Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: The Moorland Hall - Cutcombe, Wheddon Cross TA24 7DL. View directions

Contact: Sam Murrell Email: 

No. Item


Introductions and opening comments pdf icon PDF 83 KB


The Chair welcomed Executive Member for Transport and Digital, Cllr Richard Wilkins to this special meeting, with a particular focus on Highways and Traffic.


Andrew Turner, Strategic Manager for Highways Maintenance also attended.




Apologies for Absence

To receive any apologies for absence.


Somerset Council, Executive Member for Transformation and Resources, Cllr Theo Butt Philip, Pippa Hughes (SC), Colin Wilkins (Winsford PC), Dan Barber (Skilgate PM), Sally Baker (Brompton Ralph PC) who was substituted by Patricia Bainbridge (clerk), Matthew Headley (Brompton Regis) who was substituted by Sarah Buchanan (clerk), Jan Aldridge (Brushford PC), Fran A Brook (Upton PC), Roger Webber (Selworthy & Minehead WO) Jeremy Hickman (Exford PC), Cllr Frances Nicholson (SC), Nick Thwaites (Dulverton TC), Andrew Bray (Wootton Courtenay PC), Mark Shields (Village Agent), Paul Matcham (Somerset Connect/Minehead Eye), Julian Soltau (Withypool & Hawkridge PC), PC James Calloway, (Avon & Somerset Police).




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 )


None were declared.


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 public questions or statements presented in advance of the meeting.



Notes from the Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 163 KB

To approve the notes from the previous meeting.


The minutes of the previous meeting were accepted as a true record and unanimously agreed.


Update on Actions from the Previous Meeting

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


There was no further news on the future of the Dulverton Recycling Centre.


Other items would be picked up in later agenda items.


Avon and Somerset Police Update

To receive an update from PCSO Linda Moden on local neighbourhood beat matters.


PC James Calloway tendered apologies but PCSOs Haimes and Moden read out a statement which is summarised as follows:-


In this local area I’m happy to say we have had a low level of crime.

There is an ongoing investigation regarding a trailer that was taken from the car park in Wheddon Cross last October. There are no updates currently.

There was an attempted and successful attempt of theft of bicycles in and around the area and others on surrounding beat areas. A suspect vehicle was highlighted to us, and intelligence work is being submitted regarding this.

As your local PCSO’s for the area Michelle and I have been out and about on rural patrols and conducted farm visits as a way of keeping in touch with our farmers.

We are offering sign ups to Farm and Horse watch if they are not already registered. This is a free service and acts like a neighbourhood watch for farms and small holdings. If you or someone you know is interested in the scheme, please get in touch. It’s a quick and easy sign up you will be provided with signage, and you get added to our data base and will receive updates concerning any Farm related crime in the area.

Once a month we attend the Farmers Market at Cutcombe, with a crime prevention stall offering advice and signs ups there. Please feel free to pop in and see us if this is more convenient.  We can also come to you.

We are aware of a sheep worrying incident in the surrounding parishes and this is being investigated by one of our officers. Please report any incidents like this to 101.

We have also been out and about visiting local campsites, offering leaflets to the visitors advising them not to leave valuables in cars when out at local beauty spot areas. The reports of this nature have gone down over the years, so this is positive message and shows that people are not leaving their valuables on display in their vehicles. This is very important especially the more remote areas.  Included in the leaflets is advice from the Exmoor Rangers in relation to keeping dogs on leads around livestock etc. 

We are continuing our visits to villages to meet the community and to offer cycle registering.

You may be aware of the recent Raves that occurred around the area. ASP have held multi agency meetings with the National Trust and The Forestry Commission to try and help each other in positive prevention planning.  Police had no prior knowledge of the events, but work is ongoing with partner agencies in order to identify any intelligence indicating possible future events.  We are improving our communication with the neighbouring force. Kennisham wood has now got Dumpy bags blocking access to the clearing and this will be replaced with Boulders to block access for potential vehicles.

Cutcombe School were fortunate to be chosen alongside Exford and Timberscombe school to take part in the Mini Police  ...  view the full minutes text for item 69.


Exmoor National Park Authority (ENPA)


There were no officers from ENPA at the meeting.


It was advised that the ENP Parish Consultative Forum was being rebranded and would take place every six months, at Exmoor House. The next meeting was due to take place on Tuesday June 18 at 6.30pm.


Discussion in the room focussed on the following points which were asked to be reported back to the Park:-


·         Dogs on leads – better promotion of the policy to keep dogs restrained especially during nesting and lambing seasons. It was suggested that the posters are made bigger as a better visual guide, and leaflet drops are encouraged at Airbnb and guest houses. There should be more online promotion too. There was a tendency to let dogs roam on open moorland, and this should be discouraged.


·         Better attendance from ENPA officers at LCN meetings – the chair advised that there had been an online presentation at the previous meeting, and this meeting was particularly focused on Highways. There was usually good representation from the parish member representatives and these are contactable if required.







Exmoor LCN Highways Subgroup Update pdf icon PDF 127 KB

The Exmoor Highways pilot officially ended on the 31 March 2024, with the standing down of the Highways Steward and closure of the Devolved Funding Scheme.


The update to include:-


1.     Approval of the Recommendations as laid out in Point 8 of the April Highways Subgroup Minutes:-


·         To adopt the revised Terms of Reference for the Highways Subgroup, updated from the Exmoor highways pilot model. 


·         To ratify the LCN collective way of working which includes the commissioning of local works. 


·         To schedule further Highway subgroup meetings for the 2024/25 municipal year, to sit between the main meetings. (Subject to agreement with Dulverton Town Council, it is hoped to secure the continued use of the Dulverton Sports pavilion for this purpose). 


2.    Overview of the Devolved Funding projects.


3.    B3224 Roundwaters Scheme


4.    Highways Area Office Update – KM/KB






Additional documents:


Andrew Turner was welcomed back to the Exmoor LCN. He was invited to give a round up on the Exmoor Highways Pilot project which had concluded on the 31 March 2024. The pilot had run for a two year period and had been established to evaluate how the parishes/communities could inform and influence the work of the Somerset Council Highways team at a local level.


The main areas of focus at the inception of the pilot had been:-


  • Improved Communication;
  • Parish Online – a way to map assets;
  • Highway Steward Scheme;
  • Devolved Funding – to be prioritised at a local level. (Small capital and Revenue scheme, taken from the SCC Highways maintenance budget).


Discussion points as follows:-


Highway Steward Scheme

This had worked well in the beginning using a local operative, with good knowledge of the Exmoor area. He had built a good relationship with the parishes and Dulverton Town Council and was very responsive to the work requests. It was vitally important that the right candidate was employed, otherwise time was lost looking for sites or not having sufficient equipment for the tasks required.


The scheme had been successful during the pilot, but it was going to be difficult to fund at £50k in the future. The parishes did not have the population to fund it via their precepts. Consideration was being given to sharing the cost with another LCN, but even then parishes were reluctant.


Andrew Turner stated that alternatives to the Steward were “the Parish Price List”, which was currently being developed and or a Parish Lengthsman scheme.  The Parish Price List was still being drawn up with the new contractor (Kier), who had taken on the Highway Maintenance contract on the 1 April 2024. It was hoped this would be available in the summer.


The Volunteer network could also be employed and Highways officers were currently looking at how the appropriate training (Chapter 8) could be rolled out across the county.


As yet none of the LCNs had adopted the Highway Steward scheme but some were considering it a possibility in the new financial year. (Some parishes were going to precept around the idea of employing the Highway Steward for so many hours a month/week).


It was stressed that this was for discretionary/enhanced work on the highway. Safety issues such as potholes, overgrown hedges and or lack of visibility issues should be reported on the Somerset Council Highway Portal as a matter of urgency in the normal way. Highways officers would respond if there was a danger to the travelling public.


Improved Communication

The establishment of the Highway subgroup which met every 2 months at Dulverton Pavilion, was deemed a success in improving communication between Somerset Council and the parishes. This was a face-to-face meeting that allowed the parishes to influence the work programme for planned maintenance and highlight any local issues.



Dates of Future Meetings

The next meeting is the Annual General Meeting which will be held on Thursday 6 June 2024, at the Moorland Hall Cutcombe.


The Exmoor LCN will next meet at the Annual General Meeting, (AGM). This will take place on Thursday 6 June at the Moorland Hall, Wheddon Cross.


Amongst the business of the AGM, there will be a requirement to elect the Chair and Vice Chair, review the Annual Report and agree the schedule of meetings for the coming year.