Mayor highlights achievements
Following his re-election as Town Mayor, Cllr Alan Bradford reminded Members of what the Council had achieved over the last couple of years. These included: supporting Moorland and North Newton village halls, North Petherton Community Centre, North Petherton library, playing fields in North Newton and North Petherton and the Youth Centre; making a significant contribution to the new cycleway from Stockmoor to Bridgwater; and playing its full part in the planning process to try and get the best results for the local communities. He was particularly pleased that the Council had set up the Wilstock and Stockmoor Forum as a means of bringing members of the new communities together to help address the various challenges that they were facing and as a means of holding the principal authorities and developers to account.
Flood alleviation project
Cllr Julian Taylor reported on the successful work that had been done to improve the retention of water on the upper reaches of water courses feeding into the area. Sabine McEwan from the Farming and Wildlife Advisory Group had submitted a report on what had been achieved already by the “Hills to Levels project”, and what the next steps would be. The scheme, which was a local initiative promoted by the Council, had also received a UK River prize.
North Petherton Library
Cllr Mrs Hyde reported on an initial meeting of the Friends of North Petherton Library which had been held on the previous evening and which had been attended by 40 members of the public as well as Councillors. Support for the formation of a friends group was very strong and a small steering group had been chosen to meet later on in the week. Cllr Hyde had also prepared a draft response to the County Council’s consultation exercise from the Council, setting out how important the library was to the town and surrounding area and how this importance would increase as a result of major changes that were taking place. This was enthusiastically endorsed by Members.
The Council renewed it support for the Youth Centre project for another twelve months. Cllr Revans informed the meeting that there were now over 40 young people involved with average weekly attendances of around 15. He was asked to pass on the Council’s appreciation for the hard work undertaken by the organisers.
Huntworth Railway Bridge
Cllr Taylor reported on a meeting that had been held with officers of Network Rail earlier in the day about the plans to replace the railway bridge. This was a major issue for the local community as it involved long diversions for many weeks. Work was planned to begin in early 2019 and it had been agreed that the Council would be kept up to date on progress. Members agreed that it was vital that a public meeting be held by Network Rail and the Highways Authority to ensure that local people knew what was happening and had the chance to raise concerns.
Members agreed to help the Pentathlon Club provide a grandstand for the carnival for another year by providing a grant of £1,600, as recognition of the considerable work done by the club for local people.