The Somer Valley Forum comprises the parished areas of Farmborough, Farrington Gurney, High Littleton, Midsomer Norton, Paulton, Peasedown St John, Radstock, Timsbury and Westfield.  View a map of the Forum Area.  The corresponding members are Camerton and Shoscombe (B&NES); Chilcompton; Coleford; Hemington; Kilmersdon; Stratton-on-the-Fosse (Mendip).

The Somer Valley Forum is one of five Connecting Communities Forums within Bath and North East Somerset (the others are Bath Area ForumBathavon Area ForumChew Valley Area Forum and Keynsham Area Forum).  All the Forum meetings are open to the public and community group representatives as well Ward and Parish Councillors.

Bath and North East Somerset is a diverse area with differing needs and priorities.  The Council and its partners recognise this and value the local information and feedback the Forums provide as these help to shape local services.   The items discussed at Forum meetings include those the Council and its partners need to share or would like feedback on; items the Forum members themselves wish to discuss and opportunities for local organisations to share information and best practice.

The 'Connecting Communities' approach has been built around five key principles:

  • listen
  • prioritise
  • join-up
  • work with you
  • share ideas

Future Meetings

Provisional dates are:

Wednesday 12 June 2024, 6-8pm - Location TBC

Wednesday 11 September 2024, 6-8pm - Location TBC

Recent Past Meetings (Click on the date to view online meetings on the Council's YouTube Channel

Tuesday 27 September, 2024, 6pm (Online)

The Forum received a verbal update from the Chair on the Somer Valley Links scheme, which includes the A367 to Bath and A37 to Bristol.  A fuller written update on the City Region Sustainable Transport Settlement was then made available.  The Chair also advised the Forum that Paulton had been successful in its bid to the West of England Combined Authority's (WECA) WESTlocal scheme which provides funding for communities to run their own not for profit bus service.  An update from Cllr Liz Hardman was circulated after the meeting.  The Forum welcomed PC Paul Sheppard - Beat Officer for Westfield.  He provided a written report and took questions.  The main theme of the meeting was Health & Wellbeing and a series of informative presentations were given.  Nic Aplin, Frailty Nurse at the RUH spoke about frailty and falls and how services are working together to support people at risk.  Luke Lyons, Fire Safety Officer with Avon Fire and Rescue spoke about Home Fire Safety and the Home Fire Safety Visits they can undertake.  He urged those eligible to take advantage of this service as uptake in Bath and North East Somerset is comparatively low.  Helen Harris, Manager for Three Valleys Health Primary Care Trust - a network of 11 GP practices in the Chew Valley and Somer Valley areas - gave an update.  The final presentations came from Tim Rawlings, Project Manager for the Active Way, with an update and from Jilly Edwards - fundraiser for Sporting Family Change - one of The Active Way partners.  Jilly gave some examples of how they are helping to support local people.  It was a very interesting meeting and we thank all those who attended and contributed.

Wednesday 20 September 2023, 6pm - The Hive, Bath Road, Peasedown St John BA2 8DH

The Forum was pleased to meet in person at The Hive Community Centre in Peasedown St John.  The Police gave their regular update and took questions.  The Chair of the Centre, Joy Fraser, gave a presentation on how The Hive came about and the activities that take place there.  Swallow Charity run the cafe and one of their service users spoke about how much she enjoys working there.  The Forum had a quick tour of the centre's facilities and some of Swallow's delicious cakes before reconvening for a presentation on the Somer Valley Enterprise Zone from Richard Holden, Operations Manager Regeneration & Housing, B&NES.  A consultation on this will be taking place between 22 September and 20 October.  The Council's Place Lead for the Forum, Simon de Beer - Head of Planning, was unable to be present but had provided an update presentation.  The main Agenda item was Somer Valley Rediscovered and, under this umbrella, there were three presentations.  The first was on the Somer Valley Rediscovered project itself from Project Officer, Phoebe Webster.  The second was on The Active Way from Project Manager, Tim Rawlings.  The third was on Nextdoor Nature from Rhea Warner of the Avon Wildlife Trust.

There is new funding available from The Active Way.  The Willson Grant is a £115,000 scheme to support individuals, community groups and organisations to provide free active travel, creative, sustainable and cultural projects in the Somer Valley.  It is open now and the deadline is 12pm on 16 October.  A Launch Event and Ideas Lab is taking place on 23 September between 2pm and 4pm at Hope House Surgery in Radstock.

It was also the Forum's AGM and we are delighted that Lynda Robertson was voted back in as Chair and Cllr Ron Hopkins as Vice Chair.  We look forward to working with them over the coming year.

Tuesday 4 July 2023 - Trinity Methodist Church, Radstock

The Forum met in person for the first time since February 2020.  It gave people a chance to reconnect or meet some new attendees, including recently elected Ward, Parish and Town Councillors.  The first presentation was from Cllr David Wood - Bath & North East Somerset Council's Deputy Leader (Council Priorities & Delivery) with an overview of the Cabinet Priorities.  This was followed by an update from the Police with opportunity to ask questions.  The Community Showcase included updates from Radstock Town Council and local charity, Mercy in Action with particular emphasis on the Action Pantry Radstock.  There was also an overview of the work being undertaken by volunteers on the Somersetshire Coal Canal - they are keen for more people to join them.  The Forum then received updates on the Local Plan from B&NES along with an update on the Joint Health & Wellbeing Strategy from Val Scrase - Regional Director of HCRG Care Group.  The final presentation was on the Somer Valley Links consultation from Mirna Tarzikhan - Project Manager for Capital Delivery with the West of England Combined Authority (WECA) and Nik Bowyer - Strategic Transport Projects Manager with B&NES.  This aims to make using buses an easier and more pleasant experience.  It also proposes some changes to walking and cycling routes.  The project relates to the A367; A362 and A37 - major routes into Bath and Bristol.  The consultation launched on 26 June and runs until 6 August 2023.  The associated interactive map is useful for seeing the proposals by location.  The main consultation page can be found here.

Key Positions

Chair:  Lynda Robertson - Midsomer Norton Society

Vice Chair:  Cllr Ron Hopkins - Westfield Parish Council

Lead Officers:  Sara Dixon and Alison Wells

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