Wookey Hole Residents Forum AGM 2021

Our last AGM was held on 17th October 2019. We have made the decision to postpone having another AGM until it is possible to hold it in person rather than via zoom.  In the meantime here is a recap of events, activities and issues that the Forum has had involvement with in 2020.

Tribute to Hugh
Our founding Chairman Hugh Talbott passed away on June 12th 2020.
A large number of villagers lined the streets to pay their respects & say a fond farewell to Hugh as the funeral cortege left the village, it was a very moving moment for the family and villagers alike.
Housing Planning applications
A Zoom meeting was arranged by the WHRF with our elected representatives on June 12th 2020 to discuss the worrying increase in planning applications in & around Wookey Hole.   It was well supported by local residents. Ros Wyke, leader of MDC listened to residents concerns & answered all questions. Notes were taken by Lisa Poole, the Parish Council Deputy Clerk. Tessa Munt and James Heappey were among the attendees.
Armchair Field
The planning application for 148 houses on the Armchair field next to the Underwood Business Park was rejected last May but in July 2020 an appeal was registered with Mendip Council. It has still not been validated/registered by the Planning Inspectorate.  When it goes “live”, all objectors should be notified by MDC.
Ivor Tetley is co-ordinating moves to have such an appeal rejected. A flyer asking for people to  be involved in an Objectors Group has been circulated. The first step might be a Q&A with a town planning consultant.
Homestead Park
The planning application for 11 new houses on the Homestead Park was withdrawn. Another application for 9 dwellings was submitted 20/8/20 & no decision has been made about it yet. It seems likely the planning officer wants to recommend approval but MDC could not approve it until the phosphate issue is settled.  However the application will go to MDC’s planning board first. In the meantime  more drawings have been filed with some changes to the appearance of some of the houses. To find out more see Mendip’s planning portal reference 2020/0668/FUL
Glencot Road – Gladman outline planning
The outline planning application for 90 houses on the land running down Glencot Road to Haybridge was refused in September ’20. As yet no appeal has been made.  See Mendip District Council’s planning portal reference 2020/0484/OTS for more information.
Our Parish Council have objected to all of these applications.
Currently the majority of planning applications in our area cannot be approved by MDC as a result of a court judgement affecting wetlands of international importance. The Somerset Levels is one of these RAMSAR sites and many proposed developments around us, potentially, have an impact on the quality of water feeding into the Levels.  Applications can of course always be refused (see the 60 houses below Elm Close as well as the 4 houses behind the Mermaid on Tucker Street)
To find out more see https://www.inyourarea.co.uk/news/mendip-district-council-will-protect-somerset-levels-and-moors
WH Road Network Working group
Roger Hancock and Sarah Chambers initiated this at our last AGM.  Thanks to all who have already responded to emails contributing ideas about how our road network could be improved and made safer and who have helped in the mini traffic surveys we’ve done.
We have joined forces with the Parish Council and the working group now consists of Cllrs Paul Cannon, Ed Danson, Tony Hathway and Diana Newington as well as Forum Committee members Sarah Chambers, Roger Hancock & Julia Scarth.  We are meeting regularly and in due course plan to submit a report to Somerset County Council Highways Dept. We will be in touch again over the coming months with ideas, suggestions and requests for help on the issue of roads.
Discussions have taken place regarding the fenced off rubbish dump that blocks the footpath leading to Trouts Bend. It was felt that to protect this well used path, we should make an application for it to be recognised as a footpath. We need a volunteer to take this on. It would involve requesting residents to provide witness statements to declare that they had regularly used it & for how long. If enough people have used it over a set 20 year period that is grounds to make it an acknowledged footpath.  
The law is changing in 2026 & if a path is not on a definitive map, it will not be recognised as a footpath.
A number of people in the village are having real problems with very poor internet speeds.
A Truespeed Zoom meeting was held in July for villagers and 5 people attended.
There are approx 230 properties in Wookey Hole & Truespeed need between 90-100 households to sign up for it to be financially viable for them. So far they only have 34 orders for our area.  We asked Tony at Truespeed for an update on costs and received the following
With the nation now in lockdown again, we at Truespeed are doing all we can to speed up the delivery of your FULL FIBRE broadband network.  Thank you for all your support and help!
Demand for Truespeed is high as home workers, home schoolers and even low usage households struggle with the overcrowded and underperforming copper network.
Just before Christmas we launched our new packages.  We listened to feedback from our customers and now we have packages starting at a GUARANTEED 80Mbps (upload AND download) from £29.99.  For those with larger families we can now offer a GUARANTEED 900Mbps for £69.99.  All our packages include a telephone service too, so no need to retain your BT line!
Truespeed 80Mbps   – £29.99 per month
Truespeed 200Mbps – £47.50 per month
Truespeed 350Mbps – £49.99 per month
Truespeed 500Mbps – £59.99 per month
Truespeed 900Mbps – £69.99 per month
To secure your FREE installation please complete the attached form and return to me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
If you’ve signed up already and have been waiting for some time, it’s probably because there isn’t quite enough demand in your area yet.  You can help speed things up by sharing this post and telling friends and neighbours about Truespeed.
If you have any questions or would like more information I can be contacted at the same.
Don’t forget, complete the attached form and return to me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
Feedback on Bring & Share Supper Jan ‘20
The Bring & Share supper raised £168.
£74 was from ticket sales & £94 from the raffle.
Many thanks to all who made this such an enjoyable evening.
Lets Weather The Storm Together (LWTST)
During the Covid lockdown, the committee members joined forces with the LWTST team & for 14 weeks from April to July provided food boxes to isolating residents in Wookey Hole.  A huge thanks not only to the many volunteers who became involved in this initiative but also to the even larger number of people who were willing to help with this and other initiatives but were not called upon.  Thank you all for being such good neighbours.
Food Bank Donations
Wells Food Bank which is run from Wells Vineyard on Jocelyn Drive continues to meet the needs of a growing number of vulnerable people, struggling to make ends meet.  They are enormously grateful for the food donations that we have been giving them each month.
Donations can be left at any time in the box in the church porch and are taken to the Food Bank on the last Wednesday of the month.  This month that is this Wednesday, 27th January.
Pyrolysis Plant
A temporary 12 month "experimental" facility for treating waste which cannot be recycled was approved by Somerset County Council with conditions at the end of 2019.
This 1 year trial was due to end 07/11/20 & the site restored to its previous condition by 07/12/20.  We understand that an extension of up to 12 months to the original time period was approved in September 2020. See Mendip District Council’s planning portal reference 2020/1364/CNT for more information.
Neighbourhood Plan
The Parish Council continues to have a working group investigating the formulation of a Neighbourhood Plan.  We have been in communication with Tony Hathway, one of the councillors on that group.  Currently this matter is on the back burner but we can become involved if required.
Hand Rail
The handrail that was affixed to the wall on the left of the steps on the footpath that leads from the High Street over the stream to the Caves Grounds came off some time ago. The owner of the house (& wall) has said he needs to rebuild this wall.  He has the handrail & will reinstate it when the wall is re built.
WH Village Charity
This idea suggested by Ed Danson is under consideration but currently on hold as a result of Covid restrictions.
Disappearance of the Charabanc sign
Paul Cannon has said that another replacement may be commissioned if the one that has disappeared doesn’t show up.
Ghost train disturbance
During Halloween a temporary, noisy ghost train was installed  next to the Crazy Golf which was causing disturbance to residents in School Hill. The problem was shared with us and the relevant authorities and those affected were most grateful for the support received.
St Cuthbert Out Parish Council is working with others to establish a regular and direct bus link between the Wells area and Castle Cary mainline railway station. More details to follow from Paul Cannon.
The Parish Council is also seeking to develop a network of footpaths/cycle ways across its area. This is in association with a wider Mendip District Council aspiration as part of its climate emergency response. Both the bus link and foot/cycle way initiatives are being progressed by the council's newly formed Environment Working Group.
St Cuthbert Out Parish Council
Our Parish Council, both Councillors and Clerks work very hard on behalf of everyone who lives in this very large Parish.  We have been forwarding the Covid news bulletins etc gathered together by the deputy clerk and trust you will have found some useful information in there.  
The Parish Council website has recently been redesigned and additional information added this is a link to the home page https://www.stcuthbertout-pc.gov.uk/ . On the community tab there is a link to the larger villages in the Parish this is the link to ours https://www.stcuthbertout-pc.gov.uk/wookey-hole.html on that page there is a link to a facebook site Bygone Wookey Hole.  It is well worth a look, if you are not already acquainted with it. There are many great old photographs of the village and historical information.
New initiatives
Who knows when we will be able to meet up for our next AGM?  If in the meantime if you have a project or idea, opinion or question about things in the village that you would like to share, do get in touch with one of the committee members, who are currently;
Julia Scarth – Chairperson     This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.         01749 672754
Sarah Mardle – Secretary    This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Sarah Chambers – Treasurer
Committee Members:-
Charlie Chambers
Roger Hancock
Chloe Parish
Doug Robinson

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