Parish Council Election – 7th May 2015

What is a Parish Council?

A parish council is a local authority that makes decisions on behalf of the people in the parish.  It is the level government closest to the community, with the district authority (South Somerset District Council) above it in the hierarchy.

As it is the authority closest to the people, parish councils are invariably the first place people will go with concerns or ideas.  For this reason they are a vital part of any community.

Why become a Parish Councillor?

If you’ve never been to a parish council meeting before, you may be forgiven for thinking that parish councillors are a group of (probably older) people who meet now and then in a draughty village hall.  If, however, you live in a community where something ‘big’ has happened, you’ll know that when people in the community need support and guidance, it is sometimes the parish council that is turned to.

By becoming a parish councillor you become someone your community will look to for help, guidance and support; a community leader with the power to influence decisions for the benefit of the people you serve.  Seeing your community change for the better, as a result of decisions you have helped make, is something that can give you a sense of achievement and pride.

What decisions do Parish Councils make?

Parish councils make all kinds of decisions on issues that affect the local community.  Probably the most common topics that parish councils get involved with are planning matters (they are statutory consultees), crime prevention, managing open spaces and campaigning for and delivering better services and facilities.

It’s true to say that on their own, parish councils have limited powers to make decisions.  But they do have the ability to negotiate with, and the power to influence, those other organisations that do make the final decisions (such as the district council, health authorities, police etc).

In this respect parish councils are extremely powerful.  The organisations that make the final decisions know that a parish council gives the best reflection of how a community feels about something, and its views will be taken seriously.

How much time does it take up?

The parish council meets once a month, to which members of the public are also invited.  Meetings may last two or three hours, depending on the agenda set for the meeting to discuss.  In addition to the regular meetings, councillors may be required to attend other meetings representing the council. ? for example acting as a representative on an outside body, community activities or helping develop a new project for the community.  Such meetings won’t happen every day, so it’s not going to take over your life.

How long does a parish councillor serve for?

Once elected, parish councillors sit on the council for a maximum of four years.  If they then want to stay in the post they can stand for re-election.

Am I eligible to be a Parish Councillor?

To stand for election on a parish council, you must:

  • be a UK or commonwealth citizen, or;
  • be a citizen of the Republic of Ireland, or;
  • be a citizen of another Member state of the European Union;
  • be a least 18 years old.

You don’t have to be connected to a political party.

If you do become a parish councillor you will have to sign up to the Code of Conduct.

What powers do parish councils have?

They have a wide range of powers which essentially related to local matters, such as looking after community buildings, open space, allotments, play areas, street lighting, bus shelters, car parks and much more.  The council also has the power to raise money through taxation, the precept.  The precept is the parish council’s share of the council tax.  The precept demand goes to the billing authority, the district council, which collects the tax for the parish council.

Parish Duties

Compton Dundon has 7 Councillors who stand for election every four years.  The duties and functions of a parish council are many and varied.
The Council meets monthly and considers planning applications and any other matters referred to it by local residents. All meetings are open to the public and there is a forum before the start of the meeting at which members of the public can raise concerns and ask questions.  There is also an annual meeting which all parishioners are invited to attend.  All meetings are advertised on the council notice boards.  Residents can bring to the attention of the parish council anything that concerns them, either directly or through the clerk.  If matters raised are not the responsibility of the council, the clerk can bring them to the attention of the proper authority.

Don’t take our word for it!

The best way to find out what it’s like to be a parish councillor is to talk to someone who’s doing it now.  Come along to a parish council meeting, or speak to one of our councillors and find out what they think of the job.

Nomination forms are available from the Parish Clerk (Stanislaw Berkieta and must be submitted to the District Council by 4.00pm on the 9th April 2015.

WI Report – February 2015

Trish chaired this meeting, Kathy still not able to resume her duties following her recent operation. Trish was ably assisted by Janet. Apologies included one from Verity, who is hoping to rejoin at a later date, Jim still having a long term health problem. Angela is away, sunning herself in Florida. Janet Wall is also suffering somewhat with a painful knee, we wish her well and hope she will come back to the meetings soon.

Apologies to Corrine Webb from this correspondent, Corinne won the January competition for a Christmas decoration, with a bell,and the accolade went to Sally Walker. Sally has also announced that she is unable to take up her position as our representative on the village hall committee because the meetings fall on a Thursday evening and Sally is already committed on Thursdays.

Wendy announced that Jack Fisher of Berhill had approached her with an offer of a gift of TV remote control boxes which he had hand made with the possibility of selling same to raise funds for our depleted coffers. This will be discussed and a decision taken when a sample box has been seen to see if this is a viable proposition.

Congratulations to Julie Gordon who has won the County Christmas Quiz competition, a first for Compton Dundon.

Skittles: We won our match against Pawlett W I – we will play Walton W I in the next round of the cup knock out competition at the Ring of Bells Ashcott March 6 at  8 p m.

Janet continues her long running campaign to reinstate the bus service around Dundon and has had positive feed back from the bus company – watch this space but Janet emphasised that, if this service is resumed, it is up to everyone in Dundon to support it.

Notes from the recent Business meeting:

Kathy Newell of Puriton W I is still trying to obtain a stall at the Glastonbury Festival (held at Worthy Farm Pilton)

Should this bid be successful, the stall will be in the Green Field and conditions include having 15 free passes for volunteers.

It is not yet known how much this  will cost but money has been put aside. Thanks were received from the Music and Drama representative for the contributions to the recent Christmas concert where the theme was Old Time Music Hall.

Christmas Concert 2015 Monday December 7 at Puriton Church, theme Aspects of Christmas.

Janet Goodwin announced the winners of the league skittles,  Middlezoy W I and Walton W I first and second respectively.

Spring Council Meeting, March 23 Westonzoyland village hall, Speaker’s subject Hobble Skirts and Harlem Pants.

Group Quiz Friday June 19 Woolavington village hall.

Scrabble: Meet at Angela Warren’s Tuesday March 17. No Ladies who Lunch this month.

Trish announced that Bucklers Mead W I will be our visitors in June – members to bring a plate of food. Trish is running a  Savings Scheme for anyone who wishes to save towards the Christmas meal and next year’s subscriptions.

The village hall committee have purchased super new chairs, sitting is now much more comfortable.

Our Speaker, Dawn Lawrence whose subject is Endangered Species told us that her contribution to saving endangered species is to write poems which are subsequently sold in book form, funds going to saving animals. Dawn said her son inspired her, telling her humorous stories about camels whilst he was working abroad. Her first book featured 73 animals and the money raised was used for rain forest projects. Virginia McKellan, Joanna Lumley and David Sheppard are among the well known celebrities who are supporters of the same cause and the David Sheppard Foundation sells her books.

Following this initial introduction Dawn then read us a series of very well written,humorous poems featuring all species ranging from a glass frog who lives in the rain forests, Bengal tiger, polar bear, horned antelope from North America, snow goose ostrich, an animal who looks like guinea pig, sneezing monkey and tamarin monkey who is famous for its long droopy moustache and  a jaguar. Dawn also told us of rescuing a baby hedgehog who without her loving care would certainly have died and which she subsequently took to a hedgehog sanctuary.Talking of water voles,Dawn said this animal should never be known as Ratty as in Wind in the Willows, as in most certainly is not a rat

Members were able to purchase copies of the poetry books written by Dawn. Frances thanked Dawn and said she was certain her grandchildren would love the books.

The competition for a Wild Animal in any medium was won by Gill Clothier with a handsome tiger head plate with Trish Cox second and Patricia Heap third. Flower of the Month: winner Sally Walker with sprigs of Daphne.

Next month’s Speaker, Amelia Draffin Wiltshire Farm Foods.Competition Favourite Plate. Visitors very welcome.

Wendy Edwards

Voter Registration Day 2015

This Thursday, 5 February is National Voter Registration Day 2015,

organised by Bite the Ballot

It takes five minutes to register to vote online at

Why not have a ‘registration session’ at your group/church/school/college, all you need is a computer and your National Insurance number. If you know of young people away from home ask them if they are registered to vote – this is not arranged for them (e.g. at university) if they do not do it themselves.

Remember: if you’re not registered you can’t be surprised if politicians don’t pay much attention to your views.






FREE DOG Microchipping at

Yeovil Country Park (see Links Below)

Wednesday 4th February and Friday 20th February


The team will be outside the Ninesprings Café         between 11am – 3pm on both days.

The Countryside Rangers and Enforcement Officers at SSDC are delighted to be welcoming Jude and her team from the Dogs Trust to Yeovil Country park.

“Microchipping is a safe, effective and permanent way to link the dog and its keeper. Dogs Trust has long campaigned for all dogs to be microchipped to ensure lost or stolen dogs can be reunited with their keepers as quickly as possible”.


Enquiries: 01935 462282


Do you want Superfast Broadband ?

Government publicity says now is the time !

BT and Connecting Devon and Somerset presumably don’t think anyone in Compton Dundon knows what a computer is, let alone knows how to use one because they have  put us at the back of the queue for superfast cabinet upgrades. Perhaps they are right.

Why do you think Superfast Broadband is important ? :-

your child’s education

your business

for keeping in touch and updated

sourcing your needs

an essential utility

or even the effect on your house price ?

Then now maybe a good time to show there is an interest in Superfast Broadband in Compton Dundon. Are you prepared to indicate that you would like to use a Superfast Broadband Internet Service Provider of your choice ?

If so BT wishes to quantify the interest in Superfast Broadband in Compton Dundon.

The Parish Council needs to provide BT with a list of the telephone numbers of interested parties without any further commitment on your behalf.

Please  email me your phone number and I will forward it to BT to show your interest in using Superfast Broadband.

Check your friends and neighbours have joined in too ! Every little helps