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Minutes of Town Council meeting 11.1.2021

Mere Town Council

Town Clerk – Mrs. L. C. Wood


Minutes of a meeting of Mere Town Council held on Monday, 11th January 2021 at 6.00 pm online at


Present on Zoom:  Cllrs. C. Hazzard (Chairman), A. Colman, P. Coward, R. Hill, G. Ings, G. Jeans, J. Jordan, A. Mead, E. Mitchell, B. Norris, R. Sims, Mrs. K. Symonds & Mrs. L. Traves


Public Session

There were no members of the public present & the Clerk confirmed that no members of the public had requested to join the meeting.

Roy Sims said that he had recently attended a CATG meeting where the main topic of conversation seemed to be concerns about speeding.  He confirmed that Mere was off the priority list as it had issues pending.


Apologies for absence received from Cllr. Rodney Coward.


  1. To receive declarations of interest from members and to consider 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.

  • 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.
  • Mrs. Traves declared a personal interest in planning application 20/10112/FUL

(b) To consider any dispensation requests received by the Town Clerk.


  1. Minutes – RESOLVED to approve the Minutes of the meetings held on Monday, 7th December 2020 on proposal made by Cllr. Mrs. Traves, seconded by Cllr. Colman and carried with a unanimous vote of those present on 7.12.20. RESOLVED to approve the Minutes of the Annual Budget meeting held on Monday, 14th December 2020 on proposal made by Cllr. Jordan, seconded by Cllr. P. Coward and carried with a unanimous vote of those present on 14.12.20


*176.  Co-Option to fill Casual Vacancy (applications/personal statements attached) & for new councillor (if present) to sign Declaration of Acceptance of Office.

The Clerk confirmed the names of the three candidates and stated that all three candidates had confirmed that they met the eligibility requirements and that their personal statements had been distributed to councillors with their agenda papers.  No other nominations were received.  Cllr. Jeans said that he would prefer to vote by secret ballot and the Clerk confirmed that she had set up a polling feature in zoom.  However, the Clerk was unable to launch this feature due to a technical problem and it was agreed that voting could take place by either email to the Clerk or show of hands.  The Clerk explained that the successful candidate must receive an overall majority of votes and as there were 13 members present this would be at least 7 votes.  An overall majority was not received in the first round of votes but was received in the second round of votes and Debbie Beale was duly co-opted to fill the vacancy.  The Chairman asked the Clerk to write to all candidates thanking them for putting themselves forward and saying that it was hoped that they would all stand again in the forthcoming elections that were due to be held in May.


  1. Planning
  2. a) Applications: (All applications can be viewed on Wiltshire Council’s website – and type in the relevant application number)


Application Ref: 20/10112/FUL
Application for: Full Planning
Proposal: Extension and alterations
At: Monkswell Cottage, Mill Lane, Mere.  BA12 6DA

RESOLVED to recommend approval of the above application on proposal made by Cllr. Jordan, seconded by Cllr. Sims and carried with a majority vote.  Having declared a personal interest in the above application, Cllr. Mrs. Traves refrained from discussion or voting and in order not to compromise his position as Wiltshire Councillor, Cllr. Jeans abstained from discussion or voting.


Application Ref: 20/11308/PNCOU
Application for: Prior Notifications on change of use
Proposal: Application for Prior Approval under Class Q for a Change of Use of an Agricultural Building to form one dwelling house and for associated operational development
At: Breaches Barn, Barrow Street, Mere.  BA12 6AB

RESOLVED to recommend approval of the above application on proposal made by Cllr. Philip Coward, seconded by Cllr. Jordan and carried with a vote of 11 for and 1 against.  In order not to compromise his position as Wiltshire Councillor, Cllr. Jeans abstained from discussion or voting.

*b) Wiltshire Local Plan Review Consultation & Wiltshire Gypsy & Traveller Local Plan Consultation – Online events – the Clerk had distributed information about the online events taking place and confirmed that the ones most relevant for Mere would be the last ones on the list – Planning for rural areas – Monday 1st February and Tuesday 2nd February between 7 pm & 8pm.  The Clerk said that it was necessary for members to sign up for the event beforehand and confirmed that she had signed up for one of the events and had requested that the following topics be considered:

1)  Spatial Strategy for Mere Community Area

2) Which affordable housing zone will the Mere Community Area be in – 30%?

3) What can be done about allocated employment land that has not been developed?

4) What is the future for CIL and infrastructure strategy?

5) What is spatial strategy for those villages without a settlement boundary?

The Clerk stressed the importance of attending this event if we wanted to play a proactive role in shaping the future of Mere.  Members asked the Clerk to forward her list of questions to them via email.


  1. Reports & Consultations
  2. a) To receive and consider report from Wiltshire Councillor – Cllr. Jeans said that there is a review currently taking place to reassess the Dorset & Wiltshire Fire & Rescue Technical Rescue Unit which operates from Trowbridge, Chippenham & Swindon and the review is talking about downgrading the equipment at Trowbridge & Chippenham. Jeans said that he did not know whether this would have an impact on services at Mere. Cllr. Jeans confirmed that the elections that are due to take place on May 6th will encompass the Police & Crime Commissioner, Wiltshire Councillor, Local Town & Parish Councillors & Neighbourhood Plan referendums all at the same time.  Wiltshire Council is reviewing its policy on whether it will continue to fund the election costs incurred by town-parish councils or whether to introduce a scheme for recharging a proportion of the combined costs to town and parish councils.  It has been confirmed, however, that due to the Police & Crime Commissioner elections, we will not have to pay for polling cards this year.  The Clerk said that she thought the whole issue of whether or not the elections would take place in May was under review by the government in any case.


  1. Highways, River, Footpaths, Traffic & Transport

*a) Motion for proposal to Wiltshire Council for amendment to Minimum Parking Standards within Local Transport Plan – A written copy of the Motion along with a background and reason had been distributed to members prior to the meeting.  Cllr. Jordan commended the proposal but suggested one amendment – that the parking spaces should be allocated against the total number of rooms (less bathrooms) rather than the square metreage of all floor space.  Therefore, the final motion would be:

– that Mere Town Council request Wiltshire Council to make an amendment to the minimum residential parking standards within the revised Local Transport Plan to propose that the minimum number of spaces is allocated against the size of the dwelling in terms of the total number of rooms (less bathrooms) within the dwelling rather than the number of bedrooms.

Cllr. Jeans said that he was happy with this amendment.  The proposal received a unanimous vote of approval and the Clerk was asked to submit this to the Head of Spatial Planning, Georgina Clampitt-Dix and Cllr. Toby Sturgis.

  1. b) To identify jobs for the Parish Steward, Sparkle Team or Wiltshire reports – The Clerk reported that she had requested that the ‘Sparkle Team’ tidy up around the Square including cleaning of the signs and fingerpost signs and also to cut back the footpath leading from Angel Lane to Mere Church via The Vicarage. Jordan said that the footpath job had been carried out nicely and wondered if the Sparkle Team could be asked to do the same along the footpath that runs through The Meads – the Clerk said that the difficulty with this job would be access to the farmers’ fields and removing the spoil but suggested that the Town Council might make enquiries to see if this could be done as a joint venture with Mere Town Council grounds staff removing the spoil for them. Members agreed with this suggestion.
  2. c) The Wiltshire Council Mere Path No. 78 Definitive Map and Statement Modification Order 2019 – Notification that the above-mentioned order has been submitted to the Secretary of State for confirmation – The Clerk said that she had received a letter from the Planning Inspectorate to say that the Modification Order is to be determined following a written exchange of statements of case and comments on statements of case as well as a site visit by the Inspector. The Clerk was concerned because the letter arrived on 21st December and it said that any comments should be submitted within two weeks of the date of the letter which was 15th Although the Town Council was not submitting statements, she was concerned that the timing of this was not appropriate for those that were involved.  Cllr. Jeans confirmed that the local group who is involved have been given an extension until 9th February to submit any new or further statements.
  3. d) To request that Mere Town Council submits application for grant from the SWW Area Board for Fingerpost sign for Barrow Street – Cllr. G. Jeans said that he was aware that the Town Council had already applied for one fingerpost grant to replace a fingerpost on the Gillingham Road this year but he would like to request that another grant is requested to replace a fingerpost sign in Barrow Street that now had no arms. The Clerk said that the grounds staff would be happy to do two fingerpost signs and it would be more cost effective to do two at the same time but she understood that the Area Board would only give one grant to each parish/town council per year.  Jeans said that this was not an issue and members agreed that the Town Council should apply for the second fingerpost grant and carry out the work on the two signs simultaneously.


  1. Buildings, Open Spaces, Play Areas, Sports Grounds, Car Parks, Allotments & Cemeteries
  2. a) Xmas Lights – the Chairman said that the Xmas Lights throughout the town were particularly impressive this year and it was noted that many more households had participated in lighting up their houses or gardens. He wanted to thank all those who participated in the Xmas illuminations which helped to make the town look festive and merry which, during this particular year, went a long way to cheering us all up and taking our mind off the COVID-19 restrictions and the fact that many of us could not be with our friends and family.  He thanked George Jeans for organising and sponsoring the Xmas Light competition and said that this year must have been particularly difficult for the judges.  Jeans asked for the winners to be minuted and these are:

1st Halfways, North Road

2nd 38 Lynch Close

3rd 8 Denes Avenue

4th Oaktree House, Southbrook

5th 47 Downside Close


The Chairman also thanked the Town Council staff for coming in over their Xmas holidays to empty the bins and do some essential gritting around the car park, library and doctors surgery areas and for resolving some issues around the public toilets.


  1. Finance, Policy & Resources

*a) PaymentsRESOLVED to approve and authorise payments as shown in payment schedule attached on proposal made by Cllr. Colman, seconded by Cllr. Hill and carried with a unanimous vote.

*b) To adopt recommendations made by Budget Meeting, as shown in Minutes of Budget Meeting held on Monday, 14th December 2020  (Minutes attached)RESOLVED to adopt the recommendations made by the budget committee as recorded in the minutes of the budget meeting held on 14th December on proposal made by Cllr. Jordan, seconded by Cllr. P. Coward and carried with a unanimous vote.

  1. c) To approve Precept on Wiltshire Council for 2021/22RESOLVED to approve a Precept of £164,984.48 for 2021/22 on proposal made by Cllr. Mrs. Traves, seconded by Cllr. Mitchell and carried with a unanimous vote. The Chairman was authorised to sign the Precept form for submission to Wiltshire Council.

*d) To receive report from Mere Foodbank on how Mere Town Council’s donation was used – a report from Mere Foodbank on how the Town Council’s donation was used was distributed to members with their agenda papers (report attached).  Members noted the information and extended their thanks to the team of people that operate the Foodbank in Mere.


  1. General Items, Consultations & Briefing Notes
  2. a) Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government – Open Consultation

Supporting Housing Delivery and public service infrastructure – Consultation closes 28th January 2021

Members will need to respond individually.  JJ says it is one with an online questionnaire so not too difficult to do.

*Briefing Note 20-37 – Housing Land Supply Update

*Briefing Note 20-39 – Management of Council business and publicity during the pre-election period


  1. Forthcoming meetings/events

*South West Wiltshire’s Local Economy & Employment Online Event – 3.30 pm to 5 pm, 26th January 2021


  1. Future Town Council meetings and to receive requests for agenda items

Cllr. Jordan said that it would be a good idea to discuss what’s to be done about the drainage etc for the new cemetery and the related issues that were discussed at the Annual Budget Meeting.  It was agreed that this would be pencilled in for the next meeting and if possible, some members would try and meet, socially distanced, on site beforehand.


The Clerk said that someone had pointed out to her that the square sign which says ‘Old Ship Inn’ and hangs over the road on the wrought iron bracket has fallen off the bracket and fell into the road just before Xmas.  One of the residents of the flats inside The Ship has taken the sign in for safe keeping and the Clerk wondered if the Town Council felt strongly enough to request that the sign be re-erected.  Members agreed that they did want the sign to be re-erected and Cllr. Jeans said that he would approach Peter Harding about this.


Cllr. Hill also said that whilst he is not a great fan of technology, he wanted to say that he had found that this meeting had run smoothly and been well managed.  The Chairman said that he had certainly found it easier to manage than the hybrid meetings.



Meeting closed at 7.04 p.m.


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