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Minutes of Town Council meeting held on Monday, 4th March 2024

Mere Town Council

Town Clerk – Mrs. L. C. Wood


Minutes of a meeting of Mere Town Council held on Monday, 4th March 2024 at 7.00 pm in the Andy Young Pavilion, Springfield Road, Mere, Wiltshire.  BA12 6EW.  The meeting will consider the items set out below. 


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

Mr. David Leaky, John Wright +  Lydia Dunne


Public Participation Session

Lydia Dunne from Whiteacre Planning representing Craig Bowers who has two planning applications on the agenda tonight spoke in support of the applications.   “We understand that there has been concern about the site at Wet Lane and at Woodlands Road and we have been working hard with the planning officer to resolve the issues & both applications have now been revised and the revisions include the following at Wet Lane:  The application at Wet Lane is only for the erection of a timber building for use as a welfare building for making cups of tea and toilet provision and this also now includes changes to the previously approved building for agricultural & equine use which has larger overhangs than that which was approved and it has moved slightly.  The application at Woodlands Road has also been revised following discussion with the planning officer and now includes only changes to the agricultural building and the surrounding hardstanding and the toilet and shipping container that were previously on the plans have now been removed.  A toilet will be included in the agricultural building rather than it being a separate unit.”

David Leaky summarised an email that he had sent out to all members of the Town Council and said that he thought the “resurfacing of Footpaths 50 & 66 is terrific.  We all hope that the drainage works well too.  The issue that we and a lot of other residents of Mere are exercised about is the possibility of putting lights around the junction of footpaths 50 & 66 around Meads House, Lordsmead Mill and Lordsmead House.  I would also like to suggest to the Council that something could be done at Edgebridge to mitigate the risks to pedestrians crossing Edgebridge where there is no footpath and I would urge the council to consider doing something imaginative which would be of real benefit.”

John Wright asked the Town Council to complain to Wiltshire Council about the fact that Pettridge Lane had not been resurfaced properly, resurfacing small areas but not the areas with the potholes.  He also suggested that it would be helpful to have a street light on Pettridge Lane where the pavement ends on one side of the road and you need to cross the road to join the pavement on the other side.

Debbie Beale said that she was surprised and disappointed to see the notices protesting about the lighting on footpath 66 and said that she was under the impression that parishioners were happy about the lighting on the footpaths and having heard a summary of what happened at the meeting on 12th February, she gathered that this was not the case and felt that the Town Council should look again at the lighting in consultation with the residents.

Kate Symonds said that it was her understanding that this Council has agreed to only install the low-level electrical lighting at the present time because “we know that the Lordsmead Area and the rest of the path have technical difficulties and may raise differences of opinion and so these are areas that we can discuss in the future as we have not decided on any of those things and so there will be plenty of opportunity to gather information, consider more schemes and go out to public consultation.”

Nick Beale said that he felt that the Town Council had failed to let the public know exactly what is going on with the lighting of footpath 66.  He said that he was under the impression that the public are happy about the lighting and yet “I heard that at the meeting held last week no-one was in support of the lights and when we walked down there today and saw all the posters on the wall, I feel we are not going to put ourselves in a good place if we just go ahead with these lights without taking any notice of the people that live there.”

Lesley Traves pointed out that the plan to do the path and the lighting has been going on since her time as Chair of the Town Council in 2021, it has been discussed in numerous meetings and it has been mentioned in Mere Matters on many occasions.  She had attended the information meeting last week and hadn’t seen any of the people that were in attendance at any other meetings.  She said it was wrong to say that we have let people down and would be more accurate to say that people had let themselves down by not taking any notice of what is going on.

David Leaky said that the Council did send a letter to him and to his neighbours and so they were consulted but he does not follow Mere Matters, Mere Mutters or the Town Councils minutes and so he was not aware of what was happening.

Glen Ings said that the timber street name sign at the end of Denes Avene (Manor Road end) has both posts snapped.

Clive Hazzard said that the Clock in The Square occasionally works but seems to be not working more often now and I wonder if we could ask what the price of a new clock would be – perhaps we could get likeminded people to donate towards a new clock.

Lesley Traves pointed out that whilst Planning Application PL/2024/01520 is for her address, the application has actually been submitted by her neighbour and relates to “our tree that spreads over his lane.”  She pointed out that she had no objection to the application.

John Jordan informed members that he was organising a spring litter pick and invited all to join him on Sunday, 24th March at 11 am starting from Castle Street Car Park.

The Clerk reported that two councillors helped with the removal of some estate agents’ boards recently and she had been asked by a resident to say thank you.

Cllr. Rachael Hansford said that she attended a Social Media Course online and she has a recording of it if anyone wants to see it.  She also pointed out that individual members can publicise and promote the work of the Town Council on their own social media outlets i.e. advertise meetings.


  1. Apologies for absence were received from Cllr. Sandra Catley.


  1. To receive any declarations of disclosable pecuniary interests and other interests from Councillors on matters to be considered at the meeting.
  • Mrs. Traves declared a pecuniary interest in planning application PL/2024/01520
  • John Jordan declared a personal interest in planning application PL/2024/01520
  • George Jeans declared a personal interest in planning application PL/2024/02044


  1. Minutes RESOLVED that the minutes of the Town Council meeting held on Monday, 5th February 2024 be approved as a correct record with the following addition to Minute 370b) … Cllr. N. Beale disagreed with the discussion.


  1. Matters Arising from Public Session

The Chairman said: “We have had a fulsome discussion about the footpath lighting and no decisions have yet been made on the solar lighting.  The highway improvement suggestions that we have put forward to the LHFIG for Edgebridge have been approved for future funding by both the LHFIG and the Area Board – this includes ‘Pedestrian in road’ signs (both directions), SLOW road markings with rumble strips and the Town Council will need to fund 25% of this project.  I would like to thank Cllr. Jeans for being persuasive at the Area Board meeting.  I think there would be little to amplify the comments – I have been doing some consultation and I have quite a pile of comments from members of the public and I have now been out on three occasions to talk to members of the public most affected by this – there are one or two that disagree but on the whole the feelings were positive.  I feel it would be best if we have an opportunity to look at alternative methods of solar lighting and we will defer that until another meeting after we have been able to see the benefits of the first phase of the project.”

Cllr. Beale asked for clarification on the decisions and what work was taking place on fp 50 and fp 66. The Chairman explained that as had previously been agreed by the Town Council, both footpaths were being resurfaced and footpath 66 was having electrical bollard lighting installed.  A decision on the lighting for footpath 50 had not yet been decided although it was thought that this would need to be solar as electrical lighting was too expensive.  Cllr. Beale said he had heard that there were about 30 people at the meeting last Monday and that none of them agreed with the work that was taking place. The Chairman reiterated that he had carried out extensive house-to-house consultation where most of the feelings were positive.  He said it was wrong to say that the people at the information meeting last week did not agree with the work that was taking place because no poll was taken at that meeting as it was an information meeting only.

Cllr. Philip Coward said that the lighting in the particular area that everyone is getting excited about has not yet been decided on and this is all getting blown up out of all proportion

Cllr. Philip Coward said that with regard to the water on the footpath – he recalled that both he and Cllr. Raymond Hill installed a perforated pipe with stone in the ditch that was on the hedge side of Fp 50 some years ago and so it may be that this drain is in fact now blocked.

Cllr. P. Coward said that in order to answer Mr. Wright’s comments, he wanted to point out that it is fast becoming a full-time job trying to get Wiltshire Council to do something and it is becoming very frustrating.  He also pointed out that you could not have one way priority traffic around Edgebrige without having traffic lights and the costs of that would be prohibitive.

Cllr. Jeans wanted to praise the work carried out by the Town Council’s grounds staff in cutting back the obstructed hedgerow on the pavement outside the houses along Clements Lane and this means that the pavement is now more usable – particularly whilst the footpath is closed.  He also said that he appreciated that there is a Wiltshire Council failing that the area on Pettridge Lane where you need to cross to reach the pavements is dark and asked for this to be a future agenda item.


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

*a) Annual Town Meeting – suggestions for alternative structure and content of meeting (see Clerks Report) – Members felt that it would be a good opportunity to display some visuals to people and also to use the meeting as a public consultation exercise for Town Council priorities.  It was agreed that this meeting should be publicised and advertised as much as possible.  There was a long discussion about how to advertise this event – Mere Matters, Mere Mutters, Posters, Noticeboard, Post Office window etc.  Cllr. Rodney Coward said he was sorry to say that the population was apathetic – we heard this evening from a resident who didn’t read Mere Matters, Mere Mutters, didn’t look at the Town Council’s website to read the minutes and didn’t even bother to stay for the meeting.


  1. Reports & Consultations

*a) Community Governance Review – Public consultation meeting (see Clerks Report + 3 attachments) – as reported previously, the electoral review committee commission have recommended that the boundary is changed and this area of land should be included within the Mere parish boundary.  This is now subject to public consultation with opened on 12.2.24 and is open until 18.3.24 culminating in a public meeting that is to be held in Mere Social Club on 18.3.24 at 7.00 pm.  Within the briefing note sent out with your agenda papers, you will be able to make your responses to the consultation.

  1. b) Report on SWW Area Board meeting held on Wednesday 28th February at Wilton Community Centre – Chairman reported that he had attended the meeting and George Jeans and Roger Pipe were also representing Mere. Sounds Better gained £1000 grant funding to provide a singing & breathing project to support residents with lung health conditions in the Mere & surrounding areas. Seeds4Success gained £10,000 for delivering projects in the area. The Area Board also supported the following recommendations made by the LHFIG for Mere – Replacement Street nameplates costing £694.50 and signing and lining improvements at Edgebridge costing £1275.
  2. c) Report on LHFIG meeting held on Wednesday, 7th February – this meeting was attended by the Chairman, Roger Pipe & George Jeans. A number of proposals from Mere were added to the list and most of them were agreed to or at least it was agreed to implement research into them.
  3. d) Wiltshire Councillors Report – Jeans reported that at the last Area Board meeting, committee members considered the Wiltshire Highways Maintenance Programme 2024 – 2030. A considerable sum has been added to the Highways Budget but this sum of money is insufficient to maintain the county’s highways. The draft maintenance programme does not, in the committee’s opinion, address the priority needs of the area and therefore it has been agreed that committee members would drive around these roads and others that committee members put forward in order to assess a priority order.  Cllr. Jeans confirmed that he had requested that the following roads from Mere be investigated: from West Knoyle through to Mere, Pettridge Lane, Manor Road, Angel Lane.  Cllr. Jeans also reported that at the Area Board meeting, Inspector Ricky Lee explained that it was possible to approach PCSO’s to report incidents – this fact seemed to be at odds to advice that had previously been given to the Town Council.

*e) Project Co-Ordinator’s Report (report attached) – members noted the information in the report.

*f) Martyn’s Law: standard tier consultation.  Terrorism (Protection of Premises) Bill – Standard Tier: Government consultation begins 5.2.24 and ends 18.3.24 (see Clerks Report) + – the Chairman explained that this applied to events for 100 to 800 people in a building and also outside but not if they comprise a public park, public garden or recreation or sports ground, where no payment is taken for entry nor any check carried out.  However, the Chairman said that he would let the Carnival and School firework organisers know about this.

*g) Dorset & Wiltshire Fire & Rescue Authority – Consultation on draft Community Safety Plan 2024-28 (see Clerks Report) – the Chairman said that he noted from the Consultation that the Authority were carrying out more safety visits and the number of emergency call outs had reduced.


  1. Planning
  2. a) Applications for consultation response:
Application No: PL/2024/01520
Application Type: Notification of proposed works to trees in a conservation area
Proposal: T1 Walnut – Shorten lateral spread of canopy in a westerly direction by 2.5-3m. Blend into upper and radial canopy.
Planning Register Link:


Cllr. Glen Ings in The Chair

RESOLVED to recommend approval of the above application.

Application Type: Full planning permission
Proposal: Changes to design of building approved under PL/2022/03832, construction of access track and area of hardstanding with associated works (Retrospective)
Site Address: Land at Woodlands Road, Mere, Wilts, BA12 6JT
Planning Register Link:

Cllr. John Jordan resumes as Chair

The Clerk pointed out that the Highways Authority were concerned about the water that was now discharging onto the highway.  Members could not understand the need for the long access road when there was a perfectly good access gate to the field already and the planning consultant said that the track is part of the planning application but the access is not and the existing gate was not in the best location for his use of the land for various reasons.  The Chairman reminded members that they had previously objected to this application and it was RESOLVED to reiterate the relevant issues, taking into account the amendments and additional information, from the Town Council’s previous objection submission with flexibility to reflect the views of the meeting tonight and following advice on relevant planning policies & regulations.  Also RESOLVED to ask Cllr. Jeans to call this planning application into committee.  [In order not to compromise his position as Wiltshire Councillor, Cllr. Jeans abstained from voting on this matter.]

Application Type: Full planning permission
Proposal: Changes in design of barn approved under PL/2022/03331, erection of a timber outbuilding for use in association with a mixed use of the land for agriculture and equestrian purposes with associated works (retrospective)
Site Address: Land at Wet Lane, Mere, BA12 6BA
Planning Register Link:

Cllr. P. Coward raised the point that retrospective planning applications only serve to cause annoyance and it is disgusting that this is the same applicant who is just trying to ‘pull a fast one’. The Chairman said that the barn is larger than the approved plans, and that there appears to be other buildings on the site that do not have planning approval and are not the subject of this application.  Nearby residents are upset that buildings and tracks have appeared and that this site is now developed to a much larger extent than the little barn for 4 donkeys that they were originally told would be there.  Cllr. Jeans reminded members that this site has got planning permission for equestrian use.  It was RESOLVED to reiterate the relevant issues, taking into account the amendments and additional information, from the Town Council’s previous objection submission with flexibility to reflect the views of the meeting tonight and following advice on relevant planning policies & regulations.  Also RESOLVED to ask Cllr. Jeans to call this planning application into committee.  [In order not to compromise his position as Wiltshire Councillor, Cllr. Jeans abstained from voting on this matter.]

Application No: PL/2024/02044
Application Type: Notification of proposed works to trees in a conservation area
Proposal: T1 Ash- Fell and replant T2 Horse Chestnut – Crown lift westerly branches over doctors surgery and overhead cables. T3 Sugar Maple – Reduce height of westerly stem by four metres.
Planning Register Link:


RESOLVED to recommend approval of the above application.


  1. Highways, Rivers, Footpaths, Traffic & Transport
  2. a) To identify jobs for the Parish Steward, Sparkle Team and MyWiltshire reports.
  • Broken road name sign at Denes Avenue


  1. Buildings, Open Spaces, Play Areas, Sports Grounds, Car Parks, Allotments & Cemeteries
  2. a) Request to replace existing polytunnel with greenhouse (acrylic) 10ft X 6ft 6” on Wellhead allotmentsRESOLVED to approve.

*b) Update on licence agreement with Econetiq for EV chargers in Salisbury Street Car Park (see Clerks Report)RESOLVED to proceed in order to try and get this resolved.  Cllr. Jeans abstained from voting although he did not consider that he had an interest to declare in this matter.

Cllr. Hazzard raised the opportunity to sing the praises of our grounds staff, making councillors aware of how capable and resourceful they are and that they have carried out a lot of machinery repairs, conversions and engineering works during the wet weather.

Emergency Item

Cemetery concerns – the Clerk informed members that Gillingham Town Council had made an official announcement that their cemetery was now full up, they can still bury in plots that have been pre-purchased but they cannot accept new burials.  The Clerk said that she was suggesting that members may want to review our own regulations in view of this information.

RESOLVED to amend our burial regulations to allow burials for Mere residents (within the parish boundary) only or those that have left the parish through illness or in need of care outside the parish or those that have been forced to move by the housing authority (as may be the case with Lynch Close).  Cremation plots can still be used by those outside the parish subject to double-fees as is the current case.


  1. Finance, Policy & Resources

*a)  PaymentsRESOLVED to authorise schedule of payments (schedule attached)

*b) To note the reconciliations for January 2024; the Chairman to sign and verify against the bank statements seen the Chairman confirmed that he had signed and verified the reconciliations against the bank statements & he had verified the Clerk’s monthly salary.

  1. c) Grant for Defibrillator for Walnut Road/Woodlands Road area – the Chairman confirmed that the Clerk had applied for a grant for a new defibrillator. Unfortunately, we did not receive the full grant but we did receive a grant for half the price of a new defibrillator. “I have talked to Mark & Sam of the Walnut Tree Inn and they have agreed that it could be installed on a wall outside the Walnut and Mark & Sam will provide the electricity for the cabinet etc.  David Drewett has kindly agreed to carry out the weekly & monthly checks on the defibrillator.”  RESOLVED to proceed with the purchase (at half price) of the defibrillator and to install this on the Walnut Tree Inn.


  1. General Items

*Briefing Note 24-02: Septic Tank Upgrade Communications Campaign – Revamp Your Tank (attached)

*Briefing Note 24-03: Community Governance Review (attached)

*Briefing Note 24-04: Development of Cultural Strategy for Wiltshire (attached) – the Clerk had attended an online briefing about this and explained that Wiltshire Council want to identify what is going on in the County


  1. Future meetings and events
  2. a) Activities In Mere (AIM) event planned for August 2024 – planning and funding – The Activities in Mere (AIM) event will take place between 9thand 11thAugust and will encourage, this year, the over 50’s to try or retry sports and leisure activities.  Some of which will be adapted to promote participation.  We hope that the event will not only encourage people to try something new, but that they may boost the membership of clubs and societies in Mere, as well as promoting health and wellbeing. We are using the Wiltshire Towns Programme money to pay for an organiser and Roger Pipe, our project co-ordinator has agreed to do this.  If money is forthcoming next year, we will look at providing a similar event for the younger age groups.

*b) Police Drop-In surgery at Mere Police Station – Saturday, 9th March 2024 between 18:00-19:30 (see Clerks Report) – noted.


  1. Future agenda items
  • Footpaths/lighting


  1. Staffing matters – the Clerk informed members that our existing toilet had resigned as she is now going to retire and Sam Doman, our Town Enhancement Worker who has been providing holiday cover for the toilet cleaning is going to take it on permanently under a 3-month probation period. He will be cleaning the toilets during the evening as he locks the toilets rather than during the morning which is better as there won’t be wet floors.


Meeting closed at 8.53 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