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Minutes of Town Council meeting held 12th October 2020

Mere Town Council

Town Clerk – Mrs. L. C. Wood

Minutes of a meeting of the Town Council held on Monday, 12th October 2020 at 6.00 p.m. at Duchy Manor, Springfield Road, Mere, BA12 6EW and on Zoom


Present in the room:  Cllrs. C. Hazzard (Chairman), A. Colman, R. Coward, G. Ings, G. Jeans, A. Mead B. Norris & Mrs. L. Traves

Present on Zoom:  Cllrs. R. Hill, J. Jordan, E. Mitchell, R. Sims, Mrs. K. Symonds

Also Mr. David Hytch


Public Session

Mr. David Hytch said that he wanted to speak about the outline planning application for Beaumont Business Park.  He said that he was in favour of the principle of change of use to residential of what is currently a shambolic site.  However, he was concerned at the information contained within the documents relating to the hazardous material that was on the site and who, if planning permission were to be given, would control the removal of this waste to ensure it was removed safely and the site was left in a safe condition.  Mr. Hytch also said that there were new planning regulations coming in next year which required new development to provide Electric Vehicle charging capacity to each residence and he was concerned whether there would be sufficient grid supply for this.  He also pointed out his concern for the lack of pedestrian footpath along Woodlands Road and impact on the road network that extra residential traffic, as well as construction traffic, would have.  The Chairman pointed out that the control of the removal of hazardous waste was not a material consideration for the Town Council at this outline planning stage and would be an issue for building control and for the Environmental Department at Wiltshire Council.


Apologies for absence received and accepted from Cllr. Philip 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.
  • None
  • To consider any dispensation requests received by the Town Clerk.
  • None


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



Application Ref: 20/07469/OUT
Application for: Outline Planning
Proposal: Demolition of the existing buildings and the erection of up to 70 dwellings.
At: Beaumont Business Park, Woodlands Road, Mere.  BA12 6BT


Cllr. Symonds said that she was one of the group of councillors that met with the applicants agents a couple of years ago when they wanted to discuss their proposals with the Town Council.  She said she thought that it was inevitable that the site will be developed but agreed with Mr.  Hytch and his analysis of clearing the site and also if we can make a case for a footpath to that site to be a key consideration.

Cllr. Jordan said he was disturbed that he could not see anywhere in the application that provision had been made for the present industry that is taking place on the site now.  He said he realised that warehousing and distribution does have a lower employee count but the reason that it is a scruffy site is because the present owners have let it get scruffy.  Cllr. Jordan felt that the site could accommodate 20 houses and leave sufficient room for the employment that is currently operating from the site as well.

Cllr. Mitchell said he thought the development would eventually take place and that the planners and building control would be responsible for the site clearance and any environmental issues arising from that.  However, he pointed out that there will be more traffic on the road and once developed there will be a lot more cars travelling to and from the site.

Cllr. Sims said he agreed with the points made by Cllr. Jordan

Cllr. Colman pointed out that the Economic Viability Assessment within the planning documents argues why there should be no affordable housing provided within the development and argues for a drastic reduction in CIL contributions.  He said that Mere’s housing quota to the year 2026 had been fulfilled although there was a shortfall in affordable housing.  He said that Mere needed the 30% affordable housing and a public footpath should also be provided.  Also, there is no play area for children and it is not appropriate to assume that children from this development would use the Walnut Road Play Area because it is often full to capacity.

Cllr. Hill said that the current site was unsightly and although he felt that development of the site was inevitable, he would like to see some offices and an arts centre there as well.

Cllr. Mrs. Traves said that she understood that Mere had met it s quota of housing.  She felt that access, traffic and amenities were the main issues for consideration when considering this level of development.  She pointed out that the old Hill Brush Factory site in Woodlands Road was still being developed and that the developers were struggling to sell the houses.

Cllr. Rodney Coward said that he agreed that it was inevitable that the site would be developed but stressed that we needed better infrastructure, provision for an expanded doctor’s surgery and roads.

Cllr. Mead said that the developers should provide a continuation of the footpath on to the site.

Cllr. Norris said that although this was an outline application it was submitted along with a very large number of documents but there was a significant lack of detail.  He could find no detail about drainage and felt that he could not support the application due to the lack of detail.  Furthermore, the site is falling apart because the present owners have allowed it to fall apart and the Council should say that it requires 30% affordable housing.  He also pointed out that it may be difficult to sell the new housing on the old Brush Factory site until the outcome of this site is known.

The Chairman suggested that the Town Council should ask for some Live/Work units (similar to what was built in Tisbury).  He also felt that major road improvements needed to be implemented to the road outside the Walnut Tree Public House along with a restriction to stop drivers from turning left on to Huntingford Road.

Cllr. Jeans said that this was a complex issue and pointed out that the volume of traffic going down Pettridge Lane is more than the volume of traffic going down Salisbury Street at peak times.  He said he was not against the principle of houses being built here but there should be the means for people to get into town safely by foot.  There is no satisfactory footpath along Woodands Road and I feel very strongly about a pedestrian footpath.  This could be an opportunity to get the footpath from opposite the Walnut Tree up to Angel Lane widened and remodelled so that it is accessible for all to use as an alternative to walking around Edgebridge Corner.  The Town Council has made a financial contribution towards getting the dropped kerbs put in place here.   An impact assessment to assess the impact of the extra traffic and extra people in Mere should be carried out.  We are crying out for housing for key workers.  It is common now for applicants to plead that it is not viable to provide affordable housing but it is just not tolerable to accept no affordable housing as far as I am concerned.  More and more people now being encouraged to work from home.  Fibre broadband needs to be provided.  Electric vehicle charge points should be provided with assurances that there is enough grid capacity.  Neighbours I have spoken to are largely in favour of the development but at the very least they should have a safe footpath to walk into the town centre.

Cllr. Jordan said that the infrastructure in Mere makes this development unviable.  The development places too many demands on the infrastructure.

RESOLVED that the Town Council recommends refusal of this application because members would expect a level of affordable housing and infrastructure improvements to be offered as a result of a development of this size.  This application is not proposing any community benefits that would make this proposed development acceptable in planning terms.  As an example, listed below are the community benefits that the Town Council would expect and would feel appropriate in relation to the actual needs of the proposed development:

  • 30% affordable housing
  • Live/Work units or a planned mix of residential and light commercial use.
  • The provision of a footway for pedestrians to access the site along Woodlands Road and also provision to provide or fund a safe pedestrian route from the site to the centre of Mere by way of accessibility improvements to RoW 66/10 and 50/10 (there is no safe accessible pedestrian route to the centre of Mere from Woodlands Road at the present time as there is no footway around Edgebridge corner).
  • Proposals to address major concerns about increased vehicles and vehicle safety along Pettridge Lane and on the junction of Woodlands Road with Edgebridge and highway improvements that are required as a consequence of development.
  • Vehicles should be discouraged from turning left out of the development and causing obstructions and congestion along the narrow rural lanes around Huntingford and Swainsford (Please note that when determining the planning application for the adjacent development, an informative was agreed at Committee to address the same issue but this was missed off the final permission document by the planning authority. Fortunately, it was implemented by the developer as a good will gesture).
  • As conditioned on the adjacent development as well as the development at Walnut Road, arterial roads within the development should be 5.5m minimum to allow for on-street parking for visitors & deliveries.
  • Green space and recreational facilities for children should be provided within the development. The Walnut Road Play Area is quite often full to capacity.  Also, the original intent of on-site children’s recreation facilities was to provide peace of mind for parents that children are safe and within the site.
  • Sufficient off-street parking to allow for 2 cars per house. Residents like their vehicles to be parked within site of their houses.  Garages provided are often used for other purposes.
  • Contribution towards educational facilities. This, along with any other S.106 contributions should be clearly allocated and identified for the sake of clarity.
  • Consideration should be given to broadband fibre to premises and individual electric vehicle charging infrastructure.
  • A traffic management plan, similar to that produced by C. G. Fry & Son for the adjacent development, would be expected with a direct communication line to report breaches.

Proposal made by the Chairman, seconded by Cllr. Colman and carried with a vote of 12 for and 1 abstention. (In order not to compromise his position as Wiltshire Councillor, Cllr. Jeans abstained from discussion or voting).


Further points to note:


The Commercial Viability Report within the application states that “the site has a negative land value for any commercial development.”.  However, in the Economic Viability Assessment for development it states that “policy compliant development of the site is unviable.  It says that the reason for the overall viability issues are that the site has significant Existing Use Value and that the CIL and s.106 contributions are not sustainable.  Therefore, it is not economically viable to provide 30% affordable housing within the development.”  These would appear to be somewhat conflicting statements when considering “use” and “development” as contributing factors to the viability of the site.


The Economic Viability Assessment also lists 7 units within the site, all of which are in use and providing a rental income.  Whilst this may not be a high employment site in terms of numbers, this evidence may suggest that the site is still commercially viable albeit run-down by a lack of investment.  This evidence would confirm the Town Council’s view that development of the site for residential purposes only would result in the loss of an existing employment site.


Whilst the Town Council may prefer to see a brownfield site being utilised for development over a new greenfield site, given that the applicant’s Economic Viability Assessment (EVA) suggests that the site has such a high Existing Use Value and that, as it states, the site is yielding a rental income, members felt that as Mere has achieved its housing allocations identified within the current Wiltshire Core Strategy and there would be no community benefits or infrastructure benefits in relation to the proposed development, that the application should be refused.  Mere deserves better.


Section 3.2.2 of the Transport Statement produced by Hydrock says: “Clement’s Lane, which connects to the village centre, some 300m from the site, benefits from footways on at least one side of the carriageway for much of the route through the village. Where footways are not present, there are grass verges which can offer space for pedestrians to step off the carriageway.”  This is not true.  There is no footpath whatsoever around the dangerous bend and over the bridge nor is there any grass verge – in other words there is no footpath from the end of Clements Lane to the beginning of Pettridge Lane.  This is the most dangerous part of the highway into Mere and is a blind bend.  To encourage pedestrians and/or young mothers with children and pushchairs to use this route is unacceptable.


Section 3.2.3 of the Transport Statement produced by Hydrock says: “There are a number of Public Rights of Way (PRoW) in close proximity to the site, providing alternative leisure (indirect) routes linking to the village centre of Mere. The PRoWs within the vicinity of the site are shown in Figure 3-1.”  Whilst this statement is true, it is also necessary for someone to come out and try and walk these footpaths to see that they are not wide enough nor practical for anyone other than the most able-bodied to use.  Rights of Way MERE66/10 leading onto MERE50/10 would provide the most direct route for pedestrians to get from Clements Lane to the centre of Mere.  This route would avoid the dangerous bend (without footpath) at Edgebridge.  However, the Right of Way is narrow (too narrow for a wheelchair) and the tarmac surface is so uneven that it presents a safety hazard for any users.  Furthermore, the Right of Way is too dark to negotiate after dusk.  It would be possible, however, to bring this Right of Way up to a standard that was more user-friendly by widening it, resurfacing it and providing some low-level solar lighting bollards.  The Town Council feels that this should be included within the planning application as it would fulfil a need for the proposed development.


Overall, members felt that the demands and impact that such a large development would have on Mere, given that it would be adjacent to an area that has recently and is still currently undergoing development (134 houses), needs some professional assessment to see if the demands on access, highways, drainage, amenities, utilities and services can cope.



Application Ref: 20/06987/FUL
Application for: Full Planning
Proposal: Replace garden sheds with new garden shed
At: The Chantry, Church Street, Mere.  BA12 6DS


The Clerk pointed out that the application boundaries had been drawn incorrectly on both the location plan and the site plan provided in that the location of the sheds was outside the red line application boundary but within the blue line ownership boundary.  RESOLVED to recommend approval of the above application but to point out to the planning authority that the red line/blue line boundaries were inaccurate in both the site plan and the location plan provided.   Proposal made by Cllr. Mrs. Traves, seconded by Cllr. Sims and carried with a majority vote.   (In order not to compromise his position as Wiltshire Councillor, Cllr. Jeans abstained from discussion or voting).



Application Ref: 20/08646/TCA
Application for: Work to Trees in a Conservation Area
Proposal: Weeping crack Willow – take back to previous pollard point.
At: The Cottage, Old Hollow, Mere.  BA12 6EG


RESOLVED to recommend approval of the above application on proposal made by Cllr. Ings, seconded by Cllr. R. Coward and carried with a unanimous vote.


Application Ref: 20/08772/TCA
Application for: Work to Trees in a Conservation Area
Proposal: Small Yew Tree – Fell
At: St. Andrews, North Road, Mere.  BA12 6HP


RESOLVED to recommend approval of the above application on proposal made by Cllr. R. Coward, seconded by Cllr. Ings and carried with a unanimous vote.


  1. Future meetings and agenda items

Members agreed that the next meeting would be a hybrid meeting again.


Meeting closed at 7.14 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


















Registered Charity No. 1093497

Minutes of a meeting of Trustees held on Monday, 12th October 2020


Present:  Town Councillors Clive Hazzard (Chairman), Eric Mitchell (Vice-Chairman), Aubrey Colman, Philip Coward, Rodney Coward, Raymond Hill, Glen Ings, George Jeans, John Jordan, Alan Mead, Brett Norris, Roy Sims, Mrs. Kate Symonds & Mrs. Lesley Traves.   (This was a hybrid meeting with some members being present physically and some via Zoom)


Members of Mere Town Council are sole trustees of Mere Peace Memorial Sports & Recreation Ground Charity (Mere Recreation Ground Charity). 




  1. Plans to demolish and rebuild Mere Youth Development Centre in Recreation Ground.   To comment on plans as drawn up by architect (attached).  Members were informed that the proposed front door is in exactly the same position as the existing front door and the width of the proposed building is the same as the width of the existing building.  However, the building will be much longer and will therefore extend eastwards into the Recreation Ground.


RESOLVED that in principle, Trustees are in favour of the plans presented subject to some of the concerns/comments below being addressed and subject to any concerns/comments from neighbours as a result of neighbour consultation being addressed:


  • Concerns about accessible toilet having a separate external door and security issues this may present.  Cllr. Colman assured members that this would have an entry system that would only be usable when the Youth Development Centre was open.
  • The Clerk raised concerns about the need for a shower pointing out that by having a shower in a public premises, it increases the Legionella Risk and will require an increased level of Control Measures to be put in place by the tenants i.e. Seeds4Success
  • It is assumed that all windows in the toilet areas will be privacy glass.  Indeed, would it be a good idea for all ground floor windows to be privacy glass?  It is assumed that all windows would be toughened safety glass.
  • Photovoltaic panels on the northern elevation of the roof may be unneighbourly and may cause some issues to neighbouring properties in White Road.  As the optimum elevation is the southern elevation, is it necessary to have PV panels on the northern elevation as well?
  • It has been mentioned before that there may be a requirement for external roller-doors into the north-east elevation of the building.
  • Members discussed whether it would be a good idea to move the building further south to allow for mechanical hedge cutting on the northern boundary (behind the building) but it was pointed out that in order to allow for modern machinery it would need to move 4m further south into the Recreation Ground and this was considered to be unacceptable.


  1. Confirmation that the Recreation Ground Charity has agreed to grant a new 25-year lease to Seeds4Success with a clause to allow sub-lets to other non-profit organisations with the Mere Ward area.


RESOLVED that the Recreation Ground Charity has already agreed to appoint solicitors to seek to grant a new 25-year lease to Seeds4Success in accordance with the terms of the Scheme, (land not required by the Charity and public consultation), but also in accordance with the provisions of the Charities Act.  With regards to any conditions relating to sub-lets, it was agreed to seek advice from the solicitors dealing with the lease on this.  (Members raised questions as to the legal terms and differences between ‘hire’ and ‘sub-let’ and whether prior permission on any sub-lets should be made to the Recreation Ground Charity Trustees and whether these sub-lets would be in accordance with the terms of the Charity Scheme).


  1. Confirmation approval that a joint project team has been formed of six people divided equally between Mere Recreation Ground Charity and Seeds4Success

RESOLVED to approve joint project team subject to terms of reference – no powers on decisions or finance being delegated to the team.


  1. To open a project bank account called ?????? . This will be set up by the project team and managed by the project team who will arrange the necessary auditing.  Signatories will be?????.


  1. To agree that the above account be used to pay architects fees, planning fees, surveyors fees, project managers fees and project construction and material charges. The account will also be used to receive grant money and any donations that are given towards the project.


The Town Clerk said that she had great concerns relating to points d) & e) above.  She pointed out that the Charity Commission has a requirement for auditing accounts based on a tier system of income/expenditure.  She is not sure which Charity would ultimately be accountable for the money and how it would show that accountability but pointed out that the asset would belong to the Recreation Ground Charity and therefore assumed it was most likely to be the Recreation Ground Charity’s responsibility.  At the present time the Recreation Ground Charity’s accounts do not have to be audited and we can submit a basic annual return as our income/expenditure is below the £25k limit.  The Clerk was not sure that the Charity Commission would allow a joint project team bank account and was concerned that if the Recreation Ground Charity account was to be used, given the amounts of money that would be passing through the account, it would result in significant and substantial change in audit requirements that would have administrative and financial implications.

RESOLVED for the Recreation Ground Charity to seek advice from the Charity Commission and/or Town Council finance advisers before embarking on this procedure.



  1. The project team will prepare the planning application which is to be submitted in the name of Mere Recreation Ground Charity (as owners of the building/land).

RESOLVED to approve.


  1. The project team will apply for and prepare all grant funding applications which will be in the name of Mere Recreation Ground Charity. Therefore, all applications will be signed by the Chairman of Mere Recreation Ground Charity.

RESOLVED to approve.


  1. A minimum of three quotations will be obtained for the project. It is anticipated that the project costs will be somewhere in the region:
Building  450,000.00
Contingencies 25,000.00
Project Management 25,000.00

The estimated costs were noted.

RESOLVED that the principles of the Town Council’s Procurement Policy would need to be applied.  There was a discussion about the assertion that a new build does not require VAT to be paid.  Cllr. Jeans said that it was down to the contractor.  Cllr. Colman said that this would be clarified at the time of going to quotation.


  1. Project timescale:
  • Planning – End of December 2020
  • Building quotations in by End of January 2021
  • Fundraising starts 1st January 2021
  • Construction starts April 2021 – September 2021

The project timescale was noted although members felt that the project timescales were unrealistic and that it would probably take at least another year.