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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 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

GRAHAM PARSONS

 

Retired head teacher Graham Parsons, aged 70, has been busy going door-to-door delivering leaflets in his ward.

He is seeking election to town council for the first time.

Graham has lived in Nailsea since July 2015 and became the Neighbourhood Watch coordinator for his ‘patch’.

Before retirement for 14 years he was head of a Bristol special school for children with emotional and behavioural difficulties.

Graham said: “It is sad that the Nailsea Neighbourhood Watch has all but disappeared, but I still distribute alerts when received from Avon and Somerset Police.”

Discussing the role of a councillor he said: “The most important role of any councillor is to represent their ward and the people who make up that community.

“It is for this reason that I think it essential that at a local level the councillor lives within the ward that elects them.

“I am proud to say that I live within the ward I am seeking to represent – Nailsea Yeo.

“It is vital that the councillor is a good listener, and understands the issues and concerns raised by those living locally.

“They are the channel through which the feelings of the community are communicated to the council.

“Living within the ward and being seen out and about regularly is one important way of gaining such information.

“At a town/parish level councillors must understand the implications of any proposed decisions at District Council level which impacts their community, gain the views of those affected and if necessary, stand firm against them.

“For example, if the proposed development of 400 homes at Jacklands develops, it will be vital for the whole council to consider, but especially those of us in Yeo Ward as we are adjacent and will be greatly impacted.

“The same processes should be applied to all decision making, no matter how large or small, by the council, and the ward councillor is a vital element in that procedure.”

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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.”

JAMES R TURNER

James R Turner is a man with a message - a social media message.

He is 45 years old, a published author who for the day job works as a private banking relationship manager with Lloyds.

He has had more than 20 years in client relationship management.

James said: “I’ve lived in Nailsea for more than five years, although my fiancé Charlotte has lived here all her life and her family have been here over 50 years.

“The most important role as a councillor - having been the newest elected councillor since last September - is being available.

“I have been present at two farmers’ markets, am one of the only existing councillors who regularly communicate on local Facebook forums and have already presented to the council how I think we should improve our communication.

“The most important thing I ever learned is you have one mouth, two ears, use them in that ratio.

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“If we don’t engage open and honestly, then how can we truly represent our town?”

Since 2020 James has been a volunteer with Nailsea Community Group

Some time ago Nailsea People reviewed James’ book which can be found in our archives here https://www.nailseapeople.com/theatre-reviews/review-book-roy-wood.

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On Nailsea planning agenda

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Nailsea Action Group annual meeting is on Wednesday, April 19, at Grove Sports Club and Social Centre.

It is on the same evening as Nailsea Town Council planning committee at the Tithe Barn.

Both meetings start at 7.30pm and have the proposed massive development by Gleesons on their agendas.

NAG guest speaker is Backwell Residents’ Association chair Keith Riches who will talk about the Gleesons’ development which lies between Backwell and Nailsea running up from the railway line to Sedgemoor Close.

The 96-page town council planning committee agenda papers contained a draft report by transport, planning and highway consultants Peter Evans Partnership.

Commissioned by Nailsea Town Council it contains an assessment of Gleesons proposals for new roads south of Nailsea.

This concludes 'the development...would create additional congestion on Station Road and at the A370 crossroads' and 'it is not certain that a new road link between Nailsea and the A370 to relieve the impact on Station Road can be delivered'.

It says a new railway crossing is needed but this will be technically challenging and questions whether this is 'affordable'.

Read the full draft report as part of the council agenda HERE.

Be warned if printing out it is on yellow paper which will use up all your printers colour cartridge in a jiffy!

And it is goodbye from them

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Nailsea Town Council clerk Jo Duffy paid tribute to councillors who were no longer seeking re-election at the May elections.

Out of a council of 20, eight councillors with a combined length of service of more than a century have stood down.

Vice chair Emily Miller who is among those not standing.

She told those present on Wednesday night, April 12: “This is the last town council meeting for a number of the councillors here, but with a number of new councillors joining it is a very exciting time.”

Former chairman Jan Barber who has been on council since 1983 paid tribute to some of the long-standing councillors that she has worked alongside.

She said: “Councillors Liz Frappell, Clare Hunt, Neil Middleton and David Packham have served the town council diligently for at least two, if not three, decades each, chairing numerous committees and sub-committees, and giving many hours of their time to do their very best for the people of Nailsea.

“All will be greatly missed for their experience, expertise and good humour.”

Mrs Barber also wanted to mention Jo Hopkinson, who has only served one term but, despite illness, has been instrumental in so many town council initiatives.

Mrs Duffy extended thanks to some of the more recent members of council that will be leaving;

  • Jon Argles who has chaired the environment and leisure committee;

  • Dee Houlbrook who has chaired the community engagement committee and assisted at No 65 throughout the pandemic; and

  • Chris Watts who joined the council in 2019 and has sat as the town council representative at the Grove and NPFA.

Ms Miller joined the council via co-option in the autumn of 2020 and as well as running the climate emergency working party. In her short time of the council she has overseen the Heritage Trail, Arts Centre, feasibility study of Grove, improvements on rewilding around the town, overseen the Ask Nailsea project, ran the Big Green Weekend at the Tithe Barn, and took the lead with the tree carving projects.

Also leaving the council is the assistant clerk Lauren Moke who goes at the end of this week ‘to pursue other dreams’.

Nailsea People has sent emails to all six candidates for the Nailsea Town Council Yeo ward election on Thursday, May 4, to write a short piece about each.

This is the only ward contested.

The other wards all have vacancies which will be filled by further elections or co-options.

With decisions needed on how to spend its £4 million plus in the bank, planning applications looming from all points of the compass and requests for a neighbourhood plan this is a challenging time to be on council so a big thanks who have been brave enough to come forward.

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Attempts to rally residents into standing for parish and town councils seemed to have failed.

Here is a list of uncontested elections for Nailsea People and those living nearby. 
The full list is HERE.

 

BACKWELL PARISH COUNCIL (15 councillors)

  • Karen Barclay

  • Mo Bowerman

  • Marie Horton

  • David Lloyd

  • Robert Martin

  • Anne Morley

  • Sarah Ould

  • Hilary Power

  • Paul Ramos

  • John Sleigh

  • Bob Taylor

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

Elected unopposed

Council elections

Nailsea and nearby residents will be going to the polls on Thursday, May 4, 2023.

Not all the 35 district wards and 39 parish councils will hold elections for new councillors as some areas not enough candidates put their names forward.

Polling cards have been issued and those going in person will need to present an acceptable forms of photo ID.

Polling booths will be open 7am-10pm.

More information is available here https://www.n-somerset.gov.uk/council-democracy/voting-elections.

For Nailsea People the following wards will get a vote for North Somerset Council.

* denotes former elected councillor.

BACKWELL (one councillor)

  • Gill Boylan, Conservative

  • Sarah Ould, Independent

  • Bridget Petty, Green Party *

LONG ASHTON (two councillors)

  • Ash Cartman, Liberal Democrat *

  • Charles Cave, Conservative

  • Will Hall, Labour Party

  • Stuart McQuillan, Green Party *

  • David Oyns, Conservative

GOLDEN VALLEY, NAILSEA (one councillor)

  • Andy Cole, Independent *

  • Anita Heappey, Conservative

  • Ian Ridge, Labour Party

WEST END, NAILSEA (one councillor)

  • Derek Cottrell, Labour Party

  • Oliver Ellis, Conservative

  • James Tonkin, Independent *

YEO WARD, NAILSEA (one councillor)

  • Mike Bird, Independent *

  • Lesley Sinclair, Conservative

  • Peter Harris, Labour Party

YOUNGWOOD, NAILSEA (one councillor)

  • Jeremy Blatchford, Conservative

  • Clare Hunt, Labour Party

There is only one election for town council.

10 former counclllors did not seek re-election.

 

YEO WARD, NAILSEA (five councillors)

  • Mary Blatchford *

  • Rob Collins

  • Chloe Crispin

  • Graham Parsons

  • Anita Smith *

  • James Turner *

Not seeking re-election to town council:

Emily Miller vice chair

Jon Argles

Liz Frappell

Jo Hopkinson

Dee Houlbrook

Neil Middleton

David Packham

Chris Watts

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COUNCIL NEWS IN BRIEF

Nailsea Town Council has put any hopes of a Neighbourhood Plan to one side until the new council is elected in May.

Learning it cost Portishead £68,000+ and took more than three years to complete may have been a deciding factor!

And a detailed neighbourhood plan by Backwell Parish Council didn't stop more success planning application for the village. 

Nailsea Town Council which is in the process of swapping banks currently has more than £ 4 million in various saving accounts.

MAY ELECTIONS - district and town

  • Purdah starts on Monday, March 20, This is the time immediately before elections or referendums when specific restrictions on communications activity are in place

  • Want to be a councillor? Go along to a meeting on Wednesday, March 22, at 7pm at Tithe Barn and learn the 'do's' and 'don't' of holding public office

  • Deadline for voters to apply for ID Tuesday, April 25 - bus passes ok!

  • Thursday, May 4 - election day

To read more go to https://www.nailseatowncouncil.gov.uk/town-council-minutes-agendas/.

Council digest

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Overview of Nailsea Town Council meeting on Wednesday, February 15, prepared by Change Nailsea and posted on Facebook.

A meeting of the Environment and Leisure Committee was held in the Tithe Barn (preceded by a short Planning Committee meeting from which there was nothing of general interest to report).

Nailsea Playing Fields Association

  • -There is a mole infestation on some of the playing fields.  How to remove them is being considered, but to get professional help costs £150 per mole.

  • The ownership of Greenfield Playing Fields is being established – no particular issues apparent, just historical paperwork to be tidied up.

  • There are an encouraging number of bookings at the Grove Social Club in the coming months, and membership is currently running at a healthy 858.

Christmas Lights

  • The Christmas Lights Working Party for updating Nailsea’s Christmas Lights produced a proposal that has since been found to be impractical. Alternatives are being looked at, but it was felt that this needed to be sorted out this year as it has been dragging on for some time. There was general agreement at the meeting that expertise needed to be brought in to create something workable that the town could be proud of.

  • Revitalising the Victorian Christmas Fair was also discussed, along with the idea of using baubles made by children at No 65 to string round the Community Christmas Tree. These ideas were all taken away to be progressed.

North Somerset Council Active Travel Consultation

There is a questionnaire on the North Somerset Council website open to all residents of North Somerset with some specific items relating to Nailsea. Go to https://n-somerset.inconsult.uk/ats22/consultationHome deadline Monday, February 20.

Specific points to feed back in the response were:

  • Ways need to be found to avoid Nailsea West End becoming a rat run

  • A safe cycle route from Nailsea to Clevedon is strongly supported

  • If our current safe routes to school need improvement (as possibly suggested in the consultation), advice as to what needs to be done is required.

Cleaning of Glass Blower Statue

The statue is in need of a clean and there is some corrosion visible. A specialist has advised that it should have had annual maintenance since it was installed. The maintenance will cost £550+VAT per year, plus a one off cost to fix the corrosion. This was agreed.

Town Green Status

The land recently sold at auction on Trendlewood Way and also the land on The Perrings are both currently going through the approval process for Town Green status, which would stop any housing development in those locations. See our planning page for up-to-date information HERE.

US ambassador

North Somerset Conservative MP Liam Fox is being lined up as a candidate to become the UK’s next ambassador to the United States by the Foreign Office, according to reports online here https://inews.co.uk/category/news.

It says, ‘Dr Fox is being considered as a candidate for the role when the current ambassador steps down’.

Conservative sources told the i newspaper that Mr Fox had discussed his desire for a high-profile trade position with Rishi Sunak’s team.

However, friends of Dr Fox told i he had ‘no interest’ in the role and would ‘decline the job if offered as he wants to remain in the House of Commons’.

It is understood Dr Fox was previously offered the role as the UK’s ambassador to the US by then-prime minister Boris Johnson prior to the 2019 election and declined.

The current ambassador Dame Karen Pierce was subsequently appointed.

She previously represented the UK at the United Nations.

Historically, the UK’s US ambassador usually serves a term of around four years, meaning a new ambassador is likely to be appointed before the next general election.

A spokesman for Dr Fox said: “Dr Fox has been readopted by the North Somerset Constituency Conservative Association to be the Parliamentary Candidate at the next general election. Dr Fox has no plans to leave the House of Commons.”

However, one Conservative source told i that Mr Fox was eager for an important diplomatic role, saying: “Liam has wanted a high-profile trade gig for a while. He obviously stood for WTO Director General in 2020, and since has had his eye on another diplomatic posting.”

Another claimed that such a role could be a reward for being a prominent supporter of Mr Sunak during the Conservative leadership elections last summer.

The North Somerset MP previously served as international trade secretary for three years under Theresa May, during which time he advocated for a harder form of Brexit and stronger bilateral relations with the US among others.

Prior to this, he served as defence secretary under former prime minister David Cameron and held several ministerial roles in John Major’s government. Mr Fox also ran for the Conservative leadership in 2005 and 2016 and he has served as an MP since 1992.

In 2020, Mr Fox failed in a bid to become the director general of the World Trade Organisation, having been nominated by Mr Johnson.

And more recently his name was muted for Conservative Party chairman but he said ‘no thanks’.

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Outdoor fitness Millennium Park

Nailsea residents who enjoy open air exercise are invited to try out new fitness equipment at Millennium Park thanks to the town council.

We visited on Sunday morning but unfortunately it was raining hard so the apparatus wasn’t in use – the only activity was on the football field where the junior players flanked by a steadfast line of family and friends ignored the downpour and played on.

The free-to-use parallel bars, pull-down shoulder press, air walker, leg press and double pull up bars are for public use thanks to a suggestion by resident Sharon Colley and councillor Joanne Hopkinson who headed the working party.

The five pieces of equipment were ordered by Nailsea Town Council after a resident’s survey to find  out what people wanted.

Town clerk, Jo Duffy, said: “The survey resulted in more than 68 per cent of respondents giving a big thumbs up for the equipment to be installed and the neighbourhood open space of Millennium Park seemed to be the ideal location.

“The land is owned by North Somerset Council so the town council had to obtain landlord’s permission before we could move forward, but once that was received contractors were given the go ahead and installation was completed during the first week of January this year.“I have seen residents using the equipment already and have talked to several users who were enjoying using it.”

Council chairman Mike Bird, said: “We now want as many people as possible to benefit from this 'free gym'.”

PARK FITNESS: Pictured top Nailsea Town Council chairman Mike Bird, councillor Jo Hopkinson, resident Sharon Colley and son Peter, vice chairman Emily Miller. Below is the junior footballers and their supporters plus a close-up of the outdoor park aparatus unused in the rain

The cost of the project was £21,393, which includes the safety surfacing and installation.

  • Still under consideration for 2023 is a circular running track at an estimated cost of £23,500 and multi-use games area (MUGA) at £80,000

  • Nailsea Town Council has called an extraordinary meeting for Wednesday, February 1, 7pm at Tithe Barn, Church Lane, to approve buying two electric buses to be leased to Nailsea & District Community Transport based at Southfield Road. The cost of each bus is £80,000 however the council will be able to recover the VAT. This is followed by a community engagement committee at 7.30pm which has included in its agenda a report from the Citizens Advice Bureau. It gave advice on 106 benefits and tax credits queries in Nailsea during 2022 and two homelessness cases. CAB currently has an annual grant from the town council of nearly £20,000 while the N&DCT group gets £13,000. You can find the 36-page agenda papers HERE.

For the first time, residents in North Somerset will need to show photographic ID to vote at this year’s local elections.

Residents are being urged to make sure they are ready to vote in May by checking they have an accepted form of ID.

Accepted forms of ID include a UK, European Economic Area (EEA) or Commonwealth passport; UK, EEA or Commonwealth drivers’ licence; and some concessionary travel passes, such as an older person’s bus pass. Voters will be able to use expired ID if they are still recognisable from the photo.

Anyone who does not have one of the accepted forms of ID will be able to apply for free ID online at www.gov.uk/apply-for-photo-id-voter-authority-certificate or by completing a paper form.

The full list of accepted ID is available on the Electoral Commission’s website, along with more information about the new requirement and details of how to apply for the free ID, at www.electoralcommission.org.uk/voterID.

Electoral Administration and Guidance director Ailsa Irvine said: "Anyone voting at a polling station in England this May will need to show photo ID before they can be given their ballot paper.

"It’s important that everyone understands what types of ID they can use, and how to apply for free ID if they need it.

"You can find information about the new requirement and what to expect at the polling station on the Electoral Commission’s website."

North Somerset Council returning officer Nicholas Brain said: "With elections taking place in North Somerset on Thursday, May 4, it's important that those who want to vote make sure they have an accepted form of ID. It may seem early but checking now means you will be ready to vote in May.   "Residents who do not have one of the accepted forms of ID can apply for free ID either online or by completing a paper application form and sending this to our electoral services team."

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If you need any help with applying for the free ID or want to request an application form, contact the electoral services team at electoral.services@n-somerset.gov.uk."

Anyone who wants to have their say in the elections this May must also be registered to vote.

It only takes five minutes to register online at www.gov.uk/register-to-vote. Voters wishing to apply to their council for free ID should first make sure they are registered to vote. 

The requirement to show photo ID at the polling station, is a new requirement, introduced by the UK Government’s Elections Act which was passed last year and comes into effect for the first time this May. 

ID cards needed to vote

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OFF ROAD: Nailsea's loss is Weston-super-Mare's gain as the event goes to the seaside four times in 2023 but zilch bookings for Nailsea. Nailsea Eat Festival was discussed at the December town council meeting and although one councillor told Nailsea People there wasn't much more that could to be done at this time to encourage the street food and drink fe(a)st to return to our town centre a meeting had been arranged with North Somerset Council licensing department to discuss future events

UK government to scrap EU laws

Political plans to scrap 4,000 UK laws created while the UK was part of the EU could go by end of 2023.
These include food safety standards, animal welfare, employment and human rights.
All to be erased by this Conservative government with no replacement planned.
Under threat are safeguards equal pay for women, maximum working hours, rights for zero hours, preservation of contracts should a business be taken over, holiday pay and more all deleted.
Read more here about a bill being introduced by former business secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg who wants to sweep away all EU laws post Brexit.
Sorry this Financial Times article is behind a pay walk.
https://www.ft.com/content/a150d286-d154-4916-bfea-8d366e8c7aed

Political peeps

'One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors,' Plato

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Nailsea Town Council meetings are listed in our diary on the What's On page HERE  and full agendas, draft and approved minutes can be downloaded here https://www.nailseatowncouncil.gov.uk/minutes-agendas/

2024

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TOWN TALK ONLINE: On the page Nailsea People try to give a flavour of parish pump politics. And Nailsea Town Council is making a great effort to communicate with the electorate as one of the first appointments by the new councillors was a part-time communications and media person. Cathy East has made a great start on improving its PR and is publishing and sharing council news with Nailsea People, Nailsea Paper and its Facebook page while a new website is being constructed. The quarterly Town Talk is now printed in the Nailsea Paper and reproduced here online by Nailsea People. We were sorry to see the well-being office Jessica Brown give up her job based at 65 High Street prior to the Christmas holidays and wish her well in whatever she does next

Nailsea town councillor Robert Collins has been awarded a British Empire Medal in the New Year Honours list in January 2024.

The British Empire Medal is a British and Commonwealth award for meritorious civil or military service worthy of recognition by the Crown.

The current honour was created in 1922 to replace the original medal, which had been established in 1917 as part of the Order of the British Empire.

Rob Collins who featured in a 2018 article on Nailsea People VIP list HERE was awarded the medal for his services to young people and sport as the founder of Pass It On Young Sports, a voluntary youth organisation. 

Pass It On Young Sports is a non-profit organisation formed by Rob, to encourage young people into the countryside and into field sports and conservation. 

This is via exposure to various countryside pursuits such as marksman and target shooting with multi-shooting sports, air rifles, archery, catapults and clay target shotgun shooting and precision rifle shooting at speciality events.  

Having first taken up shooting aged just three years old on his uncle’s farm, Rob was hooked.

He spent his following childhood years hunting, rabbiting with ferrets and learning about game keeping.

Today, Rob is a celebrated countryman, conservationist, journalist and game chef.

He recently launching his seventh book,

Rob has written about everything from game recipes to tales of hunting in the field with all profits from his books put into Pass It On Young Sports.  He said: "I am very honoured and humbled to be nominated and awarded this British Empire Medal. 

"To receive such an accolade is amazing but it's always very much a team effort with my team at Pass It On Young Sports and all the members of the organisation. 

"Growing up in a farming and field sports family on one side and a city family on the other, I got to see both sides of the fence but it was the allure of mother nature that pulled me away from my city playground. 

"A passion began in me for all field sports, right from my first outing ferreting at three years old. 

"I am proud to be able to support young people to develop and love of the countryside. 

"My ultimate passions are conservation, the North Somerset region, Nailsea in particular, and giving young people an outlet to gain an understanding of nature and conservation. 

"Born and bred in the region, I love the area and promote it all I can in my work’.

As well as being a town councillor Rob is also chairman of the Somerset branch of the Masonic Fishing Charity whose aim is to bring an interactive fishing and countryside experience to people with special needs.

"This is achieved by running fishing events, both coarse and fly, at various fisheries and inviting participants from special needs schools and centres and people who have suffered trauma to come and join in."​

Town councillor BEM in New Year Honours

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  • Honours also went to North Somerset MP Liam Fox, formerly Secretary of State for International Trade and Secretary of State for Defence. He was awarded a knighthood for public and political service. Liam trained and worked as medical doctor and Nailsea GP before going into the House of Commons. He lives down the road at Tickenham with wife Jesme also a doctor. A date for his Investiture has not been announced but fingers-crossed it will be with King Charles III at Buckingham Palace.

  • Conservative Party leader Nigel Ashton whose Gordano ward includes Tickenham got an OBE for political and public service. He led North Somerset Council for many years and ives in Portishead with his partner and former councillor Felicity Baker.

  • Sam Mayhew lives in Nailsea and is assistant principal, Special Educational Needs and Disabilities, at Weston College. Sam is awarded an OBE for services to Further Education. Sam has been recognised for her commitment to supporting the Further Education sector in developing Inclusive Practice alongside staff at the college, as well as the pioneering work she has undertaken as the lead for the college’s work as one of the first ever national SEND Centres for Excellence. Town councillor Jeremy Blatchford posted on her Linkedin feed: "Congratulations, deserved for outstanding commitment and achievement."

  • Keith Walton another Nailseaite is a founder of Severnside Community Rail Partnership. Keith is awards an MBE for services to Urban Rail Transport in Bristol.

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IMAGES OF NAILSEA: You can download/read online the rules HERE. The deadline for entries of photographs taken from January 2023 to date is midnight on Wednesday, January 31, this year. Good luck everyone. There are cash prizes for the top three images which will be used on the new Nailsea Town Council website...

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DOCTORS CALLING: North Somerset MP Liam Fox was among a delegation of foreign doctors to visit the African country of Liberia. He visited Redemption hospital in Monrovia. It is seeking to rebuild its health service after many years of strife. Dr Fox said: "The staff reminded me that medicine is a vocation and not just a job. Wonderful people, a humbling experience." However, Dr Fox is not so supportive of striking UK doctors - see X (Tweet) below... 

Nailsea Town Council has a short planning committee at 7.30pm on Wednesday, January 10, at the Tithe Barn when proposals for the old library and new McDonalds are under discussion. This is what Val Clifton posted on the Nailsea People Facebook page about the McDonald's plans. She said: "Appalling. Not only will other eateries be affected...but the centre will go even further downhill. The precinct is already taken over by 'gangs' of teenagers at night. They use the play area (when it is not raining) and sit on the ground under the arches taking up floor space and playing loud music. There's the usual noxious smells, and I should imagine other drug usage (remember the dealing that went on in the International shop and on the stairs by Iceland). Some people seem pleased at the prospect of 'somewhere the teenagers can go'. Really!? Well, they've obviously not seen the mess they already leave behind. Not a good idea." This is followed by the environment & leisure committee when fears of a termite infestation has rotted the wooden sculpture on Lions Green, an allotment review and report about Tidy Nailsea/Love where you live/Pride in Our Town initiative to keep pesky seagulls out of our litter bins are on agenda! Download or read online both committee agenda papers here https://www.nailseatowncouncil.gov.uk/minutes-agendas/. A the community engagement committee on Wednesday, January 3, counciilors considered the ‘lessons learned’ following the success of the Christmas community fair including the impact on staff time and whether it should be a major activity for the town council. After discussion it was agreed to recommend to the full council that, in future, it be the enabler of such events rather than seek to directly provide them. This committee also agreed to place a contract for a new council website.

McDonald's on agenda

Image by Morten Jakob Pedersen
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Nailsea Town Council planning committee said ‘yes’ to McDonald’s coming to Somerset Square but added lots of caveats for North Somerset Council to consider before the district councillors make the final decision.

There were concerns about litter and opening hours plus an important request for gluten-free additions to its menu by councillor Ian Presland on behalf of coeliac sufferers in the town.

If adopted Nailsea would be the first community to ask for this restriction on the world's leading food service brand which has more than 36,000 restaurants in 100 countries worldwide.

Before the meeting on Wednesday evening, January 10, committee chairman Rod Lees said he was initially reluctant for anyone in the audience to speak about McDonald’s, insisting it was a property management company Praxis change-of-use application and not about the fast-food restaurant.

But with McDonald’s signage on the architect’s drawing prominent on the big screen displayed at the Tithe Barn he relented and agreed to public participation. 

The committee learned that everything used by McDonald’s is biodegradable and in other areas of the country part of staff rosters include ‘litter walks’.

During the meeting councillors Googled McDonald’s in Weston and Portishead to see what hours they were allowed to open.

The search revealed there are three in Weston and one opens 24/7!

With Nailsea public houses open until 11pm and the Kebab Kitchen open until midnight concern was expressed about not being commercially fair.

It was pointed out that McDonald’s would be surrounded by residential flats and many more likely to be built on the old Weston College/health centre site.

Fears youngsters buying takeaways and sitting on the toddler’s playground to eat their purchases would cause littler and cover the play equipment with sticky food detritus was voiced.

Environmental officials  were already asking online about what ‘vermin control’ measures will be in taken.

Retired planning officer Pauline Tillett said: “I witness on my daily dog walks along Mizzymead Road there are discarded food wrappers, drink cartons, bottles you name it, and don’t forget the pools of vomit.”

She added that the change-of-use application wrongly interpreted the legal status of takeaways while others feared the mini-roundabout on Christ Church Close would become an unofficial drive-in despite it having double yellow line.

Mr Lees counted a variety of nine takeaways already trading in Nailsea. He added if the application is approved by North Somerset Council, then CCTV on the corner should be considered a move favoured by police.

Vice chair James Tonkin said: “There is a precedent if you remember, we went through all this with Domino’s and North Somerset still approved it.”

Anti-social behaviour, noise issues and first shop to open after 5.30pm in the precinct were all concerns with a possible conflict between two new restaurant/bars in the same area, said Anthony Hobbs.

But others saw job opportunities and something for the younger people.

James Hobbs asked if there was any proof that a McDonald’s opening led to anti-social behaviour.

He said: “I don’t see it.”

The proposal is for unit 21 (the old NatWest bank) and half of 22 (formerly M& Co) to become a restaurant and takeaway with new frontage, internal layout, advertising signage, refuse enclosure and odour control.

The online application has more than 90 comments which are split 50/50 for and against.

Read more here: https://planning.n-somerset.gov.uk/online-applications/applicationDetails.doactiveTab=documents&keyVal=S598PPLPGCH00.

Council chairman Anita Smith said: “We represent everyone in Nailsea and we do have to be mindful that we have young people and young families in the community who want a McDonald’s.

“I am not sure it is in the right location; we are not the decision makers but we have a voice and we can add provisos therefore I recommended acceptance of the application.”

It was seconded by James Tonkins and surprisingly no one voted against.

It was resolved that North Somerset Council be recommended to apply the following conditions to any approval: 

  • requiring that litter be cleared within the vicinity of the premises; 

  • setting the closing time at 9pm; 

  • requiring suitable extraction filters;

  • requiring that gluten-free options be made available; 

  • requiring the minimum use of plastics and other non-recyclable materials; and

  • requiring the employment of security staff.

The conversion of former library (Class F1) to flexible commercial use (Class E).was also recommended for approved with no dissent or discussion.

The council said 'yes'

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