VILLAGE GATEWAYS

The Parish Council invites members of the community to comment on ideas for new village gateways. If you wish to input your views, please do so here or by attending the Parish Council meeting tomorrow in the Village Hall at 7.30pm (Village meeting starts at 7.00pm).

What is a Village Gateway and why do we need one?

Simple fences on both sides

When the bridge in Misterton was closed for an extended period of time in 2020/21, our village got an unwelcome glimps of what traffic might be in 10-20years time. For a period, all the traffic that would normally travel through Crewkerne on the A356 came through North Perrott. A large proportion was being diverted out of its way and was in a hurry to make up time. The sheer volume of HGV’s and the speed that they were travelling immediatly impacted on the houses closest to the main road, some of whom are built on 15th Century foundations. Pictures moved on walls, cracks appeared in plaster and in some cases, fell off the wall. The Parish Council acted quickly and initiated a 20’s Plenty campaign to slow down HGV’s passing through the village. Over 25 local transport companies were written to and we even had 3 supportive replies! The result was a significant reduction in speed and an immediate reduction in damage and inconveniance to home owners. Temporary banners were put up and have been in place for over 12 months. This is not a problem that will go away and so NPPC has decided that a more permanent solution is required.

Example of hurdles on both sides of the road.

Statistics and experts from Highways insist that to reduce average speeds in build up areas, drivers need to see and understand the reason that they should slow down. Bus stops, schools and pedestrians walking on the road are obvious examples but most dangers are invisible or only occasional. The solution that many villages have taken is to install gateways to their villages, giving a visulal reminder to drivers that they are entering a community that represents a potential reason to slow down and drive concienciously. To reinforce this we already have a very active Community Speedwatch group (CSW) and now a Speed Indicator Device (SID).

The intention is place a fence behind the existing Hamstone sign at the south of the village and a gatepost on the opposite verge. This not an actual gate but it represents a visual gateway to the village. The same will be replicated at the other end of the village. The stone will have the village name engraved on it but there will need to be more signage, to explain the reason for slowing down and what speed we are expecting drivers to travel through the village at. Given that the curent speed limit is 30mph, the intention is to target HGV’s (including tractors) to reduce their speed to 20mph using the current slogan 20’s plenty and the Highways accepted green sign, which is voluntary. This avoids the costly and bureacratic application for a blanket 20mph limit, which we might not qualify for in any case. This project is to be a ramping up of an already successful campaign but not ruling out further speed controlling measures in the future.

The present banners stipulate that the reason for slowing down HGV’s is because our houses are close to the road and on ancient foundations. We are also a conservation area and a one of the most beautiful hamstone villages in the area. We need a short and sharp message that will convey why drivers should slow down and in a permanent and tasteful way that is fitting in our environment.

To that end, the fence will be built out of green oak, that has already been felled and is scheduled to be milled in June. We would like to give villagers the chance to brain-storm ideas that the PC can consider incorporating into the design, before work is started.

On this page, there are examples of what other villages have done. Most have opted for off the peg Highways approved designs, often white and mostly made of recycle plastic. Not entirely fitting with a conservation area, so we would like to be a bit more creative with natural and local materials if we can.

Example of a more complex gate.

Everyone should be familar with the hamstone name sign at the south of the village. It is assume that the northern end should match. Please let us know if you think differentl

Existing hamstone sign and banner at the south of the village. It is intended that the gate would be installed behind the stone and a gatepost on the opposite verge.

Behind the Stone will be a symbolic gate. This might comprise to gate posts and 3, 4 or 5 rails, perhaps with a crossmember? On the other side of the road , the verge is quite narrow and might only have room for a single gate post. At the northern site there may be room for short length of fence. What do you think?

We have a quote for a new stone, at £760 installed. However, the engraving is much more expensive. What would you like to see engraved on the stone? NORTH PERROTT alone will add about £1,005 to the cost. Adding CONSERVATION AREA or 15th CENTURY FOUNDATIONS would double that cost.

An alternative would be to have a highways sign similar to the 20’s plenty sign on the existing banners. This might be on the opposite side of the road to the hamstone sign? Would you approve of that or do you have differnt idea?

Visual representation of what could be achieved.
Visual representation of what could be achieved.

It’s not easy to mock up a picture of exactly what it could look like but I hope you now have an idea of what we would like to see at both ends of the village. Please come along to the meeting tomorrow and take part in the conversation.

Visual representation of what could be achieved.

Notification of Meetings on 16th May

Because of the local elections on 5th May, the normal bi-monthly meeting of the Parish Council has had to be delayed until tomorrow, Monday 16th May. The programme of meetings is as follows:

7.00pm – Villlage meeting – no agenda (but village groups have been invited to present an annual report)

7.30pm – Annual Meeting of NPPC – Summary of the previous year by the outgoing Chairman, swearing in of new Council members and election of officers and co-option of Councillors.

Following the Annual Meeting the first bi-monthly meeting of the new NPPC.

Download the Agenda here

View previous Minutes here

POLLING DAY – Thursday 5th May

The Village Polling Station in the Hoskyns Memorial Hall is open all today until 10pm.

If nothing else, the war in Ukraine should concentrate our minds on the value of living in a free democracy. Opinion is divided on whether voting is a right or an obligation but this is a chance to exercise our democratic right that others do not have or are having taken from them.

What are we voting for? This a local election where Parish, Town and Somerset County Councils are being elected.

COUNTY COUNCIL – Somerest is about to enter a one year transition from County Council (with Disctrict Councils below it) into a Unitary Council. The County Councillors elected today will stand for one year as County Councillors, while the Unitary Body is developed and then transfer to Unitary Councillors in 12 months time. This is an incredibly important transition that is meant to save money. Anyone involved in local governemnt will know that change often costs more money than it saves, so it is vitally important the the new council is filled with competant and hardworking people. North Perrott is in the Coker Ward. Each Ward will have two councillors, so you can put up to TWO crosses against candidates that you suppport.

PARISH COUNCIL – there were only 3 nominees for the 5 places on the North Perrott Parish Council. This means that there will be no Parish Council election in North Perrott this time round. 3 Councillors are enought to form a quarate and so the new council will meet on Monday 16th May at 7.30pm. There will be a Village Meeting immediately before that, at 7pm. Both meetings will be in the Hoskyns Memorial Hall. The Agenda and previoius minutes are available on this website.

WILDFLOWER PLANTING

Level grass area suitable for
establishing a wildflower meadow.

Judith Hall has proposed to the Parish Council that the village applies to SSDC for their Wildflower Seed Giveaway and that two areas of grass in the village should be managed for wildlife.

The two areas suggested are the grass verge in Church Lane and the verge of the A3066 opposite the farm shop.

The intention is to introduce spring flowering bulbs and corms under the beech trees. Create a wildflower meadow on the level grass area and hopefully manage the tree stump area to reduce the docks and nettles and replace them with perennial wildflowers.

The roadside verge, where the village has previously established daffodils, it is intended to reintroduce perennial wildflowers in the upper 2/3rds of the grass bank to greatly broaden the number of species along the roadside.

Spring bulbs and corms under the
beech trees.
Tree stump area suitable for perennial
wildflowers although established docks
and nettles will need to be controlled
physically.
The upper 2/3rds of the roadside
verge of the A3066 opposite the
farm shop

Volunteers are welcome to contact Judith on 78009. Help will shortly be required to sow seeds and transplant seedlings into plugs. Sowing seeds directly into the ground will follow and planting plugs into their final location will happen later in the spring. If you have room for even one seed tray in your greenhouse or conservatory, you can get involved and be part of helping to improve the wildlife in our village.

More news and updates will be provided here in the coming weeks.

MEETING OF THE PARISH COUNCIL

This message is a reminder that there will be a bi-monthly meeting of North Perrott Parish Council at 7.30pm tomorrow night, Tues 1st March 2022, in the Hoskyns Memorial Hall.

While there are no longer any legal requirements surrounding Coronavirus, please make sure to observe the guidance of Hands-Face-Space while inside the village hall.

You can view the agenda by clicking here and previous minutes can also be viewed on the village website.

If you want to receive notifications and news items from the website by email, please enter your name on the home page and click on “follow”.

NEW SPEED INDICATOR DEVICE (SID)

Installed on 27th February by SIDsigns.co.uk

North Perrott’s much anticipated SID was finally installed on Sunday 27th Feb 2022. Delays had been caused by a general lack of silicon “chips” that are the programable component of all computers.

The SID is owned and serviced by North Perrott Parish Council and will be used in conjunction and in support of the already well established Community Speed Watch group (CSW). The SID will enable 24/7 collection of data including speed, date, time and location. Unlike the CSW group or traffic cameras, it does not collect any personal information, such as number plates or photographs. It is a valuable extension of our “HGV’s 20 is plenty” campaign, which was started in November 2020 and it is hoped that as well as reducing average speeds of vehicles through the village, it will also help target persistent offenders, enabling the CSW to identify times of peak offences.

SPONSORSHIP

We are deeply indebted to A H Warren Trust (Coombe Farm) and Hilton Herbs, who are the main sponsors of our village SID. Both companies have been active in the village for many years and both also hold the safety of horse riders close to their hearts. NPPC is grateful for their generous donations.

In total, £1,300 was raised through donations towards the total cost of hardware and training, which was in total, a little over £3,000. The balance was met by North Perrott Parish Council, which is funded by our community via an annual precept. Valued donations were also received from Perrott Hill School, North Perrott Farm Shop, Holy Cow Organic and The Old Rectory B&B.

It is hoped that these generous donations will be a valuable contribution to keeping our village safer for the future and improving the quality of life for our community, especially pedestrians, horse riders, people with houses directly adjacent to the road and all road users.

Anyone wishing to support the speed safety campaign in North Perrott can do so by donating their time to the CSW group or money toward the future upkeep of the SID. (EDIT: Many thanks to Mr M. Findlay for his generous donation towards the future upkeep)

LOCATIONS

There are rules on the use of SIDs by Parish Councils and Somerset Highways Authority have clear guidelines based on data collected nationwide. It has been proven that the effectiveness of static SIDs for slowing traffic is diluted over time and so Highways have two major stipulations. Firstly, a mobile SID can only remain in one position for a maximum of two weeks and secondly, that it cannot return within 6 weeks. This means that a minimum of 4 positions are required to fulfill this criteria. This will mean that the SID will be placed at both ends of the village and to protect the Village Green and the junction of Willis Lane, each in turn. This covers the 4 most hazardous areas in the village. The Village Green and Willis Lane can be detected from two different directions, so theoretically, there are 6 useful positions in the village.

Local Council Elections 2022

In the normal course of events, the next round of Town and Parish and Council elections
would be due to take place in May 2023. However, due to the recent decision made by the
Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, the Town and Parish Council
elections will be brought forward to 5 May 2022 so that they align with the Somerset unitary
council elections.

If you live or work in the Parish of North Perrott you might want to take a small part in the administrative affairs of your community? There are a number of community groups and committees in the village that require voluntary input to allow them to function and contribute to village life. As well as the Parish Council, there are voluntary groups that manage the Hoskyns Memorial Hall, the Cricket Club and the Parochial Church Council for St.Martins. As well as committee members, all these groups need occasional volunteers for fundraising or events, so your level of commitment can be as large or as small as you like.

However, Parish elections are normally every five years and so if you feel you want to put your name forward for election on 5th May, please start to think about it sooner rather than later. There is plenty of historic information about Parish Council work on our website and please contact the Parish Clerk or any or all of our existing councillors to get an idea of the level of commitment involved.

When the time comes, a link to the correct forms will be posted on this website.

Wessex Internet

At last! High Speed Broadband is finally coming to North Perrott.

I have had a very constructive meeting with Wessex Internet, who have a contract to supply super-fast broadband to rural communities in Devon & Somerset. It is their intention to install a fibre connection to every household in North Perrott, (north of the railway line), in the summer of 2022, possibly starting as soon as May.

These are early days but you can find out more about their contracts and installation on their website by clicking here.

On their website you can register your interest in using them as your supplier of broadband. This will help them identify you for future contact and assist in them assessing demand.

Wessex Internet have a novel solution to rural internet connections and instead of using existing infrastructure, which can involve huge costs of digging up roads and pavements, they take the shortest route across farmland, burying the fibre cable 90cm underground with minimal ground disturbance. This means it is more likely that your connection will come from the rear of your dwelling, especially if it backs onto farmland.

I have made more enquiries about costs but at the moment, it sounds as if connection costs may be part of the government contract, although their website states that all properties are subject to a £49 activation fee. I will post more information here at a later date.

It is likely that most home and business owners will be contacted over the next few weeks, especially if you own a field, paddock or large garden that might be part of the main cable route. In this case, you may qualify for a half price connection if your property is needed to access other customers.

While all properties will have the option to connect, those who decline will still have coil of cable buried outside their property in case of future need. This means that connection could be made at a later date , such as when the property changes hand. (Access to high-speed broadband is currently a strong selling point in the housing market).

At this moment, it looks as if this option for super-fast broadband will replace the earlier investigations that were made into having a community leased line.

ACT of REMEMBRANCE

There will be Service or Remembrance at St.Martin’s Church at 10am, Sunday 14th November.

At 11am there will be an Act of Remembrance on the Village Green. A wreath will be laid at the Village War Memorial and 2 minutes silence will be observed.

Let us remember with gratitude those who, in the cause of peace and in the service of their fellow men, died for their county in time of war, especially those form North Perrott.

G. Bishop, H. Dabinett, G.C.Elson, J. Osborne, A.G. Saint and J.Saint,

RIP