28th May 2019 Annual Towns Meeting Minutes

The 46th Annual Towns Meeting for the parish of Burnham-on-Sea and Highbridge
held on Tuesday 28th May 2019 at 7pm at The Old Courthouse, Burnham-on-Sea

Present: Cllr Andy Brewer – Chairman and Town Mayor of the Town Council
24 members of the public (14 of which were town councillors and 2 district councillors)
with 3 Staff and one member of the media

Minutes of the 45th Annual Towns Meeting
The minutes of the 45th Annual Towns Meeting held on Tuesday 19th April 2018 were agreed as a correct record and signed by the chairman.

  1. To receive a report from Avon & Somerset Constabulary on policing matters
    A PCSO updated the meeting on the busy year the Police had experienced and that additional officers had been recently employed. The meeting heard that the PCSO role was to patrol on foot or bicycle so as to have a presence in the area, to protect vulnerable people and also to engage with young people.

A meeting attendee commented that there had been recent suspicious activity near farms and asked whether police patrols are carried out in these locations. It was suggested that farmers join Farm Watch, which had proved to be a successful deterrent, and that the Police team would try to address specific problem areas if they receive the full details.

2. To receive the Annual Report from the Chairman of the Town Council
The chairman presented the council’s Annual Report on activities during the last year.

3. To receive a presentation from Beverley and Sarah Milner-Simmons on the Eat Festivals

The meeting heard that the festival in Burnham had seen huge changes since its inception 7 years ago in 2012. It has gone from strength to strength and now attracts crowns in excess of 20k people. The festival has worked with and encouraged and supported new start-up businesses and supported young people who show an interest in cookery or production. The organisers aim for the festival to epitomise the coming together of a community; “it is inter-generational”.

The festival organisers shared details of their most recent awards, which included winning the Somerset Business Award and the South West Tourism Gold Award for ethical business and sustainability.

Eat Festivals has a ‘no single use’ plastic policy and encourages cycling to the events.

The presentation closed with the statement, “if you want something better in your town, go and make something better in your town”.

4. Sally Hill from Livewest (previously Knightstone House Association)

The meeting heard about Sally’s works, which is predominately in Highbridge where Livewest is the main contributor to the new development off Morland Road and the old Market site.

Sally gave a summary of the work she is involved in and the local organisations she works with, stating that much of the work is with vulnerable people in the community.

The meeting heard that the Highbridge Youth and Community Provision Network is working closely with Police and councils to tap into funding streams for community initiatives.

The ‘Youth Bus’ visits Highbridge once a week and Sally coordinates and encourages the community to lead on projects that they have identified as worthwhile, recognising that different areas have different communities, needs and identities.

5. Matters brought forward by electors of Burnham-on-Sea and Highbridge

In answer to a question from an attendee regarding availability of the town crier, it was stated that the town council is currently planning updates to its website, which will include information on the role.

It was suggested that the towns could have a heritage day with financial help from the town council. The chairman responded that the council was always open to suggestions and if there was a group who would like to take this forward then the council would consider ways in which it could offer support.

In response to a question about how the council engages with the community, an attendee town councillor responded to confirm that he will be looking at ways the council could better communicate using social media. The chairman stated that the council publishes draft minutes as soon as available, action list and reports. He acknowledged that the Neighbourhood Plan would soon need review, along with consideration of how to use the Community Infrastructure Levy funds. The chairman confirmed that, first, the council will be looking at producing a corporate strategy that will include a vision and objectives for the towns.

An attendee raised concerns about the general poor state of the Burnham town centre street furniture and asked for an update on the Victoria Quarter sign. The Clerk informed the resident that both matters were on the Town Improvements Committee agenda for the 10th June.

The Chairman thanked everyone for attending and thanked speakers for their reports.

There being no other business the Chairman closed the meeting at 8.40pm.

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