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Minutes of Town Council meeting held on Monday, 4th December 2023

Mere Town Council

Town Clerk – Mrs. L. C. Wood


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

Also Town Clerk, Lindsey Wood & Project Co-Ordinator, Roger Pipe + 1 member of public + 2 police representatives.


Public Participation Session

The Clerk confirmed that following a MyWilts report about the state of the road surface in Manor Road, a response had been received to say that the area is scheduled for jet patching next year.

The Chairman gave out leaflets promoting the ‘New Year New Bottom’ walk which was happening on New Year’s Day and encouraged members to take part and/or send relatives and neighbours and generally to help promote the event.


  1. Apologies for absence received from Cllrs. Debbie Beale, Nick Beale, Rodney Coward, Raymond Hill & Linden Stone.


  1. To receive any declarations of disclosable pecuniary interests and other interests from Councillors on matters to be considered at the meeting.
  • None


  1. Minutes RESOLVED that the Minutes of the Town Council meeting held on Monday, 6th November 2023 be approved as a correct record. RESOLVED that the Minutes of the Annual Budget Meeting held on Wednesday, 22nd November 2023 (attached) be approved as a correct record.


  1. Report from Police representatives:

Sgt. Ben Foster new community police sergeant for the area reported that he had joined about 3 weeks ago and will be in place until our new permanent Sergeant takes post in January.  PCSO Stewart Hunt introduced himself and confirmed that he was covering Mere & Tisbury.  There was a discussion on an incident that occurred one Sunday evening a couple of weeks ago when some young people went on a rampage of vandalism along Castle Hill Lane, Castle Street and Church Street.  PCSO Stewart Hunt said that an individual was arrested and he would get an update to report at the next meeting.  Whilst members of the Council said that the police did arrive on the scene in fairly quick time and the perpetrators were arrested, it was pointed out that some of the victims of crime during this evening had received no visits, reports or feedback from the police and that they were left feeling ignored and vulnerable.  PCSO Stewart Hunt said he would follow this up and make personal visits to the victims.


  1. Matters Arising from Public Session
  • None


  1. Matters Arising from previous Meetings (not covered by other agenda items)
  2. a) Minute Ref: 330 a) – Update on proposals/suggestions for Community Garden location – the Chairman confirmed that he had visited the site at the bottom of the old cemetery adjacent to the Eric Mitchell Way with two of the people who want to set up the Community Garden and their response was positive. RESOLVED to give the Council’s approval to the Chairman to continue negotiating with these people for a licence agreement to use the land identified for the purposes of a community garden on the basis that they provide some kind of working plan so that we know they have the organisational structure, the people in place and the funding to provide this resource.
  3. b) Minute ref: 330c) Community Governance Review (CGR) – Pre-Consultation – Information Gathering Survey (in Clerks Report) – as a result of our request to change the parish boundary, Zeals Parish Council has put out a publication to their residents. Unfortunately, this leaflet is a little misleading and so we are going to seek advice from the CGR team asking the whether or not we should take a similar approach as a counter argument. There was a discussion about the post office address of Visit Hillbrush being in Mere and the effect that this had on signage for the company.  It was confirmed that long before the current Wiltshire Core Strategy, during the old Salisbury District Local Plan that area of land was allocated as employment land to serve Mere.  Jeans confirmed that he wanted to stay neutral on this subject as he was representing both Mere Town Council & Zeals Parish Council but he said he was not aware of the leaflet that had been published by Zeals Parish Council.

*c) Minute Ref 335c) Review of Council priority projects and issues (attached) – the Chairman reported that he had amalgamated the results from Councillors individual priorities and he gave out the results of top five projects and lowest five projects. He said that he would like to start, in the coming year, to gauge public opinion via focus groups and he would make this as an agenda item in the future to try and guide us in our future programme of work so that we have a working set of priorities.  It was pointed out that other factors such as Health & Safety and funding would obviously have an influence on the order of priorities for these projects.

  1. d) Minute Ref: 335d) Expression of interest to enter into negotiations with Wiltshire Council for the purpose of either purchasing or renting the Mere Salt Depot – The Chairman confirmed that the Clerk had written to Wiltshire Council because we are aware that a new salt depot is being built elsewhere and that the Mere Salt Depot may become surplus to requirements and therefore subject to asset disposal. Wiltshire Council had confirmed that once the construction had been completed they would follow the surplus procedure which will include an opportunity for the Town Council to get involved in the review process. The Clerk said that she thought the surplus procedure was quite complicated but it was felt that at least Wiltshire Council were now aware of our interest.
  2. e) Minute Ref: 336 b) The future of Mere Chamber of Trade – Hazzard confirmed that he had held an informal meeting with some people to try and find out if there is a relevance for the Chamber of Trade and the outcome was that there would be a social event for businesses to be held in February 2024.


  1. Reports & Consultations
  2. a) Wiltshire Councillors Report – Jeans reported that the Cranborne Chase & West Wiltshire Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (CCWWD AONB) has now been renamed as the Cranborne Chase National Landscape. With reference to the recent Area Board meeting it was announced that Wiltshire Council will be clamping down on flyposting and will fine people/organisations for flyposting. Cllr. Jeans said he was also slightly annoyed that the Highways Representatives at the meeting denied any knowledge of having been made aware of the atrocious highway surface conditions along Shaftesbury Road and in West Knoyle prior to the Area Board meeting.  The Clerk said that she would submit copies of the previous correspondence on these matters to the relevant highways officers as evidence of our urges to take action.

*b) Project Co-Ordinator’s report (reports attached) – Roger Pipe was present at the meeting and gave a verbal report on various projects but concentrated discussion on the footpath 50/66 improvement project as there were now complete costings to consider and some urgency in making a decision on this project in order to secure the grant of £35,000 that had been assured by Wiltshire Council towards this project.  There was a long discussion about this and eventually unanimously agreed to proceed with the option of resurfacing the whole length of the footpath from Clements Lane to Angel Lane but to only provide the electrical lighting from Clements Lane to Lordsmead where solar lighting is not feasible at an estimated cost of £70k to the Town Council + £35k from Wiltshire Council and to see if we can provide solar lighting to the rest of the footpath at a later date. (Cllr. Jeans asked for consideration to be given for the contract to include for spare lighting fixtures and fittings).


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


Application No: PL/2023/09341
Application Type: Householder planning permission
Proposal: Addition of single storey double garage.
Site Address: Mere Down House, Mere, Warminster, BA12 6AT
Planning Register Link:

RESOLVED to recommend approval of the above application.

Application No: PL/2023/06825 – Amended Plans


Application Type: Householder planning permission


Proposal: Removal of the existing roof, increase pitch and form new roof with dormers




Planning Register Link:



RESOLVED to recommend approval of the above application.


Application No: PL/2023/09802
Application Type: Notification of proposed works to trees in a conservation area
Proposal: Beech tree – reduce height to 9.1m (30ft)
Planning Register Link:


RESOLVED to recommend approval of the above application.


  1. Highways, Rivers, Footpaths, Traffic & Transport
  2. To identify jobs for the Parish Steward, Sparkle Team and MyWiltshire reports – It was reported that gravel & loose material has been washed out from a driveway of a house onto Pettridge Lane and causing a hazard.


  1. Buildings, Open Spaces, Play Areas, Sports Grounds, Car Parks, Allotments & Cemeteries

No agenda items


  1. Finance, Policy & Resources

*a)  Payments – The schedule of payments as distributed at the meeting was approved.  The Clerk pointed out that the payment to Cumbria Clock Company would be withheld until the chiming mechanism for the clock was working properly.

  1. b) To note the reconciliations for October 2023; the Chairman to sign and verify against the bank statements – the Chairman confirmed that he had signed and verified the reconciliations against the bank statements.


*c) To adopt recommendations made by Budget Meeting, as shown in Minutes of Budget Meeting held on Wednesday, 22nd November 2023 (Minutes attached) – Cllr. Mrs. Symonds pointed out that the level of reserves was now quite low and wanted to ensure that all councillors were aware of this.  Cllr. P. Coward said that members had felt it was better to reduce reserves rather than increase the precept by a large amount. The Clerk said that it would come as no surprise to members to learn that she was concerned about the reduction of reserves in certain areas and that she would be discussing this with the internal auditor in the interim meeting to be held later this month and having re-read the practitioners guide was thinking that it may be a good idea for the Town Council to introduce a 5-year budget plan in order to help address some of these concerns.   Members generally felt that this would be a good idea.  In the meantime, the Council unanimously adopted the recommendations made by the Budget Meeting as shown in the Minutes of the Budget Meeting held on 22.11.23.

  1. d) To approve Precept on Wiltshire Council for 2024/25 – RESOLVED to approve a Precept of £199,076.56 for 2024/25 on proposal made by Cllr. P. Coward, seconded by Cllr. A. Colman and carried with a unanimous vote. The Clerk was authorised to submit the precept form via email to Wiltshire Council.
  2. e) CCLA (report on meeting held and make recommendations for investment) – deferred


  1. General Items


Briefing Notes: (All attached)

Briefing Note 23 – 32 Response to recent Council Climate Action Scorecards

Briefing Note 23-36, Coronation Living Heritage: Coronation Orchards

Briefing Note 23-37: Simpler Recycling for household and business recycling in England

Briefing Note 23-35, Christmas FUEL Programme Update


  1. Future meetings and events

It was agreed that the January meeting would be held on Monday, 15th January 2024


  1. Future agenda items



Meeting closed at 8.23 pm


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