Friday, 12 December 2014

On the Buses, but not longer if Somerset county council have there way

My letter to the leader of Somerset County Council

Dear Councillor John Osman,

It is with very real concern that I write to you concerning the threat to our beleaguered bus services in Shepton Mallet, if these proposed cuts to our bus service are made it would effectively cut Shepton off at weekends.

Shepton Mallet is a growing town and it needs a public transport system that allows residents who do not have access to a car to travel at a reasonable cost, this to get to work, or visit friends and family, to visit hospitals, arts and leisure facilities that Shepton so badly lacks.

Shepton suffered badly in the last round of cuts with the loss of buses on a Sunday, this latest round of cuts reinforces the view that Shepton Mallet is treated much worse than any other Mendip towns, this is both unacceptable and unfair, for you not to intervene would amount to a betrayal of your responsibility to treat all residents of the County fairly.

The current substandard bus service needs improving to encourage people to use the buses, it is essential that the current minimum service is maintained, Shepton Mallet has no cinema, no theatre, no indoor swimming pool, very little in terms of culture and the cuts would deny the means for none car drivers to access these basic facilities on a weekend. This would affect those families with children whose only access to travel is through the bus services.

Cutting off of Shepton is unacceptable, I hope you will accept this and reconsider the proposals to remove bus services on a Saturday, these cuts will have a very real impact on real people lives and have a disproportionate impact on residents of Shepton and its surrounding villages.

I hope you will reconsider these cuts to our buses.

Best Regards

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

NHS Bill on Friday

This is my statement in regard to the private members Bill on the NHS on Friday in parliament

The NHS is one of our greatest achievements and our most important institution. But it’s under threat from a Tory-led government which puts privatisation before patient care.

Now more than ever we need action to save our NHS. That’s why I’m backing Labour MP Clive Efford’s Bill which would scrap David Cameron’s new market framework for the NHS and ensure NHS patients will always be put first.

The NHS has never been more vulnerable than under the present government. The Tories wasted £3 billion on an unnecessary and damaging top-down NHS reorganisation. The new rules allow hospitals to earn up to 49 per cent of their income from private patients, which risks pushing NHS patients to the back of the queue. And their new competition rules force doctors to open up services to competition from the private sector.

Labour will ensure that the NHS once again puts patients before profits. We will invest the millions of pounds saved from scrapping competition red tape in ensuring people can get a GP appointment within 48 hours, or on the same day if they need it.

I have no hesitation in backing this bill as it will make sure patients in Wells Constituency are put first once again. Unfortunately the same can’t be said for our current MP. That’s why  I'm asking Tessa Munt to back the Bill and vote for it in Parliament on 21st November.

Patients in the Wells Constituency are relying on her to do the right thing by backing this Bill so that we can put an end to market forces being put at the heart of the NHS. Tessa Munt MP is fond of saying how she always puts her constituents first; its time she backed this up with action by voting for this Bill on 21st November.

The Tories haven’t just destabilised our health service; they’re holding it back from meeting the challenges of the 21st century as well. We need to pass this new Bill so we can end the creep towards NHS privatisation, bureaucracy and red-tape, and instead put patients back at the heart of the NHS . Labour will rescue the NHS with our £2.5 billion Time to Care package which will fund new staff including 20,000 more nurses – investment the Tories will not match

Friday, 14 November 2014

The working persons lot

I remember when I started work being a political hot head and one of my older colleges telling me, that it doesn't matter who is in government, we'll still have to work in the morning, as a 17 year old I thought that rather uninspiring.

My father was a hard working man, first dug coal and later dug graves to buried people for a living, the later was low paid work he also was a retained fireman as well as low paid weekend jobs to pay the bills, mum worked as well with a multitude of part time work, they also were active in the community, running a youth club, being a school governor and PTA, raising money for the scouts, this list could go on.

My parents shaped my view on the world; everyone had a duty to work and pay their bills, you did your best for your family, you played an active part in your community, but more than that, they taught values,

 I remember an old tramp that visited our home a couple times a year on his travels, mum always gave him food and drink, even new socks, as a young boy I said to my mum, why do you feed a stranger when we had so little ourselves? Mum said because we have bread and cheese and the man was hungry and showed a little human kindness that you would expect from one person to another,  my mum was her brothers keeper, excepting responsibility towards another human being less fortunate then her, even for a short period.

We were fortunate that we grew up in a council property, this allowed us to have a secure upbringing, before 'the right to buy' when council estates where genuinely mixture of people our
neighbours were mechanics, shop manager, factory workers and retired people, all in work and regular families.

I left school in the first Thatchers recession, made in Downing Street, Mrs Thatcher used our country as an economic experiment, history will judge this point in our history when we throw North Sea oil revenues down the drain on welfare benefits, with a huge growth of incapacity benefit, instead of reshaping our economy so manufacturing had a larger place in our country, instead we saw economic growth in the service and financial sectors, with lower skills in our economy.

After 18 months of job schemes I finally got my job with a local company, a closed shop, but I happily joined the TGWU and to this day a proud UNITE member, Showerings were a good company, good wages, good conditions a happy company to work for, until the mid to late 1980s when an Australian chancier launched a takeover bid, causing Allied Domeq, the mother company to cut costs and the company was disposed. A good local company affected by activity in the City of London, the good news for the Australian chancier was he made a shed load of money.

Thirty years of work has seen the economy liberalised, less secure, poorer pay and less social benefits, with a bigger share of the economy going to profits whilst incomes shrink, less collective bargaining on pay with fewer smaller pay rises.

This uber liberalisation cannot be satisfied demanding zero hours contracts, the demand to reduce employment protection and companies avoiding tax, this liberalised economy demands that business owe no responsibilities to their employees.

How it's all has changed in thirty years.

I was reading the other day that 38% of those in work earned less than £7.45 an hour in this area, with large sections of young people not entering  further education, it is clear low pay and people whom
do not achieve good qualifications go hand in hand, why do our elected MPs vote (or fail to turn up to vote) to scrap the Educational Maintenance Allowance that supports young people into further education?

The prevailing mood is we have government that supports corporate business against the working person, supporting a low pay insecure employment market, underpinned by sanctions on people whom claim benefits, this government are even considering sanctioning people in part time work, if the government think they can work for longer and the person cannot find that work, they could lose tax credits, further tipping the balance against the worker.

Of course people should work for a living, as most do, our parents taught us so, we were taught responsibility, to do the right thing, we see bankers playing fast and loose with laws, with no police action against them, too many MPs with outrageous claims on expenses with too few prosecuted.

The perception of one law for one and another for the rest of us, we should demand decency in public and corporate life.

So, yes it is true, I will have to work who ever is in government, but I expect government that is decent, that reflects values that is kind to the weak and tough on those who abuse their power, what I have learnt is, the values that my parents taught me allows me to be outraged at the unfairness of our times and disgusted by those whom rig markets in the banks and the utter impotence of the authorities to prosecute wrongdoers.

Friday, 7 November 2014

More support with childcare

A Labour government will give 25 hours per week of free childcare to parents with 3 and 4-year-

Today, many families are faced with difficult choices about how they balance work and family life. In some families, parents who want to work are being prevented from doing so because the rising cost of childcare makes it unaffordable - while others increasingly struggle to find decent before- and after-school placements at all.

Under the Conservatives, the problem is getting worse. Too many parents are struggling to cope as the cost of childcare soars and the availability of places falls. David Cameron has broken his promise on Sure Start, with 628 fewer children's centres across the country since 2010. By 2015, the Tories will have taken away up to £15 billion in support for children and families.

Families need more help with childcare: it’s good for families and good for the economy. But with no plan to tackle the rising cost of childcare before the election, it is clear the Tories don’t recognise the pressures that families face today.

Labour has a plan to give families the support they need.

We will extend free childcare from 15 to 25 hours for working parents with three and four-year-olds paid for by an increase in the bank levy. This will benefit nearly half a million three and four-year-olds and their families and help parents overcome the barrier to getting back to work or working more hours.

We will introduce a primary childcare guarantee - a legal guarantee that parents of primary-aged children can access childcare from 8am to 6pm through their local school, helping families tackle the logistical nightmare that before- and after-school childcare can become.

We will renew and reinvigorate Sure Start, reforming the way local services work together to shift from sticking-plaster services to radical early help, to provide good quality support to all families that need it.

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

I want real recall for MPs, elected representatives and members of Quangos

l believe elected and unelected public represents should be accountable to their communities that is why I support recall. I support the principle of right to recall when an MP has done something wrong. Labour has long championed this, and it was in our last manifesto. I think it is one of the ways we can empower the electorate, and help restore public trust in politics. The Government has now brought forward its Bill, but it is not strong enough. It would still fail to hold to account MPs for certain serious acts of misconduct like the Tory MPs who took cash for questions in the 1990s. Labour supports Recall where an MP has done something wrong, but we are worried about a model of Recall that would give too much power to well-funded interest groups to pressure MPs into supporting their agenda with a constant threat of recall petitions. It is critical that MPs are able to vote with their conscience on the issues of the day and then face the electorate at a General Election. A balance must be drawn between giving the people the opportunity to recall an MP for misconduct and allowing MPs to make difficult decisions that might anger certain organisations or groups. We will give the Government’s Bill a Second Reading. At Committee stage, I would of voted for amendments that strengthen the Government’s proposals

Thursday, 9 October 2014

Health and Social Care

Today I attended a meeting on the newly proposed Health and Well being campus in the grounds of the community hospital.

There were many good proposal, improved outpatient care, good public health and proposal for medicial assessment and the new Grove House Doctors Surgery.

The downside to the proposal was the reduction in bed numbers from 16 to 8 beds with an additional 2 beds for medicial assessment and 2 beds for amulmatory care.

There was no real discussion on the social care, this is a major challenge for the coming years.

The truth that came from the meeting was the very real challenge that will face the NHS in the coming few years.

Somerset health services has to reduce its expenditure by £200 million in today's money terms over the next five years.

The Health and Social Care Act has further complicated the future provision of health services, it would appear that there is no current advice from the department of health in relation to capital investment in new health centres, further to this the site and buildings are owned by the NHS Proprtty services Ltd, any future provision will have to be agreed with them and of course they are now having to maximise their income, the Somerset Clinical Commissioning group will fund the new facility with another provider supplying the staffing.

Grove house Doctor surgery wishes to build its own buildings.

We must ensure that Shepton Mallet receives the best healthcare, that offers the patients and their families good quality health services, that includes maximises the number of beds and good quality outpatient services, but also high quality public health advice that will give individuals the tools to have better health and save the NHS money.

We need to repeal the Health and Social Care Act and replace it with a set of policies that genuinely puts patients first, rather than markets, we need collaboration not competition, services before profit.

That is the choice.

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

A decent housing choice

Today Rachel Reeves made a speech that exposed the failing of this government policies on housing and welfare.

The remodelling of employment, where a growing number of workers are in insecure jobs, that are part time and low paid with the result of tax payers having to pay for this governments failure.

The recent figures that showed in the Wells constituency 38% of workers earned less than a living wage, with the average wage around £17000 pa.

Rachel Reeves, the shadow work and pensions secretary,  says that the number of working people claiming housing benefit is due to double between 2010/11 and 2018/19. Her figures, which are drawn from the House of Commons library, show an increase in working people claiming housing benefit would cost £12.9 bn – or £488 for every British household between 2010/11 and 2018/19.

The bulk of the increase will come in rent subsidies in the private sector and, in part, reflects the number of people in part-time or low-paid work. Housing benefit makes up about 14% of welfare spending, much of which goes into the hands of private landlords.
It is likely that the number of working people claiming housing benefit is set to double, this because the Tory government has failed to tackle low pay, insecure work and the cost-of-living crisis, with the consequents of thousands more people are being forced to rely on housing benefit to make ends meet.
The tax payer is effectively handing their taxes to private landlords with no assets accrued for the tax payers investment, just redistributing wealth from those who do not have to those with wealthy assets.

To continue on this course of low pay insecure work will lead to higher welfare payments, it is obvious that a change of approach is required, we need a government that will tackle low pay, raising the skills of workers, this must lead to an increase in the minimum wage and move towards the living wage, a basic requirement in making work pay.

The housing market needs to be rebalanced, it is unsustainable for the current (over) ten times annual salary for the average house price, with the gap between wages and house prices increasing.

It is clear many, many more affordable houses need to be built, without action the current housing crisis, will get worse, with the welfare budget increasing with little benefit to the tax payer or for the local communities.


Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Nothing to offer

The last four years has seen government devoid of ideas, we have seen cuts to essential public services and further marketisation of society.

The architect of public sector reform Oliver Letwin has made it quite clear the direction of the governments policy, that discipline and fear was the prescribed medicine, this means schools and hospitals closing driven by markets, this would not happen by accident, Letwin says that some of those running schools and hospitals would not survive the process and that it was an "inevitable and intended" consequence of government policy. This is why the Health and Social care Act was passed to introduce competition law into the NHS, allowing private profit and making cooperation and collaboration harder.

As Letwin says "If you have diversity of provision and personal choice and power, some providers will be better and some worse. Inevitably, some will not, whether it's because they can't attract the patient or the pupil, for example, or because they can't get results and hence can't get paid. Some will not survive. It is an inevitable and intended consequence of what we are talking about."

To translate for you, if your local Academy school has a falling intake of students and closes (this maybe just down to low birth rate in your local area), then tough this is an inevitable and intended outcome to government policy and your child can travel to another school outside your town..

Likewise the government sees that it is important to add more flexibility into private sector jobs, with the growth of zero hours contracts, part time working. This government has made it harder to fight unfair dismissal, this obviously is the much needed fear and discipline to make us more productive.

Yet despite years of this fear and discipline the UK productivity is low, in fact still below the 2007/08 rates and about a fifth less per hour of our competitor nations.

One sector that has not received the fear and discipline is the banking sector, the sector that created the economic crash and the same institutions that received hundreds of billions of pounds to keep them afloat, yet has failed to release finance to allow business to invest in their businesses.

Those who has most have the most have received tax cuts on their income, this is based on a government who believe in trickle down economics, yet we see that the average families are £1600 a year worse off in this parliament, now the architect of discipline and fear, is leading conservative thinking on taxation, Oliver Letwin is now arguing for flat taxes. This simply put is one level % of tax everyone should pay, we know the Chancellor Osbourne likes flat taxes, again this would benefit those with the most in our society and those who already enjoyed a tax cut.

The Institute for Fiscal Studies calculates that in order to raise current tax revenue, a flat tax on income would have to be set at 31%. People earning between £10,000 and £41,865 a year currently pay 20% in income tax. At the other end of the scale, it would mean a significant tax cut for top earners, who currently pay 45% tax on earnings over £150,000 a year.

This is why the cutting of public is spending by this government is important to them, under cover of austerity and deficit reduction is the restructuring of public services and spending, this will in turn will lead to lower taxation with the leading lights of the conservative party now arguing for flat taxes, this is regressive benefitting the most wealthy at the cost to ordinary families.

The Conservatives believe in crude blunt instruments to support the most wealthy in society.

This Conservative government has not restructured the banking system, not rebalanced the energy market, not rebalanced the housing market, not tackled the lack of productivity within our economy, or made childcare costs more affordable, we have a government that shrugs its shoulders and argues about ill defined problems, research and independent facts are not friends to this government.

We have ten months until the election, surely government has to be more about tackling the fundamental issues that affect our society, shrugging shoulders and talking about myths are not enough, it is time for change.


Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Why we need good public services

To quote Led Zepplin ' it's been a long time' since I blogged, I went on holiday and then broke my collarbone, in a bicycle accident.
I learned something from this accident;-
That I'm not so young as I was, bones don't mend quite as quick as they did.
Secondly, how important it is to wear a bicycle helmet, even on short rides, something I did not do, so  I conclude I'm a lucky man I landed on my shoulder!
Thirdly, how good public sector workers are, the ambulance was there to patch me up within minutes, then the care at our local community hospital, just one note here, the nurse couldn't order a chest        X-Ray, but could if I had gone to Frome, seriously odd. I then was transported by ambulance to Yeovil hospital where I was taken to the crash unit, seemed a little over the top, I think they thought I'd punctured my lung, the staff were amazing.
I'm now starting physiotherapy, so with a fair wind back to work in two weeks.
Surely this is the strength of good public funded services, no one could predict I was going to fly over my handle bars and need medical help, the care I received in financial terms must of cost a tidy sum, but a publicly funded health service was there, I was treated as a patient not what my insurance covered me for.
This is what makes the NHS so important, I work and happily pay my taxes and for this when I need health care it was there for me, surely this is a fair deal, having said that I hope I don't need it again, breaking bones is just too painful.
Oh yes and public servants need to be paid well, my gratitude is measured in gold!

Monday, 7 April 2014

Response to the Journal report on the Living wage

The recent report by the Trades Union Congress that showed the extent of the low pay that blights the local economy.

In last week’s Journal our local MP Tessa Munt, exposed her complacency and dismissive attitude on low pay, in the Wells constituency nearly 4 people out of 10 earn less than £7.45 an hour.

She seems to thinks it acceptable for low pay for part time workers and those in the service sector, every worker should earn an acceptable wage, these workers should not be deemed to be second class. 

The Joseph Rowntree Foundation’s recent research shows that the cost of a minimum living standard has increased by a quarter since 2008, this to rising costs; in food, energy costs, housing and cuts or freezes to tax credits and other in-work benefit. This means the pressure to raise wages has become even greater.

The growth of insecure, part time jobs has further undermined wages.

Low pay is a symptom of economic failure, yet it those who are paid low pay are those who pay the price with poor living standards.

This week the Financial Times stated that productivity in this country is 20% lower in this country than other leading economic countries in recent years. This shows how the coalition government has failed to invest in regional infrastructure, failed to help business to attract finance from the financial sector, failed to increase training opportunities in the workplace.

It is obvious that government has to do more in providing affordable housing and reducing childcare costs.

The economy cannot afford not to invest in supply side measures such as training, as only a high skill productive economy can pay better wages.

It is clear that this government and our local MP has failed to focus on the issues that affect low paid workers, they have failed to tackle the utility companies and their huge price hikes, not invested in child care, they have cut in work tax credits and done very little to tackle the housing crises.


Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Low pay a blight on our economy

Britain has a larger proportion of low-paid, low-skilled jobs than most developed countries, and the number is likely to increase. People who work in these low paid jobs are more likely to face insecure contracts, and less likely to receive training.

It is now fifteen years since the National Minimum Wage (NMW) was introduced, the NMW was introduced to set a legal minimum wage, to stop what Winston Churchill said was to stop the bad employer under cut by the worse.

However, since 2008 the rise in the NMW has constantly failed to keep up with inflation. In real terms it’s been going down for six years. This year the adult rise is 1.9%, against an inflationary backdrop of 3.2% RPI and 2.8% CPI.

It is clear that higher inflation than wages has a higher impact on low paid workers as they are likely to have little or no disposable income, but face the same hikes in their bills such as energy, transport and child care costs.

The Joseph Rowntree Foundation has said “Our research shows that the cost of a minimum living standard has increased by a quarter since 2008 – thanks to rising costs and cuts or freezes to tax credits and other in-work benefits. This means the pressure to raise wages has become even greater.

Today the Trades Union Congress (TUC) has produced a report detailing the problem of low pay, it is clear that the NMW is no longer an income people can live on and it is widely recognised that a Living Wage is required, the TUC says this should be £7.65 across the rest of the UK outside London – but in some parliamentary constituencies nearly half of the people working there earn less than this.

In the Wells Constituency 38.1% of workers are paid below the Living Wage, nearly 4 out of 10 workers are earning less than it is reasonable to live on.

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: “Extending the living wage is a vital way of tackling the growing problem of in-work poverty across Britain.

“Working families are experiencing the biggest pressure on their living standards since Victorian times. Pay has been squeezed at all levels below the boardroom and it’s costing our economy dear.

“The number of living wage employers is growing rapidly and unions are playing their part in encouraging more employers to sign up and pay it – but government must show equal initiative. We need to see a far greater commitment to pay the living wage from government and employers, and modern wages councils which could set higher minimum rates in industries where employers can afford to pay their staff more.

“During Fair Pay Fortnight we’re asking workers to back our call to MPs to get all political parties to put decent pay at the top of their agendas in the run up to the election.”

It is clear that in a decent society a person should be paid enough to sustain a acceptable living standard.

However pay is just one aspect of the low pay problem.

There are other steps that are needed to create a convincing approach to in-work poverty:

reduce childcare and housing costs;
improve the quality of part-time jobs;
improve training opportunities for low-paid workers to allow the opportunity to higher-paid and more stable jobs.

It is clear that this government and our local MP has failed to focus on the issues that affect low paid workers, they have failed to tackle the utility companies and their huge price hikes, not invested in child care, they have cut in work tax credits and done very little to tackle the housing crises.

Today we saw the difference between low paid workers having to watch every penny and a complacent out of touch government that sold off the Royal Mail for hundreds of millions of pounds less than it is worth to city institutions that has made a fortune.

Sadly we have a government and a MP that's stands up for the wrong interests.

Monday, 3 February 2014

A hospital job

Tonight the Town Council held a meeting concerning Shepton Mallet's Community Hospital.

I unfortunately had a meeting in Wells at the Scrutiny Board for the District Council.

I did manage to get back to engage in the debate.

It is clear that the people of Shepton value their hospital, sometimes I wish the people who run the NHS appreciated it as much.

Let us be clear, our community hospital delivers excellent care, our hospital has high occupancy rates and is a sense of local pride.

I know through personal experience how difficult it can be for those people who suffer a stroke, but of course it is not only those people who suffer from a stroke, but their families who also suffer, the concern and the heartache, just imagine if you, a suffer of a stroke and your loved news cannot visit because they do not have transport?

Then also imagine how this impacts on the stroke patients recovery.

But also how good is the back up community services, the stair lifts, the changes in the home to allow the stroke suffer to live their lives, with dignity. Then how good is the nursing care to be given in the patients home 24/7 or 15 minutes 3 times a day?

Let us be clear, the risk to our beds in Shepton Hospital comes from the Clinical Commissioning Group, this is the body that buys care on our behalf. This risk to our hospital beds is simply about money, it is where they choose to spend our money.

The Conservative party and the Lib Dems introduced the Clinical Commissioning Groups through the Health and Social Care Act, the privatised and marketised NHS, a NHS of providers and purchasers, these changes were said to put the patient first, yet as we are seeing in Shepton, the patients are neither consulted or important, because the Clinical Commissioning group knows best.

I remember Dr Bourke defending our local hospital back in the early eighties, he was magnificent, with the suites sent with a flee in their ears, do we see the same resolve of our GPs today?

It is so important to defend our hospital beds, the Town Council voted unanimously to tell the Clinicial commissioning group, hands off Shepton beds.

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Old Wells Road

This is what I said to the planning meeting on Wednesday 8 January 2014

Thank you for allowing me to speak on this very important planning application.

Without doubt this planning application is wholly opportunistic and for many local residents most unwelcome, the applicant is not concerned about the best way to develop Shepton, but ladies and gentlemen you are, this is why you have worked on the emerging local plan.

This site has never been judged not to be suitable to be included in the Local plan either in the past or the current plan or the emerging plan.

The planning policy team rightly judged this area considered before you tonight, as isolated and is to small to meet the requirements for a comprehensive strategic location.

The officers report sole focus seems to be to legitimate the findings around the District Councils inability to prove the five year supply of land with planning applications.

The broader and more important focus should be around the significant housing sites that are held within the emerging local plan, through the whole process land at the south of Shepton Mallet was deemed to be the location for the strategic housing sites, short term expediency should not carry more weight than properly thought out proposals that can demonstrate community support.

Shepton Mallet has been out performing the requirements for housing, in terms of numbers within the emerging local plan, with even more sites expected to come through in Shepton for planning, piece by piece it is changing Shepton's housing numbers, Shepton is doing its bits to plug the planning application short fall, this site at old wells road is not required and should be rejected

The old Wells road is essentially a lane, it was not designed for heavy traffic, in my time as PACT police and communities together, chairman, traffic problems dominated these meetings with residents demanding action on speed and road safety, the problems have and will get worse, with a former PCSO held discussions with county highways about traffic calming, worryingly there is no mention of this in the report. I have seen nothing in the officers report that tackles the traffic problems.

The junction of West Shepton and Old Wells Road is also a cause for concern.

Shepton mallet has the worse bus service of any Mendip town, no direct bus services to Bath, Bristol Taunton or Bridgwater.

The notion that people will use poor buses services that are viewed as an inferior mode of transport, is fanciful, travel vouchers may work in the city, but in a town with little public transport, this is merely a sop to plug the obvious gap in the isolation of his site.

The increased volume of traffic will Make walking on his lane even more unnerving, this especially true beyond 25 old wells road.

It is sad to see the proposed play area situated at the back of the housing site, not integrated  in the development, the site is not even level.

Skateboarding is an exhilarating sport with noise of wheels and young people being exuberant, I can fully understand why the environment health office wanted a 200metre buffer, they know, through experience, that the amenity of the houses will be affected by young people enjoying themselves and for the potential for unintentional nuisance, I have serious concern that 50 meters, especially as the older person tends to like bungalow

Shepton as continues to grows faster than predicted,  the pressures on our public services is causing very real problems, the post office can't cope, the doctor surgeries are full and difficult to get appointments,  the town has no cinema or theatre and buses that cannot service an entertainment need.
Shepton is becoming unsustainable.

This application is opportunistic and will do nothing to improve the local neighbourhood, on the contrary the visual impact and traffic will cause a worse environment without delivering benefits.

The site is considered by the planning policy team as too isolated so I call upon members of the planning board to reject this application.