, pathways and bridleways usually cross land that is owned by someone or more to the point farmed by someone and you are trespassing if you are anywhere other than a public footpath.

A map of the local Public Footpaths is here. Somerset County Council is primarily responsible for matters relating to public footpaths. There is more information on the Explore Somerset map and you can report an issue with a path either here: Report now link or by clicking the + button at the bottom left). Alternatively you can contact the the Parish’s Paths Liaison Officer via the Parish Office to report an issue. Please be precise with the location of the problem so that he can investigate it. 

Farms are someone’s place of work and, often, someone’s home. Agricultural vehicles have accounted for 13 of the 39 farm fatalities over the past year so it is vital to remember that farms are busy working areas with tractors, telehandlers and agricultural machinery moving about 24/7. We are all aware of the size of modern farm machinery but we may not be aware of the fact that when the driver is in the cab he is effectively insulated from the sound, vibration and noise around him. He may not know you are there.

This has recently been brought to light by an incident on a local farm where the farmer was cutting grass with a large mower and a tractor. Out of the corner of his eye he saw something move and immediately stopped. On investigation he found two children playing in the tall grass who were – when he stopped – less than a metre from the cutting equipment.

The tractor driver’s diligence and quick thinking prevented what could have been a very tragic accident. Please remember that this happened on a farm in Nether Stowey involving local children.

Farm buildings are also not for public access and certainly not for playing in. We have recently received reports of children playing from the rafters of the big barn near the Millennium Wood. Again, the risk of a tragic accident is enormous.

We all have a responsibility for our own safety and in the case above the safety and education of our children, please Walk Safely, Walk Responsibly and Obey the Country Code. Please make sure you know where your children are playing. And if you’re out with dogs please think – is it under tight control, is it damaging crops or is it chasing stock? And please pick up after your dog. Dog faeces causes illness and death in farm animals.

Royal Stowey Bear Hunt

Join Stowey Bears Preschool on a Royal Bear Hunt. Bears will be hidden around Nether Stowey until 9 June. Identify each bear and location for the chance to enter a prize draw and win an amazing prize. Entry forms from Stowey Bears, the Thomas Poole Library or the Post office. £1 entry donation.

SOMERSET WASTE PARTNERSHIP

On 4 May John Roberts, Chairman of the Parish Council, wrote to Somerset Waste (SWP) to complain about the abysmal level of service Nether Stowey has endured in recent weeks. We received a letter in reply yesterday which I am attaching – link below.

We hope by now SWP has finally got the situation back under control, but the Parish Council will continue to monitor the situation. If your collection is missed, please report it to SWP in the normal way, and if there is not a satisfactory response, please let us know at the Parish Office or by e-mail to clerk@netherstowey-pc.gov.uk with your address and details of your report and what action was/was not taken.

SWP’s reply is attached here.

PARISH COUNCIL MEETING MONDAY 16 MAY

The meeting will be held at the Church Centre and will start at 7pm. Everyone is welcome.

The agenda is available here

Draft minutes: Minutes of the previous Parish Council meeting on 11 April are here.
You can find earlier minutes at Previous minutes

Planning applications:
Links to planning applications on the agenda are below (opens the  application in the Sedgemoor Planning website):

Parish Council documents


Parish Council meetings are open for the public to attend but are not public meetings. In order to facilitate contributions by members of the public there is a public session at the beginning of the formal meeting. 
During the public session, members of the public are welcome to address the Council on any matter relating to the agenda or on any other matter that they would like the Parish Council to consider at a future date. It is helpful if you inform the Chairman or the Clerk beforehand of any matter you wish to raise. This is so that the Clerk can have to hand any necessary information. Further details are available on page 2 of the agenda.
The Council is not required to give a response to a matter raised during the public session but may do so. Alternatively, the Chairman may direct the Clerk to follow the matter up or give a written response at a later date.
Please note that no decisions can be made and no expenditure approved on any item raised during the public session unless the matter has been legally notified on the agenda in advance.
At the end of the public participation session, the Chairman will resume the formal meeting under standing orders.

Members of the public are asked to respect the fact that this is a meeting of the Council to conduct Council business. They are not permitted to enter into the debate of agenda items unless invited by the Chairman. In this case, he will temporarily adjourn the meeting to allow that person (only) to speak.

The conduct of Parish Council meetings are governed by the Parish Council’s Standing Orders (amended and re-adopted on 11 October 2021). These are available from the Clerk (by e-mail on request) or on the Council’s website by clicking the document name above.