Skip to content Skip to left sidebar Skip to right sidebar Skip to footer

Author: Lindsey Wood

Minutes of Town Council meeting held on Monday, 15th January 2024

Minutes of a meeting of Mere Town Council held on Monday, 15th January 2024 in The Andy Young Pavilion, Duchy Manor, Springfield Road, Mere, Wiltshire.  BA12 6EW at 7.00 pm.

 

Present:  Councillors John Jordan (Chair), Glen Ings (Vice-Chair), Debbie Beale, Nick Beale, Aubrey Colman, Rodney Coward, Rachael Hansford, Raymond Hill, George Jeans, Linden Stone (from 7.35 pm), Kate Symonds & Lesley Traves

Also Town Clerk, Lindsey Wood.

 

Public Participation Session

Debbie Beale raised concerns about traffic coming into Mere from both directions when there was an accident on the A303 recently and the volume and size of the vehicles trying to get through the town caused chaos and gridlock.  The Chairman said that, living on Castle Street, he was aware that this happened fairly regularly.  The Clerk said that she did not think that the police officially diverted the traffic through Mere but once the road has been closed to through traffic, the drivers just find another way to go without any control.  It was agreed to ask the police about this when the Council is next in discussion with them to see if they can officially divert traffic either elsewhere or only one way through the town.

John Jordan thanked everyone who helped with the Great Bottom Walk on New Year’s Day.

The Clerk read out an email from Anne Rich thanking the Town Council for providing financial support to the Foodbank.

 

  1. Apologies for absence received from Cllrs. Sandra Catley, Philip Coward & Clive Hazzard.

 

  1. To receive any declarations of disclosable pecuniary interests and other interests from Councillors on matters to be considered at the meeting.
  • George Jeans declared a pecuniary interest in Minute No. 362a) Payments
  • Glen Ings declared a personal interest in planning application PL/2023/10666

 

  1. Minutes RESOLVED that the Minutes of the Town Council meeting held on Monday, 4th December 2023 be approved as a correct record.

 

  1. Matters Arising from Public Session

None

 

  1. Matters Arising from previous Meetings (not covered by other agenda items)

*a)  Minute Ref: 344b) Community Governance Review (see Clerks Report) – members noted the information in the Clerks Report.

 

  1. Reports & Consultations
  2. a) Wiltshire Councillors Report – Cllr. Jeans reported on the judging for the Mere Xmas Lights kindly carried out by Nick & Debbie Beale and thanked the Chairman of the Town Council for presenting the shield and prizes to:

1st place – 26 Denes Avenue

2nd place – 2 Denes Avenue

Special recognition to Lambrook Cottage, Shaftesbury Road.

The Chairman reiterated thanks to Nick and Debbie Beale and said he was aware that it was not an easy task.

  1. b) Project Co-Ordinator’s Report (report attached) – members noted the information in the report.

 

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

 

Application No: PL/2023/09919
Application Type: Full planning permission
Proposal: Erection of WC hut, construction of access track and area of hardstanding (Retrospective)
Site Address: Land at Woodlands Road, Mere, Wilts, BA12 6JT
Planning Register Link: https://development.wiltshire.gov.uk/pr/s/planning-application/a0i3z00001BDwbO

 

Following a long discussion and a majority vote (11 for and 1 abstention) it was RESOLVED to object to the above application for the reasons set out below [In order not to compromise his position as Wiltshire Councillor, Cllr. Jeans abstained from voting on this matter.]  :

This once agricultural field, as is evident from the attached Google earth aerial view, has now become spoiled by unnecessary overdevelopment and suburbanisation.  The field had a perfectly good vehicular field access gate on the southern boundary as can be seen from google street view and shown with a cross on the attached map view.  For some inexplicable reason, there is now a second vehicular access gate on the eastern boundary from Woodlands Road with a huge expanse of rubble track going along the whole length and half width of the field.  The Town Council supported the planning application for the agricultural barn on this field in 2022 (PL/2022/03832) on condition that there was no domestic paraphernalia brought onto the site which must be used solely for agricultural purposes – this condition was included within the planning authority’s decision notice for approval.  Furthermore, a second condition was included by the planning authority stating that within two months of the date of this decision, the wooden storage shed and its contents….should be removed from the land in its entirety and the land should be restored to its previous condition.

The Town Council cannot support the erection of a WC hut or the storage container that is on site surrounded by wooden cladding, or the huge expanse of rubble track or the removal of the agricultural hedgerow as there is no agricultural justification for this level of development.  This retrospective development has had an unacceptable impact on the amenity and rural character of the area and the field should be restored to its previous condition with the field hedgerow planted.

Local knowledge states that this field contained an attenuation pond which stored water during heavy rainfall and stopped it from running across the road.  It is now evident that this pond has been filled during the construction of the access track and the water run-off during periods of heavy rainfall across the road is now excessive.  We feel that the Highways Authority Department should be made aware of this issue.

This hedgerow should have been protected as it was more than 20m in length next to land used for agriculture.  The applicant should have submitted a Hedgerow removal notice: GOV.UK: Land management Guidance Countryside hedgerows: protection and management: Hedgerow Regulations 1997(opens new window).

Under the 2021 Environment Act, the Town Council recently agreed its biodiversity policy.  The Town Council felt that this planning application does not meet the criteria within Mere Town Council’s Biodiversity Policy as the application does not benefit biodiversity through the conservation and integration of existing habitats or provision of new habitats for wildlife.

Although we realise that this is not a planning consideration, we are aware that there are covenants in place on the conveyance of this land relating to the permitted use which is restricted to agricultural and forestry purposes.

 

Application No: PL/2023/10288
Application Type: Full planning permission
Proposal: Erection of a timber studio for use in association with donkey sanctuary and to provide holiday accommodation (retrospective)
Site Address: Land at Wet Lane, Mere, BA12 6BA
Planning Register Link: https://development.wiltshire.gov.uk/pr/s/planning-application/a0i3z00001CFARM

Following detailed discussion on this retrospective planning application and a majority vote (11 for and 1 abstention) it was RESOLVED to object to the above application for the reasons set out below [In order not to compromise his position as Wiltshire Councillor, Cllr. Jeans abstained from voting on this matter.]  :

The Chairman provided members with a precis of the planning history of the site.  Members recalled that the applicant had attended Town Council meetings in 2022 explaining that he had bought 4 acres of land in Wet Lane in order to house his rescue donkeys and that he required the formation of a field access (another retrospective application) and the erection of an agricultural and livestock building.  There was no mention from the applicant that it would later be necessary to expand this into a developed donkey sanctuary which, whether private or charity, could be construed as a commercial activity.  The planning statement states that the studio will occasionally be let as tourist accommodation to provide financial support for this rural charity.  The assertion that this charity/sanctuary needs financial support would seem to validate the fact that it is therefore a commercial activity rather than a private one.  The planning permission related to this site is for the private stabling of donkeys and the storage of associated equipment and feed and shall at no time be used for any commercial purposes whatsoever.  The Town Council therefore suggests that there should be some clarification as to whether or not the activity is private or commercial.

The planning officer confirmed in his 2022 report that the site is predominately rural location within the open countryside for the purposes of the local plan and is outside the defined limits of development.   It would appear that this timber studio has been built on agricultural land.  Whilst the planning statement says that it has been built on what was once part of neighbouring garden, this would appear to be inaccurate as the land was part of Church Farm.  There is no evidence to support the claim that there was a previous timber shed on the site of this studio.  Conversely, there appears to be evidence to support that there were trees and hedges affected by this retrospective development.

The planning statement for the above application states that the timber studio is required to provide a working space for employees at the donkey sanctuary, whilst also enabling the applicant to let it out as tourist accommodation on an occasional basis that will be marketed towards couples and small families seeking a quiet countryside holiday with donkeys.  It also says that it will be used for hybrid office/tourist accommodation.   There are four donkeys on the site and it is believed that there is one member of staff who attends to the needs of these donkeys and it should be perfectly possibly to provide a working space for this staff member (and other staff members if necessary) within the existing barn that was erected in 2022.  Therefore, there is no justification to support the need for this additional building to serve the needs of staff associated with the needs of the donkeys as a suitable alternative existing building exists on the site. Letting of the studio as tourist accommodation would be a commercial activity that would be in breach of the agricultural and equestrian use of the site.

Whilst the Town Council recognises the importance of tourism and the contribution it can make to the local economy, it could not support the development of a studio as tourist accommodation in this location as the impact on the amenity, rural character and environmental quality of the area would be detrimental and unsustainable.

Under the 2021 Environment Act, the Town Council recently agreed its biodiversity policy.  The Town Council felt that this planning application does not meet the criteria within Mere Town Council’s Biodiversity Policy as the application does not benefit biodiversity through the conservation and integration of existing habitats or provision of new habitats for wildlife.

 

Application No: PL/2023/10700
Application Type: Listed building consent (Alt/Ext)
Proposal: Replace rotten kitchen window
Site Address: The House, Salisbury Street, Mere, Warminster, BA12 6HE
Planning Register Link: https://development.wiltshire.gov.uk/pr/s/planning-application/a0i3z00001CFSJo

RESOLVED to recommend approval of the above application. [In order not to compromise his position as Wiltshire Councillor, Cllr. Jeans abstained from voting on this matter.]

Application No: PL/2023/10666
Application Type: Householder planning permission
Proposal: Demolition of store to rear of ground floor and construction of new extension at 1st floor over existing ground floor rooms.
Site Address: Beech Cottage, Chetcombe Road, Mere, BA12 6AX
Planning Register Link: https://development.wiltshire.gov.uk/pr/s/planning-application/a0i3z00001CFRVZ

RESOLVED to recommend approval of the above application.  [In order not to compromise his position as Wiltshire Councillor, Cllr. Jeans abstained from voting on this matter.]

Cllr. Ings, having declared a personal interest in the above application, refrained from discussion or voting.

Application No: PL/2023/10999
Application Type: Notification of proposed works to trees in a conservation area
Proposal: T1 Horse Chestnut. Tree is close to the neighbouring property and has a large sub-dominant stem. Reduce height by 2-3 metres and reduce the lateral spread by 2-3 metres. General pruning to round over and balance the trees shape.
Site Address: THE OLD RECTORY, CHURCH STREET, MERE, WARMINSTER, BA12 6DS
Planning Register Link: https://development.wiltshire.gov.uk/pr/s/planning-application/a0i3z00001CFkNy

RESOLVED to recommend approval of the above application.

Application No: PL/2023/10789
Application Type: Householder planning permission
Proposal: Single Storey Extension to East Elevation to Provide Family Room and Farm Office.
Site Address: Downs View Farm, Limpers Hill, Mere, Warminster, BA12 6BD
Planning Register Link: https://development.wiltshire.gov.uk/pr/s/planning-application/a0i3z00001CFYmT

RESOLVED to recommend approval of the above application.  [In order not to compromise his position as Wiltshire Councillor, Cllr. Jeans abstained from voting on this matter.]

Application No: PL/2023/11168
Application Type: Notification of proposed works to trees in a conservation area
Proposal: I propose to reduce 1 large Birch tree back to the previous (25% Reduction), to control the size and shape. I propose to reduce the height of 1 large Cotoneaster tree by approximately 6ft and shape the sides to keep the natural shape. I propose to reduce 1 Maple tree by 25% to control the size and shape.
Site Address: LINDEN HOUSE, CASTLE STREET, MERE, WARMINSTER, BA12 6JH
Planning Register Link: https://development.wiltshire.gov.uk/pr/s/planning-application/a0i3z00001CFxtt

 

RESOLVED to recommend approval of the above application.

 

  1. Highways, Rivers, Footpaths, Traffic & Transport
  2. a) To identify jobs for the Parish Steward, Sparkle Team and MyWiltshire reports – the Chairman reported that surface repair work was being carried out in Pettridge Lane by contractors at the end of this week. Jeans asked if something could be done about White Road (outside Social Club). Also look at the top of White Road (top of Hazzards Hill) where an HGV has mounted the grass verge.

 

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

*a) To approve wording and signage for Permissive Path through Duchy Manor (see Clerks Report) – RESOLVED to approve the wording and signage on condition that an officer from Wiltshire Council confirms that wording on this sign will protect us should someone make a challenge in 20 years’ time saying that it should become a public right of way because she/he has walked it every day for 20 years!

 

  1. Finance, Policy & Resources

*a)  Payments – Cllr. Jeans, having declared a pecuniary interest, left the meeting whilst this item was discussed.  The Chairman explained some of the expenses and also said that the grounds team were making good progress on the phased work in the cemetery.  RESOLVED to authorise payments as shown in the payment schedule distributed at the meeting.

  1. b) To note the bank reconciliations for November 2023; the Chairman to sign and verify against the bank statements – the Chairman confirmed that he had signed and verified the reconciliations against the bank statements

*c) To consider amendment to Council Tax Base and the affect this has on approved precept (see Clerks Report) – In view of the information in the Clerks Report members unanimously agreed to amend the Precept figure to £200,176.56 thereby increasing the budgeted figure for election expenses from £900 to £2000.

  1. d) To consider interim Internal Audit report (report attached) – the Chairman confirmed that he had read the report and discussed some recommended actions with the Clerk. The Chairman said that the internal auditor had provided some very useful advice.
  2. e) To review Annual Investment Strategy (Strategy document attached) – deferred

*f) To consider investment in CCLA (see Clerks Report) – With reference to the information in the Clerks Report, Cllr. Jeans asked that the Town Council should check that the CCLA is regulated by the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA).  It was unanimously agreed, subject to the following check, that the Town Council should invest £100k into the CCLA.

  1. g) To consider Biodiversity Duty and Draft Biodiversity Policy & Action Plan (draft attached) – the Chairman felt that the Draft Policy was comprehensive but doesn’t promise more than we can actually deal with. Agreed to include, within the introduction, that Mere is fortunate in that the Duchy of Cornwall owns a large amount of land in the area and that the Duchy’s stewardship of that land, along with the work of the tenant farmers, is sustainably proactive in terms of nature, wildlife and biodiversity. R. Coward felt that the Town Council had been very proactive and ahead of the game in this respect.  RESOLVED to approve and adopt the Draft Policy and Action Plan.

 

  1. General Items

None

 

  1. Future meetings and events
  2. a) SW Wiltshire LHFIG meeting 7.2.24 at 2.00 pm at The Nadder Centre, Weaveland Road, Tisbury – Cllr. Mrs. Beale said that she was unable to attend the meeting. The Chairman said that he would try and attend although he was aware that our Project Co-ordinator was intending to attend the meeting.
  3. b) Cranborne Chase National Landscape Annual Forum 2024 – Wednesday, 28th February 2024 between 10 am – 4 pm at Dinton Village Hall.
  4. c) The Great Panto Puzzle, United Reform Church, Mere. Monday, 22nd January at 2.00 pm
  5. d) Spring Clean Litter Pick – 24th March – further details to be published

 

  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:

 

Submission of Annual Return for Mere Peace Memorial Sports & Recreation Ground Charity for Financial Year End 31.3.23

 

The Trustee approved the submission of the Annual Return for the year ending 31.3.23

 

Meeting closed at 8.11 pm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Agenda for Town Council meeting to be held on Monday, 5th February 2024

31st January 2024

 

Dear Councillor,

 

You are summoned to a meeting of Mere Town Council to be held on Monday, 5th February 2024 at 7.00 pm in The Andy Young Pavilion, Duchy Manor, 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.

2.1 To receive declarations of interest from councillors on items on the agenda

2.2 To receive written requests for dispensations for disclosable pecuniary interests (if any)

2.3 To grant any requests for dispensation as appropriate

A request for dispensation must be made on an individual basis

 

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, 15th January 2024 be approved as a correct record. (attached)

 

  1. Matters Arising from Public Session

 

  1. Matters Arising from previous Meetings (not covered by other agenda items)

 

  1. Reports & Consultations
  2. a) Wiltshire Councillors Report
  3. b) Project Co-Ordinator’s Report (report attached)

 

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

 

Application No: PL/2024/00346
Application Type: Listed building consent (Alt/Ext)
Proposal: Create a doorway to Dining Room from Kitchen through partially opened Service Hatch to side of Range
Site Address: Deans Orchard, Church Street, Mere, Warminster, BA12 6DS
Planning Register Link: https://development.wiltshire.gov.uk/pr/s/planning-application/a0i3z00001CGPyM

 

 

Application No: PL/2024/00345
Application Type: Listed building consent (Alt/Ext)
Proposal: External and Internal Alterations; Works to Outbuilding
Site Address: Deans Orchard, Church Street, Mere, Warminster, BA12 6DS
Planning Register Link: https://development.wiltshire.gov.uk/pr/s/planning-application/a0i3z00001CGPyH

 

 

Application No: PL/2023/10288                              AMENDED PLANS/ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

 

Application Type: Full planning permission

 

Proposal: Erection of a timber studio for use in association with donkey sanctuary (retrospective)
Site Address: Land at Wet Lane, Mere, BA12 6BA

 

Planning Register Link: https://development.wiltshire.gov.uk/pr/s/planning-application/a0i3z00001CFARM

 

 

Application No: PL/2024/00438
Application Type: Householder planning permission
Proposal: Erection of a timber single storey outbuilding.
Site Address: 3 Brockhurst Mews, White Road, Mere, Warminster, Wilts, BA12 6EX
Planning Register Link: https://development.wiltshire.gov.uk/pr/s/planning-application/a0i3z00001CGT2g
  1. b) Lynch Close, Sheltered Housing Review – update on recent meetings, newsletters and early consultation on draft plans for Fives Court refurbishment. (newsletter attached)
  2. Highways, Rivers, Footpaths, Traffic & Transport
  3. a) To identify jobs for the Parish Steward, Sparkle Team and MyWiltshire reports.
  4. b) Highways Improvement Request Form – see attached redacted copy.

*c) Road naming & road signs– Jupes Street/Lordsmead Lane (leading to Eric Mitchell Way fp)  No Through Road

 

  1. Buildings, Open Spaces, Play Areas, Sports Grounds, Car Parks, Allotments & Cemeteries
  2. a) Activities, recreation and sports in Mere – report from working group (see attached map & report)

*b) Petanque proposals for Duchy Manor

*c) D-Day 80

*d) B18131 Mere Stream Support Phase 2

 

  1. Finance, Policy & Resources
  2. a) Payments – To review and authorise schedule of payments (attached)
  3. b) To note the reconciliations for December 2023; the Chairman to sign and verify against the bank statements seen
  4. c) To approve recommendations relating to tenders for resurfacing work for footpaths 50 & 66 (recommendations attached)
  5. d) To approve recommendations relating to tenders for outsourcing Health & Safety (recommendations attached).
  6. d) To set date, venue and member make-up for Annual Assessment of Internal Controls

 

  1. General Items
  2. a) To consider date and venue & agenda for Annual Town Meeting 2024

Briefing Note 24-01: Revised NPPF (Briefing Note attached)

 

  1. Future meetings and events
  2. a) South West Wiltshire Area Board meeting, Wednesday, 28th February 2024 at 6.30 p.m. at Wilton Community Centre
  3. b) Local Highways & Footpath Improvement Group (LHFIG) meeting, Wednesday, 7th February 2024 at 2.00 pm at The Nadder Centre, Tisbury

 

  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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wiltshire Council Local Plan

The Local Plan consultation begins on Wednesday 27 September, with 16 in-person drop-in events being held across the county. Find out more about the events: www.wiltshire.gov.uk/local-plan
There will be an in-person drop-in Local Plan event at The Nadder Centre, Tisbury on Wednesday 4th October from 3pm-7pm so please come along to find out more. There will also be an online event on Tuesday 10 October. Info: www.wiltshire.gov.uk/local-plan

Minutes of Annual Budget Meeting held on Wednesday, 22nd November 2023

Mere Town Council

Town Clerk – Mrs. L. C. Wood

 

Minutes of the Annual Budget Meeting held on Wednesday, 22nd November 2023 at 7.00 p.m. at The Andy Young Pavilion, Springfield Road, Mere, BA12 6EW.

 

Present:  Councillors: John Jordan (Chairman), Sandra Catley, Aubrey Colman, Philip Coward, Rachael Hansford, Clive Hazzard, George Jeans (from 7.50 pm)

 

Cllr. Glen Ings Chaired the Meeting

 

Public Session – No members of public present

 

Apologies for absence – None received

 

 Declarations of Interest

  • Hazzard declared an interest in Floral Enhancements & Rental & Town Council workshop compound.

 

DRAFT FIGURES ATTACHED:

The Clerk confirmed that the proposed changes to the Council Tax Reduction Scheme (CTR) currently under consultation would have an impact on the way our Tax Base is calculated.  I have received the following information from Wiltshire Council:

The Provisional Tax Base for Mere with no changes to the CTR is 1259.36

The Provisional Tax Base for Mere if all proposed changes are made to the CTR scheme is 1249.70 (worst case scenario)

The average of these two Tax Base figures is 1254.53

Our Tax Base last year was 1252.44 and our precept was £186,685.78.  Precept ÷ Tax Base = Town Council part of Council Tax on Band D property for the year.

Using the provisional figures for next year, provided by Wiltshire Council, if we had the same precept as last year, it would make a difference of -0.82p or +0.32p.  Using the average would make a difference of -0.25p.

 

On the draft figures I have prepared for you, as attached, the precept would be £217,450.95 which would be an increase of 16.53% using the average Tax Base.

A precept of £192,200 would equate to a 3% increase

A precept of £205,260 would equate to a 10% increase

 

PUBLICATION – Please note that we will be required to provide a breakdown of expected expenditure and income to Wiltshire Council for them to publish as our precept is likely to be over £140,000

 

LOCAL GOVERNMENT FINANCE SETTLEMENT – I have not heard any further news about plans to extend council tax referendums to local councils in line with the three-year deal that was announced in January 2018.  I expect the government has had other things to deal with!  But it may be worth bearing in mind that we could find ourselves in a situation whereby any precept increase will be capped in the future.

 

FYI – as a reminder:

SECTION 106 FUNDING –   The S.106 agreement for the Woodlands Road Development states that the following sums will be provided:

  • £48,264.00 of the Off Site Facilities contribution (Index Linked from date agreement signed on 19.3.2015) prior to the Occupation of the 20th Dwelling on Phase 1 of the Development

 

  • £61,352.00 of the Off Site Facilities Contribution (Index Linked from date agreement signed on 19.3.2015) prior to the occupation of the 20th dwelling on the Phase 2 Development

 

  • £68,501.00 of Open Space Contribution (Index Linked from date agreement signed on 19.3.15) prior to the occupation of 20th dwelling on the Phase 1 Development

 

  • £87,077.00 of Open Space Contribution (Index Linked from date agreement signed on 19.3.15) prior to the occupation of 20th dwelling on the Phase 2 Development

 

Off Site Facilities Contribution means a financial contribution towards the provision of youth and adult open space & leisure facilities in the area to serve the development

Open Space Contribution means a financial contribution towards the provision, maintenance and improvement of Open Space in the parish of Mere (Open Space means public open space, including play areas and amenity land in the parish of Mere.

The money has to be spent within 10 y ears of receipt.  After the expiry of a period of 10 years any contribution which remains unexpended for the purpose for which it was paid to the Council shall, unless committed by a binding contract between the Council and a third party, be repaid to the paying party upon request.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NOTES ON DRAFT BUDGET SPREADSHEET

 

 

EXPENSES

ADMIN

Advertising – no comments

Audit Costs –This heading covers both internal audit fee and external audit fee.

Last year’s internal audit fee was £535 and this years’ will be £560.

Last year’s external audit fee was £800 but this year we paid £600.  Scales of fees for Town & Parish Councils external audit fees are based on bands of annual income or expenditure, whichever is the higher.  There are also additional fees if the Annual Returns, supporting information and explanations are not submitted fully and accurately within the required timescales and the external auditors may also apply extra fees where they have to consider objections to the accounts from local electors or exercise special powers in relation to the review or undertake any special investigations.  As we received the second phase of S.106 funds during this financial year, I would expect our External Audit fee to be £1050

I suggest we keep no reserves and budget £1500 again for 24/25.

Bank charges – Although the Council does not pay bank charges at the present time, this was only due to successful intervention by Cllr. Jeans and could not be guaranteed to last forever.  The Clerk was suggesting that the Council should retain reserves of £285 for the remainder of this year and budget £285 for next year.  It was agreed to amend this to keep only £100 in reserve for this year and make no budget for next year.

Election Costs – Wilts Council will be seeking to recover T & P elections costs for the 2025 main elections.  The suggested fee given by Wiltshire Council in January 2021 for a medium sized parish/town council was between £7938 & £8985. This time last year we had built up reserves of £4000 but these were reduced to only £1000 at the 2022 budget meeting.  We currently now have reserves of £2700 and in order to meet an estimated fee of £8500 we would need to budget £2900 in each of the next 2 years.  (Let’s hope we don’t have a by-election in the meantime.)  It was agreed to retain reserves of £2700 but budget only £900 in the knowledge that we will need to budget a further £5400 next year I order to meet the 2025 election costs.

Hire of Rooms – no comment

Insurance – In 2022 we entered into a 3-year undertaking to stay with Came & Co.  Therefore, we would need to remain with them until June 2025.  The other main local council insurer would not provide us with a quotation due to our claim history.  The insurance renewal was £4323.97 this year & it should remain the same unless we add any services/facilities.  I have added a little extra to allow for an increased premium for children’s centre. Suggest budget of £4700

Legal Services – We have been dealing with leases for public toilets, Salisbury street car park + Castle Street Car Park & the licence agreement with Econetiq. Hampshire CC quoted £1000 for each lease + disbursements (the public toilet lease will incur charges to register with Land Registry and I am aware that there has already been an extra £300 fee for reviewing the “supposed” lease from Econetiq!  I doubt that Hampshire CC thought that the leases would drag on so long when they originally quoted and so I would expect there to be additional costs incurred. I am guessing that we have probably spent £4500 so far. We will have the lease for Office and old Children’s Centre + renewal of lease for Mere Croquet Club + renewal of lease for Railway Modellers Club (the legal fees for the Youth Club lease renewal have been included elsewhere in this report).  We have £5155 in reserve of which I estimate £4500 has been spent.  I therefore suggest that we budget a further £2345 which will allow us to carry out the next 3 leases at £1000 per lease.

Office equipment/services/stationery – This heading covers things like printer cartridges, all stationery, servicing computers and software updates, internet security and any small items of office equipment.  We have overspent this year already but the expenditure did include the directional signs costing £242.  I suggest we revise reserves to £300 and budget a further £1000.

Petty Cash – no comment

Office rentals/rates – We pay £50 a year in rent but we are responsible for rates.  Last year’s rates cost £1493.26. Suggest budget remain £1600

Subscriptions – our present subscriptions are:

South West Councils – £485

WALC – £879.45

Wiltshire Wildlife Trust- £36.00

CPRE – £36.00

SLCC – £279 (2022)

Still to pay this year is SLCC – the invoice has just come in at £288

Telephone/broadband expenses –  Our current provider is Mainstream Digital:

Whilst we don’t have to upgrade yet, their account manager, Nick, says that BT are already starting to disconnect landlines in the region e.g. in Salisbury, and trying to encourage customers to make the changeover sooner.

 

He says he has checked the current broadband availability to the office for the proposed new connection and it will deliver 4x faster download and 20x faster upload than we now have. As I understand it, connecting to any of the new fibre installations in Mere would be more expensive than Mainstream’s proposal, and wouldn’t provide any benefit which we couldn’t get from Mainstream.

 

This is summary of a recent conversation and their recommendation:

“Thanks for your time this afternoon, it was good to take the time to gain a better understanding of what exists and your needs.

 

As discussed Openreach are rolling out a project to remove all Analogue lines from circulation in preference to having VoIP Lines. (Voice over the internet) so we have been proactively contacting our customers to explain how this will affect them.

This will affect Mere Town Council because your Main telephone number is Analogue and your broadband is the basis ADSL Version.

 

Current Services

 

  • £12.80                  Analogue line on 01747-860701
  • £11.14                  ADSL Broadband (Up to 20mb download and up to 1mb upload)
  • £9.00                    Average call charges
  • £32.84                  TOTAL CURRENT MONTHLY COSTS

 

 

Recommendation

 

You said you are happy with the Cordless Base station and three handsets that you currently use, so I would suggest we do the following:

 

  • Provide SOGEA Fibre Broadband service (Up to 80mb download and up to 20mb upload)
  • Reuse your Draytec 2760n Router
  • Provide 1 x Hosted seat/ extension on 01747-860701
  • Provide Analogue terminal adaptor which will plug into a spare port on the router and then your base station (cordless) will plug into the adaptor.
  • All calls to UK Landlines and calls to Mobiles free of charge

 

New rentals will be:

 

  • £48.22 per month based on a 5-year term OR
  • £50.76 per month based on a 3-year term

 

 

Once ready to make the change, please allow 4 x weeks from receipt of the signed contract and signed number porting form.

 

This solution will fully future proof your telephony, against the planned changes and will increase your internet download speeds by 4 fold and your upload speeds by 20 fold!!”

 

We have been very happy with the customer service we get from Mainstream Digital and they seem to be very reasonable when comparing them to other providers.  Therefore suggest we sign contract on a 5-year term. Revise reserves to £240 for remainder of this year and anticipate we can start new contract for April 2024

 

IT Support – We don’t really have any IT support although we do go to IT Ambulance in Zeals on an ad-hoc basis.  Although this fulfils a need, it doesn’t provide us with a technical audit that would assess security, deal with GDPR issues and provide business continuity solutions in the event of disaster.  I have been out to one company that deals with other local authorities for a quotation and that has come in an £184 p.m. for the three machines.  I have attached their quotation  It was felt that this quotation was a little too expensive and that investigations should continue to find alternative quotations and/or support packages.

Scribe Accounting Software – you will recall that our internal auditor has recommended that we should change over to a sector specific accounting software.  At the present time I use a version of Microsoft Money which I have adapted for the Town Council’s needs.  However, it is unlikely that my successor would be able to use this.  There are two or three main sector specific accountancy software companies but Scribe does seem to provide the most support/training.  I have attached their quotation.  It was agreed to subscribe to the Scribe Accounting Software as quoted.

Staff & Councillor training :

There are shortfalls in our training requirements.  I have identified the following list and the cost of all courses would be at least £4575.  However, it would not be feasible or viable to carry out all training in one year so priorities need to be identified – I have identified priorities as Chainsaw, Weed Spraying, Play Equipment Inspection & NRSWA + First Aid at Work for Paul.  We are currently looking into the Forestry and Arboricultural Training Fund to see if there might be grant funding to help with some of the relevant courses.  Also, it has occurred to me that it might be possible to utilise the Community resilience Group SSEN funding for the NRSWA training courses, as they would enable our staff to work on the highway (clearing drains during floods etc).  Therefore, suggest we retain reserves of £2027 but make no further budget.

Training requirements (wish list) for grounds staff:  NB the prices were obtained in 2021

  • Simon – RPII (for those responsible for routine inspections of play areas) – £135 (completed)
  • Simon – Legionella (completed)
  • Simon – First Aid at Work course – (completed 2020)
  • Simon – Pest control (completed 2020)
  • Paul & Sam – Brushcutters & Strimmers (completed 2023)
  • Simon & Paul – Basic Tree Inspection
  • Simon & Paul Simon + Paul – IPAF (working from platform (cherry picker) course
  • Sim & Paul– Ride on mowers – £225 + VAT per person
  • Paul – First Aid at Work course @ £90
  • Simon & Paul – NRSWA (Signing, Lighting & Guarding) @ £175
  • Simon & Paul– NRSWA (Operatives Course) @ £695
  • Simon – Chainsaw cross cutting and felling 380mm diameter £744
  • Paul – Weed spraying (Pesticide – Hand held applications) – £235
  • Training requirements (wish list) for admin staff:
  • Clerk – conferences, seminars as and when available
  • Other admin – CILCA

 

Travel Expenses – No comment

Data Protection Registration – No comment

Project Management Admin – No comment

Outsourcing – HR & Payroll, GDPR + Health & Safety – additional information to be provided

The Clerk confirmed that she was currently meeting with four or five different companies for them to provide quotations for the Health & Safety outsourcing at the present time and so the figure budgeted was really a guess.

 

 

DUCHY MANOR (Old Children’s Centre)

Rentals/Rates – indication from John Price in 2022 (before he retired) was that the rental would be low, say £100 but that the Town Council would be responsible for all other outgoings i.e., rates.  Making a comparison on rates/size of office, I calculate this to be somewhere in the region of £5-6k (apparently toilets and corridors do not count towards rateable values).  We have £2500 in reserve so I suggest we budget a further £3500.  Agreed to remove budget allocation on the basis that we are not likely to have a lease in the foreseeable future.

Heating/Utilities – Currently the Children’s centre is heated by oil.  Don’t know anything about water and electricity.  We have £1000 in reserve.  Suggest we retain reserves & budget a further £500 and also look into energy solutions for whole of this part of building.  Agreed to remove budget allocation for heating & utilities on the basis that we are not likely to have a lease in the foreseeable future.

Repairs/Maintenance – I’m guessing that Wiltshire Council would still be responsible for the exterior maintenance although I am worried that the remainder of the building still has the Crittall windows and flat roof has not received any attention in years.  I would also suggest that members take a look at the old offices – not in a very good state of repair. Suggest we retain £1500 and budget a further £1000.

 

 

ALLOTMENTS

Materials & repairs – Work on the Wellhead car park was carried out in 2019/20 and some of the residents made a contribution towards this work.  Town Council is budgeting funds to build reserves so that this work can be caried out again in the future.  Also, we have identified need for a further water trough at Southbrook – the supply can be piped from the other trough above ground level.    Grounds staff say that this would involve 120m of pipework + fittings + trough + time.  Since this time, Wessex Internet have agreed to put the pipework in their ducting which I think they plan to do in the spring.  Reserves are £1000.  Suggest we reduce reserves to £750 and make no budget.

NB – Could members please go out to Southbrook allotments after heavy rainfall periods – I went out there during Lockdown 2 and was astonished that 7 allotments were completely underwater (8 – 9 inches) – it looked like a paddy field.  Is drainage an option?

Pest Control – no comment

Rentals – we agreed a £20 rental increase with the Duchy of Cornwall.  Our annual rental will be £610

Water rates – water is turned off during the winter and used during spring/summer months only.  Usage and therefore cost is largely dependent on weather conditions.  The cost of water at Jack Paul Close allotments (which is the smallest allotment site) is nearly 3 times the amount of water at Wellhead allotments.  Would suggest the reason or this is that it has a standpipe and not a trough.  Should we change to trough in order to encourage allotment holders to use less water?  It was agreed that we should change the water source to a water trough for the Jack Paul Close allotment site.

Suggest we reduce reserves to £115 and budget £650 again for next year.

 

 

ANDY YOUNG PAVILION

Equipment & Furniture – We reduced our reserves drastically last year.  Purchased a small new fridge this year but would suggest that there might be a need to have new tables/chairs and replenish kitchen equipment.  Suggest we retain reserves of £230 and budget £270 to build up for these replacements.

Fencing & Security –Not aware for any immediate fencing and security issues at the moment – unless councillors can come up with an idea to stop youngsters from climbing up the roofs!!!!  Suggest we retain reserves at £440 & make no budget.

Footpaths & Car Park – Due to the new car park, lighting etc, we removed all reserves last year.  However, I did suggest that we would need to add funds for future maintenance at some point in the future though.   Suggest we add £500.           Agreed no budget for any maintenance at the present time.

Gas – We have £1150 in reserve.  Suggest we reduce reserves to £500 and budget a further £500 for next year.

Maintenance/Repairs –  The building was built in 2005 and is now 18 years old and we need to look after it or it will start to deteriorate.  We cleaned off exterior plastic and carried out some roof repairs last year and Sam did a lot of this work ‘in house’.   We also have a problem with the sewage pump at the moment and this is in the process of being investigated.  Suggest we retain reserves of £888 & budget a further £1000.

Cleaning Equipment/Materials – No comment

Water & Sewerage – No comment

Consumables – No comment

Fire Alarm Maintenance – We have a contract with Wessex Fire & Security

 

BAND HUT – The Town Council has agreed to build up reserves so that when the roof needs replacing, we have enough money to do the work.  However, we reduced the reserves from £3000 to £750 last year.  Suggest we retain reserves of £750 and budget a further £750.

We still need to action getting an asbestos register for the building (as approved last year).  Do we not need to have an asbestos register for Youth Club, Clock Tower etc?

 

BOWLING GREEN – No budget allocation.  Green is leased to Bowls Club.

We did give them a donation of £400 this year but that is allocated under “donations”.

 

BUILDINGS

 

I am aware that at the last budget meeting the Chairman said he felt that the reserves for buildings should be transferrable from one building to the other and our reserves for buildings were cut by a third last year.  I do, however, have some concerns that the asset value of our buildings is considerable at £1.2m and the current level of reserves + budget of £17 – 18k is not sufficient money for us to deal with any kind of catastrophe with our buildings whilst also enabling us to continue with our current service and function level. 

 

There was a long discussion relating to the buildings, in particular the Chapels and the Clock Tower regarding the water leaks and roof repairs.  It was agreed that these should be investigated further in the near future.

Chapels – Chapels are in a state of dilapidation/structural movement is a possible issue.  We got the broken windows to the south chapel repaired in 2019/20 and they are all looking extremely smart – some of this expense was covered by insurance claim and some by Town Council. Question – do we want to put bars on the inside of the large window at the front and the one at the rear (like we have on the side windows).   Although we no longer keep a large array of tools in the chapel, we do have some.  The grounds staff have suggested that the doors might need replacing/refurbishing for both chapels and Simon has recently pointed out to me that there are holes in the roof of the north chapel (ridge tile missing & other tiles need replacing) The Committee reduced reserves by £2000 last year so I suggest we retain reserves of £1500 and budget a further £1000 and investigate getting the roof of the north chapel repaired as a matter of urgency – would this be enough?

Clock Tower – the Town Council spent nearly £16k refurbishing the Clock Tower during 15/16 financial year which diminished reserves.  In 2021 we carried out a Fixed Wire Test of the building and remedial electrical work that was identified.  However, we do have a leaking roof and the grounds staff suggest that this needs looking at.   They also suggest that the front doors could do with a bit of refurbishment/repainting work. Reserves were reduced by £1000 last year.  Suggest we retain reserves of £3160 and budget a further £1000.

Clock – The clock & autowind unit should now be working.  The invoice has just been received and matches the quote received back in June at £3005 + VAT.  We did have enough in reserves to pay for this last year but the committee reduced reserves.  I have therefore increased the reserves again and suggest we budget £500 to allow for an annual service/maintenance etc.

Clock Tower Island – The committee reduced reserves by £3800 last year.  Reserves now stand at £690 so I suggest we budget £200 again.

Jubilee Garden Walls & path – The walkway in Jubilee Gardens was resurfaced in 2021 at a cost of £4150.  Surrounding walls need repointing and initial estimates a couple of years ago were in the region of £1000.  Suggest we retain reserves of £1100 and budget a further £400

Pennybank Lane Walls – Five years ago it was noted that part of the brick wall on the eastern side of Pennybank Lane had been removed and replaced by a fence.  Upon investigation it turned out that Mr. James Chalke had bought the property and had removed the wall believing it to be his.  Mr. Chalke said he would be happy for the Town Council to rebuild the wall and we collected and stored all the bricks last year so we could rebuild the wall if we wanted to.  Members previously agreed that rebuilding the wall at some point should be a subject for future Full Council discussion (never held).  We had reserves of £3200 to do this but members reduced them drastically last year.  Suggest we retain reserves of £400 and start building reserves again by budgeting a further £350 this year.

War Memorial – The War Memorial was completely refurbished/cleaned in 2018 at a cost of £6300 (we did get a grant to help with the cost).  We had reserves of £1990 but these were reduced last year to £990.  Suggest we keep the £1500 we now have in reserve and budget a further £250 to rebuild reserves.

Huntsgatge Play Area Walls & railings – £1500 would not go too far if the wall was knocked down by a parked car but then hopefully, we would be able to claim off third parties’ insurance.  We would like to do some work to the railings to make them sturdier and they need to be repainted which could be a job for Sam.   We had reserves of £1500 but these were removed last year.  I would suggest we add reserves of £500 to allow for paint/labour to smarten up the railings.

Horticultural Shed – We had reserves of £800 but these were reduced again last year.  Can we please start building reserves to carry out some repainting of this building.  Most of the painting could be carried out in house by Sam.  Suggest we add £400 to build reserves.

Office – we had £1200 in reserve two years ago but these have been reduced by £500 for two years running.  We added some windows some years ago and I am concerned about the flat roof.  The office will need carpeting/decorating at some point in the near future.  I suggest we start building reserves again and have budgeted £500

Telephone Kiosk, The Square – we have £250 in reserve.  The telephone kiosk was all painted in 2018.  Not aware of any need for refurbishment/repair.  Suggest no budget.

 

CAPITAL PROJECTS

Vehicle & trailer – We purchased the Mitsubishi in 2015 for £5850.  We now believe that it may be on its last legs and that we should be looking out for a new (second-hand) vehicle.  We have reserves of £7000 and suggest we budget a further £3000.   There may be an opportunity to combine vehicle with tipper trailer.  It was reported at the meeting that the Mitsubishi has gone into the garage for an MOT today and with repairs that are going to cost in the region of nearly £900, the technician has said he feels that the vehicle is not on its last legs and will continue for a while longer.  Agreed to retain reserves but remove budget.

Litter bins –The problem with providing new litter bins is that they have to be emptied which is more work on our grounds staff and the waste has to be removed which is more cost on our waste removal contract.  We have been asked, however, to provide a litter bin for the Edgebridge/Walnut Road area and with the new development at Woodlands Road – this is likely to be more of a demand.  A sturdy metal litter bin costs between £600 & £800.  Suggest we keep reserves of £1040 and I will ask our Project Co-Ordinator to include a litter bin in his footpath project specification which should deal with the request above.  We need a replacement litter bin for outside the cemetery gates though.

Replacement tractor/ride-on mowers – We have used up all our reserves on the purchase of the two new ride-on mowers & we need to build up reserves for the replacement ride-on mowers which we should do before they are on their last legs and we become desperate.  Suggest we budget £3000.

Office equipment – The Town Clerk’s computer replaced in 2016/17 financial year and Clerks Assistants computer purchased in 2013/14 financial year.  Equipment which was necessary to implement zoom meetings but unanticipated was purchased in 20/21 financial year.  This was justified as Clerk applied for and received a business support grant.  Main printer was replaced this year and Clerk has a second monitor too + Roger had new office chair.  I would suggest that certainly one of the computers should be replaced this year and that we should keep reserves of £975 and budget a further £225 to build reserves to £1200.

Seats & benches – the Town Council’s policy is to have these donated.  We have had one benches donated this year (Castle Hill Play Area).  We are trying to sort out repairs for the benches in The Square.  Please see separate item under Recreation Ground for benches in Rec.

Xmas Lights – We have £680 in reserve for new/replacement lights.  We have tested our lights for this year and all seems to be OK but sometimes we have to order a new string at the last minute. (one string costs about £200) Suggest we retain reserves and make no budget.

Play Equipment for Castle Hill Play Area – The multi-play unit was purchased in 2014, using Policy R2 funds and the swings had been refurbished a few years prior.  However, the low level wooden trailway is now very old and some of it has had to be removed.  Four years ago, members agreed that funds should be budgeted in order to consider replacement in the future. However, last year members removed reserves of £3250 on the basis that new play equipment for Castle Hill Play Area could be funded from S.106 money, as detailed on pages 1 & 2 of this report.

Skatepark – it would be lovely to extend the skatepark and do a Phase 2 because it is very popular.  Could possibly get funding for this but I think the feeling is that there are far more urgent items for the time being.

Swimming Pool/Outdoor Gym Equipment – Our intentions were to build an outdoor gym area inside the old swimming pool site and indeed, we filled in the old swimming pool at a cost of £3880.  The whole project was put on the back burner because Mere School wanted to use part of it within the car park expansion project but it turns out now that most of the old site is still available to us.  The reserves are, in fact made up from third party funding so it would not be appropriate to remove them but it may be possible to redirect to a different project if required.  Members may still wish to consider this site as outdoor gym area or we could include a table-tennis table or we could perhaps use it for calisthenics workout equipment – any of these options could be funded from our S.106 funds.  Other uses have been suggested to us i.e. Petanque and the Play Group have indicated that they may wish to rent it from us as an outdoor play area.  For the purposes of the budget meeting, suggest we retain reserves of £1120.

Public Access Defibrillator –Two years ago it was agreed that we should start building reserves to replace the two defibrillators we have at some time in the future. Reserves now stand at £750.  Budget a further £250.  NB – the defibrillator in The Square is a new replacement (insurance claim) that was installed in October 2022 (cost £1074).  I have submitted a grant request for a new defibrillator and this could be partial or wholly funded but I have not heard whether or not it has been successful.  I did think that it would be a good idea to have a defib outside the Walnut to serve that end of Mere and have identified a possible place it could be situated.  Suggest we retain reserves of £1000 and seek grant funding or public donations

Storage containers for grounds equipment/staff – As far as I am aware the storage situation is OK at the present

Speed Indicator Device – Do we need another one?

The following items are on the grounds staff’s Wish List:

Wish List (in order of priority but not necessarily to purchase in one year)

Hand held hedgetrimmer – £600

Chipper – £1750 – £2000

Tipping trailer (we could part-exchange our trailer)  £4350

Muck grab for loader (send-hand) £500

With regards to the wish list it was agreed to budget £600 for a new hand-held hedgetrimmer and budget only £200 for the chipper which might allow the hire of a chipper.  Remove budget for tipping trailer and muck grab.

Grounds machinery and power tool replacements – This heading is meant for smaller items – e.g. drills, strimmers, chainsaws.  Identified a need for a new drill and I suspect we will need to buy a chainsaw when we can get one of the staff on a chainsaw course.

 

CAR PARKS

Castle Street Car Park – Rates – no comment

Salisbury Street Car Park – Rates – the rates for the Salisbury Street Car Park include rates for the Public Toilets (I presume) – the rate bill says car park & premises.  The bill to stop business rates on public toilets has now been passed through parliament and we have been communicating with the government’s valuation office to get the rates for the Salisbury Street Car Park reduced.  I am pleased to report that there was a significant reduction this year.  Suggest we remove reserves and include budgets to allow for a 10% increase next year.

Maintenance – Three years ago we had some pointing work done to the walls around the Castle Street Car Park at a cost of £700.  However, A. McCann said at the time that there is more work required which he reckons would cost about £500.  This was very difficult to predict as with any stone wall project, the damage is not apparent until you start taking back the pointing and taking out stones etc.  Anthony also said that the wall around the Band Hut needs attention but it is not immediately dangerous.  Could do capping just to stop the water getting in which would cost approx… £200 or could repair whole lot which would cost £400-500.  Reserves have been reduced during the last two years and now stand at less than £2000.  There is concern that one of the walls in the Salisbury Street Car Park is coming away from the pillar and we need to get this investigated – I think it is due to a Whisteria that has been planted by a third party.  We also have ongoing pothole repairs to carry out and I think there is another dead tree in Salisbury Street Car Park.  Suggest we retain reserves of £1918 and budget a further £1000.  Recommended to make no budget for the maintenance of the car parks.

Street Light for steps/Dark Lane – The street light was installed last year – 31.3.22.  We were told that we would be required to make a contribution of £2637 but we have not yet received an invoice.  Last year we retained the reserves in case we got an invoice but still not invoice received.  On the assumption that we are never going to receive an invoice for this street light, I would like to divert the funding to provide for two dropped kerbs in locations in the car park to provide for disabled access to the surgery and to the toilets.  Recommended to reduce the reserves by £1300 and proceed with the dropped kerb by the Doctors Surgery and to include the dropped kerb for the public toilets within the public toilet tender specification if it was necessary.

 

CASTLE HILL

Flags – Each flag costs about £160.  Requirement for new flags is slightly dependent on the weather, especially in the winter.  I like to leave enough in reserves to purchase 4 flags a year, if necessary.  We may need to buy two new flags this winter and possibly 2 new flags for next winter and possibly a new St. Georges flag – that is 5 flags at £160 = £900.  Therefore suggest we retain reserves of £535 and budget a further £265.

Flag Pole – Over the years we have been building up reserves for repairs necessary to the flag pole.  We are aware that the wire to haul the flag up the pole has broken and that we need to find someone to put a new wire on.  Unfortunately reserves were reduced drastically last year.  I would actually prefer to investigate the idea of purchasing a whole new aluminium flag pole.  Suggest retain reserves of £315 and budget a further £1000 to build reserves again.  The Clerk pointed out that she had received a quotation from the Hampshire Flag Company to survey the site with a view to installing a new flag pole.  The cost of the survey would be £180 + VAT.

Grass seeds & weed control – no comment

Maintenance of floodlight – no comment

Rentals – no comment

Signs/information boards – no comment

Gates/fences & footpaths – I am concerned that we need to carry out a lot of repair work to the fencing in order to keep the goats in.  Suggest we retain reserves of £800 and budget a further £1000 (see Long Hill section also).

Tree management –This is for Castle Hill only.   Suggest we reduce reserves of £1538 and make no budget.

 

 

Castle Hill Environment Plan/HLS Scheme – Last year we were offered and accepted an extension for our HLS Environmental Stewardship Scheme until September 2028 and so we should continue to receive our grant funding year on year as long as we comply with the conditions i.e. keep the hill grazed and carry out some scrub clearance.  I am concerned that the grounds staff are not going to get the opportunity to get any scrub clearance carried out up there again this year and it is imperative that we keep the goats grazing on there (see fencing concerns).  This heading does not really need any funding allocated to it (just time) but suggest we should retain reserves of £300.

 

CEMETERY

Rates – Following the valuation form that I had to complete for the VOA last year, I was concerned that we would have a large rate increase on the cemetery but it turned out to be not as bad as I expected.  Our rates were £1139.59.  I suggest we budget £1250 for next year.

Walls, railings & footpaths – The work carried out by the Youth Offenders Team on the railings four years ago never got completed.  Sam has carried out a small amount of painting work on the railings this year.  The grounds staff carried out some refurbishment work on the main footpath five years ago at a cost of £850 and I am aware that they would like to extend this work further out to other footpaths within the old cemetery – time permitting.  Also, the grounds staff are concerned about the gate on the north-eastern corner by Barnes Place.  The gates don’t meet because the pillars have moved due to large oak tree roots – it was agreed to discuss this issue at a future Full Council meeting.  Reserves have been reduced during the last two budgets.  Walls are not in the best condition and would cost an awful lot to repair if they fell down.  Suggest we retain reserves of £1800 and budget a further £500.

Water Rates – No comment

Signs & Security – It would be good to refurbish the solar Victorian Street Light.  Suggest we retain reserves of £173 and budget a further £100.

Tree Management – Reserves are allocated to deal with actions in tree inspection report.  As you know, we have concerns about the state of the yew arch.  Also, you will recall that a tree blew over onto the garden wall of an adjoining landowner last year and I have concerns about other trees/shrubs in the vicinity.  I would suggest that some tree clearance work should take place here.  Suggest we retain reserves of £830 and budget a further £400.

Ground & Weed Management – Grounds staff would like to remove some of the spoil from the old cemetery.  This would require the hire of machinery and could be done when footpaths are refurbished or when work on new cemetery is carried out.  Suggest we retain reserves of £145 and budget a further £100

Materials/Repairs – I would suggest that these reserves are added to the Walls/Railings/Footpaths and a concerted effort is made to improve footpaths, gates, railings, walls, fences etc. over the next few years. Retain reserves but make no further budget.

 

NEW CEMETERY

Drainage & paths – As above, the intention is to start the next phase of drainage and path works.  Phase 1 cost £7510.25 in machinery hire and materials.  On the quotations received by John on 3.10.23 it is anticipated that the cost of materials + hire of machinery will be £6156.  Simon is hoping to start work on 8th January and has also requested that Sam is working alongside them for 24 hours per week X 4 weeks.  That will require an additional £1032.00.  Suggest we retain reserves of £6000 and budget a further £2000

Fencing, gates & hedging – Thre will be a lot of hedge plants to buy & plant.  Are we intending to do this “in house” – if so, by whom and when.  Do we need more fencing/wooden gates?.    Suggest we retain reserves of £3390 and budget a further £1000 – will this be sufficient to purchase & plant hedging, wooden gates and to move some of the spoil heaps.  Grounds staff asked if the grave diggers shouldn’t be taking away the muck?  What do other cemeteries do about this problem?

New gates & drive –I have been looking on Ebay for second-hand gates and they do come up at about £450 but they are usually in the north of the country and would cost £200 to transport.  We can get new ones for £650

(advertised on Ebay) that we can collect from Malmesbury.  Suggest we contact them and see if they can do a couple of sets of railings too and perhaps, we could then afford to build a couple of pillars and two sections of short wall with our Mere stone. Suggest we retain reserves of £2500 and budget a further £500.  Recommended to reduce reserves to £2000 and make no budget.

Water – No comment

Planting scheme – No comment.

Lych Gate – Members have historically said that although this was an aspiration which was financially unviable but requested that I keep it as a budget heading in case the situation changes.

Signage – Signage & new noticeboard was replaced in 2021. No reserves.  No budget.

Burial Books – no comment

 

 

CHAIRMAN’S EXPENSES – No comment

 

CHAIRMAN’S PENDANT – No Comment

 

CHANGING ROOMS

Electricity – Please remember that the office electricity supply (which provides heating as well as lighting/computer comes from the changing rooms supply as well as the MUGA lights) – there was very little football club usage last winter as the combined football club was not using the showers. However, the new adult team is using the showers although the costs associated with use of the changing rooms and electricity have never historically been large (gas is more of a concern). Owing to the increase in energy prices, I suggest that we retain reserves of £940 and budget a further £1000 for next year.  In the meantime, is there anything more we can do about the floodlights – are they both LEDs? Put solar panels on the office roof?  Sort out the water heater/showers for changing rooms?

Fire Alarm Maintenance – no comment.

Gas – Five years ago the gas used in the changing rooms cost us £705.  As mentioned above, there was very little gas usage last year but we are expecting this to be higher with the new football club although they have agreed to pay for their gas usage.  I suggest we retain reserves of £500 and make no budget.

Maintenance/Repair – Two years ago, the Clerk recommended that the Town Council should spend reserves and decorate and smarten up the changing rooms but, unfortunately, the Town Council did not agree and they recommended that all reserves be removed from this budget heading (£1572).  We did budget £300 last year and the football club have redecorated the changing rooms this year in lieu of a reduction to their fee.  I suggest we retain remaining reserves of £250 ad budget a further £250.

Security – no comment.

Water & sewerage – as Gas above.  The water usage is likely to increase due to increased football usage.  I suggest we retain reserves of £330 and budget a further £200 for next year.

Boiler Maintenance & water testing – We have now found a contractor to service the big boiler that supplies the changing rooms (this has been fairly difficult to find) and we have other contractors to do the small gas boiler.  Water testing is carried out by the football club and professionally if thought necessary or prudent.  Suggest we retain reserves of £490 and budget a further £310

 

CLIMATE CHANGE INITIATIVES

The Town Council has aspirations to be proactive with climate change initiatives and I would suggest that we set aside some seed money (suggesting £4000) to use for initiatives such as solar panels for Duchy Manor, changing rooms and/or public toilets. EV charger for Duchy Manor and possibly Castle Street Car Park.  Whilst I realise that £4000 will probably not go very far, it might provide seed funding to seek grant support or start building up reserves for future years.   Last year, the Chairman said that he had put down a marker of £5000 but in the current financial state, he was now going to suggest that we reduce this figure to £2000.  Cllr. Jeans felt that the Council ought to do something to get solar panels on the roof of the children’s centre/changing rooms to get electricity.  Cllr. P. Coward said he did not agree with reducing this figure as he thought it was short-sighted as the Council would get its money back in the longer term and said that as long as you are using the electricity, then the payback period is fairly short.  Cllr. Jordan said it was wholly dependent on the lease and reiterated that he was suggesting reducing the budgeted figure from £5k to £2k as we wouldn’t need to do it next year.

I am going to suggest that we retain the £2000 I reserve and budget a further £2500.

There was a discussion about the availability of grants.  Cllr. Jeans said you need money to look for grants and this may be a suitable issue for the project co-ordinator to research and perhaps Cllr. Stone can provide advice.  There was a discussion about whether or not the school might want to come on board with such a project and also further discussion about supply/meters etc.

 

Community Resilience Group – As members were informed last month, Cllr. Rachael Hansford was successful in getting a grant from SSE in order to appoint a contractor to co-ordinate the Community Resilience Group.  This funding has been received by the Town Council and therefore is allocated as a reserve under this heading.  We are in correspondence with SSE relating to alternative uses for this funding and I am hopeful that we can agree on an alternative use in order to avoid refunding the grant money.  NRSWA training for our grounds staff and generators for public buildings might be alternative uses.

 

Croquet & Boules Club – Time resources have not allowed for any work in preparing the lease renewal for the Croquet & Boules Club although the funding for this is under a different budget heading.   As many of you will recall, I am concerned about the future of the club as I believe it has depleted membership and much land maintenance to do or fund which will revert to us if the club folds.  There ae also issues with a large beach tree to the left of the gate which, incidentally, is not on the Town Council’s tree register.  Suggest we retain reserves at £500.

 

DEFIBRILLATORS (Maintenance) – We spend an average of £300 a year on new parts and maintenance for the 2 defibrillators in the town.  However, this year we have spent £445.35.  One of the batteries needed to be replaced which was fairly expensive (£220) and it is necessary to buy new pads if the defibrillator is deployed.   Suggest we retain reserves of £155 and budget a further £400 for next year.

 

DUCHY MANOR GROUNDS

Maintenance – The school gates on Springfield Road have been painted by Sam.  Fencing between Duchy Grounds and Burton Path needs some attention.  – Please consider options –   High chain link fence would be ideal.  Fence along eastern boundary also needs some attention.  External lighting has been improved. Members reduced reserves by £1500 last year.  Suggest we retain reserves of £700 and budget a further £1000 to carry out some fencing work.

Rates – No comment

Rentals – No comment

Security/Safety/Lighting – One of the lighting bollards was damaged by vandalism (police aware).  Having spoken to the manufacturers, they tell me it is not possible to replace the broken components but that the whole bollard needs to be replaced at a cost of £340 + installation costs.  Therefore, suggest we retain reserves of £200 and budget a further £200.

Signs – Would like to get a Mere Town Council sign.  I know this has been previously approved in any case.  Would suggest largish sign on two posts and now that school expansion works have been completed, we can agree wording and location etc.  Suggest we retain reserves of £28 and budget a further £300

Tree Management – Funds should be retained in order to respond to actions within tree inspection report.   We still need to plant two smaller trees to replace the two felled poplar trees.

 

EVENTS – Last year we put money aside for the Coronation but didn’t spend any of it because we received generous donations from Cllrs. Mrs. Symonds, Mrs. Traves & Cllr. Jeans.  Are there any events for next year?  Recommended to remove reserves for Events as this would now come out of the Wiltshire Towns Programme.

 

FINGERPOST SIGNS – We were successful in receiving a grant for £400 towards the refurbishment of one fingerpost at the end of 2020 financial year and another one at the beginning of 2021 financial year.  We have been waiting for nearly a year for the fraction letters to arrive before we can complete the work.  The grants never quite cover the costs of renewing the fingerpost signs so I suggest we budget £200 to cover extra costs.

 

FLORAL ENHANCEMENTS – No comment.

 

FOOTPATHS

Footpath Group – this is the Footpath Group’s money

Seed money to tarmac Burton Footpath – £1000 was taken out of reserves last year.  Do you want to start building up reserves again?  (We were building up reserves to act as seed money for LHFIG request).  Recommended to retain reserves of £700

 

GOUNDS EQUIPMENT

Small Tools & Equipment – No comment

Branded Work Clothing – No comment

 

GROUNDS EXPENSES

Fuel & Oil – Need to increase budget as cost of fuel & oil has increased.  Suggest increase reserves to £1500 and budget £5000

Hedge cutting – Although we have bought a new tractor, I am not sure that we can afford to buy a hedgecutter attachment so, unfortunately, we cannot yet do away with having contractors in.  Suggest retain reserves of £340 and budget a further £350.

Hedge planting/gates/fences – No comment

Play equipment repairs (in house) – We have just received the 2023 RoSPA Inspection report which identifies various works and repairs, most of which can be carried out “in house”.

Seats & benches (repairs & maintenance) –Reserves on bench repairs have been spent.  Suggest we budget £350

Signs – no comment

Weed Control – no comment

Vehicle road tax & insurance –No comment.

CCTV and/or Wildlife Cameras – We have suffered vandalism in the past and we occasionally get “hot spots” which move – sometimes it is the pavilion, sometimes it is Salisbury Street Car Park & other times it is the cemetery.  We also have little problems like someone repeatedly allowing a dog into the new cemetery, or someone deliberately leaving the gate open on Castle Hill to let the goats out so we wondered if some kind of more mobile CCTV might prove to be useful.  I am not sure how this would work with GDPR though.  We budgeted £500 two years ago so that we could consider this which is now in reserves. Suggest retain reserves.

Rental for storage containers/compound – Rental is £3600 per year (£100 per container, per month).  The Town Council has three containers at Townsend Nurseries and the tractor is houses in another large shed.  I am not aware of any other suitable location to use as a compound area although we have got an interest registered with Wiltshire Council.  The problem at the present time is that there is not enough space to store all our equipment in one location and the grounds staff spend a lot of time going from one place to another to pick up one piece of equipment before they can actually get on with their work.

Electricity for compound – since the issue that happened in 2021, the grounds staff have been taking monthly meter readings of their new electricity meter.  Over the last 8 months they have used, on average, 43 units per month.

Other storage facilities – the Town Council does use a large shed at Southbrook for storage.  This shed needs some attention and would like to retain reserves of £120 and budget a further £300 to purchase wood/felt for repair work.

 

GROUNDS MACHINERY – This section is for maintenance, service & repair costs only. Any new machinery or replacement machinery comes under capital purchase. Obviously, it is not practical or desirable to spend more money on repairs than it would be to buy a new piece of equipment.  However, sometimes a chainsaw or a strimmer can be repaired several times but each time the repair cost is minimal.  I would like to point out that Paul has significant experience with machinery & vehicle maintenance and the grounds staff now carry out a lot of maintenance work themselves which saves us a lot of money.  i.e. Trimac

Recommended to budget £500 for the Mitsubishi L200 given the fact that £1000 will be spent on repairs this year.

 

GROUNDS SUNDRIES – No comment

 

HEALTH & SAFETY

COVID-19 – Suggest we reduce reserves to £200 and make no budget.

Fire Safety – No comment. 

First Aid – No comment.

Pest Control – I have reduced reserves to £720 to allow us to deal with the pest problem at Duchy Manor Sports Ground.  Suggest we budget £500 for next year.

Play Equipment Inspection – No comment

PPE – No comment

Tree Inspection – Our professional tree inspection was carried out in 2021 at a cost of £1800 and we should have this done every 3 – 5 years.  We should start building reserves for the next tree inspection which will take place 24/25.  Retain reserves of £600 and budget a further £600.

Signs/barriers – No comment

PAT testing – No comment

Fixed Wire Testing – We are having one building done at a time because it is too costly to have them all done at the same time.  We had Youth Club done om 20/21 and Clock Tower done in 21/22.  We will have the Andy Young Pavilion done in 22/23?

Legionella Risk Assessment – we have had this done last year.  Company called Aquamark have provided us with some training and a Water Management Logbook.

 

HUNTSGATE (WALNUT ROAD) PLAY AREA – The commuted sum that was given to us for the maintenance of the Walnut Road Play Area has been reduced year-on-year on its maintenance and has now depleted.  Our Project Co-Ordinator is now in the process of seeking tenders/designs for the refurbishment of this play area which can be funded from S.106 funds so I suggest no reserve and no budget.

 

KINGSMERE/LONGHILL OPEN SPACE

Tree Works – Tree Inspection Report has identified an awful lot of ash dieback that will need dealing with but this is complicated as could involve the need for a Forestry Commission licence.  We have a vast amount of ash die back but will be concentrating on removing trees that are nearest the footpaths.  I am hoping that much of this work can be done ‘in house’ but that will, of course, require appropriate chainsaw training and certification for our grounds staff.   Suggest we retain reserves of £1000 and budget a further £1000.

Fencing & Hedge cutting – The fencing around Long Hill is not in good condition at all.  We really need to get a fencing contractor in to carry out repairs/replacements but I fear this is going to cost far more than we can afford.  Suggest we retain reserves of £786 and budget a further £2000 and look for grant funding for the difference, if possible.

Water Supply – No comment

 

MUGA

Maintenance& Floodlights – The MUGA is starting to look very tatty and worse for wear and would, I think, benefit from some refurbishment.  I am pleased to report that the rusty electrical boxes have been replaced.  You will recall that we installed 1 LED light to replace one of the floodlights some years ago and this has been fairly successful and the Council had agreed to continue this programme as and when the floodlights stop working. As I said, I think the whole MUGA area and facilities could do with refurbishing/resurfacing but this project could be done using S.106 funds (although I suspect that there will not be sufficient funding to cover this).  Maybe Sport England funding might be an option.  Anyhow, suggest we retain reserves of £885 overall and budget £615 to bring this up to £1500 overall funding.

 

NEIGHBOURHOOD PLAN

I am not aware that the Neighbourhood Plan needs funding from the Town Council.

 

Payroll – to discuss at meeting under ‘CONFIDENTIAL BUSINESS’ – see additional confidential information

 

 

PUBLICITY/TOURISM PROMOTION

VisitWiltshire – this year we have paid £450 to subscribe to VisitWiltshire but this payment has come out of the Wiltshire Towns Programme fund for this year.  See entry: https://www.visitwiltshire.co.uk/towns-and-villages/mere-p441833

Do we want to subscribe again?  No budget was made for this.

Website – The Town Council’s website was reworked three years ago to comply with the new website accessibility requirements.  It would be great to find the time to add more information to the website and to make sure that it is up-to-date – contacts etc.  Anyhow, suggest we retain reserves of £180 and budget £550.

 

PUBLIC

 

Personnel fee for holiday cover & extra cleaning – Sam now covers for when Maggie goes on holiday which accounts for the £200 expenditure.  I have reduced reserves to £500 and suggest we make no budget.

Service Contract for Wallgate units – No comment

Cleaning Equipment – No comment

Cleaning Products – No comment

Dispensers –  We have learnt that it is better to buy the more expensive stainless-steel ones than the cheaper plastic ones.  Retain reserves of £144 and make no budget.

Security – We did build reserves to provide CCTV in the car park on the public toilets but two years ago members recommended that the reserves should be removed as there may be an alternative solution and vandalism had not been a problem since the toilets had been locked at night.  Since then, we have opened the toilets at night and we are suffering from some minor vandalism.  I would like to revisit the idea of CCTV in the car park but I am aware that this has an impact on GDPR policies and FOI Regulations.  Suggest we retain reserves of £178 and make no budget.

Plumbing & Repairs – Suggest we retain reserves of £715 and make no budget.

Electricity –No comment

Water & sewerage – No comment

 

Refurbishment Costs – Over the last few years the Town Council has been building reserves to refurbish the public toilet and to deal with drainage issues (it was concluded that there were no drainage issues in 2020, however).  Our reserves stood at £22,770 two years ago but the reserves were reduced to a level of £14370.  This level was retained last year with a budget of £4000 added and our Project Coordinator has headed a project to provide a complete internal rebuild and refurbishment.  It is estimated that the total cost could be £40 – £50k.  I suggest that the Town Council should retain reserves of £16910 and seek borrowing approval from DLUHC to take out a loan with the Public Works Loan Board for the remaining funds necessary.

Recommended to seek borrowing approval for this project and to use the reserves as downpayment and repayments for the borrowing.

 

RECREATION GROUND

Gates, fencing, hedges, locks & security – No comment

Hedge cutting – no comment

Health & Safety – no comment

Legal/valuations – no comment

Play Equipment/Area – From our Project Co-Ordinator’s consultation exercise on the Walnut Road Play Area, it is fairly evident that the community would like us to spend some money on refurbishing the play area in the Recreation Ground.  Members removed reserves in the knowledge that S.106 funding could be used for this purpose and so I would suggest that this might be considered a fairly high priority for our next phase of projects.

Signs – Would like to replace the large ‘Regulations’ sign in the Recreation Ground as it is now quite old and tatty.  Suggest retain reserves of £495 and make no further budget.

Tennis Courts – We agreed, a few years ago, that we would continue setting aside some money to build up reserves for refurbishment of tennis courts in future.  However, given that this would fall within the remit for expenditure of S.106 funds, I am suggesting that we remove reserves of £500 and make no further budget.  (This is what we agreed last year but it is now fairly obvious that our S.106 funding is not going to stretch as far as we thought).

Water Rates – No comment

Litter bins – we have replaced the bin that was set fire to in the summer.  Fireproof bin cost us £450.  Suggest we retain reserves of £250 and budget a further £200 so that we have enough funding to purchase another one if needed.

Trees – We have been building reserves in order to get extra tree work done to crown lift the TPO trees on eastern boundary – both sides – so that farmer can get underneath with tractor etc.  I have received a quotation for this work at £1430 (quotation now expired) Suggest we increase reserves to £1930 and budget a further £270.

Skate Park maintenance – The skatepark is very popular and is wearing well although there are some minor small cracks appearing in the concrete.  Maverick (the people that installed the skatepark) have been extremely helpful and have been out and filled in the cracks free of charge on two separate occasions.  Suggest we retain reserves of £400.

Car Park Repairs – Two years ago it was suggested that we get a load of road planings and see if we can level car park area – I think this job should be done when we hire machinery for cemetery work.  Retain reserves of £1350 and plan for this a.s.a.p.  Cllr. Jeans expressed the need for something to be done about the car park as a matter of urgency and it was agreed that this should be raised as a future agenda item.

Youth Club – Three years ago I amended the reserves to £6000 which is the sum that we have promised the Seeds4Success to be put towards their project.  This is the wording I put in my report which was subsequently approved by the Town Council: ‘Mere Town Council will consider, at its Annual Budget Meeting each year, the budgeting and allocation of grants or donations to Seeds4Success to go towards this project until the building has been completed and thereafter, will consider, upon request, grants or donations to Seeds4Success to be used towards repair/maintenance costs of the building that may be necessary or required.’  We budgeted £1000 to add to these reserves two years ago and the reserves stood at £7000.  However, members removed £3000 from reserves last year.  Reserves now stand at £5000 and I suggest that we should budget £1000 to bring it in line with the promised amount at the very least.  I believe that we will also be hearing from the Trustees of S4S with the outline of a new project very shortly.

Public Toilet for Recreation Ground – no comment

Bench seating for Recreation Ground – the Town Council is happy to consider applications for donated seats and benches.

 

RIVERS

This is money which has been awarded to the Rivers Group as a grant.

 

SECTION 137

The limit of expenditure for S.137 during 2022/23 is £9.93 per elector (9.93 X 2550 = £25,321.50)

I have set the S.137 grants and donations at the same level as the previous year.

Area Board Support Gants – as far as I can recall, we have not needed to provide any grants to support Area Support Grants this year.  Suggest we retain reserves of £1000 but make no budget.

CATG Commitments/Projects – We have requested that the 30mph speed limit is extended in Shaftesbury Road – it is anticipated that our contribution towards this work will we be £2511.69.  However, the residents have agreed to pay the Town Council £1000 towards this (net cost to the TC would be £1511.69) .  We have requested two street name signs from LHFIG and it is anticipated that our contribution towards them will be £280.  Heaven knows what our contribution towards the Town Centre Traffic Management proposals and the Clements Lane/Edgebridge proposals would be.  My guess is £32,000?!.  Suggest we retain reserves of £2250 and budget a further £2000.

 

Cllr. Jordan said that Mere Matters were happy to reduce their donation by £300 but they would like £100 of this reduction to be assigned to the Foodbank if the Town Council thought this was appropriate.  Members agreed to increase the Foodbank donation from £500 to £600 next year..

 

STREET CLEANING

Bing bags & consumables – No comment

Protective Clothing – No comment

Commercial Waste Collection – Wiltshire Council have contracted out this service and we now have a direct contract with Hills Waste.  However, we are repeatedly being charged for excess weight.  It is not a case that the rubbish won’t go in the bin but a case that the weight of the rubbish is too much.  We have had quotations from other contractors but it appeared cheaper to stay with Hills and to pay for the excess weight charge.  This also saves us the problem of finding somewhere to store extra bins.  I have reduced reserves but suggest that we budget the same as last year again (£2400).

Dog waste bags – We are getting through these rather rapidly although I am sure the provision is appreciated, not least by our own staff but we have noticed that some people just go and take loads of the bags.  However, I don’t suppose this matters as long as they are using them.    I have reduced reserves to £315 and suggest we budget £800 again for next year.

 

TOWN ENHANCEMENTS

Paint/brushes/tools – this is mainly for equipment & consumables to enable our Street Orderly to carry out town enhancements e.g. painting litter bins, railings, bollards etc.  Unfortunately, the paint for the railings is very expensive

 

WHITE ROAD GARDENS

The reserves set aside for the White Road Gardens Play Area was a commuted sum from the developers to provide play equipment in the play area for the site.  However, after consultation with residents once the development was built, it was clear that a play area was not desired in that location and it was felt that the Recreation Ground play area was within close proximity. The Clerk pointed out that the commuted sum had been reduced over the years on maintenance & grass cutting of the play area at White Road.   The balance at present stands at £554.  We have been wondering whether this might be a suitable site to provide a community orchard area with seating and perhaps play equipment for very young children e.g. sandpit, games panels etc. or an outdoor gym or calisthenics fitness site.  Either way, I am sure that S.106 funding or grant funding would be appropriate.

Suggest retain reserves and make no budget.

 

 

Road Name Signs

This is another function that has now been dumped onto – sorry – delegated to Parish & Town Councils by Wiltshire Council.  Suggest we retain reserves of £590 and budget a further £200.

 

 

Install EV charging point for car park –  As we have now signed the licence agreement with Econetiq, I am suggesting that we remove this budget heading and the reserves altogether.

 

Succession – this budget heading was originally put in place to provide a management resourcing strategy in preparation of the Town Clerk’s approaching retirement (within the next 5 years or so).    It has been agreed to try and outsource certain administrative aspects i.e. accounting software, Health & Safety, GDPR.  There has been talk about seeking additional administrative support but it is felt that the outsourcing should be applied in the first instance and see if this helps to ease the load.  It is therefore felt that ALL the reserves of £13,260 be removed and no budget is made for next year.

 

INCOME

ADMINISTRATION – No comment.

 

Allotments – If we want to apply an allotment rental increase, we need to give 1 year’s notice. We sent out a letter to all allotment holders in March 2023 giving them a year’s notice that we would be applying a 10% increase to all allotment rents w.e.f. March 2024.  The allotment rents received during the previous financial year amounted to £1893.50.

 

CAR PARKS – Sponsorship pledges by businesses – I have raised my concern that some of the sponsor businesses have changed hands and I think it was agreed that Cllr. Hazzard & Cllr. Jeans would revisit the businesses to seek new and renewed pledges.  However, as far as I am aware, this hasn’t happened yet and so therefore I have reduced the expected income for next year.  We are sending out sponsorship invoices this month.

 

Cemetery (Burial fees & charges) – The average annual cemetery income from 1.4.19 to 31.3.23 is £8673.  This is totally unpredictable because, as you can see, we have already received £11,685 this year.  We usually increase cemetery fees by 3% each year.  Suggest we increase by 5% this year.  Recommended to increase cemetery fees by 10% for 2024/25.

 

CIL & Policy R2 – I have removed any anticipated CIL or Policy R2 income as it seems that either developers get out of providing the funding  or the sort of development does not require funding.  The whole thing is a bit of a sham as far as I am aware.  However, I have carried out a prediction of possible CIL receipts based on planning applications received in 2022/23 (they haven’t all yet been determined or approved) but it could be in the region of £30k

 

Croquet & Boules Club Rent – the Town Council has agreed that they only need pay half rental this year and half rental next year.

 

Duchy Manor rentals –it is my understanding that we either intend to get some income or provide some kind of beneficial service from the space at the old children’s centre when and if we require it.  I have not included any income at this stage though.

 

Floral Sponsors – No comment

 

Forest Deer Leazes – I have no idea what has happened to the payment we used to get yearly but this used to come by way of Eric Mitchell.  I did have a telephone conversation with Derek Sealy about this back in the summer and he said that he was going to make some enquiries but I never heard anything.  Do you want me to pursue?

 

Grants & Donations – No comment

 

HLS Scheme – We extended our contract for the HLS Scheme for another 5 years and I have submitted a claim for the grant for this year.

 

Interest – No comment

 

Policy R2/Section 106 – We received the second phase of S.106 funding from Woodlands Road Development but since it is restricted reserves I have not included it in the budget figures.  (You will see from the summary that I have deducted the remainder of the S.106 reserves from the working balances)

 

Sale of Assets – We sold some timber this year and I believe that we are about to sell some scrap metal.

 

Sports Clubs fees  – No comment.  I have applied the annual 3% increase across the board.

Minutes of Town Council meeting held on Monday, 4th December 2023

Mere Town Council

Town Clerk – Mrs. L. C. Wood

 

Present:  Councillors John Jordan (Chair), Glen Ings (Vice-Chair), Sandra Catley, Aubrey Colman, Philip Coward, Rachael Hansford, Clive Hazzard, George Jeans, Kate Symonds, Lesley Traves

Also Town Clerk, Lindsey Wood & Project Co-Ordinator, Roger Pipe + 1 member of public + 2 police representatives.

 

Public Participation Session

The Clerk confirmed that following a MyWilts report about the state of the road surface in Manor Road, a response had been received to say that the area is scheduled for jet patching next year.

The Chairman gave out leaflets promoting the ‘New Year New Bottom’ walk which was happening on New Year’s Day and encouraged members to take part and/or send relatives and neighbours and generally to help promote the event.

 

  1. Apologies for absence received from Cllrs. Debbie Beale, Nick Beale, Rodney Coward, Raymond Hill & Linden Stone.

 

  1. To receive any declarations of disclosable pecuniary interests and other interests from Councillors on matters to be considered at the meeting.
  • None

 

  1. Minutes RESOLVED that the Minutes of the Town Council meeting held on Monday, 6th November 2023 be approved as a correct record. RESOLVED that the Minutes of the Annual Budget Meeting held on Wednesday, 22nd November 2023 (attached) be approved as a correct record.

 

  1. Report from Police representatives:

Sgt. Ben Foster new community police sergeant for the area reported that he had joined about 3 weeks ago and will be in place until our new permanent Sergeant takes post in January.  PCSO Stewart Hunt introduced himself and confirmed that he was covering Mere & Tisbury.  There was a discussion on an incident that occurred one Sunday evening a couple of weeks ago when some young people went on a rampage of vandalism along Castle Hill Lane, Castle Street and Church Street.  PCSO Stewart Hunt said that an individual was arrested and he would get an update to report at the next meeting.  Whilst members of the Council said that the police did arrive on the scene in fairly quick time and the perpetrators were arrested, it was pointed out that some of the victims of crime during this evening had received no visits, reports or feedback from the police and that they were left feeling ignored and vulnerable.  PCSO Stewart Hunt said he would follow this up and make personal visits to the victims.

 

  1. Matters Arising from Public Session
  • None

 

  1. Matters Arising from previous Meetings (not covered by other agenda items)
  2. a) Minute Ref: 330 a) – Update on proposals/suggestions for Community Garden location – the Chairman confirmed that he had visited the site at the bottom of the old cemetery adjacent to the Eric Mitchell Way with two of the people who want to set up the Community Garden and their response was positive. RESOLVED to give the Council’s approval to the Chairman to continue negotiating with these people for a licence agreement to use the land identified for the purposes of a community garden on the basis that they provide some kind of working plan so that we know they have the organisational structure, the people in place and the funding to provide this resource.
  3. b) Minute ref: 330c) Community Governance Review (CGR) – Pre-Consultation – Information Gathering Survey (in Clerks Report) – as a result of our request to change the parish boundary, Zeals Parish Council has put out a publication to their residents. Unfortunately, this leaflet is a little misleading and so we are going to seek advice from the CGR team asking the whether or not we should take a similar approach as a counter argument. There was a discussion about the post office address of Visit Hillbrush being in Mere and the effect that this had on signage for the company.  It was confirmed that long before the current Wiltshire Core Strategy, during the old Salisbury District Local Plan that area of land was allocated as employment land to serve Mere.  Jeans confirmed that he wanted to stay neutral on this subject as he was representing both Mere Town Council & Zeals Parish Council but he said he was not aware of the leaflet that had been published by Zeals Parish Council.

*c) Minute Ref 335c) Review of Council priority projects and issues (attached) – the Chairman reported that he had amalgamated the results from Councillors individual priorities and he gave out the results of top five projects and lowest five projects. He said that he would like to start, in the coming year, to gauge public opinion via focus groups and he would make this as an agenda item in the future to try and guide us in our future programme of work so that we have a working set of priorities.  It was pointed out that other factors such as Health & Safety and funding would obviously have an influence on the order of priorities for these projects.

  1. d) Minute Ref: 335d) Expression of interest to enter into negotiations with Wiltshire Council for the purpose of either purchasing or renting the Mere Salt Depot – The Chairman confirmed that the Clerk had written to Wiltshire Council because we are aware that a new salt depot is being built elsewhere and that the Mere Salt Depot may become surplus to requirements and therefore subject to asset disposal. Wiltshire Council had confirmed that once the construction had been completed they would follow the surplus procedure which will include an opportunity for the Town Council to get involved in the review process. The Clerk said that she thought the surplus procedure was quite complicated but it was felt that at least Wiltshire Council were now aware of our interest.
  2. e) Minute Ref: 336 b) The future of Mere Chamber of Trade – Hazzard confirmed that he had held an informal meeting with some people to try and find out if there is a relevance for the Chamber of Trade and the outcome was that there would be a social event for businesses to be held in February 2024.

 

  1. Reports & Consultations
  2. a) Wiltshire Councillors Report – Jeans reported that the Cranborne Chase & West Wiltshire Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (CCWWD AONB) has now been renamed as the Cranborne Chase National Landscape. With reference to the recent Area Board meeting it was announced that Wiltshire Council will be clamping down on flyposting and will fine people/organisations for flyposting. Cllr. Jeans said he was also slightly annoyed that the Highways Representatives at the meeting denied any knowledge of having been made aware of the atrocious highway surface conditions along Shaftesbury Road and in West Knoyle prior to the Area Board meeting.  The Clerk said that she would submit copies of the previous correspondence on these matters to the relevant highways officers as evidence of our urges to take action.

*b) Project Co-Ordinator’s report (reports attached) – Roger Pipe was present at the meeting and gave a verbal report on various projects but concentrated discussion on the footpath 50/66 improvement project as there were now complete costings to consider and some urgency in making a decision on this project in order to secure the grant of £35,000 that had been assured by Wiltshire Council towards this project.  There was a long discussion about this and eventually unanimously agreed to proceed with the option of resurfacing the whole length of the footpath from Clements Lane to Angel Lane but to only provide the electrical lighting from Clements Lane to Lordsmead where solar lighting is not feasible at an estimated cost of £70k to the Town Council + £35k from Wiltshire Council and to see if we can provide solar lighting to the rest of the footpath at a later date. (Cllr. Jeans asked for consideration to be given for the contract to include for spare lighting fixtures and fittings).

 

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

 

Application No: PL/2023/09341
Application Type: Householder planning permission
Proposal: Addition of single storey double garage.
Site Address: Mere Down House, Mere, Warminster, BA12 6AT
Planning Register Link: https://development.wiltshire.gov.uk/pr/s/planning-application/a0i3z00001BtPu3

RESOLVED to recommend approval of the above application.

Application No: PL/2023/06825 – Amended Plans

 

Application Type: Householder planning permission

 

Proposal: Removal of the existing roof, increase pitch and form new roof with dormers

 

Site Address: WHITEHILL HOUSE, SWAINSFORD, MERE, WARMINSTER, BA12 6JU

 

Planning Register Link: https://development.wiltshire.gov.uk/pr/s/planning-application/a0i3z00001BLYeT

 

 

RESOLVED to recommend approval of the above application.

 

Application No: PL/2023/09802
Application Type: Notification of proposed works to trees in a conservation area
Proposal: Beech tree – reduce height to 9.1m (30ft)
Site Address: LAWRENCES, OLD HOLLOW, MERE, WARMINSTER, BA12 6EG
Planning Register Link: https://development.wiltshire.gov.uk/pr/s/planning-application/a0i3z00001BDqpY

 

RESOLVED to recommend approval of the above application.

 

  1. Highways, Rivers, Footpaths, Traffic & Transport
  2. To identify jobs for the Parish Steward, Sparkle Team and MyWiltshire reports – It was reported that gravel & loose material has been washed out from a driveway of a house onto Pettridge Lane and causing a hazard.

 

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

No agenda items

 

  1. Finance, Policy & Resources

*a)  Payments – The schedule of payments as distributed at the meeting was approved.  The Clerk pointed out that the payment to Cumbria Clock Company would be withheld until the chiming mechanism for the clock was working properly.

  1. b) To note the reconciliations for October 2023; the Chairman to sign and verify against the bank statements – the Chairman confirmed that he had signed and verified the reconciliations against the bank statements.

 

*c) To adopt recommendations made by Budget Meeting, as shown in Minutes of Budget Meeting held on Wednesday, 22nd November 2023 (Minutes attached) – Cllr. Mrs. Symonds pointed out that the level of reserves was now quite low and wanted to ensure that all councillors were aware of this.  Cllr. P. Coward said that members had felt it was better to reduce reserves rather than increase the precept by a large amount. The Clerk said that it would come as no surprise to members to learn that she was concerned about the reduction of reserves in certain areas and that she would be discussing this with the internal auditor in the interim meeting to be held later this month and having re-read the practitioners guide was thinking that it may be a good idea for the Town Council to introduce a 5-year budget plan in order to help address some of these concerns.   Members generally felt that this would be a good idea.  In the meantime, the Council unanimously adopted the recommendations made by the Budget Meeting as shown in the Minutes of the Budget Meeting held on 22.11.23.

  1. d) To approve Precept on Wiltshire Council for 2024/25 – RESOLVED to approve a Precept of £199,076.56 for 2024/25 on proposal made by Cllr. P. Coward, seconded by Cllr. A. Colman and carried with a unanimous vote. The Clerk was authorised to submit the precept form via email to Wiltshire Council.
  2. e) CCLA (report on meeting held and make recommendations for investment) – deferred

 

  1. General Items

 

Briefing Notes: (All attached)

Briefing Note 23 – 32 Response to recent Council Climate Action Scorecards

Briefing Note 23-36, Coronation Living Heritage: Coronation Orchards

Briefing Note 23-37: Simpler Recycling for household and business recycling in England

Briefing Note 23-35, Christmas FUEL Programme Update

 

  1. Future meetings and events

It was agreed that the January meeting would be held on Monday, 15th January 2024

 

  1. Future agenda items

None

 

Meeting closed at 8.23 pm

 

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

Agenda for Town Council meeting to be held on Monday, 15th January 2024

Mere Town Council

Town Clerk – Mrs. L. C. Wood

10th January 2024

 

Dear Councillor,

 

You are summoned to a meeting of Mere Town Council to be held on Monday, 15th January 2024 at 7.00 pm in the Andy Young Pavilion, Duchy Manor, 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.

2.1 To receive declarations of interest from councillors on items on the agenda

2.2 To receive written requests for dispensations for disclosable pecuniary interests (if any)

2.3 To grant any requests for dispensation as appropriate

A request for dispensation must be made on an individual basis

 

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 December 2023 be approved as a correct record. (attached)

 

  1. Matters Arising from Public Session

 

  1. Matters Arising from previous Meetings (not covered by other agenda items)

*a)  Minute Ref: 344b) Community Governance Review (see Clerks Report)

 

  1. Reports & Consultations
  2. a) Wiltshire Councillors Report
  3. b) Project Co-Ordinator’s Report (report attached)

 

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

 

Application No: PL/2023/09919
Application Type: Full planning permission
Proposal: Erection of WC hut, construction of access track and area of hardstanding (Retrospective)
Site Address: Land at Woodlands Road, Mere, Wilts, BA12 6JT
Planning Register Link: https://development.wiltshire.gov.uk/pr/s/planning-application/a0i3z00001BDwbO

 

Application No: PL/2023/10288
Application Type: Full planning permission
Proposal: Erection of a timber studio for use in association with donkey sanctuary and to provide holiday accommodation (retrospective)
Site Address: Land at Wet Lane, Mere, BA12 6BA
Planning Register Link: https://development.wiltshire.gov.uk/pr/s/planning-application/a0i3z00001CFARM

 

Application No: PL/2023/10700
Application Type: Listed building consent (Alt/Ext)
Proposal: Replace rotten kitchen window
Site Address: The House, Salisbury Street, Mere, Warminster, BA12 6HE
Planning Register Link: https://development.wiltshire.gov.uk/pr/s/planning-application/a0i3z00001CFSJo

 

Application No: PL/2023/10666
Application Type: Householder planning permission
Proposal: Demolition of store to rear of ground floor and construction of new extension at 1st floor over existing ground floor rooms.
Site Address: Beech Cottage, Chetcombe Road, Mere, BA12 6AX
Planning Register Link: https://development.wiltshire.gov.uk/pr/s/planning-application/a0i3z00001CFRVZ

 

Application No: PL/2023/10999
Application Type: Notification of proposed works to trees in a conservation area
Proposal: T1 Horse Chestnut. Tree is close to the neighbouring property and has a large sub-dominant stem. Reduce height by 2-3 metres and reduce the lateral spread by 2-3 metres. General pruning to round over and balance the trees shape.
Site Address: THE OLD RECTORY, CHURCH STREET, MERE, WARMINSTER, BA12 6DS
Planning Register Link: https://development.wiltshire.gov.uk/pr/s/planning-application/a0i3z00001CFkNy

 

Application No: PL/2023/10789
Application Type: Householder planning permission
Proposal: Single Storey Extension to East Elevation to Provide Family Room and Farm Office.
Site Address: Downs View Farm, Limpers Hill, Mere, Warminster, BA12 6BD
Planning Register Link: https://development.wiltshire.gov.uk/pr/s/planning-application/a0i3z00001CFYmT

 

Application No: PL/2023/11168
Application Type: Notification of proposed works to trees in a conservation area
Proposal: I propose to reduce 1 large Birch tree back to the previous (25% Reduction), to control the size and shape. I propose to reduce the height of 1 large Cotoneaster tree by approximately 6ft and shape the sides to keep the natural shape. I propose to reduce 1 Maple tree by 25% to control the size and shape.
Site Address: LINDEN HOUSE, CASTLE STREET, MERE, WARMINSTER, BA12 6JH
Planning Register Link: https://development.wiltshire.gov.uk/pr/s/planning-application/a0i3z00001CFxtt

 

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

 

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

*a) To approve wording and signage for Permissive Path through Duchy Manor (see Clerks Report)

 

  1. Finance, Policy & Resources

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

  1. b) To note the bank reconciliations for November 2023; the Chairman to sign and verify against the bank statements seen

*c) To consider amendment to Council Tax Base and the affect this has on approved precept (see Clerks Report)

  1. d) To consider interim Internal Audit report (report attached)
  2. e) To review Annual Investment Strategy (Strategy document attached)

*f) To consider investment in CCLA (see Clerks Report)

  1. g) To consider Biodiversity Duty and Draft Biodiversity Policy & Action Plan (draft attached)

 

  1. General Items

 

  1. Future meetings and events
  2. a) SW Wiltshire LHFIG meeting 7.2.24 at 2.00 pm at The Nadder Centre, Weaveland Road, Tisbury.
  3. b) Cranborne Chase National Landscape Annual Forum 2024 – Wednesday, 28th February 2024 between 10 am – 4 pm at Dinton Village Hall.
  4. c) The Great Panto Puzzle, United Reform Church, Mere. Monday, 22nd January at 2.00 pm

 

  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:

 

Submission of Annual Return for Mere Peace Memorial Sports & Recreation Ground Charity for Financial Year End 31.3.23

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Agenda for Town Council meeting to be held on Monday, 4th December 2023

 

Dear Councillor,

 

You are summoned to a meeting of Mere Town Council to be held on Monday, 4th December 2023 at 7.00 pm in the Andy Young Pavilion, Duchy Manor, 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.

2.1 To receive declarations of interest from councillors on items on the agenda

2.2 To receive written requests for dispensations for disclosable pecuniary interests (if any)

2.3 To grant any requests for dispensation as appropriate

A request for dispensation must be made on an individual basis

 

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 November 2023 be approved as a correct record (attached). For the Annual Budget Committee to approve the Minutes of the Annual Budget Meeting held on Wednesday, 22nd November 2023 (attached).

 

  1. Matters Arising from Public Session

 

  1. Matters Arising from previous Meetings (not covered by other agenda items)
  2. a) Minute Ref: 330 a) – Update on proposals/suggestions for Community Garden location –
  3. b) Minute ref: 330c) Community Governance Review (CGR) – Pre-Consultation – Information Gathering Survey (in Clerks Report)

*c) Minute Ref 335c) Review of Council priority projects and issues (attached)

  1. d) Minute Ref: 335d) Expression of interest to enter into negotiations with Wiltshire Council for the purpose of either purchasing or renting the Mere Salt Depot –
  2. e) Minute Ref: 336 b) The future of Mere Chamber of Trade

 

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

*b) Project Co-Ordinator’s report (reports attached)

 

  1. Planning
  2. a) Applications for consultation response:
Application No: PL/2023/09341
Application Type: Householder planning permission
Proposal: Addition of single storey double garage.
Site Address: Mere Down House, Mere, Warminster, BA12 6AT
Planning Register Link: https://development.wiltshire.gov.uk/pr/s/planning-application/a0i3z00001BtPu3

 

Application No: PL/2023/06825 – Amended Plans

 

Application Type: Householder planning permission

 

Proposal: Removal of the existing roof, increase pitch and form new roof with dormers

 

Site Address: WHITEHILL HOUSE, SWAINSFORD, MERE, WARMINSTER, BA12 6JU

 

Planning Register Link: https://development.wiltshire.gov.uk/pr/s/planning-application/a0i3z00001BLYeT

 

 

Application No: PL/2023/09802
Application Type: Notification of proposed works to trees in a conservation area
Proposal: Beech tree – reduce height to 9.1m (30ft)
Site Address: LAWRENCES, OLD HOLLOW, MERE, WARMINSTER, BA12 6EG
Planning Register Link: https://development.wiltshire.gov.uk/pr/s/planning-application/a0i3z00001BDqpY

 

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

 

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

 

  1. Finance, Policy & Resources

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

  1. b) To note the reconciliations for October 2023; the Chairman to sign and verify against the bank statements seen

*c) To adopt recommendations made by Budget Meeting, as shown in Minutes of Budget Meeting held on Wednesday, 22nd November 2023 (Minutes attached)

  1. d) To approve Precept on Wiltshire Council for 2024/25
  2. e) CCLA (report on meeting held and make recommendations for investment)

 

  1. General Items

 

Briefing Notes: (All attached)

Briefing Note 23 – 32 Response to recent Council Climate Action Scorecards

Briefing Note 23-36, Coronation Living Heritage: Coronation Orchards

Briefing Note 23-37: Simpler Recycling for household and business recycling in England

Briefing Note 23-35, Christmas FUEL Programme Update

 

  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

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

Minutes of a meeting of Mere Town Council held on Monday, 6th November 2023

Mere Town Council

Town Clerk – Mrs. L. C. Wood

 

Minutes of a meeting of Mere Town Council held on Monday, 6th November 2023 at 7.00 pm at Duchy Manor, Springfield Road, Mere, Wiltshire.  BA12 6EW. 

 

Present:  Councillors John Jordan (Chair), Glen Ings (Vice-Chair), Debbie Beale, Nick Beale, Aubrey Colman, Rodney Coward, Rachael Hansford, Raymond Hill, George Jeans, Linden Stone, Lesley Traves

Also Town Clerk, Lindsey Wood & Project Co-Ordinator, Roger Pipe + 1 member of public

 

 

Public Session

Clive Hazzard pointed out that the Friends of Mere Museum were looking for new members to join the committee.

Clive Hazzard also wanted to take this opportunity to thank the Chairman of the Town Council for sorting the issues with river cleaning. The Chairman said that he would pass on these thanks to the volunteers involved.

Clive Hazzard also wanted to congratulate all involved in the Firework Display arranged by the Friends of Mere School and wondered if we might be able to help them with the provision of more toilets if they do the event again next year.  The Chairman agreed and said that he was going to write to the committee and congratulate them and would ask them to take on board the toilet provision and perhaps some more police presence may be helpful too.  The Chairman also pointed out that he had been to visit residents in the Edgebridge area to talk about rumble strips etc and they were very pleased to be asked for their opinion.

 

  1. Apologies for absence received from Cllrs. Philip Coward, Glen Ings and Mrs. K. Symonds.

 

  1. To receive any declarations of disclosable pecuniary interests and other interests from Councillors on matters to be considered at the meeting.
  • Hill declared a personal interest in Minute No. 334c)
  • Jeans declared a personal interest in Minute No. 332a) Planning Application PL/2023/08979

 

  1. Minutes RESOLVED that the Minutes of the Town Council meeting held on 2nd October 2023 be approved as a correct record. (attached)

 

  1. Matters Arising from Public Session
  • None

 

  1. Matters Arising from previous Meetings (not covered by other agenda items)
  2. a) Minute Ref: 297 a) – Update on proposals/suggestions for Community Garden location – the Chairman confirmed that he had received a response from the PCC on the suggestion of establishing a community garden in their field in Angel Lane and their answer was a definite ‘no’ in perpetuity. Therefore, the Chairman was wondering about suggesting other property – two pieces of land were given as suggestions which could be accessible with a separate access – one being the triangle of land at the top of the Meads adjacent to the Eric Mitchell Way path which belongs to the Duchy of Cornwall and the other being the triangle of land at the bottom of the cemetery.  It was pointed out that both areas would probably be extremely wet and boggy in the winter but it may be possible to overcome this with the use of raised beds etc.  The Chairman said that he would communicate with the people who wanted to set up the Community Garden.
  3. b) Minute Ref: 265 a) – To authorise the execution of the following documents:
  • Deed of Variation relating to Public Conveniences at Salisbury Street Car Park, Mere between Wiltshire Council & Mere Town Council
  • Licence relating to EV charging spaces at Salisbury Street Car Park, Mere between Mere Town Council and Econetiq Alpha Ltd
  • Operating Agreement relating to EV charging spaces at Salisbury Street Car Park, Mere between Mere Town

The Chairman confirmed that all the documents had been received and the Clerk confirmed that the two leases for the car parks had also been received this morning.  It was therefore agreed that the Chairman & Vice-Chairman should sign all the lease and licence documents for return to the solicitors.

*c) Minute ref: 299 a) Community Governance Review (CGR)  – Pre-Consultation – Information Gathering Survey (in Clerks Report) – Cllr. Jeans abstained because he wishes to remain impartial on this issue.  The Chairman reported that he and the Clerk had attended a pre-consultation meeting via Zoom and he had visited the occupiers of Norwood House who didn’t actually realise that they lived in Zeals.  It would appear that Zeals Parish Council are mounting a petition & there has been some negativity on social media. The Governance Review Committee have an online survey for people to log on and say whether or not they support the proposal so I would urge you all to submit a comment.

 

  1. Reports & Consultations
  2. a) Wiltshire Councillors Report – Jeans said that most of the items he was going to mention are itemised on the agenda and so he will speak during the relevant items instead of giving a report.

*b) Project Co-Ordinator’s Report (attached) – with reference to the written report that was distributed to members prior to the meeting, Roger Pipe confirmed that there was a slight update from Enerveo in that in now looked as though it may be necessary to get Southern Electric to carry out the infrastructure work to install the cabling as it would be necessary to cross private land and only they had the statutory power to do that.

In respect of the public toilets, questions were asked relating to Radar Key accessible toilets, vandal resistant equipment, the likely tender process.

In respect of the Footpath 50/66 work, questions were asked about options to provide lighting via solar energy.  Roger explained that there were issues with this as there were areas of the footpaths that are under cover and not enough light would get in.

 

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

 

Application No: PL/2023/08979
Application Type: Listed building consent (Alt/Ext)
Proposal: Carry out alterations to provide improved staff facilities.
Site Address: F J CHALKE LTD, SALISBURY STREET, MERE, BA12 6HE
Planning Register Link: https://development.wiltshire.gov.uk/pr/s/planning-application/a0i3z00001BDiC4

RESOLVED to recommend the above planning application for approval.  As Cllr. Jeans had declared a personal interest in this application, he refrained from discussion or voting.

Application No: PL/2023/09245
Application Type: Advertisement Consent
Proposal: Replace dated existing window graphics with new printed vinyl graphics and add small box sign to existing fascia signage.
Site Address: Queen Victoria Hall, The Square, Mere.  BA12 6DJ
Planning Register Link:  https://development.wiltshire.gov.uk/pr/s/planning-application/a0i3z00001BtJBp

RESOLVED to recommend the above application for approval.

*b) Consultation on Wiltshire Local Plan Pre-Submission Draft 2020-2038 (report circulated to members 30.10.23 via email) – the Chairman thanked the Clerk for providing the information in the report that was submitted to members.  He confirmed that all the consultation documents were now available in Mere Library an that several Mere residents had raised some enquiries with Wiltshire Council officers that had generated responses and correspondence.  However, the consultation was not so much about the content but more about the legal compliance of the draft plan in the sense that it should be consistent with national policy.  You will see that they have allocated 145 houses for the Mere area but there are a number of developments with extant permission that will affect these numbers and this figure will be reviewed in the HLSS review next year.  It does say that our existing infrastructure will not support any large developments although, of course, that does not rule out infill and smaller developments.

There were some diagrams in there showing Mere existing town centre boundary and proposed town centre boundary.  We were a bit shocked about these because they have drawn a dark line around what they call Mere Town Centre which cuts off Castle Street Car Park and various retail outlets.  Cllr. Jeans said he had questioned this but had been told that the boundary is supposed to delineate the retail element of the town only.  The Chairman said he was not wholly happy about this response as the line showing the shopping centre misses out about 8 or 9 shops within the town centre.  It was agreed that the Chairman would write to forward planning and point this out, asking for the rationale and validation behind the boundaries that had been put in these plans.

 

  1. Highways, Rivers, Footpaths, Traffic & Transport
  2. a) To identify jobs for the Parish Steward, Sparkle Team and MyWiltshire reports – the Clerk reported that the Parish Steward had carried out some path clearance along Clements Lane and filled some potholes in Denes Avenue today. The Clerk encouraged members to report the Manor Road surface issues on myWilts reporting pages.

*b) Wiltshire Bus Review (Consultation ends 10.11.23) – see Clerks Report & also Minutes of Shaftesbury & Gillingham Area Transport Forum meeting 19.9.23 (attached) – Councillors were urged to respond to the consultation online (link in Clerks Report) by 10th November.

 

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

*a) To approve/adopt Terms of Reference for football clubs (attached) – the Chairman reported that the football clubs have all seen these terms of reference and agreed to them.  RESOLVED to adopt the Terms of Reference for the football clubs.

  1. b) Mere Croquet & Boules Club – request to reduce rental due to reduced membership the Chairman confirmed that the club was struggling with membership numbers and did not have much in the way of reserves and he was therefore proposing that for this financial year and the next financial year that the Town Council should agree to a reduced rental of £250 p.a. instead of the agreed rental of £500 p.a. but thereafter it must return to the £500 per year previously agreed. Proposal approved.
  2. b) Evaluation of Sports Facilities – the Chairman pointed out that the Town Council managed a lot of sporting facilities for various activities and groups. Most of the groups were happy but there were others that were struggling and he therefore wondered if it would be a good idea to ask for a group of volunteers to assess our sporting facilities to gauge whether or not we are meeting demands and expectations. Cllrs. Sandra Catley, Aubrey Colman, Glen Ings & Lesley Traves agreed to meet up with the Chairman to consider the best approach for this assessment/evaluation.
  3. c) Gravedigging issues and cemetery regulations – Having declared a personal interest in this item, Cllr. Hill was asked to speak on the matter given his knowledge of the situation. He advised members that the gravediggers were facing a problem in the new cemetery in that it was no longer always possible to dig double-depth graves when the weather was wet. The Clerk suggested adding the following clause to the cemetery regulations: ‘Where a double-depth grave has been specified or purchased, every effort will be made to dig a double-depth grave but sometimes this is not possible for safety reasons and in those circumstances the Town Council will offer the family an adjacent grave space alongside so that they can have side-by-side single-depth grave spaces rather than a double-depth grave space.’  Concern was expressed over how this can work when people buy a grave in advance and it was agreed that in those cases, we would need to reserve the adjacent grave and if it is not needed then we could always use it afterwards.  It was also agreed that if graves are side-by-side instead of double-depth then the headstone could go mid-way between the two graves.  Concern expressed over the scenario where someone buys a grave space in advance.  In those cases we reserve the one next door and we can always come back and use that one at a later date if it transpired that it was possible to get a double-depth grave in the first one. If the graves are side-by-side then the headstone could go between the two.

*d) Street Tag Wiltshire (see email received 31.10.23) (attached) – members noted the information that had been circulated.

 

  1. Finance, Policy & Resources

*a)  Payments – RESOLVED to authorise payments as detailed in the schedule of payments distributed at the meeting. (attached)

  1. b) To note the reconciliations for September 2023 – the Chairman confirmed that he had signed and verified the reconciliations against the bank statements.

*c) Review of Council priority projects and issues (attached) – The Chairman distributed a spreadsheet amongst members and said that he was hoping that councillors would mark the list with an ‘H’ to identify four or five of their higher priorities so that this can be used to help councillors when deliberating the budget figures.  The spreadsheets were collected and it was agreed that the results would be given at the next meeting.

  1. d) Expression of interest to enter into negotiations with Wiltshire Council for the purpose of either purchasing or renting the Mere Salt Depot – the Chairman reported that the Clerk had noted the fact that Mere Salt Depot is likely to become surplus to requirement for Wiltshire Council as they have now procured land elsewhere to build a new a salt depot. We have taken the initiative therefore of writing to Wiltshire Council to express the Town Council’s interest, without prejudice, to enter into negotiations with them for the purposes of either purchasing or renting the depot in the event that they want to dispose of the asset.

 

  1. General Items & Consultations

*a) Consultation on possible changes to Wiltshire Council’s Council Tax Reduction Scheme 2024 onward (attached) – the Chairman explained that Wiltshire Council will be offering more reductions in line with the way that people get their benefits.  The important thing is to note is that this is likely to have an impact on the calculation of our tax base for the next financial year which, in turn, is a factor in calculating our precept.  It was hoped that we would receive the final figure in time to set the precept.

  1. b) The future of Mere Chamber of Trade – Cllr. Clive Hazzard explained that he had been drafted in as Chairman of the Chamber of Trade but stated that it had only two members and it was now either necessary to cease operation or regenerate the Chamber. He pointed out that the Mere Chamber does not really have the specialists or consultants that larger businesses can make use of but he wondered whether it might provide a benefit to some of the smaller businesses in Mere. He also felt that the Town Council overlapped in some aspects of Chamber of Trade activities and wondered if the Town Council could take more of a drive on this.  Members generally felt that a Chamber of Trade should exist in some format as it was a completely different voice to the Town Council and it was agreed that four or five councillors would get together with Cllr. Hazzard to discuss the matter further.

*c) Offer to join Rural Market Town Group FOC until end February 2024 and thereafter approx. £100 p.a. (email correspondence copied in Clerks Report) – it was agreed that as the Town Council’s subscriptions were sufficient for the time being.

 

Briefing Notes (all attached)

Briefing Note 23-26: Polling District and Polling Place Review in Wiltshire

Briefing Note 23-27 – Community Governance Review 2023/24

Briefing Note 23-28 – Police and Crime Panel

Briefing Note 23-29 – North Meadows Mitigation Strategy

Briefing Note 23-30 – Consultation on potential changes to Wiltshire Council Tax Reduction Scheme for working-age people

 

  1. Future meetings and events

South West Wiltshire Area Board meeting 29th November 2023 at 6.30 pm in East Knoyle Village Hall – the Chairman pointed out that this Area Board meeting would be discussing Highways with senior officers and members of Wiltshire Council with responsibility for Highways and he therefore anticipated that it would receive good attendance.

 

  1. Future agenda items
  • None

 

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 in Clerks Report or attached

 

 

Meeting closed at 8.42 pm

 

 

 

Minutes of a meeting of Mere Town Council held on Monday, 2nd October 2023

Mere Town Council

Town Clerk – Mrs. L. C. Wood

 

Minutes of a meeting of Mere Town Council held on Monday, 2nd October 2023 at 7.00 pm at Duchy Manor, Springfield Road, Mere, Wiltshire.  BA12 6EW. 

 

Present:  Councillors John Jordan (Chair), Glen Ings (Vice-Chair), Sandra Catley, Aubrey Colman, Rodney Coward, Rachael Hansford, George Jeans, Linden Stone, Kate Symonds & Lesley Traves

Also Town Clerk, Lindsey Wood & Project Co-Ordinator, Roger Pipe.  Also PC Tom Newman from Wiltshire Police & 5 members of the public

 

 

Public Session

Mr. R. Coombs, Treasurer of Mere Bowls Club spoke in support of their request for grant support towards the cost of drilling the Bowls Green [agenda item 10d)]

 

PC Tom Newman, Neighbourhood officer for Westbury & acting sergeant for the Mere & Tisbury Neighbourhood area.  Aware of ongoing ASB incidents at the Bowls Club, they have identified the suspects involved and will be speaking to them this week.  The person that has been riding around the parks on a motorbike has also been identified and is being dealt with.  PCSO Hunt has offered his apologies for not being able to carry out any drop-in sessions recently but hopefully he will be able to resume this and will also be able to do more foot patrols.  Cllr. Jeans mentioned the lack of police presence lately and PC Newman explained that the full complement of officers for this area should be 1 sergeant, 3 PC’s, 8 PCSO’s but at the moment there is 2 Police Officers and 4 PCSO’s so we are working at under 50% strength.  Cllr. Sandra Catley defended the police and said she felt there was good police presence when and where it was needed & the Clerk said that PCSO Stuart Hunt had been seen in Mere quite a lot lately.

 

  1. Apologies for absence received from Cllrs. P. Coward, R. Hill, D. Beale, N. Beale, C. Hazzard,

 

  1. Declarations of Interest – To receive any declarations of disclosable pecuniary interests and other interests from Councillors on matters to be considered at the meeting.
  • None Received

 

*318. MinutesRESOLVED that the Minutes of the Town Council meeting held on 4th September 2023 be approved as a correct record. (attached)

 

  1. Matters Arising from Public Session
  • None

 

  1. Matters Arising from previous Meetings (not covered by other agenda items)
  2. a) Minute Reference 306 – River Cleaning – the Chairman reported that the Council had taken advice from both Dorset & Wiltshire Wildlife Trusts and WWT has confirmed that we, as a Council, shouldn’t actually be clearing the river unless there is danger of flooding. However, given the fact that volunteers have come forward to help, the Chairman has met with Ian Sheppard to look at the scale of the work involved and it has been decided to proceed with some weed clearance work on the basis that the volunteers seek permission from the riparian owners to carry out work on their behalf.
  3. b) Minute Reference 306 – Suggestions for footpath naming ‘Mitchell Way’ or similar – the Chairman confirmed that Cllr. Hazzard had discussed the matter with Eric’s daughter who was very pleased and wanted it to be called the Eric Mitchell Way. The Chairman was therefore suggesting that we should name footpaths 50 and 66 the Eric Mitchell Way and put signs at either end when we carry out the work that our Project Manager will report on later. All agreed.
  4. c) Minute Reference 307a) – Traffic Management in Mere – report on Hazzards Hill residents consultation relating to parking and double-yellow lines – the Chairman reported that following a recent consultation exercise with residents on Hazzards Hill, the general response was for double yellow lines from the White Road turning down to Yapp Brothers (past the entrance) and the same the other side less an area for three parking bays outside the cottages but this could be staggered to include a length of double-yellow lines to allow for a pull-in between the parking bays. It was therefore agreed to include this in the Town Council’s submission to LHFIG.

*d) Minute Reference 307a) – Traffic Management in Mere – Clements Lane/Edgebridge – speed of traffic and pedestrians in roadway. (report attached)

8*b) Highway Improvement Request Form – request for barrier, bollards or railing to segregate pedestrians from traffic and speed signs to reduce the speed limit to 15-20 mph and traffic calming along Edgebridge. (form attached)

The Chairman said he was going to take agenda items 5d) & 8b) together as they were linked items and whilst he didn’t think it would be possible to produce barriers, bollards and railings to segregate pedestrians from vehicles, he had produced a report and a map which showed some improvements that he thought the Town Council might be able to instigate to help slow the traffic and warn drivers of pedestrians in the roadway.  The Chairman’s suggestion was to reinstate the SLOW marking on the road coming from the south direction (in fact this had been done thanks to a report submitted on MyWilts by a member of the public) and to introduce a similar SLOW marking on the road coming from Clements Lane with a sharp bend and signs saying pedestrians on highway (no footway) on both sides of the bend.  Other councillors felt that more action needed to be taken to physically slow traffic and it was unanimously agreed to suggest that rumble strips on the highway should be included in the submission to the Local Highways & Footpath Improvement Group (LHFIG).  There was then a discussion about whether or not the Town Council should produce evidence and data of speeds and traffic, but it was generally felt that this was unnecessary and that councillors & local residents could provide the evidence if required.

*e) Minute Reference 307d) – Wiltshire Towns Programme 2024-25 (report attached) – a DRAFT action plan was distributed to members and the Chairman invited comments.  Members were happy with the suggestions in the Draft Action Plan and it was agreed to submit this as Mere Town Council’s bid for the Wiltshire Towns Programme 2024-25 funding.

*f) Minute Reference307f) & 307g) – To agree terms for lease for Salisbury Street Car Park & Castle Street Car Park (see Clerks Report) – it was felt that the Town Council & Wiltshire Council had negotiated on the leases to a point where they could be signed off & the Chairman proposed that both leases be signed which as agreed on a vote of 9 for and 1 abstention (Cllr. Jeans abstained)

*g) Minute Reference 312e) – LHFIG Funding Model – response from Karen Linaker (see Clerks Report) – members noted the information in the Clerks Report.

 

  1. Reports & Consultations
  2. a) Wiltshire Councillors Report – Cllr. Jeans stressed the importance of taking part in the Wiltshire Local Plan Consultation and said that there were various events being held throughout the county as well as online, although you needed to register to take part in the online events. The Chairman asked Cllr. Jeans to take forward a complaint regarding the fact that the Local Plan documents were being made available to view in 17 libraries throughout Wiltshire and yet Mere library had not been included.

*b) Project Co-ordinator’s report (report, plans and visuals attached [5 attachments]) – The Town Council’s Project Co-Ordinator, Roger Pipe, was at the meeting and was able to explain, provide more detail and answer questions on the items in his written report – mainly about the footpath 50/66 improvement project and the refurbishment of the public toilets.  On the footpath 50/66 and the design proposals put forward by Enerveo for lighting, Roger confirmed that he was liaising with Paul Shaddock, Senior Traffic Engineer for Wiltshire Council on this scheme who was being supportive & has asked his street lighting team to view the scheme.  Roger did remind members that the work would require a footpath closure and that three months’ notice of this was required and so timing was going to be crucial. There was a question about running costs & maintenance costs for the lights and suggestions that the lights be put on timers so that they go out at a certain time and/or have sensors so that they get brighter.  The Chairman felt that the scheme would be a great benefit for Mere & thanked Roger for the work involved in getting this far.  On the subject of the public toilet refurbishments, Cllr. Colman said that he estimated this scheme would cost £100k and that, if this was the case, it would make sense to go out to national tender to get a company that would do all the work for us and provide us with a 10-year guarantee with a maintenance contract and a cleaning contract.  Cllr. Jeans asked if it would be possible to have a pay-to-use toilet that people could use at night if they were desperate even if it were a high charge – he said that if it was a high charge, say £1, then it would stop vandals from going in there but would enable someone who needed a toilet to use it if they wanted to.

  1. c) Report on South west Wiltshire Area Board meeting held on Wednesday, 20th September 2023 – Cllr Jeans confirmed that Mere Youth Football Club had received a grant which was approved under delegated powers and also he had asked the Police & Crime Commissioner for more police presence locally.
  2. d) Report on LHFIG meeting held on Wednesday, 6th September 2023 – It was reported that both Cllr. Debbie Beale & Nick Beale attended the meeting and reported to the Clerk that nothing relevant to Mere was discussed.
  3. e) Lynch Close Sheltered Housing Review – report on meeting held 13.9.23 – The Chairman reported that both he and Cllr. Jeans had attended this meeting which was called by the residents and had been attended by officers of Wiltshire Council as well. Subsequent newsletters had also been issued by Wiltshire Council.

 

  1. Planning
  2. a) Applications for consultation response:
Application No: PL/2023/07320
Application Type: Removal/variation of conditions
Proposal: Variation of condition 2 (approved plans) on 16/12085/FUL to allow for changes to materials and design
Site Address: Ashwell Nursery, Burton, Mere, Warminster, BA12 6BR
Planning Register Link: https://development.wiltshire.gov.uk/pr/s/planning-application/a0i3z00001C2emD

 

RESOLVED to send the following submission: This is a retrospective planning application for a barn that has been built.  Permission was given for a hay barn to be built on this site in early 2017 and a variation of condition – relating to materials (roof tiles) was submitted and approved later on in 2017.  The barn that has been erected has breached the planning approval in several respects – materials, height (it is nearly 3m higher) and design.  The Town Council’s opinion is that the barn that has been erected on the site is far too high and dominates the landscape creating an unacceptable visual impact.  It is also felt that a pedestrian door, window and two stories for an agricultural barn is unnecessary and superfluous making the building look non-agricultural, urbane and out of character.  Members felt that the barn should be rebuilt to the plans as specified in the planning approval granted under 16/12085/FUL and 17/08466/VAR.   If the planning authority is, however, minded to approve this variation then the Town Council feels extremely strongly that the following condition should be included:

Conditions: The agricultural barn as shown on the Site Plan (Drawing No.02 dated Aug 2023) shall be used for agricultural purposes only and shall be maintained for this use in perpetuity. No paraphernalia unrelated to the approved agricultural use of the barn shall be brought onto or stored within it.

In order not to compromise his position as Wiltshire Councillor, Cllr. Jeans abstained from voting on this matter.

  1. b) Reminder of Local Plan Consultation event – the Chairman reminded members that the local drop-in event was on Wednesday at the Nadder Centre, Tisbury.

 

  1. Highways, Rivers, Footpaths, Traffic & Transport
  2. a) To identify jobs for the Parish Steward, Sparkle Team and MyWiltshire reports.
  • Fill potholes in Denes Avenue
  • Fill potholes in Manor Road
  • Pothole on zebra crossing on White Road

 

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

Chairman informed members that work was taking place on quotations for the second phase of works in the new cemetery.

 

  1. Finance, Policy & Resources

*a)  PaymentsRESOLVED to authorise payments as detailed in the schedule of payments distributed to members.

*b) To note the bank reconciliation for August 2023 – the Chairman confirmed that he had signed and verified the reconciliations against the bank statements.

*c) To report on Completion of limited assurance review (external audit) for the year ended 31 March 2023 & Notice  of conclusion of audit. (see attached) – the Clerk confirmed that the audit had been signed off and Certificate of Completion received.  However, the Clerk said that she had made an error with the arithmetic which had let to an ‘except for’ matter being raised because Section 2 box 6 of the AGAR listed a capital expenditure item for a defibrillator at £1070 which should have been included in Section 2 box 9 of the AGAR (assets).  Members noted this and  thanked the Clerk for all the work involved in the audit process.

*d) To consider request for grant support from Mere Bowls Club (see attached) – members noted the letter received from Mere Bowls Club as well as the information given by Richard Coombs during the public session.  Cllr. Symonds felt it was a shame that the work had been sanctioned before this meeting. Cllr. Ings felt that the Town Council had recently said ‘no’ or provided minimal funds to various other sporting organisations asking for financial support and it was pointed out that there were funds available to sporting groups by Sport England and also from the South West Wiltshire Area Board.  The Chairman proposed that the Town Council should provide 10% or £400 as seed money for the Bowls Club to seek further funding from other organisations/bodies and this was approved with a vote of 9 for and 1 abstention.  (Cllr. Jeans abstained from voting as he is a member of the Bowls Club).

*e) Review of the policies, procedures and practices – Review of Freedom of Information Menu (see attached)RESOLVED that the Freedom of Information Menu be approved without amendment.

  1. f) To set date, membership and venue for Annual Budget Meeting – the Annual Budget Meeting was set for 22nd November 2023 to be held in the Andy Young Pavilion at 7.00 pm. The following councillors agreed to attend: Glen Ings, Rachael Hansford, George Jeans, Lesley Traves, Aubrey Colman, Sandra Catley, John Jordan + Clive Hazzard and Philip Coward if they are able to attend.

 

  1. General Items
  2. a) Request to appoint a representative of the Town Council forward as a Trustee to the Mere Lecture Hall Trust – Concern was expressed that if the Town Council puts someone forward as a Trustee for one Charity then we may get an influx of local charities asking us to put forward Trustees. However, Cllr. Sandra Catley said that she would happily volunteer to become a Trustee for the Mere Lecture Hall Trust and it was agreed to pass this information onto the Lecture Hall Trust.
  3. b) The future of Mere Chamber of Trade – Cllr. Clive Hazzard – deferred

 

Briefing Note 23-24: Workplace Health Support in Wiltshire  (attached) – noted.

 

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 8.28 pm