Mere Town Council
Town Clerk – Mrs. L. C. Wood
Minutes of a Town Council meeting held on Monday, 4th July 2022 at 7.00 pm in The Andy Young Pavilion, Springfield Road, Mere, BA12 6EW.
Present: Councillors Mrs. Lesley Traves (Chair), Mrs. Kate Symonds (Vice-Chair), Aubrey Colman, Rodney Coward, Rachael Hansford, Clive Hazzard, Raymond Hill, Glen Ings, George Jeans (from 8.05pm) and John Jordan.
Also 2 ladies & Karen Harkin (later)
Public Participation Session
John Jordan said he was speaking on behalf of the Carnival Committee who have been in talks with Coles about the fairground for this year’s carnival and they mentioned that they did not want to go into the field off Lordsmead Lane again but would be very happy to go into the Recreation Ground. The Clerk said that this possibility had been raised at the Annual Carnival Committee meeting and she had then asked that the Committee raise this matter as a priority following their first meeting in April so that discussions on this option can be opened early. The Chairman said that this item would now need to be raised as an emergency item for discussion this evening as it had not been tabled on the agenda and the Town Council may not be meeting again until September.
Rodney Coward said how nice it was to see goats on Castle Hill again. He said that Mr. Neil Maitland had put some goats on the hill and they seemed to be settling in well. The Clerk said that Mr. Maitland was hoping to put up to 30 goats on the hill eventually but some were in kid at the moment. It was pointed out that Mr. Steven Horn still had a small number of goats on Long Hill.
Glen Ings said that he had received a report that there is someone regularly sleeping in a camper van either in Angel Lane or in the Cemetery car park.
The Clerk read out a letter from Janet Way on behalf of Shreen Harmony thanking the Town Council for installing the street light in the Salisbury Street Car Park in order to light the steps in Dark Lane.
Apologies for absence received from Cllr. Nick Beale. Cllr. Debbie Beale & Cllr. Philip Coward and for late arrival from Cllr. Jeans.
- 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.
- None received
- Minutes – RESOLVED that the minutes of the Town Council meeting held on Monday, 6th June 2022 be approved as a correct record on proposal by Cllr. Colman, seconded by Cllr. R. Coward and carried with a unanimous vote of those present on 6.6.22
- Matters Arising from Public Session
- Matters Arising from previous Meetings
- a) Vacancies for Town Councillor (Minute Ref: 172) – Update on Casual Vacancy & Co-Option Procedure – the Clerk reported that she had received confirmation from Wiltshire Council that NO requests had been received to hold an election for the two councillor vacancies. Therefore, the Town Council could now co-opt to fill both vacancies. The Clerk said that a notice would be posted on social media and in various locations around the town stating that Mere Town Council had two vacancies which would be filled by co-option at a meeting held on Monday, 5th Those interested in becoming a Town Councillor should submit an expression of interest to the Town Clerk, either by letter, email or telephone by 4th August. Candidates will be given information on eligibility and will be invited to submit an application form & personal statement.
*b) Wiltshire Towns Programme (Minute Ref: 180b) – members noted the information in the Clerks Report, the Clerk confirmed that there is a virtual meeting on Wednesday this week and asked for a volunteer to come forward to attend. The Clerk said that the Cabinet Report gave an indicative allocation that towns might get £5000 out of this. Cllr. Mrs. Symonds said that it would be necessary to create a plan to get hold of any of this money so it would be necessary to put in some work for this. Cllr. Jeans said that there was a possibility that the secretary of the Chamber of Trade might be prepared to engage with Wiltshire Council on this issue but there would be cost implications in that scenario. In the meantime the Chair asked if anyone wanted to attend the meeting on 6th July or 14th July. Cllr. Jeans and Cllr. Jordan said that they would attend the workshop on 14th July & Cllr. Rachael Hansford said that she may be able to attend the one on 6th July also. Cllr. Jordan said he was encouraged that Wiltshire Council had acknowledged that we were a town and he thought that whilst there was some money there, we ought to make some sort of effort to get hold of it. He also suggested that the Town Council might allocate some project co-ordinator’s time towards this from the point of view of giving advice. The Clerk said that she was a bit bewildered because the email from Wiltshire Council said that they had been engaging with Town Councils to access a range of interventions to assist with increasing vibrancy and footfall in town centres. The Clerk said, however, that apart from being notified that Wiltshire Council had appointed Citi Logik to monitor footfall in town centres, she was not aware that there had been any other engagement.
- Reports & Consultations
- a) Wiltshire Councillors Report
- a) Applications for consultation response:
|Application Type:||Consent under Tree Preservation Orders|
|Proposal:||T1 Weeping Ash tree – Fell due to level of infection of ash dieback and proximity to highway.|
|Site Address:||THE MANSE, BOAR STREET, MERE, WARMINSTER, BA12 6DD|
|Planning Register Link:||https://development.wiltshire.gov.uk/pr/s/planning-application/a0i3z000018JFut|
As the tree was infected it was RESOLVED to support the above application on proposal made by Cllr. R. Coward, seconded by Cllr. Ings and carried with a unanimous vote.
|Application Type:||Householder planning permission|
|Proposal:||Conversion of Outbuilding to Habitable Space|
|Site Address:||Highbrook, The Fields, Mere, Warminster, BA12 6EA|
|Planning Register Link:||https://development.wiltshire.gov.uk/pr/s/planning-application/a0i3z000018Imgu
There was a general discussion about the issue of connection to utilities and whether or not the planning application was impractical but members felt that this was not a judgement for the Town Council to make. RESOLVED to support the planning application on condition that the waste water is connected to foul sewers and storm sewers (this is due to concerns over the very close proximity of public footpath and river). Proposal made by Cllr. Ings, seconded by Cllr. R. Coward and carried with a majority vote in favour. Cllr. Hazard abstained from voting.
|Application Type:||Full planning permission|
|Proposal:||Erection of Agricultural Barn for use of storing farming equipment ie. Tractor/mower, strimmer, working tools. To include solar panelling on the roof for powering equipment. (resubmission of PL/2021/08598)|
|Site Address:||Land west of Woodlands Road, Mere, BA12 6JT|
|Planning Register Link:||https://development.wiltshire.gov.uk/pr/s/planning-application/a0i3z000018G22O|
The Chairman reminded members of the previous planning application on this site and the Town Council’s comments. There was a long discussion as to the justification for a barn of this size in such a small field but it was pointed out that the field is agricultural land and therefore the barn can only be used for agricultural purposes which is what is being proposed. Some members felt that the barn was very large in comparison to the size of the field and Cllr. Mrs. Symonds raised the question of whether or not approval of this barn would set a precedent for other owners of small fields. Cllr. R. Coward said that as an agricultural building it was quite small and reiterated that the field is agricultural and so the barn could only be used for agricultural purposes and therefore he could not see a valid reason to object to the application as presented. RESOLVED to raise no objection to the above application on proposal made by Cllr. Hazzard, seconded by Cllr. Ings and carried with a unanimous vote.
|Application Type:||Householder planning permission|
|Proposal:||Remove existing conservatory link and replace with new single storey extension link|
|Site Address:||WET LANE FARM, WET LANE, MERE, WARMINSTER, BA12 6BA|
|Planning Register Link:||https://development.wiltshire.gov.uk/pr/s/planning-application/a0i3z000018ImVD|
RESOLVED to recommend approval of the above application on proposal made by Cllr. Ings, seconded by Cllr. Colman and carried with a unanimous vote.
|Application Type:||Householder planning permission|
|Proposal:||Replacement fence, alongside the creation of an area permeable hard standing.|
|Site Address:||FREEMANTLE NORTH ROAD MERE WARMINSTER BA12 6HP|
|Planning Register Link:||https://development.wiltshire.gov.uk/pr/s/planning-application/a0i3z000018H4d5|
RESOLVED to recommend approval of the above application on proposal made by Cllr. Jordan, seconded by Cllr. Hill and carried with a unanimous vote.
|Application Type:||Full planning permission|
|Proposal:||New proposed two bedroom semi-detached dwelling.|
|Site Address:||4 UNDERDOWN MEAD, WHITE ROAD, MERE, WARMINSTER, BA12 6EQ|
|Planning Register Link:||https://development.wiltshire.gov.uk/pr/s/planning-application/a0i3z000018INs9|
RESOLVED to recommend refusal of the above application for the following reasons:
- Overdevelopment – The plans show a cramped form of overdevelopment on a very small plot.
- Off-street Parking – it is not possible to get off-street parking for two cars for the existing house as well as two cars for the proposed house without one of the cars being blocked in (as shown on the layout plan)
- The vehicular access is in an inappropriate location too close to a staggered junction
Proposal made by Cllr. Colman, seconded by Cllr. Mrs. Symonds and carried with a vote of 5 for, 1 against and 2 abstentions.
*b) Outline application for the redevelopment of Beaumont Business Park, Woodlands Road, Mere – To consider letter from applicants relating to amendments and obligations in relation to the above planning application
|Application Tyre:||Outline Planning|
|Proposal:||Outline Planning – Demolition of the existing buildings and the erection of up to 70 dwellings.|
|Site Address:||Beaumont Business Park, Woodlands Road, Mere. BA12 6BT|
|Planning Register Link:||https://development.wiltshire.gov.uk/pr/s/planning-application/a0i3z000014evXfAAI/2007469out|
Members were pleased that the applicants had now agreed to provide the full 30% allocation of affordable housing on the site. Cllr. Jordan said that £12,500 as a contribution towards upgrading and improving Mere footpath 66 would not achieve much but said it was a start. He also said that he thought it was a tragedy that there was no employment opportunities being offered on the site and had hoped that there might be some small employment units like they had in Tisbury. Cllr. Jeans said that he had been canvassing local opinion and he could report that every single person he had spoken to wanted the commercial activity taken away from Woodlands Road because they wanted to remove the HGV traffic from Pettridge Lane even though that would result in more car traffic movements. Cllr. Jeans also said that he felt that, given the changes that had been made to the application, the withdrawal of objections from the Highways Department and the Drainage Department and the fact that the applicants had withdrawn their case for viability and agreed to the affordable housing provision & CIL etc., he would find it difficult to take it to committee and defend any argument put forward by the Town Council. Cllr. Colman pointed out that this was an Outline Planning application and said that it would appear that the applicants/agents had addressed a lot of the concerns raised by the Town Council and he pointed out that there would be an opportunity to try and address many of the other concerns initially raised by the Town Council either prior to or at the Reserved Matters application stage.
RESOLVED to withdraw the Town Council’s objection to the outline planning application as amended and subject to the details confirmed by Savills Planning letter to Wiltshire Council dated 16th June 2022. Proposal made by Cllr. Mrs. Symonds, 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 matter. Cllr. Hazzard abstained from discussion or voting on this matter.
- Highways, Rivers, Footpaths, Traffic & Transport
- a) To identify jobs for the Parish Steward, Sparkle Team and MyWiltshire reports.
- Castle Street high pavement – weeds growing out onto the road and up on the pavement.
- b) Quotations for wheelchair friendly footpath adjacent to Castle Hill Play Area – Cllr. John Jordan said that the footpath was in a bit of a state and just needed scraping off with some scalpings putting down. He said he had looked at some wheelchair friendly kissing gates and you could get a fancy metal one for £600 and a nice wooden one for £340 but this would need modification to the fencing. However, he did wonder if it was necessary to have a kissing gate and not just have a fencing chicane to stop youngsters from flying out. R. Coward pointed out that there was wheelchair access at the top of the path to allow people further up the hill. The Clerk pointed out that when the footpath was surfaced many years ago and made it wheelchair friendly, we didn’t have a gate at the bottom but we did get children running out onto the road from the path. Cllr. C. Hazzard said that scalpings would not be very long-lasting and we would need the gravel that we use in the cemetery which is a bit more money. Cllr. R. Coward said that you are only ever going to be able to get up to the first tier of Castle Hill but members recognised that an effort should be made to make the footpath more accessible. It was agreed to look into the option of providing a self-closing gate or a chicane and thought it was worth costing up and so it was agreed to raise this as an agenda item. Cllr. Hill pointed out that drainage would need to be thought about as we wouldn’t want rain water running out onto Castle Hill Lane. It was agreed to raise this matter again at the September meeting.
- c) Report on communications with the police over parking enforcement in Mere – Cllr. Jeans said that he had written to the police about concerns relating to cars parking along Hazzards Hill and they had written back to say that they could not see any problem with the situation. Therefore, Cllr. Jeans said that when the Police and Crime Commissioner was present at a recent Area Board meeting, he took the opportunity to raise the matter and said that they needed to do something about this situation before it caused either an accident or a road-rage incident. Jeans said that at the last meeting, the Town Council agreed to form a committee to look at on-street parking issues and said that this location should certainly be included in their deliberations. The Chairman asked why this parking along Hazzards Hill had only just occurred in the last few months and Cllr. Jeans said that it was mainly down to change of ownership in properties and the fact that people who owned a couple of cars had bought houses with no off-street parking provision. Cllr. Jeans pointed out that there were other areas in Mere with similar problems. Cllr. Rachael Hansford said that around Bramley Hill she had noticed that there were larger green spaces that could be used for parking and wondered whether this could be explored. Cllr. R. Coward said that even if the money and land could be found to build a new car park somewhere in the town, these people would not park in the car park because they all want to park outside their houses – it is just human nature and the only way they would use the car parks is to install double-yellow lines and force them off the roads.
- d) Minutes of the Shaftesbury & Gillingham Area Transport Forum – The Clerk pointed out that Cllr. Sims had sent over the Minutes of the meeting and had pointed out that the relevant bit affecting Mere is that there is no longer a Saturday service from Mere to Salisbury – Mr. Sims thinks this is the No. 4 service. The Chair thanked Roy for sending over this information.
- Buildings, Open Spaces, Play Areas, Sports Grounds, Car Parks, Allotments & Cemeteries
*a) Proposals for new Mere Town Football Club mens team and amalgamation with Mere Town Youth Football Club – with reference to the prepared by Karen & Sean Harkin and reproduced in the Clerks Report, members said that they were pleased to hear that a mens team would be starting again and was supportive of the idea of amalgamating the adult and youth football as this would make sense for the purposes of administration, insurance and affiliation etc. The Clerk said that she had pointed out to the Football Club that one of the biggest expenses to the Town Council was the provision of showers and in response to this the Football Club have said that they are happy to have cold showers. The Clerk confirmed that the last invoices sent to the Youth Football Club was £705 for annual charges and £705 to the Adult Football Club for annual charges. However, there had been no income from football during the past two years due to COVID and there was no expected income for adult football as we currently have no adult football team. There was a discussion over what the amalgamated club should pay in terms of charges and what likely costs they would incur. Cllr. Hazzard raised concerns that not all the team members lived in Mere and did not feel that the ratepayers of Mere should be subsidising the football club so that men from Zeals and Bourton could play football in Mere. Cllr. Ings said that the football club already pay more than the other clubs and certainly more than the cricket club and they won’t have the facilities of hot showers. It was agreed that in recognition of the fact that the football club had agreed to keep the changing rooms cleaned and on the assumption that the Town Council will not have the horrendous gas bills for providing the hot showers, then the annual charges should be reduced so that the amalgamated club pays £705 as a contribution towards the maintenance of the sports facilities for 2022/23 but point out that this will be reviewed annually. This was on proposal made by Cllr. Ings, seconded by Cllr. R. Coward and carried with a majority vote in favour (1 abstention). It was also mentioned that if the Football Club wanted to be proactive in helping with the shower situation, it might be possible to join forces and look at ways to install alternative means to have hot showers and that this might be taken into consideration when deciding fee reviews.
- Finance, Policy & Resources
*a) Payments – RESOLVED to approve and authorise schedule of payments (attached) on proposal made by Cllr. Kate Symonds, seconded by Cllr. Colman and carried with a unanimous vote.
The Clerk also informed members that she had approved an amendment to the Wallgate quotation for the new hand washer/drier unit for the unisex toilets as they had omitted to include the back plate for the unit within their original quotation which amounted to an extra £430. The Clerk felt that it was not feasible to delay the installation of this unit and had therefore given the go-ahead following approval from the Chairman and Vice-Chair.
- b) To report on Rate Valuation Office enquiries and refund of National Non-Domestic Rates for Mere Cemetery – the Clerk reported that she had received notifications from the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) about the need to supply information relating to rent, lease or ownership of the Town Council Offices, Duchy Manor Grounds and Mere Tennis Courts. This information would be used to set rateable values for non-domestic properties. Furthermore, based on the information that she had supplied to the VOA last year, the Town Council had received a small refund of £227 in rates for the cemetery.
- c) Staff vacancies – to provide an update on situation – The Chairman reported that the Town Council had appointed a new groundsman, via Octopus Personnel: his name is Anthony Waterhouse and he will be starting his role on 18th July which is the same date as the Town Council’s new Project Co-Ordinator, Roger Pipe, will be starting.
- General Items
- Future meetings and events
- 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
Consideration of allowing Coles Funfair to use Mere Peace Memorial Sports & Recreation Ground for Mere Carnival in September.
Members considered the request that was made during the Public Session. Cllr. Jordan confirmed that Coles Funfair would want to have about 4 – 8 rides + small stalls. Cllr. Hill said that as much as he would like to see the funfair in Mere, he pointed out that if it was wet weather then it would inevitably cause damage to the Recreation Ground. Cllr. Colman pointed out that the Recreation Ground has been the best its been for 6 – 8 years and it is improving. Cllr. Rachael Hansford asked if there was any kind of pledge from Coles Funfair to make good the ground after their use and it was pointed out that they did. As representatives of the football club were present at the meeting, the Chairman asked how the football club would feel about the use of the Recreation Ground by the Funfair and the representatives pointed out that it would be fine if the weather stayed dry but if it was wet then it would inevitably cause damage that would take some months to repair to the point that it would be good enough to play football on. Cllr. Rodney Coward said that the field at Gillingham Corner was the best venue to consider.
RESOLVED that Coles Funfair be denied approval to use the Recreation Ground for the funfair for Mere Carnival on proposal made by Cllr. Colman, seconded by Cllr. R. Coward and carried with a vote of 6 for and 3 abstentions.
Meeting closed at 8.35 pm