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MINUTES OF THE MEETING OF SPARKFORD PARISH COUNCIL
HELD ON MONDAY 7th JULY 2014 AT 8.00 PM
IN SPARKFORD PARISH HALL

Present:
Mr J Crawford – Chairman
Mr A Bourke
Mr D Braithwaite
Mr L Piper
Mr K Davis
Mr M Lewis – County and District Councillor – Camelot Ward
Also present: 18
members of the public
In attendance: Mrs K Bourke – Clerk

1 APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE
Apologies were received from Trevor Tuck and Peter Downton.

2 DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST   There were none.

3 APPROVAL OF LAST MONTH’S MINUTES
Mr Bourke moved acceptance of the Minutes, Mr Braithwaite seconded, Mr Davis abstained and Mr Piper objected.

4 CRIME/NEIGHBOURHOOD WATCH
The Clerk read out the police report for June:
2 x theft of motor vehicle, 1 x theft from vehicle, 1 x criminal damage, 8 x other.
Calls to the Force Services Centre: 4 x anti-social behaviour, 4 x crime, 8 x general, 4 x public safety/welfare, 20 x transport/traffic.

Mr Westcott said we had survived another pilgrimage to Pilton without any bad effect. Traffic seems to be aggravated by more cyclists on the road and when the Old Coal Yard is completed there will be more traffic still. He was concerned that there was no footpath on the north side of the High Street.

Mr Lewis understand there is going to be changes in the PCSO’s schedule. She will now cover Ilchester to Sparkford and then Blackmore Vale and Milborne Port and was going to be spread very thinly. He mentioned a meeting on this at Wincanton on Thursday. The Clerk confirmed the Chairman and Councillor Bourke would be attending. Mr Crawford said the budget cuts on police are continuing to bite. We must all be prepared for something of a shock with the amount of policing we are offered.

5 COUNTY/DISTRICT COUNCILLOR
Mr Lewis said there would be meetings by the Local Action Group regarding funding from DEFRA for local communities encouraging social enterprise and business. These would be held on 15th July at the Market House, Castle Cary and 16th July at Churchfields, Wincanton. Wiltshire to the east of South Somerset and up to Mendip and Frome have gained 1.5m over a 5 year period.

6 HIGHWAYS
a) SID and police readings for A359 Cary Road
Sparkford Parish had lent their support to North Cadbury Parish Council in getting a SID on the A359 to monitor traffic speeds. The North Cadbury Clerk had passed on all the readings to the Sparkford Clerk but they have been told there is no issue which goes against all views of the problems on this stretch of road.

The Clerk asked Mr Lewis if he could explain what had happened. He said there was a very high ratio of tractor/trailers on this road which will definitely lower the results. This means the person doing 100mph at 6 pm in the evening is ignored as are the cars doing 80mph. Mr Lewis said they were trying to lower the number of motor cyclists killed in Somerset – many in their 50’s and above – who do 85 – 100mph on this stretch of road. Accidents are ignored if people aren’t hurt or injured in an accident even if their cars are written off.

Mr Davis reported the tree root that had appeared in the middle of the footpath in Church Road. The Clerk had already reported it and received confirmation that Highways were dealing with it. Mr Davis said an elderly lady tripped and fell over this at the weekend. He had gone out and taken off the top and sprayed a large circle around it. This type of problem should be dealt with immediately. The Clerk will contact Highways again.

Mr Bourke said as we had just received our SID results for the High Street would it be possible to send them to Lydia Howarth at Transporting Programmes so she can see the types of speeding problems we have. The Clerk will send a copy.

7 PLANNING DECISIONS
One planning decision had been received:
14/01922/TPO – application to carry out tree surgery works to 14 trees. Land adjacent Ainstey House, Ainstey Drive, Sparkford. GRANTED with a condition that no works be done on the lime tree within the rear garden of no 11 Ainstey Drive.

8 PLANNING APPLICATIONS
Five planning applications had been received:
a) 14/02320/OUT – Outline application for the erection of a dwelling house and garaging using existing access. Provision of a car park for the exclusive use of the church including new access. Land adjoining St Mary Magdalene Church, Church Road, Sparkford. Mr Andrew Hopkins.

The following are comments made by parishioners:
Mr Hamblay of Church Cottage said had looked at all the letters of objection and thinks enough has been said. If you allow this house then you allow the developer to build more in the rest of the field. Trees have been butchered. He is totally against it.

Mrs Whetstone, who had moved to the village one year ago, said it was the thin edge of the wedge. She is horrified. The access points are wrong for the road, there are so many large lorries travelling down Church Road there is bound to be an accident. The entrance/exit to the car park is almost on the second bend.

Andy Voysey said he recognised the strong feelings about this application but he has been working closely with the developer on the car park. This would be very useful to have for the church.

Graham Tate said he had lived in the village for 42 years and the number of times that there has been the need for parking in the field you could count on one hand. The church has a very small congregation which meets only twice a month. The number of people going to church doesn’t warrant a car park as there are no more than 4 cars at a time. There was a possibility that the church may possibly, in a few years, no longer be required. He cannot understand why the church wants a car park.

Nick Holbrook said he was totally opposed to the application. He owns the adjacent property to this development. He had read all the comments on the website but there were specific inconsistencies in the planning application. Section 6 said there was no right of way movement which was blatantly wrong. Instead of proposing to connect to the existing foul sewage system they are installing a package treatment plant……why, when the existing one runs under the area of the proposed house? They have said there are no protected species on site. He had always thought badgers were a protected species and there is a large badger set in the field. The biological diversity statement says there are no statutory protected sites within 400 metres of the site. There are! This report is not fit for purpose. When they talk about the boundaries they sometimes refer to the site of the proposed house and at others the boundary of the field – this could lead to a serious mix up if permission was given to the field rather than specifically the site.

Marcia Clifton said this proposal is outside the building line and the church has always been the end of the village. This development would have a significant impact on what is arguably the best view in the village with Cadbury Fort on the left as you enter the field and Corton Ridge and Western Bampfylde directly in front. It would also ruin the view of the church from the opposite end of the field. This is a historical site of the original village and may hold no significance nationally but it is of considerable importance to the villagers of Sparkford and surrounding areas. The right of way is regularly used by walkers who enjoy the beautiful views and the suggestion of moving a footpath that has been there for centuries is something that shouldn’t be considered. The sweetener of the church car park is something that simply isn’t required. Parking has never been a problem as only 2 services a month to which there are usually no more than 4 or 5 cars parked outside. The occasional wedding or funeral may have increased numbers of cars but again this has never been an issue in the years I’ve lived close by. I would also like to add how disappointing it is that the new owners have already caused considerable damage to the trees and hedgerows that are within the field and also tried to stop walkers entering the field by chaining the gate to prevent access, which resulted in the council becoming involved.

Malcolm Littlewood said there are many reasons given why this planning application should be rejected. This field gives Sparkford church a unique setting in Somerset. He didn’t consider the church needed a car park. He was interested to find that there had been a recent change to the name of the applicant to Mr A Hopkins. This doesn’t marry up with the person whose house it will be.

Mr Braithwaite said all these comments reiterate the Councillors views which have already been supplied and parishioners have every reason to be anxious. This needs to be stopped before it starts.

Mr Davis said everyone has said what we are all feeling. This will not be good for the village.

Mr Bourke was in total agreement with everything that has been said. There is no value in this application whatsoever. Have we actually got a full and final applicant on this application?

Mr Crawford confirmed the applicant has now been changed to Mr Andrew Hopkins. Mrs Whetstone confirmed she had a conversation about the application with Mr Nick Colbert. Malcolm Littlewood said this was pertinent to how the Area East Planning Committee is run.

Anne Voysey said there was no problem with an applicant’s name as long as they had the owner’s permission. The problem was this was in the wrong place to see such a large house.

Mr Crawford asked if there were any further comments. The meeting then took a short break to allow parishioners to leave if they wanted.

b) 14/02586/FUL Erection of two buildings for use as animal shelters/Feed stores. Land OS 7267 Church Road, Sparkford. Ms Wendy Evans.
Mr Crawford asked if any parishioners had any comments to make. None did. He then asked the Councillors if they had anything further to add to the comments they had already submitted. There was nothing further.

c) 14/02481/OUT Erect detached dwelling and form new access. Land adjoining Longhazel, High Street, Sparkford. Mr & Mrs Clive Wakefield.
Mr Crawford asked if any parishioners had any comments to make. None did. He then asked the Councillors if they had anything further to add to the comments they had already submitted. There was nothing further.

d) 14/02556/FUL Residential development of 11 dwellings. Land OS3432 (rear of The Burrows) High Street, Sparkford, BA22 7JH. Mr & Mrs Nigel Tucker.
Mr Crawford asked if any parishioners wished to speak on this application.

Mrs Moojens said she was opposed to the application. There is a lot of water already in the field and with the water draining off the roofs it would only add to the problem. The field is out of the building line and definitely out of order.

Bill Westcott said there was absolutely no infrastructure to support any more developments. The village is not capable of taking any more housing. The school in Queen Camel is overflowing and it is difficult to make an appointment to see a Doctor at the medical centre. There are less jobs here now than there were 10 years ago.

Royston Piper asked what this would add to the village. Mr Crawford said there would be a demand on the applicant to pay money to the District Council in the form of a 106 agreement. Some of this money would come back to Sparkford under the aegis of sport and leisure facilities.
Mr Westcott asked what has come our way from other Section 106 agreements. Mr Crawford said that monies are offered to specific organisations. Royston Piper said all this information is online at the District Council website.

Mike Lewis said the Old Coal Yard was on the market with a 32,000 106 Agreement on the assumption it was going to be commercial buildings but now it has been purchased by a housing association the Section 106 Agreement needs to be negotiated. The money raised should solely come to Sparkford.
Anne Voysey said the Parish Council should start thinking positively about residential development in the parish – we need fresh blood, new ideas etc.

Mr Crawford said the residents of Apple Cottages were concerned about run-off of rainwater towards their properties. They were also concerned about sewage. The tall buildings had windows overlooking their properties.
Mr Braithwaite said it would be beneficial if a map showing the building line in Sparkford could be put in the Parish Newsletter so everyone can see. In response to Anne Voysey he said that over the last 8-10 years 52 houses have been built in the village. Mr Crawford said we were in between two local plans. The old one had building lines but the new plan seems to be more fluid.

Mr Bourke said the Parish Council were happy to see more building but we want the services and infrastructure to support them. This is the main reason why we are opposed at the moment until someone puts in the services but this must be done first.

Mrs Moojens said there was a speeding problem in the High Street and it is an accident waiting to happen and any more houses would be dangerous.

e) 14/02654/FUL Change of use of annex to separate dwelling. Cherry Pie Cottage, Cherry Pie Lane, Sparkford, BA22 7AT. Mr Martin Harcourt.
Mr Crawford asked if any parishioners had any comments to make. None did. He then asked the Councillors if they had anything further to add to the comments they had already submitted. There was nothing further. The Clerk pointed out that planning permission had already been obtained and this was purely a change of the internal layout.

9 MATTERS ARISING
a) McDonalds
Unfortunately the new Manager of McDonalds hadn’t attended the meeting. There was nothing new to report, just the ongoing litter problem and the fact that we are coming up to the school holidays.

b) Clearing the river
Mr Davis said when they held the Duck Races they had to clear some of the river as it was very congested. A few people were prepared to come to the Mill race and clear the river but needed machinery. The Environmental Agency are always saying they will do it but it never gets done. There are lots of fallen trees. He has the permission of Mr Holbrook to put the waste on his land but needs permission from the Montgomery’s. Mr Lewis said the Council should write to the Environment Agency saying we had a group of volunteers in Sparkford to clear the area and we would like machinery to do this work and hope to use their equipment. It was agreed the Clerk would write to Mr Wheeler at the Environment Agency to suggest this. It needs doing in the summer months when it is dry. Permission is needed from the Eastern side of the river. Mr Bourke said to make sure that any volunteers were covered by Public Liability insurance – this was very important.

c) Wessex Water
The Clerk had written to Wessex Water as discussed at the last meeting. She had been contacted to say that CCTV investigations were being carried out and the local Area Manager would be in touch to attend a Parish Council meeting to show the results and also answer any questions.
Mr Davis said he had spoken to the Environment Agency and they said the problems in the High Street were caused by nappies and fat being put down drains and that there was no problem with drainage in the village.

Mr Bourke said the sewers need replacing if they are permeable to surface water ingression.
Mr Lewis said when Hazlegrove School isn’t in session there is a back-up of sewage as it doesn’t get flushed through the system. When they come back to school their pumping station begins again and the back-up is cleared.

10 PAYMENT OF ACCOUNTS
a) Clerk’s Salary & Expenses
The Clerk’s salary of 275.68 and expenses of 7.50 were approved.

11 CORRESPONDENCE   None had been received.

12 ANY OTHER BUSINESS
Mr Piper said the delay in getting the Jubilee Stone installed lay with the stonemason being unable to give any dates. The Clerk will contact him.

The Clerk is currently awaiting contact from the Local Area Team at the Highways Agency in relation to the cattle grid at Hazlegrove School.

Andy Voysey said at the Parochial Church Council meeting they discussed that the one thing the village didn’t have was a War Memorial and would like to ask the Parish Council to support a fund raising drive, over 4 years, to raise money to honour the five Sparkford men who lost their lives in the First World War. It was agreed that Mr Voysey would put an article in the Parish Newsletter to inform parishioners about this. It was also agreed to put this matter on the Agenda in September/October to discuss it further.

Mr Davis raised the issue of the speed of lorries going down Church Road, especially at the corner by the church. Mr Braithwaite agreed that the size of the lorries was too large for this road and bend – they were articulated tankers. It was agreed that the Clerk write to Gregory Distribution at Evercreech Junction who own these milk tankers to explain the situation. Mr Lewis said to contact Sharon Edwards who is the General Manager.

13 QUESTIONS/COMMENTS FROM COUNCILLORS    There were none.

14 ITEMS FOR FUTURE AGENDA
War Memorial – September/October.

15 DATE OF NEXT MEETING
Monday, 4th August 2014.
There being no further business the meeting closed at 9.35 pm
KB/08.07.14

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