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Minutes of Town Council meeting held on Monday, 7th November 2022

Mere Town Council

Town Clerk – Mrs. L. C. Wood

 

Minutes of a meeting of Mere Town Council held on Monday, 7th November 2022 at 7.00 pm at Duchy Manor, Springfield Road, Mere, Wiltshire.  BA12 6EW. 

 

Present:  Councillors Mrs. Lesley Traves (Chair), Kate Symonds (Vice-Chair), Debbie Beale, Nick Beale, Sandra Catley, Aubrey Colman, Rachael Hansford, Clive Hazzard, George Jeans, John Jordan & Linden Stone

Also:  Bill Coltham, Lesley Dixon, Nicholas Gosse, Spence Gunn, Mrs. A. Howell, Vernon Philips, Claire Shaddick, Ian Sheppard, Mike Warren & Mrs. Garbutt + others

 

Meeting convened at 7.02 pm with Public Session

 

Mrs. A. Howell said that she was aware the Council would soon be discussing its budgeted expenditure for the coming year and urged the Council to change the present arrangements for the public toilets in the Salisbury Street Car Park.  She also paid tribute to Ian Sheppard and Tony Barrett for their efforts in looking after Waterside and the wildlife therein in recent difficult times but suggested that the Town Council should make use of volunteers to look after areas of Mere, particularly the river and river bank along Waterside which was once a pleasant walk but is now unkept and in places the banksides are in danger of collapse.  Mrs. Howell said that Mere has a majority of retired and elderly residents and many are now feeling that too much is spent on underused children’s playgrounds in the country and not enough on the general environment and this includes Waterside and its river.

Bill Coltham said that he spoke last month about issues of parking around Bramley Care Home and reported that the situation hadn’t changed despite some communication with the Care Home manager.  Mr. Coltham suggested that the Town Council create a small working group with two or three residents and members to discuss with the new manager how to deal with the issue and how to monitor the issue.

Mr. Gosse spoke in support of agenda item 8b) and his Highways Improvement Request.  He said that the Town Council had previously acknowledged the dangers of Edgebridge/Clements Lane and the fact that there is not a pavement for pedestrians and he asked the Town Council to give assurances that they will urgently refer this matter to the Local Highways and Footpath Group (LHFIG) with a recommendation to take immediate action.

Mr. Dixon said that it was important to take other roads into consideration and any lorries must not be diverted into The Lynch.  He also pointed out that the 7.5-ton weight limit sign is out at Two Counties Farm and there should, perhaps, be one closer to Pettridge Lane as well.

Vernon Philips said that there were two specific highways matters which I have asked the Council to pursue.  Firstly, Gillingham Corner – the white lines on the T-junction have disappeared and when you are coming from the Gillingham direction it is difficult to see where you should stop to give way and also HGVs coming from a westerly direction and turning towards Gillingham just cut the corner because there are no lines to separate the lanes.  The other matter is the exit sign in the Salisbury Street Car Park which has fallen into disrepair – there is hardly a word that you can read.  The Clerk confirmed that both these issues had been reported to the Highways Authority on the MyWilts reporting pages.

Margaret Lawson-Smith said that Wiltshire Council had asked for comments from the public on the planning application for the Roman Catholic Church site and confirmed that she had informed the planning authority of what is being considered tonight with the congestion to take it into account when considering the access from the Catholic Church site in case it makes a difference to their decision on the number of houses.

Mike Warren added that any proposal that stops HGVs from using Pettridge Lane could divert them through Burton and Southbrook and said that it was no good stopping one issue in one location and creating the same issue in another location.

Clive Hazzard said that he wanted to congratulate the Friends of Mere School and all those involved in organising the firework event which took place on Saturday night.  It was a spectacular event and was extremely well attended and enjoyed by all.

 

Apologies for absence received from Councillors Philip Coward, Rodney Coward, Raymond Hill & Glen Ings.

 

  1. Declarations of Interest and Requests for Dispensation:
  • Jeans declared a pecuniary interest in Minute Ref: 228d)

 

  1. Minutes RESOLVED that the minutes of the Town Council meeting held on Monday, 3rd October 2022 be approved as a correct record on proposal made by Cllr. Mrs. Symonds, seconded by Cllr. Colman and carried with a unanimous vote of those present on 3.10.22.

 

  1. Matters Arising from Public Session
  2. a) Parking issues at Bramley Hill/Kingsmere junction and update on meeting with Bramley House Manager – Cllr. Jeans confirmed that he had contacted Bramley House twice: he had left a message on one occasion and held a conversation with someone on the second at which he explained that the matter would be discussed at tonight’s meeting and he invited them to come along as he had thought that they might want to be involved. Jeans said that unless we can actually get them to agree to meet with us, I am afraid that we can’t do too much but I did leave a message clearly to say that the Town Council is taking it very seriously and that traffic management in the town is being looked at and that the Town Council may feel it is necessary to make some restrictions such as yellow lines. Cllr. Jeans added that communication with the police is not good at the present time and we are now forced to go through 101 rather than have a mobile number or email address for the local police.  However, he wanted to stress that the Police Crime Commissioner (PCC) does attend SWW Area Board meetings and I would urge the public to attend these meetings as it would be a good place to put your points of concern forward to the PCC.  The Chairman said she wondered if the Council had any thoughts about Mr. Coltham’s idea of setting up a working group.  Cllr. Jeans said he thought it was a good idea but it would be necessary to get Bramley House to communicate.  Mr. Coltham said that there was a new manager.  Cllr. Mrs. Symonds said that these problems were not new and over the years there have been a number of planning applications for Bramley House and the Town Council had made comment and highlighted the parking problems for each of these planning applications and although some of these planning applications have not been implemented, nothing has been done about the parking problems either.
  3. b) Highway & Access issues relating to sale of plots and developments at The Old Nurseries, Burton – Cllr. Mrs. Beale reported that there were now about 20 plots having been sold off separately on this agricultural land and 4 of these plots were now providing living accommodation which were in the process of planning enforcement for breach of planning. Mrs. Beale said that as a Town Council we need to be influencing national highways because at the moment they are saying that once planning permission goes in for change of use then they can say no but when planning applications are not being submitted, they don’t know about it. Each of the four mobile homes has at least two vehicles associated with it and these are coming in and out of a dangerous junction several times a day.  The Clerk said that National Highways have agreed that the existing direct access does not meet current design standards and they have continued to highlight their concerns but in planning terms they don’t have grounds to object to the development that falls within the extant permission which is agricultural and horticultural.  However, there has to be a point where we can say – well OK but that extant permission was for one occupier of the site and now we have 20 and so that is 20 times the number of comings and goings.  The Clerk asked the Town Council if they felt there was any scope in contacting our MP and asking him to contact National Highways.  Cllr. Sandra Catley said that a planning officer had been out to the site today and was taking photographs and Cllr. Nick Beale said that the planning enforcement officers had been exemplary in coming out to deal with these breaches but their hands are tied and the enforcement process is mostly a legal one and is very lengthy and very costly.  Members were happy that the Town Council should write to the MP as suggested by The Clerk.
  4. c) Traffic issues at junction of Manor Road/The Square – The Clerk confirmed that Rodney Coward brought this up last month who said that he had been approached by someone requesting a highways mirror on the other side of the junction. We know that the Highways Authority would never agree to this as these mirrors are not considered to be official but there are issues with the white line that goes down the centre of the road. Cllr. Jeans agreed that a white line in this location would help and he would be prepared to propose that this is taken to LHFIG although he is aware that there would then be a cost to the Town Council (Cllr. Jeans then explained the LHFIG Improvement Request process).  The Chairman read out an email from a resident regarding a sign that used to be on the corner where the old Lloyds Bank was (the sign was warning people that there was no pavement on the Manor Road part of the junction).  Cllr. Jeans said that he assumed that the sign was removed when Mere was bypassed and the A303 was re-routed and he pointed out that at this time there were cat’s eyes in the middle of the road, double-yellow lines everywhere and lots of signs that were subsequently removed.  However, he said that he would be happy to ask for the reinstatement of any measures might be necessary to make the junction safer.  Cllr. Jeans therefore proposed that the Town Council submit a Highways Improvement Request form to the LHFIG asking for a white line to be put down the middle of Castle Street/Salisbury Street, leading to the Manor Road junction and any other measures that might improve safety and that would be considered acceptable by the highways engineer.  Proposal seconded by Cllr. Mrs. Beale and carried with a unanimous vote.

 

Owing to the presence of members of the public, the Chair informed those present that she would be changing the order of the agenda (the minutes have been published in the order of discussion)

 

  1. Highways, Rivers, Footpaths, Traffic & Transport

*b) Highway Improvement Request Form received from Mr. Nicholas Gosse:  To prohibit HGVs and large agricultural equipment from using Pettridge Lane and to add a prioritised single lane passing area with safe pedestrian crossing at Edgebridge – Cllr. Hazzard said: ‘We all know that the road there really isn’t big enough and man enough for a lot of modern HGVs and large agricultural equipment but sometimes HGVs and Agricultural equipment does have to use that road.  I don’t think any HGV driver in his right mind would choose to drive that way unless they needed to and the same with agricultural equipment.  Furthermore, I am not sure that you can ban these vehicles as they would be entitled to use the road for access in any case and so I don’t think you would achieve anything. Also, I have noticed some very large vehicles doing deliveries to houses and therefore it would be wrong to assume that all this traffic is going to industrial or commercial premises .  How we can get round that without knocking down a number of houses and getting an extra carriageway in, I don’t know, but how we can also ban these vehicles would be tricky because people would be very upset if they couldn’t get their telly or sofa delivered because HGVs had been banned.’  The Chairman said ‘we are starting from here – this is how Pettridge Lane is and it is how Mere has been built and I would be interested to know what other options these HGVs and Agricultural equipment have to get to the places they need to get to – there is no route that is any better.  We are a country town and were not built for these heavy vehicles.’  Cllr. Jeans reported that 25 years ago, when there were talks of building 15 houses on the Walnut Road development (there is now 47) we were told that there would be provision of a pavement around Edgebridge and an option to sling the bridge and at that time the Duchy of Cornwall owned a house that had the land that would have enabled the pavement and/or sling for the bridge but this has subsequently been sold and so we are working on providing an alternative route for pedestrians so that they don’t have to use that corner.   Development in the southern part of Mere has resulted in more traffic using Pettridge Lane and the only option I can see is to provide a footpath for pedestrians from this area to get to the centre of town.   We already have such a footpath – Right of Way 66 and 50 which runs around the back of Lordsmead Mill and leads past the cemetery to Angel Lane.  It needs resurfacing, widening, dropped kerbs and low-level lighting to make it accessible for all to use.  The Town Council has a project co-ordinator who is heading this project for the Town Council and as far as I am concerned this is the only option to provide safe pedestrian access into the centre of Mere.  As for the HGVs, I invite you along to the SWW Area Board meeting to ask the Police & Crime Commissioner and the Highways Officer what they think.  However, my understanding is that the highway is for everyone and it is not possible to prohibit certain traffic although you can, of course, have weight limits but they will still allow access.  I do believe, however, that in Bradford on Avon they have banned heavy vehicles from going across a historic bridge but I think that is exceptional and I cannot envisage any circumstances in which the Highway Authority would agree to prohibit HGVs from Pettridge Lane because then they would have to do it all across Wiltshire.  Cllr. Jordan expressed his frustration and said that at a pre-planning meeting with the man who owned Beaumonts, he expressed the Town Council’s concerns about extra traffic using Pettridge Lane, but the response received was that there used to be huge lorries moving very large chimneys from the factory.  Cllr. Jordan said that he had looked at the Integrated Transport Scheme Assessment Framework where the first factor for consideration related to the number of accidents and said that it seems to him that an accident has to happen before action will be taken rather than to conduct a risk assessment beforehand.  Cllr. Jordan also said that at a Core Strategy meeting, Wiltshire Council said that the improvement of footpaths, cycleways and public transport choices would provide better connectivity within the community and said that he had been trying, for some time, to get improvements for FP 66 and 50 and he thinks that our main objective has to be to try and secure a decent pedestrian access for people who live in this area to get to the centre of town.  The Chairman asked for a proposal as to whether the Town Council was prepared to support and submit Mr. Gosse’s Highways Improvement Request (HIR) form to the LHFIG for further action.  Cllr. Jordan proposed that the Town Council should submit Mr. Gosse’s (HIR) form but the proposal but did not receive a seconder.  Cllr. Jeans said that he didn’t think the submission was even feasible as it was not possible to ban HGVs and Agricultural Vehicles from the public highway.  Cllr. Hazzard proposed that the Town Council support the safety of pedestrians around Edgebridge and would ask that the residents support the Town Council’s project to take pedestrians away from the Edgebridge area but not support the banning of agricultural and HGVs.  Proposal seconded by Cllr. Mrs. Symonds and carried with a majority vote in favour.

*c) Mere Rivers Group – update on Mere streams – Mr. Ian Sheppard had previously issued a report which was circulated to members.  However, he added that our streams, particularly the Shreen, is in a very sorry state on the back of the driest summer since 1884 and the lowest rainfall.  The Ashfield has been running beautifully all summer and the mill pond at Burton has been full and looks superb and that is because Wessex Water are pumping over 1m litres per day back into the stream as stream support.  As this is working so well, Wessex Water are proposing to do the same along the Shreen with the water being pumped back in somewhere near Steep Street.  However, because the streams were so low and the lack of rainfall, Wessex Water’s reservoir levels are down by 30% and they have had to resort to abstracting more water from Mere.  There is an agreement that when the water level reaches a certain low point they will only abstract 4m litres per day but their license from the Environment Agency allows them to abstract up to  9.5m litres per day and although we have had quite a bit of rain in the last couple of weeks, it will take months for the rain to fill up the aquifers but, Mr. Sheppard added, Wessex Water had assured him that as soon as the reservoirs at Yeovil & Winterbourne are back up to a reasonable level, they will stop taking the extra water from Mere.   It is good news that stream support for the Shreen is being proposed but in the meantime, when the river dries up, the banks dry up and fall in and the weed grows up and we end up losing some of the river bank.  The walk along Waterside has always attracted people to walk along there because it is so pretty but it is not pretty now, it is horrible.  The riparian owners have purposely let the weed grow to hold the water in and try and provide some water for the fish and wildlife but I would like to ask you for some help with the stream maintenance.  I know you say it is not your responsibility but Wiltshire Council say the same and I wonder who is responsible?  We have got a councillor that sits on both boards – surely you can find out who owns the river.  I am working with Hampshire CC who have published something on Riperian ownership and responsibilities and it looks like, if you can’t prove ownership then the Town Council will need to take on the problem as they are responsible for the town.  The Clerk explained that there was a liability issue and that some years ago, she was advised by the Town Councils insurers that they should not take on the liability for cleaning the river as it was not their property and not their responsibility.  Mr. Sheppard said that the riparian owners who do their bit and clean up their side of the river, then pile up the weed on the river bank and it is left there to rot away and this not only looks awful but it undermines the river bank and he asked if there was any chance that the Town Council could take away the river weed and put it on their compost heap.  The Clerk said that the Town Council doesn’t have a compost heap and also raised the point that there was Japanese Knotweed in the river some years ago and by picking up that, there could be a liability of moving this invasive weed around.  The Chairman said that she did walk along Waterside at the weekend and had taken some photographs.  She reminded people that, at one time, the Environment Agency had advised on the importance of leaving staggered weed patches along the river in order to benefit wildlife.  Mr. Sheppard said that some of the riparian owners do their bit, some don’t have big gardens and some don’t have bins but what do we do?  Can I also say that I think that this stretch of river, during the summer, is a very popular playground in Mere – all the kids are in the river having a lovely time in the summer.  Cllr. Mrs. Symonds said that she wanted to officially record thanks to Mr.  Sheppard & the rivers group for all the continuous work in keeping pressure on these agencies.  She said that the fact that we have this water recycling system coming to both streams is a great tribute for all your hard work.  Cllr. Hazzard suggested that the Town Council should discuss River Cleaning at the next meeting and asked the Clerk to contact the Town Council’s insurance company for clarification on liability issues in the meantime.

 

  1. Matters Arising from previous Meetings
  2. a) Wiltshire Towns Programme – Cllr. Jordan said that he had sent a copy of our draft Action Plan to Wiltshire Council for them to comment on whether he was using the right format and the right language but he was still awaiting a response from them. However, he said that his efforts in trying to get some money from Wiltshire Council for increasing footfall in Mere had paled into insignificance compared to the efforts of Philip Coward and Hillbrush for raising Mere’s status – as members of his family had been regularly sending him pictures of Philip Coward on billboards at various tube stations in London.

*b) Warm Spaces Scheme (Minute No. 204C) – With reference to the information in the Clerks Report, it was agreed that efforts should be made to publicise this scheme via social media and posters in show windows, noticeboards etc.  Cllr. Rachael Hansford said that the Mere Resilience Forum had applied for some funding from the SSEN following the extended power cuts after storm Eunice in February and she had pitched for funding to provide a Resilience Forum Co-Ordinator to work 2 hours per week.  She said that this application had been successful and a grant of £2320 had been received by the Town Council.  Cllr. Rachael Hansford said that she had a friend who is a volunteer co-ordinator at the Balsam Centre in Wincanton who is interested in taking on the role for 2 hours pw on a contracted freelance basis.  The Clerk and I were thinking, that with the approval of the Council, she could co-ordinate things like this, finding out who needs help, speaking to the Linkscheme and do what we want to do with the Resilience Forum.  Cllr. Rachael Hansford proposed that the Town Council spend the SSEN grant funding on a freelance contract for 2 hours per week to co-ordinate the resilience forum for 1 year.  All in favour.  The Clerk confirmed that she had checked with the insurance company about the freelance contract for this purpose and they were happy with this.

*c) Report from Mere Town Council’s Project Co-Ordinator – the report had been distributed with the agenda papers and the Chairman confirmed that Mr. Pipe had made good progress with the consultation regarding the play area.  Cllr. Mrs. Beale said that there had been quite a few comments on social media regarding the Walnut Road play area project and Cllr. Rachael Hansford said that she had responded on social media by telling those people who commented to contact Roger at the Town Council offices direct. Cllr. Rachael Hansford said that she had found it interesting, from reading this report, that a lot of people using the park were local, even if they were in the Walnut Tree.  Cllr. Colman asked if enquiries could be made relating to any warranties or guarantees that may have been placed on the play equipment in the Walnut Road Play Area when it had been constructed and he also asked about the commuted sum payment that had been made to the Town Council from the developers via the planning authority. The Clerk confirmed that the commuted sum payment had been used up on the maintenance of the play equipment and the site since the play area was transferred to the town council over 14 years ago.

*d) Leases for Car Parks & Public Toilets – The Chairman reported that she and the Vice-Chair had been into a firm of solicitors to sign the declaration relating to the lease for the public toilets and that particular lease had now been completed.  With reference to the draft leases for the two car parks, the Clerk confirmed that a summary of points to note with comments from the Clerk, Cllr. Mrs. Symonds, Cllr. Jordan and Cllr. Jeans had been submitted to members with their agenda papers.   Members agreed with the points to note on the Castle Street Car Park draft lease and had nothing further to add.  Members agreed with the points to note on the Salisbury Street Car park but some specifics were discussed further:

Landlords break clause – it was agreed to ask for this to be removed.

Restrictions as to sizes of vehicles & types of vehicles – The Clerk pointed out that the current weight restriction in the draft lease is likely to exclude even a large panel van let alone any HGVs.  The Clerk pointed out that there were large vehicles that needed to access the car park such as the mobile Breast Screening Clinic for the Doctors Surgery.  There was a discussion on the issue of campervans.  Cllr. Mrs. Beale said that we needed to think about any restrictions we might impose and whether this will have an effect on local people by forcing them to park on the road rather than in the car park.  Cllr. Rachael Hansford said that local businesses sponsor the car park on the basis that it is available for visitors to bring business into the town and so we either have to decide if we are happy for residents to park in the car park for long periods of time or to ask for a time restriction.  RESOLVED to ask for a 24-hour time limit imposed on all vehicles on proposal made by Cllr. Mrs. Symonds, seconded by Cllr. Colman and carried with a unanimous vote.

Cllr. Jeans declared a pecuniary interest in the next aspect of this discussion and left the room.

Third Party Rights – it was agreed that the Town Council did not need or want to get too involved in who has third party rights across the Salisbury Street Car Park and where those rights are and that clauses 5.1 and 5.2 should suffice unless there is a problem.  However, it was agreed to ask for a point to be noted on the lease that if the Tenant (Town Council) has an issue with a Third Party Right or suspects that a Third Party Right may be breaching terms, then the tenant shall ask the Landlord (Wiltshire Council) to investigate.  Proposal made by Cllr. Mrs. Symonds, seconded by Cllr. Mrs. Beale and carried with a majority in favour (1 abstention).

Cllr. Jeans was invited back into the room.

  1. e) Leases for Car Club – The Clerk reported that she had attended a “Teams” meeting last week with the gentleman representing Econetiq and Wiltshire Council officers. It was clear that there had been communication problems and possibly some confusion over which Council was responsible for which part of this project. However, it was concluded, at the Teams meeting, that Econetiq would prepare a draft lease, naming Mere Town Council as client, so that we can send to our solicitor and it was promised that we would receive this by Friday 4th November but it still hasn’t come.  The Clerk reported that a DNR application had arrived instead, with a request for a signature authorising Econetiq to communication with our electricity provider for the car park.  Members indicated that they were happy for the Clerk to sign this agreement.

 

  1. Reports & Consultations
  2. a) Wiltshire Councillors Report Jeans reported that he was proceeding with the purchase of signage for White Road (the private part of the road near Mere School). He said that Wiltshire Council had agreed that they own it but it is a private road with a public footpath. Cllr. Colman raised a question about when Wiltshire Council staff would return to offices and working hours following the Covid pandemic.  It was agreed that this would be discussed as a future agenda item.

 

  1. Planning
  2. a) Applications for consultation response:
Application No: PL/2022/07868
Application Type: Lawful development: Existing use
Proposal: Certificate of lawfulness for erection of wall and brick piers to front of the property
Site Address: Wet Lane Farm, Wet Lane, Mere, Warminster, Wilts, BA12 6BA
Planning Register Link: https://development.wiltshire.gov.uk/pr/s/planning-application/a0i3z00001981Ly

 

The Clerk reported that it seemed that this wall had been erected without planning permission and has subsequently been investigated by the planning enforcement officer.  The applicant is looking for a certificate of Lawfulness.  In other words, if the majority of the wall has been there since 2018 or is over the 4 year rule then enforcement action cannot be taken.  Cllr. Jordan said that he had walked past this property on numerous occasions but cannot remember if the wall was there in 2018 or not.  RESOLVED to send a ‘No Comment’ submission to the planning authority on proposal made by Cllr. Mrs. Symonds, seconded by Cllr. N. 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 No: PL/2022/08163
Application Type: Notification of proposed works to trees in a conservation area
Proposal: T1 – Cornus tree – 3m crown reduction
Site Address: SPENNITHORNE COTTAGE, WATER STREET, MERE, WARMINSTER, BA12 6DY
Planning Register Link: https://development.wiltshire.gov.uk/pr/s/planning-application/a0i3z0000198YTj

 

RESOLVED to recommend approval of the above application on proposal made by Cllr. Jordan, seconded by Cllr. Mrs. Beale and carried with a unanimous vote.

 

Application No: PL/2022/08058
Application Type: Householder planning permission
Proposal: Porch extension
Site Address: 30 NORTH ROAD, MERE, WARMINSTER, BA12 6HQ
Planning Register Link:  https://development.wiltshire.gov.uk/pr/s/planning-application/a0i3z0000198KUQ

 

RESOLVED to recommend approval of the above application on proposal made by Cllr. Sandra Catley, seconded by Cllr. Jordan 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.

 

Application No: PL/2022/08542
Application Type: Notification of proposed works to trees in a conservation area
Proposal: Willow – 30- 50% Pollard
Site Address: WILLOW COTTAGE, WATERSIDE, MERE, WARMINSTER, BA12 6EE

RESOLVED to recommend approval of the above application on proposal made by Cllr. Mrs. Symonds, seconded by Cllr. Jordan and carried with a unanimous vote.

 

Application No: PL/2022/08620
Application Type: Notification of proposed works to trees in a conservation area
Proposal: T1 Beech tree – Crown lift low limbs to 3m to allow more light in. T2 Yew tree – Reduce and shape by 30% to allow more room around Beech tree. T3 False Acacia – Fell. Extensive deadwood and decay over footpath and power lines. Allow more light for Silver Birch. T4 Prunus – Reduce and shape by 30% to allow better access over footpath.
Site Address: ST ANNS, CHURCH STREET, MERE, WARMINSTER, BA12 6DS

RESOLVED to recommend approval of the above application on proposal made by Cllr. Jordan, seconded by Cllr. Mrs. Beale and carried with a unanimous vote.

  1. Highways, Rivers, Footpaths, Traffic & Transport
  2. a) To identify jobs for the Parish Steward, Sparkle Team and MyWiltshire reports: –

The Clerk reported that the Sparkle Team will be in Mere next Monday and will be working on the footpath from Pettridge Lane to Angel Lane.

  • Colman reported that vegetation was obstructing a 20mph sign coming from Walnut Road to Shaftesbury Road.
  • Mrs. Beale reported that the ditch system alongside RoW Mere21/10 (alongside the pumping station) needs to be cleared as the footpath is becoming flooded.
  • Jeans asked if the Sparkle Team could cut the hedge at the back of The Yews so that it does not narrow the footpath along Waterside. Cllr. Jeans said that it is Wiltshire Council’s hedge but it needs cutting back severely as it narrows the footpath repeatedly.
  1. d) Report on meetings held by Parking Working Group – It was apparent that the working group had split into two groups to carry out their site visits in separate areas. Colman had prepared a comprehensive report on the findings from his site visit and distributed this at the meeting. However, as it was 9 pm now and members had not had the chance to read the report prior to the meeting it was agreed that this item should be raised as an agenda item for the next meeting and that a combined report should be written up from the working party to distribute to members with their agenda papers.  Cllr. Jeans asked if it could be possible for items that he may have to declare an interest in, to be separated on the report so that he can leave the room whilst these items are discussed.

 

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

*a) To consider consultation and amendments to policy for parking at Wellhead Allotments car park in view of the size of vans now being parked therein – members agreed with the suggestions made by the Clerk, as distributed in the Clerks Report.  The Clerk said that she would like to consult with the residents before amending the policy and members agreed to this.

  1. b) Report on Annual RoSPA Play Area Inspection Report – the Clerk reported that the inspection had taken place in September and the four reports had been received (Recreation Ground Play Area, Skate Park, Walnut Road Play Area & Castle Hill Play Area) and she was pleased to say that she could find no “High Risk” items having been identified other than the skate park and the aerial runway which are generally high-risk items. She reported, however, that there were one or two issues that had been raised as “Medium Risk” and she would work through the report with the grounds staff to take actions to repair, remedy or reduce the risk where possible.

 

  1. Finance, Policy & Resources

*a) Payments – To review and authorise schedule of payments (attached) – RESOLVED to authorise payment on proposal made by Cllr. Hazzard, seconded by Cllr. N. Beale and carried with a unanimous vote.

The Clerk reminded members that they had approved the payment for the tractor some time ago but she had not released any funds to the vendor because the tractor had not yet arrived.

  1. b) To sign off latest bank reconciliation – the Clerk reported that the bank statements had arrived today and therefore there had been insufficient time to carry out the bank reconciliation.

*c) Completion of the limited assurance review (external audit) for the year ended 31 March 2022 – members noted the information in the Clerks Report relating to the matters raised by the external auditor.  With reference to the issue regarding the sole charitable status and the subsequent correspondence on this matter, the Clerk said that, as suggested by the External Auditors, she would now need to seek legal advice and would think it prudent to appoint Wellers Hedley as they had specialist knowledge of charity/council relationships.  Members agreed with this conclusion.

 

  1. General Items
  2. a) Gigaclear – Broadband network build update – the Clerk said that an update had been issued by Gigaclear giving dates and locations of the places that they would be working on. The Clerk pointed out that they were in Church Street on Remembrance Weekend and has informed them that there would be a Remembrance Parade going along Church Street.

 

  1. Briefing Notes

*Wiltshire Council’s Briefing Note No. 22-20 – Substantive Highways Scheme Fund Bid Application Process for Funding in 2023/24 – Noted

 

  1. Future meetings and events
  2. a) Mere Remembrance – Sunday, 13th November – the Chairman said that she would be laying a wreath on behalf of the Town Council. The Clerk confirmed that a 20-minute road closure would take place. Jordan said that it was a shame that the Clock Tower bell would not be chiming.
  3. b) South West Wiltshire Health and Wellbeing Group. Monday 21st November, 2pm-3.30pm at the Enterprise Veterans Hub, Erskine House, Buckeridge Rd, Wilton, SP2 0FX.
  4. c) Flood Warden Training Day 23.11.22 – Guildhall, Salisbury
  5. d) Community Safety Partnership & SW Wiltshire LHFIG meeting, Wednesday, 30th November, 14:00 – 16:30 at Nadder Centre, Tisbury. – Cllr. Mrs. Beale said that she was nominating Cllr. Nick Beale to attend the LHFIG meeting to represent the Town Council.

 

  1. Future agenda items – None identified

 

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 9.17 pm

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