Mendip Matters - 8th June 2022

For quite some time now I have been writing this column to give an insight into the work of your District Council.

For many, the Council is there to get the everyday things in life done. That may mean collecting recycling, running various local markets, to keeping our streets and country lanes clean, to managing some play areas. The District Council also carries out important statutory functions; planning and licencing of events, running elections, we even administer some cemeteries. From cradle to grave, your Council touches lives.
Regular column readers will know I have written about how the Council also manages resources that keep our communities safe, including the less obvious roles such as environmental health checks on food premises, overseeing and licensing events like Glastonbury Festival, or ensuring all our licensed taxi drivers have safeguarding training.  It was the Council that efficiently administered in excess £60m in Government Covid support that helped local business survive the pandemic and assisted many village halls.  We also developed our grant resources including the Warm Homes grants for insulation, the Mendip Community fund to support fairer and stronger communities and the Mendip Ecology fund to support for local climate change action. Visiting some of the projects to see Mendip’s help in action, I’ve seen innovative solutions, learnt a lot and taken away great ideas that I hope to see implemented across our district. Local solutions, to local problems supported by a listening, active local council. A fairer Mendip delivered.
The focus of the Council is in three parts; running the full range of required services for our residents, progressing our Mendip corporate priorities and finally the work on the local government reorganisation (LGR) programme.  The latter is needed to meet the Government’s requirement of a new Somerset Council for all 562,000 Somerset residents by 1st April 2023, needless to say the Council staff are now certainly stretched to capacity.
The important priority of supporting of our local economy, businesses and local jobs means we have offered help on post-Brexit exporting, networking events through supported targeted, 1-2-1 advisors, through our Business Revitalisation grants.
The Glastonbury Town Deal business cases will be coming to our next Cabinet for sign-off ahead of submission to Government. Our proposals will be evaluated, and if successful, could bring over £23 million into the local economy and infrastructure of the town.
Our prioritisation of Active Travel has seen has seen paths built and further paths planned for Wells, Frome, Shepton Mallet and Street.
Our climate and ecological emergency priority, and moving to zero carbon, is an ongoing commitment. Work has just started on a pilot project in Wells rewilding small urban plots, and our project to reduce food waste in hospitality businesses has been shortlisted for a national award.
We know that we live in challenging times for many local households and so had a cost-of-living emergency motion at our latest full council meeting. The move was supported by all parties, one of this administrations hallmarks has been working with others, of differing viewpoints. I will be holding a local cost of living summit with Citizens Advice and others to focus efforts here but meanwhile please do check out the Council website for support with council tax, and the payment of the Government energy grant:
A council is nothing without good services, we have a lot done but much more to do. Again, I would like to thank the Council staff, and councillors, of all parties and none. Working together demonstrates how an active, energetic Council can make a local difference.
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.

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].

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