The Library Junction: share your views and get your Christmas shopping!

The Library Junction: share your views and get your Christmas shopping!

Drop into the Community Office on Christmas Shopping Night (Wednesday 6 December) to meet our urban design consultants and share your ideas about the junction with them.

Residents have told us repeatedly that this junction does not work well for pedestrians or for motorists. When our 2016 Town Plan Survey asked which locations were priorities for improvement for walking, the Library Junction came top.

In our Town Plan we therefore said that we intend to “commission a series of studies and work with residents and businesses to… re-design the Library Junction”. The Council has now appointed Streets Re-imagined, an urban design practice, to develop a design for the junction that make it safer and more convenient for pedestrians. Their approach is to work with the local community to understand their experience of the junction, and this is what they want to do on Christmas Shopping Night.

You can read more about Streets Re-imagined on their website. The Council has awarded them a contract for £5,500 to carry out the design work, which we expect to be completed at some point early in the New Year. If their design is acceptable to the Council, the community and to the County Council’s Highways department we hope to be able to raise funds in future years to make the proposals a reality.

Possible housing developments to South of Brewham Road

Possible housing developments to South of Brewham Road

Bruton Town Council has started discussions with a developer, the landowner and architect about their proposals for a potential housing development on a site immediately South of Brewham Road (between the last houses and the electricity substation, as shown in the picture). The discussions are at a very early stage, but are now sufficiently advanced to be made public. The Council understands that no proposals have yet been made about numbers or type of housing, and that a planning application, if there is to be one, is many months off.

Mayor Steve Hall said: “It was very clear from the Town Plan survey that residents want the Town Council to engage directly with landowners and developers, to try and make sure that the right housing gets built in the right place. This is what we are doing. This site is one of the few sites in the town which more people thought suitable for development than in need of protection.”

Report recommends tree felling on Jubilee Park

A report on a diseased beech tree near the pavilion on Jubilee Park has recommended its removal.

The report by Wincanton-based arboreal specialists Astill Tree Care was commisioned by Bruton’s Tree Warden Emma Donovan following concerns about visible damage to the trunk. Regrettably the report discovered significant disease and damage 5m up the trunk and in the opinion of the experts there is no option but to fell the tree. Other possibilities including pollarding and cutting out the diseased areas were considered but rejected as not viable or likely to be effective. 

The affected tree on the right

The Town Council considered this at their meeting on 31st October, and accepted the recommendation and resolved to get the required permissions as the tree is within the conservation area.

When we have more information we will post it here.

MUGA now open!

MUGA now open!

Members of the Town Council attended Bruton Robins’ first netball match on the new Multi-use Games Area this morning. Later on Bruton United FC’s first senior team joined councillors to mark the opening.

The MUGA is the first part of the Town Council’s proposals to improve the facilities at Jubilee Park. The MUGA is a free all-weather pitch for netball, basketball and five-a-side football, and can be floodlit. It was paid for from a mix of sources including money set aside by housing developers, South Somerset District Council, the Town Council and a Bruton Community Partnership fundraising event.

Other proposals, which are part of Bruton’s new Town Plan 2017, include a new skate park (the “Bru Bowl”), upgrades to the lower pitch and the play area, and rebuilding of the pavilion. Plans for these further developments are at an outline stage, and will go ahead once funding has been secured.

Pictures taken by William Bonner

Town Council in discussion with the Bruton Unionist Club

Town Council in discussion with the Bruton Unionist Club

Some months ago, Bruton Unionist Club started informal discussions with the Town Council about the Club’s future. Although nothing has yet been decided or agreed, the Council has now put forward proposals to the Club’s membership which can be made public. The Council and the Club’s committee believe that these proposals offer the best chance of ensuring that Bruton’s largest public hall remains an asset for the whole town, and that grants can be attracted for its much-needed development and improvement.

The Council is proposing that the Club transfers the freehold of the entire site (including the hall) to the Council. The Council will lease the hall back to the Club for six to twelve months, so that it can continue to run much as it does. Meanwhile a charity will be set up, which will eventually take over the lease and the running of the hall from the Club. At the same time, the Council will work with Club members and other local residents to develop plans for the hall’s future. These may well include substantial improvements to the building, and will definitely include plans for how it is to be used.

It has become very common for Councils to hold the freehold of community halls, and a separate charity to run them. (This is, for example, what happens at the Cheese and Grain in Frome). Because the Council has the freehold, the asset remains in the public ownership of the town. An independent charity has great flexibility in applying for grants, and can concentrate all its energies on making the hall a success.

Bruton’s previous town plans and its 2017 Town Plan all recognise the need for a modern multi-purpose community hall. The Unionist Hall is on a large site with ample parking. It is within easy walking distance for many residents. The view of the Council is that these proposals are a once-in-a-generation opportunity to develop the community facilities that Bruton lacks.

If it goes ahead this will be a very large project, and so we are approaching it with an appropriate degree of caution. A solicitor has been appointed to ensure that the Council’s and residents’ interests are safeguarded in further negotiations, and a detailed survey of the hall is being commissioned. There will be a further update for the town following these enquiries.

Councillor wins national award

Councillor wins national award

Bruton Town Councillor Mike Brownlow has been awarded the prestigious Councillor of the Year trophy by the National Association of Local Councils (NALC).

Cllr Brownlow chairs the town’s Transport Committee, which has led a number of major recent initiatives including the 20mph zone and traffic calming on Cole Road.

The awarding committee said of his work: “We were very impressed with Cllr Brownlow taking what was obviously a new committee and really running with it in both addressing some of the long-standing issues that had obviously been present in the community and then also looking forward with his 20-year wish for the community.”

Mike Brownlow

Cllr Brownlow commented: “It was a genuine surprise when I was told I’d been nominated for Councillor of the Year, and even more of a surprise when I learnt I’d won! I was extremely honoured to accept this award on Monday on behalf of everyone on Bruton Town Council. There’s a lot going on in Bruton these days, and anything we achieve is the result of much collaborative effort. So I’d like to offer my sincere thanks to the clerk and my fellow councillors, who all contribute so energetically on behalf of our wonderful town. I’m really proud to be a part of such an imaginative and hard-working organisation.”