On Your Side

County Councillor for the Lydeard Division.

Having been elected as the independent county councillor for Lydeard, I have worked hard to defend the interests of the people of the communities that I represent. Key successes include persuading the County Council to reverse some of the waste recycling site closures, which had caused a huge spike in flytipping and defending Bishops Lydeard Library and Children’s Centre from closure. I was also pleased to play a part in protecting the West Somerset Railway from the County Council’s potentially very damaging, now abandoned, sell-off. The railway saga and the never-appearing roundabout on the A358 have between them probably taken up over half of all the time I’ve spent on council duties, which has been a source of frustration.

As I enter the final year of the four-year term, I will be concentrating on pushing forward on the delivery of the cycle path connecting Bishops Lydeard, Cotford St Luke,Norton Fitzwarren and Taunton. The group of volunteers that I lead has made significant progress over the last few years, raising funds for, commissioning and completing a feasibility study, which identifies the likely route and the challenges we need to overcome. Now we need to formalise the route and get it built. More to come on this later in 2016.

Please use this website to keep track of what I’m working on and to influence my priorities by letting me know your views on local issues.

Keep up-to-date by following the above links to my Facebook page and Twitter feed.

Bishops Lydeard & Cothelstone Neighbourhood Plan Passes Referendum Hurdle

May 6th, 2016

Bishops Lydeard & Cothelsone Neighbourhood PlanVoting took place yesterday in a referendum on whether local people approved of the Bishops Lydeard and Cothelstone Neighbourhood Plan.  The votes were counted overnight and the plan was passed with an overwhelming majority of votes cast, as follows: –

Electorate: 2336, votes cast: 733, turnout: 31.38%.

YES votes: 583, 79.54%

NO votes: 132 18%

Void: 18

This makes us the first community in Somerset to pass their neighbourhood plan at referendum, quite an achievement.

The Committee responsible for preparing the plan are very pleased that it has been approved and that it will now proceed to adoption in a month or so.  Once adopted, Taunton Deane Borough Council, the local planning authority will have to make planning decisions in accordance with the neighbourhood plan.  As well as this additional control, the community will also benefit from an increased rate of returned Community Infrastructure Levy funding, with 25% of the levy being passed to the Parish Council rather than 15%, ensuring that as much of the funding generated by new development is spent in the community affected.

As the Chairman of the committee that produced the plan, I’d like to thank the Committee Members Paul Partington, Jane Warmington and Clive Martin and the Chairman of the Parish Council, Henry Davenport for all the work and time that they dedicated to the task. Thanks also to Ann Rhodes and her staff at TDBC for their support, thanks to the people of the two parishes who attended meetings, exhibitions and responded to surveys, which informed the process. But mostly, our gratitude must go to our Parish Clerk, Amy Shepherd, who guided us through the process, kept us on track and provided all the logistical support to get us to this point.

And thanks to everyone that voted.