Minutes of the Parish Council meeting held on Tuesday 14th November 2023 in the Village Hall

Present: Cllr Jonathan Baker, Cllr Andy Syddell, Cllr Bavalant Barber

In Attendance:  Jane Thicknesse, Clerk, and 7 members of the public.

Item No.




Public discussion of items on agenda

a. A member of the public reported that he had done some further research into the rollout of Digital Voice.  BT had informed him that when the programme is rolled out, anybody without a BT router can request that their property is not included in the migration and can continue to use their existing phone lines. Surprise was expressed at this due to the phasing out of the copper wire network.  The Chairman offered to investigate further.  It was agreed that a village team of Digital Champions would be established to help when the roll out commences.

b. The Village Hall has received a letter from BT informing that 3G was due to be retired in January 2024.  Mobile phones which do not have 4G may no longer work.  Concern was expressed about a variety of other devices which may rely on a 3G signal, for example Emergency Medical Assistance (EMA) equipment.  People who have these items are advised to contact their suppliers to discuss the potential problems.








Apologies / Declarations of Interest / Grant of Dispensations 

Apologies were received and accepted from Cllr Tom Scott-Malden, Cllr Gill Denny, Cllr Rebecca Knox and PCSO Alex Bishop.

There were no Declarations of Interest or Grants of Dispensations.

Katie Armstrong, who will become the Clerk on 1 December 2023, was welcomed to the meeting.



Approval of Minutes of meeting held on 12th September 2023

The minutes of the last meeting were approved, and were signed by the Chairman. Proposed by Cllr Syddell and seconded by Cllr Barber.



Matters arising from Minutes of meeting held on 12th September 2023

a. Pipplepen Solar Farm

Scottish Power Renewables (SPR) who have taken over the Pipplepen Solar Farm Project from Elgin Energy had recently visited the village to brief the Councillors.  Key information included:

  • Construction is due to start in Q2 2025 and will take approximately 9 months
  • Export of energy is due to start in Q2 2026. The aim is to export 32MW which is sufficient for 10,000 homes
  • Construction traffic will arrive from the SE along the A37 and A356 and access the site along a specially constructed track.  No construction traffic will go through the village. 
  • During the construction phase the footpath through the middle of the site may be affected. No final decision has been made.
  • The operation will cease in 2066 and the land will be reinstated in 2067.
  • South Perrott and North Perrott will each receive a Community Benefit Fund when operation commences. The use of this will be carefully regulated.
  • SPR are producing a newsletter which will be sent to every household in the next few weeks.

b. Wall in Manor Close

Weather and working party availability have meant the work has still not been possible.  It was suggested that the work should now wait until the Spring.

c. Priority Services Register

Thanks were expressed to Cllr Scott-Malden for producing a leaflet highlighting the benefits of the Priority Services Register which had been distributed (via the P&P) to all households in South Perrott and Chedington.

d. Christmas

A discussion took place about the position of the Village Christmas Tree which has been ordered and is due for delivery at the beginning of December.  It was agreed that a few meeting attendees would look at sites and make a decision.


















Cllr Scott-Malden/Cllr Syddell









Millennium Green (MG)

Martyn Gillingham reported that following the decision at the last meeting he had written to the solicitors acting for Natural England and received a response (20 October 2023) stating that Natural England were happy for the Parish Council to become the sole trustee of the MG. Documentation to accept the resignation of the existing trustees and confirm the PC as the sole trustee is now awaited. Once this has been completed and returned the transfer will be complete.  It is hoped this will be in the next couple of months.

The MG AGM will be held on 30 November 2023. This will be the final one under the current arrangements.

Work is underway to form a steering committee for the MG.  The members of this committee will become responsible for future decisions which will need approval from the PC.  In addition to the steering group volunteers will be needed to form occasional working parties.  If anybody is interested in becoming involved please contact Martyn Gillingham.

The Clerk reported that the PC insurance company had confirmed that there would be no additional charge for taking on responsibility for the MG.  Discussions about banking arrangements are ongoing.

No MG apple juice would be available this year due to a poor apple crop.











Martyn Gillingham/Clerk


Planning Matters

a. Applications handled since last meeting

b. Decisions notified by DC since last meeting

c. New applications to be considered

d. Tree applications since last meeting

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.











Reports from Dorset Councillor, PCSO, River Warden and Footpaths Officer
a. Dorset Councillor
No report received

Fortunately there is nothing specific to report for South Perrott but please be aware of a couple matters to be vigilant about. In October, a farmer in Mosterton reported vehicle tyre marks throughout a field and the body of a deer being found.  It is possible this was linked to poaching, however, due to the types of marks and the deer being untouched, I believe this was young people using the field for racing around and doing “doughnuts”.
There were also a couple of incidents near Bridport last month where unknown offenders attempted entry into an outbuilding of one farm.  However, there was someone staying in the building, who reacted to the offenders’ gaining entry, before they ran off.  There was also another incident just outside Bridport, where unknown offenders broke into an outbuilding, disturbing the owners who reacted.  Unfortunately they managed to get away with a chainsaw, but made off quickly once the owner was disturbed.  Please be vigilant and report any suspicious activity to us.  You can either call 101 or report online at  If you believe a crime is in progress, please call 999 immediately.

Be aware of your security and if you have any security concerns, please contact me.  I will be in the village at the coffee morning, on Saturday 18th November, from 9.30.

PCSO Alex Bishop

c. River Warden
Agnes, Babet and Ciaran have been in the news recently, as the first named storms in the meteorological Autumn Weather Season.
The weather pattern over the past two months has also been characterised by heavy rainfall and violent thunder and lightning storms. A lightning strike on a telegraph pole in Picket Lane on 17th September blew out the broadband routers to five properties in Picket Lane, resulting in no internet services to those properties for three days. (And when DIGITAL VOICE arrives in the village, this will mean no phone service either!)
Needless to say, I have been out clearing gullys in the village which have been blocked by the Autumn leaf fall. Excessive run off in Lecher Lane on 25th October, caused flooding of the lane at the bridge, which required work to widen the verge entrance to the drainage culvert, where the water then flows into Lecher Brook.
Storm Ciaran on 2nd November had a yellow warning for wind and rain, and an amber warning for very strong winds on the South Coast. It created flooding problems in the village, at the dip in the A356 outside the village on the way to Crewkerne, and outside “Sarum”. I erected the “Road Flooded” signs here, as the water was nearly across the whole road width, but removed them about an hour later after I had cleared the blocked gullys, and the water level had then subsided. Luckily, we were spared the predicted high winds that caused damage elsewhere on the South Coast and Channel Islands.
The surface water run-off in Picket Lane deposits large quantities of aggregate and debris on the lane just before the bridge in times of heavy rainfall, when the highway drains become overloaded, but at least the water finds its way into the already swollen river!
Also, following another thunder and lightning storm last week, a property in Pipplepen Lane suffered an internet outage, which also took down the phone service, as the transfer to Digital Voice had already taken place!
Finally, the Environment Agency has issued its Ground Water Update as follows:-
‘A very wet Spring pushed water levels back up through May and early June, and the rather miserable summer has led to the water table being several meters higher than we would normally expect in early October across West Dorset. This is likely to result in Groundwater Flood Alerts in West Dorset by Mid-November.’
Martyn Gillingham
River/Flood Warden
Tel: 01935 891931 Email:

d. Footpaths Officer
We are experiencing a period of constant rainfall interspersed with ‘named’ storms bringing high winds and intensive downpours.  The land which is already saturated from a wet summer, is now waterlogged in places and the water-table (the point below which the porous rocks are saturated), is rising. Excess run off from the land is causing increased erosion and as a consequence this has a detrimental effect on footpaths and bridleways.  This includes Langmoor Lane, where the banks have been severely eroded for a while and which I have regularly reported to Dorset Council (DC).  At last I am pleased to report that progress has been made and I am waiting for quotes from Dorset Council’s Rangers to repair the damage to Langmoor Lane.  Once the quotes have been received the parish council will consider payment options with DC to carry out the work.
Unfortunately many of the footpaths and bridleways are extremely muddy and in parts waterlogged. Please take care whilst out walking and wear suitable footwear for the current conditions, and never impede the flow of water including run-off, by erecting temporary barriers.  Any obstruction to the natural flow will cause further problems and it is illegal to create an artificial ‘trip hazard’, which can potentially lead to prosecution. Bearing these points in mind please continue to enjoy walking in our beautiful countryside.
Sue Coutanche
Footpaths Officer




a. Financial Status

Payments made since12th September 2023

Clerking Work (Sep, Oct 23)


Payroll Administrator Salary (Sep, Oct 23)


Grass Cutting Donation to St Mary’s PCC


External Audit – BDO LLP


Paint for Village Gateposts


Rubbish Bin Emptying


Remembrance Flag


Clerk’s Back Pay


Payroll Administrator’s Back Pay




Income since 12th September2023

Precept Part 2




Bank balance as at 14th November 2023        £7632.98

New/expected payments for consideration – Insurance Renewal £238.62

b. Insurance Renewal
Following discussion it was agreed to renew the PC Insurance Policy with Community First at an annual premium of £238.62.  Proposed Cllr Syddell, seconded Cllr Barber, unanimously approved.

c. Budget/Precept
The Chairman reported that a first draft of the budget/precept for 2024/5 had been produced by himself, Cllr Scott-Malden and the Clerk.  Expected increased costs include salaries, clerk’s expenses, electoral costs (possible) and training for Clerk and new Councillors.  The aim is to request a precept of £6000 from Dorset Council – the same amount requested for 2023/4.  A final decision will be made at the meeting in January 2024 once the Dorset Council base rate has been received.  Copies of the proposed budget are available from the Clerk on request.





























Matters of report and items for the next meeting

a. Chairman
The Chairman reported that Dorset Council are running a Community Tree Project which includes a Tree Fund to provide trees for communities and the appointment of volunteer Tree Wardens who will be provided with training and support. It was agreed that no more trees were needed for South Perrott but a Tree Warden would be a good idea.  If anybody is interested please contact the Clerk for further details.

b. Clerk
Dates for the 2024 PC meetings are:
9 January, 12 March, 14 May, 9 July, 10 September, 12 November

c. Members
Nothing to report











Dates of Next Meeting

Tuesday 9th January 2024 at 6.30pm in the Village Hall

The meeting closed at 8.05pm




Public Session to raise items for future agendas

a. A resident thanked the PC for purchasing a Remembrance Day Flag for the top of the Church Tower.  It had received favourable comment from a number of residents.  Further discussion took place about purchasing ‘A Tommy’, large poppies to attach to posts and a more robust flag which would last for several years.

b. A question was raised about the cost of the Flood Relief Scheme work which had been done by the Environment Agency. Martyn Gillingham offered to investigate.