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Minutes of Town Council meeting held on 5th February 2024

Minutes of a meeting of Mere Town Council held on Monday, 5th February 2024 in The Andy Young Pavilion, Duchy Manor, Springfield Road, Mere, Wiltshire.  BA12 6EW at 7.00 pm.


Present:  Councillors John Jordan (Chair), Glen Ings (Vice-Chair), Debbie Beale, Nick Beale, Sandra Catley, Aubrey Colman, Philip Coward, Rachael Hansford, Clive Hazzard, Raymond Hill, George Jeans, Kate Symonds & Lesley Traves

Also Town Clerk, Lindsey Wood, Project Co-Ordinator Roger Pipe

2 representatives from Wiltshire Police + 3 members of public


Public Participation Session

Annie Harris informed the Town Council of a new project called CineMere and asked if the Council would advise her if anyone knew of any funding that might be available for the group to apply for.

Clive Hazzard raised the matter of a letter in the Blackmore Vale Magazine on the costings to Wiltshire Council of building and maintaining the Nadder Centre in Tisbury.

Cllr. Jeans relayed information that when the Nadder Centre was built in Tisbury, Mere was provided with the police station.


Report from police representatives

Sgt. Victoria Howick recently been appointed neighbourhood sergeant covering Tisbury, Mere & Westbury. Also got a new inspector, Louise Oakley and a new Chief Inspector who is driving neighbourhood policing.  Also have an uptake of staff and we do now have a dedicated PC for Tisbury & Mere, PC Georgina Russell who will be covering the area in addition to PCSO Stewart Hunt.  Increase in burglaries in the rural area around Mere, centred around quad bike thefts and machinery and there are cross border investigations ongoing relating to this.  Other crime statistics for the area were given & Sgt. Howick gave an update on the Warminster police staffing levels.  It was stressed that we did want the local police to be seen out and about amongst the community in Mere.

Cllr. Debbie Beale & Cllr. Catley asked about the diversion of traffic on occasions when the A303 is closed or blocked and asked whether it would be possible to divert traffic one-way if necessary as when it comes both ways it causes chaos or some traffic management with ‘Stop’ & ‘Go’ signage.

Clerk said she had received details of a new strategy about Police building assets and asked for some reassurance that the Mere police station would remain open.  PCSO Stewart Hunt said that he will be opening the police station at set times starting from next week and there were no plans to close it.


  1. Apologies for absence received from Cllr. Rodney Coward


  1. To receive any declarations of disclosable pecuniary interests and other interests from Councillors on matters to be considered at the meeting.
  • The Chairman & Cllr. Mrs. Traves declared a personal interest in planning application PL/2024/01146


  1. Minutes RESOLVED that the Minutes of the Town Council meeting held on Monday, 15th January 2024 be approved as a correct record.


  1. Matters Arising from Public Session
  • None


  1. Matters Arising from previous Meetings (not covered by other agenda items)


  1. Reports & Consultations
  2. a) Wiltshire Councillors Report – Cllr. Jeans gave a report which included information on Wiltshire Council’s draft budget proposals for 2024/25, the revised National Planning Policy Framework and clauses within this relating to Community Led Development, care homes and land for food production. (Full report attached)
  3. b) Project Co-Ordinator’s Report (report attached) – the Town Council’s Project Co-Ordinator, Roger Pipe, was present at the meeting and confirmed that work would begin on the two footpaths in March, the first part of which will be the installation of the lighting on page 66. He confirmed that there was a separate agenda item tonight relating to the award of the contract for the surfacing work and there was a public information meeting to be held next Monday evening. It was clarified that this meeting would be a public information meeting and not a public consultation meeting.  Jeans stated that he wand to make it clear to everyone that this project is being carried out for the purposes of public safety and will be of benefit to a third of the population of Mere that live in the southern part of the Town.  The Chairman also reiterated that he had carried out a small-scale door-to-door survey in the Clements Lane, Edgebridge area and all responses to the project, without exception, had been positive.


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


Application No: PL/2024/00346
Application Type: Listed building consent (Alt/Ext)
Proposal: Create a doorway to Dining Room from Kitchen through partially opened Service Hatch to side of Range
Site Address: Deans Orchard, Church Street, Mere, Warminster, BA12 6DS
Planning Register Link:


RESOLVED to recommend approval of the above application

Application No: PL/2024/00345
Application Type: Listed building consent (Alt/Ext)
Proposal: External and Internal Alterations; Works to Outbuilding
Site Address: Deans Orchard, Church Street, Mere, Warminster, BA12 6DS
Planning Register Link:


RESOLVED to recommend the above application for approval.


Application No: PL/2023/10288                              AMENDED PLANS/ADDITIONAL INFORMATION


Application Type: Full planning permission


Proposal: Erection of a timber studio for use in association with donkey sanctuary (retrospective)
Site Address: Land at Wet Lane, Mere, BA12 6BA


Planning Register Link:



It was reported that the amendment seemed to relate to the fact that the applicant has now withdrawn all reference to the notion of holiday accommodation & tourism relating to this planning application.  RESOLVED to reiterate the Town Council’s previous objection to this planning application pointing out that there is no justification for this additional building as the applicant’s requirement to provide shelter and storage space for workers and volunteers for this small donkey sanctuary could easily be provided within the existing barn which has only recently been built and which is a very large and substantial building.   [In order not to compromise his position as Wiltshire Councillor, Cllr. Jeans abstained from voting on this matter.]


Application No: PL/2024/00438
Application Type: Householder planning permission
Proposal: Erection of a timber single storey outbuilding.
Site Address: 3 Brockhurst Mews, White Road, Mere, Warminster, Wilts, BA12 6EX
Planning Register Link:


The Chairman said it appeared that the proposal was to knock down a brick-built garage and replace with a timber single storey outbuilding.  RESOLVED to recommend the above application for approval with the following condition: That the outbuilding is ancillary to the occupation of the main dwelling known as 3 Brockhurst Mews and cannot be occupied separately, rented out as self-contained accommodation or sold off separately.   [In order not to compromise his position as Wiltshire Councillor, Cllr. Jeans abstained from voting on this matter.]


Application No: PL/2024/01148
Application Type: Notification of proposed works to trees in a conservation area
Proposal: T1 – Laburnum tree – fell T2 – Norway Spruce tree – fell
Planning Register Link:

RESOLVED to recommend approval of the above application.

Cllr. Ings in The Chair

Application No: PL/2024/01146
Application Type: Notification of proposed works to trees in a conservation area
Proposal: T1 ASH – Fell. T2 SYCAMORE – Crown lift, removing two limbs extending west over garden. T3 CYPRESS – Fell. T4 CHANTICLEER PEAR – Pollard all stems level with hedge.
Planning Register Link:


The Chairman and Cllr. Mrs. Traves declared a personal interest in this application and refrained from voting or discussion.  RESOLVED to recommend approval of the above application with a vote of 6 for and 2 against.

Cllr. John Jordan in The Chair

  1. b) Lynch Close, Sheltered Housing Review – update on recent meetings, newsletters and early consultation on draft plans for Fives Court refurbishment. (newsletter attached) – The Chairman reported on a drop-in meeting that he had attended where he was shown some bigger drawings of the plans for Fives Court as shown within the newsletter. He confirmed that the proposals were to provide 10 X 1-bedroom apartments & 11 X 2-bedroom apartments which is a significant enlargement to be achieved by adding a second storey to the footprint of the existing building.  One of the obvious concerns is that the plans currently only show about 14 car parking spaces.  Jeans said that he would be attending a meeting with officers next week and would like the Council’s feedback on the proposals – it was agreed to ask Cllr. Jeans to take the following issues forward:
  2. Considerable concern on the provision for parking. There needs to be at least one parking space per bedroom as the area is already congested with on-street parking.
  3. The number of 2-bedroom apartments is not necessary to serve the needs and requirements of elderly residents. Would be better to have one-bedroom apartments with one or two ‘spare’ bedrooms that can be used on a ‘booking out’ shared basis by occupiers when they want visitors to stay.
  4. We have not been shown any elevation drawings and so cannot comment on the impact that an extra storey would have on surrounding properties or the impact on the character of the Conservation Area.


  1. Highways, Rivers, Footpaths, Traffic & Transport
  2. a) To identify jobs for the Parish Steward, Sparkle Team and MyWiltshire reports:
  • No jobs identified
  1. b) Highways Improvement Request Form – see attached redacted copy. The Chairman confirmed that in essence this request is to provide a set of steps with handrails etc. to provide an easier route for a resident to get from their parking area to the footpath in front of their property. Members felt unable to support and forward this project to the Local Highways & Footpath Improvement Group for funding as they felt that there were other projects requiring funding that would have a greater benefit to a larger proportion of Mere residents.

*c) Road naming & road signs– Jupes Street/Lordsmead Lane (leading to Eric Mitchell Way fp) No Through Road  – With reference to the information in the Clerks Report, it was agreed that the Town Council should provide and install a road sign saying ‘Jupes Lane – No Through Road (leading to footpath)’


  1. Buildings, Open Spaces, Play Areas, Sports Grounds, Car Parks, Allotments & Cemeteries
  2. a) Activities, recreation and sports in Mere – report from working group (see attached map & report)

Written down what is happening now in our recreational areas and made some suggestions as to what could possibly happen.  It may, however, be necessary to find someone to champion these suggestions and ideas for us.  You will recall that we were hoping to use the Wiltshire Towns Fund money to organise a large event that will be centred around existing and potential sporting & recreational activities in Mere and this organisation is going to be dealt with ‘in house’.

*b) Petanque proposals for Duchy Manor – members noted the information in the Clerks Report and the Chairman added that it was agreed that the Petanque Club would provide their own insurance and would pay a contribution to the Town Council for the use of the site & facilities from 2025. All agreed.

*c) D-Day 80 – with reference to the information in the Clerks Report, the Chairman confirmed that he had spoken with two volunteers, one who speaks for the British Legion, and his suggestion was to hold a simple wreath laying tribute with a small service around the war memorial to mark this day with due respect.  All agreed.

*d) B18131 Mere Stream Support Phase 2 – Members noted the information in the Clerks Report.

Emergency Item

Hedge planting in the cemetery – Cllr. Hazzard pointed out that the Town Council’s staff had done a cracking job of preparing the next phase of the new cemetery but we do now need to get the hedging planted or we will need to wait until next winter.  Cllr. Hazzard said that he had obtained a quotation from a local man to plant the hedge which is 70 metres long and would cost £15 per metre.  This would take us just over the threshold within our financial regulations which says that we should strive to get 3 quotes.  The Council felt that the urgency to get the hedge planted this year justified making a departure from the financial regulations in this instance & as the difference would be minimal.


  1. Finance, Policy & Resources
  2. a) Payments – The Chairman confirmed that there were a number of invoices in the schedule relating to the work that has been carried out by our grounds staff on the cemetery paths and he reported that they had carried out an excellent job.  RESOLVED to authorise schedule of payments (attached)
  3. b) To note the reconciliations for December 2023; the Chairman to sign and verify against the bank statements seen – the Chairman confirmed that he had signed and verified the reconciliations against the bank statements & he had verified the Clerk’s monthly salary.
  4. c) To approve recommendations relating to tenders for resurfacing work for footpaths 50 & 66 (recommendations attached) – members noted the tender breakdown analysis and recommendations that had been circulated prior to the meeting (redacted version below):


Company/ Locality Site visit Attend meeting Start time Completion time Price Comments


Yes Yes On site early March 4.2 weeks £77,270 A good thorough tender
B No No indication No indication None given £60,550 Has made no effort to show they meet the specification of the tender.


No No indication March 24 working days £69,935 No site visit and not a great deal of effort in an expensive tender
D Yes


Yes March 20 working days £58,994.16 Local company with a keen interest in Mere.  Have suggested a different surface finish which is cheaper.
E No ? ? 5-6 weeks £46,941 Tender is well presented indicating all the necessary work.  Concern is despite being local they did not come to look at the work.
F Yes Yes March 24 working days £56,445 Local Company who put together the specification for the work at no charge to Mere TC.
G Yes Yes March 7 weeks £43,495 The cheapest but the company that will take the longest to complete the work.  Submission has addressed all aspects of the tender. Have obtained a good reference from a previous client.




The Chairman reported that the Clerk, Project Co-Ordinator and himself had studied the tenders in detail and the recommendation was to award the contract to the cheapest company: although they were not local, we had received an excellent reference from another local authority who were just as far away as we are.  The next closest Tender from company ‘E’ had now been out to look at the site and had come back with a revised tender which was £13,500 dearer.   Members felt it was unfortunate that the more local companies were not among the lower tenders.  It was agreed that due consideration should be given to payment terms.  RESOLVED to award the contract to Company ‘G’ with unanimous vote.

  1. d) To approve recommendations relating to tenders for outsourcing Health & Safety (recommendations attached) – members noted the tender analysis distributed with the agenda papers. Despite four companies coming out to talk to the Town Council about this, only two provided tenders. One was a large multi-national (total cost for 3 years £8,244) and the other was an independent company (total cost over 3 years £6,900 – total cost in year 1 is more expensive but less expensive over 3-year period).  The recommendation was to award the contract to the independent company w.e.f. 1st April 2024.
  2. e) To set date, venue and member make-up for Annual Assessment of Internal Controls – it was agreed that this meeting should be held in March and that Cllrs. Lesley Traves, Sandra Catley, Clive Hazzard & John Jordan would make up the working group to make recommendations to the Town Council.


  1. General Items
  2. a) To consider date and venue & agenda for Annual Town Meeting 2024 – it was agreed that the Annual Town Meeting would be held either in the Andy Young Pavilion or Duchy Manor Foyer on Wednesday, 24th April 2024. The Clerk asked for agenda & or format ideas. Mrs. Traves suggested that roles and responsibilities of the Town Council and of Wiltshire Council be discussed – referring to the excellent leaflet produced by Cllr. Kate Symonds a couple of years ago.


Briefing Note 24-01: Revised NPPF (Briefing Note attached) – The Chairman reported that the implication for us is that it is now even more favourable if we do have a Neighbourhood Plan but we have tried on a couple of occasions to instigate this but without success.


  1. Future meetings and events
  2. a) South West Wiltshire Area Board meeting, Wednesday, 28th February 2024 at 6.30 p.m. at Wilton Community Centre – The Chairman agreed to attend this meeting.
  3. b) Local Highways & Footpath Improvement Group (LHFIG) meeting, Wednesday, 7th February 2024 at 2.00 pm at The Nadder Centre, Tisbury – the Chairman reported that he and Roger Pipe would be attending the meeting. Debbie Beale said that she was unable to attend.
  4. c) Ask the Leader of Wiltshire Council, Castle Meadow Pavilion, Castle Lane, Wilton – 14th February, 2024 6pm – 7.30pm – noted.


  1. 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 8.42 pm