Minutes of Town Council meeting held on 4th October 2021
Mere Town Council
Town Clerk – Mrs. L. C. Wood
Minutes of a meeting of Mere Town Council held at Duchy Manor, Springfield Road, Mere, BA12 6EW on Monday, 4th October 2021 at 7.00 pm.
Present: Councillors Kate Symonds (Vice-Chair), Louise Bennett, Aubrey Colman, Rodney Coward, Rachael Hansford, Clive Hazzard, George Jeans, John Jordan, Eric Mitchell
Also 1 member of public
Meeting convened at 7.02 pm with Public Session
Mr Clowser said that he wanted to thank the Council for submitting the request for a review of the 40mph speed limit along Shaftesbury Road to Wiltshire Council. He said that he understood that Wiltshire Council required a contribution from the Town Council of £625 to carry out the review and appreciated that the Town Council had limited resources. He said that a number of residents of Shaftesbury Road had intimated that they would be prepared to contribute to the review costs to such an extent that they would be prepared to fund the full amount of £625 if this is necessary or indeed possible. Mr. Clowser went on to say that Shaftesbury Road has become increasingly busy over the years due to traffic from new development.
Apologies for absence received from Cllrs. Debbie Beale, Nick Beale, Philip Coward, Raymond Hill, Glen Ings & Lesley Traves
In the absence of the Chairman, Cllr. Mrs. Kate Symonds (Vice-Chair) Chaired the meeting.
- 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.
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.
- Jeans declared a pecuniary interest in Minute No. 68a) Payments (recipient)
- Minutes – RESOLVED that the minutes of the Town Council meeting held on 6th September 2021 be approved as a correct record on proposal made by Cllr. R. Coward, seconded by Cllr. Hazzard and carried with a unanimous vote of those present on 6.9.21
- Matters Arising from previous Meetings
*b) Update on Wessex Water Environment Fund Grant Application for water refilling station (Minute Ref: 54e) – with reference to the information in the Clerks Report, Cllr. Jordan said that he had found a company that can install a wall-mounted water refilling station for £910 which included installation and a four-year maintenance agreement. Cllr. Jordan said that a wall-mounted water refilling station could be mounted on the outside wall of the public toilets and proposed that the Clerk contact this company to ensure that these details are correct and to ensure that both Wiltshire Council and Wessex Water are happy with the installation of the water refilling station.
*c) Request for Speed Limit review along Shaftesbury Road – in view of the response from the Highways Authority, does the Town Council want to submit this ‘highways improvement request form’ to the Community Area Transport Group (CATG). (Minute Ref: 57a) – members noted the information in the Clerks Report and the offer of financial contribution from the residents as reinforced in the public session. Cllr. Jeans said that he felt he should abstain as this issue was likely to be debated at a future CATG meeting to which he will be expected to vote and he did not therefore wish to compromise his position on the committee at this stage. Cllr. Jordan said that if there is an offer of help then he is always in favour of accepting that help. Cllr. Hazzard said that he agreed with every comment made by Mr. Clowser but he thought that this was something that the Town Council should pay for and not the local residents. RESOLVED that the Town Council should ask for the review and should be happy to pay a contribution for the review and if necessary a contribution towards the Road Traffic Regulation Order and associated works if the review should recommend them. Proposal seconded by Cllr. Jordan and carried with a vote of 4 in favour, 3 against and 2 abstentions.
*d) Replacement road signs (Minutes Ref: 218a) – with reference to the information in the Clerks Report, members agreed that the aluminium substrate signs would be better value and agreed that the Town Council should replace a number of road signs that might be deemed as missing or priority for replacement within the town Council’s budget allocation. The clerk pointed out that the town Council has no budget allocation under this heading at the present time but confirmed that she would add one for the budget committee to consider the forthcoming budget meeting.
- e) Suggestions for expenditure of S.106 funding (Minute Ref: 59i) – the Chairman said that with reference to the discussion held at last month’s meeting and the suggestions for expenditure made by the community following the public consultation, the Council discussed it in general terms but did not come to any conclusions and she said that it was hoped that the Council could reach an agreement on the projects that were put forward as priorities by the previous Town Council for the use of some of this funding: namely the refurbishment of the Walnut Road Play Area and the widening, surface and amenity improvements to the footpath leading from Clements Lane to Angel Lane. Colman raised an objection to the Walnut Road Play Area being refurbished as he said that it was not used by the community. Cllr. Louise Bennett argued that the Walnut Road Play Area was very much used by the community and was in need of improvement. Cllr. Hazzard said that the Walnut Road Play Area was in need of refurbishment and one of the reasons this was so appropriate for the use of the S.106 funding was because, being the closest play area, it would be of most benefit to the residents of the housing development which was, of course, the source of the funding. RESOLVED that the Walnut Tree Play Area be included as priority No. 1 for the expenditure of the S.106 funding on proposal made by Cllr. Rachael Hansford, seconded by Cllr. Hazzard and carried with a majority vote with 1 abstention. RESOLVED that the Right of Way improvement project (Clements Lane to Angel Lane) be put forward as priority No. 2 on proposal made by Cllr. R. Coward, seconded by Cllr. Jeans and carried with a unanimous vote in favour.
The Clerk pointed out that she was hoping that the Council would be able to fund many more projects from this allocation and was hoping that it would be possible to use the funds as a basis to apply for more match funding from other grant giving organisations, thereby making the money go further. She did point out, however, that in previous communications, Wiltshire Council officers did not see the right of way improvements as an eligible use of the funding and deemed that it did not meet the expenditure criteria in the legal agreement as they do not consider footpaths to be open spaces, play areas or amenity land. The matter was not pursued in great deal at the time because we had not received the money but it may be necessary, if Wiltshire Council officers do not concede, to ask C. G, Fry & Son if they would be prepared to grant a legal variation to the agreement.
- Reports & Consultations
*a) Wiltshire Councillor’s Report including South West Wiltshire Area Board Car Club Pilot
SWW Area Board Car Club Pilot – With reference to the information that had been distributed to members prior to the meeting, Cllr. Jeans said that he thought this would fit in with the Council’s ‘green’ causes and would help the community with transport problems. He said that he was asking for the Town Council to agree in principle only and then on the proviso that there was no loss of existing car parking spaces. Cllr. Jordan expressed concern about how this could be achieved with no loss of existing car parking spaces considering the fact that there would be a requirement for two charging points and a place to put the car or cars. Cllr. Jeans said that he was thinking about utilising the wide pavement areas either side of the car park as replacement car parking spaces for those that may be required for EV charging spaces. Cllr. R. Coward said that he could not support this initiative as he thought that electric cars were not going to be feasible. Cllr. Rachael Hansford said that she would support it completely and would be happy to use the car parking spaces. Cllr. Hazzard said that he would be happy to support the survey only at this stage but he pointed out that he often goes to Salisbury where there is a line of electric vehicle charging points with no vehicles there. Cllr. Mitchell pointed out that the Town Council had rejected the Doctors Surgery extension proposals for fear of losing car parking spaces in the car park and that these electric vehicle charging spaces are much wider than normal spaces. RESOLVED to agree to submitting the car club survey as long as it is reworded and the principle only of creating two EV charging spaces in the Salisbury Street Car Park on the proviso that two replacement car parking spaces can be created on the wide pavement area outside Hayley’s Hair, thereby resulting in no loss of parking spaces on proposal made by Cllr. Rachael Hansford, seconded by Cllr. Louise Bennett and carried with a majority vote in favour and 1 abstention (Cllr. Mitchell). Cllr. Hazzard said that if, during the course of distribution of the survey, Cllr. Jeans finds himself out of pocket then he should inform the Town Council.
Wiltshire Councillors Report – Cllr. Jeans reported that he represented the Town Council as well as Wiltshire Council when he attended the unveiling ceremony of the blue plaque as awarded by the Salisbury Civic Society for Wolfe Frank, Chief Interpreter at The Nuremberg International War Crimes Trials of Nazi Leaders who,, from 1984-1987, lived at the Malt House. Cllr. Jeans said that the event was well attended. He also reported that he had asked for signage for White Road (behind the Social Club) to try and help with the difficulties being faced by residents during school collection times. Cllr. Jeans said that the road was owned by Wiltshire Council and he was asking for a sign that said it was a private road and not allowed to drive up there unless invited to do so. Cllr. Jeans said that the loss of Fives Court was a major issue in the town and that Wiltshire Council was now planning a review of older people’s housing stock in Mere although this time there would be consultation. The first round of residents’ consultation would begin at the end of October.
- b) Formulate consultation response to Wiltshire Council’s draft ‘Climate Strategy’ and ‘Our Natural Environment Plan’ – The Chair said that she and Cllr. Mrs. Beale had looked at both documents and watched the engagement webinar. In retrospect it is hard to criticise because the strategies are very general and full of exemplary objectives and aspirations which are all very hopeful i.e., insulation to all council houses, making properties carbon neutral. However, there was not much mention of the wherewithal to implement the objectives and aspirations. RESOLVED that the Town Council should submit a collective response to fully support the Draft Climate Strategy and Green & Blue Infrastructure Strategy and agrees with all the objectives and aspirations. We look forward to finding out more information about how the objectives and actions can be delivered and implemented including the sources of funding that might be available. We would request that Parish & Town Councils be given the resources to assist in the delivery of these strategies and support the request for Good Green/Environmental Practice Guides for Town & Parish Councils.
- a) Applications for consultation response – (All applications can be viewed on Wiltshire Council’s Planning & Building Control Public Register – https://development.wiltshire.gov.uk/pr/s/ – type in the relevant application number or use the link given below)
|Application Type:||Householder planning permission|
|Proposal:||Single storey rear extension with balcony. Dormer roof over a new door opening|
|Site Address:||Downsview, Southbrook, Mere, Warminster, Wilts, BA12 6BG|
|Planning Register Link:||https://development.wiltshire.gov.uk/pr/s/planning-application/a0i3z000016Q80h
The Chairman confirmed that she had visited the site and talked to the applicant. The Chairman said that she did not think that the balcony would cause an overlooking or privacy issue as it would mostly overlook the allotments and views beyond. RESOLVED to recommend approval of the above application on proposal made by Cllr. Jordan, seconded by Cllr. Colman 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 planning application.
|Application Type:||Householder planning permission|
|Proposal:||Extensions to bungalow, construction of a stone wall either side of driveway with new timber gate, re-laying of gravel surfacing to driveway and parking area, completion of garden to include laying of a new patio. Installation of an air source heat pump to North elevation. Demolition of existing outbuilding and construction of a new shed. (amendment to 20/11381/FUL)|
|Site Address:||Cedarstone, Limpers Hill, Mere, BA12 6BD|
|Planning Register Link:||https://development.wiltshire.gov.uk/pr/s/planning-application/a0i3z000016GZLc
It was confirmed that this was an amendment to a previous application. RESOLVED to recommend approval on proposal made by Cllr. Rachael Hansford, seconded by Cllr. Mitchell 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 planning application.
|Application Type:||Consent under Tree Preservation Orders|
|Proposal:||Beech Trees T1 – T24 T1 – T5 Crown lift for 5.2m clearance over highway T6 – Remove T19 – Remove T15 Remove T24 Remove Westerly limb|
|Site Address:||PROSPECT FARM HOUSE, CASTLE STREET, MERE, WARMINSTER, BA12 6JS|
|Planning Register Link:||https://development.wiltshire.gov.uk/pr/s/planning-application/a0i3z000016Qh2J
RESOLVED to recommend approval of the above application on proposal made by Cllr. R. Coward, seconded by Cllr. Jeans and carried with a unanimous vote.
|Application Type:||Householder planning permission|
|Proposal:||Single storey extension|
|Site Address:||13 Downside Close, Mere, Warminster, Wilts, BA12 6AS|
|Planning Register Link:||
RESOLVED to recommend approval of the above application on proposal made by Cllr. Rachael Hansford, seconded by Cllr. Jordan 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 planning application.
|Application Type:||Consent under Tree Preservation Orders|
|Proposal:||Beech tree – cut back branches overhanging driveway|
|Site Address:||SASH HOUSE MERE WARMINSTER BA12 6FH|
|Public Register link:||https://development.wiltshire.gov.uk/pr/s/planning-application/a0i3z000016RcZ4
RESOLVED to recommend approval of the above application on proposal made by Cllr. R. Coward, seconded by Cllr. Jordan and carried with a unanimous vote in favour.
- b) Is there an appetite to try and regenerate the Mere Neighbourhood Plan? The Chair reported that the process of creating a Mere Neighbourhood Plan had started back in 2018 but, despite efforts to try and reignite interest, the process had stalled due to the lack of volunteers willing to take on the role of Chairman and Secretary. The Clerk pointed out that it was fairly clear that the process of reviewing and creation of the Wiltshire Local Plan was placing more emphasis and importance on the existence of Neighbourhood Plans and expressed concern that, without a Neighbourhood Plan, Mere would be more open to challenges for development in areas or locations that we might not want to be developed. The Clerk said that she had heard that there may be a member of the community who was willing to regenerate this project and it was agreed that this might be followed up.
- Highways, Rivers, Footpaths, Traffic & Transport
- a) Wiltshire Council’s Highways 5-year Investment Plan Proposals (see: https://cms.wiltshire.gov.uk/documents/s194287/SW%20wilts%205%20year%20major%20maintenance%20plan.pdf ) – Members noted the link. The Clerk pointed out that this document proposed ‘small specialist surfacing’ of a track leading from Burton Road towards Charnage where, in effect, public money would be spent on surfacing a track that leads to an unauthorised dwelling and business. Members agreed that this was wholly inappropriate and that priorities for highway surfacing and maintenance in Mere should be directed elsewhere and more specifically towards Angel Lane, Manor Road, Old Hollow, Mill Lane and Shaftesbury Road. Members agreed that the Clerk should send a strongly worded response with the above comments on proposal made by Cllr. R. Coward, seconded by Cllr. Rachael Hansford and caried with a unanimous vote.
*b) Report from Wessex Water on the Mere stream support trial – The Chairman said that the stream support trial is down to the work having been put in by Ian Shepherd. Cllr. Rodney Coward said he looked forward to hearing more about the effectiveness of the trial but pointed out that the more houses are built, the more water they will need.
- Buildings, Open Spaces, Play Areas, Sports Grounds, Car Parks, Allotments & Cemeteries
*a) Tennis Courts & potential tree root issues – members noted the information in the Clerks Report. The Clerk also reported that since writing this report, she had received emails from two residents who live within close proximity of these beech trees (Windermere & Nuts, Chetcombe Road) who had raised concerns about the health of these trees and safety of their property. RESOLVED that the Town Council should agree to the Clerk’s suggested option 1, i.e. Take no action at the present time but monitor the cracking/damage to the tennis courts surface and take action if it becomes more visible or problematic for players. However, as a further provision members agreed that the Town Council should ask Mr. Jonathan Astill, Arboricultural Consultant, to give a full written & detailed assessment of the two beech trees in question having gained access from the properties in Chetcombe Road.
*b) Issues with public toilets – with reference to the information in the Clerks Report, Cllr. Hazzard reported that he had asked a local man to look at the drains on Friday and he is coming back next week to put a CCTV camera down the drains & do a dye test to see if there are any other blockages. The Chair suggested that the Town Council might need someone to do a proper survey of the drains and services but the Clerk pointed out that Wiltshire Council should have a plan of where all the services are.
RESOLVED to replace the lighting in the gents toilets and disabled toilet with LED strip lights and sensors. Ask Wallgate to come out and service the handwashing units. It was agreed that all other items would be raised on the budget meeting agenda. Proposal made by Cllr. Hazzard, seconded by Cllr. Colman and carried with a unanimous vote.
- Finance, Policy & Resources
*a) Payments – RESOLVED to authorise payments as set out in schedule of payments (attached) on proposal made by Cllr. Jordan, seconded by Cllr. Colman and carried with a majority vote. Cllr. Jeans, having declared a pecuniary interest in this agenda item, left the room and took no part in discussion or voting on this item.
- b) Conclusion of Audit for Town Council’s Accounts for period ending 31.3.21 – the Clerk confirmed that she had received the external auditor’s report and certificate and was very pleased to report that no matters had come to their attention giving cause for concern that relevant legislation and regulatory requirements have not been met. The Clerk confirmed that a Notice of conclusion of audit had been posted on the Town Council’s website. Members thanked the Clerk for all the work involved in preparing the accounts and information for submission to the external auditor.
- c) Request for contribution towards relocation of street light at Kingsmere Open Space – the Clerk explained that the Town Council had raised a query with Atkins regarding the re-positioning of a street light at Kingsmere. The grounds staff had reported that it had been moved only a matter of inches but that the repositioning was now causing an obstruction for the contractor to get into Kingsmere and cut the hedges. Correspondence has been going on for months with Atkins denying that the street light had been moved but eventually it has been agreed with the help of Cllr. Jeans and in consultation with nearby residents that the street light can be moved elsewhere. However, in view of the fact that neither party can provide definitive evidence that the street light has been moved, Atkins are requesting that the Town Council make a financial contribution of £350 towards the anticipated cost for the relocation work of £800. RESOLVED to approve a financial contribution of £350 towards the relocation of this street light on proposal made by Cllr. R. Coward, seconded by Cllr. Hazzard and carried with a unanimous vote in favour.
- d) To set date & other details for Annual Budget Meeting –Cllr. Hazzard proposed that this item be deferred as there were a number of councillors not present at this meeting who may have a strong desire to be involved.
- e) Noticeboard for Cemetery (Angel Lane) – The Clerk reported that she had been investigating the cost of a noticeboard for the cemetery and based on a double-door version taking 8 X A4 sheets, the cost was higher than the budget allocation of £500. The Clerk said that she thought it would be a good idea to install the new noticeboard once the works on the new cemetery had been completed. RESOLVED to approve increased budget allocation of £1200 to allow for purchase/installation of noticeboard a.s.a.p.
- General Items
- a) Does the Town Council agree that the Old Ship Inn building and it’s unique ironwork sign are precious heritage features of the town that the people of Mere cherish, and wish to preserve, and that they give character and interest to the town centre? Can the building owners be encouraged by the council to ensure the proper maintenance of the sign? As there is undoubtably a cost associated, would the council give consideration to finding a suitable means of funding, to ensure the sign remains both a safe and attractive feature of the town centre?– Mr. David Drewett
Members felt that responsibility of the sign rested with the owner of the property and that the owner of the property was made aware of the significance of the sign by the Conservation Officers of the Planning Authority when he submitted plans to convert the building. Cllr. Jeans said that he had arranged for the old metal ‘Old Ship Inn’ sign that fell to the ground last year, to be refurbished and that, with the permission of the owner, the Town Council was intending to put it back on the brackets when we have the cherry picker to put the Xmas Lights up. However, Cllr. Jeans said that he had been made aware that adding the sign back onto the bracket needed to be a delicate job. Cllr. Jeans offered to go to the Conservation Officer at Wiltshire Council to ask her if she was happy with the state of the bracketry and metalwork but it was agreed that the Town Council should write to the owner, Mr. Peter Harding, in the first instance to ask if he had any future plans for the refurbishment of the sign & bracketry.
*b) Proposed Westbury Incinerator – email from Westbury Town Council – in a unanimous vote members felt that they were unable to support the notion of making a financial contribution to Westbury Town Council’s fighting fund to help with their Rule 6 status in the planning appeal for the proposed incinerator on the edge of Westbury on the basis that this would set a precedent.
- Future meetings and events
- a) Invitation to Neighbourhood Planning Webinar on 9th November 2021 at 10 am (Organised by CPRE Wiltshire and Wiltshire Community Land Trust) – Cllr. Rachael Hansford said that she may attend the webinar and the Clerk handed her the invitation instructions.
- Future agenda items
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 9.35 pm
MERE PEACE MEMORIAL SPORTS AND RECREATION GROUND
Registered Charity No. 1093497
For Trustees to consider the following:
Tennis Courts & potential tree root issues
Trustees of the Mere Peace Memorial Sports & Recreation Ground Charity were happy to endorse the decision made by the Town Council during the Town Council meeting of 4th October 2021 (Minute Reference 67a)