Minutes 9th January 2020

Minutes of the Parish Council meeting held on Thursday 9th January 2020 at 7.30pm.

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

In Attendance: Acting Clerk Vicky Reed and 12 members of the public.

Item No.



Public discussion of items on agenda

The issue of mud on Lecher Lane was raised. A resident reported that she has emailed the Highways Dept about the issue, and that the Highways Dept has requested contact details of the contractors who have been working the farmland alongside Lecher Lane. The contractors have been made aware of the problem, which has improved. It was reported that the gateways are to be widened later this year, to accommodate larger agricultural vehicles, and that general vehicles are also causing damage to the verges and dragging mud onto the highways.

There was a discussion about the sign at the entrance to Lecher Lane, warning that the road is not suitable for HGVs. The sign has been swivelled around by residents to warn vehicles coming from Crewkerne direction. During a recent visit by a Highways Officer the sign was returned to its original direction. This leaves a lack of signage to warn HGV drivers approaching from Dorchester about the unsuitability of Lecher Lane. The matter is covered later in the agenda.

A resident reported that Picket Lane is in very poor condition, partly as a result of the recent high levels of rainfall.



Apologies/ Declarations of interest / grant of dispensations – Apologies were received and accepted from Dorset Cllr Rebecca Knox & PCSO Alex Bishop.



Approval of Minutes of meeting held on 14th November 2019

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 14th November 2019

Grit Bin – The clerk reported that two new grit bins have been purchased and are in situ. The bin on Pipplepen Lane opposite the entrance to School Hill has been filled. The clerk has been unable to check if the second bin up Pickett Lane has yet been filled.

Street Cleaning – The clerk reported that the mobile street cleaner visited in November and worked its way about the environs of the village.

Langmoor Lane – The clerk reported that the local Footpaths Officer is scheduling a meeting with Cllr Lines in the near future to look at Langmoor Lane.

Finger Posts – The clerk reported that a supplier of lettering for the finger posts has been sourced, and we are waiting to hear back from Mr Charles if he is able to complete the renovation work.






Dorset Councillor – Cllr Knox’s report is available at the end of these minutes.



Police. PCSO Bishop sent his apologies and the following report

“Fortunately there have been no crimes in the last couple months to report but whilst this no longer falls within the SPPC boundary, there was a theft of power tools from a vehicle in Chedington.  This occurred overnight between the 21st and 22nd of December.  I would advise not to leave any valuables inside unattended vehicles.  If anyone would like any further security advice, please contact me. For info, I will be at the Post Office in Mosterton on Monday 13th January at 1.30pm, if anyone is interested in coming to speak with me/ask any questions.  I know that this isn’t specific to South Perrott, but if anyone feels there is an engagement opportunity in the village, please let me know. Regards and Happy New Year to all, Alex.



Website Development

The clerk reported that she had received a quotation for the development of a new website for South Perrott Parish Council. The quote was for a maximum of £500 to build and develop the website and included 12 months of email and website hosting.

Cllr Baker reported that he has purchased the domain Southperrottparishcouncil.org at a cost of £58 for the first year, and is able to set up a new website on this address at no cost to the parish council. There will also be new email addresses available for the clerk and parish councillors to use.

The parish council decided to go ahead with Cllr Baker setting up the new website, which should go live in the near future.



Co-option of Parish Councillor to fill Casual Vacancy

Two residents have expressed an interest in fulfilling the Casual Vacancy.

Both were present at the meeting and gave a brief introduction of themselves.

The parish council then held a ballot and Mr Balavant Barber was duly elected, 3 votes to 1.

Cllr Balavant joined the council for the remainder of the meeting.



Highways Issues

Cllr Kennett and Cllr Lines recently met with a representative from the Dorset Council Highways Department to discuss a number of issues within the village. The outcomes were as follows:

The drain outside of the village hall on Pipplepen Lane – Previously logged under Highways Reference number 1096209 – A suggestion was made that a white line be painted in the centre of the entrance/exit to the car park, to encourage drivers to stay to the side of the road, rather than driving over the drain cover which is central. The Highways department, having previously carried out repairs to the main highway are unable to assist with the carriageway which falls within the entrance to the car park, as this is the responsibility of the village hall committee.

Flooding outside of Sarum – Previously logged under Highways Reference number 1111939.

The flooding has alleviated, and the area did not flood during the heavy rains before Christmas. The clerk will enquire whether or not the camera investigation work has taken place yet.

Lecher Lane – The Highways Department have agreed to arrange for the vegetation at the entrance to Lecher Lane to be cut back to improve visibility. The issue of the warning signs about HGVs was further discussed at the meeting, including the possibility of a double-sided sign to warn HGB drivers approaching from both directions as to the unsuitability of Lecher Lane for HGVs. No decision was reached.

The gully at the entrance to Lecher Lane may not have been cleared recently.

At the meeting with the Highways Department the matter of additional signage for the village was discussed, particularly “Concealed Entrance “ signs. The Highways Department view is that additional signs should be avoided to prevent an overload, which results in drivers ignoring all signs.

Residents raised concerns about the speed of vehicles through the village and the possibility of a Speed Indicator Device (SID) being deployed. It was noted that within the main village speed is not the central issue. Pedestrians have a perception that vehicles are speeding, but due to the nature of the highway this is usually not the case. However on the approach to the village in either direction speed can be an issue. It was noted that in order for a SID to be installed in the village a Community Speedwatch would first need to be established, and then the equipment purchased at a significant cost to the parish council.



Correspondence Received

Clerks and Councils Direct Newsletter



Planning Matters

  1. Applications handled since last meeting None

  2. Decisions notified by DC since last meeting None

  3. New application to be considered None

  4. Tree applications None

  5. Other Planning Matters None



Finance including setting of 2020-2021 Budget

Financial Status South Perrott Parish Council as at 6th January 2020

Income Since last meeting

1st instalment from PAPC (4th December)


Payments made since last meeting

Clerking Work (November & December)


Clerk’s expenses




Grit bin purchase x 2




Budget and Precept Training


Website expenses


New payments for consideration – none at the current time.

Bank balance as at 6th January 2020: £3,309.45

An additional payment of approximately £4100 is still due from Parrett & Axe Parish Council once their final refunds have been received

2020-2021 Budget Setting

The clerk had previously circulated a draft budget to all councillors for consideration and discussion. It was noted that since the dissolution of the joint Parrett and Axe Parish Council the number of electors paying the precept through council tax bills has decreased by almost 25%, and yet administrative costs have not reduced by a similar amount. The council agreed unanimously to set the budget and precept request at £3963 to fully fund the forecast costs of South Perrott Parish Council. The precept will be paid in two halves, split equally in April and September.



Matters of report and items for the next meeting

  1. Chairman –

Cllr Lines reported that the advertisement for a permanent clerk is ready to be published, with a closing date of 31st January. The advert will be published in The Pump & Pound. DAPTC website, parish council notice board, and website, and Indeed.com

Cllr Lines noted that he has also reported the issue of mud on Lecher Lane to the Highways Department, and urged those present to report any highways issues around the village to the parish council or the Highways Department.

Cllr Lines reported that along the public footpath off of Langmoor Lane, the farming contractor has ploughed right to the edge of the field. The contractor has been made aware that the footpath runs at the edge of the field, and will reinstate the footpath once the weather improves.

  1. Clerk – No items of report

  2. Members – No items of report

  3. Footpaths Officer – Not present

  4. River Warden – Mr Gillingham gave the following report:

The rain over the last few months has been relentless, but there have been few issues with floodwater in the village.

Off the main road (A356), the two main areas affected by surface water run off are:-

  1. The bottom end of Pipplepen Lane, where the outfall from the field ditch behind the village hall spills out onto the lane, resulting in surface water running down Pipplepen Lane and then onto the A356, eventually draining into the gully next to the telephone kiosk.

  2. Picket Lane, next to the bridge over the River Parrett, where surface water run off from the fields at Symes Hill further up the lane flows down the tarmac and into the river.

Both areas were badly affected by surface water on 18th December.

The A356 still occasionally floods at New Bridge, between South Perrott and the Misterton crossroads. This was particularly bad on 19th December, when I noticed floodwater across the road, about 150mm deep, on one of my regular inspections. I was able to clear the roadside gulleys, which had both been blocked by leaves, and the water drained away into Lecher Water. However, it is still the responsibility of Dorset Council Highways to erect flood warning signs at this location.

If anyone has any queries on flooding or wants further information on the river through the village, please let me know. Martyn Gillingham River/Flood Warden

Tel: 891931 Email: mcvgillingham@btinternet.com

Mr Gillingham reported that he will be attending a Flood Resilience Day in February, and will give a report at the next meeting.



Review of statutory documents and procedures

The following documents were circulated prior to the meeting to elected councillors, and were adopted:

Social Media Policy

Data Protection Policy

These were approved by the council.



Dates of Future Meetings

Thursday 12th March 2020 at 7.30pm, subject to appointment of new clerk.

The meeting closed at 8.38pm


Public Session to raise items for future agendas

A resident raised a suggestion for the village enhancement proportion of the budget. In order to assist with the ongoing climate emergency, it was suggested that a tree be planted for each person in the village to combat air pollution. It was agreed that potential village enhancements would be an item on the agenda of the next meeting.

Residents raised concerns about a number of vehicles parking in The Pound opposite the pub car park for long periods of time. There are no restrictions on parking in this area. It was suggested that residents might be asked to park more considerately to allow other visitors to the village to also park in this area.

Residents raised the issue of flooding underneath the railway bridge at the far end of Pipplepen Lane, leaving the road unusable for many months at a time. The clerk will contact North Perrott Parish Council for an update on the situation and report back to the next meeting.

Residents reported that Pickett Lane road surface is badly damaged with potholes, which seem to be aggravated by the high level of water run off as a result of recent rainfall.

Residents asked for an update on the status of the Millennium Green. It was reported that the play equipment has been removed, and the management committee are working on turning the area into a wildlife reserve.



Dorset Councillor – Cllr Knox’s Report.

Dear All, Happy New Year and best wishes for 2020. The Dorset Council has 82 councillors and I currently represent your area along with the parishes contained within the Beaminster Ward. The Dorset Council’s current focus is on setting the budget for 20/21 and putting in place its medium and long term plan.  The pressures on children and adult social care continues to expand over and above current financial income the Council receives from council tax and central government.  With the Brexit issue and then GE funds which would have normally been more secure for particular grant needs for example Children with Special Needs, High Needs Spending for Schools, adults with special needs have been delayed so you might have heard that more funding is coming down from Central Government but these announcements have not actually delivered secured monies which we very much need in Dorset.  We continue to put pressure on Central Government to turn the announcements into reality. 

So in the meantime Dorset Council is setting a budget, which it must do, in February.  On Monday more detail will be revealed to the Councillors, at the moment the budget statement and intention is copied to you below.

The budget is a significant issue since of course with the pressures being put on social care and special needs, other matters which are more obvious to the residents as a whole such as the state of roads, works on gullies and pot holes, rural travel and matters such as health and wellbeing are vulnerable to financial cuts and these matters are of course particularly of concern to those in rural areas where isolation leads can lead to significant day to day problems, so this is where my focus is – to ensure communities are not isolated. 

My specific role at Dorset Council is to Chair the Fire and Rescue Authority for Dorset and Wiltshire and to Chair and Health and Wellbeing Board for Dorset.  These two for me are significant in bringing together other public sector bodies, importantly the NHS, the CCG, Fire and Rescue and the Police.  The focus is prevention – if we can assist young people and those seeking independence at home with a little help it can help the pressures on expensive care and services long term.   Local communities are key to this work and you will soon be hearing about local clusters of these organisations coming together in small geographic areas so the shift is away from everything being organised or decided on micro detail centrally. 

There are two Executive Advisory Panels which I hope the Council is being informed about – one is working with parish councils (there was a meeting before Christmas in Bridport about this work) and the other is rural access – working with all those with transport of all sorts including social services, community transport, the CCG and hospital cars services.  These two when some more work has been done, will be significant for your area so I will be reporting back on them for you.  If you have matters to raise from these area I would very much like to hear from you.

Access to our rights of way network and of course planning are key matters for the parish council.  As such I find there is little change in this area but if you are finding it more difficult to have your say please let me know since local influence is important – you will know best for your local area.

The budget outline is below – there are big numbers in this and the pressure to address high cost placements of young people or adults in the social care system is where the Council really needs to focus – avoiding a placement can save up to ¼ million pounds per year in some cases.  So every one counts.

There are some community funds being explored and indeed one is open for plans to be submitted and finance applied for which I am sure your Clerk will have alerted you to.  I will keep sending through opportunities when I receive them – working between meetings and at a pace is important so you don’t miss out on anything you need to work on.

With best wishes to you all, Rebecca

Dorset Council to increase funding for adult social care and children’s services

Dorset Council has submitted proposals for its 2020-21 budget in a report going to three Scrutiny Committees (People, Place and Resources) on 13 January. These proposals include:

  • Increase in funding for adult social care of £11.7m, taking the budget from £111.2m last year to £122.9m to meet the forecast demand for social care for older and disabled people

  • Increase in funding for children’s services of £10.3m, taking the budget from £63.7m last year to £74m to meet the forecast demand for support for children with complex needs and those in care.

The 2020-21 budget is set in a context of rapidly rising demand for both adults and children’s care both this year and into the foreseeable future. 

This financial year (2019-20) the council is currently forecasting an overspend of £8.2m on directly controlled budgets, and £6.5m on funding for schools and education. This overspend is largely due to unprecedented and growing levels of demand for social care services, which, in turn, is the result of population changes such as more people living longer with chronic and complex conditions, and an increase in diagnosis of children’s special educational needs and disabilities. Dorset Council’s proposed increased budget for 2020-21 aims to address to the predicted growing demand.

Since 2010, central government grants to councils have been cut by nearly 60%. Dorset Council no longer receives any Revenue Support Grant from central government. This loss of funding has placed significant pressure on councils nationally, including Dorset Council, and on their ability to continue providing quality local public services.

In order to help fund the essential budget increases for adult social care and children’s services, Dorset Council proposes an increase in council tax of 3.996% for 2020-21. Of this increase, 2% is the social care precept agreed by Government in the September spending review to help fund growing demand for social care. This would generate £9.6m of additional income. 

However, the council tax increase will not fully cover the forecast increased social care costs, so in order to balance the budget Dorset Council will need to continue making substantial reductions in its expenditure without affecting the delivery of frontline services.

Dorset Council has already achieved significant cost reductions over the past year as a result of Local Government Reorganisation. For example:

  • A reduction in the number of senior officer roles, and where there is duplication and overlap across support services like finance, HR, IT and others, delivered savings of £10m.

  • A reduction in the number of councillors from 204 to 82 delivered £400k in savings.

  • Cost reductions have been made on insurance, audit fees and other activities where the council only has to pay for one organisation rather than six. A new single banking provider is anticipated to deliver a saving of £70k a year.

Next year’s proposed budget includes further multi-million pound savings through property rationalisation, reducing travel and transport costs, and a £3m reduction on expenditure through procurement. All savings are reinvested into frontline services.