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MINUTES OF THE MEETING OF SPARKFORD PARISH COUNCIL
HELD ON MONDAY 6th JANUARY 2014 AT 8.00 PM
IN SPARKFORD PARISH HALL

Present:
Mr J Crawford – Chairman
Mr T Tuck – Vice Chairman
Mr A Bourke
Mr D Braithwaite
Mr L Piper
Mr K Davis
Mr P Downton
Mr M Lewis – County and District Councillor – Camelot Ward
Also present: 4
members of the public
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 There were none.

2 DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST
Mr Davis declared an interest in item 9(c).

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  PCSO Mead gave her report for December. Crimes reported were criminal damage x 1 and drive off x 6 – all investigated and filed. Calls to the Force Service Centre totalled 14 and included 1 disturbance, 2 drive off, 1 animal, 1 welfare, 1 flood alert and 3 other.

Mr Westcott reported finding a pile of rubbish at the Copse which included a receipt and PCSO Mead will be collecting this from him. He also reported the purchase of the second defibrillator which will be handed over to Weston Bampfylde on 24th January.

5 COUNTY/DISTRICT COUNCILLOR
Mr Lewis said it had now been agreed to build 750 houses in Primrose Lane, Mudford.

Mr Lewis asked if the Clerk had received the minor improvement plans from Highways. She had received these but due to the holidays there had been a delay in circulating them. It was agreed that Councillors would look at the plans after the meeting concluded. The Clerk confirmed she had asked Highways that no plans be implemented until the Parish Council contacted them.

The Clerk reported that the Steart planning application had now been approved on appeal and asked if this meant that HGV’s would be using Sparkford Hill Lane as previously mentioned. A suggestion was made that the Council look at putting a HGV restriction on Sparkford Hill Lane and Church Road. This will be an Agenda item to be discussed in February.

6 HIGHWAYS
a) Minor improvement scheme
See above.
It was reported that properties in the High Street were having problems with water rising in toilets when they were being flushed. It was thought this was due to rainwater ingressing the sewers and erupting in toilets and into the roads. It was also reported that toilet paper had been seen in Church Street due to the same problem. It was agreed the Clerk contact Wessex Water. Mr Lewis reported West Camel were having similar problems and it may be worth Wessex Water doing them all at the same time. She was also asked to mention the new housing development at the Old Coal Yard which will put yet more pressure on the sewers.

Lamppost no 8 on the High Street had been rammed by a car and was damaged. It had also had the effect of interrupting the lights on posts 7, 6 and 5. The Clerk will report this.

7 PLANNING DECISIONS
One decision had been received:
13/04762/LBC – Internal alterations and the removal of cement render from the front façade. Little Weston House, Little Weston Road, Sparkford. Application permitted with conditions.

8 PLANNING APPLICATIONS
Three applications had been received:

1. 13/04617/FUL - Erection of a two storey side extension incorporating new garage, two storey rear extension, alterations to existing porch to incorporate alterations to front wall of sitting room and window. Demolition of existing utility room and partial demolition of existing garage. Firwood, 55 Church Road, Sparkford. Mr S Comley
2. 13/04855/FUL - Extension to existing agricultural building. Land opposite Hazelgrove Lodge, High Street, Sparkford. Mr Adrian Smith.
3. 13/05041/FUL - Erection of a retaining stone wall. Mr C Eykyn, Little Weston House, Little Weston Road, Sparkford.

9 MATTERS ARISING
a) McDonalds
Mr Tuck asked about the cutting of the hedge. Emma responded that she had her side of the hedge cut but had been trying to contact Highways to get the Wolfester Terrace side cut as this wasn’t McDonalds’ responsibility. It was agreed that Mr Lewis would look into the ownership of the hedge.
b) Village Hall
The Clerk said this was carried forward from the December meeting. It was agreed that the Clerk will circulate the last two sets of accounts to Councillors. Mr Tuck will find out who audits the Village Hall accounts. Mr Tuck said there would be no undertaking of any major refurbishments to the hall. They were financially stable and in better shape than in the past and there were no expenses forecast. This will go forward as an Agenda item for February.
c) Setting the Precept
The Clerk read out requests she had received asking for funding from the Scouts, South Somerset CAB, Somerset Community Justice Panel, Sparkford Village Hall and Victim Support. No specific sums were requested apart from the Sparkford Village Hall who requested £250 to cover repairs to the skirting boards and resurfacing the car park to improve drainage.

The Clerk then circulated figures to Councillors she had calculated using the South Somerset District Council electronic calculator. These figures would result in no increase to parishioners in their Council Tax. Mr Braithwaite proposed acceptance of these figures and Mr Piper seconded the proposal. All Councillors indicated by a show of hands they were in favour.

No decisions on grants would be considered at this meeting.
The change in the way the precept is calculated is due to how the Council tax benefit was raised. Mr Lewis said if we wanted to significantly raise the parish part of the precept we would have to have a referendum in the village which would cost a great deal of money.
The Clerk confirmed that she would check with SSDC that the figures calculated would indeed result in 0% increase to parishioners.

10 PAYMENT OF ACCOUNTS
a) Clerk’s Salary & Expenses
The Clerk’s salary of £222.66 and expenses of £7.50 were approved.
b) Weston Bampfylde PCC
The Clerk had received a request from the PCC for their grant.

11 CORRESPONDENCE     None had been received.

12 ANY OTHER BUSINESS
Mr Crawford mentioned the email he had circulated regarding the Environment Agency lowering the level of the River Cam. Concerns were raised about the removal of the concrete slab and whether this would be rebuilt so avoid flooding. Mr Crawford will contact them with these queries.

13 QUESTIONS/COMMENTS FROM COUNCILLORS
Mr Tuck asked if Highways could be requested to clear the substantial debris under the bridge by Bridge Cottage. There had been a build up over time and this had caused flooding after the heavy rains. The Clerk will contact Highways.
Mr Crawford said that Malcolm Littlewood had reported that the field next to the Church and the one behind his property were coming up for sale in the near future and it may be something that the Parish Council should consider.

14 ITEMS FOR FUTURE AGENDA

a) HGV restrictions on Sparkford Hill Lane/Church Road
b) Village Hall
c) Minor improvement scheme
d) McDonalds hedge

15 DATE OF NEXT MEETING
Monday, 3rd February 2014.
There being no further business the meeting closed at 9.20 pm.
KB/07/01/14

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