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Wells City Council election results

The result of the election of two councillors for Wells City Council in the Ward of St Thomas was as follows:

Peter Nicholas Harlow The Green Party 226
Rachel Humphreys Liberal Democrat 559 Elected
Sebastian Alexander Johns The Conservative Party Candidate 378
Joseph Parker Liberal Democrat 470 Elected
Sarah Caroline Powell Wells Independents 319
David Swain The Conservative Party Candidate 404

Although the turnout looks exceptional, that is a bit deceptive as each voter casts two votes – one for each vacant seat. Even so that is a turnout of more than 1,000 votes.

Congratulations to Joseph Parker and Rachel Humphreys and well done to everyone else for standing and making it a decent contest.

Meanwhile the new vacancy that has arisen in the ward of St Cuthbert will also be decided by an election rather than by co-option. Something which always strikes us as good news.

There is just one vacancy and four candidates – all political candidates – and they are as follows:

Jasmine Emily BROWNE
Liberal Democrat

Mathew James COOLEY
Labour Party

Paul Francis CRUMMAY
Green Party (however the Returning Officer notes that: the particulars of the
candidate or the persons subscribing the paper are not as required by law)

Sean David Edwin SLOAN
The Conservative Party Candidate

Beales, Yeovil to close

We reported on the 20th January that the Beales chain of stores had collapsed into administration. The administrators, accountancy firm KPMG, have been trying to find a buyer for all or part of the group.

Today they have admitted that no buyers have come forward. The company lost £3.1m for its last full year of trading and having failed to negotiate new deals with landlords, the administrators have acted to minimise the cash outflow from the business.

As a result 12 of 25 stores run by the Group will be closed in order to reduce costs while KPMG attempt to get what they can for the assets of the business.

We are sad to report that one of the 12 stores selected for closure will be the Yeovil branch. Whilst the closure will not be immediate, the writing is now on the wall. Yeovil and the other 11 branches will be allowed to trade out for “the next few weeks” in an attempt to sell off their remaining stock. After which they will shut their doors for the final time.

Staff have been told they can keep their jobs until a final closure date is agreed.

Upgrade to Police service!

The latest HM Inspector of Constabulary report into Avon & Somerset Police marks something of a sea change. In the report published today, the inspectorate graded Avon & Somerset as either Outstanding or Good in all areas.

The Inspector’s report notes “the constabulary was innovative in communicating with the public” and was well led with praise for Chief Constable Andy Marsh and Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens, who the report notes “have effective measures in place to talk to and work with, the public. This ensures that the views and priorities of local communities are reflected in how the force area is policed.”

What the public will want to hear though is that the Inspector praised the force’s success in front line policing noting “The constabulary is good at preventing crime and anti-social behaviour. It is also good at investigating crime and tackling serious and organised crime. It identifies and responds well to incidents involving vulnerable people and works effectively with other agencies to protect them.

Other areas highlighted as being good in the report were:

  • Officers and staff have a good understanding of what makes a person vulnerable and are good at identifying vulnerable people at first contact, knowing the importance of prioritising the needs of vulnerable people.
  • The constabulary manages well the risk posed by registered sex offenders, activity seeking to reduce their risk to the public.
  • The constabulary works proactively with other organisations to uncover hidden harm, to protect vulnerable children through Operation Topaz.
  • It offers a robust response to burglary, knife crime and county lines criminality through Operation Remedy.

South Somerset to host climate drop-in

South Somerset District Council Climate change is to host a climate emergency event. It will be held in Yeovil on Saturday 22 February at Vicarage Street Methodist Church, Vicarage Street, Yeovil BA20 1JB from 10am until 4pm.

If you live in South Somerset this drop in is your opportunity to come along and have your say on what you think Somerset needs to do.

We all know talk is cheap!

Every council in Somerset has declared a climate emergency.  Let us be honest that is the easy bit. fight climate change.

SSDC tell us that thousands of people have already shared their views to help shape a strategy. More talk and some writing but hopefully it will lead to action too.

So what is the event going to include?

There will be a range of activities to join in, some may sound a little odd but the aim is to get the maximum engagement. The idea is worthy if at times the description of the event sounds rather more like telling people what will happen, than seeking their advice and input!

Activities will include a family craft (?) and conservation area, an infographics area and rich picture interactive workshop which will illustrate the main elements and relationships needed to move forward with our environment strategy.

There will also be drinks available and talks from guest speakers on topics linked to protecting the environment. SSDC tell us “You will also be able to put forward your own questions on the things you care most about for Somerset’s environment.”

No space for putting forward your own ideas then?

Apparently yes, according to one of the speakers, Cara Naden.  Cara is a one time Langport Town Councillor and founder of Transition Langport. For the drop-in session she will represent Somerset Climate Action Network. This is a Somerset wide community lead organisation, helping co-ordinate community reaction to the climate emergency.

She tells us “This is an great opportunity to feedback on, and help shape the council’s actions and strategy to the climate emergency declarations.  The drop in event will also include community lead talks on topics and solutions to help make the necessary changes required to reduce our environmental impact and help adapt to the climate changes we face.”

Which is much more like it, more of a two way exchange of information than our councils are used to. This is probably why SSDC have got Somerset Climate Action Network to host the drop ins. And all credit to them for doing so.

Car Naden again “Our communities are on the front line of climate change impacts, particularly the low laying levels, so we need to address the climate emergency now”.

 If you can’t make the drop-in event, you can also tell SSDC what you think through an online survey by visiting www.somerset.gov.uk/climateemergency. There are two versions of the survey – one for adults and another for 11-18 year olds.

Woman assaulted in Bridgwater

A woman was assaulted in her own home in front of one of her children in Bridgwater on Monday (3rd February).

The incident appears to have been a case of mistaken identity.

At 5am that morning two men called at the victim’s home in Queens Road, Bridgwater. When the victim opened the door the men demanded drugs, but she was able to close the door on them.

Shortly afterwards the two men got into the property and demanded money and drugs from the victim. The woman, who is in her thirties, was pushed to the floor and one of the intruders punched her in the face, causing cuts and bruising.

One of the victim’s children came down stairs and saw the events unfold.

The men then ran off, taking with them a mobile phone they’d picked up off a table. The mobile was later found close to the crime scene.

The intruders were both described as white, one his late twenties or early thirties, around 5ft 7ins to 5ft 10ins, of medium build, short blond/light coloured hair and he was wearing a light blue hooded top. The other around the same age, more than 6ft, of medium build, with a full ginger beard (closely trimmed). One of his upper front teeth was either dirty, broken or missing. He was wearing a black beanie hat and a black waterproof coat.

Avon & Somerset Police are urgently seeking witnesses. If anyone recognises these descriptions, or has any other information which could help the Police to identify these men, please come forward as soon as possible. If you can help, please call 101 and give the call handler the reference number 5220026895.

Don’t forget to vote – Somerton

Somerton Town Council holds an election tomorrow, Thursday  6th February.

This is to elect one councillor for the Town Council and your polling station is at Wessex Rooms, Broad Street, Somerton.

There are just two candidates for election and as the town council is a non political council, they are standing on their own account not for a political party.

The candidates are:

Vince Holland

Peter Richardson

The polling station will be open as for any other election, from 7 in the morning until 10 at night. No excuses then. Please cast your vote!

Don’t forget to Vote – Wells

Wells City Council holds an election on Friday (this Friday) 7th February.

This is to elect two councillors for the Ward of St Thomas and your polling station is at St Thomas Church Hall, St Thomas Street, Wells, SOMERSET BA5 2UZ.

The full list of candidates is as per the following:

Notice_of_Poll

The polling station will be open as for any other election, from 7 in the morning until 10 at night. No excuses then. Please cast your vote!

 

South Somerset councillor resigns

The LibDem councillor for Parrett Ward has resigned. In fact according to the note on the South Somerset website, Tony Vaughan resigned on 30th January.

Mr Vaughan replaced long serving councillor and former Leader of SSDC, Ric Pallister in the 2019 local elections.

This has been a safe seat for the LibDems for a long time. Mr Vaughan won the vote in 2019 with 65% of the votes. It will be a disappointment for the ruling administration that he has resigned after just under a year.

The formal notice of the vacancy has been posted by Returning Officer (and Chief Executive) Alex Parmley. The notice states that an election will be held if 2 electors ask in writing for an election. The only problem is, the Returning Officer didn’t mention the date by which they need to request an election.

I suggest Parrett Ward residents wanting an election should get their notices in pronto! If you want that election please write to:

Alex Parmley
Returning Officer
South Somerset District Council
Council Offices, Brympton Way
Yeovil BA20 2HT

 

Martock Inquiry abandoned

A planning application for 120 houses at Coat Road, Martock was due to be heard tomorrow. This followed the controversial fashion in which the Regulation Committee of South Somerset District Council approved the application.

Martock Parish Council had been considering a Judicial Review of the decision.

The application is to build on land which regularly floods and locals have warned is inappropriate for development.

The Planning Inspectorate were due to hold an Inquiry tomorrow (4th February) at Brympton Way, Yeovil. The Leveller understands that Barratts have withdrawn an appeal against an initial refusal of permission.

Today a letter from the Planning Inspectorate case officer Helen Skinner noted only that “following the withdrawing (of) the above appeal, the inquiry arranged for 04 February 2020 has been cancelled. Please tell anyone you informed of the arrangements about the cancellation. I recommend that a notice of the cancellation is displayed at the inquiry venue. If you have displayed a notice of the arrangements at the appeal site, please overwrite the notice.”

We will keep you posted of any further developments.

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