Mere Town Council
Town Clerk – Mrs. L. C. Wood
Minutes of a meeting of Mere Town Council held on Monday, 5th June 2023 at Duchy Manor, Springfield Road, Mere. BA12 6EW at 7.00 pm.
Present: Councillors John Jordan (Chair), Glen Ings (Vice-Chair), Debbie Beale, Nick Beale, Sandra Catley, Aubrey Colman, Rodney Coward, Raymond Hill, George Jeans (from 7.10 pm), Lesley Traves, Lynden Stone & Kate Symonds,
Inspector Harmsworth and PCSO Stuart Hunt were present at the meeting and gave a brief overview of crime in the local area and gave advice on how to local policing priorities and how to report crimes and antisocial behaviour. PCSO Stuart Hunt said that he would be trying to make himself more visible in Mere and would be available periodically in the Mere police station for enquiries.
Debbie Beale reported that no-one is living on the plots at Burton Field any longer and all the caravans have now been removed.
Apologies for absence received from Councillors Philip Coward and Clive Hazzard.
- To receive any declarations of disclosable pecuniary interests and other interests from Councillors on matters to be considered at the meeting.
- Jeans & Cllr. Ings declared an interest in planning application PL/2023/04197
- Minutes – RESOLVED that the minutes of the Town Council meeting held on Monday, 15th May 2023 be approved as a correct record.
- Matters Arising from Public Session
- Matters Deferred from Previous meeting
- a) To appoint/re-appoint Trustees for Forest Charities – existing Trustees are Rodney Coward, Clive Hazzard, George Jeans, Ann Rich & Andrew Rees.
- b) Review of representation on or work with external bodies and arrangements for reporting back:
|Organisation||2022/23 Representative||2023/24 Representative|
|Youth Club, Seeds4Success, CAYPIG (Community Area Young People)||Cllrs. Hazzard, L. Bennett & R. Coward.||Cllrs. S. Catley, A. Colman & G. Ings.|
|Cricket Club||Cllr. Ings||Cllr. Ings|
|Health & Community Care||Cllr. Hill||Cllr. Hill|
|Tennis Club||Cllr. Jeans||Cllr. Jeans|
|Football Club||Cllr. Bennett||Cllr. S. Catley|
|Public Transport & CATG||Cllr. Debbie Beale||Cllr. John Jordan|
|Mere & District Linkscheme||Mrs. Adrienne Howell||Mrs. Adrienne Howell|
|Museum Committee||Cllr. Jeans||Cllr. Jeans|
|Footpaths & Rights of Way||Cllr. Jordan||Cllr. Jordan|
|Chamber of Trade||Chairman & Cllr. Colman||Chairman & Cllr. Hazzard|
|Friends of Mere Museum||Cllr. Jordan||Cllr. Jordan|
|School Governor||Cllr. Hansford||Cllr. Ings & Cllr. S. Catley (Chair to talk to school to clarify)|
|Mere Bowling Club||Cllr. Ings||Cllr. Ings|
|Carnival Committee||Cllr. Jordan & Cllr. Nick Beale||Cllr. Jordan|
|Area Board & LHFIG||Chairman & Vice-Chairman||Chairman & Vice-Chairman|
|Mere Film Shows||Mrs. Rosie Jordan-Barr||Mrs. Rosie Jordan-Barr|
|Rivers Group||Cllr. R. Coward, Cllr. Debbie Beale & Cllr. Symonds||Cllr. R. Coward, Cllr. Debbie Beale & Cllr. Symonds|
|Mere Parochial Church Council||Cllr. Traves||Cllr. A. Colman|
|Trustees for Mere Forest Charity||Cllrs. R. Coward, E. Mitchell, G. Jeans + Mrs. Anne Rich||As Minute 277a)|
- Matters Arising from previous Meetings (not covered by other agenda items)
- a) Lynch Close Sheltered Housing Review – report on Housing Board meeting held on 31st May (Minute Ref: 265b) –It was generally felt, by those who attended the Housing Board meeting, that it was an undemocratic meeting with people being unable to speak, despite it being branded as a public meeting. The Clerk said that she had raised concerns with Wiltshire Council officers that decisions or advice might be provided at this Housing Board meeting on design proposals that have not even been seen or discussed by residents or the Town Council. The Chairman pointed out that the latest Newsletter (No. 7 issued on 2.6.23) mentioned one or two points that were of concern.
- b) Comment on style of Minutes (Minute Ref: 249) – RESOLVED to produce brief Minutes for another month.
- c) Traffic Management in Mere – report from working group on Traffic Engineer’s comments (Minute Ref: 268b) – deferred.
- d) Review of football provision and facilities in view of new proposals for extra football fixtures (Minute Ref: 269a) – with reference to the discussion at last month’s meeting, the Clerk had tried to estimate likely utility costs based on historic usage over a 6-year period between 2012 and 2019 and applying current energy prices to those usage figures. She had presented members with an average cost and a worst-case scenario cost. There was a long discussion which included questions to the football representatives that were present. However, members could not reach agreement over suggested fees for the new football proposals and the Clerk suggested that a meeting is arranged between all the football teams and the Chairman and Vice-Chairman in order to try and get a statement or proposal that could be presented to the Town Council to vote upon at the next meeting.
- Reports & Consultations
- a) Wiltshire Councillors Report – Cllr. Jeans mentioned dispensations, Chamber of Trade and thanked everyone for their help with the erection and removal of the Coronation flags and bunting, with special thanks to Andrew Bristow for the time he volunteered in helping.
*b) Project Co-Ordinator’s report (X2 reports attached) – With reference to the reports, Cllr. Colman expressed his appreciation to Roger for getting the Hills Waste grant via Community First towards the Walnut Road Play Area. Roger confirmed that the installation of the play area was on track and hopefully on schedule for the opening event on 22nd June. Roger Pipe drew members attention to the request from Seeds4Success for a 50-year lease instead of a 25-year lease for the youth club building in order to help with their fundraising. Cllr Colman said he was not happy to grant a 50-year lease as it was not necessary for fund raising purposes. Roger pointed out that in order for the Charity to give a peppercorn rent the lessee has to demonstrate that Seeds4Success would meet the objectives of the peace charity otherwise you will fall foul of charitable law. He said that they would need to demonstrate that they are improving the wellbeing and social element of the Recreation Ground. RESOLVED to recommend that the Trustee of the Charity should grant a 50-year lease on proposal made by Cllr. Debbie Beale, seconded by Cllr. G. Ings and carried with a vote of 11 for, 0 against and 1 abstention. The Clerk said that this issue would need to be considered at a Trustee meeting and so would be on next month’s Trustee meeting agenda.
- a) Applications for consultation response:
|Application Type:||Notification of proposed works to trees in a conservation area|
|Proposal:||Apple Tree – Remove|
|Site Address:||BRIDGE HOUSE, SALISBURY STREET, MERE, WARMINSTER, BA12 6HF|
|Planning Register Link:||https://development.wiltshire.gov.uk/pr/s/planning-application/a0i3z00001Axa4w|
Cllr. Jeans & Cllr. Ings, having declared an interest in this planning application, left the room whilst the matter was discussed. RESOLVED to object to this application on the basis that justification for removal of the tree was insufficient and would have a negative effect on the environment & nature and pruning to reduce the canopy would be a better option.
|Application Type:||Full planning permission|
|Proposal:||Construction of timber frame annex building to provide ancillary accommodation. (Timber clad with natural slate roof, single front door accessed from driveway, entrance/utility space, bathroom and open plan kitchen/dining/living space, single bedroom)|
|Site Address:||Cedarstone, Limpers Hill, Mere, BA12 6BD|
|Planning Register Link:||https://development.wiltshire.gov.uk/pr/s/planning-application/a0i3z00001AaZW2|
RESOLVED to approve the above application ON CONDITION that the annex provides ancillary accommodation to the main house known as Cedarstone only and cannot be rented out, occupied or sold off separately. Services must be shared with the main house and it should have no separate access or separate garden.
- Highways, Rivers, Footpaths, Traffic & Transport
- a) To identify jobs for the Parish Steward, Sparkle Team and MyWiltshire reports – the Parish Steward service has now been resumed under the new contractors and the schedule for monthly visits to Mere has been received.
- Weeds on path that connects Fennel Road, Lovage Way to Spinners Way.
- Dirty road signs (locations to be identified)
*b) Extension of 30mph Speed Limit, Shaftesbury Road, Mere – Proposed Works and Cost Estimate (see Clerks Report + 4 attachments) – The Chairman said he had attended the meeting and had suggested that by removing the road name sign and going for the cheaper gates we can reduce the costs. Members wanted to see a photograph of the cheaper gates before they felt able to agree to this.
- c) Report on LHFIG meeting held 31.5.23 – the Chairman attended the meeting, as mentioned above, and said he was amazed at the cost of small highway changes and that Wiltshire Council are hoping for towns and parishes to take on more of the cost.
- Buildings, Open Spaces, Play Areas, Sports Grounds, Car Parks, Allotments & Cemeteries
- a) Cemetery policy for non-residents – suggestion that we might want to add more constraints relating to our policy for non-residents as other local cemeteries are running out of space and we are finding more non-residents wanting to purchase plots in Mere. There was a long conversation about this and it was agreed that the Clerk/Chair write some clear definitions/options that can be voted upon at a future meeting.
- b) Suggestion to reinstate clock tower hour-chime – RESOLVED to arrange for chiming mechanism to be repaired
- Finance, Policy & Resources
*a) Payments – RESOLVED to authorise schedule of payments (attached)
*b) To review Mere Town Council Reserves Policy & Investment Strategy: To review reserves and authorise transfer of funds to interest bearing account (see Clerks Report + 2 attachments) – The Clerk explained the levels of reserves and it was agreed that the level of general reserves was adequate considering the budgeting process (full report attached). With regards to the Investment Strategy the Clerk pointed out that the Council had now received the second tranche of S.106 funds and this money would be going into the National Savings Account which, although safe, was a fairly low rate of interest. It has been suggested that the Council could use the CCLA as it has a higher rate of interest. It was agreed to gather more information about investing funds to gain a higher interest rate.
*c) To approve the Annual Governance and Accountability Return (AGAR) for the year ending 31st March 2023
- To receive and note the Annual Internal Audit Report (attached) – members were presented with the Final Audit Report following the end of year Internal Audit Review carried out by the Internal Auditor Katherine Houlihan on 25th May 2023. Members were pleased to note that the internal auditor…………. A copy of Page 3 of the AGAR, completed and signed by the Internal Auditor was also distributed to members prior to the meeting and members noted that the Internal Auditor had confirmed that all the relevant Internal Control Objective’s had been met.
- To approve the Annual Governance Statement (Section 1) – Points 1 – 9 of the Annual Governance statement 2022/23 (Section 1 of the AGAR) were read out to members and members answered ‘yes’ to each of the statements. The Annual Governance Statement was signed by the Clerk and by the Chairman in the presence of the Town Council.
- To approve the Accounting Statements (Section 2) Attached – The Accounting Statements 1 – 11a & 11b (Section 2 of the AGAR) were approved by the Town Council. Confirmation of approval of the Accounting Statements was signed by the Clerk and by the Chairman in the presence of the Town Council.
- To set the commencement date for the exercise of public rights – the Clerk confirmed that, as required by the Accounts & Audit Regulations 2015, the Town Council must now publish the unaudited AGAR and the Notice for the Commencement of the Period for the Exercise of Public Rights. Publication is on the Town Council’s website: www.merewilts.org
- To note other information to be sent to the External Auditor and required by External Auditor as part of Intermediate Review 2022/23 – the Clerk pointed out to members that because the Town Council had income exceeding £200k we were required to have an Intermediate Audit Review which required providing extra information to the external auditors. The Clerk informed members of the extra information to be submitted and said that additional information to support the council’s accounts would be published on the council’s website.
- General Items
- a) Vision for Mere – The Council approved the Chairman’s proposals to create a Vision For Mere Plan 2025. (Proposal attached) – RESOLVED that the Town Council should lead a process to create a 4-page document using the old Mere Parish Plan 2005 as a basis for focus groups to work from.
*b) Briefing Note No. 23-12 Update on Trowbridge leisure project (attached) – Noted
*c) Briefing Note 23-13 New kerbside collections of ‘small rechargeable electricals (attached) – Noted
*d)) Briefing Note 23-14 – Family Hubs (attached) – Noted
*e) Briefing Note 23-15 – Five-year Housing Land Supply and Housing Delivery Test – Noted
- Future meetings and events
- a) Invitation to attend CPRE Wiltshire’s AGM to be held on 13th July 2023 at 18:30 at The Corn Exchange, Devizes – Noted
- b) Mere & District Linkscheme AGM is at Grove Building on Friday, 23rd June at 7.00 pm and there is drinks and nibbles – Cllr. Sandra Catley said that she would try and attend.
- Future agenda items
Cllr. Debbie Beale asked about planning enforcement and the Clerk said that she thought this had been discussed by the Council within the last 6 months.
Meeting closed at 8.51 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 in Clerks Report or attached