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Minutes of the Annual Town Council meeting held on Monday, 15th May 2023

Mere Town Council

Town Clerk – Mrs. L. C. Wood


Minutes of the ANNUAL TOWN COUNCIL MEETING of Mere Town Council held on Monday, 15th May 2023 at Duchy Manor, Springfield Road, Mere.  BA12 6EW at 7.00 pm.


Present:  Councillors Mrs. L. Traves (Chair), Mrs. K. Symonds (Vice-Chair), Nick Beale, Aubrey Colman, Rachael Hansford, Raymond Hill, Glen Ings, John Jordan.


Public Session

Mr. Nick Gosse mentioned that the 6-axle Intercontinental lorries stopped travelling along Pettridge lane to get into the Beaumont Business Park and he also wanted to know if there was an update on his highways improvement request form that had been submitted to the LHFIG.  He also felt that the Town Council should ask County Hall for an update on the Environmental Impact Assessment that was carried out for Mere when all the expansion plans were given.

John Jordan explained the difficulty being experienced by Moviola in terms of costs and facilities and explained that the future of providing film shows in Mere was at risk.

Glen Ings raised the question of grass cutting Duchy Manor vs school use of the facilities.


  1. To elect Chairman of Mere Town Council for 2023/24 and to receive the Chairman’s Declaration of Acceptance of Office

Cllr. John Jordan elected as Chairman of Mere Town Council for 2023/24 on proposal made by Cllr. Mrs. Traves, seconded by Cllr. Nick Beale 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 2023/24 and to receive the Vice-Chairman’s Declaration of Acceptance of Office.

Cllr. Glen Ings elected as Vice-Chairman of Mere Town Council for 2023/24 on proposal made by the Chairman, seconded by Cllr. Mrs. Traves and carried with a unanimous vote.


Whilst Cllr. Ings signed his Declaration of Acceptance of Office, the Chairman asked for a huge thank you to be Minuted for the work that had been put in by Cllr. Mrs. Traves as Chairman during the last two years.  He said he was aware of what a tough task this is as he had done it before, and it can be quite demanding. He said that it was nice to be supported by a helpful Vice-Chair and thanked Kate for all her candid support.


  1. Apologies for absence received from Cllrs. Debbie Beale, Sandra Catley, Philip Coward, Rodney Coward, Clive Hazzard, George Jeans and Linden Stone.


  1. To receive any declarations of disclosable pecuniary interests and other interests from Councillors on matters to be considered at the meeting.
  • None received.


  1. Minutes RESOLVED that the minutes of the Town Council meeting held on Monday, 3rd April 2023 be approved as a correct record.

The Chairman said, “you will recall that we are looking for a minute secretary. I have had a look at other town council minutes and although we have very descriptive minutes, I notice that many councils simply record decisions. I’m going to ask that we try for next month’s minutes to just provide a briefer version so that when we ask somebody to provide a quotation for the minute secretary post, we can ask for a quote for both versions of minutes (brief and descriptive).  Cllr. Mrs. Hansford suggested the notion of software to record and transcribe the Minutes.


  1. Sergeant Matthew Roberts from Wiltshire Police to talk about local policing issues.

Sgt. Roberts explained that he had recently joined the Community Policing Team for this area along with PC Michael Obern and PCSO Stuart Hunt.  Force priorities from the new Chief Inspector Catherine Roper are Safer Public Spaces, Violence Reduction and Burglaries.  There was a discussion about crime reporting and the difficulties for council officers and members to pass on intelligence information due to the lack of communication or presence of local police.  People urged to report any crimes or concerns to the police via 101 or online but this can always be backed up with an email to our PCSO or PC.  The chairman expressed his concern about having to share a PCSO with Tisbury and the issue of police recruitment and staffing was discussed briefly.  Sgt. Roberts did, however, state that Mere police station will be being used again for regular drop-in sessions.


*251.  To review and adopt the Standing Orders & Financial Regulations for Mere Town Council – The Clerk explained that both the Standing Orders and Financial Regulations (which had been distributed with the agenda papers) had been amended in line with new Procurement Regulations.  RESOLVED to adopt, without further amendment, both documents.


  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, Vice-Chairman and Cllr. Mrs. Traves.


  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 Chairman, Vice-Chairman and Cllr. Colman.


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


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


*259.  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.


*261.  To review the Council’s asset register (asset register summary attached) – RESOLVED to adopt the asset register without amendment.


*262.  Confirmation of arrangements for insurance cover in respect of all insurable risks (renewal insurance schedule attached) – members were happy with the arrangements for insurance cover as shown in the insurance schedule.


  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

The Chairman confirmed that Mr. Gosse’s comments will be investigated & considered and the Clerk & Chairman will provide an appropriate response.


  1. Matters Arising from previous Meetings

*a) Minute Ref: 286a) Lease/Licence for Car Club Car Club – Members noted the information in the Clerks Report.  Members were reminded that this legal agreement was for EV charging points and that the car share company had now pulled out of the deal.

*b)  Lynch Close Sheltered Housing Review – Newsletter May 2023 (attached) & correspondence – The clerk confirmed that she had entered into correspondence with Wiltshire Council as residents had raised concerns about a meeting to which the Town Council had not been invited and also statements in the Newsletter which were not accurate or ambiguous.  Assurances from Wiltshire Council had subsequently been received.


  1. Reports & Consultations
  2. a) Wiltshire Councillors Report – None

*b) Report from Project Co-Ordinator (reports [2] attached) – With reference to the two reports, it was noted that work on the Walnut Road Play Area is about to start next Thursday.  With reference to the Public Toilets refurbishment project, members approved the appointment of Wayne Card Architectural services and Cllr. Rachael Hansford agreed to work with Roger Pipe on this project.


  1. Planning
  2. a) Applications for consultation response:


Application No: PL/2023/02665
Application Type: Householder planning permission
Proposal: Installation of solar panels on roof of garage within the grounds of Prospect House.
Planning Register Link:

RESOLVED to recommend approval of the above application.

Application No: PL/2023/02925
Application Type: Householder planning permission
Proposal: Loft conversion with Velux roof lights
Site Address: 4A Underdown Mead, Mere, BA12 6EQ
Planning Register Link:

RESOLVED to recommend approval of the above application.

Application No: PL/2023/02919
Application Type: Full planning permission
Proposal: Install solar panel array on south roof of south aisle
Site Address: St Michael The Archangel Church, Church Street, Mere, BA12 6DS
Planning Register Link:

RESOLVED to recommend approval of the above application.

Application No: PL/2023/03190
Application Type: Householder planning permission
Site Address: Chapel House, North Street, Mere, BA12 6HH
Planning Register Link:

RESOLVED to recommend approval of the above application.

Application No: PL/2023/02755
Application Type: Full planning permission
Proposal: Retention of glazed single storey extension.
Site Address: Walnut Tree Inn, Shaftesbury Road, Mere, Warminster, Wilts, BA12 6BH
Planning Register Link:

RESOLVED to recommend approval of the above application.

Application No: PL/2023/03410
Application Type: Notification of proposed works to trees in a conservation area
Proposal: Beech tree – remove 3 limbs back to main stem and reduce 2 smaller limbs to clear building by 3m
Planning Register Link:


RESOLVED to recommend approval of the above application.


  1. b) Planning Appeal Notification – PL/2022/06387 – Breaches Barn, Barrow Street, Mere, Warminster – APP/Y3940/W/23/3319335 – The appeal had been changed from a hearing procedure to that which would be considered by written evidence only. The Clerk confirmed that the Inspector would be in receipt of the Town Council’s original consultation submission to this planning application.
  2. c) Report on Strategic Planning Committee meeting held for planning application 20/07643/FUL – Full Planning Permission Address: Land at Jane Oaks Farm, Mere, Warminster, Wiltshire, BA12 6LH Proposal: Change of use of land to use as a residential caravan site for 4 gypsy families. Laying of hardstanding, access improvements and erection of two amenity buildings – Cllr. Mrs. Traves reported that she and Cllr. Symonds had attended the meeting in Trowbridge on 25th She pointed out that all planning authorities are supposed to allocate land as designated gypsy and traveler sites but, unfortunately, Wiltshire has not done this which put them at a real disadvantage in objecting to this planning application. Everyone spoke well and tried their best but the application was approved.

*d) DLUHC Consultation On Infrastructure Levy – Final NALC Request To Circulate Briefing To Member Councils, (consultation document attached) – it was agreed that the Chairman & Cllr. Colman would prepare a consultation response.

*e) NALC response to the government’s consultation on permitted development rights (response attached – for information) – Members were happy with the response from NALC and had no comments to add.


  1. Highways, Rivers, Footpaths, Traffic & Transport
  2. a) To identify jobs for the Parish Steward, Sparkle Team and MyWiltshire reports – It is uncertain as to whether or not there is a Sparkle Team at the moment but the Clerk confirmed that there is currently no Parish Steward service as the Parish Steward is currently tasked with filling potholes.

*b) Traffic Management in Mere – response from Traffic EngineerRESOLVED that the traffic & transport working group would assess the response from the Traffic Engineer and make some recommendations on progression and priorities.


  1. Buildings, Open Spaces, Play Areas, Sports Grounds, Car Parks, Allotments & Cemeteries

*a) Review of football provision and facilities in view of proposals to change football fixtures for Mere Town Football Club – there was a long discussion about the current football provision in Mere and the proposals being put forward by Mr. Down. The Clerk summarised the situation and said… in short, we have Mere Town Football Club which is the Sunday Adult team and the youth football (as was agreed with the Town Council last September) and we have a new Football Club proposing to use our facilities on a Saturday which will have a separate committee – it might be helpful if they operated under a different name to avoid confusion but whether or not they all use the same name is up to them.   In general, members felt that any new sporting provision would be beneficial for the town but there was obviously a need to consider financial constraints and ensure that existing sporting provision is not adversely affected. RESOLVED to investigate and estimate the likely cost involved in re-utilising hot showers and raise again for discussion at the next meeting.


  1. Finance, Policy & Resources

*a)  PaymentsRESOLVED to authorise payments as shown in the schedule (attached).

  1. b) To confirm approval for S.137 payments for 2023/24 financial year (as listed in payment schedule) – members confirmed the approval of the S.137 payments and agreed that they would provide a direct benefit to the area and/or inhabitants.

*c) To consider quotation for insurance renewal – Members expressed concern about the quotation that had been given which included insurance on the two car parks.  The Clerk was asked to request a second quotation to exclude the car parks insurance and the Chairman & Clerk delegated authority to renew the insurance if considered appropriate on this basis (car park insurance would be added when the lease has been completed/signed).

*d) 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 had highlighted and explained the reductions she had made from the reserves and any significant variances from budget which included an overspend on the electricity for the public toilets.  The Clerk also explained the Recreation Ground Charity summary which, in effect, separated the Charity’s accounts from the Town Council’s but required the Town Council to give a donation of £16,000 to the Charity in order for the Charity to pay the Town Council’s invoice for maintenance.  The Budget/Expenditure Report and End of Year summaries were approved without amendment.

*e) Wiltshire Towns Programme – funding for 2023/24 – the Chairman reported that the Town Council had received the £5k grant for 2022/23 and had just found out that we are going to get £5k for 2023/24.  Ideas for expenditure which should be based on increasing footfall into the town and so this will be on the agenda for the next meeting.

  1. f) Actions from Interim Internal Audit Report
  2. i) Specialist advice on requirement for VAT Registration – deferred.


  1. General Items & Consultations/Briefing Notes
  2. a) The Tower Stories – Heritage Lottery Bid – members were advised that the Town Council had added a letter of support for the Church to submit with their Heritage Lottery bid.
  3. b) Briefing Note 23-10: Guidance for Neighbourhood Planning within Wiltshire – noted.


  1. Future meetings and events

Ask the Leader of the Council event – it was reported that there would be a series of these events and the Mere area event would be held at a later date.


  1. Future agenda items

The Chairman requested a future agenda item “Vision for Mere”.


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 8.42 pm




Registered Charity No. 1093497

Meeting opened at 8.43 pm


For Trustees:

  1. To receive report on end of year accounts and approve end of year accounts (summary is included in Budget/Expenditure Report) – the end of year accounts were approved without amendment.
  2. RESOLVED to approve the payment to Mere Town Council for maintenance charges for 2022/23:

Mere Town Council  – Maintenance charges for 2022/23                  £15,921.07


Meeting closed at 8.45 pm