Councillors’ monthly reports

Councillor’s monthly report: February 2023

Mendip Council Work
In liaison with others, I required there to be an additional Full Council at Mendip to discuss the loss of a Judicial Review by the Council, which means that the allocation of 505 dwelling locations have to be reconsidered (an appendix to Local Plan Pt 2). The Council has agreed that there will be a fresh press statement to fully explain what happens next
As Leader of the Greens on Mendip, I have also worked with my colleagues to firmly oppose a draft constitution from the Lib Dem leadership to have a centralised planning board, composed from members of the Executive only, automatically overseeing many kinds of development, and with the right to overturn local decisions. Likewise we have demanded that the right to refer to planning board and speak will be granted by elected representatives as now, as opposed to in the hands of officers. We believe that the best planning decisions on planning are made locally not centrally, and no-one wants to trail to Taunton to make the case.
I am continuing to work on Audit matters and Planning within the Ward.
I am delighted to say that following many representations, Wanstrow has been placed on the same area as Upton Noble, rather than being separated as in previous drafts. We remain in a group with Frome, but have been assured that rural priorities will be ascertained alongside urban priorities.
The areas and terms of reference of the LCN’s are attached on links. It remains to be seen how much influence these bodies will have, not least as no money is yet allocated for them to spend.
I have passed the draft S106 agreement for the Porr works to the Parish Council for comment. The possibility of a railhead to be developed is still under negotiation but the decision will be later this year,
The development in Station Road which was approved by a Planning Inspector against the MDC decision has had tests conducted on it. No burn site has been detected in the development area, but vigilance will be maintained. The tests did find a concentration of lead which will have to have remedial action.
Council Tax Bills
I have a final Audit meeting in March, however Council Tax bills will be decided by the Unitary later this month, and are expected to rise, noting the existing deficit in the last year of the County Council and the funding gap in the budget for the new Unitary.