Minutes of the online virtual meeting of Litton Cheney Parish Council
held on Tuesday 9 March 2021


Present: Bill Orchard (Chairman); Quentin Blacke; John Firrell; Andy King; Andrew Price; Diana Maston; Maggie Walsh (Clerk).   Also in attendance Cllr Mark Roberts and 4 local residents


1.    Apologies Bella Spurrier – Chairman Bill Orchard reported sadly that Steven Spurrier had died.  Parish Councillors’ thoughts were with Bella at this difficult time.

2.    Declarations of interest None

3.    Democratic time Sally Dyke reported that no further funding was available for ultra-fast broadband during this round.  The application was, however, in the system.  Those who had expressed an interest must now await the Government’s next steps in April.

4.    Approval of minutes of the Parish Council meeting held on 12 January 21. It was proposed by Cllr Firrell, seconded by Cllr Orchard and carried unanimously that these be approved.

5.    Matters arising since the previous meeting not part of this agenda None

6.    Dorset Council overview – Cllr Mark Roberts highlighted the Local Plan Consultation, due to close on 15 March and the consultation on Climate Change/Carbon Neutral DC. Officers had done an exceptional job at short notice putting together a bid for government funding towards reducing its carbon footprint and had been awarded £19m from a £51m pot. There would be an opportunity to review Parish Boundaries in Dorset.: this was last done in 2012.  DC had purchased St Mary’s School at Shaftesbury for use as a residential school for children with special needs – this would save money as it costs more to send children out of the county.  DC was consulting on additional uses for the facility, which has extensive grounds. Funding was available for a feasibility study into an alternative, private road, to Parks Farm.  He recommended Sally Dyke contact Rachel Baker at DC in relation to ultra-fast broadband.

7.    Finance report and invoices for approval (Clerk and RFO) At the time of publishing the agenda, Parish funds stood at £17,908.17. Spend since the previous meeting was £669.11 comprising £594.72 employee costs, £14.39 Zoom licence and £60 Vision ICT website hosting fee.  Income since last meeting was .04p interest.

       The RFO reported a forecast underspend of £2,300: which would be entirely due to the pandemic delaying completion of maintenance tasks within the village.  MW reported that the Lengthsman’s contract would end on 31 March – any further work completed during the remainder of March would be invoiced the following financial year. The PC anticipated some maintenance could be completed by Premier Crew volunteers once restrictions ended, and so next year’s maintenance budget had been reduced to offset increases elsewhere. The predicted underspend from the current year would go into reserves and could be used should catching up on outstanding jobs result in an overspend next year.

       The following invoices were for approval:

Wicksteed for playground inspection*


Reimburse Cllr Firrell for printing costs*


Reimburse Clerk for one month Zoom licence fee for March


Bridport Town Council Lengthsman




       *MW highlighted that two of the invoices had already been paid, Parish Councillors’ approval having been obtained via email.                                                                              

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


8.    Councillors’ portfolios:

Planning (Bill Orchard, Chairman)

There had been one new planning application since the last meeting:

KOWHAI COTTAGE, SCHOOL LANE Erect two storey side and rear extensions (WD/D/20/003272). Parish Councillors had considered this application via email and determined that the PC had NO OBJECTION

The following applications/issues were outstanding:

LITTON LAKES, CHARITY FARM Siting of a mobile home for permanent residential occupation by site manager.  Construction of hard core access track for caravans and parking. Construction of small fish “stocking lake” (WD/D/20/001114). Since the last meeting, the Case Officer had asked if the PC wished to comment further in light of correspondence with the agent.  The PC had responded that it stood by its decision to SUPPORT the application but that this support was entirely contingent on the conditions/legal requirements as set out by the PC in its formal representation. The Case Officer aimed to complete her report within a few weeks.

BEECH HOUSE, HINES MEAD LANE Repointing repairs, internal alterations and mitigation of high moisture levels (WD/D/20/002951). The PC had previously determined that it had NO OBJECTION to this application but understood that the Conservation Officer had some concerns.

PARKS FARM An enforcement case had been registered in connection to the PC’s concerns but no further investigation or action had yet taken place. The PC was aware that the enforcement team had a backlog of cases.  Cllr Roberts reported that the enforcement process could be lengthy but acknowledged that to hear nothing was frustrating: DC’s Scrutiny process was currently looking at the Enforcement service, which was to be reorganised, with agency staff brought in to help catch up.

Highways/Transport (Andrew Price) Consultation on the proposed 30mph speed limit within the village had taken place and the PC had offered some detailed observations. Rachel Elman had written thanking the PC. Some patching of roads had taken place but more significant works were needed. The amount of debris washing down Whiteway during heavy rain had improved.  Work had commenced on the Emergency Services telephone mast.

Playground/Playing Field/Allotments (Andy King) The playground inspection had been completed and there were no major issues.  The climbing wall would need to be replaced. The old slide had split, risking fibreglass splinters. Although none of the issues were serious, they did need addressing. He would seek volunteers to help get the playground ready for spring. The problem tree had been removed.  The new grass cutting contract had been signed and the playing field would improve once regular mowing commenced.  Quotes for the following year’s grass cutting contract would be sought in January.  The field had been used for golf practice with numerous golf balls found within the field and the adjacent farm: Parish Councillors were concerned at potential harm to users of the playing field and allotments as well as to farm animals. There was now a waiting list for allotments. Allotment holders would pay £50 towards grass cutting but ideally this should be added to the subs paid to the PC.       AK/MW

Agricultural Liaison/Footpaths/Rights of Way/ (Bella Spurrier/Quentin Blacke) DC will maintain footbridges and had removed, and will replace, the rotten bridge between Court Close and Hams.  DC will replace gates at a cost to the landowner of £185 per gate. Replacement gates are metal and self-closing: less attractive but more practical and sturdier than wooden ones.  Several gates were missing from around the village: arrangements were in hand to replace or repair a couple of them.

Cllr Blacke suggested benches might be strategically placed on public footpaths around the parish: he had a list of suggested locations with wonderful views.  If practicable, this could be funded by donations in memory of loved ones.  Parish Councillors supported this idea in principle and tasked Cllr Blacke and the Clerk to investigate the feasibility of such a scheme and report back to the next meeting. An item about this would be placed in the BVN.  If the suggestion were feasible it might be possible to extend the scheme within the Bride Valley.                                                                                                                                       QB/MW

Village Fabric/Maintenance/BLAP/DAPTC (John Firrell) There was little to report as COVID restrictions had prevented the Premier Crew from meeting. A number of issues required attention once restrictions were relaxed.  There would be a BLAP meeting on Friday 12 March which MP Chris Loder would attend.

Climate Emergency (Diana Maston) Cllr Maston had attended a Climate and Ecological Support meeting where an electric car share scheme was discussed, which may be of interest to villagers.  She would draft a note for the BVN. Cllr Firrell said that LATCH had discussed installation of a charging point.  Cllr Maston was investigating the possibility of a community woodland with a local farmer.  Once restrictions were lifted, it would be good to share with villagers some of the work that had taken place around the village.

Risk Assessment/Transparency Code/Annual Report (Vacant) nothing to report

9.    Dorset Council Local Plan Consultation

The PC had until 15 March to respond to this consultation, but there would be further opportunities later in the process. Until the single DC Local Plan was progressed to the point that Dorset had a 5-year housing land supply, the county would be vulnerable to opportunistic planning applications in locations everyone agreed was inappropriate. Central Government could yet change allocations and so the plan included a degree of flexibility in terms of housing requirement. Parish Councillors’ consideration of their response highlighted the fine balance between maintaining the vibrancy of the village whilst retaining those characteristics that make it so attractive.  Parish Councillors felt it was important to debate this at the Village Assembly, once restrictions permitted, so that they could understand and better represent the views of all villagers.  Meanwhile the Clerk would pull together a draft response, summarising Parish Councillors’ views.                                                                                                        MW

10.  New planning applications for consideration at the meeting None

11.  Correspondence not dealt with as part of the agenda

·           The clerk highlighted the forthcoming Census on Sunday 21 March

·           Dorset AONB Partnership was researching farmers’ views on Central Government’s plans for agricultural support post-Brexit.  The survey was online at

12.  The Annual meeting. Current COVID regulations prevent the Annual meeting from being held virtually but restrictions mean meeting face-to-face would be inadvisable. The PC hopes the regulations will be extended so that the meeting can be held online on the planned date of Tuesday 11 May 2021 but will review the situation on 9 April and may, at that date, bring the meeting forward to Tuesday 4 May so that it can take place online. The Village Assembly will be postponed until Tuesday 13 July, when it is hoped a face-to-face meeting can be held at LATCH.

Meeting closed

Maggie Walsh
Parish Clerk