Milborne Port

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Community Allotment Day at Gainsborough

Before lockdown we were thinking about having a special day at the allotments when allotment holders can get together (social distancing rules applying, of course!) to exchange produce, seeds, experiences and advice! We have decided to go ahead with this plan on Saturday 5th September from 11am. We would also like to invite allotment holders to sell their produce, seeds and home-made cakes to members of the public in order to raise money for two chosen charities: The Spirit of Milborne Port and Sherborne Viral Kindness. We are also planning to rent a skip for the weekend so that tenants can throw out any unwanted ‘stuff’ after a good old clear up/sort out. So, please put the date in your diaries as everyone is welcome to come along. If you have never been to the allotments, it would be a good chance to come and see how ‘productive’ and interesting it is up there! More information will be published via our Facebook group (Milborne Port Allotments) and in notices at the site nearer the time. Fingers crossed for good weather!

Gainsborough and Springfield Play Parks:

Gainsborough Play Park- UPDATED (09/07/20):

As of this morning, the Play Park / Skatepark at Gainsborough is open. The same rule as Springfield apply please see the notices at the entrance or click here for a copy.

Springfield Play Park - UPDATE (07/07/20):

As of this afternoon, the Play Park at Springfeild is once again open for use.  Whilst the play park has had a clean today, the equipment will not be regularly disinfected.

Please heed the warning / infomation signs that have been displayed:

  • Wash your hands before and after use
  • Keep to the 2 metre social distancing rule
  • Do not enter the play park if it is already busy
  • Do not use the equipment if you're feeling unwell in anyway

We hope to have Gainsborough play park open for this weekend.  

Gainsborough and Springfield Play Parks - Parish Council Statement (03/07/2020):

From July 4th the Government is allowing Play Parks to reopen in line with new government guidance. Having taken time to read this guidance, the Parish Council is concerned about its ability to conform to it. The guidance is written in the same style as guidance given to schools and retail business and puts all the responsibility on to the Parish Council to ensure that the Play Parks are Covid-19 safe.

The common-sense approach would be to say that a Play Park is a Public area and residents that use it would know the risk they are taking by being out in public and using equipment that you cannot expect is being disinfected in anyway. The Parish Council would be happy to take the common-sense approach and re-open the Gainsborough and Springfield Play Parks. However, it is apparent that the responsibility for Covid-19 virus safety cannot simply be passed on to the users of the Play Park and remains with the Parish Council.

At this point in time and until further advice is received, the Parish Council is simply unable to mitigate the risk as the Parish Council does not employ full time staff to be able to police and regularly clean Play Park equipment.

Over the coming weeks it may be possible for Parish Councils across Somerset to share information and we hope to receive further / better guidance from higher authorities. Hopefully, with the information sharing and further advice the Parish Council will be able to conclude that it is possible to safely open both Play Parks.  

Of course, the Government may also in time change the national guidelines to put less liability onto the owners of Play Parks. This would also enable the Parish Council to open the Play Parks.

Sadly, for now both the Gainsborough and Springfield Play Parks will remain closed and out of bounds. Anyone entering them is committing trespass and that would be a police matter.

We are sorry that, for now we have had to reach this conclusion, the Parish Council wants nothing more than to see the Play Parks back in full use, but it has to take its responsibilities seriously and the health and wellbeing of residents has to be at the heart of that. We will ensure that as soon as this situation changes that it is well publicised.

New Home for Arbour

You may have noticed a change to the streetscape along the A30 as the Arbour that once sat over the top of the bench by the bus stop has been relocated to the Cemetery.

While the Cemetery has a few benches for quite reflection, one thing that it doesn’t have is anywhere to shelter in the rain, so the Arbour is a welcome addition to this special place.

It is possible that in years to come the Arbour may have a bench fitted underneath it in the Cemetery, but for now it has been installed at the end of the new remembrance garden that is now under development.

The garden will be having a lot of shrubs and bushes planted along it this autumn that will separate it from the main burial section and it will soon be in use for the interment of ashes as current remembrance garden is now full and has been closed.

The Arbour in its former location was the subject of numerous complaints by many individuals over many years, so the new council has made finding a more appropriate location for it a top priority over the last 9 months.

The solution of relocating the Arbour to the Cemetery works very well as it is very much needed at the Cemetery and the project came in just under its £3,000 budget.

It is hoped that in the years to come stakeholders can work together to look at the development of the area around the public toilets and old phone box and come up with a re-design that works for all parties concerned.

The Council in Lockdown: (News Update 11th June 2020)

The Council in Lockdown:

We may have been in lockdown for April and May but that did not stop activities for the Parish Council.

Virtual Meetings:

First there was the new technology to start getting used to, and the council now subscribes to Zoom to enable it to continue to hold meetings. Many a trial run was had in early April before the council held its first formal remote meeting, this being a meeting of the Planning & Environment Committee. The format has proved to be workable and the Planning & Environment committee will continue to meet in this way every third Tuesday of the month @6:45pm (its normal time slot).  Residents are welcome to join the meeting and can contact the Deputy Clerk for the joining details.

Allotments:

Even in lockdown, the Allotments revolution continued. The allotments are now managed by the Deputy Clerk who has wiped-out the waiting list by getting all the plots that were overgrown and not in use back into use with some incredibly happy new allotmenters.  We are actively working on getting the very last of the useable areas back into use; one area involves the cutting back of some exceptionally large evergreen trees which are in private ownership.

The water leak has been fixed - sadly a rather expensive affair as it was two days' work for two people and a lot of equipment.  We are also now exploring what to do about the entrance to the allotments as the rut is getting worse.

The gaps in the hedge are also going to be addressed come the Autumn; they look quite bad now as the undergrowth has been cleared away in anticipation of the forthcoming planning.  Also, the mound of earth that has built up over the years is to be cleared tto make more car parking spaces. The Allotments now have their own Facebook page that you can request to become a member of; this mostly involves allotment holders posting photos of vegetable growing or ones that they have just pulled out of the ground, with the occasional photo of a Terrier sleeping in the back of a car for good measure.

Playparks:

The playpark along Gainsborough has sadly been closed since lockdown. A project  has been started to install a chain-link fence around three sides of the playpark, with possibly a hedge and a more rustic wooden fence dividing the Playpark from the allotments. Also, the installation of at least one water fountain is being pursued.

Both Gainsborough and Springfield Playparks have had digital surveys carried out on them in the last month to enable projects to bring in more equipment to them. Now that we have had the surveys done, we can start to look at how things could be extended.

Springfield:

The Springfield playpark has had some remedial work done to it, fixing down some of the rubber matting and filling in the gaps with a liquid rubber. We have also had a professional carpenter in to look at the wooden shelter with a view to doing it up.

The Town Hall:

Talking about things needing doing up.. the poor state of the Town Halls window frames has been noted by the Clerk and estimates to paint them all gained. Sadly however, this highlighted that there will be a requirement for scaffolding onto the road; this will mean gaining special permission and maybe even temporary traffic lights. This will probably double the price, but the windows really do need some attention.

Community Grants:

The community grants pot is well and truly open. Organisations that benefited from it last year have been written to and invited to apply again. The grants are available to most local community groups, so if your are involved in a local organisation and need some money for doing something, do have a look at the grants policy on the Parish Council’s website to see if you would qualify and if so download the form and send it in. The cheque could be in the post quicker than you think.

Pew It's Gone:

The pew that was advertised as being for sale in April has now been sold. This has made more space in the chapel for the History and Heritage group to have displays.

Room to let:

The room above the Parish Office is still vacant; this may interest someone who has been working from home but now needs more space. It is a good size room that will easily take two desks and is noticeably light as it has two good size windows. Downstairs there is a small kitchen and toilet that you would have shared use of. The downside is the small wooden staircase to access the room; this makes it inaccessible for the disabled and a little difficult to get furniture up to it - difficult but not impossible. Apparently is was used as a barber's until recently, but I think we are envisaging it being used as an office or for storage. The monthly rent would be open to negotiation, and we are looking for a long-term letting.

The Cemetery:

The Cemetery continues to look a little bit more special every year and the volunteer workers continue to do a wonderful job. Later this year we will be carrying out some work to all the yew trees as they have become excessively big and they have many brambles growing up through them. Over at the far end, a large amount of planting has taken place of various species of trees; sadly, a few did not make it through the very dry and hot May but the vast majority did and they are now enjoying some June rain.

The Parish Office:

This is currently not open for the public to visit. However, you can contact the Clerk by email and by phone. As well as the established office landline number, there is now also a mobile number you can call. The phone will only be answered during the Clerk’s working days and hours, normally a Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday.

Election of Chairman:

The Council held its Annual Meeting remotely on Tuesday 2nd of June and Members re-elected Cllr Austin Fletcher as the Parish Council Chairman, with Cllr Tim Carty serving as the Vice-Chairman. The Chairman of the two committees will be elected at the first meetings of the committees later this month.

Council Vacancies:

The Council now has two vacancies due to two resignations. So, we are actively seeking residents to become involved. If you would like to know more about any of the council’s activities and how you could help, do contact the Clerk.

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