Trudoxhill Parish Council Meeting

Minutes of the meeting held on Thursday 5 September 2019, 7.30pm

Present:           C Kenyon (Chair)(CK), C Galpin (CG), D Francis (DF), R Masson-Taylor (RMT), S Salmon (SS), D Valentine (DV)

                        M Gay (Ward Councillor)

                        Members of the Public

Clerk:               R Nield

19/27 Apologies:

Charlie Bonham Christie (work commitment)

19/28 Disclosure of Interest:
RMT – item 19/31.1

19/29 Minutes of the last meeting:
Having been circulated, CK signed the minutes as a true and accurate record of the meeting

Meeting suspended for:

Members of the public comments:
Cllr Michael Gay reported as follows:

  • End of year finances for Mendip District Council are not finalised as yet. As a member of the audit board, Cllr Gay will be monitoring this
  • A report regarding planning application, 2017/2814/FUL will not be completed in time for the September meeting of the Planning Board
  • Cllr Gay will be making further enquiries about the decision notice regarding the proposed carwash at Nunney Catch
  • Matt Barrow is the representative for CDS (Connecting Devon and Somerset) will be available to attend Parish Council meetings to explain the latest failings of the initiative and what further action is intended

19/30 Planning

19/30.1 Application Number: 2019/1830/FUL, Applicant: Mr Chris Whitten, Proposal: Erection of a summer house (retrospective)

RESOLUTION: Councillors voted unanimously to approve the proposal.

RMT left the meeting.

19/31 Correspondence and Emails

19/31.1 Email received regarding Minutes of August meeting.

The Chairman (CK) made the following observations: detail of public comments need not be minuted, TPC has been asked to comment on the amendments of the planning application proposal 2017/2814/FUL only, TPC had submitted a response to MDC which had reflected concerns raised in the meeting. The sender of the email stated that she now understands the process.

RMT re-joined the meeting.

19/31.2 Road closure. Station Road from the railway bridge on Station Road and Burts Hill, southwards for a distance of 1100 metres. To enable Network Rail to fit missing bridge chevrons on both elevations. The works are expected to last for 1 night (23:00-05:00) on 7 September 2019. This will be posted on the website.

19/31.3 Planning 2019/0441/FUL. SS gave an update regarding this application. She also thanked Cllr Gay for his concern and involvement. Cllr Gay will keep the Parish Council updated on any developments.

19/31.4 The report that trees on Gare Hill are overhanging the road has been passed to SS.

19/31.5 Testing of 5G in rural communities. CG has done some research and discovered that whilst SCC support 5G, Frome Town Council is opposed to the rollout of 5G until more research has been conducted into health risks. No further action to be taken.

19/31.6 Books in telephone box. Cllrs thanked Pauline Stafford for her efforts in maintaining the books which are available to residents. It was agreed that this facility would be advertised on the website and Facebook page and a notice is to be placed in the telephone box.

19/32   Finance

19/32.1 Expenditure in August was as expected.

19/32.2 Accounts for payment:

  • £100        K Gale for August grass cutting
  • £44          Village Hall invoices 20 and 23, hire for Friendship Cafe
  • £82.20     Playsafety Ltd, annual inspection of the play area
  • 338.40     Came and Company, Parish Council insurance
  • £140.12   Clerk’s salary

19/33   Reports
19/33.1 Highways. SS reported that she is pursuing certain road surfaces within the Parish with Highways.

19/33.2 SpeedWatch. Avon & Somerset Police are holding a series of ‘thank you’ days for those involved in SpeedWatch. Representatives from the Parish will be attending on 24 October in Shepton Mallet.

Speeding is a priority set at the most recent Rural PACT meeting. PCSO Amanda Ware has asked for speeding hotspots to be identified for her attention. SS will highlight Tuckmarsh Lane, near the Old School House and the road from the south into Trudoxhill (Millards Hill on the corner between Bellevue Vets and Cricket Farm).

19/33.3 Fundraising Events.

Cheese & Wine event. RMT reported that he met with the event committee and everything is on target for Saturday 23 November. It is anticipated that the event will break even through ticket sales and then raise funds through a raffle for the Parish and a contribution to the church.

Community Day 26 October. In his absence, CBC reported back via CG on progress. All events will take place in the Village Hall. Prices have been kept low to ensure that all members of our community can take part and enjoy it. There will be something for everyone throughout the day ranging from a talk in the morning, a children’s party and food and music in the evening. A flyer has been designed and the event will be advertised.

19/33.4 Village Hall Committee. RMT and CG attended the first meeting of the new Village Hall Committee. It was a positive meeting and an excellent handover between the new team and the outgoing members. Everyone involved in helping ensure that the Village Hall has a new Committee to continue providing this valuable resource in our community was thanked. It was agreed that the TPC would support the Village Hall Committee. It was resolved:

  • TPC will attend Village Hall Committee meetings. RMT or another Cllr if RMT is unavailable
  • The Village Hall will be a standing item on the TPC agenda
  • A list of the new Village Hall Committee members will be published as soon as it is available

19/33.5 GDPR. New guidance has been published by the ICO. It was resolved:

  • TPC will audit the current status of its GDPR provision
  • Privacy guidelines and a policy are required for our website
  • CG and RN to investigate and draft a policy for TPC approval

19/34 Other Business referred to the Clerk

  • At the meeting in August, Mr R Gill (Fire Officer retired) spoke about the proposed changes to the local fire service. Following this, the TPC has responded with the letter (set out below) to Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service, Consultation & Engagement Team:

Dear Sir/Madam

Service Delivery Operating Model Proposal

Trudoxhill Parish Council overseas the interests of some 400 parishioners in a rural parish close to Frome. The Council is very seriously concerned at the proposal to reduce the effectiveness of the fire service which is paid for from parishioners’ taxation.

The information which has been provided to us in our research indicates that of the 85 on call fire stations in the Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service, Frome is the second busiest. It is also the 5th busiest on call Fire Station between 0800 and 1800 which is the period when the Service proposes to reduce the cover by not manning the Station’s second fire engine but the Service’s proposal is for it not to be available during the day.

We are advised that Frome Fire Station costs in the region of £300,000 annually to operate but this is more than covered by the £1 million paid for by constituents of the area covered by the service. Our parishioners may therefore be paying in future for a service which is does not receive.

Fire Service Regulations are, we understand, such that the crew of a single fire engine attending a property fire is not permitted to enter the property to extinguish a fire unless life is at risk. Thus, the engine and crew might attend a property fire but cannot access the source of the fire until a second engine and crew arrives. In such a case a second engine would have to be called from Shepton Mallet (12 miles from Trudoxhill) or from Wiltshire but until that time when a second engine can arrive, the fire could not be efficiently tackled and the property could be destroyed. We are advised that Wiltshire Fire Engines have been sent to Frome some 90 times in the last year between 0800 and 1800 to back up Frome’s two fire engines. Also, we understand, the second fire engine at Frome’s Fire Station has attended 78 incidents between 0800 and 1800 hours over the last year. Domestic fires have increased 23% in the last year and Frome is noted as being a ‘high risk’ area. If a similar number of incidents occurs then a single Fire Engine and crew would be unable to efficiently extinguish a property fire until a second fire engine and crew is brought from Warminster or Shepton Mallet on average every four or five days.

Although it intended to reduce costs by not manning a second fire engine, we have noted that if a second fire engine is called from Shepton Mallet, that service must be paid for. Thus, savings may not be significant overall. The proposal to reduce fire service cover is not acceptable to our Parish given the above. The Fire Service which our parishioners pay for and have received to date has been excellent. To downgrade the service for a small saving is false economy. What our parishioners may save in taxation may have to be made up with insurance premiums.

We strongly urge the Fire Service to reconsider the false economy and maintain the excellent level of service to our rural areas that we have paid for and that we expect to receive in the future.

19/35 Date of the next Parish Council Meeting

This will be held at 7.30pm on Thursday 3 October 2019 in Trudoxhill Village Hall.  For the attention of Mr C Kenyon, Mr C Bonham Christie, Mrs D Francis, Mr C Galpin, Mr R Masson-Taylor, Mrs S Salmon, Mr D Valentine, Mendip District Councillor for Postlebury Ward:  Michael Gay