Many thanks to Pip Oxenbury Chairman of the Hoskyns Memorial Hall committee, his wife Angie, and his merry band of helpers. Many hands make light work and they villagers were out in force to make the Street Party a great success. Special thanks to Alastair and Martyn for ensuring safety and efficiency during the afternoon.
The afternoon started well with dry weather, a Royal Toast and Robson James keeping everyone informed and entertained through the PA system.
Everyone brought their own picnics and mingled while playing games and the judging of the crown’s. Tea and cake was served at 2pm.
The onset of drizzle didn’t stop the team skittles starting and as the competition got underway, the heavens opened. Competition between the teams was fierce and inevitably, the result was decided with a 3way skittle off. Martyn Oliver won the day for Pip’s team. A well deserved victory.
Despite the wet end, spirits remainder high and willing helpers tidied everything away quickly and Church Lane was reopened on time.
Yesterday, the Points West camera was filming in North Perrott and with luck, today’s bulletin will feature a segment about the problem of HGVs passing through Somerset villages, the damage they do and the potential solutions to address what might happen in the future. Points West can be found on BBC1 and airs at Breakfast, at 1.30pm and again at 6.30pm. Edits do happen between each edition but can also be found on BBC iplayer.
A few days ago, Points West ran a segment about the volume of HGVs using the B3092 between Frome and the A303 and passing through Maiden Bradley in the process. The correct trunk route for lorries not having business on the B3092 is the A350. Maiden Bradley experiences over 25 HGVs per hour at peak times.
After this segment ran, the BBC was contacted by a number of Town and Parish Councils proclaiming similar problems, Cllr Allan Edwards from North Perrott among them. Unsurprisingly, every village in the country has a similar problem but there is a national framework of trunk roads but is the time to ensure that transport companies are ensuring their drivers use it?
Each village featured has slightly different problems and solutions. Maiden Bradley appears an open and shut case for a weight limit to force lorries onto the approved trunk road A350. The bulk of the HGVs appear to be transporting quarry stone from the Mendips to the A303, enroute to a final destination.
This is slightly different to North Perrott. The official trunk road alternative to using the A3066 is the A37. Unfortunately, a weight limit for North Perrott would most likely force heavy traffic to use the A356 and end up going through Misterton, adding further misery to their existing traffic problems. Past surveys have shown that almost all lorries on the A3066 and A356 have business on these routes and so a weight limit would have little effect on moving lorries to the A37. It is some time since the last HGV survey to establish what percentage of lorries are using our village as a short cut. The Parish Council has already written to the new Somerset County Council to request a new survey is taken as soon as possible. This will allow us to focus on how to best relieve traffic volumes in the future.
So far, the only long term solution that has been aired during Crewkerne Area planning meetings is for a link road between the A356 at Crewkerne Railway Station and the A3066 at the railway bridge near the junction with Silverstreet in Misterton. The road would run on the northern side of the railway, providing a bypass for for lorries to avoid both Misterton and North Perrott & Haselbury. The only problem being that it would need to be funded by developers, and that provides additional problems. It wouldn’t necessarily need development along the route but it would needed to be funded by development somewhere in the Crewkerne area. This is unlikely to happen any time soon, so for the moment, the aim is to keep this solution in the Crewkerne Area agenda and hope that like the CLR, it eventually bears fruit.
In the meantime, the NPPC will continue to focus on reducing the damage done by HGV’s to buildings in our conservation area and the social disturbance they bring to our otherwise quiet village. The Misteron road closure in 2020 brought focus on the combination of vehicle weight and speed resulting in intollerable vibration in houses abutting the main road. Pictures moved on walls, cracks appeared in plaster and dust fell from ceilings. The immediate implementation of the 20’s plenty for HGVs brought significant results, showing that by slowing HGVs down, the vibrations were dramatically reduced. The reopening of the A356 resulted in the bulk of HGVs returning to the Crewkerne route, principally because they either have business in the town or they were coming from the west on the A30, wanting to go towards Dorchester. In which case, North Perrott is a long cut. Hopefully, upcoming surveys will identify more about the movements of HGVs in the Crewkerne area. In the meantime, NPPC intends to continue to press for slower speeds by vehicles through the village with the introduction of village gateways. A new hamstone sign has already been ordered and the wooden gateways will be constructed in the near future. The SID has now provided us with real data about peak and average speeds in different areas of the village and show that while our average speeds are lower than anticipated, they are still far higher than the 24mph that would be required to be granted an offical 20mph limit. There is plenty of work in progress.
A wonderful display of community spirit yesterday saw many homeowners on the main road join in the village tidy by cutting hedges and sweep the pavement in front of their house.
The main clear-up crew consisted of Alistair, Chris, Chris, Drew, Jonathan, Judith & Pete. Working extremely hard, between them they made short work of moving the remainder of the weeds and debris off the pavement and out of the gutters, into the road to be collected by the road sweeper.
In all, about 6m3 of debris was removed from both sides of the road and the pavements are clean, tidy and safe to walk.
Thank you to all involved and apologies if I have missed names out. We are now ready in case a Royal Entourage decides to pass through North Perrott.
Sadly, this type of work never ends. Sometime between 8pm last night and 8am this morning, two bags of garden waste was left in a layby in Willis Lane. If anyone’s gardener cleared up using Sherborne Turf dumpy bags, you might want to ask for a refund and pass us their number to clear up!?
At the Annual Village Meeting it was decided that we should try to make the village “Fit for the Queen” in time for the Platinum Jubilee weekend in two weeks time.
In general, the village looks neat and tidy with the exception of the pavement and the edges of the main road from the Village Hall down to Townsend, the junction of Willis Lane and the main road.
We are looking for 4-6 volunteers to help on Sunday 22nd May at 2.30pm to use brushes and shovels in a working party on the main road.
At the same time, villagers are encouraged to check the verge or pavement outside their property boundary and have a quick brush-up, mow or hedge trim. Whatever you might think needs doing in preparation for a visit from the Queen!
The Main Road working party will be assisted by a JCB and mechanical brush. Dayglow gillets will be provided but please bring a spade, shovel or brush. It is expected take 1-2 hours at most.
Safety will be paramount while working on the main road, so it is esssetial that everyone works within the instructions of our insurance and risk assessment. Thank you.
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?
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.
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.
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
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?
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.
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.
On Sunday 10th April, a mountain bike was reported abandoned in some woodland in North Perrott. Having made local enquires, it has been concluded that the bike is probably lost or stolen.
This is a medium sized, fully functioning mountain bike that needs to be reunited with it’s owner. There are a number of distinguishing marks that the owner will be able to use to correctly claim it as theirs.
Please share North Perrott/Haselbury/Crewkerne area.