Minutes of the Annual Town Council meeting held on Monday, 9th May 2022
Mere Town Council
Town Clerk – Mrs. L. C. Wood
Minutes of the Annual Town Council meeting held on Monday, 9th May 2022 at 7.00 pm in The Andy Young Pavilion, Springfield Road, Mere, BA12 6EW.
Present: Councillors Mrs. Lesley Traves (Chair), Mrs. Kate Symonds (Vice-Chair), Nick Beale, Aubrey Colman, Philip Coward, Rachael Hansford, Clive Hazzard, Raymond Hill, Glen Ings, and John Jordan.
- To elect Chairman of Mere Town Council for 2022/23 and to receive the Chairman’s Declaration of Acceptance of Office – Cllr. Mrs Symonds proposed that Cllr. Mrs. Traves be elected as Chair for the ensuing year. Cllr. Philip Coward seconded the proposal. Cllr. Mrs. Traves confirmed that she was happy to be nominated and the Council RESOLVED unanimously to elect Cllr. Mrs. Traves as Chair. Cllr. Mrs. Traves signed the Declaration of Acceptance of Office.
- To elect Vice-Chairman of Mere Town Council for 2022/23 and to receive the Vice-Chairman’s Declaration of Acceptance of Office – The Chairman said that, in accordance with Cllr. Mrs. Symonds previous statements, she is not prepared to become Chairman of the Town Council and therefore, if there is any member of this council who would like to put themselves forward or be nominated as Vice-Chairman with a view to learning the ropes to become a future Chairman, then please put yourselves forward. There being no nominations, Cllr. Mrs. Traves proposed that Cllr. Mrs. Symonds be elected as Vice-Chairman for the ensuing year. Proposal seconded by Cllr. Colman and Cllr. Mrs. Symonds confirmed that she was happy to be nominated on this basis. RESOLVED unanimously to elect Cllr. Mrs. Symonds as Vice-Chair. Cllr. Mrs. Symonds signed the Declaration of Acceptance of Office.
Apologies for absence received from Councillors Debbie Beale, Louise Bennett, Rodney Coward & George Jeans.
- To receive any declarations of disclosable pecuniary interests and other interests from Councillors on matters to be considered at the meeting.
- To receive Declarations of Interest relating to matters contained in this agenda, in accordance with the provisions of the Local Government Act 1972 in respect of officers and the Localism Act 2011 in respect of members.
- Philip Coward declared a pecuniary interest in Minute No. 162a) Payments
- Lesley Traves declared a pecuniary interest in Minute No.162a) Payments
- To receive written requests for new DPI dispensations.
Members are invited to declare disclosable pecuniary interests and other interests in items on the agenda as required by the Mere Town Council Code of Conduct for Members and by the Localism Act 2011. The disclosure must include the nature of the interest. If you become aware, during the course of a meeting, of an interest that has not been disclosed under this item, you must immediately disclose it. Whether you can remain in the meeting and the extent to which you can participate depends on the type of interest you have.
- Minutes – RESOLVED that the minutes of the Town Council meeting held on Monday, 4th April 2022 be approved as a correct record of proceedings on proposal made by Cllr. Jordan, seconded by Cllr. Colman and carried with a unanimous vote of those that were present on 4.4.22.
*143. To approve and adopt the Standing Orders for Mere Town Council – RESOLVED that the Standing Orders (as distributed) be approved with no amendments on proposal made by Cllr. Colman, seconded by Cllr. Mrs. Symonds and carried with a unanimous vote in favour.
*144. To approve and adopt the Financial Regulations for Mere Town Council – RESOLVED that the Financial Regulations (as distributed) be approved with no amendments on proposal made by Cllr. Colman, seconded by Cllr. Mrs. Symonds and carried with a unanimous vote in favour.
- Internal Audit
To appoint/re-appoint an Internal Auditor – The Clerk asked for this matter to be deferred until after the 2021/22 end of year internal audit had taken place on 26th May.
- 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.
- To appoint members, including Convenors, to serve on Working Groups as required – as above.
- To appoint members, including the Chairman, to service on the Staffing Panel – it was agreed that the Staffing Panel member make-up should be Chairman, Vice-Chairman and Cllr. Jordan.
- 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.
- Review of representation on or work with external bodies and arrangements for reporting back:
|Organisation||2021/22 Representative||2022/23 Representative|
|Youth Club, Seeds4Success, CAYPIG (Community Area Young People)||Cllrs. Hazzard, L. Bennett & R. Coward.||Cllrs. Hazzard, L. Bennett & R. Coward.|
|Cricket Club||Cllr. Ings||Cllr. Ings|
|Health & Community Care||Cllr. Hill||Cllr. Hill|
|Tennis Club||Cllr. Jeans||Cllr. Jeans|
|Football Club||Cllr. Bennett||Cllr. Bennett|
|Public Transport & CATG||Cllr. Debbie Beale||Cllr. Debbie Beale|
|Mere & District Linkscheme||Mrs. Adrienne Howell||Mrs. Adrienne Howell|
|Museum Committee||Cllr. Jeans||Cllr. Jeans|
|Footpaths & Rights of Way||Cllr. Jordan||Cllr. Jordan|
|Chamber of Trade||Chairman & Cllr. Colman||Chairman & Cllr. Colman|
|Friends of Mere Museum||Cllr. Jordan||Cllr. Jordan|
|School Governor||Cllr. Hansford||Cllr. Hansford|
|Mere Bowling Club||Cllr. Ings||Cllr. Ings|
|Carnival Committee||Cllr. Jordan & Cllr. Nick Beale||Cllr. Jordan & Cllr. Nick Beale|
|Area Board & CATG||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 & Cllr. Symonds|
|Mere Parochial Church Council||Cllr. Traves||Cllr. Traves|
|Trustees for Mere Forest Charity||Cllrs. R. Coward, E. Mitchell, G. Jeans + Mrs. Myrene Coward||Cllrs. R. Coward, E. Mitchell, G. Jeans + Mrs. Anne Rich|
*151. Review of delegation arrangements – RESOLVED to approve Scheme of Delegation (as distributed) without amendment, on proposal made by Cllr. Philip Coward, seconded by Cllr. Hill and carried with a unanimous vote.
- To review the Council’s banking and signatory arrangements – the Clerk confirmed that, in accordance with Minute Reference 124b) of 14.3.22, this current banking arrangements were under review.
- To review the Council’s asset register – deferred.
*154. To review the Council insurance policy and discuss/decide on alterations – RESOLVED to approve the insurance schedule summary, as distributed to members.
- To fix the dates and times of ordinary meetings of the Council and Committees for the ensuing year – it was agreed that the Town Council meetings would continue to be held 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.
- Matters Arising from Public Session
- Matters Arising from previous Meetings
- a) Platinum Jubilee Celebrations (Minute 131c) – update on plans to erect beacon, programme of events & finance etc. – Cllr. Ings reported that everything was coming together quite nicely and the committee had managed to bring everything in under the budget that they had anticipated. Arrangements for the beacon on Castle Hill were in hand.
- b) Provision/installation of conduits/ducts for street lights and battery powered EV chargers at Duchy Manor (Minute Ref: 131d) – deferred.
- Reports & Consultations
- a) Wiltshire Councillors Report – No report given as Cllr. Jeans was absent from the meeting.
- a) Applications for consultation response:
|Application Type:||Householder planning permission|
|Proposal:||Single Storey Extension|
|Site Address:||5 OAK LANE, MERE, WARMINSTER, BA12 6FJ|
|Planning Register link:||https://development.wiltshire.gov.uk/pr/s/planning-application/a0i3z0000183cPb
RESOLVED to recommend approval of the above application. However, the Clerk was asked to add the following Informative: As this property is in a development that was designed in consultation with the Duchy of Cornwall, the Town Council believes that the applicant is required to seek permission from the Duchy of Cornwall before carrying out any works to the exterior of the property.
- Highways, Rivers, Footpaths, Traffic & Transport
- a) To identify jobs for the Parish Steward, Sparkle Team and MyWiltshire reports.
There was some confusion as to the functions of the Parish Steward and Sparkle Team and how the two services differ – the Clerk was asked to provide Councillors with a report on the functions, roles and responsibilities of each service.
- Jordan asked if it would be possible to get either the Parish Steward or the Sparkle Team to look at tidying up Wiltshire Council owned garages – there is a site in Manor Road which is looking very overgrown and untidy with rubbish strewn around and further sites in Bramley Hill and The Lynch.
- b) Accessibility issues relating to footpaths and dropped kerbs– the Clerk reported that this had been raised because it had been reported on Social Media that people with mobility scooters or wheelchairs could not access certain places but were also facing difficulties due to cars being parked along dropped kerbs and causing an obstruction. The Clerk said that she had agreed an alternative route for some wheelchair users to get access to Castle Hill via the Castle Hill Play Area by providing a new coded padlock to the vehicle gate. However, there were still some complaints about improving the footpath from Castle Hill Lane to Castle Hill to allow for wheelchair access. Jordan said that this was, perhaps, something that the footpath group could investigate further. With regards to the parked vehicles blocking dropped kerbs, Cllr. Rachael Hansford asked if the Town Council could target offenders and print off some kind of stickers to put on offending cars. It was agreed that this would be raised again at a future meeting.
- c) Change from CATGs to LHFIGs – change of name and remit – The Clerk informed members that Wiltshire Council has increased the remit of the Community Area Transport Groups (CATGs) and has approved additional funding to allow this to progress. In order to reflect the changed remit, it has decided to rename the groups as Local Highway & Footway Improvement Groups (LHFIGs). The CATGs have been encouraged to seek local funding to assist in scheme delivery and Wiltshire Council have agreed that this should continue with the LHFIGs with a minimum local contribution of 20% being suggested. The Clerk read out a list of projects that Wiltshire Council have said can and cannot be funded by LHFIGs. The Clerk said that she had written an email to WALC raising concerns as to the financial implications and also extent of Powers of expenditure for Parish & Town Councils in relation to Highways, Footpaths and Transport schemes.
- Buildings, Open Spaces, Play Areas, Sports Grounds, Car Parks, Allotments & Cemeteries
- a) Request for replacement memorial seat on Castle Hill – The Clerk explained that a local gentleman had requested a memorial seat to be installed on Castle Hill as a replacement for an existing plank seat. The Clerk reminded members that Historic England will no longer allow us to install any more benches on Castle Hill as it is a Scheduled Ancient Monument and therefore, we can only replace existing seats by using exactly the same fixing points and methods. The Clerk had therefore asked the grounds team to assess the location and they did raise some concerns that this could mean that a new bench in this location could end up being a bit too close to the edge of the hill in view of the fact that it would be much wider than the existing non-back bench. Cllr. P. Coward proposed that the Council should revisit this with a view to making some kind of bracketry to fit to the new bench so that it would be possible to adjust it so that the front edge of the bench is in the same place and the same anchor points can be used. Proposal seconded by Cllr. Rachael Hansford and carried with a unanimous vote.
- Finance, Policy & Resources
Cllr. Mrs. Kate Symonds in The Chair
*a) Payments – To review and authorise schedule of payments (attached). RESOLVED to recommend approval of the payments as listed in the schedule of payments on proposal made by Cllr. Colman, seconded by Cllr. Rachael Hansford and carried with a unanimous vote of those present. Cllrs. Philip Coward & Lesley Traves , having both declared a pecuniary interest, left the meeting room for this item and took no part in discussion or voting.
Cllr. Mrs. Lesley Traves in The Chair
- b) To confirm approval for S.137 payments for 2022/23 financial year (as listed in payment schedule) – The Clerk reminded members that Section 137 of the Local Government Act 1972 allows the Town Council to spend a limited amount on activities for which it has no specific power, but which the authority considers ‘will bring direct benefit to the area, or any part of it or all or some of its inhabitants.’ The limit for 2022/23 for Mere Town Council is £8.82 per elector. Using the latest electoral register which was provided in December 2021 this would equate to £22,129.38. Members confirmed the S.137 payments for 2022/23 which had previously been approved as part of the budget recommendations for this financial year.
*c) To adopt recommendations made by working group at annual meeting to assess effectiveness of internal control measures (see Minutes of meeting held on 31st March 2022) – RESOLVED to adopt the recommendations as agreed om the Minutes of the meeting held on 31st March 2022 on proposal made by Cllr. Philip Coward, seconded by Cllr. Mrs. Symonds and carried with a unanimous vote.
- d) To consider quotation for insurance renewal – the Clerk informed members that the Town Council had previously signed up to a 3-year Long Term Agreement (LTA) with Hiscox Insurance Company via our insurance brokers, Gallagher. However, the 3-year LTA expired this year and the renewal premium was now £4323.97 which was nearly £1200 more than last year. The Clerk said that Gallaghers were inviting us to choose a 3-year binding LTA with Hiscox insurance again at the LTA premium of £4323.97. The renewal was due on 31st In view of the short time available to get new quotations, it was RESOLVED to pay the insurance premium this year but NOT to sign up to a 3-year LTA and the Clerk was asked to obtain quotations for the Council to consider in good time for renewal next year. Proposal made by Cllr. Philip Coward, seconded by Cllr. Mrs. Symonds and carried with a unanimous agreement.
*e) To report on Allotment rent audit for 2021/22– the Clerk reported: The Town Council runs 3 allotment sites: Wellhead, Jack Paul Close and Southbrook. We have been splitting the allotments into smaller plots over the years, for two reasons: 1 – because people seem reluctant and/or unable to manage such large plots anymore and 2 – we have a waiting list for allotments so it is better to provide more people with smaller plots than less people with large plots that they are not cultivating fully. We currently have between 92 and 97 allotments across the 3 sites, with two vacant allotments at Wellhead and 4 vacant allotments at Southbrook. We have a waiting list of 22 people at the present time with the longest having waited since June 2020 although those that have been fairly specific about where they want an allotment are the ones that have to wait the longest. I do not have any debtor allotment holders. I do, however, have one issue with an ex-allotment holder at Wellhead who has left Mere and has left his allotment with a whole load of rubbish on it. It will probably cost us a considerable amount of money to get this rubbish removed and I will not be able to do this until I have a full grounds staff team and we have caught up with the mowing schedule. The Clerk asked the Council for authority to dispose of the rubbish in due course and to seek to claim the expenses from the ex-allotment holder. Members agreed that the Clerk should get the rubbish cleared using someone with a waste removal licence and to seek to claim the expenses from the ex-allotment holder if a contact can be found.
- f) To review and approve Budget/Expenditure Report and End of Year Summaries – RESOLVED to approve the Budget/Expenditure Report and End of Year Summaries. The Clerk also put forward suggestions to members to Vire reserves to pay for the tractor outright.
|Total cost of tractor||£32920|
|Reserves & budget set aside for this purpose||£10000|
|Surplus shown on Budget/Expenditure report||£4900|
|Balance to find||£18020|
|Suggestions to vire reserves from the following headings:
Members were in agreement with these suggestions and the Clerk said that she would amend the budget report accordingly.
- g) To update the Council on staffing issues (vacancies and applications) – The Clerk reported that the Town Council received four applications for the post of grounds person and seven for the post of project co-ordinator. The Chairman confirmed that the staffing panel had met to consider a shortlist for both posts and interviews had been arranged for 2 candidates for the grounds persons’ post on 11th May and 3 candidates for the project co-ordinator post at a later date.
- h) Car Park Leases – the Clerk informed members that she had received copies of the draft leases for the car parks and public toilets from Wiltshire Council. However, she pointed out that the Town Council’s previous solicitor was no longer available to deal with this matter and asked members for their thoughts on how to proceed. The Clerk said that options available to the Town Council were to use specialist Local Council solicitors, local solicitors who may not be aware of local government administration or Hampshire Legal Services (the latter having been recommended by colleagues in the Clerk’s network). Hampshire Legal Services is Hampshire County Council’s team of lawyers who now outsource their services to members and officers across local government, emergency services and schools. Members were happy to instruct the Clerk to ask Hampshire Legal Services for a quotation and also to ask for clarification to ensure that there were no restrictions precluding the Town Council from charging for the use of EV charging points in the car parks.
- i) To consider replacement hand wash unit for unisex toilet block and quotation from Wallgate – the Clerk read out a quotation from Wallgate for a new hand washer for the unisex toilets in Salisbury Street Car Park. The price being £3620.59. The Clerk pointed out that the present unit from Wallgate was extremely old and very unreliable. The Town Council currently has a service agreement with Wallgate who are based in Salisbury. It may be possible to install another kind of unit or to revert back to a sink/tap but this would also involve extra plumbing work and possible re-tiling etc. Jordan said he was happy to go along with the Wallgate unit where everything is included and the Town Council doesn’t need to manage anything. RESOLVED to ask Wallgate to provide a new unit, as quoted. Made on proposal by Cllr. Jordan, seconded by Cllr. Mrs. Symonds and carried with a unanimous vote of those present.
- General Items & Consultations/Briefing Notes
*a) Briefing Note No. 22-10 – Electric Vehicle Charging Points – members noted the information in the Briefing Note which explained the basis of Wiltshire Council’s Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure Strategy and the fact that they want the framework agreement to allow town and parish councils to use the same contract to make it cheaper. The briefing note also gives information on government grants and charging options.
*b) Report on meeting to discuss matters relating to Mere Day Centre 26.4.22 – members noted the information in the report which was distributed with the agenda papers.
- Future meetings and events
- a) Invitation for Chair and Clerk to attend Wiltshire Town & Parish Council conference on 27th May 2022
- b) Invitation for Chair & Clerk to attend Mere School lunch on 20th May and to hand out Bee Saving Flower Seeds
- Future agenda items
Please note that the Town Council will be discussing matters raised during the Annual Town Meeting including Cemetery Rules and Regulations at the June Town Council meeting which will be held on Monday, 6th June 2022.
Cllr. Jeans has requested that the Town Council consider proposals for additional parking restrictions for Mere Town Centre at the June Town Council meeting which will be held on Monday, 6th June 2022.
Agenda item requests:
- Communications Policy – Cllr. Rachael Hansford
- Replacement Defibrillator
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 8.19 pm
MERE PEACE MEMORIAL SPORTS AND RECREATION GROUND
Registered Charity No. 1093497
- To receive report on end of year accounts and approve end of year accounts.
- To approve payments to:
Mere Town Council – Maintenance charges for 2021/22 £12,283.40
*In order to pay this, Mere Town Council has agreed to provide a donation to the Mere Peace Memorial Sports & Recreation Ground Charity for £12,300.00. The reason for these contra payments is to separate the Charity Accounts from the Town Council’s accounts.