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Spring 2019 Issue 30

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See inside for Community Events for 2019 @samchiversproperty 01761 411020

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elcome to the Spring Issue of LIFE which, in common with the season, is packed full of promise for the future. Work has started in earnest on the Town Park and a fantastic space is emerging as brambles and undergrowth are cleared. The project to re-acquire the town’s key community assets and put them in Charitable Trust, for future generations to enjoy, is coming to fruition with an exchange of contracts with B&NES in sight. Installation of new town signage is about to commence as the precursor for implementation of a wider regeneration using WECA funding with an overall pot of £1 million. In order to manage the wide range of projects in hand and the assets about to come to us, we have recently recruited a new Deputy Town Clerk. As well as all the community news, there is a round-up review of 2018 and four page pull-out detailing the main town community events for 2019 and WOW, what a line-up, with something for people of all ages. As we approach the Local Elections on the 2nd May 2019, it is a time to reflect on everything that has been achieved since the re-creation of Midsomer Norton Town Council in 2011. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank the Town Council staff and also the current Councillors who, as independents, have consistently worked so hard together as a team to bring forward and deliver such an ambitious range of projects for the benefit of local residents; projects which I am confident will have a positive impact, not just today, but for generations to come. Cllr Paul Myers Mayor of Midsomer Norton


















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The next edition of Midsomer Norton Life will be in May 2019 If you would like your group to be included in the next edition, please contact us on 01761 410141 before the deadline of 10th April 2019. If you have difficulty reading the print please contact the Town Clerk for a large print copy. You can also view Midsomer Norton Life on the council’s website at Midsomer Norton Life is produced by Ignyte Media Ltd, Unit G5, Second Avenue, Westfield Industrial Estate, Radstock, BA3 4BH Tel 01761 410141. While every care has been taken to ensure the data contained in this publication is accurate, neither the publisher nor its editorial contributors can accept, and hereby disclaim, any liability to any party for loss or damage caused by errors or omissions resulting from negligence, accident or any other cause. Ignyte or Midsomer Norton Town Council does not officially endorse any advertising material included within this publication. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or stored in any retrieval system in any form without the prior permission of the publisher.




2018 ROUND-UP it was the Wassailing, sprinkling W hether and toasting our apple trees with cider, or simply sheer community energy, 2018 was an action packed year of achievements for Midsomer Norton.

screenings. This initiative won Community Project of the year along with a host of other local people and groups recognised for their services to the community at the Midsomer Awards in June. The Town Park Master Plan was consulted on, agreed, and having secured £300,000 of funding, work actually started on this project in the Autumn to begin preparing the site to deliver a fabulous Town Park for local residents across the Somer Valley to enjoy. In addition the Town Council was recently awarded £10,000 of Lottery Grant funding to upgrade the play park facilities at West Clewes. The town’s programme of major community events, developed over recent years, really blossomed with thousands of residents overall

In the Spring, the Town Council welcomed Donna Ford, the new Town Clerk, who has supported not only the delivery of a huge range of projects, but also helped develop the staff and Council structure of new Committees. New release films returned to the town in March when the Midsomer Norton Community Cinema at the Town Hall upgraded to a fully-fledged venue on the cinema circuit. Since then over three thousand tickets have been sold covering 80 taking part in the Midsomer Arts Festival, Pride, Midsomer Norton Fayre Day, M-Fest, Twinning Exchange visit, Beating the Bounds, Carnival and the Christmas Lights Switch on. We had a BIG DIG to explore Midsomer Norton’s archaeological Medieval history. However, most poignant of all was certainly Remembrance Sunday – this year recognising the 100th Anniversary of the end of the First World.



The summer saw the opening of the New Midsomer Norton Library, the unveiling of a bench dedicated to Norman Voake in St Chad’s Well Memorial Garden and the launch of the amazing Men’s Shed Group which has gone from strength to strength.

JD Wetherspoon opened their doors in September, increasing footfall ahead of an announcement in November of a new West of England Combined Authority (WECA) fund of up to £1million to ‘reinvent’ Midsomer Norton High Street for the 21st Century.

In August the Town Hall was swathed in scaffolding as B&NES started their programme of repairs to the Town Hall. In September B&NES Cabinet Member formally signed off the Asset Transfer programme which will see the freeholds for the Town Hall, Somer Centre and Nature Reserve, along with a 99 lease on the Orchard Hall, pass to the Town Council. In November the Town Trust and Community Trust received their charitable status paving the way for completion of this 12 year project in the New Year.

As ever it is only possible to draw on a fraction of what has been achieved by our community for our community in the last 12 months, but few could deny Midsomer Norton punches well above its weight and has much to be proud of.

With the retail health of Midsomer Norton High Street an ongoing concern efforts on all fronts have redoubled to address issues as diverse as providing a public toilet at the Town Hall and improved access toilet facilities in the Hollies Modern Library to the rationalisation and design of new pedestrian town signage, recently signed off, and to be installed in the New Year.





promote local retailers on line – so that when customers google they can see the item they want is on sale down the road as well as on Amazon.


he West of England Combined Authority Committee established a West of England Love our High Streets fund at the end of last year of up to £10m to support high streets across the region. Midsomer Norton High Street is to be one of the three main schemes put forward by B&NES with a combined pot of £1 million. B&NES proposed the scheme and have since put forward three locations in B&NES – Bath City Centre, Midsomer Norton and Twerton to receive funding under the initiative. The scheme seeks to address the challenges faced by retailers, whether it be in city, town or local centres as a result of increasing competition. Originally this came from out of town shopping ten years ago but more recently the meteoric rise of online shopping has been having an even greater impact. As a result footfall has been dropping and so our town centres need to fight back by looking at what they offer both in terms of products and services and also the way they promote themselves. If an increasing amount of ‘commodity’ shopping is to be done elsewhere, the retail experts indicate that traditional high streets need to move towards doing all they can to improve their appearance and offer a more leisure experienced/service based offering. Another key requirement is to

The Midsomer Norton Shopper Survey, led by the Somer Valley Chamber of Commerce and provided by local research company Cognisant Research in late 2017, was instrumental in preparing the funding bid to WECA by providing some hard data on the challenges faced. The study showed that infrequent visitors to Midsomer Norton High Street are higher spenders, they also spend more online, but not as much as the top 25% of spenders. Eating out and clothing, together, account for around a fifth of the overall monthly spend. Going forward, the key challenge for those wishing to rejuvenate the High Street is to identify how the infrequent shoppers can be encouraged to spend more of their monthly budget in Midsomer Norton. In terms of shopping “destinations”, it was clear that online out performed all rival destinations, such as Bath, Wells, Frome and Shepton Mallet. Focusing on what shoppers say they wanted in the ideal High Street, they put good customer service, car parking and price, along with the variety of shops, as the top priorities. Whilst Midsomer Norton High Street performs relatively well in terms of customer service, when it comes to variety of shops, access to public toilets and the appearance of the High Street, these are areas where improvements clearly need to be made. Since the survey the Town Council has been doing its best to address the issues raised. A public toilet, open during office hours, has been opened at the Town Hall with signage, the new Modern Library in the Hollies has improved toilets and all the town’s facilities are now listed online. Major town signage improvements are about to


be installed and efforts redoubled to improve the state of the general streetscape. In addition, most recently Wetherspoons has opened and it is generally accepted has given a boost to footfall bringing in people from a much wider area. Overall, the aim of the WECA funding looks set to focus on three levels: • How to improve the variety of what’s on offer to shoppers, possibly learning from the experience of Frome with things like markets and pop-up shops. • Addressing the built streetscape, particularly between South Road and the High Street which offers so much potential for modern retail space at the heart of the town. • Working with shop keepers, landlords and B&NES on a range of issues including: > Online Shopping – Support should be considered for all businesses to support how they present themselves online and their Social Media presence. > High Street Appearance - Landlords and tenants should be encouraged to look at ways to decorate and repair shop frontages. > Signage – a need to be undertaken by B&NES to consider highways signage to Midsomer Norton from major routes eg from Bath, More recently the government has launched a new £675 million Future High Streets Fund which will be set up to help local areas to respond to and adapt to these changes. It will serve two purposes: it will support local areas to prepare long-term strategies for their high streets and town centres, including funding a new High Streets Taskforce to provide expertise and hands-on support to local areas. B&NES will be working with key stakeholders in the coming months to explore the feasibility of various proposals but there are certainly exciting opportunities, as never before, to secure funding to really help Midsomer Norton town centre.





here was a great turnout for the third Midsomer Norton Wassail on in early January with over 100 people of all ages taking part. Beginning with a short introduction to Wassailing, the Town Mayor, Paul Myers, crowned the Wassail King and Queen before they led the procession with musicians through the town to help wake up the apple trees in the Garden of Friendship and St Chad’s Well. At each location the Cam Valley Morris Men entranced the crowd as ever with their traditional dances. Reference was duly made to the four people the apple trees commemorate, namely David Fisher, David Strawbridge, Ted Hallam and Norman Voake. This year’s Wassail Queen was Suzie Bentley-Smith and the King, for a second year was Oliver Bird and both carried out their duties to the full and did the town proud.

After the event the Wassailers returned to the warmth of the Hollies to tuck into traditional apple cake baked at Muffins Bakers in the High Street and there was a general thanks to the Midsomer Norton Society for organising the Wassail, Terrence Macarthaigh as master of ceremonies, The Band and the Cam Valley Morris Men.






ince the Autumn local volunteer Michael Moxham, who last year led an initiative to improve public toilet provision in the town, has been working with the Town Council to improve pavement disability and mobility access in Midsomer Norton. This follows feedback from a number of local residents ranging from people who use mobility scooters and walking frames through to crutches and sticks as well as the visually impaired. This issue does not only affect people with long term conditions. People recovering from injuries or illness face the challenge of getting around and see the world from a whole new perspective. For the first project Michael has been working with Cllr Steve Plumley to address access to and from the bus stop in the Island by the Town Hall. For anyone with mobility issues getting off the bus, the Island seems to be living up to its name as there is no drop kerb to enable them to get off the pavement area. The only dropped kerb is further along outside Hobbs gun shop, but this is blocked most of the time by parked cars.

Cllr Plumley arranged a meeting with B&NES officers which Michael attended on site before Christmas and it has been agreed that B&NES will install a dropped kerb. A second site which Michael has been working to address with a local resident is in St Chad’s Avenue where the same barrier exists for anyone with a mobility issue. Whilst there are drop kerbs for people’s drives they are not suitable for mobility scooters or wheel chairs as these have anti-tipping wheels at the rear which are approximately 30mm off the ground and can catch whilst moving from pavement to road. Over time the aim is to improve pavement access and routes into Midsomer Norton so that everyone can enjoy a trip to the town centre. If you know of any other areas of the town where there are barriers to mobility similar to those described above, please contact the Town Clerk by emailing townclerk@midsomernortontowncouncil. or ringing the Town Council Office on 01761 418701.





he Midsomer Norton Town Trust is now officially a Registered Charity along with the Community Trust. As a result the Town Trust organisation, designed ultimately to manage and protect Midsomer Norton’s assets for the benefit of local people, is ready to play its role in the Asset Transfer. Whilst the Town Council is the Corporate Trustee with the 11 Councillors as named Trustees, it has been decided to create a separate Town Trust Managing Team and expand this with volunteers in order to bring in local people with particular skills to help manage the assets. Midsomer Norton LIFE recently met up with ‘The Team’ to find out more about the work of the Town Trust.

TOWN PARK, NATURE RESERVE AND ST CHAD’S WELL - Green Spaces Team This team will be focusing on the Town Park, Silver Street Nature Reserve and St Chad’s Well. Two of the members have been on the Friends of Silver Street Nature Reserve Committee and recently stood down in order to join the Town

Trust. Experienced in the issues associated with managing green space they are joined by a local resident who lives near the Nature Reserve and who is keen to work to build communication between the Reserve and local residents.

TOWN HALL, ORCHARD HALL AND SOMER CENTRE - Buildings Team The buildings team has an important role looking at the long term maintenance of three key community buildings in the town. Members include someone who surveyed the Town Hall and



so knows the building inside out. Another member is an experienced local landlord who is already helping with the Asset Transfer arrangements.

Core Trustee Managing Team: Paul Myers, Michael Evans, Richard Robertson and Brian Lawrence Operations & Development The Operations Team will largely be focused on looking at how the various assets can be best managed. Michael Moxham will be acting as a caretaker interface with the tenants of the buildings and spaces. Phil West will be very much focusing on Health & Safety issues in terms of the buildings, green spaces and events. Two representatives from Writhlington Sports Trust, will be bringing their experience of managing and developing assets in the medium to long term to the team.

Day to day management of the Trust is the responsibility of the Trustee Managing Team made up of four Town Councillors. They will be working with Bev Iles of BPB Accounting Solutions to manage the finances, oversee the production of a Five Year Plan and interfacing with the wider Board of eleven councillor Trustees. Whilst there is an enormous amount of work ahead the aim is to manage the town’s assets with a view to protecting, developing and securing them for future generations of Nortonians of all ages to enjoy.





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L-R Lynda Robertson, Michael Rich (Midsomer Norton Society), Stephen Lacey (S&D), Paul Myers and Richard Robertson (Midsomer Norton Society).


idsomer Norton is to have a new partnership to protect and promote the town’s heritage. Consisting of the Midsomer Norton Society and the Somerset & Dorset Railway Heritage Trust – the aim is to come up with initiatives to improve the status of the town’s Conservation Area and work to remove it from the ‘At Risk’ register. Stephen Lacey of the Somerset & Dorset Railway Heritage Trust explained, “The Railway Heritage Trust is totally committed to maximising the heritage value of the station and railway line. We currently have a planning application in with B&NES which, subject to approval, would also enable the investment of private funds and the application for additional public funding to realise the vision. Our planning application boldly promotes a vision to bring social, economic, health and environmental benefits to the community. The Heritage Partnership really gives us an opportunity to contribute and play a role in the context of the wider town.”

The Midsomer Norton Society, founded in 2007, has a track record of raising awareness of the town’s heritage through its programme of regular talks and original research. “We’ve achieved a lot over the years bringing back the Fayre, campaigning on planning applications, lobbying for St Chad’s Well to be preserved and generally helping people to be more aware of the history all around them. The Partnership will enable us to have a stronger voice when it comes to tackling issues such as the ‘At Risk’ status of the Midsomer Norton & Welton Conservation Area”, said Michael Rich, Chairman of the Midsomer Norton Society. It will be interesting to see how the partnership develops in the coming year as the town gets to grips with harnessing its new regeneration funding. Both parties recognise that there is a long way to go in bringing new wealth and jobs to the town and creating a better income opportunity for existing and future shop owners and businesses. However, it is hoped that the new partnership and its emerging new ideas for the town will result in the heritage shining a new light on the future.










ow best to address concerns over speeding vehicles in Midsomer Norton High Street has been investigated over the last few months by the Town Council. At a recent meeting it was decided to purchase and install an electronic sign both to record and advise motorists of their speed. The Council will purchase the most up to date electronic sign which will not only show the speed in miles per hour but also a matching smiling or angry face. Cllr Michael Rich, who is leading the work on this project said; “It is important that we as a Council do all we can to address local concerns over speeding. Whilst on the one hand it is generally acknowledged that cars can seem to be travelling much faster than they actually are, a number of vehicles do significantly break the 30mph speed limit in the High Street. As a Town Council, we particularly welcome the fact that representatives of the Midsomer Pharmacy came to our meeting

to give first hand evidence of their concerns – particularly as their shop faces the High Street”. An interesting element of the debate was that Councillors discussed the importance of thanking drivers sticking to the speed limit with a smiley face on the screen to reward their consideration as much as a frown for those breaking it. By recording the speed of each vehicle (individual number plates will not be taken) it will be possible to build up a body of accurate traffic data over time. It was also noted that the Council could use this, if necessary, to put the case in future for calming measures for a 20mph limit if appropriate. In addition, with the facility to move the sign, it will be possible to consider other known speeding locations including Silver Street and Chilcompton Road. It is hoped to complete the purchase of the new sign and organise the installation early in the spring following talks with B&NES about locating it on one of their lamp posts.




of Radstock and for some of the early work that resulted in the Midsomer Norton Skatepark.


Although the Town Council has change of use planning consent for the Park, one of New Leaf Studio’s first tasks has been to submit a further application to B&NES for what is known as Pre-App advice to clarify what works might require further detailed planning consent.

TOWN PARK fter months of preparation behind the scenes, work has now finally started on the ground to deliver phase 1 of the Town Park. One major step was the appointment of Landscape Architects to assist the Town Council and develop the outline proposals into detailed designs and specifications suitable for procuring the services of contractors to undertake the works. After a competitive tender process, New Leaf Studio were appointed by the Town Council at the end of November 2018. They were responsible for the design of the memorial gardens in the centre

Phase 1 will concentrate on providing better access to the Park from Gullock Tyning, improvements to Celebration Meadow, the surface of the riverside footpath and providing a new access between the Park and the Greenway. Ongoing management of the “Wild Meadow” to the east of the site is also planned to bring the nettles and brambles that were cut down last autumn, under control, over time, encouraging development of meadow grassland.

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Proposed access from Greenway

The River Somer running along the southern edge of the Park is one of its great assets. However the river and its flood relief tunnel also presents some challenges. The tunnel, which by-passes the river flowing through the High Street, runs below Gullock Tyning and the proposed main west entrance to the park. The Environment Agency (EA) (the body responsible for the management or rivers and flood control measures) has jurisdiction over what can and cannot be done in the vicinity of the river and the tunnel. It is hoped to provide a new garden space at this entrance, but determining what the EA will allow is proving to be quite a protracted process. Another key asset of the site is its wildlife and diversity of habitats. The intention is to protect and enhance these, but this in turn places certain seasonal restrictions on work in order to minimise impacts on wildlife. The improvements to the Celebration Meadow and riverside path include opening these areas up through removal of scrub and some of the relatively small self-sown trees. Scrub clearance has been ongoing, with Dave Paisey, the Town Warden, gradually cutting back some of the scrub and brambles. However the western portion of the Park is within the Midsomer Norton Conservation Area, so we are not able to remove trees without giving notice to B&NES. This notice was served in December and B&NES have now confirmed they do not object to the tree removals, which will commence before the beginning of the bird nesting season.


Some works will proceed on an ongoing basis, including providing a new entrance to the Park from the Greenway in the near future. It is planned to use the Celebration Meadow for this year’s Town Fayre, so rather than risk major works overrunning and preventing this, it is planned to put everything in place for the first significant contractor works in this area to commence soon after the Town Fayre. Unavoidably, some of the work may appear destructive in the short term. It may be necessary to cordon off certain areas while works take place, but the finished result will be worth it and every effort will be made to minimise disruption to existing users of the Park site, which will remain open to the public throughout. If you have not visited the Park yet, why not come along to explore the site and to witness progress. The Park can currently be most easily accessed from the west entrance at the side of the Somer Centre, by the river tunnel outfall. Alternatively the public right of way from the Radstock Road just to the west (Midsomer Norton side) of Wheelers Road, follows the river and leads to the Park. For now, some parts of the site are quite muddy at this time of year so make sure you have suitable footwear. Access to parts of the site, particularly the batch is currently quite steep and awkward (please take care), but in future phases this will be improved. It is still early days for the development of the Park, but with the river now visible from much of the riverside path and with the bramble and scrub clearance that has already taken place, the potential of the site is starting to reveal itself.

Wild Meadow following bramble clearance




TOWN SHOW 2019 This summer’s Midsomer Norton Fayre will host the sixth edition of Midsomer Norton’s annual Town Show, celebrating the creativity of the people of our town and the surrounding area. Entries are invited across a range of categories from all ages and abilities. As always there will be a number of trophies and medals to be won, but above all we hope everyone will feel a winner through the enjoyment of participating. Many people are eager to get preparing their entries already, so here is a first look at the

categories! Once your entries are completed bring a completed entry form alongside your entry to Town Show Marquee at the Fayre between 6pm and 8pm on Friday 12th July or between 8am and 10am on Saturday 13th July 2019. Entry forms - complete with the full entry guidelines, cake recipes, as well as helpful hints and tips - are available from the Town Hall or online at www.midsomernortoncommunitytrust.

TOWN SHOW CATEGORIES 2019 Section A: Vegetables 1: Three Courgettes 2: Three Beetroot 3: Five Tomatoes 4: Two Cucumbers 5: Three Carrots 6: Three Onions 7: Six Pods of Peas 8: Five Potatoes 9: Six Broad Beans 10: Three Sticks of Rhubarb 11: Three of the same vegetables not above 12: A dish of any type of the same fruit

Section B: Flowers 1: One Perfect Bloom 2: Three Roses 3: Nine Sweet Peas 4: Vase of mixed Garden Flowers 5: Arrangement using 3 tin cans (14” max. height) 6: Flowering Pot Plant 7: Table Flower Arrangement: ‘A Royal Baby’ (max. 14’’x 14’’)

8: Foliage Pot Plant 9: A Cactus/Succulent Plant

Section C: Cookery 1: Victoria Sponge (from recipe) 2: Fruit Cake (from recipe) 3: Five Scones (from recipe) 4: Five Sausage Rolls 5: Five Biscuits 6: Lemon Drizzle Cake 7: Carrot Cake 8: Chocolate Cake (including decoration) 9: Jar of Marmalade 10: Jar of Jam 11: Jar of Chutney 12: Loaf of Homemade Bread (bread makers allowed)

Section D: Men only Cookery 1: Madeira Cake 2: Apple Cake 3: Jar of Marmalade 4: Jar of Chutney


Section E: Handicrafts 1: Any item of cross-stitch/tapestry 2: Embroidery 3: Cushion in any medium 4: Item of crochet 5: Handmade Card 6: Toy – Any medium (max. 15”) 7: Hand Knitted Garment (4ply or double knitting) 8: Handicraft not in other classes e.g. pottery, wood, basketry (no kits please) 9: Woodwork – maximum size 2’6” cubed 10: Decorated Flower Pot – maximum 6” diameter.

Section F: Art & Photography 1: Photograph – ‘Eyes’ colour print not larger than 7” x 5” unmounted 2: Photograph - subject ‘Midsomer Norton Scene’ – colour print not larger than 7” x 5” unmounted 3: Photograph - subject ‘Having Fun’– colour print not larger than 7” x 5” unmounted 4: Digitally manipulated print – not larger than 7” x 5” unmounted, any subject 5: Painting in any medium - subject ‘Animals’ not larger than 16” x 12”


6: Pen & Ink Drawing – any subject - not larger than 16” x 12” 7: Watercolour painting ‘Creation’ - not larger than 16” x 12” 8: Mixed media piece – not larger than 16” x 20” NB: Sizes given for 5-8 are for the picture dimensions including any frame.

Section G: Children’s Age entry Classes 1-4: Early Years & Key Stage 1 Classes 5-9: Key Stage 2 & Key Stage 3. 1: Painted Wooden Spoon 2: Vehicle made from fruit and veg. 3: Face Mask on a Paper Plate (max. 10”) 4: Picture from 5 leaves on a paper plate (max. 10”) 5: Design a personal Coat of Arms 6: Handwriting: Jack & Jill nursery rhyme – no larger than A4 7: 5 Jam Tarts on a plate 8: Handmade Lego model – own design. 9: Colour photo: ‘Vehicles’ no larger than 7” x 5” unmounted. *Please note that all categories were correct at the time of going to print. Details in the Town Show Entry Forms are final.

This year’s Town Show has been made possible by the overall support of Midsomer Norton Town Council and the following local business sponsors: Docky’s Delicatessen, Michael Gould Estate Agents, High Street DIY, Feet 1st 4U, Barons Property Centre, Rose Crafts, Jacarandas, Sweet Pea Floral Design, Cottles, Norton Sports and Camping.





n response to growing public concern in Midsomer Norton at the level of blatant drug dealing activity on the streets of the town, local B&NES Councillors are launching a campaign to get as many local residents as possible to report what they are seeing. “A key issue is that people don’t think it is worth reporting what they see or feel that it takes too long ringing 101 and are not convinced that anyone will do anything. Again and again local residents tell me that they’ve had enough. But unless information is reported the Police will continue to lack the vital evidence they need to get the necessary authority from a Magistrate to search a premises or to be on the ground in the right place at the right time to stop and search. We’ve spoken with the Police and they are supportive of an initiative to improve the flow of information. We’re therefore asking local residents, fed up with seeing drug dealing on our streets to report what they see. We believe that by working together as a community, we can give a clear message to the drug dealers that they are not welcome in Midsomer Norton”, said Cllr Paul Myers Mayor of Midsomer Norton and B&NES Cllr for Midsomer Norton Redfield. Recognising that most people, given the drug related issues involved would prefer to give information anonymously, the organisers are recommending that anyone with information contacts CrimeStoppers UK. You can either visit and submit information online using a form or ring 0800 555111. The service is unique and designed to protect your identity – you remain anonymous because you will not be asked to reveal your name or any personal details, calls are not recorded, there is no caller line display and no 1471 facility.

Even if you give personal details, they will not be recorded. So what sort of information is useful? If you see individuals exchanging money and what looks like drugs on the street then the Police need a simple description of the activity, the location, date and time you saw it. If cars are involved try and get registration numbers. Once submitted reports are forwarded from CrimeStoppers to the local Police and it is then possible for them to build up a much better picture of local drug related activity. “Midsomer Norton is not alone in facing increased drug related activity – it’s happening in similar market towns and villages now all over the country. When reporting information through CrimeStoppers it is important to acknowledge that a police car is not necessarily going to be despatched immediately. What we want to do is to combat the problem we are facing by working together over the coming months as a community. If you see something and are suspicious, it is really important not to take the law into your own hands and if you face an emergency situation you should still ring 999 as usual”, said Cllr Chris Watt, B&NES Midsomer Norton Redfield. For individuals whose lives have become involved in substance misuse related issues and/or their families and friends, help and support is available through DHi. They provide a youth and adult substance misuse service designed to help people to make the connections that allow them to overcome their unhealthy relationship with drugs and/or alcohol. Whether people are preparing to make changes, building their recovery or wanting to prevent relapses, DHi provide free and confidential help and can be contacted at www. or ring 01761 419086.



As the organisers put up posters around Midsomer Norton to promote the ‘Enough IS Enough – Report it’ campaign, they are also looking for coordinators in other towns and villages around the Somer Valley to help.


WWW.CRIMESTOPPERS-UK.ORG Submit information using the online form or ring

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Each concert is themed and comprises pieces of music in a wide range of styles so the Trio will lead you on a musical journey throughout the year. The good news is that thanks to Midsomer Norton Town Council the concert series is completely free at the point of entry. Donations are welcomed at the end of the concert to contribute towards the costs of the series.

Fancy trying something a bit different? Well why not come along and experience some classical music right in the heart of the town?

For more information on the event phone 01761 419133 or go to

The Paradis Palm Court Trio consists of Jacquelyn Bevan on piano, Lisa Betteridge on violin and Linda Stocks on cello. Together they play a lunch-hour concert, 12.30-1.30pm, on the first Friday of each month in the Assembly Room at Midsomer Norton Town Hall.


The room is set up in a relaxed café style with a range of delicious homemade cakes available as well as tea and coffee from the Sarah Ann Bar.

‘Spring Song’ Friday 3rd May, 12.30pm-1.30pm

‘From Russia With Love’ Friday 1st March, 12.30pm-1.30pm ‘The Classical Trio’ Friday 5th April, 12.30pm-1.30pm

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FIRST THURSDAY SOCIAL This year the Community Trust celebrates the sixth anniversary of its much loved live music staple the First Thursday Afternoon Social. The event was started back in March 2013 after calls from local residents for more music events in the style of the Town Council’s popular annual Christmas Party. Since then the event has gone from strength to strength at its home of Welton Rovers FC with attendances now higher than ever before. The Social takes place between 2pm and 5pm at Welton Rovers on the first Thursday of every month and features a live music act playing a range of your favourite songs from across the decades. As well as the music there’s always a game of bingo, a raffle and plenty of cakes and hot and cold refreshments available from the club’s bar. The social is a great chance to have a laugh, meet old and make new friends and dance or simply foot tap the afternoon away. “The social has become a real highlight of the month. When we started back in 2013 we could not have dreamed it would have grown to be more popular than ever six years later” said Alex Davis, the manager of the Community Trust. “Its continued success is down to the fun and friendly atmosphere its attendees create as well as the hard work of the volunteers who make it possible. What better way to celebrate our sixth birthday event than with than The Sneakers this March?”

The Community Trust would like to extend thanks to Midsomer Norton town Council for its support of the event as well as everyone at Welton Rovers who put so much work into making everyone feel so welcome throughout the year. Entry for each event is just £3. For more information head to or phone 01761 419133

UPCOMING ACTS The Sneakers Thursday 7th March, 2-5pm Russ Matthews Thursday 4th April, 2-5pm Niteshift Thursday 2nd May, 2-5pm Bennie Vee Thursday 6th June, 2-5pm




COMMUNITY CINEMA Celebrating a Year of New Releases The last twelve months have been groundbreaking for Midsomer Norton Town Hall as it celebrates a remarkable first year of screening new release cinema. This was the first time new films were able to be screened on their general release since the Palladium shut 25 years previously. The relaunched Community Cinema – dubbed the ‘Palladium in the Town Hall’ – runs two weekends a month and has has proved very popular with local residents: it is on course to see 4000 visitors through its doors in its innaugural year. What makes this even more special is the fact this is all for a good cause. As well as offering a new leisure option for residents any profits raised by the cinema go straight back into the community. As well as funding further arts events the money raised is vital for the management and maintenance of the town’s community buildings - which provide homes to well over 100 local community groups and charities. “The project is volunteer led, with a team of hard-working members of the community working together to put the show on the road. I feel it has become a huge asset to our community. A lot of effort goes into every screening from those setting out the chairs to those working on the box office and the bar. A huge credit must also go to our volunteer projectionist who worked tirelessly to set up the new fantastic audio-visual system and has volunteered at every single screening since the relaunch” said Alex Davis, the manager of the Midsomer Norton Community Trust. Backed with the support of the local community, the Trust’s volunteers raised over £50,000 of investment to install the latest generation of digital projection equipment, create a new

ticket office and over the past year upgraded bar facilities. With the investment the single screened 110 capacity venue managed to achieve the backing of a top film distributor. This allowed the Community Cinema for the first time to be able to show new release films shortly after they were picked up by the national chains – no longer having to wait until the films were out on DVD. Tickets to screenings are just £5 for adults, £3 for children and £12 for families (2 adults, 1 or 2 children). All screenings take advantage of the HD big screen set up and full Digital Surround Sound System, with refreshments ranging from popcorn and ice cream to drinks from the fully licenced Sarah Ann Bar. For tickets, as well as the latest film schedules which are updated monthly, head to www. or phone 01761 419133. The Community Trust would like to extend thanks to all those who made this project possible. The largest grant funder has been the Ralph and Irma Sperring Trust – contributing £15,000 in recognition of the initiative’s impact on tackling loneliness and providing an affordable and accessible entertainment venue. B&NES Ward Councillors, Chris Watt, Paul Myers, Michael Evans and Barry Macrae together contributed £7,000 from their Ward Cllr Initiative Funds and volunteers from the Community Trust and the Sarah Ann Trust who were able to raise the balance for the investment.



Your Community Events for 2019 Pride

Thursday 13th - Saturday 15th June 2019 After three ground breaking events Midsomer Norton Pride looks set to return bigger and better than ever in 2019. The events will raise awareness of LGBT issues by bringing together the community through film, music, debate, baking and much more.

Civic Awards Sunday 16th June 2019

The annual Town Civic Service provides a wonderful opportunity to acknowledge and celebrate all those who volunteer in our community. Started in 2007 by the Midsomer Norton Society, the Midsomer Awards have developed into an important part of the civic calendar.

• 2019 Community Events • 2019 Community Events •

Midsomer Arts Festival Friday 5th to Sunday 14th July 2019

The 5th Arts Festival showcases the very best of visual and performing arts in our local community. Always offering a varied programme including workshops, Opera, displays of artwork produced by the community and local artists, music performances and much, much more.

Midsomer Norton Fayre Saturday July 13th July 2019

Based on the Royal Charter of 1248, the Fayre continues to grow and grow. As well as the Town Show, celebrating local creativity, there will be climbing walls, community stalls, brass bands, face painting, music workshops, bouncy castles, Punch and Judy, musical workshops and much, much more.

• 2019 Community Events • 2019 Community Events •


Saturday 13th July 2019 The fourth annual M-Fest brings live music to the centre of town. Expect a range of the best original local talent performing the best of rock pop, reggae, ska folk and more across two stages.

Midsomer Norton Carnival & Christmas Lights Switch-on Monday 11th November 2019 The largest event in the Somer Valley, Midsomer Norton Carnival is a wonderful spectacle for the whole family which raises thousands of pounds each year for local good causes. This year will also see the town’s Christmas Lights switched on as an array of fantastic floats pass through the High Street.

28 Remembrance Sunday MIDSOMER NORTON LIFE

Sunday 10th November & Remembrance Day Monday 11th November 2019 When the town will commemorate the contribution of British and Commonwealth military and civilian men and women in the Two World Wars and later conflicts.

Christmas Parties

Children’s Christmas Party Sunday 8th December 2019 Senior Citizens party Friday 13th December 2019 This year there is even more festive fun! The ever popular Over 60s Christmas party will this be joined by a fun-filled extravagnaza for local Children. More details will appear in future editions of Midsomer Norton life!


Saturday 18th January 2020 The age-old Somerset custom of Wassailing returns. Once popular throughout Somerset, the word ‘wassail’ means ‘good health’. The tradition is that people visit apple orchards and recite rhymes and sing songs to wake the apple trees in order to encourage a good harvest for the coming year.





an you remember car journeys where the continual question was ‘Are we there yet?’ Well it’s a bit like that with the town’s Asset Transfer project with B&NES after over 11 years of negotiation but the answer is YES! Following the B&NES Cabinet Member Decision on the 5th September 2018, Midsomer Norton’s solicitors, Thatcher & Hallam, have finally received a draft document to form the basis of an Exchange of Contracts. At the time of going to press with Midsomer Norton LIFE, everyone is optimistic that contracts could be exchanged between B&NES and the Town Council by the end of February 2019. This would be done at a specially convened Town Council meeting and would see the freeholds of the Town Hall, Somer Centre, Nature Reserve and Lease for the Orchard Hall transfer to Midsomer Norton Town Council and then to the Town Trust. At the same time, the Town Council discussed again their plans to gift

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the new Town Park to the Town Trust in order to ensure that it is managed and maintained for the benefit of residents of the town and the surrounding area in perpetuity. “The challenge facing community leaders has been to ensure key community assets, such as the Town Hall with its 28,000 resident visits a year, operational as ownership transfers – and that is no mean feat”, said Paul Myers, Mayor of Midsomer Norton. The Town Trust and Community Trust have been working with the Sarah Ann Trust and the Orchard Recreation Community Trust and have detailed plans in place to ensure a seamless transfer for these two buildings. The Midsomer Norton Community Association will transfer as tenant of the Somer Centre. As final arrangements are confirmed for the signing date, details will be published in the local media.

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2nd - Midsomer Norton’s Farmers’ Market, Hollies Gardens, 9am. 4th - Full Town Council Meeting at Beauchamp Room, Town Hall, 7-9pm. 6th - Ash Wednesday, Service of Holy Communion, 7.30pm, Midsomer Norton Methodist Church. 7th - First Thursday Social at Welton Rovers, 2pm 5pm. The Sneakers. Entry £3.

FEBRUARY 20th - Avon and Somerset Police Beat Surgery 10-11am at Costa Coffee in the Hollies. Come and meet a member of the local beat team to discuss local policing issues. 21st - Midsomer Norton Society. Illustrated talk “Midsomer Norton’s Governance, 1895-2018” Town Hall, 7.30pm. Members £2, Visitors £4. 22nd - Cinema: Mary Queen of Scots at Midsomer Norton Town Hall Community Cinema. 7.30pm. £5 for adults and £3 children, £12 families (2 adults,1 or 2 children). 23rd - Cinema: Bumblebee at Midsomer Norton Town Hall Community Cinema, 2.30pm. £5 for adults and £3 children, £12 families (2 adults,1 or 2 children). 23rd - Cinema: Stan and Ollie at Midsomer Norton Town Hall Community Cinema, 7.30pm. £5 for adults and £3 children, £12 families (2 adults,1 or 2 children). 27th - Business Taxation and law changes Workshop in association with the Somer Valley Chamber of Commerce, 6pm – 7pm. Midsomer Norton Town Hall. All sessions are £10 to nonmembers and free to members.

MARCH 1st - Paradis Palm Court Trio: From Russia with Love at Midsomer Norton Town Hall, 12.30pm, free entry. Donations welcome.

9th to 10th - Diesel Spring Gala featuring English Electric D1120 and BR Class 08 D4095 on duty. Midsomer Norton Station, Silver Street. 11th - Planning Committee meeting at Beauchamp Room, Town Hall, 7-9pm. 12th - Finance Committee meeting at Sarah Ann Room, Town Hall, 5-7pm. 12th - Operations Committee meeting at Sarah Ann Room, Town Hall, 7-9pm. 20th - Avon and Somerset Police Beat Surgery, 10-11am Costa Coffee, Hollies Gardens. Come and meet a member of the local beat team to discuss local policing issues. 28th - Midsomer Norton Society. “Exploring our Conservation Area and The Royal Charters” Town Hall, 7.30pm. Members £2, Visitors £4.

APRIL 4th - First Thursday Social at Welton Rovers, 2pm 5pm. Russ Matthews. Entry £3. 5th - Paradis Palm Court Trio – The Classical Trio at Midsomer Norton Town Hall, 12.30pm, free entry. Donations welcome. 6th - Midsomer Norton’s Farmers’ Market, Hollies Gardens, 9am. 8th - Planning Committee meeting at Beauchamp Room, Town Hall, 7-9pm. 9th - Finance Committee meeting at Sarah Ann Room, Town Hall, 5-7pm.


9th - Operations Committee meeting at Sarah Ann Room, Town Hall, 7-9pm. 18th - Maundy Thursday Service of Holy Communion, 7.30pm, Midsomer Norton Methodist Church. 19th - Good Friday Service, 3pm, Midsomer Norton Methodist Church. 21st to 22nd - Easter Egg Hunt. A family oriented fun day out. Midsomer Norton Station, Silver Street. 21st - Easter Day, Sunrise Easter Worship 5.45am, Easter Day Holy Communion 10.30pm, Evening Worship 6pm, Midsomer Norton Methodist Church. 25th - Midsomer Norton Society. “Delving into Christ Church College, Oxford’s, Archive” Town Hall, 7.30pm. Members £2, Visitors £4. 27th - Live Music at the Riverside – The Tracks Band.


MAY 2nd - First Thursday Social at Welton Rovers 2pm -5pm. Niteshift. Entry £3. 3rd - Paradis Palm Court Trio – Spring Song at Midsomer Norton Town Hall, 12.30pm, free entry. Donations welcome. 11th - Open Day at Bath College Somer Valley Campus.

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he Somerset & Dorset Railway Heritage Trust have submitted a planning application to B&NES which, subject to approval, would open the way for the investment of private and public funding to realise their exciting plans for the future. The Trust’s vision is to bring social, economic, health and environmental benefits to the community and focuses on a number of key areas of investment opportunity that could be attracted by the application at the station site. Firstly these include improvements to the connection the site has with the wider town and tourism, onsite experiences, the relationship with Silver Street but also as part of Sustrans cycleway through the site and beyond. Another key area is training, employment and adult enterprise through investment in education and training spaces within the tourism complex. This could potentially give rise to opportunities for the development of heritage-based skills education and business support for stone masonry, ironwork and engineering skills, conservation related to the railway line and the station, plus training, employment support and adult enterprise in the tourism and hospitality industry onsite. Improvements to health and wellbeing are also included in the scheme. The volunteers at the station site are predominantly older, but not exclusively so, and the work undertaken by the Trust for many people removes loneliness, creates community and improves health. Expanding the activities onsite and creating a 6-day presence would be a great advantage for many volunteers as well as providing full time jobs through the investment. Finally, there are improved opportunities in schools and education. Currently the site offers access for local primary schools and special schools with limited facilities for classroom learning alongside the heritage experience. The

application includes investment in onsite education facilities to improve the experience. The Trust’s proposals therefore include: • Extension of the existing maintenance shed to provide a flexible events space, cafe and dining space, lecture space and viewing space for artisan repairs, crafts and micro-brewery space. • Four new lower level units for training and education, artisan units and two others for suitable businesses. • Three new accommodation tourist units – a two bedroom and two one bedroom apartments. • New carriage and locomotive maintenance shed – providing better workshop and training space. • Additional new structures including new toilets and improvements to open spaces along with reduced parking and improvements to pedestrian spaces. Looking to the future, Mr Marchant, the planning consultant and urban designer for the Railway Heritage Trust, also sees the Midsomer Norton Heritage Partnership as key, believing that it would “create a great resource base for gathering local information to support local bids and would make good sense, in particular in respect of public realm improvements across the town, which would give rise for activities to spill out more successfully across the streets from surrounding buildings, creating vibrancy and raising the bar in terms of Midsomer Norton becoming a destination of choice for leisure shopping and tourism.” For further details of the Somerset & Dorset Railway Heritage Trust visit

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ay the words ‘Health & Safety’, and you may say you believe we now live in a world where it has gone mad! However, this is an important issue for our community groups regarding regular activities or major town events to ensure that people are safe. While the media is full of stories of ‘silly bureaucrats’ introducing rules and even laws to make ordinary people’s lives more difficult the actual figures make interesting reading when it comes to the workplace. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) figures show that between April 2013 and March 2014 in Britain 133 people died in workplace accidents - 17 less than the previous year, 42 less than 2010/11, 46 less than 2008/09 and the lowest number since records began. All this equates to one of the best safety records in Europe. Would we really want to go back to a culture of safety that produced the Norton Hill Pit Disaster in 1908? In any case, Health & Safety for community events is surely good practice. Phil West, who chairs the Midsomer Norton Fayre Committee, is a retired Police Inspector who specialised in major incident and big event training. He is now bringing this experience to the town’s events. In the past he has carried out the risk assessment for training in aspects such as dealing with petrol bombing or managing large crowds. He has also taught command principles to senior police officers at major events and incidents. This gives him an interesting perspective on health and safety on the ground in Midsomer Norton. “The whole issue of health and safety doesn’t have to be complicated, expensive or take up lots of time. At its heart, it’s all about taking reasonable steps to prevent accidents happening and it’s

founded on common sense and preparation which people have been doing since time immemorial”. “Take the Town Fayre for example, which is a preplanned event that should run according to a prearranged schedule. As Chair of the Committee for an event which attracts thousands of people, it’s important to have a clear plan - who’s doing what, when, where and how. We meet every month of the year to plan the event. This makes it possible to consider things that might potentially cause an accident and prepare for them in the form of a ‘risk assessment’. Now, these two words fill people with dread but think about any simple job in the home we embark on – surely most people mull it over beforehand and check they have the tools, the materials and generally how not to hurt themselves or others. On a big event like the Fayre, it’s pretty much the same. That said when we are running an event with so many people involved having pre-empted as many issues as we can means we are more able to deal with the unexpected incident. So, for example, having First Aiders on hand means we are ready to deal with the predictable such as someone being taken ill at the event. However, if at the same time a market stall collapsed, we could focus all our efforts on this”, said Phil West. At community events there is also a role for the public to play as events in Midsomer Norton are run for the community by the community. So, it’s really important that attendees at M-Fest, for example, put their empty drinks bottles in the bins provided rather than simply dropping them or worse still smashing them on the street, creating a hazard. It’s a small contribution but an important one.





fter a hesitant start to the season Welton soon got into their stride with some excellent performances and by the end of October Welton were sitting proudly on top of the league. However, as is so often the way in football, the Autumn saw positive results drop off and the injury list grow. There appeared to be trouble in the camp and this culminated in bottom club Portishead doing the double over Welton. All this uncertainty led to Clive Scott leaving Welton by mutual agreement in December and he was replaced in the short term by Welton Stalwart Nick Beaverstock, in a caretaker role. The reserves have had a steady season so far and sit comfortably in mid table in the Somerset League Division 1 and Welton Under 18’s have had a great campaign. Currently lying third in the league with some quality results they have one more game left and a win will secure third place. These are all local youngsters and it is pleasing to see them getting their rewards for the effort and commitment they have put in. The function room is in constant use by local families for their “do’s” and the club are also putting on special themed music nights for the local community to join in. The two skittle alleys are in constant use during the week by local skittle teams and also during the close season for summer skittles. All this is possible thanks to the hard work and dedication of The Directors of the Club and the many volunteers who keep the Clubhouse and Welton Rovers going on a weekly basis. Up at Norton Down, a successful start to the 2018/19 season has seen Midsomer Norton’s First Team mostly hold their position at the top of the table.

Martin Blackmore, First Team Coach: “Maximum points at home and just two away losses to Stroud and Chew Valley have resulted in Midsomer Norton sitting on top of the Tribute Western Counties North League at Christmas, with 59 points. The team has continued its wining form into the New year with a victory at Clevedon and a last kick of the game win against Gordano. “There have been many highlights, including winning at Old Bristolians whilst playing nearly the whole game with fourteen players, and fine performances against the likes of Matson and Avonmouth at home, where the crowd were treated to a high-tempo and entertaining style of play. There are too many names to mention everyone, because all the proud Mendip warriors who have earned the honour of wearing the shirt have put their body on the line and deserve their rewards. Ian Tiley, Director of Rugby: “The Seconds have not been at their most consistent, but at Christmas still sat in second place in Somerset Two North, within touching distance of the league leaders, Bristol Telephones. “The team has welcomed back prop, Fraser Button, this season, and he is boosting their already impressive scrum. A few narrow losses have hampered them so far this season, which they may come to regret come the end of season, but all-inall, they have been very competitive and look to take this form forward into the New Year. The third team have had a mixed season so far results wise, but the numbers have been excellent, proving that local rugby still has a thriving future. The real positives are the number of young players in the ranks who have begun the transition from Colts to Senior rugby with ease. Many now will


hopefully progress up the teams, to achieve the ultimate aim of first team rugby. The old stalwarts continue to provide a breeding ground for young talent, with the Bath Combination Merit table providing an excellent opportunity for all abilities to come together into one team. “The club would like to thank all of the supporters who come to cheer us on and put a few beers away for good measure. The players are under no illusions of how deep they will have to dig to continue to improve into the New Year and are very much up for the challenge.” The annual meeting of Midsomer Norton Cricket Club in December started on a sad note with a minute’s silence to mark the passing of Henry Thomas. Henry was a playing member for many years and served the club in many other capacities. He will be sorely missed by all. In addition to receiving reports on the club’s playing activities, members also received updates on plans for the new changing rooms and the club’s Outfield Music Festival on Sunday 25 August 2019. The event will build on the success of the Friday night family socials with plenty of activities and entertainment for families and their children. In addition to providing a great day out for members of the local community, the festival will help raise money for the new changing facilities. Work on the new changing rooms starts in January and will be completed in time for the start of the new season. First team skipper Nick Pang reported on the positive response to playing at a higher level following promotion in 2017. With seven wins and seven defeats, the team secured their place in WEPL Prem 2 for 2019 and new recruits are already being arranged for next season. For the Second XI, Neil Brooks reported that thirteen victories had helped the team finish third in their division but the fact that four out of five defeats were to the two teams finishing higher told its own story. Jennie Webb, captain of Midsomer Mavericks, the club’s women’s team, told the meeting that unbelievable progress had been made in a very short time. In 2018 the club softball festival was a


great success and the Mavericks became the first Somerset county softball champions. Plans are being made to find additional coaching support in 2019. Along with the team captains, chairman Graeme King thanked all those who support the club in preparing pitches, making match day teas and refreshments and scoring. The 2018-19 hockey season so far has seen a great deal of activity for Mendip hockey club, both on and off the field. Despite the potential difficulties that venue changes could have brought, Mendip’s on-field fortunes have been overwhelmingly positive. The Men’s first team have strung together a winning streak that has lifted them to third in Central 2 and a fighting chance of promotion, while the Ladies 1sts have put in some excellent performances as they seek a top-three finish in WCWHL Central. The lower division teams in both the Men’s and Ladies sections continue to consolidate their league positions and provide an excellent breeding ground for the next generation. If this report has wetted your sporting appetite, tune in to Somer Valley FM every Saturday at 4pm on 97.5FM for all the latest news from Welton Rovers, Midsomer Norton Cricket Club and Midsomer Norton Rugby Club, along with a host of our other local and professional teams. Special thanks go to Charlie Matthews, Carrie Tiley, Bob Allard and Neil Denning for their contributions towards this article.





f you live in Midsomer Norton you will pay for the services provided by Bath and North East Somerset (B&NES) Council, the Town Council, Avon Fire Authority and Avon and Somerset Police in one single charge – usually referred to as your Council Tax. The actual amount that you pay depends on the property that you live in and the number of adults that live there. Each property has been put into one of 8 valuation bands, according to what it was worth on 1st April 1991. This valuation was completed by the Valuation Office Agency, which is part of HM Revenue & Customs and not the Town or B&NES Councils. The band your home is in is shown on the front of your Council Tax bill. If you’re on a low income you can qualify for Council Tax Support. This reduces the amount of Council Tax you have to pay and will be taken straight off your bill. If you’re renting your home, you may also be able to claim Housing Benefit. For the purposes of this article we will explain how the Council Tax for an average property in Council Tax Band D (with two adults) is calculated and what the Town Council’s costs and income are. For 2019/20 a Band A household with two adults would have paid about two-thirds of the band D rate and a Band H would have paid twice the Band D rate. The Council Tax for 2019/20 will be calculated by B&NES Council and your bill is usually sent out in March each year. SO HOW IS THE TOWN COUNCIL ELEMENT OF COUNCIL TAX WORKED OUT? The amount of Council Tax collected for Town and Parish Councils is usually referred to as the Precept. Midsomer Norton Town Council sets a Budget at its meeting every February and then agrees how to raise the funds required to meet that budget by setting a level for the Precept. The total income

required by the Town Council is shared amongst the total number of households paying Council Tax. SO WHAT IS THE TOWN COUNCIL BUDGET AND PRECEPT FOR 2019/20? Once again, our budget considerations have required some compromises. We have lost £6400 from the final reduction from B&NES of the Local Council tax Support. This is equivalent to 1.8% of the previous precept income. The Council has to make up this loss and recommends continuing with its plans to enhance the town and progress the asset transfer and town park improvements. The council has already agreed to increase the staffing levels to provide more officer time so that time can be given to seeing the major projects through and then keeping up with the increased day to day activities that the Town’s assets will need. The projected costs for the staff and running the office increase the budget spend by £36k. In order to fund this, other council expenditure has been revised. The main changes are: • Rolling Capital Fund to remain in balance • Arts Festival contribution to reduce to £2500 (from £5000) • Christmas events funding to be removed (saving £6250) • Christmas social events increased to £4000 (from £2000) • Summer events funding increased to £16000 (from £15000) • MSN Community Trust Support funding reduced to £12500 (from £15000) • Youth Activities and Youth Democracy increased to £10500 (from £8000) • Town Environment staffing to help fund more hours dealing with community space issues


The council has also approved funding for the Town Trust to take on the town’s new buildings and spaces which we are hoping will finally be transferred shortly. This funding (£25000) will come from reserves which have been built up over the last few years for Town Hall related problems.


The council has agreed a budget spend of £392467 (net). In order to fund this expenditure has resulted in an increase in the precept of 2.9%. This will raise £367467, leaving £25000 (Town Trust support) to come from the reserves. The increase would increase the Band D Council Tax for Midsomer Norton to £94.45 pa (from £91.79).

The way that the Council plans to spend the Budget for 2019/20 is set out below.

BUDGET 2018/2019 Expenditure Central Services - Council Office, Staff, Equipment, Professional Fees


Democratic Process & Civic Support - Newsletter, Town Twinning, Training etc


Capital & Projects - Town Park, Town Centre Regeneration etc


Community Buildings - Property Maintenance


Community Support - Grants & Events


Youth Activities


Town Environment


Devolved Services - Street Marshals








West Clewes


Total Net Budget Expenditure


Less misc Income and transfer from Reserves


Total Expenditure


Compares with 2018/2019 Total Budget


Income Precept Received


Misc Income




West Clewes


Total Budget Income


Use of Council Reserves






he formation of a Rural Transport Partnership is being considered by B&NES, Parishes and local residents in a bid to address strong concerns of local people.

Why then, it was asked, can’t First Bus with its ‘fat profits’ just run the service anyway? It was explained that First Bus is owned by its staff and last year made a loss.

The new partnership, originally suggested at a B&NES Community Forum Workshop, has been given impetus by two local public meetings organised by Timsbury & Farmborough Parish Council and Dunkerton & Tunley Parish Council. Both these meetings focused on the recent reduction in services on the 179 route by First Bus and whose senior managers attended the Farmborough meeting. As concerns were raised by residents, what became clear was that, on the one hand the public were not aware of the structure and funding of local bus services whilst at the same time B&NES and the West of England Combined Authority lacked a joined-up coherent strategy on rural transport.

The Managing Director of First Bus went on to explain that the 179 service with two buses cost £400,000 a year to run but that the revenue amounted to £80,000. Cllr Mark Shalford, B&NES Cabinet Member for Transport noted that B&NES did not have the money to fill the £320,000 a year gap and First Bus certainly didn’t. The issue of the falling demand was raised and countered that with reduced services it would become a vicious circle. Late buses were cited as a reason for people not using services but First Bus explained that road works often held up their services and there was little or nothing they could do. Residents made the case that a bus service was none-the-less vital for local people who could not drive/did not have a car – namely the young and the elderly.

There were repeated questions as to how First Bus were simply allowed to cut the 179 service when they surely had a legal obligation to provide one. It was explained that there is no obligation for First Bus, B&NES nor anyone to provide a service – the service is simply a commercial undertaking.

As the debate progressed it was recognised that B&NES and First Bus had done all they could by saving the 179 Monday to Friday service through transferring the Sunday service subsidy. However both public meetings concluded that there was

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no certainty that the service in question was sustainable going forward – what will happen in future? Following short presentations from Dunkerton & Tunley Parish Council and the B&NES Council representatives parishioners raised their concerns. These included the criteria used to determine levels of bus subsidy, how the value of bus services is measured, the reduction in the 179 service over the last year, the current ticketing regime and how it discourages use, the effect on local house prices, and the high cost of taxis as an alternative form of transport. At both meetings Cllr Paul Myers (B&NES Council’s Cabinet member for Economic and Community Regeneration) suggested that by getting the key players around a table with residents, the starting point should be ‘what are the actual transport needs of local people and at what times in the rural areas’ and then look at ‘how best to meet them with a range of solutions’ rather than simply thinking in terms of a traditional bus service alone. Rosemary Naish, Chairman of Clutton Parish Council, suggested one possible solution was the idea of a new community bus service. There is much work yet to be done to find all this out. First Bus indicated their interest in being involved and it was agreed that letters should go out to all the Parish Councils from B&NES asking for expressions of interest in sending representatives to a new B&NES Rural Transport Partnership.

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MENUNITED - EVENTS FOR 2019 MenUnited are delighted to present a wide range of enjoyable activities and events for men and their families. NEW FOR 2019: • Who Let The Dads Out? A Saturday activity for dads and their children aged 0-12yrs • A full day fishing event • A couple of Big Friendly Gatherings for a BIG community • Our Men’s Curry Nights - a great socials with a stimulating after-dinner speaker • The Equip Men’s Breakfasts - Wetherspoons are not only a great social time but a time to reflect on the balance of our lives. • Social Fish-In - a chance to meet up on the bank, enjoy a chat, a BBQ and maybe even catch something! • Community Games - possibly on a field near you!

You could join our running team to help make a difference for vulnerable children. Explore the meaning of life at one of several local Church Alpha courses. You can find more information about all our activities on-line at: MenUnited BA3 Men’s Group is part of the Local Churches. MEN’S CURRY NIGHTS games zone | curry supper | speakers Time: 7.30pm - 10pm Venue: Orchard Community Hall, Midsomer Norton BA3 2RB Cost: £10.00 - First Time Guest - free Book: phone: 01761 201335 Email:



AUGUST OUTFIELD FESTIVAL AT THE CRICKET CLUB Midsomer Norton Cricket Club is organising a music event called the ‘Outfield Festival’ on Sunday 25th August 2019, Bank Holiday weekend. The Club recently applied to Midsomer Norton Town Council and were awarded a £3,000 grant to help launch the event in its first year. The event hopes to attract up to 2,500 people with the promise of two well-known bands, Toploader and E17, headlining. Funds raised from the event will help go towards replacing the 100 year old changing rooms and clubhouse. Tickets for the event will be going on sale in the next few weeks.

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January to July in MIDSOMER NORTON AREA 3 students for 4 nights: £177.00 (tax free*) from 1st April 2019

Fresh and local pork, beef, lamb and chicken cut to your specification.

4 students for 4 nights: £236.00 (tax free*) from 1st April 2019

*Under the Government’s Rent-a-Room Scheme

Pick/up drop off point South Road Car Park, Midsomer Norton For further information please contact: Carol Bridges 01749 840821 or 07877717408 or or Hannah Kenyon 07720572047

We can also provide Hog Roasts & BBQs

Tel: 01761 433 130

8 The Street, Radstock, BA3 3PL




to volunteers and refreshments will be provided during the morning. Anyone under 18 needs to be accompanied by an adult.

Plans have been finalised for the town’s Spring Litter Pick which will again be part of the wider Great British Spring Clean with over 600 other clean-ups being planned across the country. Midsomer Norton Town Council is arranging a special spring litter pick and wants to hear from you if you know of a litter “hot spot” – especially if you can help with other volunteers to clear it up. The Spring Litter Pick on Sunday 14th April starts at the Town Hall at 10:00am and will run until 12 noon. Equipment will be made available

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“Being able to take part in such a high profile nationwide event is an added bonus. We look forward to meeting up with volunteers who want to make a difference in the town – whether they are regular participants or first time litter pickers”, said Cllr Michael Evans, Midsomer Norton Town Council.

To report a hot spot and/or join in the Midsomer Norton Spring Litter Pick please ring 01761 418701 or visit www. for further details or just turn up on the day.

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Members of the Age UK B&NES’ Walking Football team have been talking about how the exercise has saved their lives. Keith worked tirelessly for his community and was always confident, energetic and led from the front, however, a hereditary heart condition and a double coronary bypass that followed had a ‘catastrophic’ effect on both his physical and mental wellbeing. “Apart from the level of pain I experienced, which my doctors described as like being hit by two or three buses and the fact that I struggled to walk, I also lost all confidence. I didn’t want to be in crowds and could barely speak. I felt alienated from everything and couldn’t see a way forward. I just sat in my chair on the verge of depression.” It was only when he was finally started his cardiac

rehabilitation programme several months later that he began to feel he needed more to aid his recovery and turned to Age UK B&NES’ Walking Football. “I’d always been a football fanatic” said Keith, who played in Portsmouth FC’s youth team. Keith isn’t the only one who feels the sessions in Midsomer Norton has helped him. The group are very accepting and welcoming to anyone who wants to join in. The team is mostly made up of older players, many of whom have suffered from aches and pains following illness. The Age UK B&NES’ Walking Football Team hold sessions at Midsomer Norton Leisure Centre every Thursday 10am – 11am on a pay as you play basis. For more information and to book a place, call 01225 484510 or email

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Buy a regular (341ml) coffee, cappuccino or latte for price shown. Participation may vary. 100% of our coffee comes from Rainforest Alliance Certified™ farms. All third party trademarks are the property of their respective owners. Subway® is a Registered Trademark of Subway IP Inc. ©2017 Subway IP Inc.

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HISTORY OF MIDSOMER NORTON’S GOVERNANCE It is easy to forget that since time immemorial, human societies have come up with all sorts of governance structures to basically take decisions using common resources, latterly money, for the good of residents. A few years ago the Midsomer Norton Society was able to purchase Midsomer Norton’s Vestry Book covering the period 1760 to 1830 where the major landowners in the town addressed issues such as bridges, roads and the poor. However, as Parliament passed more public health laws in the 19th century it became clear that a new governance structure was required, eventually provided by the Local Government Act 1894. On New Year’s Eve 1894 Frederick Bird was elected as Chairman of the new Midsomer Norton Urban District Council which came into being on the 1st January 1895 and was to do much to develop the town. However, in 1933, a local government review led by an external inspector decided to give large areas of land away from the traditional boundary of Midsomer Norton and merge the core with Radstock to create Norton Radstock. In January 2009 a Community Governance Review was instigated and resulted in the return of an independent Town Council for Midsomer Norton in 2011.


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No job too small, give us a call or drop in for a friendly chat with Gary or email us for a quote.

For the past eight years Midsomer Norton’s Town Councillors have worked hard to encourage civic pride, build community and secure the return of the town’s original assets, such as the Town Hall, which were lost after 1933. The Town Council has also managed to realise a 40 year old aspiration through the purchase of land for the Town Park. Now that the resources have finally been secured from WECA for the regeneration of the town, the next few years offer great promise.

CHAIRS OF MIDSOMER NORTON URBAN DISTRICT COUNCIL 1895-1933 1895 – 1897 – Cllr Frederick Bird 1897 – 1912 – Cllr George Carter 1912 – 1913 – Cllr John Tovey 1913 – 1914 – Cllr John Thatcher 1914 – 1919 – Cllr George Delve 1919 – 1923 – Cllr Frederick Gould 1923 – 1931 – Cllr George Gould 1931 – 1933 – Cllr Frank Boulter 1933 – 2011 Interregnum

MAYOR OF MIDSOMER NORTON 2011 – PRESENT 2011 – Present – Cllr Paul Myers


Come & visit!

Quality bands every Saturday night & it’s FREE ENTRY! Sky & BT Sport FREE Hall Hire

sorry no 18th/21st or children’s parties

Non-members welcome





A new group has started up for the Over-55s in association with MHA, an award-winning charity providing accommodation and support services for older people throughout the UK. The group was started by Carla-Jo Geraghty, who aims to support older people in the community with their well-being and mental health through mindfulness

She said: “In this group I help people to begin to cultivate a sense of well-being and resilience. We will explore different ways that we can cultivate mindfulness from mindful breathing, mindful movement, to mindful eating. The movements are very gentle and can be adapted to any level. Mindfulness helps to alleviate anxiety, foster positive emotions and helps adults feel less isolated. Mindfulness also helps in the relief and management of chronic pain.” The group runs on a Thursday 1.30-2.30pm at the MHA Community Room, Church Court, Church Lane. Places need to be booked in advance, so anyone who would like to go along, or find out more information will need to contact Carla-Jo on 07817 568580 or

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To make an appointment, contact us 01749 841051 / 07778 465 520 Marchants Hill, Gurney Slade Radstock Nr. Bath BA3 4TY {on the main A37}



A MESSAGE FROM THE CLERK As covered elsewhere in LIFE, the Town Council has been busy putting its budget together for next year and calculating the Precept. The end of the current financial year sees the Officers ensuring that our accounts are in order ahead of an independent external audit. We are currently making sure that all of the Council’s bills are paid before we close down the accounts and that we can explain that the expenditure has been lawfully incurred. This means that the Council has made a resolution at a public meeting to incur costs other than those being made under a contract. The Government has introduced new arrangements for Town and Parish Councils that require us to publish our expenditure and we do so by providing details on our website. The financial health of the Town Council has continued to improve despite maintaining very modest increases in the Precept that residents pay as part of their Council Tax. Reserves are now in place to provide the necessary financial support for future plans such as taking ownership of community buildings. COUNCIL PROJECTS We directly run or facilitate, in partnership with the community, a wide range of projects including: Town Park – With the Town Park Masterplan approved and funding secured of £300,000, work commenced in September clearing banks of brambles in the wild meadow, cutting back ground cover along the river bank revealing flowing water and reducing the overhanging tree canopies. Regeneration - Improved signage has been developed and agreed and will soon be installed in the Town.

Asset Transfer – The Town Council is due to finalise the Asset Transfer of three Community buildings which include the Town Hall, Somer Centre, Orchard Hall and the Silver Street Nature Reserve. Community Events – We will continue to support events including the Arts Festival, the Summer Fayre, M-Fest and the Christmas Event. Community Grants – we will provide £21,720 next year to various community groups. Please see the website for details on how to apply for a grant. West Clewes Play Park – Following a successful lottery grant obtained by the Town Council we will soon be installing some new items of play equipment at the Play Park at West Clewes. The equipment was selected following a consultation at the Town Fayre and will enhance the facilities we currently have at West Clewes. Finally, I would like to remind everyone in the community that the Annual Town Meeting will be held in the Town Hall Assembly Room on Monday 15th April at 7pm when we will be reporting on the activities of the last year and the Annual Meeting of the Town Council (which elects the Mayor) Monday 13th May 2019. Donna Ford PSLCC Town Clerk Call: 07921 074 602 Email:

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Paul Myers Mayor 07530 042627

Alastair Slade (Deputy Mayor) 07714 898902

Brian Lawrence 07701 007277

Midsomer Norton Town Council Town Hall, The Island, Midsomer Norton Bath BA3 2HQ - 01761 418701

Glyn Davis 07713 353430

Michael Evans 01761 235996

Gordon Mackay 07806 604302

Steve Plumley 07913 952901

Amy Purchase 01761 411860

Michael Rich 07812 170943

Lynda Robertson 01761 415629

Richard Robertson 01761 415629

Profile for Tina Veater

Midsomer Norton Life Spring edition 2019  

Community magazine for Midsomer Norton

Midsomer Norton Life Spring edition 2019  

Community magazine for Midsomer Norton

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