Nominations to stand in the District Council elections on May 5 opened today. Why not stop critisising the local authority and stand for election instead? You can help take the blame for some of the crazier planning decisions, and you will earn over £6,000 a year, plus expenses AND a laptop computer. No naughty downloads though!
Full training (or is it indoctrination?) given. You will be up against the mighty party machines of the Tories and the LibDems, but “The Blog” will give a platform and a fair hearing to any candidate who puts themselves up. That includes the main parties too by the way, but we suspect they won’t bother.
“Blog” readers might do particularly well – the very helpful and informative leaflet issued by the council stresses a sense of humour is an important qualification!
Closer to home, The parish council elections will also be held at the same time. The parish council normally recruits by co-option, and elections are rare. So, over time, parish councils can become cosy, self perpetuating bodies which end up representing themselves, not their villages.
We are not suggesting this is the case in either Horsington or North Cheriton, we merely warn of the danger.
You do not have to be invited or ask permission to become a parish councilor. You can apply for a nomination paper from the Returning Officer at SSDC, Brympton Way, Yeovil BA20 2HT, and it must be returned to him before noon on the 4th April.
If there are more nominations than vacancies, an election will be held on the same day as the District Council elections.
Now is the time to get involved. There will not be another open election for another four years
NB .Unlike their district council colleagues, parish councilors are unpaid. No computers either.
A thump on the doormat. Another brown envelope. “Please recycle”, it screams. Must be from the Council. Ah yes, the annual Council Tax demand. Unchanged from last year, thank God, but still an eye watering £27 per week for a band D property. The occupants of our grand houses, Horsington Manor, the Grange and Cheriton House pay £55 a week.
Local government finance is a labyrinth. During the run up to the elections we will try and unravel some of it for you in an attempt to see where our money went, and if any was wasted.
The lions share –nearly 70% of your council tax goes to Somerset County Council 11.4% goes to the police 10.2% to South Somerset District Council 4.9% to the Fire and Rescue service 4% to town and parish councils
Horsington raises some £588,000 in council tax. It will get £9,500 back for the parish council budget.(1.6%) North Cheriton puts over £144,000 into the kitty, and the parish gets £2,512 back (1.7%)
This is not the entire picture. Both the district and county council get the bulk of their income from central government, which is still your money.
The district council gets £57.2 million from the government, The county council £153.3 million.
We will look at each of these bodies in turn in future posts to see how they spend it.
One of the few things you could look forward to with certainty when you got to the grand old age of 60 was a shiny bus pass, entitling you to free off peak local travel anywhere in the country.
Not much use in Somerset, where peak and off peak buses are few and far between, but handy in big towns and cities nevertheless.
But the rules have changed, with scarcely an announcement. If your birthday was this week (congratulations Dave), the coveted bus pass is not yours until March 2012. Entitlement for everyone is moving north in line with the pension age for women, which is gradually increasing to 66 between now and 2020.
If you were born before 5 April 1950, you can have a bus pass now.
If your 60th birthday is this summer, you will have to wait until January 2013.
Born after July 1953 and you will have to wait until November 2016.
By which time there won’t be any buses anyway, at least in Somerset.
If you’ve ever wondered what a High Commissioner does, get down to the St John the Baptist Parish Church on Friday April 8th at 7.30 pm. Sir Anthony Goodenough, KCMG, CMG, former High Commissioner to Ghana from 1989 to 1992, and High Commissioner to Canada from 1996-2000, will be giving an illustrated talk on his time in Ghana.
Sir Anthony is a very distinguished diplomat, so no doubt he will be very discreet. So it’s up to the audience to bowl a few bouncers at question time to get him to spill a few beans!(Shocking mixed metaphors –Ed)
Entry by donation to the Parish Church – £8 please.
The popular, friendly and relaxed Half Moon Music Night continues on Wednesday the 6th April at around 8.45 p.m. in Horsington. Please come and join us to play, sing and say whilst enjoying a beer; it is completely free apart from the drinks. Further details from Anna 01963-370749.
Horsington Cricket team is looking for players for a match on Sunday 29 May –the late May Bank Holiday weekend.
The opponents are a London pub side – the “Tabard Pilgrims”. They are making a return visit, having enjoyed themselves so much last year.
Part of their enjoyment stems from the fact that they snatched victory following a miraculous catch on the boundary by one of their players with the implausible name of “Juggs”*, and went on to beat us by 35 runs.
This year we have to get even. So dust of your pads, start exercising your bowling arm, and volunteer to play. There will be a full social programme after the game, including attempts by the visitors to retain their place in the loo seat trophy hall of fame in the Half Moon (you have to drink a half from every tap in the pub). Despite photographic evidence to the contrary, we believe they will dress normally this time!
We need you! Those interested should contact Andrew Tarling, Landlord of the Half Moon. email him
This match is an important event for Horsington. If the cricket pitch is not used, then we lose the legal right to play there – ever.
It was a headline we couldn’t resist. This post is about a group of ladies who meet in the village hall every Tuesday to rescue old (sometimes antique) furniture and restore it under the watchful gaze of master upholsterer Hugh Pamplin.
The cover-up in question is the transformation which takes place when the final layer of new material is carefully stitched in place.
There are a few vacancies for new members. So if you have the odd bit of Chippendale, or failing that, Parker Knoll, which deserves a new lease of life and pride of place in your sitting room, please come along, and learn as you go. No previous experience required.
There is a small charge to cover the cost of the village hall. And of course you need your own chair, pouffe or whatever, materials and tools, but Hugh can advise on these.