South Perrott Annual Village Meeting

Thursday 28th April 2022 at 7pm in the Village Hall

In Attendance

Jonathan Baker, Chairman SPPC

3 SP Parish Councillors

17 members of the public

Clerk, SPPC

Jonathan Baker, Chairman of South Perrott Parish Council welcomed everyone to the meeting and reminded the attendees that, despite him chairing the meeting, this was not a Parish Council meeting but an opportunity to discuss issues, improvements or ideas that could benefit the village.

1. Resume

The Chairman gave a short resume of things that had happened in the village since the last Village Meeting (September 2021). These included:

a. Reinstatement of the finger post at corner of Lecher Lane and A356 (thanks to particular residents of Chedington for all their work)

b. New steps and repaired gate along Baileys Lane (thanks to Sue Coutanche, Russell Gough and Ian Neal)

c. Decision to move the litter bin in Manor Close (pending)

d. Plans to improve The Pound which include a new retaining wall, cutting back the overhanging trees, ongoing hedge trimming and tidying, a new bench to mirror the existing one and the installation of a plinth showing local walks. Michael Stevenette was thanked for his generosity which will enable this work to be done.

e. Painting of Village Gateposts (pending)

f. Decision not to put up a new noticeboard in Manor Close (after consultation with residents).

g. Decision by the Parish Council not to appoint a lengthsman (due to insufficient regular jobs) but for the money allocated in the budget to be set aside for enhancements/improvements which would be considered on merit. Any suggestions should be forwarded to the Clerk or any Parish Councillor.

h. No progress on the Pipplepen Solar Farm Planning Application – a decision from DC and SSDC is still pending.

2. Issues

a. Annual Village Clean Up

It was suggested that that the annual village clean-up should take place before the Platinum Jubilee weekend. This was favourably supported and the date of Sunday 22nd May 2022 was selected. More details will be promulgated nearer the time.

b. Millennium Greem (MG)

A resident had written to the Chairman expressing concern about the MG and requesting the meeting consider circulating a questionnaire about the future of the MG around the villages of South Perrott and Chedington.  (The resident acknowledges that a questionnaire was circulated 4 years ago but believes that recent changes in the population of both villages justifies repeating the exercise.)

Martyn Gillingham, Secretary to the MG, gave a short informative presentation. The MG was established in 1998 when a Trust, registered with the Charity Commission, was set up to manage the MG on a 999 year lease, initially from the Local Authority, but now from the Environment Agency (EA). The establishment cost of approximately £40,000 was funded from a grant of £20,000 from the Countryside Commission’s MG Fund, a grant of £5000 from the Millennium Festival Awards for All, a grant of £9000 from the Countryside Agency and the balance from local fundraising, including sponsored parachute jumps.

It is maintained as public open space for the benefit of residents of South Perrott and Chedington and with the objective of providing a more diverse, sustainable habitat for flora and fauna.

Current maintenance costs are £150 a year for insurance and about £150 a year for grass cutting. These costs are covered by voluntary donations and fundraising events.

In October 2018 a survey carried out in both villages produced the following results:

                South Perrott (44 forms returned 41%) 50% for retention, 41% against

                Chedington (26 forms returned 68%) 54% for retention, 35% against

A lively wide-ranging discussion then took place about the pros and cons of the MG in its present form. Points included:

                – the importance of hanging on to village amenities eg Church, Village Hall, MG

                -currently the only public open green space in the village

                – responsibility to all the people who set it up 20 years ago

                – if MG was returned to the EA for them to maintain, would such free access continue to be available

                – being custodians to what we have

                – Trust has only been going for 24 (out of 999) years so much too early to hand it back

                – possible improvement to condition if maintained by EA (eg grass cutting)

                – improved usage recently, possibly due to new steps

Martyn Gillingham concluded the discussion by saying that he appreciated that things were not perfect and he accepted some of the criticisms eg location of the pond, condition of the picnic tables, frequency of grass cutting and that the MG was not in the ideal place. To counter the criticisms, he said they would be recruiting new trustees to boost the current number, consider moving the pond to a more suitable location, plan to replace the picnic tables with new benches and chairs and even moving the MG if there was another public open space available in the village.

The Chairman then asked the attendees if they thought a new questionnaire should be circulated to the villages. A show of hands was asked for and the overwhelming majority (approx. 17 against, 3 for) voted against having one. From the attendees at the meeting it would therefore seem that the need for a new questionnaire is not currently required.

c. Village Enhancements

i. A resident requested that the oak posts along the river were oiled to maintain their life but that railings should not be painted.

ii. Attention was drawn to a wall along Manor Close which is considered dangerous. Ownership is unknown but it is in much need of repair. (Clerk to get photos and speak to Dorset Council).

iii. Various roads (Manor Close, Pipplepen Lane and Picket Lane) are considered to need re-tarmacking. (Clerk to contact Dorset Council).

d. Forthcoming Events

i. South Perrott Café is open in the Village Hall from 9.30am to 12.00pm on Saturday mornings. Tea, coffee, cake, newspapers and free internet are all available. (Volunteers to help run the mornings are required – please contact the Village Hall committee)

ii. Lunch in the Village Hall on Tuesday 17th May 2022 at 12pm. A two-course lunch for £7 cooked by Kate Organ will be available. Booking essential. Contact Dave McSkelly – 01935 891891.

iii. Platinum Jubilee Lunch on Sunday 5th June 2022 from 12 – 3pm. This will be held in Pipplepen Lane (a road closure has been applied for) and the Village Hall. Personal invitations will be sent to each household with a RSVP by the end of May.

iv. Commemorative Mugs for the Platinum Jubilee will be presented to all South Perrott children under the age of 16. These are not personalised but will be accompanied by a certificate. (Surplus mugs may also be available to purchase – if interested contact the Village Hall committee.)

v. Pop Up Pub on Saturday 30th April 2022 in the Village Hall. Food available from 7 – 9pm. Food and alcohol donated – all proceeds to Macmillan Cancer Research. (UPDATE – £ 316 raised)

vi. Flower and Produce Show on Saturday 3rd September 2022.  More details available on the South Perrott Fower and Produce Facebook page in due course. (Volunteers required to help on the day – please contact Richard Caile  

e. Church Roof

A new report is awaited but it is hoped to show that the vestry roof can be repaired rather than replaced at a much reduced cost. Fund raising continues and currently stands at over £5700.

There being no further business the Chairman closed the meeting at 8.05pm.