Minutes of a meeting of Mere Town Council held on Monday, 3rd April 2023 at 7.00 pm at Duchy Manor, Springfield Road, Mere, Wiltshire. BA12 6EW.
Present: Councillors Mrs. Lesley Traves (Chairman), Mrs. Kate Symonds (Vice-Chairman), Debbie Beale, Nick Beale, Sandra Catley, Philip Coward, George Jeans, Rachael Hansford, Clive Hazzard, Glen Ings, John Jordan & Linden Stone
Also Present: Mr. & Mrs. Clowser, David Drewett, Colin Senneck
Public Participation Session
Mr. Clowser spoke in support of the 30mph speed limit along Shaftesbury Road and said that he had the written backing of a number of residents who are prepared to contribute financially towards the scheme but would pledge to personally underwrite the difference between the £1000 that the Town Council is willing to contribute towards the scheme and the final costs. He also said that, in the event that Wiltshire Council may not be prepared to accept the money from local residents, he would be prepared to pay the money to the Town Council so that their contribution does not exceed £1000 and I have confirmed this in writing to the Town Clerk.
Mr. Drewett spoke in support of the agenda item for the replacement of 3 street name signs, namely the Wet Lane sign, Clements Lane and The Pound. Cllr. Mrs. Symonds said that she thought The Pound sign had recently been replaced again, although this time it was positioned higher on the wall so that it could not get stolen. Cllr. Jeans confirmed that a resident had paid for this sign privately.
Colin Senneck spoke in support of his request to use the old swimming pool site for pétanque – He said that he had recently moved to the area but found there to be a lack of Boules or Pétanque and although Gillingham has spent a lot of money on putting an international sized piste in the Town Meadow, he had found it to be unsatisfactory with no-one there. He therefore wanted to utilise the old Mere Swimming Pool site at Duchy Manor to offer Pétanque and encourage people to come along and play. Cllr. Jeans said that the understood there was a Croquet & Boules Club in Mere in North Road. Mr. Senneck said he had been in contact with them and they have told him that the interest in Boules died out with the pandemic but Mr. Senneck thought that their piste was unsatisfactory and not in a good position. The old swimming pool site is in a far better position and within the sports complex.
Cllr. Jordan wanted to thank the 13 litter pickers who joined him yesterday to pick litter around the town. He also said that he had been approached by some people from Devon who complimented Mere on how neat and tidy it was and how wonderful the cemetery was and they said that Mere was much tidier than Devon.
Apologies for absence received from Councillors A. Colman, R. Coward & R. Hill
- To receive any declarations of disclosable pecuniary interests and other interests from Councillors on matters to be considered at the meeting.
- Jeans declared a pecuniary interest in planning application PL/2023/02228 and also in Minute No. 241a) and a personal interest in Minute Ref: 286b) as his son lives along Shaftesbury Road.
- Minutes – RESOLVED to approve the minutes of the Town Council meeting held on 6th March 2023 as a correct record with an amendment to Minute Ref; 279b) – as highlighted and RESOLVED to approve Minutes of working group meeting held to review & assess the effectiveness of Internal Control Measures held on Thursday, 23rd March 2023 (attached)
- Matters Arising from Public Session
- Matters Arising from previous Meetings (not covered by other agenda items)
*a) Minute Ref: 276 b) Lease/Licence for Car Club – report from solicitors – Cllr. Jordan made some comments about the fact that the solicitor had pointed out that the licence agreement did not concur with the conditions of the main lease and that permission had to be received from Wiltshire Council to amend the terms of the main lease and he also noted that if for any reason we have to terminate the agreement, we have to pay Econetiq despite the fact that they will be making money out of our car park. Cllr. Rachael Hansford asked what the termination payments would be and Cllr. Jordan said that it was on a sliding scale and the figure depreciates over years and pointed out that the solicitor had said that we needed to take this into consideration. Cllr. Philip Coward said he thought it was reasonable to find out what these costs would be before we signed the agreement. Members were happy for the Clerk to proceed on the basis of all the queries that had been raised by our solicitor.
*b) Minute Ref: 279 b) LHFIG Issue No: 14-21-10 Mere TC Request for speed limit assessment along Shaftesbury Road – update from residents on contributions – the Clerk informed members that she had received written confirmation from the residents that they would provide a financial contribution towards the cost of providing the 30mph speed limit, with gateways, at anything over and above the £1000 contribution that the Town Council had agreed to make towards this scheme. Therefore, the Clerk assumed that the Council was happy to go back to Wiltshire Council asking them to proceed in accordance with the decision that was made last month and members concurred. (Having declared a personal interest, Cllr. Jeans abstained from discussion or voting.)
*c) Minute Ref: 268 b) Extension of Environmental Higher Level Stewardship Scheme for Castle Hill & Long Hill – members noted the information in the Clerks Report.
- Reports & Consultations
- a) Wiltshire Councillors Report – Jeans asked for help erecting flags and bunting. Cllr. Jordan said he hoped that the new Highways Maintenance contractors would do a better job than the previous ones and Cllr. Jeans said that he thought that they could only do what they were asked to do by Wiltshire Council.
*b) Notification of Revision to boundary of Asset of Community Value – The Butt of Sherry Public House
|Site Location:||The Butt of Sherry Public House, Castle Street, Mere, Warminster, Wiltshire. BA12 6JE|
|Proposal:||Nomination of The Butt of Sherry Public House, Castle Street, Mere as an Asset of Community Value|
They have changed the registry for the land and split off the property at the rear so it is outside the ACV. Cllr. Rachael Hansford said that she couldn’t understand how this could be done without consultation. Cllr. P. Coward asked what was to stop them separating another bit. The Clerk said that as it was the Town Council that asked for the ACV to be imposed then she thought the Town Council should have been consulted. It was agreed to write to the officer to ask for clarification as to how this has happened without consultation.
*c) Report from Project Co-Ordinator (report attached) – Members were very pleased about the grants and Cllr. Jeans asked for the Council’s thanks to be recorded to Roger for the work he has done to achieve this.
- a) Applications for consultation response:
|Application Type:||Householder planning permission|
|Proposal:||Addition of a single storey extension to the east side of the existing property for the purposes of disabled access. A window in the existing kitchen will be replaced by a door. The extension will be fitted with 900 mm doors and a ramp with a gradient of approximately 1:20. A toilet with disabled access will be included. The extension will be clad in sustainable, ethically sourced Douglas Fir.|
|Site Address:||BAYCROFT, WHITE ROAD, MERE, WARMINSTER, BA12 6EX|
|Planning Register Link:||https://development.wiltshire.gov.uk/pr/s/planning-application/a0i3z000019ABsD|
RESOLVED to recommend approval of the above application on proposal made by Cllr. Symonds, seconded by Cllr. Debbie Beale and carried with a majority vote. In order not to compromise his position as Wiltshire Councillor, Cllr. Jeans abstained from voting on this matter.
|Application Type:||Notification of proposed works to trees in a conservation area|
|Proposal:||Fir tree – 25% height reduction|
|Site Address:||MERE COTTAGE, SALISBURY STREET, MERE, WARMINSTER, BA12 6HB|
|Planning Register Link:||https://development.wiltshire.gov.uk/pr/s/planning-application/a0i3z00001AYJt1|
Having declared an interest, Cllr. Jeans left the room whilst this matter was discussed. RESOLVED to recommend approval on prop0osal made by Cllr. Hazzard, seconded by Cllr. N. Beale and carried with a unanimous vote.
- b) RE: PL/2022/08186 – Extension to existing Gypsy and Traveller site with 10 additional pitches, each pitch to consist of 1 Mobile Home, 1 Touring caravan and parking at Mapperton Hill, Mere.
To inform members of additional information (Access & Visibility Appraisal) submitted by applicant – please see link to planning register: https://development.wiltshire.gov.uk/pr/s/planning-application/a0i3z0000198YxTAAU/pl202208186?tabset-8903c=2 The Clerk confirmed that since the Town Council submitted its consultation response, the applicants had commissioned a highway consultant to submit an Access & Visibility Appraisal because the planning officer had raised concerns with them about the highway issues. The Clerk therefore wondered if the Town Council wanted to review its consultation response in view of this additional information. RESOLVED to reiterate the Town Council’s previous response highlighting the highway concerns which are still valid. In order not to compromise his position as Wiltshire Councillor, Cllr. Jeans abstained from voting on this matter.
- Highways, Rivers, Footpaths, Traffic & Transport
- a) To identify jobs for the Parish Steward, Sparkle Team and MyWiltshire reports – it was generally felt that the Parish Steward should be asked to fill potholes – Ivymead, Hazzards Hill & the footpath outside the Mere Social Club were mentioned as having particularly bad potholes.
*b) Highways Maintenance Schedule 2023 – 2030 – With reference to the information that had been distributed prior to the meeting, Cllr. Jordan said that it would appear that the only bit of road to be surfaced is a little bit of road that leads to one residence which was originally tarmacked by mistake. Cllr. Jeans said that he did argue for more resurfacing to be carried out on the road to West Knoyle at a recent area board meeting and he would continue to urge the cabinet member to consider this road along with Pettridge Lane and Shaftesbury Road to be included within the programme.
- c) Notice of Temporary Closure of: Footpath 60, Mere (30.05.2023) – Noted
- d) Notice of Temporary Closure of Water Street (Part), Mere (30.5.23 – 2.6.23) – Noted
- e) Highway Improvement Request Form – 3 replacement street name plates for submission to LHFIG – The Clerk said that she had spoken to Paul Shaddock who administrates the LHFIG who had sent some costs and confirmed different costs for these signs depending on whether we wanted plastic or metal signs. RESOLVED to purchase the two metal signs (Wet Lane & Clements Lane) via LHFIG on proposal made by Cllr. Jordan, seconded by Cllr. Symonds and carried with a unanimous vote. It was further agreed that the Clerk would investigate the costs to provide name signs for Copenhagen Lane, Clewes Lane and Pennybank
*f) Report on Mere Rivers Group meeting held on Thursday, 16th March – Members noted the report written by Cllr. Mrs. Symonds, as published in the Clerks Report. Cllr. P. Coward said he attended the meeting and thought it was a good meeting and was very pleased at the work that Wessex Water are going to do in Mere. It was agreed that the Town Council should send a thank you to Ian Sheppard who has worked extremely hard to get this action.
- Buildings, Open Spaces, Play Areas, Sports Grounds, Car Parks, Allotments & Cemeteries
*a) Request to use old swimming pool site for pétanque – Cllr. Jeans asked about liability issues and the Clerk confirmed that other established sports groups set up their own insurance or insurance is provided by affiliation. However, as this was not established, it may be possible to provide a risk assessment and apply the Town Council’s insurance for a temporary period if the Town Council’s insurers agreed. Cllr. Hazzard said that whilst he was very happy to support this, he felt that the Town Council should set a time limit for a trial period. Mr. Senneck said he would know by the end of the summer whether or not there was enough interest in Mere to set up a Petanque Club. It was agreed that Mr. Senneck be given a trial period until the end of the summer (September) to use the old swimming pool site for Petanque and in the meantime the Clerk would investigate the insurance issue and liaise with Mr. Senneck over risk assessments etc. Proposal made by Cllr. Jordan, seconded by Cllr. Hazzard and carried with a unanimous vote.
*b) Public Toilets – to consider permanent closure of public toilets during the night in view of the level of vandalism that has occurred in recent months. With reference to the information in the Clerks Report, Cllr. P. Coward proposed that the public toilets should be closed for the foreseeable future but this will be reviewed either when they are refurbished or in the event of the Town Council providing CCTV in the car park. Proposal seconded by Cllr. Hazzard and carried with 7 in favour, 2 abstentions and 1 against. Cllr. Jeans asked if the Disabled toilet was still accessible with a radar key at night and the Clerk explained that the radar key accessibility had been stopped at the beginning of the COVID pandemic and that the disabled toilets were now available for everyone to use during the daytime but as, they too, had been subject to vandalism, they were now locked at night time. Cllr. Jeans asked for this matter to be raised at the next meeting.
*c) Yew Trees in Cemetery – members noted the information in the Clerks Report and agreed that there was nothing that could be done until we get the findings back from Forest Research.
- Finance, Policy & Resources
*a) Payments – RESOLVED to authorise payments as shown in the schedule of payments distributed prior to the meeting. Having declared a pecuniary interest in this agenda item, Cllr. Jeans left the room whilst the matter was discussed.
*b) Review & assess the effectiveness of Internal Control Measures – RESOLVED to adopt recommendations of working group as outlined in Minutes of Working group meeting held to review & assess the effectiveness of Internal Control Measures held on Thursday, 23rd March 2023 (attached) and the Chairman signed the Statement of Internal Control 2023 (attached)
*c) Actions from Interim Internal Audit Report
- ii) Specialist advice on requirement for VAT Registration – deferred.
- d)Mowers – Quotations to purchase one or two new ride-on mowers. (This is a different mower/price to that which was discussed last month) – the grounds staff had been to the local Stiga stockists and liked the Pro-Park mower and the fact that they could have two of these mowers for a little more money than they could have one Husqvarna ride-on mower which had been agreed last month. Hazzard pointed out that buying two of these machines would save time and money on maintenance and repairs but also suggested that the grounds staff should ensure that they use one machine more than the other one so that we can try and establish a rolling programme for replacement and not be in the situation that we have to replace two mowers at the same time again. Cllr. Hazzard pointed out that three quotations had been received and the local stockist at Castle Cary had proved to be the cheapest. RESOLVED to purchase the two Stiga Pro-Park machines on proposal made by Cllr. P. Coward, seconded by Cllr. Rachael Hansford and carried with a majority vote in favour. (Cllr. Mrs. Beale voted against the proposal).
*e) To report on Allotment rent audit – noted.
*f) 2021/22 Annual Governance & Accountability Return external auditor instructions – members noted the information in the Clerks Report.
*g) CCTV – report on meeting with officer from Warminster Town Council relating to CCTV – deferred as it was too late to discuss properly – Cllr. Mrs. Catley said she didn’t think you would get very many convictions from the CCTV and that it would be an expensive way of giving intelligence to the police but may not lead to convictions. Cllr. Jeans said that people should not have to tolerate this kind of behaviour and we should not be in a position where we have to spend 20 minutes reporting every crime and it is no wonder that only 1 in 8 reports get reported. Cllr. Mrs. Beale said that there is a responsibility on all residents to report all crimes and incidents of anti-social behaviour. Cllr. Jordan asked if we could repeat this conversation in front of a police representative if we get one coming along to a future meeting. The Clerk said that for the amount of money that this CCTV system could cost us, it might be possible to employ our own security guard. It was agreed not to pursue the Warminster Town Council project.
- General Items
- a) National Emergency Alerts System & Toolkit this link – noted.
*b) Briefing Note 23-06 – Wiltshire School Places Strategy 2023-2027 (Briefing Note attached)
*c) Briefing Note No. 23-08 – Reforms to National Planning Policy
*d) Briefing Note 23-07 Government Energy Support Schemes-Update
- Future meetings and events
- a) Kings Coronation – events and preparations (Church Service, Bunting, North Road Allotments Big Lunch)
*b) Annual Town Meeting to be held on Wednesday, 26th April 2023 at the Mere URC– agenda items – Cllr. Mrs. Hansford suggested that ‘The Future of Public Toilets’ go on the agenda.
- c) NALC online event – Fighting Climate Change with Local Council Action – 24th May 2023 12:00 – 13.15 – registration cost for NALC members is from £39.22
- d) Great Big Green Week – see: https://greatbiggreenweek.com/
- Future agenda items
NB – Please note that the next Town Council meeting will be the Annual Town Council meeting and will be held on 15th May 2022
*Further information on these items enclosed/attached Meeting closed at 8.50 pm
MERE PEACE MEMORIAL SPORTS AND RECREATION GROUND
Registered Charity No. 1093497
The following payments were approved:
Wiltshire Council (National Non-Domestic Rates for Recreation Ground) 0.00
Water2Business (standing charge only for water supply to old cricket pavilion) £14.92