Village news




2017
October
County award for our postman, Kevin Seymour
On October 18, Kevin received this year’s Services to the Community award from Somerset County’s Chairman, Councillor William Wallace. Kevin has delivered our mail for nine years. We thought his cheerful attitude, his helpful approach his kindness and concern made him not only an honorary parishioner but also a man who deserves this award. Congratulations Kevin!

Autumn clean up
Phil Roberts says a big thank you to all who turned out in the midst of Storm Brian to pick up litter. This year, litter was noticable by its absence. Well, if not absence, by how little there was. We reckoned that was because of parishioners taking care of their villages. And, of course, avid litter pickers Hazel Payne and Paul Gauteri. Thank you all.

ZINGO - another new playground apparatus
It took ages to install our new junior multiplay. We bought it from a company called HAGS/SMP. To make amends, HAGS is giving us three Zingos. We are grateful; it is a valuable gift worth well over £1,000. We shall install them soon and you can play.

Making Gurney Slade's A37 safer
The Parish Council, with Ashwick, has applied for a highway improvement scheme for the A37 through Gurney Slade. We asked and you said this was your priority.
The A37 is the busiest road for miles around. Since 2000, heavy traffic is up by half. Traffic speeds have increased too and drivers use the run through the village to overtake. The footpath between Binegar and Tellis Lanes Is now hazardous.
Our application was to County Councillor Mike Pullin. We will report progress.

A flower bed traffic island and a big ditch
That new traffic island near the Gurney Slade Stores has become a real eyesore – full of weeds. We have ordered a makeover with pretty Heuchera plants.
Meanwhile, parish councillors Jon and John volunteered to clear the ditch and verge beside the traffic island. We are at a bit of a loss to know how to deal with this area, which just keeps growing stronger and stronger brambles. Any ideas?

Binegar Bottom
Have you seen what a great job councillor John and Mr Paul Sharp have made of the south side? We hope soon to be able to do some earthworks to help prevent flood.

Cemetery fence
Many thanks for your interest in how to replace the cemetery’s boundary fence. The Council decided to go with the majority and install a steel estate fence. It will complement the fine new lych gate and look very smart. Better still, it will last many years making it a good, economic purchase.

September
Help us make the A37 in Gurney Slade safer
At our Annual Meeting in May, people from the village said their first priority was to make the A37 through Gurney Slade safer.

We are planning improvements for the entrances to Gurney Slade but we also hope to attract a highway Small Improvement Scheme (SIS). Each County Councillor can put forward two SIS each year. For this, we need to set out for Councillor Mike Pullin the problems we experience. Here are the problems that local people have said they want solved:
  1. Many vehicles ignore the speed limit and take the straight section through the village as a chance to speed up
  2. Drivers use the straight section of the A37 in Gurney Slade to overtake
  3. The trees and vegetation on the quarry side of the A37 force southbound traffic towards the crown of the road
  4. There is a footpath that is unsafe as many six-axle lorries must mount the kerb to pass each other
  5. From the quarry side of the A37 to the Village Hall, there is no pedestrian route for wheelchairs or mobility scooters other than actually going along the A37
  6. There is no pedestrian access to the most northerly village dwelling, Moors Farm and exiting onto the A37 is dangerous

Tell us of the problems you face, especially the ones we have missed.

August
Binegar Cemetery lych gate
The dedication of the new lych gate will be at 6:30 pm on Sunday 10 September.

The ceremony - at the lych gate - will begin Holy Trinity’s Harvest Festival.

The lych gate is a gift to our community from Mr and Mrs Robert Wilcox in loving memory of their daughter, Chloe.

Rev Richard Priestley will conduct the ceremony of thanksgiving for the community and local craftsmen.

All are welcome to attend.

Roadside hedges
Is the boundary hedge of your garden or field overgrown? Does it spill onto a footpath, lane or road? Now is the time to cut it back. Overgrown hedges are a hazard to pedestrians and drivers. Cut back your hedge to make sure you are not putting people at risk.

April
Binegar Bottom
Have you looked at Binegar Bottom lately? You'll be delighted at the clearance along the left hand side as you go up towards Maesbury. It has been the work of John Scadding and Paul Sharp to who we all owe a great debt.

We have two aims: the first is to help reduce flood risk in Gurney Slade, the second is to increase bio-diversity making the area friendly to more species of flora and fauna. John Scadding got help from the Farming and Wildlife Advisory Group. Their plan is that we create 'leaky' ponds to slow the flow of surface flood water, reduce the amount flowing down to Gurney Slade and collect silt. We shall be tendering for this work soon.

Lych gate
Work started to build the new entrance to our cemetery, replacing the old gate, which has, to be fair, served us well this past 60 years! Over the next weeks, you'll see Sean Leaver and Alban Bunting as the building goes up.

Phone box saved
In the face of opposition from the parish, BT withdrew its plan to take away the phone kiosk on Turner's Court Lane at Binegar Green. It is available for emergencies. It is also available for calls but beware! It will only allow reverse charge or credit card calls and these work out a more than £6.50 for a three minute call. Yes, £6.50 - all part of BT's public service commitment.

March
The Great British Spring Clean
What a great lot of parishioners! Seven huge bags of rubbish collected. It's so good to keep our villages clean. It's a big thank you from your parish councillors.

2016
December
Mendip's' Local Plan part II
In 2015, Mendip District Council published the first part of its Local Plan: Strategy and Policy to 2029.  It asked for comments and, with help from more than 80 parishioners, the Parish Council responded.  We set out how and where we thought housing should develop locally and gave views on open spaces, village limits and other issues.  To see the response, click here.

During the last year, Mendip has looked carefully at the responses from its towns and villages.  The District Council is now preparing part II of its Local Plan.  It will cover housing allocations to towns and villages, sites for new housing, village development limits and open spaces.

For Gurney Slade and Binegar, Mendip's proposals are in close agreement with our 2015 response to Local Plan part I.  Like us, Mendip does not believe that the villages are able to accept large-scale housing developments.  The preference is for in-filling or ribbon development.

Before agreeing part II of the Plan, Mendip has asked the Parish Council for any final comments on the draft of what it proposes to say about Binegar and Gurney Slade.  To see this draft, click here.

There are two maps that go with the draft.  To see the map of proposed sites for housing and future village development limits, click here.  To see the map of proposed green space, click here.

If you have thoughts or views that you think the Parish Council should take on board in any final comments to Mendip, click the Contact Us button and let us know.

Lych Gate go ahead
Mendip District Council has approved our application to build a lych gate and shelter at the entrance to Binegar Cemetery. We tendered for the works earlier in the year and are delighted that the successful tenderers are parish residents.

November
Blue plaque for Henry Martin
We were delighted to hear from Mr Bill Coombes that we should honour Henry Martin, a hero of Rorke's Drift in the Zulu Wars. Mr and Mrs Coombes live in the very house that Henry Martin occupied until his death in 1937.

Blue plaques honour the places associated with notable people. Henry Martin was one of a small band who held off thousands of enemy soldiers to keep hold of the strategic Rorke's Drift. He was buried with full military honours in Binegar Churchyard. His grave is north of Holy Trinity Church and has, thanks to an anonyous benefactor, been cleaned and refurbished.

In the picture is Mrs Bill Coombes holding, with Parish Councillor Phil Roberts, the photograph of Henry Martin that hangs in the Memorial Hall. Behind them is the prestigious blue plaque.

The Parish Council is keen to bring the past to life. Let us have your nomination for a plaque to mark a building associated of an important member of the community. There are two rules: the person must have died at least 20 years ago; the building must still be standing.

Churchyard yew trees
You must have seen the latest phase of taming the Churchyard yew trees. They have been cut by about half and sculpted to suitable shapes. Just now, they look bare but will put on new green growth. The pruning has, however, allowed much more light to flood into the Churchyard. Holy Trinity Church is also a much more significant feature in the landscape when viewed from the A37 south of Gurney Slade.

The trees will need some more pruning in a year or so. The objective is to get them to a size so that they can be clipped into shape from the ground - much as they were in 19th century.

October
Honour for Richard Emery
The County's Services to the Community award was bestowed on Richard by the Chair of Somerset, Councillor Christine Lawrence.

In his 70th year, Richard, a son of Binegar, still is committed to his customers. Most are good friends he has known since involvement in the parish as a choir boy, bell ringer and parish councillor.

He delivers milk and groceries in all weathers - wind, rain or snow. On one occasion, he had to use his tractor to make the round. What makes a difference, though, is that Richard cares for everyone to whom he delivers milk, keeping an eye out to see if older or infirm folk are OK. It is a real service to the community.

July
Road closure - St Thomas Street, Wells
St Thomas Street - part of our most direct route into Wells - will be closed for resurfacing from 3 - 22 August (excluding weekends).  Diversions will take you via North Road (past Stowberry Park School) or via Beryl Lane and Little Entry.   Maybe the best bet will be to avoid the area altogether and travel to and from Wells via Green Ore.

May
The Council's annual report to parishioners
We were delighted that 20 parishioners came to our annual meeting to check we were on the right track and help us with our priorities. The Annual meeting is when we give an account of ourselves. Here is the Chair's report:

This year saw a new Council elected. John Scadding joined the previous six Councillors.  This year also saw consultation on Mendip’s Local Plan to 2029. The Parish Council is keen to engage with residents, though this is not always easy. We were delighted, then, that 90 parishioners came to our events and shaped our response to Mendip’s consultation.

Local people also turned out in force to events to make our communities dementia friendly. Cath Law leads this programme, which continues to develop.

We celebrated Holy Trinity’s 950th anniversary. We planted three trees and installed a seat for quiet reflection in the cemetery. We are grateful to the donors. Our plan to build a lych gate for shelter and rest hit the buffers of Mendip’s planners but we continue to fight for this popular proposal.

A main theme was how we could improve our environment. We made a start by brightening up our historic finger signposts. We made plans for new village signs to make clear the boundary and character of the villages and to help encourage responsible driving. We made plans for woodland management of Binegar Bottom, churchyard tree improvements and plaques to describe historic village assets, like the Church. We shall take these forward in 2016-17.

Parishioners prompted all this with concerns about weedy verges and litter. We have listened. On litter, Clean for the Queen saw a transformation. Your response to Phil Roberts’ call for help was quiet – you got on with it – but magnificent. Paul Sharp joined us as Footpath Officer and has done an excellent job.

A major piece of work, led by John Scadding and Jon Abbott, was dredging Clarke’s Pool for the first time in 30 years. We thank R M Penny and Bryan Rich. Last winter, there was no Tellis Lane flood.

Preventing other floods, we must also thank residents who cleared their parts of the Binegar Lane culvert. John and Jon cleared the ditch by the Post Office. There were no winter floods.

Sadly, the Playing Fields Group disbanded. The Council now directly manages the playground. It built a new fence on the west boundary opening a gate to the Hall car park.

To prepare for better broadband, the Council organised a session to make the most of tablet computers. Good news also came about the Gurney Slade pedestrian crossing. It is to go ahead.

The County bestowed on our nominees, Molly and Grenville Reakes, the County Chair’s Services to the Community award for much deserved and tireless work.

The Council has to do some rather mundane things that rarely receive mention. We are the eyes and ears of Somerset Highways on potholes. We get good service with filling them.

We also have to recommend approval or refusal of planning applications. This year saw some controversial, unpopular applications and we fought them with villagers’ help. Some we won, some we lost but we did make a difference. In all our work, Rachel and John Carter, our able and hard-working District Councillors, help and support us. Every parishioner owes them a vote of thanks.

Keep in touch with us through this website and use it to let us know your views. We want them.
I hope you can see that, as Chair, I have a great group of Councillors who care about the Parish, roll up their sleeves and get things done. I cannot thank them enough. There is one other person to acknowledge, our Clerk, Diane Abbott, without whom none of this would be possible.

April
The Somerset & Dorset Railway
Those who knew it loved the line they called the "Slow & Dirty".  It ran through Binegar on the way to its highest point at Maesbury.  It was one of Britain's best loved railways, famed for its charm, quirkiness and beautiful scenery.  Like so many other railways, it fell to the axe of the awful Dr Beeching.

It may be gone but it is not forgotten and here's your chance to see the travelling exhibition on Saturday 11 and Sunday 12 June in the Memorial Hall, 11 00 am to 4 00 pm.

There will be exhibitions, talks, family activities, refreshments and much more.

Put the date in your diary NOW!

March
Clean for the Queen
Her Majesty will be delighted to know that She has such loyal and willing subjects in Gurney Slade and Binegar.

Our local organiser, Parish Councillor Phil Roberts said, “We want our villages to look clean and welcoming for local people and visitors.   It was wonderful to see how many took a pride in their village and made it look its best.”

Phil added, “What was so heartening was that so many people with no fuss went out on their own initiative and cleaned up. There was no need to dragoon people.   They just did it.”

Our big local grotspot was the verge along the A37 into and out of Gurney Slade.   The difference is now plain to see but it took three huge rubbish bags to litter pick it all.

It is probably wrong to single out heros because lots of Clean for the Queen heros are quietly unsung. But maybe we can mention Colin, Clare, David, Keith, Angela, Adrian, Sue, Paul, Brenda, Alban not forgetting Hazel.

The question is how shall we keep this up? Give us your ideas. Get in touch on the Binegar Parish Council website.

Mobile Library - use it or lose it
From April, the Mobile Library will no longer stop at the Memorial Hall.  It will continue to stop at Neville's Batch but for how much longer depends on whether you use it.  Ms Sue Crowley, Somerset's Strategic Manager of Library Services writes that the mobile library will cease calls if (a) a stop is ununsed for three consecutive visits or (b) there are fewer than 3 regular users.  If you have a question, you can call Mandy Lewis on 01823 340310 or email mlewis@somerset.gov.uk.  Let us know if you think there is a better arrangement for the library.

A37 pedestrian crossing in Gurney Slade
It has taken since June 2013 to get this far and it has been beset with delays and complications but there is good news. Somerset Highways Board has approved the project to build a crossing over the A37.  The next step is for the project to get a place in the programme of works.  When we hear news ot that, we will let you know.   Meanwhile, here's the plan.

February
Clean for the Queen
This is a national initiative to get the country spick and span in time for Her Majesty's 90th birthday.

It is a litter pick and will take place over the weekend on 4-6 March.   Will you help us?  Yes?   Call Phil Roberts on 840093 or email Phil at the_roberts@hotmail.co.uk.

2015
December
Those 30 houses
More than 80 people came to the Parish Council’s consultation events on Mendip’s Local Plan. It was a great turnout. We are grateful for all your thoughts and ideas.

The main item was, of course, the thirty houses that Mendip calculates is our share of development between now and 2030. We have told Mendip that there are obstacles to overcome before there can be any further housing. Two major ones are the capacity of the sewage system and need to manage groundwater drainage to prevent flooding.

The Environment Agency and Wessex Water also see these as problems. The Parish Council will keep pressing Mendip District and Somerset County Councils for action.

To see our consultation response, click here.

Dementia-friendly Gurney Slade and Binegar
More thanks, this time to everyone who came to the sessions on making our villages dementia-friendly. There were some great ideas that we will take forward this year. Our plans include training and tips on how to be a dementia-friend. It is not hard, not rocket science but it can make a huge difference.

Clean for the Queen
We have reported over the last couple of months how residents are tidying up hedges and roadsides. We are delighted. The next step is to spruce our villages up and keep them tidy and litter-free.

This happily coincides with Clean for the Queen, a national initiative to get the country looking spick and span in time for H.M The Queen’s 90th birthday.

We would like to join in with Clean for the Queen.   Will you help us?   We plan to start in early March to be ready for Her Majesty’s April 21 birthday.

Go on, volunteer!   Use the Contact Us page to say you're game to help.   We will have more news next month.

Making ourselves (more) beautiful
There are a number of ideas In the Parish Council’s mind for projects this year to beautify our villages. They received support at the consultation events. Ideas include new village signs on the A37 (may be a big engraved rock too?), a woodland management plan to start getting to grips with Binegar Bottom, notices to give people information about important local places, like the Fair Field.

Have you got ideas?   Let us know.   Use the Contact Us page.

November
Bus Services & ConcessionaryFares Consultation
The County Council writes: "We are facing major budget challenges.  Falling funding and increasing demand for our services mean we have to review our future transport funding. This includes reviewing the bus services we subsidise and our concessionary fares policy.

"As part of this, we have launched two consultations on the future of our bus services and want you to have your say by Monday 11 January 2016.

"For full details of the proposed changes and to complete the surveys online, visit the web links below. Or phone 0300 123 2224 to have the surveys posted to you."

Go to http//www.somerset.gov.uk/concessionaryfareconsultation and www.somerset.gov.uk/bussubsidysurvey

October
Okay, so where shall we build 30 houses?
Mendip District Council is consulting us all on the second part of its Local Plan.  It is for the period up to 2030.   For us, this is mainly about where to build houses  -  30 more houses.  To see Mendip's consultation about Gurney Slade and Binegar, including a map of what land has been put forward for housing, click here.  There is also a consultation on issues that are Mendip-wide, for example, village development limits, open spaces and sport and recreation.  To see this Mendip-wide consultation, click here.

You can help and take part by coming along to one of the Parish Council's consultation events. They are at:

3 00 pm and 7 00 pm on Thursday 3 December 2015.

At either event, you can find out more and take part in shaping the future of our villages between now and 2030.  This is important stuff for everyone. The opportunity to help shape the future doesn’t come along often. Don’t miss it.

Help make our villages Dementia Friendly
Did you know that 1 in 75 people in England live with dementia?  That's over 700,000 people.  Locally, there are probably 20 people who struggle to cope with a mind that is fading away.  And it's getting worse.

Help us help people with dementia.  Start by joining us on 26 November when the Alzheimer Society's Penny Ford will help us understand what we can do. There are two sessions (with refreshments!): 3 00 pm and 7 00 pm in the Memorial Hall.

One day it could be you, so come along and help make sure our villages are Dementia Friendly.

September
Free internet and computer courses
With enough interest, the Council will arrange computer training sessions for residents, FREE.  There are three sessions on offer:

Making the most of tablets
Keep in touch, surf the web, share photos, watch videos, pay bills and more for Android, Apple and Microsoft tablets and apps.

Digital photography and video
How to take great photos and video, upload and edit images and footage and share the results.

Making the most of social media
Learn to use Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and LinkedIn.  Create an account, connect with friends and share stuff.

Interested? Of course you are! High time you got to grips with this! Use the contact us page to let us know.

Better looking villages
Some parishioners have asked the Council to do something about roadsides.  They think weeds growing up against boundary walls marrs the look of Gurney Slade and Binegar. The majority of residents keep the roadside outside their houses clean and tidy- where there is grass, they mow it; where there are weeds, they pull them. The Parish Council tries to do its bit by keeping the roadside by the cemetery, churchyard and playground tidy and doing its best with Neville's Batch.

What's the roadside outside your property like?

Have you got ideas to help our villages become better places? We want to know. Use the contact us page to tell us.

July
The Annual Return
Each year, the Council's accounts are subject to internal and external audit. The Annual Review summarises the Council's income and spending and its declaration about governance. It contains the external auditor's certificate and report. You can see the Annual Return by clicking the Governance tab under Parish documents.

Preventing floods this winter
It is some years since Gurney Slade and Binegar flooded. The Parish Council wants do what it can to prevent a repeat. Most importantly, it will be cutting a ditch down Binegar Bottom from Roemead Lane. This was the major cause of flooding last time. The ditch will prevent water rushing headlong down the roadway. It will slow the water down as it flows harmlessly over Binegar Bottom itself, some draining away naturally. The Parish Council also plans to clear the ditch near the Post Office to prevent back up.

The Council needs your help with the culvert that runs down Binegar Lane, Woodside Terrace, across the A37 and down Tape Lane. Last time, this overflowed through inspection covers, flowed onto the roadway and so into houses. Where the culvert passes under or near your property, there will be a inspection cover. Please look and clear any blockages. They tend to accumulate in the inspection pits.

Further north, where Kings Lane meets the A37, there is also a flood risk and the Parish Council will (weather permitting) dredge Clarke's Pool next month. This will increase its capacity and allow drainage to the slocker in the field nearby.

If there is other work you think we should be doing, use Contact Us to tell us.

The Binegar Tornado
TORRO is the UK Tornado and Storm Research Organisation. Click here for its full report and damage survey on the 29 May tornado.

June
Dementia Aware - Dementia Friendly
Dementia is becoming one of the greatest challenges our society faces.  More and more families are experiencing what it really means when a loved one begins to fade away.  The Parish Council would like to make Gurney Slade and Binegar as aware of the problem as possible.  It starts here and - with your help - will go on to make our community Dementia Friendly.
Why not start by watching this little video from the Alzheimer's Society?  You won't have to do anything but it will help you understand and it will give you tips on how you might help in everyday life.
If you want help locally, start by looking at the services listed by Mendip Health Connections - lots to help you manage. You'll be surprised what help is available.
Over the next year, we shall be adding ideas and events that will help make us a Dementia Friendly community.

Tender opportunity for fencing
The Parish Council invites suitably qualified and insured parties to tender for fencing work in the Playground beside The Memorial Hall, Binegar Lane, BA3 4TR.  These works are to:
To be considered, tenderers must be able to show they possess the following: public liability insurance of at least £5 million, adequate resources and staff who are trained to industry standards.  Click here for the tender document.

Work to clear Clarke's Pool
Clarke's Pool sits where Kings Lane joins the A37.  It was dug about two centuries ago to drain Marchant's Hill but now just takes surface water from Kings Lane, Tellis Lane and the fields above them.  It has been silting up since it was last dredged some 40 years ago and now is an increasing flood risk.
By the end of the summer, the Parish Council plans (and hopes) that it will have dug out the silt to create extra water capacity and improved drainage from the Pool to the slocker that drains it.  
The first step was a sad one: to fell the ash tree growing in the Pool.  This was done on 10 June.  The poor ash was a sorry specimen that would have become dangerously unstable after the dredging - so it had to go.
Keep your fingers crossed for dry weather this summer so that the rest of the work to Clarke's Pool can be done.

May
Your right to see our accounts
Each year, the Council's Annual Return is audited.  Anyone interested can inspect and make copies of the Annual Return and all books, deeds, contracts, bills, vouchers and receipts etc. relating to them.  To inspect the Annual Return, call Diane Abbott on 01749 841182 for an appointment between 19 May and 20 June.  Electors have rights to: question the auditor about the accounts and object to the accounts or any item in them. Written notice of an objection must first be given to the auditor and a copy sent to the Council.  The auditor can be contacted from 30 June 2015: Grant Thornton UK LLP, Hartwell House, 58-61 Victoria Street, Bristol BS1 6FT, 0117 305 7600.  A copy of the Council's annual accounts is posted on this website (click Parish documents then Governance).

Parish Council gives an annual report to Parishioners
Richard Higgins, Chair, gave this report of the year to the Annual Meeting on 11 May.

For Councillors, the major event of the year was appointing Diane Abbott. Diane quickly took up the reins of Clerk and Responsible Financial Officer and we now benefit from her hard work, organisation and enthusiasm.

Perhaps the most visible event was felling the cypress trees in the cemetery. When we asked parishioners, views were mixed. Most favoured felling and, given the age of the trees, this was what the Council decided. Since then, we have been asking how we can improve the cemetery. Ideas include a Lych gate, a seat to rest and trees to shelter the boundary.

Not all was well in the cemetery this year. When the Council did its safety check and laid unstable headstones down on the ground, there were huge protests. We accepted that we had not followed best practice and apologised for distress caused. This next year, we shall review how we put our policy into practice.

The churchyard of Holy Trinity Church, which celebrates its 950th birthday this year, is also a Parish Council responsibility and we replaced the gate. The old gate had done sterling service for 60 years.

Binegar Playing Fields Group, led by Philip Blatchford, runs the playground, which continues to be a popular attraction. What you may not know is what this involves. There has to be a weekly safety check, regular maintenance and replacement of old apparatus. Volunteers, including Councillors, do this. The Group’s efforts raised £1,540 this year that it put towards a new seesaw and swings.

Mendip District Council routinely asks parish councils about planning applications. There have been several controversial ones brought on by relaxed planning rules. Among these was one for a housing estate behind Flowerstone. The applicant withdrew this application in the face of opposition. Most parishioners were relieved. Developers, however, continue to challenge Mendip’s planning rules and the parish council must do all it can to secure orderly development in Gurney Slade and Binegar.

There has been a less happy outcome at Emborough Pond where the owner has wrecked the view, built fences and planted hedges to keep local people out. Mendip has allowed this to happen even though Emborough Pond is one of its protected Special Landscape Features. Mendip’s enforcement has been weak. Sadly, that has just helped a free-for-all development culture to run riot.

Kath Newman received the Award for Services to the Community from Somerset County’s Chairman. Kath is an inspiration and has, for 40 years, worked tirelessly to make our villages better places in which to live. The Council salutes Kath.

As part of its quest for better communication with parishioners, we have put up new notice boards and we keep a full record of all we do on our website at www.binegar-pc.org.uk. This included installing a bin for dog waste and training a number of local people in basic life support.

Finally, three Councillors retired in the year: Jude Robbins, Roger Anderson and Gus Halfhide. They all volunteered and contributed to making a difference locally. On behalf of the Council, I thank them. In their place, Phil Roberts and Jon Abbott joined us. With other Councillors, they continue, after the election, to give freely of their time and energy to help our community.

Election of Binegar Parish Council
The Parish Council can have up to seven councillors.  There must be at least three (to hold a meeting) but no more than seven.  A month ago, Mendip's Electoral Registration Officer asked for nominations.  If more than seven people were nominated, there would have to be an election (on the same day as the general election).  This year, there were seven nominations, meaning those people are elected - as they say - unopposed.

The new Parish Councillors take up office on 11 May and are:

Jon Abbott, Philip Blatchford, Richard Higgins, Cath Law, Phil Roberts, John Scadding and David Stone.

Somerset Highways roadside maintenance
Each year, Highways undertakes a programme of verge grass and roadside hedge cutting. Click here for the details.

April
0300 123 2224 - Somerset County Council
This FREE 0300 number will now get you through to the County.

March
Life Savers
There are now sixteen local people trained in basic life support - making our community even more Heart Safe. Basic life support skills are what you need to keep someone alive.

The training also included how to use of our Automatic External Defibrillator (AED).

Those taking part turned out on a cold and wet January evening to be trained in what to do if someone collapses and you are there. They learnt that it was actually straightforward to deal with what seemed a scary situation. They learnt if the person on the ground was not responding to them to shout for help; make sure the person's airway was open; if not breathing, call 999. Then the life support: 30 chest compressions then 2 rescue breaths; 30 chest compressions and 2 rescue breaths; keep going. When the AED arrives, turn it on, connect to the person like it tells you and do as it says.

Simples, as those Meerkats say.

If there is demand, the Parish Council will run another session to train more people in life ?support skills. Contact us an tell us what you think.

February
Binegar Cemetery - what now?
For better or worse – and there are strong feelings both ways – the cemetery trees have gone.  Only mounds are left and they will take some months to settle.

Now we can see the whole scene, the question is “what now?”

We ought to commemorate Holy Trinity’s 950th anniversary by making a start beautifying the area.  Some people have already put forward ideas.

One person suggested planting ornamental cherry trees beside the path.  They are manageable and could look beautiful in early Spring.   However, as another person pointed out, the Mendip weather is just as likely to blow the blossom off the trees on the first day they bloom, making a terrible mess.

Another idea is a seat, perhaps among a small stand of trees. One idea is a group of Himalayan birch with their gleaming white bark and light, rustling leaves.  They are peaceful and serene trees.

Maybe we should plant some trees on the verge outside the fence.   These could offer shelter and frame the view.   How about some straight, upright yew, even some pretty golden ones?

Trees and plants take time to grow and mature.   What about now?   One idea is to build a lych gate at the entrance.   This could enhance the view of the cemetery and Church and give some shelter.

What do you think? Let us have your ideas.

2014
December
Binegar Cemetery trees
At its meeting on 2 December, the Council appointed a contractor to fell the six Lawson's cypress that line the path from Station Road to Holy Trinity Churchyard. The works are to: The work will be scheduled to take place some time in January or February, depending on weather conditions.

November
Somerset winter road care
With weather now firmly headed to winter,  click here for Somerset County Council's leaflet on road gritting and salting.

Honour for Mrs Kathleen Newman
Here is Mrs Newman receiving the Somerset Chairman's Award from Councillor David Fothergill, Chairman of Somerset County Council.  
Binegar Parish Council was delighted to nominate Mrs Newman for the Award for Services to the Community.  Kathleen was amongst a number of inspirational people from across Somerset to receive an award at Taunton Rugby Club on Thursday 23 October.
Kathleen has, for over 40 years, worked tirelessly, contributing to the villages of Binegar and Gurney Slade.  She has been involved in many aspects of the community life including Holy Trinity Church, the Parochial Church Council, the Village Hall, Women's Institute and the villages' Welcome Club.  I am sure many of you will have seen her supporting events and in particular at the heart of activity in the Village Hall kitchen.
Parish Council Chair, Richard Higgins, said "This is such a well-deserved award and recognises Mrs Newman's outstanding contribution to our villages.  Gurney Slade and Binegar are better places to live because of the efforts of Mrs Newman over so many years."


Tender opportunity for tree felling
The Parish Council invites suitably qualified and insured parties to tender for the felling of six cypress trees in Binegar Cemetery during the winter of 2014-15.  These works are to:
The six trees, identified as Lawson’s cypress, were planted in the early 1950s. They are the only trees growing in Binegar Cemetery. They are multi-stemmed and line the path that crosses the Cemetery from Station Road to Holy Trinity Churchyard.
To be considered, tenderers must be able to show they possess the following:
If you would like to submit a tender, use the contact us page to get in touch the Parish Clerk for tender documents.

Application for housing estate withdrawn
If you have not heard, you'll be interested to know that the planning application for an estate of houses behind Flowerstone has been withdrawn.

August
Parish Council accounts 2013-14
Each year, every parish council has to have its accounts professionally audited. Binegar's Annual Return, as it is known, has just been given a clean bill of health by Grant Thornton, the Auditor appointed to look at our books. Click here and see the Annual Return.

Binegar cemetery headstones
The Parish Council regrets that it has, inadvertently, caused some distress. As the Burial Authority, it is required to test the stability of headstones. It did this in July.
More unstable headstones than expected were found. Those at risk of toppling if pushed were carefully and respectfully laid flat. In the next few weeks, the Council will contact owners of the graves with details of the problems found. It is the family or person owning the exclusive right of burial who is responsible for the upkeep of a grave.
The Parish Council will give notice of future inspections. The next one is in July 2015. It regrets not giving notice this time and apologises for any distress the sudden appearance of headstones laid flat may have caused.

The trees in Binegar Cemetery
Six cypress trees line the path across the Cemetery to Holy Trinity Churchyard. They are 60 years old and of an age where they need attention.
The Council asked local people for views on whether the trees should stay or go. There was a third option to lop the top one-third off each tree. There was support for each option. What was clear was that residents held strong views. Several people agreed with felling but suggested keeping one as a specimen.
Since the start of the survey in June, councillors have taken a serious interest in the trees. Several had taken experts they knew to look at the trees and give an opinion.
Councillors agreed that the option to lop off the top third of the trees would encourage growth from the side, which would need maintenance at an annual cost and may only be a temporary solution. Experts had also advised against leaving one tree. Its stability is compromised without its neighbours.
Councillors appreciated that the trees gave character and shelter to the Cemetery. However, below ground the roots would become an increasing problem for the graves. Above ground, the taller the trees grew, the less stable they would be. Leaving them untouched simply put off a decision that would have to be taken at some stage.
In light of this, the Parish Council decided the best option was to fell the trees and consider fresh planting. How this will be done will, of course, depend on cost and the Council will seek some tenders for this.

Dog fouling
The law is clear - dog owners must clean up after their dogs. In Mendip, failing to clean up could mean a £75 fixed penalty fine. If taken to court, the fine is potentially £1,000.
There have been some complaints. To make a start on this nuisance, the Council is offering any parishioner a sign to remind dog owners to clean up. If you want one for the area outside your house, use the Contact us page on our website to ask for a sign.
One Binegar Lane resident thinks we should do more and install dog bins, especially outside the playground. Are there any other locations for dog bins? What else should we be doing? What do you think? Use the Contact us page to tell us.

July
The cypress trees in Binegar Cemetery
Six trees line the path across the Cemetery.  They are sixty years old, an age where they need attention.
We asked local people whether the trees should stay or go.  There was a third option to lop the top third off each tree.  There was support for each option.  What was clear was that residents had strong views.  Several parishioners agreed with felling the trees but suggested keeping one as a specimen.
Since the start of the survey, councillors have taken a serious interest in the trees.  Several took experts they knew to look at the trees and give an opinion.
Councillors spoke of the disadvantages to the option to lop the trees: it would encourage growth from the side, which would need maintenance at an annual cost and may only be a temporary solution.  Experts also advised against leaving one tree.  Its stability is compromised without its neighbours.
Councillors appreciated that the trees gave character and shelter to the Cemetery.  However, below ground the roots would become an increasing problem for the graves.  Above ground, the taller the trees grew, the less stable they would be.  Leaving them untouched simply put off a decision that would have to be taken at some stage.
In light of this, the Parish Council decided the best option was to fell the trees and consider fresh planting.  How this will be done will, of course, depend on cost and the Council will seek some tenders for this.

June
The cypress trees in Binegar Cemetery - what do you think?
There are six cypress trees that line the path across the Cemetery.  They have grown very large.  The Parish Council has been thinking about what it should do and has come up with three options.
Option 1 - leave them alone  Though they are big, the trees are not said to be unsafe. Their trunks are flexible and have survived the severe winter storms of the past few years.
Option 2 - fell them  Some think it would be best to take them down now, grind out the roots and start again, maybe planting a new line of trees.  There is room to fell them now with little risk of damage to the grave memorial stones.  As the Cemetery fills, this might be more difficult.
Option 3 - reduce their height  This is a middle option.  It involves removing dead trunks and branches, removing the top one-third of each crown (shown in the picture), and raising the canopy of the tree drooping over the Cemetery entrance off Station Road.  This will take the height of the trees to around that of the yew tree in the churchyard next door.  Rather than be a flat line, like a hedge, the crowns of the trees would be round and maintain their look.  Some people think this is the best option because it keeps the trees, which they feel are so much part of the character of the Cemetery. It will let more light into the path and still gives the option - in years to come - of felling the trees if that becomes necessary.

What do you think?  Have your say.   Use this website's Contact Us page, or call Richard Higgins on 01749 840973, or text to 07768 485951.

May
Notice of date for your exercise of rights to see the accounts
Each year, the Council's Annual Return is audited.  Any person interested has the opportunity to inspect and make copies of the Annual Return and all books, deeds, contracts, bills, vouchers and receipts etc. relating to them.  To inspect the Annual Return, call Richard Higgins on 01749 840973 for an appointment between 19 May and 20 June.  Electors have rights to: question the auditor about the accounts and object to the accounts or any item in them. Written notice of an objection must first be given to the auditor and a copy sent to the Council.  The auditor can be contacted from 30 June 2014: Barrie Morris, Grant Thornton UK LLP, Hartwell House, 58-61 Victoria Street, Bristol BS1 6FT, 0117 305 7600.  A copy of the Council's annual accounts is posted on this website.

April
New Parish Clerk
The Parish Council is delighted to announce that Diane Abbott has been appointed Parish Clerk.  Diane and her husband Jonathan have lived in Binegar for three years.  They have taken an active part in village life not least with the Memorial Hall.  We are looking forward to working with Diane who takes up her job in June.

Annual Meeting with Parishioners  -  7 00 pm Tuesday 13 May, Memorial Hall
Come along to our Annual Meeting.  You can hear what the Parish Council has been doing on your behalf for the past year.  You can also ask any questions or tell us your ideas on what is or should be important in the year ahead.  Here is the agenda.

Somerset Levels and Moors Flood Action Plan
At the height of the flooding of the Levels, Environment Secretary Owen Paterson asked for a single plan to help prevent flooding for the next twenty years.   See it here: Flood Action Plan.

Parishes have been asked for feedback on the plan. About its funding, parishes have been asked three questions:
  1. Do you think your residents would be prepared to pay more to reduce the risk of flooding in the area where you live?
  2. Do you think your residents would be prepared to pay more money to reduce the risk of flooding elsewhere in the County?
  3. What does the Parish Council think of the Flood Action Plan?
Do you have views? Contact us here and let us know.

Happy scenes


Local MP Tessa Munt ‘cut the ribbon’ on Saturday 12 April to celebrate the launch of the new-look Gurney Slade Stores and Post Office.

Karen Weller organised a community day to celebrate the event with proceeds going to the Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance.

The revamp came as part of Post Office modernisation plans and customers now benefit from opening hours being extended by an extra 21 hours a week.



May Parish Council Meeting
Our meeting in May has been moved back a week to Tuesday 13 May. At 7 00 pm will be the Annual Meeting with parish residents. The Parish Council meeting will follow at around 7 30 pm.

March
Life saver
Residents of Binegar and Gurney Slade now have access to a defibrillator, sited outside the Memorial Hall, thanks to the generosity of benefactors and fund raising within the village. Representatives from Binegar Parish Council were joined by villagers in the hall on Saturday 15 March to have a look at the new equipment.
Welcoming everyone Gus Halfhide said: "We were faced with the task of raising £3,000 but thanks to the generosity of many people we are now in possession of this new piece of life-saving equipment." He added: "I should like to thank the Yeovil congregation of the Plymouth Brethren, who with local MP Tessa Munt, have helped us so generously, together with local businesses Francis Flower and Morris and Perry and everyone who donated to door to door collections and boxes in the post office and pubs. Thanks are due too to local electrician Phil Bridges who installed the equipment for us".

In the picture: members of Yeovil's Plymouth Brethren, Tessa Munt MP, Adrian Wilmott, Gus Halfhide and Cath Law.

February
Highcroft Quarry planning application
This item has been added to the Council's 4 February meeting agenda. The Council will be considering its response to planning application PL\2521\13(2014/0038/CNT) which, because it concerns Highcroft Quarry, is before Somerset County Council.

2013
December
Extraordinary Meeting of the Parish Council 7 January 2014
The Parish Council does not normally meet in January but will do so next month specifically to consider two planning applications: 2013/2289 proposed conversion of Binegar School into a single dwelling and 2013/2360 proposed erection of single, two-storey dwelling on land adjacent to Holy Trinity Church. You can see details of both applications on Mendip District Council's website.

November
Somerset winter road care
With winter on the way,  click here for Somerset County Council's leaflet on road gritting and salting.

October
Somerset Community Oil Scheme
Winter is on the way.  Don’t get caught out when it arrives and pay more than you need to.   Topping up your tank now could save you ££s.  Join the Oil Scheme before November for £20.  Members who ordered heating oil through the Scheme in October saved £38.00 against the average for a 1000 litre order.  To see more, click on the Handy Links above.

Gurney Slade pedestrian crossing
The County Council is getting ready to put a pedestrian crossing over the A37. Here are Somerset's plan.
Somerset County Council plan pdf-logo.gif - 1011 Bytes
Preferred option drawing pdf-logo.gif - 1011 Bytes
Option 2 drawing pdf-logo.gif - 1011 Bytes

Parish Council accounts 2012-13
Each year, every parish council has to have its accounts professionally audited. Binegar's Annual Return, as it is known, has just been given a clean bill of health by Grant Thornton, the Auditor appointed to look at our books. Click here and see the Annual Return.

Somerset Hedgerow Group - 2014 photo competition
The Hedgerow Group runs and photo competition each year. This year's theme is hedgerow landscapes through the seasons. There's plenty of time for taking snaps, the closing date is 1 October 2014. Click here  for more details.

September
Community defibrillator appeal
Well done! The first £120 was raised on Village Day towards this wonderful project. So, a big thank you to everyone who made a donation. An Automatic External Defibrillator, (AED) can dramatically increase the chance of someone surviving a heart attack. The odds rise from 1-in-20 with CPR alone to 1-in-2 with the addition of AED. Our local AED will join a network throughout Somerset saving lives.
Please think how you can help raise funds. And if you've ideas to help us raise money, click here and get in touch.

Award for the Playing Field
Our Playing Field won BRONZE in the Somerset Playing Fields Association annual awards. It comes with a cheque for £25 too. Congratulations!

Binegar and Gurney Slade Village Day
Well done again! The day made a profit of £324 which will go towards the Playing Field.

July
Binegar Bottom flora survey
Binegar Bottom Local Wildlife Site (LWS) runs on the north side of Binegar Bottom lane. It was designated an LWS for its flora. It was last surveyed in 1992 when doubt was cast on its future because of the growth of trees and scrub.
The Parish Council has asked whether there has been a degradation of the diversity and quality of the flora.
To answer this question, members of the Botanical Society of the British Isles, recently undertook a survey. Once the results are available, the Parish Council can consider whether further advice is needed on managing the site. If so, Somerset Wildlife Trust would be our first port of call.
Could Binegar Bottom become a local amenity? If so, what sort of amenity? What do you think?


© 2016 Binegar Parish Council