MINUTES 13.2.24

Minutes Uploaded on February 20, 2024


Of Witham Friary Parish Council

Held on Tuesday 13th February at The Dovecote, Witham Friary 7.30pm


Present:                                Chair W Sheppard, Cllrs J Knowles, Ferrari, Sewell, Nicholls


Also Present:                       3 members of the public


02.24/24.01         Apologies for absence

Cllr Coates gave his apologies for the meeting.


02.24/24.02         Declarations of interest



02.24/24.03         Minutes of the previous meeting held

There were no previous minutes


02.24/24.04        Report by Somerset Councillors

Regular email report provided, nothing specific to Witham friary.

02.24/24.04         Planning Applications for consideration

Planning appeal E3335/w/23 3331877 – 2023/0561 FUL. The council had previously recommended ‘approval’ for this application (in May 2023). Cllr Ferrari will confirm to Somerset Council Planning Department that our recommendation remains ‘for approval’.


02.24/24.05         Finance

  1. To receive financial statement

Cashbook figure at the end of December balance at 31.1.2024 of £33412.48


Ecotricity £19.85
GJN Plumbing £96.00
Netwise £24.00

                   Resolved:  The above payment schedule was agreed

                   Resolved:  The grant requested for maintenance of the churchyard was approved by all Cllrs.           Reports

  1. Chairman’s Report

The Clerk is no longer in place. A new advert will be circulated.

      Resolved: All Cllrs present approved payment in principle for an advert e.g. SALC and Indeed.  Costs to

      be shared and considered by all Cllrs when they are available.

      Resolved: Cllr Sewell will also share the advert on social media


The chairman has suggested (and all agreed) that a tribute should be made to honour the friendship, and

support for the village, of John Hill.

     Action: LS to contact Stella Hill to discuss what would be appropriate.



A parishioner has asked whether the Air Ambulance charity could site a recycle clothing unit in the village.

This could be  in the recreation field or elsewhere in the village.

Resolved: Cllr Sheppard will liaise with the parishioner


  1. Highways (FN)

Cllr Nicholls remains concerned about the number of potholes on Strap Lane, with more appearing regularly. Highways have acknowledged the pot holes already reported.


  1. Communication (MF)

Nil to report


  1. Witham water (SW/JK/FN)

A leak from an old pipe that caused an icy area on the road was swiftly repaired by Somerset Estates.


  1. Network Rail

Nil to report


  1. Recreation Ground (WS/JK)

The Cricket Club are aiming to improve the field to support cricket and other users of the field. This includes an artificial wicket, new nets (to be orientated differently) and toilets/changing rooms.

Resolved: Cllr Sheppard will form a new recreation field committee to review and make recommendations to the Parish Council. The committee will involve the Village Hall Committee and all parties with an interest.


Grass cutting: a decision will be made at the March meeting. Current options are to use a contractor or a robotic mower.


Materials for the fencing repair are on site


  1. Play Patch (JK)

One play structure is being watched but remains sound. The annual ROSPA inspection will take place in June


  1. Footpaths (LS)

LS /MF to confirm whether concern about the small bridge, between land owned by the Sheppard family land and the fishing lakes, has been resolved.


  1. Biodiversity and Environment (LS & MF)

The Forest of Selwood gave a presentation (an Introduction to Hazel Dormouse)  in the village hall on February 9th. This was well supported and well received. Hazel Dormice are rare but do live in this area of Somerset.  The Forest of Selwood charity has developed a project to support the Hazel Dormouse e.g.  installation of 200 Hazel Dormouse boxes locally and also to identify areas for habitat creation and enhancement.


  1. Dovecote (MF & JK)

The fire alarms have now been fitted. We await the instruction manual and for the fire alarm by the front door to be raised


The quote for a flue liner for the woodburner was discussed.


The internet is working well but the storage heaters are not always able to heat the Dovecote to a workable temperature.

The license for use of the Dovecote is being drafted for discussion / approval at the next meeting

Resolved: MF to, as far as is possible,  take meter readings daily.


  1. Contingency Planning (JK)

Information on flood risk will be added to the current plan.

Resolved: Cllrs WS and MF will meet to discuss fire risk with Heal officers. Date tbc.


  1. Village Groups and Organisations

All village groups and organisations will be invited to attend the Annual Parish meeting. Please save the date – evening of 14th May


  1. Future Events

April 1st  – the annual duck race will be held on April Fool’s Day, organised by the Conker Committee. The   Parish Council will sponsor a race

Resolved: Cllr Sheppard recommended a £20 donation. All Cllrs approved.


April 20th  – Heal Somerset are holding an open afternoon on the Village fields (12 – 4pm). All welcome, including dogs on leads. Heal are keen to hear villagers ideas for the Village Fields.


May 14th – The Annual Parish Meeting will be held prior to the Parish Council meeting



02.24/24.07         Matters referred to the meeting / Clerk  

Nil referred


12.23/24.08         Dates of Further Meetings

Date of next meeting: 12th March 2024.

Cllr Ferrari gave her apologies for the March meeting


Meeting closed at 9.25pm


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