10 June 2009

Council Meeting - 9th June 2009 - The Dunny

07:29 IT LIVES. Without visible means of support, Cllr Beale took center stage and made a presentation of flowers. 07:29 and the Meeting was called to order. Apologies from Cllr Neale closely followed by a welcome from our very own matinee idol to our new County Councillor, Jimmy Zouchebag, representing the rampant Tory horde. This was followed by ex-CCllr Clark's valedictory address where she summarised her 8 years and looked forward to more time with friends, family and dogs. 07:37 and Jimmy Zouchebag then addressed the meeting, telling the gathering that, "I feel very humble.". M&B assures the Zouchebag that this will be a passing phase and we can look forward to him becoming less humble as his term progresses. 07:38 and Paddy asked for questions from the public to the Zouchebag. Silence. Public Questions brought an enquiry from John Watts regarding littering in Somerton and the preponderance of Royal Mail rubber bands in Somerton. Mr Champion raised the issue of rubbish on the land adjacent to the Memorial Garden. Mr Markham then raised the issue of the lack of Minutes or Agenda on the Council website. M&B was gratified to hear that many people now read M&B to better understand what goes on in Somerton. In response, Paddy the K opined that M&B's position was, "Never mind the truth, make it interesting.". M&B says, "I'll deal with you later, you little whipper-snapper". Mr. Porch enquired about a possible loss of trees at the recreation area, a loss that could not be confirmed by Councillors. An unknown member of the public again raised the issue of speeding on the Langport Road and this developed into a wider discussion about: the soon to be installed Flashing Signs; the part to be played by 'Speedwatch'; the presence of the Police to enforce speed restrictions and culminated in Tiny Tony's observation that "Speeding will only stop when a proper camera is installed." Declarations of Interest brought silence and 07:50 brought the Minutes of the last Meeting where the description of last Meeting's ballot was discussed and the agreed term was 'secret paper ballot'. 07:51 and Matters Arising brought detailed info on the Speed Flashers which will move around six sites in Somerton. 07:55 and the 1st Responders project was discussed once again. 07:56 and a brief discussion about the SSDC Core Strategy document and clarification that 19,700 homes is the target for the whole of SSD for the period till 2026. This was followed by a brief discussion about 'Allotments' with the Chair asking John Watts to update the Meeting. Sadly JW wasn't in possession of any additional info and the Cahir advised the meeting that a field on the Bancombe Road had been offered but stressed that it wasn't owned by Cllr Canvin. (There was a collective sigh of relief at this point.) Cllr Canvin did state that, "It is good soil.", a comment which M&B assumes to be a reference to Cllr Canvin's site at Badger's Cross which was generally thought to be made up from tarmac. The meeting found Cllr Canvin's interjection hilarious. The TCl announced that the farewell service at Yeovilton could only accommodate one representative and Cllr Beale graciously stepped aside allowing Cllr Webber to attend. The TCl went on to advise the meeting that, following the Visitor's interest in advertising the Tin Dunny, the Western Gazette has offered a double page spread with a similar intention but to be paid for by those contractors who have been involved in its construction. The TCl went on to discuss the issue of Street Cleaning specifically in Broad St. Contrary to statements made by the Council, Mrs Mattingley informed the meeting that Mr Cooper (SSDC) had broadly confirmed her previously stated position. 08:01 and Planning came around with the hottest topic being a proposal for Hill Head House in New Street. Members of the Public brought various opposing views but they all displayed a fear of change. Beyond their fear and prejudice, there was little of substance to their objections. In comparison, and with the exception of Tony Canvin's bitchy asides, it was refreshing to hear the architect speak so clearly and reasonably about the meaning of Somerton's Conservation Area. He made the obvious statement that, "the conservation area is not a museum" and went on to refer to the essence of Somerton's Conservation Area as being "its variety". Sadly, these concepts are way beyond the ability of many Somertonians and Councillors to grasp and resistance to change is all that concerned the objectors and Councillors. 'ThemePark Somerton' was confirmed by a vote which, from where M&B sat, looked like 12 against with 1 abstention. 08:15 brought a discussion about a cafe application for West Street which wandered all over the place and included Cllr Beale dragging up one her pet subjects: the sale of food from the cafe opposite Tony's Fish & Chips (the best in the County). 08:24 and Reps Reports. Jerry Rees had little to report as did Martyn Smith, Jacky Medley, 'Invisble' Dave the tree man, Cllr Harrison had nothing to report and Cllr Webber could only bemoan the use of a waste bin on the Langport Road for..........waste. Cllr Deering reported an absence of "Bad Behaviour" in the Town. Cllr Beale seemed asleep so it was left to Tiny Tony to inform the Meeting that: all spraying had been done; all grass cutting had been done; various meeting were arranged; North Street is to be relaid in 2010 and the Cartway Lane drain pipe is being investigated. 08:35 and Jerry Rees raised the matter of the raised steps at the east end of New Street outside the previously discussed Hill Head House. 08:36 and the TCl introduced the Market Towns Initiative Group regarding available funding that will be subject to bids presented by the end of September. 08:38 and the TCl brought the Meeting up to speed with the Ped-xing on Behind Berry. In summary, the Ped-xing will be there or it won't happen. 08:45 and the issue of 'Rental Charges for the Tin Dunny' were discussed. The charges themselves weren't immediately available to the Public but after requests, Cllrs circulated their copies. It would seem that the Hall will be available for events (weddings) at £850.00 per day and 'sessions' seemed to cost around £320.00 (a half day?). These were agreed but will be subject to ongoing review. 08:51 and volunteers were requested for the Christmas lights working committee. 08:52 and the Portaloos were again a hot topic regarding cost, insurance and location. 08:56 and a Finance Committee would have been discussed but Cllr Neale was absent. 08:58 and the Freedom of Information Act was discussed in relation to your scribe's requests for information. This deserves a blog entry of its own and will be given one. 09:01 and the Chair's Report referred to the air display at Merryfield Airfield where all are welcome. This was followed by the appointment of Cllrs M Smith and N Bisgrove to join Cllr Bufton Tufton as 'Internal Auditors'. There followed a discussion addressing the local initiative regarding the futiure of the Old Town Hall. Colin Mattingley explained the general nature of the venture and the request that STC contribute towards the cost of the valuation (c£375) of the building. Cllr Canvin's position was expressed thus,"I don't see how we, as a council, can't spend this kind of money. We are putting public money into a private venture." M&B thinks that this is exactly what the Town Council has done with the Tin Dunny but to a rather grander scale. Oddly enough Cllr 'Mystic Meg' Morgan supported the idea but Tiny Tony wasn't convinced and with that, the TCl called for Agenda Items for the next meeting and the proceeds were drawn to a close at 09:10pm