Reports published by  Winsham Parish Council of  Monthly Meetings-2020/2021

Report on the Winsham Parish Council meeting of February 3rd 2021

 Present: Eight councillors and the Clerk, District Councillors Linda Vijeh and Sue Osborne, and four members of the public.

 Once again we met by zoom, in a meeting that lasted just short of two hours. Sue Osborne reported that the rollout of vaccinations in Somerset is going very well! She also reported that many planning applications are being delayed due to a recent court judgement known as “Dutch N” having to do with phosphate levels in groundwater.

We approved the schedule of cheques and bank reconciliations, and approved the third quarter spend against the budget report as well; this might seem rather dry stuff, but for a healthy and responsible state of parish finances we do need to keep careful track of such things.

We discussed planning applications on garage extensions and the removal of agricultural ties to a house, and approved these either with ‘no objection’ or ‘recommended’; a third application for a farm refurbishment with a February deadline had come in after the agenda had been published, and we had to have a separate meeting on Feb. 10th to decide on our positive response to that one. 

Once again several activities have been delayed under the influence of COVID19  or the weather: the replacement bench for the Lower Rec. and the removal of the holly growing out of a cemetery grave, for instance. 

Following contact with the new SCC footpath warden we have raised on-going issues including one blocked footpath and other priority work that needs doing. We have ordered new way marks (the small directional disks) to improve access to the path network. 

We are still thinking about ‘rejuvenating’ the lower rec. playground, in line with comments given under the village survey. 

Councillor Fowler reported on behalf of the Winsham Recreational Trust that the loft insulation installation at the Pavilion is now complete; the next step is the replacement of current windows by double-glazed PVC ones, the installation of new fascia and of wall-mounted electric heaters.

The Winsham Community Resource Centre (also known as the Band Hut) will get a new door and doorframe later this month.

We are planning where and how to place signs for the upcoming new car park behind Balsom Close. For the nature area we hope to establish behind the car park  we have combined the existing planning permission ‘ecological management’ requirements with our own plans and come up with a document asking for minor changes in planning permission. We now have to establish whether it is the Council or the developer who should submit this request, and our District Councillors are helping us with the nitty gritty of this. 

Finally, we are considering the hedges around the allotments, which have become rather high. Rather than have them flailed (and having the hedge along the main road look very untidy) we are hoping to either have this done, or do it ourselves, in a manner that lowers the hedge – but not the tone of the village!

The next WPC meeting will be on Wednesday, March 3rd at 19:30; should you like to attend (by zoom, again) please email the Clerk at winshampc@hotmail.co.uk and she will send you an invitation a few days before. The agenda for the meeting will be made available the Friday before the meeting.

 

Report on the Winsham parish council meeting, January 6th 2021

The parish council had to meet virtually by zoom once again, due to Lockdown Mk. III. All councillors and the Clerk were present, as were District and County Councillor Linda Vijeh and three members of the public.

Linda Vijeh reported, among other things, that Area committee meetings are to be cancelled in January and February, to help the District Council to prioritise community support and vaccinations during the national COVID-19 lockdown.

The Clerk reported that the defibrillator funds have now been transferred from the Parish Magazine to the parish council, where they will be held in a ring-fenced and separate reserve for that specific purpose.

We have been spraying the Lower Rec. playground black rubber surfaces with eco- and people-friendly fluids to combat the moss (which might make the surfaces slippery) but without much success so far; though these surfaces are not very slippery at the moment – unlike the round wooden ‘stage’ or dais, which is very slippery. We will be seeking expert advice for measures such as rubber decking strips to make this surface child-safe.

The council discussed and approved the budget for 2021/2022, and Winsham might be pleased to hear that the parish council part of the council tax (the “precept”) will remain unchanged.

A single planning application, this time from our primary school, was approved: we really like the gradual changes that are improving the school.

In the cemetery Keith Fowler has replaced the kissing gate, now spruced up almost beyond recognition! We are pleased that people have commented how good the cemetery looks.

We have been made aware that the dog waste bins have not been emptied for a while; it turns out the SSC waste partnership is running behind due to a combination of Christmas and Covid-19. Similarly the Highways Agency is running late with repairs to footpaths and roads; on the South Somerset District Council website anyone can report deficiencies of roads and paths – and of course the more people complain, the more attention HA will give to a problem (at least, that is what we like to think…)

Keith Fowler reports that at the Pavilion loft insulation is being installed; wall heaters are going to be installed in the next few months; the Winsham recreational Trust is also looking at double-glazed windows and new gutters and fascia. In the spring we hope to welcome people back to a spruced-up Pavilion.

Bob Wilcox and Lisa Stevens made us aware of the original agreement between the first developers of the Western Way house-building (the current ones are the third set!) and the South Somerset District Council. This lays out in great detail many things that should already have happened, such as turf laying, regular mowing and inspections. Our nature area working group is hoping to amalgamate this document’s rules and regulations with our current plans, and we hope to come up with a plan that will be acceptable to the District Council.

The results of the parish survey will go out with the next issue of the Parish Magazine.

Finally – the parish council has agreed to buy the BT phone box in Winsham for the princely sum of one pound. BT will remove the telephone (apparently it was last used in March 2018) and we will try and come up with a creative new use for the box!

The next parish council meeting will be on February 3rd. The agenda will be on the Parish Council website a week before the meeting. If you would like to attend this (once again virtual) meeting, please email the Clerk at winshampc@hotmail.co.uk and she will invite you with the appropriate details and codes.

 

 

Report on the Winsham parish council meeting, December 2nd 2020

At the end of the second lockdown of the year the Parish Council emerged… into yet another meeting by zoom, as we are more than six! All nine councillors and the Clerk attended, as well as County councillor Linda Vijeh and four members of the public. While the lockdown has stopped or slowed many aspects of our work (such as refurbishing the War Memorial and the lower Rec) we do continue with other parts of our work. We looked at, and approved, the planning application that had come in; we are working on the budget (and resulting precept) to be set at the next meeting, in January; and our Clerk, Rose Richards, is now fully CiLCA-qualified after a lot of studying and training. This means the parish council now is able to exercise “General Power of Competence” – which means we will be able to attract more grants. Currently we have one grant in the pipeline, for helping us set up the future nature park behind the new build on Western Way. 

The maintenace funds for the Bell defibrillator have now been passed to the parish council, and will be kept separate from our other funds; we are looking into having a second defibrillator installed in Davies Close, after further consultation. 

Councillor Fowler reported on progress with the Winsham Recreational Trust, where the Pavilion at the Upper Rec is now having new curtains installed and where councillor Hill has shampooed all the carpets to an almost new standard. The WRT has also accepted a quote for the installation of roof insulation and the application of a water repellent on the walls, while a quote for the installation of heaters is still ongoing. The hedges around the field have been cut.

Finally, continuing with the Lower Rec. theme, we have been made aware that the black matting around several pieces of play equipment have become slippery because of moss growth. We have gone round this week (the first week of December) with a little working party and cleaned off moss and leaves, and sprayed for algae (with a safe spray of course). 

We will keep you posted on our meetings; the next council meeting is on January 6th.

 

 

Report on the Winsham parish council meeting, November 4th 2020

Due to the current restrictions the council held its meeting using Zoom Cllr Everard chaired. Linda Vijeh and Sue Osborne were in attendance as well as 3 members of the public.

Items that were up for discussion were varied and if you wish to read the full minutes please go to the Parish Council web page.

Parish Survey Results: Cllr Everard will be writing a summary of the results to be published in the New Year

Cemetery Fees and Water Supply: It was agreed that the removal and replacement of memorials to be the same rate for non residents as residents plus the reinstatement of the water supply would be looked into.

Balsom Close Nature Area: Cllr Beentje has been working very hard with a design and grant for the new nature area which hopefully will be started once the new houses are complete.

Neighbourhood Watch: Cllr Fowler had discussed with our Neighbourhood Co-ordinator what was needed for the area and the conclusion was  that we need more volunteers so if you are interested  please contact Cllr Fowler or any other council member.

Memorial Hedge: A memorial hedge has been proposed to be planted along the new fence at the cemetery. A suggestion put forward was that parishioners could donate hedge seedlings in memory of a loved one. Please think about this and we will let you know when we have considered suitable hedging plants and have prepared the ground”.

 Grass Cutting: A complementary vote of thanks was put forward regarding the quality of work provided by Powell's through the season.

 The Pavilion: A  vote of thanks to Jacqui Weller and the team for the deep clean that has taken place within the pavilion. Future work to be done is the heating and loft installation.

 Finally the Parish Council wishes everyone a safe and Happy Christmas and New Year.

 

Report on the Winsham parish council meeting, October 7th 2020

We approved the single planning permission received. We decided to try and start up the Neighbourhood Watch scheme again, and will be making the first moves in this direction.

The new bench for the lower Rec, kindly made by Mr Paul Anderson, is ready for installation and awaits a dry period in order to have the concrete base poured. More work is needed as some of the equipment, and some of the safety surfaces is/are getting rather tired; we also want to update the railings and fencing. There are of course regular inspections of the playground, which so far have been positive, but we want to stay ahead of the curve!

The apple tree in the cemetery, which was getting in the way of people tending several graves, had its crown lifted; painting the railings will have to wait until springtime. A working party is going to look at other actions needed in the cemetery; we note that several people have complimented the grass-cutting there and elsewhere. Our contractors have one more cut in October, and that will be the year’s last cut.

The Winsham Recreational Trust chairman reported that the full survey has come back mostly positive. We do need better insulation, and we are looking at heating systems. The showers are being serviced. Steve Weller is doing a great job,

decorating the inside to a professional standard, and is *only* charging for materials – putting in substantial amounts of time, for which we are very grateful.

We are still working on the parish survey results – all those individual answers and suggestions have now been summarised, and we will be studying how we can convert and merge these into a five-year Parish Plan.

We will be applying for a grant to help with landscaping the area behind Balsom Close, which we want to make into an area that combines a nature area with hedgerows and trees  (and a small hill) with a footpath, as well as a small play area. We will keep you posted.

Henk Beentje (and others!)

  

Report on the Winsham parish council meeting, September 2nd 2020

On Wednesday September 2nd the Winsham Parish Council held its monthly meeting; after months of zoom meetings, we met face to (distanced) face in the Jubilee Hall, with members of the public present – and all under proper COVID-19 biosecurity, of course. This was the first time in months the Jubilee Hall has been used!

We had several planning applications to consider, and some of these were approved, while for others we decided to delay our answer by a week in order to have a quick site visit to make up our minds. While the WPC has no major influence on planning applications, we always hope that South Somerset District Council takes our views into account, and we feel we have to take these applications seriously – after all, they will impact our community.

On the agenda was a complaint about late night noise from Cricket St Thomas, but thankfully the activities that caused the noise have now moved indoors.

In the cemetery the wasps are still active, so please use due caution (and a note has been posted by the entrance); by the time the newsletter appears most wasps will have died, as they do each winter. Apparently there have been complaints about the removal of the fence between the cemetery and the footpath. We had no choice: Andy Partridge had shown us that all the fence-posts were rotten in the ground, and the whole thing was sagging under the weight of the brambles.  A friendly farmer replaced the whole fence and only charged us for the materials, for which we are very grateful. We intend planting shrubs like hawthorn along the fence to bring it back to life and to help insect life (not necessarily wasps, but bees and butterflies!).

In the churchyard the stumps of the laurel have been removed from near the path, and the very large stumps further away from the path have been treated with copper nails, to try and stop them from re-sprouting. Paul Welters has been removing ivy from the box tombs and the stone of the building, as the ivy was beginning to impact the stone; our grateful thanks to Paul.

We will soon be tackling the lower Rec playground; Paul Anderson has very kindly prepared a beautiful new bench to replace the rotten one, and there is a lot of other work that needs doing.

We will be liaising closely with Winsham Football Club about the cutting of the pitch at the upper Rec, as this needs more careful cutting, lifting and removal of cuttings. The council will pick up the cost of an extra cut to bring it up to scratch for the first WFC home matches.

The Winsham Recreational Trust has met a few times over the past month, and a building survey as well as an electrical survey have been done professionally; we are awaiting the reports (but a verbal report from the building surveyor was largely positive, which is good news). A fire inspection is in the pipeline. New locks have been fitted to the pavilion throughout, in line with insurance requirements. Before the Football Club can use the clubhouse, both the WFC and the WRT need to do a COVID-19 assessment; WFC has completed theirs, and WRT are working on theirs.  Re-decoration of the clubhouse will start in early October.

The new housing development near Balsom Close was discussed at length, as we need to find out who is responsible for the main drain; if the road into the closes, now unadopted, can be transferred to Highways; about the planned car park with 36 spaces, and the planned nature area between the proposed car park and Pooles Lane. We are still in the planning stage for this but we need to get it sorted before the end of the year.

We decided to defer the Annual Council Meeting of the WPC to May 2021. We considered having it later this year, but because the Jubilee hall under COVID rules can only hold twenty people, and many of the organisations that usually report at the Annual Meeting have been impacted by the lockdown, we felt deferment was the only way to go.

 

Henk Beentje & Keith Fowler

 

Report on the Winsham parish council meeting, August the 5th 2020

 

We are still in Zoom-mode meeting, distancing digitally, and this time we were joined by four members of the public, South Somerset County Councillor Linda Vijeh and South Somerset District Councillor Sue Osborne. Linda talked about Covid measures and the proposals for a unitary council for Somerset; Sue told us the District Council is seven million pounds in the red due to the pandemic – but also that there are still business support grants available (including for holiday lets and B&B!) but businesses should apply before the 28th of August!

 

Points discussed included maintenance of the War memorial and parish council website accessibility; we discussed and approved several planning applications; and we decided to support the District walking and cycling manifesto, even though we felt this was more geared to large towns. The section between Chard and Axminster is of special interest to us.

A sub-committee was formed to look at maintaining and increasing plant and animal diversity, such as in the churchyard, the cemetery and the new development behind Balsom Close.

The lower Rec has been checked weekly by the Council, and recently an independent annual inspection took place. It is clear some maintenance and repairs are needed, with rotten wood of benches one of the main concerns; but also proper fencing and some material that is getting old. We will soon do a walkabout to decide what to tackle first.

In the cemetery flowers have been removed from graves and thrown about. We worried about vandals lacking respect – but it turns out the likely culprit is a cock pheasant! There is also some tunneling going on by small mammals, probably voles, which clearly can be upsetting for relatives. The solution is probably to fill the tunnels with small stones – but please be careful as we found one hole occupied by wasps… The woodwork needs some TLC and the iron railings need a coat of paint, both will be tackled by councillors. The small gate is almost ready and will be put back in place.

The cutting down of the laurel cherry in the churchyard was not done by the council. We have been looking at the stumps and will probably treat them (drilling holes, filling with Epsom salts) to try and kill the stumps; we prefer to promote the yew hedge, which should do better now the laurel is gone.

The parish survey results are on their way – watch this space!

 

 

Report on the Winsham parish council meeting, 1st July, 2020