Agenda and minutes

Venue: Wells Town Hall, Market Place, Wells, BA5 2RB

Contact: LCN Team Email: 

No. Item


Apologies for Absence

To receive any apologies for absence.


Apologies were received from


Wells City Councillor Philip Welch

North Wooton Councillor Simon Shimmin

Priddy Parish Councilor Rachel Thompson



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 none.


Notes from the Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 135 KB

To approve the notes from the previous meeting.


The notes from the meeting held on 14 September 2023 were proposed by Councillor Philip Blatchford and seconded by Councillor Jon Abbott and were carried unanimously.


Update on Somerset Council Financial position

To discuss the current financial position of the Somerset Council.


Councillor Theo Butt Philip gave a presentation and highlighted the following:


·       Net budget was about £1,00M

·       Council budget is about £30M

·       The bulk of the pressure on the budget was coming from adult social care,  £70M and is a statutory service.

·       Somerset Council had to make some decisions as to where they spend money and to stop spending it. They had to decide on what they are legally required to do and what they do not have to do.

·       Somerset Council were hoping to rely on the Parish Councils to take up some slack and confirm which services they were able to provide from their own budgets. There was a list sent to all Parish Clerks last Wednesday for them to indicate what they could provide.

·       There was a role for LCNs in this because smaller Parishes on their own could not provide all necessary services but a neighbouring LCN may be able to. This had to be done as soon as possible as the budget for the Somerset Council was going to be set in February.

·       Each Parish had to talk to their own Councillors.


It was queried whether the 126 from Wells to Weston Super Mare bus route was in danger of being cut again and Councillor Theo Butt Philip confirmed that he was already following up on this and would let everyone know. However, he did concede that everything was being cut.


There were further queries about working on the roadside licenses and insurance for volunteer work,


There was a query about the road closures for Carnival as there was some confusion as to which roads would be closed. Councillor Tessa Munt undertook to confirm this immediately and report back.


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.


There were none.


Topics continued from previous meeting

To discuss matters arising from the notes not covered in later agenda items.


Winter planning - presentation, Scott Mcmillan from Volunteer Network


Winter planning


Scott McMillan from volunteer network gave his winter planning presentation. Highlighting that they:


·         Provide support and opportunities to people who were ‘struggling with life’ to help them better themselves. For example, by assisting to create allotments for people where they can grow their own food, teaching them how to cook or helping people without mobile phones or internet access to apply for benefits or advice from Citizens Advice etc.

·         They also provided food for people who needed it without referrals. There had been an increase in the amount of people needing this.

·         During the winter they were going to provide a warm space and open their building twice a week where people could go for some company.

·         They were going to start cookery classes with a group and after the class they would share what they cooked and eat the meal and then take some food home.

·         Scott offered his services to the Parish Councils if they wished for him to sit down with them and discuss ways of helping them decide what they could do to survive the winter months and the cuts Somerset Council were going to make.

·         He also offered his help to any of the LCNs.

·         The volunteers mainly came from Glastonbury, this side of Bridgwater and Taunton, Frome, Cheddar and Wells.

·         Scott mentioned that funding had recently become harder and was an issue for the organisation.

·         He also mentioned that people were going into debt to pay core bills.

He said that they were going to run a program on how to bleed your radiators and show people how to live within their means.


Councillor Martin Cooke mentioned that he knew of two individuals who had made use of the Volunteer Network’s program and they gained confidence to work with a community radio station and said that it was a credit to the organisation


If anyone needed to contact the volunteer network they were able to do so at or email Scott McMillan on


Councillor Tessa Munt mentioned that she was working with a  team of people at Somerset Council from Children and Family Services who were going to identify each person who should be claiming a benefit and registering them automatically to receive free school meals. Then if the family did not want to receive the school meal they should merely deregister.


It was also stated that the YMCA, likewise noticed an increase in need in the young people as well and they could be contacted on


It was further pointed out that Connect Somerset Champions could also help.


A Parish Community Fridge/Larder was suggested as the one in Shepton Mallet was working well.


Jessical Lewin confirmed that in her Area Champion role they were beginning to explore ways that they could assist with supporting local communities, such as linking services. She offered that if any parishes would like to explore using local venues, such as village halls, as venues for support services to acces, herself  ...  view the full minutes text for item 25a


Active Travel - Discussion regarding maps, what we want from them


Active Travel - Discussion regarding maps, what we want from them


Each Parish was given a map to take away and bring back This gave people the opportunity to mark on the maps where they would like to have active travel routes. It was suggested that working groups be set up to discuss this further, rather than having the conversation in an LCN.


Jim Hardcastle from the National Association for Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) mentioned the work that Rachel Thompson from The Trails Trust has been doing and it was agreed that her work would be included in the consultation for the next Management Plan meeting. The Management Plan is a statutory document so if local authorities adopt it that means that they have to pay due regard to it and further the purposes so if there were any targets to it, like strategic access network, which was broken down to show all its national routes, the local authorities must work to deliver that.


The Chair suggested that if there was a working group for this he would like to see some input from them. He suggested that Members not represented from the villages who were within the AONB be included in the working group He said that he would contact those Parish Councillors.


Councillor Philip Blatchford mentioned that he had tried to dedicate a footpath across his land which was well used but had not been able to and requested help with that.


Access gates on footpaths were discussed as these were typically kissing gates and pushchairs and wheelchairs could not get through them. They needed to be replaced with something more appropriate.


Action and next Steps


o   Action for parishes, city, and town councils to work together regarding devolution.

o   Action for parishes, city, and town councils to consider warm hubs for their communities.



Dates of future meetings


Dates of future meetings


1 February 2024.


The venue must be moved around within the LCN area.


Contact details for meeting:


Contact officer for meeting: LCN Team