Coronavirus Community Support – Update 19.10.2020


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


Covid and Halloween

A number of people have been asking about advice on Halloween and ‘trick or treat’. There is no specific advice from government as yet but if children are keen to do it the general rules on social distancing would suggest the following approach.

  • No groups of larger than six people including children
  • No surprises – only call on people you know are happy to be visited
  • Leave sweets etc outside rather than answer the door.

Some areas have suggested that people simply leave decorated pumpkins to be discovered and parents supply children with a sweet for every one they discover.

Coronavirus self-isolation payments


Despite a number of rumours circulating there does not appear to have been an outbreak in Westbury and the cases in Rodney Stoke seem to relate to only one family.   Nevertheless, it is possible that cases will arise in the village and people may be asked to self-isolate if they have a positive test or have been close to anyone who has.  For those who may lose income and suffer hardship as a consequence there is the possibility of a £500 support payment. Details of the payment and the rules about self-isolation can be found in this update  from Somerset County Council.


The update also contains a timely reminder that GP surgeries and other local healthcare services are open and increasingly busy with flu jabs etc. It is safe to attend in person if called to do so after an on-line consultation but everyone attending needs to remember the new slogan ‘Hands, Face, Space’  – that is wash hands, wear a mask and keep social distance.


Landline calls to Truespeed phones – problem solved?


Truespeed let us know on Friday that BT had identified and blocked a faulty bit of equipment in their system. Hopefully the problem has now gone away.


If any call you make still gets this message: ‘This service is not compatible with this call’, the advice is to report it to your own landline provider with details of the number you called, date and time.



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

Mendip Active Travel Consultation

On Monday Sue Isherwood, Rachel Hewson and I have an opportunity to talk to one of the officers from Mendip DC about developing their active travel policies. The relevant section of the invitation, describing the purpose of the meeting, is set out below.  If anyone has thoughts about the items mentioned, or any other comments relevant to this topic please get in touch with any one of us and we will try to ensure that your voice is heard.  You can contact us directly or via the message function on the Strawberry line page of the website

The meeting is really an informal, information sharing session to understand what your active travel aspirations are for your parish and to see how we can coordinate our efforts.

During the meeting we’ll be discussing:

  • Our aspirations for increasing active travel in Mendip
  • Your thoughts and aspirations for a District wide Borrow Bike scheme
  • Bike Racks
  • Walking and Cycling maps
  • Proposed connections
  • How we move forward

Coronavirus Community Support – Update 12.10.2020

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


Covid support

The Prime Minister has announced a new three tier system of alert levels for England reflecting the extent to which the virus is spreading in an area.  Mendip, like most of the UK, is currently at alert level Medium which means no change to existing restrictions.  The imposition of more severe restrictions in areas categorised as High or Very High may however affect locals if, for example, they have family in one of these places – people are strongly advised against travel in or out of such areas except for work or education.  More detail is given in this guidance.

The number of cases is rising in Somerset and in Mendip though a significant part of the increase can be accounted for by students who have contracted the illness while elsewhere and despite not living here at the moment are counted in our statistics.

Those who want more local detail can look at this update from Somerset County Council but as always the best advice is simple  – “anyone can catch it and anyone can pass it on, so please continue to remain vigilant and follow the guidelines of ‘hands, face and space’ to prevent any further spread and help keep our communities safe.”

Helping hands

We are aware that many people are acting as good neighbours by helping others out with jobs that are too small to warrant calling out a tradesman but nevertheless can cause worry or even danger.  Examples could include changing a lightbulb or the battery in a smoke alarm. Sometimes those in need don’t like to ask and sometimes don’t know who they might ask.  If you know anyone in this position and are unable to help yourself, Dan Willcox (07866 165671) is building a list of people who are happy to be called on. Please get in touch with him directly whether to request or offer help.

Library collection and return.

As nights draw in people may be thinking of making increasing use of the library service. For those who are reluctant or unable to get to the library our shopping service is able to collect and return books and other material for you.  Contact Neil Burrows on 01749 870603.

Problems for BT & Plusnet calls to Truespeed phones

Have you had a failed call when you hear this message: This service is not compatible with this call.?

This is caused by an intermittent problem affecting calls from phones on BT and Plusnet lines to phones on Truespeed. We understand the issue is a technical one for BT, and that it only affects some phone lines at some times. It also happened with some calls in Chew Valley last week, so is clearly not confined to Westbury.

The Truespeed technical team is working to help BT trace the fault. To help identify the exact cause, they  need details of any failed calls, so if you have a call with this “not compatible” message, please let Peter Bright or 870640   have these details:

  • Date & time
  • Calling number
  • Provider (BT or Plusnet)
  • Number called


Letter from the Chair of the Parish Council

Finally, the regular letter from the Chair of the Parish Council, Sue Isherwood, is here It covers planning matters and reporting nuisances.


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


HMRC scam email alert

Once again scammers are pretending to be from UK Government. The current one looks like this:

(Apologies for the poor quality image)

“Aside from the unrelated email address this scam has arrived from, there’s a lot about it that could make you think it’s genuine; the subject line even includes a reference number, while the general look and feel mimics legitimate emails and the text is generally clear.

But if you do click through on the link, you’ll be taken to a fake website where you’ll be asked to hand over sensitive information.”


Coronavirus Community Support – Update 05.10.2020

Coronavirus Community Support  –  Update 05.10.2020

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

Future updates

Over the past weekend we have managed to speak to most of our Eyes and Ears about the future of our updates, their content, frequency, and methods of circulation. If we haven’t managed to speak to you yet we’ll keep trying; or you could ring one of us. We are pleased to say that almost everyone we have spoken to thinks we have got the balance between village news and information about the pandemic about right; and at the moment once per week seems often enough. Most importantly everyone was happy to carry on with their current role of passing on information and keeping an eye out for their neighbours.  Thanks to all of you.

There are different views about how we should communicate with some preferring to be informed via alerts from the website and others preferring to receive an email that they can customise and pass on.  We will therefore carry on with both systems and assume that anyone who is happy to rely on the website can let their local contact know. You will know who cannot access email and can use your judgement about what it makes sense to pass on in paper form.

Covid support

There are no new restrictions coming into force this week though the upward trend in numbers suggests we need to prepare for a possible return of a more severe lockdown.  It is worth noting therefore that although our support teams are having a relatively quiet time at the moment they are still there for people who may feel less confident about going out shopping for example or just need a sympathetic ear.  A summary of support services is here in case you have mislaid it.

As the economic consequences of the pandemic become more serious it is worth reminding everyone of the local grant schemes. The Friendly Society can provide emergency financial support to individuals or families experiencing hardship as a result of the pandemic (follow this link for details) and the Parish Council has a scheme of grant support for community organisations – the closing date for applications is extended to 29th October.

Free Resources

There are some new FREE online creative courses being organised by Creativity Works for the Mendip area. There is an exciting host of courses, including photography, creative writing and wild art. These courses will encourage people to have a focus, participate creatively with professional artists and each other, and meet like-minded individuals in a safe and supportive environment.

If you or anyone you know would like to find out more and sign up, please do share this link:

Another resource you might want to look at if you are worried about how someone is coping in these difficult times is here.  As the nights draw in and restrictions continue existing worries can be magnified; this guide contains practical ideas on how people can best look after themselves. 

Socially distanced cider making

We can’t have a traditional village cidermaking this year but the cidermakers will still have a pressing on 10th and 11th October with teams of six working in relays and not mingling.  If anyone would like to join in please contact Mick Fletcher (870531)  Since children are counted in the rule of six it is difficult to accommodate them at the pressing but if any parents would like to bring children up after school in the following week they will be able (with adult help) to add a bit of pressure and take away their own juice. Do call in advance however so we stay safe and legal.


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

Ash Dieback

The Ash Dieback  page on the website has just been updated to add information about how to recognise the disease, its impact in the South West and guidance on replacements for ash in woods and hedgerows

Common darter

A common small dragonfly around garden ponds, often flying late into the autumn. Males are red, females brown.

Southern hawker laying eggs in pondside vegetation

One of Westbury’s commonest dragonflies.  Males, which are mainly blue, often swarm in large numbers.

2019 was a particularly good year for them.

Strawberry Line – Planning

Lidl have submitted a planning application for a development in Wells along the proposed route of a cross city cycle path.  With a little adjustment the development could be configured to benefit cyclists and walkers.  Look at this map and use the link provided to comment to Mendip

Coronavirus Community Support – Update 28.09.2020


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

Who can I meet and where?

As the rules on social distancing keep changing many of us may be a little confused about what we can and cannot do.  If you need to check what the rules are at the moment you can look at the latest guidance which was issued on the 22nd September. One of the key changes is that many of the rules are now legally enforceable with fines for those who deliberately break them.  This includes a new duty to self-isolate if you test positive.

The Village Hall

Changes to the rules affect what can and cannot take place in the village hall. The hall committee is working with event organisers to determine what kind of activities can safely and legally take place.  It is a complex picture and rather than try to summarise it here anyone interested in using the hall is urged to talk through their proposals with Peter Bright (01749 870640)

The NHS Covid tracing app.

Most people will have heard about the NHS covid tracing app which can be downloaded onto most Apple or Android smartphones. The app enables you to record your presence at any premises displaying the associated QR code and uses Bluetooth to check how near you are to other app users when you have the app and Bluetooth switched on. You will be informed if anyone you’ve been near for more than a few minutes has been confirmed as having Covid-19. The app does not keep a central record of your movements and gives no personal information to anyone else. The Bluetooth proximity tracking works whether or not you have a mobile signal, but the app requires access to a mobile or wireless network in order to work fully. This article explains a little more about how the app works and how it seeks to ensure user confidentiality.

Letter from the Chair of the Parish Council

Finally, the regular letter from the Chair of the Parish Council, Sue Isherwood, is here. In it she talks about changes in personnel at the Council and the timetable for grant applications this year.

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