Minutes of the meeting of Litton Cheney Parish Council
held on Tuesday 10 March 2020 at Litton and Thorner's Community Hall


Present: Bill Orchard (Chairman); Kathryn Brooks, John Firrell; Andy King; Bella Spurrier, Maggie Walsh (Clerk).  Also in attendance: Cllr Mark Roberts and 2 local residents


1.    Apologies Andrew Price;

2.    Declarations of interest: none

3.    Democratic time: the following matters were raised

·         Villagers had expressed wide ranging views on the future of the telephone kiosk and had questions such as who would maintain it and how much would it cost. Cllr Firrell reported that no calls had been made from the box in the last year; he suggested it be placed on the agenda for the Annual Village Assembly.                                                                             MW

·         The fallen tree on the Litton Cheney to Puncknowle footpath would be removed as soon as weather permitted.

·         Mr Romans advised that the current works underway at Charity Farm were to install a concrete hardstanding within an existing barn and the adjacent yard. There would be no additional cattle and livestock would not be kept within 100m of dwellings. Trees would be planted as screening. He had appointed agents to prepare and submit a planning application for the camping site at the Lake.

·         Mr Romans had spoken to the Community Highways Officer and would implement measures to reduce mud on roads within the village.

·         Query as to why cones had been placed alongside the verge opposite Charity Farm.  Cllr Orchard explained that they had been placed there temporarily by Dorset Council Highways to protect the collapsing stream bank from further damage and that the Parish Council were working with DC to find a permanent solution. DC did not currently have available funds to carry out permanent repairs but had undertaken to reinstate the verge.

4.    Approval of minutes of the Parish Council meeting held on 14 January 2020: It was proposed by Cllr Firrell, seconded by Cllr Brooks and carried unanimously that these be approved.

5.    Matters arising since previous meeting not part of this agenda: Cllr Firrell reported that works to The Rocks had been completed and seemed to have been successful.  The Regeneration Group awaited quotes for the restoration and reinstatement of the turn stiles. He had been reliably informed that The Litton Cheney Trust could cover the cost and hoped the works might be completed in the near future.

6.    Dorset Council overview – Cllr Mark Roberts reported that DC had a number of cross-party advisory panels who maintained a watching brief and provided advice to the Cabinet.  He sat on the Environment panel which ensured DC’s policies supported the natural environment within Dorset. DC was responsible for over 70 green spaces in its area ranging in size from Jellyfields to Durlston Park. Numerous staff provided services which were not statutorily required and which largely went unrecognised and so these services might be seen to offer “easy savings”.  It was therefore important their work was better publicised so that Councillors and residents could understand the benefits. Cllr Roberts felt that his role as Ward Councillor, was to attend Parish Council meetings wherever possible as PCs were his ‘eyes and ears on the ground’.  He could then disseminate information both ways and explain the decisions that DC had to make. PC’s could help him by ensuring they only raised issues with him that were important and that the PC intended to follow through. He was aware that DC Highways were still not aware that they should be gritting Chalk Pit Lane – fortunately the weather had been mild.  Cllr Orchard expressed concern that the school bus turning right onto the A35 from Askerswell frequently had to stop across one or more lanes of the double carriageway.

7.    Finance report and invoices for approval (Clerk and RFO) At the time of publishing the agenda, Parish funds stood at £14,788.84. Spend since the previous meeting was £310 comprising £250 contribution for restoration of fingerpost and £60 for annual website fee.  Income since last meeting was £0.22 interest.  Estimated year end outturn was approximately £2,100 surplus of income over payments, possibly less if repairs to the playground were completed and invoiced by  Bridport Town Council before the end of March.  A surplus was forecast because various planned repairs and maintenance had been delayed either by weather or other events outside the PCs control.

       The following invoices were for approval:

Dorset Council, works to The Rocks*


Wicksteed for playground inspection


Clerk’s expenses & mileage


       *At the previous meeting, the PC had agreed to contribute £1k to these works. Subsequently DC advised it could only proceed on the basis of a 50/50 split as the works were considered to be improvements.  Due to the urgency, Parish Councillors had discussed and agreed this by email.

       It was proposed by Cllr Spurrier, seconded by Cllr Firrell and carried unanimously that these be approved.

       The RFO had completed the annual review of the inventory/asset register.  The following items had been removed from the register: obsolete computer and IT equipment purchased for £788; goal posts which were purchased in 2000 for £359 and had since been removed; spring mobile in playground which had been purchased in 1988 for £310 and had recently damaged and could not be repaired.  It was proposed by Cllr Firrell, seconded by Cllr Brooks and carried unanimously that these be formally written off.

       The Parish Council had a Petty Cash float of £22.47 that had not been used for a number of years.  The RFO recommended that this be paid into the bank and in future that no Petty Cash be kept.  This was proposed by Cllr Spurrier, seconded by Cllr Brooks and carried unanimously.           MW

8.    Councillors’ portfolios:

Footpaths/rights of way/ (Bill Ochard, Chairman) Cllr Orchard was collating evidence for the PC’s application to register Watery Lane as a public footpath: he  had16 completed forms and there were four or five more in the pipeline. 

Highways/Transport (Andrew Price – written report provided): Cllr Price had met with the DC Community Highways Officer (CHO) and was encouraged by his quick attendance and promise of action: he had undertaken to:

·         address a number of potholes in Redway and would press for its inclusion in a future resurfacing programme. 

·         press Building Control to seek out the owner of the collapsing wall on Redway below Church Path

·         redress the roadside erosion on Whiteway once drier weather returned, meanwhile there were traffic cones at three points requiring particular care.

·         request Dorset Waste Partnership to clear the debris that had swept down Whiteway and towards Hines Mead Lane – the PC could also request clean ups when necessary

Cllr Price and the CHO planned to meet again for a tour of village roads.  The CHO was aware of evidence of possible road failure in several locations, particularly in Main Street.

Playground/playing field/allotments (Andy King): the hedges could not be cut before Autumn as birds would be nesting before the ground dried out enough to allow vehicular access.  The Annual Playground Inspection report had been received and Bridport Town Council’s Lengthsman would undertake repairs.  Cllr King would erect a sign giving emergency numbers, replace the broken dog sign and contact DC about repairs needed to the base of the slide as they only installed it last year.

He had received a competitive quote from Dorset Council of £846.48 for grass cutting for 2020. This included £50 for cutting the grass around the allotment edge. DC had advised against reducing the number of cuts saying the additional time to cut may outweigh any savings.  Allotment plot holders had agreed to pay the additional £50 for one year, but wished to know what other Parish Councils paid towards upkeep: Cllr King undertook to find out.                                                          AK

Cllr King proposed that the Parish Council accepted the grass cutting quote for one year during which time the PC considered alternatives if the playing field continued to be little used. This was seconded by Cllr Orchard and carried unanimously.                                                                          AK

The pipe taking water from the allotments was completely blocked and causing flooding in the adjacent field.  Attempts to unblock it had been unsuccessful.  Cllr King would reattempt to rod it from both ends of the blockage once the water subsided sufficiently.

Risk assessment/transparency code/annual report (Vacant): as no Parish Councillor currently held this portfolio, the clerk had reviewed and circulated a draft annual update of the Model Publication Scheme and the Transparency Checklist prior to the meeting.  It was proposed by Cllr Firrell, seconded by Cllr Orchard and carried unanimously that both be approved.  A review of the Financial Regulations (in light of revised NALC guidance) and the annual review of the Risk Assessment would be considered at the next meeting in May.                                                                                                              MW

Village fabric/maintenance/devolved services (John Firrell): Cllrs Firrell and Brooks had attended an interesting DC meeting in January where some innovative ideas were put forward about how Dorset, Parish and Town Councils (P&TC) could better work together. It was still unclear what DAPTC’s and BLAP’s respective roles would be in the new set up. P&TCs had lobbied DC about the number 6 Bus Route and Dorset Council were now holding meetings with First Bus so it was hoped the situation may soon be resolved.  Central Government had promised more funding for local transport.

Parish Councillors agreed the village should take part in the Great British Spring Clean along similar lines to last year. The suggestion of offering refreshments was welcome but might prove difficult to organise as it would be spread over several days. Cllr Firrell would organise.                               JF

(Post script – the Great British Spring-clean has since been postponed to September due to COVID-19.)

The Regeneration Team had a quote to install kerbing in front of the bus shelter. Cllr Firrell hoped it might be paid for from S106 funds.  This would be on the agenda for the meeting in May.   MW

Agricultural Liaison (Bella Spurrier): a number of footpath gates needed repairs.  Cllr Spurrier would compile a list and report them to the Footpaths Officer.                                                  BS

Planning/Climate Emergency (Kathryn Brooks)

There had been no new applications since the last meeting

The following applications had been decided

·         WD/D/19/001897 LAND EAST OF, 7-8 GARDEN CLOSE - Demolition of double garage and erection of 1no. dwelling, garage block, access and parking.  REFUSED

·         A35 Dorchester Road, DT2 9AA – erection of 12m monopole mast (WD/D/19/003166). Prior approval REFUSED

The following planning matters were outstanding

·         WD/D/19/002804 2 CHURCH PATH DT2 9AQ. Removal of front boundary hedge and erection of wall.  No update from the case officer.

·         WD/D/19/001427 & WD/D/19/1428 2 CHARITY FARM COTTAGES, MAIN STREET DT2 9AP - Erect single storey extensions.  No update from the case officer. 

·         WD/D/19/001463 CHARITY FARM, MAIN STREET DT2 9AP - Erection of 6no. dwellings & conversion of a redundant agricultural building to a dwelling (with variation of conditions 4, 5 & 6 of planning permission WD/D/17/000758 to amend approved plans). The Section 106 was still being redrafted.  

The five-year housing land supply figure was currently being updated and was likely to remain around 4.88 years.  There would not be a joint Dorset wide figure until 2024 as North Dorset currently had a minus figure. Cllr Firrell believed that central government was reviewing the validity of this measure.

Cllrs had agreed their response to DC’s Local Plan consultation, which Cllr Brooks would submit on behalf of the PC.                                                                                                              KB

Other than using green spaces to encourage wildlife, there was limited direct action the PC could take regarding Climate Change.  Its role was therefore more one of sign posting and raising awareness e.g. via the village website.  Cllr Brooks would draft and circulate an initial proposal/strategy for discussion.                                                                                                                                         KB

9.    New planning applications for consideration at the meeting: no new applications.

10.  Response to DC consultation on dog PSPO: DC was consulting on a single dog PSPO to cover the whole area, replacing several existing ones.  Parish Councillors had provided their responses via email and answers to all questions were unanimous except with regard to the length of lead, where the majority agreed it should be limited to 2m.  The clerk undertook to submit the response on behalf of the PC.   MW
Councillors were aware of incidences when an aggressive dog had been loose in the village. The Clerk would check how loose dogs could be reported.                                                          MW

11.  Commemoration of the 75th anniversary of VE Day on 8 May: Cllr Firrell reported that there would be a commemoration and that the school would be involved, albeit not on the actual day. Bells would be rung, and it was hoped the Social Committee might organise a social occasion.  Details of arrangements would be on the village website.

12   Correspondence not dealt with as part of the agenda The PC had received a request from Life Education requesting a donation towards provision of health, well-being and drug prevention education to school children at the Thorner’s Primary School.  Whilst Parish Councillors agreed the training was of benefit to the schoolchildren, they felt that given limited PC funds, donations should prioritise causes that provided benefit to a wider number of villagers.  Clerk to respond.                              MW

13.  Date of next meeting Annual Village Assembly followed by Annual General Meeting of the Parish Council Tuesday 12 May 2020

Meeting closed

Maggie Walsh
Parish Clerk