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Minutes of ANNUAL Town Council meeting held on Monday, 13th May 2024

Mere Town Council

Town Clerk – Mrs. L. C. Wood


Minutes of the ANNUAL meeting of Mere Town Council held on Monday, 13th May 2024 at 7.00 pm at Duchy Manor, Springfield Road, Mere, Wiltshire.  BA12 6EW.


Present:  Councillors John Jordan (Chair), Glen Ings (Vice-Chair), Debbie Beale, Aubrey Colman, Rodney Coward, Rachel Hansford, Clive Hazzard, Raymond Hill, George Jeans, Lesley Traves, Linden Stone, Kate Symonds.


Public Participation Session

Mrs. Poppy Hall spoke on behalf of Mr. & Mrs. Swann in support of their planning application PL/2024/03421 at Sandells, Water Street. 

Mel Wilkinson, Chairman of the Carnival Committee said that over the last couple of years there had been complaints that the Carnival has not had a funfair and although the funfair is not an integral part of the carnival it is a major part and so he was asking the Town Council to reconsider again the idea of having the funfair on the Recreation Ground in September 2024.

Hamish Bell spoke in support of the request from Grove Building Mere for financial assistance and support of their funding application to South West Wiltshire Area Board in order to upgrade the audio-visual facilities in the building. (Agenda Item 25f)

Kate Symonds said that, following the sad death of Dr. Longbourne, it had occurred to her that it might be a nice idea to name a footpath after him and wanted to put the idea out there.

Lesley Traves said that Dr. Longbourne ’s memorial service would be on July 10th at 2.00 pm

George Jeans said that as a neighbour of Sandells, he would be declaring a pecuniary interest in the planning application but he was permitted to talk during the pubic session as a member of the public and just wanted to say that he had no objection to the planning application.


 Reports from local police representatives – no police present


  1. To elect Chairman of Mere Town Council for 2024/25 and to receive the Chairman’s Declaration of Acceptance of Office

Cllr. John Jordan elected as Chairman of Mere Town Council for 2024/25 on proposal made by Cllr. Mrs. Traves, seconded by Cllr. George Jeans, there being no other nominations, this proposal was put to the vote and carried with a unanimous vote.


Having signed his Declaration of Acceptance of Office, Cllr. John Jordan in The Chair


  1. To elect Vice-Chairman of Mere Town Council for 2024/25 and to receive the Vice-Chairman’s Declaration of Acceptance of Office.

Cllr. Glen Ings elected as Vice-Chairman of Mere Town Council for 2024/25 on proposal made by the Chairman, seconded by Cllr. Rachael Hansford, there being no other nominations, this proposal was put to the vote and carried with a unanimous vote.


  1. Apologies for absence received from Cllrs. Nick Beale, Sandra Catley & Philip Coward.


  1. To receive any declarations of disclosable pecuniary interests and other interests from Councillors on matters to be considered at the meeting.

Cllr. Jeans declared a pecuniary interest in planning application PL/2024/03421

Cllr. Hazzard declared a pecuniary interest in Minute No. 428a

Cllr. Jordan declared a pecuniary interest in Minue No. 428a


  1. Minutes RESOLVED that the minutes of the Town Council meeting held on Monday, 8th April 2024 be approved as a correct record.


  1. To review and adopt the Standing Orders & Financial Regulations for Mere Town Council (both attached) – RESOLVED to adopt, without further amendment, both documents. The Clerk explained that NALC had just published new model Financial Regulations this week and so it is likely that the Town Council would be required to amend its Financial Regulations over the course of the next few months when she has had an opportunity to establish what the amendments are.


  1. Internal Audit

To appoint/re-appoint an Internal Auditor – RESOLVED to re-appoint the services of Kate Houlihan via the Local Council Consultancy service if she is happy to continue.


  1. To review Committee Structures and appointment of any committees in accordance with standing order 4 and, if appointing committees, to consider terms of reference etc. – It was agreed that the Town Council would continue with the present arrangements of having an Annual Budget Committee + Staffing Panel & Appeals Committee only and an ad-hoc structure of Working Groups as and when considered necessary and required.


  1. To appoint members, including Convenors, to serve on Working Groups as required – as above.


  1. To appoint members, including the Chairman, to serve on the Staffing Panel – It was agreed that the Staffing Panel member make-up should be Chairman, Cllr. Mrs. Traves & Cllr. Colman.


  1. To appoint members, including the Chairman, to serve on the Appeals Committee – It was agreed that the Appeals Committee member make-up should be the Vice-Chairman, Cllr. Debbie Beale & Cllr. Rachael Hansford.


  1. To appoint/re-appoint Trustees for Forest Charities

Existing trustees are Rodney Coward, Clive Hazzard, George Jeans, Ann Rich and Andrew Rees. Cllr. Jeans raised issues with nominating Trustees for the Allotment Charity and the Chairman said that he would discuss this with Cllr. Jeans at a later date.


  1. a) Review of representation on or work with external bodies and arrangements for reporting back:


Organisation 2023/24 Representative 2024/25 Representative
Youth Club, Seeds4Success, CAYPIG (Community Area Young People) Cllrs. S. Catley, A. Colman & G. Ings. Cllrs. S. Catley, A. Colman & G. Ings.
Cricket Club Cllr. Ings Cllr. Ings
Health & Community Care Cllr. Hill Cllr. Hill
Tennis Club Cllr. Jeans Cllr. Jeans
Football Club Cllr. S. Catley Cllr. S. Catley
Public Transport Cllr. John Jordan Cllr. John Jordan
Mere & District Linkscheme Mrs. Adrienne Howell Mrs. Adrienne Howell, if she is happy to represent.
Museum Committee Cllr. Jeans Cllr. Jeans & Cllr. Mrs. Symonds
Footpaths & Rights of Way Cllr. Jordan Cllr. Jordan & Cllr. Stone
Chamber of Trade Chairman & Cllr. Hazzard Chairman & Cllr. Hazzard
Friends of Mere Museum Cllr. Jordan Cllr. Jordan
School Governor Cllr. Ings & Cllr. S. Catley (Chair to talk to school to clarify) Cllr. Ings & Cllr. S. Catley
Mere Bowling Club Cllr. Ings Cllr. Ings
Carnival Committee Cllr. Jordan Cllr. Jordan
Area Board & LHFIG Chairman & Vice-Chairman Chairman & Vice-Chairman
Mere Film Shows Mrs. Rosie Jordan-Barr Mrs. Rosie Jordan-Barr
Rivers Group Cllr. R. Coward, Cllr. Debbie Beale & Cllr. Symonds Cllr. R. Coward, Cllr. Debbie Beale
Mere Parochial Church Council Cllr. A. Colman Cllr. A. Colman
Trustees for Mere Forest Charity As Minute 277a) As Minute 415 (above)


  1. Review of delegation arrangements to committees, sub-committees, staff and other local authorities; (Scheme of Delegation attached) – RESOLVED to adopt the Scheme of Delegation without amendment.


  1. To review the Council’s banking and signatory arrangements and mandate for direct debits – RESOLVED to continue with the practice of two councillors to verify payments by physically signing each invoice. RESOLVED to approve the list of Direct Debits.


  1. To review the Council’s asset register (asset register attached) – it was agreed that this agenda item would be discussed along with the insurance quotation/schedule. (see Minute Ref: 428 d & e)


  1. Confirmation of arrangements for insurance cover in respect of all insurable risks (renewal insurance schedule attached – see also, agenda item 25d) – it was agreed to take this under agenda item 25d) but members delegated authority for the Chairman and Clerk to complete the ‘Statement of Fact questionnaire’.


  1. To fix the dates and times of ordinary meetings of the Council and Committees for the ensuing year – RESOLVED to continue with current arrangement of holding meetings on the first Monday of every month unless it is a bank holiday, in which case the Town Council will meet on the following Monday. The Town Council does not have a scheduled monthly meeting in August.  It was agreed that meetings would continue to start at 7.00 pm.


  1. Matters Arising from Public Session

In relation to the question raised by Mel Wilkinson relating to the Carnival Funfair being held in the Recreation Ground.  Some members felt that the Recreation Ground was wholly inappropriate and others felt that the Council should make an effort to help the carnival and please the young people by accommodating a funfair.  It was agreed that this matter would be raised as an agenda item for the next meeting and the Chairman asked Mr. Wilkinson to submit a formal proposal for full debate at the June meeting.


As Hamish Bell had spoken in support of this agenda item during the public session, the Chairman brought the agenda item forward:

*f) Request from Grove Building Mere for financial assistance and support of their funding application to South West Wiltshire Area Board in order to upgrade the audio-visual facilities in the building. (report attached) – it was RESOLVED to support this application with a grant of £500.


Naming of a footpath in memory of Dr. Longbourne would be raised as a future agenda item.


  1. Matters Arising from previous Meetings (not covered by other agenda items)

*a) Feedback on Annual Town Meeting and responses to questions raised (Minutes attached + Questions & suggested responses in Clerks Report) – members felt that in general, the new format of the Annual Town Meeting was better and seemed a bit more engaging.  Members felt that it was very good to have some young people at the meeting but it was felt that maybe we needed to do some refining: – increase print size on displays, think about the timing to try and get more people to come along from different age groups.  With regards to the questions raised – it was agreed that these should be redacted and put into a kind of newsletter to put on the website and possibly shared on social media and Mere Matters.


  1. Reports & Consultations
  2. a) Wiltshire Councillors Report – Cllr. Jeans raised the subject of banking hubs which he thought might be of interest to the Town Council and said he would try and find out more information in the meantime.

*b) Project Co-Ordinator’s Report (attached) – members noted the information in the report.   It was pointed out that Wessex Water had caused some damage to the recently laid footpath and that this was currently being investigated by the Project Co-Ordinator.

  1. c) Report on LHFIG meeting held on 8th May 2024 – The Chairman confirmed that he had attended the meeting and dealt with several matters:
  • Speed reduction on Shaftesbury Road – at the present time it is waiting for the Traffic Regulation Order to be posted for public consultation. This is supposed to be posted for June.
  • New lights for footpaths 50 & 66 – I was told that this was ‘in hand’.
  • Next phase of lighting for footpaths 50 & 66. We have asked Wiltshire Council for their advice and suggestions for the next phase of lighting and we have been told that this is with the Street Lighting team.
  • Apparently our grant has been sanctioned but it has still not been received, despite sending an invoice back in March.
  • Hazzards Hill – I will be participating in a zoom meeting in early June to discuss the suggestions that we put forward and create a drawing to show where some parking spaces could be provided and double-yellow lines could be created. I am also going to discuss the white line in the centre of the road in The Square.
  • Jeans asked if the Chairman could remind them that they needed to remove the double-yellow lines where there is no TRO in Salisbury Street (mistakenly painted)
  • Edgebridge – the traffic signing team is going to send an engineer out to look at our request and consult with us to see if we are happy with their proposals.


  1. Planning
  2. a) Applications for consultation response:
Application No: PL/2024/03572
Application Type: Householder planning permission
Proposal: Single storey flat roofed extension
Site Address: Green Ridge, Barrow Street, Mere, Warminster, BA12 6AB
Planning Register Link:

RESOLVED to recommend the above application for approval.

Application No: PL/2024/03421
Application Type: Householder planning permission
Proposal: Remove existing conservatory and pre-fabricated garage. Construction of garden room, utility and boot room with car port, with internal alterations. Reposition vehicular access and re-grade driveway, with associated hard and soft landscaping.
Site Address: Sandells, Water Street, Mere, Warminster, BA12 6DY
Planning Register Link:


As Cllr. Jeans had declared an interest in this planning application, he left the room whilst this matter was considered and took no part in discussion or voting.  The Chairman pointed out that there were some comments on the planning register.  RESOLVED to recommend approval of the above application.


Application No: PL/2024/02356 Full planning permission + PL/2024/03855 Listed building consent (Alt/Ext)
Application Type: Full planning permission
Proposal: Alterations to facilitate change of use from office to 1no. dwelling. Raise wall to increase pitch of rear extension and installation of 2no. rooflights
Site Address: Stone Cottage, Salisbury Street, Mere, BA12 6HE
Planning Register Link:


RESOLVED to object to this planning application, sending the following response:  The Town Council felt unable to approve this planning application as we were not aware that the premises has been actively marketed as a commercial building and feel that we should resist the loss of another commercial building in the town unless some effort has been made to retain the commercial premises – whether it be used as a shop or offices.  A change of use to residential should only be considered as a last resort.


  1. 426. Highways, Rivers, Footpaths, Traffic & Transport
  2. To identify jobs for the Parish Steward, Sparkle Team and MyWiltshire reports.
  • Weeds around roads in Lovage Way and Fennel Road – Cllr. Kate Symonds
  • Rubbish along A303 & Graffiti on A303 bridge – Cllr. Debbie Beale
  • Potholes around Mere generally – Cllr. George Jeans


  1. Buildings, Open Spaces, Play Areas, Sports Grounds, Car Parks, Allotments & Cemeteries
  2. a) Suggestion to amend cemetery regulations to permit interment of cremated remains only in Mere Cemetery – R. Coward said that it was pointed out that space in the cemetery was being used faster than we anticipated and mooted the idea of allowing cremations only in the newest part of the new cemetery. It was pointed out that a lot of people are against cremation burials and the Town Council had plenty of room for cremation burials in the cemetery and it was therefore agreed that we should continue with offering a choice although it was felt that a national policy might change in years to come.


  1. Finance, Policy & Resources

Cllr. Ings in The Chair

*a) Payments – Having declared a pecuniary interest in this item, both Cllr. Hazzard & Cllr. Jordan left the meeting room whilst this matter was discussed.  RESOLVED to authorise schedule of payments (attached)

Cllr. Jordan resumes The Chair

  1. b) To confirm approval for S.137 payments for 2024/25 financial year (as listed in payment schedule) – it was pointed out that the payments in the schedule had been taken from those approved at the Annual Budget meeting but for the benefit of members, the Clerk explained that S.137 of the Local Government Act 1972 gives Local Authorities the power to incur expenditure for certain purposes not otherwise authorised. The amount of money that can be spent is capped and set annually – the 24/25 limit is £10.81 per elector and the council must also be satisfied that the expenditure incurred gives a commensurate benefit to the residents.  RESOLVED to confirm approval for S.137 payments for the 2024/25 financial year.
  2. c) To note the reconciliations for March 2024 & April 2024 – the Chairman confirmed that he had signed and verified the reconciliations against the bank statements and he had verified the Clerk’s monthly salary payments.
  3. d) To review the Council’s asset register (asset register attached) – it was agreed that this agenda item would be discussed along with the insurance quotation/schedule.

The full asset register was distributed to members prior to the meeting.  The Clerk confirmed that she had revised the layout of the asset register as she had made some mistakes with the asset valuation which were raised by the external auditor last year.  Members were presented with the workings for the restated asset valuation for 31.3.23 and also the workings for the asset movement summary for 2023/24.

The Clerk pointed out that most of the assets are valued at purchase cost or survey value although the Town Council has traditionally applied the insurance valuations for our buildings as their values are index linked each year.  RESOLVED to adopt the asset register without amendment.

*e) To consider quotation for insurance renewal (attached) – the Clerk pointed out that not all of our assets are insured i.e. seats & benches, play equipment & some fences for damage although we do, of course, have public liability for these items.  She also pointed out that she had asked the insurance company to provide a revised quotation for the inclusion of the two car parks but had not heard back from them.  It was agreed to pay the renewal premium and to await an additional premium for the two car parks.

*f) To review and approve end of year Budget/Expenditure Report including revisions to reserves and to discuss debtors/creditors and End of Year Summaries (report attached) – the Clerk said that she had highlighted the negative reserves and she informed members of the outstanding debts.  Members noted the summary for the maintenance charges of the Recreation Ground. RESOLVED to approve the end of year Budget/Expenditure Report and End of Year Summaries.


  1. General Items
  2. a) Concerns about security of old Beaumonts building/site in Woodlands Road – The Clerk confirmed that she had made contact with one of the co-owners of the building and his view was that people should not be trespassing into his building. He seemed to be reluctant to spend any money on making the site secure and the Clerk felt that there was not much point in pursuing this point. The Clerk did think, however, that there was legislation for Wiltshire Council to step in to secure buildings against unauthorised entry.  Jeans said he was having difficulty finding out which officer/department to enforce this at Wiltshire Council RESOLVED to ask Cllr. Jeans to pursue this matter further to see if something can be done to secure this site.


Briefing Notes:

*Briefing Note 24-08, Draft Licensing Policy 2024-2029 consultation (Briefing Note attached)


  1. Future meetings and events
  • 22nd May at 11 am – South West Wiltshire Area Board Health & Wellbeing Group Meeting
  • 29th May at 6.30 pm – South West Wiltshire Area Board meeting at The Grove Building, Church Street, Mere.
  • 6th June 2024 – 11 am – Wreath laying service and Last Post at Mere War Memorial in commemoration of 80th Anniversary of D-Day Normandy Landings.


  1. Future agenda items
  • None


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 9.05 pm


Meeting approved by the Chairman






Registered Charity No. 1093497


For Trustees to consider the following:


RESOLVED to approve payment from Mere Peace Memorial Sports & Recreation Ground Charity to Mere Town Council for maintenance charges for 2023/24 for £15607.09

The Clerk informed members that the Town Council had agreed to provide a donation to the Mere Peace Memorial Sports & Recreation Ground Charity of £15,500