Coronavirus Community Support – Update 03.08.2020


For all previous Parish Council Coronavirus updates please select the Covid-19 Category on the News Page of the Westbury Website

The main item tonight concerns the village hall.  We are grateful to everyone who took the trouble to complete the short survey we sent out and are giving a brief summary of responses below.

Westbury village hall user survey

There has been a good response to the village hall survey and a full analysis will be given to organisers of events that use the hall to help them plan whether and how to go ahead come the autumn.  We are providing a short summary of responses below as well as reminding everyone that if you haven’t filled in the short survey form there is still time to do it – simply click on this link

The summary is based on 77 responses to the survey, roughly two thirds of which were from women and 80% from those aged 65+. This probably reflects the pattern of use of the hall.  The table below compares attendance in 2019 with what individuals currently think they might do from September 2020 and expresses it as a percentage change.  For example of the 55 people who said they had previously attended a film night in the village hall just under 20% said they would not attend in autumn 2020.

Responses %  change
Film night 62 -18
Westbury Society 51 -12
Gardening club 25 0
plays/puppets 34 -35
meals 47 -29
sport 7 7
art club 13 -6
wi 17 -8
pc 36 -14

The survey also asked about attitudes to wearing masks and distancing and the answers are summarised in the chart here.  At the moment however it seems that both distancing measures and the wearing of masks will be compulsory in the early autumn.


Promoting walking and cycling

Mendip District Council has adopted an ambitious new policy aimed at promoting walking and cycling to work.  As a first step it is seeking to discuss with parish councils which routes might be a priority for development taking into account such factors as local demand for off road routes and the potential impact on road traffic.  Westbury to Wells has been identified as a potential route.  You can find out more here and if you are interested in the development of walking and cycling routes more generally you may want to look at the Strawberry Line page on the village website  Please let your parish councillors know your views on this topic.

Supporting local businesses

This is a reminder that the village pub will be participating in the ‘Eat out to help out’ scheme during the month of August. Details were posted recently on the news page of the village website.

One resident has recently set up as a gym and fitness instructor providing one to one personal training, based in Westbury. For details please contact Fraser Henderson  07495013955

VJ Day

This is advance notice that arrangements are being planned for a commemoration of VJ day on 15th August.  Please hold the date and look out for more details in next week’s update.


Sue Reece (870618)   Mick Fletcher (870531)   on behalf of the Parish Council

Westbury Inn, ‘Eat out to help out!’

The ‘Eat out to help out’ is available at the Westbury Inn from tomorrow – Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday each week through August.  In order to take advantage of what is available Andy is not producing a menu to pre-order from.  What is on offer is 1) a table d’hôte 3 course meal based on a meat, fish or vegetarian main to be chosen from at the table at £20.  Or alternatively, 2) a more sumptuous single course option for £20 or £25.  The exact menus for each of these is not available ahead of time but equally this enables Andy to take advantage of what he has available day to day.  So to take advantage of this offer book a table for a Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday in August remembering that social distancing remains essential between ‘bubbles’.  The actual cost of the 3 course table d’hôte meal to you should be £10 and the sumptuous single course £10 or £15 depending on the initial offer price.  There are still some uncertainties about the fine details of the scheme but Andy is going to cope with the extra admin involved.  This encouragement ‘to eat out to help out’ subsidy is only available on these two offers and not on anything else on the Takeaway or other menus.  If any of this is unclear either contact me or telephone the Pub 01749 870402 directly.

Coronavirus Community Support – update 31.07.2020

For all previous Parish Council Coronavirus updates please select the Covid-19 Category on the News Page of the Westbury Website

Another scam to watch out for.

We still aim to reduce our updates to once per week but felt it important to alert villagers to another possible scam – this time not online but door-to-door.   A local resident has sent the following message and another confirmed that they had the same experience, so please be careful.

“Just thought I would make you aware and maybe worth letting others know. We had a visit today from a young lad who said he was on the “Prisoner reform scheme” and had come from Middlesbrough. He was nice enough, but I’ve looked it up and this is a scam with police in Wales and Manchester reporting that it is linked with reports of burglary in the following days so it appears they may be using it as a way of looking at properties to target. It may be worth everyone being a bit more vigilant the next few days and making sure things are locked away and keeping an eye out. “

Village Hall Survey.

Since we are emailing it gives us the opportunity to remind people about the village hall survey. Organisers of village events have to make difficult decisions about whether to cancel events that would normally take place in the village hall and really need your feedback to help them decide what to do.  It takes less than a minute to complete the survey by clicking on the link below.  Please help our hall and our voluntary organisations by giving them your thoughts.


Letter in Wells Journal

Finally, we spotted a nice letter in the Wells Journal this week from Bob Dolby.  If you take the Journal do look out for it.


Sue Reece (870618)   Mick Fletcher (870531)   on behalf of the Parish Council

Subscriptions was temporarily turned off: but is now back on

Any new News Posts will now generate automatic emails to the 70 plus website Subscribers.
Subscriptions had been turned off during this evening’s web workshop.

Ode to a comet

Ode to a Comet


Neowise lights up the skies

North westly, after dark

Below The Plough and Ursa M

Shine, twinkle, trailing bright.

Us moderns with our science eyes

Not tuned to myth and legend

Observe with interest, no more

Just map and count and measure.

Ignoring all the Ancients thought

And feared when such are summoned.


But wait indeed, what have we here?

It’s lockdown covid year!

Jobs gone, furloughs and business bust,

Signs, masks and keep your distance,

Our lives are turning upside down

And everything is virtual.

It’s click/collect and b*gger off

No browsing at the shops

Cashless is now the style du jour

And queuing a new art.


Ah yes, you’re right, I clean forgot

There’s Brexit looming too…..


So, Neowise the light, the bright,

So visible these nights

What further portents do you bring

This lockdown year of blight?

We all expect a second wave

Of that there is no doubt,

And climate change is here to stay

Too hot, too cold – who knows?

Is there anymore that you can do

That we’ve not done already?!


Chris Harris


Coronavirus Community Support – Update 27.07.2020


For all previous Parish Council Coronavirus updates please select the Covid-19 Category on the News Page of the Westbury Website

Re-opening the Village Hall

We have received the following message from the Village Hall Management Committee about reopening the hall and would urge everyone to complete the short survey they are conducting in order to help village organisations plan ahead.

Use of Westbury Village Hall

We need to plan carefully how the village hall might be brought back into use for a range of activities from September.  It is clear that we will need to put in place social distancing arrangements that will reduce the capacity of the hall, and there will be extra costs associated with enhanced cleaning.  The most important unknown however is whether those who have traditionally used the hall will feel that it is safe enough to return. We are therefore conducting a short survey to gauge opinion on the matter in order to help organisers plan what to do.

We appreciate that many people may still be undecided about what they will feel like doing from September onwards, and may indeed change their minds, but we cannot wait until then to start to plan – films and speakers have to be booked and events and activities advertised.  It would be very helpful therefore if as many people as possible could give us their current best assessment of how they might behave over the early autumn.  You can do so by clicking on the link below which will take you to a very short survey. It will only take a matter of minutes to complete (unless of course they wish to add lengthy comments which is possible and which we would welcome)

This notice is being widely circulated in Westbury via the regular Monday updates from the Parish Council.  Event organisers however should feel free to forward a copy to anyone from outside the village who has traditionally been involved in their activities, and to use their normal distribution lists to encourage the largest possible response.

Westbury Village Hall Management Committee

Letter from the Parish Council Chair

The regular letter from the chair of the Parish Council, Sue Isherwood, is here.


Eat out to help out

The Westbury Inn will be taking advantage of the ‘Eat out to help out’ scheme announced by the chancellor which is intended to encourage people to get back in the habit of eating in pubs and restaurants.  A £10.00 discount will be available on a special range of meals on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays during August starting on Monday 3rd.  Watch out for details of the offer which will be posted on the village website.


Rewilding Westbury

The Parish Council has recently received two documents connected to the theme of rewilding or creating nature recovery networks.  Mendip District Council has provided a link to some interesting maps showing where it proposes to create wildflower areas by changing its grass cutting regime.  One of them is in Westbury.  At about the same time the Parish Council received a report from the Wildlife Trusts giving examples of actions that local communities around the country are taking to reverse insect decline; interestingly one of the examples quoted is in Priddy.


Short Drove is safe again.

Those who have been avoiding Short Drove because of reports (or experience) of angry bees nearby can now include this route in their walks once more – the bees have been removed.


Changes to local services

Still with a green theme Somerset Waste partnership is proposing changes to recycling services which will come into effect from October.  A greater range of items will be collected in the household recycling bins meaning that residual waste will only be collected once every three weeks.  The library service will be opening its new  ‘order and collect’ service in Wells from today (27th July)


Poem of the Week

Finally, our poem of the week, posted separately, is from Chris Harris, inspired by the appearance of a comet in our skies.


Sue Reece (870618)   Mick Fletcher (870531)   on behalf of the Parish Council

Butterfly of the Week 29th July 2020

Small Copper:  This handsome, brightly copper-coloured, small butterfly lives up to its name.  It is about the same size as a common blue.  It is widely distributed and found in a great variety of habitats across the wider countryside, where its chief food plant – common sorrel grows.  Woodland rides, hedgerows, arable set aside, parks, gardens, and churchyards where it is relatively dry and open, and which contain suitable nectar sources.


They are, usually, only a few adults on the wing at the same time in their favoured sites.  They over-winter as caterpillars which go into hibernation by the middle of October.  In the following March, these caterpillars complete their development and pupate in April, after which the first generation emerges in the latter part of May or early June.  The males are territorial chasing away other males and checking out any passing females.  Eggs laid by this first generation, go through to pupate in late June and July such that the second generation emerges at the end of July and into August. These are the butterflies on the wing now.



A third generation is then produced which emerges in the latter half of September.  It is this third generation, which can appear in large numbers in favourable years, as in Westbury in 2018 after the long hot summer.


Photos  Mick Fletcher      John Ball        Peter Bright

Coronavirus Community Support – Update 24.07.2020

For all previous Parish Council Coronavirus updates please select the Covid-19 Category on the News Page of the Westbury Website


Beware of scams

Although we still plan to reduce our regular updates to once per week our attention has been drawn to a very plausible scam that has been reported to us by two people in the village in recent days and we felt it best to alert everyone promptly. One villager emailed us with the following summary of a conversation she had had this week


‘Good afternoon I’m calling from the NHS track and trace service. According to our system, you are likely to have been in close proximity to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. This means that you now need to self-isolate for 7 days and take a COVID-19 test.’

‘OK. Can you tell me who that person was?’

‘I’m not able to tell you that. That is confidential information.’

‘Right. Um… so ….’

‘But you do need to be tested within the next 72 hours. So can I just get the best mailing address so that we can send a kit to you?’

‘Ok (gives address)’

I just need to take a payment card so that we can finalize this and send the kit to you.’

‘Sorry – a payment card? I thought this was all free?’

‘No – I’m afraid not. There is a one-off fee of £50 for the kit and test results. Could you read off the long card number for me, please, when you’re ready.’

‘No – that’s not right. This is part of the NHS so there’s no charge.’

‘I’m afraid there is. Can you give me the card number please – this is very important, and there are penalties for not complying.’


At this point our neighbour sensibly put the phone down.


A full description of how the test and trace system works is here but the essential messages are

The NHS Test and Trace service will not:

  • ask for bank details or payments
  • ask for details of any other accounts, such as social media
  • ask you to set up a password or PIN number over the phone
  • ask you to call a premium rate number, such as those starting 09 or 087

Another current scam suggests that you can get a tax rebate for work clothing.  This is a copy of a plausible email that has been widely circulated but is intended to get the unwary to give away important information and possibly cash. Have nothing to do with it.


Wearing face masks in shops

Since we are emailing everyone we thought it worth also putting out a brief reminder that it is now compulsory to wear a face mask in a shop as well as on public transport – unless you have a medical reason not to – and this of course applies to Westbury Community Shop.  A light hearted poster describing the correct way to use a mask is here




Sue Reece (870618)   Mick Fletcher (870531)   on behalf of the Parish Council



The Strawberry Line – bridge blockage

Plans to develop a section of the Strawberry line through Shepton Mallet have hit a blockage – the Department of Transport which claims to be promoting sustainable transport options is blocking plans for safe access under the A371 by not allowing use of a former railway bridge. This article explains more.