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Author: Sonya Ward

Vacancy for Minute Secretary

Mere Town Council are looking for a freelance Minute Secretary or Committee Clerk.  Duties to include:

  • To attend meetings and take accurate and concise notes of the meeting, recording decisions and action to be taken and by whom. (Digital recordings can be made to assist)
  • To type up the notes of the meeting into Minutes to form an accurate record of the meeting, to the format agreed by the Town Council.
  • Liaise with the Clerk to agree the content of the Minutes.
  • Draft minutes should be available within a reasonable period following the meeting (usually 2 – 3 weeks)

Minutes can be compiled from home.  Full Council meetings are held monthly on the first Monday of each month and start at 7.00 pm and there may be one or two extra meetings throughout the year.  We anticipate that it is unlikely to exceed 14 meetings per year.

Please apply to Lindsey Wood, Town Clerk 01747 860701 or email

Chairman’s Report March 2023

The March meeting of the Town Council was preceded by the AGM of the Carnival Committee. Unfortunately, recently, there has been real uncertainty about the future of the Carnival.  Committee members were dwindling and there seemed to be a lack of support, generally, for new members.  I am pleased to report, however, that an open meeting arranged at The Walnut Tree, brought forth some interested parties and it has been possible to form a new committee, with all officers confirmed at the AGM, thus enabling the Carnival to go ahead this year.  I must thank everyone involved, past and present, willing to give their time to organise this annual event.

The Mere Rivers Group met on March 16th to hear a presentation by Wessex Water on The Progress of the Stream Support Project, which recycles local water to ensure our rivers do not run dry in the summer.  The meeting was well attended by Rivers Group members and representatives of the Town Council, the Environment Agency and the Duchy of Cornwall.  Stream Support for the Ashfield has been in place for over a year – enabled by the Duchy of Cornwall who facilitated the necessary pipework to convey water from the Mere borehole up to the source of the Ashfield, just to the north of the A303.  The recycled water has meant that the mill pond did not run dry through the summer.  Now that it has proved a success, work will begin to do the same for the Shreen- aiming to be in place by 2024.

I reported last month that the refurbishment of the Play Park next to The Walnut Tree was due to commence next month.  On the back of this, our Project Co-ordinator contacted the school and they agreed to organise a competition, where the children were asked to draw a playground, with the winning picture to be put on a sign for the park. There were many excellent entries, which were judged by local children’s author Kathryn Lamb. Congratulations to the winner Liberty Raynes in Year 4.  The picture and sign will be unveiled when the park is officially re-opened in May.

As you know, the Town Council has signed into an Environment Stewardship Scheme for Castle Hill & Long Hill which has been very successful, largely due to the goat grazing on the hills.  I can report that there has very recently been a change of goat ownership and the day-to-day management of the goats on the hills will now be undertaken by Neil Maitland and I am sure that Neil will be posting some information about this in due course.  In the meantime, Stephen Horn, our previous goat farmer, has written to the Council asking us to pass on his appreciation to all members of the public that have offered assistance with the goats and communicated with him to pass on information as to their frolics and antics.

Also, last month, I informed you that it was necessary for me to authorise the closing of the public toilets in the Salisbury Street Car Park between dusk and dawn, due to the abuse and vandalism of this amenity.  This was to be for a trial period and has been successful in reducing the vandalism.  The longer term opening times of the toilets will be on the agenda for discussion at the next Town Council meeting.

The grass cutting season is upon us and as you can imagine this takes up a lot of the groundsmen’s time over the Spring and Summer months.  Every year the Council has to review the condition and serviceability of our machinery. Inevitably, even with regular servicing and maintenance, machines come to the end of the road and have to be replaced.  This year it was necessary to buy a tractor and we are currently appraising the need for new mowing machinery.

Now that the events season will soon be with us, we expect to see lots of advertising posters on posts throughout the town, proving what a vibrant place Mere is.  While we are happy to support anyone who needs to advertise, can we please remind whoever puts up a poster that they are responsible for taking them down once the date has passed.  Anyone should feel free to remove a tatty poster.

There will be a Coronation Service at St. Michael’s Church on May 7th at 11am. The Town Council has ordered bunting and flags to erect in the town for the Coronation weekend.

I hope to see you  at the Annual Town Meeting at the URC on April 26th, starting at 7pm.

Chairman’s Report February 2023

I am pleased to report that a design for the refurbishment of the Walnut Road Play Area has been approved by the council and work will start there shortly.  Also, the plans for the improvements to the footpath from Clements Lane to Angel Lane are coming along well.  Both these projects will be fundedfrom the contributions from the C J Fry’s development of the old Hill Brush Factory site at Woodlands Road.

I regret that it has been necessary for me to order the closing of the public toilets in the Salisbury Street car park, from dusk ‘til dawn, for a trial period of one month.  The abuse and vandalism of the toilets has been building up over the past weeks and rectifying the damage is taking up a lot of our groundsmen’s time.  Not to mention the costs involved.  The town council is keen to keep this free amenity going and we are currently considering plans and tenders for their refurbishment.  However, encouraging signs of respect for the toilets is needed.  We don’t want to have to consider charging for their use.

A report on traffic issues made by a working group of councillors, was on the agenda at the February meeting.  The group originally had a list of over a dozen suggestions for changes but in order to have credibility with Wiltshire Council it was necessary to give priority to the more pressing issues.  These included, the repainting of all lines (double yellow lines and parking area as well as junction give way lines) & the re-instatement of the white line down the centre of Castle Street from The Malthouse to The Square.  The on-street parking in Hazzards Hill and around the junctions of Water Street was the subject of much discussion and concerns were expressed, by members of the public attending the meeting, that the introduction of double-yellow lines right the way along the road would result in an increase in traffic speeds.  It was agreed to ask a Highways Technician from Wiltshire Council to assess this and make a recommendation to the Council and also to assess and make recommendations for the problems associated with vehicles loading in Boar Street and the conflicts this sometimes causes for the Pettridge Lane priority system.  Hopefully, Wiltshire Council will send a Highways Technician out to assess the problems and make some recommendations for the Town Council to consider further.  Let’s wait and see.  The repainting of the old and faded lines is the responsibility of the Highways Authority and should bear no cost to the Town Council but the other work will require a contribution of 25% of the total cost by the Town Council.

The Annual Town meeting will be held at 7.00 pm on April 26th at the United Reformed Church.  This is very much a meeting for the public to attend and to participate in.  The Town Council would like to hear your suggestions for agenda items for this meeting so please contact the office (01747 860701) if you have an item you would like discussed.

Chairman’s Report January 2023

As we embark on 2023, I wish you all a better year ahead.  The weather has already made a harsh statement with copious rainfall as well as being very cold.  The Council is not aware of any domestic flooding but we have had some drain blockage, which we have reported to Wiltshire Council

I have today spoken to our library.  The library is a designated Warm Hub, where everyone is welcome.  The staff were eager to point out that visitors are not expected to sit and read a book and keep quiet.  There are puzzles, games and magazines and conversation is encouraged.  There is no restriction on how long you stay.  Also available is a free Warm Pack consisting of a blanket, hot water bottle and thermal cup.  The library is open on Monday 10am -7pm, Tuesday 9-30am -5pm, Wednesday 10am-2pm, Thursday 9-30am-5pm, Friday. 9-30am -5pm and Saturday 9-30am-1pm.  Please use this excellent warm facility.

The end of the year is a particularly busy time for the Council. Our Clerk prepared all the necessary facts and figures for our interim internal audit and I am pleased to say that an independent internal auditor was satisfied with the result.  Also, in November, we held our annual Budget setting meeting.  This is always a challenge and especially this year with such rising costs.  After much analysis we agreed on a 6.5% increase on our precept. This equates to an annual rise of £9 on a Band D property.  In order to do this, we had to resort to using some of our reserves.  We are aware that other local councils have applied far larger increases but for this year, at least, we have managed to keep it down. The Council has since approved the Budget recommendations.

At the January meeting we considered a planning application (no.PL/2022/09365) for the siting of a new factory with associated offices, car parking, access and landscaping on the site adjacent to the Quarryfield Industrial Estate. The applicant is Godminster, the cheese manufacturer.  Mere Town Council recommended approval of this planning application but the site is actually within the parish of Zeals and Zeals Parish Council will also be submitting a consultation response to the Planning Authority.

I must thank Cllr. John Jordan, who has applied for funding from the Wiltshire Town’s Programme which can be used to attract more visitors to Mere.  If successful, we hope to use some of the funding to provide wider internet information about Mere and enhance the Red Arrows Trail as well as amenities for visitors.  Some funding may be offered to groups to attract more participants to events which they have planned. Groups will be contacted, with information, once the funding has been approved.

As you may have heard the Palace has issued its official agenda for the weekend of celebrations for the Coronation of King Charles.  The Coronation ceremony will be at Westminster Abbey on May 6th.  On Sunday May 7th there is to be a concert at Windsor Castle and also on the 7th, A Coronation Big Lunch of street parties up and down the country.  It will be followed on Monday 8th, the Bank Holiday, by the Big Help Out, a volunteer scheme devised in tribute to His Majesty’s many decades of public service.  People will be encouraged to join volunteer projects, dedicating a few hours to help create a coronation legacy.

Mere Town Council is asking for volunteers to form a working group to organise Mere’s Celebrations.  Anybody interested, please contact the office (01747 860701).

I am pleased to inform you that we have a new PCSO- Neil Turnbull.  Neil will also cover the Tisbury area and I understand that there are at least 28 or so Parish Councils in his patch.  He will try to attend some of our council meetings and hopefully we shall see him about town regularly.  In an emergency or to report a crime, please ring 101 or 999.

Congratulations to Pat & Geoff Sams, who this year won the trophy for an outstanding display of Christmas lights and decorations.

Lesley Traves


Chairman’s Report November 2022

You may recall, that Mere Town Council has received contributions from C G Fry pertaining to the development of the Hill Brush site in Woodlands Rd.  These financial contributions came with conditions for its expenditure but I am pleased to report that we are now progressing well with two of the projects that were identified as priorities – others will follow in due course.

For now though, we are hoping to go out to tender very soon for the refurbishment and improvements of the play area at Walnut Road.  It was gratifying to learn that a recent questionnaire, distributed amongst the community, returned support for this amenity, whilst confirming an upgrade was essential.

The second project is also progressing – this is for the full-scale renovations of the footpath from Clements Lane to the centre of Mere, via Lordsmead Mill and Angel Lane and will include re-surfacing, removing invasive vegetation which has considerably narrowed the path and adding discreet low-level lighting.

I must give thanks to our Project Co-ordinator, Roger Pipe for his diligence with these projects.

The Vice Chair, the Town Clerk and I recently met up with Debs Shannon, a teacher at Mere School whose Year 6 pupils have formed a Mere School Eco Committee.  Whilst, we agreed that the Climate Change agenda is high priority, we were not able to support tree planting on the sports fields.  This fact is substantiated by our landlord, the Duchy of Cornwall, who agree that the Town Council is limited on any suitable spaces for tree planting but who have pointed out that Mere will definitely not be behind the curve on the tree planting carbon offset work, since the Duchy of Cornwall has planted 900 trees as part of their hedgerow tree planting campaign and 70 trees as a commemorative wood for the Queens Jubilee campaign.  Anyhow, we were happy to suggest some appropriate sites for wild flower sowing for the school’s Eco Committee to consider and it is highly commendable that the school is embracing these ecological issues.

At the November meeting complaints were well voiced concerning the HGV traffic in Pettridge Lane and Clements Lane.  Unfortunately, there is not a lot we can do about this.  There isn’t an alternative route which is better.  The layout of Mere is what it is. We must try to find a way to promote conscientious, safe parking and driving.  The Town Council did recognisethat the safety of pedestrians on Edgebridge is paramount and, hopefully the progression of our footpath project from Clements Lane to the centre of Mere will, when completed, encourage pedestrians to use this route rather than the more hazardous route around Edgebridge.

On December 2nd, the Christmas Lights will be turned on in Mere along with a visit by Father Christmas.  On behalf of the Mere Town Council, I wish you all a Happy Christmas.

Avian Influenza November 2022

Following a UK-wide increase in the number of detections of Avian Influenza (bird flu) in wild birds and on commercial premises, last week the Chief Veterinary Officers from England, Scotland and Wales declared an Avian Influenza Prevention Zone (AIPZ) across Great Britain to mitigate the risk of the disease spreading amongst poultry and captive birds.

It is now a legal requirement for all bird keepers in Great Britain to follow strict biosecurity measures to help protect their flocks from the threat of Avian Influenza.

Mandatory housing measures for all poultry and captive birds are to be introduced to all areas of England from 00.01 on Monday 7 November 2022, following a decision by the United Kingdom’s Chief Veterinary Officer.

More information about the housing order can be found at

People should not touch or pick up any dead or visibly sick wild birds that they find. They should call the DEFRA helpline on 03459 33 55 77 if they find one or more dead bird of prey or owl; three or more dead gulls or wild waterfowl (swans, geese and ducks); five or more dead birds of any species.

Recruitment of Firefighters in Mere


If you live or work in Mere or the surrounding area, have you thought about being an on-call firefighter?

Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service is currently recruiting for the fire station in White Road, and the recruitment team will be out and about in the local area during the w/c 13 June – so look out for them!

There are also plans for a ‘Have a Go’ event at the fire station, and details will be on their Facebook page once confirmed –

When the pager goes off, an on-call firefighter can be called to a wide range of incidents, such as fires, road traffic collisions, rescues from height or water, animal rescue or flooding.

In addition, Mere is a co-responder station, where firefighters can opt to support the ambulance service by attending medical emergencies ahead of a paramedic arriving.

If you want to support your community, learn new skills and earn additional income, get in touch! Look out for the team next week, visit, email or leave a message on the 24-hour recruitment line, 01722 691444.


Volunteers continue to be available to assist those who are unable to get to the shops for essential shopping and for collecting prescriptions from the Doctor’s Surgery or from the Pharmacy.

If you need help and have no close family, neighbours or friends to assist you, then please just make contact with any of the telephone coordinators below. They will take your details and get someone to assist.

Name Home Phone Mobile
Ann Rich 01747 861493 07413 512023
Isobel Page 01747 860297  
Jane Batten 01747 860583  
Joanne King   07740 858923
Mary Wilson 01747 229609 07550 076240
Rachael Hansford 01747 860168 07989 470278
Rose Heesom   07791 559674
Roy Beavis   07878 903178