Milborne Port

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New Parish Council Moves Up a Gear

The New Parish Council has been very busy since being elected in May 2019. The Parish Council now pays for the library bus in the Village, as Somerset County Council said that it was going to cease funding the service and that it would close; the Parish Council also helps support the Friends of Milborne Port Library who run the service.

The Parish Council continues to support the volunteers who look after the Church Yard and Ball Court, both of which are owned by the Parish Council and the wonderful group of volunteers which takes care of the Cemetery on Wheathill Lane. Grants to the value of £9,000 have been given out over the last year to local community organisations; the play parks have had regular safety inspections and almost £1,000 spent on them in maintenance costs alone. The Town Hall has had it electrics upgraded to 2020 standards and the running costs reviewed and reduced.

The Allotments have had nearly £4,000 spent on an upgrade of the water supply while the biggest spend of the year was on the new Village Hall Car Park costing £25,000 for it to be resurfaced (as well as a further cost of £1,500 for the white lines).  All of this has been going on alongside the regular work of cutting the grass, emptying the bins and managing the Cemetery.

So, things have been very busy over the last year, but this is just the start. At the Full Council meeting on 7th January, the New Council set out its ambitious programme of works for 2020/21; this involves undertaking eight new projects including the repair of the Ball Court wall, renewing St John’s walkways, repairing and repainting all the benches, installing a public water drinking fountain at Springfield Rec, and replacing any Parish Council owned broken public bins/dog bins.

The Cemetery will have a large planting project with may trees and shrubs being planted and the whole area cleaned up as sadly parts of it seem to have been used as a dumping ground over the years.  Gainsborough Play Park will have new fencing and the Planning and Environment Committee are managing a project to bring new play equipment to both the Gainsborough & Springfield Play Parks.

At the same time, the Council will be making available an increased amount of £10,000 in community grants money to support local organisations (scrolll down for more information). All existing contracts with current contractors will be reviewed, a process which has already started, with a view to reducing running costs.

The Parish Office will continue to increase the times that it is open; successful Saturday openings have already been trialled, along with all day Wednesday opening.  Further opening times will be offered as soon as it safe to do so.  

Of course taking on new projects and services comes at a cost, £10,000 alone in the case of the Library, so it won’t come as a surprise that the Parish Council has had to increase its share of the Council Tax this year to cover all the extra things that it is doing. The increase is £23.10 per year, per band D household – that’s £1.93 per month.

News Update 18th April 2020

There has been much to adapt to over the last few months or so and Parish Council clerks, Simon and Nathalie, have been responding to government advice and guidelines regarding the conduct of council business during the Covid-19 crisis:

  • In line with Government guidelines, the Gainsborough Playpark and Springfield Playpark have been formally closed by the Parish Council; this means thay anyone using the Playpark is doing so without permission. The regular safety inspections will not be made during this time, so there is no guarantee that the equipment is safe to use and anyone entering the playparks at this time would be trespassing.  Sadly, that is the situation we are in. 
  • The Cemetery is closed with the exception of interments or (a maximum of) two people from the same household visiting a loved one at rest.  Any other gathering is trespass and should be reported to the police by residents.  Reports of gathering of youths late in the evening have been disturbing.
  • As you would expect, all in-person meetings of the Parish Council are suspended until further notice; however, Planning applications continue to come in from South Somerset District Council and rather than matters slowing down in the planning world they appear to be speeding up. Therefore, the Planning & Environment Committee will be sticking to its timetable of meetings (third Tuesday of the month) and will be meeting via Zoom to give the appropriate level of scrutiny to all the applications that we have received.  Please see the Meeting section of the website for the Agenda and Minutes of these meetings.
  • While on the subject of planning applications, we have now been informed by South Somerset District Council (SSDC) that they will no longer be sending the Parish Council a paper copy of all the planning applications.  It is not clear if SSDC intend to return to sending out paper applications in the future but given the move away for paper by most other local planning authorities in England, it is very unlikely. The only way planning applications can now be viewed is on the SSDC website.  If the Parish Council ever start receiving paper applications again, you will be informed.
  • The Parish Office is closed and will remain closed to the public for the foreseeable future.  Simon and Nathalie are working from home, but the fact is that with all the meetings and project being put on hold, there isn’t as much to do, so Simon has voluntarily cut his hours until a time when things become a bit more normal.
  • Next month will mark the point when Simon first became associated with the Parish Council.  Back in May 2019, the outcome of the local elections had changed the Membership of the Parish Council and with the position of Proper Officer (Parish Clerk) also being vacant, it was a very different Parish Council which entered the summer months of 2019, reviewing its structure and moulding new projects.  A year later, the Parish Council has seven new projects that it wants to undertake, and it has the budget to do them.  While the global pandemic has put much on hold, we are determined that it will only prove to be a blip and that it will still be possible to deliver all of the projects by 2021.
  • Allotment holders have been particularly busy with a bit more time on their hands than usual!  The allotment area at Gainsborough is looking really healthy and blooming!  Only 3 half-plots remain available; please contact us if you are interested, although be aware that all 3 require quite a bit of TLC to bring them back into action...  This is a useful website for advice on allotment keeping: https://www.nsalg.org.uk/
  • The council's Facebook group page has been relaunched; please visit and join us at https://www.2343ec78a04c6ea9d80806345d31fd78-gdprlock/milborneportparishcouncil/
  • This group has been set up on Facebook to help people from the local area to access support: https://www.2343ec78a04c6ea9d80806345d31fd78-gdprlock/groups/239224367236476/
  • Please scroll down on the website for information about how to access local help during these difficult times, including information on local shops and services. 
  • This is the best link to the guidance and support from South Somerset District Council:  https://www.somerset.gov.uk/coronavirus/covid-19-latest-advice/

Notice from the Parish Council – updated 14th April 2020

Applications for Community Grants

Are you involved in a local organisation or group that needs some extra funding to support its activities?  If so, here is an excellent opportunity to access a grant so that you can maintain or develop the service that you provide for the local community.

Milborne Port Parish Council is committed to supporting the local community by continuing to fund groups and organisations that bring direct benefit to residents.  In order to do this, the council sets aside an amount of money to help those groups and organisations and is now inviting them to apply for 2020/2021 funding to support existing or future initiatives.

Last year, the council awarded grants to six local organisations, including the Village Hall Management Group, which applied for a grant to fund the Moviola film showings, and the Play Days scheme.  In so doing, the council was able to make a significant impact on the quality of village life for many people.

If you believe that your organisation or group deserves a share of this pot of money, start the process of applying for that money NOW!

The Grants Policy, the Community Grants Criteria and the Grants Application Form can all be found at the following link:

http://www.milborneport.org.uk/documentation-downloads

Given the current disruption to normal council business caused by the coronavirus, we cannot be certain when the first grant applications will be considered but we hope to be able to start processing them from the start of May.

Town Hall Clock

Beady-eyed residents of Milborne Port will have noticed that our beautiful Town Hall clock has not been working for quite a while.  Please rest assured that we are in the process of investigating the best way of getting those hands turning again.  The ideal outcome would be to re-install the original mechanism, currently in the Cemetery Chapel Museum; however, we do not yet know whether it can be brought back to life and/or whether it is financially feasible to do this.  The other challenge would be in the practicalities of lifting this very heavy mechanism up to the area behind the clock.  It might be that we must settle for replacing the modern electrical workings.  We will keep you updated, but in the meantime, if anyone has any great ideas for fundraising activities to pay for this work, please get in touch!

 Room for long-term hire in the Town Hall

The council is looking to maximise its assets by offering a room (above the Parish Council office) for long-term hire in the Town Hall.  Its dimensions are 430cm x 440cm and it has windows on two sides looking down onto the corner of South Street.  We anticipate that it could be used as an office, to run a small business or for storage.  (Please note that there is no water supply to the room and that there is no disabled access.  The room is reached via a wooden staircase.)  We would be prepared to invest in preparing the room to suit the requirements of a prospective tenant.  Rental fees to be negotiated.  Contact us if you are interested and would like to view the room.

 Allotments News

As the new Allotments Officer, I am really enjoying getting to know how the allotment area operates and meeting some of the very dedicated allotment tenants, all of whom have been really helpful in filling me in about our allotments’ history.  The good news is that of the 57 separate half or full plots, only 4 plots remain untenanted and there are no names on the waiting list.  We have a good number of new allotment tenants and wish them luck (and good weather!) with their new horticultural ventures!  We are particularly pleased that some allotments that have been unused for many years are going to be brought back into productivity.  There is a wealth of information and advice available from the seasoned gardeners up there, so take advantage of it!

If you are interested in taking on one of the remaining plots, please contact me.

 For sale:  Victorian wooden pew

Church Pew 1Church Pew 2Our History and Heritage Group has been working hard to develop its museum provision in the Cemetery Chapel Museum in Wheathill Lane, and in order to provide more space for their many interesting artefacts at displays, the council is selling one of the pews that is currently there and which came originally from St John’s Church.  It is probably pine, in good condition and has some lovely bosses on its back.  Its dimensions are:  length 237.5cm x depth 42.5cm x height 90cm.  We would like £200 for the pew, or nearest offer.  If you would like to view it, please get in touch. 

Contacts at Milborne Port Parish Council:  e-mail Simon Pritchard at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or Nathalie Hetherington at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or call us on 01963  251268.

Nathalie Hetherington, Deputy Clerk to the Parish Council

District Council news:

District councillor Sarah Dyke confirmed that the draw for the bare-root trees that SSDC has to give to parishes will take place on 7th February. The Clerk confirmed that he has already registered Milborne Port. If we are successful the trees will need to be collected by the end of February and planting completed by mid-March.
SSDC Brexit planning continues. Information is regularly updated on the SSSDC website https://www.southsomerset.gov.uk/your-council/preparing-for-brexit/

“Recycle More”   - the roll-out of new kerb-side collections will come to Milborne Port later on this year. Each household will receive information well ahead of the changes.

The key points are that more items that currently are not collected in the kerb-side recycling will be included. Items such as: plastic pots, tubs and trays, tetrapaks and other beverage cartons, household batteries and small electrical items.  Black bins that hold non-recyclable waste that goes to landfill will be emptied every three weeks instead of every two.

You can follow Somerset Waste Partnership on Facebook ; this is updated regularly https://www.2343ec78a04c6ea9d80806345d31fd78-gdprlock/SomersetWaste/posts/2689931067709622

Where’s SID?
At the time of writing SID is sited at Crackmore, and very useful it is in making people slow down. Before Christmas, SID was at the other end of the village by Ven House. As you know, there was a terrible accident on that side of the village recently. The data retrieved from SID for the two weeks before Christmas makes some shocking reading. Take a look at this table:

Number of Vehicles Speed recorded by SID (MPH)
1                               75
9                               65
48                             60
215                           55
1005                         50
3331                         45
8564                         40
9441                         35
4065                         30

If you would like to volunteer to help with the village “speedwatch” group, please contact Simon, the Parish clerk (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)

Precept 2020/21
The Parish clerk and responsible finance officer gave a presentation on the council finances in the current year (2019/2020) and looking forward to 2020/21. His presentation showed clearly what the council spends our precept on. The presentation is too large to include here, but it is available to look at or download from the Parish council website. http://www.milborneport.org.uk/parish-council Members looked at two options for the precept (both shown in the presentation):

Option A would increase the precept for a Band D property to £112.88 – an increase of £2.92 per month;
Option B – which was arrived at by the Clerk analysing all spending to find savings and still allow the parish council to fulfil all its obligations – would increase the precept for a Band D property to £100.94 – an increase of £1.93 per month

The Clerk recommended Option B, and the members voted by a majority to approve this option.

News from the Parish Council - December 2019

Vice-Chairman
Cllr Tim Carty was proposed and voted for as vice-chairman of the parish council for the remainder of the municipal year.

District Council News:
District councillor Sarah Dyke confirmed that the widening of the conservation area had been approved and was now progressing through legals.

SSDC environmental strategy has now been adopted. The 16-page document is available to download as a PDF www.southsomerset.gov.uk/environmentstrategy. SSDC will give in the region of 50 bare root saplings/small trees to Parishes to be planted this year.

Changes to committees and council meetings.
The members took part in a workshop earlier in the year to decide whether the current committee structure, having been in place for a large number of years, was still working. It was proposed and agreed that the council should move to the following structure: Full council; Planning& Environment; Management and HR. Part of the Open Spaces committee remit will go to the new Planning & Environment committee, and the rest will sit with the new Management committee, while the full council will gain responsibility for financial oversight, as well as the responsibilities it currently has. HR will meet on an ad-hoc basis, with a minimum of 4 meetings per year. Updated terms of reference for the new committees will be agreed and available on the council website when ratified by full council.

The council meetings schedule for Jan-December 2020 is shown on the council diary. All meetings begin at 7.00 p.m., the exception being Planning & Environment meetings, which begin at 6.45 p.m.

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