Mere Town Council
Town Clerk – Mrs. L. C. Wood
Minutes of a meeting of Mere Town Council held on Monday, 6th February 2023 at 7.00 pm at The Andy Young Pavilion, Springfield Road, Mere, Wiltshire. BA12 6EW
Present: Councillors Mrs. Lesley Traves (Chair), Kate Symonds (Vice-Chair), Aubrey Colman, Rachael Hansford, Clive Hazzard, Glen Ings, George Jeans, John Jordan & Linden Stone.
Inspector Kevin Harmsworth
Also: Vernon Philips, Margaret Lawson-Smith, Charles & Gillian Vizor, John & Isabel Page & Deborah Harvey
The Chairman opened the meeting at 7.02 pm and welcomed Kevin Harmsworth, the new Community Policing Team Inspector for the Mere Area, inviting him to introduce himself and discuss the Community Policing service.
Kevin Harmsworth said that he took post on 3.1.23 & explained that the Warminster Community Policing Team covers Warminster, Westbury, Tisbury & Mere. He explained the police work on recent crime trends and priorities in the rural area. Wiltshire Police remains under Special Measures but a new Chief Constable will be starting at the end of this month, Commander Catherine Roper. Neighbourhood Sergeant Matt Roberts is likely to be our point of contact and will attend Town Council meetings & Area Board meetings when possible. During the Q&A session there was a long discussion about the difficulties of reporting crimes via 101 or via the website and the length of time it takes to report crimes. Cllr. Jeans said that he used to be able to report crimes as intelligence via regular meetings with our local PCSO but these meetings no longer take place and he did not have the time to spent 20 minutes on the phone or at the computer reporting a crime. He said that he was in a position to get fed a lot of information which could be useful to the police but was no longer able to pass it on. Inspector Harmsworth explained that reporting crime has to be done via 101 or online in order to ensure that the police comply with Home Office accountability rules and if we don’t comply with these rules we get marked down. What you refer to as intelligence or intel is important information but we have to get it logged – you can report it online, phone 101 or 999 if it is an emergency but there is also a community intelligence form that exists as well on our website so if you want to pass information on as a partner agency (council) then that could be done as well.
Public Participation Session
Mr. Philips spoke in relation to the amended plans for planning application PL/2022/06955 and shared the contents of the letter he had submitted to the planning authority: https://development.wiltshire.gov.uk/pr/s/web-comment/a073z00001JaFTwAAN/vernon-phillipss-comments. Mrs. Lawson-Smith said that at least 10 local residents had written to the Planning Authority indicating that they felt that 7 dwellings was too many for this site and asking for the development to be more in keeping with the location.
Mr. Vizor and other residents of Hazzards Hill said that they understood that the Council might be discussing the possibility of installing double-yellow lines along both sides of Hazzards Hill but wanted to point out that they had concerns that this may actually increase the speed of traffic coming down Hazzards Hill making it more dangerous rather than improving safety. The Chairman explained that the recommendations of a working party would be considered by the Town Council later on in the meeting tonight.
George Jeans speaking as a member of the public, explained that there would be a discussion about traffic cones in the Salisbury Street Car Park tonight in which he would not be able to take part as he was declaring a pecuniary interest. He wanted to have the opportunity, however, to inform the Council that he and his business had a vehicular right of way across the car park to the rear of their premises. However, cars are continually parking outside of the marked bays in the vicinity of our rear gates and it means that delivery drivers cannot get enough radius to get into the property. After discussing this with the Town Clerk, I placed some traffic cones to help overcome the problem.
Glen Ings said that he had received a request from the school to ask if the Town Council could grit the car park in the cold weather. The Chairman pointed out that she was in a location recently where they did not grit the car park because they had been informed that if they gritted it they would then become liable. The Clerk said that she would discuss this matter with the grounds staff and school and would raise it as an agenda item if considered necessary.
Apologies for absence received from Cllrs. Debbie Beale, Nick Beale, Sandra Catley, Philip Coward, Rodney Coward & Raymond Hill. RESOLVED to note the apologies.
- To receive any declarations of disclosable pecuniary interests and other interests from Councillors on matters to be considered at the meeting.
- Jeans declared a personal interest in planning application PL/2023/00349 and a pecuniary interest in Minute No. 267 b) & Minute No. 268a)
*262. Minutes –RESOLVED that the minutes of the Town Council meeting held on Monday, 16th January 2023 be approved as a correct record on proposal made by Cllr. Mrs. Symonds, seconded by Cllr. Colman and carried with a unanimous vote of those present on 16.1.23
- Matters Arising from Public Session
- Matters Arising from previous Meetings (not covered by other agenda items)
- Minute Ref: 252a) Wiltshire Towns Programme – update on grant application submissions – It was
reported that confirmation had been received that the Town Council’s submission fell within the scope of the grant. There was, however, a few more forms to complete and submit.
*b) Minute Ref:252c) Lease/licence for Car Club – Members noted the information in the Clerks Report. Cllr. Jordan said that the Town Council paid business rates for the car park and we make no income from it so he could not understand why we should allow a business to make money from the car park and not pay anything towards the business rates. Cllr. Jeans felt that this would be a facility that would be well used by the community and said that he and Cllr. Jordan would need to agree to disagree on this issue.
RESOLVED to send the legal documents to our solicitor for advice on proposal made by Cllr. Mrs. Symonds, seconded by Cllr. Colman and carried with a unanimous vote.
- Reports & Consultations
- a) Wiltshire Councillors Report – Cllr. Jeans reported on a sign he had erected on the junction of White Road/Hazzards Hill.
*b) Report from Project Co-Ordinator – members noted the information in the report about the improvements to the footpath from Clements Lane to Angel Lane. Members felt strongly that more needed to be done to provide lighting, whether it be solar or electric or a combination of both, along the footpath and that the need for lighting superseded the rural aesthetics on the grounds of safety.
Cllr. Colman raised a query about the refurbishment of the toilets and the Clerk explained that this was a completely different project to that which was explored some years ago and was a project that entailed working within a much smaller budget of between £20 – £28k.
- a) Applications for consultation response:
|Full planning permission
|Construct new stable barn and yard.
|Green Ridge, Barrow Street, Mere, Warminster, BA12 6AB
|Planning Register Link:
The Chairman and Vice-Chairman confirmed that they had carried out a site visit. Cllr. Mrs. Symonds said that she thought the proposal would tidy up a messy area. Cllr. Jordan was concerned that the barn could easily be converted into habitable accommodation. Cllr. Ings said that he was happy to recommend approval of the application without conditions. Cllr. Mrs. Symonds proposed that the Town Council should recommend approval subject to the following conditions: that the stable barn and yard is used for the private stabling of horses and the storage of associated equipment and feed and shall at no time be used for any commercial purpose whatsoever, including for livery, or in connection with equestrian tuition or leisure rides. Also, that the stable barn and yard is ancillary to the use for the property known as Green Ridge, Barrow Street and shall not be converted into habitable accommodation and let out or sold off separately. Proposal seconded by Cllr. Hazzard and carried with a majority vote of 6 for. In order not to compromise his position as Wiltshire Councillor, Cllr. Jeans abstained from voting on this matter.
|Circular 14/90 – Electricity Overhead Lines notification
|Add an additional Low voltage underground service onto Pole B which is the last pole on an LV overhead line single span between pole A and pole B (wood poles) which is currently in position to provide only one service.
|Three Oaks Farm, , Mere, Warminster, BA12 6LH
|Planning Register Link:
Cllr. Jordan pointed out that the location plan for the above planning application refers to the location as being postcode BA7 7PG and yet this postcode is in Castle Cary. It was also pointed out that there is no such place as Three Oaks Farm but members felt that this must be referring to Three Oaks Campsite. RESOLVED to recommend approval of the above application on proposal made by Cllr. Hazzard, seconded by Cllr. Ings and carried with a vote of 4 for and 4 abstentions. In order not to compromise his position as Wiltshire Councillor, Cllr. Jeans abstained from voting on this matter.
|Householder planning permission
|Bourne Cottage, Mill Lane, Mere, Warminster, BA12 6DA
|Planning Register Link:
Cllr. Mrs. Symonds confirmed that she and the Chairman had visited the site and spoken to the applicant. They confirmed that the proposed new garage will be slightly bigger than the present garage and what he is proposing will be visually superior. RESOLVED to recommend approval on proposal made by Cllr. Mrs. Symonds, seconded by Cllr. Ings and carried with a majority vote in favour. Cllr. Jeans had declared a personal interest in this planning application and did not take part in discussion or voting.
|PL/2022/06955 AMENDED PLANS/ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
|Full planning permission
|Carry out alterations to access, erect 6 no semi-detached dwellings and 1 no detached dwelling with associated parking and access arrangements (demolish existing church).
|Land North of St Marys Catholic Church, Pettridge Lane, Mere, BA12 6DG
|Planning Register Link
Cllr. Colman listed a number of reasons why he thought that this planning application should be rejected including overdevelopment of the site. Cllr. Colman thought that the site should accommodate no more than 4 or 5 houses. Cllr. Rachael Hansford said that she didn’t believe that it was overdevelopment and thought that we needed some smaller houses in Mere and she felt that a development like Nursery Gardens would be appropriate and she thought that this site is bigger than Nursery Gardens so how can we say it is overdevelopment. Cllr. Hazzard read out the Town Councils comments to the original planning application (submitted in October). Cllr. Jeans said that he would not vote on this planning application but wanted to make the following comments: He believed that Pettridge Lane carried a premium in terms of house values. He also felt that the statement from the drainage consultants relating to groundwater flowing onto the highway needed to be highlighted and mentioned to the Highways Authority as it was illegal for developers to allow groundwater to flow out onto the highway. Cllr. Jeans also said that he believed research suggested there were 2.2 cars per household on average and so he felt that there would be insufficient parking spaces if they could not achieve 15 or 16 parking spaces. Lastly, Cllr. Jeans said it was obvious that a retaining wall would need to be built around the site and he felt very strongly against the notion of a management company being responsible for the upkeep of a retaining wall because he had had a very bad experience of this scenario recently and he therefore felt that it would be necessary for the owners of the individual houses to take on responsibility for the retaining wall around their individual properties. He also pointed out that since June 2022 all developments are required to put a car charging point outside the house. Cllr. Ings asked why the Town Council was not just responding to the new amendments and additional information relating to this planning application instead of wasting time talking about things that we have already discussed when we considered the plans in October. Cllr. Jeans explained why it was necessary to treat amended planning applications as a new application in terms of submitting comments. Cllr. Mrs. Symonds said that she felt that if the Town Council had approved the number of dwellings as submitted during the original application and the number of dwellings had not changed then it would be inappropriate to change our view on the number of dwellings and proposed that the Town Council should approve the amended planning application reiterating ALL the previous conditions made but strengthening the points about car parking provision, the seriousness of responsibility for the retaining wall and mentioning the illegality of allowing water to run out onto the highway. Proposal seconded by Cllr. Ings and carried with a vote of 7 for. In order not to compromise his position as Wiltshire Councillor, Cllr. Jeans abstained from voting on this matter.
| Application No:
|Removal/variation of conditions
|Variation of condition 2 (approved plans) on 20/11079/FUL to allow for internal alterations, minor external revisions and PV panels to the flat roof
|Land adjacent Quarryfield Industrial Estate, Castle Street, Mere, BA12 6LA
|Planning Register Link
RESOLVED to recommend approval of the above application on proposal made by Cllr. Jordan, seconded by Cllr. Stone and carried with a majority vote in favour. In order not to compromise his position as Wiltshire Councillor, Cllr. Jeans abstained from voting on this matter.
|Proposed Works to Trees in a Conservation Area
|T1 Lime Tree – Fell because the tree is encroaching on the neighbouring property.
|The Old Brewery, Water Street, Mere. BA12 6DY
|Planning Register Link
RESOLVED to recommend approval of the above application on proposal made by Cllr. Ings, seconded by Cllr. Mrs. Symonds and carried with a unanimous vote.
|Notification of proposed works to trees in a conservation area
|T1 – Purple Prunus – Fell T2 – Beech – Fell T3 – Privet – Fell
|CASTLE HILL COTTAGE, CASTLE HILL LANE, MERE, WARMINSTER, BA12 6JB
RESOLVED to recommend approval of the above application on proposal made by Cllr. Rachael Hansford, seconded by Cllr. Colman and carried with a unanimous vote.
*b) Government publishes its prospectus for revising the National Planning Policy Framework: see: Levelling-up and Regeneration Bill: reforms to national planning policy – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
The Clerk informed members that the new policy is proposing to reform the 5-year housing land supply so that Local Authorities are not required to continually demonstrate a deliverable 5-year housing land supply. Also proposing to boost status of Neighbourhood Plans and to provide incentives to developers to encourage them to build after planning permission has been granted. Cllr. Jordan agreed to look at the document and perhaps focus on one or two points to put forward as the Council’s response.
c)Protocol for dealing with Planning Enforcement issues – the Clerk said that she had asked for this matter to be raised because she was aware of an increasing level of planning breaches taking place & not being investigated and because the Town Council gets very little or no feedback on any enforcement investigations. The Clerk read out a background report, explaining her concerns in more detail and asked members if they wanted to have a regular agenda item for Planning Enforcement issues. Cllr. Jeans pointed out that if the Town Council started reporting some breaches then it would be necessary to report all planning breaches which would include chimneys & windows in a conservation area. RESOLVED not to have a regular agenda item for planning enforcement issues but for the Clerk to provide an information sheet to give to individuals if they wish to report a breach of planning.
- 267. Highways, Rivers, Footpaths, Traffic & Transport
- a) To identify jobs for the Parish Steward, Sparkle Team and MyWiltshire reports – the Clerk said that she had asked the Parish Steward to fill potholes in Pettridge Lane and Shaftesbury Road. It was further agreed to request that the trees along The Lynch are trimmed back.
*b) To consider report from working group relating to on-street parking issues and recommendations to improve traffic flow in Mere (in Clerks Report) – With reference to the report that was distributed to members, it was agreed to present all the issues listed to a Highways Technician and ask for his/her assessment and advice on the best form of management in order to ease the flow of traffic, minimise the impact on vehicle speeds and on-street parking. NB: having declared a pecuniary interest in this item, Cllr. Jeans left the room whilst the loading bay in Boar Street was discussed and took no part in discussion or voting.
- Buildings, Open Spaces, Play Areas, Sports Grounds, Car Parks, Allotments & Cemeteries
- a) Use of traffic cones in Salisbury Street Car Park – Having declared a pecuniary interest in this item, Cllr. Jeans left the room whilst this matter was discussed. The Clerk explained that Cllr. Jeans had asked, some time ago, if he could place some traffic cones in Salisbury Street Car Park in order to stop people from blocking his vehicular access. The Clerk said that she assumed that this would be a temporary measure and had agreed to see if it would work. However, it seems that it is necessary for these traffic cones to be put out on a permanent basis in order to stop vehicles from parking outside the marked parking spaces. It had come to the Clerks attention that someone claims to have tripped over one of the traffic cones and the Clerk felt that it might be better to take some other form of action to stop people from parking outside the parking lines i.e. provide some yellow hatch markings . Apart from being rather unsightly, the traffic cones also get moved around by teenagers during the evening and left in inconvenient and inappropriate places and they are also an obstruction. RESOLVED to see if Wiltshire Council would agree to yellow hatch lines being laid on the surface of the car park and to get some prices for this and in the meantime the traffic cones can stay in order to provide access.
- b) Extension of Environmental Higher Level Stewardship Scheme for Castle Hill & Long Hill – It was reported that Mr. Horn had indicated a desire to continue grazing the hill with his goats and had agreed to provide 30 goats by the end of April. Horn had requested a Farm Business Tenancy and the Clerk said that she was seeking advice on this but in the meantime the newly issued 5-year HLS Agreement had been signed and sent back to Rural England.
- c) To enter into a Farm Business Tenancy Agreement with goat farmer for Long Hill & Castle Hill – as discussed above. The Clerk said that she was seeking advice on whether this would be appropriate.
- Finance, Policy & Resources
*a) Payments – To review and authorise schedule of payments (attached) – RESOLVED to authorise payments as indicated on the payment schedule for the meeting on proposal made by Cllr. Mrs. Symonds, seconded by Cllr. Colman and carried with a unanimous vote. Cllrs. Mrs Symonds and Rachael Hansford signed the invoices accordingly.
- b) To sign off latest bank reconciliation – deferred as bank statements only arrived today.
*c) Internal Interim Audit Report (report attached) – Cllr. Colman said he thought the report was well put together and the comments were very helpful. The clerk agreed and said that she was working through the recommendations and advice as identified.
- d) To review Standing Orders (new model Standing Orders issued April 2022 makes amendments to procurement procedures) – deferred.
*e) To agree recommendation from councillors who assessed tenders for Walnut Road Play Area (as detailed in Project Co-Ordinators report) – With reference to the information in the Project Co-Ordinators report, the Clerk pointed out that the preferred option was the most expensive and it was not yet known when they could start the work and as the two options were very similar it may be considered better to go for the second option if there would be a long delay in starting work. The Clerk also pointed out that there were one or two other inconsistencies with the preferred quotation that were the subject of negotiation. Cllr. Hazzard said that it was very important that the work started so that the new play area was finished by the summer & that Cllr. Colman’s request would just delay the process further. The Clerk stated that the preferred option was the most expensive of the tenders in any case so whether the choice was for No. 1 or No. 2 there would be no extra cost to the Council. At this point Cllr. Colman conceded to delegate authority for the Project Co-Ordinator, Clerk & Chairman to make the final decision.
- f) To set date, membership, venue & agenda for Working Group meeting to review and assess the effectiveness of internal control measures – It was agreed that the meeting would be held on Thursday, 23rd March at 2.00 pm and that the Chairman, Vice Chairman, Cllr. Colman & Cllr. Jordan would form the working group.
- g) Suggestions for Town Council priority strategy – deferred.
- h) Request to purchase hydraulic post driver – RESOLVED to purchase this item on proposal made by Cllr. Ings, seconded by Cllr. Rachael Hansford and carried with a unanimous vote.
- General Items
- a) Report on special WALC meeting – Cllr. Sandra Catley – deferred
*b) Wiltshire Council’s Briefing Note No. 23-01 – Use of council-owned land for environmental mitigation – Members noted the contents of the briefing note and agreed to ask Wiltshire Council for a map showing their land for identification purposes for potential or future tree planting projects.
- c) To set date, venue & agenda for Annual Town Meeting (must be held between 1.3.23 and 30.6.23) – it was agreed to hold the meeting on 26th April, and it was agreed to hold it in the URC hall if it is available. Members requested to think about which topics they would like to raise on the agenda. It was also agreed to publish a separate advertisement in Mere Matters asking for parishioners to submit topics for possible discussion.
- Future meetings and events
- a) Invitation to the next South West Wiltshire Health and Wellbeing Group meeting to be held on Tuesday 28th February, 2pm-3.30pm at the Nadder Centre, Tisbury – noted.
- b) Mere Carnival Committee AGM – Monday, 6th March 2023 – noted.
- c) Climate Action Planning Workshop on 27th March 2023, 10am – 4pm at Devizes Corn Exchange – noted.
- d) Flooding (Teams meeting 22nd February) – noted.
- e) Mere Rivers Group meeting – 16th March in the Andy Young pavilion – Cllr. Mrs. Symonds said that she would be attending this meeting.
- Future agenda items
Meeting closed at 9.21pm