A dispute over a set of safeguarding security gates at the entrance to the Parklands on Homberg Way in Wembdon have been causing more problems than you would expect.
The gates were installed by the Wembdon Parklands & Communities Together Trust (PACT), believing that they did not require permission to do so, however, after complaints, it then turned out that they did require permission to place the gates where they are situated, and Somerset County Council have ordered the Parish Council to remove them.
We have been approached by a local resident, who has asked us to let people know that, while the Parish Council are requesting comments from local people, they are not making it clear that the gates have been placed across a right of way (which is different to a public footpath, which has been claimed by Wembdon Parish Council).
Wembdon Parish Council issued a statement, and in this they have said that they are ‘disappointed’ with Somerset County Council’s decision.
When you look at the basics of this, it seems petty, and to those not living locally it may just be that, but looking further into this, it does seem that the villagers in Wembdon have had enough of this type of behaviour from their representatives, and this is just the latest in a string of problems.
It is made much worse when you look at when the gates were installed, which was 2 weeks into lockdown, meaning that those erecting the gates were unable to comply with social distancing, and are these gates really seen as essential work?
During lockdown, up until the point when Somerset County Council forced the gates to remain open before being removed, each person passing through had to touch the gates to open them, and it is believed that the Covid-19 virus remains on metal surfaces for up to 72 hours, so this caused a possible source of an outbreak in the village, and beyond if those people then visited a supermarket in Bridgwater.
Put simply, it appears as though the gates were erected in the hope that nothing would be done once they were there, but this did not happen. it reminds me of an often-used quote in Suits,
It is easier to seek forgiveness than it is to ask for permission
Unfortunately, it looks as though the villagers of Wembdon have had to forgive far too often, and they have now had enough.
If you would like to contact Somerset County Council regarding the removal of the gates, you can do so by sending an email to email@example.com.
The rights of way can be found on the map found here.