The Shepton Carnival was an amazing evening with a glorious mix of light, music and brilliant creativity. Once again huge crowds came out to enjoy the skill, ingenuity and inventiveness displayed on the carnival floats. I congratulate all involved in this great cultural event. It is one of most distinctive and magnificent shows in the whole country. It could not be held without the year round commitment of dedicated local people, who tirelessly fundraise and design and build the fabulous array of floats.

John Parham and I manned the Town Council stall at last weekend’s Sunday Market to gauge the opinions of local people to produce a Neighbourhood Plan for Shepton. A successful plan needs the support of Sheptonians since it will influence the allocation of land for additional housing, inform decisions for the economic wellbeing of the town, and identify solutions to help solve transport issues.

The plan will have two key benefits: the first will be to produce a roadmap that will help the town develop in the best way for everyone who lives and works here. Secondly, more money will come from housing developments that can be used to fund community projects listed in the neighbourhood plan if the district council implements a government scheme called the Community Infrastructure Levy or CIL.

Last, but not least, it is with great sadness that I have to report that our recently appointed town clerk has decided to leave us. Sam Winter has been headhunted by Burnham and Highbridge Town Council, which is much closer to her home.

Sam joined us two years ago and has made a huge impact. Promoted twice during that time, Sam has, in her various rôles, procured the skate park, gained the Green Flag for Collett Park and has made significant improvements to the governance of the council.

Sam will leave us at the end of January. We will now start the recruitment process to find her successor. Sam made many friends in Shepton and she will be a great loss. On behalf of the council and our community, I wish her the very best in her career.

Chris Inchley, Chair, Shepton Mallet Town Council