Agenda and minutes
Contact: LCN Team Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Apologies for Absence
To receive any apologies for absence.
Apologies for absence were received from:
Somerset Councillor Emily Pearlstone
Somerset Councillor Faye Purbrick
Sue Murrison – Closworth Parish Meeting
A representative from East Coker Parish Council
Emma-Jayne Hopkins – Yeovil Town Council
Christine Saint - Montacute Parish Council
Kaitlyn Higgins - Barwick and Stoford Community Committee
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 from Somerset Council Councillors present at the meeting.
To approve the notes from the previous meeting.
The notes of the previous meeting held on 7 August 2023 were approved.
Public Question Time (for items not covered on the agenda)
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.
A question was asked in relation to Somerset Council’s financial position and how this would affect future work of the LCNs. In response, the LCN Development Lead said that there was an opportunity in the coming months to consider what services and themes in the local area were really important and to bring together a wide range of partners. She referred to some of the other LCNs who had set up working groups and brought in a number of other organisations from the voluntary and community sector to start taking some actions forward. This had not required direct funding from Somerset Council. Some of those actions would influence the way that Somerset Council delivered its services locally and some would be delivered by a number of partners. There could also be external funding opportunities available to the LCN.
It was noted that the Parish and Town Clerks had received a briefing from Somerset Council officers regarding asset and service devolution and there could be opportunities in the future for parishes to group together.
It was concluded that there was a lot of opportunities for LCNs in the current climate and they would not be impacted by the financial position of Somerset Council.
Highlights of themes discussed at the last meeting
The Chair explained that the twelve key themes identified as areas of priority at the first LCN meeting on 7 August were:
· Accessibility to Town
· Somerset Council
· Children and Young People
· Communication and Connectivity
· Housing and Planning
· Public Transport
· Environmental Issues
· Antisocial Behaviour
· Health and Wellbeing
Members of the LCN would be asked to look at narrowing down the identified themes to three top priorities during the discussion item. This was also an opportunity to look at the priorities in more detail as well as identifying any areas that may have been missed.
An introduction to data
Kate Hellard, LCN Development Lead provided an introduction to data specific to the Yeovil LCN and presented a slide with some statistics regarding:
· Crime rates
· Residential properties
· Internet connections
· Road collisions
· Households with no access to a vehicle
· Pupil numbers
It was explained that the high level data itself did not tell a story but it could be a starting point for seeking further information and drilling down. It was acknowledged that experiences from local communities alongside the data was important to see the bigger picture. It was highlighted that as discussions around priorities evolve much more comprehensive data could be provided through partnership working.
During the discussion, the following points were raised:
· It would be interesting and helpful for the data to be broken down between the parishes and the town.
· Clarification was sought regarding the threshold for free school meals. It was questioned how the Yeovil LCN data compared to other LCNs in Somerset. In response, Kate Hellard confirmed that she would circulate a comparable table with other LCNs with the notes of the meeting.
· A request for a detailed population breakdown figure detailing the number of adults and children.
Discussion: To discuss and agree themes based on previous meeting discussion
The Chair invited the LCN members to join break-out groups to identify three priority areas from the twelve identified at their initial meeting in August. After the discussions, the groups feedback was:
Some of the highlights and themes could be grouped together and were interdependent on each other for example affordable housing, the environment and flooding seemed to be a natural grouping of issues. Similarly, accessibility, highways and public transport and accessibility to the town. Housing and planning could also be grouped together.
Discussions were held regarding crime levels and the government boundary review and its implications.
The group heard about Pheonix voices, a community choir which could support in reducing loneliness and isolation.
The main issues identified were connectivity, public transport and highways which had a massive impact on people’s accessibility to employment and education.
Newton Road which runs from behind the cinema to Yeovil junction was given as an example of people walking along a 60mph road which was unsafe, and it was recognised that discussions could be held with bus companies and other providers to address the issues.
Antisocial behaviour – was this due to a lack of preventive services such as youth facilities. It was not all related to young people and some issues were law enforcement issues.
Health and wellbeing – this covered a wide spectrum from loneliness and isolation through to mental health and physical health.
The main issue identified was Highways. It wasn’t just about the quality of the roads but also about sunken lanes, signage, clearance of gullies and roadworks. It was felt that parishes could do more but there were certain restrictions that prevented this.
The second theme identified was the need to improve health and well-being and the need for people to work together in the voluntary sector.
The third issue related to flooding and highway gullies.
Other issues discussed were anti-social behaviour, transport and communities and productivity.
Discussions were also held regarding the Ranger service which linked in with Highways.
The main issues identified were:
Highways – speed, traffic, traffic control, parking
Planning/Housing – Phosphates, affordable housing
Anti-social behaviour – good to involve housing associations in the LCN meetings
Discussions were also held regarding public transport and some parishes only had one bus service as well as communication and connectivity and the need to support the elderly and look at their views could be obtained
Next Steps - themed meetings and working groups
It was agreed to start to look at developing some working groups to focus on the following themes:
· Connectivity and Transport
· Antisocial Behaviour
It was felt that it may be more beneficial to hold the working groups during the day to accommodate partner organisations being able to attend.
The working groups would first look at the current picture and the information available as well as what they needed to know and how they could obtain this information. The work of the LCN was about working together to see if a difference could be made and how things could be changed and measured to make sure the changes could be sustained in the future.
LCN members would be invited to attend the working groups as well as other appropriate partner organisations. The intention was to hold a couple of meetings and then to report back progress to the next LCN meeting in January if possible.
It was acknowledged that there was a lot of work for the LCN to undertake in the coming weeks and months. Once the LCN had started to develop and define its priorities it would become more relevant for organisations and voluntary groups to become engaged with the LCN.
Dates of future meetings
The provisional dates for future meetings were noted as:
· Thursday 4th January 2024 – venue to be confirmed
· Thursday 7th March 2024 – venue to be confirmed
A request was made for the proposed date in January to be moved to a later date in the month.