Mere Town Council

Town Clerk - Mrs. L. C. Wood

Minutes of a meeting of the Town Council held on Monday, 4th February 2019 at 7.30 p.m. in The Andy Young Pavilion, Springfield Road, Mere, BA12 6EW

Present: Councillors John Jordan (Chairman), Mrs. K. Symonds (Vice-Chairman), A. Colman, P. Coward, R. Coward, C. Hazzard, R. Hill, G. Ings, G. Jeans, A. Mead, E. Mitchell, B. Norris, & Mrs. L. Traves.
Also 9 members of public

Meeting convened at 7.30 p.m. with Public Session
The Chairman will convene the Town Council meeting after the public session (please note that members of the public are no longer permitted to speak unless invited to do so by the Chairman).
Mr. Frank Legge of The Lynch said he had noticed that ‘Width restriction at The Lynch’ was on the agenda and he said that although he did not know what was going to be discussed, he wanted to show members of the Town Council pictures of recent incidents that had happened when HGVs tried to come down The Lynch (photographs handed round).  He also pointed out that the agenda and minutes of the last meeting had not been published on the Mere website.  The Clerk said that she did not know why this had occurred and would look into the matter.  Mr. Legge also wanted to thank the Town Council for making bridge safer at The Lynch.   
The Chairman pointed out that under agenda item 7b) there would be members of the public making a short presentation about development of Beaumont Business Park and we will have an opportunity for informal discussion about that during the meeting.

Apologies for absence received from Cllrs. Mrs. J. Hurd & R. Sims

234.  To receive declarations of interest from members and to consider requests for new DPI dispensations.
Members are invited to declare disclosable pecuniary interests and other interests in items on the agenda as required by the Mere Town Council Code of Conduct for Members and by the Localism Act 2011.
Cllr. P. Coward declared a personal and pecuniary interest in Minute No. 238b
Cllr. C. Hazzard declared a personal interest in Minute No. 238b

235.  MinutesRESOLVED to approve Minutes of Town Council meeting held on Monday, 7th January 2019 on proposal made by Cllr. Mrs. Traves, seconded by Cllr. Colman and carried with a unanimous vote of those present on 7.1.19.

236.  Matters Arising
*a) From last month’s public session - Conditions of Hire of Mere School Hall – Cllr. Hazzard said that he had collected the policy from the school and confirmed that the hall is available to hire to any group and that if you compare size of the school hall with the other halls available for hire in Mere then the hire fee is comparable on a square metre basis (the policy had been distributed to members with their agenda papers).  However, the school cannot use the school budget to subsidise community use of the hall and has to charge what it costs.  The Chairman said that he was fairly sure that the conditions of hire policy is standard for Wiltshire School.
b) Proposals to expand Mere Model Railway Club – The Chairman said that firstly he wanted to thank members of the Model Railway Club for hosting the site meeting last week.  Cllr. P. Coward said that he did not think the Club’s proposals would impact on the car parking spaces.  Cllr. Colman pointed out that the marked disabled spaces were wrong because they were not wide enough and the ramp gradient needs to be 1 in 15 to 1 in 20 and not 1 in 7.  He also felt that the existing wall should be reinstated.  Cllr. Hazzard said he was in agreement with others in that he didn’t think it would affect the car park too much.  However, he said he would like the Town Council to be kept in the loop with progress reports on this project from the Model Railway Club and costs and where they’re proposing to get their financing.  Cllr. Mrs. Traves said that she was basically in agreement but pointed out that the building looked fine on plans but once it was 3-dimensional it will be more imposing.  She also felt that the concept of it being a Village Hall is a little fatuous and she said she was a little concerned about their lease expiring in 2021.  Do we renegotiate lease?  Cllr. Colman said we have a lease on the car park with Wiltshire Council and this will need to go into the lease as well.  We need to have a discussion with the people who actually own the car park to see how they would feel and what steps they would impose.  The Chairman proposed that the Clerk seek advice from Wiltshire Council to see what they have to say about these proposals.  Proposal seconded by Cllr. Norris and carried with a vote of 12 for and 1 abstention.
*c) GDPR and consents for names being recorded in Town Council Minutes –Further to our discussions on this, I have written to Wiltshire Association of Local Councils for clarification.  Their response is: “Further to your email below and our conversation this afternoon; I recall this arising at one of the GDPR briefing sessions we ran last year and it was advised by the solicitor running the course that residents who raise questions at meetings should not be identified by name in the minutes of the meeting.  The resident may need to give their name to the officer at the meeting in order to receive a reply for example but that there should not be a need to identify them by name or any other identifying factor in the minutes of the meeting.”  However, if you do feel that you want to include the names in Minutes, I have drafted the following wording: “By entering the meeting room you are consenting to the use of your name being recorded in the Minutes.  The meeting may also be recorded by the press or members of the public.  Any person or organisation choosing to film, record or broadcast any meeting of the Council or its committees is responsible for any claims or other liability resulting from them so doing and by choosing to film, record or broadcast proceedings they accept that they are required to indemnify the Council, its members and officers in relation to any such claims or liabilities.”  Cllr. Jeans said that he has, in the past taken Minute books from the County archives to look up information and they are historical documents and it is very interesting to see the names recorded.  Cllr. Jeans said that he felt very strongly that names should be recorded in the Minutes as these are historic documents that people rely on.  He said that he had checked and double checked with senior officers of Wiltshire Council and even his own solicitor on the GDPR regulations.  At Wiltshire Council, members of the public are not allowed to speak unless they give their name and address, the address is kept private but the name is recorded in the Minutes and members of the public are made aware that this will happen when they enter the meeting room.  There are other regulations like the Local Government Transparency Code which are not meant to be superseded by GDPR.  Cllr. Jeans said that he would like to discuss this matter further with WALC but in the meantime he proposed that the Town Council should amend its Privacy Policy accordingly and insert wording into our agendas to make the public aware that their names will be recorded in the Minutes if they speak during the Town Council meetings.  Proposal seconded by Cllr. Mrs. Symonds and carried with a unanimous vote.
d) Permission to erect Speed Indicator Device in Castle Street – The Clerk pointed out that after the last meeting, Cllr. Jeans had sent an email to the Area Highways Engineer asking if we would be allowed to fix the SID to the lamp post at Bramley Hill entrance, off Castle Street or whether we needed to erect a pole on private land or on the highway verge.  The Highways Engineer’s response was swift and said we needed consent from the Atkins Street Lighting Team and copied the relevant officers into his reply.  The Clerk didn’t hear anything back from the relevant officers so contacted them last week asking if they would issue consent for us to erect the SID onto the lamp post.  We have had a response to say that our email has been passed on to a colleague who will respond to us direct.  Cllr. Jeans GJ suggest we pursue the lamp post and if they don’t we erect a post more than 1m from the verge.  It was agreed to allow 1 week to get some action and if we don’t hear back, we erect a post on private land, with the landowners permission, more than 1m from the verge.  Town Council to provide post and cement.

237.  Reports & Consultations
a) Neighbourhood Policing Report - None
b) County Councillor’s report – Cllr. Jeans said that he had received some complaints about the fact that roads were not gritted during the recent bout of snow and ice and that people could not get out of Lynch Close, Bishops Close, Castle Hill Lane etc.  Cllr. Jeans said that he was aware of a local farmer who would be willing to drive a tractor with snow blade around the town and would like this raised on the next agenda because he felt that the town needed someone reliable to go around and it may be that Mere Town Council has to fund this and that it is something that the parishioners would be prepared to accept the expenditure on.  Cllr. Rodney Coward said that it was important that the salt needed to be put down before the snow arrives and not the day after.  The Clerk pointed out that the Town Council had implemented their snow and ice clearance programme during this snowy weather and that the groundsman, James Suter, had even come into work on Saturday morning to grit the pavements around the town centre and car parks.  The Town Council asked the Clerk to extend their thanks to Mr. Suter for this extra work and initiative.

238.  Planning
a) Applications: (All applications can be viewed on Wiltshire Council’s website http://planning.wiltshire.gov.uk/Northgate/PlanningExplorer/ApplicationSearch.aspx   – and type in the relevant application number)

Application Ref:          19/00234/TCA
Application for:           Work to Trees in a Conservation Area
Proposal:                     Fell Lawson Cypress X 3
At:                                Rick Stones, Castle Hill Lane, Mere.  BA12 6JB
Cllr. Mrs. Traves said that she had received some concerns from a neighbour regarding the number of trees that had already been felled on the site and the fact that this proposal was adding to the number.  Cllr. Mrs. Traves said that planning application for the house itself (considered by the Town Council in September 2018) included an arboricultural report which recommended the removal of 15 trees and this was included within the application and the subsequent approval of the application meant that the trees could be felled without need for a separate Conservation Area application.  Cllr. Mrs. Traves confirmed that there had been no unauthorised felling and upon viewing the site, it was now clear that this application was for trees that were not particularly healthy and were at the rear of the property and Cllr. Mrs. Traves was happy to reassure the neighbour accordingly.  RESOLVED to recommend approval of the above application on proposal made by Cllr. Jordan, seconded by Cllr. Ings and carried with a unanimous vote.

Application Ref:          19/00634/FUL
Application for:           Full Planning
Proposal:                     Proposed two storey rear extension and single storey link infill
At:                                March House, Southbrook, Mere.  BA12 6BG                       
The Chairman reported that this was already a 2-storey building that looked like it had been extended in the past.  It was currently L shaped and the proposal was to square it off with a single-storey link between the main building and the current garage.  RESOLVED to recommend approval of the above application on proposal made by Cllr. Mrs. Traves, seconded by Cllr. Colman and carried with a vote of 12 for and 1 abstention.  (In order not to compromise his position as Wiltshire Councillor, Cllr Jeans abstained from discussion or voting)

b) Pre-application scoping discussion for development of Beaumont Business Park (5 minute presentation followed by general informal discussion)
Mr. Jon Gately, Associate Director of Planning at Savills and Mr. Sean Henderson, owner of Beaumonts Business Park introduced themselves.  Mr. Gately said that they were at the early stages of looking into an outline planning application and have recently had some pre-application discussions with the planning authority.  An application has not yet been submitted but they would hope to be in a position to submit an outline application in the next 3 or 4 months.  Mr. Gately distributed some illustrative plans to members and said that it was proposed to fill in the gap created by the development of the old Hill Brush Company site and would consist of approximately 70 units.  Mr. Gately said that the move to proceed with outline planning enquiries came from Wiltshire Council’s recent movement of the Housing Policy Boundary in Mere and also due to the fact that Wiltshire does not currently have sufficient housing land supply.  He confirmed that the planning application would be an outline application with reserved matters on the access and that pre-application discussions with the planning authority had included information on policies within the Wiltshire Core Strategy.
At this point, Cllr. P. Coward said that his company still owned land adjacent to the proposed development and wished to declare a pecuniary interest and remove himself from the meeting.
Cllr. Hazzard said that he had previously submitted a pre-application for housing development elsewhere in Mere and although he did not think he had a pecuniary interest and doubted whether he had a personal interest, he preferred to withdraw from the meeting.
The Chairman threw questions open to the floor and said that this is an opportunity for members to give Savills and Mr. Henderson an idea of if and how you want to see this site developed.
Cllr. R. Coward said that although he was a distant relative of both members that had declared an interest and left the room, he had no conflict of interest and felt able to comment on this impartially.  He felt that it was an obvious area for development as it squared off the approved development already being constructed in Woodlands Road.  Cllr. Colman said he felt that the development needed more green space and he assumed that 30% affordable housing would be provided in line with current planning policies.  The Chairman said that 21 affordable housing units would be an attraction because we know there is a need.  Cllr. Norris said he was generally supportive but wanted to see as much affordable housing as possible. Cllr. Mrs. Traves raised the issue of providing a mixture of housing/employment units similar to a development recently built in Tisbury and Mr. Gately confirmed that discussions with the planning authority had taken place on whether or not we should fall back to some employment use here because the site at the western end of Mere, allocated for employment, has not been developed.  Cllr. Jeans said that this was a very good point and said that the Mere Neighbourhood Plan is in a position to withdraw permission for the employment land at the western end of Mere if it is not taken up and said that the site had been allocated in the Local Plan as an employment site and has Class B planning permission but the allocation could be withdrawn by the Neighbourhood Plan if a different site could be found.  Cllr. Jeans also pointed out that on-street parking is a major issue for Mere and he would expect to see 5.5m road widths so that people can park on the road.  He said that he would vote against 4.5m road widths.  He also suggested that, with the recent experiences of the current development at Woodlands Road, there may be some resistance to pile driving and said that it may be wise to consider alternatives if possible.  The Clerk pointed out that C. G. Fry & Son were required to include a Traffic Management Programme for their development in order to alleviate concerns about construction traffic using inappropriate routes to gain access to the development & Mr. Gately confirmed that this was something they would need to incorporate.  Mr. Gately confirmed that there would be some sort of public circulation/consultation – whether that be online or through the post – probably in early summer. Cllr. Mrs. Traves said she hoped they would go out to public consultation and suggested that the main objections would relate to the impact on the infrastructure i.e. roads, parking, schools, water supply, doctors surgery etc.    Cllr. R. Coward said he would agree that demand on parking and water consumption, sewage and so forth were problems that needed consideration. 
*c) Council House Build Programme Phase II & possibility of building 2 new affordable homes on land at Castle Hill Crescent +Wiltshire Council’s Garage Site review – with reference to the information that had been distributed with agenda papers and plans distributed at the meeting, the Chairman explained that he, the Vice-Chairman, Cllr. Jeans and Clerk had held a site meeting with officers from Wiltshire Council to look at the possibility of providing two new council bungalows and the issues relating to parking in that area.  This building programme is being discussed in conjunction with proposals to review the provision of Wiltshire Council owned garages at Manor Road, Southbrook and Bramley Hill.  Cllr. Hazzard asked why the garages could not be taken down and the area provided for car parking but Cllr. Jeans explained that Wiltshire Council achieved revenue from renting the garages and so there was more value in building new garages.  Cllr. Ings said that he was in favour of the housing and the garages but would be very cautious about parking under the trees.  Cllr. Norris said he was supportive of the scheme, especially if it realised more parking in and around Castle Hill Crescent as he had known for a number of years that a number of residents have difficulty in parking in Castle Hill Crescent.  Cllr. R. Coward said that he was in favour of allowing parking under the trees to get vehicles off the road. 

239.  Highways, Rivers, Footpaths, Traffic & Transport
a) Highway & footpath issues for Parish Steward, Wiltshire online reporting & street lighting faults
The following issues were reported:

  • Street light outside F. J. Chalke not working
  • Large pothole in middle of pavement outside entrance to Old Ship Hotel in Castle Street
  • Old double-yellow lines now as visible as new ones and need to be burnt out.

*b) Wiltshire Council Highways & Streetscene Initiative funding to improve the appearance of towns and rural areas – The Chairman reported that the Town Council needed to submit their top ten issues by the end of February 2019, including details and precise locations, to their Wiltshire Councillor.  The following issues were put forward:

  • Resurface end of Boar Street and top of Barton Lane
  • White line remaining junctions in The Square
  • White line in centre of road in The Square outside Manor Road entrance to try and alleviate drivers cutting the corners
  • Replacement guard rails in Salisbury Street at end of Pennybank Lane
  • Kerbs along The Lynch – got to be designed to take some weight.
  • Repairs to wall on side of road along The Lynch.
  • Verge overrun on junction with The Lynch/Pettridge Lane.

*c) Notice of temporary road closures – The Clerk reported that the following temporary road closure notices had been received:

  • Notice of Temporary Road Closure to enable Tarmac to carry out carriageway reconstruction and associated works.  B3095 Castle Street, Mere from its junction with Gillingham Road to its junction with Manor Road .  This Order will come into operation on 18th March 2019 and the closure will be required daily between the hours of 09.30 and 15.30 until 29th March 2019.  Alternative route: via B3095 (unaffected length) – A303 – A350 – Out of County (Dorset).
  • Notice of Temporary Road Closure to enable Eurovia to carry out carriageway patching, reconstruction, surface dressing, road markings & associated works:

Phase One: B3095 (Part), Gillingham Road, Mere; from its junction with B3092 to its junction with C278.  This Order will come into operation on 6th March 2019 and the closure will be required between the hours of 09.00 and 15.00 for one day.  Alternative route: via B3092 – A303 – B3081 – B3095 (unaffected length) and vice versa.
Phase Two: B3092 (Part), Mere and Zeals; from its junction with Crab Lane to its junction with B3095. Phase Three: B3092 (Part), Stourton; from its junction with Crab Lane to its junction with The Street. Phase Four:  B3092 (Part), Maiden Bradley; from its junction with White Sheet Lane to its junction with Bradley Lane. Phases Two, Three and Four: operating 07 March 2019 between the hours of 09:00 and 15:00 until 14 March 2019. Phases Two – Four Alternative routes: via B3092 (unaffected length) – A361 – A36 – A350 – B3095 and vice.
In addition the Clerk had received notice of A303 Mere to Zeals westbound resurfacing works from Highways England:  Dates: Evening of 25th February to morning of 20th March 2019
Hours of work: Overnight 8pm to 6am Monday to Thursday and 9pm to 6am Friday. 
Phase 1: 25 February to 5 March 2019 and 19th March 2019 westbound overnight closure from Mere to Zeals: A303 westbound (including A303 to B3081 exit slip) – access to Castle Street will be maintained for local traffic.  All other traffic will be diverted from the Furze Hedge junction (A303/A350) to travel south on the A350 then north on the B3081 to re-join the A303 westbound. 
Access to West Knoyle Services will be maintained.
Laybys will remain closed 24/7 throughout the works.
In addition to the overnight slip road closures Zeals westbound exit slip (leading to B3081) will also be closed during the daytime of Tuesday, 5th March.
Phase 2: 6 March to the morning of 20 March 2019 westbound overnight closure from Zeals to Tinkers Hill
A shorter diversion route will be in place which will take traffic through Zeals via New Road to re-join the A303 at Tinkers Hill. 
d) Dropped kerbs in and around Shaftesbury Road/Woodlands Road junction area – The Chairman reported that he had been to C. G. Fry & Son to establish the situation with regard to development funds and whether or not they will be installing dropped kerbs in the vicinity of their new development.  It has transpired that they will be installing some dropped kerbs which will ease the problem slightly but, along with Mr. Wanklin who originally raised this issue, he had identified locations where two dropped kerbs would be beneficial.  It was agreed to pursue this with the Area Highway Engineer and CATG.
e) Improved visibility for pedestrians on Gillingham Corner junction – The Clerk reported that the Town Council offices had tried various avenues to try and track down the owner of the land to the west of the junction but with no success.  Cllr. Philip Coward said that he had an idea of who the owner was and would make some enquiries.  Cllr. R. Coward suggested that the hedge is cut back to improve visibility on grounds of safety and then if the owner complains we will know who they are.  We would not be encroaching on their land.  Members confirmed that the suggestion of re-routing footpath had been rejected but wanted to pursue the suggestion of cutting back the hedge with the CATG in order to improve the pedestrian visibility problem when coming from west to east.
f) Width restriction at The Lynch – The Chairman reported that the Town Council had received some advice from the Highway Engineer on this issue with an offer to come out on a site visit.  Cllr. R. Coward said that whilst he can understand the reasons for wanting to restrict HGVs from going along The Lynch there must be an exception to this in respect of fire engines.  Cllr. Hill said that he would be strongly against physically reducing the width.  Cllr. Jeans said that he felt this stretch of highway needed surveying and suggested that we ask the Highway Engineer to bring along the two maps (the highway ownership map and the highway control map) because there were all sorts of issues and problems along this length of road and some ground rules needed to be established.  Cllr. Jeans pointed out that there was illegal guttering overhanging the highway, an unstable retaining wall adjacent to the highway of which ownership/responsibility had not been established, kerbing which had been laid on the highway etc.  Also, Cllr. Jeans did not want the CATG to be given the impression that the Town Council was prepared to spend large sums of money on Traffic Regulation Orders.  He felt that signs to show that the width is restricted would be sufficient but it was also important to inform utility companies and other authorities that they cannot divert traffic along The Lynch.  It was agreed to ask the Highway Engineer to come out for a site visit a.s.a.p.

240.  Buildings, Open Spaces, Play Areas, Sports Grounds, Allotments & Cemeteries
a) Should the Town Council offer a grave maintenance service? – The Clerk reported that this issue was touched upon at the December Town Council meeting when Cllr. Mrs. Hurd wondered if people could pay the Town Council a nominal sum each year to look after their graves.  Interestingly, the Clerk had received a telephone call last week from a lady who had moved away from Mere but had 3 family graves in Mere and no-one to look after them.  (The Clerk pointed out that this was only about the third or fourth time she had received enquiries of this nature in the 28 years she had been Clerk).  The Clerk tried to do some research online to see if there were many Town Councils’ out there that offered a grave maintenance service but said it was difficult to find any.  She did, however, find that Bournemouth Borough Council offers a grave maintenance scheme at £84 or £131 per year, per grave.  The Clerk said that she had concerned about members of the public seeing the Town Council’s staff maintaining individual graves and making an assumption that this was a service that the Town Council had a duty to do and also wondered whether the Town Council could simply suggest some local gardeners or contractors to future enquirers.  Cllr. Hill felt that the Town Council should steer well clear of offering a grave maintenance service and felt that it may cause the need to take on extra staff.  RESOLVED not to offer a grave maintenance service but to suggest to any future enquirers that they seek a local garden contractor.  Proposal made by Cllr. P. Coward, seconded by Cllr. Jeans and carried with a vote of 12 for and 1 abstention.
b) Lime Trees in The Square – The Clerk reported that the grounds staff had raised some concerns about one of the lime trees in The Square in that it rocks when gently pushed and one of the lower limbs is very brittle and could easily break if someone were to decide to swing from it.  The Clerk therefore asked the Council’s tree advisor to look at them again and he said that he had concerns about both the southern lime trees (Nos. 0922 & 0923) in that they were not rooted fast to the ground.  The problem is due to the fact that they do not have any room to spread roots.  He advised that we reduce the knuckles down by 1m or so in order to reduce the sail width when the trees are in leaf.  The Clerk asked the Town Council if they were happy to implement this advice and also if they wanted it done on all 4 trees as she felt it would look odd if only 2 of them were treated in this way.  The tree advisor also suggested that the grounds staff should check the trees every couple of months to ensure that they are not getting worse but did point out that they will not get any better and the Town Council ought to think about replacing these trees in the near future.
Members agreed that they had a responsibility to think about public safety and that the advised treatment should be carried out to all four trees.
*c) Email from member of the public requesting removal of bench in White Road – Copies of this communication were distributed to members with their agenda papers and related to anti-social behaviour and possible drug use taking place on the bench at White Road, requesting that the bench be relocated.  The Town Council agreed to raise the issue of anti-social behaviour and possible drug use with the police and Community Safety Group but all agreed that the bench should remain in situ.

241.  Finance, Policy & Resources
*a) PaymentsRESOLVED to approve payments set out in payment schedules attached on proposal made by Cllr. Norris, seconded by Cllr. Mead and carried with a unanimous vote.
b) Policy R2 & CIL funds – the Clerk pointed out that she had received a Policy R2 statement from Wiltshire Council which revealed that the Town Council had some Policy R2 funds that would expire in March 2019.  The Clerk suggested that she ask Wiltshire Council to allocate this funding towards the project at Duchy Manor for levelling of swimming pool and outdoor gym equipment.  This suggested was approved and agreed.

242.  General Items & Consultations/Briefing Notes
a) CPRE Wiltshire & The Hills Group Best Kept Village Competition – The Clerk pointed out that she had received notification of the Best Kept Village Competition for 2019.  She pointed out that this was something that Mere had entered and won on several occasions in the past and which was open to all parishes with a population not exceeding 3500 as stated on Wiltshire Council’s database so being a town did not preclude Mere from entering.  There was no cost to enter but there was a fair amount of work required to prepare entry.  Invitations to enter would be sent by late February and the entry deadline is 22nd April.  Members noted the information.
*b) Children’s Centre Rationalisation – Councillors Briefing Note No. 19-002 – With reference to the briefing note which was distributed to members, and which said that due to reductions in funding, Wiltshire Council has worked with children’s centre services providers to identify underused buildings to ensure that frontline services to our families are protected.  The Mere Children’s Centre is part of this consultation and it is proposed that the Mere Children’s Centre will be offered back to the school.  The Chairman said that he regrets the fact that there is so little provision but cannot see what we can do to change that.  As a school Governor Cllr. Hazzard reported that the Headmistress had said that she had received a visit from the schools facilities manager who was going to conduct a feasibility study to see whether or not the school can utilise the space currently used by the Children’s Centre.  The Chairman raised concern about the Town Council offices.  Cllr. Hazzard said that if the school did not use the building then he would like to find community use for the building and currently pointed out that the Beaumonts site accommodated hot- desking facilities and the art gallery which would need to relocate if and when they do develop and this would be a golden opportunity to offer office space for people displaced by Beaumonts.  Cllr. Norris said he was a bit disappointed about the proposed Children’s Centre closure and would like to see the building used for community purposes if possible.  The Chairman said that Clerk had suggested that Youth Club might like to move into this building which would release the building in the Recreation Ground for other purposes. The consultation runs from 23rd January until 20th March 2019 and it was agreed to communicate with interested parties and formulate a consultation response for consideration at the March town council meeting.

Government Open Consultations

  • Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) Regulations 2010 (as amended) – The recommendations in this consultation include streamlining the consultation process to enable authorities to implement the CIL more quickly and provide clarity and certainty to developers around the contributions they are expected to make, particularly in light of any changes to their application once planning permission has been secured. Other reforms will support the changes already made to the National Planning Policy Framework so that local communities can see the value of the developer contributions secured and what this has helped deliver through the Infrastructure Funding Statement. Local planning authorities will also be given greater flexibility to deliver infrastructure across more than one area. Legislation will be required in order to implement the changes set out in the consultation document. Therefore, the Government will be consulting on the draft regulations later this year.
  • Protecting & Enhancing England’s Trees & Woodlands – the Chairman reported that this consultation was suggesting new measures designed to increase transparency and accountability in the process of felling street trees.  Cllr. R. Coward said that trees planted in right places are wonderful and trees planted in wrong places become a problem.  Consultation closes 28.2.19
  • Improving our management of water in the environment - The Clerk said that whilst looking up the above consultations, she had found this one and wondered if it may be of interest to Mere as it said, within the overview, that it included suggestions for reforming elements of abstraction licensing to link it more tightly to objectives for the water environment.  The consultation closes on 12th March and it was agreed to raise this as an agenda item for the March meeting but in the meantime to send the information to the Rivers Group for comment.

243. Forthcoming meetings/events

  • South West Wiltshire Community Safety Group Meeting – Wednesday, 13th February at 6.00 p.m. – Nadder Centre, Weaveland Road, Tisbury, SP3 6HJ

The Chairman said that he would be attending this meeting but pointed out that the Neighbourhood Watch Scheme for Mere is being revitalised and now has a website.

Cllr. Jeans also reported that Stephen Harris was leaving as Manager of the South West Wiltshire Area Board and would be replaced by Karen Linaker who was also managing the Southern Area Board and so she will be dealing with 54 parishes instead of the 40 that Stephen Harris dealt with. The Community Safety Group meeting was also looking for a volunteer to take notes at the meetings.
244.  Future agenda items

  • Blockage of footpath at White Road

Note:  Members are reminded that the Town Council has a general duty to consider the following matters in the exercise of any of its functions: Equal Opportunities (race, gender, sexual orientation, marital status and any disability), Crime and Disorder, Health and Safety and Human Rights.

*Further information on these items enclosed/attached

Meeting closed at 9.30 p.m.

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