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Author: Lindsey Wood

Minutes of Annual Budget Meeting held on 14th December 2020

Mere Town Council

Town Clerk – Mrs. L. C. Wood

 

Minutes of the Annual Budget Meeting held on Monday, 14th December 2020 at 6.00 p.m. at Duchy Manor, Springfield Road, Mere. 

 

Present:  Councillors: C. Hazzard (Chairman), A. Colman, P. Coward, R. Hill, G. Jeans, J. Jordan, E. Mitchell & Mrs. L. Traves.

 

The Chairman of the Town Council, Cllr. Clive Hazzard Chaired the Meeting

 

Public Session – No members of public present

Apologies for absence – None received

 

 Declarations of Interest

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

 

The Chairman stated that at the last meeting, Cllr. Mrs. Traves asked that we try and make this meeting quick and concise.  Therefore, I hope that you have all carefully studied all the figures and notes that were provided prior to this meeting.  As the Clerk has helpfully pointed out, the draft figures show an increase of 5.36% but if we can lose £3000 then we would get this down to 3.49%.  However, I have been through some of the figures myself and have managed to get it down to 3.2% and so I am proposing that I go through those amendments with you and that we just spend our time discussing those and any other issues that you may particularly want to discuss:

 

Cllr. Jeans said that years ago, when he first joined the Town Council (then Mere Parish Council) they used to make a contribution towards street lighting.  He pointed out that there are currently 3 street lights out in Salisbury Street all in a row which is extremely dangerous.  There is also a gentleman that now has a new LED street light outside his bedroom window which is causing him a great deal of distress and I would like to get that modified but I cannot persuade Wiltshire Council to do this.  I would therefore like to put an argument forward to say that we might think about finding some money to help with street lights as I think that Wiltshire Council are likely to say, at some point “if we want it, we’ve got to pay for it”.  Cllr. Jordan said that there was recently a problem in Castle Street near his house and it was reported on the Wiltshire App and the problem was rectified satisfactorily within a fortnight.  Cllr. Hill said he thought the Town Council would need to be very careful about considering putting funding towards street lighting and both Cllrs. P. Coward and Mitchell agreed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Clerk provided the following notes for councillors to consider prior to the budget meeting:

 

DRAFT FIGURES ATTACHED:  The provisional tax base for 2021/22 has gone up from 1190.64 to 1208.76 which means that if we had the same precept as last year, it would make a difference of -£1.99 per Band D house or -1.50%.    On the draft figures I have prepared for you, as attached, the precept would be £168983.97 which would be an increase of 5.36%.  If it is any help, if we reduced this precept by £3000 there would be an increase of 3.49%

 

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 only have a year before we are likely to be capped.

 

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.

We were originally expecting the first phase of this funding in May/June 2019 but that didn’t happen and I have subsequently been wondering what the situation is with sales.  However, last week I received an updated electoral register and notice that 21 dwellings are listed as being occupied within the electoral register and so I will be writing to Wiltshire Council to ask for this funding a.s.a.p.

 

Towards the end of the Summer, I applied to Wiltshire Council for a Discretionary Covid-19 Business Grant on the basis that the Town Council had an overspend on its budget allocation on Health & Safety due to COVID-19 requirements and also on the basis that we would have a shortfall of sporting and sponsorship income throughout the year.  I am pleased to report that we received a grant of £8000 from Wiltshire Council.

 

 

 

 

 

NOTES ON DRAFT BUDGET SPREADSHEET

 

 

EXPENSES

ADMIN

Advertising – no comments

Audit Costs –Limited Assurance Regime & our external auditors are PFK Littlejohn LLP.  At present time audit fee depends on level of income/expenditure and whether or not there are any questions raised to the external auditor by members of the public etc.     We managed to stay just under the £200k last year and incurred audit fee of £400 but we are already over £200k we will have to have an intermediate review rather than a basic limited assurance review.  Obviously this requires more work to prepare more documents for submission to the auditors but will also incur a higher fee (£600 for income bracket £200k – £300k)   We did actually have an intermediate review this year but as this was requested by the external auditors and not imposed because of our income/expenditure then we were still only charged £400 for the year.   Suggest we budget £800 as they will impose hefty extra fees if there are lots of enquiries or questions from MOPs.  Committee agreed.

Bank charges – no comment

Election Costs – I had been led to believe that the Town Council would need to share the costs of the May 2017 election but no invoice has been received from Wiltshire Council.  However, if we have to have a by-election during the course of the year it could cost as much as £3500.  Three years ago, members agreed to reduce our reserves from £3500 to £500 and since then we have added £1000 to the reserves.  We have elections in 2021 – Wiltshire Council have not yet made a decision on whether they are willing to share election costs.  Suggest we budget a further £1000.  Committee agreed.

Hire of Rooms – no comment

Insurance – In 2019 we entered into a 3-year undertaking to stay with Came & Co.  Therefore, we would need to remain with them until June 2022.  The insurance claim on the Chapel break-in has been dealt with and the file is closed.  Also, I imagine that insurance may increase next year due to the fact that we have made a claim.  Suggest we keep budget at £4000 though.  Committee agreed.

Legal Services – We have reserves of £3750.  We have agreed to pay for extension of youth club lease and this requires legal fees + fees for surveyor to value the building.  Fees could be £2k in total.  We still need to pay legal expenses for renewal of leases for car parks and public toilets (we had received a quotation of £750 for this) but we have a problem here with the solicitor that we had been using.  If we are able to resurrect this I would suggest that we use Wellers Hedley – they will be more expensive but they will give us specialist Town Council advice.

We also have to pay for renewal of croquet club lease for which we have received a quote of £500 and so that brings our reserves down to £1500.  Our office lease expires next year and that will require legal expenses.  I suggest we budget £1000 to bring reserves back up.   Committee agreed.

Office equipment/services/stationery – We are having to pay more for internet security and anti-malware software etc.  This heading also covers things like printer cartridges, all stationery, servicing computers and software updates.  Revise reserves to £200 and increase budget to £750.  Committee agreed.

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 £1422.15. Last year we added a further £1800 to budget to allow for potential rate increase if Town Council were to take on admin area of the old Children’s Centre.  I don’t see any point in keeping that in reserve but I think it would be wise to budget for it in case it happens next year.  Committee agreed.

Subscriptions

South West Councils – £428

WALC – £864.33

Wiltshire Wildlife Trust- £36.00

CPRE – £36.00

Zoom – £119.90

SLCC – £234

Telephone/broadband expenses – No comment

Staff & Councillor training – No comment.

Travel Expenses – No comment

Data Protection Registration – No comment

 

ALLOTMENTS

Materials & repairs  – The Wellhead car park work was carried out last year and some of the residents made a contribution towards this work.  However, I would suggest that the Town Council should budget funds to build reserves so that this work can be carried 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.

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?  Reduce reserves to £235 to allow for new trough at Southbrook at end of financial year if reserves still available.  Budget £350 to build reserves for further work – either drainage for Southbrook or car park repairs for Wellhead- in future. Committee agreed.

Pest Control – no comment

Rentals – we agreed a £20 rental increase with the Duchy of Cornwall.  Our annual rental is £590

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.

 

ANDY YOUNG PAVILION

Equipment & Furniture – Three years ago we reduced reserves by £2000 to £450 although it was agreed that reserves would be replenished at the next budget meeting.  Since then we have replenished at £200 pa and now have £850.  Suggest we add a further £200.  Committee agreed.

Fencing & Security – Suggest we add £500 to make provision for external lighting and/or CCTV.  I can only suggest that we have bollards with solar panels (I think they have these at Visit Hillbrush) or high solar street lighting & cameras.  Obviously, we would not really want to spend much money on this until we know what is happening about the school car park extension proposals and whether or not they might include external lighting.  Committee agreed.

Footpaths & Car Park – We have £1920 in reserve and our ultimate aim is to tarmac the car park although this will cost a tremendous amount of money.  We don’t know what the intentions are regarding school expansion etc.  Suggest budget further £500 to add to reserves.  I am slightly concerned about this though, because it is a h & S hazard and we are responsible. Committee agreed.

Gas – no comment

Maintenance/Repairs – Over the last couple of years we have had fairly large maintenance/repair bills for the AYP.  Sewage pump repairs, boiler repairs, new boiler and this year we had the interior re-decorated.  The building was built in 2005 and is now 15 years old and we need to look after it or it will start to deteriorate.  Exterior could do with some attention – also could do with repairing vandalism damage.  Suggest we budget £1500 to start building decent reserves.  Committee agreed.

Cleaning Equipment/Materials – No comment

Water & Sewerage – No comment

Consumables – No comment

Fire Alarm Maintenance – We have just entered into a contract to maintain the fire alarm at £180 p.a.

 

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.  We have £1500 in reserve now.  Suggest we budget a further £750.  Committee agreed.

 

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

 

BUILDINGS

Chapels – Chapels are in a state of dilapidation/structural movement is a possible issue.  The broken windows to the south chapel have been repaired and are looking extremely smart.  Total cost is £11564.14 + VAT.  Our insurance claim is covering £9038.14 of the cost and the Town Council has agreed to pay the remainder because some of the windows were damaged prior to the break-in.  Therefore, I have revised the reserves accordingly and this will leave us £2500 in reserve.  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 don’t have a large array of tools in the chapel, we do have a ride-on mower in there and bars might be a deterrent to anyone thinking about breaking the windows.  The Grounds Staff have suggested that the doors might need replacing/refurbishing for both chapels as they are looking a bit tatty. I suggest we should amend reserves to £2500 and budget a further £1000 to start building up a building repair fund for the two chapels.  Committee agreed.

Clock Tower – the Town Council spent nearly £16k refurbishing the Clock Tower during 15/16 financial year which diminished reserves.  Reserves should be built back up again and now stand at £3400.  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.  I have also had two requests (one last year and one this year) for a night silencer to be put on the clock and we had a quotation for this at £1500 last year.    Suggest budget a further £1000 or £2500 if you think the night silencer should be added.  Committee agreed to budget a further £1000.

Clock Tower Island – Reserves now stand at £1090.  Budget another £200 to add to reserves again? Committee agreed.

Jubilee Garden Walls & path – We have been building reserves so that we can get the walls repointed and get the walkway re-tarmaced – reserves currently stand at £6125.  Initial estimates for the wall repairs were in the region of £1000 and we have just considered quotations for the walkway at an average price of £4500.  Therefore, it would seem that we have sufficient funds for the current project.

Pennybank Lane Walls – Three 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.    We have reserves of £2800.  Suggest budget a further £200.  Committee agreed. Members agreed that rebuilding the wall at some point should be a subject for future Full Council discussion.

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 have reserves of £1000 – suggest we budget a further £500 to add to reserves. Committee agreed.

Huntsgatge Play Area Walls & railings – We would like to do some work to the railings to make them sturdier.  Suggest we add £300 to build reserves. Committee agreed.

Horticultural Shed – We have reserves of £785.  The wooden part of the shed could do with a lick of paint/preservative.  Suggest we add £300 to build reserves. Committee agreed.

Office – we have £800 in reserves.  We added windows some years ago.  Suggest we budget a further £200 to build reserves for any major projects we may want to do here.  Committee agreed.

Telephone Kiosk, The Square – we have £100 in reserve.  The telephone kiosk was all painted in 2018.  Not aware of any need for refurbishment/repair.  Suggest we add £50 to reserves. Committee agreed.

 

CAPITAL PROJECTS

Vehicle & trailer – We purchased the Mitsubishi in 2015 for £5850.  I have no reason to believe it is on its last legs but money should be budgeted for replacement in due course.  We purchased the RTV + small trailer last year at a cost of £16k.  We used up all our reserves last year.  Suggest we need to start building reserves to replace the Mitsubishi in the future.  Recommended budget of £3000.  Committee agreed.

Litter bins – we have recently moved the dog poo bin from Waterside and moved it to Clements Lane (we already had a litter bin in Waterside).   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 Edgebrridge/Walnut Road area and with the new development at Woodlands Road – this is likely to be more of a demand.  Suggest retain reserves of £640 and budget a further £200. Committee agreed.

Grounds machinery & equipment – We used up all our reserves last year.  It should be noted that if the ride-on mower and tractor need replacing then it would cost a huge amount of money.  We need to start building reserves again quite rapidly.  Suggest budget £5000.  Committee agreed.

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 this year.  This was justified as Clerk applied for a business support grant and received it.  Laptop, television and equipment for Zoom meetings was purchased this year.  Suggest we keep reserves of £1000 and budget a further £200 for replacement equipment as and when necessary. Committee agreed.

Seats & benches – the Town Council’s policy is to have these donated.  We have had none donated this year although I am exploring the notion of installing one in memory of John Hancock in Woodlands Road.

Xmas Lights – We have £600 in reserve for new/replacement lights.  We have just had to replace one string this year at a cost of £133.20. Suggest no budget. Committee agreed.

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 quite old and some of it has had to be removed this year.  Two years ago members agreed that funds should be budgeted in order to consider replacement in the future. It could be possible to use off-site S.106 funds for this.  Suggest budget £500 to add to reserves of £2250.  Committee agreed.

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 not sure time would allow for administrating this project in the near future.  Suggest budget £700.  Committee removed budget allocation.

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.  We have some R2 money reserved for this project and I had proceeded to get quotations and drawings so that I could submit grant applications for the project.  However, the whole project has now been scuppered because Mere School want to use the area for a new walkway to get safer access to the school.  Very disappointed about this and I feel that if this project goes ahead, we should ask for compensation from Wiltshire Council for the £3880 that we spent in filling in the swimming pool.  This would make a big difference to our budget/precept figures.  Is the project abandoned?  We may lose the R2 funding!

Public Access Defibrillator –Last year 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 £250.  Budget a further £250. Committee agreed.

Storage containers for grounds equipment/staff – Last year we amended our reserves to £5000 and then budgeted a further £2000 for storage containers to make a new compound for the grounds staff at Townsend.  The storage containers ended up costing £8000.  Therefore, we used up all the budget although I am not aware that we need more containers.  However, we do need to consider making some kind of storage for a fuel tank on the site.  Suggest we budget a further £1000. Committee agreed.

Speed Indicator Device – I am not aware of the need to purchase a new SID at the present time.

Snow Blade – no comment.  Committee recommended to remove reserves of £250.

Bunded Fuel Tank – we need to purchase a bunded fuel tank to keep on the Townsend Nursery site.  Not really sure on cost.  Will it need to sit on a concrete pad?  It will need to be in some kind of secure facility.  What about rental of space? Committee agreed to budget £1000 and raise this as a future agenda item for Full Council.

Nail Gun – this is on the groundsman’s wish list

PTO driven chipper – this is on the groundsman’s wish list.  Recommend budget £1500.  Committee agreed.

Machinery & tool replacements within insurance claim – most replacement have now been purchased although there are three or four items still to purchase (cost approx. £750).  Revise reserves to £750.  Committee agreed.

 

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.  I believe that the bill to stop business rates on public toilets has now been passed through parliament and so we shouldn’t have to pay rates on the public toilets.  However, it is difficult for me to know how much of the rates bill related to the toilets and how much to the car park so I can’t say how much of a reduction we might see (if any!).

Maintenance – Last year we had some pointing work done to the walls around the Castle Street Car Park at a cost of £700.  However, A. McCann says 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.  We have reserves of £3700 and suggest we budget a further £500 to add to reserves. Committee agreed.

 

CASTLE HILL

Flags – we purchased two flags this year at a cost of £328.  Suggest we retain reserves of £270 and budget a further £500.  Committee agreed.

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.  Suggest budget a further £200 to add to reserves of £1215. Committee agreed.

Grass seeds & weed control – no comment

Maintenance of floodlight – no comment

Rentals – no comment

Signs/information boards – no comment

Gates/fences & footpaths – the grounds staff have re-set the steps at the back of Castle Hill this winter.  Concerned about the amount of repair work that needs to be done to the fencing. On Castle Hill & Long Hill.  Grounds Staff have identified this as possible in-house job.  Materials alone would be £500 minimum and hire of machinery would help.  However, our grazing license says that Goat Farmer is responsible for fencing repairs.?!?  Committee did not make comment on this and so it will be raised as a future agenda item for Full Council discussion.

Tree management – no comment

 

 

Castle Hill Environment Plan/HLS Scheme – There are no reserves remaining.  Margaret Fennelly from Natural England is applying for us to have a year’s extension to our HLS Scheme.  I don’t know yet what implications this will have on funding.  Suggest retain reserves of £120. Committee agreed.

 

CEMETERY

Refund of grave purchase fees – No comment

Rates – I have been concerned about a potential rate increase on the cemetery as indications from the valuation suggested that they would increase significantly.  Suggest we budget £1000 to cover sudden increase. Committee agreed.

Walls, railings & footpaths – The work carried out by the Youth Offenders Team on the railings a couple of years ago never got completed.  The grounds staff carried out some refurbishment work on the main footpath three 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.  but we did not think it was justified.  Funds should be budgeted to allow for this in the next 5 years or so though.  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.  We don’t know what to suggest. Clive and I also had an enquiry about replacing the wooden fence on the eastern boundary.  We now have reserves of £1580 and I suggest we budget a further £500 to allow for more work to the paths.  Committee agreed.  Discuss gates at future Full Council meeting.

Water Rates – No comment

Signs & Security – The solar light could do with refurbishing and we need an HD padlock for double gates.  Retain reserves of £265 and budget a further £235.  Committee agreed.

Tree Management – Suggest we get rid of the dead yew trees.  Should be sufficient in reserves for this. Committee agreed.

Ground & Weed Management – Grounds staff would like to remove some of the spoil  I would suggest that if we don’t get a large rate increase, then we use any surplus to remove some of the spoil.  Committee agreed.

Materials/Repairs – Retain reserves of £520 and budget a further £400. Committee agreed.

 

NEW CEMETERY

Fencing, gates & hedging – We need to think about layout, gates, access and water for the next phase of the new cemetery.  Are we going to move the fence and keep the hedge.  Are we going to plant a new hedge?  Grounds staff say that we need a new set of wooden gates at the top?  Will we need another water tap and if not, how will people get to the water tap?  There are a couple of piles of soil that the staff want to get rid of – one in the car park and one at top of new extension bit.  Get a digger and dumper and take it down to the bottom of the field and level it up.  Grounds staff asked if the grave diggers shouldn’t be taking away the muck?  What do other cemeteries do about this problem?  These issues to be discussed by Full Council at a future meeting.  In the meantime committee agreed to budget £1400.

New gates & drive –The Town Council has aspirations of installing a driveway and new gates into the new cemetery in line with the driveway and gates to the old cemetery but it admits that this would be an expensive project and probably not within reach given the current financial climate.  However, it was agreed to retain reserves of £1000 and make no further budget.  No budget again?  Committee agreed.

Water – No comment

Planting scheme – No comment

Litter bin – Could do with a litter bin in the new cemetery.  Put a dustbin in there.  No budget.  Committee agreed.

Lych Gate – Members have historically said that this was unviable financially.  However, they have requested that the heading remain in case the situation changes.

Drainage & paths – It has been agreed to start rebuilding reserves for the next phase of necessary drainage & path works.  As far as I am aware, all the strip that we are currently on is now drained?  Therefore, we have another 4 full rows which will give us 44 burials. (April 2018-March 2019 – 4, April 2019 – March 2020 – 9, April 20 – Nov. 20 – 15). The last lot of drainage work we did was in 2012 and it came to just under £10k.  We have £5k in reserve now.  I suggest we budget another £5k for the next lot of drainage work and get this project started next year. Committee agreed.  Cllr Jordan wanted to discuss the new cemetery and the amount of money that was being budgeted for drainage and footpaths and the urgency of starting work on the next phase of the cemetery extension given the fact that the Clerk had identified only 44 grave spaces remaining.  The Clerk explained that one of the reasons why the Town Council had recently used up a lot of grave spaces is because people are purchasing them in advance – this has been exacerbated by the fact that the local Funeral Directors have been promoting burial plans and also because family members have been buying plots so that they can be buried near their loved ones.  Cllr. Hill said that with respect to the drainage, he did not think it worked at all and that it was virtually impossible to drain the heavy clay ground effectively.  He felt that this was a complete waste of money.  He explained that the number of plots per row had been reduced from 13 to 11 recently but wondered if it would be better to revert to single graves rather than double graves from now on.  He also wondered whether or not the Town Council should amend its regulations and stop the burial or purchase of graves for non-parishioners.  It was agreed that this should be raised as an agenda item for the Full Council to consider at a future date.

Signage – I would like to install a smart noticeboard on the wide bit of grass between the two cemeteries.  I would like to put the cemetery rules and regulations on the notice board and our contact details.  Cost – approx. £500.  Committee agreed.

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) so this is not all football club usage.  Suggest we retain reserves of £580 and budget a further £800. Committee agreed.

Fire Alarm Maintenance – Would like to say that we have a bit of a concern about fire safety as there is now no alternative fire escape route and  the only way out of the changing rooms is through the corridor and the great big boiler with a naked gas flame is right next to the end of the corridor by the main door!

Gas – Three years ago the gas used in the changing rooms cost us £705.  Obviously, there has been no usage of the changing rooms so far this year yet, although I know that they are keen to re-start in January (whether or not they will be able to use the changing rooms is down to Govt. guidance).  I suggest we reduce reserves to £500 and budget £500 again for next year. Committee agreed.

Maintenance/Repair – Three years ago we removed £1000 from reserves leaving only £710.  It would be nice to get the changing rooms decorated in the near future as ceilings are all flaking and peeling.  Suggest we keep £900 in reserve and budget a further £500 to add to reserves to allow for maintenance/repairs and if enough left over towards end of next financial year, we get some decoration done. Committee agreed.

Water & sewerage – as Gas above.  I have noticed a reduction in water costs.  Suggest we reduce reserves and budget £250. Committee agreed.

Boiler Maintenance & water testing – We need to get an annual check and water test done on the big boiler that supplies the changing rooms.  Unfortunately, we are having difficulty finding contractors to do this.  Suggest we retain reserves. Committee agreed.

 

Community Resilience Group – We did spend some money on buying Hi-Vis vests for our volunteers and someone donated some hand gel for them too.  However, I put this expenditure down as COVID H&S expenses.  Do not see a need for expenditure and if it did arise we can take it from our grants & donations allocation. Committee agreed.

 

Croquet & Boules Club – The new lease is in the process of being prepared?!?.  I have retained reserves of £500 & suggest we budget a further £500 as I am slightly worried about the future of the club and am concerned that the Town Council is going to be left with an area of land that needs maintenance.  We have temporarily rectified a problem they had with their gate this autumn.  However, there are issues with a large beach tree to the left of the gate and incidentally, this is not on our tree register.  The committee recommended that the reserves of £500 be retained but that NO budget should be made.

 

DEFIBRILLATORS (Maintenance) – We spend an average of £300 a year on new parts and maintenance for the 2 defibrillators in the town.  Suggest we retain reserves of £150 and budget a further £300 for next year. Committee agreed.

 

DUCHY MANOR GROUNDS

Maintenance – We are responsible for the land down to the river at the bottom of the grounds, beyond the fence.  A few years ago we got contractors in to come and do some maintenance work and tree thinning, scrub clearance.  Suggest it probably ought to be done again although it could possibly be done ‘in-house’.  Grounds staff would also like to do some more clearance of the wooded area.  Also, would like to give ultimatum to football club to get rid of floodlights.  Get school gates painted.   Fence 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.  Obviously not going to get all this done in one year but suggest we start building funds and try and get some of these jobs done.  Therefore budget £500 to add to reserves of £1760.  Committee agreed.

Rates – No comment

Rentals – No comment

Security/Safety – No comment

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.

Tree Management – No comment

 

EVENTS – Events for this year did not go ahead as planned.  We have got things in place for Operation London Bridge.  Unlikely to have any major events before April.  Next major event is Queens Platinum Jubilee in 2022.  Suggest we budget £300 for any unforeseen events & if we don’t have any, it can go towards Platinum Jubilee celebrations. Committee agreed.

 

FINGERPOST SIGNS – We were successful in receiving a grant for £400 towards the refurbishment of one fingerpost sign last year and we are in the process of applying for a grant to refurbish another fingerpost sign this year.  However, the grants never quite cover costs so I suggest we budget £200 to cover extra costs. Committee agreed.

 

FLORAL ENHANCEMENTS – Grounds staff suggest using our Mere stone to raise the height of the flower bed at the bus-stop outside Balcony Cottages so that it is not so back-breaking to work on.  They would also like a water pump for bowser.  Suggest we increase reserves to £2600 to get this work done.  Would need to get permission from Highways and might need to apply for planning permission though?   Committee agreed to increase reserves but made no recommendation on raising height of flower bed which will need to be discussed by Full Council at future meeting.

 

FOOTPATHS

Footpath Group – this is the Footpath Group’s money

Seed money to tarmac Burton Footpath – We have £1700 in reserve to act as seed money to tarmac Burton Path.  Retain reserves.

 

Green Dog Code – No comment

 

GOUNDS EQUIPMENT

Small Tools & Equipment – No comment

Branded Work Clothing – No comment

 

 

GROUNDS EXPENSES

Fuel & Oil – No comment

Hedge cutting – if and when we buy another tractor we would be stupid not to buy one that couldn’t accommodate a hedge cutter and if we could buy a hedgecutter attachment we could do away with having contractors in.  Whilst this would not save us much money because contractors are not expensive, it would mean that we could keep the hedges tidier all year round rather than just a once a year cut and this would keep the general public a lot happier!

Hedge planting/gates/fences – Castle Hill Play Area needs a new gate (Mole Valley)

Play equipment repairs (in house) – No comment

Seats & benches (repairs & maintenance) – the benches in Jubilee Gardens are looking a bit tired.

Signs – no comment

Weed Control – no comment

Vehicle road tax & insurance – I have moved this heading from admin to grounds expenses as it is directly related to grounds.

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.  Sometimes 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.  Have budgeted £500 so that we could consider this.

 

GROUNDS MACHINERY – This section is for maintenance, service & repair costs only. Any new machinery or replacement machinery comes under capital purchase.

 

GROUNDS SUNDRIES – No comment

 

HEALTH & SAFETY

COVID-19 – Suggest we retain reserves of £200 and budget a further £400 for next year. Committee agreed.

Fire Safety – We need a new fire extinguisher for RTV. 

First Aid – No comment

Pest Control – No comment

Play Equipment Inspection – No comment

PPE – No comment

Tree Inspection – We paid £2000 for a professional tree inspection in 2017/18 financial year and we ought to have this done every 5 years, although, in theory, it shouldn’t cost us as much as the first one did because the first one entailed all the plotting & mapping, tagging & numbering etc.  The next inspection report will be due in 2021/22. Suggest we retain reserves of £1000 and budget a further £200 to get this work done in 21/22. Committee agreed.   (James has been on a visual tree inspection course and so is able to supplement the 5-yearly professional tree inspection and provide interim reports.)

Signs/barriers – 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 this year.  Suggest we have Andy Young Pavilion or Clock Tower done next year?  Retain reserves of £800 and budget a further £200. Committee agreed.

Legionella Risk Assessment – we have had this done this year.  Company called Aquamark have provided us with some training and a Water Management Logbook which I now need to find some time to read through and work out what we have to do!

 

HUNTSGATE (WALNUT ROAD) PLAY AREA – Last year, reserves were reduced to £1000 on the understanding that S.106 funding could be used for refurbishment of Walnut Road Play Area.  I have a number of quotations for the refurbishment works – coming in at an average of £50k, although these will all be out of date now.  With reference to the Clerks notes on the S.106 funding at the front of these minutes, members felt fairly confident that funding would be forthcoming during the 2021/22 financial year, if not before and therefore recommended that reserves should be removed altogether.

 

KINGSMERE/LONGHILL OPEN SPACE – Some of you may remember that when the Kingsmere estate was built and the open space was transferred to us, we were given a sum of money (as part of a S.106 agreement) to help us look after the land.  This money has now been used up and so it will now be necessary to think about allocating funds and setting budgets for this land:

Tree Works – Retain reserves of £470 and budget a further £200. Committee agreed.

Fencing & Hedge cutting – Retain reserves of £800 and budget a further £400. Committee agreed.

Water Supply – No comment

 

MUGA

Maintenance – There is a need for some fencing repairs as the youngsters have caused considerable damage climbing the fence to get in during lockdown.  We may be able to put some panels up ourselves using reserves we have of £1585. Committee agreed.

Floodlights – You will recall that we installed 1 LED light to replace one of the floodlights three years ago and this had been pretty successful and the Council had agreed to continue this programme as and when the floodlights stop working.  We also had to carry out some fencing replacement after a tree branch fell on the fence and we had to replace some of the floodlight electrical boxes because they were rusting out.  Retain reserves of £750 to carry out repairs as and when necessary.

 

NEIGHBOURHOOD PLAN

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

 

Payroll – discussed and Minuted under ‘CONFIDENTIAL BUSINESS’ at the end of this report.

 

 

PUBLICITY/TOURISM PROMOTION

Website – The Town Council’s website was renewed & reworked this year to comply with the new website accessibility requirements.  It still needs some input from me but we shouldn’t require much in the way of funding.  Retain reserves of £150 and budget £300 again.  Committee agreed.

 

PUBLIC TOILETS

Update on lease – It would appear that all lease work is on hold at Wiltshire Council as officers have been seconded onto other jobs.  The last stumbling block related to the proposal for EV charging points and the loss of 5 car parking spaces in each car park.

Security – We budgeted money to provide CCTV in the car park on the public toilets last year but not had time to deal with this.  I did get a quote from Partnership Security which came in at £945 for works & £70 for service contract.  However, I think it may be better to do this when the toilets have been refurbished?!?  Do you want to keep reserves of £1000.  Members recommended that the reserves should be removed as there may be an alternative solution.  Furthermore, vandalism had not been a problem since the toilets had been locked at night.

Refurbishment Costs – Three years ago we agreed to budget £11,771 in order to allow for refurbishment costs as identified by local builders and also to replace the Wallgate wash units.  We have been adding funds to these reserves each year to allow for inflation.  Clive and I have been talking about the idea of having self-locking toilets (like Shaftesbury) that lock at night.  We are coping reasonably well with one toilet although there were queues in the summer weeks when everyone was descending on the west country and I have not received one complaint about the toilets being locked in the evening.  Also, there has been much less hassle from a maintenance/cleaning/vandalism point of view.  I would therefore like to suggest that we re-think our refurbishment plans and do something a bit more radical.  i.e. convert toilets into two accessible multi-gender toilets and a caretakers room and reduce size of building footprint to allow for extra EV car parking/charging points.   Therefore, retain reserves of £13370 and budget a further £1000.   Members felt that this was an excellent idea and agreed that this should be discussed in greater detail by the Full Council.

Drainage Costs – Drainage works have been identified.  We have been adding funds to allow for inflation.  Suggest we keep reserves and add a further £500.  I feel that this work should be carried out in conjunction with the refurbishment or redesigning work and I have been reluctant to carry out any of this work without the lease in place – do you agree? Committee agreed.

 

RECREATION GROUND – the Recreation Ground generally is looking a bit tatty and could do with smartening up a bit.  Needs new sign as you come in the gates and new regulation sign as well.  Gates could do with painting.  Car Park area could do with sorting (see below).

Play Equipment – We have been adding funds to build up reserves for replacement play equipment.  The multi-purpose unit with slide is now extremely old and has required a number of repairs in recent years and the roundabout is not working.  We now have reserves of £3000 which would not be sufficient to replace any equipment.  However, I think it possible that we could use some of the S.106 off-site funds towards replacing equipment in the Recreation Ground so you may not want to budget extra.  Recommended to retain reserves of £3000 and budget £400. Committee agreed.

Signs – need new signs.  Suggest we retain reserves of £165 and budget a further £250.  Committee agreed.

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.  We now have £1600 so I suggest we budget the same as last year (£400).  Members recommended that NO budget be made.

Litter bins – we do need to replace a litter bin in the Recreation Ground.  Suggest budget £500

Trees –  Would like to retain 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.  Recommend retain reserves of £1465. Committee agreed.

Skate Park – .  The skatepark is very popular and is wearing well although there are some minor small cracks appearing in the concrete.  My grounds staff think it may be possible for them to tackle this.  Also the bin needs replacing as it is broken.  Ideally we should get some kind of HD vandal proof bin.  Suggest we retain reserves of £400. Committee agreed.

Car Park Repairs – suggest we get a load of road planings and see if we can level car park area a bit.  Add £250 to reserves of £1600. Committee agreed.

Youth Club – I have 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 has now subsequently been 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.’ I have therefore included a budget of £4000.  Committee agreed.

 

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 2019/20 is £8.32 per elector (8.32 X 2473 = £20,575.36)

Last year the S.137 grants and donations were set at the same level as the previous year and I have set them the same again.  Committee agreed.

Area Board Support Gants – we have agreed to give £50 to the Healthy Mere Walking group to support their Area Board Grant Application.  We have agreed to give £500 to Mere Foodbank as a one-off grant so I thought, since we haven’t received any other Area Board Support Grant Applications, then this money could come from this allocation.  Suggest we keep reserves and budget £550 to build up reserves to £1000 again. Committee agreed.

CATG projects – Suggest we budget £750.  Committee agreed.

 

STREET CLEANING

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 are working with Hills Waste and Biffa to get quotations and try and work out the most economical way of dealing with the problems but at the moment, it would appear to be cheaper to pay the excess weight charges than to have another bin and I think that even if we have another bin, we will still get excess weight charges.  We will also then have a problem as to where to store the bins.  I have therefore increased the reserves and suggest we increase budget to £2400 for next year. Committee agreed.

Dog waste bags – We are getting through these rather rapidly although I am sure the provision is appreciated, not least by our own staff.  Increase reserves to £225 and budget a further £400. Committee agreed.

 

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 is £6225   I have had one resident of White Road Gardens approach me to say that they would like some play equipment for young children on the site?

 

Night Silencer for Mere Town Clock – I have now had two requests (one from ‘The George’ & one from a resident of The Square),  to have chimes silenced at nights.  We used to have a night silencer system but I guess this got removed when we had the automatic timing mechanism.  Anyhow, we have had a quotation from Cumbria Clocks at £1315.  I feel that in the current financial climate, this is not a feasible option but have added £200 to build up reserves. Committee agreed.

Noticeboard for Town Centre – no comment.

Rental for Storage Containers – Cllr. Hazzard  had declared a pecuniary interest in this matter and left the room whilst it was discussed.  As reported last year, following the break-in to the workshop in the south chapel at the Cemetery and the need to purchase storage and workshop containers as a compound for the grounds staff and equipment,  Cllr. Hazzard had made an offer to the Town Council that these could remain on his land at Townsend Nurseries until March 2020 free of charge.  However, he was not in a position to be able to offer this site rent free on a permanent basis and would therefore need to make a charge of £25 per container per week thereafter.  At last year’s budget meeting it had been agreed to budget enough funding to allow for 6 months rental but that steps should be taken to seek alternative land to site these containers.  The Clerk had not been able to think of any alternative land that would be secure enough and provide the relevant utilities (water & electricity) and councillors had not provided any alternative solutions in the meantime.  Therefore the Clerk was recommending that the reserves should be amended to £3600 and a further budget of £3600 be added.  Committee agreed.

Install EV charging point for car park – Last year I reported that “we have had a request, from the Doctors Surgery, to install an EV charging point for car park and also, I think that this would be a positive Environmental move for the Town Council.  I have made some enquiries and it would appear that the key issue with all these EV charging points is the electricity supply and it seems that most EV charger suppliers would insist on having a feasibility study done into how we can get the electricity in, where would be the best situation for the EV chargers and how many we would need now and in the future.  The cost of the feasibility study is £250 and it seems that all the companies are going down this route now

Anyhow, as a rough guide the cost of a surface charger is £1750 and the average cost of installation is £1500 but obviously this is all dependent on how much groundwork is required etc.  The charger would be a 7kw fast charger that is capable of charging two vehicles at the same time.  There is government grants available called ‘On Street Grant’ but it is understood, from other town councils, that it is a difficult process (what a surprise!)”.  Since then, we had an email from John Price at Wiltshire Council to say that they wanted to take some of the car parking spaces out of our lease so that they could install EV charging points for vehicles.  The Town Council was a little upset and unhappy about the fact that they wanted to take away 5 car parking spaces from each car park and I asked John Price for some clarification on this and also an update on what was happening about this.  8 months later, I still haven’t heard anything, despite having sent out a reminder email more recently.  Suggest we retain reserves of £250 and budget a further £250. Committee agreed.

Succession – recommend retain reserves of £2000 and budget a further £2000. Committee agreed.

 

 

INCOME

ADMINISTRATION – the income that we have received this year relates to the insurance claim for the chapel windows and replacement tools following the break-in to the South Chapel in November 2019.

 

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 2020 giving them a year’s notice that we would be applying a 10% increase to all allotment rents w.e.f. March 2021.

 

Cemetery (Burial fees & charges) – We usually increase cemetery fees by 3% each year.  Do you want to do the same again?  Cemetery income has exceeded our expectations this year.  This is largely because non-residents have purchased a number of plots due to Funeral Directors promoting funeral plans etc.  Committee agreed that fees should be increased by 3% again.

 

Croquet & Boules Club Rent – we agreed to waive most of their rental payments this year.  I am assuming we will receive rental again next year.

 

Sports Clubs fees  – I have made the assumption that we will not be receiving any sports club income this year.  I suggest we write to all the sports clubs to say that we understand that it has been a difficult year and we have therefore decided not to make any charges.  However, we are expecting full and timely payment of charges for the 2021/22 year.  I am also assuming that we will be making the 3% increase across the board. Committee agreed.

 

Sponsorship/pledges for Car Parks – I would like to write to all the businesses to say that the Town Council understands that they have all had a verry difficult year this year and in order to support them we will waive the sponsorship fees for 2020/21 but that we have carried out our annual budget forecasts in the confidence that, in return, they will support us with their sponsorship for the 2021/22 financial year.  Committee agreed.

 

CIL & Policy R2 – This was the information I provided last year: ‘I have sent off a request to Wiltshire Council for an update on CIL receipts for MTC.  Their spreadsheet only shows CIL receipt of £1833.15 for the Old Ship Hotel.  I have queried why there is nothing shown for: house in Mill Lane/Edgebridge, house in Pettridge Lane, conversion of Methodist Church and also conversion of Lloyds Bank.  Still awaiting response!!’  I am still awaiting a response.  It seems to me that the CIL situation has been a complete waste of time as the developers are just getting out of paying it and we are not receiving it! Committee agreed.

 

Sale of Assets – We have some timber for sale.  Also can we sell the Kubota hand mower that we were given with the RTV – it is too heavy for the boys and it has never been used.  RRP is £999.  We might get £500 for it? Committee agreed.

 

MEMBERS OF THE BUDGET COMMITTEE WERE HAPPY TO RECOMMEND A PRECEPT OF £164,984.48 WHICH WOULD REPRESENT AN INCREASE OF 2.87% OR £3.81 ON A BAND D COUNCIL TAX.

 

Meeting closed at 7.28 pm

Annual Budget Meeting 14th December 2020

Mere Town Council

Town Clerk – Mrs. L. C. Wood

Duchy Manor,

Springfield Road,

Mere

Warminster,

Wiltshire

BA12 6EW

Phone: 01747 860701

e-mail: lindseywood@merewilts.org

www.merewilts.org

10th December 2020

 

 

Mere Town Council – Annual Budget meeting – Monday, 14th December 2020 at 6.00 pm online at Zoom.us

 

This meeting will be held in accordance with s.78 of the Coronavirus Act 2020,  The Local Authorities Police and Crime Panels (Coronavirus) (Flexibility of Local Authorities and Crime Panels Meetings) (England and Wales) Regulations 2020.

 

The 2020 Regulations enable local councils to hold remote meetings (including by video and telephone conferencing) for a specified period until May 2021.

 

Public Participation

Due to the current government coronavirus response, the Town Council will be meeting online.  Members of the public who wish to join the meeting to submit their questions or comments under  ‘Public Session’ should  contact the Clerk in advance of the meeting via email on lindseywood@merewilts.org.  The Clerk will then send out the meeting ID and passcode.

 

Online Meeting Arrangements

The Chairman will host the meeting, attendees will be muted and councillors invited to speak in turn at each agenda item.  Councillors may raise their hand to indicate that they wish to speak at other times.  Voting will be taken in turn as directed by the Chairman and should be by the response ‘In Favour’, ‘Against’ or ‘Abstain’.  The decision and summary of votes will be read back before moving to the next item.

 

All attendees should try to join the meeting at least 5 minutes prior to the start of the meeting to allow for any connection problems.

 

AGENDA

 

  1. Public Session: 
  2. To receive apologies for absence and to consider requests for dispensation
  3. Declarations of Interest
  4. Expenses – To consider budgeted expenditure for the year 2021/2 (Draft figures attached)
  5. Requests for grants
  6. Income – To consider rents and charges for the year 2021/2 (Draft figures attached)
  7. Precept – to make recommendation for precept requirement upon Wiltshire Council for the year 2021/2

 

EXEMPT BUSINESS – Under The Public Bodies (Admission to Meetings) Act 1960 Sec 1 (2) states  “A body may, by resolution, exclude the public from a meeting (whether during the whole or part of the proceedings) whenever publicity would be prejudicial to the public interest by reason of the confidential nature of the business to be transacted or for other special reasons stated in the resolution and arising from the nature of that business or of the proceedings; and where such a resolution is passed, this Act shall not require the meeting to be open to the public during proceedings to which the resolution applies.” There are only a few reasons as to why, legally, the public and press can be excluded from a meeting.  The Public Bodies (Admission to Meetings) Act 1960 Sec 1 (2) states: It is generally considered acceptable to exclude the press and public if the agenda item relates to the consideration of tenders, leases, purchases of assets, for matters relating to staffing covered by the data Protection Act and to consider complaints against the council or a code of conduct complaint.

Due to the nature of the meeting to be held, it is considered likely that the press and public will be excluded from parts of the proceedings.

Agenda for Town Council meeting 7.12.2020

Mere Town Council

Town Clerk – Mrs. L. C. Wood

Duchy Manor,

Springfield Road,

Mere

Warminster,

Wiltshire

BA12 6EW

Phone: 01747 860701

 

e-mail: lindseywood@merewilts.org

www.merewilts.org

3rd December 2020

Mere Town Council meeting – Monday, 7th December 2020 at 6.00 pm online at Zoom.us

 

This meeting will be held in accordance with s.78 of the Coronavirus Act 2020,  The Local Authorities Police and Crime Panels (Coronavirus) (Flexibility of Local Authorities and Crime Panels Meetings) (England and Wales) Regulations 2020.

 

The 2020 Regulations enable local councils to hold remote meetings (including by video and telephone conferencing) for a specified period until May 2021.

 

Public Participation

Due to the current government coronavirus response, the Town Council will be meeting online.  Members of the public who wish to join the meeting to submit their questions or comments under  ‘Public Session’ should  contact the Clerk in advance of the meeting via email on lindseywood@merewilts.org.  The Clerk will then send out the meeting ID and passcode.

 

Online Meeting Arrangements

The Chairman will host the meeting, attendees will be muted and councillors invited to speak in turn at each agenda item.  Councillors may raise their hand to indicate that they wish to speak at other times.  Voting will be taken in turn as directed by the Chairman and should be by the response ‘In Favour’, ‘Against’ or ‘Abstain’,  The decision and summary of votes will be read back before moving to the next item.

 

All attendees should try to join the meeting at least 5 minutes prior to the start of the meeting to allow for any connection problems.

 

AGENDA

 

  1. Public 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).

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.

  1. Apologies – To receive and accept apologies for absence.

 

  1. To receive declarations of interest from members and to consider requests for new DPI dispensations.

Members are invited to declare disclosable pecuniary interests and other interests in items on the agenda as required by the Mere Town Council Code of Conduct for Members and by the Localism Act 2011.

(a) To receive Declarations of Interest relating to matters contained in this agenda, in accordance with the provisions of the Local Government Act 1972 in respect of officers and the Localism Act 2011 in respect of members.

(b) To consider any dispensation requests received by the Town Clerk.

 

  1. Minutes – to approve the Minutes of the meetings held on Monday, 12th October 2020 and Monday, 2nd November 2020.

 

  1. Matters Arising
  2. a) Notice of Advertisement for Co-option to fill Casual Vacancy (Minute No. 156 b)
  3. b) Point relating to refusal of planning permission for Ashmere House (old Lloyds Bank) and revelation that Wiltshire Council’s parking policy was unenforceable – Cllr. G. Jeans (last paragraph Minute 157a)
  4. c) Update on correspondence and situation relating to unauthorised activities at Burton Field, Mere

*d) Policy, License and fees for private sporting activities

*e) Report on correspondence relating to closure of Fives Court Care Home (Minute No. 156 a)

  1. f) Project to rebuild Mere Youth Centre in Mere Recreation Ground – to consider report prepared by Clerk & Chairman 18.11.2020 (previously distributed)

 

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

 

Application Ref: 20/10063/TCA
Application for: Work to Trees in Conservation Area
Proposal: T1 – Beech – crown reduction to reduce to about 30 feet
At: Lawrences, Old Hollow, Mere.  BA12 6EG

 

Application Ref: 20/09413/VAR
Application for: Variation of Condition
Proposal: Variation of Condition 2 of 19/06100/FUL (erect single storey extension)
At: Apple Tree Cottage, North Street, Mere.  BA12 6HH

 

Application Ref: 20/09910/TPO
Application for: Work to Tree Preservation Order Trees
Proposal: Scots Pine Tree (T223) – fell due to dangerous condition
At: Greenacres, Castle Street, Mere.  BA12 6JW

 

Application Ref: 20/10066/HRN
Application for: Hedgerow Removal
Proposal: There are 2.6m sections hedgerow proposed to be removed.  This is to enable the construction of a water supply pipeline to provide stream support to Ashford Water watercourse.  The hedgerows will be reinstated as per drawing: STD836 Rev E on completion.
At: Pumping Station, Mere.  BA12 6AU

 

Application Ref: 20/10698/TCA
Application for: Work to Trees in a Cons. Area
Proposal: Reduce Norway Spruce to provide 1 metre clearance from BT cables (T1), remove 4 stems of young beech trees (T2), reduce willow by 2 metres (T3).
At: Fairhaven, Pettridge Lane, Mere.  BA12 6DG

 

  1. Reports & Consultations
  2. a) To receive and consider report from Wiltshire Councillor

 

  1. Highways, River, Footpaths, Traffic & Transport
  2. a) Parking on Hazzards Hill, particularly during school collection times – Cllr. A. Mead
  3. b) To identify jobs for the Parish Steward, Sparkle Team or MyWiltshirre reports
  4. c) Notice of closures for highway works:
  • Urgent closure of Boar Street and Pettridge Lane 15th January for 5 days between the hours of 19.00 and 23.59 to enable Wiltshire Council to carry out carriageway patching and associated works.
  • Temporarry Closure of Church Street (Part) to enable a sewer connection. The order will come into operation on 18th January 2021 and is anticipated that the closure will be required until 22 January 2021.

 

  1. Buildings, Open Spaces, Play Areas, Sports Grounds, Car Parks, Allotments & Cemeteries
  2. a) To receive and consider quotations to resurface (tarmac) Jubilee Walk, Jubilee Gardens, Mere.

 

  1. Finance, Policy & Resources

*a) To approve and authorise payments as shown in payment schedule attached.

  1. b) To receive the External Auditor’s report and certificate, section 3 (Part 3 Annual Governance and Accountability Return (AGAR) for the year end 31st March 2020 and agree to carry out the following: prepare a “Notice of Conclusion of Audit” which details the rights of inspection in line with the statutory requirements. Publish the “Notice” along with the certified AGAR (sections 1, 2 & 3) before 30th November 2020 which must include publication on the town council’s website.

*c) Request for financial support from Mere Foodbank

 

  1. General Items, Consultations & Briefing Notes
  2. a) To receive information on the 2021 census and to designate a Census Liaison Manager
  3. b) Judging of Xmas Lights
  4. c) Priorities for South West Wiltshire Area Board (see email from K. Linaker 17.11.20)
  5. d) Nomination to re-list Butt of Sherry as an Asset of Community Value

 

  1. Forthcoming meetings/events
  2. a) Community Area Transport Group – 16th December 2020 at 14.00 on Microsoft Teams

 

  1. Future Town Council meetings and to receive requests for agenda items

Annual Budget meeting is to be held on Monday, 14th December 2020 at 6.00 pm via Zoom

Next scheduled meeting will be Monday, 11th January 2021 via Zoom

 

 

 

 

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

Members of Mere Town Council are sole trustees of Mere Peace Memorial Sports & Recreation Ground Charity (Mere Recreation Ground Charity). 

 

 

For Trustees to consider:

 

  1. a) Project to rebuild Mere Youth Centre in Mere Recreation Ground – to consider report prepared by Clerk & Chairman 18.11.2020 (previously distributed)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Minutes of Town Council meeting held 12th October 2020

Mere Town Council

Town Clerk – Mrs. L. C. Wood

Minutes of a meeting of the Town Council held on Monday, 12th October 2020 at 6.00 p.m. at Duchy Manor, Springfield Road, Mere, BA12 6EW and on Zoom

 

Present in the room:  Cllrs. C. Hazzard (Chairman), A. Colman, R. Coward, G. Ings, G. Jeans, A. Mead B. Norris & Mrs. L. Traves

Present on Zoom:  Cllrs. R. Hill, J. Jordan, E. Mitchell, R. Sims, Mrs. K. Symonds

Also Mr. David Hytch

 

Public Session

Mr. David Hytch said that he wanted to speak about the outline planning application for Beaumont Business Park.  He said that he was in favour of the principle of change of use to residential of what is currently a shambolic site.  However, he was concerned at the information contained within the documents relating to the hazardous material that was on the site and who, if planning permission were to be given, would control the removal of this waste to ensure it was removed safely and the site was left in a safe condition.  Mr. Hytch also said that there were new planning regulations coming in next year which required new development to provide Electric Vehicle charging capacity to each residence and he was concerned whether there would be sufficient grid supply for this.  He also pointed out his concern for the lack of pedestrian footpath along Woodlands Road and impact on the road network that extra residential traffic, as well as construction traffic, would have.  The Chairman pointed out that the control of the removal of hazardous waste was not a material consideration for the Town Council at this outline planning stage and would be an issue for building control and for the Environmental Department at Wiltshire Council.

 

Apologies for absence received and accepted from Cllr. Philip Coward

 

  1. To receive declarations of interest from members and to consider requests for new DPI dispensations.

Members are invited to declare disclosable pecuniary interests and other interests in items on the agenda as required by the Mere Town Council Code of Conduct for Members and by the Localism Act 2011.

  • To receive Declarations of Interest relating to matters contained in this agenda, in accordance with the provisions of the Local Government Act 1972 in respect of officers and the Localism Act 2011 in respect of members.
  • None
  • To consider any dispensation requests received by the Town Clerk.
  • None

 

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

 

 

Application Ref: 20/07469/OUT
Application for: Outline Planning
Proposal: Demolition of the existing buildings and the erection of up to 70 dwellings.
At: Beaumont Business Park, Woodlands Road, Mere.  BA12 6BT

 

Cllr. Symonds said that she was one of the group of councillors that met with the applicants agents a couple of years ago when they wanted to discuss their proposals with the Town Council.  She said she thought that it was inevitable that the site will be developed but agreed with Mr.  Hytch and his analysis of clearing the site and also if we can make a case for a footpath to that site to be a key consideration.

Cllr. Jordan said he was disturbed that he could not see anywhere in the application that provision had been made for the present industry that is taking place on the site now.  He said he realised that warehousing and distribution does have a lower employee count but the reason that it is a scruffy site is because the present owners have let it get scruffy.  Cllr. Jordan felt that the site could accommodate 20 houses and leave sufficient room for the employment that is currently operating from the site as well.

Cllr. Mitchell said he thought the development would eventually take place and that the planners and building control would be responsible for the site clearance and any environmental issues arising from that.  However, he pointed out that there will be more traffic on the road and once developed there will be a lot more cars travelling to and from the site.

Cllr. Sims said he agreed with the points made by Cllr. Jordan

Cllr. Colman pointed out that the Economic Viability Assessment within the planning documents argues why there should be no affordable housing provided within the development and argues for a drastic reduction in CIL contributions.  He said that Mere’s housing quota to the year 2026 had been fulfilled although there was a shortfall in affordable housing.  He said that Mere needed the 30% affordable housing and a public footpath should also be provided.  Also, there is no play area for children and it is not appropriate to assume that children from this development would use the Walnut Road Play Area because it is often full to capacity.

Cllr. Hill said that the current site was unsightly and although he felt that development of the site was inevitable, he would like to see some offices and an arts centre there as well.

Cllr. Mrs. Traves said that she understood that Mere had met it s quota of housing.  She felt that access, traffic and amenities were the main issues for consideration when considering this level of development.  She pointed out that the old Hill Brush Factory site in Woodlands Road was still being developed and that the developers were struggling to sell the houses.

Cllr. Rodney Coward said that he agreed that it was inevitable that the site would be developed but stressed that we needed better infrastructure, provision for an expanded doctor’s surgery and roads.

Cllr. Mead said that the developers should provide a continuation of the footpath on to the site.

Cllr. Norris said that although this was an outline application it was submitted along with a very large number of documents but there was a significant lack of detail.  He could find no detail about drainage and felt that he could not support the application due to the lack of detail.  Furthermore, the site is falling apart because the present owners have allowed it to fall apart and the Council should say that it requires 30% affordable housing.  He also pointed out that it may be difficult to sell the new housing on the old Brush Factory site until the outcome of this site is known.

The Chairman suggested that the Town Council should ask for some Live/Work units (similar to what was built in Tisbury).  He also felt that major road improvements needed to be implemented to the road outside the Walnut Tree Public House along with a restriction to stop drivers from turning left on to Huntingford Road.

Cllr. Jeans said that this was a complex issue and pointed out that the volume of traffic going down Pettridge Lane is more than the volume of traffic going down Salisbury Street at peak times.  He said he was not against the principle of houses being built here but there should be the means for people to get into town safely by foot.  There is no satisfactory footpath along Woodands Road and I feel very strongly about a pedestrian footpath.  This could be an opportunity to get the footpath from opposite the Walnut Tree up to Angel Lane widened and remodelled so that it is accessible for all to use as an alternative to walking around Edgebridge Corner.  The Town Council has made a financial contribution towards getting the dropped kerbs put in place here.   An impact assessment to assess the impact of the extra traffic and extra people in Mere should be carried out.  We are crying out for housing for key workers.  It is common now for applicants to plead that it is not viable to provide affordable housing but it is just not tolerable to accept no affordable housing as far as I am concerned.  More and more people now being encouraged to work from home.  Fibre broadband needs to be provided.  Electric vehicle charge points should be provided with assurances that there is enough grid capacity.  Neighbours I have spoken to are largely in favour of the development but at the very least they should have a safe footpath to walk into the town centre.

Cllr. Jordan said that the infrastructure in Mere makes this development unviable.  The development places too many demands on the infrastructure.

RESOLVED that the Town Council recommends refusal of this application because members would expect a level of affordable housing and infrastructure improvements to be offered as a result of a development of this size.  This application is not proposing any community benefits that would make this proposed development acceptable in planning terms.  As an example, listed below are the community benefits that the Town Council would expect and would feel appropriate in relation to the actual needs of the proposed development:

  • 30% affordable housing
  • Live/Work units or a planned mix of residential and light commercial use.
  • The provision of a footway for pedestrians to access the site along Woodlands Road and also provision to provide or fund a safe pedestrian route from the site to the centre of Mere by way of accessibility improvements to RoW 66/10 and 50/10 (there is no safe accessible pedestrian route to the centre of Mere from Woodlands Road at the present time as there is no footway around Edgebridge corner).
  • Proposals to address major concerns about increased vehicles and vehicle safety along Pettridge Lane and on the junction of Woodlands Road with Edgebridge and highway improvements that are required as a consequence of development.
  • Vehicles should be discouraged from turning left out of the development and causing obstructions and congestion along the narrow rural lanes around Huntingford and Swainsford (Please note that when determining the planning application for the adjacent development, an informative was agreed at Committee to address the same issue but this was missed off the final permission document by the planning authority. Fortunately, it was implemented by the developer as a good will gesture).
  • As conditioned on the adjacent development as well as the development at Walnut Road, arterial roads within the development should be 5.5m minimum to allow for on-street parking for visitors & deliveries.
  • Green space and recreational facilities for children should be provided within the development. The Walnut Road Play Area is quite often full to capacity.  Also, the original intent of on-site children’s recreation facilities was to provide peace of mind for parents that children are safe and within the site.
  • Sufficient off-street parking to allow for 2 cars per house. Residents like their vehicles to be parked within site of their houses.  Garages provided are often used for other purposes.
  • Contribution towards educational facilities. This, along with any other S.106 contributions should be clearly allocated and identified for the sake of clarity.
  • Consideration should be given to broadband fibre to premises and individual electric vehicle charging infrastructure.
  • A traffic management plan, similar to that produced by C. G. Fry & Son for the adjacent development, would be expected with a direct communication line to report breaches.

Proposal made by the Chairman, seconded by Cllr. Colman and carried with a vote of 12 for and 1 abstention. (In order not to compromise his position as Wiltshire Councillor, Cllr. Jeans abstained from discussion or voting).

 

Further points to note:

 

The Commercial Viability Report within the application states that “the site has a negative land value for any commercial development.”.  However, in the Economic Viability Assessment for development it states that “policy compliant development of the site is unviable.  It says that the reason for the overall viability issues are that the site has significant Existing Use Value and that the CIL and s.106 contributions are not sustainable.  Therefore, it is not economically viable to provide 30% affordable housing within the development.”  These would appear to be somewhat conflicting statements when considering “use” and “development” as contributing factors to the viability of the site.

 

The Economic Viability Assessment also lists 7 units within the site, all of which are in use and providing a rental income.  Whilst this may not be a high employment site in terms of numbers, this evidence may suggest that the site is still commercially viable albeit run-down by a lack of investment.  This evidence would confirm the Town Council’s view that development of the site for residential purposes only would result in the loss of an existing employment site.

 

Whilst the Town Council may prefer to see a brownfield site being utilised for development over a new greenfield site, given that the applicant’s Economic Viability Assessment (EVA) suggests that the site has such a high Existing Use Value and that, as it states, the site is yielding a rental income, members felt that as Mere has achieved its housing allocations identified within the current Wiltshire Core Strategy and there would be no community benefits or infrastructure benefits in relation to the proposed development, that the application should be refused.  Mere deserves better.

 

Section 3.2.2 of the Transport Statement produced by Hydrock says: “Clement’s Lane, which connects to the village centre, some 300m from the site, benefits from footways on at least one side of the carriageway for much of the route through the village. Where footways are not present, there are grass verges which can offer space for pedestrians to step off the carriageway.”  This is not true.  There is no footpath whatsoever around the dangerous bend and over the bridge nor is there any grass verge – in other words there is no footpath from the end of Clements Lane to the beginning of Pettridge Lane.  This is the most dangerous part of the highway into Mere and is a blind bend.  To encourage pedestrians and/or young mothers with children and pushchairs to use this route is unacceptable.

 

Section 3.2.3 of the Transport Statement produced by Hydrock says: “There are a number of Public Rights of Way (PRoW) in close proximity to the site, providing alternative leisure (indirect) routes linking to the village centre of Mere. The PRoWs within the vicinity of the site are shown in Figure 3-1.”  Whilst this statement is true, it is also necessary for someone to come out and try and walk these footpaths to see that they are not wide enough nor practical for anyone other than the most able-bodied to use.  Rights of Way MERE66/10 leading onto MERE50/10 would provide the most direct route for pedestrians to get from Clements Lane to the centre of Mere.  This route would avoid the dangerous bend (without footpath) at Edgebridge.  However, the Right of Way is narrow (too narrow for a wheelchair) and the tarmac surface is so uneven that it presents a safety hazard for any users.  Furthermore, the Right of Way is too dark to negotiate after dusk.  It would be possible, however, to bring this Right of Way up to a standard that was more user-friendly by widening it, resurfacing it and providing some low-level solar lighting bollards.  The Town Council feels that this should be included within the planning application as it would fulfil a need for the proposed development.

 

Overall, members felt that the demands and impact that such a large development would have on Mere, given that it would be adjacent to an area that has recently and is still currently undergoing development (134 houses), needs some professional assessment to see if the demands on access, highways, drainage, amenities, utilities and services can cope.

 

 

Application Ref: 20/06987/FUL
Application for: Full Planning
Proposal: Replace garden sheds with new garden shed
At: The Chantry, Church Street, Mere.  BA12 6DS

 

The Clerk pointed out that the application boundaries had been drawn incorrectly on both the location plan and the site plan provided in that the location of the sheds was outside the red line application boundary but within the blue line ownership boundary.  RESOLVED to recommend approval of the above application but to point out to the planning authority that the red line/blue line boundaries were inaccurate in both the site plan and the location plan provided.   Proposal made by Cllr. Mrs. Traves, seconded by Cllr. Sims and carried with a majority vote.   (In order not to compromise his position as Wiltshire Councillor, Cllr. Jeans abstained from discussion or voting).

 

 

Application Ref: 20/08646/TCA
Application for: Work to Trees in a Conservation Area
Proposal: Weeping crack Willow – take back to previous pollard point.
At: The Cottage, Old Hollow, Mere.  BA12 6EG

 

RESOLVED to recommend approval of the above application on proposal made by Cllr. Ings, seconded by Cllr. R. Coward and carried with a unanimous vote.

 

Application Ref: 20/08772/TCA
Application for: Work to Trees in a Conservation Area
Proposal: Small Yew Tree – Fell
At: St. Andrews, North Road, Mere.  BA12 6HP

 

RESOLVED to recommend approval of the above application on proposal made by Cllr. R. Coward, seconded by Cllr. Ings and carried with a unanimous vote.

 

  1. Future meetings and agenda items

Members agreed that the next meeting would be a hybrid meeting again.

 

Meeting closed at 7.14 p.m.

 

 

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

Minutes of a meeting of Trustees held on Monday, 12th October 2020

 

Present:  Town Councillors Clive Hazzard (Chairman), Eric Mitchell (Vice-Chairman), Aubrey Colman, Philip Coward, Rodney Coward, Raymond Hill, Glen Ings, George Jeans, John Jordan, Alan Mead, Brett Norris, Roy Sims, Mrs. Kate Symonds & Mrs. Lesley Traves.   (This was a hybrid meeting with some members being present physically and some via Zoom)

 

Members of Mere Town Council are sole trustees of Mere Peace Memorial Sports & Recreation Ground Charity (Mere Recreation Ground Charity). 

 

 

 

  1. Plans to demolish and rebuild Mere Youth Development Centre in Recreation Ground.   To comment on plans as drawn up by architect (attached).  Members were informed that the proposed front door is in exactly the same position as the existing front door and the width of the proposed building is the same as the width of the existing building.  However, the building will be much longer and will therefore extend eastwards into the Recreation Ground.

 

RESOLVED that in principle, Trustees are in favour of the plans presented subject to some of the concerns/comments below being addressed and subject to any concerns/comments from neighbours as a result of neighbour consultation being addressed:

Comments/concerns:

  • Concerns about accessible toilet having a separate external door and security issues this may present.  Cllr. Colman assured members that this would have an entry system that would only be usable when the Youth Development Centre was open.
  • The Clerk raised concerns about the need for a shower pointing out that by having a shower in a public premises, it increases the Legionella Risk and will require an increased level of Control Measures to be put in place by the tenants i.e. Seeds4Success https://legionellacontrol.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/hse-acop-l8-legionnaires-disease-the%20control-of-legionella-in-water-systems.pdf
  • It is assumed that all windows in the toilet areas will be privacy glass.  Indeed, would it be a good idea for all ground floor windows to be privacy glass?  It is assumed that all windows would be toughened safety glass.
  • Photovoltaic panels on the northern elevation of the roof may be unneighbourly and may cause some issues to neighbouring properties in White Road.  As the optimum elevation is the southern elevation, is it necessary to have PV panels on the northern elevation as well?
  • It has been mentioned before that there may be a requirement for external roller-doors into the north-east elevation of the building.
  • Members discussed whether it would be a good idea to move the building further south to allow for mechanical hedge cutting on the northern boundary (behind the building) but it was pointed out that in order to allow for modern machinery it would need to move 4m further south into the Recreation Ground and this was considered to be unacceptable.

 

  1. Confirmation that the Recreation Ground Charity has agreed to grant a new 25-year lease to Seeds4Success with a clause to allow sub-lets to other non-profit organisations with the Mere Ward area.

 

RESOLVED that the Recreation Ground Charity has already agreed to appoint solicitors to seek to grant a new 25-year lease to Seeds4Success in accordance with the terms of the Scheme, (land not required by the Charity and public consultation), but also in accordance with the provisions of the Charities Act.  With regards to any conditions relating to sub-lets, it was agreed to seek advice from the solicitors dealing with the lease on this.  (Members raised questions as to the legal terms and differences between ‘hire’ and ‘sub-let’ and whether prior permission on any sub-lets should be made to the Recreation Ground Charity Trustees and whether these sub-lets would be in accordance with the terms of the Charity Scheme).

 

  1. Confirmation approval that a joint project team has been formed of six people divided equally between Mere Recreation Ground Charity and Seeds4Success

RESOLVED to approve joint project team subject to terms of reference – no powers on decisions or finance being delegated to the team.

 

  1. To open a project bank account called ?????? . This will be set up by the project team and managed by the project team who will arrange the necessary auditing.  Signatories will be?????.

 

  1. To agree that the above account be used to pay architects fees, planning fees, surveyors fees, project managers fees and project construction and material charges. The account will also be used to receive grant money and any donations that are given towards the project.

 

The Town Clerk said that she had great concerns relating to points d) & e) above.  She pointed out that the Charity Commission has a requirement for auditing accounts based on a tier system of income/expenditure.  She is not sure which Charity would ultimately be accountable for the money and how it would show that accountability but pointed out that the asset would belong to the Recreation Ground Charity and therefore assumed it was most likely to be the Recreation Ground Charity’s responsibility.  At the present time the Recreation Ground Charity’s accounts do not have to be audited and we can submit a basic annual return as our income/expenditure is below the £25k limit.  The Clerk was not sure that the Charity Commission would allow a joint project team bank account and was concerned that if the Recreation Ground Charity account was to be used, given the amounts of money that would be passing through the account, it would result in significant and substantial change in audit requirements that would have administrative and financial implications.

RESOLVED for the Recreation Ground Charity to seek advice from the Charity Commission and/or Town Council finance advisers before embarking on this procedure.

 

 

  1. The project team will prepare the planning application which is to be submitted in the name of Mere Recreation Ground Charity (as owners of the building/land).

RESOLVED to approve.

 

  1. The project team will apply for and prepare all grant funding applications which will be in the name of Mere Recreation Ground Charity. Therefore, all applications will be signed by the Chairman of Mere Recreation Ground Charity.

RESOLVED to approve.

 

  1. A minimum of three quotations will be obtained for the project. It is anticipated that the project costs will be somewhere in the region:
£
Building  450,000.00
Contingencies 25,000.00
Project Management 25,000.00

The estimated costs were noted.

RESOLVED that the principles of the Town Council’s Procurement Policy would need to be applied.  There was a discussion about the assertion that a new build does not require VAT to be paid.  Cllr. Jeans said that it was down to the contractor.  Cllr. Colman said that this would be clarified at the time of going to quotation.

 

  1. Project timescale:
  • Planning – End of December 2020
  • Building quotations in by End of January 2021
  • Fundraising starts 1st January 2021
  • Construction starts April 2021 – September 2021

The project timescale was noted although members felt that the project timescales were unrealistic and that it would probably take at least another year.

 

Minutes of Town Council meeting held on Monday, 5th October 2020

Mere Town Council

Town Clerk – Mrs. L. C. Wood

 

Minutes of a meeting of the Town Council held on Monday, 5th October 2020 at 6.00 p.m. at Duchy Manor, Springfield Road, Mere, BA12 6EW (the meeting was held inside with restrictions to meet the Town Council’s COVID-19 Secure Risk Assessment)

 

Present:  Cllrs. C. Hazzard (Chairman), A. Colman, P. Coward, R. Coward, G. Jeans (from 6.32 pm), J. Jordan, B. Norris, Mrs. K. Symonds (from 6.15 pm) & Mrs. L. Traves

Also Mr. David Drewett & Mr. John Gammie.

 

Public Session

The Chairman convened the meeting, welcoming everyone present and read out the consent notice for names of members of the public to be recorded in the Minutes.

As he had attended the meeting the Chairman took the opportunity to thank Mr. David Drewett for the splendid work he had done in repainting a large number of the street name signs around the town and he said how smart they now looked.

The Chairman also made the very sad announcement that Sue Luffman (nee Ings) had died and said that she had been a Guider for Mere Brownies/Girlguiding for 40 years. The Chairman wanted to Minute the Town Council’s appreciation for all she had done for Mere.

 

John Gammie had attended the meeting to speak in respect of the planning application for the Butt of Sherry to develop garages into a 3-bedroomed house.   Mr. Gammie said that the Butt of Sherry Preservation Society objects to the planning application and has instructed a specialist planning consultant to help with their objection submission.  He also said that the immediate neighbours have got 8 pages of objections already and he was hoping that the Town Council would support us in our objections.

 

David Drewett expressed his concern relating to the outline application that had just been submitted for up to 70 homes to be built on the Beaumont’s Business Park site.  He said that it was often the case that outline permission was granted for a number of homes and then when a full planning application was submitted it was for a much higher number of homes.  He also said that all the traffic would be funnelled down one side of the town and he could envisage a future where there will be 200+ homes (400 cars) accessing Woodlands Road.  The Chairman confirmed that the Town Council would be holding a separate meeting on Monday, 12th October to discuss this application.

 

John Jordan said that he would like to speak in the public session because he thinks it may be inappropriate for him to speak as a councillor.  He said that he felt that Castle Hill Lane was inappropriate for any more residential properties.  Everyone who lives along there knows how congested it can get with two-way traffic trying to negotiate access in an out of their homes along a single-track road.

Lesley Traves said that she wanted to reiterate everything that John Jordan had said about Castle Hill Lane.

The Chairman said that he wanted to thank the Clerk for all her hard work she had done in trying to get the sports facilities and other council facilities reopened.  He said that this involved risk assessments, the purchase of various items to make them comply with govt. guidelines and much communication with the sports groups and users.  He asked for the Council’s thanks and appreciation to be Minuted for the Clerks work in keeping everything open.

  1. Apologies for absence were received and accepted from Cllrs. Raymond Hill, Glen Ings, Eric Mitchell, Richard Pester & Roy Sims.

 

  1. To receive declarations of interest from members and to consider requests for new DPI dispensations.

Members are invited to declare disclosable pecuniary interests and other interests in items on the agenda as required by the Mere Town Council Code of Conduct for Members and by the Localism Act 2011.

(a) To receive Declarations of Interest relating to matters contained in this agenda, in accordance with the provisions of the Local Government Act 1972 in respect of officers and the Localism Act 2011 in respect of members.

  • Jordan declared a personal interest in planning application 20/07711/FUL
  • R. Coward declared a personal interest in Minute No. 148c)

(b) To consider any dispensation requests received by the Town Clerk.

  • None received

 

  1. Minutes RESOLVED to recommend approval of the Minutes of the Town Council meeting held on 20th July 2020 and Minutes of the Town Council meeting held on 7th September 2020 on proposal made by Cllr. Colman, seconded by Cllr. Mrs. Traves and carried with a unanimous vote of those members present.

 

  1. Matters Arising
  2. a) Report on meeting between Chairman & M.P. Dr. Andrew Murrrison – the Chairman said that he had held a meeting with Dr. Andrew Murrison on Friday where he had discussed the Town Council’s concerns about three issues: The closure of Fives Court, the fact that Mere Library had not yet reopened and the unauthorised encampments and issues taking place at Burton Field. Murrison had agreed to try and get some clarification about these points and said he would bring them b ack to the Town Council.

 

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

 

Application Ref: 20/07479/VAR
Application for: Variation of Condition
Proposal Variation of Condition 2 (approved plans) to regularise the as-built floor plans.
At Ashmere House (former Lloyds Bank) , Castle Street, Mere.  BA12 6JE

The Clerk explained that this application related to the former Lloyds Bank building and that the original application was made in 2018/19 (18/11174/FUL) for the conversion of the existing bank to create 3 X 1-bed flats and 1 X 2-bed flat.  The Town Council objected for reasons of overdevelopment and insufficient parking.    This planning application was called in by Cllr. Jeans due to local concerns and was subsequently considered by the Southern Planning Committee on 7th February 2019.  Cllr. Jordan who was the then Town Council Chairman, attended the meeting during which Cllr. Jeans argued for the refusal of the planning application on the grounds of overdevelopment.  This was against the officer’s recommendation for approval.  The view of the Town Council was recognised – that there were problems with parking – however the committee did not support Cllr. Jeans and voted to approve the application on the grounds that the development included parking spaces for all of the apartments.  Therefore, the application was approved subject to the development being built in accordance with the plans submitted.

It is evident from this planning application that the development was not built in accordance with the plans submitted and approved.  The new plans that have been submitted show the flats with different layouts.  It is interesting to note that the layouts show separate dining rooms in the flats but in fact, there is evidence that the flats are currently being marketed as 2-bedroom flats with the dining room being shown as a bedroom on the estate agents floor plans online.

It was pointed out that whether you call a room a bedroom or a dining room was up to the occupant but members felt that the rules were being stretched and the resulting consequences would only exacerbate the parking problems in the town centre.  Cllr Norris said that he did not support this application in the first place and the fact that it was granted by Wiltshire Council did not change his view.

RESOLVED to object to the application on the basis that the Town Council was unable to support the original plans under 18/11174/FUL due to ‘Overdevelopment’ and ‘Insufficient Parking’ and the fact that these new plans only served to exacerbate the Town Council’s original concerns.  It was further agreed to ask our Wiltshire Councillor to ‘call-in’ this application to be determined by the planning committee if he felt that this was necessary. This resolution was carried on a proposal made by Cllr. Norris, seconded by Cllr. Mead and carried with a majority vote.  (In order not to compromise his position as Wiltshire Councillor. Cllr. Jeans abstained from discussion or voting.)

 

 

Application Ref: 20/07711/FUL
Application for: Full Planning
Proposal: Conversion of 2 garages to holiday cottage
At: The Butt of Sherry, Castle Street, Mere.  BA12 6JE

The Chairman said that he drove up Castle Hill Lane to view the site this morning but could not get through the lane and had to reverse back and this confirmed his thoughts that the site is not suitable for residential conversion.  Cllr. Colman said he thought the application would result in overdevelopment of the site.  Cllr. Norris said that the planning application stated that there were parking spaces for 2 vehicles which was not correct and he said that there were a number of inconsistencies with the planning application.  Cllr. P. Coward said that he recalled that the Town Council had adopted a policy of no new residential dwellings along Castle Hill Lane due to the poor access.  RESOLVED to recommend refusal of the above application for the following reasons:

  1. Overdevelopment
  2. Lack of off-street parking
  3. Access – Castle Hill Lane has two-way traffic but is a single-track road with no pavement for pedestrians. There is a children’s play area halfway along the lane.  The lane is not appropriate for any further development.
  4. Precedent – There are a number of properties in Castle Street that have garages backing onto Castle Hill Lane. Approval of this planning application would set a precedent for other property owners to apply for garage conversions along the lane.  This would further exacerbate the on-street parking problems in Castle Street and Castle Hill Lane.
  5. Detrimental effect on neighbours – The conversion of these garages into a residential dwelling would create an unacceptable loss of amenity to the neighbouring property and would have a detrimental effect on their property and the surrounding properties.

It was further agreed to ask our Wiltshire Councillor to ‘call-in’ this application to be determined by the planning committee if he felt that this was necessary. This resolution was carried on a proposal made by Cllr. Colman, seconded by Cllr. Norris and carried with a majority vote.  (Having declared a personal interest in this application, Cllr. Jordan abstained from voting.  In order not to compromise his position as Wiltshire Councillor. Cllr. Jeans abstained from discussion or voting.)

 

 

Application Ref: 20/08269/TCA
Application for: Work to Trees in a Cons. Area
Proposal: Silver Birch – reduce back overextended limbs by up to 3 metres
At: Vine Cottage, Castle Street, Mere.  BA12 6JH

RESOLVED to recommend approval of the above application on proposal made by Cllr. Jordan, seconded by Cllr. Mrs. Traves and carried with a unanimous vote.

 

Application Ref: 20/08049/FUL
Application for: Full Planning
Proposal: Conversion of barn to residential dwelling
At: Barn A, Church Farm, Wet Lane, Mere.  BA12 6BA

Cllr. Jordan said that it looked like a nice conversion which seemed to be in keeping with the integrity of the building and the surroundings.  RESOLVED to recommend approval of the above application on proposal made by Cllr. Jordan, seconded by Cllr. Norris and carried with a majority vote.  (In order not to compromise his position as Wiltshire Councillor. Cllr. Jeans abstained from discussion or voting.)

 

 

  1. c) Planning for the futureConsultation on proposals for reform of the planning system in England from Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government: The Clerk pointed out that there were actually three consultation documents that had been issued by the government to reform the planning system.

This consultation seeks views on a range of proposed changes to the current planning system including: changes to the standard method for assessing local housing need, securing of First Homes through developer contributions, temporarily lifting the small sites threshold and extending the current Permission in Principle to major development.

This consultation seeks any views on each part of a package of proposals for reform of the planning system in England to streamline and modernise the planning process, improve outcomes on design and sustainability, reform developer contributions and ensure more land is available for development where it is needed.

This call for evidence seeks views on proposals to require additional data from the beneficiaries of certain types of interests in land – rights of pre-emption, options and estate contracts.  It also seeks views on the design of the policy and additional evidence on the impacts of the policy.

*Please see attached Briefing Note 20-31 from Wiltshire Council + report from Town Clerk.

Members noted the information above and the Briefing Note and report from the Town Clerk.  Cllr. Jordan said he had tried reading the consultation document and felt that it had no commitment to affordable housing or council led housing and seemed to be pressing the notion of supply and demand.  There were concerns that the government were trying to take planning away from the local people who know the area and members felt that local voices should be heard more.  Cllr. R. Coward said his objection is that vast areas of greenfield sites will be lost to housing and against the loss of greenfield sites where there are brownfield sites to use first.  Cllr. Mrs. Symonds asked if Mere would ever get any credit for the large number of houses we have already absorbed.  Cllr. Colman expressed concern about the reductions to CIL payments.  Cllrs. Jordan and Hazzard agreed to submit responses to the Clerk who, in turn, was delegated to submit a response on behalf of the Town Council, encompassing their comments above.

 

  1. Highways, Rivers, Footpaths, Traffic & Transport
  2. a) To identify jobs for the Parish Steward, Sparkle Team of MyWiltshire reports (Parish Steward is in Mere 6 & 7th October) – The Clerk pointed out that Mr. Drewett had suggested various jobs for the Sparkle Team on their next visit. It was pointed out that the surface of the path going down the middle of Jubilee Gardens was in poor condition but the Clerk pointed out that this was the Town Council’s responsibility.

 

  1. Buildings, Open Spaces, Play Areas, Sports Grounds, Car Parks, Allotments & Cemeteries,
  2. a) Lighting for Andy Young Pavilion car park – Cllr. A. Mead was concerned because it was difficult to see, in the dark, where the potholes were and felt that this would pose a safety hazard for people who were using the pavilion during the evening. The Chairman said that the pavilion was not being used at the present time and certainly not during the evening for meetings and expressed his concern about the Council spending money on providing lighting for the car park when the school’s plans for extending the car park were unknown. He said he understood the safety concerns and thought it might be possible to erect some temporary lighting.  RESOLVED to raise this as an agenda item when the building is being brought back into use of an evening.

 

  1. Finance, Policy & Resources

*a) PaymentsRESOLVED to approve payments set out in payment schedules attached on proposal made by Cllr. Colman, seconded by Cllr. R. Coward and carried with a unanimous vote.

  1. b) Request to give financial support (donation) to the following Area Board Grant Applications:
  • Healthy Mere Walking
  • Our Time Project

At the Area Board meeting last week both projects were approved without condition of a Town Council financial contribution.  However, as the Healthy Mere Walking project had previously asked the Town Council for a contribution it was RESOLVED to recommend a grant to the Healthy Mere Walking project of £50.  Members agreed that if the ‘Our Time Project’ specifically asked Mere Town Council for a grant then this should be raised as a future agenda item for consideration.

*C) To discuss the setting of a policy for sports coaches or sports businesses using Town Council or Charity facilities. – Cllr. R. Coward had previously declared a personal interest in this item and offered to leave the room but the Chairman deemed that this was not necessary.  The Town Clerk had distributed a draft policy for members to consider and Cllr. Jordan felt that the recommendations contained therein should be put into practice although he expressed concern as to how they would be enforced.  Cllr. Colman said that he was acquainted with an LTA Coach who uses facilities and pays £10 per hour for their use.  Cllr. Symonds said that the policy would need to be advertised and expressed concerns about where the Council would stand if there was an accident and also said that we did not want to set a policy that would cause too much administration.  Members then talked about the level of charges that should be made with Cllr. Jordan having suggested £8.00 per hour for classes of fewer than five participants and £20 per hour for classes with more than five participants.  The Clerk offered to ask other Town & Parish Council Clerks for examples of their charge rates and to present this to the Council at a future meeting.

 

  1. General Items & Consultations

*a) Wiltshire Council’s Area Board Boundary Review – The Clerk pointed out that the Area Board boundaries were being reviewed to fall in line with the electoral boundary review that took place last year.  It was pointed out that the SWW Area Board boundary was not changing and Cllr. Jeans said that it was people power that worked on this occasion.  It was agreed to submit a response confirming that the Town Council was happy with the SWW Area Board boundary.

  1. b) Arrangements for ‘scaled back’ Remembrance Service – The Chairman reported that there would be no plans to hold a Remembrance Service in The Square this year. There will, however, be an Act of Remembrance held outside elsewhere where there will be a wreath laying service for invited members of official organisations. The wreaths will be moved to the War Memorial later on in the day and there will be a church Service of Remembrance in the afternoon.
  2. c) Plans for Xmas Lights & Xmas ActivitiesRESOLVED to erect Xmas lights as usual but that there would be no switch on ceremony.
  3. d) Open Consultation. Pavement Parking: Options for change https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/managing-pavement-parking/pavement-parking-options-for-change Closing date: 22.11.20

The Clerk reported that a consultation into pavement parking has been launched by the Dept. for Transport (DfT).  Current law prohibits parking on pavements in Greater London but elsewhere in England the practice is legal unless explicitly prohibited.  Local Councils have reported that pavement parking is a widespread problem and the government is considering increasing local authority powers and current legislation to allow councils to issue £70 fines to owners whose vehicles are found to be “causing an unnecessary obstruction of the pavement.”  Another option is a nationwide ban on pavement parking, although this would entail a significant change to English parking law and would require all councils to conduct an audit of roads.  Cllr. Norris felt that we ought to discourage parking on pavements as, apart from the obstruction issues, it usually leads to damage to the pavements because they are not as robust as highways.  It was also pointed out that the police do not get involved in pavement parking issues at the present time unless it is an extreme case.  RESOLVED to support a nationwide ban on pavement parking on proposal made by Cllr. Norris, seconded by Cllr. R. Coward and carried with a unanimous vote.

 

  1. Future meetings and agenda items

It was agreed that the next meeting of the Town Council which would be held next week, should be a hybrid meeting with some councillors attending in person (those that do not have the capacity to join a virtual meeting) and the remaining councillors and all members of the public being invited to join via Zoom.

 

Meeting closed at 8.10 p.m.

 

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:

 

  1. Mere Youth Development Centre –Report & update on building project. Update on project and approval of granting of 25-year lease which will involve surveyors’ fees & solicitors fees (approx. £1500).  It was reported that there were a number of questions that needed consideration by the Town Council in more detail and it was agreed to provide these questions in more details at the meeting next week.
  2. To discuss the setting of a policy for sports coaches or sports businesses using Town Council or Charity facilities – as Trustees, members were happy with the recommendations in the draft policy but agreed to wait until more information was provided before agreeing on fees to charge.
  3. RESOLVED to approve the following payment:

 

Water2Business          Standing Charge for supply to old Cricket Club in Rec.                                  15.49

Agenda for Town Council meeting 2.11.20

Mere Town Council

Town Clerk – Mrs. L. C. Wood

Duchy Manor,

Springfield Road,

Mere

Warminster,

Wiltshire

BA12 6EW

Phone: 01747 860701

e-mail: lindseywood@merewilts.org

www.merewilts.org

29th October 2020

 

To:  Members of Mere Town Council,

You are summoned to a meeting of Mere Town Council for the transaction of the business shown on the agenda below.  To be held on Monday, 2nd November 2020 at 6.00 pm online at Zoom.us.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

 

Lindsey Wood,

Town Clerk and Responsible Finance Officer

 

Joining instructions and the meeting ID and passcode for video and audio (telephone) conference are given below:

https://zoom.us/j/91251690298?pwd=VnZsclh6SC9ZeUFtZFVmWDYzUjRjUT09

Meeting ID: 912 5169 0298
Passcode: 930433
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Meeting ID: 912 5169 0298
Passcode: 930433
Find your local number: https://zoom.us/u/adVfDcuJ6

All attendees should try to join the meeting at least 5 minutes prior to the start of the meeting to allow for any connection problems.

 

This meeting will be held in accordance with s.78 of the Coronavirus Act 2020,  The Local Authorities Police and Crime Panels (Coronavirus) (Flexibility of Local Authorities and Crime Panels Meetings) (England and Wales) Regulations 2020.

 

The 2020 Regulations enable local councils to hold remote meetings (including by video and telephone conferencing) for a specified period until May 2021.

 

Public Participation

Due to the current government coronavirus response, the Town Council will be meeting online.  Members of the public who wish to join the meeting to submit their questions or comments under  ‘Public Session’ should  contact the Clerk in advance of the meeting via email on lindseywood@merewilts.org.  The Clerk will then send out the meeting ID and passcode.

 

Online Meeting Arrangements

The Chairman will host the meeting, attendees will be muted and councillors invited to speak in turn at each agenda item.  Councillors may raise their hand to indicate that they wish to speak at other times.  Voting will be taken in turn as directed by the Chairman and should be by the response ‘In Favour’, ‘Against’ or ‘Abstain’, The decision and summary of votes will be read back before moving to the next item.

 

 

AGENDA

 

Public 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).

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.

  1. Apologies – To receive any apologies for absence and to note/consider the reasons for the absence.

 

  1. To receive declarations of interest from members and to consider requests for new DPI dispensations.

Members are invited to declare disclosable pecuniary interests and other interests in items on the agenda as required by the Mere Town Council Code of Conduct for Members and by the Localism Act 2011.

(a) To receive Declarations of Interest relating to matters contained in this agenda, in accordance with the provisions of the Local Government Act 1972 in respect of officers and the Localism Act 2011 in respect of members.

(b) To consider any dispensation requests received by the Town Clerk.

 

  1. Minutes – to approve Minutes of Town Council meeting held on Monday, 7th October 2020 and Minutes of Town Council meeting held on Monday, 12th October 2020.

 

  1. Matters Arising
  2. a) Minute No. 144a) Report on meeting between Chairman & M.P. Dr. Andrew Murrrison – update on correspondence from Dr. Murrison, MP
  3. b) Notice of Casual Vacancy

 

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

 

Application Ref: 20/06816/FUL
Application for: Full Planning
Proposal: Retrospective permission for erection of a garden room/shed and new 1.8m high fence along boundary of side garden
At: Martone, Springfield Road, Mere.  BA12 6EW

 

Application Ref: 20/07643/FUL
Application for: Full Planning
Proposal: Change of use of land to use as a residential caravan site for 4 gypsy families.  Laying of hardstanding, access improvements and erection of two amenity buildings.
At: Land at Jane Oaks Farm, Mere, BA12 6LJ

 

Application Ref: 20/08238/FUL
Application for: Full Planning
Proposal: Extension to existing light industrial and storage building and renovation of existing lean-to building.
At: Yard at Wet Lane, Mere.  BA12 6BA

 

Application Ref: 20/08262/LBC
Application for: Listed Building Consent
Proposal: Replacement of two garages with a holiday cottage
At: The Butt of Sherry, Castle Street, Mere.  BA12 6JE

 

Application Ref: 20/08738/FUL
Application for: Full Planning
Proposal: Erection of an agricultural barn for the storage of fodder, machinery and livestock
At: Land North West of Black House Farm, Wet Lane, Mere.  BA12 6BA

 

Application Ref: 20/09064/TCA
Appllication for: Work to Trees in Cons. Area
Proposal: T1 Ginko 1/3 reduction
At: The Old Rectory Cottage, Church Street, Mere.  BA12 6DS

 

Application Ref: 20/09440/TCA
Appllication for: Work to Trees in a Cons. Area
Proposal: T1 Cherry tree – fell
At: Waterside Villa, Waterside, Mere.  BA12 6EE

 

*b)  To acknowledge submission to Government’s White Paper: Planning for the Future

 

  1. Highways, Rivers, Footpaths, Traffic & Transport
  2. a) To identify jobs for the Parish Steward, Sparkle Team of MyWiltshire reports (Parish Steward is in Mere 3rd & 4th November)

 

  1. Buildings, Open Spaces, Play Areas, Sports Grounds, Allotments & Cemeteries
  2. a) Report on RoSPA Play Area Safety Inspections carried out in September
  3. b) Notice of Tree Preservation Order made by Wiltshire Council
  4. c) Review of HLS Scheme.

 

 

 

 

  1. Finance, Policy & Resources

*a) Payments – to approve payments set out in payment schedules attached

  1. b) To decide on details for Annual Budget meeting.
  2. c) Report on staff related matter

 

  1. General Items & Consultations/Briefing Notes
  2. a) Invitation to Seeds4Success 2020 AGM via Zoom on Wednesday, 18th November from 7.00 pm

*a) Briefing Note No. 20-33 – Public Space Protection Orders (PSPO)

 

  1. Future meetings and agenda items

 

 

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

 

*Further information on these items enclosed/attached

 

Minutes 7.9.2020

Mere Town Council

Town Clerk – Mrs. L. C. Wood

 

Minutes of a meeting of the Town Council held on Monday, 7th September at 6.00 p.m. outside at Duchy Manor, Springfield Road, Mere, BA12 6EW

 

Present:  Cllrs. C. Hazzard (Chairman), A. Colman, P. Coward, R. Coward, R. Hill, G. Ings, G. Jeans (from 7.00 pm) J. Jordan, R. Pester, R. Sims, Mrs. K. Symonds & Mrs. L. Traves

15 members of public

 

Meeting convened at 7.30 p.m. with Public Session

The Chairman convened the meeting, welcoming everyone present and read out the consent notice for names of members of the public to be recorded in The Minutes.  He also explained that due to Covid-19 Government Guidelines, the meeting was being held outside in order to minimise the risk to members of the Town Council and members of the public.  He asked members of the public to ensure that they were keeping to the social distancing guidelines of 2m apart unless they were in small family bubble groups.  He also suggested that anyone wishing to speak, should speak up loudly and reiterated that the public session was a chance for members of the public to have their say on any item which is on the agenda and they should not wait until we get to that agenda item because they will not be permitted to speak during the Council meeting.

David Drewett, Oak Lane asked what had transpired about the side agreement that the Council had agreed to sign to secure the S.106 funding from the Woodlands Road development and what plans the Council had to spend the money.  The Chairman said that the funds had not yet been received but that the Town Council did have plans to spend some of the money.  He asked the Clerk to forward any information on to David Drewett in due course.

 

Martin Pester said he had come to talk about the cemetery regulations following correspondence with the Clerk over a grave that they had recently applied edging stones to.  Mr. Pester said that the family wanted to reiterate the letter they had sent and that they felt that their grave was much easier to maintain and the work that had been done enhanced the plot.  The family wanted to know why the decision was made not to allow edging in the new cemetery and felt that the regulations were out of date and this decision should be revisited.

 

Paddy Sumner of Burton Grange said that he was one of a lot of people who had a lot of concern about what is going on at Burton Field.  He wanted to ensure that Mere Town Council was aware of these concerns and what could be done.

Diane Mathiot said that one of the estate agents, Barnard Marcus, was marketing the site as having access from Southbrook which she said, meant that many of the potential buyers were thinking that they had vehicular access along the footpath.

 

Roy Sims reported that the wall along The Lynch was in a very poor state and, in his opinion, was in danger of falling down into the road.  He also mentioned that the watering can in the cemetery was broken.

 

Apologies for absence  – The Chairman reported that very sadly, Cllr. Mitchell’s wife had passed away last week which is why he was absent from the meeting tonight.  The Clerk also reported that Cllr. Norris was unable to attend the meeting tonight as he was not in the county.  RESOLVED that an extension of 3 months be specified to the period of non-attendance allowed before which automatic forfeiture then applies in respect of Cllrs. Mitchell & Norris. Apologies for absence were also received from Cllr. Mead.

 

  1. To receive declarations of interest from members and to consider requests for new DPI dispensations.

Members are invited to declare disclosable pecuniary interests and other interests in items on the agenda as required by the Mere Town Council Code of Conduct for Members and by the Localism Act 2011.

  • To receive Declarations of Interest relating to matters contained in this agenda, in accordance with the provisions of the Local Government Act 1972 in respect of officers and the Localism Act 2011 in respect of members.
  • R. Pester declared a personal interest in agenda item 6e) (Minute No. 138e)
  • Mrs. Traves declared a personal interest in planning application 20/06509/FUL
  • R. Hill declared a personal interest in planning application 20/05476/FUL

 

(b) To consider any dispensation requests received by the Town Clerk – None received

 

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

 

Application Ref: 20/06509/FUL
Application for: Full Planning
Proposal: Demolish existing conservatory and replace with single storey rear extension.  Creation of dormer window to the front and rear of property
At: Suncroft, Springfield Road, Mere.  BA12 6EW

 

The Chairman said that he had been to visit the property and neighbouring properties.  He pointed out that this was a fairly large single storey extension with a sedum flat roof.  Cllr. Jordan said that the extension was 10m in length and he was concerned that the extension appeared to be very close to the boundary which would leave very little space available for boundary maintenance.  A letter from a neighbouring resident was read out to the Council.

RESOLVED to recommend approval of the application but to add the following: ‘Concern has been expressed by neighbours relating to the height of this extension together with the length combined, causing an unacceptable loss of light to her patio and living room.  Although the Town Council has no actual objections to the proposed extension, we do not feel qualified to comment on this concern by the neighbour.  We would therefore request that the Local Planning Authority assess this concern when determining this planning application.’

 

Application Ref: 20/05476/FUL
Application for: Full Planning
Proposal: Erection of garage and rear/side extension
At: Fairhaven, Pettridge Lane, Mere.  BA12 6DG

 

The Chairman said that he visited the site on Saturday.  He confirmed that vehicular access had already been granted and could therefore see no reason to object to the application.  Cllr. Ings expressed surprise that vehicular access had been granted but said that now that it has, he could not see any reason to object to the application and proposed that the Town Council recommend approval.  RESOLVED to recommend approval of the application on proposal made by Cllr. Ings, seconded by Cllr. Jordan and carried with a majority vote.  (Cllr. Hill, having declared a personal interest in the above application refrained from discussion or voting.  In his capacity as Wiltshire Councillor, Cllr. Jeans refrained from discussion or voting).

 

Application Ref: 20/06950/VAR
Application for: Variation of Condition
Prroposal: Variation of Condition 2 (materials) of planning application 19/08489/FUL – Erect oak framed extension to form larger kitchen and office to the first floor (change roofing materials to natural slate, grey coloured).
At: Green Ridge, Barrow Street, Mere.  BA12 6AB

 

The Clerk explained that this planning application had been received this morning but the consultation deadline was on or before the next Town Council meeting.  Although prior notification had not been made available to the public by way of this matter being raised on the agenda, members RESOLVED to consider this application at tonight’s meeting.  The Clerk pointed out that the application related to the change of roofing materials – the current building has a 1960s interlocking clay tile and the applicants would like to replace the existing roof and the extension with a natural grey coloured slate.  RESOLVED to recommend approval of the application on proposal made by Cllr. P. Coward, seconded by Cllr. Mrs. Traves and carried with a majority vote.  (In his capacity as Wiltshire Councillor, Cllr. Jeans refrained from discussion or voting).

 

  1. b) Concerns relating to sale of and activity on land at Burton Field – The Chairman reported that Burton Field is being split up into small plots and is being marketed with the speculation that the land has development potential. The Town Council is not aware that there is any current planning permission or extant planning permission for development of the land.  The land used to be an old greenhouse site and as such is covered in glass.  It has not been used for the last 30 – 40 years.  We have been told by residents living in the area that there are legal problems with any sale/purchase of the land because there are cautions registered with the Land Registry but we are not qualified to comment on this.  There are people on the land now with diggers, machinery and a caravan has just moved onto the land.  The Town Clerk has alerted Wiltshire Council’s Planning Enforcement office, the Duchy of Cornwall, the police, Rights of Way Officers, the CPRE and our MP.  Up until now the general response has been that we need to wait until something illegal happens before any action can be taken but we have heard last week that a Planning Contravention Notice has been served in respect of the touring caravan that has been sited and its potential occupation.  Also that an Article 4 Direction to remove Permitted Development for means of enclosure has been served on the site.  We realise that this situation is very frustrating for surrounding residents but as a Town Council, we do not have any powers of enforcement.  All we can do is keep passing on information to the authorities and keep each other informed of what is going on.

 

  1. c) Planning for the futureConsultation on proposals for reform of the planning system in England from Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government: The Clerk pointed out that there were actually three consultation documents that had been issued by the government to reform the planning system.

This consultation seeks views on a range of proposed changes to the current planning system including: changes to the standard method for assessing local housing need, securing of First Homes through developer contributions, temporarily lifting the small sites threshold and extending the current Permission in Principle to major development.

This consultation seeks any views on each part of a package of proposals for reform of the planning system in England to streamline and modernise the planning process, improve outcomes on design and sustainability, reform developer contributions and ensure more land is available for development where it is needed.

This call for evidence seeks views on proposals to require additional data from the beneficiaries of certain types of interests in land – rights of pre-emption, options and estate contracts.  It also seeks views on the design of the policy and additional evidence on the impacts of the policy.

 

The Clerk expressed her concern that these consultation documents involved a great deal of reading & research in order to compile a considered submission to the government and although some of the deadliness would permit discussion at the next Town Council meeting, NALC were asking for our thoughts by mid-September.  She also wondered if it might be possible to obtain some kind of summary from Wiltshire Council on how the new proposals might affect the County as a whole.  Cllr. Jeans said that he would ask Wiltshire Council if they intended to make a response or summary and the Clerk agreed to distribute further information to councillors and to raise the matter for further discussion at the next meeting.

 

  1. Highways, Rivers, Footpaths, Traffic & Transport

*a) Re-allocation of Road Space – letter from Cllr. Bridget Wayman to CATG Members – the Clerk explained that Cllr. Sims had asked for this to be raised on the agenda.  She reminded members that she had distributed a copy of this letter to members in August relating to money that had been distributed to Local Authorities by central government in order to identify and deliver schemes that gave greater priority to pedestrian and cyclists.  The Clerk said that the Town Council had not submitted any requests for schemes in Mere and that the larger schemes being considered centred around the allocation of cycle lanes in more built-up towns and cities i.e. Chippenham & Salisbury.

 

  1. Buildings, Open Spaces, Play Areas, Sports Grounds, Car Parks, Allotments & Cemeteries,
  2. a) Duchy of Cornwall allotment land rent review – the Clerk informed members that under the terms of the allotment lands rental agreement, the rent payable was reviewed every five years and was reviewable this month. A modest increase from £570 pa to £590 p.a. was suggested w.e.f. 29th September 2020. RESOLVED to agree the suggested increase on proposal made by Cllr. Jeans, seconded by Cllr. Sims and carried with a unanimous vote.
  3. b) Lighting for Andy Young Pavilion car park – Cllr. A. Mead – this item was deferred as Cllr. Mead was not present.
  4. c) Water refill station – Cllr. J. Jordan said that the money that was on offer from Wessex Water seems to have disappeared but there is now money available from Wiltshire Community Fund. He asked for this item to be deferred in order to allow further research time.
  5. d) To arrange liaison meeting with Sports Clubs – it was agreed that this matter should be deferred until it is deemed safe for larger gatherings to meet.
  6. e) Issues relating to Cemetery Regulations – the Chairman explained that the Clerk had been corresponding with Mr. Pester & his family about issues relating to the cemetery regulations and more specifically about the fact that kerb stones had been laid around a grave in the new cemetery without requesting permission and which were against the Town Council’s regulations. The Chairman reminded members that the Town Council had made a decision, back in 2006, that resulted in different regulations between the two cemeteries in relation to the use of kerb stones. It had then been agreed that kerb stones would be allowed in the existing cemetery only if they were professionally installed and on condition that the owners agree that if the kerbs fall into disrepair the Council will be permitted to remove the kerb stones upon notice.  It was also agreed that kerbed graves will not be permitted, under any circumstances, in the new cemetery.  The Chairman said that whilst he realised that there were a number of informal memorialisation issues in both cemeteries in Mere where relatives had decorated graves with soft toys, ornaments and plastic flowers which may not be to everyone’s taste he was aware that they can bring comfort to the family concerned and we all have loved ones in the cemetery and so, as a Town Council, we try to be as relaxed and informal as we can in recognition of the fact that families are going through a very difficult time.  However, if the Town Council were to allow these edging stones or kerb stones to remain in the new cemetery then members would need to apply a change to our rules and regulations.  Hill said that the reason why this decision had been made, when the Town Council purchased the land for the new cemetery, was because the maintenance issue of the ground when kerbed graves are in situ, is far more difficult and they also present a health and safety hazard due to the tripping potential.  He pointed out that there are very few cemeteries, these days, that allow kerbed graves for Health & Safety and maintenance reasons.  Cllr. Mrs. Symonds said that her husband was buried in the cemetery and pointed out that it is not just a question of whether the family will continue to maintain the grave and the kerb stones, which she is sure they would, but she also wanted to point out that headstones and structures in the cemetery are let into the ground by several feet so as not to become loose or lean over in later years and that this is particularly important in our cemetery since the ground is clay with a tendency to become unstable.    The Clerk pointed out that apart from the requirement of prior permission, any installation in the cemetery would need to be professionally installed by monumental masons accredited with the National Association of Memorial Masons (NAMM) in order to satisfy the Town Council’s insurance for public liability purposes.  The Chairman said that the Town Council would either need to keep the regulations as they are or we would need to review them at the next meeting and he asked for a show of hands for a) those in favour of standing firm with our existing regulations (6 in favour) and b) those in favour of reviewing the regulations (3 in favour).  RESOLVED that the Town Council’s Cemetery Rules and Regulations remain unchanged and that Messrs. Pester & Sons be requested to remove the edging stones and any unauthorised permanent installations from the grave.

 

  1. Finance, Policy & Resources

*a) PaymentsRESOLVED to approve payments set out in payment schedules attached on proposal made by Cllr. Colman, seconded by Cllr. Ings and carried with a unanimous vote.

*b) To consider draft Procurement Policy (attached)RESOLVED to approve and adopt the policy without amendment on but the Clerk was requested to standardise the design & layout of Town Council policies.  Proposal made by Cllr. Colman, seconded by Cllr. Mrs. Sims and carried with a unanimous vote.

  1. c) To consider review of income for financial year – the Clerk said that she was concerned that the Town Council may not receive its expected (budgeted) income for the year on the basis that a lot of the sports clubs were not active at the present time. RESOLVED not to send out any invoices to any of the Sports Clubs for the 2019/20 financial year on proposal made by Cllr. P. Coward, seconded by Cllr. R. Hill and carried with a unanimous vote. The Clerk also expressed concern about invoicing businesses for their sponsorship funding for the car parks & floral displays on the basis that some of those businesses were struggling financially.  RESOLVED that the Town Council should send out invoices to the businesses for sponsorship and that if objections are received then each case will be considered individually.  Proposal made by Cllr. P. Coward, seconded by Cllr. R. Coward and carried with a majority vote.  Jeans abstained from voting or speaking.

 

  1. General Items & Consultations

*a) Request from Sarum West Primary Care Network for temporary (portacabin) Hot Clinic to be located in Salisbury Street Car Park until end May 2021 – with reference to the report distributed to councillors, the Chairman said that he had received a telephone call from Dr. Tim King this morning informing him that this temporary Hot Clinic will now be going to the Nadder Centre in Tisbury.  However, he pointed out that he was very concerned about the idea of it coming into Mere and did not feel that our car park was the right venue.  He said that it would take up too many car parking spaces and proposed, from the Chair, that the Town Council should formally decline this request.  The Chairman’s proposal received a unanimous vote.  RESOLVED that the request be declined and that the report prepared by Cllrs. Colman and Symonds be sent on to the Doctors Surgery.

  1. b) Plans for Remembrance Day 2020 – the Chairman reported that he and Cllr. Sims had attended the memorial for VE Day and he had arranged for The Last Post to be played. He said that what we would be able to do for Remembrance Day is still up for debate but it seemed unlikely that we would be able to encourage the sort of crowds that normally gather for the Remembrance Day Service in The Square. It was agreed to wait and see if we can get any clarification and discuss again in October.

 

  1. Future meetings and agenda items

Members generally felt that they would prefer to hold a face-to-face meeting than a virtual meeting but the Clerk expressed concern at the number of public presence that had attended tonight’s meeting, pointing out that if the meeting had been held inside the numbers would exceed the risk assessment for the building and would not be able to social distance.  She reminded members that we have no idea of the numbers in terms of public participation but that the public have a right to attend a Council meeting.  Members asked the Clerk to explore the possibility of a hybrid meeting – Council members to meet face-to-face but public members to attend via Zoom or similar alternative.

 

 

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:

 

  1. Mere Youth Development Centre –Extension/Refurbishment project – Update on project and approval of granting of 25-year lease which will involve surveyors’ fees & solicitors fees (approx. £1500). Also looking for councillors to volunteer to join steering group.

 

The Chairman reported that on 19th August he and Cllr. Rodney Coward had met with David Corbin and Ross Coad who are both Trustees of Seeds4Success to discuss the rebuilding of the Youth Club building in the Recreation Ground.

 

The Chairman reminded Trustees that the Youth Club building belonged to the Mere Peace Memorial Sports & Recreation Ground Charity and was built about 40 – 50 years ago and is in need of updating.  He also reminded Trustees that the issue of extending and refurbishing the building had been discussed previously and that the Trustees had thought this was an agreeable proposition and had agreed to seek some advice about extending the length of the lease.  Indeed, money had been set aside to give as a grant towards the project.  Since then, the proposals have changed slightly and plans are now to rebuild the building with a much bigger and better building.

 

With regards to extending the lease, the Chairman said that the Clerk had made some initial enquiries with a specialist solicitor who had said that “most grant making organisations require that the organisation  in receipt of the grant has a lease for at least 25 years which cannot be brought to an end prior to the end of 25 years by the Landlord other than for a substantial breach of the terms of the lease.  The Charity has the power to grant a lease for 25 years, but this must be in accordance with the terms of the Scheme, (land not required by the Charity and public consultation), but also in accordance with the provisions of the Charities Act.  These require that in leasing land for more than 7 years the Charity must be satisfied that the terms of the lease are the best that can be achieved and obtain an independent Surveyors Report to that effect.    The Surveyor can recommend advertising the proposed terms but this is not always necessary if the proposal has been considered by a prior public meeting.  Having received the Report the Trustees have to consider that the terms of the proposed lease are the best that can reasonably be obtained for the Charity.    The lease has to be considered from the point of view of the Landlord Charity, not the tenant organisation.  There are guidelines laid down for Surveyors in these circumstances.  They take into account not only any rent paid, which is income in the hands of the Charity, but also any value in the Landlord Charity having a building which it will own on the termination of the lease.  If there are any queries please let me know.  If we were to prepare and agreed a lease you should budget a figure of £950 plus VAT for preparing and agreeing a lease.  The lease will have to be registered by the Tenant at the Land Registry and we will need to deduce the Charity’s title to the land, and have a plan of the area to be leased prepared in accordance with Land Registry requirements.’

The Chairman said that he estimated the total cost (solicitors and surveyors) would come to about £1500 + VAT.  RESOLVED to progress with the solicitors and surveyors to achieve a 25 year lease.

 

With regards to plans for the building, Cllr. R. Coward said that Seeds4Success originally wanted to include some toilets which would be accessible for the general public using the Recreation Ground.  However, it was pointed out to them that the maintenance of these toilets, if open to the general public, would be significant and very expensive and it was therefore decided that they would only be accessible when the youth club building was in use.  Cllr. Coward also said that the original plan was to use the same footprint as the existing building but he had put forward a proposal to make the building big enough to include workshops at the end – about 10 ft longer.

The Chairman pointed out that Seeds4Success are asking for some councillors (Recreation Ground Trustees) to come forward and join some of their Trustees to form a steering group to take this project forward.  Cllrs. Aubrey Colman, Glen Ings and Mrs. Lesley Traves volunteered for this role.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Delegated Decision Report – 17th August 2020

Mere Town Council

Town Clerk – Mrs. L. C. Wood

 

DELEGATED DECISION REPORT – 17TH AUGUST 2020

 

  1. Preparation plans for community support in the event of future local lockdown (see notes below) – The Clerk reported that she was aware that central government has issued guidance to Principal Authorities (Wiltshire Council) to prepare plans for Local Lockdowns. She had spoken to Richard Jefferies and it had been agreed that, as the Community Support Group is still active, it will not be difficult to respond to calls for help should a local lockdown occur.  Indeed, Mr. Jefferies had compiled a report for the September edition of Mere Matters to reassure residents that help will be available in the same way as the last few months.
  2. Briefing Note No. 20-27 – Temporary Pavement Licences Please see attached Briefing Note – the Clerk distributed a copy of a Briefing Note that had been sent out by Wiltshire Council regarding the introduction of Temporary Pavement Licences in response to central Government’s proposals to stimulate the UK economy and the introduction of the Business and Planning Bill 2020. Local Authorities were instructed to make it easier for establishments selling food and drink to apply and utilise the highway/paved area outside of their premises for siting tables and chairs. It is hoped the provision of additional seating outside will encourage economic recovery. The clerk said that she had forwarded a copy of the Briefing Note to the Chamber of Trade on the understanding that they may pass it on to their members. However, she has not received any acknowledgement from them and wondered if councillors wanted to contact one or two businesses in the town direct.
  3. Planning Applications:

 

Planning Applications:

Application Ref:                      20/04741/FUL

Application for:                       Full Planning

Proposal:                                 Install 3 18ft yurts for holiday accommodation and associated works.

At:                                            Barrow Street House, Barrow Street, Mere.  BA12 6AB

DELEGATED DECISION – Support but mention concerns about increased non-local traffic using the Barrow Street junction on the A303 Trunk Road.  This junction has a high accident record and most local people are aware of this and tend to take extra precautions.  However, visitors and tourists would not be aware of this situation.

 

Application Ref:                      20/04895/FUL

Application for:                       Full Planning

Proposal:                                 Four bedroomed farm manager’s dwelling

At:                                            Whitehill Farm, Swainsford, Mere.  BA12 6JU

DELEGATED DECISION – Object:  We do not feel qualified to comment on the justification for a rural farm manager’s dwelling at Whitehill Lane, Mere.  However, we are unable to support this application on the basis that the proposed location for the dwelling is inappropriate in the open countryside resulting in a long access driveway, large four-bedroom detached dwelling with a large hardstanding, parking and turning area.  This would result in an unacceptably large amount of agricultural land being taken up in residential footprint that would be set apart from the farm buildings.  We have concerns as to the justification for such a substantial detached dwelling given the proposed use/occupancy and feel that a more modest building, located in a proximity that is closer to the road and existing access point and nearer the existing farm buildings would achieve a more sympathetic form of development.  If the planning authority feels that the agricultural need for this new dwelling in this location is justified and the proposal was thus acceptable in principle, we would request that the proposed dwelling is subject to an agricultural occupancy condition.

 

 

Application Ref:          20/06377/TCA

Application for:           Work to Trees in a Cons. Area

Proposal:                     Silver Birch Tree – reduce by 35%

At:                                Pearce Cottage, The Fields, Mere.  BA12 6EA

DELEGATED DECISION – Support.

 

Application Ref:          20/04266/FUL

Application for:           Full Planning

Proposal:                     Removal of damaged boundary walls and replace with hedge

At:                                The Stables, Bramley Hill, Mere.  BA12 6JX

DELEGATED DECISION – Support. We feel that there is no merit in retaining the existing wall and that a hedge boundary would be suitable and appropriate.  We are aware that the applicant has suggested Red Robin and Portuguese Laurel as hedging plants but we would also request that there is a condition forbidding the use of Leylandii as a hedging plant if possible as this can be very unneighbourly.

 

Application Ref:          20/06774/TCA

Application for:           Work to Trees in a Cons. Area

Proposal:                     T1 – Gleditsia Tree – crown raise 3m

At:                                The Close, Church Street, Mere.  BA12 6DS

DELEGATED DECISION – Support.

 

Application Ref:          20/06742/TCA

Application for:           Work to Trees in a Cons. Area

Proposal:                     T1 – Liquid Amber tree – crown raise over lake by 3m & reduce back lakeside

canopy by 2m

T2 – Ash tree – reduce all load bearing limbs by 3m & r4educe height by 2m

T3 – Maple tree – fell

T4 – Elm tree – fell

At:                                The Chantry, Church Street, Mere.  BA12 6D0

DELEGATED DECISION – Support.

 

  1. Payments – Members approved the payments as detailed on the attached payment schedule. The Clerk said that there was nothing unusual to report and the quotation for expenditure on the new website had been previously approved.  The new website is up and running and positive comments had already been received.  However, much of the content needed changing and amending but the Clerk had not had time to contribute at the moment.  The Clerk and assistant were having a tutorial in content management next week.  Delegated decision – authorise payments to be made electronically.
  2. Budget/Expenditure Report – The Clerk reported that she had carried out a Budget/Expenditure report as at 31.7.20.  You  will see that we have a surplus of £8630 which I am very pleased about because I have amended a lot of the income figures on the basis that we will not be getting much in the way of car park sponsorship and sports group income this year.  Also, I calculate that we have spent around £1000 on COVID-19 PPE extras (PPE, barriers, signs, bins etc etc) and that there will probably be more expenditure to come (we have yet to open the changing rooms and the main public toilets)  DELEGATED DECISION – Approve provisionally.  Discuss with Full Council, at September meeting, issue of reducing or cancelling income for the financial year i.e. Car Park sponsorship by businesses and Sports Group income.
  3. September meeting – Advice from NALC & SLCC seems to be ‘No physical meetings’ bit new government guidance would suggest they can take place as a last resort and with social distancing measures/risk assessments.  Agreed to consider any updated guidance nearer the time.

 

 

 

 

Minutes 20.7.2020

Mere Town Council

Town Clerk – Mrs. L. C. Wood

 

Minutes of a meeting of the Town Council held on Monday, 20th July 2020 at 7.00 p.m. outside at Duchy Manor, Springfield Road, Mere, BA12 6EW

 

Present:  Cllrs. C. Hazzard (Chairman), A. Colman, R. Coward, R. Hill, G. Ings, G. Jeans, J. Jordan, A. Mead, R. Sims, Mrs. K. Symonds & Mrs. L. Traves

 

Public Session

The Chairman convened the meeting, welcoming everyone present and read out the consent notice for names of members of the public to be recorded in The Minutes.

There were no members of the public present.  The Chairman took the opportunity to thank Cllrs. Mitchell and Cllr. Jordan for their help with the delegation consultation.  He also wanted to thank the Clerk for all the work that had been carried out in the last few months in not only keeping council services running as much as possible but in also overseeing and helping to coordinate the community support group that had been so ably managed by Mr. Richard Jefferies.  He added that the Town Council had acted quickly to provide a community support network that had proved to be extremely successful and effective with a large number of volunteers signing up to help get shopping, collect prescriptions, take dogs out for walks etc.  Mr. Richard Jefferies had managed this support group very well and had put in a tremendous amount of work.  He added that the Clerk had put in a large number of extra hours and had worked ‘her socks off’ not only keeping the Town Council running, managing the staff,  complying with new legislation, meeting deadlines for the accounts and also complying with all government guidelines and writing up risk assessments to reopen facilities.  He also pointed out that he, Cllr. Mitchell and Cllr. Jeans had not been readily available to give the Clerk the support she needed during much of this time.  The Chairman pointed out that there was a lot of admin and practical work involved in doing the risk assessments to re-open facilities and provide signage and hand sanitiser and other necessary requirements.  The Chairman also praised the grounds staff for continuing to work – albeit in a shift pattern around lockdown but now back to full staff capacity with social distancing measures in place.

There were no members of the public present, but Mrs. Traves asked if some report could be made about hedges along Castle Hill Lane that were growing out into the highway.

Mr. Jordan said that it was a pleasure to hear the Town Clock chiming again after it has been out of action for a few months.

Mr. Mead asked about the reopening of the public toilets and the Clerk explained that this would be discussed during the meeting.

 

Apologies for absence received & accepted from Cllrs. P. Coward, E. Mitchell, B. Norris & R. Pester.

 

  1. To receive declarations of interest from members and to consider requests for new DPI dispensations.

Members are invited to declare disclosable pecuniary interests and other interests in items on the agenda as required by the Mere Town Council Code of Conduct for Members and by the Localism Act 2011.

  • R. Coward declared a personal interest in planning application 20/04832/FUL
  • G. Ings declared a pecuniary interest in Minute No. 132 a) [Recipient]

 

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

 

Application Ref:                20/04264/FUL

Application for:                 Full Planning

Proposal:                           Insertion of dormer window to the rear of the property.

At:                                     The Rondel, Castle Hill Lane, Mere.  BA12 6JB

RESOLVED that the above application is recommended for approval on proposal made by Cllr. John Jordan, seconded by Cllr. Colman and carried with a unanimous vote.

 

 

Application Ref:                20/04298/TCA

Application for:                 Work to Trees in a Cons Area

Proposal:                             T1 – Ash tree – fell

T2 – Sycamore tree – 15% crown thin & crown lift by 2m

At:                                       Highfields, Castle Hill Lane, Mere.  BA12 6JB

It was reported that the above application had already been approved by the Local Planning Authority

 

Application Ref:                20/04832/FUL

Application for|:               Full Planning

Proposal:                         Erection of portal frame barn for storage of agricultural and forestry   equipment.

At:                                    Hazelwood House, Shaftesbury Road Northeast to Limpers Hill, Limpers Hill,  Mere.  BA12 6BD

RESOLVED that the above application is recommended for approval on proposal made by Cllr. Jordan, seconded by Cllr. Sims and carried with a  majority vote in favour.  Cllr. R. Coward, having declared a personal interest in the above application, abstained from voting.

 

Application Ref:                20/04854/FUL

Application for:                 Full Planning

Proposal:                           Erection of polytunnel for animal housing

At:                                      Downs View Farm, Limpers Hill, Mere.  BA12 6BD

RESOLVED that the above application is recommended for approval on proposal made by Cllr. Sims, seconded by Cllr. Ings and carried with a unanimous vote.

 

Application Ref:                20/05163/VAR

Application for:                 Variation of Condition

Proposal:                          Variation of condition 2 of planning permission 20/00444/FUL to alter the external materials for the approved extension and repositioning of the

approved carport.

At:                                    Spree, Rook Street, Mere.  BA12 6FD

RESOLVED that the above application is recommended for approval on proposal made by Cllr. Jordan, seconded by Cllr. Mead and carried with a unanimous vote.

 

Application Ref:                20/04314/LBC

Application for:                 Listed Building Consent

Proposal:                         Replace 7 modern windows with new windows, install 5 new windows; minor internal works; new rainwater goods.

At:                                    Longmead, Barrow Street, Mere.  BA12 6AB

RESOLVED that the above application is recommended for approval on proposal made by Cllr. Mrs. Traves, seconded by Cllr. Mrs. Symonds and carried with a unanimous vote.

 

  1. Highways, Rivers, Footpaths, Traffic & Transport
  2. a) Highways Act 1980 – Section 116 Application – Proposed stopping up of highway adjacent to 2 New Cottages, Shaftesbury Road, Mere.

RESOLVED that the above application be recommended for approval on proposal made by Cllr. Mead, seconded by Cllr. Ings and carried with a unanimous vote.

 

  1. Buildings, Open Spaces, Play Areas, Sports Grounds, Car Parks, Allotments & Cemeteries,
  2. a) Repair works to windows of South Chapel – the Chairman reported that during June, the delegated decision had been to instruct the contractors to repair/replace the windows that were subject to the insurance claim on a replacement basis – as quoted and approved by the Council’s insurance company. It had also been agreed to ask the contractors to repair/replace other windows in the building that were damaged, broken or missing but not subject to the insurance claim e.g. the large first floor window on the eastern gable end (subject to these not being too overpriced) so that the building can be brought back into use for some purpose. The Chairman and Clerk had met with the contractors and it had been concluded that the extra cost that would need to be incurred directly by the Town Council was approximately £2,000.  It had therefore been agreed to ask the contractors to proceed with all the work.
  3. b) Report on Covid-19 Risk Assessments and measures necessary for reopening of facilities – the Clerk reported the following:

Our COVID-19 Risk Assessments are ongoing but so far we have carried out Risk Assessments for:

The workplace – our staff – including grounds staff, office staff, street orderly and cleaner

Re-opening of Public Toilets

Re-opening of MUGA

Re-opening of Skate Park

Re-opening of Tennis Courts

Re-opening of Bowls

Re-opening of Andy Young Pavilion

Re-opening of Children’s Play Areas

The use of the School Foyer for any potential meetings:

 

The re-opening of the Children’s Play Areas was the most challenging because the government guidelines were fairly prescriptive and were met with widespread concern by my colleagues up and down the country.  Following representation by NALC and Society of Local Council Clerks and the Association of Play Institute (API) we shared specific issues and more general concerns about the wording of the document which implied adherence to the guidelines was mandatory.  This included the requirement to clean play equipment frequently, take away certain items of equipment, prescribe a one way system, monitor the use of the play areas to ensure the maximum number of users is not exceeded and/or apply a booking system.  Advice from NALC, SLCC and API suggested that a Risk Assessment was an absolute requirement and must consider the practicalities of operating the play facilities and that the outputs and conclusions of the Risk Assessment remained the responsibility of the operator, the guidance was not mandatory and is for each operator to make their own judgements on what is practical to implement whilst keeping the risk to a minimum.  I have taken the approach that good signage is key and that parents must be made aware of the potential dangers and the need to take responsibility.  With these measures in place, we have therefore reopened all the play areas.

 

The Andy Young Pavilion will be available for use from the end of this week subject to very strict conditions.  We have made some modifications, installed hand sanitiser stations, barriers and signage.  The pavilion has just been decorated and has just had a deep clean.  Use will be limited to 14 people.

 

As reported during the public session, my Risk Assessment has resulted in us not being able to reopen the ladies block or the gents block of toilets because they both contain narrow corridors and also because our Wallgate hand washing facilities will not allow 20 second washing.  However, we have re-opened the single disabled toilet for all members of the public to use.  The disabled locking mechanism has been removed and the toilet can now be bolted from the inside with social distancing queueing outside if needed.  The toilets are opened at 8 am and closed again at 4.00 pm.  They are cleaned twice daily – at around 10 am and 2 pm.  Users are requested to follow the COVID-19 guidelines for social distancing, hand-washing etc.

 

In accordance with Government Guidelines, we have not yet reopened the community changing rooms.

 

  1. Finance, Policy & Resources

*a) Payments – RESOLVED to approve payments set out in payment schedules on proposal made by Cllr. Mrs. Symonds, seconded by Cllr. Colman and carried with a majority vote.  Cllr. Ings, having declared a pecuniary interest, left the meeting for this agenda item and took no part in discussion or voting.

b) S. 137 Expenditure – RESOLVED: That the Council in accordance with its powers under section 137 of the Local Government Act 1972, should incur the following expenditure which, in the opinion of the Council, is in the interests of the area of its inhabitants and will benefit them in a manner commensurate with expenditure:- Proposal made by Cllr. Jordan, seconded by Cllr. Mead and carried with a unanimous vote.  (These S.137 payments were previously recommended at the Annual Budget meeting).

Seeds4Success To support Leisure Credit Scheme 665.00
Mere & District Linkscheme Donation 600
Mere Matters Donation 600
St. Johns Ambulance Donation 75.00

 

*c) To approve End of Year Budget/Expenditure Report for 2019/20 – RESOLVED that the Budget/Expenditure report for the financial year ending 31.3.20 be approved on proposal made by Cllr. Jordan, seconded by Cllr. R. Coward and carried with a unanimous vote.

*d)  Annual Governance and Accountability Return 2019-2

  1. To receive and note the Annual Internal Audit Report – the Clerk informed members that on 16th July, Mrs. Mary White had carried out an independent examination of the Town Council’s accounting records, its compliance with relevant procedures and its risk assessments and internal control procedures. Mrs. White had agreed that, in all significant respects, the control objectives were being achieved throughout the financial year to a standard adequate to meet the needs of the council and had completed section 4 of the Annual Return, answered ‘yes’ or ‘Not Covered’ to all questions & had signed the Annual Internal Audit Report in the Annual Return accordingly.  Mrs. White had written a letter: ’On 16th July, I carried out an internal audit of the Town Council’s Financial Statements for the year ending 31st March 2020.  I am of the opinion that proper accounting records have been maintained by the Council, financial statements have been properly prepared and there were no issues of concern.  For the purposes of this audit the Town Clerk, Lindsey Wood, ensured that everything necessary was to hand and in good order and provided every assistance during our meeting.’  The Clerk confirmed that Mrs. White had responded ‘Not Covered’ to the statement relating to Petty Cash payments as the Council operates a reimbursement system rather than a petty cash float system.  However, the Clerk confirmed that all petty cash reimbursements had been supported by receipts and VAT appropriately accounted for.  Members expressed their gratitude to Mary White for carrying out the Internal Audit and asked for their thanks to be recorded in the Minutes.
  2. To approve the Annual Governance Statement (Section 1) – Points 1 – 9 of the Annual Governance statement 2019/20 (Section 1 of the Annual Governance & Accountability Return) were read out to members and members answered ‘yes’ to each of the statements. The Annual Governance Statement was signed by the Clerk and by the Chairman in the presence of the Town Council.
  3. To approve the Accounting Statements (Section 2) – members approved the accounts and supporting statements which included the bank reconciliation, identification of variances requiring explanation, reconciliation between boxes 7 & 8 and analysis of earmarked reserves which had been previously distributed to them with their agenda papers. From the information provided therein, the Accounting Statements 1-11 (Section 2 of the Annual Return) were completed and approved by the Town Council.  Confirmation of approval of the Account Statements was signed by the Clerk and by the Chairman in the presence of the Town Council.
  4. To set the commencement date for the exercise of public rights – The Clerk confirmed that, as required by The Accounts & Audit Regulations 2015 the Town Council must now publish the unaudited Annual Governance & Accountability Return and the Notice for the Commencement of the Period for the Exercise of Public Rights.  Publication is on the parish website: www.merewilts.org
  5. To note other information to be sent to the External Auditor and required by External Auditor as part of Intermediate Review 2019/20 – The Clerk informed members that Mere Town Council had been selected by our external auditors, for intermediate review for the 2019/20 reporting year as part of the required 5% sample of those who would otherwise be subject to a basic review. This means that the Town Council will be required to submit extra information to the external auditors including copies of minutes, agenda papers and any related reports from 2019/20 to support the setting of the budget for the subsequent financial year

134. General Items & Consultations

*a) New Model Code of Conduct – Consultation – the Clerk had supplied members with a link to information about the consultation on the new Model Code of Conduct and suggest that members should submit individual comments rather than a collective ‘Council’ comment.

 135. Future meetings and agenda items – the Chairman said that the Council does not usually meet in August and that therefore the next meeting would be held in September and whether it would be a virtual or face-to-face meeting would depend on government guidance nearer the time.

Requested agenda items:

  • Lighting for Andy Young Pavilion – Cllr. Mead
  • Water refill station – Cllr. Jordan

 

 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 approve:

 

  1. Mere Youth Development Centre – remedial work required following Fixed Wire Testing report – the Clerk reported that, owing to some concerns, it had been necessary to request a Fixed Wire Testing report for the Youth Club building. This had now been carried out and the report had raised a number of remedial actions which needed to take place, some of which were fairly urgent.  Jeans Electricals had provided a quotation of £950 + VAT for the work & the Clerk wanted to know if Trustees were happy to proceed on this basis or whether they wanted to request further quotations.  RESOLVED to request that Jeans Electricals carry out the work as quoted on the basis that they have completed the Fixed Wire Testing Report and that some of the remedial action tasks could carry a risk factor if not completed as soon as possible.  Proposal made by Trustee Cllr. R. Coward, seconded by Cllr. Ings and carried with a unanimous vote.

 

 

2.  To approve the End of Year Summary income/expenditure report (within Budget/Expenditure report) and to approve the payment to Mere Town Council for maintenance charges for 2019/20 of £11,954.34. Trustees RESOLVED to approve the End of Year Summary income/expenditure report and the payment of £11,954.34 to Mere Town Council for maintenance charges for 2019/20 on proposal made by Cllr. Hazzard, seconded by Cllr. Hill and carried with a unanimous vote.

 

 

 

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