When it comes to how local governments work for their residents in Somerset in the coming years, there are changes afoot. The four district councils and the county council will be abolished, and a new unitary authority will be set up to cover the whole of the county in April 2023.
There’s a lot to do, but Mendip staff and councillors, alongside our colleagues across Somerset, will be working hard to ensure services are delivered seamlessly to our residents and communities, during the transition.
Mendip District Council will still be here, working for you, until the end of March 2023. Our statutory services will continue to be provided. These include planning, environmental health, licensing, housing and helping the homeless.
On top of these statutory services, there are the administration’s own priorities that we plan to deliver, all of which are underpinned by a green agenda that’s fully focused on reducing carbon, supporting wildlife and the natural environment.
So, what are these additional priorities?
Well, they include the creation of a joined-up network of multi-user paths. We’re very happy to report construction has already begun on a new section of the Strawberry Line. It’s the first time this has happened in 15 years! The line will link the end of the existing Wells-to-Dulcote path with Dulcote Quarry (now the Charlie Bigham's Quarry Kitchen site). We are one step closer to joining Wells and Shepton Mallet!
Work is also well underway to support tourism and the arts, rebuild and look after local businesses, and support our Parishes. Just this week we held a Parish Forum where we launched our tourism grant. Did you know, we currently also have grant funding available for eco projects, community ideas, and the revitalisation of the high street.
Please take a look at our webpages and apply here for the business grant www.mendip.gov.uk/revitalisegrant. Closing date 11th October. For the Communities Fund it’s www.mendip.gov.uk/cf and the Climate and Ecological Emergency Fund is www.mendip.gov.uk/cf. The closing date is 30th September for these two grants. Please hurry!
Social housing is hugely important to us – with more than 1,600 families in Mendip currently on the housing register. We believe everyone is entitled to a home so we are doing everything we can to deliver housing with affordable, social rents, across the district. No one will be left behind.
I recognise many are still struggling post-pandemic, both financially, and with their mental health. Our hardship fund, which helps people pay their council tax, has increased considerably. We can make things easier when it comes to household bills to ease the burden and stress residents are experiencing. But we can only do this if people reach out and get in touch if they need the help. Find out more here: www.mendip.gov.uk/article/7648/Apply-for-Hardship-Relief
Finally, just a reminder to take care. Covid is still circulating in our committees which I know is extremely worrying for so many of you, especially the vulnerable amongst us. I have personally witnessed such community spirit and resilience in Mendip first-hand. So please stay safe, follow the guidelines, and do check-in on your neighbours.
If you have any questions for me, then get in touch on email [email protected] or on my Facebook page: @Ros.Wyke. I am always happy to hear from you.
Written by Cllr Ros Wyke, Leader of Mendip District Council
Please get in touch either on my Facebook page @Ros.Wyke or you can send me an email: [email protected].