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2023

At the Wednesday, November 1, meeting at the Tithe Barn, Nailsea Town Council chairman Mike Bird announced he is standing down ‘due to changing work and personal circumstances’.

Mike will remain as town and district councillor.

A new chairman will be elected at the meeting on Wednesday, December 13.

It is said to be unlikely that vice-chairman James Tonkin will want the role.

The external auditor’s report for 2022-23 gave the council accounts a ‘clean bill of health’ and work progresses on the budget for the next financial year.
North Somerset Council has asked for comments on the provision of allotments at the Taylor Wimpey Netherton Grange development which will be passed to the allotment working party to advise.

It is believed delivery of the plots could be many months away.

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New Nailsea town council chairman to be elected

Anita is new chairman of Nailsea Town Council 

Nailsea Town Council elected Anita Smith as its new chair on Wednesday evening. We send our congratulations. For an introduction to those who don’t know Anita we reproduce her original council election statement here:

ANITA SMITH

Artist and wedding official Anita Smith has lived in Nailsea since the late 60s and went to the Pound Lane junior school and Nailsea School before going on to Weston College.

She moved away for work in London and the Canada before returning ‘home’ 28 years ago.

Anita said: “I’ve lived in Nailsea ever since.

“My family live here too.”

With a background in banking Anita worked at the Police HQ in Portishead for 20 years before retiring 2017 but she still finds time to act as a ceremonies officer officiating at weddings for the Somerset Registration Service.

Anita is a commissioned artist working with mosaic and willow and a member of the North Somerset Arts Society.

She said: “I was co-opted onto Nailsea Town Council in 2019; my first experience of local government and how it works.

“I am currently sitting on the planning & environment and leisure committees, the allotments and Christmas lights working groups.

“I also represent the town council on the Forces Covenant - the multi-agency group supporting ex-forces personnel and I have sat as a town council adviser on the North Somerset Standards Committee when it meets to discuss specific standards’ issues.

“When I joined the town council in 2019 I had relatively little idea of what the council had decision-making control over.

“I honestly thought it was more - especially regarding planning, potholes and town centre rejuvenation!

“I now understand what our power limitations are, but that does not mean we don’t have a voice.

“I think we need to look at how we can better collaborate with North Somerset Council (and other interested parties) in getting the best deal for Nailsea, but also holding them to account for their responsibilities.

“I also think our four district councillors can assist better with that and act as a conduit between the two councils to ensure that Nailsea is not left out.

“I think we need better communication with Nailsea residents so they can see what we are trying to achieve on their behalf.

“I know that various circumstances in recruiting a communications officer have prevented that from happening so far, but it needs to be a priority going forward.

“As a town council we are responsible for how we spend the money we get via the council tax and we need to explain better how we spend that money and we need to show that we are doing that efficiently and effectively.

“We have a large amount of money to spend on Nailsea from the sale of land at Engine Lane and other monies - I want to see that spent wisely.

“I know that there has been consultation with residents, but we now need to progress this at pace.

“Every town councillor has life and work experiences they bring to the table.

“For example, among my personal experiences, is policing and children and young adults with special needs.

“We are not experts, just a group of individuals who feel they want to volunteer their time to work for the benefit of Nailsea and its residents to make sure that Nailsea can be the best it can be.

“There are 20 councillors around the table who vote on decisions.

“Some of those votes will go against you and what you believe in … but that is democracy.

“That is why having a representative group of individuals as town councillors is so important, representing all viewpoints of residents, but also bringing with them new and different ideas.”

This posting reached more than 4,000 Nailsea People readers.

Nailsea People previewed the meeting on Facebook: 7.30pm Nailsea Town Council at Tithe Barn when a new chairman will be elected following Mike Bird stepping down although he remains a town and district councillor. You can download the 92-page agenda papers here Town Council Minutes & Agendas | Nailsea Town Council. They contain the draft budget for 2024-25 with a predicted 5.8 per cent increase. The minutes of the Ask Nailsea committee comes under a confidential heading while decisions on how to spend the £4m developers’ windfall are still in abeyance. A meeting with Sports England and North Somerset Council to discuss strategy is planned. Eat:Festivals Nailsea is proposing to come back for three years on Saturdays, December 7 2024; tbc December 2025; and tbc autumn/winter 2026 with a flat fee of £1,500 per date from the town council budget.

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Mick Graham said: "If actions match the words it looks like we might be on to a winner - this time."

Shaun Fitzpatrick said: "Chair person or Chair Women or perhaps Leader?

First bit of advice, hurry up and spend the capital you have before the majority of the potential recipients die!"

 

Mandy Bennett said: "Nice to see you Anita - all strength to you."

Greig Difford said: "Great work Anita , lovely lady , congratulations xx."

Julian Kern said: "Well done my lovely, congratulations xx."

James Steel said: "Can’t think of anyone better suited. Congratulations Anita.  A very good day for Nailsea."

Sezzi Davies said: "Well this is an absolutely fantastic result, huge congratulations Anita x."

Alan Turner said: "Congratulations Anita. Fully deserved." 

Miriam Louise Brown said: "Excellent news. A really positive result for Nailsea. Congratulations lovely lady. Please keep us updated on how we can support in progressing some of the issues and plans outlined."

 

Jackie Thursby-Lucas said: "Congratulations, Anita. X"

Roger Smallshaw said: "Great news. Perhaps we will now have a town council leader who does not have a confused loyalty between town and district councils. Also put responsibility to town ahead of Party. Good luck."

COMMENTS FROM NAILSEA PEOPLE FACEBOOK PAGE
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In the week Bristol Airport announced an increase in car parking charges North Somerset Council is looking to balance its books by extending fees for car parking - with Nailsea's free car parking firmly at risk.

News this week from central government of the financial settlement for councils for the year ahead is leading to North Somerset Council having to consider more significant savings across council services.

The announcement does not provide enough funding to meet the increasing cost pressures the council is facing, particularly in caring for the most vulnerable children and older people in the local community.

North Somerset Council leader Mike Bell is the Lib Dem ward councillor for Weston-super-Mare Central.

He said: "We’d hoped that government would recognise the immense pressure being felt across local government and provide some much-needed support.

"They have failed to do so and their lack of funding is forcing difficult decisions in North Somerset.

“Our settlement figure is the lowest of any unitary authority in the south west.

"Excluding council tax, our government funding per household for next year will be £729 compared to an English average of £1,101.

"This is the equivalent to around £37 million less in government funding for North Somerset compared to the English average.

“All councils are in a challenging position, but North Somerset is locked into a cycle of historic underfunding that is leaving us further and further behind.”

The council has been working on a series of measures to enable it to continue supporting vulnerable people and other vital services by examining expenditure across all its service areas.

But it still needs to identify £3.2m of savings to set a balanced budget next year, on top of the £11.6m already identified.

Mr Bell added: “These are incredibly challenging times.

"We are looking at everything, and it’s inevitable that the services our communities rely on every day are now exposed to further cuts.

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Budget restraints put car parking fees for Nailsea back on agenda 

“We’re exploring introducing new car parking charges in all our towns, reducing the frequency of our black bin collections - as other councils have done successfully – and raising all our fees and charges in line with inflation.

“We will do all we can to continue to manage our budgets effectively and efficiently and to avoid the desperate measures that other councils are facing, with the Local Government Association predicting that one in five councils will in effect be bankrupt within the next year.”

The council will consider detailed budget proposals at an executive meeting on Wednesday, February 7.

No Nailsea councillor sits on the executive.

The final budget and council tax levels for the year ahead is expected to be agreed at a meeting of the full council on Tuesday, February 20.

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Nailsea Town Council tidy group has been working hard during the past three months mapping the location of litter and dog poo bins across the town.

The object is to identify gaps in provision. 

These bins are owned by the town council, North Somerset Council and some are privately-owned litter bins. 

Having mapped all the bins they could find, the group is now asking the public if they have missed any?

Go online at:

https://www.nailseatown.com/wheres-the-bin/ 

to plot the position of any missing bin not shown.

The map above shows all the spots bins have been found in Nailsea. 

If you find one that has not been mapped the council need the following information: 

  • street name; and

  • brief description of where the bin is on the street, eg outside No 5.  

If it's a dog poo bin please state if it is with or without a lid. And it would be very helpful for a photo of the exact location.

Email enquiries@nailseatowncouncil.gov.uk with an image and again with all above required information.

Nailsea town councillor Samantha Rogers said: "We have found and mapped many bins around Nailsea and it would be so helpful if the public can let us know of any bins we have missed so we can identify any gaps in provision."

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Is a litter bin near you on this map?

While the grown-up may have wished for world peace or a change of government Nailsea children had other ideas.

North Somerset Labour Party invited passers-by to hang a wish label on a Christmas tree they had put up in Nailsea town centre.
Nearly 60 people made a wish, with 19 hoping for happiness and well-being. 
Of the 58 who wished 19 hoped for a change of government, with eight asking specifically for a Labour Government. 
The rest hoped for change on specific issues important to them including: the NHS; student debt; social care; and food poverty.

But some cheerful local children with an eye on what Santa Clause may bring took a less political stance, wishing for a hamster and sweets! 
This apparent lack of political agenda didn’t stop some of them from asking for Vote Labour stickers.
North Somerset Council Labour Party councillor for Youngwood Clare Hunt was among the activists spending market day morning on Saturday, December 16, engaging with Nailsea residents. 
Residents were interested in and encouraged by the Five Missions laid out by Labour Party leader Keir Starmer in leaflets available on the stall.
Several passers-by made donations and one gentleman – previously a lifetime Conservative supporter – signed up as their newest North Somerset Labour Party recruit, communications and social media spokesman Owain Evans.
Mrs Hunt said: "We genuinely want to know the views of our residents and wish a very happy Christmas to all. 
"My hope is that 2024 will bring the changes needed so everyone can thrive whatever their circumstances."
North Somerset Labour Party vice chair Maria Scott said: "We were delighted by the support shown by Nailsea residents for the local Labour Party. 
"The highlight was being able to welcome our newest member who was previously a lifetime Conservative voter. 
"We were saddened, but unfortunately not surprised, by the pessimism felt by many towards the current Conservative Government and their failures in tackling the challenges ordinary people are facing with health and social care, poverty, and a lack of opportunity."

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Hamsters rule ok!

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Nailsea Town Council is not happy that its application to make the slope off The Perrings a ‘town green’ has been rejected by North Somerset Council.

Builders Persimmon challenged the move as Woodspring/North Somerset Council failed to adopt the open space when development in the area was completed.

The decision to reject was made after legal advice.

Barrister Rowena Meager was appointed to untangle the merits of the case for the district council planning and regulatory committee

Nailsea Town Council wanted to safeguard the land which has been in community use for more than 20 years.

Nearly 200 residents supported the application supplying evidence of dog-walking, children playing on the playground and sleighing in the winter months.

The application was recommended to be rejected by Ms Meager on two points of law concluding that:

  1. A trigger event has occurred under Schedule 1A to the Commons Registration Act 2006 so that section 15C of the Commons Registration Act applies meaning that the Applicant is not entitled to make the application and it should, therefore, be rejected. *

  2. If not rejected, the application should be refused because use of the land by local inhabitants has been “by right” and is, therefore, incapable of meeting the statutory requirement under section 15(2) of the Commons Registration Act 2006 that the use must be “as of right”. **

Nailsea Town Council chairman Mike Bird said: “I am very disappointed by this decision to reject the application for Town Green status at The Perrings.

“This decision hinges on a point of law based on what remains of 40-year-old documents.

“We put forward the proposal to protect the land for the future generations three years ago. 

“The area has been enjoyed by many people since the 1970s and has been maintained by NSC since then until very recently.“We’re unsure of the next steps as yet but continuing to protect this land as public open space is a priority for Nailsea Town Council.”

The matter is on the agenda for Wednesday, October 18, at 7.30pm at Nailsea Town Council environment and leisure committee at the Tithe Barn.

Read full council agendas here https://www.nailseatowncouncil.gov.uk/minutes-agendas/

After 3 year fight 'town green' status rejected for The Perrings

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*Explanation of what Trigger event and use “as of right” means. 

*Trigger event

Trigger events were introduced by the Growth and Infrastructure Act 2013. A trigger event can prevent an application to register land as a green. Under the 2013 Act a trigger event occurs where land is the subject to a planning application or has been identified for potential development by a local authority.

** Difference between “as of right” and “of right” use of the land ‘as of right’

“As of right” refers to a use that is lawful and does not require any permission from the landowner. For example, if a member of the public has been using a path for 20 years without any objection from the landowner, then they can claim that they have a right to use that path “as of right” 2.On the other hand, “by right” refers to a use that is lawful but requires permission from the landowner. For example, if a landowner gives permission for someone to use their land for a specific purpose, then that person is using the land “by right” 3.

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Nailsea Town Council

The next meeting on Wednesday, October 11, at 7.30pm is the community engagement committee at the Tithe Barn.

 

Communicating

Of the 91 applicants for the communications and media officer job Cathy East had been appointed. The idea of digital noticeboards doted around the town is ongoning but a budget of approximately £9,000 has been set aside. Among the gems in the 44-page agenda papers for this meeting is the news that dishwasher sump at 65 is going to be fixed.

 

Christmas fair

A Father Christmas figure with reindeers is being sought for the Christmas fair on Friday, December 1. The town centre festive event will run from 4-8pm and is being planned by councillors, council staff and volunteers led by wellbeing officer Jess Brown. It has been agreed there will be no stage (a marquee at Somerset Square will suffice), no snow machine and no parade but lots of stalls and community involvement. However, all is weather dependent and there is the dreaded job of health & safety/risk assessments, insurance cover, first-aiders and marshalls to sort out first within a total budget of £7,000.

 

Going electic

Nailsea Town Council is to lease two electric minibuses to Nailsea and District Community Transport when it takes delivery this summer. The buses have cost £177,060. Currently the terms of the lease is being agreed but NDCT is looking to recruit more volunteer drivers. The service, based at Southfield Road Industrial Estate, covers the northern part of North Somerset including the towns and villages of Clevedon , Portishead, Yatton, Long Ashton and Backwell.

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DOCTORS PARTY: Conservative Friends Of NHS under the chairmanship of Dr Ashraf Chohan held a fringe meeting at the party conference in Manchester. It is a group of doctors, nurses, paramedics, patients and activists who support PM Rishi Sunak. We don't know why the group. posted this unflattering photo top on X (formerly Twitter). It said 'we were honoured to have North Somerset MP Liam Fox join our fringe event'. Nailsea People has corrected two spelling errors. Dr Fox a former GP in Nailsea is known not to support doctors striking for more pay. Another post added 'we believe Conservatives Party has invested in NHS more than Labour historically'. 

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Priorities for people

The three biggest national issues to Nailsea people are:

  • Climate change and environment;

  • Access to the NHS; and

  • Distrust of politicians.

This was the results of a street stall poll of nearly 200 people on Saturday, September 16, conducted by North Somerset Constituency Labour Party - see slideshow top.

Local Labour Party activists spent the morning talking to shoppers to gauge public opinion on various national issues.

The climate, the NHS, trust in politicians, education, and the cost-of-living were foremost in public opinion.

Less prioritised issues included defence and security, crime, and immigration and asylum.

This comes as polls show Labour is now well-placed to challenge Conservative MP Dr Liam Fox in North Somerset at the next general election. 

North Somerset Labour Party vice chair Maria Scott said: “Many people gave us thumbs up and said they would be voting Labour.”

Passers-by were also asked their opinion on various government policies.

Nailsea residents who were asked universally rejected the Conservatives’ record on child poverty, NHS waiting lists, oil drilling, school buildings and PPE fraud.

Members of the public were unanimously against Dr Fox’s vote in the House of Commons allowing more sewage pollution.

North Somerset Council Labour Party ward councillor for Nailsea Youngwood Claire Hunt helped man the stall.

She said: "It was an absolute pleasure meeting so many folk and sharing opinions about how we can improve our town and district.

“Thank you to everyone who took the time to speak to us this morning."

ON SPEEDING: Nailsea town councillors Karen Bird and Terri Mazur pictured outside No65 Hight Street on farmers' market day answering questions from passersby. Of most concern to residents in September 2023 was the number of cars 'racing' up and down The Perrings and other roads - some of which have just 'sprouted' 20mph speed limit signs, they said. The previous month town councillors heard complaints about re-wilding and overgrown grass verges making driving hazardous at some road junctions especially at Queens Road

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ALL TOGETHER NOW: North Somerset MP Liam Fox makes a visit to Nailsea Town Council offices at the Tithe Barn. He tweeted afterwards: "Very constructive meeting focused on how we can improve public amenities in the town." Pictured from left councillors Rob Collins, Oliver Ellis, Ben Kushner, Dr Fox, Teresa Mazur, Mike Bird,  Rod Lees and clerk Jo Duffy 

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Keeping Nailsea residents in loop

An abridged overview of Nailsea Town Council community engagement committee on Wednesday, August 30, was posted on social media this week.

At the committee meeting the minutes from Wednesday, July 19, were approved and will now be posted on the council website minus the 'draft' status.
Reports/minutes were noted from:

  • North Somerset Together meeting minutes from July and August;

  • North Somerset Council Food Equality Strategy;

  • CCTV logs for May and June with locations for the jointly owner CCTV requested by the clerk;

  • North Somerset Council multi-agency carers strategy 2023-27; and

  • No.65 High Street July update.

The committee resolved to repair the automatic door at No.65 and repair or replace various emergency lights and the electrical distribution boards as per quote.
The committee income and expenditure to August 23 and its specified reserves were noted.
The communications working party briefed the committee and proposed specification for the town council’s new website will now go out for quotes which will be reviewed at the next meeting. 
It was agreed that conference style name holders with blank town council business cards be provided for councillors.
It was recommended the town council join the Armed Forces Covenant.
Hearing loops will be bought for No. 65 High Street and a mobile hearing loop for the Tithe Barn but a decision on new noticeboards was deferred.
Further details here www.nailseatowncouncil.gov.uk, or from the council offices at the Tithe Barn.

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Beaten to the post

Despite the headline it wasn't to be.

North Somerset MP Liam Fox emerged as a leading candidate to be the next defence secretary, according to a report published in The Telegraph newspaper.

But the Mail online says it is between Dr Fox and MP Grant Shapps adding their names ‘are among surprising contenders tipped to replace Ben Wallace as defence secretary'.

In the end after all the speculation it was Mr Shapps who was appointed.

PM Rishi Sunak announced his mini reshuffle on Thursday morning, August 31, and sadly for his supporters there was no new job for Liam Fox, a former GP in Nailsea..

At an informal meeting in London a few weeks ago Nailsea People was told by our man in Westminster to expect a ‘big new job announcement’ for him in the autumn.

Liam and his doctor wife Jesme live locally, down the road in Tickenham.

He backed the Prime Minister in both leadership contests last year and introduced him at a hustings event.

Also named in the running as Ben Wallace’s replacement as defence secretary was another former Nailsea resident Armed Forces minister James Heappey who is currently MP for Wells.

The next Nailsea Town Council community engagement committee is on Wednesday, August 30, at the Tithe Barn.

The public can attend and there is a 10-minute window for people to make representations.

Among the 102-page agenda papers is an updated report about 65 High Street which saw 217 visitors in July with a further 281 people attending meetings.

Some people called in to express concerns about the overgrown grass verges while others needed help with urgent social issues.

It is going to cost more than £2,000 to fix the automatic door and a further £2,000 for the testing and replacement of emergency lighting.

The format of an updated website is under discussion and the appointment of a new part-time communications officer should happen this autumn.

Identifying councillors could get easier when they sport official badges and/or landyards and are able to hand out named council business cards but first costs of a few hundred pounds have to be agreed.

A hearing loop for  65 High Street and a new noticeboard are also agenda items.

The CCTV log book from June is included in the 100+-pages.

Read more here https://www.nailseatowncouncil.gov.uk/community-engagement-committee-minutes-agendas/

Image by Marissa Grootes

Town council committee agenda

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Radical thinkers stage film show

Film director and campaigner Kenneth Loach was in Nailsea on Saturday night, July 29, at an event billed Not The Andrew Marr Show.

The 87-year-old is world famous for his socially critical directing style and socialist ideals most evident in his film treatment of social issues such as poverty (Poor Cow, 1967), homelessness (Cathy Come Home, 1966), and labour rights (Riff-Raff, 1991, and The Navigators, 2001).

The outdoor summer festival on a field at The Causeway was organised by expelled Labour Party fundraiser Crispin Flintoff.

On the big screen Oh Jeremy Corbyn: The Big Lie a 2023 documentary about the former British Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, also made by Mr Loach, was shown.

According to the Morning Star newspaper, the film documents Mr Corbyn's time as the leader of the Labour Party, internal struggles in the party, and accusations of antisemitism.

The film presents events as a conspiracy against Corbyn and the antisemitism allegations as inaccurate and it accuses Kier Starmer of campaigning against Corbyn while serving in his shadow cabinet.

During the evening Mr Loach, pictured, who lives in Bath talked passionately on the topic food poverty.

Also at the gathering were several prominent radical thinkers including David Halpin, pictured, Tony Greenstein, Chris Williamson Audrey White and many Nailsea people.

  • Details of our foodbank is included on our food and drink page HERE.

  • Nailsea Community Larder is open at 26 Somerset Square, Monday to Saturday 10am-6pm it exists to redistribute free food to stop it being wasted.

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BIGGING IT UP: North Somerset MP Liam Fox tells the House of Commons that the UK had the highest economic growth compared to any other G7 country in 2021 and 2022. In July 2022, UK exports to the European Union were not just the highest since records began. He told fellow MPs: "The Eurozone is in recession, we are not. Let us celebrate our country and her achievements."

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Nailsea newbies

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Popped into Nailsea Town Council short planning committee on Wednesday night to see how the new councillors were faring.

It resembled a new school year with lots of keen faces who are finding their feet.

Two items on the agenda interested Nailsea People.

The alcohol licence application by Ashequi Bari Numan for Posh Spice and the name for a new development off Trendlewood Way.

Posh Spice

It was decided that the North Somerset Council licencing committee should be made aware of past concerns with the High Street Indian restaurant which is currently operating a corkage scheme since losing its alcohol licence due to staff work status issues.

Committee chairman Rod Lees said: “There is history on this site and a couple of court cases…we should make the licencing committee aware of previous incidents and problems in the past to do with this premises.”

Representation about the licence can be made up until Thursday, June 29.

The Shepstones

There was a suggestion that the 24 two, three and four bed homes being built off Trendlewood Way by Acorn Property Group should be known as Clover Gardens.

This is referring to an 18-19th century field name as identified by the county archaeologist be vetoed in favour of The Shepstones.

The 3.14-acre field was bequeathed as recreational land to charities Brunelcare and St Peter’s Hospice following the death of Mary Shepstone, aged 95, in 2001.

Nailsea people thought it would be used for the benefit of residents.

Mr Lees said both the district councillor Andy Coles and chair of the local resident’s association wanted this history to be reflected in the street naming.

He said: “This land has a long history with the Shepstone family who build houses in Bucklands Batch and it is important we recognise this.”

A similar situation happened in the 1990s when Earlesfield was built and the developers wanted to name the estate Primrose Lea. Then the town council argued for local history to be preserved as this site was know locally at Miss Earle’s field.

Tree roots

A planning application by English professional rugby union player Ellis Genge for a single storey side extension to his High Street home prompted a discussion about the tall tree in a neighbour’s garden which abuts the property.

Conflicting advice from North Somerset Council tree officer about damaging roots and a TPO order was discussed.

New councillor and ecologist Samantha Rogers recommended a root prevention zone which was accepted by the committee.

  • Nailsea Town Council is to donate towards the restoration of the Clare Tavener Memorial Bench at The Grove which was completed this week by Nailsea Shedders led by Phil Wheatley. Clare’s father Steve Wilmott lent a hand and the Ring O’Bells supplied two jugs of iced juice to keep the volunteer workers hydrated!

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Nailsea Town Council news

They join these councillors already in situ:

NAILSEA GOLDEN VALLEY

(5 councillors)

  • Antony Hobbs

  • Rod Lees

  • Teresa Mazur

NAILSEA WEST END

(5 councillors)

  • * Mike Bird chairman

  • * Ollie Ellis

  • Ben Kushner

  • James Tonkin vice-chairman

NAILSEA YOUNGWOOD

(5 councillors)

  • Jan Barber

  • Karen Bird

  • Jeremy Blatchford

  • Samantha Rogers

Nailsea Yeo Ward election returned:

  • Anita Smith

  • Chloe Crispin

  • Rob Collins

  • James R Turner

  • Graham Parsons

Town clerk, Jo Duffy, said: "I am very pleased to welcome our newly co-opted councillors on to the council and look forward to working with them."

* denotes also serves on district council along with former chairman Claire Hunt who did not seek re-elected to the town council.

Further information can be found here https://www.nailseatowncouncil.gov.uk/council-team/

Image by The Climate Reality Project

Seven applications were made to be co-opted onto Nailsea Town Council to bring the council up to full strength.

With just four places available and after careful consideration at an extraordinary meeting on Wednesday, June 7, councillors voted to co-opt Mary Blatchford, James Hobbs, Ian Presland and Claire Taylor.

Mrs Blatchford who failed to get elected for either North Somerset Council or Nailsea Town Council in May joins her husband Jeremy on the town council.

We are told Mary is invaluable to the council as an auditor.

Unlike those who stood for election we have been supplied no information other than their names however with the help of social media Nailsea People has put together these scant details.

Dad James Hobbs is married to Vikki, mad about cars and went to Nailsea School and should not be confused with Anthony Hobbs who was elected unopposed for Golden Valley ward.

Ian Presland according to his Twitter heading is a ‘Nailsea resident, systems thinker and semi-retired global systems engineering consultant. Stranded in New Zealand during lockdown; now back in the UK’.

And Claire Taylor is a Nailsea mum who works in the Nhs.

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DEADLINE EXTENDED: The original deadline of  teatime Tuesday, May 16, as the cut-off for calling an election to fill four vacancies on  Nailsea Town Council has been extended. At the meeting on Wednesday, May 18, the town council voted to extend the co-option deadline and call an extra ordinary council meeting to select councillors for co-opting as it was felt the seven day deadline wasn't long enough - town council policy is to give 35 days notice.

CHAIRMEN ELECTED: At its first meeting Nailsea Town Council re-elected Mike Bird as chairman and James Tonkin as vice chairman. Mr Bird said he would serve for one further year to allow the new council to settle in to the job.

These councillors were elected unopposed 

COUNCILLORS IN SITU

NAILSEA GOLDEN VALLEY

(5 councillors)

  • Antony Hobbs

  • Rod Lees

  • Teresa Mazur

NAILSEA WEST END

(5 councillors)

  • Mike Bird

  • Ollie Ellis

  • Ben Kushner

  • James Tonkin

NAILSEA YOUNGWOOD

(5 councillors)

  • Jan Barber

  • Karen Bird

  • Jeremy Blatchford

  • Samantha Rogers

DEADLINE EXTENDED

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Executive decisions

The new coalition administration for North Somerset has been announced including its nine executive members.

Nailsea nor Backwell is represented but five councillors represent Weston wards.

However we are told good divide between north and south of the district.

The elections last week saw no single political group gain enough seats to secure overall political control, so a partnership administration has been formed between the following groups:

  • Liberal Democrats and Independent

  • Labour

  • Green

  • Portishead Independent

  • Independent

This partnership will hold 35 of the 50 seats on the council.

They executive is made up of:

* Leader of the Council – Cllr Mike Bell (Weston-super-Mare Central)

* Deputy Leader of the Council and executive member for children’s services , families and life-long learning – Cllr Catherine Gibbons (Weston Milton)

* Executive member for climate, waste and sustainability – Cllr Annemieke Waite (Winford)

* Executive member for homes and health – Cllr Jenna Ho Marris (Pill)

* Executive member for highways and transport – Cllr Hannah Young (Clevedon)

* Executive member for adult services and stronger communities – Cllr Roger Whitfield (Portishead)

* Executive member for safety in the community – Cllr James Clayton (Weston South)

* Executive member for spatial planning, placemaking and economy – Cllr Mark Canniford (Weston Hillside)

* Executive member for culture and leisure – Cllr Mike Solomon (Hutton and Locking)

 

These positions, along with the appointments to council committees, scrutiny panels and outside bodies will be formalised at the annual council meeting on Tuesday, May 23, at 6pm at the Town Hall in Weston-super-Mare.

Cllr Wendy Griggs (Yatton) is to be elected as the new Chairperson 2023-24.

Liberal Democrat leader Mike Bell said: Our Partnership Administration is committed to working together as a team to provide quality services and great outcomes for our communities.

"We will build upon the strong and effective political leadership we have seen in the past four years to make a difference for North Somerset. 

“Local people told us that they wanted councillors to work together across the political groups to get things done.

"We will try to do just that in a spirit of mutual respect and cooperation that puts local people first. I am personally very much looking forward to the next four years and leading an organisation that is so determined to deliver on its promises to our communities.”

Poor attendance at Nailsea 2023 annual town meeting

Despite the best efforts of Change Nailsea a little more than 50 people including councillors, staff and three speakers turned up at the annual town meeting on Wednesday, May 10.

This was even fewer than in previous years but not by much.

The campaigning group had been urging Nailsea’s 16,000 residents to take a more active role in the workings of the local authority and its politics.

A handful of those present came along to the Tithe Barn to question when and if the £4m windfall monies from land sales for development were going to be spent as identified in the Ask Nailsea survey.

And three speakers from among the groups given grants this year explained what they do for local people.

These were:

  1. Nailsea & District Community Transport, a not-for-profit organisation to provide a subsidised fully accessible minibus service for passengers who are elderly, frail or have a disability which makes travel by public transport difficult or impossible. The bus service will take delivery of two electric buses costing £177,060. this summer leased from the town council;

  2. Memories at The Barn a Wednesday afternoon club with activities for people with dementia and a care-partner discussion and support group; and

  3. Wellspring Counselling. Wellspring Counselling based in Silver Street provides affordable, professional counselling for North Somerset adults and donation-based counselling for young people aged 11-18.

New councillors and staff were welcomed and old faces thanked.

Experienced assistant clerk Stephen Holley, office administrator Abigail Pople-Hughes, Tithe Barn weddings and events coordinator Natalie Stadon, caretaker Rob Hepworth and Jess Brown as well-being officer based at 65 High Street and funded by the district council all join the payroll.

Chairman Mike Bird gave the annual address.

He said: “This has been my second year as chair, as well as being a North Somerset District councillor for the past four years.

“This dual role has helped the council deliver on various projects, most visible at the moment being the work on Station Road car park and the new children’s play equipment.”

He thanked all the councillors past and present who have supported him especially vice-chair Emily Miller who stepped down at the May elections due to family and work commitments.

A new role of a full-time media and communications officer is urgently needed as technology moves forward, he said.

Projects and events started, underway and completed for 2022-23 include:

  • Queens Platinum Jubilee beacon at top of church Tower

  • Black history month (another event planned)

  • Holocaust memorial

  • Installation of the flood lighting at skatepark

  • Outdoor gym equipment in Millennium Park, a project lead by Cllr Jo Hopkinson

  • In association with Suzy Riley, to the memory of her son Toby, a new play area at the Grove

  • end of High Street use of huge articulated lorries, with installation of a weight limit and speed restrictions

  • Upgrade of the pedestrian access to Station Road Car park and the adjoining service road

  • Celebration weekend for the Kings Coronation

Projects in the pipeline or ongoing include:

  • Installation of the new crossing on Clevedon Road in next month or so

  • High Street monthly farmers market

  • New LED festive lights for the town centre

Mr Bird added that after a six-year wait stalled by National Grid, finally houses are being built on Engine Lane.

He said: “The delay has been unfortunate as it’s seen a £100,000 rise in the average house price but we have already heard stories of local young couples being able to buy their first house in Nailsea on the site.

“What we would class is ‘affordable’ is very different to how young people today see the situation when they are paying £1,200 in rent a month.

“The obvious benefit from the development is the capital receipt that we will be able to spend on

Nailsea.

“Nailsea Town Council is also seeking compensation from National Grid, which could be added

to this receipt to spend on the town.

“Ask Nailsea was one of the biggest surveys we’ve ever seen in Nailsea.

“It has given us great guidance on what the town would like the money spent on.

“The feasibility projects based on these ideas progress at greatly varying speeds and levels of feasibility – obviously every penny needs to be spent correctly and where you’re considering spending money assets, care needs to be taken.”

Representatives of Nailsea Pump Track attended the meeting to express frustration at lack of progress and limited timescale left.

It was pointed out: “The only expenditure so far are the two electric buses and the Nailsea Heritage Trail and with approximately half of the 20 town councillors being new means a delay appointing people on the various sub-committees tasked with driving these projects forward.”

Nailsea world ranking downhill racer and part of the Great Britain Cycling Team Dennis Luffman, aged 19, is a great supporter of the pump track project, the meeting heard.

Nailsea resident since 1975 Antony Evans said he had been attending town council meetings since 2015.

He said; “All to often heard regret and disappointment expressed by councillors that the townspeople show little interest in the workings of the council. “

And he made some suggestions for improvements including the posting of minutes or draft minutes of meetings sooner.

Mr Evans said: “There have been many instances over the years where this has been a matter of several, if not many, weeks – sometimes months - before this happens.

“A case in current point is that the website, unless I have missed it, still awaits the draft minutes of the last town council meeting of mid-April nearly a month ago.”

He lamented the lack of AOB on meeting agendas and the perceived stifling of public participation.

The re-sited new information board didn’t win favour and the accounts need to be presented in a clearer way, he told the meeting

Mr Evans said: “Notwithstanding the good intentions of the council in establishing and maintaining No 65 High Street, its considerable cost on the public rate payer remains a concern for many residents, as is the apparent rapid turnover of staff in the Tithe Barn office.”

No65 has cost the council tax payer more than £1m in maintenance and running costs, it has been estimated.

He added: “I offer these thoughts unpejoratively in the spirit of ‘even better if’ for the future and for the greater good of the council and the people it serves.”

A Greenfield Crescent resident expressed her concern at the large proposed development in ‘north Nailsea’, which is actually within Wraxall’s boundaries, and deplored the positioning of bollards on the upgraded pedestrian area in the Station Road car park which prevents access by wheelchairs, mobility scooters and double buggies.

Nailsea Action Group chairman Matt Thomas disagreed with ex-councillor Clare Hunt’s account of the communication and negotiation between National Grid, the council and Barratts over the easement required over the underground cabling. 

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OUR PEOPLE: New faces in the Tithe Barn office are assistant clerk Stephen Holley, office administrator Abigail Pople-Hughes. On the track it is Nailsea teen Dennis Luffman supporter of the Pump Track project for Millennium Park

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LAST RESULT: Nailsea Town Council has two councillors re-elected, three new faces and it lost Mary Blatchford who like her husband Jeremy standing for North Somerset Council  failed to get election

Council May diary date

Nailsea’s annual town meeting is an opportunity for residents to have their say on local affairs and hear a report from the 2022-23 town council chair Mike Bird.

This is a ‘people’s’ meeting not a council meeting and as well as being a chance for people to raise any local issues, those attending will hear about and be invited to celebrate the council’s achievements over the past 12 months.

The meeting will also hear from representatives from organisations that have received grants from Nailsea Town Council, as they explain how the grants have been used to benefit Nailsea and its residents.

The annual town meeting is on Wednesday, May 10, at the Tithe Barn, Church Lane, starting at 7pm.

The meeting is open to all Nailsea residents and refreshments will be available.

The agenda is on Nailsea Town Council website under 'other meetings'.

https://www.nailseatowncouncil.gov.uk/minutes-agendas/

NAILSEA ANNUAL TOWN MEETING

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We're out for count

No-one in living memory can remember if Nailsea has ever returned a Labour Party councillor to the district council but on Friday, May 5, when the votes were counted, and the result announced at Hutton Moor Leisure Centre that is what our electorate did.

Former Nailsea Town Council chairman Clare Hunt a retired primary school teacher was elected for Youngwood ward with 570 votes.

It was just after 9am we arrived at the count and Nailsea People had a ‘live’ feed on its Facebook page.

Unlike previous elections no-one promised to build a swimming pool for Nailsea but there were lots of ambiguous noises about building more/less houses and every pothole is going to be filled, yep that's what they said./

Here are the highlights at the news came in on results day:

  1. Guess where Nailsea People is reporting from? Only person on press table with clipboard and pen and paper - so yesterday, bit like some of the candidates #NSElections2023

  2. North Somerset Council hope all results out by 2pm. A total of 167,290 people eligible to vote in district but percentage turnout not known yet

  3. Looking good for Oliver Ellis but not James Tonkin. Result NOT declared yet. Decider Engine Lane it seems and 30hrs+ doorstep knocking in past week despite full-time job and two young children, said dad Oliver

  4. Oliver Ellis Conservative 631, former NSC planning and regulatory committee chairman James Tonkin Independent 317, and Derek Cottrell Labour Party 232. Press were refused photos/videos of actual declaration!

  5. The fire alarm test went off so had to wait 10mins to hear Bridget Petty re-elected for Backwell. Bridget polled 1144 votes on a 48 per cent turnout. Sarah Ould Independent got 200 and Gill Boykin Conservation got 434. Bridget said: "I work very hard for my community

  6. First Labour Party candidate to be elected to district from Nailsea for 44 years as Clare Hunt wins with 570 votes against Jeremy Blatchford with 532. Sadly second defeat in a row for Jeremy.

  7. Long Ashton elect one Lib Dem and one Green.

  8. Final Nailsea result for Golden Valley ward - Independent Andy Cole is re-elected with 1027 votes. Conservative Anita Heappey failed in her third attempt to unseat Andy (still sporting relics of a black eye from accident with election placard) with just 158 votes. Labour Party candidate Ian Ridge polled 179.

So, this is our line-up for Nailsea:

 

Nailsea Golden Valley

Andy Cole (Independent) elected

 

Nailsea West End

Oliver Ellis (Conservative) elected

 

Nailsea Yeo

Mike Bird (Independent) elected

Nailsea Youngwood

Clare Hunt (Labour) elected

Historically from 1894 there were 18 rural district councils covering the areas outside the major towns and Nailsea being a small coalmining village came under Long Ashton.

In 1974 major re-organisation Somerset split and we had Avon County Council and Woodspring District Council which absorbed Weston-super-Mare Municipal Borough, Clevedon UDC, Portishead UDC, Long Ashton RDC and part of Axbridge RDC.

In 1996 the county of Avon was abolished. Woodspring District was renamed North Somerset and became a unitary authority.

Only parts of Pill and Weston-super-Mare ever returned Labour Party district councillors.

We were told the pre-war Liberal councillors were elected in Nailsea but unable to verify.

‘The Times They Are a-Changin' perhaps not a quickly as the Change Nailsea campaign group had hoped.

The make-up of North Somerset Council after 2023 elections:

  • Conservative Party – 13

  • Labour Party - 10

  • Liberal Democrats - 9

  • Independents – 8

  • Green - 7

  • Portishead Independents – 3

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WE DECLARE: From top Clare Hunt with her election agent Steve Lister, Andy Cole, Oliver Ellis, Bridget Petty. We didn't see the Long Ashton candidates and Mike Bird was away working

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VOTED OUT: Jeremy Blatchford failed to get election for the second time. Pictured with his wife Mary who is standing for town council (result not in). James Tonkin failed to get re-elected, he called in briefly at the count on route with wife Ann on route to Dorset for daughter Emma's wedding .The #dogsatpollingstations photos are on our Pet Peeps page HERE 

Heating from underfloor coal seam?

New plans to build two four bedroom homes on open space at Winchcombe Close, Nailsea, have been submitted to North Somerset Council.

The application number 23/P/0445/FUL is HERE.

This is despite a similar application being refused two years ago much to the relief of neighbours when the Coal Authority said the area that could be affected by underground mining seams last worked in 1900.
In April 2021 planners decided 'the proposed development would result in the complete loss of an area of open space which is an undesignated green space and is a community facility that makes a worthwhile contribution to the local open space and recreational use and the townscape of the area and no mitigation or replacement for this has been proposed and such the proposal is contrary to policy...'.
The application by Welsh man Furiad Ullah is due to be discussed at Nailsea Town Council planning committee at 7.30pm on Wednesday, May 3.

Our Suburban semis for green space story is featured.

  • This short meeting will be followed by an environment and leisure committee which includes progress update on our 'town greens', 'slow ways' initiative for rural walking routes and a detailed tree report by Silverback Arboricultural Consultancy on town council owned land. The 53-page agenda papers can be found here https://www.nailseatowncouncil.gov.uk/minutes-agendas/.

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Introducing the candidates

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MARY BLATCHFORD

Mary Blatchford, aged 72, is a retired accountant who has served both as a Nailsea town councillor and North Somerset councillor.

In her private capacity she helps at a local cancer club.

Mary was on the district council from 2007-19 and in her various roles was chair of audit and board member of the Avon Local Government Pension Scheme.

She has been a governor at Hannah More infant and Grove junior schools.

As a town councillor Mary was the representative at Nailsea & District Community Transport which is about to lease this summer three electric buses from the town council.

While on North Somerset Council Mary held more than 100 surgeries.

Mary said: “The town council is radically changing this year.

“Our town is changing.

“It is very important that we focus on being a town where people choose to live because they love living here.

“We have major issues like the town centre attracting visitors and residents, the inadequacy of leisure facilities and environmental issues.

“We must be aware of local need and make decisions based upon evidence, not just emotion.

“Communications need upgrading.”

ROB COLLINS

Rob Collins is a 51-year-old company boss who has lived in Nailsea most of his life and attended local primary and secondary schools.

He is the author of several international cookery books based on game and recipes from the hedgerow.

Rob is an active member of the Freemasons and heads the Somerset branch of the Masonic fishing charity.

His business Pass It On Young Sports was formed specifically to introduce young people to country pursuits and holds regular open days at Jacklands Fishing Lakes.

Rob is also a committee member of The Long Ashton And District Rifle Club.

He said: “I believe as a councillor we are the elected voice of our people, their voices must be heard.

"It's our job to make sure of this, also to make the best decisions we can for our people, village/town and district, to make sure our area is a safe, wonderful place for our children to grow up in, like the Nailsea I grew up in.”

CHLOE CRISPIN

Chloe Crispin is a 35-year-old working mum who has lived in Nailsea her whole life.

That is apart from a short period when house prices forced her and her partner to relocate temporarily to Worle to buy their first home.

Chloe said: “Three years later we were able to move back and are now raising our own family here in Nailsea.

“I work at Pelican Business Services based in Crown Glass Shopping Centre where I'm a member of its Working Parent Network and run a group for parents with children in Key Stage 1.

“Being a mum of a two- and four-year-old, I also frequent most of the local parent groups and am a part of the Golden Valley Primary School community.  

“I believe town councillors should represent everyone in the community, listening empathetically to any concerns or needs of the townspeople, while being resilient and accountable to follow any actions through.

”I believe the best council is a diverse one to ensure everyone is well represented.”

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ANITA SMITH

Artist and wedding official Anita Smith has lived in Nailsea since the late 60s and went to the Pound Lane junior school and Nailsea School before going on to Weston College.

She moved away for work in London and the Canada before returning ‘home’ 28 years ago.

Anita said: “I’ve lived in Nailsea ever since.

“My family live here too.”

With a background in banking Anita worked at the Police HQ in Portishead for 20 years before retiring 2017 but she still finds time to act as a ceremonies officer officiating at weddings for the Somerset Registration Service. 

Anita is a commissioned artist working with mosaic and willow and a member of the North Somerset Arts Society.

She said: “I was co-opted onto Nails