Updates from Mendip District Council
People in England are being urged to think twice about travelling to tourism hotspots over the bank holiday weekend, with warm weather again forecast. The National Trust, councils and the AA are urging people across England to stay close to home and explore local green spaces instead of travelling long distances to beaches and beauty spots.
It's important to keep to the rules: they're there to keep people safe. We can all help control the virus if we stay alert. This means you must:
stay at home as much as possible
work from home if you can
limit contact with other people
keep your distance if you go out (2m apart where possible)
wash your hands regularly
Do not leave home if you or anyone in your household has symptoms.
Staying Alert and Safe (social distancing) guidance can be found here:
FAQs with advice on what you can and cannot do are here:
Late May Bank Holiday pharmacies in Mendip
Find out when your local pharmacy will be open over the Bank Holiday:
Avoid bonfires this Bank Holiday
Be considerate to your neighbours and spare our Fire Service from unnecessary demand. Avoid lighting bonfires this Bank Holiday. Smoke from fires can aggravate the symptoms of vulnerable residents and cause people stress when they are staying at home to shield, isolate or social distance.
Extra Bank Holiday for October being considered
The Government is considering introducing an extra Bank Holiday, possibly in October around the time of half-term. The idea was put forward by the UK’s tourism agency, Visit Britain, who said it expected the tourism industry to lose £37 billion because of the coronavirus lockdown, including lost earnings over the two Bank Holidays in May. The Government said it would “respond in due course” to the proposal. Guardian
Coronavirus Helpline: 0300 790 6275: 7 days a week, 8am to 6pm
Please use the helpline if you need help with food supplies, prescription delivery, and transport to medical appointments. It operates seven days a week between 8am and 6pm, including Bank Holidays.
No idling at the tip
All 16 of Somerset Waste Partnership’s (SWP) recycling centres will be open after the Bank Holiday weekend. SWP is asking people to only visit sites if it’s really necessary. Long queues are expected at certain times, especially first thing in the morning, as the number of unloading bays has been reduced to allow social distancing.
**Switch your engine off while waiting. Idling gets you nowhere and causes pollution**
For the latest information about services, opening arrangements and any disruption visit www.somersetwaste.gov.uk/coronavirus
High Court success for Mendip over Neighbourhood Plan challenge
A judge has ruled that Mendip District Council acted appropriately in approving a draft Neighbourhood Plan for referendum, in Norton St Philip.
The High Court victory means the Neighbourhood Plan for the Somerset parish can be given substantial weight in planning decisions. It also means the injunction placed on the parish referendum is now lifted, and local people can vote on whether or not their Neighbourhood Plan should be adopted.
Legal arguments brought against Mendip by developers Lochailort Investments Ltd, were dismissed on all grounds by the judge. Mrs Justice Lang also ordered that Lochailort pay the Council’s legal costs. The District Council currently awaits the outcome of an application to the Court of Appeal.
Further information and updates can be found on the website: www.mendip.gov.uk/nortonstphilip
Wildflowers for Mendip - action imminent
Coronavirus was/is devastating for many, but not all. There are some positives, especially for wildlife in Mendip – it’s thriving.
The emergency meant large areas of amenity grass were left uncut, and still remain so, providing a unique opportunity for the Council.
Mendip was already looking at wildflower and rewilding proposals, now this idea has been accelerated. Areas have been identified for seasonal or Eco cuts.
There will now follow engagement with Town and Parish councils regarding these locations – working together for good of our neighbourhoods, the wildlife, and planet.
The rewilding plans meet the objectives of the Council’s Climate Emergency and Ecological Group (CEEG), and one of Mendip’s key corporate priorities too.
The Council need to act fast. Decisions must made in next couple of weeks to fit in with the season, but no doubt as more detail about these plans emerge, they will be welcomed by local people and wildlife groups.
Frome regeneration: Saxonvale works commence
Mendip District Council is commencing works as part of ongoing essential environmental and drainage assessments and improvements at Saxonvale, Frome.
The works will start on Wednesday 20th May off Garsdale in Frome and are expected to last four weeks, followed by periodic one day inspections over three months.
The Council’s contractor will be working under strict Covid-19 site operating procedures.
Pay-outs made to 80% of local eligible local businesses
Another milestone at Mendip was reached this week with more than 80% of all eligible businesses having been paid a business grant. The Council continues to process forms with a whopping £26 million+ issued in emergency funding, benefiting more than 2,000 local organisations, to date.
Any business who believes they are eligible for a grant but has not yet submitted their details online, can register here: www.mendip.gov.uk/businessrates
Mendip staff are working their way through the many complex enquiries as quickly as is possible. For enquiries relating to the current grants already being processed in the system, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Test, track and trace
Local councils will be at the centre of developing new localised test, track and contain plans, thanks to our closeness to local communities, our wide expertise, and connections with trusted local partnerships.
An FAQ document answering all your questions on testing, eligibility, booking tests, and contact tracing is available here:
Access to food
The Department for the Environment, Food and Agriculture (DEFRA) is to start communicating the different ways vulnerable people can access food next week. The launch date is likely to be Wednesday 27 May. This may result in an increase in the number of people contacting our council helpline.
Beware crime gangs and fraudsters
Keep reminding your communities – criminals are at work. Organised crime gangs are exploiting offers of financial help in the various coronavirus stimulus packages and there are fears that £1.5 billion has been lost to universal credit fraud alone, the National Crime Agency has warned. Times
Councils ‘need four times more funding’
Local government faces "unsustainable" financial pressures as the sector continues to lead efforts to beat the coronavirus pandemic. The Government has so far allocated an additional £3.8 billion to councils, but many continue to see costs spiral at the same time as a huge drop in income, from things like car parking and leisure centres. The Local Government Association (LGA) has published guidance on key questions and issues for finance portfolio holders during the pandemic.
Tool to find your local council
A tool is available on GOV.UK to help point the public to their local council.
The tool: www.gov.uk/coronavirus-local-help
Mendip District Council has a corporate Facebook page. Follow them for the latest news, commentary and campaigns. MDC Official Facebook Page. They are also on Twitter (twitter.com/MendipCouncil) and LinkedIn (linkedin.com/company/mendip-district-council)