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Minutes of the meeting of the Parish Council held on Monday 17th February 2020.

Minutes of the meeting of the Chedzoy Parish Council held on Monday 17th February 2020 in the Village Hall at 7.30 pm.
1. Present: Cllrs Brian Gale, Nick Griffiths, Simon Howes (Chairman), Pat Lennard and Rodney Young.

Also present: Cllrs David Hall (Somerset County Council (SCC)), and Anthony Betty (Sedgemoor District Council (SDC)).

In attendance: The Clerk (Chris Fry) together with two members of the public.

Apologies: Cllrs Marion Dethier and John Paige.

2. Minutes of the previous meeting of 16th December 2019 and the planning meeting of 27th January 2020 were taken as read, approved and signed.

3. Matters arising from the minutes.
  • Moor Drove bridleway gates. The Clerk reported he is yet to receive a reply to his email of 5th December 2019 to George Montague (SCC Rights of Way Officer covering Sedgemoor), in which he supplied photographs of the dilapidated gates and enquired what advice and assistance might be forthcoming from the County Council for renewing them. Mr Montague had previously indicated (his email of 11th November 2019) the Parish Council that gates on bridleways were generally the landowner’s responsibility, strictly speaking, but that the SCC may be able to assist to improve access where possible.

    During a discussion a parishioner said that the British Horse Society advised her that there were rules and restrictions regarding gates on Bridleways which would need to be considered. Others commented that the gates have always been in place (in living memory) and are necessary for livestock control purposes.

    The Chairman concluded by saying that gates were required and we should continue to pursue Mr Montague for advice on how their replacement is best approached.

    Action: The Clerk was asked to follow up and report back to the next meeting.

  • Litter Pick 2020. The Clerk reported that Karen Barnes of SDC Clean Surroundings was arranging the equipment and it would be delivered to the Clerk’s home address. It was decided to advertise the event on the village Facebook page and seek volunteers who should gather at the bus shelter at 10.00am on Saturday 7th March, with the litter pick lasting from 10.00am until 1.00pm. We would also seek help from someone with a pick-up or trailer who could retrieve the full bags of litter and transport them back to the village hall car park for later collection.

    Action: Clerk to draft a notice and post on the Chedzoy villagers' Facebook page.

  • Heritage Plaque – Court Farm House. The Clerk reported he had retrieved this plaque and passed it to John Paige who has kindly volunteered to meet the householders and arrange it’s erection in due course.

4. Somerset County Councillor’s report. David Hall reported as follows:
  • Somerset County Council Budget 2020/2021. A full council meeting will be considering this on Wednesday 19th February 2019. Further information will be available after this date.

  • Climate Change. All five Somerset District councils have recognised the Climate Emergency and they are now working together to produce a Joint Climate Emergency Strategy.

    David Hall urged the public to complete the online survey on the SCC website.

    Go to:

  • Improving Lives Grant. With the release of the grant aid to assist towards the cost of AV equipment at the village hall, David Hall asked if a presentation photograph could be arranged in due course. This was agreed.

  • Unitary Authority. Talks are continuing and the leader of SCC, David Fothergill, would be pleased to address a public meeting in the village (say the annual meeting) on the subject, if so desired.

    Action: The Clerk was asked to get back to him in due course.

  • Flood Risk. The drainage boards and the Environment Agency had advised the river systems were coping well with the recent severe weather episodes. David Hall has a meeting with Rebecca Pow (DEFRA minister) next week to move forward on the SRA becoming an independent precepting authority. There are three public consultations on the Sowey River and King Sedgemoor Drain enhancements with public engagement events being held this week in Westonzoyland, Othery and Aller which have been advertised locally.
5.Sedgemoor District Councillor’s report. Anthony Betty reported as follows:
  • Sedgemoor DC budget. A full council meeting will consider this on Thursday 20th February 2020.

  • Tree Planting Promotion. Anthony said SDC were setting up a fund of £5000.00 to encourage tree planting and other local councils would be encouraged to take part.

  • Fit for my future questionnaire. He outlined the current launch of the public engagement on community health and care services.

    For more information go to

    or telephone: 01935 384119.

6. Planning.  No new applications.

Update on application reference 18/19/00006/EC.

Because the views of the parish council were at variance with the Planning Officer this had been considered by the Planning Committee with a decision being taken to refuse permission.

7. Correspondence.

  • Chedzoy Strategic Plan 2020. The Chairman said that John Paige, who had kindly volunteered to develop idea for this, has produced an initial draft framework. As John was not able to attend this meeting, the discussion will be held over to the March meeting. Copies of the draft proposals were handed to each councillor for their perusal ahead of March’s meeting.

    Action: a discussion on the development of a plan to be added to the March meeting agenda (Clerk).

  • Cropping of Northfield footpaths. The Clerk reported positive developments here. A parishioner had raised grievances about the ploughing of both boundary and field crossing footpaths by the landowners with the authorities and the landowners. An email from Chris East (District Public Rights of Way Officer – SCC) has been received stating details had been passed to him as he had previous dealings with the landowners concerned. He has reminded the landowner of his duty to refrain from ploughing and cultivating field edge paths. He has since received an assurance from the landowner that the field edge path will be cleared, with Chris East agreeing to clear the crop off the cross field path when they reach a height that can be cleared using a brush cutter.

  • Age UK – Services for the over 60s. The Clerk said he had received information on Age UK services for the over 60s, which the charity was actively promoting, such as:
    Help with accessing benefits,
    Exercise classes,
    Visits to isolated or lonely people,
    Advice and information services,
    Toenail cutting appointments,
    Advice on avoiding SCAMs,
    Advice on the benefits of renting, without the burden of property ownership,
    Volunteer opportunities.

    Contact details:
    Age UK Somerset, Ash House, Cook Way, Bindon Road, Taunton TA2 6BJ.
    Telephone 01823 345613,
    or go to:

  • Grass verge – Manor Road. A parishioner has raised the matter of the poor state of the grass verge adjacent to the milk churn stand in Manor Road, with grass and flowers being destroyed by weed killer. Additionally, it was noted that this area had been subject to problems with dog mess not being picked up by irresponsible dog owners.

    Following a discussion it was understood that the land is owned by Somerset Highways and the district council may be open to maintaining this.

    Action: The Clerk was asked to liaise with the relevant parishioners and SDC Clean Surroundings in an attempt to improve matters.

  • 999 Call Handling Trial. South West Ambulance Service recently held a two week trial about 999 call handling, from 4th to 18th February 2020 which was designed to inform patients during periods of high demand of the average response times for ambulances for certain lower category calls. Notice only.

  • Somerset CCG – Fit for my future – Engagement on community health and care services. A public engagement on community health and care services has been launched. The public are being invited to have their say regarding providing care closer to home in Somerset.

    The engagement programme runs until 12th April 2020 – for more details go to:


    Or telephone: 01933 348119

8. Matters arising from the correspondence. None.

9. Finance.

Balances after allowing for all payments due:-

Lloyds Bank Current Account £4126.02
Lloyds Bank Deposit Account £2.48
Cambridge Building Society Easy Access Account £12372.04 (after the application of interest £30.83 on 31st December 2019)

Five cheques were issued as follows:

Number Amount Payee For
675 £135.00 Countryside and Garden Services Bus shelter garden maintenance
676 £86.40 HCI Data Ltd Web licence renewal - two years
677 £152.47 C.N Fry February net salary
678 £70.36 C.N Fry Expenses
679 £359.00 Chedzoy Village Hall Association Improving Lives Grant – received from SCC

The Clerk reported that Rhiannon and Jason Buckton had asked if they might purchase various plants to fill in the gaps in the bus shelter garden. Following a discussion it was proposed by Rodney Young and seconded by Pat Lennard that a maximum of £100.00 should be allocated for this.

10. Any other business, and date of next meeting.
  • Chedzoy News. The councillors were delighted with the news that the village magazine would be continuing.

  • National Community Buildings Survey. Details of a national census of village halls and other community buildings are being undertaken by Action with Communities in Rural England (ACRE).

    Action: The Clerk was asked to forward this to the village hall committee.

  • Job Centre details on the website. A request was made for a link to 'Find My Nearest Job Centre' to be placed in the 'Links' section of the Council's website.

    Action:  the Clerk to ask the Webmaster to post this link.

    [Note: this link had been put on the webiste in May 2019 as previously requested, but appeared not to function correctly]

  • Openreach. The Chairman reported he had received a formal proposal from Openreach with reference to the previously discussed Community Fibre Partnership. This project was looked into in August / September 2019 and considered installing fibre broadband to the village utilising a voucher scheme to pay for the installation if sufficient properties would commit to taking up a service via the Openreach network. The quoted cost for this stands at £155,000 and is double the estimated cost previously indicated by Openreach.

    Following a discussion, which took into account the advanced state of the TrueSpeed installation programme, it was proposed by Rodney Young and seconded by Nick Griffiths to not pursue the Openreach proposal as project was no longer viable. This was unanimously agreed.

    Action: Simon Howes to notify Openreach.

  • Poor water pressure. A request by Rodney Young that a letter of support be sent to Wessex Water regarding the poor water pressure being experienced throughout the village was agreed.

    Action: the Clerk will send a letter outlining concerns and requesting urgent action.

Date of next meeting: Monday 16th March 2020 in the village hall at 7.30pm.

There being no other business the Chairman declared the meeting closed at 8.38pm.


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