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Have your say on new Somerset Council planning consultation process

Somerset residents are being invited to have their say on the new Somerset Council’s approach to planning matters.

The five current Somerset councils (Mendip District Council, Sedgemoor District Council, Somerset County Council, Somerset West and Taunton Council and South Somerset District Council) are consulting the public on a draft ‘Statement of Community Involvement’ (SCI) – a single approach to planning which will be formally adopted by the new Somerset Council.

The SCI is designed to set out how Somerset Council, as the Local Planning Authority, will engage and consult with the community and stakeholders on all planning matters.

It will cite who the Council will consult with through the various stages of Local Plan preparation and what consultation methods should be used.

The consultation will run until Thursday 16 March 2023.

To view the current draft of the new Statement of Community Involvement and complete the survey, please visit

Urgent Road Closure Stringston Road – Saturday 14.1.2023

Urgent / emergency Road Closure: – ttro855185WS – OR – Stringston Road, Stringston

Please be aware that we have received a notification of a TTRN (urgent / emergency) road closure at Stringston RoadStringston  will commence on 14th January 2023 – 14th January 2023 (09:30 – 15:30) for a total of 6 hours.

This will enable Openreach to carry out works to overhead network to restore customer service.

The contractor has indicated that access for Emergency Services through the site  is permitted on this occasion.

For any further information about this closure please contact Sunbelt Rentals on 0370 050 0792, quoting reference: ttro855185WS.

Please visit where you will see the map of the affected area (in red), together with the supplied diversion route (in blue).

Council-funded loans help homeowners towards net zero

With the current climate emergency, homeowners may be wondering what they can do to support a reduction in carbon emissions. The rising costs of energy also means many are wondering how to cut their utility bills.

Many homes in the UK struggle to retain heat because of their age and poor energy efficiency, as well as how they are heated. Whether looking to invest in renewable technologies such as solar or heat pumps, or to install energy-saving measures, homeowners may be eligible for an energy efficiency loan to help fund the upfront cost.


Working in partnership with Social Enterprise lender, Lendology, Somerset West and Taunton (SWT) Council provides accessible finance in the form of low interest loans to homeowners wishing to increase their energy efficiency.

Since 2005, over £1.2m has been lent through Lendology to fund home repairs, improvements, energy efficiency measures and renewable heat technologies across the district. To date, over £883,137 has been repaid, which can now be re-lent.

Lendology always encourages applicants to explore grant funding in the first instance. Local organisations or services providing free and impartial energy advice and support with grant funding are detailed on Lendology’s partnership webpage.

For those unable to access grants, flexible loans delivered by Lendology could be the solution in funding energy efficiency work to their homes, helping to lower their carbon footprint and save money on their energy bills.

An SWT homeowner who recently received a home improvement loan said: “It was very helpful to us and our current circumstances. They provided a solution that was easy to understand and flexible.”

Cllr Fran Smith, Executive Member for Housing, said: “Everyone should have access to a safe, warm and dry home, which is key to good health across the district.

“There’s a variety of improvements covered under the scheme – be it repairing a leaky roof, funding an efficient heating system, fitting good insulation to keep bills down, or ensuring electrics are safe and up-to-date.

“It couldn’t be simpler to apply for a home improvement loan – just contact the team at Lendology.”

Cllr Dixie Darch, Executive Member for Climate Change, said: “COP26 highlighted the need for local action to support homeowners with the transition to net zero and through Lendology, and the launch of their recent ‘Decarbonising our Homes Campaign’, we’re committed to providing accessible funding for homeowners to increase their energy efficiency, reduce running costs and improve housing generally.”

To apply for an energy efficiency loan, visit or call 01823 461099.

New £2 fare for any single bus journey is Somerset is launched

Bus users in Somerset will be able to travel on most routes in the county for just £2 from January.

The major fare cut is part of an initiative funded by the Government aimed at boosting bus use while helping passengers to save money as the cost of living crisis continues to bite, fuelled in part by high petrol and diesel prices.

The £2 single fare is available from all participating operators from 1 January to 31 March. The initiative will apply to the majority of routes in Somerset.

The seven operators involved are:
• Dartline
• Faresaver Buses
• First South West (Buses of Somerset)
• First West of England
• Hatch Green Coaches
• South West Coaches

**FromeBus (Services 47 and 53 only)

A full list of services can be downloaded here 👇£2-Fare-Cap-Jan-2023-Copy.xlsx

Stay safe and warm during cold weather this winter

With low temperatures and potentially severe overnight frosts forecast across the South West from Wednesday, Somerset County Council’s public health team are encouraging people to stay warm and look out for those most at risk from the effects of cold weather.

A cold weather alert has been issued by the Met Office for Somerset and other areas of England. The ‘Level 3’ alert is in place from 6pm on Wednesday 7 December, until 9am on Monday 12 December.

Cllr Adam Dance, Lead Executive Member for Public Health, Equalities and Diversity said:

“Cold weather can have serious consequences for health, and older people and those with heart or lung conditions can be particularly at risk.

“Staying warm during cold weather is really important and there are some simple steps we can all take to help ourselves and vulnerable friends and family. In rooms you use often such as the living room or bedroom, try to heat them to at least 18°C if you can.

If you are unable to keep your home warm, please do take advantage of the Warm Welcome spaces that have been set up across Somerset. These venues offer a warm and friendly environment where people can socialise, stay warm and access information and support for their wellbeing.”

Top tips to prepare for colder weather:

  • Look out for friends and family who may be vulnerable to the cold and ensure they have access to warm food and drinks and are managing to heat their homes adequately.
  • There are grants, benefits and advice to help make your home more energy efficient, improve your heating or help with bills. It’s worthwhile claiming all the benefits you are entitled to before winter sets in. Find out more at
  • Try to maintain indoor temperatures to at least 18C, particularly if you are not mobile, have long term illness or are 65 or over. If you can’t heat all the rooms you use, heat the living room during the day and your bedroom just before you go to sleep. If you are unable to keep your home warm, visit one of Somerset’s Warm Welcome spaces. Find a space near you and check their opening days and times at Find a Warm Welcome | SPARK (
  • Wear a few layers of thin clothing rather than one thick layer; this will trap the heat better to keep you warm.  Thin layers of clothes made from cotton, wool or fleecy fibres are particularly good for maintaining body heat.
  • If eligible, seek entitlements and benefits such as Winter Fuel Payments and Cold Weather Payments, which are available to some.
  • Keep moving if you can, this will help keep you warm. Try not to sit for more than an hour, get up and walk around, make a hot drink and spread housework throughout the day.
  • Prepare for cold weather. Stock up on tinned and frozen foods, warm clothes and any medication so you don’t have to go out too much when it’s cold or icy.
  • Check on frail or older neighbours or relatives, especially those living alone or who have serious illnesses to make sure they are safe, warm and well.