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Minutes of Town Council meeting held on Monday, 8th April 2024

 Mere Town Council

Town Clerk – Mrs. L. C. Wood


Minutes of a meeting of Mere Town Council held on Monday, 8th April 2024 at 7.00 pm at Duchy Manor, Springfield Road, Mere, Wiltshire.  BA12 6EW.  The meeting will consider the items set out below. 


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

Also: Graham Sheppard


Public Participation Session

Mr. Graham Shepard pointed out various issues relating to the work connected with the footpath improvement project and Lesley Traves asked some questions.  The Chairman and Clerk pointed out that the job was not actually finished and the contractors were coming back to deal with some of the points that had been raised tonight as well as other issues which had been picked up on the snagging list.

Rodney Coward urged people to walk around Castle Hill & Long Hill saying that it is well worth the effort to see all the primroses and wild flowers.

John Jordan publicised a walk taking place next Sunday (14th April) at 2.00 pm starting from Salisbury Street Car Park – this is a walk that has been devised by Richard Broadhead for the Cranborne Chase Natural Landscape.


Reports from local police representatives

  • None present


  1. Apologies for absence received from Councillors Nick Beale, Philip Coward, R. Hill & Glen Ings


  1. To receive any declarations of disclosable pecuniary interests and other interests from Councillors on matters to be considered at the meeting.
  • George Jeans declared a pecuniary interest in Minute Ref: 400a)


  1. Minutes – RESOLVED that the minutes of the Town Council meeting held on Monday, 4th March 2024 be approved as a correct record. The working group RESOLVED that the Minutes of working group meeting held to review & assess the effectiveness of Internal Control Measures held on Thursday, 21st March 2024 be approved as a correct record.


  1. Matters Arising from Public Session



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

*a) Annual Town Meeting (Minute Ref. 382a) – suggested agenda (Draft agenda attached) – the Chairman said that he had requested that the Q & A session be removed from the draft agenda.  He said that following a brief introduction and report from him at the meeting, there will be councillors on hand and representatives from various groups on hand and I hope that people will direct their questions to those councillors and representatives.  We will also have post-its so that people can provide suggestions and we must annotate all this so that we can note these questions and suggestions in the Minutes. Cllr. Rachael Hansford requested that we include, within the notice, a link to the suggestion page on the website for those that cannot attend the meeting.

*b) Update on licence agreement with Econetiq for EV chargers in Salisbury Street Car Park (Minute Ref: 386b) [see Clerks Report] – The Chairman reminded members that at the last meeting that we approved expending a further £300 towards the solicitors’ costs for additional work.  Econetiq now want a lease from us which will mean the creation of another document which will cost us more.  It was felt that the Town Council had spent far too much time and money on Econetiq and not made any progress and as they were a company chosen by the car share company and not by the Town Council in the first place, it may be better to pursue an alternative company to provide EV chargers in the car park.  The Clerk said she had taken the liberty of contacting Mr. Hytch who had said that he felt confident that the team at Pluscharge would be able to survey, deliver and install chargers to our requirements in the Salisbury Street Car Park.  It was agreed to check with our solicitors that we are free to call a halt to proceedings with Econetiq and if so we should do so and follow up new proceedings to install EV chargers in the car park with Pluscharge.


  1. Reports & Consultations
  2. a) Wiltshire Councillors Report – Cllr. Jeans said that he didn’t want to draw out the meeting with a long report but would happily answer any questions if asked.

*b) Project Co-Ordinator’s Report (report attached) – members noted the information that was distributed and the Chairman pointed out that we had already discussed footpaths 50 & 66 and we appreciate that there is some snagging work to do.

  1. c) Community Governance Review – to report on public consultation meeting held on 18th March 2024 – the Chairman thanked all those who were able to come along to the meeting but gave a summary of the meeting for those who were unable to come along. He said that it was now down to the committee to make a formal recommendation to Wiltshire Council.


  1. Planning
  2. a) Applications for consultation response:
Application No: PL/2024/02765
Application Type: Notification of proposed works to trees in a conservation area
Proposal: T1 – Apple tree – reduce main branch by 5m and reduce remainder of tree back to previous pruning points and balance and shape
Planning Register Link:


RESOLVED to recommend approval of the above application.


Application No: PL/2024/02080
Application Type: Removal/variation of conditions
Proposal: Variation of condition 2 of PL/2023/00624 (approved plans) in order to substitute the use of stone in lieu of buff bricks on certain elevations
Site Address: Land Adjacent to Quarryfield Industrial Estate, Castle Street, Mere, BA12 6LA
Planning Register Link:


Members felt that the wording on the proposal above was ambiguous as it is unclear exactly what elevations it is proposed to substitute stone for buff bricks (the proposal says certain elevations!).  However, after clarification with the planning officer, it would appear that it is proposed to substitute stone for buff bricks on the front elevation.  RESOLVED that the Town Council cannot support this proposal.  During the pre-application inquiry process for this Care Home, the LPA suggested that the proposed building design should take inspiration from more traditional buildings within the centre of Mere and the applicant determined to proceed with a more traditional design approach and stated that the development would use materials to the walls and roof which harmonized with those used within the centre of Mere and that the building was designed in such a way that is respectful to the older properties within Mere.  To substitute the use of stone in lieu of buff bricks on ANY elevations, but particularly on the front elevation, which will be visible from Castle Street, would not harmonize with any buildings in Mere as the Town Council cannot think of any buildings within the town that are made of buff bricks.  Furthermore, the visual impact would be completely out of character with the surrounding area and would not be respectful to the surrounding landscape and would not achieve high quality design.   [In order not to compromise his position as Wiltshire Councillor, Cllr. Jeans abstained from voting on this matter.]

Application No: PL/2024/02708
Application Type: Works to a Listed Building
Proposal: Replacement of existing front door with wooden door with glazing as per the door at Stephens Cottage.  Like for like replacement of ground level front of building window.
Site Address: St. Michaels Cottage, Church Street, Mere.  BA12 6DS
Planning Register Link:


RESOLVED to recommend approval of the above application


The Chairman informed members that the planning application for Woodlands Road (considered at last month’s meeting) had been approved on condition that it is used for agricultural purposes only.  The planning application for Wet Lane has been withdrawn although Cllr. Jeans has been assured that another planning application will be forthcoming for this site.


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

Cllr. Jeans identified a large pothole in Water Street (outside Shreen Hayes). The Chairman thanked the 20+ volunteers who came along to do the Spring Clean litter pick last weekend and gathered up 31 bags of litter and was impressed that the Streetscene team collected the litter before 8 am the next morning.

*b) Highway Improvement Request Form for review and provision of additional lighting in Pettridge Lane – (Form attached) – this echoes a problem that was discussed at last month’s meeting.  Cllr. Jeans said he would be in favour of this being approved but requested that an apron is included within the light to stop the light being emitted into neighbouring properties.  Cllr. Debbie Beale requested that a Victorian-style street light be considered or something more appropriate.  RESOLVED to support the addition of an appropriate lamp (with shield) subject to the Town Council’s financial contribution being agreed.


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

*a) To consider appointing a QS to provide an estimate and specification for the Public Toilet project (report attached & layout plan attached) – Cllr. Hazzard said that he was staggered at the costs given by the specialist public toilet fitters.  Cllr. Colman felt that specialist public toilet fitters were essential and that the Town Council should even go so far as getting a maintenance contract and a cleaning contract so that we had the whole package deal.  He also said that it appeared that some of the amendments to the layout plan, previously agreed by the Council had been ignored.  The Chairman pointed out that this layout plan had been used simply as an illustrative drawing to enable a Quantity Surveyor to provide a figure so that we can do a public consultation in order to apply for a loan.  The Chairman pointed out that it would not be possible to apply for a loan for a maintenance contract or cleaning contract.  It was agreed that, if necessary, three toilets would be sufficient.  Cllr. Jeans was adamant that one of the toilets needed to be chargeable so that people could pay to use it at night.  If it is three toilets, we felt that there would be one that is clearly marked as ladies, one that is clearly marked as a radar/disabled toilet and the other one could be free for all to use during the daytime but would be open during the night with payment.  This toilet being labelled “unisex”.  Agreed that a Quantity Surveyor be appointed to provide the details that would be necessary to go to public consultation in order to apply for a loan from the Public Works Loan Board.  Cllr. Jeans abstained from voting as he lived so close to the public toilets.

  1. b) Update on clock chiming repair – The Clerk reported that Peter from the Cumbria Clock Company came out on 14th March, part of the striking mechanism was jamming up the clock and so this part has now been taken out and taken away for remodelling. The clock is working now and Peter is hoping that when it is remodelled and refitted both the clock and striking mechanism will work. Our clock is over 130 years old and Peter said that he could provide a price for an electric clock and pointed out that electric clocks also go wrong and when they go wrong it is often necessary to replace the whole clock and not just a cog or an arm.  The Clerk pointed out that the Cumbria Clock’s invoice had not yet been paid and would not be paid until everything they were charging us for was working properly.
  2. c) Community Garden Proposals for Fennel Road – the people who were considering Fennel Road for this opportunity have now decided that this is not a viable option and have requested that they are now included on the waiting list for a suitable allotment instead.


  1. Finance, Policy & Resources

*a) Payments – Having declared a pecuniary interest in this item, Cllr. Jeans left the meeting room whilst this matter was discussed.  Cllr. Hazzard raised a question on the cleaning of mop heads invoice from Jeans.  The Clerk explained that the mop heads were no longer cleaned commercially as she had found a source to buy mop heads in bulk so it was cheaper to throw away mop heads than it was to have them cleaned.  However, she was dismayed to receive invoices two years after the event and invoices that spanned a period of two years.  RESOLVED to authorise schedule of payments (schedule attached).

  1. b) To note the reconciliations for February 2024 – the Chairman confirmed that he had signed and verified the reconciliations against the bank statements & he had verified the Clerk’s monthly salary payment.

*c) Review and assessment of the effectiveness of Internal Control Measures – the Clerk explained that the Town Council has to confirm that it has reviewed, annually, the effective of our systems of financial control and those systems include our internal controls which are things like our financial regulations, standing orders, internal auditor, external audit, asset register, policies, budget controls etc.

RESOLVED to approve the recommendations of the working group as outlined in the Minutes of the meeting held to review and assess the effectiveness of Internal Control Measures held on Thursday, 21st March 2024.

RESOLVED to approve the draft Statement of Internal Controls 2023/24 without amendment

RESOLVED to approve the Annual Investment Strategy without amendment

RESOLVED to approve the Asset Management Policy and members agreed to set £250 as an appropriate minimum value for single assets and collective assets.  It was pointed out that the last building valuation was carried out in 2014 and as it says that they will be revalued every 10 years, it follows that this will need to take place during this financial year.

RESOLVED to approve the Fixed Asset Register 2023/24 without amendment

*d) To report on allotment rent audit (in Clerks Report) – members noted the information in the Clerks Report.

  1. e) 2023/24 Annual Governance & Accountability Return external auditor instructions – the Clerk explained that instructions had been received from the external auditors. The Council is within the parameters for an Intermediate Internal Audit. This year we will need to provide supporting documentation for the precept.  We will also need to report on any ‘Except For’ matters, copies of minutes and any action that we have taken.  The Clerk said that she did make an error on the asset register valuation last year which is one of the reasons why she has reviewed the asset register this year.
  2. f) To sign the Grant Agreement for the Provision of the Wiltshire Towns Programme – Activity Generation Allocation Funding 2023-2024 – In the absence of the Vice-Chairman, it was agreed that the Chairman and Vice-Chairman should sign this document as soon as possible.
  3. g) Cleaning of office/Andy Young Pavilion – the Clerk pointed out that Mrs. Beaumont used to clean the pavilion 1 hour one week and clean the offices and foyer here at Duchy Manor 1 hour the next week but she has now retired and the Clerk has found a local cleaning contractor who is willing to do these tasks for £15.00 per hour although she has said that it may take her longer than one hour per week in the initial stages. RESOLVED to proceed with this cleaning contract on this basis.

*h) CCLA – to make formal resolution to invest £100,000 into the CCLA Public Sector Deposit Fund and to authorise signatories and account operators. RESOLVED to authorise the investment of £100,000 into the CCLA Public Sector Deposit Fund on proposal made by the Chairman, seconded by Cllr. Mrs. Traves and carried with a unanimous vote.  It was agreed that signatories be Councillors John Jordan, Lesley Traves, George Jeans and the Clerk, Lindsey Wood.


  1. General Items
  2. a) Briefing Note 25-06 – Management of Council business and publicity during the pre-election period (attached) – The Chairman pointed out that there is an election taking place for the Police and Crime Commissioner and so this information is relevant in the run up to the election.
  3. b) To change date of June 2024 meeting – RESOLVED to change the meeting to 10th June as the Clerk is not available on the first Monday. The Chairman said that the agenda would be sent out on 20th May and so if anyone wanted anything to go on the agenda then they needed to get it in early before 20th
  4. c) Blue Plaques for Mere – potential signs and sites – the Chairman said that he had taken some advice on blue plaques from the archivist for the Mere Historical Society who has made some suggestions: Farley Rutter, William Lander, William Barnes, Harrison Birtwhistle, Eve Grey (actress)

George Jeans suggested Isiah Jupe should be remembered somehow and Vivien Leigh who lived in Woodlands Manor.  Cllr. Mrs. Symonds suggested Julia Chaffyn-Grove.

RESOLVED that the Chairman should find out if the owners of the properties identified would be willing to have a blue plaque and then seek approval from any existing family members if they would be happy to have a blue plaque to commemorate their ancestor.  RESOLVED to authorise the Chairman to proceed with the next step in this process.


  1. Future meetings and events
  • Annual Town Meeting to be held on Wednesday, 24th April 2024 at Duchy Manor at 6.00 pm
  • Cranborne Chase National Landscape Annual Forum – Tuesday, 16th April 2024 – 9.30 am – 4.00 pm. Dinton Village Hall (booking required)
  • Operational Flood Working Group on 17th April in Warminster


  1. Future agenda items

NB – Please note that the next Town Council meeting will be the Annual Town Council meeting and will be held on Monday, 13th May 2024


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 8.31 pm













Registered Charity No. 1093497


Trustees RESOLVED to approve the following payment:


Water2business – standing charge for water supply to old cricket club site            £34.53