Agenda and minutes

Venue: Charlton Musgrove Memorial Hall, Shalford Lane, Charlton Musgrove, Wincanton BA9 8HF

Contact: LCN Team Email: 

Note: Venue to be confirmed 

No. Item


Apologies for Absence

To receive any apologies for absence.


Apologies were received from Councillor Nicola Clark, Councillor Claire Sully, Mareike Beyer of North Cadbury PC, Julia Hunter of Shepton Montague PC, Ken Flood of Sparkford PC, Tim Carty of Milborne Port PC, Paul Chadwick of Lamyatt PM, Amanda Ware of Avon & Somerset Police and Barry Taylor Rural Practice Network Care Coordinator.


Declarations of Interest

To receive and note any declarations of interests in respect of any matters included on the agenda for consideration at this meeting.


(The other registrable interests of Councillors of Somerset Council, arising from membership of City, Town or Parish Councils and other Local Authorities will automatically be recorded in the minutes: City, Town & Parish Twin Hatters - Somerset Councillors 2023 )


There were no declarations of interest made by the Somerset Councillors present at the meeting.


Notes from the Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 158 KB

To approve the notes from the previous meeting.


The notes of the previous meeting held on 6th December 2023 were approved as a correct record of those present.


Public Question Time

The Chair to advise of any questions, statements or petitions received that are not covered by items on the agenda for the meeting on which members of the public have requested to speak.


In response to frustration and disappointment raised regarding the withdrawal of Section 106 funding in particular schemes within Castle Cary, Judi Morison explained the history and withdrawal of certain funding and the knock-on effect this has had on the of local facilities within the Castle Cary and Ansford area.  She echoed the comments and frustrations raised.


Ewan Jones explained to the meeting that he had received an email from ‘Visit Somerset’ who were looking for support for an application to the ‘local visitor economy partnership’. He recommended that a letter of support be written on behalf of the South East Somerset LCN to help support their bid and reiterate the importance of tourist economy in this area, he confirmed there was no financial support required.  Following a short discussion everyone agreed to his request and that a letter be sent on behalf of the South East Somerset LCN. 



Recycling Centre Closures Update


The Chairman introduced Cllr Dixie Darch (Lead Member for Environment and Climate Change) and Kirsty Larkins Service Director for Climate and Sustainability who provided an update and progress report on the potential savings of recycling centres.  Some of their comments included:

·         Confirmed that a petition had been received at the Full Council meeting regarding Dimmer Recycling Centre and that all members were fully aware of local people valuing their recycling centres.

·         Appreciated concerns already raised by the people of Somerset, however due to the financial emergency cost savings are needed to be made from the Waste budget.

·         Somerset currently have 16 recycling sites, in comparison to other South West councils this is a high ratio to households even if a further 5 centres were to close.

·         Commercial negotiations were underway with the current contractors, however until these are complete we are still in a state of ‘limbo’. 

·         Once all negotiations are completed a full public engagement consultation will be carried out before any final decisions are made. It is hoped there will be more clarity in the next few weeks.


During a question and answer type session, Cllr Dixie Darch and Kirsty Larkins provided some responses to points of detail.  A summary of some of the points and responses are provided below:

·         Impact any closures will have on the potential increase in flooding due to additional fly tipping?


Built into the saving would be additional funding to support any increase in fly tipping in the area and any enforcement that would be necessary to deter this from happening.


·         Have any calculations been done round the running of the centres, increase in clearing of fly tipping and what about increase in kerbside collections?


Different contractors manage the kerbside collections, and that further work and consultation needs to be done to ensure better solutions going forward.


Cannot determine how much fly tipping will be caused by any possible closures but have historical information from previous closures which we are basing assumptions on, however appreciate this is not perfect.  Experience shows that main culprits of fly tipping is mainly from rogue traders and not necessarily everyday homeowners.


·         Could everyone pay a small fee to use the recycling centres?


Unfortunately, legislation does not legally allow us to do this.


·         Can we go to recycling centres in other counties?


You would need to check with the appropriate Council whether there is any cross residents’ scheme in place.


·         What is the timescale of consultation?


Hoping early summer but need to ensure any consultation is right and meaningful.  Looking at a six-week window with pop up events taking place around the county.


·         Can the charge on garden waste collections be increased?


Yes, this can be looked at in the future along with the whole kerbside recycling.


·         Do you have figures and statistics of what gets recycled at these centres?


Yes, do have this information, which is very useful, however it is worth noting the increase in items now permitted to be collected within the weekly kerbside collections,  ...  view the full minutes text for item 32.


Updates from working groups



Ewan Jones provided an update on the flooding working group and reported on the two workshops that had taken place.  He said another one would take place in a couple months in Bruton with the Civil Contingencies Team available to help support and advise.


During discussion several concerns and frustrations were voiced regarding the lack of 24-hour emergency response and accessible reporting mechanisms available from Somerset Highways, along with support from relevant other authorities regards emergency flooding and the clearing of gullies.  Parishes felt more was required from supporting networks such as the Environment Agency, LLFA and the Council to help ensure any issues were quickly and correctly addressed and directed to the appropriate contact. 


Ewan Jones was disappointed to hear these concerns and was happy to take contact details and liaise with relevant parishes after the meeting, as he had not personally encountered these problems.


Bel Deering representative from Community Engagement and Local River Authority acknowledged concerns raised, and although they did not have the technical expertise, she offered support to parishes to help provide and direct parishes to the correct people.  She could also help put together any concerns and assist with those parishes working on emergency plans.

Her email should anyone wish to make contact:


Kate Hellard, LCN Service Manager acknowledged the comments raised and suggested it was a good opportunity for the Highways working group to address these issues.


Tim Cook, Localities Manager, explained that fundamentally reporting around emergency planning had not changed since LGR and the new Somerset Council.  He explained the process and emergency services involved and appreciated there may have been some communication problems due to limited resources but that there has always been a continuous 24-hour emergency helpline. He was disappointed to hear this and welcomed parishes to make contact should they encounter these problems again.


Ewan Jones appreciated the comments made and concluded that there were lessons to be learnt.  He believed this was an opportunity for communities to look at what we could do ourselves in the future, to be prepared for these events and work with the appropriate parties to ensure this happens.


Councillor Richard Wilkins, Lead Member for Transport and Digital also acknowledged the concerns raised.  He said the lack of response was unacceptable and would look into this issue further but explained that due to the current financial emergency and the bulk of funding being allocated for children and social services the highways budget was very small in comparison. 



Terena Isaacs provided an update on the Highways working group, this included:

·         Succes of the initial meeting in January which had been well attended with information given regarding the ‘Highway Steward’ scheme.

·         Next steps in setting up a sub group compromising of 6 members which have been agreed, with objectives going forward of quarterly meetings with Highways to help look and prioritise what parishes want.


During discussion several comments were raised on issues regarding community speed watch schemes and the harassment some volunteers had faced.  ...  view the full minutes text for item 33.


Discussion - What can we do/want to do locally regarding service devolution


During discussion several comments were raised, including:

·         Assumption that Parish Council’s would take on the work with little or no financial support or idea of what they would be taking on.

·         There is a need to wait until Somerset Council can provide a definitive list to Parish Councils with what they can and can’t do going forward.  Need to slow down before any commitment is made.

·         There are many avenues of support required when providing these services and therefore there is a need have a much better understanding of the support services required such as legal and financial support, so that Parish Councils can be in a much better position before any commitment can be given going forward.

·         It needs to be acknowledged that the size of parishes varies greatly and therefore the financial capacity and ability to act on these requirements will be very tight for many Parish councils particularly Parish meetings.


Councillor Richard Wilkins, Officers and the Chairman noted these concerns and appreciated further work was needed before any final decisions would be made. It was hoped the role of the working groups going forward would help support and tackle these issues but acknowledged this would take time.  The Chairman wished to thank everyone for their valuable comments which would be taken forward.


Planning for Future meetings


Judi Morison presented the item and invited requests on the future topics of LCN meetings going forward.  She noted that Health and Well Being had already been requested along with the possibilities of revisiting Holistic Health for both younger and older residents.


Other topics raised were regarding the planning service, in particular phosphates mitigation and enforcement issues.  Judi Morison explained that unfortunately planning matters were not in the brief of the LCN but would note these concerns and gave assurance these would be taken back to the Planning service to see how they can be progressed.


ACTION: LCN team –to contact the Planning service to address concerns raised regarding the impact of phosphate mitigation and procedures around planning enforcement.


Contact for the LCN team –




Dates of future meetings


The next meeting of the South East Somerset LCN is schedule for 18th April 2024 at Queen Camel Village Hall.