The Minutes of the previous meeting (February 2014)


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, Malcolm White, Paul Vallis, Vanessa May Marcus Fysh (County Councillor) and Gina Seaton (District Councillor).


Nancy Chapman (Parish Clerk), David Matthews (Halsall Housing), Jonathan Orton and Dan Trundle (Origin3) and approximately 40 members of the public.

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

A parishioner asked why there needed to be telegraph poles along Coker Hill Lane to Underhill Cottage, instead of putting the cables underground. The Chairman reported that he had spoken to BT and they had stated this was their only option.

The Chairman introduced David Matthews, Head of Land & Development at Halsall Housing, and two planning Consultants/Advisors, Jonathan Orton and Dan Trundle, from Origin3. They were present to discuss the potential development of the Moor Lane Nursery site, hear the views of parishioners and answer any questions.

David Matthews explained that Halsall Housing are in discussions with the current owner to purchase the land. There will now be a ten week period where investigations will be carried out in order to decide if they wish to go ahead with the purchase. During these ten weeks a lot of work will be carried out to look at the cost of clearing the site, the ecology of the site, the surface water and foul drainage, the provision of utilities, and the highways access to the site. They would be speaking to all stakeholders including the residents. Everything will be investigated in the next few weeks and a website will be set up, and this will include an email forum for asking questions. Halsall Housing are keen to get feedback and listen to comments in order to create a high quality scheme.

Following a residents' meeting on Monday night a single parishioner had been appointed as a spokesperson to represent resident’s views. The spokesperson stated that the residents had several significant concerns, with the major one being access to the site. Moor Lane was very narrow with a high pedestrian use, including many children. There were few passing points along the lane. The site traffic during the development was also an issue. There were also major concerns regarding the scale of the development, particularly from residents in properties adjacent to the site whose gardens back on to the site.

Jonathan Orton agreed that these were extremely valid points. The planning process was still at a very early stage and no work has commenced regarding the access, so there was currently no solution. They hoped that following investigation they may arrive at a solution that may address some of the access concerns.

Jonathan explained that Halsall Housing are aware that a recent Housing Needs Survey had been carried out and identified a need for affordable housing and recognized that the Parish Council had a proactive approach to meeting this requirement. They agree that it is only right that locals decide who may benefit from living in the affordable housing. He gave his assurance that the development would not consist of 23 homes, as had been seen in a previous plan. However, until further investigative work had been carried out they were unable to give details of capacity. They would first need to work through the physical and financial constraints and prove that the scheme will make a profit. The viability is a transparent exercise and the council will be given visibility of costs.

A parishioner commented that the Parish Council had already written to SSDC stating they would like to meet up to 50% of the affordable housing requirement (ie. 4). In response to this, Jonathan stated that, if the full requirement is not met by this unattractive, unused site, then the surplus may have to be met elsewhere - such as a green-field site.

A parishioner, who had moved out of the village as they were unable to downsize within the village, enquired if a need for smaller homes would be met. David confirmed that their research had recognized a need for 2, 3 and 4 bedroom homes.

David confirmed that they were aware of the covenant on the site and had no intention of trying to remove it.

Due to time constraints, the Chairman requested that any further questions on this topic could be discussed in the adjacent room so that the Parish council could continue with its monthly meeting.

    Apologies were received from Cathy Bakewell (District Councillor).
    The Chairman reported that the Parish Council are very pleased to have had an enquiry from Andy Webb, who has recently moved into the Village at Moor Cottage. However, as the electoral register has not yet been updated to include Andy, he was not yet eligible. The co-option would therefore have to be postponed until the May meeting.
  3. MINUTES OF MEETING HELD ON 18th FEBRUARY 2014 (Already Circulated).
    1. An amendment was made to section 11.b) to state the Andrew Middleton’s correct role title as “Designated Premises Supervisor”. The minutes were then approved and signed by the Chairman as correct records of the meeting.
    Vanessa May declared an interest in item 7a.
    1. The Vice Chairman discussed a letter he had drafted in reply to concerns raised by a parishioner about the relationship between the Parish Council and Village Hall Committee (VHC). It was agreed the letter should be sent to the parishioner.
    2. Having heard concerns regarding a rumour that the path to Underhill Cottage was going to be tarmaced, the Chairman confirmed this was not the case. It may be adopted as a Bridleway if the modification, now in progress, is confirmed.
    Marcus Fysh reported that he had applied for a grant of £400-500 from the Health and Wellbeing Fund to help towards the cost of the Community Field exercise equipment. He had also applied for a grant for the West Coker and Hardington Cricket Club for new equipment. Following the recent flooding, Marcus is currently working on a programme to clear drains around the area.

    The budget has been set for the year ahead. The only rise in Council Tax is the Police and Fire Service elements. Business rate income has increased by 5% and the council has made savings and increased efficiency in areas including children’s centre provision.

    Gina Seaton gave further details on the Council Tax breakdown for the year ahead. Gina reported that the application to site a Lidl supermarket, a pub and a drive-through coffee shop on the former Ashley’s site had been approved. The proposed main modifications to the Local Plan had now been submitted to the Government Planning Inspector.

    Gina presented a poster for free events planned by Discover South Somerset for English Tourism Week. This included a tour of Dawes Twine Works in West Coker on Tuesday 1st April. The Twine Works is also open to the public on the 4th Saturday of every month between 10am and 4pm.
    1. Vanessa May left the room.
      Planning Applications received: 13/04414/FUL Malvern Lodge - Erection of single storey front extension to dwelling house; applicant: Mr Brad Atkinson. There were no objections.
      Vanessa May returned to the room.
    2. No planning applications were received after publication of this agenda.
    3. There were no results of previous applications.
    4. Having already discussed the potential Moor Lane Nursery development, there was nothing else to report at this time. The main concern was still access and we would need to wait to determine what Highways view on this is.
    5. The Vice Chairman reported he had sent a letter to the planning department regarding the new stable and hard-standing at Partway Lane, Hill End. The planning department had acknowledged the letter and stated they would investigate the matter.
    1. Many of the defects in Neil Dyer’s monthly report to SCC Highways were in Hardington Marsh, the roads for which now needed a lot of attention. Neil felt that SCC are now catching up with more routine repairs following the major flooding issues, and also improving some of their temporary repairs.
    2. As requested at February's meeting, Neil had compiled a list of blocked drains around the village, for the basis of quotation from private jetting companies. A quotation for drainage clearance and jetting work from Dyno-Rod was presented. Based on Neil’s list their estimate was 2 day's work at a cost of £1195+VAT per day plus waste disposal at £205+VAT per tonne. Due to this high cost, a resolution was passed not to proceed with the Dyno-Rod quote. Neil agreed to send his report for the attention of SCC highways and also to Marcus Fysh.
    3. The Vice Chairman enquired if the road surface at Holywell crossroads had been reported. Neil confirmed that the Highways department was aware of this.
    4. Paul Vallis reported that a cleat and chord could be attached to the grit bin on Lyatts to stop the lid flapping during windy weather.
    1. A resolution was passed to approve payment of £3693 (50% deposit) to The Toy Barn for 2+1 Swings and exercise equipment.
    2. The Chairman reported that the new equipment installation was planned for 27-28th March.
    3. The Chairman thanked Marcus Fysh for making an application to the Health and Wellbeing fund to help towards the cost of the exercise equipment.
    4. The Chairman agreed to look into fund raising for the Gazebo. A permanent Barbeque has also been suggested.
    5. The Chairman reported that the first mow of the year had taken place and weed-killing was now needed.
    1. A resolution was passed to approve payment of £3693 (50% deposit) to The Toy Barn for 2+1 Swings and exercise equipment.
    2. The Chairman reported that the new equipment installation was planned for 27-28th March.
    3. The Chairman thanked Marcus Fysh for making an application to the Health and Wellbeing fund to help towards the cost of the exercise equipment.
    4. The Chairman agreed to look into fund raising for the Gazebo. A permanent Barbeque has also been suggested.
    1. None
    1. The Clerk's hours for February (21 hours) were approved.
    2. A resolution was passed to approve payment of a 25% deposit (£78.75) to Southern Conservatories for a replacement window for the Village Hall Kitchen.
    1. The Chairman confirmed that SCC had agreed to supply a field gate with an integral pedestrian gate for footpath 10/9, at the South end (junction with Penn Lane), along with the other two gates previously promised. Bill Turner now needed to liaise with Les Braunton to organise delivery and installation of these gates.
    1. Feedback had been received from the Ranger Scheme and all tasks on the current list had been completed.
    2. The Vice Chairman stated he intended to liaise with the Ranger on his next visit on 7th April to discuss tidying the area around the Village Hall and the Church.
    3. A resolution was passed to approve payment to SSDC for the Ranger Scheme Quarter 4 for 3 x 8 hours (Jan- Mar). £408.00 + VAT £81.60 = £489.60.
  15. ANNUAL ASSEMBLY (15th APRIL 2014)
    1. The Vice Chairman had supplied a list of Village groups to the Clerk and invitations had been sent out. The guest speaker is Georgina Burton of the Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB).
    1. The annual MG Car Club is to be held on 12th April, starting at 9.20.
    2. A letter has been received from Glastonbury Town Council asking for support in opposing the Hinkley C development in West Somerset. The Chairman felt that this is really an issue of personal opinion and not one the Parish Council should represent. A resolution was passed not to take any further action.
    3. An email has been received containing the policy consultation on the proposed transparency code that will be implemented as part of the Local Audit and Accountability Act 2014. This is of interest to all councils with an annual turnover of less than £25,000. It was agreed that the impact of this needs to be investigated.
    4. An email from SALC has been received reminding Local Councils of the requirement that payments of PAYE/NIC and VAT to HMRC must be made electronically. This is currently not an issue, but may be in the future.
    1. Chairman. Nothing to report.
    2. Councillors: Nothing to report
    3. Clerk. Nothing to report.
    The next meeting will be the Annual Assembly to be held on Tuesday 15th March 2014 at 7.30 p.m. in the Village Hall, followed by the Parish Council’s monthly meeting. The meeting closed at 9.15 pm.