The Minutes of the previous meeting (December 2013)


Members were reminded that the 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 & any disability); Crime & Disorder, Health & Safety and Human Rights.
Nancy Chapman, Parish Clerk


Robin Carpenter (Chairman), Peter Bysouth, Bill Turner, Vanessa May, Malcolm White, Paul Vallis and Gina Seaton (District Councillor).


Nancy Chapman (Parish Clerk) and 2 members of the public.

Before the meeting there was an opportunity for the public to speak.

Having attended the parish council’s previous meeting in December, a member of the public said he had concerns regarding the resolution that was passed. The resolution stated that the parish council had no influence over the decisions made by the Village Hall Committee (VHC). However, as owners of the building the council should have ultimate responsibility, particularly relating to health and safety issues. The parish council were therefore acting beyond their powers. He also felt that the VHC were acting beyond their powers when proposing to adopt their new constitution.

The Vice Chairman responded that before the resolution was proposed he had checked with SALC (Somerset Association of Local Councils) that it was acceptable, and also confirmed the legal meaning of Custodian Trustees. The new constitution that is being proposed by the VHC is very similar to the existing one and is based on the example given on the charities commission website. He confirmed the VHC is a registered charity.

The Chairman responded that as no-one on the Parish Council was a legal expert, the best course of action would be for the details of any concerns to be put in writing so that the council can investigate and consult with SALC on the subject.

    Keith Blackwell gave his letter of resignation to the parish council at the previous meeting on 11th December 2013. The Chairman gave his thanks for Keith’s help over the last few years and expressed his sadness at his departure.

    The vacancy on the council will now be advertised. Unless 10 electors request an election in writing within 14 days of the vacancy notice being advertised, the Parish Council will proceed to fill the vacancy by co-option.

  3. MINUTES OF MEETINGS held on 19th November and 11th December 2013 (Already Circulated).
    1. November minutes – Two spelling typos in section 5 were corrected. Section 11 was amended to add Keith Blackwell’s name to the meeting list.
    2. December minutes – An amendment was made to section 2 para 5 to amend the 2nd resolution to begin as follows:
      “The Parish Council does not support the views expressed by two council members who were present at a meeting held on 28th November, 2013. The Council believes that, as Custodian Trustee, its position is solely to hold the Village Hall property, and that it has no power to make decisions or to instruct the Village Hall Committee to make such decisions ...”
    3. The minutes were then approved and signed by the Chairman as correct records of the meetings.
    Gina Seaton reported that 3 planning applications within West Coker had been discussed at the Area South Meeting. The full Council meeting discussed some very technical issues relating to the Treasury Management Strategy. The Council Tax reduction scheme was discussed. Also the Council tax for empty properties was discussed with owners potentially having to pay 150% of the property charge.

    The Chairman reported that Emma Baker, SSDC’s Empty Property Officer had been in contact with the owner of the empty property on Ragg Lane and was investigating various options. The Chairman had observed some activity taking place there, but was not aware of the latest progress. Gina agreed to follow this up.

    1. Planning Applications received: None
    2. There were no planning applications received after publication of the agenda.
    3. Results of previous applications received: APP No. 13/03914/FUL Conversion of existing outbuilding into a self contained annex at Partway House, Partway Lane. Applicant: Mr David Marr. Approved with conditions.
    4. It was reported that the Planning department had held a meeting at Woodentop Farm in December, but that no further feedback had been received from them. Gina agreed the follow this up.
    5. Following Ric Pallister’s presentation on affordable housing in November, the Vice Chairman asked the council if they thought any further action should be taken regarding the Moor Lane Nursery site. The general view was that it would be to big a project for the council to take on. Gina agreed to provide contact details of the Community Land Trust organisation who deal with projects like this.
    1. Neil Dyer reported that, as expected, there had been lots of potholes and blocked drains that couldn’t cope with the volume of water in his monthly report. With the recent cold weather, the latest problem was now ice on the roads, and Neil wanted to discuss placing grit bins on Bishops Lane, and at Hill End, as well as the one proposed at the top of the High Street.

      The Chairman felt that if the drains were unblocked more effectively, then surface water and therefore ice would not be such an issue.

      The surface water on Primrose Hill was discussed. It was viewed that recent attempts to resolve the problem had not been successful. It was also noted that the pothole outside the Spinneys was now a vehicle hazard. Neil confirmed that this had already been reported.

    2. As the discussion reverted to grit bins again, the question was raised as to whether another three bins was really necessary or desirable. While the bins were not that expensive, they are not very attractive. It was viewed that one on Bishops Lane was not necessary and that an alternative solution could be found, such as using the salt bags provided by the council.

      A resolution was passed to purchase a 200 litre grit bin to be sited at Hill End.

    3. In order to determine if there was a requirement for a grit bin at the top of the High Street, it was agreed a notice should be placed in the Messenger asking for people’s views.
    4. Surface water at Chasers Farm. With the recent heavy rainfall it was now possible to determine that the cause of the problem was the absence of a ditch or drain. It was viewed that the only effective solution would be to dig a new drain, but that this would not be cheap. Neil agreed to follow this up with SCC highways.
    5. Resolution was passed to approve re-imbursement of payment for grit bin for West Coker Hill (127.82 + VAT 25.56 = 153.38).
    1. The Chairman reported that five people attended the village litter pick in December.
    1. The Chairman stated that as there was already 4k reserve in the current precept allocated for expenditure on the community field, that additional equipment could be considered without any extra fund-raising. He presented several quotes from equipment suppliers including The Toybarn, Playdale and Wickstead for various swing options, fitness equipment and gazebo-style shelters. The Chairman agreed to produce a spreadsheet for the next meeting so that prices could be compared more easily.
    2. It was agreed that the clerk should make the booking for the SSDC Annual Playground Inspection & Risk Assessment Service (78.50 + VAT).
    3. Bill Turner asked if BT were still planning to put telegraph poles up along Coker Hill, to Underhill Cottage. The Chairman confirmed that BT has stated this was the only viable option as there are no phone lines to connect to over the top of the hill.
    4. Malcolm White asked what they would use to infill the power cables that are going underground to the cottage. The Chairman agreed to clarify this.
    1. The Chairman reported that the dispute regarding the electrical work at the village hall had been resolved.
    2. The Vice Chairman reported that Andrew Middleton is currently the named person on the Community Licence. As he was likely to be moving from the village in the near future and also, as the licence is soon to be extended to include the community field, it would make sense to make any necessary amendments at the same time to avoid paying the amendment cost of 100 twice. He has therefore, written to Andrew to ask if would like to continue in his role, or if he would like someone else to take it on.
    1. The Bank Reconciliation at 31st December 2013 was approved.
    2. The Budget Analysis at 31st December 2013 was reviewed.
    3. Peter Bysouth talked through the figures on the latest draft of the precept for 2014-15. A resolution was passed to agree to carry forward the reserves into the 2014/2015 financial year. A resolution was also passed to approve this precept for submission to SSDC.
    4. The Clerk’s hours for November (24.5 hours) and December (5.5 hours) were approved.
    5. A resolution was passed to pay the Clerk salary for October, November and December (555.75), expenses (33.11) and mileage (70.65) = 659.51
    6. A resolution was passed to pay SALC for Chairman training courses (50).
    7. A resolution was passed to reimburse Chairman re purchase of refuse bags (3.13 + 0.62 VAT = 3.75).
    8. A resolution was passed to reimburse Village Hall Committee 320 for Village Hall electrical work.
    9. The Vice Chairman reported that an email had been received from Nick Lunt re fixed asset valuations. For the last couple of years the auditors have commented that the fixed assets should be valued at their original purchase cost, rather than current value. It was Nick’s view that it would be impractical (and irrelevant to the council’s function) to ascertain the original purchase costs. Nick has kindly offered to send a letter to the auditors on this subject. A resolution was passed to accept Nick’s offer.
    1. Formal notice of public footpath Y 10/30 Diversion Order has been received and advertised previously, although due to a mistake in the wording of the order, it is required to be re-advertised.
    2. An email had been received from Wendy Burge regarding the bridleway application from North Lane to Coker Hill. Wendy stated that she did not have a formal minute or resolution advising whether or not the Parish is in support of the application or indeed have any other comments to make. She also had some requests for info regarding Underhill Cottage and the work being carried out. Because it was not known at this meeting whether a formal minute had been recorded in previous discussions last year, a resolution was passed supporting the application for a bridleway from North Lane to Coker Hill. The Clerk agreed to copy the relevant minutes to Wendy Burge. The Chairman agreed to contact Wendy with the information regarding Underhill Cottage that she had requested.
    1. It was noted that the lane between Moor Lane and the Shop had still not been cleared.
    2. It was agreed that clearing of the leaves around the Village Hall and the Church should be added to the Ranger’s list of jobs.
    1. Chairman. Nothing to report.
    2. Councillors: Peter Bysouth gave an update from the Village Hall Committee:
      1. Bookings were holding up quite well against budget (3365 for 9 months to 31/12 against budget of 2500). New groups were using the hall.
      2. The total assets were 14,975.
      3. The cooker and dishwasher had performed well at the recent Turkey Supper. However, the hall and kitchen were suffering from very bad condensation (very wet weather + irregular heating?) and this was a concern.
      4. The VHC was looking to replace the (wooden) window in the kitchen with a double glazed one. (315 + VAT). In addition, the garage doors needed replacement urgently. (1,000?). The VHC would like the PC to consider paying for these.
      5. The Street Fair was still going ahead, and the VHC would send a representative, so that it would still be a VHC event for insurance purposes.
      6. The roof on the storage rooms at the rear of the hall had been damaged in the recent storms (by debris from Bill Turner’s roof), and Bill had arranged for this to be repaired.
      7. The following items had been purchased (and used): Wine Glasses (70); 6 square collapsible tables (280 less 100 donation from the Players); 12 square black table clothes (66); It had been decided not to purchase a new Microwave (85) or Fridge (170) at present.
      8. Arrangements were being made for electrical work to be carried out (outside lights; reception socket; hall lighting circuit test; PAT testing.)
      9. The oil boiler would be serviced shortly, and the feasibility of fitting a thermostat instead of a timer would be investigated.
      Peter also informed the council that Georgina Burton from the Citizens Advice Bureau had agreed to speak at the 2014 Annual Assembly. The Clerk agreed to confirm the details with Georgina.
    3. Clerk. Nothing to report.
    The date for next meeting will be Tuesday 18th February 2014 at 7.30 pm in the Village Hall. The meeting closed at 9.15 pm.