LITTON CHENEY PARISH COUNCIL
Minutes of the online
virtual meeting of Litton Cheney Parish Council
held on Tuesday 8 September 2020
Present: Bill Orchard (Chairman); Kathryn Brooks; Andy King; Andrew Price; Bella Spurrier, Maggie Walsh (Clerk). Also in attendance: 11 local residents.
3. Democratic time
· Six local residents spoke in support of a 20mph speed limit through the village. If this were not possible, then it should be 20mph along School Lane and 30mph through the rest of the village. Some drivers drove too fast through the village and without due care towards other road users. Families with children and older residents felt unsafe walking through the village. As it became dark earlier and the volume of traffic reduced, the situation would become more hazardous. In any event, it was not just through traffic travelling too fast within the village: some of those going to and from local employers also drove too fast. It was understood that a speed limit would be hard to police but many felt that the signs would act as an important visual reminder. A proliferation of signs would not be needed. Why should there need to be an accident before the limit was reduced? Prevention is better than cure and there had already been a number of near misses.
· One resident said that, during the 1980s, the Parish Council had been told the speed limit would not be reduced as it could not be policed, and that cars parked on village streets were a natural deterrent to speeding. Those who currently drove at above 30mph through the village would continue to do so even if there were a 30mph limit.
· One resident asked the PC to help local residents of Chalk Pit Lane and Garden Close resolve issues with overwhelming foul smells and swarms of flies. Both were believed to emanate from Charity Farm, although the farmer had denied this. They had lived in the village for decades and this never used to be an issue but, for several years now starting each spring, the problems had been so bad that windows had to be kept closed and residents were unable to enjoy their gardens.
· One resident asked why the vacant post had not been advertised. The Chairman indicated that the post had been vacant since the election and nobody had expressed an interest in filling it. The PC agreed to re-advertise the vacancy in an attempt to fill it. MW
4. Traffic speed limit through the village. A short report had been published with the agenda. Cllr Price gave a verbal summary. Seven local residents had contacted the PC prior to the meeting. Of these, five supported reducing the speed limit to 20mph, with one saying it should be reduced to 15mph. If a 20mph speed limit could not be achieved through most of the village, it should at least be 20mph in School Lane and 30mph elsewhere.
The reasons given in support of a reduced speed limit were:
· Increasing volume of traffic through the village
· Traffic travelling at unsafe speeds (above 30mph) including around bends
· Village has no pavements; some properties’ front doors open directly onto the road; roads are narrow and have poor surfaces
· Increasing number of families with young children living in the village. Parents did not feel safe when walking with their children. A number of ‘near misses’ cited.
· Damage to properties and water supply pipes believed to have been caused by heavier vehicles.
· Noise from flatbed trucks travelling at speed.
Benefits of reducing the speed limit:
· Safer for all road users
· Would encourage walking and cycling
· Reduced pollution
One resident objected to a 20mph speed limit and was “not much in favour” of a 30mph as this would require signage and monitoring.
Background and discussion
Following an approach by local residents, the PC agreed the current speed limit of 60mph was too high and had supported the “20 is plenty” campaign by placing posters on five noticeboards in prominent locations. There were currently parent and child signs at the four main approaches to Litton Cheney, at either side of the School Lane entrance and near the playground. There was also an option to display “Slow down please” or “Please drive carefully” signs.
The PC had no powers to change speed limits. The PC could ask Dorset Council (DC) to introduce new measures to reduce the speed limit but no guarantee DC would agree to do so. Limited budgets meant only a small number of measures could be implemented each year and so DC prioritised all such changes. If Litton Cheney’s request were looked on favourably and prioritised by DC, this would require a traffic regulation order and period of public consultation. Once implemented, it would be for the police to enforce. Therefore, should DC agreed to lower the speed limit, it was unlikely to be implemented quickly. Cllr Price highlighted that DC consider a 30mph limit to be the norm in villages where the mean speed was not greater than 34mph. Above this a 40mph limit would be considered appropriate. DC had no policy for 20mph speed limits in rural areas and, where used, 20mph limits must be self-enforcing through traffic calming, with associated extra costs. All of the Bride Valley was 60mph except for Swyre and Burton Bradstock on the B3157, which had significant accident histories. No road traffic related injuries had been recorded within Litton Cheney for the last 5 years and no speed surveys had been undertaken. The PC could request a speed line survey at a cost of £250. The RFO confirmed that money could be found from existing budgets should the PC wish to pursue this.
Parish Councillors understood and supported residents’ concerns. Signage could be limited to key approaches to the village and these should act as a visual reminder to many motorists and help reduce speed. However, DC were unlikely to support a 20mph limit. There was some discussion as to whether a speed line survey would be required and whether this would provide evidence to support the PC’s case.
Cllr Orchard proposed the PC ask DC to reduce the speed limit to 30mph through the village. This was seconded by Cllr King and carried unanimously.
Cllr King proposed that the PC discuss with DC whether a 20mph would be considered appropriate for School Lane. This was seconded by Cllr Orchard and carried by four votes to one.
Cllr Orchard proposed that the PC incur the cost of a speed line survey should one be required to provide evidence in support of the PC’s request. This was seconded by Cllr Price and carried unanimously. AP
Meanwhile, the PC agreed to continue to display ‘20 is plenty’ posters on noticeboards when space permitted.
5. Approval of minutes of the Parish Council meeting held on 14 July 2020 It was proposed by Cllr King, seconded by Cllr Price and carried unanimously that these be approved.
6. Matters arising since previous meeting not part of this agenda None
7. Dorset Council overview – N/A Cllr Mark Roberts not present
8. Finance report and invoices for approval (Clerk and RFO) At the time of publishing the agenda, Parish funds stood at £17,025.68. Spend since the previous meeting was £435.69 comprising £146.90 DAPTC subs; £35 GDPR registration fee; £14.39 zoom licence; 3 x £75 donations to each of Bridport CAB, D&S Air Ambulance and Bride Valley News; £14.40 to Footeprints for notice for playground. Income since last meeting was 19p interest.
The following invoices were for approval
Richard Randall for works to the drain at The Rocks
Reimburse Clerk for Zoom licence for September meeting
It was proposed by Cllr King seconded by Cllr Price and carried unanimously that these be approved.
In accordance with the Contract of Employment, the Clerk’s salary would increase in line with the recently published revised NALC salary scales, backdated to 1 April 2020. Budgets included an allowance for a salary increase. Two Parish Councillors had checked and agreed the revised calculations.
9. Councillors’ portfolios:
Footpaths/Rights of Way/Risk Assessment/Transparency Code/Annual Report (Bill Orchard, Chairman) Damaged post and footpath signs had been reported to DC and repairs were in hand.
Highways/Transport (Andrew Price): Cllr Price was due to meet with the new Community Highways Officer. Issues with Hines Mead Lane had not been resolved and the Premier Crew had again removed debris following recent heavy rain. The owner of land abutting Whiteway was concerned about damage being caused by HGVs. DC had agreed to repaint road markings at the bottom of Whiteway and he would request directional arrows after witnessing several vehicles on the wrong side of the road. There had been a slight rockfall in Redway.
Playground/Playing Field/Allotments (Andy King): There was now a waiting list for allotments. Allotment holders had decided not to take action to reduce rabbits but they were now causing a potential hazard on the playing field. The playground had reopened and arrangements were working well, although the sanitizer had been vandalised. Some minor maintenance had been completed but the climbing wall needed to be removed and repaired or replaced. It was hoped the Bridport TC Lengthsman could complete this and also cut down a tree now that the hedge along the access track had been cut. AK/JF
Village Fabric/Maintenance/BLAP/DAPTC (John Firrell): Cllr Firrell provided a written report in his absence. A drain had been lowered at The Rocks and the turnstiles should be reinstalled imminently. The Premier Crew had sprung back into life and had cleared debris from the bottom of Whiteway and near the playing field. He anticipated they would cut back vegetation in and around the village over the next few months as well as helping with the forthcoming litter pick. Parish Councillors would each take a section of the village and arrange for volunteers to help with the litter pick. Equipment would be provided by Dorset Waste Partnership. There had been 2 virtual BLAP meetings since lockdown, with the next meeting at the end of September. The Chair would shortly step down after several years and her replacement was being elected. DAPTC had a new Chairman whom Cllr Firrell felt would do well in the role.
Agricultural Liaison (Bella Spurrier): the PC had approached EH a few years ago about problems with flies and foul smells within the village. At that stage, EH had asked the PC to prove the source, which it could not do and so it was taken no further. Parish Councillors agreed that the PC should again raise the issue with EH. The Clerk would draft a letter on behalf of the PC. MW
Planning/Climate Emergency (Kathryn Brooks)
There had been no new applications since the last meeting. The PC had been notified of an appeal against the LPA’s refusal of permission for Demolition of double garage and erection of 1 no. dwelling, garage block, access and parking at LAND EAST OF GARDEN CLOSE. The appeal would be dealt with by written representations. The LPA had submitted a supplementary statement to the Planning Inspectorate in response to the appeal.
The following planning matters were outstanding
· WD/D/20/001114 Siting of a mobile home for seasonal occupation; construction of hardcore access track for caravans and parking. Construction of small fish “stocking lake” – fishing lake at CHARITY FARM, LITTON LAKE – the LPA had requested additional information, which was expected by the end of the week. The PC monitored the level of use of the site, which had been significantly greater recently than it had in the past.
· WD/D/20/000562 Internal alterations to include changing layout of shower room, form partitions to create two cupboards, remove electric boiler and replace with oil fired boiler and extend wet heating system to add radiators and installation of flue BEECH HOUSE, HINES MEAD LANE – nothing to report
· WD/D/20/001582 – notification of intention to remove 23 public payphones VARIOUS SITES IN WEST DORSET (including Litton Cheney) – nothing to report
Central Government were consulting on fundamental changes to Planning legislation. It was difficult to understand the implications for the Parish but Councillors agreed the PC should respond to the best of its ability. Cllr Brooks would draft a response for the PC’s consideration. KB
Cllr Brooks had circulated a draft PC Climate and Ecological Emergency Action Plan to Parish Councillors. Cllr Brooks highlighted that trees were available to the PC free of charge – there were a number of locations within the village where trees might be planted. Wild flower meadows were also equally effective at capturing carbon. It was proposed by Cllr Brooks, seconded by Cllr King and carried unanimously that the PC adopt the Climate and Ecological Emergency Action Plan.
10. New planning applications for consideration at the meeting There were no new applications for consideration
11. Approval of Litton Cheney Parish Council Website Accessibility Statement New regulations required public sector websites to meet accessibility standards unless this would be a “disproportionate burden”. They also required the PC to approve and publish a “Website Accessibility Statement” by the 23 September. This used a template provided by the government and much of the text was legally required. Currently the PC pages of the village website did not fully comply with the regulations and meeting them was considered to be a “disproportionate burden”. As Website Editor, David Hearn had put considerable effort into improving accessibility and the PC thanked him for this. Since the Website Accessibility Statement had been circulated for comment, further changes had been made and David Hearn had made extensive comments, wishing the statement to be more positive. The Clerk had not had sufficient time to retest the pages or update the statement, but would endeavour to publish an updated version 1.1 before 23 September. It was proposed by Cllr Orchard, seconded by Cllr King and carried unanimously that the PC Website Accessibility Statement be approved. MW
12. Correspondence not dealt with as part of the agenda none
13. Date of next meeting Tuesday 10 November 2020
14. Before closing the meeting, Parish Councillors commented on how encouraged they felt to see so many residents attending and participating in the meeting.