MINUTES OF THE PARISH COUNCIL MEETING HELD IN THE SCHOOL ON MONDAY 5 JUNE 1989. In attendance were B Chubb. J Davis, P Rooke, D Turner and D Yelland, who took the chair, as well as some parishioners. Mr Yelland started the meeting by welcoming Mr A Merrick the Somerset County Councillor to the meeting. Mr Yelland read out a letter he had received that day from Mr G Lee in which he resigned as a Parish Councillor. Notices will be posted on the PC Notice boards advising of the vacancy. If, within 14 days 10 parishioners write to MDC requesting an election then MDC have 60 days to respond to their request. If no requests are received then the PC has the power to co-opt. Mr Yelland had been told that the cost of an election would be in the region of £4-500 & that the Parish would have to bear the cost. Apologies for absence had been received from A Gould. The Minutes of the Annual General Meeting were accepted & signed. MATTERS ARISING - A PC representative on the RFMC will need to be elected to replace Mr Lee, this will be put on the agenda of the next meeting. RECREATION FIELD - Mr Yelland had spoken to Mr Lee, Chairman of the RFMC as decided at the Annual Parish Meeting. Mr Lee had explained that the £100 granted in June 1987 had been spent on a new boiler. Of the £250 granted in November 1988, £108 had been spent on refurbishing the seats in the field, it was proposed to spend £49 on a rubberised baby swing, and the residue will be spent either on mending/replacing the guttering &/or window sills. Mr Yelland pointed out that the RFMC manage the field for the PC on a 21 year lease which expires this year and he suggested that when a new lease is negotiated responsibilities must be clarified. It was agreed to write to Mr Lee thanking him for the information concerning the spending of the grant money & expressing the support of the PC for the work of his committee. FINANCE - YOUTH CLUB GRANT, still awaiting information. UNDER 13 CRICKET CLUB REQUEST - A request from the under 13s cricket club for a monetary donation to help towards the purchase of equipment had been received. About 15 to 16 children meet on a Saturday morning at the Field & practice under the tutelage of Mr Featherstone, they have now joined a league & funds are needed to buy equipment. They had suggested the sum of £50. Parish Councillors were willing to be more generous than this but it was decided to donate £50 initially and suggest that they apply for more money later if it is still needed to swell their own fund raising efforts. Mr Turner proposed the payment of £50, Miss Chubb seconded & all were in favour. The Clerk will contact the Club over the possibility of the PC making the purchases & reclaiming VAT. A NOTICE OF AUDIT OF ACCOUNTS FOR YEAR ENDING MARCH 1989 had been received. HIGHWAYS & FOOTPATHS - From the floor the information was given that the permanent diversion of the Northern Footpath around Halecombe Quarry was being opposed by Avon & Somerset Ramblers Associations. Attention was drawn to the removal of footpath signs on gateways along the road from Soho Corner to Leigh Woods. WYVERN WAY 100 FOOTPATH - Mr Davis expounded on his conversations with Mr Griffiths, Rights of Way Officer, about the section of footpath between Shepton Mallet & Frome. He had suggested to Mr Griffiths that a link be made between the Northern and Southern routes through the Parish of Leigh so that the less hardy could complete a shorter walk than the 25 mile between Shepton & Frome. The link will be on existing footpaths from Ham through Leigh woods along the high street from Towns End along the footpath to the south of Halecombe Quarry to Park Corner, along the road to Finger Farm & then on existing paths to either Bulls Green or the Frome side of Chantry. It was to be hoped that if the District Council were willing to include this link in any information they published about the Wyvern Way 100 it would bring visitors to the village. Mr Griffiths had greeted the proposal with enthusiasm & had offered to provide materials, stiles etc, if the PC organised the work schedule. It was agreed that it was only worth doing if the Council would definately publicise the link & a letter will be sent to Mr Griffiths & Mrs Rowena Smith (CC Rights of Way Officer) seeking such an assurance. PLANNING - District Council conditions of approval/rejection of applications received were:- LAND ADJACENT TO IVY COTTAGE approval of details the Parish Council were very disturbed that the use of Cotswold Stone had been recommended & wondered how it was possible to get their views across to MDC Planners. It was agreed to write to the chief planning officer about this with a copy to Mr Hewett. METHODIST CHAPEL & SCHOOL HOUSE - conditionally approved. CLIVONNE COTTAGE - permission refused on grounds of over development of a small site. Plans had been received for a 2 storey rear extension & renovation of COTTAGE ADJACENT TO THE OLD CHAPEL HOUSE & for the PROVISION OF PARKING AT LAVENDER COTTAGES. Plans had been requested from County in connection with the errection of the environmental banking around Halecombe Quarry at Soho Corner & had been received that morning. The plans were of the PROPOSED ENVIRONMENTAL BANKING & PLANTING ON FIELD OS5168-the 'ARC field', & the NORTH WEST BOUNDARY PLANTING PROPOSALS. The latter was a reserved matter from the 1980 planning consent & the former was new.From the floor great concern was expressed that Condition 3 of the 1980 consent -that environmental works should be decided by the authority within 6 months of the granting of the planning permission - had not been met & that SCC seemed to have no way of enforcing compliance with consent conditions. The piecemeal nature of the environmental banking plans was alarming & the plans before the PC provided insufficient protection for road users from the quarry as the banking was neither wide enough or high enough. Miss Chubb expressed concern at the lack of relative levels indicated in relation to the existing banks & wondered whether the existing bank along the Frome road could be regraded so that the side nearest the quarry sloped steeply & the one adjacent to the road sloped gently. Mr Davis put forward the view that if the bank came out another 20 yards two trees on the quarry side could be retained & the bank would be 20-30 yards further away from Soho Cross roads, shallower and more acceptable. It was querried why a tree mix should be planted on the quarry side of the bank when mainly shrubs were listed to be planted on the road side - Mr Yelland felt this may be for the view from Knap Hill. After much discussion it was agreed to respond in the following terms - 1) Plans 9 years too late. 2) Better to consider banks in total not piecemeal. 3) As the plans are 9 years too late it was felt an indication of timing of their errection in advance of quarrying ought to be given. 4) The PC was informed by a former resident of Soho Cottage that assurances had been given that the banking would be further back from the corner, therefore the past history of correspondence ought to be consulted. 5) Could the bank at Soho Corner be set further back leaving a greater area between them & residences. 6) As the PC were anxious to avoid banking similar to that already errected on the Frome Road it was felt a request that work be done to improve the existing banks be asked for. 7) Overall height needs to be checked in relation to existing banks. 8) Why was the inside planted with hardwood trees & not the outside. 9) Could the banks be regraded to be gentler on the road side & steeper on the quarry side. A copy of the letter will be sent to Mr Merrick. After listening to the discussion Mr Merrick said that he felt that there was a need for tighter controls over the quarry & the CC were in the process of trying to recruit an enforcement officer to deal with quarrying & peat workings. HALECOMBE QUARRY - Miss Chubb & Mr Yelland declared an interest & Mr Davis took the chair. Mr Davis asked Mr Merrick for a report on the meeting at Ston Easton where samples were taken from a pile of soil some of which was alledged to be top soil illegally removed from the Halecombe site at the beginning of May. Mr Merrick outlined the events to date - on 5 May he had viewed the soil heaps at Halecombe Quarry from the footpath after complaints from Mr Davis & Mr Dixon that top soil was being removed from the site by Pennys & transported to Ston Easton. Mr Evans,CC Minerals Officer, also viewed the area that day. On May 10 Mr P Woods a MAFF soil expert, Mr Evans & Mr Merrick visited the Halecombe site where they tried to quantify the amount of top soil left on the site, no samples could be taken at Ston Easton that day as they were unable to gain access to the site. When access was granted on 22 May and Mr Woods took soil samples, however in the intervening 12 days top soil from Chepstow & Charterhouse had been added to the original heap & Mr Merrick believed that due to the similarity between soil from Halecombe & Charterhouse it may be difficult to prove a case against Wimpey Hobbs. Mr Turner expressed concern at the delay of 12 days in gaining access to the Ston Easton site & wondered if there had been any way to circumnavigate it? Mr Merrick explained it was due to prior committments of Mr Penny & Mr Harris who needed to be in attendance during the inspection. Mr Turner felt that what the village wanted was not for the Company to be prosecuted but for the top soil to be returned so that it could be used on the environmental banking. If the top soil from the site was available then perhaps more gently sloping banks could be constructed as the steeper the slope the less soil in needed. It was generally felt that the Village had lost faith in Wimpey Hobbs Management team & were loosing any faith they had had in the CC to enforce the planning conditions. Mr Dixon from the floor thanked Mr Merrick for his prompt response to this matter and expressed his belief at the apparent lack of goodwill between the Company & the local community, he felt that Wimpey Hobbs were relying on the goodwill of SCC in their current action. It was agreed that letters would be sent to the CC concerning the removal of top soil and also a letter to the Planning Committee stressing the need for the proposed enforcement officer to be sited in the quarrying area not in Taunton. CPRE REPORT - Mr Yelland & Mr Davis had attended a "Quarrying in Somerset Day". Mr Moon of SCC had spoken on the subject of the pressure on the County to provide stone especially for the SE of England. He had stated it as his opinion that nothing would be able to act completely as an adequate substitute on economic grounds. Mrs Franklyn had spoken on Nature in Disused Quarries, and a BACMI representative had spoken on "Why Quarry". At the end of the day it was decided that quarrying would continue in the county but better demand management was needed. It was felt that a well balanced day had been presented. Mr Davis took the opportunity of asking Mr Merrick to look at the Torr Works planning application to see if it stated that all lorries should be sheeted & to see how such a measure could be enforced. CORRESPONDENCE RECEIVED - Letter about grants made by the Bridget Parker (Olympic) Commemoration Fund. Somerset County Council Minutes of 26 April Meeting with list of members of various committees. Mr Merrick stated that as yet there was no Minerals Panel as the Council were investigating Sub-committees so all such matters would go before the full committee. MATTERS FOR THE NEXT MEETING - Youth Club Grant. Council rep on RFMC. NEXT MEETING - 17 july at 7.30 in the School.
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