Save the 126

First Bus is proposing to withdraw the 126 bus route. The 126 bus is a vital service from Wells to Weston-super-Mare and serves many villages and towns between the two.
For the thousands of people who live on the west side of Wells, Haybridge, Wookey, Easton, Westbury-sub-Mendip, Rodney Stoke, Draycott, Cheddar, Axbridge, Sidcot, Winscombe, Sandford, Banwell, Locking, Ashcombe and onto Weston-super-Mare this is the main or only bus serving their communities.
The 126 is the only available way of getting to school, doctors, dentists, hospitals, shopping, work and leisure.
Scrapping the 126 would be seriously damaging for these communities leaving many of their residents completely cut off.
Please click this link and sign the petition against the changes here and make sure your views are taken on board:
This petition is addressed to First Bus, which operates the 126 bus.
“We the undersigned are opposed to axing the 126 Wells - Weston-super-Mare bus and call upon First Bus to protect this vital bus route.”

Be Prepared - Mendip Matters 21st July

n 1907 Scouting founder, Robert Baden-Powell, devised the motto ‘Be Prepared’. 

These words came to mind this week when I read a brief that bin collections were to begin at 5.30am to avoid the current exceptional temperatures. Householders affected were being asked to place their refuse out the night before, and additional measures such as hats and extra water were being made available to crews. Simple, straightforward preparedness to ensure service continuity and safety. 

It’s amazing how quick we are to take our public services for granted. We dial 999 and expect an ambulance, if there’s a flood or fallen tree, someone will step-in. When things go wrong we assume our Council, the NHS or our emergency services will sort the situation. It’s what we’ve come to expect, although we often don’t appreciate the amount of forward-thinking that goes on behind the scenes.

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The pleasures of performing arts - Mendip Matters - 18th July 2022

There is a general feeling that our society has become more fractious. Just this week a local GP told me that the surgery receptionists are regularly on the receiving end of incredible rudeness. These incidents used to occur once every couple of weeks, now it’s several times a day. Also this week, I had a young man recall a road rage incident he’d witnessed, which left him visibly shaken.

There’s a lot of anxiety, worry, irritation and tiredness out there. Our already-busy days are getting longer and more demanding. Times are tough. While there’s no excuse for bad manners or aggression, we do need to acknowledge there are pressures, and we should support ourselves, and others, as we work through them. We need to embrace ways to unwind, think of our wellbeing, and find pleasure in doing something different.

Last Friday I attended the Wells Theatre Festival. I watched the hugely popular Pirate Taxi Show on Cathedral Green. We were entertained, amused and temporarily taken out of ourselves. The realities of our lives faded further as the faces of the younger members of the audience lit-up with delight and wonder at the aerial act and their imaginary tales.


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Comfort, continuity and consideration for others - Mendip Matters - 11th July 2022

I attended the delightfully named Wells City Mayor-making Ceremony on Sunday. A traditional occasion, full of symbolism, dating back to the 11th century. The 648th Mayor, Councillor Stewart Cursley, stepped forward and swore an oath to be loyal to the Crown, the people, and to do his best for Wells. The official appointment was duly declared by the Town Crier who, from his Town Hall balcony vantage point, hollered the news across the ancient city.

The outgoing mayor, Cllr Philip Welch, gave a speech summarising his difficult tenure, coming as it did during a global pandemic. And yet, despite COVID, some £22,500 was raised for charity and many wonderful projects completed. Thanks were given for all his efforts, and in recognition of his service to Wells, a City badge was presented to him and his wife the Lady Mayoress.

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Update from the Somerset County Council Liberal Democrats: At 50 Days

Traditionally, new council Leaders report their findings after their first 100 days.
Things are moving much faster in Somerset this year so the Liberal Democrats are
sharing their view after just 50 days.

With just 192* working days before the new unitary council comes into being on 1
April 2023, the first priority has been to understand how work towards this is
progressing. Not surprisingly, there are significant challenges and critical financial
pressures ahead for the new Somerset Council.

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Mendip Matters - 14th June 2022

We all have moments in our lives when the reality of a situation really hits home.

In 2010 I was invited to watch the ceremonial lowering of the flag at dusk on an army base packed with animated young soldiers just before they embarked on another Afghan tour. It was a moving ceremony, not least because as I looked around I reflected on the fact that many might not come home, or would do so with life-changing physical injuries or mental trauma. 

It was in that moment that war became very real to me, as did the overwhelming belief that we need to use all our energies and resources to find other ways to resolve our differences. 

During the months that followed that army base visit, the news reports about casualties kept coming. I, like many, watched the TV transfixed as a sombre parade of coffins in hearses weaved their way through the streets of (the now-named) Royal Wootton Bassett. Every single year since 1945, bar one, the UK has lost soldiers somewhere in the world. The military are part of our story and heritage, our beliefs and responsibilities.

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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.
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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. 

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Mendip Matters - 20th May 2022

Knocking on doors and talking with residents is a remarkable privilege and one I very much enjoy. Despite the uninvited interruption, I am almost always pleasantly surprised by the generosity and goodwill most people show. Love you, or hate you, residents seem, at least, to give you credit for caring and for taking the time to ask about their daily lives. It’s through these canvassing conversations, person to person, that you truly learn about people’s thoughts and immediate local concerns. 

During the last few months my Mendip West running partner, Heather Shearer, and I have knocked on well over 3,000 doors as candidates for Somerset County Council, (which will be the new unitary Somerset Council from April 1st, 2023). Sadly we witnessed many coping with difficult family circumstances, listened to thoughtful comments on the challenges we all face. But also shared laughter and insights with countless funny, interesting and delightful people on the doorsteps. It provided us a long to do list and with some incredible memories, and has left us with an overwhelming feeling of respect for Mendip residents.

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Burnham and Highbridge Town Council Liberal Democrat Manifesto 2022

Our two towns contain many communities –there are ones determined by geography e.g.
the Morlands estate, the “Saints”roads; others by age –teenagers, senior citizens; others by
interests –the arts, sport, physical activities; others by income –the comfortably-off, those
who struggle to get by; and many more. These communities interlock so that we all belong
to more than one. The Town Council’s role is to try to serve all of them as well as possible
while recognising that some may need more support than others, and that what is
important to one person or community may not be at all important to another. Inevitably
this will mean that not everyone will agree with everything on which the Town Council
spends money or resources.  Click here for manifesto


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