22 Nov 16

Minutes of a Meeting of Broomfield Parish Council
held on Tuesday 22nd November 2016, 7.30 pm, Broomfield Village Hall

Present: Cllr Duncan Henderson (Chairman), Cllr Robert Sharpe, Cllr Rebecca MacDonagh, Cllr Paul Trolley, District Cllr Anne Fraser, County Cllr Richard Brown, Peter Hall (Clerk), Andrew Turner (Somerset Highways), Nigel Garnsworthy (National Trust), Barrie Harding & Paul Zeigler (121 Turnaround), no members of the public.

1) Apologies for absence:

2) Declaration of members’ interests:

3) Public comments on agenda items:
No members of the public were present.

4) Approval of Minutes:
The minutes from the meeting on 20th September had been previously circulated and were agreed and signed by the Chairman.

5) Matters arising from the Minutes:
• The Chairman had had no further contact with Matt Barrow of Connecting Devon and Somerset regarding next steps for broadband in Broomfield. He pointed out that the £500 voucher scheme for those receiving <2Mbit/s was closing at the end of November and asked Councillors to encourage residents to apply for vouchers as it was possible they could be pooled, to encourage an operator to invest.
• The Chairman had purchased and fitted a new padlock on the gate to Broomfield Hill Common. He and Edwin White held keys and anyone else needing one could apply to him.
• Cllr MacDonagh was continuing to investigate the possibility of holding a community health check event in Broomfield.

6) Highways Maintenance:
Cllr Sharpe introduced the issue of damage to the verges of roads in the Parish and asked for clarity over who had responsibility for repairing this. Andrew Turner from Sedgemoor Highways explained the scale of the Somerset Highways network and confirmed that the public responsibility for maintenance was from boundary point to boundary point (i.e. hedge, wall). However their budget is managed on a risk basis and no money is allocated to verge repairs unless there is a serious safety issue. Highways’ policy is not to provide passing places on single track roads and they do not maintain or sign them. The code of practice is documented in the SCC Highway Safety Inspection Manual (HSIM). Safety inspections of all roads are carried out once a year. Members of the public or the Parish Council could report urgent issues to Highways and Mr. Turner supplied the contact details (these will be posted on the Parish website).

However Mr. Turner confirmed that it was possible for parishes to ‘self help’ – that is fund minor works such as weedkilling or filling in holes in the verge. It was agreed that Lawrence Hackling from Highways would contact Cllr Trolley with a view to carrying out a joint survey of the main road through the parish as an example and providing a cost estimate to fill the major holes. This would enable the Parish Council to determine the feasibility of funding this work, using a Highways’ contractor.

7) Proposed car parking charges at Fyne Court:
Mr Nigel Garnsworthy from the National Trust informed the Council that the Trust was proposing to charge visitors for parking (£1/2 hours or £3/day – using machines) from 1 March 2017. Fyne Court receives 40k visitors (20k cars) per annum and it costs £150k per annum to run Fyne Court. Money raised from car parking would be ploughed back into Fyne Court.

Cllr Sharpe questioned the rationale of charging per car rather than levying an entrance fee per visitor, although it was accepted that this would give rise to higher staff costs for the Trust.

Councillors’ main concern was that any attempt at charging would cause some people to park on the verges with obvious consequences for damage to the verges and spoiling the character of the village. It was suggested that temporary barriers (ropes) could be erected along the verges on popular visitor days. Mr. Garnsworthy agreed that this was a concern and measures would have to be taken if it became an issue.

Cllr Sharpe left the meeting at this point.

8) RLT2 Play Area Funds:
The Chairman stated that the only possible application for the funds in Broomfield would be at Fyne Court. Mr Garnsworthy stated that he had several ideas which would be in keeping with the property and agreed to discuss these with Scott Mason at Sedgemoor DC. Time was of the essence as the funds would be lost or reallocated if a use could not be found for them.

9) Request to use Broomfield Common:
Mr. Harding and Mr. Zeigler from 121 Turnaround gave an update on their request to use Broomfield Common for outdoor survival type training for disadvantaged children. The Clerk had been in touch with the AONB Service who had agreed to act as a liaison point for SCC and SDC with a view to providing a licence for such use. 121 Turnaround confirmed that their proposal had been sent to Iain Porter at the AONB Service and they were awaiting a response. Cllr MacDonagh requested that once a licence had been agreed there should be a meeting with parish representatives to agree the fine detail of how the scheme would work in practice.

10) Planning Applications:
The following had been received or changed status since the June meeting and Councillors had no observations to make.
• 10/16/00005 Application for Certificate of Lawfulness at Woods Barn – withdrawn
• 10/16/00007 Conversion of garage and extensions at Shooting Lodge – permission granted by SDC
• 10/16/00008 Erection of building to form double garage and sheds at Quantock Edge – permission granted by SDC
• 10/16/00009 Retrospective planning consent for refurbishment and conversion of farmstead building to residential accommodation – under consideration by SDC

11) Finance:
• The Clerk presented a draft budget (attached) which included an increase in the grant to the PCC of £50 to £200 – this would be the first increase for many years. The average increase based on a band D home would be 0.6% based on an increase in the precept by £50 to £2950. This was agreed unanimously.

12) Harvest Supper – review:
The Chairman reported that the Harvest Supper has been a big success with 75 people sitting down to a hot three course meal and 50 going on to listen to musical entertainment in the Church. The event had been self funding and no contribution was required from the Parish Council. He had some ideas for a further event in the new year and would keep the Council informed.

13) Village Hall:
The Chairman reported that he had been unable to attend the recent meeting of the Village Hall committee.

14) Sedgemoor DC Proposal for New Cluster Boundaries:
Following the ‘All Parish’ meeting at SDC on 22nd September at which the results of the consultation were presented, there appears to be some confusion as to the next steps. No further communication has been received from SDC and it is believed the proposal is in abeyance.

15) Urgent Matters to Report:
The Clerk had just received an invoice (£180) from Edwin White for grass cutting on the Commons and it was agreed that this could be paid in advance of the next meeting.

The Clerk also reminded members that there was a vacancy for a Councillor to replace Cllr Kingscote, which could now be filled by co-option. He asked that everyone consider potential candidates.

16) Public Forum:
No members of the public were present.

17) Items for Next meeting:
As per actions above.

18) Date of Next Meeting:
Tuesday 21st February 2017
The Clerk would circulate proposed dates for next year.