[DRAFT] Minutes for Electors Annual Parish Meeting – 13th May 2024, 7.30pm

The Annual Electors Annual Parish Meeting for West Harptree was held at 7.30pm on Monday 15th May 2022 at West Harptree Village Hall:

Chairman: Councillor Richard Ireland, West Harptree Parish Council
Also Present: Cllrs Colton, Hooper, McCombe, Mitchell and Weatherill and Philip Edwards (Clerk)

1 Welcome by Chairman

A welcome was received from Councillor Richard Ireland, Chairman, West Harptree Parish Council

2 Approval of minutes for the 2023 APM

The minutes for the Annual Parish Council Meeting held on 15th May 2023 were approved as an accurate record.

3 Chairman’s Report

A report was received from Councillor Richard Ireland, Chairman, West Harptree Parish Council, which follows:

Chairman’s Report – 2023-2024

The last year seems to have flown by, and we have two excellent new Councillors who have joined us to replace two members who have had to resign – one through pressures of work and the other due to leaving the area to live in Wales.

Whilst the last year has been somewhat quieter than previous years, the bulk of our time has been spent on just two on-going projects – Phase 2 of the pedestrian safety and speed reduction initiative, and monitoring and responding to draft versions of various B&NES’ Planning documents to try to protect the village, and the Chew Valley in general, from unsuitable policies as best as we can.

As you may remember, the outcome of the road safety public forum held in 2022 resulted in agreement to have specialist consultants carry out a survey of the village, the cost of which was  fully funded by David Wood – this had an additional benefit of allowing WHPC to save some of our budgeted spend on this which we propose to redirect towards a future overhaul of the playground equipment.

The consultants created very detailed documents and plans, which whilst meeting the criteria set for them, were felt to be too urban in design for a rural community. The result of this was that B&NES engineers then reviewed and updated the proposals to be more suitable for the village, and these were presented at a well publicised and attended public forum on 21st February. Options were explained, discussed and agreed, with valuable input from David Wood and BANES Traffic Engineers, and the general consensus was that they met the needs of the village without being overly intrusive. David Wood then worked extremely hard to ensure that the costs of these works would be included in the B&NES budget and be fully funded in the current financial year.

The additional good news regarding this is that because of the B&NES review, some savings were made allowing for the building of a second build-out to slow traffic on the  Compton Martin Road, and for the extension of the 20mph zone further down Bristol Road through the narrow section and towards the junction at White Cross. This however will come later in the year, along with the agreed double yellow lines on the North side of the triangle, as there are separate legal processes to be followed to allow these.

We have just been advised that these works are expected to commence early June, and whilst there will be some disruption it is hoped that they will be completed within a week.

Jon Mitchell has spent a great deal of time liaising with B&NES planning Directors and Officers, responding to various planning consultations, and I am aware that some of the documentation was extremely difficult to understand and digest, so many thanks for the large amount of time and effort that was involved. My thanks are also extended to a villager who agreed to assist with elements of this.

The Village Hall Committee have continued to raise funds to maintain the building, and continue to do an excellent job of running this important village asset, hosting several village events as well as increasing the utilisation of the Hall by paying customers.

The triangle continues to look very pretty and my thanks must go to Emma Weatherill who spends a great deal of time weeding and maintaining it.

Our CIL money has mostly now been spent with the remainder ear-marked for overhaul and replacement of various pieces of equipment in the Rec, and Jon Mitchell has also managed to source £7500 from a Lottery fund to assist with this, and we will focus on this later this year and into next year.

We have also recently completed our annual spring litter pick, and I would like to thank the volunteers who turned out to assist.

Finally I would like to thank David Wood for his valued support and contributions to our meetings, Philip Edwards for keeping us in control, and the Councillors who continue to work hard on behalf of the Parish and give all of their time freely.

Richard Ireland

May 2024

4 Ward Councillors Report

There was no report from B&NES District Councillor David Wood.

5 Open Forum

There was no further discussion requested of any parish affairs as determined by those present at the meeting.

6 Concluding Remarks

The Chairman closed the meeting at 7.50pm