Agenda and minutes

Venue: Corfe Village Hall, Newton Road, Corfe, Taunton TA3 7AQ

Contact: LCN Team  Email:

No. Item


Apologies for Absence

To receive any apologies for absence.


Apologies for absence were received from Mike Canham (Otterford PC), and Councillors Jason Baker, Ross Henley and Jenny Kenton.



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 interests from Somerset Council Councillors present at the meeting.



Notes from the Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 167 KB

To approve the notes from the previous meeting.


The notes of the previous meeting held on 17 January 2024 were agreed as a correct record by 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.


There were no questions raised at Public Question Time.


The Chairman suggested that the LCN meetings could be more widely promoted to parishioners, and he encouraged parishes to spread the word within their communities.



Working Group Feedback

Brief presentations from Chairs of the Roads & Transport and Environment & Conservation working groups.


The Chair of the Roads & Transport working group provided some feedback on work and progress of the group, including:

·       The Terms of Reference for the group had been agreed.

·       Focussing on matters important to parishes such as rural transport, drainage, speeding etc.

·       Agreed to initially meet monthly with some interim meetings if needed. They had met a couple of times, but unfortunately, the last meeting on 28 February had been poorly attended.

·       Regarding gullies, hedges and road maintenance – there had been some discussions about if any possibility to offset some costs.

·       Speeding in rural areas – some discussion about SIDs and looking at the costs and possible ways to share some of the costs.

·       Also been discussions about a possible cycle path route from Ilminster to Taunton, and also how to try and reduce HGVs using country routes as cut throughs.

·       More people are needed to be involved with the working group as there are only three people at the moment. Any one welcome to attend the working group meetings.


During discussion several comments and sharing of experiences about SIDs were raised, including costs, effectiveness and knowledge regarding possible sources of funding. Other points raised included:

·       were any further details available of what the Highways Steward scheme will cover and if there was any appetite with local parishes.

·       There is much bureaucracy regarding pot hole repairs e.g criteria for repairs to be dealt with urgently, and how to report the pot holes etc, and then the inspection process etc.

·       A number of highway issues were often difficult or slow to get resolved.


Someone suggested an alternative quick and easy way to log some highway defects was to use – using this website also enabled anyone else viewing the site to see if something had already been reported and when.


Tim Cook responded to some of the comments raised, including:

·       Some more information was available regarding the Highway Steward scheme, Some parishes felt the scheme was expensive on an individual parish basis. The scheme was something that could be discussed in more detail at a working group with an officer from Highways present to explain the options etc. If necessary a steward working group could be set up.

·       The urgent / non-urgent response regarding highway defects had been discussed, and an action had been noted to see if parishes could be involved or have a role regarding the initial inspection process.

·       Local highway issues that are difficult or slow to resolve could be directed to the working group for discussion.


The Chair noted that several points made during discussion were things to be raised with the Roads & Transport working group. He advised that when the LCN link worker was in place within the LCN team, a key role for them would be the sharing and co-ordinating of information among members of the LCN, including feedback from the working groups.


The Chair of the Environment and Conservation working group then provided some feedback on work and progress of the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 30.



To review initial priorities and progress on asset and service devolution.


There was a short breakout session. The Chair explained that on each breakout table there were print outs of the current agreed priorities for the Chard and Blackdowns LCN. He asked each table/group to discuss the priorities and consider if any changes were required.


Following the breakout session, each group was asked to summarise their points, and comments raised included:

·       Up to date information on areas of deprivation or areas in most need would be useful.

·       Access to NHS dental services is very poor in this area and we to try and influence.

·       Need a factual update on the A358 dualling.

·       Rural and social isolation aren’t on the priority lists

·       Wider goals of the LCN – are we realistic about what we are able to influence and achieve? We won’t be able to take all the priorities forward.

·       What is the output of the LCN?

·       Roadside litter is becoming an issue.

·       Do we know how many parishes have Neighbourhood Plans?

·       Devolution issues – how can it be done? Parishes need help with this – training and empowerment.

·       There is a disconnect between planning policy and access to medical services.

·       We are heading towards the end of the South Somerset Local Plan – when will parishes be approached by Policy about the new plan?


Tim Cook advised that Neighbourhood Plans were viewable on the Somerset Council website, however obtaining a figure for the number of community plans would be more difficult.


Kate Hellard noted the comments made regarding the Local Plan. She advised  she would discuss the comments with officers as she was due to a have a meeting soon regarding LCN involvement with the future formation of a new Somerset wide Local Plan.


The Chair commented there was a need for the LCN to focus on deliverables. He also noted that several of the existing priorities would fall under a single working group rather than needing a working group for each individual priority.



Forward Plan - Agree items for future meetings


The Chair summarised some key points from the meeting:

·       Possibly a need for a third working group.

·       Communications in general – acknowledge there are currently some issues, hopefully will be resolved when LCN link worker in post. Individuals in own parish can help spread the word and information. In general more publicity is needed about the LCNs.


There were no specific items suggested for next agenda.


Paul Elliston (Somerset Rivers Authority) highlighted an event that may be of interest to some communities - Flood cafes – free drop in events being held at the Somerset Rural Life Museum on 26 March and 4 May – more details at:



Dates of future meetings


The dates for future meetings of the Chard and Blackdowns LCN were noted, with venues to be confirmed:

·       Wednesday 1 May

·       Wednesday 3 July


Contact officer for the meeting – LCN team: