Minutes 9th July 2020


Minutes of the Parish Council meeting held on Thursday 9 th July 2020 at 7.30pm. Virtual Meeting held by Zoom.

Present; Cllr. Jonathan Baker, Cllr Chris Kennett, Cllr David Lines, Cllr Balavant Barber, Cllr Yvonne Harris

In Attendance: Jane Thicknesse, Clerk, and 12 members of the public.

Item No.



Public discussion of items on agenda

a. The issue of the finger posts was raised. Approximately 6 years ago the post on the corner of Lecher Lane and the A356 was broken and Mike Charles of Chedington offered to carry out the repair. There has been some difficulty in obtaining the lettering but it is believed that a source has now been found. The Clerk was requested to check the progress with Mike Charles.

b. A resident raised the subject of overgrown hedges on both private properties and council land.

c. Michelle Howley from Elgin Energy (EE) joined the meeting to discuss the proposed solar pv farm at Pipplepen Farm. She gave a brief outline of the project which would occupy a 120 acres site to the north and east of Pipplepen Farm (which is approximately 625 acres in total). The solar farm would have a 32MW capacity which is enough to provide electricity for 15,000 homes. Michelle said that EE were working closely with Trevor and Penny Cligg of Pipplepen Farm and also South Somerset District Council (the site is actually in North Perrott Parish) who had visited the site and provided positive verbal feedback. However, nothing formal had been received by EE to date. Michelle said that EE are currently at the pre-planning application stage and under normal circumstances there would have been an exhibition for local residents and meetings with the Parish Councils, but due to COVID 19 they had instead created a specific website https://www.pipplepensolarpvproject.com/ where further information about the project could be found. EE are hoping to submit the application in August 2020.

A discussion of the project then took place.

Questions raised:

i. Start date of the project – unsure, possibly 2021 but could be 2022.

ii. Access point from Pipplepen Lane – Michelle showed the location on a plan and agreed to send a copy. It became clear that all the traffic for the site would come through South Perrott as the railway bridge made Pipplepen Lane inaccessible to HGVs coming from North Perrott. The traffic scheme is currently being finalised.

iii. Exact location of the panels – the panels will be set back at least 200m from Pipplepen Lane. Existing hedgerows will remain and gaps and field openings will be used for access. More hedgerows will be planted and the farm /diary business will continue.

iv. Sub-station – there would be a sub-station as one is required to export the electricity. All the infrastructure to support the panels will be within the site.

v. How long will the construction take – the aim will be to complete the work as quickly as possible. The application will state 16 weeks but it should be a shorter period, possible 13-14 weeks. During that time there would be 6 deliveries a day of materials. These deliveries would be staggered throughout the day. Once the site is up and running there would be minimal disruption with routine maintenance visits done by individuals in small vans.

vi. Footpaths – existing footpaths would remain with fencing where required.

vii. The Chairman asked about Pipplepen Railway Bridge, explaining that at long last Network Rail had confirmed that they would be doing remedial work later in 2020 to solve the on-going flooding problem. He suggested that this work should be co-ordinated with the solar farm development. Michelle replied that having done an analysis of getting HGVs into the site using access from North Perrott and also looking at the flooding, they had made the decision that all traffic would access the site via South Perrott. Therefore, the solar farm project would not be affected by the work to the railway bridge and, although supportive of solving the flooding, did not see how EE would be directly involved.

viii. Rebecca Knox, Dorset County Councillor, asked whether Dorset Council had been informed of the proposed development. She was particularly concerned about the impact on the highways with all the construction traffic coming through South Perrott and using the difficult junction with the A356. Michelle explained that the final traffic assessments were being completed and they would, in due course, be sent to both South Somerset and Dorset Councils as well as South and North Perrott Parish Councils. She also mentioned that they planned to use smaller vehicles (12ft in length) and the possibility of traffic lights at the junction.

ix. A resident said that 60-80% of the children in South Perrott have to walk down Pipplepen Lane to catch school buses at a variety of times throughout the day. She requested that this is taken into account when the timetable for the construction traffic is planned. The Chairman thanked Michelle Howley for attending the meeting and answering the questions. She said that she would provide answers to the questions she’d been unable to answer, along with a plan of the site and would be happy to share her email with all so that people could contact her directly if they wished.




Apologies/ Declarations of interest / grant of dispensations –

Apologies were received and accepted from PCSO Alex Bishop.



Approval of Minutes of meeting held on 9th January 2020

The minutes of the last meeting were approved, and signed by the Chairman, proposed by Cllr Kennett and seconded by Cllr Baker.



Matters arising from Minutes of meeting held on 9th January 2020

Langmoor Lane – The Footpaths Officer reported that she and the Clerk had met with Russell Goff, Senior Ranger (West and Coast) for Dorset Council to discuss the damage to the Langmoor Lane bridleway. He suggested that the damage could be repaired using sand/cement bags which would be a permanent solution and vegetation would soon grow back. He estimated that the cost would be approximately £500 which he suggested was shared 50-50 between SPPC and Dorset Council. The cost would include materials and labour and could probably be done within the next 4 weeks.

After a discussion which included a debate about the Parish Council being responsible for 50% of the cost, it was proposed that “The Parish Council approves a budget of £250 to meet 50% of the cost of the repair to Langmoor Lane.” The proposal was approved by 4 of the Councillors and therefore passed. The Clerk was asked to check the financial position with the Senior Ranger before agreeing the work.







PCSO Bishop sent his apologies and a report which is available at the end of these minutes. Concern was expressed that the report did not contain other known incidents which had occurred within the village. The Clerk was asked to follow up with PCSO Bishop.




River Warden.
The River Warden reported that the work on the dam had been postponed for a year due to COVID-19 and was now likely to take place in June 2021. A site office would be located at the end of Engineers Lane and there would be extra long vehicle movement in the village for deliveries of materials (nothing will be kept on site). The full report is available at the end of these minutes.


Footpaths Officer.
Full report available at the end of these minutes.


Dorset Councillor.
Councillor Rebecca Knox said that she’d found the meeting interesting and that she would be following up several points raised. She also asked whether the Parish Council was involved with the Local COVID-19 Outbreak Management Plan and how confident SPPC were in how Dorset Council had addressed the problem to date. It was agreed that Dorset Council had done well. Councillor Knox reminded the Parish Council that she would be happy to assist with any planning matters that arise, particularly if a Planning Committee would be a better option for a decision rather than an individual planning officer.


Pipplepen Solar Farm Project
This item was covered under the public discussion at the beginning of the meeting.



Village Enhancements
The Chairman said that the only Village Enhancement suggestion that had been received to date was one to plant a tree or shrub for every person in the village. Jill Turner outlined the project explaining that this would not only be a representation of the residents of the village but would also help to combat climate change. She said that there were a number of grants available to obtain trees and shrubs and that she hoped the project could be started in the next planting season (Nov-Mar). She introduced Paul Galpin (currently studying Wildlife Ecology and Conservation) who has offered to be the Project Co-ordinator. He explained that the project would involve planting in both private and public spaces. The latter could include roadside verges, the Millennium Green and a hedge line down Engineers Road. He stressed the importance of planting the right tree/shrub for the space and said there would be a survey sent out and advice available for residents.

Cllr Barber said he thought it was a great scheme but emphasised the need for the right plant in the right space and also asked who would look after the plants in the public spaces while they still needed care. Paul Galpin said he was aware of this requirement and would make plans accordingly. It was suggested that maybe there could be an ‘Adopt a Tree’ scheme.

The cost of the scheme was also raised. It was reiterated that there are a number of trees being given away but even if they had to be purchased it was thought that the cost would not exceed £500.

After further discussion the following proposals were put forward:

Proposal 1: That the Parish Council approves the principle of a Tree and Shrub Planting scheme as part of the South Perrott Village Enhancement Plan.

Proposal 2: That the Parish Council approves the appointment of Paul Galpin of The Paddocks, Mosterton as Project Co-ordinator of the Tree and Shrub Planting scheme.

Proposal 3: That the Parish Council approves a maximum budget of £500 for the purchase of materials for the Tree and Shrub Planting scheme.

All three proposals were passed unanimously.


Project Co-ord



Dorset Association of Parish and Town Clerks AGM – deadline for proposals
COVID 19 letters and emails
Road Traffic Accident – Mr Latham
Network Rail – Pipplepen Railway Bridge
Pipplepen Farm Solar PV Farm Proposal




Planning Matters

Applications handled since last meeting None
Decisions notified by DC since last meeting None
New application to be considered None
Tree applications None
Other Planning Matters Coach and Horses

Coach and Horses
A discussion took place about building work that was ongoing at the Coach and Horses. James Harris, one of the residents of the Coach and Horses, said that two planning applications would be submitted in the next couple of months. One was to do with the reallocation of the internal resources for business needs and the other was not yet put together. Cllr Baker asked if this was retrospective permission and if the premises were going to remain as a pub. Mr Harris said it would stay as a hotel and there would be a bar open for non-residents. Further discussion took place about Riverview Cottage which is an independent residence which has been developed in the grounds of the property.

The Chairman expressed his dissatisfaction with the Dorset Council Planning Department who he felt had been very unhelpful over the work that was being carried out. Despite repeated requests there were no site visits to see the work until Councillor Knox became involved. Since the visit it has been difficult to obtain information from the department and he requested that the Parish Council be kept fully informed about developments.

Councillor Knox stressed the importance of transparency and individual declarations of interest when any decision was made by the Parish Council.



Approval of 2019-2020 Annual Accounts

a) The Clerk, having previously circulated the documents, presented the Accounting Governance Statement to the Parish Council. These were considered and approved by the Parish Council.

b) The Annual Accounting statements were accepted and approved by the Parish Council.

The annual accounts for the year 2019 -2020 (commencing 1 November 2020) were reported as follows:

Total Income for the year £8000.00

Total expenditure for the year £1200.32

Balance in hand as at 31 March 2020 £6799.68

Full details will be available on the website shortly. The Clerk recorded her thanks to Mrs Angela Gillingham who carried out the internal audit. The accounts will now be sent for external audit.

Financial Status for South Perrott Parish Council as at 6th July 2020

Income since last meeting

2nd instalment from PAPC


Precept Part 1


Total £5981.50

Payments made since last meeting

Clerking Work (March, April, May, June)




Training for Councillors/Clerk


Website Expenses




New payments for consideration – none at the current time.

Bank balance as at 6th July 2020: £7979.59



Matters of report and items for the next meeting

a) Chairman
The Chairman reported that the Parish Council Noticeboard was in a very poor state of repair and needed replacing. He suggested that the new noticeboard might include a diagrammatic illustration of the village to welcome and inform visitors. This was met with enthusiasm by the other Councillors. The Chairman offered to do some research for a suitable design and costings before the next meeting.

The Chairman reported that the Newsletter which had been sent out to residents during the recent COVID-19 had been a great success. He thanked the Clerk for her work.

The Chairman reported that the subject of the A356 had again raised his head and suggested that a meeting of interested parties should be held to discuss options. This was met with little interest. Councillor Knox reminded the meeting that the village had turned down the opportunity for electronic devices some years back and now the money was no longer available. She suggested that a Speed Watch Scheme was the first step towards a 20mph speed limit but that there would be expense involved for the scheme and any electronic equipment that was purchased. The Clerk agreed to do some investigation and to add the item to the agenda for the next meeting

b) Clerk
The Clerk reported that approximately 100 electronic copies of the Newsletter had been distributed (plus a number of hard copies) during the COVID-19 crisis. Despite encouragement the number of people who had signed up to continue to receive news from the Parish Council was quite low but it is hoped the numbers will improve.

c) Members
No items of report





Dates of Future Meetings
Thursday 10th September 2020 at 7.30pm. The meeting closed at 9.45pm


Public Session to raise items for future agendas

Sue Coutanche thanked the Parish Council for the useful and informative newsletter which they had produced during the recent COVID-19 lockdown. She also reminded people that the deadline for articles for next edition of the Pump and Pound was 23rd July.


Police Report from PCSO Alex Bishop – July 2020
Please find my apologies for being unable to join in the meeting and my report as follows.

On 25th May, we had a report of males acting suspiciously around a barn on Lecher Lane. They were seen walking along a footpath and quickly walked away when spotted. They were then seen looking around a neighbouring barn. Fortunately, there has been no reported offences subsequently. Please be vigilant and report any suspicious activity to us on 101 (999 if you believe a crime is in progress), or online at www.dorset.police.uk.

On 8th June, a vehicle was seized in School Hill for no insurance.

On Thursday 25th June we had a report from a resident in Chedington, that they had been visited by an aggressive door step seller. It appears the male was what is referred to as a “Nottingham Knocker”. These are regularly males who come from the North/Midlands of England and have spent some time in prison. They then get into door step selling of household cleaning products and will travel around the Country, being dropped off to walk around areas on foot. This is a legal process so long as they have a pedlar’s licence (which they should show on request) and are selling in a professional manner. If they attend your property and you are not interested in buying anything they should leave on request. If they become pushy or aggressive in their selling technique, they could be committing a trading offence. If they do or they refuse to leave, please call 101, or 999 if you feel frightened. Do not allow any seller into your property and if possible, use a door chain. We often have reports that these sellers can become aggressive, but often leave when advised the Police will be called. I will say the majority of them are usually very polite and probably play on their background so people feel sorry for them and make a purchase. If there is a complaint which is suitable for Trading Standards, we advise the consumer to contact the Citizens Advice Consumer service on 0808 223 11 33 and the complaints will come through to us at Trading Standards.


River Warden’s Report – July 2020
I attended a Flood Resilience Day at Durweston Village Hall on 14th January, organised by the Environment Agency (EA), which was a day of exercises, interactive sessions and presentations aimed at helping communities being better prepared and resilient for flooding. It is the view of the EA that South Perrott is protected against flooding by the Flood Storage Reservoir, and we are not able to sign up to flood warnings issued by the EA.

The wet winter continued unabated, and we survived Storm Ciara on 9th February, and Storm Dennis on 16th February with little damage, other than a few trees blown down. I was encouraged to find other residents clearing gulleys or potential blockages of river culverts on my rounds before and after the storms. I have not been aware of any flooding outside “Sarum” during heavy rain over the past few months but, inevitably, Pipplepen Lane has flooded under the railway bridge, and has been impassable for much of the winter.

I have been made aware that the Environment Agency intends to carry out works to reinforce the spillway at the Flood Storage Reservoir. This will involve movements of heavy vehicles to and from the village, and an increase in traffic using the Engineer’s Road. The River Parrett Trail and public footpath through the Millennium Green will remain open, but the public bridleway along the spillway will be closed for the duration of the works. The work was originally scheduled for last month but, due to COVID-19 restrictions, the start has now been postponed until next year.

Martyn Gillingham
River/Flood Warden
Tel: 891931
Email: mcvgillingham@btinternet.com


Footpath Officer’s Report – July 2020
Within the parish boundary of South Perrott there are 10 Footpaths and 3 Bridleways – Baileys and Langmoor Lanes and one from Chedington Lane opposite the junction with Picket Lane.

During the last three months partly as a result of COVID-19 restrictions and the good weather, locals from this and the surrounding villages have been regularly walking along these paths and bridleways. This increased usage has helped to maintain them in good order.

There have been a few issues: – a small section of Langmoor Lane between Riverside Orchard and Hunters Hatch is still awaiting repair. Dorset Council’s Footpaths Officer is aware of this and will be taking action; the footpath from the side of the Old School House which runs behind Sockety towards North Perrott has no way markers except for the one in Pipplepen Lane. I will find out who the landowner is to discuss appropriate signage.

Illustrated maps, produced by Desmond Thomas (a former resident of SP), are available from me on request. More detailed information is available on the Ordnance Survey Map 116.

Sue Coutanche
Footpaths Officer