Minutes of the Meeting of Litton Cheney Parish Council
held on Tuesday 12 November 2019 at Litton and Thorner's Community Hall

Present: Bill Orchard (Chairman); Kathryn Brooks; John Firrell: Andy King; Andrew Price, Maggie Walsh (Clerk); Mark Roberts (Dorset Council); Geoffrey Fry (Chairman Puncknowle, Swyre & West Bexington Parish Council) and 2 local residents.

1.   Apologies: Bella Spurrier

2.   Declarations of interest: None

3.   Democratic time: Mr Fry enquired about the Puncknowle sign which had disappeared from opposite the public house, saying some Puncknowle businesses wished to sponsor a replacement.  Cllr Firrell said the damaged sign had been removed and there were no plans to replace it.  He asked Mr Fry to pass on his contact details to the businesses concerned.

4.   Approval of Minutes of the Parish Council meeting held on 10 September 2019 – it was proposed by Cllr Firrell seconded by Cllr Orchard and carried unanimously that these minutes be approved.

5.   Approval of Minutes of the Extraordinary Parish Council meeting held on 24 September 2019 – it was proposed by Cllr Brooks seconded by Cllr King and carried unanimously that these minutes be approved.

6.   Dorset Council (DC) overview – Cllr Mark Roberts gave an overview of the Dorset Draft Plan.  DC had been developing the Plan since its formation in May.  The Plan set out high level priorities rather than specific actions, these were

·      Economic growth

·      Unique environment

·      Suitable housing

·      Strong, healthy communities

·      Staying safe and well

        Underlying this were principles of: employer of choice; customer focus; effective and modern; sustainable organisation. Comments could be made online at until 20 December.  The Plan should be in place from 1 April 2020.  MW would coordinate a PC response.   MW

7.     Matters arising not part of the agenda:

·      As in previous years, there would be a Scout Christmas post box at the bus shelter

·      New legislation on public sector website accessibility would require the PC to carry out an assessment and possibly further work.  MW was assessing the implications and would liaise with the web editor and report back to a future meeting.                                                                      MW

·      The PC noted that the Youth Hostel was for sale.

8.     Annual Finance Report (Maggie Walsh, Clerk and RFO)

        As at the time of publishing the agenda (4 November) Parish funds stood at £7,482.37. Spend since September’s meeting was £1,619.49 comprising £1,161.44 clerk’s salary; £200 fee for external auditor; £258.05 for repair of allotment gate.  Income since May’s meeting was £5,300.21p comprising £5,300 precept and 0.21p interest.

        Invoices for approval there was 1 invoice for approval: £968.53 for grass cutting.  It was proposed by Cllr King, seconded by Cllr Firrell and carried unanimously that this be approved.

         2020-2021 Precept work on the following year’s Precept had commenced and all Councillors had received a copy the draft budget for 2020-2021.  This was still subject to change but would need to be agreed at the meeting in January as the Precept form must be submitted to Dorset Council by end of January.                                                                                                  MW

        The Parochial Church Council of St Mary’s Church had written to Litton Cheney PC requesting financial assistance towards maintenance of the churchyard.  MW confirmed that £500 had been budgeted for this purpose.  It was proposed by Cllr Firrell, seconded by Cllr King and carried unanimously that the PC again donate £500 for this purpose.                   MW

9.     Councillors’ portfolios:

Footpaths/Rights of Way (Bill Orchard, Chairman): despite enquiries with Wessex Water, Dorset Council Highways and Land Registry, the PC had not been able to establish ownership of the footpath known as Watery Lane.  It was proposed by Cllr Orchard, seconded by Cllr Firrell and carried unanimously that the PC would complete an application to register it as a Public Right of Way.                                                                                                                   BO

Highways/Transport (Andrew Price): the PC had completed a Dorset Council survey about the Highways service. The survey had seemed to centre around where the PC might be willing to see a reduction in service.  Whilst Highways did generally attend to issues once brought to its attention, they could do better.  The ‘Premier Crew’ did good work supplementing the service provided by Highways.  Cllr Price had accompanied the Contract Compliance officer on the C2 school bus service: despite his concerns there had been no issues. It was noted that the school bus provided an opportunity for villagers to travel to Bridport in the morning or to Dorchester in the afternoon. Cllr Roberts reiterated that it is landowners’ responsibility to cut back trees overhanging the highway but acknowledged that communication could have been better.  Double decker buses were shorter and no wider than single decker buses so in theory should traverse the route more easily.  He also confirmed that the entire C2 bus route would be gritted.

Cllrs Orchard, Firrell and Price were due to meet with DC Highways about the collapsed stream bank.  Whilst the PC were prepared to contribute to the costs, it was concerned that DC’s design/contractor requirements would make the works expensive.  Cllr Roberts undertook to speak to the Corporate Director if necessary.

Playground/Playing Field/Allotments (Andy King): grass cutting had finished for the current year and he would obtain quotes for various options for next year by end of December.      AK

Hedge cutting would have to wait until the ground dried sufficiently for tractor access.

Allotments were well attended.  All plots were currently let but some vacancies were anticipated.

The PC had decided to award the contract for the annual playground inspection to the cheapest supplier (as reported at the previous meeting) and arrangements were in hand.  MW

Village Fabric/Maintenance/Devolved Services (John Firrell): a recent deluge had undone the Premier Crew’s good work in clearing Whiteway.  Highways had been asked to arrange a road sweeper.  Cllr Roberts undertook to obtain the road sweeping programme.                             MR

The new finger post had been installed on Chalk Pit Lane.  The total bill was £880 but the majority of this cost would be covered externally.

Cllr Firrell continued to attend BLAP and Area DAPTC meetings.  BLAP had been working on a code of conduct for closer working between Dorset Council and Parish/Town Councils. The precise roles of DAPTC, BLAP and Area Committees was still undecided.

The Triangle Working Party had reconvened and he anticipated there would be a progress report to the PC in January. He had exchanged correspondence with Dorset Council about S106 money available to the PC. Unlike S106 funds which were held by Dorset Council and must be applied for by the PC, future CIL funds would be paid direct to the PC.

Planning (Kathryn Brooks):

The PC had registered an enforcement complaint about breaches of planning control at Litton Lake.  (Following the meeting, the Local Planning Authority wrote to the PC advising that it had invited retrospective planning applications with regard to two breaches of planning control.)

The following planning matters were outstanding: -

·         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.  The conservation officer’s comments were favourable, requesting just a change in ridge tile material.  No update from case officer

·         WD/D/19/001427 & WD/D/19/1428 2 CHARITY FARM COTTAGES, MAIN STREET DT2 9AP - Erect single storey extensions. The conservation officer has asked for more detail of the joinery, roof and wall materials to make sure they are in keeping.  No update from the case officer. 

·         WD/D/19/001613 MEADOWBANK, SCHOOL HOUSE LANE, DT2 9AU - Erect Front & Rear Extensions. The parish council had not objected to this application but asked that the impact on neighboring houses be taken into account.  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 being redrafted to reflect the changes to the application and the variation of the conditions.

The following applications had been decided since the last meeting:

·         WD/D/19/001128 CHARITY FARM – Erection of agricultural barn (retrospective).  Approved subject to landscaping. 

·         WD/D/19/001843 3 BAGLAKE, LITTON CHENEY, DORCHESTER, DT2 9DP - convert garage to accommodation.  Approved.

·          WD/D/19/000958 (Planning application) & WD/D/19/000959 (Listed Building Consent) TOWNSEND COTTAGE, 2 CHALK PIT LANE, LITTON CHENEY - replacement of single storey extension with two storey extension, internal and external alterations and change window on rear elevation to French doors.  Aapproved: the conservation officer’s concerns were largely over ruled by the case officer.

Cllr Brooks had attended a meeting about the AONB.  Currently one officer dealt with consultations on all planning applications and there were concerns that responses were inconsistent and based on desk-based assessments rather than site visits.

10.   New planning applications for consideration at the meeting – none

11.   Frequency of meetings

Parish Councillors debated the frequency of meetings as a number of PCs meet more frequently than bi-monthly.  There would be a cost to the PC if meetings were more frequent.  Parish Councillors were split on this issue, but with more in favour of continuing bi-monthly meetings.  However, all agreed on the importance of emails being circulated to all councillors.  Cllr Roberts reported that some PCs use social media to communicate with residents.

12.   Correspondence not dealt with as part of the agenda

The PC had received a request for a donation from St John’s ambulance.  During the current financial year, no budgetary provision had been made for donations beyond those that had been paid for a number of years.   Should Parish Councillors wish to support this request a formal proposal would be required at a future agenda.  However, as part of the Precept process, Parish Councillors may wish to consider whether they would wish to amend the budget next year.

13.   Date of next meeting – Tuesday 14 January 2020.   Cllr Brooks commented that the projector had been useful and could be used more often.

14.   Meeting closed

Maggie Walsh - Parish Clerk