There’s more to Parliamentary orders than you may think…


There’s more to Parliamentary orders than you may think…

An historic range of Somerset’s ancient – and modern – rights and traditions are due to be enshrined in law as part of essential work to make sure the new, unitary Somerset Council is ready to launch on 1 April 2023.

Teams across the five existing Somerset councils are working together to create the new authority and part of that is ensuring the correct legislation is in place on Vesting Day – the official term for when the new council comes into being.

The Government has already approved the key piece of legislation, the Somerset Structural Changes Order (SCO), which sets out that Somerset Council will be established for Somerset from 1 April 2023 and the existing four district councils will be dissolved.

But various functions and duties must be transferred from the existing district councils to the new council ranging from membership of Exmoor National Park Authority to ceremonial arrangements. It is expected that legislation to cover those functions and duties will be considered by Parliament early in 2023.

They include:

  • Charter Rights for markets and fairs – Bridgwater Fair and Market, for example, was established during the reign of King John (1199-1216); Wells Market – 1290; Shepton Mallet Market operates under a charter dated 1318, during the reign of King Edward II.
  • Port and Harbour authorities in Bridgwater, Watchet and Minehead
  • Burial grounds and closed churchyards – 23 closed churchyards in Mendip and 24 in Sedgemoor

The list is extensive and can be found here:

News item added: 3 August, 2022