A PUBLIC meeting about the extreme flooding in South Somerset has been postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The drop-in session, due to be held Chard on Monday (January 24), has been cancelled by Somerset County Council (SCC) - but Chard Town Council is keen for the event to go-ahead.

The meeting was originally supposed to take place in December 2021, but was postponed due to the pandemic.

Now, SCC has decided to rearrange the event again, and are planning to hold the session on February 28 2022.

“We recognise the strength of feeling in the community and the need for such an event – as the Lead Flood Authority (LLFA), it is vital for the County Council to help us finalise the Section 19 report into the flood events in Chard," said a spokesperson for SCC.

“The council has been key in organising this event alongside the Town Council, we have been undertaking the comprehensive investigation into these events, processing evidence from the public and businesses, landowners and key agencies – prior to this, Highways teams were instrumental in clearing up and repairing severe damage to roads.

“But as the Lead Flood Authority and the County Council we have a responsibility to adhere to advice from our Public Health experts to prevent the spread of Covid. The overall picture may have improved by next week but a decision had to be taken as soon as possible on the current advice.

“For this reason we have reluctantly decided to meet with local people and businesses at a further event on 28 February instead. We understand the desire to continue with next week’s meeting however, but the Council feels it had no alternative but to take the decision not to attend given the current level of infections.”

READ MORE: Flooding in Chard and Ilminster should be 'high priority' for Somerset's new unitary authority

However, Cllr Jason Baker, mayor of Chard, is keen for the drop-in event to go ahead. He has said Chard Town Council members will still be there on January 24 and other agencies, such as Wessex Water, are still invited to attend.

“We had a meeting postponed in December due to Covid-19 and I received a message last week saying the one this month has also been cancelled, and it will hopefully be held next month,” he said.

“I just think this is going to drag on and on.

"We’re desperate to set up a resilience group, so my plan is to continue at town level to hold the meeting locally and invite any other agencies who are willing to attend.

“But Somerset County Council have declined to attend, even though the Government guidance states that council meetings can still take place face-to-face.

“We have lots of people who are really keen to help and start a resilience group, but we can’t do anything until we formalize this – we don’t want to end up with anymore flooding and not have put any measures in place.”

The meeting will be held at the Guildhall in Chard on January 24 between 12:30pm and 6:30pm, but without the presence of SCC council members. Those not able to attend the meeting can send comments via email to flooding@somerset.gov.uk.