SOMERTON TOWN COUNCIL: MINUTES OF THE MEETING OF SOMERTON TOWN COUNCIL, HELD ON TUESDAY 12 AUGUST 2008, IN THE PARISH ROOMS: PRESENT: Cllr Keenan (Chairman), Cllrs Beale, Bisgrove, Canvin, Deering, Holland, Medley, Morgan, Neale, Raybould, Rees, D. Smith, M. Smith, Webber & County Cllr Mrs Clarke. APOLOGIES: Apologies were received from Cllr. Harrison. 4545 PUBLIC QUESTION/COMMENT TIME In reply to a request for an update on the Etsome site, Cllr Canvin stated that the contamination has now been cleared, the contract signed and a deposit paid. Mr. Macklin reported having to wait for 7 minutes before speaking to the police on a 999 call when reporting the anti-social behaviour of a group of youths who were smashing articles and climbing on the railway wall to hang a bicycle from the Half Moon post. There were also young motorists racing in and out of the car park performing wheel spins. He felt that we were not getting the service needed from the police and offered to help with any fundraising towards sports facilities encouraging the young people to expend their energies in a way less damaging to other residents and asked if the youngsters could perhaps help with the building of facilities to foster a sense of ownership. It was pointed out that this would not be possible due to Health and Safety issues, but grants towards the new changing rooms were currently being sought and the young people are encouraged to get involved with the Sports Club. PCSO Jan Furnish stated that PCSO‟s do not work beyond 11pm unless on special operations. The local Police team is aware of the local “hot spots” which include the Half Moon and Gassons Lane. Unfortunately they currently have a large area to cover as some officers are on holiday. Mr. Bennett stated that the parking around the police station was still a problem and asked why we had no P.C. out on the street. The Council will write a letter requesting high profile policing. PCSO Furnish was asked to request a patrol car to drive past the “hot spots” at night. The question of illegal parking on West Street was raised to which the PCSO reported that a directive from the Chief Constable of Avon & Somerset stated that up to 5 minutes had to be allowed for loading and unloading. It was commented that the purchase of a newspaper could not be regarded as “loading” and the suggestion made that a higher ranking officer should be invited to attend a Town Council meeting in the near future. It has been noted that the bridge over the railway line in West Street is eroding badly to the extent of holes appearing in the fabric. A letter will be sent to Network Rail asking them to inspect and repair as necessary. In a reply to Mrs W. Elliott regarding resident‟s complaints about night time workings, Network Rail stated that the work is scheduled to finish in early August with further work scheduled for November. They will arrange for the Tamper vehicle to be moved further from houses. The residents are concerned about Health & Safety Issues with the Tamper obscuring visibility of the crossing, the lack of toilet facilities for the workmen, noise and air pollution, children climbing on the machinery and Ricksey Lane being damaged by constant heavy vehicle movements. The Town Council is deeply concerned for the residents and will write to Network Rail. 2. 4546 DECLARATION OF INTERESTS: Cllr Medley declared an interest in planning application 08/01808/FUL, Cllr Canvin declared an interest in planning application 08/03000/FUL. 4547 MINUTES: The Minutes of the meeting held on 22 July, copies of which had been circulated to all Cllrs in advance of the meeting, with the spelling correction in minute 4542 from Copper to Cooper, were agreed as per the printed copy and the Chairman duly signed the Minute Book. 4548 MATTERS ARISING No „matters arising‟ were raised. 4549 PLANNING 08/02644/LBC - Alterations to include the installation of window to first floor office and installation of solar tube to bathroom; The Old Mill, Langport Rd, Catsgore. No objections 08/03000/FUL - The erection of 2 no. agricultural buildings for the storage of fodder and machinery and 2 no. polytunnels; land OS 3769 part, Badgers Cross Lane. No objections 08/01808/FUL - The erection of a replacement garage; 23 King Ina Road. No objections DETERMINATIONS: 08/00695/COU Withdrawn; 08/02275/FUL 30-05-08 Approved; 08/02448/LBC 30-05-08 Withdrawn (will be re-submitted). 4550 COMMITTEE & OUTSIDE REPRESENTATIVES INCL. DISTRICT & COUNTY COUNCILLORS SSDC Cllr Beale reported that SSDC Streetscene Officer, Chris Cooper had commented on how tidy Somerton is kept with verges cut back and what a pleasure it was to work with our knowledgeable Clerk. It was noted that the verge at Marshall‟s Elm had recently been cut leaving a large amount of rubbish exposed. The farmer at Hurcott is to receive a letter of thanks from the Council for the tremendous role he plays in keeping that area tidy. The Town Council worker picks up 15 – 17 bags of litter every week. Recreation: A meeting with Charlotte Jones of SSDC is planned regarding the Youth Shelter. The Sports Club CCTV is awaiting a date for installation. Prices are being investigated for shutters for the Public Bar to enable the room to be hired without access to the alcohol. P.O. Boxes: It was confirmed that Royal Mail has not responded to our correspondence which started approx 9 months ago. 3. Disability Access: A plan is to be drawn up ready for the next Council meeting to show the moving of bollards and the change of cobblestones for tarmac to provide disabled parking. Finance is being sought for the provision of dropped kerbs at the entrance to Pinewood. Footpaths: After a storm of protest at the idea of removing the stone slab on the Water Lane footpath, it is proposed to leave the slab in situ. Tour of Wessex Cycle Race: A meeting to progress the arrangements is to be held in September. Tourism: The LIC is very busy with Mrs Yates‟ excellent organisation keeping the office manned during the holiday period. Brighter Somerton: The gardens have now been judged. There will be additional prizes for 3rd place this year also a prize for the “Best Pots” Tree Planting: Large plastic pots are requested for young trees for next season. The SSDC Arborist has 2,000 baby Oak trees looking for a good home. Somerton will be pleased to take some of these. Cllr D Smith to make contact with SSDC on this issue. LSMH: The new radiators have been installed. Cemetery: The allotment area needs to be tidied up. A complaint has been received from a relative that the lead lettering has been stripped from a headstone. Residents were asked to check any graves they visit Highways: A weed spraying programme commences this week. A regular cleaning of the new bus shelters is to be organised. It was commented that a seat bar in the bus shelters would have been helpful for elderly users. This will be investigated. The meeting regarding the B3151 traffic problems has not yet been arranged. SCC: County Cllr Mrs Clarke reported that SCC is keen to promote the 10 th anniversary of the Territorial Army. The County Council is supporting Transition Towns (those attempting to become more sustainable in areas such as transport and housing. Transition from an oil-based economy to a renewable economy) Literature is available and there may be unspent funds available. SCC is lobbying the Government about the cost of fuel oil. Local issues are being pursued in conjunction with the Clerk and chairman of Highways. The dropped kerbs at Pinewood may possibly be funded from the County Cllr‟s budget. It is helpful for litter to be removed from the grass verges as it washes into gullies and blocks them after heavy rain. It was noted that Langport Road, at the Wagg Drove junction is again flooded. 4551 ALLOTMENTS – UPDATE ON POSITION Cllr Neale has been in contact with SSDC legal department who state that the Town Council has a duty to provide allotments if the council is of the opinion that there is a demand for them. This Council is already providing allotments. The question was asked to what degree can the Council claim rent from the allotment holders if a large expenditure is required for setting up the piece of land already under negotiation. Facts and figures were requested for the next meeting. Mr Watts reported that an Allotment Association has been formed and they are collectively prepared to take on the land with the Council preferably holding as long a lease as possible. Cllrs Medley & Neale to report to next meeting after meeting landowner. 4552 CHAIRMAN’S REPORT The Chairman commented that the signpost on the Langport Road has not yet been moved. 4. 4553 AGENDA ITEMS FOR 26th AUGUST 2008 MEETING Allotments; There being no further business the Chairman closed the meeting at 8.48 p.m. MINUTES OF THE MEETING OF SOMERTON TOWN COUNCIL, HELD IN ST MICHAEL’S CHURCH, SOMERTON, ON MONDAY 11th AUGUST 2008. PRESENT: Cllr Keenan (Chairman), Cllrs Bisgrove, Canvin, Deering, Holland, Medley, Morgan, Raybould, Rees, D Smith & M Smith, and County Cllr Mrs Clarke. APOLOGIES: Apologies were received from Cllrs Beale, Harrison, Neale & Webber. 4544 PLANNING APPLICATIONS: At the start of the meeting the Clerk introduced two representatives from Messrs Stride Treglown who are the Architects/Agents for the applications (Pauline Tillett and Rebecca Draper) and Adrian Noon, from SSDC Planning Department. The Chairman invited Mrs Tillett to make a presentation of the applications on behalf of her clients, during which she sought to explain the background to the applications. Following the presentation, the County Cllr spoke, to clarify several points regarding the attitude of County Highways to the application (noting a number of concerns that are currently held over the highway safety aspects of the proposals) and then a number of members of the public spoke, initially on the application for 28 houses, and subsequently on the medical centre. After the comments from members of the public, including Mr Yates, Mr England, Mr Audemars, Mr Davis, Mrs Langmaid, Mr Mountain, Mr Boxall, Mr Barney, Mrs Short and Mr Bennett, all expressing their opposition to the application for the 28 affordable houses – 08/02721/FUL - the application was put before the Council for formal comment. The Council formally resolved, unanimously, to recommend refusal of the application, the grounds for such refusal being as listed below:08/02721/FUL: The erection of 28 affordable residential units and creation of new access and associated works; land off Acre Lane. The Town Council, unanimously recommended refusal of this application, on the following grounds:- the impact of the proposed development on the Conservation Area; the considered inadequacy of the layout of the proposed dwellings (and associated parking provision); the design of the units is not in keeping with Somerton; the loss of established tree/s, the tree in the proposed play area not lasting for many years in such an environment; the access to the site is totally unsuitable and a danger to all road users and adjacent property owners; there are other sites within the town‟s development limits which have already been ear-marked for housing development and which would cater for such need, removing any over-riding need to accommodate „affordable housing‟ on this particular site. These comments also apply, by and large, to application 08/02723/FUL and are amplified in that response, which should be read in conjunction with these observations. The public comments on the application for the medical centre then followed from Mrs Chester, Dr Leak, Mrs Taylor, Mr Stacey, Mr Mountain, Mr Boxall, Mr Barney and Mr Bennett, all in support of an improved surgery facility, but almost universally opposed to the current proposals, after which the Town Council formally considered the application 08/02723/FUL. 2. The Council formally resolved, again unanimously, to recommend refusal of the application, on the following grounds:The proposed development is outside the current development limit for the settlement of Somerton and in the conservation area, consequently any development would be an exception to policy and as such needs to be extremely carefully considered and meet an over-riding need. In this instance there is not the justification to over-rule policy, not least because contrary to statements in the supporting documents the Doctors are not under notice to quit their existing premises. Even if credence is given to the „need‟ for the development, the actual design is not appropriate and would not „enhance or preserve‟ the conservation area. The building was originally designed for another site in the town and is being proposed, as previously presented, for construction in a conservation area – totally inappropriately. The character of the area would change dramatically, for the worse, if permission was granted. The development as proposed would result in a loss of amenity and outlook to a wide area of the local area, an amenity greatly used and enjoyed by many residents of the town. With the site being elevated above the surrounding land, and approach roads, the proposed development would have a major, adverse impact on the sky-line of the eastern end of the town when viewed either from the immediate proximity of the site, from the B3151 on the approach into the town from the north, or from the Lower Somerton area. The archaeological investigation would appear to have been rudimentary in the extreme, much greater care needs to be taken to protect our heritage. The proposal, beyond the eastern edge of the town, will do nothing to promote „sustainability‟, indeed it will promote car usage with the new premises being more distant from the rest of the amenities of the town and from the majority of the residents. The access arrangements for the site are totally unacceptable; making use of a substandard road, Acre Lane, and encouraging traffic along New St which is already problematic for residents; locals do not travel along these roads unless they have to, so the traffic using the new medical centre will not be „redirected traffic as far as New St and Acre Lane are concerned, they will be extra vehicle movements. The lack of reasonable pavements and the inability to provide anything better due to lack of space just compound the highways problems. Also with the narrowness of Acre Lane, the visibility splay proposed needs to be extended well beyond the 40m currently proposed. Vehicle movements along New St and Acre Lane will effectively involve a single width roadway for most of the day, due to existing parked cars –this will not cater for the increasing number of motorised scooters used by the elderly as there will not be adequate space to overtake them, or safely pass in the opposite direction! These patients will not have any realistic, alternative access to the site. Parking provision within the site is also inadequate. When the previous application was proposed for the Etsome Terrace site in 2007, with exactly the same building, there were 20 additional parking spaces planned. Patients attending the new surgery will have to park off-site, creating even more traffic congestion. 3. A separate document was attached to these planning comments, dealing with perceived inaccuracies and short-comings in the supporting documentation forming part of the planning application and was requested to be read as part of the grounds for the recommended refusal of the application/s. There being no further business the Chairman closed the meeting at 9.30p.m.
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