Present: Cllrs L Bennett, P Clark, D Coffin, I Houston, T Hunt, S Longdon and J Thomas
In attendance: P Chapman (Clerk), County Cllr R Legg and 6 members of the public
- Welcome from the Chairperson of the Council
Cllr L Bennett welcomed the members of the public and introduced each of the Councillors to the meeting.
- To receive apologies for absence
None received; all councillors present.
- Declarations of interests
- To confirm minutes from the Annual Parish Meeting held 2nd April 2019
The Councillors agreed and accepted the minutes from 2019. Cllr L Bennett signed the minutes as a true record of the meeting.
- To receive the annual report from the Chairperson
Welcome to everyone and thanks for coming.
My name is Lynne Bennett and I am Chair of Bradford Abbas Parish Council. I am joined by the other councillors who are Iain Houston, Diane Coffin, Terry Hunt, Steve Longdon Peter Clark and Jenny Thomas , and our clerk, Tricia Chapman. We are also joined by Robin Legg who is our Dorset Councillor
This report covers the period from April 2019 when the last Annual Parish Meeting was held. I will keep it as concise as possible.
The council did not meet in April or May 2020 but from June 2020 until May 2021 we met via zoom. In June we resumed face to face meetings in the hall.
Iain is vice chair and has set up and maintains our website. I encourage you all to take a look at it if you are able. He is our advisor on environmental issues. Diane is responsible for tree problems in the parish and takes on lots of behind the scenes jobs e.g. cleaning Eric Garrett’s seat. Terry is the PC representative on the CLT and is working on the subject of whether we should produce a neighbourhood plan. Peter contributes his knowledge from his working days in planning and was instrumental in the setting up the contracts relating to the allotment fields. Steve is our footpath officer and keeps us informed of developments in and around the parish. Lastly but not least is Jenny who since joining the council last year, has together with Steve, set up the group who have enhanced the area around the pub car park and run the library in the phone box.
I was elected chair of the council last July having been vice chair, following the sad and sudden death in January 2020 of our chairman, Derek Hayward. He was an exceptional chairman, his analytical skills coupled with his attention to detail and quiet unassuming but firm manner were a real asset to the life of this community for which he worked very hard. He was chairman for 11 years and over that time there were many challenges which the council had to deal with but with Derek’s guidance and expertise, the council was able to find solutions to them. As you will all have seen, a memorial seat has been sited next to the telephone box with the cost being shared between the PC and the Hayward family, to recognise Derek’s service to the community.
Allotments: As was mentioned in last year’s report there has been a change in the arrangements for the tenancy of the allotment field. Since September 2018, we have been tenants of Winchester College for the allotment field, the field cultivated by Kelvin Tinsley and the two fields which back onto these two. Initially, Winchester College wanted to lease the four fields to the Parish Council for £750 per annum with a notice clause of three months. They were treating the allotment field as a private garden but we established that this was the incorrect status of the field and under the Allotment Act 1950, there must be a notice period of 12 months. Winchester College have now accepted this and we have signed the lease. The Parish Council has drawn up tenancy contracts with Kelvin Tinsley who will pay £500 per annum for the three fields, and BAAHA who will pay £250 for the allotment field.
Planning: There have been eighteen planning applications over the past eighteen months. The majority of these were uncontentious extensions to private housing but we were consultees on an application for a solar farm at Clifton Maybank which proved to be an interesting project on which Iain spent a lot of time. This application has been approved.
Community Land Trust / Affordable Housing: We have for several years been looking at the issue of getting affordable housing in the village with a view to helping village people remain living in the village. As was mentioned in 2019 after our survey of the village community when we established a need for affordable housing, we approached a local landowner for some land on which to build. His family have met the council and agreed the plot of land for 8-10 houses at the rear of Pettits Close.
In February 2019, we had a meeting with Simon Parker, Community led Housing Enabler, Dorset Council Partnership, who has been involved with setting up a Community Land Trust in his local area. As a result of that and a further meeting with Alison Ward, Community Led Housing Adviser, Wessex Community Land Trust Project, and Simon Parker in November, a group of interested people are now working with Alison Ward and a CLT is now set up.This is an exciting project which hopefully will in time see some new affordable houses in the village for village families.
Neighbourhood Plan: As I mentioned earlier we are working on the possibility of producing a neighbourhood plan for the village and Terry will give us a report on the progress of this later.
We also had to look at the Dorset Council proposals for a Dorset Local Plan during the consultation period earlier in the year. DC are putting together plans for housing and future development of its settlements in the whole of its catchment area from 2021 to 2038. You can have a look at this on the DC website. Peter and myself attended several Webinar sessions to help us consider the proposals for this area and for the whole PC to formulate a response.
War Memorial: The work to put the missing names on the war memorial has been completed and as you will have seen there is now a stone seat set into the wall by the War Memorial to commemorate the life of John Gilham to which the PC contributed.
Playing Field: We continue to monitor and refurbish the playing field. The latest piece of equipment to be replaced is the zip wire. We are now working on a replacement for the junior climbing frame.
Many thanks to Tom Sugrue for emptying the rubbish bins in the field. Thanks also to Allan Martin, Chris Williams, St Marys School and other unnamed people who collect litter in and around the village throughout the year.
Highways: Since the change of ownership of Wyke Farm in March 2019, you will have all been aware of the changes in farming practices around the village. Unfortunately these changes coupled with the very wet weather we experienced in October 2019, had a major impact on the environment of the village. We were in contact with the farm contractors and to date the changes they subsequently made seem to alleviate the problems in the autumn of 2020.
The roads in and around the village were due to be resurfaced last summer and this work is now rescheduled for this summer. Thanks go to Ron Down for doing the work to stabilise the surface in Fanny Brooks Lane.
Telephone Box: The telephone box has been acquired by us and is maintained by a group of volunteers and the library now established in it is widely used.I think you will agree that the whole area around the pub car park has been enhanced by the troughs with their flowers and it was good to have the Christmas tree last December. Thanks to one and all.
Councillors: I would like to offer my sincere thanks to the members of the council who have been a real support to me over the eighteen months. They have worked together as a team to deal with all the issues that have arisen in the village and I hope you will agree that their efforts have been worthwhile.
Thanks also are due to Robin for his support and advice.
The one person who holds the whole group together is our clerk Tricia Chapman without whom we could not function so a huge debt of gratitude is owed to her.
- To receive information concerning a Neighbourhood Plan for Bradford Abbas (Cllr T Hunt)
Cllr T Hunt reported the purpose of a Neigbourhood Plan (NP) is to preserve the sustainability of communities. It is a plan designed to secure the future of the village whether it is housing, protecting open spaces and/or community assets. In September the Parish Council will meet with a planning advisor consultant in order to discuss a way forward with or without a NP. The findings from the meeting in September will be put forward to the community later in the year.
- To receive reports from outside bodies
- Community Land Trust (Cllr T Hunt)
Cllr T Hunt introduced the Chairman in attendance and noted other members of the board inviting more residents to join if they wish. Housing is the main purpose for the CLT and hopefully a questionnaire will be available soon in order to hear what the residents feel about affordable housing in the village. A public meeting will take place in order for the CLT group to move forward with a clear idea what residents want and to secure community assets.
- Shop Steering Group (Cllr J Thomas)
Cllr J Thomas reported there are approximately 10 members of the group interested in setting up a community shop. Seven meetings have taken place on since the group was formed. They are grateful to Wendy and Alan during the pandemic as it was well used. On Tuesdays fruit and vegetable stalls are set up in the in the playing field. The steering group meeting is most likely mid July and she encouraged others to consider taking part.
Cllr L Bennett asked if Cllr R Legg has anything to report. Cllr R Legg noted the recent local plan consultation received 60,000 responses at the first stage and more are expected. There is confusion concerning the number of houses needed in which areas and recount make take place. If a recount were to take place it is not to prevent development just determine the need for housing in the right place at the right time.
- To receive a report from the Clerk concerning the Village Green Application
The Clerk reported the Chairperson and Vice Chairman arranged for a video conference call with a Solicitor (Penguilly LLP) concerning the the village green application in order to determine if the Parish Council should legally pursue the deadline issue. This will take place prior to the July Ordinary Parish Council Meeting and it is hoped in the meantime, conversations with continue with the landowner in order to find a compromise.
- Open Meeting: Under this heading any member of the Parish electorate may raise for discussion any matter of local concern
From the members of the public:
- a request for a 40 mile speed limit along Underdown, specifically between the turning for Grants Hill and the Hollow. Cllr L Bennett noted this has been attempted a few times with no success in the past. The Clerk stated there maybe a few accidents along the area but Dorset Council will only take the few accidents that have been reported into consideration when determining a change of speed limit. There is also a formula of the number of houses and shop fronts along the road are also considered for a successful application.
- informed the Parish Council the Tesco bus will stop running soon
- a question concerning if a change of use application were submitted for the Shop and if the Parish Council would be consulted. Cllr R Legg is in contact with Dorset Council as the recent changes to permitted development rights may affect consultation. No application has been submitted.
- a question concerning the legality of cameras facing a right of way/footpath. The Parish Council is unsure of the legality; the resident was meeting with a ramblers association and will pose the question to them
- a member requested if the bollards between Churchwell Street and The Cross could be spaced better for mobility scooters. This will be looked into at the next meeting.
- a resident queried if it was legal for large lorries to use the hollow as it is unsuitable. There is only one way into the village that can take large lorries and that is from Sherborne/ Bradford Road. After many years of requesting a sign was erected to stop the lorries from turning on to Old Compton Lane from the A30 then crossing over to Back Lane where there is a weight limit. The Parish Council is uncertain this has made any difference as many lorry drivers do not pay any attention and it is not monitored.
On behalf of the Parish Council Cllr T Hunt thanked Cllr L Bennett for taking the lead through these difficult times.
Meeting end 9:35pm