Agenda and minutes

Venue: Council Chamber, Council Offices, Cannards Grave Road, Shepton Mallet BA4 5BT. View directions

Contact: LCN Team Email: 

No. Item


To elect the Chair of the Local Community Network


Somerset Cllr Claire Sully was nominated by Cllr Martin Lovell and seconded by Cllr Tom Hollings from Pilton Parish Council.


Shepton Mallet Town Cllr Garfield Kennedy was nominated by Somerset Cllr Edric Hobbs. There was no seconder.


Somerset Cllr Philip Ham was nominated by Somerset Cllr Barry Clarke and seconded by Leigh on Mendip Parish Councillor Vicki Taylor.


Both nominees were given the opportunity to address the Shepton LCN meeting to give reasons why they should be elected as Chair. On being put to the vote, there were 5 votes for Cllr Sully and 9 votes for Cllr Ham.


Cllr Philip Ham was duly elected as Chair of the Shepton Local Community Network.


Cllr Ham thanked the meeting for their vote of confidence and said he would do his very best to make the Shepton LCN a success.



To appoint the Vice Chair of the Local Community Network


Somerset Cllr Claire Sully was nominated by Somerset Cllr Martin Lovell and seconded by Somerset Cllr Edric Hobbs.


No other nominations were received and Cllr Claire Sully was duly elected as Vice-Chair of the Shepton Local Community Network.



Apologies for Absence

To receive any apologies for absence.


Apologies for absence had been received from Somerset Councillors Bente Height and Tony Robbins, and Parish Councillors Riley and Sumner.



Declarations of Interest pdf icon PDF 67 KB

To receive and note any declarations of disclosable pecuniary interests, other registrable interests and non-registrable 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.)


There were none.



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.


No public questions or statements were made.



To determine the priorities and areas of focus for the Local Community Network for the next 12 months pdf icon PDF 396 KB


What are LCNs and how will we work together


Kate Hellard (LCN Development Lead) shared a presentation on the purpose of the LCN and how it would feed back into the work of Somerset Council.


Cllrs Barry Clarke and Vicki Taylor had questions about support and funding for the LCN. The LCN Development Lead advised that link officers would ideally be located within the community and would have a physical presence. They would attend the LCNs and participate in working groups. Funding would come from a number of different sources.


The meeting noted there was a dedicated page on the Somerset Council website at




Discussion - What is important to residents and businesses in our area? An opportunity to raise any local issues or concerns for LCN to consider


During the group discussions the Local Community Network (LCN) members were asked to consider the following:


1.      What topics are important to our residents?

1.1.    How do we know?

1.2.   What data/evidence/information would help?


2.     What could be done to solve/improve topics?

2.1.   Are there local examples already working?


3.     Who do we need to involve?

3.1.   Who else could be in the room (partners and stakeholders)?


1 The following were highlighted as important topics for the Shepton LCN area:



  • The amount and speed of traffic through the villages.
  • Access to and frequency of public transport.
  • Notifications of Road Closures.
  • Inaccurate SatNav directions.
  • Bus service is unreliable.
  • Buses are old/decrepit.
  • Bus service is disconnected to other services.
  • Unbalanced parking charges in Shepton.



  • The state of the minor roads particularly potholes.
  • The state of the A361.
  • Speeding in Pilton & Evercreech.
  • Speed restrictions at Pecking Mill.
  • Speed signage issues.
  • Road maintenance eg. Drain clearance.
  • Winter accessibility of Batcombe – no gritters.
  • HGVs travelling on unsuitable rural roads – Stoke St Michael.
  • Parking in Coleford.


Planning and Planning Enforcement

  • Notifications of Planning applications.
  • Influence of Parish Councils views on the decisions made.
  • Planning policy assistance for businesses.
  • Planning enforcement is not working.
  • Planning policy including affordable housing.
  • Lack of a local plan – parishes are on the back foot.


Environment and Climate Change

  • Sustainability.
  • Condition of hedges
  • Biodiversity.


Public Safety

  • Policing presence in rural communities currently lacking.
  • Fear of crime.
  • Anti-social behaviour.



  • Affordable housing.
  • Need real Council homes for local people.



  • Support of rural businesses.
  • Less bureaucracy.
  • Increase awareness of opportunities and grants available.
  • Business rates are too high – what do we get for it?
  • Planning policy assistance for businesses.



  • More resources needed to help residents re-enter the workforce so that funding can be re-deployed. Skate/BMX Park facilities – Evercreech.
  • Access to health services.
  • Transport for young people.
  • Lack of a leisure centre and medium sized event centre – Shepton Mallet.


2 Ideas for improving/solving the local issues included:


  • Better communication between Somerset Council and Parishes.
  • Rural communities to have more voice at Somerset Council – “There is more to Somerset than Taunton”.
  • Co-ordinated speed restriction plan across the LCN to save costs and duplication.
  • Road maintenance levels provided by Somerset Council to be communicated to Parish Councils so they can make provisions accordingly in their own budget.
  • Share the work that Parish Clerks are doing to assist workload and not cause increased workload due to LCNs.
  • More local control of 20mph speed limits, funding from SC Highways, not parishes.
  • Improve safety (traffic lights?) on A37 Old Wells Road, Beacon crossroads and Pecking Mill.
  • Stronger planning power for Parishes – influence on decisions.
  • More MUPs (Multiple User Paths) eg. From Shepton to Glastonbury Festival, to Evercreech and to Bath and West Showground.
  • Use CPO to complete the Strawberry Line and Somerset Circle.
  • Raise the aspirations of the youth.
  • Free bus transport for 6th form pupils (to Strode College for example).
  • Transfer of assets from Somerset Council  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6b


To agree the frequency of meetings


The Shepton LCN agreed that the frequency of meetings should be bi-monthly for a main meeting and for working groups to meet in between the main meetings. It was agreed that the next meeting would be scheduled for October 2023.


It was highlighted that the terms of reference were in the LCN handbook located on the Somerset Council website.



The schedule of meetings for the next 12 months


This was to be determined.


At the completion of the meeting, Cllr Val Keitch – Associate Lead Member for Localities and Public Health – thanked everyone for attending. She said it was very heartening to see Parish, Town and City Councils taking the LCN seriously and engaging with the new Somerset Council.


The meeting finished at 8.30 pm.


Contact officer for meeting: LCN Team