Covid-19 Response & Strategy – Updated 9.6.20
Reopening of facilities
In line with government announcements:
The tennis courts have re-opened with restricted usage guidelines.
Mere Skate Park has reopened with restricted usage guidelines.
The Multi-Use Games Area has been re-opened with restricted usage guidelines.
The guidelines are printed on notices around the courts and the skate park.
Mere Bowls Club have re-opened with restricted usage guidelines issued by the Dept. of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and they have limited essential access to the Andy Young Pavilion only to use the toilets and hand washing facilities.
All childrens play areas remain closed and locked in accordance with government guidelines. The Changing Rooms remain shut.
Having carried out a risk assessment of the public toilets in order to reopen them, I have decided that it is not possible to re-open the gents and the ladies toilets. However, we have altered the lock on the disabled toilets and this has been opened for public use from 5th June on the following basis:
- Suitable signage promoting social distancing and personal hygiene
- The toilet will be cleaned twice a day (10 am & 2 pm)
- The toilet will only be open from 7.30 am until 4.30 pm
Our cleaner has been given a risk management sheet, PPE and clear instructions on cleaning the premises.
As our buildings (Toilets, Andy Young Pavilion, Changing Rooms and Youth Club) had been closed for some time with water standing in the pipes, I have also arranged for the water systems to be disinfected and flushed through. We will, of course, go into the buildings on a weekly basis and flush out the systems in each of the buildings from now on and until they are all back in full and regular use.
Mere’s Local Resilience Forum & Community Support Group
The group is still working well and the volunteer statistics up until the end of May show very impressive results:
Statistics up to the end of May:
- Taken/made in excess of 923 related telephone calls.
- More than 135 individual shopping or prescription collections.
- More than 307 repeat shopping or prescription collections.
- ‘Listening Helpline’ – 7 volunteers having made over 162 telephone calls
Some volunteers have now removed themselves from the register because they have had to return to work and others that were not being given any volunteer jobs are taking their place. However, the time will come soon when we will get together with Richard to discuss how we see this going forward or indeed whether there is any need to continue.
Recognition has been made here: https://ocm.wiltshire.gov.uk/southwestwiltshire/mere-support-for-residents-during-pandemic/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=mere-support-for-residents-during-pandemic
We also have a mention and picture in an article in the July/August 2020 Wiltshire Life Magazine – – this can be ordered online or it is possible to buy a single copy by calling their office in Dinton: 01722 716997.
Legionella Risk Assessments + Training
Some years ago, the Town Council staff had some basic training from Wessex HVAC & Plumbing on Legionella and how to carry out some risk management to help prevent legionella, particularly in the changing rooms which are our highest risk building due to the showers, water storage and thermal mixing valves. Our own staff record weekly temperature checks and run the water for 10 minutes in the changing rooms. However, we do not do this for any of the other buildings. At that time Wessex also said that they would come and do an annual disinfection of the storage tanks etc. Since then Wessex have stopped doing the legionella work and we have asked various companies to quote us. As I mentioned earlier, due to the fact that some of our buildings have been left unused and water has been standing in the pipes, I arranged for a company to come out and disinfect the water system. I have subsequently asked them to give us a quotation for a Risk Assessment and survey of each of the water systems in the Andy Young Pavilion, Public Toilets, Changing Rooms, Youth Club, Band Hut, Cemetery + 3 Allotment sites and give us a written report and recommendations for remedial works and a control scheme for legionella. I have received this quotation at £775.00. This would cover The Pavilion, Public Toilets, Changing Rooms, Youth Club, Band Hut, Cemetery + 3 Allotment sites. I have also received a quotation of £150 to provide a Legionella Awareness Session for up to 5 people at the Town Council offices (approximately 2 hours) with certification of attendance.
Insurance Claim Settlement
Firstly, Glen Ings put me in touch with another company who have quoted to repair/replace the windows in the chapel. This quotation comes out at £9038.14 + VAT. The company are suggesting that the windows should be replaced like for like as not all the windows would need replacing. This quotation is nearly £3000 cheaper than the previous quotation we received. Unsurprisingly, Came & Company (our insurance brokers) have confirmed that Hiscox (our insurers) are happy to cover the net cost of the second quote at £9039.14.
This leads me onto two more questions:
Do you want me to instruct that company to go ahead and proceed on the basis of their quotation?
Do you want me to ask them to repair/replace the east gable end window that has been missing and boarded up for some years & other windows that were not damaged in the break in?
Hiscox are also offering £3828.08 as a figure to replace the machinery that was stolen. My initial quotation schedule for replacement items came in at £3862.28 so I think this is a fair figure. Hiscox are happy to settle the claim in its entirety and based on the £9038.14 quote for the windows and £3828.08 for the machinery, net of the £250 policy excess, they are offering a payment of £12,616.28.
Briefing Note No. 20-20 – Housing Land Supply
Please see attached Briefing Note. Having read through this briefly, I wanted to bring it to the Council’s attention as it confirms that Wiltshire Council’s inability to demonstrate a 5-year housing supply leaves us all vulnerable to development outside the defined settlement boundaries. The Briefing Note also outlines the significance of having a Neighbourhood Plan in these situations.
From the last Neighbourhood Plan meeting that was held with newly interested people, it seemed clear that no-one was interested in taking on the role of Chairman and no-one was interested in taking on the role of Secretary. It seems to me, therefore, that the possibility of a Neighbourhood Plan for Mere in the near future is looking very unlikely.
Brick Wall alongside Pennybank Lane
You may recall that a couple of years ago one of our councillors noticed that part of the brick wall along Pennybank Lane had been removed and replaced with a fence. Upon enquiry, it seemed that Mr. James Chalk, who had purchased the house alongside Pennybank Lane, had removed the wall because it was leaning and replaced it with a fence. When I spoke to Mr. Chalk he did point out that he had kept the bricks and if we wanted to rebuild the wall, we could get the bricks back. I don’t think that the Council ever made any decision on this and I have now received an email from Gilyard Scarth Letting Agents stating that the bricks are currently still in the garden of the house and as they haven’t heard anything from us, can they assume that the bricks are no longer required?
DELEGATED DECISION REPORT – 9TH June 2020
- Legionella Risk Assessments + Training – it was agreed that the Clerk should instruct the company to carry out the legionella risk assessment on the basis of the quotation provided and also to arrange for Legionella Awareness Session training to take place as soon as possible.
- Insurance Claim Settlement – It was agreed that the settlement figures were fair and that the Town Council should accept the offer to settle the insurance claim. With regards to the chapel windows, it was agreed to instruct the contractors to repair/replace the windows as they were and also to replace the window on the eastern gable end and any others that need work (subject to this not being too overpriced) so that the building can be brought back into use for some purpose.
- Briefing Note No. 20-20 – Housing Land Supply –Members noted that the Briefing Note confirmed that Wiltshire Council’s inability to demonstrate a 5-year housing supply at the present time leaves us all vulnerable to development outside the defined settlement boundaries and that the Briefing Note also outlined the significance of having a Neighbourhood Plan in these situations. With regards to the Mere Neighbourhood Plan, it was agreed that the Clerk should write to existing steering group members to suggest that an article should be published in Mere Matters with a statement to say that we feel unable to progress with the Mere Neighbourhood Plan because, although we have keen volunteer support, we do not have anyone who is prepared to take on the key roles of Chairman and Secretary which are necessary to drive this project forward. We therefore feel that there is no alternative than to suspend the Mere Neighbourhood Plan.
- Brick Wall alongside Pennybank Lane – The Clerk confirmed that she hadn’t received any complaints from members of the public relating to the replacement of a fence instead of the brick wall. However, the brick wall was attractive and the bricks do belong to the Town Council & it may be that during some time in the future we would like to repair or replace the wall. Old Gillingham brick is actually quite difficult and expensive to get hold of and I would suggest that, if we can find somewhere to store the bricks, we should arrange to collect them, remove from site and store them. (We do have a store of old Mere stone from a wall at the cemetery at Wood Farm). Members agreed that if the bricks can be removed and stored then the Town Council should collect them and store for safe keeping.
- Allotments – Application to erect a polytunnel (15ft X 15ft) at Southbrook Allotments – It was agreed to approve the erection of the polytunnel.
- Planning Applications:
Applilcation Ref: 20/03827/VAR
Application for: Variation of Condition
Proposal: Removal of condition 2 of S/2006/1537 (relating to the use of the lambing
shed only between January & April)
At: Dews Pasture, Burton Farm, Mere. BA12 6BR
The Clerk explained that this barn was the subject of a recent Part Q Conversion application which was refused. The variation relates to an original planning condition relating to its period of use that was applied in the first place to ensure that the effect on neighbouring properties was minimised. Neighbours have confirmed that the barn has been used for cattle rearing all year round. The Clerk wondered why, if the barn has been used for cattle all year round for so long, it had now become necessary to remove the condition attached to the original planning permission. However, she did not see this as grounds for refusal. Councillors concurred.
Delegated decision – No objection.
Application Ref: 20/04076/TCA
Application for: Work to Trees in a Cons. Area
Proposal: T2 – T5 – Leylandii – Reduce in height down to 2.5 metres
T6 – Reduce in height to 2.5 metres
T7 – reduce inheight to 2.5 metres
At: The Quarterjack, Castle Street, Mere. BA12 6JF
Delegated decision – No objection.
Application Ref: 20/03877/OUT
Application for: Outline Planning
Proposal: Reserved matters for layout, appearance, scale and landscaping for the
access road only pursuant to outline planning permission 18/05138/OUT for
a mix of B1 & B8 uses comprising approximately 10,000m² of floorspace,
associated works and provision of access from the 303 Interchange site and
Hill Brush Factory (all other matters reserved).
At: Land Adjacent to Dead Maid Quarry Industrial Estate, Mere. BA12 6LA
It was felt that this Outline Application was to approve the reserved matters relating to the entrance road which would make further development of the site possible.
Delegated decision – No objections
Application Ref: 20/04103/FUL
Application for: Full Planning
Proposal: Erection of a detached two storey 2-bed dwelling and creation of a new
vehicular access with associated parking and garden
At: Holmby, North Road, Mere. BA12 6HP
The Clerk raised concerns about positioning, height and overall design of the house. Also raised concerns about access and whether or not the off-site parking was adequate and achievable. She felt that it may not be possible to get a vehicle into the first parking space and that this would result in a blocked driveway and cars out on the road which was already congested & suggested that this application should be considered by Full Council. Cllr. Jordan concurred and said that the biggest issue would be access. If cars are parked it will be impossible to drive in without a very wide entrance. Cllr. Mitchell agreed that the full council should make the decision and expressed concern about parked cars on North Road. The Chairman declared an interest.
Delegated decision – take this to Full Council for decision.
Application Ref: 20/04025/FUL
Application for: Full Planning
Proposal: Proposed ground floor rear extension, floor plan redesign and all associated works at Butts Paddock, Southbrook
At: Butts Paddock, Southbrook, Mere. BA12 6BG
The Clerk said that she didn’t think that the proposed would affect any neighbours. Councillors agreed.
Delegated decision – Support
- Payments – Delegated decision – The Chairman declared an interest in this matter and expressed no opinion. Other Councillors were happy to approve the payment schedule attached and the Clerk authorised to make electronic payments.
- Decision on future meetings – Since relaxation of lockdown measures and given the fact that some Full Council decisions need to be made soon, it was agreed that a Council meeting should be held on 6th July as long as it meets within government guidelines and that the Clerk should write to all councillors giving them a choice as to whether they would prefer to hold the meeting either outside (if weather permits) or in the foyer at Duchy Manor or in the Andy Young Pavilion but with seats set 2m apart, or via Zoom or via another remote means.