Minutes of Full Council 11th October 2022

Minutes Uploaded on January 31, 2023


Of Witham Friary Parish Council

Held on Tuesday 11th October 2022 at Witham Friary Village Hall  


Present:                                Chair W Sheppard, Cllrs J Knowles, M Ferrari,  L Sewell


Also Present:                       J Gregory Proper Officer, plus 4 members of the public


10.22/23.01         Resignation of Councillor

Cllr Hugo Brooke had resigned his role, the clerk outlined the process for replacement stating that the electorate of the village had the opportunity of requesting an election, 10 or more people making application to MDC Monitoring Officer would trigger this and the matter would be out of our hands albeit a costly process.  If the election route wasn’t taken we can co-opt.  To this end an application form (purely for eligibility) had been produced and if co-option was the chosen route we could make a decision at the next meeting with Council voting on the new encumbent.


With Cllr Brooke holding the Chairman position appointment of a new Chair would take place so that the Council was legally constituted.  Cllr Sheppard was proposed by Cllr Ferrari, seconded by Cllr Knowles.  A Vice Chair was also appointed Cllr Ferrari was nominated by Cllr Sewell seconded by Cllr Knowles.  The Clerk would arrange the necessary Declarations of Office

Resolved: Cllr Sheppard appointed to the position of  Chair unopposed, Cllr Ferrari to the post of Vice Chair unopposed.


10.22/23.02         Apologies for absence

Cllr Nicholls had given apologies due to a prior engagement.  District Cllr Gay had apologised due to health reasons  and County Cllr Clarke had advised other commitments.  The latter two Councillors had produced reports

Resolved:  Apologies accepted from Cllrs Brooke and District Cllr Gay and County Cllr Clarke for the circumstances noted.


10.22/23.03         Declarations of Interest

Members were asked to advise any Declarations of interest in today’s agenda items or any pecuniary interests in line with Councils’ Code of Conduct.

                                Resolved: It was noted that no declarations, pecuniary or otherwise were received.


10.22/23.03         Minutes of the Previous Meeting

To receive the minutes of the meeting held 9th August 2022.  Cllr Knowles stated item 08.22/23.07 should read “who was improving but NOT ready to enter”

Resolved:  To be signed by the Chair as a correct record at the next meeting with the appropriate amendment.


10.22/23.04         Matters Arising



Public Participation

Items raised included Dovecote and Grant Scheme covered separately in minutes


10.22/23.05         Planning Applications

Two previous applications had been responded to after consultation with Councillors due to the time constraints and national mourning.  Details were as follows:

2022/1698 Erection 2 storey extension, side terrace to first floor  Foxes Farm,Strap Lane

                                Resolved; To refer the matter to planning authority for decision


2022/1772 Installation of solar panels, Bellerica Farm, Crosselm Rod,

                                Resolved:  the Parish Council recommend approval of this application


10.22/23.06         Finance

To present current financial statement and balance on accounts – Balance on accounts showing as £35623.98. It was agreed for the bank reconciliation to be posted on the website.


The following is for information as payments were agreed after consultation during the period of public mourning




To agree schedule of payments as indicated below:



Resolved:  Payment schedule for October was approved


Following action from the previous meeting the Clerk had invoiced Witham Cricket for extra cuts to the field


10.22/23.07     Reports

  1. To receive Chairman’s Report

Cllr Sheppard paid tribute to the outgoing Chair Hugo Brooke who had resigned the post. He gave thanks for all the work, time, effort given done in a kind and diplomatic way.  Best wishes were expressed for his procedure tomorrow and it was felt appropriate to mark his contribution in some way.  The clerk would liaise with Cllr Knowles on this matter.


  1. Cllr Nicholls report on Highways

Nothing to report from Cllr Nicholls however Cllr Ferrari stated that street lights were still not done but could take up to 6 weeks. Member of the public raised verge cutting at Private Road with ferns, grass etc overflowing

Action;  Clerk to liaise with Cllr Nicholls regarding contact with Highways.


  1. To receive Cllr Ferrari report on Communications

Cllr Sewell stated that SALC recommended a Facebook page.  She was happy to co-ordinate

Resolved: For Cllr Sewell to set up and run a Facebook page dedicated to Parish Council business


  1. To receive Cllr Sheppard report on the Recreation Ground

Cllr Sheppard requested authorisation to proceed with signage.

Resolved:  Agreed in principle – for Cllrs to receive and review full signage with any amendments 


Cllr Sheppard reported on initial discussions with cricket and football regarding the way forward with the facilities.  With the pavilion bid unsuccessful there had been talks on viability and taking matters further. To this end Witham Friary Youth FC had requested a temporary shed for storage – it was 8ft by 6ft and would be provided free of charge by Selwood Housing.  There was discussion about insurance, maintenance etc and some agreement document drawn up.  The Playing Field Committee would need to be consulted.

Resolved:  Agreement given for the temporary shed on the proviso an agreement is signed by the football club.


  1. To receive Cllr Knowles report on the Play Patch

Cllr Knowles continued to address the deterioration at the play patch. He stated that the large poles had big splits in them and doubtful filling would be satisfactory.  It may be a case of replacing these in due course


  1. To receive Cllr Sewell report on Footpaths

Cllr Sewell had arranged walking of the path where the cows escaped as the barbed wire had been cut and noted signs of cow activity on the wrong side the path.  The cutting of wire at Red gate was somewhat less of an issue to address, whilst the map takes it in straight line there is indeed a gate further along and the map needed addressing.  She would arrange some temporary signage for placement and information whilst this was addressed.


Member of the public stated that at the Bridge there was a “greasy area” which would benefit from wire mesh.


There had been some correspondence with 42 Acres regarding the permissive path who had stated that this was not intended to be a permanent fixture.  Member of the public advised that it was impossible to walk the old route, the new route was safer and nicer.  With regard to this route a plank was missing off the bridge.


The owner of Walk Farm had been identified, written to and was awaiting response.

Action;  Cllr Sewell to address mapping, wire mesh, missing plank.


  1. To receive Cllr Ferrari report on Churchyard

Member of the public on behalf of the Church gave an overview of  financial situation facing the church and how a grant would help. To this end the Clerk advised that for transparency to all community groups, accountability to Distgen and to make the process more formal a grant application scheme had been introduced which covered both small sums of money and larger projects.  Cllr Ferrari suggested an amendment to the form to include “Support greater biodiversity and sustainability”

Action:  The Parish Council adopted the scheme with the Clerk to action amendment, form to be posted to website and emailed as appropriate.


10.22/23.08         Network Rail

Nothing to report.


10.22/23.09         Witham Water

Cllr Knowles stated that there was a dosing issuing a couple of weeks ago.  Cllr Ferrari stated that she had  a green tinge to her hair currently perhaps as a result.


Cllr Sheppard was pressed on leaftlet production and this was considered urgent to keep the good will and communications route publicly available.

Action: Cllr Sheppard to produce and distribute leaflet as a matter of urgency.


10.22/23.10         Other Council business

Reports from District Councillor Gay and County Councillor Clarke

In the absence of both parties, reports were read.  Notable comments from Councillor Gay included Planning Inspectors view of the local plan and audit affecting playing field, Bindon lane and private gardens and Mulberry House. Cllr Gay also paid grateful tribute to Hugo Brooke and his work for the Parish.


County Councillor Clark covered Bus Back schemes, the Lord Lieutenant for Somerset and both Councillors gave outlines of the LCN consultation


LCN (Local Council Network)

The clerk gave further detail to the LCN options and what discussions were being had

Resolved:  Of the options available it was agreed to take the RURAL route


Somerset Day 2023 was announced for the 2nd weekend in May next year


Sexey’s School Transport

Response made indicating the County Council would make a review of the review as to whether changes to Policy needed to be made


Website framework

The framework document had been agreed

Action:  Clerk to action with Netwise



Member of the public gave an outline of the arrangement in relation to the PCC leasing arrangements.  It was noted that Roger Barnes had given notice and several parties had expressed interest in a new tenancy for a collaborative working space also providing talks, exhibiting and suppers.  The state of the property was considered and felt that once vacated should be left in a “tenantable state” which was agreed.  It was noted that some items would be left but felt that this may be of benefit to new tenants such as shelving etc

Action: it was agreed that Cllr Knowles deal with the outgoing tenancy, Cllr Ferrari with the new tenants and look to have a meeting with interested parties, representatives of the PCC and PC as appropriate


Village Plan

This is something that the outgoing Chair had raised.  It was currently with Cllr Knowles but felt that this could be a project for the new Councillor

Resolved:  Action for new Councillor


Electricity /Voltage

The clerk asked if there was any consideration given to rising costs and the car park lights.  Cllr Knowles said that the timer would be adjusted appropriately.


Voltage rates were raised by a member of the parish.  It is claimed that this is running 10% more than needed.  The comments in the report were duly noted


10.22/23.11         Any other Business

A meeting had been held regarding Long Ham for the 24th October. The PC were currently awaiting a response from Simon Nash at the Forest of Selwood regarding the PC’s role, timings, content, involvement etc


10.22/23.12         Date of next meeting

13th September 2022 – 7.30pm at Witham Village Hall.


Meeting closed at 9.05pm




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