Agenda and minutes

Venue: Shipham Village Hall, New Road, Shipham, BS25 1SG

Contact: LCN Team Email: 

No. Item


Apologies for Absence

To receive any apologies for absence.


Declarations of Interest

To receive and note any declarations of interests in respect of any matters included on the agenda for consideration at this meeting.


(The other registrable interests of Councillors of Somerset Council, arising from membership of City, Town or Parish Councils and other Local Authorities will automatically be recorded in the minutes: City, Town & Parish Twin Hatters - Somerset Councillors 2023 )


No additional declarations of interest were made.


Public Question Time

The Chair to advise of any questions, statements or petitions received that are not covered by items on the agenda for the meeting on which members of the public have requested to speak.


A question had been submitted about the climate and nature emergency from Steve Mews which would be considered if climate was chosen to be discussed later in the meeting.




Notes from the Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 114 KB

To approve the notes from the previous meeting held on 3rd August 2023.


Whilst the notes of the previous meeting were approved it was commented that rather than being generic, details of local issues and projects should be listed to encourage local engagement.


It was also reconfirmed that only one nominated representative from each town and parish council would be on the core membership and able to vote, should a formal vote be required.




Highlights of themes discussed at the previous meeting

To discuss the highlights of the themes discussed at the previous meeting


It was explained that the issues identified at the previous meeting had been placed into key broad themes to allow the Local Community Network (LCN) to focus its limited resources on bite sized topics. They were:


Ø  Transport (rights of way having scored strongly)

Ø  Economy

Ø  Community Safety

Ø  Housing

Ø  Planning

Ø  Climate and Environment

Ø  Access to services

Ø  Communication (with Somerset Council and between towns & parishes)


It was also re-iterated that any issues identified would not be lost. They would stay on the agenda and could be worked on at a future date.


An introduction to data


Attendees were shown an example of the types of data available which included:

·         Population statistics

·         Crime statistics

·         Property data

·         Road information

·         Educational data


It was explained that the high level data itself did not tell the full story, but could provide a starting point for seeking further information.





To start to identify priorities we as an LCN can deliver upon and influence building on the first meeting.


There was then an exercise to identify the key priorities for the Local Community Network (LCN) to focus on, with attendees having three votes each to select the issues that were most important to them, with the following results:


1st – Transport                                                           24 votes

Highways and road maintenance (2)

            Active Travel (4)

            Local transport solutions (6)

            Road safety (inc speeding ASB) (12)


2nd – Planning                                                           14 votes

            Enforcement (4)


3rd – Climate & Environment                                  9 votes


4th - Access to Services                                          8 votes


5th – Housing                                                            6 votes

            Affordable housing (5)


6th - Community Safety                                           4 votes


7th – Communications                                              2 votes


8th - Economy                                                           1 vote


Attendees then broke out into groups and were tasked with identifying issues with any of the three top topics and the following points were highlighted:



Ø  Services to educational hubs e.g. Bridgwater and Yeovil

Ø  School bus charges for rural students, particularly college transport. £925 for children over 16 and for under 16s travelling less than 3 miles

Ø  Lack of bus services for young persons

Ø  Lack of connectivity between villages and towns

Ø  Cross county boundary issues

Ø  No footways/cycle routes in rural areas

Ø  Road Safety/speeding

·         Lighting

·         Community Speedwatch can’t get volunteers

·         Anti-social behaviour injunctions need to be supported.

·         Cheddar was looking at injunctions for speeding and anti-social driving (successful pilot in Wolverhampton) which was progressing with SDC but now ground to a halt under the new Unitary Council

Ø  Road maintenance – potholes, surface and hedgerows

Ø  Local transport solutions

·         Minibus initiatives – sustainability

·         Connection of buses

·         Volunteers – problems with insurance and liability

Ø  Active travel

·         Maintenance of footpaths

·         Lack of footpaths/pavements.

Ø  Lack of co-ordinated public transport

Ø  Community transport – not the only solution

Ø  Hospital transport e.g. Good Neighbour volunteers

Ø  The impact of Bristol’s Clean Air Zone on volunteer transport (free until March 2024)

Ø  Who can help

·         Local knowledge and expertise

·         Blended finance

·         Retaining volunteer drivers (training and PSV licence costs)

·         Accessing funding not available to councils

·         Presentation from existing groups on problems and solutions (recruitment and retention)

·         Somerset Community Foundation



Ø  Sedgemoor Local Plan policy T2B (unmet housing needs)

Ø  Alignment of services with planning approvals

Ø  The need to look at the democratic input

Ø  Review delegation

Ø  The need to adhere to local and neighbourhood plans

Ø  Infrastructure needs to be considered when considering applications

Ø  Better interaction between developers and GP services. GPs not asking for more funding or getting involved in planning

Ø  Need more connected thinking e.g. developments without pavements to the town centre

Ø  Too many loopholes

Ø  Lack of understanding of local knowledge and local impacts

Ø  Poor communication – no responses given when questions were asked


The meeting then discussed the way forward and concerns were raised that it was difficult to choose an issue without knowing what the concerns across the area actually were and that there was a lack of understanding of  ...  view the full minutes text for item 16.


Dates of future meetings


The date of the next meeting was confirmed as:


Tuesday 9th January 2024 with new starting time of 6:30pm at  Fairlands Middle School.


Contact details for meeting: