Minutes 18th November 2021



Minutes of the Parish Council meeting held on Thursday 18th November 2021 at 7.30pm the Village Hall

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

In Attendance:  Jane Thicknesse, Clerk, and 8 members of the public.

Item No.




Public discussion of items on agenda

a. A resident requested that the Parish Council provide a Christmas Tree for The Pound, as they had done the previous year. (see Item 2021/074a)

b. A request was made for the Parish Council noticeboard to be made available for community use. It was agreed, that up to a third could be used for this purpose.

c. It was suggested that a volunteer work party was formed to support the River Warden in his work, particularly during periods of heavy rainfall. The River Warden was grateful for this offer and said that he would liaise with Cllr Denny if he felt there was a requirement.   He also encouraged all residents to keep an eye on the highway drains which were near to their properties and to clear them as necessary. (If residents notice blocked drains and are unable to clear them, please either contact the River Warden, Clerk or member of the Parish Council. Contact details can be found on the Parish Noticeboard or on the website www.southperrottparishcouncil.org).

d. A resident asked whether the plaque for the bench in The Pound was being replaced. (see Item 2021/067e)

e. A question was raised about the state of the steps at the end of the permissive path leading to Bailey’s Lane.  These have fallen into a state of disrepair and are now a considerable hazard to walkers. As it is not clear who is responsible for this land, it was suggested that the Parish Council might fund their repair, along with replacing the gate at the top of the steps. It was agreed that enquiries would be made to see if either Dorset Council or the Environment Agency might be prepared to help either by providing some funding or by doing the required work.


















Apologies / Declarations of interest / grant of dispensations 

Apologies were received and accepted from Cllr Yvonne Harris and Alex Bishop (PCSO)



Approval of Minutes of meeting held on 8th September 2021

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



Matters arising from Minutes of meeting held on 8th September 2021

a. Pipplepen Solar Farm Project

The Clerk reported that she remained in contact with Michelle Howley at Elgin Energy.  The current state of play is that Dorset Council approved the proposed access on to the A356 but have requested additional biodiversity surveys. South Somerset District Council have received a number of objections (biodiversity and landscape) from North Perrott residents but the exact situation is unclear as the planning application has been removed from public display, possibly pending a decision.


b. Insurance for Volunteers

The Chairman reported that he had found some generic risk assessments which he felt could be adapted for use as required. A copy would be forwarded to Cllr Denny for use as necessary.


c. BT Phone Box

On closer examination it had been decided that the phone box probably would not warrant refurbishment by BT but could do with a good internal and external clean. Cllr Denny said that a volunteer had offered to do this work and she would be following up.


d. Fingerpost

The Clerk reported that the fingerpost had been reinstated at the end of October but very regrettably, within 48 hours, one of the fingers had been snapped off. At the time of the accident a farmer was hedge cutting in that vicinity and he had agreed to have the damage repaired. Time scale is unknown but the Clerk offered to continue to liaise with the farmer to ensure the work is done.


e. Plaque for Bench in The Pound

Cllr Barber reported that a replacement plaque (made of brass and engraved) would cost £28.  It was unanimously agreed to proceed with the replacement.


f.  Noticeboard in Manor Close

A discussion took place about the pros and cons of having an additional noticeboard installed in Manor Close for general community use. Due to a wide range of opinion, it was decided that village residents should be asked (to be achieved by Councillors contacting each household) and this information used to make a decision.

The Chairman suggested that the Council pre-approved the sum of up to £500 for the purchase of the noticeboard to avoid further delay placing an order if that was the outcome of the village survey. This was unanimously approved.

NB Since the meeting it has been suggested that the decision should be made at the next meeting (January 2022) to allow a final discussion.










Chairman/Cllr Denny




Cllr Denny










Cllr Barber












a. River Warden

Martyn Gillingham, the River Warden gave a brief report which can be found at the end of these minutes.  He expressed particular concern about the roadside gullies in Picket Lane which he had been attempting to keep free of debris but, despite this, the highway drains have run to capacity. In view of the amount of shingle and sediment deposited on the road surface, he suspects that the gullies need pumping out, particularly on the section of Picket Lane between the Engineer’s Road and the bridge, and suggested that Dorset Council should be asked to do this work.


b. Footpaths Officer

Sue Coutanche, Footpaths Officer gave a report which is available at the end of these minutes.  


c. PCSO Report

PCSO Alex Bishop sent his apologies. He had nothing to feedback over the last couple of months but requested that residents were reminded of his attendance at Mosterton Post Office once a month, for anyone that wishes to come and speak to him.  His next appointment will be on Monday 13th December at 1.30pm in Mosterton Village Hall.












Reservoir Update

Martyn Gillingham, River Warden, gave the following update:

Works have now been discontinued, and the site made safe for the winter period, when it is not practical to continue working and the risk of impounding is even greater.  In taking the decision to discontinue the work over winter it was of paramount importance to the Environment Agency to leave the facility fully operational over winter thus ensuring the protection of the villagers is maintained to the same degree as they always have been.

The temporary bridge over the river, to provide direct access to the spillway from the site compound, has been removed and will be re-erected when work restarts next Spring.

During the winter period the cabins, the stone surface and the heavy materials will remain in the site compound, which will be secured with Heras fencing. The CCTV will remain operational.

The return in Spring will be after Easter – probably mobilising on 19 April 2022, with works commencing on 25 April 2022.  These dates will be subject to confirmation nearer the time, as they will depend on the weather and resource availability. Work next year is likely to continue for the majority of the summer, depending on the weather.  Footpath closures and diversions will stay in place until the works are completed and the grass has established.




Planning Matters

a. Applications handled since last meeting
P/FUL/2021/03198 – ERECTION OF AGRICULTURAL STORE AT WESTERN END OF THE VILLAGE – unanimously supported (out of committee due to time scale). Dorset Council Planning department informed.

b. Decisions notified by DC since last meeting

c. New applications to be considered
P/LBC/2021/04645 – HUNTERS HATCH
This was a retrospective planning application which had been submitted with the help of Dorset Heritage Officers and a local architect. It was unanimously supported.

d. Tree applications since last meeting
i. P/TRC/2021/04229 – HUNTERS HATCH
to fell yew, ash and conifer – approved

ii. P/TRC/2021/04222 – OTTER COTTAGE
to pollard silver birch to a height of 5.5m from ground – approved

e. Other Planning Matters
i. Field along Bailey’s Lane
The Clerk reported that shortly after the last meeting she had visited the site with Reg Willing, Senior Enforcement officer for West Dorset. He agreed that the development appeared unlawful and agreed to investigate. A recent update from him states that he has written to the owner of the land (as given by Land Registry) but to date has not received a reply. He will continue to try to make contact. If it transpires that the contact address is correct but the letter is being ignored, he will look to start formal action to remove the caravan, sheds etc.

ii. WD/D/20/001708 – COACH AND HORSES INN
The Chairman reported that the Clerk had contacted Katrina Trevett, the Planning Officer responsible for this case on 1 November requesting an update. Her reply informed that she was currently off work but she had forwarded the case to her manager, Ann Collins in order for it to be progressed.
On 3 November the Chairman subsequently emailed Ann Collins, copying Cllr Rebecca Knox, asking for an update. To date he still has not received a reply from Ann Collins but Cllr Knox immediately contacted Cllr David Walsh, Portfolio Holder for Planning, expressing her concern about this case. On 4 Nov he replied stating that he would investigate. Having heard nothing by 15 November Cllr Knox once again contacted Cllr Walsh who immediately replied stating that he would chase.
At the time of the meeting there is still no official update from Dorset Council which is extremely disappointing and unacceptable.  The Chairman and Clerk will continue to do all they can to get an answer on this planning application – it was suggested by one resident that they should demand a face-to-face meeting with Cllr Walsh.































Highways Updates

a. Picket Lane
The Clerk reported that she had met with Roger and Steven Legg from Picket Farm and Blair Turner, Community Highways Officer, on 9th September. A useful discussion took place, the result of this was an emergency request for repair work to be carried out by Dorset Council. This was scheduled for October but little has been done. A chasing email has been sent but to date there has been no response.

b.  School Hill/Pipplepen Lane
The pavements have been cleared and are, at long last, useable again. The next step is for the overhanging trees to be cut back but as yet permission has not been obtained from the houses involved.

c. Drains
A request has been submitted for the drains in Picket Lane to be cleared and pumped out. Clerk to follow up.

d. Picket Lane/A356
Sets of yellow lines at the eastern and western entrances to the village have now been added along with a set at the junction of Picket Lane and the A356. A yellow warning triangle at the end of Picket Lane was forgotten but will be added at some point.

e. Other Matters
The 30mph sign at the western end of the village has now been cleared. No action yet to cut back the large tree/shrub blocking the street light in Manor Close. Clerk to chase.


















Emails have been received/sent reference Highways (various), Coach and Horses, insurance and planning issues

Hard copies of correspondence: Lloyds Bank Statement, Clerk and Councils Direct.






a. Clerk’s Hours

The Clerk left the meeting for this item

The Chairman detailed how much work the Clerk had to undertake during a typical month using the items on the agenda as evidence. The Chairman proposed that following a discussion with the Clerk, the Clerk had suggested an additional 2 hours per month, increasing from 12 to 14 hours. This proposal was put to the council and a counter proposal from Cllr Barber was offered of an additional 4 hours as he felt that the position and workload warranted it. This new proposal of 16 hours per month was unanimously supported by the Council.

b. Financial Status for South Perrott Parish Council as at 18th November 2021

Income since last meeting

Precept (Part 2)



Payments made since last meeting

Clerking Work (Sep, Oct 21)

Fingerpost Letters


Daffodil Bulbs

Rubbish Bin Emptying (Sep – Dec 21)









New cheques/payments for consideration






Bank balance as at 18th November 2021:              £5466.64

c.  Budget

The Chairman reminded the meeting that the 2022-23 budget needed to be finalised at the January 2022 meeting so that the precept request could be submitted to Dorset Council by 31 January 2022. Many of the core costs would remain at a similar level but decisions had to be made about Village Enhancements. These could include such items as employing a contractor to do specific tasks eg hedge cutting on an ad hoc arrangement, replacing the steps and gate at the end of Bailey’s Lane or planters at the village gateposts on the A356.

After discussion about the extent of Dorset Council’s involvement with some tasks, the Chairman asked all Councillors to give some thought to village enhancements and if they had an idea to get some quotes for the cost/work. This is essential to ensure that any enhancements which are agreed at the January meeting can be included in the 2022-23 budget.


d. Bank Account

The Chairman reported that he continued to be extremely frustrated with Lloyds Bank due to their inability to set up new co-signatories.  Several attempts had been made by him (and the previous Chairman) to resolve this but with no success.  Two signatures are required for each payment and at present there are only two Councillors who are authorised to do this.

Only having two signatories is a substantial risk and the Chairman suggested that the Council should consider setting up a new bank account to overcome this problem. He suggested that the Co-op, which is a community orientated bank, might be a suitable choice. 

The Councillors unanimously supported this suggestion and the Clerk offered to investigate.
















































Matters of report and items for the next meeting

a. Chairman
i. Christmas Tree
The Council approved a spend of up to £100 to provide a Christmas Tree for the Pound

b. Clerk
i. Proposed Dates for 2022 Meetings
13 January, 10 March, 12 May, 14 July, 8 September, 10 November

The Clerk reported that she had attended the DAPTC AGM which had been well run and informative. Particularly interesting were two motions proposed by other Councils. The first was a request to lobby the government for stronger penalties should Councillors breach the Code of Conduct and the second was for Dorset Council to re-instate the provision of yellow notices associated with planning developments, along with the notification in writing to neighbours where there are planning applications.  It was suggested that Dorset Council were in breach of the Town and Country Planning Order 2015 by not doing this. Both motions were passed by the delegates.
A video or a brief summary of the meeting are available to Councillors on request.

c. Members
Nothing to report



Cllr Scott-Malden



Dates of Future Meetings

Thursday 13th January 2022 at 7.30pm.

The meeting closed at 9.15 pm



Public Session to raise items for future agendas
No items



River Warden’s Report – November 2021
Following a similar pattern to last year, the month of October has seen flood conditions in the village on three occasions.

Heavy overnight rainfall on 4th/5th, 20th/21st and 30th/31st October resulted in surface water run-off which overwhelmed the highway drains in Picket Lane, although the River Parrett contained the heavy rainfall.

Conditions were exacerbated by large amounts of shingle washed down the lane, possibly from the Engineer’s Road and field entrances. On the second occasion, contractors working for the Environment Agency on the reservoir upgrade brought their heavy machinery down Picket Lane to remove the shingle covering the road surface adjacent to the bridge.

The local farmer had also undertaken some ditching clearance in Picket Lane to assist dispersal of the surface water run-off.

I have been keeping the roadside gullies in Picket Lane free of debris but, despite this, the highway drains have run to capacity. In view of the amount of shingle and sediment deposited on the road surface, I suspect that the gullies need pumping out, particularly on the section of Picket Lane between the Engineer’s Road and the bridge.

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



Footpath Officer’s Report – November 2021

Dorset Rights of Way Improvement Plan 2022-2032 – Consultation
Having received feedback from local residents I responded to this consultation on behalf of SPPC.  My comments were: there are sufficient footpaths in South Perrott and its vicinity, although I suggested extending Footpath No 1 (Pipplepen Lane towards North Perrott) to follow the ancient Holt Footpath and link up with Chedington near A356 junction opposite Winyards Gap. However the main issue is that many of our footpaths cross farmland and this requires regular and good liaison with the local farmers to ensure that they are adequately maintained.

Footpath No 1 – the owner has now laid a ham stone path “the Yellow Brick Road” along the first section of this path.  I have walked it a couple of times and now the weather is more inclement I have noticed many others using it too as it makes for easier walking than some of the other muddy paths.

Parrett Trail and Bridleway – although work by the Environment Agency has ceased for winter, the bridleway will remain closed and the Parrett Trail will continue to be diverted until work has eventually been completed which may not be until 2023. In the meantime the MG Committee will continue to liaise with the EA and provide updates on progress.

Permissive Path of off Bailey’s Lane –the now defunct gate at the MG end of this path and it’s steep, slippery and uneven exit where it re-joins Bailey’s Lane, has been reported to Dorset Council; however my planned meeting with Dorset Council’s Senior Ranger has yet to take place and I will contact him again to rearrange a visit.  One solution would be to create a series of steps down to the Lane to make access easier in both directions.

Sue Coutanche
SP Footpath Officer<