SWT Full Council
Thursday, 3rd March, 2022 6.15 pm
Venue: The John Meikle Room - The Deane House. View directions
Contact: Clare Rendell Email: email@example.com
Webcast: View the webcast
To receive any apologies for absence.
Apologies were received from Councillors T Deakin, H Farbahi, A Govier, A Hadley, B Hall, J Lloyd, A Milne, C Morgan, N Thwaites, A Trollope-Bellew and T Venner.
Declarations of Interest
To receive and note any declarations of disclosable pecuniary or prejudicial or personal interests in respect of any matters included on the agenda for consideration at this meeting.
(The personal interests of Councillors and Clerks of Somerset County Council, Town or Parish Councils and other Local Authorities will automatically be recorded in the minutes.)
Members present at the meeting declared the following personal interests in their capacity as a Councillor or Clerk of a County, Town or Parish Council or any other Local Authority:-
Councillor Andy Pritchard further declared a pecuniary interest on agenda item 7, Community Governance Review of the Unparished Area of Taunton and Adjoining Parishes, as he had been paid for some work carried out in one of the adjoining parishes, so therefore left the meeting.
Public Participation - To receive only in relation to the business for which the Extraordinary Meeting has been called any questions, statements or petitions from the public in accordance with Council Procedure Rules 14,15 and 16
The Chair to advise the Committee of any items on which members of the public have requested to speak and advise those members of the public present of the details of the Council’s public participation scheme.
For those members of the public who have submitted any questions or statements, please note, a three minute time limit applies to each speaker and you will be asked to speak before Councillors debate the issue.
Temporary measures during the Coronavirus Pandemic
Due to the temporary legislation (within the Coronavirus Act 2020, which allowed for use of virtual meetings) coming to an end on 6 May 2021, the council’s committee meetings will now take place in the office buildings within the John Meikle Meeting Room at the Deane House, Belvedere Road, Taunton. Unfortunately due to capacity requirements, the Chamber at West Somerset House is not able to be used at this current moment.
Following the Government guidance on measures to reduce the transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19), the council meeting rooms will have very limited capacity. With this in mind, we will only be allowing those members of the public who have registered to speak to attend the meetings in person in the office buildings, if they wish (we will still be offering to those members of the public that are not comfortable in attending, for their statements to be read out by a Governance and Democracy Case Manager). Please can we urge all members of the public who are only interested in listening to the debate to view our live webcasts from the safety of their own home to help prevent the transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19).
The following members of the public spoke on agenda item 7, Community Governance Review of the Unparished Area of Taunton and Adjoining Parishes:-
Somerset County Councillor Rod Williams:-
He asked the Council to listen to the comments made by the members of the public with an open mind. He believed the first consultation had been unsatisfactory with far too little information included and that it had not been distributed to the relevant parishes. He asked what the relevance was for a phase two consultation when the first consultation had not been listened to. He believed it should just be for the Unparished Area of Taunton. He stated that the Local Community Networks would be an important part of local services going forward. He urged Somerset West and Taunton Council to act in a democratic way and to listen to the local parishes.
Ian Talbot from Staplegrove Parish Council:-
Q1 Please could you explain
the "Post Card Drop" which was referred to in the
Working Group minutes. What part was it supposed play in the
consultation process and why did it not take place?
Alan Debenham from Staplegrove Parish Council:-
These proposals were completely out of context with the whole thinking behind this "define the new Town Council boundary" project, as I see it, and I'm one all for making the boundary fit modern town population spread but only if that’s what residents want and can prove it. Yes, in the name of residents' democratic involvement, I think any proposal to radically change any parish's boundary in favour of modern town expansion must be backed by a clear majority ( minimum 56% say) of affected residents supporting this change, otherwise it should not even be considered. If there was an expression of interest from certain residents within a declared area, with say at least 4 residents sending a signed letter request to the parish clerk, then there should be a simple 'street poll' taken by an independent official to determine whether or not a certain area should be placed either in or out of the new Town Council's boundary. We should not have Councillors nor employed officials, however much they are interested, putting forward new town boundary proposals unless they are proven by poll/s to be democratically approved by local residents living in that particular area.
Jason Woollacott from Cheddon Fitzpaine Parish Council:-
Cheddon Fitzpaine had built a very good community which included the three new housing estates that had recently been built. He understood why certain areas were being included in the review but did not believe that applied to the area of Cheddon Fitzpaine. He did not believe that the previous responses submitted by the residents of Cheddon Fitzpaine had been listened to in the first phase of the consultation as many of the local ... view the full minutes text for item 103.
To receive any communications or announcements from the Chair of the Council
The Chair of the Council did not have any announcements to make.
To receive any communications or announcements from the Leader of the Council
The Leader of the Council advised Full Council that there would be a vigil being held in the town centre of Taunton on Saturday 5 March 2022 on behalf of the people of Ukraine and all were welcome to attend.
To receive only in relation to the business for which the Extraordinary Meeting has been called any questions from Councillors in accordance with Council Procedure Rule 13
No questions were received in regards to Council Procedure Rule 13.
This report sets out the responses received during that first stage consultation and proposes draft recommendations to be subject to further public consultation and a revised timetable for the remaining stages of the review.
During the discussion, the following points were raised:-
· The Chair of the Working Group gave a detailed presentation of the work they had achieved and presented the map of the proposed area for the phase two consultation.
· Councillor S Buller left the room.
· Councillor D Darch proposed a recorded vote, which was duly seconded by Councillor L Baker. The vote was taken and carried.
· Councillors thanked the Working Group for all their hard work on the project and for working closely with the local parish councils.
· Councillors supported the actions of the Working Group and the reasons why certain areas were being included or excluded from the phase two consultation.
· Concern was raised on Cheddon Fitzpaine and that it would be left as too small an area for a Parish and would also lead to a large increase of their precept to be able to provide services in that area.
· Councillor S Buller returned to the room.
· Councillors agreed that a Town Council was needed for the Taunton area.
· Concern was raised that with the inclusion of the wider areas, that it might lead to a delay in the final creation of a Town Council.
· Councillors gave details of the background of the project and urged both councillors and officers to take action now to create a Town Council for the area.
· Councillors highlighted that it was Somerset West and Taunton Council’s (SWT) responsibility to create a Town Council and that they did not want it left to the New Unitary Council.
· Councillors requested clarification on the ‘gunning principle’.
Clarification was given.
· Councillors queried what would happen if the recommendations were not passed at the meeting.
The Deputy Monitoring Officer gave advice that it would mean that the decision could not return to Full Council for six months but that the Working Group would continue with their project work and would consult with the New Unitary Council.
· Councillors agreed that a Town Council should be created, as Taunton was the County Town which was located in the centre of the District. It was also important that the residents for that central location had proper representation.
· Councillors wanted to see the review carried out in a legal manner.
· Councillor J Hunt left the meeting.
· Councillors believed it was the wrong time to carry out a review but that SWT had been forced into action due to the creation of the New Unitary Council.
· Councillor C Palmer left the meeting.
· The meeting was adjourned at 8.10pm.
· The meeting restarted at 8.20pm.
· Somerset County Councillor, Rod Williams, apologised for the comments made in his public statement at the start of the meeting.
· Councillors agreed that the project should not be a political decision, but what was best for the local residents of Taunton.
· Concern was raised on the inequity of the local parishes compared to Taunton.
· Councillors wanted to ensure that all the local parishes were listened to and included in the phase two consultations.
· Councillors thanked the public speakers for their ... view the full minutes text for item 107.