Crewkerne Mayor, Councillor Kathy Head welcomed fellow councillors, members of the press and public to a meeting of Crewkerne Town Council, held remotely on Zoom on Monday evening. The first council meeting since March 23rd, included issues relating to the Amenities, Policy & Resources and Planning & Highways committees, usually held separately. Councillors agreed that future meetings of the Planning & Highways committee would be held separately, beginning with remote viewing on Monday June 8th at 6.45 pm.
In reports from the County and District Councillors, Cllr Mike best advised that Somerset County Council were “still focused on fighting COVID-19 in the area.” Somerset reached its peak of the coronavirus on April 17th, there had been 591 confirmed cases in the county with sadly 120 deaths – 67 in hospital, 45 in care homes and eight in the wider community. More money is coming in for care homes and SCC has been instrumental in “pushing for testing in care homes.” The R value (rate of infection) in the South West is 0.76 but coastal towns and beauty spots were asking people to stay away, in a concerted effort not to raise the rate of infection, during the current heatwave.
Councillor Best confirmed that in line with Government guidelines, Reception and Year 1 classes were expected to resume at local schools from June 1st. Year 6 pupils were also nationally expected to return to school from the same date, but because Crewkerne has a three tier education system, discussions were ongoing. The impetus is to get children back to school in a safe environment but in educational establishments for nursery and pre-school children, it is “down to individual nurseries to make the decision, if they will reopen during the first week of June.”
Somerset County Council has received around 9,667 applications for a Business Grant. There are lots of businesses that have not yet applied and they are reminded that it is a GRANT not a LOAN! With the reduction in vehicle movements on roads, Somerset Highways have been busy resurfacing and mending potholes. News from South Somerset District Council was delivered by Cllr Robin Pailthorpe. Cllr Pailthorpe confirmed that although district council meetings were not taking place at present, the Area West committee meetings were “still in force.” Crewkerne Recycling Centre is scheduled to reopen on Tuesday May 26th. The previous £2 fee has been waived, in accordance with Government legislation introduced last year. Recycling centres are operating on a vehicle registration system, to restrict the number of vehicles turning up at the sites. Odd numbers are being admitted on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays and even numbers on Sundays, Tuesdays and Fridays.
In other matters discussed by town councillors, it was agreed to cancel the Summer Fete, originally planned to take place on July 18th. Councillors considered the implications for the Town Council of the Government’s COVID-19 recovery strategy, as published in their Plan to Rebuild document. Town Clerk, Peter Davidson said: “At present the status quo remains the same. We are continuing to work from home. The town council offices and LIC are closed.” A COVID-19 secure risk assessment is being carried out and will be in place when the Government advises it is safe to reopen the council and community offices at the town hall. The date of the next full town council meeting is Monday June 20th at 6.45 pm and will once again be conducted on Zoom, if safety guidelines have not changed over the coming month.