Minutes 13.06.23

Minutes Uploaded on June 14, 2023


Of Witham Friary Parish Council

Held on Tuesday 13th June 2023 at Witham Friary Village Hall  7.30pm


Present:                                Chair W Sheppard, Cllrs F Nicholls, S Coate, M Ferrari,


Also Present:                       County Councillor B Clarke, J Gregory Proper Officer, plus 3 members of the public


Public Participation

Points raised:

  • Cutting verges especially at corners and the entrances to the car park particularly the pedestrian access.
  • Basketball Court proposal outlined.



06.23/24.01         Apologies for absence

Cllr Knowles advised apologies for absence due to a prior engagement and Cllr Sewell had a family emergency

                                Resolved:  Apologies were received and dispensation granted.


06.23/24.02         Declarations of interest

Councillors were asked to declare any interests pecuniary or in the meeting this evening.

                                Resolved: No Declarations received.


06.23/24.03         Minutes of the previous meeting held

To agree minutes from the previous meeting held on 10th May 2023

Resolved: Deferred to July meeting for a name change in item 6


06.23/24.04         Planning Applications for consideration

                                The Clerk advised no applications were received since the last meeting.



06.23/24.05         Finance

  1. To receive financial statement

Bank reconciliation completed and showing figure on cashbook as 35266.53 as at 31st May 2023


  1. To agree schedule of payments as indicated below

J Gregory Clerk                             Salary                                     £  279.96

Kelvin Day                                     Hedge Cutting                       £    35.00

Mark Norris Electrical                 Dovecote Electric survey   £  216.00

A Liggatt                                         Audit Charge                         £  150.00

Ingram Consultancy                     Dovecote Survey                 £1260.00


                   Resolved:  The above payment schedule was agreed

The Clerk stated that although she had paid the April Grass Valet invoice there was 2 additional cuts and questioned whether this was chargeable or who had authorised.

Resolved: Clerk to take the matter up with Grass Valet           Reports

  1. To receive County Councillor B Clarke’s report

He started by stating that SASP may be able to help with funding of the Basketball court.


Lots of staff (high earners) in Somerset Council had been made redundant with more staff to go.  A document                                 had been circulated on road repairs and to advise that the defects list supplied was being worked through                                                 gradually.  The phosphate Policy was in place for South Somerset with 7k of home being released.  There                                     appeared to be some issues with residents not receiving planning letters – if we hear of anything specific                                   then we are to let Cllr Clarke know.  Volunteers required in Somerset libraries to get children to read 6 books                     through the school holidays.  Soft plastic pilot in Frome so there may be a further recycling box ultimately.                                  LCN’s are struggling with a date still awaited for the Frome meeting.  There is also a public consultation                                      regarding Licencing in Somerset currently open if comments wanted to be made.


  1. Chairman’s Report

Covered in the following topics.


  1. Cllr Nicholls report on Highways

We had already heard of the concern regarding verges in the public participation

Resolved: Lengthsman would be requested to address.


  1. To receive report on Communications

Cllr Ferrari and the Clerk had received a request for Witham News to be moved to the front page of the website as it was 4 clicks to see it.  Following discussion this was not possible as the website is set up with certain parameters on each page.  The Clerk also reminded that members that this was a Parish Council website with a Community Section and from her perspective was best suited to this area.  She also pointed out that other requests might be made and we have to be fair to all.

Resolved:  Clerk to make explanations to Witham News.


  1. To receive Cllr Sheppard/Knowles report on the Recreation Ground

The Chair advised that football goals funded by the Conkers group have arrived.  They have also some finer goal mesh so can be used as hockey goals as well.  The Clerk stated that she needed payment from Conkers for this and

Resolved Clerk authorised to make enquiries as to what they needed from us to make payment.


  1. To receive Cllr Knowles report on the Play Patch

Cllr Ferrari stated that Flora had advised that a screw to the see-saw had been addressed and another small item attended to.  Thanks expressed to Flora for bringing this to our attention.  Members were reminded that the ROSPAA inspection was due and the ability trail needed removal. Cllr Ferrari also stated her dismay at the over zealous cutting by Grass Valet where they had mown down ox-eye daises and cuckoo flowers in a period of “no mow May”.

Resolved: Clerk to write to Grass Valet indicating disappointment and setting out expectation moving forward


  1. To receive Cllr Powell report on Footpaths

Cllr Sewell was not in attendance but provided a written report covering aspects of footpaths:

  • The arabian stud footpath temporarily closed had been reopened.
  • An overgrown area at 42 acres addressed by lengthsman
  • A footpath post needed replacement and reported to Claire at Somerset
  • Maddy had taken a walking group which will walk on a monthly basis
  • A fallen tree was blocking a route on “miles” land and a call to the landowner would be made
  • On Cllr Sheppard’s land there was a culvert collapsing before the gate and the kissing gate was missing however there was no livestock in the field.



  1. Network Rail

The diesel smell had been reported.


  1. Biodiversity

Covered in item 6 (Play Patch cutting above)

The Long Ham volunteer day would be rearranged and there was Riverfly sampling in Brewham on Saturday for anyone interested.


06.23/24.08         Witham Water

There was some outage on Friday night but in the main any issues were being dealt with swiftly.  The water leaflet had not been distributed and Cllr Sheppard said he would liaise with WW to get a go ahead.


06.23/24.09         Dovecote

With some technical issues in the Dovecote Survey not being distributed in time, member would need to read fully its contents which was set out in a very logical and helpful way.

Resolved: Matter deferred to July meeting


06.23/24.10         Matters referred to the meeting / Clerk  

Interpretation Board

A mock up of one board by Vicky Sheppard was in progress following meetings with Historic and Sustainable Witham.


A pencil sketch of the village entry signs were provided. However there was no costings and this would need Highways approval.

D Heath had requested using the recreation ground for croquet and would mow a specific area for use.

Resolved:  This request was agreed


A basketball court proposal was circulated.  The costs of a hard court between 6 and 10k which would be a factor going forward as this was not budgeted.  Cllr Ferrari to liaise with group and this would be part of a wider look at the car park facilities so would be joined by Cllr Sheppard.


Cllr Ferrari asked of grit bin replenishment.  This was usually an August request so would be on the agenda when Somerset ask for our thoughts and whether we replenish bins or receive dumpy bags.


The Clerk advised Council that registration had been made with the ICO at a cost of £35 per annum by Direct debit.


Cllr Sheppard noted speeding tractors in the village which he would address given his farming contacts.  This led to a conversation regarding leading horses in the village and if there was speeding tractors more mindful driving was needed


06.23/24.11         Dates of Further Meetings

Next Meeting 11th July.  Due to annual leave agenda items required 28th June at the latest.



Meeting closed at 9.20pm




A signed copy of the minutes can be viewed by arrangement via the Parish Clerk.