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Page last updated at 13:29 GMT, Thursday, 13 January 2011
Cotford St Luke to get own church following campaign

The Quantock Hills, southwards over Taunton Deane, towards the Blackdowns
Cotford St Luke is a 'young' village but has a great community spirit

The village of Cotford St Luke near Taunton is to get its own community church.

The decision follows a recent purchase of some local land in the centre of the village by the Diocese of Bath and Wells.

Cotford St Luke is a relatively young village, having only been built 12 years ago.

However residents felt that community facilities "lagged behind", so they decided to set up a residents' association to lobby for better facilities.

The church is the latest development in the village which already boasts a school, shop and pub.

Community campaign

"A lot has changed," said Pete Grover, was part of the original Cotford St Luke Community Association.

"And I think in those changes, the community itself - the residents here - have got together to help ensure these things happened.

"That actually created quite a good spirit of people understanding what they wanted and they made some effort themselves to ensure that it happened."

Now Cotford St Luke residents have urged other communities to form associations in order to make changes to where they live.

We're working very closely with the local authority to plan for the future
Headteacher Alison Bottorelli

However Conservative councillor for Lydeard, John Wilkins, said that if residents of other new developments pick up Cotford St Luke's "baton", they need to make sure promises to the community are legally binding.

"The lessons have been learnt by the various councils, the borough council particularly, who deal with new developments," he said.

"But at the same time the residents have really got to make sure that any promises are backed up by legal documentation and legal commitments to provide funding for those facilities in the future."

School expansion?

And more changes could be afoot in the village, after plans to expand the local first school were backed by Liberal Democrat MP for Taunton, Jeremy Brown.

The number of classes at Cotford St Luke Community Primary School have more than doubled since it was first opened eight years ago.

It means staff are struggling to find enough space for all the local children who want to go there.

Headteacher Alison Bottorelli wants to expand the front side of their current building.

"The school opened with four classes - we now have 10, so we have grown considerably," she said.

"We're working very closely with the local authority to plan for the future.

"To ensure that this community gets what it needs, both in terms of its school and other community facilities."

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