Minutes of the Parish Council meeting held on Tuesday 12th September 2023 in the Village Hall

Present: Cllr Jonathan Baker, Cllr Tom Scott-Malden, Cllr Gill Denny, Cllr Bavalant Barber

In Attendance:  Jane Thicknesse, Clerk, and 6 members of the public.

Item No.   Action
  Public discussion of items on agenda
a.  Concern was expressed about a road diversion sign sited at the end of Picket Lane.  It was considered a dangerous location and it was requested that the sign be moved to a safer place.

2023/049 Apologies / Declarations of Interest / Grant of Dispensations  Apologies were received and accepted from Cllr Andy Syddell and PCSO Alex Bishop.    
2023/050 Approval of Minutes of meeting held on 4th July 2023 The minutes of the last meeting were approved, and were signed by the Chairman. Proposed by Cllr Barber and seconded by Cllr Denny.    
2023/051 Matters arising from Minutes of meeting held on 4th July 2023
a. 30mph signs at entrances to village The vegetation around these signs has been cut back.  Thanks were expressed to Cllr Scott-Malden and his brother-in-law and also to Hilary and Richard Footitt for carrying out this work.
b. Dog Waste on Footpath W42/1 (yellow brick road)
Cllr Scott Malden reported that he would be putting up a sign reminding people to pick up any dog waste immediately after the meeting. (This work has now been done.)
c. Wall in Manor Close

Two attempts had been made to assemble a working party to do this work but both times bad weather meant it had not been possible to do the work.  Another date will be set in the coming weeks.
d. Pipplepen Solar Farm

The Clerk reported that she had recently received an email from Scottish Power Renewables (SPR) who acquired the consented development of Pipplepen Solar Farm from Elgin Energy in June 2023. Since completing the acquisition, they have submitted material for the discharge of pre-commencement planning Condition 4 attached to the Somerset Council consent, a deconstruction and restoration plan. This is currently under determination. More details are available on Somerset Council’s public access website under reference 23/01878/DOC1. SPR have also met with the Distribution Network Operator and the land owner. Construction timetables are now being reviewed to ensure a realistic connection date to the National Grid. In the coming months SPR intend to send a newsletter to South Perrott residents to provide an update on the project and also hope to meet the Parish Council to discuss the project including timescales around construction and to revisit previous discussions between the Parish Council and Elgin Energy.

Cllr Syddell/Cllr Scott-Malden

2023/052 Millennium Green (MG) The Chairman reported that a questionnaire and letter about the future of the Millennium Green had been delivered to all households in South Perrott and Chedington (approximately 150) and a total of 72 responses had been received. The results to the three questions were as follows:
1. As a household, are you in favour of the Trusteeship of the Millennium Green passing to the South Perrott Parish Council?
56 in favour, 16 against
2. Would you be interested in joining a group of residents to help the Parish Council with the running of the Green?
13 offers of help, 59 did not offer  
3. As a household, have you visited the Millenium Green in the last 12 months?
50 yes, 22 no

The Chairman said that the results showed very clearly (approximately 80% of returns) that residents wanted the Parish Council to become the sole trustee of the Millennium Green.
A discussion took place followed by a vote by Councillors. All those present (Cllr Jonathan Baker, Cllr Tom Scott-Malden, Cllr Gill Genny and Cllr Bee Barber) unanimously voted for South Perrott Parish Council to become the sole trustee of the Millenium Green. 

Martyn Gillingham, Secretary to the Millennium Green, thanked the Councillors for their work organising and collating the survey and for their decision.  He went on to outline the next steps which would include the legal process of transferring the trusteeship to the Parish Council (estimated to take two or three months) and the subsequent deed of release for the current trustees. During this period a committee responsible for planning the way forward for the Millennium Green would be set up.  It was agreed that a Councillor would need to be on the Millennium Green Committee to act as the link and that the Clerk would investigate insurance cover for when the Parish Council becomes the sole trustee.  

Martyn Gillingham/Clerk
2023/053 High Speed Boadband
Martyn Gillingham reported that he had done some investigation into the availability of ultrafast broadband (ideal for home working) in South Perrott.  Using a central South Perrott postcode, he had contacted three companies (Wessex Internet, Jurassic Fibre and BT Openreach) all of whom reported that ultrafast broadband was not currently available in this area. He opined that the Parish Council should take this up with the relevant companies on behalf of the village.

A follow up discussion about the Priority Services Register took place. This nationwide service provides extra help and support during a power cut for the elderly, very ill or disabled people or those reliant of power for medical equipment. It was suggested that residents are made aware of this useful facility and Cllr Scott- Malden offered to produce a leaflet to be distributed with the next issue of the Pump and Pound highlighting the benefits and how to register. (There is also a Priority Servies Register for water companies who offer similar support for customers in vulnerable situations.)  


Cllr Scott-Malden
2023/054 Digital Voice
The analogue network that most home phones work on will be switched off by 2025. The new home phone service will be run on the broadband network with current home phones being plugged into the back of the broadband hub. BT Openreach will contact customers when it is time to switch over and provide simple instructions about how to do the switch. Envisaged problems include:
1. What happens if there is a power cut?  BT suggest that a mobile is used instead but this comes with problems if there is no mobile coverage. Mention has been made of providing a battery back-up pack for the hub for customers but no final details are available.
2. What happens if a customer doesn’t have broadband?  BT do not have an answer for this!
It was suggested that when the roll out takes place a team of Digital Champions is established in South Perrott to help those who request assistance with switching. The possibility of holding information/training sessions in the Village Hall and also a leaflet with guidance were briefly discussed.  
2023/055 Planning Matters
a. Applications handled since last meeting
b. Decisions notified by DC since last meeting None  
c. New applications to be considered None
d. Tree applications since last meeting None  
e. Other Planning Matters

i. WD/D/20/001708 – Coach and Horses The appeal against the enforcement order has still not yet been heard and no date has been set for the hearing.  The Clerk will continue to monitor and chase.  

2023/056 Reports from Dorset Councillor, Police Officer, River Warden and Footpaths Officer
a. Dorset Councillor
No report received
b. River Warden
Following the warmest June on record, July proved to be the sixth wettest month since records began in 1836, and August weather has proved to be unsettled, and a disappointing end to the summer. The A356 outside Sarum has flooded on occasions, although not the whole road width, so has still been passable. During one of my occasional riverbank inspections, I noticed a colony of Himalayan Balsam thriving on the riverbank at the rear of one of the properties. Riperian owners are responsible for maintaining the riverbank alongside their property, which includes the removal of this invasive plant. To alert all riparian owners, I included an article in the August/September edition of Pump and Pound, and also called at the property in question. I was assured that the plants would be removed.
Martyn Gillingham River/Flood Warden
Tel: 01935 891931
c. Footpaths Officer
I’m pleased to report that since the last meeting one of Dorset’s Rangers has repaired the stile on the Parrett Trail that is adjacent to the eastern side of the Millennium Green across which this footpath traverses. The Ranger has also cut back the overgrowth along the Baileys Lane bridleway/footpath, as well as the overgrowth along Langmoor Lane, although the riverbank in this Lane is still awaiting repair and I will follow this up again. Dorset Council, on behalf of the Environment Agency has raised a closure order for the bridleway that crosses the spillway. This is a continuation order from the closure order that has been in place since 2021.  It is unlikely that this bridleway will open before late November 2024. Recently I have not received any reports of issues that need addressing; however please continue to keep me informed of any problems encountered on our local rights of way.
Sue Coutanche SP Footpath Officer    
Nothing to report. 
Next attendance at the South Perrott Coffee Morning will be on Saturday 7th October.
PCSO Alex Bishop  
2023/057 Finance
a. Financial Status Payments made since 4th July 2023
Clerking Work (Jul, Aug 23) 392.96
Payroll Administrator Salary (Jul, Aug, Jun 23) 12.28
Cement for Wall in Manor Close 45.36
Rubbish Bin Emptying 80.78
Total £531.38
Income since 4th July 2023
None £0.00
Total £0.00
Bank balance as at 12th September 2023        £6052.48
b. Donation to St Mary’s PCC to assist with Grass Cutting

A donation of £500 to St Mary’s PCC to assist with grass cutting (as agreed when the 2023-24 budget was set) was approved.
Proposed Cllr Scott Malden, seconded Cllr Denny, approved unanimously.
c. Paint
Cllr Scott-Malden requested a budget of £50 for paint and other materials to refurbish the gateposts at either end of the village. Proposed Cllr Scott-Malden, seconded Cllr Barber, approved unanimously.


Cllr Scott-Malden
2023/058 Matters of report and items for the next meeting
a. Chairman Nothing to report
b. Clerk Nothing to report
c. Members Nothing to report  
2023/059 Dates of Future Meetings
Tuesday 14th November at 6.30pm in the Village Hall
The meeting closed at 7.45pm  
  Public Session to raise items for future agendas
It was requested that at the next meeting the topic of Christmas in South Perrott was on the agenda.