Home Page

MINUTES OF THE MEETING OF SPARKFORD PARISH COUNCIL
HELD ON MONDAY 2nd JUNE 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: 3
members of the public
In attendance: Mrs K Bourke – Clerk

1 APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE     None had been received.

2 DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST
Mr Piper declared an interest in item 8 (a).

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 said it had been a relatively quiet period. Would it be possible for the police to pay more attention to speeding in the village rather than on the A303. We have requested their attendance before. The village speed watch team seems to be redundant at the moment.

5 COUNTY/DISTRICT COUNCILLOR
Mr Lewis mentioned at last month’s meeting the local plan is due before the Planning Inspector on 10th June. There will be no opportunity to speak. The 5-year land supply will be discussed on Thursday at the District Executive Committee at Brympton Way. Inland Drainage Boards are seeking to form themselves into the Somerset Rivers Board with responsibility for the Parrot, Tone, Brue and Axe but not for the other rivers feeding into these. There will be a levy on land owners but in our area they don’t have this levy so maintenance will be even less than in the past. There is an issue for those communities on the outskirts of the main rivers.

6 HIGHWAYS
a) Street Sweeping
Mr Tuck said could we ask Street Scenes what the criteria is for street sweeping in the parish. They do the High Street and the old A303 to the Little Weston layby rather than cleaning Church Road where we have problems. The Clerk will request this modification.

b) Temporary road closure
The Clerk confirmed the temporary road closure of the Sutton Montis Road from 9th June for 12 consecutive days.

c) Minor Improvement Scheme
Following the recent meeting with Lydia Howarth from SCC, the Clerk had received an email from her advising that she had discussed the possibility of providing gateway features at each end of Sparkford with the Design Team Manager. He advised that this would be possible but it would only be in the form of signs and lines rather than a physical gateway. He highlighted that the impact on speeds would be minimal. She has asked that we let her know after this meeting whether we wish to proceed with the gateway features or not. She also said she would get back to us on the other queries raised at the site meeting.

Mr Tuck said he hoped we will get something sensible coming out of this rather than the grandiose signs proposed by the consultant.
Mr Bourke was totally opposed to spending this amount of tax payers money on signs and lines throughout the village that we do not want and which would not be effective on speeds.
Mr Piper said unless they are prepared to put in some sort of physical restraint it was not worth pursuing.
Mr Bourke asked why we came up with all the evidence from the SID’s if this was all they proposed.
The question of modification of the original island outside the Piper’s was raised; perhaps a narrower one than was there originally to compensate for the road width.
A central "refuge" on the old A303 by Church Road was also raised as a possibility.

Mr Tuck said that the signage and improvements made in Podimore village as a dedesignated trunk road has made a difference.
The Clerk mentioned seeing white 5 bar gates installed at the entrance and exit of villages – although they didn’t physically limit the speed of the traffic they certainly made drivers aware that they were entering a village. Mr Lewis said these had been installed in West Camel and Somerton and they have had an impact on speed of traffic through these places.

It was agreed that the current response from SCC is unacceptable. It was agreed to put forward further proposals for these white gates and relevant signage. The Clerk was asked to obtain photographic evidence of the gates in West Camel to send along with the request.

d) Overgrown Hedges
The Clerk had received a complaint about overgrown hedges at the corner of Manor Close and Church Road and also along The Avenue opposite the cricket ground. She had already spoken to Ms Pesaro about trimming her hedge back but couldn’t see any evidence of problems along The Avenue.

e) Jubilee Stone
The Clerk reported that, at long last, the contract to place an obstruction on the highway had arrived. She had spoken to Larry Piper to start organising the hole to be dug and to liaise with Luke Grafton as to a suitable date for him to deliver the stone.

f) Cattle Grid at Hazlegrove School
The Clerk confirmed she had spoken to the Estates Manager at the school who had advised the farmer who leased the land from the Highways Agency was Richard Harvey of Wincanton. The Estates Manager had confirmed it was the middle cattle grid that was causing the noise and had wanted to remove it and fill in with concrete, but the farmer had refused this request. After some discussion it was agreed that the Clerk should write to the Highways Agency and advise that the cattle grid hasn’t been maintained in an effective way and was causing a nuisance to local residents. Mention about contacting the Environmental Officer to get them to put a nuisance notice on the cattle grid.

Mr Braithwaite said that the traffic from the Old Coal Yard site parked on Sparkford Road was causing an obstruction and also there was mud on the road which needed to be cleared up. The Clerk will contact the builders.
Larry Piper mentioned the Sparkford sign off the roundabout had been hit. The Clerk will report this.

7 PLANNING DECISIONS
One planning application had been received:
14/00664/S73 Application to vary condition 6, 8, 13 and delete 7 of planning permission 10/03926/FUL. The Old Coal Yard, Sparkford Road, Sparkford BA22 7LD. APPROVED

8 PLANNING APPLICATIONS
Two planning applications had been received:
14/01958/FUL – Erection of 31 dwelling houses and 1 commercial unit all with associated highways and landscaping. Longhazel Farm, High Street, Sparkford. Mr Richard Mead, Summerfield Homes.

Mr Larry Piper left the meeting
Mr Royston Piper thanked the Parish Council for the opportunity to speak on this application. He thought it was a good mix of houses with parking for 2, 3 and 4 cars to each house depending upon the size.

Mr Crawford said he had sent the Planning Policy to all Councillors this morning and at the moment we are between the old local plan and the new 5 year land strategy.

Mr Tuck said we have had proposals for the site numerous times. Major concerns with the development. It would be the largest development Sparkford will see in a long time. Problems with drainage which is a major concern. Although Ms Pesaro had cleaned the carrier ditch, the back of Ainstey Drive and back of Manor Close needs upgrading. There are sewer problems at the back of Ainstey Drive. The Old Coal Yard will be going into the existing sewer which, again, goes along the same route. This sewer needs upgrading. Improvements should be a new sewer under the railway line and up to Wyvern Copse. This would be a major scheme but the existing system is not capable of dealing with this extra load.
Mr Davis agreed with the problems concerning drainage and said these problems need to be addressed before anything else is put on.

Mr Braithwaite said there were 50 new houses put into this village over the last 8 years. Is there a need for all these houses? We don’t have the infrastructure to support it. He said in essence he agreed with the workshop going ahead but not the housing. When Bennett Close was built they had to put in attenuation tanks and at the Old Coal Yard they are pumping the sewage and foul water up to the High Street. He mentioned the possibility of an extra 12 houses and Mr Crawford said we are very aware of other land in the same area that needs to be considered.

Mr Bourke said that GGA Associates acknowledge that surface/roof water drainage from the site cannot be accommodated by soakaways. The ditch to the front of the site is a ditch in name only, it doesn’t flow anywhere and once filled with rainwater overflows onto the A359. Their solution is to divert the outflow under the A359 and ultimately into the drainage ditch serving Ainstey Drive, Manor Close and Church Road (north west side). This ditch always overtops in moderate rainfall flooding Church Road – any additional volume would only exacerbate the situation unless Highways were to radically improve the culvert under Church Road.

Wessex Water acknowledge an existing sewage problem in Sparkford, particularly surcharging back up household toilets in Church Road. The affordable/open market housing development at the Old Coal Yard will add to this problem when they are occupied in October 2014. Unless Wessex/Summerfield are proposing to enhance the sewerage system to cope with the additional volumes then the residents of Church Road will suffer further.

Following a housing needs survey, Sparkford has encouraged the affordable housing development at Bennett Close and is currently awaiting completion of the mixed development at the Old Coal Yard. No reason for further housing developments are indicated in the application or know to the Parish Council.

Mr Bourke suggested that the SSDC Development Officer be asked if that part of the village could be made available for light industrial use. The Parish Council would dearly love an increase in employment units of all types and this site with its proximity to the A303/A359 would be ideal for warehousing/distribution or light industrial and commercial units. This proposal is very disappointing in that it merely replaces the existing industrial/business unit with a more modern one at a very significant cost to the village in terms of infrastructure/traffic overload and excess housing. Within the locality the upgrade to Haynes Motor Museum and expansion to Cadbury Business Park have provided some additional employment but no vacancies currently exist or are being advertised at either site.

Mr Bourke continued saying it was difficult to reconcile the traffic flow figures presented by the TPA report and the ongoing SID figures for the detection devices installed periodically in the village by Somerset Highways. In general TPA figures are lower than SID. However this may be explained by the ATC device being used by TPA being located on the National Speed Limit sections of the road, thus missing all traffic to and from the village via the Castle Cary Road and Sparkford Road. There is no local authority school bus service to/from schools in the Cadburys. There is no continuous footpath from the site to Queen Camel; the A359 has to be crossed twice, both within the national (60mph) speed limit area.

Mr Downton agreed with all the points made by other Councillors and concluded this application was not appropriate for the village as there were no jobs available and the infrastructure would be unable to cope. There was insufficient public transport for such a development so they would have to travel by car.

Mr Davis asked if we could contact Wessex Water asking what can be done. Mr Crawford said we could do this. Mr Tuck said in light of previous development in the village we should ask for a full survey to be undertaken with recommendations that can be forwarded to the developer should the application succeed.
It was agreed that the Clerk contact Wessex Water and she asked Mr Tuck if he could forward all the relevant details to her to include in the letter.

Mr Crawford would combine all the comments from Councillors and forward them to the Planning Officer concerned. He will send copies to all Councillors.
Mr Piper returned to the meeting.

14/001978/LBC – Reinstatement of ceiling – bedroom 1 and installation of satellite dish on east gable. Little Weston House, Little Weston Road, Sparkford. Mr C Eykyn
There were no objections to this planning application. The Clerk will contact the Planning Officer concerned

9 MATTERS ARISING
a) McDonalds
The Clerk said that Mr Downton had forwarded details of the new Manager to her and she had formally invited him to this meeting and sent him an Agenda, but had received no response. Mr Downton hadn’t heard anything from him either.
Mr Lewis said that McDonalds were doing a litter pick at the Copse today.
The Clerk will contact the Manager to invite him to the next Parish Council meeting.

10 PAYMENT OF ACCOUNTS
a) Clerk’s Salary & Expenses
The Clerk’s salary of 254.47 and expenses of 32.22 were approved.
The Clerk thanked Mr Davis for obtaining a lockable cupboard to store parish records in. It was situated in the Committee Room. She had purchased some foolscap hanging files for it and also more noticeboard magnets.

11 CORRESPONDENCE    None had been received.

12 ANY OTHER BUSINESS
Mr Downton said in the past there had been a break in publishing the Parish Newsletter during the summer and wondered if anyone would have any objections to this being carried on. Mr Crawford said it was entirely at the wish of the Editor as to how and when it was published.

Mr Piper said that someone had been doing wheelies around the Hazlegrove roundabout on Saturday at approximately 11pm and 11.30pm and also on Friday at 5pm. He had heard that this left the traffic at a standstill. Marks have been left on the roundabout. Mr Crawford said he had heard it in Weston Bampfylde and then heard it going back through Queen Camel and Mudford. The Clerk was asked to contact the Police about this.

13 QUESTIONS/COMMENTS FROM COUNCILLORS
Mr Lewis said he was on leave from 3rd to 19th June.
Mr Tuck gave his apologies for the next meeting as he would be on holiday.

14 ITEMS FOR FUTURE AGENDA
Wessex Water

15 DATE OF NEXT MEETING   Monday, 7th July 2014.
There being no further business the meeting closed at 9.30 pm.
KB/03/06/14

ADDENDUM TO THE JUNE 2014 MINUTES agreed at the August 2014 meeting under item 3(a).

 Mr Royston Piper spoke in support of the application and made the following points:

1.      It is a good mix of houses and bungalow with varying styles to help it blend into the community.

2.      We hope to have addressed all of the feedback issues that arose starting with parking.  All houses will have two, three or four parking spaces depending on the house size which I believe is important for rural communities.

3.      The affordable housing that will hopefully go in will hopefully be onion ringed for the locals first.

4.      With regard to the drainage the water authority and the highways authority are both statutory consultants for the planning application and a drainage strategy will be agreed with these parties as part of the development process.

5.      There is also a contingent put to one side to address speed in the village on the High street with traffic measures, but what they are is still to be decided.  This will be a planning gain for the community.

6.      We are currently working in very cramped workshop conditions and as such we do need to update.  With this we will be able to recruit more staff which we desperately require to increase the output of work.  It will offer better security for the customers’ vehicles.  We are very well known and draw people and their business to the area from far and wide.   We are getting more and more called upon for our unique skills.

7.      We will be staying in the village and the community and want to do something to be proud of that we can tell our grandchildren we are part of.  We will not do anything that we think will have an adverse effect on the village.

KB/06.08.14

Home Page
Previous Minutes