Tuesday 10th November 2020 7.00pm via Zoom

Present: Parish Cllrs:  A Howard (AH - Chair), K Branfield (KB), A Collins (AC), J Down (JD), T Lloyd (TL), P. Soltau (PS), W Lock (WL), District Cllr: S Pugsley (SP), County Cllr: F Nicholson (FN), Clerk: C Hornsby and 3 members of the public

Note the following abbreviations:

Somerset County Council – SCC; Somerset West and Taunton District Council – SW&TDC; Exmoor National Park Authority – ENPA;

Clerk stated that the numbering on the Agenda was incorrect and should run from 54/20 to 71/20. All accepted that this will be the numbering on the minutes.


54/20    Questions from the public. None

55/20    Apologies of Absence - None

56/20    Declarations of notifiable interests – JD for point 70/20

57/20    Approval of the Minutes of the previous meeting on 08/09/2020 these were proposed by AC and 2nd by WL as a true and correct record and the chairman signed them.

58/20    Matters arising from the Minutes of 08/09/2020 (i) 38/20 – Kitridge Mast update: SP reported that the mast is ready to switch on but this will happen once all the other masts in the system are ready. Proposed date is March 2021. (ii) Clerk thanked the Cllrs for her recent pay rise which was back dated to the 1st April 2020.

59/20    COVID 19 for the parish update none

60/20    Report by the County & District Councillors FN report: (i) CV19 keep safe; (ii) Unitary Authority update – still waiting for government outcome; (iii) ENPA and the Government White Paper concerning planning changes is still ongoing; (iv) Glover Review will be raised at the Exmoor Panel Meeting on Thursday 12th Nov. SP Report: (i) New business grants will be available due to the second lockdown and details will be released from the government shortly. (ii)ENPA Planning Committee Standing Orders to be reviewed on how planning items get called in to a committee. In future, reference to the ENPA Local Plan 2011-2031 will be required when submitting a parish council planning comment but ENPA will be doing online training to ensure all cllrs are up to date with it.

61/20    Highways (i) Grit Bin update – cllrs to check to see if all the grit bins have been filled by Highways over the last week. AC has the three new grit bins but will not put them out till they are filled with salt to reduce the risk of theft. It was reported that a one-ton salt bag that had been recently delivered by Highways had been dragged behind a vehicle and damaged at the top of Blakeway. It was also reported that there was significant damage to the finger post sign at Mare Pole (ii) Roadside Parking is a very big issue in the villages of Hawkridge and Withypool and it was confirmed by FN that unless the car is blocking the road then police cannot deal with it. It was suggested that a quiet word with the owners of the vehicles was the first step. PS to put a notice on the community FB page informing residents to be aware when parking as emergency vehicles and farm vehicles need access. (iii) FN raised point 41/20.3 Old Rectory blocked drains – no one can work on the Highway without the proper permissions. Highways need to know everything; it all has to go through Highways. (iii) Sparrow Lane Drains – these have been reported over many years. FN requested full details of exactly where the problem is with the information on a map to help clarify the situation. (iv) A resident raised the following issues: Roads in to the village between Colland Cross and West Hollowcombe have blocked drains and Slade Lane between the double bend and Slade barn – drains blocked. FN requested that these are logged on the SCC website for registering road faults. It is the most efficient way of notifying Highways and the more people who register the same problem the higher the priority becomes.


FN finished by stating that the clearing of gullies is not on the regular timetable of jobs for Highways now, if there is a problem it must be reported on the above SCC website. AH reported that there were 25 small bags of salt and FN stated these are issued for village hall, church and shop pathways and can also be given to people who are elderly or disabled to use on their driveways. They are not for the residents’ personal use.

62/20    Finance report (i) Bank Reconciliation £8932.39; (ii) Invoices: Defib service Life Saver Tech £35.00 chq no: 520 November Zoom meeting (originally paid by AH of The Village Shop) The Village Shop £14.39 chq no: 521, SALC training reimbursement of shared cost to Timberscombe Parish Council £10.00 chq no: 522 (iii)Budget was presented to the parish cllrs detailing possible future income and expenditure for 2021/22 (iv) Precept - the matter for raising the Precept for 2021/22 was voted on. Three cllrs voted to keep the same as the previous year of £3500; 2 cllrs voted to raise it by 10% to £3850.00 and 1 cllr voted to raise it to £4000.00. The chairman stated that the Precept will remain as the previous year of £3500.00 - clerk to authorise when paper work arrives.

63/30    Planning 6/42/20/109 Newland House, Chapel Lane. Proposed alteration of existing carport into habitable accommodation, including external cladding on the north elevation and the erection of a single storey extension. There were no objections and so the clerk will write the following:

64/20    Parish Gardens none

65/20    Parish Maintenance Bench – KB has it safe and it will be installed by spring next year. PS reported that there had been some flashing in the sky towards Kitridge Lane and that Western Power (WP) had been notified. It was an emergency and WP have fixed the problem.

66/20    Chairman’s Notices – AH had been asked by a member of the parish if they could plant up the flower bed, which was the responsibility of the Parish Council, in the centre of the village. He said he had accepted their kind offer and that the member of the public wanted no praise or acknowledgement. The parish council thanked the member of the public for this kind act for the village and the clerk will email them to say thank you.

67/20    Parish Community Clerk thanks PS for her work in keeping the parish up to date on the Facebook page.

68/20    Correspondence – Climate Change Survey – PS is dealing with this but will ask cllrs for their response before she submits it.

69/20    Report from representatives of other groups:

Withypool Village Hall no report; Hawkridge Village Hall no report; Henry Leigh Trust – The full amount was given out at the last meeting in September. The next meeting is in January 2021. Deadline for applications is 31st Dec 2020, Exmoor Panel – next meeting via online is Thursday 12th Nov, Consultative & Parish Forum – no meeting since lockdown but one is being planned. It might be quite complicated doing online as there are many people who attend.

70/20    Report from Acorn Rural Property Consultants – previously circulated to all. Cllrs JD left the meeting due to a conflict of interest.

First point raised in the report: Would the parish council support a future planning application to be put in by ENPA concerning a gate in the Highways fence for just pedestrian access?

3 cllrs voted against, 1 cllr voted for and 2 abstained. It was agreed that the parish council did not support the new proposal for a planning application for a pedestrian only gate in the Highways fence due to a majority vote on the grounds of Health and Safety as stated before in the June 2020 Parish Council Minutes for the 6/42/20/106 planning application.


Second point raised in the report: Would the parish council be putting forward an application to SCC for a definitive map modification order to gain access to the common land and the river across the end of Kings Farm drive?

It was agreed by all cllrs that the parish council would not be taking part in this, however, if the residents of the parish feel they wish to pursue this then they can do so as a private venture. It was also agreed that if a member of the parish council wished to join this private venture then they do so as a resident and NOT a member of the parish council. If they join this private venture then it must be made clear to others in the private venture that they are not representing the parish council.

The matter will no longer be raised at parish council meetings as it is between the land owners and anyone who wishes to pursue the SCC application for a definitive map modification order

71/20    Items for January 2021 agenda: none

72/20    Date and time of next meeting:

              12th January 2021 via Zoom or in Withypool Village Hall depending on CV19 Gov restrictions.


There being no further business the meeting was closed at 8.40pm


Signed by Chair…………………………………………………………………………………………………………Date………………….