Jubilee goings on -2-5th June

As previously reported, the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee weekend looks like being a corker, with a beer festival, a super cricket match and . . . . a street party.

Andrew Tarling and Chris Bailward are proposing to organise the party.
They write” We think the Queen’s Jubilee would be a great opportunity for Horsington and South Cheriton to get together for what most of us will be a once in a lifetime occasion. To this end, we propose holding a street party in Horsington on Sunday 3rd June.

The event will include a beef and hog roast and a barbeque, live music and entertainment. We intend to sell tickets to cover the cost, with priority given to village residents of Horsington and South Cheriton.

Any net proceeds would then go forward to fund some sort of monument to celebrate the Jubilee and everyone’s participation, and a time capsule to be placed somewhere in the parish.

Obviously any help and support in organizing this event, either physical or financial, would be most welcome. If anyone has any ideas or offers please contact Chris Bailward at Home farm, or Andrew Tarling at the Half Moon –halfmoon@horsington.co.uk .

An excellent initiative. The Blog supports it 100 percent and we hope everyone else will too. Please offer your talents and services –Ed.

Previous story

Car Parking proposal will hit everyone

An almighty row has broken out in Wincanton and other Somerset market towns (Cary, Crewkerne and Chard) over car parking charges.

South Somerset District Council (highest council tax in Somerset, £1.3 million payout to senior execs) is short of money, and wants to extract more from (no surprises) motorists and shoppers, who already pay their council tax.

Wincanton currently has no parking charges, and there is little doubt that the struggling High Street will suffer if charges are introduced. The issue has been well covered in the Wincanton Window and we urge readers to look at it in detail and write to urge our councilors to oppose the move.

Our understanding of the law is that parking controls can only be introduced to regulate traffic congestion and ensure sharing of parking resources. Wincanton has neither a traffic nor parking problem, (apart from occasionally near the Natwest Bank), so parking control can only be a revenue raising ploy, and is probably illegal. Wincanton Town Council are assessing the viability of a test case.

The SSDC’s parking strategy documents   lists an objective of “Protect and enhance the vitality and viability of Yeovil and market towns and regional centres”.  The blog fails to see how car parking charges in struggling Wincanton will help achieve this – apart from boosting Morrisons and Lidl even more.

The Conservatives pledged to fight this at the last election, less than a year ago. Lets hear the sound and the fury of their arguments.

We welcome your comments

Parish Council agenda – 8 December

The Parish Council meets at the village Hall on 8 December at 7.30.

The agenda includes churchyard maintenance, Footpaths, the Horse pond, the Villager Magazine and the adoption of the telephone box in the village.

The Villager magazine tells us that ideas for  alternative uses for this key facility are welcome. It would be a good place to shelter from the rain while making phone calls. Unfortunately there is raraly a mobile signal in there. If you have a better idea, get along to the meeting.

Bad news for solar energy

If you were thinking of leading a life of leisure paid for by profits from the solar panels on your roof – think again!

The Government has announced that it will cut the feed in tariff – the amount owners of “domestic” solar panels get from the electricity companies – from 43.3 p per kilowatt hour to just 21p. This will effectively double the time it takes for a solar system to pay back its investment costs from around 7 to 15 years, longer for more expensive systems.

If you have just ordered a system, start putting the pressure on your installer.
Anyone whose system has been commissioned by December 12- just 5 weeks away- will receive the old tariff, but installations registered after this date will receive the new lower tariff.

The background to this announcement is that prices of solar panels have dropped dramatically over the last few months. At the same time ordinary, non-solar electricity users are beginning to bite against the huge subsidies given for “alternative” power generation , which are  effectively paid from everyone’s electricity bills.

The Government seems more motivated by concerns about the amount of money made by the solar panel companies than by the stupidity of subsidising alternative power generation, which still requires conventional power generation for back up when the sun isn’t shining or the wind isn’t blowing.

Wind farms, solar panels, acres of biomass fuel, all require subsidies from….yes! You and me!

Revised feed-in tariff calculator

Show sheep killed by vicious dog (or dogs) on Horsington Marsh


Survived the winter, but not a visit from a dog

No-one likes to wake up and find a field littered with dead sheep, so this is another plea to dog owners to keep their animals indoors and under control.

Four yearling show sheep and a mature ewe were killed in a dog attack on the night of Wednesday 12 October in two fields to the rear of Bow Brook and Crossing Gate cottages in Marsh Lane.

It is not clear whether the attack was by a single or several dogs, as there were no witnesses, and nothing was heard.

The sheep belonged to Valerie Pratt, who regularly wins prizes on the show circuit with her pedigree Dartmoors. Some of the yearlings were valuable prizewinners and the ewe, Labella, was a retired showgirl, a totally tame and friendly animal, a pet really.

The Gaunts, who looked after her in their paddock, were very fond of her.

Many other people in the village host Valerie’s sheep on their spare land and we are sure they will join the Blog in sending her their sympathy.

The police have been informed.

Battle re-commences at Silton Windpower site

Silton Wind Turbine
View from the B308 near West Bourton

The developers of the proposed  wind generation farm at Silton, which was thrown out by North Dorset Council in March, have appealed, and there will now be a public enquiry.

The proposal was resisted by every parish in the area, and by neighbouring South Somerset District Council.

The proposal was for  four 120-metre tall wind turbines at Silton, between Bourton and Gillingham.
The developers claim Dorset needs more renewable energy and the four turbines would produce enough energy to power 6,700 homes while saving 10,000 tonnes of CO2 going into the atmosphere for the next 25 years.
Objectors say that the proposal will spoil the landscape,  will detract from the setting of adjacent historic properties, and will adversely affect the visual amenities and businesses (including tourism) near the proposed site.
Unfortunately the fact that these things only work at about 20 per cent of their capacity, but provide a taxpayer-funded payout to the developer and the landowner is not a planning issue.
The latest application received more than 1,700 letters of objection and was rejected by every parish council in the area and by neighbouring  South Somerset District Council before North Dorset’s refusal.
An action group Save Our Silton was formed to fight the plan .They are holding a  meeting for anyone interested in opposing the appeal at Bourton School at 7 pm on Friday 21st October
Representations must be made to the planning inspectorate* by 3rd November. If you have written previously, your original letter will form part of the evidence to be submitted to the inspector.
The date of the enquiry is yet to be announced. There are now 2 wind farm appeals in Dorset – the other is at Wareham.
* The Planning Inspectorate,
3/20 Wing
Temple Quay House
2 The Square
Bristol, BS1 6PN

Villager Magazine – a reader writes

Dear Sir or Madam,
I was intrigued to see that I can now download a copy of the “Villager” magazine from the Wincanton Window website, but not from the Horsington Blog. Can you explain?

A Reader

We don’t know. It is of course possible that the Villager magazine is unaware of our existence. As far as we know, everyone in Horsington and South Cheriton now gets the magazine delivered to their door, but you know how it is -you need to refer to it immediately after you used it to light the fire. So, as a service to our readers we are including a permanent link to the latest downloadable version in our “Blogroll” (right hand column.)

Incidentally, we  have included a link to the excellent Wincanton Window ever since our launch.- Ed.

More on Templecombe: Ticket office to become an “assisted channel”

Templecombe is just one of 600-odd stations whose ticket office is threatened with closure. Another is Rotherham, where the ticket office has been closed for rebuilding, and the locals are concerned that it might not re-open. (Compare Templecombe, where the associated signal box will close at some point in the future, and then what will happen to the ticket office?).

At Question Time on the 15th October, at about the same time as SW Trains’ Andy Pitt was telling us there were no plans to close the Templecombe ticket office, The Transport Secretary, Phil Hammond. was telling the House of Commons that ownership of stations was being transferred to the train operators “so that they can have a more direct, hands-on involvement”  Translation: Can shut ticket offices without any reference to Government or Network Rail –Ed

Rotherham’s MP, Dennis MacShane, told the Minister “many constituents do not do computers and need help and aid”.

The Minister agreed –well sort of. “I agree there will be the need for assisted channels”.

Mr MacShane: “Assisted channels?” (possibly uttered like Lady Bracknell’s “A handbaaag?”)

Mr Hammond: “I will tell the right hon. Gentleman what assisted channels are. Even as the purchase of tickets, over time, is bound to become more computer based, as new technologies are deployed and more tickets are bought online, through mobile technology and so on, there will still be a need for an assisted channel, and we will ensure that there is one. Translation: We will regard people who do not like computers or ticket machines as disabled and provide limited, minimal facilities at inconvenient times (or rather times which are convenient to the train operator, but not to anyone else –Ed

Unfair? Cynical? We shall see. Watch this space.

South West Trains answers Templecombe ticket office question

Templecombe station
The golden days of Templecombe (Photo: © Rabbi WP Thinrod and licensed for reuse under Creative Commons Licence)

We asked  a direct question regarding the possible closure of Templecombe station ticket office and got the following reply from SW Trains Managing Director Andy Pitt during the “Live web chat” on September 15:

“We have no plans to close Templecombe ticket office. We will be revising the opening hours following the Network Rail closure of the signal box and the withdrawal of their staff who currently retail tickets at this location. At this time I do not have a date when the Network rail box will close, but the ticket office opening hours will not be changed until after this date.”

In response to an earlier general question, Mr Pitt said “We have no immediate plans to implement the recommendations made in the McNulty report, but will continue to review opening hours across our network at every ticket office to ensure they reflect the commercial demands of the market.

“Available sales channels for customers to purchase rail tickets have grown significantly over the last few years because of new technology, and whilst ticket offices will still play their part, customer demand dictates that we continue to retail in the most cost-effective way”.

We say – not having plans to close it does not mean it will stay open for ever. We think rail users should keep up the pressure, and would urge our local politicians to keep an eye on the situation.

See earlier post