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Author: Lindsey Wood

Agenda for Town Council meeting to be held on Monday, 4th July 2022

Mere Town Council

Town Clerk – Mrs. L. C. Wood

AGENDA

 

You are summoned to a meeting of Mere Town Council to be held on Monday, 4th July 2022 at 7.00 pm in The Andy Young Pavilion, Springfield Road, Mere, Wiltshire.  BA12 6EW.  The meeting will consider the items set out below.

 

Before the meeting there will be a public session to enable the people of Mere to ask questions of, and make comments, regarding the Town Council.  Questions not answered at this meeting will be answered in writing to the person asking the question, or may appear as an agenda item for the next meeting.  Members of the public are asked to restrict their comments, and/or questions to three minutes.

Please Note: 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.

Any person who may find difficulty in access to the meeting through disability is asked to advise the Clerk by email (lindseywood@merewilts.org) at least 24 hours before the meeting so that every effort may be made to provide access.

Yours sincerely,

 

 

Lindsey Wood,

Town Clerk & RFO

 

 

Public Participation Session

Members of the public are invited to address the Council on any issue over which it has a power. This session will be limited to 15 minutes (3 minutes per speaker). The Chairman will convene the Town Council meeting after the public session (please note that once the meeting has been convened members of the public are no longer permitted to speak unless invited to do so by the Chairman).

 

AGENDA

  1. Apologies – To receive apologies for absence.

 

  1. To receive any declarations of disclosable pecuniary interests and other interests from Councillors on matters to be considered at the meeting.
  • To receive Declarations of Interest relating to matters contained in this agenda, in accordance with the provisions of the Local Government Act 1972 in respect of officers and the Localism Act 2011 in respect of members.
  • To receive written 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.  The disclosure must include the nature of the interest.  If you become aware, during the course of a meeting, of an interest that has not been disclosed under this item, you must immediately disclose it.  Whether you can remain in the meeting and the extent to which you can participate depends on the type of interest you have.

 

  1. Minutes – To resolve that the minutes of the Town Council meeting held on Monday, 6th June 2022 be approved as a correct record. (attached)

 

  1. Matters Arising from Public Session

 

  1. Matters Arising from previous Meetings
  2. a) Vacancies for Town Councillor (Minute Ref: 172) – Update on Casual Vacancy & Co-Option Procedure

*b) Wiltshire Towns Programme (Minute Ref: 180b)

 

  1. Reports & Consultations
  2. a) Wiltshire Councillors Report

 

  1. Planning
  2. a) Applications for consultation response:

 

Application No: PL/2022/04887
Application Type: Consent under Tree Preservation Orders
Proposal: T1 Weeping Ash tree – Fell due to level of infection of ash dieback and proximity to highway.
Site Address: THE MANSE, BOAR STREET, MERE, WARMINSTER, BA12 6DD
Planning Register Link:  https://development.wiltshire.gov.uk/pr/s/planning-application/a0i3z000018JFut

 

Application No: PL/2022/04597
Application Type: Householder planning permission
Proposal: Conversion of Outbuilding to Habitable Space
Site Address: Highbrook, The Fields, Mere, Warminster, BA12 6EA
Planning Register Link: https://development.wiltshire.gov.uk/pr/s/planning-application/a0i3z000018Imgu

 

 

 

 

Application No: PL/2022/03832
Application Type: Full planning permission
Proposal: Erection of Agricultural Barn for use of storing farming equipment ie. Tractor/mower, strimmer, working tools. To include solar paneling on the roof for powering equipment. (resubmission of PL/2021/08598)
Site Address: Land west of Woodlands Road, Mere, BA12 6JT
Planning Register Link: https://development.wiltshire.gov.uk/pr/s/planning-application/a0i3z000018G22O

 

Application No: PL/2022/04587
Application Type: Householder planning permission
Proposal: Remove existing conservatory link and replace with new single storey extension link
Site Address: WET LANE FARM, WET LANE, MERE, WARMINSTER, BA12 6BA
Planning Register Link:  https://development.wiltshire.gov.uk/pr/s/planning-application/a0i3z000018ImVD

 

Application No: PL/2022/04227
Application Type: Householder planning permission
Proposal: Replacement fence, alongside the creation of an area permeable hard standing.
Site Address: FREEMANTLE NORTH ROAD MERE WARMINSTER BA12 6HP
Planning Register Link: https://development.wiltshire.gov.uk/pr/s/planning-application/a0i3z000018H4d5

 

Application No: PL/2022/04385
Application Type: Full planning permission
Proposal: New proposed two bedroom semi-detached dwelling.
Site Address: 4 UNDERDOWN MEAD, WHITE ROAD, MERE, WARMINSTER, BA12 6EQ
Planning Register Link: https://development.wiltshire.gov.uk/pr/s/planning-application/a0i3z000018INs9

*b) Outline application for the redevelopment of Beaumont Business Park, Woodlands Road, Mere – To consider letter from applicants relating to amendments and obligations in relation to the above planning application

Application No: 20/07469/OUT
Application Tyre: Outline Planning
Proposal: Outline Planning – Demolition of the existing buildings and the erection of up to 70 dwellings.
Site Address: Beaumont Business Park, Woodlands Road, Mere.  BA12 6BT
Planning Register Link: https://development.wiltshire.gov.uk/pr/s/planning-application/a0i3z000014evXfAAI/2007469out

 

  1. Highways, Rivers, Footpaths, Traffic & Transport
  2. a) To identify jobs for the Parish Steward, Sparkle Team and MyWiltshire reports.
  3. b) Quotations for wheelchair friendly footpath adjacent to Castle Hill Play Area
  4. c) Report on communications with the police over parking enforcement in Mere – Cllr. Jeans
  5. d) Minutes of the Shaftesbury & Gillingham Area Transport Forum

 

  1. Buildings, Open Spaces, Play Areas, Sports Grounds, Car Parks, Allotments & Cemeteries

*a)  Proposals for new Mere Town Football Club mens team and amalgamation with Mere Town Youth Football Club.

 

  1. Finance, Policy & Resources

*a)  Payments – To review and authorise schedule of payments (attached)

  1. b) To report on Rate Valuation Office enquiries and refund of National Non-Domestic Rates for Mere Cemetery.
  2. c) Staff vacancies – to provide an update on situation

 

  1. General Items

 

  1. Future meetings and events

 

  1. Future agenda items

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Minutes of Town Council meeting held on Monday, 6th June 2022

Mere Town Council

Town Clerk – Mrs. L. C. Wood

 

 

Minutes of a Town Council meeting held on Monday, 6th June 2022 at 7.00 pm in The Andy Young Pavilion, Springfield Road, Mere, BA12 6EW.

Present:  Councillors Mrs. Lesley Traves (Chair), Mrs. Kate Symonds (Vice-Chair), Aubrey Colman, Philip Coward, Rodney Coward, Rachael Hansford, Clive Hazzard, Raymond Hill, Glen Ings, George Jeans and John Jordan.

Also Spence Gunn & Claire Shaddick, Hilary Gladding, Graham Avory and Mr. Craig Bowers

 

Public Participation Session

Hilary Gladding – Treasurer for the Croquet Club said that she was attending the meeting following on from the COVID lockdown in 2020 when the Town Council very kindly agreed to waive the rent due to the fact that the club could not operate.  Mrs. Gladding said that because of the lockdown their membership numbers had reduced to only 11 members for this season, their membership was £50 per year and they had conducted a campaign to try and get new members.  However, their membership consisted of an ageing population with difficult access to the grounds and substantial grounds maintenance fees to pay (grass cutting and hedge cutting).  Their bank balance currently stood at £1157 but they did not think there was sufficient money to resume paying the rental fee to the Town Council of £500 per year.

Craig Bowers, Water Street said that he had attended the Council meeting to answer any questions relating to his planning application for a building to house his beloved donkeys in Wet Lane.  He said that the unit was a basic steel shed with wooden cladding of 12m X 15m.

 

Apologies for absence received from Councillors Nick & Debbie Beale.

 

  1. To receive any declarations of disclosable pecuniary interests and other interests from Councillors on matters to be considered at the meeting.
  • To receive Declarations of Interest relating to matters contained in this agenda, in accordance with the provisions of the Local Government Act 1972 in respect of officers and the Localism Act 2011 in respect of members.
  • To receive written requests for new DPI dispensations.
  • Hazzard declared a pecuniary interest in Minute No. 178a) [recipient]

 

  1. Minutes RESOLVED that the minutes of the Town Council meeting held on Monday, 9th May 2022 be approved as a correct record on proposal made by Cllr. P. Coward, seconded by Cllr. Colman and carried with a unanimous vote of those present on 9.5.22. RESOLVED that the Minutes of the extra Town Council meeting held on Monday, 23rd May 2022 be approved as a correct record on proposal made by Cllr. Colman, seconded by Cllr. Hill and carried with a unanimous vote of those present on 23.5.22.

 

  1. Matters Arising from Public Session
  • None

 

  1. Notice of Vacancies for Town Councillor

The Chairman announced that, regrettably, Louise Bennett had found it necessary to resign as a Town Councillor due it no longer being possible for her to fit in her council duties with her family duties.  The Clerk informed members that she had notified Wiltshire Council of this vacancy and of the vacancy created by the passing of Eric Mitchell and that both vacancy notices would be advertised on the Town Council’s noticeboard and website.  In due course, the Clerk would be notified as to whether or not an election had been requested or whether the Town Council could co-opt to fill the vacancies.

 

  1. Matters Arising from previous Meetings
  2. a) Platinum Jubilee Celebrations – summary report of proceedings (Minute ref: 157a) – The Chairman reported that she thought the Mere celebrations had been splendid and very successful. Town Councillors all agreed that the various events that they attended were all very successful, fun and enjoyable and well organised and the turnout was excellent. It was agreed that the Town Council would write to the Mere Platinum Jubilee Committee and thank them for all their hard work.  The Chairman also thanked George Jeans for putting up all the flags.
  3. b) Provision/installation of conduits/ducts for street lights and battery powered EV chargers at Duchy Manor (Minute Ref: 131d) –Cllr. Jeans reported that a resident, Mr. David Hytch, of +Charge had surveyed the site at Duchy Manor for possible EV chargers but they needed to know the half hourly consumption figures for the school’s power to determine exactly what was available and at what time of day and whether or not it would be feasible to install battery EV chargers. The Consortium through which the school buy their electricity had asked for a £90 fee to provide this information. RESOLVED that the Town Council should pay this £90.00 on proposal made by Cllr. Rachael Hansford, seconded by Cllr. P. Coward and carried with a majority vote (Cllr. Jeans abstained from voting).  Jeans said that +Charge had determined that the cost of the work to provide the power to six parking bays for charging is just under £20,000 which included connection to the panel in the school and cabling to the car park bays.  Cllr. Jeans assured the Town Council that if we gave +Charge a lease for a period of time then we wouldn’t have to pay this £20,000 installation cost.  Cllr. Jeans also confirmed that he was asking Anthony Dixon, the School Extension Project Manager at Wiltshire Council, if the contractors would install the conduits necessary for the chargers whilst they have the trenches dug on the site and he had provided him with the survey details.

 

  1. Reports & Consultations
  2. a) Wiltshire Councillors – Jeans reported that a lot of people were currently reporting fly tipping. He pointed out that where waste has been dumped on land that falls outside the responsibility of Wiltshire Council, then it can be reported to the Environment Agency via a Clear Waste App.

 

  1. Planning
  2. a) Applications for consultation response:

 

Application No: PL/2022/03231
Application Type: Householder planning permission
Proposal: Ground floor pocket extensions to side and rear of property Extension of existing porch Alteration of rear roof pitch to accommodate additional bedroom
Site Address: RHEOLA, PETTRIDGE LANE, MERE, WARMINSTER, BA12 6DG
Planning Register Link: https://development.wiltshire.gov.uk/pr/s/planning-application/a0i3z0000184BBi

 

The Chairman said she had made a site visit and had a look at the plan.  It was pointed out that there was an objection to this planning application online and Cllr. Mrs. Symonds said that there is a 6ft gap between the proposed wall and next door and said that she thought the proposal would remove a small amount of daylight but pointed out that this was unlikely to be significant enough to be a material consideration.  RESOLVED to recommend approval on proposal made by Cllr. Ings, seconded by Cllr. Colman and carried with a majority vote (2 abstentions).  In order not to compromise his position as Wiltshire Councillor, Cllr. Jeans abstained from voting on this planning application.

Application No: PL/2022/03331
Application Type: Full planning permission
Proposal: Erection of agricultural storage and livestock building
Site Address: Land at Wet Lane Wet Lane Mere BA12 6BA
Planning Register Link: https://development.wiltshire.gov.uk/pr/s/planning-application/a0i3z0000184gZb

 

 

Cllr. Ings said that it is a fairly large barn but it is quite agricultural and is situated in the right place.  RESOLVED to recommend approval on proposal made by Cllr. Jordan, seconded by Cllr. Rachael Hansford and carried with a majority vote.  In order not to compromise his position as Wiltshire Councillor, Cllr. Jeans abstained from voting on this planning application.

 

Application No: PL/2022/03947
Application Type: Householder planning permission
Proposal: Single Storey Rear Extension
Site Address: 17 WALNUT ROAD, MERE, WARMINSTER, BA12 6FG
Planning Register Link: https://development.wiltshire.gov.uk/pr/s/planning-application/a0i3z000018GJrr

 

RESOLVED to recommend approval of the above application.  However, the Clerk was asked to add the following Informative:  As this property is in a development that was designed in consultation with the Duchy of Cornwall, the Town Council believes that the applicant is required to seek permission from the Duchy of Cornwall before carrying out any works to the exterior of the property.  Proposal made by Cllr. P. Coward, seconded by Cllr. Rachael Hansford and carried with a majority vote. In order not to compromise his position as Wiltshire Councillor, Cllr. Jeans abstained from voting on this planning application.

  1. b) To report on site meeting and Southern Area planning meeting held on 1st June to discuss planning application PL/2022/01547 – erection of new 2-bedroom dwelling in Castle Hill Lane/Castle Street. The Chairman reported that she had attended the site meeting during the daytime and the planning meeting in Salisbury in the afternoon.  However, she was required to return to Mere in order to take part in staffing interviews and it was necessary to leave before this agenda item was discussed (the Chairman would not bring the agenda item forward but did allow Cllr. Mrs Traves to speak on the matter before she left).  Jeans fought our corner but unfortunately the Committee recommended this planning application for approval which is absolutely amazing because it is on a dangerous corner where cars can’t turn round to get in and out.  The Conservation Officer was in favour.  Cllr. Jeans said that there wasn’t a single committee member who was able to support an objection and also pointed out that because the officer had recommended the application for approval, it would have been very difficult to get it overturned.

 

 

 

*c) Briefing Note No. 22-09 – 5-Year Housing Land Supply and Housing Delivery Test (attached)  –  The Clerk reported that in a recent newsletter, Wiltshire Council’s Cabinet Member for Planning had written: “Many of you have been in touch with me over the past months to discuss the five-year land supply, and in particular the adverse impacts arising from a deficiency situation.  This recalculation fo the land supply has been conducted under the allowed methodology and I am obviously disappointed to see that we can still not manage to demonstrate a figure in excess of five years; although it is now closer to five years than the previous calculation it replaces.  As some of you know only too well, at appeal developers will seek to argue the figure down and even a figure in excess of five years is not a guarantee that a planning inspector will not accept or use a lower figure in their assessment.”  Cllr. Rachael Hansford said that this is another reason not to put a lot of effort into a Neighbourhood Plan.

 

  1. Highways, Rivers, Footpaths, Traffic & Transport
  2. a) To identify jobs for the Parish Steward, Sparkle Team and MyWiltshire reports – Jordan asked if the Sparkle Team could carry out some clearance work on Burton Path and Cllr. Hazzard asked if some cutting back work could be carried out on the footpath running from Edgebridge to Lordsmead Mill.
  3. b) Highway closure – Please see the link to an urgent closure notice for Edge Bridge (part), Mill Lane (part), Mere commencing 20th June 2022. https://api-gb.one.network/downloads/tm/1142/ttrn-edge-bridge-part-mill-lane-par_128884066_3443597_f07a6dc4fe.pdf The closure can also be found on one.network here:  https://one.network/?tm=128884066
  4. c) To consider additional parking restrictions for Mere Town Centre – Jeans reported on several areas that were considered to be a real problem at the moment. One of them was Hazzards Hill and Cllr. Jeans reported that he had tried to get the police involved to help with putting some temporary bollards out in order to stop dangerous parking. The other area was Bramley Hill and then there was the issue of dropped kerbs as well and Cllr. Jeans said he was aware that there were cars that regularly parked across dropped kerbs in Castle Street.  Cllr. Jeans asked that the Town Council should write to the PCSO officially to ask for some assistance and also proposed that the Town Council might like to set up a working group to investigate these areas of concern and prepare a report for presentation to the Town Council in order to make some suggestions to Wiltshire Council for further traffic management controls.   Cllr. R. Coward said that another area of concern was the junction at Water Street where, because of the cars parked right up to the junction, it was necessary to come out into the middle of the road on the wrong side of the road before you could see what was coming down Hazzards Hill.

 

Meeting adjourned to allow George Jeans to speak as a member of the public

George Jeans said that he was aware that there were complaints about the vans and delivery lorries parking outside The Chapel in Boar Street in connection with his son’s business – Jeans Electricals.  George Jeans said that although he had a personal interest in this matter, he wanted it to be known that he would be very happy for members of the working group to include this area in their deliberations.

Meeting reconvened

 

Two proposals: one for a working group – Cllrs. A. Colman, Mrs. Traves and Clive Hazzard volunteered.

It was agreed that the Town Council should write to the police for assistance with areas of concern and for dealing with parked cars outside dropped kerbs on proposal made by Cllr. Mrs. Symonds, seconded by Cllr. Rachael Hansford and carried with a majority vote (Cllr. Jeans abstained from voting).

 

  1. Buildings, Open Spaces, Play Areas, Sports Grounds, Car Parks, Allotments & Cemeteries
  2. a) Car Park Sponsorship – A few years ago we managed to get sponsorship to help us with the running of the car parks. The Clerk pointed out that a number of businesses had changed hands and there was even one or two new businesses that might be willing to be in the scheme. The Clerk pointed out that a sign was erected publicising which businesses had taken part in the scheme.  George Jeans and Clive Hazzard agreed to re-visit the businesses and assess the sponsorship.
  3. b) Communication from Mere Croquet & Boules Club relating to membership/accounts and rental – Cllr. P. Coward said that £500 seems quite a lot of money to me and said that if the club folded then the Town Council would need to maintain the land or do something with it. Rachael Hansford said that it was an established club with people in it and we’ve just been through two very difficult yeas and so maybe we should support the club. Cllr. Mrs. Symonds asked about the petanque players and Hilary Gladding clarified that they had 26 members in 2018 which included the petanque players but we lost those players and that membership.  Cllr. P. Coward proposed that the rental is reduced by 50% for this year and the club will then have a year to try and boost its membership and finances to get back to a full rental payment for next financial year.  Proposal seconded by Cllr. Ings and carried with a majority vote.  (Cllr. Hazzard was not in the room at the time of this vote or discussion).
  4. c) To clarify understanding in relation to changes to leases for Duchy Manor/Mere School Car Park following the construction work etc. – the Clerk explained that she had received an email from John Price the Estates Surveyor at Wiltshire Council referring to the legal paperwork around the new car park at Duchy Manor and he originally suggested that the Town Council should surrender the relevant area out of our 2005 underlease and our continued use of the car park would be covered by a deed of variation. The Clerk had informed John Price that she was not aware of any discussions having taken place relating to the Town Council surrendering any areas under our lease or relating to any loss of rights to use the existing school car park out of hours. As a result of further discussion between the Town Clerk & Cllr. Jeans it was suggested that the Town Council should request “That the whole of the area of land that is currently under the Town Council’s lease should remain in place but that a deed of variation could be created to allow the school to use the newly created car park during school opening times, along with the community use (i.e. the newly created car parking area [pre-barrier] will have shared usage during school opening times).  Also, to confirm that the Town Council will have the use of the TWO dedicated spaces beyond the electronic barrier (shown marked TC on the plans submitted in the planning application) during school opening times and to allow any other community usage in the area beyond the electronic barrier outside school opening times (subject to the barrier being controlled by the Town Clerk).”  RESOLVED that this request be put to Wiltshire Council’s Estates Surveyor on proposal made by Cllr. Mrs. Symonds, seconded by Cllr. Ings and carried with a unanimous vote.

 

  1. Finance, Policy & Resources

*a)  PaymentsRESOLVED to authorise payments set out in the payment schedule on proposal made by Cllr. P. Coward, seconded by Cllr. A. Colman and carried with a majority vote.  Cllr. C. Hazzard, having declared a pecuniary interest in this item, left the room and took no part in discussion or voting.

  1. b) Clarification on the purchase of tractor:
  2. Is it the Town Council’s preference to purchase the tractor outright?
  3. Is the Town Council happy that it has followed Financial Regulations and Procurement procedures?

The Chairman pointed out that it was the Council’s preference to purchase the tractor outright but the Clerk had pointed out that although the Town Council had agreed to vire the reserves at last month’s meeting there was actually no record of the Town Council agreeing to purchase the tractor outright.  Cllr. Hazzard proposed that the Town Council should purchase the tractor from reserves and the proposal was seconded by Cllr. Jordan and carried with a unanimous vote in favour.  Cllr. Hazzard said that he was confident that the Town Council had acted with due diligence over the purchase of this tractor and had followed Financial Regulations.  He pointed out that he and Cllr. Mitchell went to a lot of effort, they obtained four different quotations from four different dealerships in the locality and although no 2 tractors are the same, he was confident that the tractor they had chosen to purchase was coming from a reputable dealer and fitted the requirements of the grounds staff.  Cllr. Hazzard pointed out that it was not appropriate to advertise for tender as it would have been necessary to purchase this machine from a local dealer so as the grounds staff could test drive the machine and assess it for fit/comfort but also the issue of part-exchange for the Council’s existing provided better value for money on the deal but required locality.  Members unanimously agreed that the Town Council had acted with due diligence to obtain the best value for the expenditure of public money in the purchase of this tractor.

*c) To approve and adopt Mere Town Council Investment Policy (Draft attached) – The Clerk pointed out that The Practitioners Guide says “where the authority has bank balances in excess of £100k it has an appropriate investment strategy”.  RESOLVED to adopt without amendment on proposal made by Cllr. Mrs. Symonds, seconded by Cllr. Hazzard and carried with a unanimous vote in favour.

*d) To review Mere Town Council Reserves Policy: To review reserves and authorise transfer of funds to National Savings Account:  The Clerk reported: ‘At the end of the Town Council’s Reserves policy is says that the RFO will advise the Council on the level of reserves required to fulfil its obligations.  The Town Council has agreed to purchase the tractor outright rather than enter into a lease-purchase agreement and its rationale for doing this is because it is not financially viable to take a lease hire agreement when the interest rates on borrowing money are so much higher than the interest rates on our reserves.  Instead, the Town Council has agreed to vire reserves (transfer from one account heading to another account heading) in order to pay for the tractor.  This has resulted in a minus figure on our general reserves at the end of the financial year.  The main purpose of general reserves is to operate as a working balance and to help manage the impact of uneven cash flows and to provide a contingency to cushion the impact of emerging or unforeseen events or genuine emergencies.  In general, a robust level of reserves should be maintained and take account of operational and financial issues facing the Town Council.  It is my opinion that the Town Council should hold a level of £30k in general reserves.  However, I accept the fact that there are funds that could be reallocated and projects that may come in under budget over the next year or so and therefore, I would advise that the situation should be monitored carefully and an interim review report should be provided to members with the next budget/expenditure report.  I note that we are holding more money in our Lloyds Bank accounts than would be covered under the FSC and would ask for the council’s approval in transferring the balance over £85k to our National Savings & Investment Account.’  Members agreed with the Clerk’s & RFO’s recommendations.

*e)  To approve the Accounting Statements for the year ending 31st March 2022 as prepared by the Town Clerk & RFO –– the accounting statements which includes the end-of-year bank reconciliation, identification of variances requiring explanation, reconciliation between boxes 7 & 8, an analysis of earmarked reserves and asset summary, prepared by the RFO were distributed with the agenda papers and approved by the Council.  The Clerk pointed out that there was extra information provided within these statements that needed to be published in accordance with the Transparency Code and in recognition that the Town Council had now moved into the higher band requirement (income over £200k)

The Clerk asked members to note that it has been necessary to re-state the asset register figure provided last year because she mistakenly included the valuation of the public toilets which, although they are insured by us and included in our asset valuations for insurance purposes, they are not actually included in our asset register as they belong to Wiltshire Council.   RESOLVED to approve the Accounting Statements for the year ending 31st March 2022 on proposal made by Cllr. Rachael Hansford, seconded by Cllr. P. Coward and carried with a unanimous vote.

*f) Annual Governance and Accountability Return 2021/22

  1. To receive and note the Annual Internal Audit Report – the Clerk informed members that on 26th May, Mrs. Mary White had carried out an independent examination of the Town Council’s accounting records, its compliance with relevant procedures and its risk assessments and internal control procedures. Mrs. White had agreed that, in all significant respects, the control objectives were being achieved throughout the financial year to a standard adequate to meet the needs of the council and had completed section 4 of the Annual Return, answered ‘yes’ or ‘Not Covered’ to all questions and had signed the Annual Internal Audit Report in the Annual Return accordingly.  Mrs. White had written a letter: “On 26th May I carried out an internal audit of the Town Council’s Financial Statements for the year ending 31st March 2022. It is my opinion that proper accounting records have been maintained by the Council, financial statements have been properly prepared and that there were at this time no issues of concern. For the purpose of this audit the Town Clerk, Lindsey Wood, ensured as always that everything necessary was to hand and in good order, and provided every assistance during our meeting.”   Mrs. White also added: “I must let you know that this is my last report as Internal Auditor to Mere Town Council.  Over the past few years the Town Council has faced ever increasing financial activity and with this has come more regulations, guidance and best practice for internal auditors to the point that I no longer feel able to take on the responsibility to fulfil the role.’ Members expressed their gratitude to Mary White for carrying out the Internal Audit and for her diligence in implementing this role over the years and asked for their thanks to be recorded in the Minutes and for a letter of thanks to be sent to Mrs. White.
  2. To approve the Annual Governance Statement (Section 1) – Points 1 – 9 of the Annual Governance statement 2021/22 (Section 1 of the Annual Governance & Accountability Return) were read out to members and members answered ‘yes’ to each of the statements. The Annual Governance Statement was signed by the Clerk and by the Chairman in the presence of the Town Council.
  • To approve the Accounting Statements (Section 2) attached – The Accounting Statements 1-11 (Section 2 of the Annual Return) were approved by the Town Council. Confirmation of approval of the Account Statements was signed by the Clerk and by the Chairman in the presence of the Town Council.
  1. To set the commencement date for the exercise of public rights – the Clerk confirmed that, as required by The Accounts & Audit Regulations 2015, the Town Council must now publish the unaudited Annual Government & Accountability Return and the Notice for the Commencement of the Period for the Exercise of Public Rights. Publication is on the parish website: merewilts.org
  2. To note other information to be sent to the External Auditor and required by External Auditor as part of Intermediate Review 2021/22 – The Clerk pointed out to members that because the Town Council had income exceeding £200k this year, this meant that we needed to have an Intermediate Audit Review which required providing extra information to the external auditors. This year’s requirement for Mere Town Council are to provide the charity commission filing documents submitted during 2021/22 in respect of the 2020/21 reporting year for the Mere Peace Memorial Sports & Recreation Ground Charity.
  3. h) Appointment of internal auditor for 2022/23 financial year – With reference to the information noted Minute Ref: 178 f) i) regarding the need to seek a new internal auditor for the 2022/23 financial year. The Clerk suggested that the Town Council should seek a quotation from SLCC’s Local Council Consultancy and members agreed with this suggestion.
  4. i) Replacement Defibrillator – The Clerk pointed out that despite several lines of enquiry and reporting it to the police, there had been no leads in tracing the defibrillator that has gone missing from the centre of town. An insurance claim had therefore been initiated on the basis that the defibrillator had been stolen. The Clerk was anxious that this situation should not happen again and suggested that, once the insurance money had been received, the defibrillator should be replaced in a coded lockable cabinet rather than an open cabinet.  The Clerk explained that the defibrillator outside the dentist had a coded cabinet and that you should not be able to use a defibrillator unless you have telephoned the emergency services and that the emergency services give you the code to the cabinet when you are on the phone to them.  Jeans said he was against this proposal as he had been told, when on the phone to the emergency services, that there was no Public Access Defibrillator near to him when he knew there was one in The Square.  Cllr. P. Coward proposed that we replace the defibrillator with an un-coded cabinet one more time and if it goes missing again, then we must provide a coded cabinet.    Proposal seconded by Cllr. R. Coward and carried with a unanimous vote.

 

  1. General Items
  2. a) To consider draft Communications Policy – Cllr. Rachael Hansford report that she had attended a training seminar at the end of January on Parish & Town Council Communications and that it was fundamental to good governance to communicate with your community. Hansford said that, of course, we did communicate with the community in various different ways but we did not have a formal structure or strategy. She had come away from the seminar with 3 take-home messages:
  3. To consider producing an annual printed and digital residents survey
  4. To hold regular virtual and in person “meet the chair” question and answer sessions – these could be based upon a particular theme.
  5. Create a council e-newsletter.

Cllr. Rachael Hansford said she thought that producing an email newsletter that people need to sign up to might be helpful in directing people to the Town Council’s website or Wiltshire Council’s website in order to help them find the information they want and we could also use it to re-format information that is already produced i.e. Chairman’s report in Mere Matters.  Cllr. Mrs. Symonds said that until very recently, we could guarantee that every property in Mere received a copy of Mere Matters and she thought this was a good way of communicating information to people but was concerned that a newsletter that required people to subscribe to would only have a partial audience.  She also raised concerns about creating more work for the Clerk to do.  Cllr. Hansford said that she was not suggesting that the Clerk should do this newsletter but that we should reformat information that is already produced.  Cllr. P. Coward said that anything that spreads the message wider is great.  Cllr. Rachael Hansford assured members that an email newsletter would need to be signed up to and would be a one-way information newsletter not a two-way communication method.  She said that she was happy to produce this on the basis that the printed information would be checked with the Council’s admin prior to publication.  RESOLVED that Cllr. Rachael Hansford should try this on a 6-month trial on proposal made by Cllr. P. Coward, seconded by Cllr. Ings and carried with a vote of 7 for and 2 abstentions.

*b) Wiltshire Council Briefing Note 22-11 – Solar Together Wiltshire.  Members noted the information.  Cllr. Mrs. Symonds said that she had actually registered with this although, unfortunately, she had been declined permission by the Duchy of Cornwall to have solar panels erected on her house.  Cllr. P. Coward said that he had also registered but had concerns that the prices he had been quoted were not the best deal available.

*c) Wiltshire Council Briefing Note 22-13 – Area Board Arrangements – The Clerk pointed out that the Area Board situation is changing.  Cllr. Jordan said he was interested to hear that the Area Board sets its own priorities and asked if we could impress upon Cllr. Jeans what we feel our priorities should be.  Cllr. Jordan said that simple, straightforward infrastructure improvements, should be added as our priority to provide improved access into our town.  Cllr. Jeans said that he did not think the priorities were that specific and they had been set, in the past, following workshops being attended by all the Town & Parish Councils in the area.  Cllr. Jeans said that he thought the main difference was going to make it much more difficult to get grants and funding for local projects.

 

  1. Future meetings and Events:

LHFIG meeting on 8th June.  Cllr. Debbie Beale is attending.  On the agenda is the Town Council’s request to assess the speed limit along Shaftesbury Road 14th on the list but it does say that Atkins are programmed to start that work in July.

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What do I do if I get flooded?

Mere Town Council

Town Clerk – Mrs. L. C. Wood

What do I do if I get flooded?

 

This document has been compiled based on information provided by the Environment Agency (EA), whose responsibility it is to make people aware of flooding from rivers and the sea, provide flood warning services and build and maintain flood defences.

 

Your flood warning service – Get the service that’s right for you

EA provide a free flood warning service to many areas at risk of flooding from rivers and the sea.

 

Find out if you can sign up for our free 24 hour Floodline Warnings Direct service by visiting their website  www.environment-agency.gov.uk/flood or by calling Floodline on 0345 988 1188.

 

You can select to receive warnings by phone, text, email, fax or pager.

In some areas EA also warn people about flooding using:

  • Sirens – usually a wailing sound only activated when a flood is about to happen.
  • Loud hailers – a vehicle will drive around repeating the flood warnings.

 

Other places to get the latest flood update

 

Your personal flood plan

 

  1. Know who to contact and how
  • Agree where you will go and how to contact each other.
  • Check with your council if pets are allowed at evacuation centres.
  • Keep a list with all your important contacts to hand.

 

  1. Think about what you can move now
  • Don’t wait for a flood. Move items of personal value such as photo albums, family films and treasured mementos to a safe place.

 

  1. Think about what you would want to move to safety during a flood
  • Pets
  • Cars
  • Furniture
  • Electrical equipment
  • Garden pot plants and furniture
  • What else? …

 

 

 

  1. Think about who you could ask for help / who you could offer to help, particularly vulnerable neighbours or relatives, in a flood. Start preparing today before a flood happens. Use this checklist as your flood plan.

 

  1. Check your insurance cover
  • Check your buildings and contents insurance policy.
  • Confirm you are covered for flooding.
  • Find out if the policy replaces new for old, and if it has a limit on repairs.
  • Don’t underestimate the value of your contents.

 

  1. Know how to turn off your gas, electricity and water mains supplies
  • Ask your supplier how to do this.
  • Mark taps or switches with stickers to help you remember.

 

  1. Prepare a flood kit of essential items and keep it handy
  • Copies of your home insurance documents.
  • A torch with spare batteries.
  • A wind-up or battery radio.
  • Warm, waterproof clothing and blankets.
  • A first aid kit and prescription medication.
  • Bottled water and non perishable foods.
  • Baby food and baby care items.

 

Useful numbers

 

Your important flood telephone numbers. Fill this out and keep this leaflet with your flood kit.

 

Environment Agency Floodline                                                                0345 988 1188
Quickdial number
Local authority emergency helpline
Insurance company 24-hour number and policy number
Local radio station frequency for news alerts and weather updates
 Family and neighbours
Work phone numbers
Doctor’s surgery
Local police station
Vet/kennel/cattery
 Local hotel or B&B
Gas supplier and meter number
Electricity supplier and meter number
Water supplier and meter number
Electrician
Plumber
Builder

 

 

 

 

 

 

Temporary flood protection equipment

 

Flood protection equipment can help stop flood water getting into your property.

Follow manufacturer instructions to put these in place when you get a flood warning.

 

You can get more information about flood protection equipment in the ‘prepare your property for flooding’ leaflet on the EA website.

 

Floodboards These fix to frames around windows and doors. They can be washed, stored and used again. Always remove flood protection equipment once the flood water has gone. This will help your property dry out.

 

Plastic covers to seal airbricks These can stop flood water coming in through your airbricks.

 

Sandbags Your local council may provide these during a flood, but they may be scarce. You can buy your own sand and bags, or fill pillowcases and plastic bags with earth. Be aware that following a flood they will be contaminated by sewage in the water. You can get more information about using sandbags on the EA website.

See Wiltshire Council’s policy on sandbags here: https://www.wiltshire.gov.uk/civil-emergencies-sandbags

 

 

Further steps to protect your property There are things you can do to your property that will make it easier and cheaper to clean up after a flood. See Further Information at the end of this document.

 

Flood warning codes

Flood info

What to do to stay safe in a flood

 

In the event of a flood focus on the safety of you and your family

  • Cooperate with the emergency services if they tell you to evacuate during flooding. • Be prepared to act quickly and get yourself to safety. We use our flood warning services to warn you of flooding from rivers and the sea as soon as we can. But there are some types of flooding we can’t predict. Stay alert to localised flooding also known as ‘surface water flooding’. This usually happens where drainage systems are unable to cope with heavy spells of rainfall. We cannot give you a direct warning for this type of flooding. Instead we forecast where it might be a problem in certain counties and put a daily flood risk forecast on our website. You can also find out about the possibility of ‘surface water’ flooding in your area by checking local weather forecasts.

 

What to do in an emergency, to stay safe

 

  1. Check in with other people in your household – if they are not at home make sure they are somewhere safe.
  2. Gather essential items together either upstairs or in a high place.
  3. Fill jugs and saucepans with clean water.
  4. Move your family and pets upstairs, or to a high place with a means of escape.
  5. Turn off gas, electricity and water supplies when flood water is about to enter your home if safe to do so. DO NOT touch sources of electricity when standing in flood water.
  6. Keep listening to local radio for updates or call floodline 0345 988 1188
  7. Check in with vulnerable neighbours or relatives.
  8. Flood water can rise quickly, stay calm and reassure those around you. Call 999 if you are in danger.

 

Important! Flood water is dangerous

  • Six inches of fast-flowing water can knock over an adult and two feet of water can move a car.
  • Avoid walking or driving through it.
  • Keep children and vulnerable people away from it.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly if you touch it.

 

Protect what you can

 

Move important items to safety and put flood protection equipment in place when there is a flood warning. Follow manufacturers’ instructions carefully to help stop or reduce the flood water entering your property.

 

Take items upstairs or to a safe place in your property

  • Safely store important documents such as insurance papers.
  • Move items of personal value such as photos, family films or treasured mementos. • Move lightweight household belongings you can pick up easily and quickly.
  • Move items of furniture that are expensive or harder to repair before cheaper ones.

 

If possible, move your outside belongings to higher ground

  • If the flood water hasn’t reached you, move your car to higher ground and move outdoor pets to safety.

 

Help stop water entering your home

  • Put plugs in sinks and baths. Weigh them down with a sandbag, a pillowcase or plastic bag filled with garden soil, or a heavy object.

 

If you do not have non-return valves fitted

  • Plug water inlet pipes with towels or cloths.
  • Disconnect any equipment that uses water (like washing machines and dishwashers).

 

Stay safe, always listen to the advice of the emergency services and evacuate when told to do so

 

  • Leave your home if the emergency services say so. Refusing to leave on their advice will put you, your family and those trying to help you at risk.
  • When you are evacuated you will be taken to an evacuation centre run by your local council. Free food and bedding is provided. Bring spare clothing, essential medication and babycare items if you have an infant.
  • Most evacuation centres will let you bring your pets. Take their food. Put cats and small animals in a pet carrier or secure box.
  • People running the centres are trained to give you support and advice. They will help you through the stress of a flood and prepare you for what to do afterwards.

 

What to do after a flood

 

When you’re sure it’s safe to return to your home, take care when entering as there may be hidden dangers in floodwater such as sharp objects and sewage pollution.

If your supply hasn’t been switched off at the mains, do not on any account touch sources of electricity when standing in flood water. Get a qualified electrician to come to the property to switch off the power.

 

Cleaning up after a flood

 

In many cases, your insurance company can pay for professional help to clean up your property.

The clean-up will usually involve:

Pumping out water from your home using a generator

Cleaning and disinfecting the property. Avoid high pressure hoses as they can blast contaminated particles into the air.

Drying out the property with dehumidifiers.

Local councils can supply skips and advise you on disposal of sandbags as they may need to be treated as contaminated waste.

 

 

 

 

 

Home insurance and flooding

 

According to the Chartered Insurance Institute, the average household flood claim amounts to £50,000.

That’s a staggering amount of money to stump up if you were affected by flooding, so it’s wise to ensure that you take out a home insurance policy to cover your home and contents.

Check how much your policy covers you for flooding, if the policy replaces your items new for old, and if it has a limit on repairs.

 

Making a claim

 

You should inform your insurer about flooding as soon as possible.

They’ll let you know whether you should clean the property or if they will send professionals to do that for you.

Many policies also cover the cost of temporary accommodation where you can stay while clean-up and repairs are underway. This could be in a B&B or rented property.

Your insurance provider will send a loss adjuster to your property to inspect the damage and to confirm what repairs and replacements will be covered by your policy.

Keep a record of flood damage for future reference.

Mark the height of flood waters on the walls in every room affected.

Photograph or video all damage to your home and contents.

List all parts of the property and contents damaged and, if your policy covers it, all food spoilt too.

Even if you live in an area at risk of flood or have made a flood claim in the past, it should still be possible to get reasonably priced insurance thanks to the Flood Re scheme. Under the scheme, your insurer pays out if you make a valid claim for flood damage, but it can then claim back a proportion of the money from the Flood Re fund. This reduces the insurer’s financial risk, so it can offer you cheaper cover.

 

 

Further information

 

The Environment Agency has published a booklet with advice on how to prepare your property for flooding. See Prepare your property for flooding

 

 

 

 

 

 

Agenda for Town Council meeting to be held on Monday, 6th June 2022

Mere Town Council
Town Clerk – Mrs. L. C. Wood
Duchy Manor,
Springfield Road,
Mere
Warminster,
Wiltshire
BA12 6EW
Phone: 01747 860701

e-mail: lindseywood@merewilts.org
www.merewilts.org
1st June 2022

Dear Councillor,

You are summoned to a meeting of Mere Town Council at The Andy Young Pavilion, Springfield Road, Mere, Wiltshire. BA12 6EW on Monday, 6th June 2022 at 7.00 pm. The meeting will consider the items set out below.

Before the meeting there will be a public session to enable the people of Mere to ask questions of, and make comments, regarding the Town Council. Questions not answered at this meeting will be answered in writing to the person asking the question, or may appear as an agenda item for the next meeting. Members of the public are asked to restrict their comments, and/or questions to three minutes.
Please Note: 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.
Any person who may find difficulty in access to the meeting through disability is asked to advise the Clerk by email (lindseywood@merewilts.org) at least 24 hours before the meeting so that every effort may be made to provide access.
Yours sincerely,

Lindsey Wood,
Town Clerk & RFO

Public Participation Session
Members of the public are invited to address the Council on any issue over which it has a power. This session will be limited to 15 minutes (3 minutes per speaker). The Chairman will convene the Town Council meeting after the public session (please note that once the meeting has been convened members of the public are no longer permitted to speak unless invited to do so by the Chairman).

AGENDA
1. Apologies – To receive apologies for absence.

2. To receive any declarations of disclosable pecuniary interests and other interests from Councillors on matters to be considered at the meeting.
(a) To receive Declarations of Interest relating to matters contained in this agenda, in accordance with the provisions of the Local Government Act 1972 in respect of officers and the Localism Act 2011 in respect of members.
(b) To receive written 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. The disclosure must include the nature of the interest. If you become aware, during the course of a meeting, of an interest that has not been disclosed under this item, you must immediately disclose it. Whether you can remain in the meeting and the extent to which you can participate depends on the type of interest you have.

3. Minutes – To resolve that the minutes of the Town Council meeting held on Monday, 9th May 2022 be approved as a correct record. (attached) To resolve that the Minutes of the extra Town Council meeting held on Monday, 23rd May 2022 be approved as a correct record. (attached)

4. Matters Arising from Public Session

5. Notice of Vacancies for Town Councillor

6. Matters Arising from previous Meetings
a) Platinum Jubilee Celebrations – summary report of proceedings (Minute ref: 157a)
b) Provision/installation of conduits/ducts for street lights and battery powered EV chargers at Duchy Manor (Minute Ref: 131d) –
c) Accessibility issues relating to footpaths and dropped kerbs (Minute ref: 160b)

7. Reports & Consultations
a) Wiltshire Councillors Report

8. Planning
a) Applications for consultation response:

Application No: PL/2022/03231
Application Type: Householder planning permission
Proposal: Ground floor pocket extensions to side and rear of property Extension of existing porch Alteration of rear roof pitch to accommodate additional bedroom
Site Address: RHEOLA, PETTRIDGE LANE, MERE, WARMINSTER, BA12 6DG
Planning Register Link: https://development.wiltshire.gov.uk/pr/s/planning-application/a0i3z0000184BBi

Application No: PL/2022/03331
Application Type: Full planning permission
Proposal: Erection of agricultural storage and livestock building
Site Address: Land at Wet Lane Wet Lane Mere BA12 6BA
Planning Register Link: https://development.wiltshire.gov.uk/pr/s/planning-application/a0i3z0000184gZb

Application No: PL/2022/03947
Application Type: Householder planning permission
Proposal: Single Storey Rear Extension
Site Address: 17 WALNUT ROAD, MERE, WARMINSTER, BA12 6FG
Planning Register Link: https://development.wiltshire.gov.uk/pr/s/planning-application/a0i3z000018GJrr

b) To report on site meeting and Southern Area planning meeting held on 1st June to discuss planning application PL/2022/01547 – erection of new 2-bedroom dwelling in Castle Hill Lane/Castle Street.
*c)Briefing Note No. 22-09 – 5-Year Housing Land Supply and Housing Delivery Test (attached)

9. Highways, Rivers, Footpaths, Traffic & Transport
a) To identify jobs for the Parish Steward, Sparkle Team and MyWiltshire reports.
b) Highway closure – Please see the link to an urgent closure notice for Edge Bridge (part), Mill Lane (part), Mere commencing 20th June 2022. https://api-gb.one.network/downloads/tm/1142/ttrn-edge-bridge-part-mill-lane-par_128884066_3443597_f07a6dc4fe.pdf The closure can also be found on one.network here: https://one.network/?tm=128884066
c) To consider additional parking restrictions for Mere Town Centre – Cllr. Jeans

10. Buildings, Open Spaces, Play Areas, Sports Grounds, Car Parks, Allotments & Cemeteries
a) Car Park Sponsorship
b) Communication from Mere Croquet & Boules Club relating to membership/accounts and rental.
c) To clarify understanding in relation to changes to leases for Duchy Manor/Mere School Car Park following the construction work etc.

11. Finance, Policy & Resources
*a) Payments – To review and authorise schedule of payments (attached)
b) Clarification on the purchase of tractor:
i) Is it the Town Council’s preference to purchase the tractor outright?
ii) Is the Town Council happy that it has followed Financial Regulations and Procurement procedures?
*c) To approve and adopt Mere Town Council Investment Policy
*d) To review Mere Town Council Reserves Policy: To review reserves and authorise transfer of funds to National Savings Account
*e) To approve the Accounting Statements for the year ending 31st March 2022 as prepared by the Town Clerk & RFO
*f) Annual Governance and Accountability Return 2021/22
I. To receive and note the Annual Internal Audit Report
II. II. To approve the Annual Governance Statement (Section 1)
III. To approve the Accounting Statements (Section 2) Attached
IV. For the Chairman and Clerk to sign the Annual Governance Statement and the Chairman to sign the Accounting Statements
V. To set the commencement date for the exercise of public rights
VI. To note other information to be sent to the External Auditor and required by External Auditor as part of Intermediate Review 2021/22
h) Appointment of internal auditor for 2022/23 financial year.
i) Replacement Defibrillator

12. General Items
a) To consider draft Communications Policy – Cllr. Rachael Hansford
*b) Wiltshire Council Briefing Note 22-11 – Solar Together Wiltshire
*c) Wiltshire Council Briefing Note 22-13 – Area Board Arrangements

13. Future meetings and events

14. Future agenda items

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

 

15. EXCLUSION OF THE PRESS AND PUBLIC. To consider exclusion of the press and public from the meeting, in accordance with the Public Bodies (Admission to Meetings) Act 1960, section 1(2), to transact business for which publicity would be prejudicial to the public interest by reason of its confidential nature (staffing matters & contracts (?)

a) Staffing issues – Proposals from Octopus Personnel.
b) Wiltshire Towns programme

 

 

 

Minutes of an extra meeting of Mere Town Council held on Monday, 23rd May 2022

 Mere Town Council

Town Clerk – Mrs. L. C. Wood

 

Minutes of an extra meeting of Mere Town Council held on Monday, 23rd May 2022 at The Andy Young Pavilion, Springfield Road, Mere.  BA12 6EW at 7.00 pm. 

 

Present:  Cllr. Mrs. Lesley Traves (Chair), Mrs. Kate Symonds (Vice-Chair), Nick Beale, Aubrey Colman, Philip Coward, Rodney Coward, Clive Hazzard, Raymond Hill, Glen Ings, George Jeans & John Jordan.

 

Meeting convened at 7.05 with Public Session

  • No members of the public present

 

Members observed a minute’s silence as a mark of respect in memory of Councillor Eric Mitchell who had sadly died on 10th May.

Apologies for absence received from Councillors Mrs. Debbie Beale & Rachael Hansford.

  1. Insurance renewal premium (new information since last Town Council meeting).

The Clerk reminded members that during the last Town Council meeting she pointed out that our insurance renewal premium had risen by £1200 or 37% and the Council decided that it would be better not to opt for the 3-year Long Term Agreement (LTA) but just to renew for one year and to get some quotations from alternative providers in good time before next year’s renewal.  The Clerk said that as far as she was aware there are only really two insurance brokers that cover Local Council insurance – one is Gallaghers (our existing broker) and the other is BHIB Councils and she had actually asked BHIB Councils for a quote before the last Town Council meeting but didn’t mention it because they hadn’t responded in time for the meeting.  However, the Clerk had now received a response and reported that their insurers have declined to quote for us due to our claims experience.

In the meantime, the Clerk had informed the Council’s existing brokers that she had been instructed to renew for one year only as members were concerned about the 37% increase in premium but had accepted that there was not enough time to get alternative quotations in time for renewal.  Gallaghers had now emailed back to clarify, Hiscox are now their preferred and single provider of local council insurance and it is their strong recommendation that the 3-year Long Term Agreement is taken to prevent any chance of rate increase at renewal 2023.

In view of the fact that there are very few companies out there now that provide insurance for Local Councils and the fact that one had declined to provide a quotation due to our claims experience, the Clerk advised the Town Council that it would be prudent to opt for the 3-year LTA with Hiscox via Gallaghers and to hope that during the next 3 years, the Town Council doesn’t need to make any more insurance claims and may be able to get more competitive quotations after that time.

 

Cllr. Philip Coward proposed that we reluctantly sign up to the 3-year Long Term Agreement with Hiscox via Gallaghers – as quoted.  Proposal seconded by Cllr. Colman and carried with a unanimous vote.

  1. EXCLUSION OF THE PRESS AND PUBLIC – RESOLVED to exclude the press and public from the meeting, in accordance with the Public Bodies (Admission to Meetings) Act 1960, section 1(2), to transact business for which publicity would be prejudicial to the public interest by reason of its confidential nature (staffing matters).  Proposal made by Cllr. P. Coward, seconded by Cllr. Colman and carried with a unanimous vote.

Minutes of the Annual Town Council meeting held on Monday, 9th May 2022

Mere Town Council

Town Clerk – Mrs. L. C. Wood

 

 

Minutes of the Annual Town Council meeting held on Monday, 9th May 2022 at 7.00 pm in The Andy Young Pavilion, Springfield Road, Mere, BA12 6EW.

Present:  Councillors Mrs. Lesley Traves (Chair), Mrs. Kate Symonds (Vice-Chair), Nick Beale, Aubrey Colman, Philip Coward, Rachael Hansford, Clive Hazzard, Raymond Hill, Glen Ings, and John Jordan.

  1. To elect Chairman of Mere Town Council for 2022/23 and to receive the Chairman’s Declaration of Acceptance of Office – Cllr. Mrs Symonds proposed that Cllr. Mrs. Traves be elected as Chair for the ensuing year. Cllr. Philip Coward seconded the proposal.   Cllr. Mrs. Traves confirmed that she was happy to be nominated and the Council RESOLVED unanimously to elect Cllr. Mrs. Traves as Chair.  Cllr. Mrs. Traves signed the Declaration of Acceptance of Office.

 

  1. To elect Vice-Chairman of Mere Town Council for 2022/23 and to receive the Vice-Chairman’s Declaration of Acceptance of Office – The Chairman said that, in accordance with Cllr. Mrs. Symonds previous statements, she is not prepared to become Chairman of the Town Council and therefore, if there is any member of this council who would like to put themselves forward or be nominated as Vice-Chairman with a view to learning the ropes to become a future Chairman, then please put yourselves forward. There being no nominations, Cllr. Mrs. Traves proposed that Cllr. Mrs. Symonds be elected as Vice-Chairman for the ensuing year.  Proposal seconded by Cllr. Colman and Cllr. Mrs. Symonds confirmed that she was happy to be nominated on this basis.  RESOLVED unanimously to elect Cllr. Mrs. Symonds as Vice-Chair.  Cllr. Mrs. Symonds signed the Declaration of Acceptance of Office.

 

Apologies for absence received from Councillors Debbie Beale, Louise Bennett, Rodney Coward & George Jeans.

 

  1. To receive any declarations of disclosable pecuniary interests and other interests from Councillors on matters to be considered at the meeting.
  • To receive Declarations of Interest relating to matters contained in this agenda, in accordance with the provisions of the Local Government Act 1972 in respect of officers and the Localism Act 2011 in respect of members.
  • Philip Coward declared a pecuniary interest in Minute No. 162a) Payments
  • Lesley Traves declared a pecuniary interest in Minute No.162a) Payments
  • To receive written 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.  The disclosure must include the nature of the interest.  If you become aware, during the course of a meeting, of an interest that has not been disclosed under this item, you must immediately disclose it.  Whether you can remain in the meeting and the extent to which you can participate depends on the type of interest you have.

 

  1. Minutes RESOLVED that the minutes of the Town Council meeting held on Monday, 4th April 2022 be approved as a correct record of proceedings on proposal made by Cllr. Jordan, seconded by Cllr. Colman and carried with a unanimous vote of those that were present on 4.4.22.

 

*143.  To approve and adopt the Standing Orders for Mere Town Council RESOLVED that the Standing Orders (as distributed) be approved with no amendments on proposal made by Cllr. Colman, seconded by Cllr. Mrs. Symonds and carried with a unanimous vote in favour.

 

*144.  To approve and adopt the Financial Regulations for Mere Town Council RESOLVED that the Financial Regulations (as distributed) be approved with no amendments on proposal made by Cllr. Colman, seconded by Cllr. Mrs. Symonds and carried with a unanimous vote in favour.

 

  1. Internal Audit

To appoint/re-appoint an Internal Auditor – The Clerk asked for this matter to be deferred until after the 2021/22 end of year internal audit had taken place on 26th May.

 

  1. To review Committee Structures and appointment of any committees in accordance with standing order 4 and, if appointing committees, to consider terms of reference etc. – it was agreed that the Town Council would continue with the present arrangements of having an Annual Budget Committee + Staffing Panel & Appeals Committee only and an ad-hoc structure of Working Groups as and when considered necessary and required.

 

  1. To appoint members, including Convenors, to serve on Working Groups as required – as above.

 

  1. To appoint members, including the Chairman, to service on the Staffing Panel – it was agreed that the Staffing Panel member make-up should be Chairman, Vice-Chairman and Cllr. Jordan.

 

  1. To appoint members, including the Chairman, to serve on the Appeals Committee – it was agreed that the Appeals Committee member make-up should be Chairman, Vice-Chairman and Cllr. Colman.

 

  1. Review of representation on or work with external bodies and arrangements for reporting back:

 

Organisation 2021/22 Representative 2022/23 Representative
Youth Club, Seeds4Success, CAYPIG (Community Area Young People) Cllrs. Hazzard, L. Bennett & R. Coward. Cllrs. Hazzard, L. Bennett & R. Coward.
Cricket Club Cllr. Ings Cllr. Ings
Health & Community Care Cllr. Hill Cllr. Hill
Tennis Club Cllr. Jeans Cllr. Jeans
Football Club Cllr. Bennett Cllr. Bennett
Public Transport & CATG Cllr. Debbie Beale Cllr. Debbie Beale
Mere & District Linkscheme Mrs. Adrienne Howell Mrs. Adrienne Howell
Museum Committee Cllr. Jeans Cllr. Jeans
Footpaths & Rights of Way Cllr. Jordan Cllr. Jordan
Chamber of Trade Chairman & Cllr. Colman Chairman & Cllr. Colman
Friends of Mere Museum Cllr. Jordan Cllr. Jordan
School Governor Cllr. Hansford Cllr. Hansford
Mere Bowling Club Cllr. Ings Cllr. Ings
Carnival Committee Cllr. Jordan & Cllr. Nick Beale Cllr. Jordan & Cllr. Nick Beale
Area Board & CATG Chairman & Vice-Chairman Chairman & Vice-Chairman
Mere Film Shows Mrs. Rosie Jordan-Barr Mrs. Rosie Jordan-Barr
Rivers Group Cllr. R. Coward, Cllr. Debbie Beale & Cllr. Symonds Cllr. R. Coward, Cllr. Debbie Beale & Cllr. Symonds
Mere Parochial Church Council Cllr. Traves Cllr. Traves
Trustees for Mere Forest Charity Cllrs. R. Coward, E. Mitchell, G. Jeans + Mrs. Myrene Coward Cllrs. R. Coward, E. Mitchell, G. Jeans + Mrs. Anne Rich

 

*151.  Review of delegation arrangements RESOLVED to approve Scheme of Delegation (as distributed) without amendment, on proposal made by Cllr. Philip Coward, seconded by Cllr. Hill and carried with a unanimous vote.

 

  1. To review the Council’s banking and signatory arrangements – the Clerk confirmed that, in accordance with Minute Reference 124b) of 14.3.22, this current banking arrangements were under review.

 

  1. To review the Council’s asset register – deferred.

 

*154.  To review the Council insurance policy and discuss/decide on alterations RESOLVED to approve the insurance schedule summary, as distributed to members.

 

  1. To fix the dates and times of ordinary meetings of the Council and Committees for the ensuing year – it was agreed that the Town Council meetings would continue to be held on the first Monday of every month unless it is a bank holiday, in which case the Town Council will meet on the following Monday. The Town Council does not have a scheduled monthly meeting in August.  It was agreed that meetings would continue to start at 7.00 pm.

 

  1. Matters Arising from Public Session
  • None

 

  1. Matters Arising from previous Meetings
  2. a) Platinum Jubilee Celebrations (Minute 131c) – update on plans to erect beacon, programme of events & finance etc. – Cllr. Ings reported that everything was coming together quite nicely and the committee had managed to bring everything in under the budget that they had anticipated. Arrangements for the beacon on Castle Hill were in hand.
  3. b) Provision/installation of conduits/ducts for street lights and battery powered EV chargers at Duchy Manor (Minute Ref: 131d) – deferred.

 

  1. Reports & Consultations
  2. a) Wiltshire Councillors Report – No report given as Cllr. Jeans was absent from the meeting.

 

  1. Planning
  2. a) Applications for consultation response:

 

Application No: PL/2022/03006
Application Type: Householder planning permission
Proposal: Single Storey Extension
Site Address: 5 OAK LANE, MERE, WARMINSTER, BA12 6FJ
Planning Register link: https://development.wiltshire.gov.uk/pr/s/planning-application/a0i3z0000183cPb

 

RESOLVED to recommend approval of the above application.  However, the Clerk was asked to add the following Informative:  As this property is in a development that was designed in consultation with the Duchy of Cornwall, the Town Council believes that the applicant is required to seek permission from the Duchy of Cornwall before carrying out any works to the exterior of the property.

  1. Highways, Rivers, Footpaths, Traffic & Transport
  2. a) To identify jobs for the Parish Steward, Sparkle Team and MyWiltshire reports.

There was some confusion as to the functions of the Parish Steward and Sparkle Team and how the two services differ –  the Clerk was asked to provide Councillors with a report on the functions, roles and responsibilities of each service.

  • Jordan asked if it would be possible to get either the Parish Steward or the Sparkle Team to look at tidying up Wiltshire Council owned garages – there is a site in Manor Road which is looking very overgrown and untidy with rubbish strewn around and further sites in Bramley Hill and The Lynch.
  1. b) Accessibility issues relating to footpaths and dropped kerbs the Clerk reported that this had been raised because it had been reported on Social Media that people with mobility scooters or wheelchairs could not access certain places but were also facing difficulties due to cars being parked along dropped kerbs and causing an obstruction. The Clerk said that she had agreed an alternative route for some wheelchair users to get access to Castle Hill via the Castle Hill Play Area by providing a new coded padlock to the vehicle gate.  However, there were still some complaints about improving the footpath from Castle Hill Lane to Castle Hill to allow for wheelchair access.  Jordan said that this was, perhaps, something that the footpath group could investigate further.  With regards to the parked vehicles blocking dropped kerbs, Cllr. Rachael Hansford asked if the Town Council could target offenders and print off some kind of stickers to put on offending cars.  It was agreed that this would be raised again at a future meeting.
  2. c) Change from CATGs to LHFIGs – change of name and remit – The Clerk informed members that Wiltshire Council has increased the remit of the Community Area Transport Groups (CATGs) and has approved additional funding to allow this to progress. In order to reflect the changed remit, it has decided to rename the groups as Local Highway & Footway Improvement Groups (LHFIGs). The CATGs have been encouraged to seek local funding to assist in scheme delivery and Wiltshire Council have agreed that this should continue with the LHFIGs with a minimum local contribution of 20% being suggested.  The Clerk read out a list of projects that Wiltshire Council have said can and cannot be funded by LHFIGs.  The Clerk said that she had written an email to WALC raising concerns as to the financial implications and also extent of Powers of expenditure for Parish & Town Councils in relation to Highways, Footpaths and Transport schemes.

 

  1. Buildings, Open Spaces, Play Areas, Sports Grounds, Car Parks, Allotments & Cemeteries
  2. a) Request for replacement memorial seat on Castle Hill – The Clerk explained that a local gentleman had requested a memorial seat to be installed on Castle Hill as a replacement for an existing plank seat. The Clerk reminded members that Historic England will no longer allow us to install any more benches on Castle Hill as it is a Scheduled Ancient Monument and therefore, we can only replace existing seats by using exactly the same fixing points and methods. The Clerk had therefore asked the grounds team to assess the location and they did raise some concerns that this could mean that a new bench in this location could end up being a bit too close to the edge of the hill in view of the fact that it would be much wider than the existing non-back bench.  Cllr. P. Coward proposed that the Council should revisit this with a view to making some kind of bracketry to fit to the new bench so that it would be possible to adjust it so that the front edge of the bench is in the same place and the same anchor points can be used.  Proposal seconded by Cllr. Rachael Hansford and carried with a unanimous vote.

 

  1. Finance, Policy & Resources

Cllr. Mrs. Kate Symonds in The Chair

*a)  Payments – To review and authorise schedule of payments (attached). RESOLVED to recommend approval of the payments as listed in the schedule of payments on proposal made by Cllr. Colman, seconded by Cllr. Rachael Hansford and carried with a unanimous vote of those present.  Cllrs. Philip Coward & Lesley Traves , having both declared a pecuniary interest, left the meeting room for this item and took no part in discussion or voting.

Cllr. Mrs. Lesley Traves in The Chair

  1. b) To confirm approval for S.137 payments for 2022/23 financial year (as listed in payment schedule) – The Clerk reminded members that Section 137 of the Local Government Act 1972 allows the Town Council to spend a limited amount on activities for which it has no specific power, but which the authority considers ‘will bring direct benefit to the area, or any part of it or all or some of its inhabitants.’ The limit for 2022/23 for Mere Town Council is £8.82 per elector.  Using the latest electoral register which was provided in December 2021 this would equate to £22,129.38.  Members confirmed the S.137 payments for 2022/23 which had previously been approved as part of the budget recommendations for this financial year.

*c) To adopt recommendations made by working group at annual meeting to assess effectiveness of internal control measures (see Minutes of meeting held on 31st March 2022)RESOLVED to adopt the recommendations as agreed om the Minutes of the meeting held on 31st March 2022 on proposal made by Cllr. Philip Coward, seconded by Cllr. Mrs. Symonds and carried with a unanimous vote.

  1. d) To consider quotation for insurance renewal – the Clerk informed members that the Town Council had previously signed up to a 3-year Long Term Agreement (LTA) with Hiscox Insurance Company via our insurance brokers, Gallagher.  However, the 3-year LTA expired this year and the renewal premium was now £4323.97 which was nearly £1200 more than last year.  The Clerk said that Gallaghers were inviting us to choose a 3-year binding LTA with Hiscox insurance again at the LTA premium of £4323.97.  The renewal was due on 31st  In view of the short time available to get new quotations, it was RESOLVED to pay the insurance premium this year but NOT to sign up to a 3-year LTA and the Clerk was asked to obtain quotations for the Council to consider in good time for renewal next year.  Proposal made by Cllr. Philip Coward, seconded by Cllr. Mrs. Symonds and carried with a unanimous agreement.

*e) To report on Allotment rent audit for 2021/22– the Clerk reported:  The Town Council runs 3 allotment sites: Wellhead, Jack Paul Close and Southbrook.  We have been splitting the allotments into smaller plots over the years, for two reasons: 1 – because people seem reluctant and/or unable to manage such large plots anymore and 2 – we have a waiting list for allotments so it is better to provide more people with smaller plots than less people with large plots that they are not cultivating fully.  We currently have between 92 and 97 allotments across the 3 sites, with two vacant allotments at Wellhead and 4 vacant allotments at Southbrook.  We have a waiting list of 22 people at the present time with the longest having waited since June 2020 although those that have been fairly specific about where they want an allotment are the ones that have to wait the longest.  I do not have any debtor allotment holders.  I do, however, have one issue with an ex-allotment holder at Wellhead who has left Mere and has left his allotment with a whole load of rubbish on it.  It will probably cost us a considerable amount of money to get this rubbish removed and I will not be able to do this until I have a full grounds staff team and we have caught up with the mowing schedule.  The Clerk asked the Council for authority to dispose of the rubbish in due course and to seek to claim the expenses from the ex-allotment holder.  Members agreed that the Clerk should get the rubbish cleared using someone with a waste removal licence and to seek to claim the expenses from the ex-allotment holder if a contact can be found.

  1. f) To review and approve Budget/Expenditure Report and End of Year SummariesRESOLVED to approve the Budget/Expenditure Report and End of Year Summaries. The Clerk also put forward suggestions to members to Vire reserves to pay for the tractor outright.

 

Total cost of tractor £32920
Reserves & budget set aside for this purpose £10000
Surplus shown on Budget/Expenditure report £4900
Balance to find £18020
Suggestions to vire reserves from the following headings:

PTO driven chipper/shredder (remove) £1500
Car Park maintenance long-term reserves (reduce by £1500 to £2550) £1500
Cemetery walls, railings & footpaths (reduce by £1000 to £1080) £1000
Footpath Maintenance (budget changed from £5k to £4k) £1000
Public Toilets Refurbishment Costs reduced from £14370 to £10370 £4000
Public Toilets Drainager Costs (Removed from reserves completely) £8400
Total £17400

Members were in agreement with these suggestions and the Clerk said that she would amend the budget report accordingly.

  1. g) To update the Council on staffing issues (vacancies and applications) – The Clerk reported that the Town Council received four applications for the post of grounds person and seven for the post of project co-ordinator. The Chairman confirmed that the staffing panel had met to consider a shortlist for both posts and interviews had been arranged for 2 candidates for the grounds persons’ post on 11th May and 3 candidates for the project co-ordinator post at a later date.
  2. h) Car Park Leases – the Clerk informed members that she had received copies of the draft leases for the car parks and public toilets from Wiltshire Council. However, she pointed out that the Town Council’s previous solicitor was no longer available to deal with this matter and asked members for their thoughts on how to proceed. The Clerk said that options available to the Town Council were to use specialist Local Council solicitors, local solicitors who may not be aware of local government administration or Hampshire Legal Services (the latter having been recommended by colleagues in the Clerk’s network).  Hampshire Legal Services is Hampshire County Council’s team of lawyers who now outsource their services to members and officers across local government, emergency services and schools.  Members were happy to instruct the Clerk to ask Hampshire Legal Services for a quotation and also to ask for clarification to ensure that there were no restrictions precluding the Town Council from charging for the use of EV charging points in the car parks.
  3. i) To consider replacement hand wash unit for unisex toilet block and quotation from Wallgate – the Clerk read out a quotation from Wallgate for a new hand washer for the unisex toilets in Salisbury Street Car Park. The price being £3620.59. The Clerk pointed out that the present unit from Wallgate was extremely old and very unreliable. The Town Council currently has a service agreement with Wallgate who are based in Salisbury. It may be possible to install another kind of unit or to revert back to a sink/tap but this would also involve extra plumbing work and possible re-tiling etc.  Jordan said he was happy to go along with the Wallgate unit where everything is included and the Town Council doesn’t need to manage anything.  RESOLVED to ask Wallgate to provide a new unit, as quoted.  Made on proposal by Cllr. Jordan, seconded by Cllr. Mrs. Symonds and carried with a unanimous vote of those present.

 

  1. General Items & Consultations/Briefing Notes

*a) Briefing Note No. 22-10 – Electric Vehicle Charging Points – members noted the information in the Briefing Note which explained the basis of Wiltshire Council’s Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure Strategy and the fact that they want the framework agreement to allow town and parish councils to use the same contract to make it cheaper.  The briefing note also gives information on government grants and charging options.

*b) Report on meeting to discuss matters relating to Mere Day Centre 26.4.22 – members noted the information in the report which was distributed with the agenda papers.

 

  1. Future meetings and events
  2. a) Invitation for Chair and Clerk to attend Wiltshire Town & Parish Council conference on 27th May 2022
  3. b) Invitation for Chair & Clerk to attend Mere School lunch on 20th May and to hand out Bee Saving Flower Seeds

 

  1. Future agenda items

Please note that the Town Council will be discussing matters raised during the Annual Town Meeting including Cemetery Rules and Regulations at the June Town Council meeting which will be held on Monday, 6th June 2022.

Cllr. Jeans has requested that the Town Council consider proposals for additional parking restrictions for Mere Town Centre at the June Town Council meeting which will be held on Monday, 6th June 2022.

Agenda item requests:

  • Communications Policy – Cllr. Rachael Hansford
  • Replacement Defibrillator

 

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 8.19 pm

 

 

MERE PEACE MEMORIAL SPORTS AND RECREATION GROUND

Registered Charity No. 1093497

 

For Trustees:

  1. To receive report on end of year accounts and approve end of year accounts.
  2. To approve payments to:

Mere Town Council  – Maintenance charges for 2021/22                  £12,283.40

 

*In order to pay this, Mere Town Council has agreed to provide a donation to the Mere Peace Memorial Sports & Recreation Ground Charity for £12,300.00.  The reason for these contra payments is to separate the Charity Accounts from the Town Council’s accounts.

Agenda for Extra meeting of Mere Town Council 23.5.22

Dear Councillor,

 

You are summoned to an extra meeting of Mere Town Council to be held on Monday, 23rd May 2022 at The Andy Young Pavilion, Springfield Road, Mere.  BA12 6EW at 7.00 pm.  The meeting will consider the items set out below.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

 

Lindsey Wood,

Town Clerk & RFO

 

 

Public Participation Session

Members of the public are invited to address the Council on any issue over which it has a power. This session will be limited to 15 minutes (3 minutes per speaker). The Chairman will convene the Town Council meeting after the public session (please note that once the meeting has been convened members of the public are no longer permitted to speak unless invited to do so by the Chairman).

 

AGENDA

 

 

  1. Insurance renewal premium (new information since last Town Council meeting).
  2. EXCLUSION OF THE PRESS AND PUBLIC To consider exclusion of the press and public from the meeting, in accordance with the Public Bodies (Admission to Meetings) Act 1960, section 1(2), to transact business for which publicity would be prejudicial to the public interest by reason of its confidential nature (staffing matters)
  3. To consider staffing matters & possible implications on payroll budget (Please see EXEMPT report attached)

 

Minutes of Town Council meeting held on Monday, 4th April 2022

Mere Town Council

Town Clerk – Mrs. L. C. Wood

 

Minutes of a meeting of Mere Town Council held at the Andy Young Pavilion, Springfield Road, Mere, BA12 6EW on Monday, 4th April 2022 at 7.00 pm. 

 

Present: Councillors Lesley Traves (Chair), Kate Symonds (Vice-Chair), Louise Bennett, Aubrey Colman, Philip Coward,  Rodney Coward, Rachael Hansford, Clive Hazzard, R. Hill, Glen Ings, George Jeans, John Jordan & Eric Mitchell

Also: David Hytch, Spence Gunn & Claire Shaddick

 

Meeting convened at 7.00 pm with Public Session

David Hytch – had a conversation with Cllr. Jeans about the provision of electric charge points.  I also talked to him about the fact that in areas where there is a low grid supply there are options involving battery storage.  Mr. Hytch said that electric vehicle charging points are lacking in Mere and we should take as many opportunities as we can to improve the situation.

Clive Hazzard said that he was pleased to see that roadside ditches had been cut out in various pleases but noted that Wiltshire Council were going to close some roads for maintenance and felt that it would be a good idea for them to dig out the roadside ditches at the same time.  Cllr. Jeans said that he would suggest this to the Highways Authority.

 

Apologies for absence received from Councillors Debbie Beale, Nick Beale,

 

  1. To receive any declarations of disclosable pecuniary interests and other interests from Councillors on matters to be considered at the meeting.
  • To receive Declarations of Interest relating to matters contained in this agenda, in accordance with the provisions of the Local Government Act 1972 in respect of officers and the Localism Act 2011 in respect of members.
  • To receive written 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.  The disclosure must include the nature of the interest.  If you become aware, during the course of a meeting, of an interest that has not been disclosed under this item, you must immediately disclose it.  Whether you can remain in the meeting and the extent to which you can participate depends on the type of interest you have.

  • Clive Hazzard declared a pecuniary interest in 136a)

 

  1. Minutes RESOLVED that the minutes of the Town Council meeting held on Monday, 14th March 2022 be approved as a correct record on proposal made by Cllr. R. Coward, seconded by Cllr. A. Colman and carried with a unanimous vote of those present on 14.3.22

 

  1. Matters Arising from Public Session
  • None

 

  1. Matters Arising from previous Meetings
  2. a) Report on the receipt of information and co-ordination of efforts to help people from Mere that wish to take in Ukrainian refugees to their homes – (Minute No. 118) – Cllr. Mrs. Hansford said that nothing is really happening at the moment but Mere will be ready when things start to move. The Clerk informed members that Wiltshire Council was aware of 136 Wiltshire households who are offering homes through sponsorship to Ukrainian refugees and around 1,500 who have applied through the Government website after the Homes for Ukraine scheme was launched and the number is growing every day.
  3. b) Mere Car Club – report on decision made by Wiltshire Council’s South West Wiltshire Area Board (Minute No. 119 ii) – Cllr. Jeans reported that the Area Board had approved the grant of £10k towards this project with strong support. The Clerk read out an email from John Price (Estates Surveyor at Wiltshire Council) which stated that he was reviewing the draft leases for the car parks and needed a specific authority to include the car charger spaces.  His report is going to need to refer to the length of lease to be granted and his understanding is that Econetiq needed a 15-year agreement.  Should he make the lease 15 years or would 20 be better?  Members generally felt that it would be better for Mere to have the lease as long as possible.
  4. c) Platinum Jubilee Celebrations – report from Jubilee Committee and to agree final decision on location of beacon and other updates from Committee and Town Clerk. (Minute 119b) – Committee upset that its not going to be on the hill. No-one got time or ability to do paperwork but we can do the manual work to get the beacon on the hill. GJ prepared to propose we have it on Castle Hill and that the committee get the funds to pay people to get the beacon on the hill which is what they have offered.  RESOLVED that the Town Council’s admin team carry out the necessary paperwork to have the beacon on the hill i.e. correspond with Historic England and carry out Risk Assessment and that the Jubilee Committee arrange for the manual work in order to get the beacon on Castle Hill.  Proposal seconded by Cllr. Rachael Hansford and carried with a unanimous vote.
  5. d) Response from Wiltshire Council and contractors relating to the provision/installation of solar powered street lights at Duchy Manor and the provision/installation of conduits/ducts (Minute 123b) – The Clerk said that she had mentioned to the contractors about the possibility of installing solar powered street lights if the Town Council purchased the lights but the contractors were concerned that this would require planning permission. Meanwhile, Cllr. Jeans had expressed concerns to the planning officer regarding insufficient lighting and they had included extra lights in their approved scheme but the Clerk pointed out that these were around by the MUGA and not near the pavilion or office which is where the lighting was needed most. Jeans had also provided the Clerk with copies of his correspondence with Wiltshire Council relating to his concerns about the lack of EV points in the parking scheme and whether they might be willing to put in conduits for a battery storage EV charger.   Cllr. Jeans said that there is a possibility that the contractors may install the ducting but there would be a cost associated with doing this and he wanted the Town Council to agree to explore the costs.  RESOLVED to authorise Cllr. Jeans to explore costs.
  6. e) Update on minor refurbishments for Public Toilets (Minute 123e) – the Clerk reported that everything is now in place. The new signage is up and the footfall counters were installed on Friday, 1st April when we actually completed the changeover from the gents to the ladies block of toilets. The Clerk said that she would like to get the exterior windows and doors painted this year and think that this is a job that our street orderly can do as part of his town centre enhancement work.  We may, however, need some woodwork replacing for the toilet windows.  The Clerk also explained that there was an issue with the hand-wash unit which is really past its sell-by-date and, in her opinion, is not fit for purpose.  She had asked Wallgate for a quotation to replace this with a new unit and would come back to the Town Council when the quotation costs were known.
  7. f) New format for the Annual Town Meeting and councillor leads (Minute No. 125) – The Chairman said that she was hoping that councillors would open the discussions on the specific discussion items (numbered 6 – 12) on the agenda and asked for volunteers. With regards to the fact that organisations and groups were not being asked to present reports at the Annual Town Meeting this year, it was agreed to invite those organisations to submit a written report if they wished to which could be attached to the minutes and reproduced on the Town Council’s website.

 

  1. Reports & Consultations
  2. a) Wiltshire Councillors Report – Cllr. Jeans reported that with reference to the outline planning application for the development of the old Beaumonts site in Woodlands Road which had still not yet been determined, he was aware that Wiltshire Council were considering a viability assessment which had been submitted on behalf of the applicant to determine whether or not the project could support a S.106 agreement which included an affordable housing contribution. Jordan asked if Cllr. Jeans had raised the matter he brought up last month about Wiltshire Cllr. Mark McClellan’s walking/cycling route in Hilperton. Cllr. Jeans said that he would have pursued this but could not recall the response.

 

  1. Planning
  2. a) Applications for consultation response:
Application No: PL/2022/01547
Application Type: Full planning permission
Proposal: Demolition of existing garage and erection of a new 2 bedroom dwelling
Site Address: The Drying Fields, Castle Hill Lane, Mere, BA12 6JH
Planning Register Link: https://development.wiltshire.gov.uk/pr/s/planning-application/a0i3z000017Sqkm

 

The Chair explained that each of the houses on that corner had parking spaces further up the hill but the person who bought No. 2 sold the house without its parking space and has kept the parking space which is the location for this planning application.  She said that this planning application has actually deprived No. 2 of a parking space and she was concerned that the parking spaces for this planning application are going to be unviable due to accessibility issues.  The remaining land adjacent to the site is parking for Nos. 3 & 4.  The site abuts Linden Barn. Cllr. Jordan said that he was familiar with the plot as he walked past it every day and confirmed that the whole plot was slightly larger than his front room and he finds it quite remarkable that they can get a house & 2 parking spaces on this site.  Cllr. Rodney Coward added that the second bedroom is only 6 ft square.  It was confirmed that it would be necessary to dig down considerably in order to construct the house with its front door on Castle Street.  RESOLVED to recommend refusal of the above planning application for the following reasons on proposal made by Cllr. Mrs. Symonds, seconded by Cllr. |Colman and carried with a vote of 10 for and 2 abstentions.  Also RESOLVED to ask Cllr. Jeans to request that this planning application is called into committee if the planning officer is minded to recommend approval.

Reasons:

The Town Council is unable to support this planning application for the following reasons:

1) Members consider that it is overdevelopment of the site as it is an extremely small space to accommodate a 2-bedroom house with 2 parking spaces which will result in a cramped form of development with low-quality accommodation.

2)  Members felt that this house will look out of keeping with the character of the area and have a detrimental impact on existing properties and amenities in the conservation area and the change of street scene in Castle Street will have an impact on the immediate neighbourhood and their amenities.

3) Members were extremely concerned about the accessibility and viability of the two parking spaces which would be accessed from an extremely narrow road just around the corner from a blind bend.  Members felt that these parking spaces would be fairly difficult to manoeuvre in and out of and would present a hazard for other drivers using Castle Hill Lane and that, ultimately, occupiers and visitors to the proposed property would end up parking on Castle Street exacerbating the existing parking congestion problems on the main road through Mere.

 

Application No: PL/2022/02189
Application Type: Householder planning permission
Proposal: Construction of two storey extension and insert bifold doors
Site Address: 11 OAK LANE, MERE, WARMINSTER, BA12 6FJ
Planning Register Link: https://development.wiltshire.gov.uk/pr/s/planning-application/a0i3z000017UBei

 

RESOLVED to recommend approval of the above application.  However, the Clerk was asked to add the following Informative:

As this property is in a development that was designed in consultation with the Duchy of Cornwall, the Town Council believes that the applicant is required to seek permission from the Duchy of Cornwall before carrying out any works to the exterior of the property

Application No: PL/2022/02263
Application Type: Notification of proposed works to trees in a conservation area
Proposal: 7 x Ash trees – fell (Group K2) 2 x Ash trees – fell (Group K3) 4 x Ash trees – fell (Group N1) 2 x Ash trees – fell (Group N2) 1 x Sycamore tree – fell (564) 1 x Silver Birch tree – fell (566)
Site Address: Long Hill and Castle Hill Approach, Mere, BA12 6JB
Planning Register Link: https://development.wiltshire.gov.uk/pr/s/planning-application/a0i3z000017UDsx

 

 

The Clerk pointed out that the above application had been submitted by the Town Council in response to the Tree Inspection Report and as such, she recommended that the Town Council should decline to submit a consultation response.  Members were happy that no comment should be submitted.

 

  1. Highways, Rivers, Footpaths, Traffic & Transport
  2. a) To identify jobs for the Parish Steward, Sparkle Team and MyWiltshire reports – the Clerk reported that with reference to progress relating to the reinstatement of the faded yellow lines in Salisbury Street outside the Lecture Hall, Wiltshire Council had confirmed that this work had been added to their ongoing maintenance list but that refreshment of restrictions for Parking Services are prioritised as and when other lining works are scheduled in that area to minimise resources and costs. The works are carried out on a priority basis where highway safety lining takes precedence over parking. For instance, STOP markings, give ways, speed roundabouts etc.  Therefore, it is difficult to provide us with an exact date when the work will be carried out.

*b) To approve ‘What do I do if I get Flooded?’ document (attached) – members thanked the Town Council’s admin team for producing this document and requested that it be published on the Town Council’s website.

 

  1. Buildings, Open Spaces, Play Areas, Sports Grounds, Car Parks, Allotments & Cemeteries

*a) Report on informal meeting held with Mere Pre-School representatives on their suggestion to swap premises – prior to the meeting papers had been distributed to members relating to proposals from Mere Pre-School asking for the Town Council to give careful consideration to exchanging premises and a report of an informal meeting with pre-school representatives and Town Council representatives held on 29th March.  The Chair said that following our meeting the pre-school representatives had been to see the Headteacher at Mere School, Catriona, who had given the Town Council the following statement “I admire the desire and vision to develop the provision that Mere Pre-School is providing for the benefit of young families in Mere.  However, knowing the complexities of the building and leases, the lengthy period of negotiation and planning relating to the school expansion works and the significant costs associated with moving into the Town Council offices, this is not an initiative I can support and I have shared this opinion with the manager and Mrs. Faulkner-Bryant.  The organisation needs to consider other, more appropriate and better value options and I have discussed some ideas with them.  The school is more than willing to help in any way possible.” The Chair said that the pre-school would very much like to be able to compete with Leaping Frogs in Zeals in terms of its child care provision and its facilities but feels that it is restricted in its present situation and premises and, at the meeting we held with representatives, we offered to help in providing information, possible sources of grant funding and/or contact numbers etc.  Cllr. Rachael Hansford said that she was impressed with the approach and creative proposal that was put forward by the Mere Pre-school.

 

  1. Finance, Policy & Resources

*a)  PaymentsRESOLVED to authorise payments as listed in the schedule attached on proposal made by Cllr. Mitchell, seconded by Cllr. Ings and carried with a unanimous vote in favour.    Cllr. Hazzard, having declared a pecuniary interest in this agenda item, left the meeting room whilst this agenda item was discussed and took no part in discussion or voting.  Cllr. Jordan asked for it to be recorded that the Town Council was paying over £10k to Wiltshire Council in non-domestic business rates.

*b) To approve internet advertisement and candidate information pack for the position of Project Co-Ordinator –    The Clerk reported that both Cllr. Colman and she had been working on these documents and what we were really asking the Council tonight is whether or not they were happy with the wording for the job advertisement and the job description.  The Clerk said that she was liaising with the Human Resources Support Officer at South West Councils to whom we pay a yearly affiliation subscription for employment advice on wording and approval for the Application Forms and Candidate Information Pack.  The Clerk said that she assumed that the Town Council’s staffing panel would deal with the interviews – they are Chair, Vice-Chair, Cllr. Jordan & Cllr. P. Coward and asked if the staffing panel was happy with the suggested application closing dates and interview dates.  Members confirmed that they were happy withal the information provided and wanted to include the advert on Social Media Facebook Groups and the Blackmore Vale & Gillingham & Shaftesbury News as well as online on Indeed on proposal made by Cllr. Jeans, seconded by Cllr. Rachael Hansford and carried with a majority vote in favour.  (Cllr. Hill abstained from voting).

  1. c) To report on Allotment rent audit – deferred.
  2. d) 2021/22 Annual Governance & Accountability Return external auditor instructions – the Clerk reported that she had received instructions from PKF Littlejohn LLP relating to the annual audit – the deadline for submission of the approved AGAR and supporting documentation is Friday, 1st July 2022. As the income and/or expenditure is over £200k, Mere Town Council will be required to submit an intermediate review and will need to submit the information required for an intermediate review.

 

  1. Future agenda items

NB – Please note that the next Town Council meeting will be the Annual Town Council meeting and will be held on 9th May 2022

 

  1. Emergency Item – Staffing matters

The Chairman reported that very regrettably, our Head Groundsman, James Suter, had handed in his notice of resignation this morning.  James has been with the Town Council for nearly 8 years and he will be sorely missed.  Cllr. Clive Hazzard confirmed that he had spoken with James to see if there was anything he could do to make him change his mind but that James had said that this was something he had thought long and hard about but his mind was firmly made up.  RESOLVED to offer the job of Head Groundsman to Simon at the Head Groundsman’s rate and advertise for a groundsman on proposal made by Cllr. Mitchell, seconded by Cllr. Mrs. Symonds and carried with a majority vote.  The Clerk said that she would speak to Simon who was currently on annual leave and would ask him to consider this carefully over the next 7 days so that she could then prepare the advertisement for the vacant position whether that be for a head groundsman or a groundsman.  The Clerk said that she was also aware that Gillingham Town Council were advertising for a groundsman and so she would check the rates/conditions that they were offering.

 

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 8.29 pm

 

 

 

 

MERE PEACE MEMORIAL SPORTS AND RECREATION GROUND

Registered Charity No. 1093497

 

For Trustees to consider the following:

 

Wiltshire Council – National Non-Domestic Rates for Recreation Ground                            £0.00

 

The Clerk asked Trustees to note that Wiltshire Council had applied mandatory and discretionary relief to the Recreation Ground owing to the charitable status.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Agenda for Annual Town Council meeting to be held on Monday, 9th May 2022

Mere Town Council

Town Clerk – Mrs. L. C. Wood

Duchy Manor,

Springfield Road,

Mere

Warminster,

Wiltshire

BA12 6EW

Phone: 01747 860701

e-mail: lindseywood@merewilts.org

www.merewilts.org

 

4th May 2022

Dear Councillor,

 

You are summoned to the ANNUAL TOWN COUNCIL MEETING of Mere Town Council to be held on Monday, 9th May 2022 at The Andy Young Pavilion, Springfield Road, Mere.  BA12 6EW at 7.00 pm.  The meeting will consider the items set out below.

 

Before the meeting there will be a public session to enable the people of Mere to ask questions of, and make comments, regarding the Town Council.  Questions not answered at this meeting will be answered in writing to the person asking the question, or may appear as an agenda item for the next meeting.  Members of the public are asked to restrict their comments, and/or questions to three minutes.

Please Note: 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.

Any person who may find difficulty in access to the meeting through disability is asked to advise the Clerk by email (lindseywood@merewilts.org) at least 24 hours before the meeting so that every effort may be made to provide access.

Yours sincerely,

 

 

Lindsey Wood,

Town Clerk & RFO

 

 

Public Participation Session

Members of the public are invited to address the Council on any issue over which it has a power. This session will be limited to 15 minutes (3 minutes per speaker). The Chairman will convene the Town Council meeting after the public session (please note that once the meeting has been convened members of the public are no longer permitted to speak unless invited to do so by the Chairman).

 

AGENDA

 

  1. To elect Chairman of Mere Town Council for 2022/23 and to receive the Chairman’s Declaration of Acceptance of Office

 

  1. To elect Vice-Chairman of Mere Town Council for 2022/23 and to receive the Vice-Chairman’s Declaration of Acceptance of Office.

 

  1. To receive apologies for absence.

 

  1. To receive any declarations of disclosable pecuniary interests and other interests from Councillors on matters to be considered at the meeting.
  • To receive Declarations of Interest relating to matters contained in this agenda, in accordance with the provisions of the Local Government Act 1972 in respect of officers and the Localism Act 2011 in respect of members.
  • To receive written 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.  The disclosure must include the nature of the interest.  If you become aware, during the course of a meeting, of an interest that has not been disclosed under this item, you must immediately disclose it.  Whether you can remain in the meeting and the extent to which you can participate depends on the type of interest you have.

 

  1. Minutes – To resolve that the minutes of the Town Council meeting held on Monday, 4th April 2022 be approved as a correct record. (attached)

 

*6.  To approve and adopt the Standing Orders for Mere Town Council (distributed)

 

*7.  To approve and adopt the Financial Regulations for Mere Town Council (distributed)

 

  1. Internal Audit

To appoint/re-appoint an Internal Auditor

 

  1. To review Committee Structures and appointment of any committees in accordance with standing order 4 and, if appointing committees, to consider terms of reference etc.

 

  1. To appoint members, including Convenors, to serve on Working Groups as required.

 

11, To appoint members, including the Chairman, to service on the Staffing Panel

 

  1. To appoint members, including the Chairman, to serve on the Appeals Committee

 

  1. To appoint/re-appoint Trustees for Forest Charities

 

  1. Review of representation on or work with external bodies and arrangements for reporting back:

 

Organisation 2021/22 Representative 2022/23 Representative
Youth Club, Seeds4Success, CAYPIG (Community Area Young People) Cllrs. Hazzard, L. Bennett & R. Coward.
Cricket Club Cllr. Ings
Health & Community Care Cllr. Hill
Tennis Club Cllr. Jeans
Football Club Cllr. Bennett
Public Transport & CATG Cllr. Debbie Beale
Mere & District Linkscheme Mrs. Adrienne Howell
Museum Committee Cllr. Jeans
Footpaths & Rights of Way Cllr. Jordan
Chamber of Trade Chairman & Cllr. Colman
Friends of Mere Museum Cllr. Jordan
School Governor Cllr. Hansford
Mere Bowling Club Cllr. Ings
Carnival Committee Cllr. Jordan & Cllr. Nick Beale
Area Board & CATG Chairman & Vice-Chairman
Mere Film Shows Mrs. Rosie Jordan-Barr
Rivers Group Cllr. R. Coward, Cllr. Debbie Beale & Cllr. Symonds
Mere Parochial Church Council Cllr. Traves
Trustees for Mere Forest Charity Cllrs. R. Coward, E. Mitchell, G. Jeans + Mrs. Myrene Coward

 

*14.  Review of delegation arrangements (Scheme of Delegation attached)

 

  1. To review the Council’s banking and signatory arrangements.

 

  1. To review the Council’s asset register

 

*17.  To review the Council insurance policy and discuss/decide on alterations (summary attached)

 

  1. To fix the dates and times of ordinary meetings of the Council and Committees for the ensuing year.

 

  1. Matters Arising from Public Session

 

  1. Matters Arising from previous Meetings
  2. a) Platinum Jubilee Celebrations (Minute 131c) – update on plans to erect beacon, programme of events & finance etc.
  3. b) Provision/installation of conduits/ducts for street lights and battery powered EV chargers at Duchy Manor (Minute Ref: 131d)

 

  1. Reports & Consultations
  2. a) Wiltshire Councillors Report

 

  1. Planning
  2. a) Applications for consultation response:

 

Application No: PL/2022/03006
Application Type: Householder planning permission
Proposal: Single Storey Extension
Site Address: 5 OAK LANE, MERE, WARMINSTER, BA12 6FJ
Planning Register link: https://development.wiltshire.gov.uk/pr/s/planning-application/a0i3z0000183cPb

 

 

 

  1. Highways, Rivers, Footpaths, Traffic & Transport
  2. a) To identify jobs for the Parish Steward, Sparkle Team and MyWiltshire reports.
  3. b) Accessibility issues relating to footpaths and dropped kerbs
  4. c) Change from CATGs to LHFIGs – change of name and remit.

 

  1. Buildings, Open Spaces, Play Areas, Sports Grounds, Car Parks, Allotments & Cemeteries
  2. a) Request for replacement memorial seat on Castle Hill

 

  1. Finance, Policy & Resources

*a)  Payments – To review and authorise schedule of payments (attached)

  1. b) To confirm approval for S.137 payments for 2022/23 financial year (as listed in payment schedule)

*c) To adopt recommendations made by working group at annual meeting to assess effectiveness of internal control measures (see Minutes of meeting held on 31st March 2022).

  1. d) To consider quotation for insurance renewal.

*e) To report on Allotment rent audit

  1. f) To review and approve Budget/Expenditure Report and End of Year Summaries
  2. g) To update the Council on staffing issues (vacancies and applications)
  3. h) Car Park Leases
  4. i) To consider replacement hand wash unit for unisex toilet block and quotation from Wallgate

 

  1. General Items & Consultations/Briefing Notes

*a) Briefing Note No. 22-10 – Electric Vehicle Charging Points

*b) Report on meeting to discuss matters relating to Mere Day Centre 26.4.22

 

  1. Future meetings and events
  2. a) Invitation for Chair and Clerk to attend Wiltshire Town & Parish Council conference on 27th May 2022
  3. b) Invitation for Chair & Clerk to attend Mere School lunch on 20th May and to hand out Bee Saving Flower Seeds

 

  1. Future agenda items

Please note that the Town Council will be discussing matters raised during the Annual Town Meeting including Cemetery Rules and Regulations at the June Town Council meeting which will be held on Monday, 6th June 2022.

Cllr. Jeans has requested that the Town Council consider proposals for additional parking restrictions for Mere Town Centre at the June Town Council meeting which will be held on Monday, 6th June 2022.

 

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

 

 

 

MERE PEACE MEMORIAL SPORTS AND RECREATION GROUND

Registered Charity No. 1093497

 

For Trustees:

  1. To receive report on end of year accounts and approve end of year accounts.
  2. To approve payments to:

Mere Town Council  – Maintenance charges for 2021/22                  £????????????

 

*In order to pay this, Mere Town Council has agreed to provide a donation to the Mere Peace Memorial Sports & Recreation Ground Charity for £?????????.  The reason for these contra payments is to separate the Charity Accounts from the Town Council’s accounts.

Minutes of Town Council meeting held on Monday, 14th March 2022

Mere Town Council

Town Clerk – Mrs. L. C. Wood

 

Minutes of a meeting of Mere Town Council held at the Andy Young Pavilion, Duchy Manor, Springfield Road, Mere.  BA12 6EW on Monday, 14th March 2022 at 7.00 pm. 

 

Present: Councillors Lesley Traves (Chair), Kate Symonds (Vice-Chair), Debbie Beale, Nick Beale, Louise Bennett, Aubrey Colman, Rodney Coward, Rachael Hansford, Clive Hazzard, Glen Ings, George Jeans, John Jordan & Eric Mitchell

Also: Spence Gunn & Claire Shaddick

 

Meeting convened at 7.00 p, with Public Session

Rachael Hansford said she wanted to make Councillors aware of the work that has been going on to collect items to help the people of Ukraine with Anne Rich from the Toddler Group & Jenny Bell co-ordinating efforts. I also wanted to ask the Council’s thoughts about co-ordinating the efforts for people who want to have refugees staying in their homes – she said that it seemed to make sense to co-ordinate it with the school and the doctors surgery who she has already spoken to and wondered about putting together a working party to support the people who want to bring refugees to Mere and I wondered whether we could do this under the umbrella of the Town Council or the Resilience Forum although it is better if the Council are supporting anything we do as a community.  Kate Symonds said that she understood that the advice given out by the government was for individuals to apply and they have to make the application themselves and someone comes out to see if their home is suitable.  She understood that Wiltshire Council would be the authority that would coordinate this.  Clive Hazzard made the suggestion that if Rachael Hansford wants to do this then the Town Council should give her the authority to make those enquiries and investigations as a Town Councillor and with the Town Council’s backing and also said that perhaps the Town Council should appoint her as the Councillor in charge of finding out how to go about applying to house refugees in Mere.  Rachael Hansford said she had already been doing some of the work in the background and there is an immigration consultant who lives in Mere and someone else who would help do the admin work.  The clerk pointed out that this was the public session and should be raised in the Council meeting if the Council is to make a decision.

Clive Hazzard pointed out that the yellow lines outside the Lecture Hall are still in need of repainting.

Eric Mitchell pointed out that there was a hedge along Shaftesbury Road that was obstructing the Highway and said that he would provide the Clerk with the address of the property.

 

Apologies for absence received from Cllrs. Philip Coward & Raymond Hill.

 

  1. To receive any declarations of disclosable pecuniary interests and other interests from Councillors on matters to be considered at the meeting.
  • To receive Declarations of Interest relating to matters contained in this agenda, in accordance with the provisions of the Local Government Act 1972 in respect of officers and the Localism Act 2011 in respect of members.
  • To receive written 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.  The disclosure must include the nature of the interest.  If you become aware, during the course of a meeting, of an interest that has not been disclosed under this item, you must immediately disclose it.  Whether you can remain in the meeting and the extent to which you can participate depends on the type of interest you have.

  • None Received

 

  1. Minutes RESOLVED that the Minutes of the Town Council meeting held on Monday, 7th February 2022 be approved as a correct record. Proposal made by Cllr. Aubrey Colman, seconded by Cllr. John Jordan and carried with a unanimous vote of those present on 7.2.22

 

  1. Matters Arising from Public Session

With reference to the discussion during the Public Session relating to the coordination of efforts to help people from Mere that wish to take in Ukrainian refugees to their homes, it was RESOLVED that the town Council supports Cllr. Rachael Hansford if she wants to use her role as a Town Councillor and the Mere Resilience Forum to help co-ordinate efforts and obtain information in which to advise residents.  Proposal made by Cllr. Hazzard.

 

*119.  Matters Arising from previous Meetings

  1. a) Mere Car Club
  1. Report and analysis of survey results (electronic and paper) for suggestions for Mere Car Club and, if positive response received, to consider the plan for car park charging spaces and car parking replacement spaces, as identified by Cllr. Jeans.  (attached)
  2. Also, to confirm support for option (subject to finer details being confirmed) of the car club being run as a Town Council project on the basis that Co Cars manage the club, leaving no/minimal admin for Mere Town Council.

Members noted that the responses to the survey represented only 2% of the population. Cllr. Jordan said that he took this as a massive ‘no’ vote and thumbs down when compared to the hundreds of people that voted on the Fives Court survey.  Cllr. Rachael Hansford said that the Fives Court issue was a high-profile campaign and there was a lot of work involved in that survey.  Cllr. Jeans responded that the Fives Court campaign did not achieve what it set out to do and this survey is different in that it has a definite end result.   The car club are happy to proceed on the basis of the survey results and this will enable us to get a public charge point – the whole idea is to get people into the town and get them to go to the pubs and shops etc.  Cllr. Jeans said “we have got to move towards electrification and this is an interim measure”. This is one of the three initiatives for the whole area from Wilton to Mere.   Cllr. Mrs. Beale said that she supported Cllr. Jeans and said that Wiltshire Council is looking to see what Town & Parish Council’s are doing to help with Climate Change and this is an initiative that shows that we are moving forward.  The Clerk said that, following some questions and concerns she had, she had raised some queries with Karen Linaker who had got answers from the chap who co-ordinates the Salisbury Co Car Club:

There are three aspects to the role of local co-ordinator:

1) operational: recruit, retain and supervise car a checker/cleaner, with support from Co Cars’ Fleet Manager and Customer Service staff based in Exeter; checkers/cleaners make sure the cars are safe! & clean, take the car for MOT and service, react to incidents, e.g. check the car if someone reports damage.  NB Co Cars use an app to prompt the designated checkers/cleaners to perform their tasks, and also to record completed tasks.

2) promotional: make sure everyone in Mere knows there’s ca car club, how it works etc; participating in local events where the car can be promoted, plugging the car in meetings; leafletting the area around the car station, or conducting surveys; all this with support from Co Cars’ Marketing Manager based in Exeter.

3) liaison: being the local contact for Wiltshire Council in case of any problems that need to be fed back to staff in Exeter; or relaying request to the Council e.g. the “car club only” road markings need repainting, the parking permit needs to be renewed.

                Age limited: The age limits are listed in 2.4 at https://www.co-cars.co.uk/terms-and-conditions: 21 and 75                 years. These are stipulated by the motor insurance. Co Cars appreciates that these age limits restrict the                 potential pool of users, but there is little choice of policies in the insurance market at present.

                When the car is out with someone that has hired it, how would we stop other people from pinching the                 designated co car space in our car park?!

                Parking bays are usually marked “car club only” on the tarmac. If it’s on the highway, then there will also be                 a Traffic Regulation Order and signage on a post. Experience shows that bays get pinched occasionally; this is                 mitigated by arranging permission to park at an alternative nearby location (e.g. Council car park, residential                 parking zone or private drive); users are also required to inform Customer Service of the ‘pinching’ so that                 the subsequent user informed of the current location of the car, and/or the cleaner / checker can be tasked                 to reposition the car.
            Cllr. Jeans said that he would be quite happy to take on the role of checker/cleaner.

RESOLVED to agree for the Car Club to proceed as long as it has a public EV charge point and that the running of the Car Club is not to be undertaken by the Town Council on proposal made by Cllr. Hazzard, seconded by Cllr. Mrs. Beale and carried with a vote of 9 in favour, 1 against and 2 abstentions.

*b) Platinum Jubilee Celebrations

  1. Do we accept recommendations including conditions made by Historic England to be included in their advice that consent should be granted for Scheduled Ancient Monument Consent for the beacon on Castle Hill to be made to the Secretary of State?

With reference to the conditions imposed by Historic England, as outlined in the Clerks Report, Cllr. Rodney Coward said that he was not happy with all these restrictions – it would be too much mucking about and he had an alternative idea and suggested that the Town Council ask David Coward if the beacon can go up at Penn End.  Cllr. Hazzard suggested that the Town Council should go along with this suggestion.  Cllr. Ings said that although he supported Cllr. Coward’s idea, he thought he should ask the Jubilee Committee for their thoughts.  There was general support for Cllr. Rodney Coward’s idea but agreed that if the Jubilee committee felt very strongly that the Beacon has to go on Castle Hill then the Town Council would think again.

  1. Purchase of flags & bunting – members were happy to purchase the bunting and flags as outlined in the Clerks Report. It was RESOLVED that it would be too time consuming to try and claw back some money by selling the flags and bunting and that the Town Council should just give it out to the community and local businesses.
  • Suggestion by Town Clerk on gifting wild flower seeds to Mere School pupils – members thought the suggestion, as outlined in the Clerks Report was an excellent idea and agreed that the Town Council should purchase the seeds.
  1. Update from Jubilee Committee – The Clerk reported that, following the request for the Town Council’s ground staff to prepare the church field she had been to view the site and had some concerns as to its suitability given the fact that there was a large low-lying branch from the London Plane tree which would reduce the amount of available space. However, she was arranging for a meeting with Jubilee Committee members where this would be discussed further.

*c) Climate Change Strategy –

  1. suggestions for community survey & also Town Council strategy document – Cllr. Debbie Beale (information attached)

Cllr. Mrs. Beale said that the main outcome of the meeting was communication and she thought it would be a good idea to do some kind of survey in the community to find out what green initiatives people are currently doing and the ones they would like to do: i.e. Who’s got solar power, green energy, wind turbines, ground source heat pumps etc.    She also felt that, following this, there could be an opportunity to develop a town Climate Change strategy.

  1. adoption of Wiltshire Council Climate Strategy – The Clerk confirmed that on 1st February Wiltshire Council’s Cabinet had approved and adopted their Climate Strategy which would help to shape the next five years of Wiltshire Council’s carbon reduction and environmental plans.
  2. invitation to WALC Online Event – Fighting Climate Change – (learn more about the actions that councils can take locally to fight climate change and discover how councils are already doing this successfully) Wednesday, 25th May 2022 – 12.00 – 13.15 BST (£38.93 per ticket if paid by card.) – Cllr. Debbie Beale said that she would look to see if she can attend.
  1. d) The future of Sheltered Housing at Lynch Close – update on communication since last meeting and report from Chair & Vice-Chair on meeting attended on 8.3.22. The Chairman reported that she and the Vice-Chair & Cllr. Jeans attended this meeting at Lynch Close with Wiltshire Council officers and residents. The meeting was well attended and the residents spoke well. Wiltshire Council said that they were committed to delivering high quality affordable homes and had a target of 1000 such homes and has been reviewing 21 schemes in Wiltshire.  The Chairman said that she thought change was inevitable at Lynch Close as the bungalows are 60 years old and need to be brought up to modern standards of insulation as part of the Council’s commitment to upgrade all council owned properties.  Doing nothing is not an option and, at this early stage, there is no way of knowing whether the bungalows can be upgraded.  The action of residents has made Wiltshire Council very much aware of their worries and has lead to Wiltshire Council giving firm commitments about how the process will progress – these commitments were clearly stated in a document that was given to all those at the meeting.  Thus, a decision will not, therefore, be made this spring.  To quote “Our priority, now, will be to provide quality specialist accommodation for older people in Mere at the Fives Court site.  Only when these homes are nearing completion will we finalise the review process at Lynch Close.”  Other commitments are stated in items 2, 3 and 4.  If moving out is necessary, Wiltshire Council guarantee an opportunity for residents to move back to the Lynch Close site.  Residents will be compensated and given plenty of notice.  The residents have organised themselves very effectively and have won the right to be consulted fully.  It was very clear that the majority of residents see no need for change.  Nor do they wish to move away from Mere.  The Council offered to take residents to view their flagship accommodation in Amesbury and look around and talk to its residents.  There was no suggestion that any of them would be moved to Amesbury or, indeed away from Mere, against their will.  In summary, because of this commitment to make the refurbishment contingent with the development of Fives Court, it is clear that the timetable has been moved much further into the future and gives the opportunity for residents to be re-housed temporarily within Mere.  The Lynch Close committee with the help of the Town Council will need to keep a close eye as to whether the Wiltshire Council commitments are adhered to.  Jeans said that he would be against any flats being built either in Fives Court or Lynch Close and informed members that he received more complaints about flats than any other type of housing problems.  He said that the flats at Lynch Close are disgraceful and they should be the properties that need knocking down but he was aware that some of them had been privately sold.  He also pointed out that it was his understanding that there would no longer be an option for any health and well-being facilities at Fives Court or Lynch Close as the clinical commissioning group has not come back and requested any space at Lynch close. Cllr. Jeans said that he felt that Lynch Close should at least have some facility to enable visiting health visitors but said that he would be doing more investigations into this matter.
  2. e) Cemetery Wall- update on storm damage – the Clerk informed members that two builders quotations had been submitted to the Town Council’s insurance company and that the insurance company had, in fact, already paid out the sum being that of the cheapest quote. The Clerk had therefore instructed the builder of the cheapest quote to carry out the work at his earliest convenience and had relayed this information to the owners of the adjacent property.

 

  1. Reports & Consultations
  2. a) Wiltshire Councillors Report – although Cllr. Jeans had no wish to add anything, Cllr. Jordan said that he was upset over reading a report made by Wiltshire Councillor Mark McClellan boasting about a costly cycling and walking route that Wiltshire Council had created in Hilperton. Jordan had been told that it was not possible for Wiltshire Council to spend money on creating a cycling/walking routes. Cllr. Jeans agreed to pursue this matter.
  3. a) Government’s White Paper: Levelling Up the United Kingdom published 2.2.22 (the actual document is 305 pages so here is a link to the LGA briefing) – https://www.local.gov.uk/parliament/briefings-and-responses/levelling-white-paper-lga-briefing

The Clerk reported that the government’s long-awaited levelling up white paper was finally published in February.  The 300-page policy document sets out the government’s analysis of the scale and causes of geographic disparities across the country, as well as a programme of change to improve central and local decision making.   Of specific note to parishes – it states: Government will launch ‘a review of neighbourhood governance in England, looking at how to make it easier for local people and community groups to come together, set local priorities and shape the future of their neighbourhoods.  The review will also look at the role and functions of parish councils in England.’

 

  1. Planning
  2. a) Applications for consultation response:

 

Application No: PL/2022/01021
Application Type: Consent under Tree Preservation Orders
Proposal: Ash (T1) – re-pollard – pollards are heavy and worries they will fall
Site Address: 6 HILLSIDE CLOSE, MERE, WARMINSTER, BA12 6LB
Planning Register link:  https://development.wiltshire.gov.uk/pr/s/planning-application/a0i3z000017Rw5A

 

RESOLVED to recommend approval of the above application on proposal made by councillor Debbie Beale seconded by councillor Nick Beal and carried with a unanimous vote in favour.

 

Application No: PL/2022/00687
Application Type: Wiltshire Council R3
Proposal: Proposed extension of the car park at Mere Primary School/Mere Cricket/Bowling Club. The proposed changes facilitate more parking spaces for both teachers, visitors and community users, as well as increased pedestrian safety around the car park. The proposal will also enable coach access and turning to the car park and drop off area.
Site Address: Mere School, Springfield Road, Mere, BA12 6EW
Planning Register link: https://development.wiltshire.gov.uk/pr/s/planning-application/a0i3z000017RBgJ

 

Cllr. Rachel Hansford aired concerns as to whether there actually was enough space for a bus to get around the car park. Cllr. Jordan said he thought it was a reasonably good solution to improve pedestrian safety but noted that there were no longer proposals to use the swimming pool site.  The clerk confirmed that a strip of approximately 1 m wide would be used from the swimming pool site in order to create a pedestrian footpath but that was all. RESOLVED to recommend approval of the above application on proposal made by Cllr. Hazzard, seconded by Cllr. Jordan and carried with a vote of 9 for and 2 against. In order not to compromise his position as Wiltshire Councillor, Cllr. Jeans abstained from voting on this planning application.

 

Application No: PL/2022/00797
Application Type: Householder planning permission
Proposal: Proposed extension over existing garage and then convert garage and build a new garage
Site Address: MARTONE, SPRINGFIELD ROAD, MERE, WARMINSTER, BA12 6EW
Planning Register link: https://development.wiltshire.gov.uk/pr/s/planning-application/a0i3z000017RO1f

 

Cllr. Ings pointed out that these garages are not wide enough for modern vehicles.  RESOLVED to recommend approval of the above application on proposal made by Cllr. Ings, seconded by Cllr. Rachael Hansford and carried with a majority vote in favour.  In order not to compromise his position as Wiltshire Councillor, Cllr. Jeans abstained from voting on this planning application.

 

 

Application No: PL/2022/01346
Application Type: Householder planning permission
Proposal: Single Storey Extensions and associated internal alterations.
Site Address: FORGURLS, MILL LANE, MERE, WARMINSTER, BA12 6DA
Planning Register Link: https://development.wiltshire.gov.uk/pr/s/planning-application/a0i3z000017SDDs

 

 

RESOLVED to recommend approval of the above application on proposal made by Cllr. Ings, seconded by Cllr. Debbie Beale and carried with a majority vote in favour. In order not to compromise his position as Wiltshire Councillor, Cllr. Jeans abstained from voting on this planning application.

 

  1. Highways, Rivers, Footpaths, Traffic & Transport
  2. a) To identify jobs for the Parish Steward, Sparkle Team and MyWiltshire reports – Cllr. Debbie Beale said that on social media there had been lots of conversation regarding drain clearance. Jeans said that ditches between Burton, Southbrook and Limpers Hill had been cleared but he was aware that there was now water coming out of one of the ditches and onto the road in one location. However, he pointed out that this matter was being dealt with.  No other issues reported.
  3. b) Report on CATG (Community Area Transport Group)meeting held on 23rd February – Cllr. Mrs. Beale said that she was unable to attend the meeting.
  4. c) Speed Limits on The Lynch – Rachael Hansford said that there was someone on social media who had raised concerns about the speed of vehicles travelling along The Lynch wondered if the Town Council had any thoughts on this. Cllr. Jordan said that the suggestion of putting a 20 mph speed limit throughout the whole of Mere has been discussed in the past and he confirmed that he had been through villages with 20 mph speed limits recently and he wanted to put a recommendation for a 20mph speed limit on all the roads feeding into Mere. Cllr. Jeans said that he had nothing against this proposal but pointed out that getting the funds would be extremely difficult and expensive. The proposal would need to be made to the CATG and the Town Council would be expected to make a 25% contribution. The Chairman asked for a show of hands in pursuing this matter further with the CATG: there were 5 in favour, 5 against and 2 abstentions.  The Chairman used her casting vote against the suggestion. It was therefore RESOLVED not to pursue this matter further.

 

  1. Buildings, Open Spaces, Play Areas, Sports Grounds, Car Parks, Allotments & Cemeteries

*a) Report on survey of beech trees behind tennis courts in Recreation Ground – as carried out by Astill Treecare Ltd (report attached) and also to report on two other beech trees in Recreation Ground that have suffered storm damage this winter.  It was agreed to send the report to the Tennis Club but take no further action.  The Clerk also reported that in early October we lost a large limb from one of the beech trees further down this row (Tree No. 0939) and she asked the arboriculturist to look at this whilst he was there.  The Town Council RESOLVED to accept the arboriculturists recommendations and get a contractor to carry out a climbing inspection.

  1. b) To explore the provision/installation of 1, 2 or 3 solar powered street lights for Duchy Manor to be purchased & installed in conjunction with school car park expansion project – the Clerk said that the new proposals for the car park did not include exterior lighting and she was keen to try and provide something nearer the pavilion and she therefore wondered about asking the contractors if they would install some solar street lighting columns if the Town Council paid for the columns and solar heads. Members agreed to this suggestion. Jeans also pointed out that, if the planning application had been submitted after June then they would have been required to install EV charge points and wanted to also suggest that we ask the contractors to install conduits for us to provide battery stored EV charging points.  Cllr. Jeans said that there is a resident who owns a company called “Plus Charge” and would be prepared to supply and install these battery stored EV charging points at no cost to Wiltshire Council.   RESOLVED to put both requests to the contractors.
  2. c) Firework Display for Mere School – Cllr. Hazzard reported that The Friends of Mere School would like to run a community fireworks fundraising event for Bonfire Night and would like to hold this event at Duchy Manor Sports Ground. The Clerk had been to the Council’s insurance brokers for advice on responsibilities and passed on this advice to the school which was that the event organiser would be responsible for insuring the event as well as carrying out the risk assessment. Therefore, the school needed to determine and agree which party had overall responsibility for the event.  Members were happy to agree for the event to take place at Duchy Manor Sports Grounds on the basis of the advice passed on from the Clerk to the School.
  3. d) Tree planting in Kingsmere Open Space – Cllr. Ings reported that the Jubilee Committee have received requests from four different groups who want to plant trees for the Jubilee. He had identified four trees for planting in this Open Space. The Clerk pointed out that one of the young beech trees planted in 2000 had died so that could be replaced and Cllr. R. Coward said that the little copse of fruit trees could be extended with this small number of trees.

*e) Tree planting in Mere for Queens Platinum Jubilee – Members noted, with interest, the information in the Clerks Report relating to the tree planting work being carried out by the Duchy of Cornwall and their offer of help.  Also, members considered the idea of using the Queens Green Canopy programme to plant the new hedge in the cemetery but agreed that the saplings would be unsuitable for this.  They did, however, agree that the Town Council should ask for a small pack to give out to parishioners to plant in their gardens/land.

  1. e) Update on minor refurbishments for Public Toilets – the Clerk reported on work that had been carried out so that the current ladies toilet block can be made into a unisex toilet block, alongside the existing disabled toilet which is now a unisex accessible toilet:
  • New lighting has been installed in both so that it is on a PIR and activated by movement, i.e. lights not on all night any longer (this is a Climate Change action)
  • New toilet pans/seats have been installed in the old ladies block
  • Drainage has been power washed through and checked with camera and confirmed that it is all clear
  • Interior decoration in ladies block has been completed (walls, ceiling etc)
  • Wallgate hand wash units have been serviced and confirmed that they are working
  • Water refilling station has been installed (this is a Climate Change action)
  • Uniform signage has been ordered for all doors and water refilling station
  • Footfall counter will be installed as soon as signage sorted
  • Once signage has been received and installed, we will transfer over the ladies toilet block and close the gents toilet block which can then be used for storage & caretakers facility.

We have, however, recently suffered a spate of vandalism in the accessible toilet:

  • The baby changing unit which was mounted on the wall has been broken off the wall and vandalised two weeks ago.
  • The soap dispenser which was also mounted on the wall was broken off & vandalised this weekend.
  1. f) Flying or display & purchase of Ukrainian flag to show solidarity – members were happy to fly the Ukrainian flag on Castle Hill in order to show solidarity. However, it was agreed that the Union flag should be flown for the Queens Birthday on 21st April and the St. Georges flag should be flown on St. George’s day.
  2. g) Spring Clean – Community Litter Pick – Jordan said that it had been confirmed that Wiltshire will pick up all the bags of rubbish if given notice of the litter pick date and therefore he was suggesting that the Great British Spring Clean community litter pick should take place on 9th April. The Clerk agreed to arrange for the grounds staff to deliver the materials and the risk assessment/insurance company notification and also agreed to co-ordinate publicity with Cllr. Jordan.

 

  1. Finance, Policy & Resources

*a) Payments – To review and authorise schedule of payments (attached) – Cllr. Jordan raised a question about the payment to Mere School for office electricity wondering what the period of supply was for.

The Clerk explained that this was for electricity for the changing rooms, floodlights in the Multi Use Games Area and the Town Council office for the period 29.9.21 – 31.1.22 (4 months).  Cllr. Jordan said he was happy with that response as his concern was that it was for one month only.  RESOLVED to authorise payments identified in the schedule.

  1. b) To review online banking payment controls – The Clerk explained that the Town Council moved over to online payments during the first COVID-19 lockdown as this saved the risks involved in having to get cheques signed by two councillors. However, the Town Council needed to review the current practice to be in accordance with regulations. This would involve the Town Clerk having the ability to set up payments and two councillors having the ability to authorise the payments as signatories (although this would be done via a SMS notification). Cllr. Jordan said that he would be happy to authorise payments and Cllr. Mrs. Beale said that she, too, would be happy although she pointed out that she did not bank with Lloyds.
  2. c) Recommendations & finance options for purchase of tractors and possible implements – Cllr. Hazzard reported that he, with the help of Cllr. Mitchell had done some research and investigations and had shortlisted four different makes of tractor for consideration. All of them are 50 hp tractors and we have also ensured that all the tractors we have looked at are as environmentally efficient with the leanest and cleanest engines. All four tractors were very similar and all were fairly similar in price. Our grounds team, Simon and James, drove the tractors and had some adverse issues with one or two but by far the best was the John Deere and that is the tractor we would like to recommend for purchase. The cost of this machine is £32k and we have been offered £7.5K for our old Kubota tractor. Our ground staff would also like a front-end loader which will be very helpful with a number of other jobs. At a later date, it would also be possible to purchase a Power Arm side mounted flail in order to carry out our own hedge cutting which would save having to use a third-party contractor and enable the Town Council to be more responsive to requests from residents.  Hazzard said that the Town Council had a budget allocation of £10k for a machine which can be used as a deposit on a lease hire option. Cllr. Jordan said that it was not financially viable to take a lease hire agreement when the interest rates on borrowing money are so much higher than the interest rates on our reserves and he recommended that the Council should vire reserves and purchase the John Deere tractor and loader outright.  Cllr. Colman asked if the tractor would be able to cut the grass with the grass cutter we already have and Cllr. Hazzard confirmed that it would and would also act as a power base for other purposes.  Members were in agreement to purchase the tractor by some means and gave Cllr. Hazzard authority to make the purchase order.  The clerk agreed to look into options and make suggestions for the Council in order to vire reserves to pay for this machine outright.

 

  1. General Items

*a) To consider draft agenda for Annual Town Meeting to be held on 20th April (attached) – members considered the draft agenda for the Annual Town Meeting and it was agreed that the items highlighted in yellow should be removed from the agenda and the items highlighted in pink should be included in the agenda. RESOLVED on proposal made by Cllr. Mrs. Beale, seconded by Cllr. Rachael Hansford and carried with a unanimous vote.

 

 

  1. Future meetings and events
  2. a) Wiltshire Council South West Wiltshire Area Board meeting – Wednesday, 16th March 2022 at 6.30 pm at Wilton Community Centre, Wilton, SP2 0DG.

 

  1. Future agenda items

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MERE PEACE MEMORIAL SPORTS AND RECREATION GROUND

Registered Charity No. 1093497

 

For Trustees to consider the following:

 

  1. a) Report on survey of beech trees behind tennis courts in Recreation Ground – as carried out by Astill Treecare Ltd (report attached) and also to report on two other beech trees in Recreation Ground that have suffered storm damage this winter.

Trustees of the Mere Peace Memorial Sports & Recreation Ground Charity were happy to endorse the decision made by the Town Council during the Town Council meeting of 14th March (see Minute Reference 123a)

 

 

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