We had an unusually long meeting this month, with many intractable issues to discuss. We started simply enough by supporting four planning applications, including an application to build a bungalow on a redundant patch of land beside the road in Meare Green.
A question was raised about land set aside within the Burial Ground for the burial of ashes. Mostly the Garden of Remembrance in the adjacent churchyard is used for this, but where people prefer to use a secular space the Burial Ground has always been available, however no specific area appears to have been set. It was agreed that the triangle of land inside the gates, between the existing graves and the eastern hedge would henceforward be allocated for ashes and tablets.
The Police have recently adopted a new policy of sending officers out to do admin work on laptops in village halls around the county. This serves the twin purposes of saving on office space and increasing the visibility of Police within the community. They would like it to be known that whenever there is a Police car parked in the Village Hall car park, they are available to the public for drop-in meetings. Everyone is encouraged to use this access to report problems or consult on any issues they may be experiencing.
It should also be more widely understood that any non-emergency issues can always be reported by ringing 101. Calls to 101 are logged and treated seriously. The Police and other agencies often find themselves in a difficult position where they are aware of ongoing problems in the community, but cannot act because the incidents have not been officially reported. If something happens to you that you feel the Police should know about, the only way that they can record and/or react is via a direct report from the “victim”. This need be no more than a simple phone call to 101.
A recent incident in the village highlights the need to keep potentially dangerous dogs under control on the road and in public areas. All dog owners should be aware that it is their responsibility to control their dogs, and in particular that it is an offence to have any dog off the lead on a public road. More information (including penalties) is available from www.gov.uk/control-dog-public.
There was a brief discussion about the Rose & Crown. The situation has unfortunately changed again since hopes of a successful sale were earlier reported in this column. That sale has now fallen through and on Wednesday 10th the TDBC Planning Committee approved a change of use to allow the pub to be used as a dwelling. As long as it is unsold, Steve Browning has said that he intends to keep it open, and it may still be sold as a pub, but the long-term future looked less positive than it did.
On broadband the news is also negative, though only to the extent of delays. Gigaclear’s schedules for rolling out their full fibre network have slipped badly and it is now unclear when they will be starting their build in this area. The plan to do so has not changed however.
It is worth repeating that except for one or two awkward-to-reach areas, anyone in the parish who is a long way from the cabinet at the end of Church Close and struggling with very slow broadband speeds has the option of applying to Broadband South West for a 12mbps wireless connection (and a much higher cap than satellite) for £25/month. RBS have said that they could buy in more capacity and raise their speeds if they had more subscribers. There is no contract period, and it is likely that wireless will remain as an economy alternative to full fibre for the foreseeable future.
A proposed development of the allotments field was the subject of a consultation in early September. Although the application has not been submitted at the time of writing, the developer has reported the results of the consultation back to the PC. It appears that of the 60 comment forms returned, 45 households (or 50 individuals) were in favour of the proposal and 15 (or 33 individuals) were against. 95% of those against live in Church Close or Willey Rd, but both camps made constructive suggestions, some of which have been incorporated into an amended plan which is available on the village website here.