Mendip Matters - 2nd June 2022

On Monday, the District Council held its Annual General Meeting. It was the last AGM ever at Mendip. We know that on 1st April 2023, Mendip will cease to exist, and the new Somerset Council will take over responsibilities for all council services. It’s the end of an era, a sobering thought, and the perfect opportunity to reflect on past achievements and the journey ahead.

Ensuring this new Council is safe and legal, with no interruption to services, will be a challenge in the required, very tight, timescale. Even the simplest services differ between the councils. It’s complex, and there’s a lot to do. This is not helped by the government’s stance that it’s making no monies available to make it happen. 

At Mendip we will continue to deliver for our residents during the next ten months – the people are our priority. And we will find the resources to staff all the transition work too. Because at Mendip, we get things done. We’ve a proven track-record. 

Despite the external events of Covid, the immense vaccination roll-out, the Brexit implications on the economy and employment, and the cost of living emergency, your Council has achieved much. If you are a regular reader of the column you will know the extent of that output. 

We have held true to the climate emergency agenda, from the re-wilding of ecological green spots, to installing anti-idling signs outside schools. We’ve worked with the police on ‘sting’ operations to counter fly-tipping, developed strategies and action plans for net zero carbon emissions, improved the green credentials of our council buildings, and worked with local farmers to mitigate emissions from the agricultural sector. We’ve launched special planning guidance and tool kits for developers to encourage the building of sustainable housing. 

Work to boost tourism and the creative industries, together with support packages and training for businesses have been designed to support jobs and the local economy. The delivery of the Glastonbury Town Deal and the two Levelling Up bids will attract additional external funding to our district.

Alongside this, we’ve continued to deliver our statutory services including planning, licensing, environmental health, and housing. It is a real tribute to our officers, who are not immune to the pandemic worries and cost of living woes. My sincere thanks go out to them for actively supporting our vision for a fairer, greener Mendip for us all to live, work, visit and enjoy.

A number of the corporate projects will roll forward to the unitary authority, including social housing, the greener, cleaner Mendip initiative, and the multi-user paths programme for commuting, as well as leisure. We would like to improve active travel across the county so we can be known as the ‘cycling county’. 

Collectively, our activities and output tell an interesting story, and it is this; no matter which way you look, reflecting backwards, or looking forwards, you end up with the same view – at Mendip we care about our people, our place, and each other.

If you have any questions for me about this column, or anything else, do get in touch, I am always happy to hear from you. Email: [email protected] / Facebook: @RosWyke. 

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