The March meeting of the Parish Council continued the sequence of Zoom meetings that have been held over the past year. However, we have been advised by NALC that a return to face-to-face meetings will resume from the 9th May. To accommodate this, the April meeting will be held virtually as planned, followed by the May meeting held one week early on May 4th (Tuesday), reverting to face to face meetings on second Monday of the month in June. It was also agreed to hold the Annual Parish Meeting virtually on April 27th, prior to the return to face to face meetings.
There were no new planning applications in the month, however SWTC have published guidelines as to how phosphate contamination will be dealt with in future applications. This may result in a large backlog when processing applications.
The most important business transacted at the March meeting, was the co-option on an individual to replace Nick Sloan who stepped down at the beginning of the year. As a result of this process Simon Dauncey was elected to the PC. I am sure that all will join in welcoming Simon to the PC; we look forward to his contribution.
A communication from the PC to local landowners and the contractors who work their fields, has been prepared to remind them of the importance of footpaths and the need to account for their route when preparing fields. This is especially true as we move closer to the time when maize planting will commence.
In order to manage the allocation of CIL (Community Infrastructure Levy) funds a standard form to be used by applicants has been agreed. This form can be used by any organisation or individual to request an allocation of funds to improve infrastructure in the village. Such requests will be considered by the PC as a standing agenda item. The total amount of money available will be £65,298, however the second major tranche from the Willey Road development has been delayed by Covid and will now be received in October rather than April as originally scheduled.
There was lengthy discussion around how to improve parking and road discipline in the centre of the village particularly now that school is returning. The possibility of advisory patrols by the village PCSO was discussed but it was recognised that this may lead to only a short-term change of behaviour. Use of the RO car park by staff of the school and the Willowset seem to have alleviated the situation somewhat. The use of yellow lines as a last resort was discussed. This is not possible without a TCO (Traffic Control Order) and may result in changes in behaviour tending towards higher speeds as the road is clear. This will remain an active topic of discussion. Remaining with traffic, we still await a formal response from Highways in order to progress the implementation of a 30mph speed limit at Meare Green.
Finally, the PC agreed to subscribed to Parish On-line which is an interactive mapping tool which can be used in many ways to manage information about Stoke St Gregory. The cost is £70. It can be made available as view only, but users can plot local information which can then be made available to the whole community.