Mere Town Council
Town Clerk – Mrs. L. C. Wood
Minutes of a meeting of Mere Town Council held at Duchy Manor, Springfield Road, Mere, Wiltshire. BA12 6EW on Monday, 3rd October 2022 at 7.00 pm.
Present: Councillors Mrs. Kate Symonds (Chair), Debbie Beale, Nick Beale, Sandra Catley, Aubrey Colman, Philip Coward, Rodney Coward, Rachael Hansford, Clive Hazzard, Raymond Hill, George Jeans, John Jordan & Linden Stone
From Wiltshire Council Simon Hendey, Rachael Swann & Laura Young
Also: Bill Coltham, Vernon Philips, Geoff Sams + 3, Mr. & Mrs. S. Parton, Diccon Carpendale (Brimble Lea), Jack Glendinning, Shaun Nell
Public Participation Session
Mr. Coltham said that he had come along to talk to the Town Council about a recent issue relating to parking by Bramley House Care Home. Mr. Coltham distributed a photograph over a recent incident involving a car parked across the junction between Bramley Hill and Kingsmere. Mr. Coltham said he felt it would be a good idea for a representative of the Town Council to visit the new manager of the Care Home to discuss the issues & effects relating to off-street parking for staff and visitors.
Mr. Philips explained that he wanted to talk about Planning Application PL/2022/06955 and said he welcomed this development, in principle, but felt that, from the plans, the development looked quite dense and he could only see parking for 8 cars. He felt that traffic management would be an issue and pointed out that traffic from the development site would be converging into the priority route system on Pettridge Lane and the plethora of HGVs and he wanted to recommend that a STOP sign should be introduced so that traffic needed to stop before joining Pettridge Lane. Another recommendation he wanted to make was that contractor is required to bury the electricity supply cable which runs the whole length of the site. He said that if the detail was improved, the development could enhance Pettridge Lane. Mr. Philips also mentioned that the footpath from Pettridge Lane to Angel Lane was becoming wild and overgrown with brambles.
Diccon Carpendale representing Brimble Lea said that he had come along to answer questions relating to Planning Application PL/2022/06955.
Shaun Nell wanted to talk about issues that are going on at The Old Nurseries in relation to planning applications and the issue of access. The A303 is a strategic route and we have had issues due to the fact that the field has been divided up into a number of plots and numerous people are now getting access into and out of the site which sometimes involves stopping traffic on the A303. On Friday a lorry got stuck, damaged our gates and had to reverse back onto the A303 and there was a near miss accident. I would like to ask the Town Council to please take this into consideration when considering future planning applications for the site as, unfortunately, the Town Council recently considered two planning applications for the site, recommending approval of one and objecting to the second. Sadly, the one that the Town Council recommended approval for was the one that has more cause for concern.
Mr. Glendinning spoke in support of planning application PL/2022/07196 for solar panels at Mere Fish Farm. He said that the solar panels would be fixed with giant screws that were screwed into the ground so there was no need for foundations and ground disturbance & impact on wildlife and fauna should be minimal.
Mrs. Debbie Beale spoke about the incident involving the mobile home trying to access the plots at Burton Field and explained the fact that it got stuck in the gates and caused an obstruction on the A303 which necessitated a tractor to pull it out and all this took place on a dark and wet night and was incredibly dangerous. There was no support from the police despite them promising to come out. Mrs. Beale said that she had sent many emails to Highways England and asked for support from the Town Council.
Mr. Clive Hazzard wanted to praise the Town Council’s groundsman, Simon, who has been working for most of the summer without full-time support and who also acted promptly and diligently following the announcement of the death of HM The Queen.
Mr. Rodney Coward said that he had been approached by residents about the dangers of coming out from Manor Road onto Castle Street/The Square requesting a highway mirror to be placed on the crossroads so that you could see if traffic was coming up from Salisbury Street.
Apologies for absence received from Cllrs. Mrs. Lesley Traves & Glen Ings.
- To receive Declarations of Acceptance of Office and Register of Interest forms from newly co-opted members of Mere Town Council.
Sandra Catley signed her Declaration of Acceptance of Office. The Chairman said it was extremely good to have two new people with two new perspectives to join the team.
- 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 relating to third party rights in respect of the Salisbury Street Car Park Lease
- Jeans said that Wiltshire Council owned land adjacent to the site that was the subject of planning application PL/2022/06955.
- Minutes – RESOLVED that the minutes of the Town Council meeting held on Monday, 5th September 2022 be approved as a correct record on proposal made by Cllr. Jordan, seconded by Cllr. Beale and carried with a unanimous vote of those present on 5.9.22.
Cllr. Jordan pointed out the importance of directing communication during a meeting through The Chair and or waiting to be invited to speak by The Chair and not with one another or over one another at meetings.
- Death of HM The Queen, Succession and Change of Landlord – the Clerk reported on the protocols carried out by the Town Council, aka Operation London Bridge, following the announcement of the death of HM The Queen on Thursday evening, 8th September. A new Union Flag was flown at half-mast that evening although it was raised again on Proclamation Day and re-lowered again thereafter (thank you to Cllr. Hazzard, Cllr. Jeans & Cllr. Ings for their help with this). This did cause some concern on local social media pages as many didn’t realise the protocol in raising the flag for Proclamation Day. We also placed a message on our website with an announcement from the Town Council and details about flags/Proclamation, condolence books and floral tributes. These messages were repeated on social media pages (thank you to Cllr. Rachael Hansford) and a ghost page with official photograph was also placed on the website. The book of condolence was laid out in the Clock Tower with the Chairman and Town Clerk having signed the first page. The table also contained an official photograph of HM The Queen and a framed announcement with a black tablecloth and floral arrangement on the table. The Chairman placed a floral tribute in Jubilee Gardens (we had four or five floral tributes). I understand that there was also a condolence book in the Church and one in Mere Library. There was a Church Service held on the Sunday and we arranged for the flag to be raised again and the book of condolence to be removed on the day after the funeral. A letter of condolence was sent to The Private Secretary to His Majesty the King on behalf of Mere Town Council and the people of Mere. We have received a letter from the Duchy of Cornwall informing us that the 24th Duke of Cornwall has been succeeded by the 25th Duke of Cornwall.
- Lynch Close/Fives Court
- a) Update from Wiltshire Council on work in relation to Lynch Close Sheltered Housing Option Appraisal and Fives Court site – three officers from Wiltshire Council were in attendance at the meeting: Simon Hendey, Director of Assets & Commercial Development said he wanted to make it clear that Wiltshire Council is committed to invest in Mere for the provision of affordable housing for older people. He said: “We have received pre-application advice in relation to Fives Court so that we can get a better understanding of what we might be able to achieve on that site & we have had surveys undertaken on Lynch Close to inform the options appraisal that is being produced at the moment, we have distributed newsletters to Lynch Close, provided a commitment paper to residents at Lynch Close and we have held a meeting to answer residents questions, responded to individual emails and telephone calls. We have made a commitment that we will provide regular newsletters to the residents and we believe that we will abide by the commitment paper.”
Geoff Sams, Chairman of the Lynch Close Residents Committee said that whilst we have had some information coming from the Council and attended some meetings we do feel that we have been left in the dark. We are all elderly and we have some residents who are seriously ill and some that have mental health issues and this all started a year ago and during that time we have been wondering whether or not we are going to get relocated whilst you either reconstruct our homes or rebuild them and where would we be relocated?’ Mr. Sams pointed out that a year is a very long time to live with this level of uncertainty and anxiety and whilst communication has been better recently, the residents felt it was necessary to raise the issue with the local MP and to raise a petition amongst the residents of Mere.
The Chairman said that from a personal point of view, she wanted to commend the Committee for raising the profile of this issue which led to the creation of the commitment document issued by Wiltshire Council and is a great step forward. Simon Hendey confirmed that surveys had been carried out in order to inform and develop options but there were no options for consideration at this point in time. He said that the commitments paper had been made because Wiltshire Council respect all the issues that Mr. Sams has raised and want to work with the residents of Lynch Close so that they feel included. There are a wide range of options that could materialise and as soon as they are known we will discuss them with residents and the Town Council.
Geoff Sams said that one of the issues of concern to residents was the question of whether they would be given the option to move back to Lynch Close should they be moved out due to a refurbishment proposal. He said this question had been asked at a previous meeting by his wife and the answer received had been that this may not be possible. Simon Hendey replied “we understand and respect that any change will be of concern to people and encourage people to speak to us because we know that people need to be reassured and would rather that they speak to us rather than think the worst. We want to work with you because you will be a good touchstone for us to understand the quality and type of accommodation that you think will be popular in Mere and that is the reason that we want to work with you on that and not in terms of something that you would be moved into. We can’t force you out of your home – that can’t happen. We want your experience and knowledge to develop Fives Court and if you want to move there afterwards, that would be your choice whether it would be on a permanent or temporary basis.” There was a discussion between Cllr. Hazzard and Simon Hendey on communication with residents & Cllr. Hazzard said that he would have liked the residents of Lynch Close to have been given these reassurances a year ago. Simon Hendey closed by saying that if anyone has concerns, it would be really helpful if people are told to contact us directly and we will do our best to reassure them.
Cllr. Rod Coward asked if there was a commitment to develop Fives Court before anything happens at Lynch Close and Simon Hendey responded that yes there was. Cllr. John Jordan asked whether accommodation was now the firm option for the future of Fives Court and Simon Hendey responded that Wiltshire Council, as the landowner, would made a decision as to what it would like to see on the site and, at the moment, the Council wanted to develop a scheme for affordable accommodation for older people on the site. However, the planning authority will control what development takes place there. Cllr. Rachael Hansford & The Chairman asked for clarification as to social housing or affordable accommodation for older people. It was confirmed that ‘Social Housing’ is an umbrella term and within that is ‘sheltered housing for the elderly’ as well as rented housing for families but the rents are controlled at below market level. The Chairman said that this implied that in fact the bungalow part of Lynch Close may not therefore all be for elderly people, should it be redeveloped.
Cllr. Jeans asked for three issues to be considered/explained in the future: 1) any redevelopment in this location is likely to cause a long-term disturbance to Water Street and The Lynch and he asked for consideration about timing to be given. 2) Explain to residents what would happen if they flatly refused to move out of their homes in Lynch Close and 3) I know that commitment has been made to make every possible effort to accommodate residents locally in the Mere area if they have to temporarily leave Lynch Close. Could you please clarify what you mean by Mere Area because I think that Mere residents will view this as being confined within the Mere parish boundary but the term ‘Mere Area’ in Wiltshire Council language means something completely different.
Finally, the Chairman thanked Simon Hendey and his team for coming out to Mere tonight to talk to the Town Council and representatives from the Lynch Close residents committee. She said that the discussion had been very useful and encouraging.
- Matters Arising from Public Session
Various issues were raised during the public session that might need to be raised in the future: The issue of Bramley House will be raised on the next agenda and also the highway problems associated with the development at the Old Nurseries at Burton as well as the problems with the junction from Manor Road out onto The Square.
- Matters Arising from previous Meetings
- a) Wiltshire Towns Programme (Minute 198a) – The Clerk said that she was struggling with this matter although she did manage to fill out the form on empty properties but could not understand the obscure form on footfall. Jordan said that he had worked hard on the Action Plan but whoever designed the template made it impossible to use. He said he was quite happy to press on with it. He explained that the purpose is to try and get some grant money to help increase footfall for our retail outlets in the centre of the town and there is a lot of focus on empty property which we haven’t got either. Cllr. Jordan said that he had asked for an extension to the deadline for the receipt of the Action Plan as this had already passed and he said he thought it was nonsensical to ask people to do this during the summer holidays.
- b) Leases
Lease of Salisbury Street Car Park
Lease of Castle Street Car Park
Lease of Public Toilets in Salisbury Street Car Park
The Clerk said that since the last meeting, she had only had time to get her comments out on the Castle Street Car Park lease and had a couple of responses back from Cllr. Jordan and Cllr. Mrs. Symonds. She said she would re fresh that to include those councillors’ comments for distribution along with the Clerks comments on the Salisbury Street Car Park and would encourage all members to come back with their comments on the leases so that the comprehensive document can be distributed again before the next meeting. The Clerk said that the Public Toilets lease had been approved, the final document had been received and was waiting for the Chair & Vice-Chair to sign in the presence of an Official.
- c) Car Club – Grant Agreement and Leases for Mere Car Club – The Clerk explained that the grant agreement was between Wiltshire Council and the Car Club but the licence with Econetiq was for the Town Council and had been sent off to our solicitors for comment and the Clerk understood that there was some urgency on this. Jeans said that he was hoping that Wiltshire Council would agree to an extension on this because it was possible that the grant funding could be lost. Cllr. Jeans explained the purpose and reasoning behind these agreements to the new councillors.
- Reports & Consultations
- a) Wiltshire Councillors Report – Cllr. Jeans said that he thought it would be highly unlikely that the Highways Authority would allow a mirror to improve visibility at the Manor Road/Square junction and the only way you would get one is if it was paid for privately and put on private property but even then, it is possible that the Highway Authority could come along and remove it because, statistically, these mirrors have proved to cause more accidents than they prevent. However, he had asked for a white line for the middle of the road near the junction to help guide the traffic on the correct carriageway. He had also asked for the white line at the Gillingham Junction to be repainted as it is now non-existent and he had asked the Parish Steward to remove nettles that are growing out on the pavement along Shaftesbury Road. With reference to parking issues at Bramley Hill, “I have had meetings with the police who don’t want to know but I am happy to volunteer to go and see the Bramley House management and the Town Council could request for parking restrictions (yellow lines) to be put in place along there. Also, I am appalled to hear of the situation along the A303 in connection with the Old Nursery site but I don’t have any connection with Highways England although I think the Town Council should make representations to them as we could have a fatality.” Coltham said he was happy to go along with Cllr. Jeans to Bramley House.
- a) Applications for consultation response:
|Site Location:||THE ACORNS, BARROW STREET, MERE, WARMINSTER, BA12 6AB|
|Proposal:||Prior Approval under Class Q for a change of use of one agricultural building to 1 no. dwellinghouse and associated operational development|
|Planning Register Link:||https://development.wiltshire.gov.uk/pr/s/planning-application/a0i3z000017cmWzAAI/pl202207380|
The Chair confirmed that she had visited the site. Cllr. Nick
Beale said that he was concerned as it seemed that every month or every other month, we received an application to convert an agricultural building into a house and it did seem to be becoming a bit of a farce. Cllr. P. Coward said that whether we liked it or not, this planning regulation had been introduced to make use of redundant agricultural buildings. Cllr. R. Coward said he was included to support the Class Q planning regulations if it helped to stop building on greenfield sites. RESOLVED to recommend approval of the above application on proposal made by Cllr. C. Hazzard, seconded by Cllr. J. Jordan and carried with a vote of 9 for, 1 against and 1 abstention. In order not to compromise his position as Wiltshire Councillor, Cllr. Jeans abstained from voting on this matter.
|Application Type:||Full planning permission|
|Proposal:||Erect 50kw Solar Array|
|Site Address:||Mere Fish Farm, Ivy Mead, Mere, Warminster, BA12 6EN|
|Planning Register Link:||https://development.wiltshire.gov.uk/pr/s/planning-application/a0i3z000017cMPi
The Chair confirmed that she had visited the site and agreed that it would require no groundwork and would not be very obtrusive in the landscape. RESOLVED to recommend approval on proposal made by Cllr. P. Coward, seconded by Cllr. A. Colman and carried with a majority vote (10 for). In order not to compromise his position as Wiltshire Councillor, Cllr. Jeans abstained from voting on this matter.
|Application Type:||Full planning permission|
|Proposal:||Carry out alterations to access, erect 6 no semi-detached dwellings and 1 no detached dwelling with associated parking and access arrangements (demolish existing church).|
|Site Address:||Land North of St Marys Catholic Church, Pettridge Lane, Mere, BA12 6DG|
|Planning Register Link:||https://development.wiltshire.gov.uk/pr/s/planning-application/a0i3z000017btXd
Cllr. Colman stated that the footpath in front of houses 1 and 2 does not meet standard footpath width requirements and from the plans it looks as though the footpath disappears on the corner of plot No. 2. No provision has been allowed for a footpath in front of plots 4 & 5. The bin collection area which is outside plot 3 would only accommodate 4 bins whereas a bin collection area for the site would need to accommodate 7 bins and 7 boxes. The application says that there are 12 parking spaces within the development but for an application of 7 houses, there should be a minimum of 14 parking spaces. Some of those parking spaces are back-to-back but they are not deep enough and would necessitate cars coming out onto the highway and also the width of the parking spaces at 2.4m does not allow to open car doors when there are three cars together or one against a wall. There is no parking provision for visitor parking and there should be 2 visitor parking spaces on the development. Also, the width of the development road on the estate should be at least 6m wide and any new development should have EV charging points included. He also felt that solar panels or ground source heat pumps should have been included in the development. He said that he believed these proposals would constitute overdevelopment and the number of dwellings should be reduced from 7 to 5. Cllr. N. Beale said that he thought that all new development should include renewable energy solutions & EV chargepoints etc. Cllr. Debbie Beale said that the Town Council’s climate plan would require all new development to meet these targets. Cllr. Hazzard said that whilst he is not a planning officer, he did feel that the owners could have opted for two very expensive houses on that site but instead they have proposed 7 houses which should be more affordable and may provide homes for younger and/or local people and this should be acknowledged. Cllr. R. Coward said that he had no issue with the number of houses but felt that it was necessary to provide at least 2 parking spaces per house and that solar panels should be incorporated. Cllr. Jeans also asked for provision for fibre broadband to be included and pointed out that he thought a retaining wall would need to be provided on the site and reminded members that there had been issues with retaining walls in other developments. He also said that there may need to be a transport plan for the development works as a lot of excavated materials will need to be moved from the site and if planning enhancements are offered, then we could suggest that the footpath from Pettridge Lane to Angel Lane could be improved. Cllr. Jordan said that he was happy to see houses that may seem to be more affordable but felt that there might be one too many houses on the site and if there were just 1 house where plots 1 and 2 were shown, then the development would have a better feel.
Mr. Dicon Carpendale from Brimble Lea was invited to respond to these points: He apologised and said he was not sure what had happened with the pavement around Plot 2 but was fairly sure that this would be revised and he agreed that the bin collection area close to the road should be made larger. He said that there were actually 14 parking spaces within the development but pointed out that a lot of other issues raised by Town Council members related to highways and that the Highways Authority had not yet submitted their consultation response. He thought that the intention was for the inner part of the site to be more of a shared surface space rather than an adopted road but they would need to see what the highway authority said about whether or not it was up to adoptable standards. Mr. Carpendale felt that all the suggestions about EC charge points, solar panels etc were valid ones and he finished by saying that in view of the feedback he had received from the planning authority on various matters that there was likely to be further revisions. On proposal put forward by Cllr. N. Beale, seconded by Cllr. Colman and carried with a vote of 10 for and 1 abstention it was RESOLVED to recommend approval of the above planning application with the following conditions and points of note.
Climate Strategy – Wiltshire Council’s Climate Strategy states that new development should be built to net zero carbon standards as soon as possible. The Town Council would like this development to include solar PV or solar thermal panelling, Electric Vehicle charging points for each property and fibre broadband installed for each property.
Parking Standards – the Town Council would request a condition to ensure that this development meets Wiltshire Council’s Parking Standards and includes visitor parking provision. Furthermore, pavements should include dropped kerbs to allow for wheelchair access.
Points of note:
- Bin collection area as proposed seems inadequate
- Pavement area around Plot 2 is too close to the corner of the proposed building and it would be necessary to get off the pavement and back on again to get to the rear of the plot.
- Transport plan for the development would be necessary as construction works will require removal of a lot of demolished and excavated material and delivery of construction materials throughout and access to Pettridge Lane is difficult with pinch points and no pavements around Edgebridge & Clements Lane.
- If a planning enhancement is sought, then the footpath from Pettridge Lane to Angel Lane (adjacent to this site) is in need of improvement.
- Retaining wall
(In order not to compromise his position as Wiltshire Councillor, Cllr. Jeans abstained from voting on this matter.)
|Application Type:||Householder planning permission|
|Proposal:||First Floor Rear Extension|
|Site Address:||24 LORDSMEAD ROAD, MERE, WARMINSTER, BA12 6BZ|
|Planning Register Link:||https://development.wiltshire.gov.uk/pr/s/planning-application/a0i3z000017bpZW
Cllr. Jordan said that he had visited the site and noted that a neighbour had commented on the possibility of future windows. RESOLVED to recommend approval of the above application on proposal made by Cllr. P. Coward, seconded by Cllr. Debbie Beale and carried with a majority vote. In order not to compromise his position as Wiltshire Councillor, Cllr. Jeans abstained from voting on this matter.
|Application Type:||Full planning permission|
|Proposal:||Construction of dwelling for agricultural worker, together with associated works (revision to 21/01808/FUL)|
|Site Address:||Dews Pasture, Burton Farm, Mere, Warminster, Wilts, BA12 6BR|
|Planning Register Link:||https://development.wiltshire.gov.uk/pr/s/planning-application/a0i3z000017bh1q
The Clerk read out that in the planning statement it correctly stated that planning permission has been granted for the construction of a dwelling under ref: 21/01202/FUL (decision date 16.6.21) and it says: “taking the project forward, two factors have been considered: first is in relation to the dwelling and in the approved position it takes the location of possible outside hay/store storage or further building and therefore the position for which permission is now sought replaces dilapidated redundant sheds and is in a better position. The second issue that has come to light is in relation to potential employees and the accommodation should suit a family unit rather than a student.”
The application is stating the need for the agricultural dwelling as necessary to employ a herdsman specific for the Dews Pasture site of the farm which is exactly the same as the reason or the agricultural dwelling in the statement for 22/01202/FULL. However, the site for 21/01202/FUL is currently for sale on Rightmove albeit with an agricultural tie. The Clerk said that this was confusing and expressed concern that approval of this planning application could provide with two properties for sale and not one of them providing a dwelling for a herdsman specific for the Dews Pasture site of the farm.
It was pointed out that sales information is not a planning consideration although members felt that point should be mentioned to the planning officer as an informative. ON proposal made by Cllr. Hazzard, seconded by Cllr. Jordan and carried with a vote of 8 for and 3 abstentions, it was RESOLVED to approve the planning application with the following conditions:
- As this is a planning application revision and is, in effect, replacing a previously approved planning application that, as far as we are aware, has not yet been started but is still valid then any approval of this revision should be subject to a condition which revokes the previously approved planning permission (approved 16.6.2021).
- Any planning approval should be conditioned with an agricultural tie and should be tied to the farm known as Down View Farm so as it cannot be sold off separately.
At the time of the Town Council meeting held on 3.10.22 the property that was subject to the 2021 planning permission was advertised for sale on rightmove.co.uk
- Highways, Rivers, Footpaths, Traffic & Transport
- a) To identify jobs for the Parish Steward, Sparkle Team and MyWiltshire reports. – Cllr. Jordan said that it was raised earlier, but just to reiterate that the path from Pettridge Lane to Angel Lane is a state and is always in a mess. The hedge belongs to Wiltshire Council and needs cutting back. Hazzard raised the issue of faded double-yellow lines in The Square and outside the Lecture Hall but it was pointed out that this has been reported on the MyWilts reporting page recently. Cllr. Mrs. Beale reported that the residents of Burton have collectively paid for a new surface on the road alongside the river which is an unadopted highway but this has served to improve the footpath also.
- Buildings, Open Spaces, Play Areas, Sports Grounds, Car Parks, Allotments & Cemeteries
- Finance, Policy & Resources
*a) Payments – To review and authorise schedule of payments (attached) – Revisions to the schedule of payments were pointed out and the Clerk said that the arrival of the tractor had been delayed and that payment would not be made until delivery of the tractor was imminent. RESOLVED to authorise payments as itemised in revised schedule of payments on proposal made by Cllr. Colman, seconded by Cllr. Jordan and carried with a unanimous vote of those present.
- b) To approve and sign off bank reconciliation – the Chairman checked the bank reconciliation against bank statements and signed in the presence of the Council.
- c) Quotations for Internal Audit Service – the Clerk explained that she had received two quotations for providing an internal audit service but had been unable to secure a third quotation. However, as the year was progressing the Clerk was anxious to appoint an internal auditor for 2022/23 without further delay. The Council asked for details of the two quotations which were:
- Bridget C. Bowen – £680 for 2022/23 based on a one mid-year review and a year-end review or for three years 2022-23 to 2024-25 based on one mid-year review and a year-end review each year
2022-23 – £650
2023-24 – £680
2024-25 – £715
Additional work, if required and pre-authorised by the Council, would be charged at £65 per hour
- Local Council Consultancy – £535 + VAT to include an interim and year-end review comprising of one or two on-site visits together with one or more virtual meetings. The internal audit work would be provided by Kate Houlihan who was a CiLCA qualified clerk with 20 years’ experience.
The Town Clerk was asked if she had a preference to which she replied ‘no’. RESOLVED to ask the Local Council Consultancy to provide the Town Council with an internal audit service for 2022/23 on proposal made by Cllr. Jordan, seconded by Cllr. Debbie Beale and carried with a unanimous vote.
*d) To adopt Dispensation Procedure Guide (Draft attached) – RESOLVED to adopt the guide on the condition that it is the Town Council and not the Clerk that makes the dispensation decisions. Proposal seconded by Cllr. Colman and carried with a unanimous vote.
- e) To set date, venue, membership of Annual Budget Meeting – it was agreed that the Annual Budget Meting would be held on Wednesday, 23rd November at 7.00 pm at Duchy Manor and that the following councillors would be invited to attend: Nick Beale, Aubrey Colman, Rachael Hansford, Philip Coward, Clive Hazzard, George Jeans & John Jordan. The Chairman & Vice-Chairman would attend ex-officio and the Vice-Chairman would Chair the meeting.
- General Items
- a) Report to the council on Mere Carnival 2022 – Cllr. John Jordan said he was very embarrassed because he had failed to thank the Hill Brush Company for their support in his written report and so he wanted to address that omission now as Hill Brush has always been very supportive of Mere Carnival. The Carnival raised £900 in donations on the night and had 31 entries with 3 floats. The Hot Rock Carnival Club stopped and played the National Anthem in The Square which was much appreciated. The Golden Ticket of £1000 was won by someone local. Jordan reported that it cost the Carnival Committee £2,900 to produce the Carnival. He thanked the Town Council for their support and said he was looking forward to next year’s carnival.
- b) The Queen’s Green Canopy Initiative – The Clerk reported that following the death of Her Majesty The Queen, and the wishes of His Majesty The King, The Queen’s Green Canopy (QGC) initiative will be extended to the end of March 2023 to give people the opportunity to plant trees in memoriam to honour Her Majesty. The Clerk reminded members that this had been discussed before and that the Town Council had acknowledged that they had nowhere suitable to plant trees but had, instead, communicated with the Duchy of Cornwall, who were planting plenty of trees in Mere. However, the Clerk was also aware that a resident of Mere had offered a small number of oak trees 18” high to anyone that wanted to plant one and the Clerk wondered whether the Town Council might like to plant one in the bottom of the cemetery as a memorial to Her Majesty the Queen. It was unanimously agreed that one of these oak trees should be accepted and planted in the bottom of the cemetery but that a plaque should be ordered at a later date, once the tree had become established.
- Future meetings and events
- a) Invitation to attend Community First AGM on Wednesday, 12th October 2022 at 6.00 pm at Devizes Town Hall.
- b) Invitation to attend WALC AGM on Monday, 10th October 2022 at 7.00 pm at The Clubhouse, Beckhampton Road, Avebury
- c) South West Wiltshire Area Board meeting to be held on Wednesday, 5th October at 6.30 pm at East Knoyle Village Hall – Cllr. Jordan said that he would attend the Area Board meeting on 5th
- d) Seeds4Success AGM on Saturday, 8th October at 5.30pm at Zeals Green Pastures – Cllr. Sandra Catley said that she would attend this meeting.
- Future agenda items
All members and Clerk introduced themselves to new councillors.
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 9.09 pm
MERE PEACE MEMORIAL SPORTS AND RECREATION GROUND
Registered Charity No. 1093497
For Trustees to consider the following:
RESOLVED to approve the following payment on proposal made by Philip Coward, seconded by Debbie Beale and carried with a unanimous vote.
Water2Business (supply to old cricket square -standing charge only) £16.41