Minutes of the online virtual meeting of Litton Cheney Parish Council
held on Tuesday 12 January 2021


Present: Bill Orchard (Chairman); John Firrell; Andy King; Diana Maston; Andrew Price; Quentin Blacke; Maggie Walsh (Clerk).   Also in attendance Cllr Mark Roberts


1.    Apologies Bella Spurrier

2.    Declarations of interest None

3.    Co-option of Parish Councillor It was proposed by Cllr Orchard, seconded by Cllr Firrell and carried unanimously that Quentin Blacke be co-opted to the Parish Council to fill the long-standing vacancy. The Chairman welcomed Quentin to the Parish Council. Cllr Blacke introduced himself, saying he moved to the village in 2019, was a countryman at heart and looked forward to contributing to village life.

4.    Democratic time N/A as there were no villagers in attendance

5.    Approval of minutes of the Parish Council meeting held on 10 November 2020. It was proposed by Cllr Firrell, seconded by Cllr Maston and carried unanimously that these be approved.

6.    Matters arising since the previous meeting not part of this agenda Cllr Firrell held the tithe maps of Litton Cheney, that had been given to the PC by Dorchester County Museum.  The Parish had originally been much larger and he hoped to obtain additional maps from Bridport Museum.  Once COVID restrictions allowed, the maps would be displayed in a suitable location for all to see – most likely Litton and Thorner’s Community Hall or St Mary’s Church.  Cllr Firrell undertook to send a map of the current Parish boundary to Cllr Blacke.          JF

7.    Dorset Council overview. Cllr Mark Roberts reported that, due to the impact of COVID 19, DC needed to find more than £40m additional savings in order to set a balanced budget.  Measures being taken to achieve this included increasing Council tax; investment to increase the number of child placements within the County; renegotiated gas and electricity contracts and considerable savings in corporate affairs. The public sector pay freeze would help too.  He recognised that DC’s Climate and Ecological Emergency Strategy would have significant cost implications: no budget had been allocated yet as the impact of COVID 19 had taken priority but this would be important in the long term. DC had decided to introduce hot desking before the Pandemic, and so South Walks House would be mothballed. DC was fortunate to have some reserves.  Cllr Roberts now chaired the Harbours Committee, which took up more of his time.  DC was looking to improve the Planning Enforcement service as planning breaches generated a large number of complaints. He had signed the request for a 30mph speed limit in Litton Cheney and this would now go forward for consultation. A meeting was scheduled regarding the suggested alternative road link to Ashley Chase.  Cllr Firrell would forward information and background documents to Cllr Roberts.                                                                  JF

       Cllr Roberts would check his diary to see if he could host the next Travel Plan meeting at 10am on 11 February.                                                                                                           MR


8.    Communal litter bin.  This item was considered before setting the Precept as there were costs implications.  Currently, the single bin in the village, was emptied once per week on a Wednesday and often overflowed. DC had offered to empty the existing bin, free of charge, for a second time each Monday, as they already had a vehicle in the area on that day.    DC no longer provided or emptied new dog poo bins, although they continued to empty pre-existing ones.  Dog poo however could be placed in communal waste bins or in domestic bins.  Should additional communal litter bins be installed in the village, this would be at the PC’s cost: the cost per litter bin would be approximately £250 for supply and installation and £265 or approximately £1.21 for each Band D house per annum to empty it once a week.  Cllr King felt that the number of bins was not the issue: rather that the existing bin was no emptied often enough.  Elsewhere in the village, there was not a significant litter problem and what litter there was appeared to emanate from moving vehicles.  Therefore, additional bins were unlikely to make a difference.

       Cllr Maston wondered whether dog owners knew they could put dog poo in their own bins.  Cllr Blacke reported that in some locations, local businesses sponsored bins.  Parish Councillors agreed to publicise and encourage dog owners to take dog waste home and put it in their own bin; to take up DC’s offer of twice weekly collections April through October and to review the situation later in the year.                                                                                           MW      


9.    Finance report and invoices for approval (Clerk and RFO) At the time of publishing the agenda, Parish funds stood at £18,669.47. Spend since the previous meeting was £2,404.44 comprising £594.72 salary and back pay; £1,051.78 to DC for grass cutting; £500 PC donation towards upkeep of churchyard; £127.14 for purchase of 12th edition of the Local Council Administration handbook; £86 to Nicholas Lunn for stonework at The Rocks; £43.80 Clerk’s expenses and reimbursement for 2 month’s Zoom subscription; £1 to BT for adoption of phone kiosk.  Income since last meeting was £2,108.08 comprising £2,043.04 donation from the Litton Cheney Trust towards restoration and reinstallation of the turnstiles at The Rocks; £65 from LATCH representing their share of hedge cutting costs and .04 p interest.  The Parish Council wished to record its thanks to the Litton Cheney Trust.  The RFO highlighted the predicted year end underspend of £1,386, although this could yet increase.  This was entirely due to an underspend against the Lengthsman scheme, primarily due to COVID restrictions.  All other budgets were on track

       The following invoices were for approval:

R Randall for restoration and reinstallation of turnstiles at the Rocks


R Sorrell for hedge cutting


Reimburse Clerk for Zoom licence for Dec – Jan


Vision ICT for website domain hosting




       The RFO reported that the first two of the listed invoices had already been paid after obtaining approval by email.  It was proposed by Cllr Firrell seconded by Cllr King and carried unanimously that these be approved.                                                                     MW


       Review of reserves and approval of precept for 2021-22


       The RFO presented the report (appended to these minutes).  Cllr Firrell proposed that RFO’s recommendations be accepted and the precept for 2021-22 be set at £10,400.  This was seconded by Cllr Orchard and carried unanimously.                                            MW


       It was proposed by Cllr Orchard seconded by Cllr Firrell and carried unanimously that the Reserves Policy be approved.


10.  Councillors’ portfolios:

       Cllr Orchard (Chairman) reported that, following Cllr Brook’s resignation, he would take on the Planning Portfolio with help from Cllr Price.  He would discuss delegation of his existing Portfolio with Cllrs Spurrier and Blacke.

Footpaths/Rights of Way/Risk Assessment/Transparency Code/Annual Report (Bill Orchard, Chairman).  The PC undertook to contact the landowner regarding the rotten bridge between Court Close and Hams.                                                                                        BS

Highways/Transport (Andrew Price).  The PC’s request for a 30mph limit within the village will be subject to a consultation.  Cllr Price thanked Cllr Roberts for his endorsement.  The PC had responded to DC’s original proposed extent of the speed limit and DC had helpfully responded by increasing the proposed area to include all main approaches to the village.  The PC had requested a review of signage. There had been some deterioration of roads which needed to be addressed.  He felt this was mainly down to HGVs and that the current signage on Whiteway, advising that the road was unsuitable for HGVs, was too late to be effective and should be located on the A35: it would be nice to see greater cooperation between Highways England and DC on this. A keep left sign had been installed at the bottom of Whiteway.  There was likely to be some disruption when the Emergency Services mast was installed at Whiteway, whilst the site was connected to power and telephone lines.

Playground/Playing Field/Allotments (Andy King).  The PC had made no decision to change the use of the playing field but had previously discussed whether the cost of maintaining it was justified given its level of use. However, there would be costs regardless of its use. Volunteers were needed over the winter period to fill holes made by moles/badgers etc – these tended not to be a problem once regular grass cuts commenced.  Cllrs observed there were significantly more families with young children in the village and that there was likely to be a continued need for a playing field.

The playground climbing wall had been removed for safety reasons. Volunteers would build a replacement in the spring. There had been no further vandalism.  The annual playground inspection had been scheduled.  Part of the fence was missing and Cllr King would liaise with the Clerk to obtain a replacement.                                                                           AK/MW

The trial period cutting the grass around the allotments had been successful and the Allotment Association would pay £50 to continue this service in 2021-22.

Village Fabric/Maintenance/BLAP/DAPTC (John Firrell). A final decision about the future use of the telephone kiosk would be made once restrictions were lifted. Meanwhile, volunteers had given it a festive make over, shelves would be erected and it would receive a spring clean. There were restrictions on what volunteers could do whilst complying with COVID restrictions.  DAPTC had a new leader and Cllr Firrell felt early indications were promising.  BLAP would meet on 13 January, the main feature being a presentation climate change. Cllr Firrell read out a statement from Sally Dyke about ultrafast broadband: 57 names from Litton Cheney, Kingston Russell and Long Bredy had been registered on the Openreach Portal. Openreach had identified 350 properties in the Valley that could be included in the roll out. Once clarification about the voucher scheme was obtained, a decision would be taken as to whether or not it was viable to proceed.

Climate Emergency (Diana Maston).  Cllr Maston, together with Councillors Orchard and Firrell, had collated and drafted Parish Councillors’ responses to DC’s Strategy on Climate and Ecological Emergency Consultation document.  Cllr Price said he did not agree with supporting reopening of Navitus Bay, following refusal by SOS after independent Public Examination.  The consultation deadline was 20 January – any final comments should be with Cllr Maston by Friday 15 January.                                                                                                      ALL

Parish Councillors observed that the consultation was lengthy and complex and unlikely to attract responses, other than from those with a strong interest in the subject.  Cllr Roberts said that DC recognised this and that a ‘light’ version of the consultation had been sent to schools and colleges.

Tree planting had been carried out at the school.  Cllr Firrell reported that LATCH was considering additional planting alongside LATCH and the school playing fields.

Planning. The Planning portfolio was currently vacant so the planning update would be provided by the Clerk (next item).  Cllr Price did however report significant issues with regard to Parks Farm.  Excavations to enable construction of the effluent lagoon, permitted in 2017, had removed ground from the field north of the buildings and bunding.  This meant there were now direct views of buildings, cars and other uses and activities within the AONB that had previously been screened. Construction of the building permitted in 2020 had not commenced, but ancillary activities could not now be concealed as originally proposed.  When he and Cllr Firrell met directors of the farm in December there had been 240 employees on site and around 120 vehicles.  Secondly, there had been unprecedented levels of traffic and HGVs visiting Parks Farm, not in accordance with agreed Travel Plan.  This impacted on both Litton Cheney and especially Long Bredy.  Cllr Price had encouraged directors of Parks Farm to hold discussions with the LPA.  DC’s Enforcement Officer had contacted the PC ’seeking information about concerns that had been raised with him.  Cllr Roberts observed that restrictions on car sharing during the Pandemic may have contributed to the parking issue. Parish Councillors agreed that Cllr Price should contact the Enforcement Officer with regard to PC concerns over impact on traffic and on the AONB.                                                                                            AP

11.  Planning matters

There were no new applications for consideration

       The only outstanding application was the proposed change of use of agricultural land to caravan and camping site. Siting of a mobile home for permanent residential occupation by site manager. Construction of hardcore access track for caravans and parking. Construction of small fish "stocking lake" at Litton Lakes ((WD/D/20/001114) Parish Councillors observed that there were currently 8-10 caravans on the Litton Lakes site, and wondered if it was intended to use the site for winter storage.  The Clerk would seek clarification.                          MW

       The following applications had been decided

·           TITHE BARN, CHARITY FARM, MAIN STREET. Use of property as C3 dwelling house (previously holiday let) (WD/D/20/002317). Approved 6 January 2021

·           1 THE GREEN MAIN STREET DT2 9AW. demolition of existing single storey rear extension and erection of two storey rear extension (WD/D/20/001955). Approved 31 December 2020

·           Land at grid reference 355396 EAST OF WHITEWAY Erect 11.97m pole with 1 no. antenna, 2no. 0.3m dishes, 3no. equipment cabinets, 1no. meter cabinet and 1no. 1.2m satellite dish within a compound surrounded by a 1.2m high stock proof fence for purposes of emergency services communication (WD/D/20/002620).  Prior approval not required

·           Erection of 12m monopole mast LAND SOUTH OF LAY BY, A35 T WHITE WAY TO KINGSTON RUSSELL FARM ROAD (WD/D/19/003166). Planning Appeal against the Council's refusal of the above application DISMISSED 8 December


10.  Correspondence not dealt with as part of the agenda.  The PC had been consulted by a company working on a potential 24 ha woodland creation project on behalf of the Ashley Chase Estate nr. Abbotsbury.  (Not connected with Parks Farm.) Parish Councillors agreed that the scheme was broadly welcomed although the PC did not have the necessary arboricultural expertise to comment on the details.  The Clerk would respond along these lines.      MW

11.  Date of next meeting Tuesday 9 March 2021

Meeting closed

Maggie Walsh
Parish Clerk



Litton Cheney Parish Council 2020-2021 Precept Report 12 January 2021


Summary and Recommendation


The RFO anticipates that increased costs in some areas during 2021-22 will be matched by savings elsewhere.  Reserves are healthy and the proposed precept includes provision for appropriate contributions going forwards.

The Precept has remained unchanged at £10,600 for the last 3 years and could be reduced to £10,400 for 2021-22 subject to the PC’s decision on item 8 of the agenda. Increases in subsequent years seem likely however.

Based on current commitments, the Parish Clerk and Responsible Finance Officer (RFO) recommends that the PRECEPT be set at £10,400 for 2020-2021 plus an additional £250 for each additional communal litter bin the PC may wish to provide.


Detailed consideration – review of income and payments


Table 1 below sets out actual outturn for last year, budgets and estimated outturn for the current year, and forecast budgets for next year.  VAT is excluded from projections as the Parish Council can reclaim this.

In preparing these figures, the RFO included anticipated inflationary increases, some estimated and some known.  However, the existing lengthsman’s contract is due to end in March and maintenance costs have generally been lower than anticipated and/or mitigated by donations from The Litton Cheney Trust (for which the PC is most grateful). 

Table 1

2019-20 actual

2020/21 budget

2020- 2021 estimated

2021-22 estimated

2022-23 estimated

2023-24 estimated















Precept & grant







Allotment fees







misc. income (donation from Litton Cheney Trust)














Total income





















Employee costs







ROOM HIRE/zoom fees







ADMIN (see next tab for breakdown)







Village fabric





















Total Payments














Balance of Income over payments







Annual contribution to ringfenced reserves







Surplus of income after contribution to reserves








It should be noted that, whilst savings are expected to cancel out increases in costs next year, it is likely that the precept will need to increase in subsequent years, once the existing three-year Insurance agreement ends.





Review of Reserves


Reserves are held to cushion the impact of uneven cash flow or irregular/unexpected events. Contributions to reserves are calculated based on past experience, life span of assets and estimated replacement costs. 

Going forward, reserve balances are healthy, with appropriate annual contributions to named reserves, apart from the Playground reserve.  Whilst the playground was recently refurbished and most of the play equipment still has many years life expectancy, given the cost of replacement equipment, the RFO recommends increasing the annual contribution from £400 to £750.  It is possible that, in future years, it may be possible to reduce or freeze contributions to some reserves.

Contributions to reserves are undertaken at the year end, when the year end outturn is known.  Table 2 below shows the existing level of reserves, the estimated level at the end of the current financial year and the RFO’s recommended contribution for 2021/22.


estimated 2020/21

Proposed 2021/22







Year-end balance of funds held






Reserves C/F split as follows






General funds






Earmarked reserves






Local government reorganisation/devolution






Playground equipment






Village fabric/maintenance






Equipment (e.g. Defibrillator, I.T.)






Election costs






Total contribution to earmarked reserves






Ring-fenced reserves













Impact of precept on Band D properties


The tax base for Litton Cheney will reduce slightly for 2021-22.  At the current precept level, this would increase the payment for a Band D house by .47p from the current level of £50.94 to £51.41 per annum.  Anticipated savings during 2021-22 mean however that the Precept could reduce to £10,400 or £50.44 per annum for a Band D house. 

However, should the PC decide to purchase additional communal litter bins, whilst supply and installation could be covered from existing reserves or revenue budgets, the precept would need to increase above £10,400 by £250 per additional bin to pay for it to be emptied once a week. Each additional bin would equate to an increase of £1.21 per band D house per annum.