Minutes of the meeting of Litton Cheney Parish Council
held on Tuesday 9 November 2021


Present: Bill Orchard (Chairman); Quentin Blacke; John Firrell; Andy King; Andrew Price; Bella Spurrier, Diana Maston; Maggie Walsh (Clerk).   Also in attendance Cllr Mark Roberts, Mr Geoffrey Fry, Chairman of Puncknowle PC, Mr Eonne Sinclair of Puncknowle PC and 1 local resident


1.    Apologies None

2.    Declarations of interest None

3.    Democratic time The Chairman of Puncknowle, Swyre and West Bexington PC asked on what basis Litton Cheney had submitted what he felt was a misleading comment with regard to the application to see if prior approval was required for an agricultural building at West End Farm (P/PABA/2021/04112). The proposed barn was located in Puncknowle.  DC had determined the application before Puncknowle responded and Litton Cheney’s comment would remain permanently in the Public Domain. The application was unrelated to the blocked bridleway and he believed Litton Cheney’s response was motivated by personal views regarding the farmer. 

The Chairman, Bill Orchard, responded on behalf of Litton Cheney PC: Dorset Council (DC) had consulted the PC.  The next scheduled PC meeting had been after the deadline for comments and the PC did not consider the application warranted an extraordinary meeting. It therefore discussed the application by email and instructed the Clerk to submit the comment, in accordance with delegated powers.  The comment was made because the PC believed the proposed barn would be located across a blocked bridleway, the case officer had checked the definitive map and had come to a different conclusion.  The PC had no other concerns about the proposal and strongly refuted any bias towards the farmer.  The Clerk would contact the Clerk to Puncknowle, Swyre and West Bexington Parish to establish if there were any learning points.                                                                                                                                                     MW

4.    Approval of minutes of the Parish Council meeting held on 14 September 2021 It was proposed by Cllr Blacke, seconded by Cllr Firrell and carried unanimously that these be approved.

5.    Approval of minutes of Extraordinary Parish Council meeting held on 12 October 2021 to discuss outline planning application for 9 no. dwellings at White Thorne Cottage, Main Street, DT2 9AS (ref P/OUT/2021/03262) It was proposed by Cllr Maston, seconded by Cllr Price and carried unanimously that these be approved.

6.    Matters arising since the previous meeting not part of this agenda The Scouts would again erect a temporary post box in the bus shelter for the Christmas post service.

7.    Dorset Council overview – Cllr Mark Roberts apologised for being unable to attend the last meeting and reported as follows.  Children’s services awaited an Ofsted report.  The Senior Team had been appointed for St Mary’s School in Shaftesbury: the school would have 258 children. DC were considering the possibility of solar farms within some of its County Farm Estates – he was unsure of planning rules regarding solar farms within AONBs. The Planning Department had ceased neighbour notification, with the onus now on applicants to erect planning site notices. DC would continue to notify PCs of all applications and hoped that PCs would speak to neighbours about new planning proposals.  DC must set a balanced budget but currently faced a £15m shortfall next year: he feared discretionary services would come under intense pressure. An incinerator/power plant might be located on Portland to help supply power requirements.  66 cruise ships were due to visit the port over the next year. The Bridport Area Partnership (BLAP) had written to DC, including Ward Councillors, highlighting a number of issues and suggesting how communication could be improved.  Cllr Roberts would investigate what action was being taken regarding the letter. He felt there were areas where DC could improve: 2 concerns consistently raised by T&PCs were communication and planning enforcement.  Ward Councillors also found it hard to contact officers under remote working but hoped a new system would improve this.

8.    Finance report and invoices for approval (Clerk and RFO) As at 1 November, Parish funds stood at £25,318.48, this included £125 in ring fenced reserves. Spend since the previous meeting was £300 comprising £100 donations to each of the Dorset & Somerset Air Ambulance, Bridport Citizens Advice Bureau and Bride Valley News.  Bridport CAB and BVN had thanked the PC.  Income since last meeting was £5,225.04 comprising £5,200 precept, £25 donation to the Community Bench Fund and .04p interest. The PC wished to record their thanks for the donation to the bench fund.

       The following invoices were for approval:

LATCH hall hire


Dorset Council for annual grass cutting contract




       It was proposed by Cllr King seconded by Cllr Orchard and carried unanimously that these be approved.                                                                                                                     MW

       St Mary’s had approached the PC requesting a donation towards the upkeep of the churchyard.  The PC had donated £500 for this purpose for a number of years and allowance existed within this year’s budget. It was proposed by Cllr Orchard, seconded by Cllr Firrell and carried unanimously that this be approved.                                                                         MW

       The PC would need to approve the precept at January’s meeting in order to submit details to DC by its deadline of 31 January 2022.  The RFO would shortly prepare and circulate financial forecasts to Parish Councillors.  The RFO would refine these in light of Parish Councillors’ comments before preparing a report and recommendation for consideration in January. Meanwhile, could Parish Councillors inform the Clerk of any anticipated new or changed financial savings or pressures?                                                                                ALL

9.    Councillors’ portfolios:

Planning (Bill Orchard, Chairman): the application for 2 dwellings at land off Barges Close (P/FUL/2021/00153) remained undetermined. Since the last meeting, an application to see if prior approval was required for a barn at West End Farm (P/PABA/2021/04112) had been submitted and on 27 October the LPA determined that prior approval was not required (see also item 3 above). The application to erect a workshop/store with paint spray booth at CG Fry & Son was approved on 4 November, with conditions relating to spraying and coating operations and permitted delivery hours. The PC understood the LPA would pursue enforcement action regarding breaches of planning control at Litton Lakes.

On 12 October, the PC met to consider the application for 9 dwellings at White Thorne Cottage.  At that meeting the PC agreed to await submission of indicative layout and landscaping plans before agreeing its consultation response.  The PC subsequently wrote to the case officer asking to be reconsulted when the additional information was received and this request was agreed. Once the requested information was submitted, the PC would meet to consider its consultation response.  Cllr Orchard summarised the consultee responses already submitted to DC.

Highways/Transport (Andrew Price): the 30mph limit had been in place for some time.  The PC met with DC Highways and succeeded in having entry point signs on White Way and Chalk Pit Lane amended.  With agreement from Long Bredy and Kingston Russell PC, the PC had also attempted to have the sign near Baglake moved but were unsuccessful and DC Highways now regarded the matter as closed.  Large HGVs still attempted to navigate down White Way to reach Parks Farm.  National Highways had resisted placing “not suitable for HGV” signage on the A35.  However, MP Chris Loder had been helpful and a way forward may be to introduce a weight limit on White Way.  Arranging road sweeping had been difficult: the PC understood DC’s need to prioritise its limited resources but lack of communication was frustrating.  Premier Crew volunteers had recently cleared a large volume of gravel that was washed down White Way by heavy rain.  DC had cleared the collected debris, which it was hoped had established improved communication lines. Cllr Price would shortly meet with the Community Highways Officer.  There was still a need for structural road repairs.  DC would replace the bollards opposite Charity Farm. The white lines near the entrance to Charity Farm had helped with access but needed repainting as cars were again parking there.  Some roads around the village had recently been muddied by farm vehicles. 

The PC had been asked to comment on the proposed closure of White Way from 13 December to 5 January.  Parish Councillors were most concerned at the length of the proposed closure of a key route into the village and Bride Valley, and its impact on residents and businesses over the Christmas Period.  In addition, they were concerned the works could damage the roots of the avenue of protected beech trees.  The works were required to commission the emergency services telephone mast.  The PC agreed to respond that, if routing down the road rather than across fields was unavoidable, great care should be taken with the trees and to request that the road be reopened whenever possible whilst roadworks were not actively underway.

Agricultural Liaison/Footpaths/Rights of Way/ (Bella Spurrier/Quentin Blacke): Cllrs Spurrier and Blacke had completed a DC survey about public rights of way.  DC had contacted Cllr Spurrier about progress on various footpath and bridge issues.

A number of villagers had expressed interest in the Community Bench Fund and Cllr Blacke anticipated several contributions, including £350 from a recent LATCH event commemorating the life of Steven Spurrier.  He would investigate procurement and installation of benches.   QB
Cllr Price would speak to the Community Highways Officer about requirements for benches on highway verges.                                                                                                          AP

Playground/Playing Field/Allotments (Andy King): One and two half allotments had become vacant.  The Allotment water supply had been reinstated. However, the drain at the West End was again blocked under the adjacent field causing flooding: Cllr King hoped it could be unblocked but the PC believed the location and cause of the blockage would make this difficult. Hedges would be cut when the ground either dried out or froze.  Quotes were awaited for various playground repairs. The playground was a valuable resource but could be better sign posted, Cllr King would arrange for information to go on the website.              AK

Village Fabric/Maintenance/BLAP/DAPTC/Administration (John Firrell) Cllr Firrell would soon attend the virtual DAPTC AGM.  A group of villagers had met several times to discuss how the village might mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee between 2 & 5 June 2022. There would not be a village fete but several other events were planned that should offset donations to church funds normally raised by the fete. He asked the RFO to include options within the precept for the PC to make a financial contribution towards the celebrations.  BLAP had lost some of its funding and had asked member councils if they would be prepared to make a financial contribution.  BLAP provided valued support to the PC and so the PC agreed to consider a financial contribution to BLAP when setting the precept for 2022-23.  The PC wished to minute its thanks to the Premier Crew for clearing the gravel after the recent deluge and also to DC for taking it away promptly.

Climate Change and Environment (Diana Maston) The previous Saturday’s Village Café at LATCH had an eco theme.  It went well and was well attended.  Eco Village Cafes may be held twice a year, with the next one in the Spring.

Questions had been asked regarding reports of dog related incidents.  Wherever possible, the PC recommended taking up concerns with dog owners, if known.  Otherwise, loose dogs and dog attacks on other dogs should be reported to the dog warden using DC’s online portal.  Any dog attacks on people or livestock should be reported to the police.

10.  New planning applications for consideration at the meeting

·           Installation of solar panels at Thorner’s C Of E Primary School (P/FUL/2021/03944 & P/LBC/2021/3945.  The proposed panels would be on the roof slope facing away from the village, flush with the roof and Parish Councillors understood there would be minimal reflection.  From an environmental perspective, the proposal was welcomed. Cllr Maston proposed the PC SUPPORT the application for the above reasons. This was seconded by Cllr Spurrier and carried unanimously.                           MW

11.  Correspondence not dealt with as part of the agenda Cllr Price summarised a response he had received from DC’s enforcement officer in relation to the PC’s concerns regarding Parks Farm.   The PC asked Cllr Price to draft a reply setting out the PC’s concerns and how these might be redressed and to seek a further meeting with the directors of Parks Farm to discuss how visibility concerns could be addressed. AP                                                  

12.  Date of next meeting Tuesday 11 January 2022

13.  Meeting closed to the public to discuss Clerk’s salary

Meeting closed

Maggie Walsh
Parish Clerk