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HELD ON MONDAY 11th April  2016 AT 8.00 PM

Mr L Piper -  Chair
Mr K Davis
Mrs A Roylance
Mr D Nurse,
Mr Bell
Mrs A Voysey - Clerk

Also present: Mr Travers, Boon Brown - applicants agent, and 17 members of the public

After a short opportunity for members of the public to address the Council, the Chairman opened the meeting at 8.00 pm.



a) 16/0725/OUT Mixed use redevelopment (residential/commercial) together with associated works and access ways. Haynes Publishing, High Street, Sparkford. BA22 7JJ.

The Chairman invited comments and questions form the members of the public.
The first question asked concerned the attendance of a planning officer at the meeting and did Councillors know what was in the application. No planning officer had been asked to attend the meeting and all Councillors present seen had the application file.

The next representation referred to the houses already recently built in the village e.g at the Old Coal yard site and recent planning permissions at Long Hazel Farm (28 dwellings) and land to the rear of The Burrows (11 dwellings) and the proposed 47 dwellings at Haynes Publishing site. This in effect amounted to a 50% increase in the size of the village. SSDC policy SS2 refers to rural settlements and aims to control and limit developments within such. Policy SS1 is consistent with policy SS2 and requires development to reflect the scale of the village and meet need. There is known to be a shortage of housing land supply but by not a lot and the question was asked is Sparkford being used as a dumping ground for a place to put new houses. There are limited services in the area and the idea that Cadbury Business Park services employment is ridiculous. The Service station shop would not meet the needs of residents in the approved and proposed developments. It was also doubted that Queen Camel health centre and school could cope with the additional demand from new development in Sparkford when added to that in Queen Camel. Is the Parish council prepared to see Sparkford become a dormitory village and face the loss of the only industry/business area left in the village.

One member of the public agreed with these points put forward and asked what sort of industry might be at the Haynes Publishing site. It was also noted that there are frequently adverts for space in units at or behind the Saw Mills site.

It was asked if the sewerage system in the village could cope to which the reply was that every effort is being made to seek answers from Wessex Water.

One resident asked if the proposal was the thin end of the wedge to which the reply was that the site is seen as a brownfield site (like the Old Coal Yard) rather than greenfield site. This was followed by a further question asking if the Parish Council was in favour of the application. The response was that there had not been a vote on the application but it was thought that it was better to see the site used than left derelict although there are issues such as the drainage which need to be addressed before a vote can take place.

A question was put regarding Section 106 money from the proposed development and what other benefits there might be from it such as the social/affordable housing. The response was to look at the choice of either development of the site or seeing derelict.

Various ideas had been put forward for projects to benefit the village, one being the possibility of a footbridge over the railway line to provide a safe method of crossing the line rather than the existing footpath which crosses the line and thereby linking the High Street with the playing field.

There then followed discussion regarding drainage at the site. There were thought to have been up to 300 employees at the site in the past but not recently or since other residential developments in the village. So while the drains coped with past use it is the concern of the Parish Council that the cumulative effect of numbers of dwellings and domestic activity such as washing machines and dish washers will have an impact on a system that is already inadequate. It is known that after periods of heavy rainfall residents in Ainstey Drive and Manor Close have problems e.g. flushing toilets. Mention was made of people failing to report problems to Wessex Water so that WW becomes aware of the scale of the problem.

It was asked whether there would be a traffic calming scheme to include chicanes as had been provided in Queen Camel and more recently in Bruton to slow traffic down in the village. The point was made that with affordable housing in the site there would be more children in the village and their safety should be catered for.

A copy of a letter to SSDC had been received by the Parish Council pointing out that there was no turning point provided in the application site for articulated lorries visiting the existing business of Sparkford Storage which would lead to vehicles having to reverse on to or off the High Street, also there is no buffer zone between Sparkford Storage and the prosed residential layout which could lead to conflicts of interest in the future. Industrial and residential uses are not a good combination – lorries arriving/leaving early in the day and reversing bleepers may cause disturbance.

The applicant’s agent confirmed that surface water would be held in soakaways. The point was made that water would not drain away from the ‘baskets’ and would need to be pumped away to local water courses. The question was asked who would pay for the pumping system and it was envisaged that a maintenance company would do this paid for by residents of the development. Photographs were then shown of recent flooding along the River Cam (west of Church Road) after heavy rain fall, these photographs have been forwarded to the Environment Agency as evidence that there is already a problem. With outstanding issues on drainage the Parish Council requested and had been given an extension of time to submit its comments on the application until after the May meeting.

Some discussion took place over concern about the ‘block’ of affordable housing shown in the lay out plan for the site. The merits of ‘pepper potting’ i.e. spreading affordable housing round a site were considered against affordable housing being in a block. To spread the houses was thought to encourage integration in to the development site/village thus reducing potential problems but it was pointed out that Housing Associations were more likely to prefer a block or cluster of houses as it would be ‘easier’ to manage.

Regarding the commercial element of the proposal , it was thought that it might be more beneficial to see something for the village. The idea of a new village hall being sited towards the south of the site was considered if there was space for it and associated parking. It was asked what was wrong with the existing hall and the response was that it is an old building and had a limit to the number of seated people it can hold. A show of hands from members of the public attending the meeting resulted in 11 supporting this suggestion. Similarly the majority wished to see a footbridge over the railway line.

The final question of this item was whether a vote would be taken on the application at this meeting to which the reply was no, this would take place at the meeting on May 9th 2016

RB proposed that a Human resources sub- committee be formed to deal with recruiting and appointing a new clerk and subsequent Human Resource matters, this was seconded by AR. It was agreed that RB, LP and KD form the sub-committee.

KD had circulated an email to all councillors requesting an amendment to the draft minutes of the meeting held on 4th April 2016 Item 9b to include that an extension of time be requested from Alison Cameron of SSDC to submit comments regarding S106 funding and that a meeting be arranged with the Village Hall Committee, Playing Field Association and Sparkford Cricket Club. All agreed.

There being no further business the meeting closed at 8.40pm


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