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MINUTES OF THE MEETING OF SPARKFORD PARISH COUNCIL
HELD ON MONDAY 2nd JULY  2012 AT 8.00 PM
IN SPARKFORD PARISH HALL

Present:
Mr J Crawford – Chairman
Mr T Tuck – Vice Chairman
Mr D Braithwaite
Mr A Bourke

Mr L Piper
Mr R Little – County Councillor – Castle Cary Division
Mr M Lewis – District Councillor – Camelot Ward
Also present: 4 members of the public

Mr Matt Cridland, Business Manager, McDonalds
In attendance: Mrs K Bourke – Clerk

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

1 APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE
Apologies had been received from Cllr Carol Goodland.

2 DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST    There were none.

3 APPROVAL OF LAST MONTH’S MINUTES
The Minutes were approved and signed by the Chairman as a true and accurate record of last month’s meeting.

4 CRIME/NEIGHBOURHOOD WATCH
Mr Westcott reported that an abandoned vehicle had been reported to the police. There had been an incident of drunkenness by the cricket pavilion and that a footpath had been closed at the end of Cherry Pie Lane but had been reopened. Over 300 had been raised at the NHW BBQ. Mr Tuck gave his thanks for a very enjoyable BBQ.

5 COUNTY/DISTRICT COUNCILLOR
Mr Little reported that the Boundary Commission has completed the new boundaries and that Castle Cary had lost 1 parish but gained 5 parishes.
Mr Lewis had nothing to report.

6 HIGHWAYS
The Clerk asked Mr Lewis if he had found out about the verge cutting. He had spoken to Chris Cooper who was supposed to have sent the Clerk a map outlining all the areas that SSDC cuts but this hadn’t been received. He will speak with Chris again.

Mr Tuck reported that the verges in Sparkford Hill Lane were still deteriorating and it was agreed that the Clerk would contact Highways again.
He also reported that the hedges alongside the Wyvern and Millenium Copse were totally overgrown. Mr Crawford will speak to Mr Littlewood about this. He would suggest cutting down to ground level.

7 LOCAL PLAN/VILLAGE DESIGN
It was requested that we change the heading of this item to read Local Plan/Affordable Housing. This was agreed by all.
Later this week Mr Crawford will send everyone contact details for people who want to be considered for shared ownership of the affordable houses. Please pass these on to people you may think will be interested. Mr Lewis said that it was his understanding that anyone who is interested has to be on the South Somerset District Council housing register before they can express an interest in the affordable housing. Mr Crawford will contact Mark Dillon to see if letters will be sent to the people who originally expressed an interest.

Mr Bourke raised the issue of drawing up a Local Plan for Sparkford as from what he understands with the new Localism Bill South Somerset District Council will give precedence to the views put forward in a Local Plan. Mr Lewis said this was correct.

8 PLANNING DECISIONS
We have been informed that 12/01672/FUL (Cider Press House) has been withdrawn.

9 PLANNING APPLICATIONS
a) 12/01836/FUL
- Erection of a detached dwelling with attached garage and formation of vehicular access (renewal of planning application

(07/02958/FUL) Land adjoining The Roundhouse, High Street,  Sparkford. Mr & Mrs Phillip Little.
Mr Crawford had spoken to the planning officer who had asked if the Parish Council as a whole wanted to register an objection or endorsement on this application as one Councillor had made an objection. Mr Braithwaite said it would be very difficult to build a house in keeping with the other two. Mr Crawford, in answer to a question, said the plot was in the building line and would be classed as infill. Mr Tuck asked if Highways had commented on the application as the main exit is very near the central bollard. Mr Crawford will check on this.

b) 12/01843/FUL - Erection of a small barn in the north-east corner of the field adjoining 1 Meadow Cottages, Sutton Montis Road, Weston Bampfylde. Mr Peter Ebsworth
Mr Crawford had held on to this application as he wanted to contact the nearest neighbour which he had now done. The application was circulated to all Councillors.

10 MATTERS ARISING
a) Commemorative stone for village
As requested the Clerk had contacted both the quarry and stonemason. She reported that the total cost for the stone, engraving, brass plaque and installation would be approximately 800. The stonemason would assist in choosing a suitable stone from the quarry. He also said that we would be the only village in South Somerset with a blue lias stone as most other villages have gone for ham stone.

Mr Bourke said he was happy to propose we go ahead with this. Mr Crawford asked if the money would come from public funding. Mr Tuck said there had been criticism in the village that we hadn’t had any celebrations for the Jubilee and this would be much better and would be a lasting heritage. Subject to finding a suitable location Mr Tuck proposed we go ahead with this, Mr Piper seconded and all Councillors were in favour. Mr Braithwaite said he would donate 100 towards the cost. The Clerk is still waiting to hear from Highways about the placing of the stone. Mr Lewis said he will find someone to dig the hole for the stone.

b) Parish Hall request for funding
Following on from last month’s discussion where 50 was awarded towards the cost of the extractor fan for the kitchen, Mr Tuck said the total cost would be 291.54 plus VAT which will include an automatic sensor which will kick in when necessary. He said the Hall Committee would be grateful for a 50% grant of 145.47. They were looking at the budget for the next 12 months and an increase in hall rental costs was needed to pay for improvements. Councillors were asked their opinion on this request. After further discussion Mr Piper made a proposal to pay the 50% of the quote but this had no seconders. Mr Bourke proposed increasing the 50 already awarded to 100, Mr Braithwaite seconded this and Mr Piper also agreed.

The Clerk suggested that before the next precept is set all the various committees look at their budgets for the following 12 months and arrive at the meeting with this information for the Committee to be able to set the correct level of precept. This was agreed.

c) McDonalds 24 hour opening conditions

The Clerk received a telephone call this afternoon saying the residents of Wolfester Terrace had just received notification from McDonalds that they were commencing 24 hour trading from tonight.
Mr Cridland was asked if he had anything to say about this. He said as far as the licencing conditions on the local site everything is completed and they would be officially open for 24 hours from tonight. This is so they are ready for the summer holidays. Mr Crawford asked if this was a trial period but Mr Cridland said it was a permanent state and would depend on how things develop.

Mr Tuck asked why conditions haven’t been adhered to before the 24 hour opening. Why hasn’t the sound barrier been erected? He said McDonalds were subjecting all residents of Wolfester Terrace to all the people coming out of pubs and clubs who know that the restaurant is now open 24 hours. Families do not travel in the middle of the night. On bank holidays and weekend from July/August it is absolute bedlam with cars parked down the side, in the petrol station car park and in the road. This is not acceptable.

Mr Bourke said we were given an undertaking several times by McDonalds that they would install a fence 3 metres high.
Mr Cridland said their legal team have gone back over the legal intricacies but we were given a verbal undertaken and McDonalds are unaware of this agreement.

Mr Crawford read out the legal conditions imposed on the licence and said we are going to be giving you and your company a hard time until they put in all the conditions.
Mr Cridland said 2 speed humps had been installed in the car park. There were retractable bollards at the end of the car park which need to be reconditioned.

Mr Braithwaite said since these are legal commitments that we were given and they have not been adhered to then they cannot open tomorrow. Mr Cridland said the legal team have given advice saying they have fulfilled all conditions on the licence.
Mr Piper said we need to get on to the Licencing Department first thing tomorrow morning to get it stopped.

Mr Lewis said it was his understanding on the barriers that it wasn’t the ones internally within McDonald’s car park but it was ones to stop the lorries parking up overnight in the lorry park. Mr Cridland said there were pop up barriers in the lorry park. He also said all the shift managers have been trained in conflict resolution but they have had issues with the lorry drivers threatening staff. They were currently working with PCSO Thelma Mead regarding license registration numbers which were forwarded to her to send our warning letters. There have been a lot of issues with the lorry drivers. Mr Piper said it was obvious this was going to happen. Mr Tuck said once they have turned the taco off it was no wonder they get abusive as they are not allowed to move on by law until they have their required break and this isn’t something your shift managers can deal with. Mr Cridland said he appreciated this but they have done their best. One major problem was refrigerated lorries parking all night which, again, the McDonalds staff cannot control. Mr Tuck said it was very surprising that a company the size of McDonalds have not put in measures to appease local residents or even to address the issues raised by this meeting.

Mr Braithwaite said it was in pretty poor taste to give not even 24 hour notice of this happening and that they were running roughshod over people especially in this district.
Mr Little said he finds this scandalous that the residents weren’t given any notice and that it was unacceptable.

Mr Bourke said he was watching the CEO of McDonalds on TV the other night regarding the Olympic franchise and one of the comments she made was that she was proud of the company’s handling of the bid and public relations. If this is what she considers to be good practice by McDonalds perhaps they aren’t worthy of the franchise decision. A letter to her, perhaps copied to the press, showing the "good relations" with the people of Sparkford may be appropriate. It now appears that legal nitpicking has been given precedence over the morality of keeping their undertaking.

Mr Lewis said he had two points – certainly the litter picking which was an issue for most of the residents in Sparkford has improved. He hopes that with the 24 hour opening that the agreement that the delivery lorries will cease at 4 pm will not be breached. It remains that the residents are really concerned by the fence not being fit for purpose and concerns still remain about conditions not being adhered to. The Parish Council have taken a lot of time and trouble to put in these conditions because it is a unique area within McDonalds but it needs to do more to protect the residents.

Mr Little said can we ask for the Licencing Department to check to see if all the conditions have been fulfilled. Mr Crawford said we need to ask the Licencing Department tomorrow. Mr Cridland said rest assured if it is not legal the 24 hour opening will cease immediately. Mr Cridland said in his last two 24 hour restaurants (Yeovil and Street) the cases of vandalism and boy racers were lessened.

Mr Crawford asked the Clerk to contact the Licencing Department in the morning.
Mr Bourke said statements were made by representatives of McDonalds that certain things would be put in place before they opened 24 hours. The Parish Council, on behalf of the local people, was assured that a sound abating 3 metre high fence would be installed. The Clerk was asked to forward all Minutes concerned with this matter to Mr Cridland.

Mr Crawford thanked Mr Cridland for coming to the meeting but we need to make sure our residents in the parish are happy. We want to work with you. Mr Cridland said he would attend the Parish Council meeting in August.

Mr Lewis said we need to encourage residents of Wolfester Terrace to record all incidents and he thought PCSO Thelma Mead had a special log sheet which she would collect once a week. The Clerk will contact her about this.

d) New Code of Conduct
All Councillors had received the proposed new Code of Contact via email and after a short discussion it was agreed that we adopt this in line with South Somerset District Council.

11 PAYMENT OF ACCOUNTS
a) Clerk’s Salary & Expenses
The Clerk’s salary of 157.47 and expenses of 7.50 were approved.

b) Payment for audit
The Clerk had an invoice for the audit of 144. This was agreed. She then said that new auditors were being appointed for the current financial year.

12 CORRESPONDENCE
a) SSDC – Clean Neighbourhoods & Environment Act 2005
The Clerk had received a letter from SSDC regarding the illegal posting of advertisements for various events being held in the area. Although this would be more appropriate for town centres, parishioners should be aware that notices for local events should be taken down as soon as the event has taken place.

b) Area East Community Forum Invitation – 17th July
Both Mr Crawford and Mr Bourke will attend this meeting. The Clerk will forward their names to SSDC.

13 ANY OTHER BUSINESS
It was reported that Emily Alden had stepped down from the Parish Council due to family commitments. A request will be put in the Parish Newsletter in September for anyone interested to contact the Clerk.

14 QUESTIONS/COMMENTS FROM COUNCILLORS
There were none.

15 ITEMS FOR FUTURE AGENDA

McDonalds
Commemorative Stone

16 DATE OF NEXT MEETING  Monday, 6th August 2012.
There being no further business the meeting closed at 9.40 pm

KB/03.07.12

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