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Press Releases

Free Festive Parking across Sedgemoor

Sedgemoor District Council is offering free parking in all its car parks on the two Saturdays running up to Christmas.

People will be able to park without charge in all eighteen of the Council-owned car parks across Sedgemoor on Saturday 15th and Saturday 22nd December.

Cllr Duncan McGinty said “We are keen to support our many local and varied traders in the towns and villages across Sedgemoor and give residents and visitors an added incentive to shop locally in the festive season”.

There will be notices on the tariff machines in the car parks advising of the free parking.

Background information

Sedgemoor District Councils owns and operates eighteen car parks across the district with a total of 1,691 parking spaces.

Sedgemoor relies on income from the car park to help pay for the cost of running the car parks such as business rates; CCTV; cleaning; looking after the shrubbery etc; repairs and maintenance to the tarmac; white-lining; maintenance/replacement of ticket machines; insurance and electricity costs for the lighting.

Car Park locations

Bridgwater

  • Eastover & St. John St. Shoppers
  • Mount Street (East)
  • Mount Street (West)
  • Northgate
  • Eastover Short Stay
  • Market Street
  • Dampiet Street
  • Blake
  • Eastover Park

Burnham-on-Sea and Highbridge

  • High Street
  • Oxford Street
  • Pier Street East
  • Pier Street South
  • Pier Street West
  • Discount car park
  • Bank Street, Highbridge

Cheddar

  • Church Street
  • Cliff Street

 

Drop in road deaths and lowest number of collisions on record

The number of deaths on Somerset’s roads fell by 12 per cent last year, the lowest level in five years and bucking the regional trend.

Department for Transport (DfT) figures recorded 22 deaths on the county’s roads whereas nationally there was no change, and in the South West region a 15 per cent increase over the same period.

The statistics also show there were 1,000 injury collisions in the calendar year of 2017  – the lowest number ever reported in the county. However, there was a 4 per cent increase in the number of serious injury collisions from 158 to 164 casualties, echoing the national trend.

Injury collision data is collected by Avon and Somerset Police and analysed by Somerset County Council’s Road Safety Team. A Road Casualty Review is published each year to highlight trends and make recommendations for possible solutions to problems.

The figures for 2018 are currently being monitored and up to the end of June 2018, being the latest available,  there were 14 fatalities, 76 serious and 499 slight injury casualties recorded.

Councillor John Woodman, Somerset County Council’s Cabinet Member for Highways, said: “The continued trend of falling deaths and people involved in collisions is positive, but there is more to be done and we’ll continue to work closely with our partners to improve things further through our recently adopted road safety strategy.”

Somerset County Council aims to prevent collisions in a number of ways – from engineering work, targeted training of road users, or requesting support from the police. The Council works closely with a number of other partners to promote safe road use.

The 2017 Road Casualty Review analyses collision and casualty statistics, comparing them to the previous five-year period and focusing on defined target groups – such as road user types and different age groups. The full report can be downloaded from www.somersetroadsafety.org.

In 2017, Somerset Road Safety provided training or advice to nearly 23,120 members of the public. This included meeting 5,235 people at public events, training 3,310 motorcyclists, reaching 1,180 senior drivers through Route 60+ workshops, and teaching thousands of school children at various education programmes.

Police launch Youth and Policing Education website

Avon and Somerset Police have launched the Youth and Policing Education Hub, a new website offering free online access to a range of resources for schools and youth groups.

Resources include lesson plans on subjects including county lines, sexting and knife crime. The website launch is part of a strategy to strengthen local policing and will build on existing relationships with schools. Since launching the site has been accessed by over 600 users.

The Youth and Policing Education Hub gives schools and other youth groups access to a number of downloadable lesson plans which fit within the PSHE (Personal, Social and Health in Education) curriculum as well as the National Child Centred Policing Plan. The new site streamlines our existing offering and enables us to provide expert approved, quality lessons to young people.

We know every school has unique needs. Our lesson packages can be downloaded and used by schools independent of any police involvement. Alternatively, an online request can be made for a police representative to come to the school and present the lesson package as part of a wider police-school partnership.

Assistant Chief Constable Steve Cullen, head of Neighbourhood Policing and force lead for Children and Young People says; “The support we provide young people gives them a better understanding of crime, helps protect them from harm and builds safer communities in the long term.

“The launch of the Youth and Policing Education Hub is new approach to improving engagement with schools and creating better relationships with young people. In addition to this, we’ve allocated a PCSO or PC to every school in our force area as part of a wider strategy to strengthen neighbourhood policing.”

Police and Crime Commissioner, Sue Mountstevens says; “It’s important that we invest in young people from an early age and this initiative will help support schools and youth groups in educating children on crime. It’s also a great opportunity for us to build on existing relationships with young people and increase their confidence and trust in the police, helping to keep our communities safe.”

Lesson packages reflect current police priorities and align to relevant government strategies. They have all been assessed for relevance to the PSHE curriculum. Most are designed for Key Stage 3 pupils but can be adapted for younger and older pupils. The current lesson plans include:

  • Alcohol and drugs
  • Child Sexual Exploitation
  • Consent
  • County Lines
  • Digital resilience and online safety (including cyberbullying)
  • Domestic abuse
  • Hate Crime
  • Knife Crime
  • Radicalisation
  • Youth Produced Sexual Imagery (‘Sexting’)

Teachers, youth group leaders, other professionals and volunteers can visit the Youth and Policing Educational Hub at https://www.youthandpolicing.co.uk/

 

Drop-in sessions for getset Service consultation

Drop-in sessions seeking views on proposals to change the some of the support available to children and families in Somerset are underway.

Somerset County Council is consulting on a potential change to the support offered by its getset Service. The sessions are a chance to discuss the proposals and give feedback.

The team has visited Glastonbury and is in Frome all day today, 10am-12pm in The Key Centre and 1-6pm in the library. Further drop-in sessions are as follows:

• Mon 19 Nov. 10am-6pm. The Hub, Minehead, Hopcott Road, Minehead, TA24 6DJ

• Thurs 22 Nov. 10am-6pm. Taunton Library, Paul Street, TA1 3XZ

• Weds 28 Nov. 10am-6pm. Victoria Park Community Centre, Victoria Park Drive, Bridgwater, TA6 7AS

• Tues 4 Dec. 10am-6pm. Yeovil Methodist Church, Vicarage Walk, Middle Street, BA20 1JZ

Full details of the proposals are available on the Council’s website www.somerset.gov.uk/getsetconsultation In summary they would end the Council’s getset Service contribution to support for families needing a little extra help – usually short-term – to tackle a particular problem and get back on track.

Support provided by other organisations for families in this position would not be affected, nor would the Council’s support for families with more serious issues and challenges. Support from the Council’s Children with Disabilities Team, Special Education Needs and Disabilities Team and Community Adolescent Team would also continue unaffected.

The proposals include a £200,000 start-up fund to support community groups to increase and develop their support to families.

The consultation ends on 31 December. A questionnaire for providing feedback is available on the www.somerset.gov.uk/getsetconsultation webpage, in libraries and Family Centres. Hard copies can be requested by emailing [email protected]v.uk or telephoning 01823 357479.

The Council’s Cabinet agreed to go to consultation on these services when it met in September to consider a range of savings proposals aimed at addressing the authority’s financial pressures.

The results will be used to inform a decision by Cabinet scheduled for February on whether or not to proceed with the proposals.

Police to carry out insurance checks

This week we’re targeting uninsured drivers as part of a week of action, catching those knowingly driving without insurance and drivers who may be unaware they’re driving with invalid cover.

Using the very latest technology, ANPR (Automatic Number Plate Recognition) cameras, we’ll be targeting roads across our force area between Monday 12 November and Sunday 18 November.

Inspector Frazer Davey from Avon and Somerset police, said: “This campaign will be delivered using the most up to date technology to target drivers without car insurance.

“Drivers obeying the law by insuring their cars may find themselves being penalised when they are involved in a collision with an uninsured driver, paying higher premiums. Owners of vehicles found to be uninsured will receive a letter letting them me know we’re aware they’re driving illegally. Those who do not buy appropriate insurance could receive 6 points on their license, a £300 fine or have their vehicles seized, and potentially destroyed.

“We’re not just targeting those who are driving around knowingly breaking the law, some people aren’t aware of the exclusions that can apply when they fill out their insurance information and that’s why we’ve collated a series of myths around car insurance to remind drivers to check their policy.”

Recent figures from MIB (Motor Insurers Bureau) showed that warnings are being issued to around 3,000 uninsured drivers every day.

Between January 2018 and October 2018 we seized 2327 uninsured vehicles from the roads of Avon and Somerset.

PCC Sue Mountstevens for Avon & Somerset said: “Uninsured drivers make the roads more dangerous places and it is honest motorists who have to pay higher premiums as a result of claims arising from uninsured losses. This campaign is a great opportunity to remind motorists to check that they are correctly insured for every journey they make while contributing to the overall safety of the roads.”

This is the first time the force has run a proactive operation like this, every uninsured driver will be contacted and reminded of the law. There are many myths around car insurance and we’re using this enforcement week to debunk four of the most common.

Common myths on car insurance:

Myth 1: I have fully comprehensive insurance cover so I can drive any car

Fact: Not all policies include cover for the use of other vehicles. Always check your policy wording and never just assume you’re covered. You need to apply or pay for specific DOV (Driving Other Vehicles) cover, which is only available to the policy holder.

Consequences: If an officer contacts the MIB and confirms you don’t have the correct cover, police can legally seize the vehicle on the spot.

Myth 2: I’m covered to drive to and from work

Fact: So that you can drive your vehicle to and from work your policy needs to cover you for ‘commuting’. Also if you ever need to travel between places of work you need to ensure you are covered for ‘business’ mileage.

Consequences: If you’re involved in an collision with another driver and your insurer finds the incident happened outside of your policies terms they may not cover you for any damage or injuries, meaning you would personally liable for covering the costs of fixing your vehicle and the other drivers, and pay any compensation. Subsequently, your insurer is likely to charge you a higher premium for cover, or decline to insure you altogether.

Myth 3: I am the main driver of the car but I put my mum down as the policy holder to save money *

Fact: This is also known as ‘fronting’ and is considered fraud, carrying some serious penalties. The main driver of the vehicle should also be the policy holder.

Consequences: Your insurance provider may increase your future premiums or void your policy. If you’re found guilty of fraud you will get a criminal record, which could mean you have difficulty accessing other financial products in the future, including mortgages and credit cards.

Myth 4: My car broke down and it’s a write-off. Because I won’t be driving it I don’t need to keep it insured

Fact: Keeping a vehicle without insurance is an offence (introduced in 2011). Where a vehicle has broken down or is considered a write-off it still needs to be declared as being off the road. The Continuous Insurance Enforcement (CIE) legislation means that you must either insure your vehicle or, if it is not on the public road, declare it as off-the-road using a Statutory Off-Road Notice (SORN).

Consequences: MIB and DVLA (Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency) work in partnership to identify uninsured vehicles. If your vehicle appears to be uninsured because it is not listed on the MID and not the subject of a Statutory Off-Road Notice, you will be sent an Insurance Advisory Letter (IAL). If you receive an advisory letter and take no action then the penalties can be severe.

If you are unsure about what you’re covered for in your insurance you can either check your policy documents or contact your insurance provider direct.

For any further information or interview requests please contact Yogi von Hippel via email [email protected] or telephone on 01278 646 767

 

PCC supports ‘Rural Crime Day of Action’

Today Avon and Somerset Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Sue Mountstevens is supporting a national day of action to tackle rural crime.

As part of the National Police Chiefs Council’s new Rural Affairs Strategy, officers from Avon and Somerset will be visiting farms and
rural communities to offer crime prevention advice, help with marking equipment and promoting membership of the Farm Watch, Horse Watch and Neighbourhood Watch schemes.

Officers will be patrolling remote and vulnerable areas where rural crime such as fly tipping, poaching and theft has previously taken place. Local police teams will also be talking to recent victims of crime to discuss security and offer marking of tools and equipment.

PCC Sue Mountstevens said: “Rural Crime Day of Action is a great opportunity to pull together to tackle rural crime and to offer advice and reassurance to our farming communities. Rural crime has a significant impact on the livelihoods of our famers and this is not acceptable. This day of action will build on the invaluable work already undertaken by the police to shut the gate on rural crime.”

Neighbourhood Police Team Sergeant, Andrew Murphy, added: “We understand the impact that rural crime has on our farming communities and we want to work with local residents to prevent such crime from happening in the first place. We already work closely with farmers and will continue to discuss ways we can improve our service to respond to the needs of local communities and rural businesses.”

For more information about on crime prevention in rural communities, please visit: https://www.avonandsomerset.police.uk/newsroom/features/shutting-the-gate-on-rural-crime/

Would you pay an additional £1 for policing?

Residents are being asked whether they are prepared to pay an additional £1 a month towards policing from April, 2019.

Last year the Government unexpectedly gave all Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) across the country the flexibility to raise the policing part of the council tax by £1 a month for the average band D household.

Sue Mountstevens is hoping that PCCs will be given that flexibility again this year, she said: “With last year’s £1 rise we were able to start an ambitious programme of recruitment and commit to employing up to 300 police officers. We were also able to protect neighbourhood policing, the police officers and Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) in your local area, all thanks to your support for the rise.

“The Chief Constable and I have agreed that next year’s focus will concentrate on serious violence. The threat from serious and organised crime has changed rapidly, increasing in both volume and complexity and preying on the most vulnerable in society.

“If we are able to increase the policing part of the council tax by £1 a month next year and the Government grant for policing stays the same and there are no additional surprises we are committed to a new focus on burglary and drugs. We must continue to dismantle the recruitment of vulnerable young people into ‘county lines’ drugs gangs. It’s clear that this leads to an increase in knife-crime and serious violence, including stabbings and gang-related disorder and it must be tackled and given the right resources.

“I absolutely recognise that any increase in household bills will be felt by residents and it’s not easy to keep asking local people to contribute to the issues that we are facing in policing and as a society. It’s really important that residents tell me what they would be prepared to pay. These are difficult decisions and I need to be sure that I have heard from as many local people as possible.”

Sue Mountstevens is asking for people’s views in an online survey on her website www.avonandsomerset-pcc.gov.uk which closes at midnight on January 14, 2019.

For further information or to request a copy of the survey please call 01278 646188.

Ms Mountstevens has also spoken to hundreds of residents while visiting events across the summer. Sue will continue to talk about the policing part of the council tax at her surgery sessions find out where she will be on her website www.avonandsomerset-pcc.gov.uk

Changes to the licensing of Houses in Multiple Occupation to be introduced in October

Changes in Government legislation will see the requirement to licence a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) widened to include two storey properties.

From Monday 1st October 2018, all privately rented properties which are occupied by five or more people who form two or more households will now require a licence.

Sedgemoor has several HMOs and it is expected that with the new Government regulations more properties are likely to be identified. Sedgemoor District Council is keen to work with landlords who own two storey properties to make the licensing process as easy as possible.

New regulations are also expected to be introduced that will bring in new mandatory conditions such as covering the minimum sizes of sleeping rooms, the maximum number of occupants permitted and the provision of refuse facilities.

A spokesman said, ‘Generally we have a good relationship with landlords in the district. In recognition of the importance of the sector, we are keen to work with landlords to ensure that the condition of the rented properties is up to standard and build a thriving, robust private rented market.

Licensing of HMO’s ensures that our Housing Standards Team are working with landlords of lower and higher risk properties. It also ensures that appropriate management arrangements have been made for the property.’

Landlords who believe that their property falls into the new licensing requirements are advised to contact the Housing Standards Team at Sedgemoor District Council by emailing [email protected]r.gov.uk or by calling 0300 303 7794 for advice.

An application form can be downloaded from our website at www.swpshp.org or you can request one on the above email and telephone number. Our website will also provide more information on the new licensing regime.

There are severe penalties for landlords who fail to licence with the Council including fines and possible prosecution.

Find out if highways improvements are planned at a road near you

A new webpage to help residents find out about planned maintenance on Somerset’s roads is now available.

Somerset County Council’s dedicated travel and roadworks website www.travelsomerset.co.uk already includes a live map showing details of current and future planned roadworks.

But previously this only included works when dates were confirmed.

The new webpage now allows people to view the structural maintenance programme for the current financial year, so people can find out if improvement works are planned in the near future. The exact dates and timings of work are added to the live map when they are finalised.

The works are split into categories – principal resurfacing (resurfacing on A class roads), non-principal resurfacing (resurfacing on minor class roads), footways (works on the pavement), drainage and earthworks – with lists of schemes and maps showing the locations. You can also find FAQs and definitions of each type of roadworks scheme.

Councillor John Woodman, Somerset County Council’s Cabinet Member for Highways, said: “We’ve worked hard to make it easier for people to find out what’s happening on our roads. We started by offering live travel alerts using Twitter and then created the Travel Somerset website to improve the quality and reliability of our roadworks information.

“This summer we’ve added our surface dressing and grass cutting programmes to the website and now you can see all the structural maintenance work we have planned for the next financial year.

“This is another welcome resource and we’ve got plans for more in the months to come.”

The new webpage can be found at www.travelsomerset.co.uk/structural-maintenance. Don’t forget, you can also use the site to find live travel information 24/7 and find details of all planned roadworks, including those carried out by third parties, like developers or utility companies.

Follow @TravelSomerset on Twitter for live traffic alerts and get in touch if you have any questions about travel, roadworks or the highways team in general.

Grants for health projects now available

Applications are now open for Sedgemoor District Council’s Community Health Fund, which has monies available to spend on health-focused projects across the district.

Community groups, registered charities, leisure centres, housing providers, activity clubs, children’s centres and workplaces amongst others are all being encouraged to come up with their own project ideas based on local health and well-being needs and then bid for up to £1,000 to support their project.

Projects must be focused around one or more of the following themes and must be sustainable and measurable

  • Physical Activity – increasing opportunities for, and levels of, physical activity within Sedgemoor communities
  • Healthy Eating – promotion of food growing, healthy eating, cooking skills, access to healthy foods
  • Weight Management- reducing levels of overweight/obesity within Sedgemoor communities
  • Promoting emotional and physical well-being through projects which address loneliness and isolation by engaging new people

Funding could be used to support a whole raft of projects for example new activity classes, clubs which support weight loss or reducing social isolation, teaching how to prepare healthy meals on a budget or general cookery skills. Whilst match-funding is not strictly required projects that have some percentage of match funding in place will be favoured.

The closing date for applications is Friday 21st September.  For more details or to download an application form visit www.sedgemoor.gov.uk/healthylifestyles

Could you lend a hand to help restore Somerset’s iconic fingerposts?

More volunteers and community groups are being urged to get involved with a ground-breaking project to restore historic signposts in Somerset.

In response to stretched finances, the Somerset Fingerpost Restoration Project was set up by Somerset County Council and the Southwest Heritage Trust in 2016 to help preserve and protect the signs by harnessing the goodwill of volunteers and exploring alternative funding options.

Exmoor National Park Authority, with support from the Council and the Heritage Lottery Fund, has since run a hugely successful project in West Somerset with more than 100 volunteers recruited and more than 60 signs restored to date.

Communities in other parts of Somerset have also been able to secure sponsorship from local businesses or have successfully applied for grant funding to help pay for repairs. One example is Williton Parish Council, which has secured sponsorship funding from Magna Housing to restore some of its fingerposts.

More volunteers and community groups are now being sought to get involved to carry on work that the Council no longer has the money to fund.

Councillor John Woodman, Somerset County Council’s Cabinet Member for Highways, said: “We are very lucky in Somerset to have one of the most impressive collections of fingerposts in the country.

“With the strains on our finances we just don’t have the budget to restore these beautiful signs ourselves, but this is a fantastic example of communities coming together – with help from us – to take the responsibility on.

“It proves what we already knew, that there are amazing people out there willing to give something back. We’ve also found that community groups have access to sponsorship and grants which are not open to us. I’d urge anyone with an interest in preserving these iconic landmarks to get involved.”

Back in the 1960s, councils were advised to remove all fingerposts and replace them with the modern, standardised road signs which can now be found all over the country. In Somerset, this advice was ignored, and as a result the county still has a wonderful back catalogue of fingerposts.

Somerset County Council has cared for these unofficial highways signs for more than 60 years, but having had to find around £130m of savings and efficiencies over the last eight years, it is becoming increasingly difficult to justify spending precious resources on non-mandatory services.

Somerset County Council and the Southwest Heritage Trust have produced a handbook that provides all the information required to enable community groups to decide if they would like to take part in this valuable project. It also contains a fascinating potted history of fingerposts in Somerset. You can view the handbook at http://www.somerset.gov.uk/policies-and-plans/schemes-and-initiatives/somerset-fingerpost-restoration-project/.

Exmoor National Park’s Charlotte Thomas, who is leading the Exmoor project, said: “The interest we’ve had from local communities has been just fantastic. We have teams of volunteers all over the project area who are helping out. There is even a group in Minehead who are a roving team and have helped refurbish signposts in neighbouring parishes.

“Others have kindly let me know when they have found broken fingers and we have been able to use local contractors to fix them. It just goes to show the important role these signposts play in the personal and regional history of Exmoor.”

Mike Neville and Stuart Lawrence, two volunteers from Minehead, have been busy working with others to restore numerous signposts along the A39. Mike said: “I got involved with the project because I wanted to make a difference in my local community and I’d noticed the signs starting to look scruffy.

“It’s really satisfying seeing them looking all pristine by the side of the road and good to know you’ve done your bit in restoring a local heirloom. I’ve even made a few friends along the way!”

Tony Murray, housing director for Magna Housing which is sponsoring Williton Parish Council’s fingerpost project, said: “We support the communities we are based in so we were really pleased to be able to help with this project. Fingerposts have been a part of our landscape for decades and we want to see their use continued. We really hope that other people are encouraged to join in and do what they can.”

Please contact your local parish council if you would like to get involved, or email [email protected] for further information.

Cheddar Neighbourhood Plan

Click here to view/download the Cheddar Neighbourhood Plan Report

Highway grass cutting season is underway

The 2018 roadside grass-cutting season is now underway with contractors in action across Somerset to help keep road users safe.

As the highway authority, Somerset County Council cuts roadside verges to a minimum of one metre in width to preserve visibility at junctions and bends.

This also helps the flow of water along road channels and provides a safe area for pedestrians where there is no pavement.

During all environmental works, the Council seeks to protect wildlife where this does not conflict with safety requirements.

Residents can find out more about the 2018 programme, including maps showing which roads are included and the order of works, at a new webpage – www.travelsomerset.co.uk/grass-cutting

You can also find out about hedge cutting and treatment of noxious and invasive weeds.

Councillor John Woodman, Somerset County Council’s Cabinet Member for Highways, said: “Our highways team does so much more than just fixing roads. Our grass cutting programme is extremely important and we work hard to balance the need to keep people safe with our desire to protect and encourage wildlife.

“This new webpage is a great resource for the public as it explains how the programme works and what people can expect from us through the season.”

The new webpage can be found at www.travelsomerset.co.uk/grass-cutting, while you can also stay up to date with the highways team by following @TravelSomerset on Twitter.

Parish Newsletter – Time is running out to have your say

Anyone with an interest in Somerset’s libraries has one more month to take part in the County Council’s consultation on the future of its Library Service. The consultation ends on Wednesday 13 June and more than 4,000 responses have been received so far.

Somerset County Council is keen for anyone yet to complete the questionnaire to go online at www.somerset.gov.uk/librariesconsultation, view the proposal on the future of the library they visit most often and give their feedback. Alternatively, complete the survey at your local library.

Decision makers want to know the impact potential changes to the library service would have on you, your family and communities. It also provides an opportunity to comment on the proposals and make alternative suggestions.

Councillor David Hall, Somerset County Council’s Cabinet Member with responsibility for libraries, said: “With just a month to go before the library consultation ends, I encourage anyone who has yet to have their say to complete a questionnaire and make their voice count. It’s important to us as many people as possible tell us their views on our proposals and how they may affect them before we make our final decision.”

A final decision on Somerset’s library service is expected later this year.

Avon and Somerset Constabulary: Bridgwater team launch new schools project to reduce Anti-Social Behaviour in the community

27 April 2018

Our Bridgwater team have launched a new project in schools this week aimed at reducing Anti-Social Behaviour in the community.

Neighbourhood Beat Manager PC Claire Allan is leading this exciting project and this week delivered workshops at Chilton Trinity School with Year 9 and 10 students, with Youth Intervention Officer Mandy Forsey.

The workshops look at what Anti-Social Behaviour is, how it can be perceived and how it can impact communities, and local neighbourhoods. It also explores the involvement Police can have when tackling Anti-Social Behaviour and highlighting the consequences that young people may face if they get involved in this type of crime.

Claire said “I believe it’s really important to give young people the knowledge and opportunity to make positive choices, and this workshop is designed to do that. Throughout my time working within Bridgwater I have spoken with many people who have been victims of Anti-Social Behaviour and I know how much of a significant impact this can have on not only the individuals but surrounding communities. This project is unique to our area and these workshops have been created with young people in mind, they’re engaging and it will give students the chance to think about how their actions can affect others.”

The team have also worked with students encouraging them to get involved practically by creating a video, which will be shown to other students at the school. A local student named James Gardner, has been a keen driving force acting on behalf of his peers working very closely with Claire. Having a young person feeding into the project has really helped guide Claire in the creation of these the workshops, making them engaging and interactive.

James said “When I got involved with the project I was very excited as it was clearly a great opportunity. I’m glad I got to help with something I genuinely care about and am proud to be a part of it.”

Claire plans to carry out further workshops in local schools over the coming months; they include Robert Blake Science College, Haygrove School and Bridgwater College Academy.

It’s estimated that 1800 students in year 9 and 10 will have received the workshops by the end of the year.

For any interview opportunities please contact Claire Allan direct on [email protected]

Help the Willowman

A campaign is being launched to secure the future of the iconic M5 Willow Man who strides alongside the motorway near junction 23 at Bridgwater. Created by artist Serena de la Hey in 2000 as part of The Year of the Artist, The Willow Man was conceived as a temporary structure and now nearly two decades on, it needs a complete rebuild as well as a fund for future maintenance.

Please Download the “Save the M5 willowman” Press Release

Full information can be found at https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/willow-man

Rural residents asked to share their views on police response to rural crime

26 April 2018

Rural communities are being encouraged to have their say as part of the 2018 National Rural Crime Survey, to help better understand the true picture of crime and anti-social behaviour in rural areas and the impact it has on local people who live and work there.

According to the National Rural Crime Network, rural crime is still being under-reported. Three years on from their last survey, they are keen for people who make up rural areas across the country to once again share their views on the policing of rural communities.

The feedback from the survey will be used to help shape the future of crime prevention and rural policing.  You can take part in the Rural Crime Survey by visiting www.nationalruralcrimenetwork.net/ and you have until June 10, 2018 to respond.

Avon and Somerset Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens said: “Rural crime affects the livelihoods of farmers, smallholders and rural businesses and presents some real challenges for the wider rural areas. In Somerset we have a large rural community and many people who work in farming and other rural industries. It’s important they have a voice and that the police service understands the impact of rural crime on them.

“Rural crime is already the focus of a lot of effort locally with a dedicated rural crime team, a rural crime forum which many local organisations are a part of and Farm and Horse watches across Avon and Somerset.  We’re already in a strong position but any additional knowledge from the survey will further help the police in their efforts tackling rural crime.  I’d encourage people to spare a few minutes to tell us what they think.”

Rural crime is typically associated with the countryside such as wildlife and heritage crime, farm equipment and animal thefts. However, alongside this there have also been examples of fraud and other scams, with criminals deliberately targeting isolated, vulnerable people.

If you’ve experienced rural crime in Avon and Somerset you can get in touch with the rural crime team by texting 07492 888109 or if you would like to remain anonymous, you can make a report online through Crimestoppers or by calling them on 0800 555111.

On May 1, the Constabulary are launching a new rural crime Facebook page which local people can follow. For crime prevention information you can also join your local Farm Watch by contacting the rural crime team at [email protected].police.uk.

If you’ve been the victim of crime you can report it by calling 101 (non-emergency), 999 (in an emergency) or online atwww.avonandsomerset.police.uk

Memorial Testing

Sedgemoor District Council is undertaking a programme of memorial testing and repair in the Quantock Road Cemetery and Bristol Road Cemetery in Bridgwater. The work is necessary to ensure the safety of those visiting or working in Sedgemoor’s graveyards.

Each headstone will be tested for stability and safety. If any stone is found to be potentially unsafe, the Council will take temporary safety measures and will contact family members where possible so it can be decided how to make it safe long term.

Graves and/or memorials are the responsibility of the family or relatives of the deceased.

For newer memorials, the grave or memorial should be under guarantee and the memorial mason who carried out the original installation should be able to correct any faults, if found.

Bridgwater Tidal Barrier Scheme Newsletter

View/Download the first issue here

Bridgwater Tidal Barrier Project

Please find attached, a summary of the feedback received during the Summer/Autumn 2017 consultation period.

For further information about the Bridgwater Tidal Barrier, please go to https://www.sedgemoor.gov.uk/article/1659/Bridgwater-Barrier or contact the Project Team at [email protected]