Neroche Villages

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Neroche Villages Action Groups


Parish Plan Action Groups

Annual Parish Meeting Action Group

The Annual Parish Meeting Action Group was formed to work with Neroche Parish Council to organise the annual meeting that by law has to be held in every civic parish in England.  The meeting of residents allows residents to discuss issues of concern or interest to their parish amongst themselves and with the parish council.   The parish council is responsible for ensuring that it occurs.  The Chair of Neroche Parish Council reads the Annual Report of the council.  It is usually presided over by the Chair of Neroche Parish Council.  Until 2011 it had been very poorly attended by residents

In 2011, the first Annual Parish Meeting organised with input from the action group was a great success.  It was a pleasant and informative event, very well attended.  It gave local organisations and groups the opportunity to have displays and to talk about their activities. In particular Action Groups, formed as a result of the Neroche Parish Plan, were able to report on progress with their undertakings and plans for the future. 

The meeting in 2012 was again very well attended by residents, parish councilors and our Taunton Deane Borough Councilor and Somerset County Councillor.   There were stands available for local groups and the parish council.  Guest speakers discussed issues of interest including broadband and Neighbour Watch.

The Action Group will meet early in 2013 and join Neroche Parish Council in planning the 2013 meeting to be held in April or May.  Input from residents is essential so please join the group or contact us with your ideas for the next Annual Parish meeting

Contact Tim French: 01460 234 410  or for further information


Neroche Communication Action Group

The Action Group was formed at the end of 2010 to promote communication within Neroche Parish so that residents would be better informed about activities and services available to them and thus more able to participate in the life of the community.  It undertook to use various ways of communicating to promote resident groups and local businesses

The group developed this this community website, Neroche Villages.  The work it has the support of Neroche Parish Council which has a section for its activities.  The group will continue to develop the website to meet the needs of the community

Next, it produces and delivers a quarterly community newsletter, Neroche Villages News free to all households and businesses in our area.  It is self funded from advertising and receives no financial support from Neroche Parish Council. 

It also sends out emails that inform residents of coming events, when requested to do so by groups and societies within Neroche Parish.  If you wish to receive these, please contact us using the form on the contact page

The group welcomes as members anyone wishing to help with these activities.  Our secretary is Sheila Green.  To contact her please use the form on the Contact page of this website


Neroche Planning Action Group

The Planning Action Group’s objective is to produce a Design Guide for the Parish as requested by 62% of residents (as stated in the Parish Plan)

The Action group comprises 5 members who are working with four representatives of the parish council to produce a Design Guide.  At the inaugural meeting all agreed to press ahead with the development of a Design Guide with the knowledge that its ‘effectiveness’ would be in raising awareness of and influencing good design.  In summary the Neroche Parish Design Guide will:

be local and specific
be accessible
include guidance for projects not requiring planning permission
include guidance for projects requiring planning permission
be aimed at: householders, architects, developers and planners

Character appraisals of our Parish have been carried out by individual members and now a smaller group are working up a draft design guide for discussion and further work by the whole group

At the very least the Design Guide will be available as a PDF file downloadable from the Parish Council website and we hope to launch at a public meeting in the near future.

If you want to be part of the group or know more please call Ann Jones on 01420 234 774 or


Litter Pick Up Group

The Neroche Litter Pick Up Group was formed by residents who wished to get rid of the rubbish that is left on the roads, lanes and paths of the parish.  They decided to go about it in two ways:

  • by organising group collection days held once or twice a year when the vegetation on the road verges has died back in the winter months.  A grant was obtained to buy equipment and some kit was obtained on loan from Viridor Waste Management.  The first event was held in March 2011 and the main Chard to Taunton road running through the parish was cleared of over thirty bags of rubbish 
  • by allocating a section of road or path to an individual volunteer who undertakes to regularly collect rubbish from it.  These are often routes that the volunteers regularly walk and so collect as they pass by.  There are some sections not yet covered, particularly in Orchard Portman, so you are very welcome to come and join in

For further information or to join in please contact: To adopt a road or path:
Anthony Brown  01823 480 441 or

To come to a collection day: Jayne Hunt Tel 01823 480113 


Social and Community Life

The Action Group formed in January 2011 and continued until after the Annual Parish Meeting in April 2011 when it reported its findings and subsequently disbanded having finished its brief. 

The group looked at the issues raised in the Social and Community Life section of the Neroche Parish Plan that covered many different aspects of the life of the community.  The group realised that many of these would be undertaken by existing groups within the parish or by other action groups being formed.  The group decided not to undertake specific tasks itself, as it believed that it would be best to support groups and organisations already existing in the community.   It decided to look in depth at what was recommended in the Parish Plan and recommend to existing organizations and groups to fill in the gaps as needed.  Issues in the Parish Plan that were considered and the recommendations included:

A village shop  This was felt unlikely to succeed for many reasons

Developing the Mission Hut at Staple Fitzpaine  This had been suggested as a possible site for a variety of uses including a shop, a café, drop in place for people of all ages, an information centre.  Again, the practicalities of developing and sustaining it seemed daunting and using existing facilities, including Neroche Hall and Café Fitz seemed more practicableA sale point for local food producers, artists and crafts people   The most likely place for achieving this goal was Neroche Hall (the village hall).  The group asked the Neroche Hall committee to consider developing events, held on a seasonal or regular basis, to provide these opportunities; for example on a weekend day, in the hall with charges for a table on which to display wares, and with other groups invited to participate.  Alternatives to this would include combining such events with a car boot sale.  These could be hall run events or run by outside organisations that rented the facilities.  Some had been successful in the past.   No other venue available seemed appropriateA Café     It was felt that Café Fitz should be supported rather than create something else.  It would be desirable if, with residents support, it could extend its opening days and/or hours

Information    It was felt communication is very important and all existing forms of communication were looked at.  It was felt that both the written word and websites are necessary, considering the fabric of the community

It was suggested that four forms of communication be adopted for this exercise:
a) support a community newsletter that is delivered free to every household
b) use the Parish Magazine that goes to most households
c) post any information at the Neroche Hall, both inside and outside
d) use the community website
Neroche Hall has been approached about allowing a notice board to be placed on the building to become an additional site to the current parish notice boards

Mobile Library   This matter was being decided at a county council level


Neroche Parish Walking Group

Neroche Parish Walking Group was established in January 2011.  It came about as a result of the Parish Plan which identified the need for improving general access and the condition of the local footpath and bridleway network

We are a relaxed and welcoming group with the aim of walking the various bridleways and footpaths within our parishes.  We meet on the first Saturday morning of each month and usually walk for about two to two and a half hours.  We want to explore and enjoy our beautiful local area at the same time as auditing the state of the paths, relating to access, signage, stiles etc.

Any problems will be reported to the Rights of Way Department at Somerset County Council and we are in contact with the Parish Path Liaison Officers.  An audit of the state of the paths will be presented to the Parish Council annuallyFor further details please contact either of the group leaders: Sheila Green:  or Jane Hole:


Other Neroche Action Groups

Southwest Action for the Woodlands of Neroche –SAWN

This group was formed at a public meeting held in Neroche Hall on 11 March 2011 shortly after the government announced plans to sell off parts of the Forestry Commission woodlands.  In fact, by the time that the meeting was held, there had been much disquiet expressed nationally, the government’s plans had been shelved and it had entered into a new public consultation exercise.  The format of the meeting changed and became “ A Celebration of Neroche and Thurlbear Woodlands”, with presentations about their history, archaeology and wildlife, and the recent work of the Neroche Project.   For a report go to the News page of the website

The presentations were followed by an open meeting to discuss the proposed disposal of Forestry Commission land through the new government review panel.
The terms of reference for the panel are:

“To advise the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on the future direction of forestry and woodland policy in England.
To advise on the role of the Forestry Commission in implementing policy on forestry and woodland in relation to England.”

For further details see

This panel is to present a progress report by the autumn and the final report in April 2012. The meeting agreed unanimously to defend the public right to roam throughout the Neroche and Thurlbear woodlands, i.e. all the former Portman Estate woodlands south of Taunton currently run by the Forestry Commission, and enclosed in part by the Blackdown Hills AONB

There was a request at the meeting to challenge the lack of “Heritage” status awarded to Neroche woodlands in the recent government consultation document.  However this category might well be abandoned during the new consultation process

Several things were decided at the meeting.  First, to make a database of those who were interested in being kept informed about what was happening to our local woodlands, starting with those at the meeting.  This would allow them to act individually or collectively to make the case for preserving our woodlands. 
Second, to communicate with the new body undertaking the consultation exercise, and other bodies able to influence the decision on the forests.  Finally, to communicate with Jeremy Browne MP, informing him of the community’s stance

For further information about this group or subsequent developments please contact
Richard Westlake  or  Jane Hole


Outcome of Forest Enquiry

The outcome was a complete success!!


Local Forests remain in Forestry Commission Ownership


I am happy to report that the Government has accepted the key recommendations of the Independent Forestry Review Panel. 

The preamble says that the English Public Forest Estate is to remain secured in public ownership.  The previous disposal policy is rescinded to include the 15% annual target. 

The Government will provide sufficient funding in this spending review to include £3.5 million specifically in the Forestry Commission budget 2013/14.  A new body will be created to hold the Forest Estate in trust for the nation, this body to have greater independence from Govt.

The full doc is on

It is now the time to celebrate the future of Neroche Forest as indeed the whole of the public woodlands in Forestry Commission ownership.  Our thanks are due in large measure to Bishop James Jones and the Review Panel. 

Richard Westlake 


Click here for further information on this website



Blackdown Hills AONB
Neroche Hall
Community Council

Thurlbear School

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