Present: Cllrs L Bennett (Vice Chair), P Clark, D Coffin, D Hayward (Chairman), I Houston, T Hunt and S Longdon.
In Attendance: Mrs P Chapman (Parish Clerk), District Cllr R Legg and 7 members of the public.
Mr D Hayward welcomed the members of the public to the Annual Parish Meeting and summarised the Parish Council procedures. Mr D Hayward discussed the roles of each Councillor. The Parish Council is full with seven Councillors. Each Councillor is allocated to at least one of the two working groups (Planning and/or Playing Field). Cllr D Hayward represents the Parish Council on the Heritage Fabric Fund and Cllr T Hunt is on the Village Hall Management Committee.
He welcomed District Cllr R Legg to the meeting.
- Apologies for Absence
County Cllr M Penfold and District Cllr M Lawrence.
- Declarations of Interest
- Minutes of the Meeting of 03.4.2018
The minutes to the 2018 meeting were provided to the members of the public at this meeting and on the noticeboard as well as the Parish Council website prior to the meeting. It was resolved the minutes were an accurate account of the meeting and signed by the Chairman.
- Chairman’s Report
It has been yet another busy year for the Parish Council. You will be aware that the structure of councils in Dorset has been undergoing major changes and the full impact on our council at the moment can only be guessed at. Even before these recent changes parishes were being encouraged to take on more responsibility – for verge cutting and pot hole filling etc. Thus far we have resisted this.
Robin has very kindly agreed to give us an update on where things are with the recent restructuring following my report and the report from our Clerk.
The number of Planning Applications was typical of other years at fourteen, and none of these was considered by us to be controversial.
We have not moved forward as we would have liked. The local landowner with whom we have been in discussion felt strongly that he would need to be convinced this is really what the village needed and also wished to see some guarantee that houses built would be continue to for occupancy by people with village connections.
We therefore made a mailshot to all households requesting an anonymous response to a series of questions. Response could be made by either as a paper return or an online return via the Parish Council website. There were a total of 64 responses, 48 online and 16 by paper. 50 wished to see more affordable housing and 14 did not. There are 769 households in the parish.
These results were passed to the landowner and he now wishes to discuss the issue with his family. Meanwhile we are again looking at other possible sites and the possibility of establishing a Community Land Trust.
The incidence of fly-tipping seems to be on the increase. As ever we are grateful to all who make an effort to keep the village looking tidy. We are particularly indebted to Chris Williams who has again been doing a great job all year litter-picking throughout the village, to Alan Martin who keeps the road between Underdown Hollow and Park Lodge litter free and Tom Sugrue who clears litter in the Playing Field and empties the bins on a weekly basis; and of course the children of St Mary’s School who litter pick on Church Road and Mill Lane.
We have had no offers of help from other villagers and an organized pick-up of litter in Bradford Hollow and parts of the Peel Centre organized by Tricia was only attended by those stalwarts already litter picking throughout the year.
Early in the year a large amount of litter appeared on the verges of the dual carriageway between the turning to Bradford Abbas and the roundabout. It was determined that this was spillage from overflowing Peel Centre bins that being blown in high winds through the site boundary and onto the A30. We asked Peel Centre management to refit the tops to the bins and we have tasked a contractor to clear the rubbish from the dual carriageway.
Road Traffic and Safety
Road traffic and safety has continued to be a concern to all villagers, particularly pedestrians in Church Road. The Sherborne Area Schools Trust is setting up a community campaign to try and improve safety for children on their trips to and from school. They are working with a number of other bodies including the schools themselves and Dorset County Highways. Part of this initiative is to conduct Surveys of the actual routes taken by parents and their children with the aim of getting improved signage and road markings as appropriate. We will be investigating how we can best support this initiative.
Following a request from a resident we tried to get a speed limit introduced on the entire length of road from Sherborne to the village. DCC Highways surveyed the road and decided that it did not meet the requirements, i.e nature of the road, number of houses on it etc. However, a new Slow sign has been installed at the top entrance to Underdown Hollow together with 321 slow strips to the top and bottom.
The memorial was refurbished during the Summer 2018. The History Society has determined that there are a number of names missing from the memorial and in conjunction with the Parish Council will be determining how this can be rectified. Bradford Abbas St Mary’s Week Charitable Trust has pledged £400 toward any work that is undertaken.
Many parishioners will now be aware of the Parish Council website. We are very grateful to councillor Iain Houston who has very generously continued to give large amounts of his time constructing the website and progressively expanding its content. The website can be made available to all village organisations to publicise their activities
We are continuing to improve the play facilities where possible and a lot of maintenance has been carried out this year. We were able to obtain a grant of £900 from WDDC toward this, and The Festival of Wheels very generously donated £600 toward the project as well. This has enabled us to install a seesaw that is much more suitable for young children, and also one further piece of apparatus. The old seesaw will now be removed. We have also refurbished all existing seating and introduced two picnic tables for families to use.
We have also changed the grass cutting contractor which has ensured that the grass is kept much shorter during the summer months.
The sale of Wyke Farm raised concerns about the future of the village allotments. Till now the allotment land was leased from Richard Loxton under a very informal paperless agreement for a peppercorn rent of £70pa. The Council simply passed the £70 year rent on to the Allotment Association.
The Council was able to establish early on that the allotments were not included in the sale of Wyke Farm and neither were the two fields that lie between them and Grants Hill. We set up a meeting with the Estates Bursar of Winchester College and the Allotment Association on the 26th March to establish a way forward. The result is that Winchester College will lease both sets of allotments and the two fields to a single lessee for a five year term which will be governed by a simple but formal agreement. The lessee could be the Parish Council or the Allotment Association, who would then manage the lease. We are currently deciding the best option to ensure future stability of tenure for current and future allotment holders.
In closing, on behalf of the parish I would like to thank the Councillors for their efforts during the last year. We are also grateful for the support given by Robin Legg and Margaret Lawrence our District Councillors and Mary Penfold our County Councillor, both to our meetings and for helping resolve issues at district and county level. I would also like to thank Tricia, our Clerk, for her continued hard work and the efficiency with which she manages the council’s affairs.
- Clerk’s Report
The Clerk discussed the new unitary council, Dorset Council and Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole (BCP), have taken control Dorset after nine previous councils were merged in order to meet the financial challenges. We no longer have District Councils. It should not affect the day to day services currently provided to the residents.
Cllr R Legg noted the new the Sherborne area went from 5 Councillors (District & County) serving the area will now have 2. Planning will now have 3 areas serving all of Dorset Council area and most likely will not have an intimate knowledge of Bradford Abbas. As a part of the restructuring the head of planning is leaving and many more changes will take place at the County level.
- Questions and/or Comments from members of the public
A member of the public enquired about affordable housing within the village. Cllr D Hayward stated the Parish Council continues to try and is always looking for options.
Another member of the public mentioned a recent scam concerning the Ministry of Justice and residents should be aware.
Cllr D Hayward thanked the public for attending the meeting and showing their support. The Councillors thanked Derek for his dedication and hard work for and on behalf of the Parish Council.