Mere Town Council
Town Clerk – Mrs. L. C. Wood
Minutes of a meeting of Mere Town Council held on Monday, 6th September 2021 at Duchy Manor, Springfield Road, Mere. BA12 6EW
Present: Councillors Lesley Traves (Chair), Kate Symonds (Vice-Chair), Debbie Beale, Nick Beale, Louie Bennett, Aubrey Colman, Rodney Coward, Rachael Hansford, Clive Hazzard, Raymond Hill, Glen Ings, John Jordan & Eric Mitchell.
Also 8 members of public
Meeting convened at 7.02 pm with Public Session:
Mr. Simon Moon read out 2 paragraphs from an email he had sent to the Chairman (this email was printed in the Clerk’s Report which was distributed to councillors with their agenda papers). He said that re-wilding is fast becoming a national trend and it may require more rather than less work until it becomes established but it would have benefits to wildlife and butterflies in the long term. Mr. Bill Coltham said that he and Simon Moon are good friends and meet many times on the Kingsmere Open Space. Mr. Coltham had experienced some difficulty in finding out what re-wilding means exactly and his investigations had come up with two explanations – one being to leave nature to do its thing. This would result in an unattractive field that would become inaccessible and would attract rubbish and dumping. The other version is total removal of existing grass and planting with wild flowers. This would require regular and fairly intensive maintenance and will increase costs to the council and ultimately to the community. Mrs. Sue Coltham said that as her house backs onto the Kingsmere Open Space, she can see the number of people that use it every day and it gets used a lot and was especially well used during lockdown last year. She said that where grass is not mown then it is impossible to walk through. Mrs. Kathy Herbert, also resident adjacent to this open space, said she wanted to reinforce what Mr. & Mrs. Coltham had said. She said that in areas where the grass had not been cut the nettles stretched to 7ft in height and the blackthorn was viscous.
Mr. Clowser spoke in support of his request for the Town Council to ask the Highway Authority at Wiltshire Council to carry out a review of the 40 mph speed limit along that road and reiterated the information that had been given in the Clerks Report.
Mrs. Farendon from The Stables in Bramley Hill spoke in favour of her planning application, pointing out that the current garage is not used for parking because it is in very poor condition. She said that The Stables was a 3-bed property but was converted to a 2-bed property by the previous occupants. She said that her mother suffered from poor health and that this ancillary accommodation would enable the family to provide support. Mrs. Farendon said that she was aware that there may be concerns about parking but wanted to reassure members that the current parking arrangements would not change.
Apologies for absence received from Cllrs. Philip Coward and George Jeans. The Chairman informed members that Cllr. Philip Coward has been in hospital, having had an operation the outcome of which is good news but it has left him very weak. The Chairman said that, on behalf of the Council, a card had been sent to Cllr. Coward conveying our best wishes for his recovery.
- 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.
- Clive Hazzard declared a pecuniary interest in Minute No. 61
- Minutes – RESOLVED that the minutes of the Town Council meeting held on 5th July 2021 be approved as a correct record of proceedings on proposal made by Cllr. Colman, seconded by Cllr. Mrs. Symonds.
- Matters Arising from previous Meetings
- a) Thank You Day (Minute Ref 42a) – Cllr. Hazzard reminded members that at the July meeting it was suggested that this event might be combined with the Carnival Fun Day. However, Cllr. Hazzard said that he was not keen on this idea as he wanted to hold a separate event to thank all the volunteers and felt that this would be more personal. He confirmed that he had therefore met with Rachael Hansford & Richard Jefferies and they were going to plan another meeting with a view to arranging a thank-you event on another day/time. Hazzard said that he would keep the Town Council updated on arrangements and progress.
- b) Carnival Fun Day on 18th September 2021 in Duchy Manor Sports Field & Recreation Ground (Minute Ref: 47a) – Cllr. Jordan reported that the event planning was going well and that John Gammie as Chairman of the Carnival Committee had spent some considerable time & effort in ensuring that the event would avoid clashes of use and any damage to facilities.
- c) Clarification on Town Council’s view on use of old Mere Swimming Pool site for school expansion car parking (Minute Ref: 47c) – the Clerk reported that the Head Teacher of Mere School had informed her that the appointed contractors for the school expansion project were of the opinion that the Town Council did not want the swimming pool site to be incorporated into the car parking proposals and had asked for clarification of this point. The Clerk said that it was her understanding that the Town Council had reluctantly agreed that the swimming pool site could be used for the car parking expansion project but had hoped to receive a refund of £4k to reimburse the Town Council for the costs involved in filling in the swimming pool. The Clerk had subsequently been informed that there would be no reimbursement from the Education Authority and wanted members of the Town Council to clarify their position on the use of the swimming pool site. RESOLVED that the Town Council should respond to say that they agree that the old swimming pool site could be encompassed into the school’s car parking plans and that the Town Council will try and seek an alternative location for the outdoor fitness project. Jeans asked if some kind of plaque could be made to point out that there was a swimming pool on the site which was erected as a peace memorial for the Second World War. The Clerk said that she had specifically saved some of the mosaic tiles from the swimming pool for this purpose.
- d) The Queens Platinum Jubilee Celebrations (Minute ref: 49a) – Cllr. Ings reported that the working group had held their first meeting and were leaning towards organising a fun day along the lines of the Old Mere May Fayre, focusing most of the celebrations on Saturday, 4th The Chairman informed members that the church would be arranging a 4-day flower festival. The Clerk informed members that the official guide, including a guide on beacons, was now available and that local councils were encouraged to register their involvement by 1 June 2022.
- e) Update on Wessex Water Environment Fund Grant Application for water refilling station (Minute Ref: 32d) – The Clerk confirmed that the grant application had been successful and that £1500 was received on 30th Cllr. Jordan reminded members that the decision was to put a free-standing pillar next to the toilets but his question was whether the Town Council should employ a company that supplies and installs the refilling station or whether or not we deal with the supply and installation separately. RESOLVED to find a company that will supply and install the water refilling station.
- Reports & Consultations
- a) Report from Wiltshire Councillor – None
*b) Councillors Briefing Note No. 21-12 – The Substantive Highways Scheme Fund Bid Application Process for funding in 2022/23 (attached) – Cllr. Jordan wondered if this scheme might provide funding for surface widening and improvements for the right of way that runs from opposite the Walnut Tree Inn to Angel Lane as he was aware that the Rights of Way team do not have anything like this kind of money in their budgets. Cllr. Jordan said that he would make further investigations on this.
*c) Councillors Briefing Note No. 21-15 – Climate Strategy & Natural Environment Plan – Consultation (attached) – members noted the information in the Briefing Note and the Clerk confirmed that the consultation on both these documents ended on 17th October and therefore the Council would need to consider its collective response at the next meeting. Cllr. Mrs. Symonds and Cllr. Mrs. Beale agreed to read the consultation documents.
- 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 Type:||Householder planning permission|
|Proposal:||Change of use and extension of double garage to attach to existing dwelling|
|Site Address:||Stumbledown Shaftesbury Road Mere Warminster BA12 6BH|
|Planning Register Link:||https://development.wiltshire.gov.uk/pr/s/planning-application/a0i3z0000163XcV|
RESOLVED to recommend approval of the above application on proposal made by Cllr. Ings, seconded by Cllr. Mrs. Symonds and carried with a unanimous vote
|Application Type:||Listed building consent (Alt/Ext)|
|Proposal:||Alterations and repairs, replace existing flat-roofed dormer with two hipped roof traditional dormers, repair stonework facade and replace windows and doors|
|Site Address:||LATIMER HOUSE, CASTLE STREET MERE WARMINSTER WILTSHIRE BA12 6JE|
|Planning Register Link:||https://development.wiltshire.gov.uk/pr/s/planning-application/a0i3z000015VpMH|
The Clerk informed members that this planning application had already determined by the Planning Authority and a decision notice to approve the application had been issued on 3rd September 2021.
|Application Type:||Full planning permission|
|Proposal:||Erection of 2 no. detached dwellings|
|Site Address:||Land off Downside Close Adjacent to 1 Old Hollow, Mere, Wilts|
|Planning Register Link:||https://development.wiltshire.gov.uk/pr/s/planning-application/a0i3z000015vK2t|
Cllr. Jordan said that he had studied the plans and he felt that this was overdevelopment in that the developers were trying to squeeze in two houses that were designed for hobbits. He pointed out that the bathrooms were only going to be 2.5m X 1.5m. Cllr. Ings pointed out that the previous planning application, the design of which was for one large building of two units with undercroft parking, had received permission and therefore could be built and he suggested that this new planning application was a better design although he did raise concerns that there were various wildlife nests on the site that now met the protected species criteria. Cllr. Hill felt that the Town Council should be consistent on this point in that it was clearly overdevelopment to try and squeeze two houses into a site that can only comfortably take one dwelling. RESOLVED to recommend refusal of the above application for the following reasons:
Overdevelopment: Members of the Town Council felt that the effect of the above application is to try and squeeze two dwellings into a space that can only comfortably take one dwelling with associated parking/turning and amenity space.
Parking/Turning/Access: Members of the Town Council feel that the parking turning and access for the car parking spaces will be restricted in this small area and manoeuvrability of the vehicles will be difficult to achieve.
Proposal made by Cllr. R. Hill, seconded by Cllr. Mrs. Symonds and carried with a unanimous vote.
|Application Type:||Householder planning permission|
|Proposal:||Siting of mobile home as ancillary accommodation.|
|Site Address:||The Stables, Bramley Hill, Mere, Warminster, BA12 6JX|
|Planning Register Link:||https://development.wiltshire.gov.uk/pr/s/planning-application/a0i3z000016EAkp|
Cllr. Mitchell said that the mobile home was clearly going to be ancillary accommodation and did not see any reason why this application should not be approved. RESOLVED to recommend approval of the above application on proposal made by Cllr. Hill, seconded by Cllr. Rachael Hansford and carried with a majority vote.
|Application Type:||Full planning permission|
|Proposal:||Amendments to approved scheme 20/02840/FUL (Replacement dwelling) and proposed detached garage|
|Site Address:||Midstone House, Mere, BA12 6AT|
|Planning Register Link:||https://development.wiltshire.gov.uk/pr/s/planning-application/a0i3z000016DdG8|
RESOLVED to recommend approval of the above application on proposal made by Cllr. Ings, seconded by Cllr. Rachael Hansford and carried with a unanimous vote.
|Application Type:||Notification of proposed works to trees in a conservation area|
|Proposal:||Holly (T1) – reduce height and volume by up to 50%. Ideally reduction in tree size will be closer to 30%, but I have concerns that the tree might be affected by “holly blight” and require further reduction/removal of infected branches.|
|Site Address:||THE HOUSE, SALISBURY STREET, MERE, WARMINSTER, BA12 6HE|
|Planning Register Link:||https://development.wiltshire.gov.uk/pr/s/planning-application/a0i3z000016GXKK
RESOLVED to recommend approval of the above application on proposal made by Cllr. Hill, seconded by Cllr. Ings and carried with a unanimous vote
- Highways, Rivers, Footpaths, Traffic & Transport
*a) Request for re-assessment of speed limit along Shaftesbury Road with a view to amending the 40 mph intermediate limit to a 30 mph limit – Cllr. Mitchell said that he expected that an extension of the 30mph limit along Shaftesbury Road would happen eventually given the development of the old brush factory and possible re-development of Beaumont’s’ site in Woodlands Road. He said that he had noticed that the amount of traffic using Shaftesbury Road had increased considerably since people had started moving into the houses on the old Brush Factory site. Cllr. Mitchell said that he would therefore be in favour of moving the 30mph limit out further. RESOLVED that the Town Council request that Wiltshire Council undertake a review of the 40mph limit along Shaftesbury Road on proposal made by Cllr Mrs. Symonds, seconded by Cllr. Mitchell and carried with a unanimous vote. Cllr. Hill raised concerns about Wiltshire Council expecting the Town Council to pay a contribution towards this.
*b) Traffic Survey Request Form for speed limit reviews on Castle Street – With reference to the information in the Clerks Report, Cllr. Hazzard said that he lives in Castle Street and whilst he has noticed a couple of motorbikes that roar out of Mere, he thought that on the whole the Speed Indicator Device (SID) has been great and very effective at making people reduce their speeds. He also pointed out that on-street parking reduces speeds in the particular area identified for this traffic survey and he could see little point in requesting a traffic survey in this location. RESOLVED not to request a Traffic Survey in this location on the basis that on-street parking reduces the speed of traffic in this location on proposal made by Cllr. Mrs. Symonds, seconded by Cllr. Nick Beale and carried with a unanimous vote.
*c) Traffic Regulation Order Application (waiting restriction for ‘Lordsmead Lane’ [off Pettridge Lane]) –With reference to the information in the Clerks Report, Cllr. Mitchell felt it would be really difficult to enforce parking restrictions tucked round the corner in this little lane and felt that there were other areas that would make better use of public money. It was pointed out that individual residents could apply and pay for a white line “access protection road markings” and that this might be more appropriate in this instance. RESOLVED not to proceed with any traffic regulation order request for this location but to advise resident of the “access protection road markings” procedure. Proposal made by Cllr. Mitchell, seconded by Cllr. Mrs. Beale and carried with unanimous vote in favour.
- Buildings, Open Spaces, Play Areas, Sports Grounds, Car Parks, Allotments & Cemeteries
*a) Report on meetings held in July & August 2021 to discuss priorities for new cemetery & cemetery extension (attached) – members noted the information in the report which had been distributed prior to the meeting and Cllr. Jordan provided members with a costings report at the meeting. The Clerk informed members of the money that was in the budget for these works. Cllr. R. Coward reminded members that the Town Council had some Mere stone if it wanted to replicate the stone pillars or any walls either side of new gates. Cllr. Hazzard also asked if Sam Doman could join the grounds staff on this project to provide additional labour. It was agreed that the Town Council would try and build pillars for the gates and incorporate this into the job. RESOLVED to take on the first stages of this work using our own staff and to leave a row of graves adjacent to the track vacant for the time being so that work does not affect the graves being dug. Proposal made by Cllr. Jordan, seconded by Cllr. R. Coward and carried with a unanimous vote.
*b) Request to adopt a re-wilding policy and limit grass cutting at Kingsmere Open Space – Cllr. Rodney Coward said that he was not in favour of re-wilding at all. If you want to see a field that has been re-wilded then you need to look at the little field on the corner of the Gillingham Road junction, opposite the Industrial Estate which has been left to nature and is now full of thick shrubs, brambles and nettles. He pointed out that the Town Council planted copses of fruit & nut trees in the Kingsmere Open Space to help encourage the wildlife. Cllr. Coward said he was in favour of keeping the field mown as and when it can be. Cllr. Mitchell said he agreed and pointed out that he has an open space area by his fishing lakes and he mows paths through this in the summer where people walk but he said that he finds all sorts of rubbish and dog mess in the long grass areas that haven’t been mown. Cllr. Rachael Hansford asked if re-wilding would save time and the Chairman said that she had been talking to someone who is very keen on re-wilding who explained that it is fairly time-consuming and that things have to be done at particular times of the year. Cllr. Jordan said that as a user he finds the Kingsmere Open Space really pleasant and that he thought the Town Council had shown particular foresight in planting the young avenue of beech trees to replace the old beech trees that were nearing the end of their lifetime. He also pointed out that with the grass cut it was easy to spot where your dog had poo’d so you could pick it up. Cllr. Coward pointed out that a wild flower meadow is totally different to re-wilding and needs cultivating and looking after. RESOLVED that the Town Council continue its present arrangements for the maintenance of Kingsmere Open Space on proposal made by Cllr. R. Coward, seconded by Cllr. Ings and carried with a vote of 10 for and 2 abstentions.
*c) Tower Clock – Quotation to fit new drive motor & capacitor and refit the strike auto winding motor – With reference to the information in the Clerks Report, Cllr. Jordan said that the clock needed to be working before November. It was suggested that perhaps it was time to think about replacing the whole clock and striking mechanism with something else as we seem to keep spending money on this and it was RESOLVED to ask Cumbria Clock Company out to re-set the clock time and also to give us a complete assessment on the clock on proposal made by Cllr. Mrs. Symonds, seconded by Cllr. Jordan and carried with a unanimous vote.
- Finance, Policy & Resources
*a) Payments – RESOLVED to authorise payments as shown in schedule of payments (attached) – on proposal made by Cllr. Mitchell, seconded by Cllr. R. Coward and carried with a unanimous vote.
*b) To approve Budget/Expenditure Report at 31.7.21 (attached) – members noted and approved the Budget/Expenditure Report at 31.7.21 which had been distributed with the agenda papers.
*c) Mere Bowls Club – Request for £200 grant funding to help support SWW Area Board Grant application – Cllr. Mrs. Symonds said that the Bowls Club is always neat and tidy and they are a credit to Mere. RESOLVED to show the Town Council’s support for the SWW Area Board Grant Application by approving grant funding of £200 on proposal made by Cllr. Mrs. Symonds, seconded by Cllr. Ings and carried with a unanimous vote in favour.
*d) Changing Places Fund – the Changing Places Fund will invest up to £30 million over 3 financial years from 2021/22 to increase the number of Changing Places toilets in existing buildings in England that are accessible to the public – Noted
*e) Community Ownership Fund – the government is providing £150 million over four years to support community groups across the UK to take ownership of assets and amenities at risk of closure, sale, neglect or dereliction – Noted
- f) Suggested terms for lease of ground floor premises at Duchy Manor Building – The Clerk confirmed that she had now head back from the Estates Surveyor at Wiltshire Council who said “as long as Wiltshire Council can break the lease in the (unlikely) event that the school needs to increase beyond 315 places, it can be for the remainder of our lease term less a couple of days. I would suggest that we make it match the other one. I am happy to keep the rent at a low level, say £100 per year with RPI increases every five years, on the basis that Mere Town Council will pay all the running costs. Hopefully this will give you something to give to your members.”
The Clerk said that she did not know which lease the Estates Surveyor was suggesting this should match – it could be the lease for the Duchy Grounds & changing rooms which expired in 2062 or the lease for the office which had already expired (2020). The Clerk also pointed out that although these terms sounded very favourable in terms of rent, members needed to note that the Town Council would be responsible for rates and heating costs. Although the heating costs could not be determined, she did point out that the rates for the office came to £1422 and using this as a comparison it was likely that the rates on the remainder of this ground floor area would be somewhere between £5,000 & £6,000. Cllr. Hazzard said that it would obviously be to the Town Council’s benefit to have this facility and this would be highly preferable to having a third party rent it out. However, he felt that the Town Council would need to earn something from the facility i.e. be able to hire out rooms for shared office space for small businesses. He therefore proposed that the Town Council should confirm to Wiltshire Council’s Estates Surveyor that we are minded to take on the lease, subject to the wording and clauses and ask them to proceed with preparing the draft lease. Proposal seconded by R. Coward and carried with a unanimous vote.
- g) Receipt of CIL funding (£323.98) from Development 20/02840/FUL – Midstone House (Warminster Hollow) – Noted
- h) Suggestion that Mere Town Council uses CIL receipts received so far (£598.95) towards expenditure necessary to create cemetery extension – RESOLVED on proposal made by Cllr. Louise Bennett, seconded by Cllr. Mrs. Beale and carried with a unanimous vote.
*i) Suggestions for expenditure of S.106 funding – With reference to the information in the Clerks Report, Cllr. Hazzard said that it’s all very well coming up with ideas of things that we want to be done but our Clerk is working far more hours than she gets paid for and we cannot expect her to manage any additional projects and he would therefore like to suggest that the Town Council employ someone to manage these projects. Cllr. Jordan said that he would support this idea.
- Future agenda items
- a) Formulate consultation response to Wiltshire Council’s draft ‘Climate Strategy’ and ‘Our Natural Environment Plan’ – the Clerk reminded members that this would be an agenda item for the October meeting.
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 in Clerks Report or enclosed/attached