Minutes 10th March 2021

Minutes of the Parish Council meeting held on Wednesday 10th March 2021 at 7.30 pm. Virtual Meeting held by Zoom.

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

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

Item No.   Action
  Public discussion of items on agenda
a. Planning Application P/FUL/2021/00505 Dairy Cottage, Pipplepen Farm – 4 x Shepherd Huts
The Chairman welcomed Lydia Dunne from Clive Miller Partnership, the agent for this application, who was attending to answer questions. She said that the application was for up to 4 shepherds huts but initially there would only be a single structure. The huts only accommodate 1 or 2 people and are aimed at holidaymakers looking for a rural escape. Parking for the huts would be provided by a site to the NE (in South Somerset for which permission had been granted) and access would be by foot through a new pedestrian gate at the front of Dairy Cottage. The huts would be connected to mains services for water and power and sewerage managed by a package treatment plant. It is thought that the huts would primarily be used during the high tourist season.
b. Lengthsman
A resident said that he believed there were a number of people who would be prepared to get involved (on a rota system) with some of the jobs that required doing in the village and that this avenue should be explored before employing a Lengthsman.
2021/11 Apologies / Declarations of interest / grant of dispensations 
Apologies were received and accepted from Cllr Yvonne Harris and Alex Bishop (PCSO)
2021/12 Approval of Minutes of the meeting held on 11th November 2020
The minutes of the last meeting were approved and will be signed by the Chairman. Proposed by Cllr Baker and seconded by Cllr Barber.

Matters arising from Minutes of the meeting held on 13th January 2021

a. Pipplepen Solar Farm Project
The Chairman reported that Elgin Energy had submitted the planning application to both Dorset and South Somerset Councils. They are not yet publicly available.

b. Britain in Bloom
Cllr Barber reported that due to lockdown he had been unable to make much progress with South Perrott in Bloom. He hopes to speak to a number of people as soon as possible to see if there is sufficient support for the scheme.

c. Tree Planting Scheme
Jill Turner reported that 200 trees and shrubs were delivered on 6th February. They had been swiftly planted, mainly on private land but 3 in Pipplepen Lane. A further 3 have been reserved for planting in the Village Hall car park once lockdown finishes and a small planting ceremony is planned. The final cost for the project was £186.50 (substantially lower than the proposed budget of £500) due to the generosity of Beaminster Area Eco Group. Thanks were expressed to Mike Dower, the Beaminster Eco Group and particularly Jill Turner for all her hard work overseeing this project. Jill Turner reported that 200 trees and shrubs were delivered on 6th February. They had been swiftly planted, mainly on private land but 3 in Pipplepen Lane. A further 3 have been reserved for planting in the Village Hall car park once lockdown finishes and a small planting ceremony is planned. The final cost for the project was £186.50 (substantially lower than the proposed budget of £500) due to the generosity of Beaminster Area Eco Group. Thanks were expressed to Mike Dower, the Beaminster Eco Group and particularly Jill Turner for all her hard work overseeing this project.

d. Highways
The Clerk provided updates on various matters:

Road Narrows Sign – in position and to date undamaged

Picket Lane/A356 Junction – extra markings had been requested but work delayed due to winter weather and backlog of work for Dorset Council.

30 mph signs at end of Lecher Lane – repaired

SIDs – slight delay due to COVID but a visit to mark up the exact locations for posts is due on 17th March. Following that, a quote for the installation will be sent and SIDs can be ordered. A traffic survey is no longer required due to sufficient historical information.

The Clerk will continue to liaise on these matters as required.

 e. Litter Bins

Two litter bins have been ordered and are due for installation imminently.




Cllr Barber









Co-option of Parish Councillor to fill Casual Vacancy

Only one application had been received. The applicant, Mrs Gill Denny, was present at the meeting and having given a brief outline of her background and aspirations for the post, was unanimously elected as Councillor.

Cllr Denny joined the Council for the remainder of the meeting.

2021/15 Reports  
a) Dorset Councillor

Apologies and a short report were received. The report itemised:

  1. The challenges being faced at Dorset Council which are all down to finance and the pressure on social care across the whole age group – the need has increased so much and DC are not getting central grant funding to pay for what residents require. 
  2. The increase in Council Tax from Dorset Council, the Fire and Rescue Services, Police and nearly all parish and town councils.
  3. Social care matters which are so important – are your residents getting the support they need, particularly for those who live alone during these difficult times?  Are residents getting the support they need from information from the NHS or their local GP practice re vaccinations?  And for young people, now they are back in school, is school transport working for them and their parents/guardians/responsible adults?

Help and support is available and residents are encouraged to contact Cllr Knox, the Clerk or Parish Councillors if required.


PCSO Bishop sent his apologies and a short report which is available at the end of these minutes.


River Warden
The River Warden gave his report including an update on the proposed work to the flood storage reservoir. A discussion about the impact on footpaths and bridleways took place. The full report is available at the end of these Minutes.


Footpaths Officer
The Footpaths Officer read her report which is available at the end of these minutes.

2021/16 Planning Matters
a. Applications handled since the last meeting
WD/D/20/001708 Coach and Horses
WD/D/20/001708 Coach and Horses Councillor Harris declared an interest and left the meeting for the duration of this item. The Chairman gave a detailed report on progress since the last meeting. The Council had been active in contacting senior officers and elected councillors, including the Chief Executive, Mr. Matt Prosser and the Leader, Cllr Spencer Flower, as well as the local MP, Mr. Chris Loder. An official complaint had been lodged regarding the time taken to deal with this planning issue. In response, a letter from Ann Collins, Area Manager for Western and Southern Planning and Community Services had been received. Unfortunately, it contained a number of factual errors, errors which had been repeated in emails and letters received by concerned members of the village from both the Chief Executive and the Leader of the Council. These errors have been pointed out in the Parish Council’s reply to Ann Collins, but no response has yet been received. It was noted that a Planning Application Notice had been posted at the Coach and Horses. The lack of such a notice had been pointed out to the County Council last year, but the Council was told that it was not needed. Now that the notice has been displayed, interested parties have until March 14, 2021 to comment. The Council welcomed the appointment of Ross Leal, Senior Planning Officer, on a temporary basis to help clear the Planning Application backlog. It is understood that an Enforcement Officer has also been recruited on the same basis. Mr. Leal has been active in communicating with the Clerk in both a timely and constructive manner since his appointment, for which the Council is most grateful.

b. Decisions notified by DC since last meeting – None

c. New application to be considered
P/FUL/2021/00505 Dairy Cottage, Pipplepen Farm – 4 x Shepherd Huts – Approved
WD/D/21/000064 Rowan Tree Cottage – Replacement single storey extension – Approved

d. Tree applications since the last meeting
WD/D/21/000054 Mohun House – Approved

Other Planning Matters
i. WD/D/21/000040 Picket Lane Farm – Prior application for formation of agricultural tracks

ii. Development alongside A356 at western end of village. The Chairman said as several residents had expressed concern at the work that was being carried out at this location, he had spoken to the owner of the field, Mr. Zac Anderson. Mr. Anderson had explained that he was using the area for restoring old tractors and that the skeleton building was to be used as a storage area, while the new roadway was to improve access. He was mindful of the residents’ concerns and would try to keep noise to a minimum. Councillors were concerned, particularly about the building being designated as for agricultural use and possibly not requiring planning permission. It was suggested that advice was sought from Dorset Council.
Clerk and Chairman

2021/17 Noticeboard
Noticeboard After discussion it was decided to delay a final decision on the header for the noticeboard until further research and opinion had been sought.
Cllr Baker/
2021/18 Lengthsman
Noticeboard Following up from the comments at the Public Discussion and the discussion at the previous meeting it was decided to try to involve more volunteers from within the community to do some of the smaller jobs. Dorset Council or contractors would be approached for more significant work. It was suggested that a flyer be distributed to every household asking for volunteers to join a ‘working party’ list and to seek an organiser.
Cllr Denny/
2021/19 Highways Issues
The Chairman reported that Blair Turner, Community Safety Officer, had been approached about the heavy farm traffic in Picket Lane which was causing damage to the road, hedgerows and possibly the small bridge over the River Parrett. He had replied that he would visit to inspect and undertake repairs involving top soil and seeding where required. He confirmed that the farmers were entitled to exercise their highway rights and that the bridge was able to carry heavy farm traffic.
2021/20 Correspondence
Emails have been received/sent reference Highways (various), Coach and Horses, Clerk and Councils Direct.


a. Financial Status for South Perrott Parish Council as at 10th March 2021

Income since the last meeting




Payments made since the last meeting                                        

Clerking Work (Jan, Feb)


Village Enhancements – Trees and Shrubs







Bank balance as at 10th March 2021:     £7389.65   

The Clerk said that the precept request had been submitted and the first payment should be received in April.


Matters of report and items for the next meeting

a. Chairman
The Chairman reported he would be moving house and would therefore be resigning from the Council before the next meeting. He gave a brief resume of what the Council had achieved since its inception in November 2019 and wished the Council well for the future.

b. Clerk
The Clerk reminded the meeting that a National Census was due to be held on Sunday 21st March 2021 and encouraged everyone to take part and to spread the word.

c. Members
Cllr Baker thanked the Chairman for his leadership and hard work and said that he would be much missed both on the Council and in the village. Other Councillors also expressed their gratitude.


Dates of Future Meetings
Wednesday 12th May 2021 at 7.30pm. This will be preceded by the AGM.

The meeting closed at 9.00pm

  Public Session to raise items for future agendas
Sue Coutanche reminded the meeting that the next edition of the Pump and Pound (No58) would be published at the end of March. Any items for inclusion should be sent to the editors by 22nd March 2021.
  Police Report from PCSO Alex Bishop – March 2021
Whilst not in the South Perrott Parish, there was a theft of a tractor from an isolated barn in the Mosterton area, last Monday. I urge anyone with plant/machinery, especially if left in isolated areas, to review their security and contact me if they would like any advice. Please be vigilant and report any suspicious activity to us on 101, or 999 if you believe a crime is in progress.

We had some information from a resident, that young people were congregating on a track at the edge of the village on Pipplepen Lane. This is just outside of Dorset, but colleagues from Crewkerne attended and spoke with 5 occupants of 2 vehicles about Covid breaches.
Alex Bishop PCSO 5404
  River Warden’s Report – March 2021
Storm Christoph, on 19/20th January, passed without major incident, although I had to remove a small tree that had come down across the river at the entrance to the ford in Bailey’s Lane.

On 6th February I received a report of an oil spillage into the river in the centre of the village. Kerosene heating oil had leaked from a damaged oil supply pipe, and had permeated through the subsoil, and possibly through a drain under the road, into the river. There was a strong smell of oil, and evidence of an oil slick moving down river. After discussing the matter with the property owner, I reported the oil spillage on the Environment Agency Incident Hotline. Subsequently, the property owner also reported the oil spillage. I understand that the Environment Agency concluded that, as there were no sensitive areas downstream, no further action was required.

On 15th February a local resident reported a possible contamination of the river with liquid manure. There had been an increase in slurry tanker traffic through the village at about this time, and there was possibly a connection. However, following heavy rain at the time, it was likely that any pollution of the river would have been dispersed. I am advised that the resident reported his concern direct to the Environment Agency.

I have received from the Environment Agency details of the proposed maintenance and improvement works to be undertaken at South Perrott Reservoir, starting in May and likely to last until September/October this year. The work includes laying a new land drain parallel to the hedge at the Millennium Green and constructing a new headwall on the River Parrett, levelling the spillway crest area using a concrete kerb, laying open concrete erosion protection blocks over the top third of the spillway, constructing steps on either side of the embankment at the top of the spillway, providing extra nesting/bat boxes and planting new trees/hedges on site or off site in appropriate nature reserves to offset carbon.

Access to the site will be along the ‘Engineer’s Road’ and then across the field at the end and over the river on a temporary bridge. Temporary bridleway and footpath diversions will be in operation for the minimum possible period, with no weekend working proposed.

Martyn Gillingham
Tel: 891931, email: mcvgillingham@btinternet.com
  Footpath Officer’s Report – March 2021
As many of you know that following an accident, currently and for the last month, I have not been able to get out and about to assess and comment upon the state of our local footpaths. However, I am pleased to report that I have been receiving updates from the villagers who regularly walk all the local bridleways and footpaths. The feedback has been very positive and despite the mud, (the consequence of the British weather particularly here in the west!), no problems have been reported. In January I was advised that branches and foliage, cuttings from a field boundary, were blocking the upper part of Langmoor Lane. As I have not had any complaints in the last 6 weeks, I assume these have now been cleared.

Whilst I have been hobbling around the village on my crutches, I have spoken to a number of dog walkers who are regularly enjoying our fields and paths. I know that many of our newest residents are discovering local paths and enjoying our lovely countryside. I am also pleased to report that there have been no recent complaints of dog fouling and everyone I’ve met has been armed with the necessary equipment for dealing with their dog’s deposits. Hopefully it won’t be too many months (latest estimate mid-May) before I’ll be joining you again on our local highways and byways. In the meantime continue to follow the Countryside Code, leaving gates as you find them, taking the necessary precautions around livestock, taking litter home with you and generally being considerate to others and the environment. Pleased continue to report and issues to me and I will deal with them appropriately AND …KEEP WALKING

Sue Coutanche