Mere Town Council
Town Clerk – Mrs. L. C. Wood
Minutes of a meeting of Mere Town Council held on Monday, 2nd October 2023 at 7.00 pm at Duchy Manor, Springfield Road, Mere, Wiltshire. BA12 6EW.
Present: Councillors John Jordan (Chair), Glen Ings (Vice-Chair), Sandra Catley, Aubrey Colman, Rodney Coward, Rachael Hansford, George Jeans, Linden Stone, Kate Symonds & Lesley Traves
Also Town Clerk, Lindsey Wood & Project Co-Ordinator, Roger Pipe. Also PC Tom Newman from Wiltshire Police & 5 members of the public
Mr. R. Coombs, Treasurer of Mere Bowls Club spoke in support of their request for grant support towards the cost of drilling the Bowls Green [agenda item 10d)]
PC Tom Newman, Neighbourhood officer for Westbury & acting sergeant for the Mere & Tisbury Neighbourhood area. Aware of ongoing ASB incidents at the Bowls Club, they have identified the suspects involved and will be speaking to them this week. The person that has been riding around the parks on a motorbike has also been identified and is being dealt with. PCSO Hunt has offered his apologies for not being able to carry out any drop-in sessions recently but hopefully he will be able to resume this and will also be able to do more foot patrols. Cllr. Jeans mentioned the lack of police presence lately and PC Newman explained that the full complement of officers for this area should be 1 sergeant, 3 PC’s, 8 PCSO’s but at the moment there is 2 Police Officers and 4 PCSO’s so we are working at under 50% strength. Cllr. Sandra Catley defended the police and said she felt there was good police presence when and where it was needed & the Clerk said that PCSO Stuart Hunt had been seen in Mere quite a lot lately.
- Apologies for absence received from Cllrs. P. Coward, R. Hill, D. Beale, N. Beale, C. Hazzard,
- Declarations of Interest – To receive any declarations of disclosable pecuniary interests and other interests from Councillors on matters to be considered at the meeting.
- None Received
*318. Minutes – RESOLVED that the Minutes of the Town Council meeting held on 4th September 2023 be approved as a correct record. (attached)
- Matters Arising from Public Session
- Matters Arising from previous Meetings (not covered by other agenda items)
- a) Minute Reference 306 – River Cleaning – the Chairman reported that the Council had taken advice from both Dorset & Wiltshire Wildlife Trusts and WWT has confirmed that we, as a Council, shouldn’t actually be clearing the river unless there is danger of flooding. However, given the fact that volunteers have come forward to help, the Chairman has met with Ian Sheppard to look at the scale of the work involved and it has been decided to proceed with some weed clearance work on the basis that the volunteers seek permission from the riparian owners to carry out work on their behalf.
- b) Minute Reference 306 – Suggestions for footpath naming ‘Mitchell Way’ or similar – the Chairman confirmed that Cllr. Hazzard had discussed the matter with Eric’s daughter who was very pleased and wanted it to be called the Eric Mitchell Way. The Chairman was therefore suggesting that we should name footpaths 50 and 66 the Eric Mitchell Way and put signs at either end when we carry out the work that our Project Manager will report on later. All agreed.
- c) Minute Reference 307a) – Traffic Management in Mere – report on Hazzards Hill residents consultation relating to parking and double-yellow lines – the Chairman reported that following a recent consultation exercise with residents on Hazzards Hill, the general response was for double yellow lines from the White Road turning down to Yapp Brothers (past the entrance) and the same the other side less an area for three parking bays outside the cottages but this could be staggered to include a length of double-yellow lines to allow for a pull-in between the parking bays. It was therefore agreed to include this in the Town Council’s submission to LHFIG.
*d) Minute Reference 307a) – Traffic Management in Mere – Clements Lane/Edgebridge – speed of traffic and pedestrians in roadway. (report attached)
8*b) Highway Improvement Request Form – request for barrier, bollards or railing to segregate pedestrians from traffic and speed signs to reduce the speed limit to 15-20 mph and traffic calming along Edgebridge. (form attached)
The Chairman said he was going to take agenda items 5d) & 8b) together as they were linked items and whilst he didn’t think it would be possible to produce barriers, bollards and railings to segregate pedestrians from vehicles, he had produced a report and a map which showed some improvements that he thought the Town Council might be able to instigate to help slow the traffic and warn drivers of pedestrians in the roadway. The Chairman’s suggestion was to reinstate the SLOW marking on the road coming from the south direction (in fact this had been done thanks to a report submitted on MyWilts by a member of the public) and to introduce a similar SLOW marking on the road coming from Clements Lane with a sharp bend and signs saying pedestrians on highway (no footway) on both sides of the bend. Other councillors felt that more action needed to be taken to physically slow traffic and it was unanimously agreed to suggest that rumble strips on the highway should be included in the submission to the Local Highways & Footpath Improvement Group (LHFIG). There was then a discussion about whether or not the Town Council should produce evidence and data of speeds and traffic, but it was generally felt that this was unnecessary and that councillors & local residents could provide the evidence if required.
*e) Minute Reference 307d) – Wiltshire Towns Programme 2024-25 (report attached) – a DRAFT action plan was distributed to members and the Chairman invited comments. Members were happy with the suggestions in the Draft Action Plan and it was agreed to submit this as Mere Town Council’s bid for the Wiltshire Towns Programme 2024-25 funding.
*f) Minute Reference307f) & 307g) – To agree terms for lease for Salisbury Street Car Park & Castle Street Car Park (see Clerks Report) – it was felt that the Town Council & Wiltshire Council had negotiated on the leases to a point where they could be signed off & the Chairman proposed that both leases be signed which as agreed on a vote of 9 for and 1 abstention (Cllr. Jeans abstained)
*g) Minute Reference 312e) – LHFIG Funding Model – response from Karen Linaker (see Clerks Report) – members noted the information in the Clerks Report.
- Reports & Consultations
- a) Wiltshire Councillors Report – Cllr. Jeans stressed the importance of taking part in the Wiltshire Local Plan Consultation and said that there were various events being held throughout the county as well as online, although you needed to register to take part in the online events. The Chairman asked Cllr. Jeans to take forward a complaint regarding the fact that the Local Plan documents were being made available to view in 17 libraries throughout Wiltshire and yet Mere library had not been included.
*b) Project Co-ordinator’s report (report, plans and visuals attached [5 attachments]) – The Town Council’s Project Co-Ordinator, Roger Pipe, was at the meeting and was able to explain, provide more detail and answer questions on the items in his written report – mainly about the footpath 50/66 improvement project and the refurbishment of the public toilets. On the footpath 50/66 and the design proposals put forward by Enerveo for lighting, Roger confirmed that he was liaising with Paul Shaddock, Senior Traffic Engineer for Wiltshire Council on this scheme who was being supportive & has asked his street lighting team to view the scheme. Roger did remind members that the work would require a footpath closure and that three months’ notice of this was required and so timing was going to be crucial. There was a question about running costs & maintenance costs for the lights and suggestions that the lights be put on timers so that they go out at a certain time and/or have sensors so that they get brighter. The Chairman felt that the scheme would be a great benefit for Mere & thanked Roger for the work involved in getting this far. On the subject of the public toilet refurbishments, Cllr. Colman said that he estimated this scheme would cost £100k and that, if this was the case, it would make sense to go out to national tender to get a company that would do all the work for us and provide us with a 10-year guarantee with a maintenance contract and a cleaning contract. Cllr. Jeans asked if it would be possible to have a pay-to-use toilet that people could use at night if they were desperate even if it were a high charge – he said that if it was a high charge, say £1, then it would stop vandals from going in there but would enable someone who needed a toilet to use it if they wanted to.
- c) Report on South west Wiltshire Area Board meeting held on Wednesday, 20th September 2023 – Cllr Jeans confirmed that Mere Youth Football Club had received a grant which was approved under delegated powers and also he had asked the Police & Crime Commissioner for more police presence locally.
- d) Report on LHFIG meeting held on Wednesday, 6th September 2023 – It was reported that both Cllr. Debbie Beale & Nick Beale attended the meeting and reported to the Clerk that nothing relevant to Mere was discussed.
- e) Lynch Close Sheltered Housing Review – report on meeting held 13.9.23 – The Chairman reported that both he and Cllr. Jeans had attended this meeting which was called by the residents and had been attended by officers of Wiltshire Council as well. Subsequent newsletters had also been issued by Wiltshire Council.
- a) Applications for consultation response:
|Application Type:||Removal/variation of conditions|
|Proposal:||Variation of condition 2 (approved plans) on 16/12085/FUL to allow for changes to materials and design|
|Site Address:||Ashwell Nursery, Burton, Mere, Warminster, BA12 6BR|
|Planning Register Link:||https://development.wiltshire.gov.uk/pr/s/planning-application/a0i3z00001C2emD|
RESOLVED to send the following submission: This is a retrospective planning application for a barn that has been built. Permission was given for a hay barn to be built on this site in early 2017 and a variation of condition – relating to materials (roof tiles) was submitted and approved later on in 2017. The barn that has been erected has breached the planning approval in several respects – materials, height (it is nearly 3m higher) and design. The Town Council’s opinion is that the barn that has been erected on the site is far too high and dominates the landscape creating an unacceptable visual impact. It is also felt that a pedestrian door, window and two stories for an agricultural barn is unnecessary and superfluous making the building look non-agricultural, urbane and out of character. Members felt that the barn should be rebuilt to the plans as specified in the planning approval granted under 16/12085/FUL and 17/08466/VAR. If the planning authority is, however, minded to approve this variation then the Town Council feels extremely strongly that the following condition should be included:
Conditions: The agricultural barn as shown on the Site Plan (Drawing No.02 dated Aug 2023) shall be used for agricultural purposes only and shall be maintained for this use in perpetuity. No paraphernalia unrelated to the approved agricultural use of the barn shall be brought onto or stored within it.
In order not to compromise his position as Wiltshire Councillor, Cllr. Jeans abstained from voting on this matter.
- b) Reminder of Local Plan Consultation event – the Chairman reminded members that the local drop-in event was on Wednesday at the Nadder Centre, Tisbury.
- Highways, Rivers, Footpaths, Traffic & Transport
- a) To identify jobs for the Parish Steward, Sparkle Team and MyWiltshire reports.
- Fill potholes in Denes Avenue
- Fill potholes in Manor Road
- Pothole on zebra crossing on White Road
- Buildings, Open Spaces, Play Areas, Sports Grounds, Car Parks, Allotments & Cemeteries
Chairman informed members that work was taking place on quotations for the second phase of works in the new cemetery.
- Finance, Policy & Resources
*a) Payments – RESOLVED to authorise payments as detailed in the schedule of payments distributed to members.
*b) To note the bank reconciliation for August 2023 – the Chairman confirmed that he had signed and verified the reconciliations against the bank statements.
*c) To report on Completion of limited assurance review (external audit) for the year ended 31 March 2023 & Notice of conclusion of audit. (see attached) – the Clerk confirmed that the audit had been signed off and Certificate of Completion received. However, the Clerk said that she had made an error with the arithmetic which had let to an ‘except for’ matter being raised because Section 2 box 6 of the AGAR listed a capital expenditure item for a defibrillator at £1070 which should have been included in Section 2 box 9 of the AGAR (assets). Members noted this and thanked the Clerk for all the work involved in the audit process.
*d) To consider request for grant support from Mere Bowls Club (see attached) – members noted the letter received from Mere Bowls Club as well as the information given by Richard Coombs during the public session. Cllr. Symonds felt it was a shame that the work had been sanctioned before this meeting. Cllr. Ings felt that the Town Council had recently said ‘no’ or provided minimal funds to various other sporting organisations asking for financial support and it was pointed out that there were funds available to sporting groups by Sport England and also from the South West Wiltshire Area Board. The Chairman proposed that the Town Council should provide 10% or £400 as seed money for the Bowls Club to seek further funding from other organisations/bodies and this was approved with a vote of 9 for and 1 abstention. (Cllr. Jeans abstained from voting as he is a member of the Bowls Club).
*e) Review of the policies, procedures and practices – Review of Freedom of Information Menu (see attached) – RESOLVED that the Freedom of Information Menu be approved without amendment.
- f) To set date, membership and venue for Annual Budget Meeting – the Annual Budget Meeting was set for 22nd November 2023 to be held in the Andy Young Pavilion at 7.00 pm. The following councillors agreed to attend: Glen Ings, Rachael Hansford, George Jeans, Lesley Traves, Aubrey Colman, Sandra Catley, John Jordan + Clive Hazzard and Philip Coward if they are able to attend.
- General Items
- a) Request to appoint a representative of the Town Council forward as a Trustee to the Mere Lecture Hall Trust – Concern was expressed that if the Town Council puts someone forward as a Trustee for one Charity then we may get an influx of local charities asking us to put forward Trustees. However, Cllr. Sandra Catley said that she would happily volunteer to become a Trustee for the Mere Lecture Hall Trust and it was agreed to pass this information onto the Lecture Hall Trust.
- b) The future of Mere Chamber of Trade – Cllr. Clive Hazzard – deferred
Briefing Note 23-24: Workplace Health Support in Wiltshire (attached) – noted.
Note: Members are reminded that the Town Council has a general duty to consider the following matters in the exercise of any of its functions: Equal Opportunities (race, gender, sexual orientation, marital status and any disability), Crime and Disorder, Health and Safety and Human Rights.
*Further information on these items enclosed/attached Meeting closed at 8.28 pm