PC News and Information


Census 2021 myth buster 

11 things you may think you know about the census which are incorrect

  1. Census 2021 is over – I’ve missed Census Day so I don’t have to do it. Wrong! Every household is required by law to complete the census. Even though Census Day – 21 March 2021 – has been and gone, it is not too late to complete a questionnaire. We have had a great response to Census 2021 so far, but everyone needs to respond as soon as possible to avoid a fine.
  2. Students don’t count in the census. Students are vitally important and do count! All students need to be included in the census, and they should complete a form for their usual term-time address even if they weren’t there on census day. If they’re currently living at their home address, they will need to be included in the census for that household too. If you’re an international student and not currently in England or Wales, but would normally be, we also want to count you. All universities and colleges have details of how to get a census form. Or go to census.gov.uk and request an access code.
  3. You only count yourself at the house you were in on Census Day. Everyone needs to complete a return at their usual address, even if they weren’t there on Census Day, as local services will still be required at both addresses. If the pandemic has changed where you are currently living, for example if you moved out of a city to a rural or holiday home prior to lockdown restrictions, or you haven’t visited your city commuter flat because of lockdown, you still need to complete a census form at both addresses. Visit census.gov.uk to request an access code for your second address.
  4. You don’t need to complete a return for an empty house. It is important that we have a census return for all houses, even if nobody usually lives there – for example holiday homes and caravans – because it’s a census of housing as well as a census of population. Local councils need to know about all houses in their area so they can plan services and work out how many new houses need to be built. Visit census.gov.uk to request an access code if you own an empty house, flat or caravan.
  5. I’m not a British citizen, so I don’t have to be counted. Everyone staying in England and Wales on Census Day, March 21, has to be counted.
  6. My information will be shared. That’s not the case. Personal census data is kept under lock and key for 100 years. No individual or their responses can be identified in the statistics we publish. In fact, your personal information can’t be seen by anyone who makes decisions about you. It cannot be used by government to influence benefit claims, a residency application, immigration status or taxes, or by landlords or any other private organisation.
  7. The census is pointless. It doesn’t help me. The census benefits us all by underpinning all the services every single one of us relies on. It provides information on our living arrangements, health, education and the jobs we do and the information from it will help inform policy at a local and national level for years to come. From school places to the planning of bike lanes – census information is even used when deciding where to build new supermarkets, what food to put on the shelves and how many parent and toddler spaces to put in the car park.
  8. If you can’t get online, you can’t do the census. This is the very first time we are asking everyone to respond online if they can and we’ve had a terrific response. If you know someone who doesn’t have the skills or confidence to do it online, help is at hand. We have census support centres across England and Wales, offering telephone and face to face support visit, https://census.gov.uk/help/find-a-census-support-centre to find a centre near you. You can also call our contact centre. Call 0800 141 2021 in England for help or to order a paper questionnaire.
  9. Census officers will ask for personal information. A field officer will only ask for a householder’s name and phone number if they request a new online code. They will also ask for the householder’s name if they request a paper questionnaire. However, they will never ask to see personal documents like passports or birth certificates. Field officers will never ask for payment and they will not enter your home.
  10. Census officers will fine you on the doorstep. Do not be scammed. Census field officers will never ask for a payment on the doorstep. The role of field officers is to give help and encouragement to those who have not yet filled in their census questionnaire online or on paper after Census Day and direct them to the support services they need. They will be operating in the same way as a postal or food delivery visit. They also carry ID to show they are genuinely working on the census. We will continue to support people to respond to the census but if a household refuses to fill out a questionnaire we will ultimately proceed to an interview under caution, which may be followed by a court summons, a fine of up to £1,000 and a criminal record.
  11. I’ve got to pay a fine online for making a mistake on my census.Not true. Do not be scammed. For a fine to be imposed your case must go to court for non-completion of the census. You will never be issued with a fine by text message, on social media or by email. Our Cyber Intelligence team is scouring the web for phishing sites and taking them down. If you find a site that looks suspicious or receive text messages with links to sites asking for money related to the census, do not engage with them. Report them to the Census 2021 Contact Centre by ringing 0800 141 2021.

New representatives wanted for County Council

 Members of the public are being invited to apply for roles on a committee which helps to shape the way Somerset County Council operates.

There are currently vacancies for three co-opted members on the Council’s Constitution and Standards Committee, which helps to set standards of conduct for elected councillors, as well as helping the Council to maintain an effective, up-to-date, and legally compliant constitution.

Chairman of the Constitution and Standards Committee, Councillor William Wallace, said: “We welcome applications from people from different kinds of backgrounds.

“Previous experience is not necessary; applicants need to live in Somerset and have had no recent direct involvement in the running of the Council.

“We are also looking for people who have the ability to bring common sense and their experiences of life into the Committee, who have the time to commit to this interesting role and, above all, be totally independent.” 

The Constitution and Standards Committee comprises one elected member per political group- of which there are currently five – and five Co-opted Members without voting rights.

The Co-opted role is non-voting and expenses will be paid for attending meetings, together with a small annual allowance.

Closing date for applications is 5pm on Friday 23 April and interviews will be held in the week beginning 3 May.

To apply for the position, you will need to email a copy of your CV and a short supporting personal statement (not more than a side of A4) stating why you think you are qualified for the role to Julia Jones, Governance Specialist – Democratic Services at jjones@somerset.gov.uk

If would like to find out more please contact Julia Jones at jjones@somerset.gov.uk or Laura Rose at lxrose@somerset.gov.uk, telephone 01823 35762 or 01823 359500.

Notice of Election

Police and Crime Commissioner Election

Avon and Somerset Police Area

An election is to be held for the Police and Crime Commissioner for the Avon and Somerset Police Area.

The formal notice of election and information for prospective candidates is available here.

Information on the making of a campaign statement, known as an “election address”, is available here.

Planning consultation

 The Parish Council has received notification from South Somerset District Council of a consultation on an application for a two-storey extension at Summerhill, Welham.

This will be added to the agenda for the Parish Council meeting on 2nd March.

A copy of the consultation is available here should residents which more detail or to submit comments by following the details set out in the document.

Emily Estate Planning Application

The Parish Council has been notified of an application in respect of the previously proposed construction  of a museum and associated works on the land west of Cattle Hill. Although located in Pitcombe parish, there would be a potential impact on Shepton Montague.

The notification of the consultation is available here..

Residents wishing to see more detail and/or comment on the application should use the South Somerset Planning Portal. Use this link and copy and paste the application reference 20/03675/S73A.


Date 4 December 2020     

APPLICATION NO. 20/02800/S73A APPLICANT  Shepton Farms Limited

PROPOSAL: S73A application to vary conditions 3 and 6 of planning approval 19/00311/FUL to allow sales and collection of apple juice and cider produced on the holding and to allow the retention of the safety light erected on the premises.

LOCATION: Land By Higher Shepton Road Higher Shepton Road Shepton Montague Wincanton Somerset 

South Somerset District Council is obliged to consult Town/Parish Councils as statutory consultees. You are not obliged to respond but if you wish your comments to be taken into account please follow the instructions below. 

Documents relating to this application can be viewed on our website, enter 20/02800/S73A on the planning search page on our website. 

Your observations on this proposal should be email to us by 25 December 2020 to  planning@southsomerset.gov.uk .  If individual residents wish to make observations could they please copy their email to sheptonmontague.clerk@gmail.com in order to help the Parish Council formulate a considered response.

In order to support efficient decision making please ensure you respond by the date above. Extensions to this timescale will rarely be granted, but if you have any difficulty in meeting this timescale please contact planning@southsomerset.gov.uk as soon as you receive this consultation. If you cannot meet the deadline then your comments may not be taken into account. 

Please quote the planning application reference 20/02800/S73A on all correspondence. 

Avian influenza (bird flu): Latest situation

New housing measures will come into force in England, Scotland and Wales on 14 December.


The Chief Veterinary Officers for England, Scotland and Wales have agreed to bring in new measures to help protect poultry and captive birds, following a number of cases of avian influenza in both wild and captive birds in the UK.

Government Chief Veterinary Officers are encouraging bird keepers to use the next 11 days to prepare for new housing measures, including taking steps to safeguard animal welfare, consult their vet and where necessary put up additional housing.

Whether you keep just a few birds as pets or thousands, from 14 December onwards you will be legally required to keep your birds indoors, or take appropriate steps to keep them separate from wild birds. We have not taken this decision lightly, but it is the best way to protect your birds from this highly infectious disease.

Poultry and captive bird keepers are advised to be vigilant for any signs of disease in their birds and any wild birds, and seek prompt advice from their vet if they have any concerns. They can help prevent avian flu by maintaining good biosecurity on their premises, including:

  • housing or netting all poultry and captive birds
  • cleansing and disinfecting clothing, footwear, equipment and vehicles before and after contact with poultry and captive birds – if practical, use disposable protective clothing
  • reducing the movement of people, vehicles or equipment to and from areas where poultry and captive birds are kept, to minimise contamination from manure, slurry and other products, and using effective vermin control
  • thoroughly cleaning and disinfecting housing at the end of a production cycle
  • keeping fresh disinfectant at the right concentration at all points where people should use it, such as farm entrances and before entering poultry and captive bird housing or enclosures
  • minimising direct and indirect contact between poultry and captive birds and wild birds, including making sure all feed and water is not accessible to wild birds

Register your birds

We encourage all keepers to register their birds with us so we can contact you quickly if there is a disease outbreak in your area and you need to take action.

If you have more than 50 birds, you are legally required to register your flock within one month of their arrival at your premises. If you have less than 50 birds, including pet birds, you are still strongly encouraged to register.

Find out how to register your birds.

Poultry and captive bird keepers and members of the public should report dead wild birds to the Defra helpline on 03459 33 55 77 (option 7), and keepers should report suspicion of disease to APHA on 03000 200 301. Keepers should familiarise themselves with our avian flu advice.

Public Health England advise the risk to public health from the H5N8 and H5N2 strains of bird flu is very low.

The Food Standards Agency has said that on the basis of the current scientific evidence, avian influenza poses a very low food safety risk for UK consumers. Properly cooked poultry and poultry products, including eggs, are safe to eat.

Salt/Grit Bins

There are 5 salt/grit bins in the parish located as follows:

1) Stoney Stoke

2) In East Street,  on the verge opposite The Hollows.

3) In Lower Shepton at the bottom of Horns Lane.

4) At the crossroads near the Montague Inn.

5)  On the High Street opposite Fairbank House

All except number 5 are full of salt/grit for use by residents in winter conditions.  Number 5 will be filled shortly.

In addition, there are a few bags of salt/grit which can be requested by contacting the Parish Clerk on 01749812564 or by email: hill.bowden@btinternet.com