Annual Parish Meeting: Chairman’s Report for 2020/21

We are required to hold the Annual Parish Meeting early in May, to be closely followed by the Annual Parish Council Meeting, but as the Village Hall will not reopen until later in the month, for the second year running I will make my Chairman’s Report on our invaluable village website. Hopefully, with the vaccine rollout going so well, we will be able to get back with our more usual sociable meeting in the Village Hall and get an update on the societies and clubs held in the village, together with a talk on an interesting subject.

The parish council have held ten meetings over the last year, with all but one being held on Zoom. This has generally worked very well, although is not the same as holding a live meeting in the Village Hall, with the opportunity for people in the parish to come if they wish to.

Peter Stenner has joined us on the council, and I would like to thank everyone for their hard work and input during the year, and adapting to the new way of holding meetings. Again, I would like to thank Francis Nicholson, our County Councillor, and Andy Milne, our District Councillor, for their excellent support, and Roz Griffin, our Parish Clerk, for all her hard work and excellent agendas and minutes, made all the more difficult with the meetings being held on Zoom. Ruth Walker has also been closely involved with the Porlock Coastal Economic Plan and climate change funding bids, which have been very successful.

One of the main topics for discussion at our meetings are planning applications, and over the last twelve months there have been ten varied applications to be considered, and recommendations made to the National Park. Other issues have also been dealt with, such as the flooding problems in Lower Town and storm damage to the unmade track down to the stream at Ford. Both of these issues are still ongoing.

It has been an unusual and difficult year with all the restrictions, but our wonderful village has risen to the challenge in so many ways. Andy in the Villagers’ Stores has been invaluable in keeping us supplied, together with wonderful takeaway options from John and Jane Bradley and Claire Lynch. The Dunkery Players raised our spirits back in January with their Zoom performance, including a most helpful explanation with regard to Track and Trace, and a warning of the dangers of installing cat flaps from Joe Roake, amongst other performances.

It is difficult to imagine how we could have managed without our wonderful village website, and many thanks again to Bill Hodgson and Marion Jay for all their hard work. I would like to say how relieved I was that they got safely back from their demanding trip into space early in April. To think that they could still be looking down on us whilst orbiting the earth!

Looking forward to a more liberated summer and trips to Skye’s Bar!

James Wilmoth
Chairman, Wootton Courtenay Parish Council