SOUTH PERROTT PARISH COUNCIL
Minutes of the Parish Council meeting held on Wednesday 8th September 2021 at 7.30pm the Village Hall
Present: Cllr Jonathan Baker, Cllr Balavant Barber, Cllr Gill Denny, Cllr Yvonne Harris
In Attendance: Jane Thicknesse, Clerk, and 16 members of the public.
Public discussion of items on agenda
There were no items brought forward for discussion.
Apologies / Declarations of interest / grant of dispensations
Apologies were received and accepted from Cllr Rebecca Knox (Dorset Councillor), Alex Bishop (PCSO), Martyn Gillingham (River Warden), Sue Coutanche (Footpaths Officer).
Approval of Minutes of meeting held on 14th July 2021
The minutes of the last meeting were approved, and were signed by the Chairman. Proposed by Cllr Barber and seconded by Cllr Denny.
Matters arising from Minutes of meeting held on 5th May 2021
a. Pipplepen Solar Farm Project
The Chairman requested this topic was moved to later in the agenda to provide an opportunity for discussion with a fully complemented Council.
b. A3066/Lecher Lane Junction
The Clerk reported that she had received an email from Michael Potter, Mike Potter, Road Safety Team Leader, Dorset Council
“I have had the report from police colleagues summarising the circumstances of the collision from 7 June. Whilst I am not able to share the specific details of the collision, I am able to state that double white lines would not likely have prevented the incident.
Furthermore, with the section of the A3066 being relatively straight with good forward visibility the strict criteria for a system of double white lines would not be met.
I am aware that there are junction warning signs on the A3066 on either side of the junction, in light of the concerns raised following this recent incident I have requested that the condition and visibility of these signs are reviewed.
This recent incident is the only injury collision that has occurred on this section of the A3066 in recent years. Collision cluster sites are identified/monitored using the latest available five year period, currently May 2016 to April 2021, during this time there have been zero injury collisions reported during this figure. The incident in June resulted in a minor injury and will be added to our database in due course.”
c. Queen’s Green Canopy
The Chairman asked if there had been any other thoughts about participating in this scheme. Councillors considered that there were already plenty of trees in South Perrott and nobody could think of a suitable location on public land.
d. Insurance for Volunteers
The Clerk reported that she had received the following advice from the Council’s insurance company
Volunteers working under the instructions of the parish council will be covered for public liability as part of the core cover. A risk assessment needs to be completed for the activities/work to be undertaken. All volunteers will need to be adequately trained along with the appropriate health and safety guidance given.
A discussion followed and it was decided that risk assessments could probably be carried out on some tasks eg planting, tidying borders and picking up litter but little training would need to be given.
A member of the public suggested that if work was required, word would be passed around the village specifying the nature of the work, the time and place and encouraging people to join the working party. This way would prevent ‘the work’ being instructed by the Parish Council and therefore remove insurance responsibilities.
Co-option of New Councillor
The Chairman reported that since the last meeting there had been three expressions of interest in becoming a Councillor. Two had since withdrawn their application. He then introduced Mr Tom Scott-Malden who told the meeting a little about himself and his reasons for wanting to become a Councillor. He was duly co-opted unanimously and joined the meeting as a Councillor.
a. River Warden
Martyn Gillingham, the River Warden sent his apologies. He had nothing to report apart from the work on the Reservoir (see item 2021/056).
b. Footpaths Officer
Sue Coutanche, Footpaths Officer sent her apologies and a report which is available at the end of these minutes.
c. PCSO Report
PCSO Alex Bishop sent his apologies. His report is available at the end of these minutes.
d. Dorset Councillor
Cllr Rebecca Knox also sent her apologies. She reported that she had received some correspondence from residents over planning enforcement and broadband during the last few months and encouraged residents to get in touch with her if there were other ways in which she could help. Her full report is available at the end of these minutes.
Martyn Gillingham, River Warden, sent the following update:
Works were programmed for completion in 2021; however at the commencement of the works there were some faults identified with the Wessex Water Foul Sewer on the site, which had to be repaired. We engaged with Wessex Water who identified the fault and implemented a repair, which has now been completed. Unfortunately this repair works has delayed progress on the drainage works required as part of the reservoir improvements and this has had a knock-on impact on the installation of the main spillway erosion protection.
Works are still intended to carry on until about the end of October, when the site will be made safe for the winter period when it is not practical to continue working and the risk of an impounding event is greater. The precise date when works will close for the winter is not known as it will largely be dependent on the weather. The objective is to maximise progress this year before a return in spring to compete the works. 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 it always has been.
During the winter period the site compound will have the cabins removed, but the stone surface will remain and the heavy materials will remain in the compound, which will be secured with Heras Fencing. This will be reviewed throughout the winter period.
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. The duration we are on site will depend largely on how much we complete this year, but is likely to continue for the majority of the summer next year depending on the weather. Footpath closures and diversions will stay in place until the works are completed and the grass has established.
Village Meeting Feedback
The Chairman reported that the Village Meeting held on 1 September had been well attended with interesting discussions. Points raised for action by the Council were:
i. to look at changing the day of the Parish Council meetings from Wednesday to Thursday to avoid a clash with the Gardening Club. Regular hall bookings had been checked and as this is possible the Council agreed to hold future meetings on a Thursday.
ii. to investigate the public phone box in The Pound being re-painted. The Clerk reported that BT would consider this if photographs showing the state of the box were sent to them.
Several years ago the fingerpost on the corner of Lecher Lane and the A356 was in a very poor state of repair and was taken down to be renovated. The Clerk reported that she had recently received an email saying that much of the work had now been done and all that was needed to complete the job was to replace 35 missing letters. These could be sourced at a cost of £5.50 each (fully primed and double painted both sides) which would total £192.50 plus postage.
The Clerk confirmed that there would be no additional costs and asked the Council if they would like the work to go ahead. After discussion it was unanimously agreed that the fingerpost was a village asset and this cost should be met to enable the post to be reinstated.
a. Applications handled since last meeting
P/LBC/2021/01552 – BAKERS ARMS
This application was for secondary glazing (removable) for 21 windows in the property. South Perrott PC fully supported this application – the owners are currently waiting for a final decision from Dorset Council.
b. Decisions notified by DC since last meeting None
c. New applications to be considered
P/FUL/2021/00627- PIPPLEPEN SOLAR FARM
The Chairman informed the meeting that after 18 months Elgin Energy had submitted their proposal for a solar farm to both Dorset and South Somerset Councils. It has been submitted to both Councils because although the site itself is in South Somerset, access during the construction phase will involve Dorset Highways. The Chairman then gave a brief resume of the 30 year project highlighting that it would cover a 120 acres site producing 32MW of electricity which is sufficient to power approximately 10,000 homes. The construction phase would last for 16 weeks and at the end of the project the site would be taken down. During the construction phase there would be some restrictions to the footpaths which cross the site but these would then be fully opened for the duration of the project.
The Chairman reminded the meeting that this project had been discussed at length at previous meetings during which concern had been expressed at the original access which had been through the village and along Pipplepen Lane. Subsequent engagement with Elgin Energy had resulted in a new proposal with all construction traffic travelling from the east and accessing the site via an agricultural track off the A356. Further details including the access route are available at www.pipplepensolarpvproject.com
The Chairman reported that he and the Clerk had been invited to North Perrott Parish Council’s meeting the previous evening to hear a presentation from Michelle Howley, Elgin Energy and to give their views on the project.
A lengthy discussion took place during which the following became apparent
i. North Perrott Parish Council had voted not to support the application
ii. Elgin Energy are planning for a biodiversity net gain for the area over the lifetime of the project. Their plans include careful maintenance of the existing hedgerows and trees (none of which would be removed) as well as the planting of new vegetation, planting of wild flowers under the solar panels and grazing by sheep.
iii. There would be a sub-station on site which would emit a gentle hum (only audible from approximately 15 feet).
iv. The site will be fenced by a 2.4m post and wire fence.
v. No lighting will be installed as the CCTV arrangements are based on infrared technology.
vi. There is some concern about access from the A356 as this could be deemed dangerous by Dorset Highways. (Elgin Energy have considered the use of either traffic lights or banksmen if required.)
vi. There would be a Community Benefit which would be split 50-50 with North Perrott Parish Council. The total amount likely to be given to South Perrott would be £64,000.
It was also suggested that contact was made with Parish Councils where Elgin Energy had installed solar farms for their recommendations.
The Chairman then reminded the Councillors of their roles and suggested that due to the length of the project this was probably the most important decision the Council had had to make for a long time. He requested that their decision should not be swayed by the potential financial gain for the village.
The Council unanimously approved the planning application subject to the following points being taken into account in the granting of the consent:
1. That the site is as concealed as much as possible by the use of hedgerows which should be carefully maintained.
2. Careful consideration be given to the planting of new vegetation to ensure it reaches maturity relatively quickly.
3. That the access is via the proposed route off the A356 and no construction traffic passes through the village.
d. Tree applications since last meeting
e. Other Planning Matters
i. Field at western end of the village
The owner has requested additional time as his planning agent could not meet the deadline. The enforcement order requested removal of all non-agricultural items including 2 of the caravans and the submission of a planning application due by 12.9.21. The owner will seek permission in his planning application to keep the third caravan.
ii. Hunters Hatch
The owners are working with the Council’s Conservation officer to submit a Listed Building application.
iii. Field along Bailey’s Lane
Notice has been served by Planning Enforcement. It states that the field is for agricultural uses and all non-agricultural items including the caravan, wooden building and domestic sheds must be removed or a planning application submitted within 28 days of the letter ie 23 September 2021. After this date default enforcement action may commence.
iv. WD/D/20/001708 – Coach and Horses Inn
The Clerk reminded the meeting that the closing date for submission of evidence by the Coach and Horses had been the 17th August 2021. Having chased for any progress she had received an email from Katrina Trevett who is the Case Officer for this application who reports:
‘I’ve now received the viability assessment which I’ve sent off today to the Valuation Office for their impartial review.
I’ve also been advised that the noise report is imminent. However, the viability assessment will be the most critical in this case so at least that’s now progressing.
As soon as I have any feedback on that then I will advise you as soon as possible. My attention will then turn to amenity impacts which will mean visiting site and not waiting a considerable time for a further noise report.’
The Clerk reported that she had received a number of phone calls and emails about the large volume of farm traffic through the village over the past month. This has been caused by the removal of stone from a field along Pipplepen Lane and moving it by tractor to Picket Farm to lay new farm tracks.
Much concern had been expressed about the damage done to the highways as well as the inconvenience to all. The Clerk reported that she had been in contact with the farmers involved and that work was due to be completed by the 9th September. She also informed the meeting that she was meeting with the farmers and Blair Turner, Community Highways Officer, the following day to discuss the state of the road, drains and ditches.
Emails have been received/sent reference Highways (various), Coach and Horses, audit, speed indication device, farm traffic, reservoir and other planning issues
Hard copies of correspondence: Lloyds Bank Statement, Clerk and Councils Direct.
a. Financial Status for South Perrott Parish Council as at 8th September 2021
Income since last meeting
Payments made since last meeting
Bank balance as at 8th September 2021: £3825.22
The Clerk reported that the audit had been completed and all was in order. The required documentation has been published on the website and noticeboard and copies are available on request.
The Chairman gave a brief resume of the financial position followed by a discussion about setting the budget for 2022-23 which would need to be started at the next meeting. He requested that all Councillors (and residents) thought about village improvements and to forward any suggestions to either himself or the Clerk before the next meeting so they could be considered.
During the discussion the bench in The Pound was mentioned as the plaque has become unreadable. It was agreed to replace the plaque with one which would be more resilient to the weather.
There was also a request for the streets to be cleaned and the drains checked by Dorset Council services.
Matters of report and items for the next meeting
Nothing to report
Nothing to report
Nothing to report
Dates of Future Meetings
Thursday 18th November 2021 at 7.30pm. (not 11th as discussed at the meeting)
The meeting closed at 9.00pm
Public Session to raise items for future agendas
a. A resident asked if it might be possible to have a small general notice board erected at the bottom of Manor Close. This is a central location in the village and would help with the dissemination of information as it would be seen by many. The Clerk was asked to investigate.
PCSO Report – September 2021
Fortunately I have nothing to report crime wise over the last couple of months.
I would like to advise about scam calls that have come to our attention recently. A caller purporting to be a Police Officer advises that the recipients bank card is used in a fraud and attempt to get details. The Police would operate in this manner, this is a scam, please do not pass any details over the phone and just hang up. If you think that the caller is a Police Officer, take their name, collar number, station they are based at and Force they work for, then hang up and call 101, choose the option to speak to the Force they said they were from to confirm the call is genuine. If you think you have given out any details to a cold caller, please call Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040, or report it online at www.actionfraud.police.uk.
We are now back to doing face to face engagements again. The nearest engagement I have to South Perrott being Mosterton and I will be at the Post Office (village hall) on Monday 20th September at 1.30pm, if anyone would like to come and speak with me.
PCSO Alex Bishop
Footpath Officer’s Report – September 2021
Langmoor Lane – Further to the repairs made last year to the headwall there is now erosion of the headwall further up the Lane either side of the stone bridge and some of the sand bags have collapsed into the stream. This erosion was also noticed by the contractor when he was making the previous repairs. Approximately a third mile further up the Lane, the Leggs (who farm the adjacent fields), have laid loose stone where the Lane was waterlogged and badly eroded. I understand from Roger Legg that work is still in progress. I have thanked Roger as it will make it easier for walkers.
SP Footpath no.4 – (part of the Parrett Trail). The Environment Agency (EA) is continuing with work to upgrade the flood protection scheme and this footpath is now diverted through the Millennium Green (MG) and the bridleway is closed. The work to the Flood Scheme is due to stop during the winter months and will not resume until late April 2022 when weather conditions are suitable. The diversions will remain in place throughout until the work has been finally completed. To enable the grass to regrow on the spillway this may not be until 2024.
SP Footpath no. 5 which becomes Chedington Footpath no.1 – The stile on the South Perrott part of the footpath, on Stephen Bishop’s land, has been broken for the last 3 years. I have asked Dorset Council if they can repair/replace this stile and whilst they are making a site visit also to continue into the copse to check the bridge over the stream.
Permissive Path that bypasses Baileys Lane – I’m pleased to report that the landowner has kindly made improvements to this by cutting back overgrowth and laying gravel where it is uneven. Walkers are requested to stick to the path and not to wander onto the rest of his field. There will be signs to remind walkers. There is a ‘kissing gate’, erected by the now defunct Parrett Trail Committee, where this path re-joins Baileys Lane at the MG end. This gate is in need of repair. I have asked Dorset Council if they could repair/replace it.
SP Footpath no.1 – Pipplepen Lane towards North Perrott. The Leggs own the land in SP that it traverses and have laid a ham stone track which the footpath follows. The Leggs are also laying ham stone tracks across some of their fields, which they have said walkers may use where they follow existing footpaths.
Dorset Council’s Senior Ranger is making a site visit next week when I will be accompany him to discuss the issues in this report.
SP Footpath Officer
Dorset Councillor’s Report
Broadband matters – some months ago it was brought to my attention that some areas of the parish had not been put on the Superfast mains which would allow them to upgrade and this was then chased up and addressed successfully, in most cases. But I am aware that there are still some residents who do seem to have been missed out so if you hear about them please let me know. In theory the whole area should have the ability to receive high speed broadband, maybe not the superfast speed, but for sure enough MB to be able to conduct business, school projects and home entertainment from their residences. I would like to know if there are pockets still not able to.
Dorset Council is facing budget issues but has now stated that due to some reserves the deficit will be met if savings cannot be found this financial year. Much of the pressure comes from social care, and it is not just those over the age of 60yrs needing care, it is indeed many adults between the ages of 21 and 65 with disabilities of one kind of another – the costs to look after are extremely high and we are waiting for a government announcement to help with this, sadly in my view the announcement today has not helped us locally at all in terms of financing prevention to deliver independent living rather than more expensive interventions which are reactive via the NHS.
River Warden’s Report
Nothing to report.