Agenda and minutes

Venue: The Henhayes Centre, South Street, Crewkerne TA18 8DA

Contact: LCN Team - Email: 

No. Item


Apologies for absence

To receive any apologies for absence.


Apologies for absence were received from Somerset Council Councillors: Adam Dance, Mike Hewitson, Val Keitch and Oliver Patrick.


An apology was also received from Councillor David Shillibier of Merriott Parish Council.


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.


Notes from the previous meeting pdf icon PDF 106 KB

To approve the notes from the previous meeting.


The notes of the previous meeting held on 15 June 2023 were approved as a correct record by those present.


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.


The Chairman of Horton Parish Council referred to a consultation document on the Somerset Council website - ‘Creating Places for People’. He noted the document had not been circulated to parishes, or the chairs of parishes. The consultation period was until mid-October and as the LCNs were referred to as a stakeholder in the document he queried why the matter was not on the LCN agenda for discussion. He also noted his surprise that Teams was the online/hybrid meeting platform of choice for the LCN meetings as it was felt there were alternative easier to use options available.


In response, Kate Hellard (Service Manager LCNs) noted:

·       She was unaware that the LCNs had been referred to in the final Creating Places for People’ consultation document. There had been discussions with officers at the drafting stage where it had been highlighted that the timeframes for the consultation wouldn’t work in order for all the LCNs to consider at their meetings.

·       There was an aspiration for all LCNs meetings to be hybrid and Teams was the corporate meeting platform of choice for Somerset Council. Acknowledge other platforms are available.




Highlights of themes discussed at the last meeting pdf icon PDF 774 KB


An overview of the last meeting was provided by Kate Hellard. Some A Powerpoint slide was presented which highlighted the key themes raised. She asked if it was felt anything was missing from the slides. In response a few suggestions were made:

·       A358 dualling – would be useful to have a briefing circulated.

·       Enforcement seemed to be omitted.

·       Health and Wellbeing should be included


In response to the suggestions raised Kate Hellard noted that two officers from Highways were present to answer questions and she would introduce them at Agenda item 7. Health and Wellbeing was included under the heading Services but acknowledges a little more detail could be provided under each of the headings.


The presentation slides for this meeting can be viewed at the end of the printed minutes pack or online at: Document Crewkerne and Ilminster LCN - Modern Council (


An introduction to data


Kate Hellard provided an introduction to data specific to the Crewkerne and Ilminster LCN and presented a slide with some statistics regarding:

·       Population

·       Crime rates

·       Residential properties

·       Road collisions

·       Households with no access to a vehicle

·       Pupil numbers


She explained that the data gave an insight to the area but if the LCN wished they could make enquiries in order fill in gaps or clarify anomalies with the data. There were ongoing opportunities to build data for the LCN area and to gain further information about who, what and why etc.


During a short discussion the following points were made:

·       Some Early Years Facilities/Groups had closed this year which may have influenced some of the figures in the data.

·       Was it possible to share this LCNs data with other LCNs in order to compare, and could the LCN data be shared with the individual parishes withing the LCN – so that it helps us focus and support parishes where needed?

·       Could the SINePost newsletter (Somerset Intelligence) be circulated to parishes for information?

·       Is there a breakdown of state funded schools?


In response, Kate Hellard noted that some data was available via the Somerset Intelligence network, however some of that data was not available at LCN, street or postcode level.


The presentation slides for this meeting can be viewed at the end of the printed minutes pack or online at: Document Crewkerne and Ilminster LCN - Modern Council (


For information:

The website for Somerset Intelligence is:





What are the more detailed issues, how do we know, what does good look like and what can we do with regard to:

·       The state of the roads and road signage

·       Volume and weight of the traffic

·       On street parking

·       Flooding

·       Speeding

·       Events and road closures

·       Diversion of traffic during road closures


The Chairman introduced two officers from Highways – Bev Norman (Strategic Manager for Traffic Management & Road Safety) and Lee Norman (Assistant Highway Service Manager), and explained they were present to listen to comments and to try and answer some general queries.


The Chairman noted that the discussion was a chance to understand some of the detail of local issues, and to consider what else we need to know, who might be able to help us and what actions the LCN might be able to take.


In breakout groups, attendees were asked to consider details of particular highways issues/topics, how do we know, is there more information needed, what does good look like and what could be done.


Attendees were encouraged to forward details of any specific parish queries to the LCN team or LCN Linkworker at (please refer to Crewkerne & Ilminster LCN in the message).


Some of the comments raised under each topic included:


(a)        State of the roads and road signage


·     Road surface – deterioration / pot holes

·     Lack of maintenance

·     Lack of response to reported issues

·     Lack of co-ordination e.g. road closures and works

·     Multiple needs for works on the road don’t seem to be considered / coordinated e.g resurfacing followed shortly afterwards by a utility undertaking major works to dig up the road.

·     Quality and efficiency of repair works – is it up to standard?

·     Poor signage for road closures. Notices of work sometimes seem to posted late or with very little forward notice. Notice work dates sometimes exceeded with no work having taken place or with works continuing to take place.

·     Crewkerne Town Council are good at notifying residents on Facebook but what about those not on social media.

·     Somerset Council website isn’t always kept up to date regarding planned highways works, or if works are over running.

·     Road signs – no consistency regarding updating – some updated for unknown reasons while others can take years to be removed.

·     Removal of weeds – gullies / drainage / verges and pavements etc – told Highways will be out once a year. What if a community or parish wants to undertake some of this work in between?

·     Overgrown hedges and verges reduce visibility and could cause accidents. With some wide verges on a narrow section seems to be cut and often isn’t enough to improve visibility. Overgrown hedges – seems to take a long time to get resolved.

·     Edge of road deterioration.

·     Third party works.

·     Roads need to be in a good state of repair so there is comfort as a road user with damage free vehicles and safe use by pedestrians and cyclists.

·     Easy reporting of issues – difficult to contact the right person.

·     Effective scheduling of works.

·     Preventative maintenance.


Some of the responses from the Highways officers included:

o  Acknowledge and take on board comments raised. Aware better communications were needed and this was work in progress.

o  Unfortunately the budget had been reduced for the updating of signs. If there is a particular issue  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7.


Feedback and Q and A


There was a brief a general feedback / Question and Answer session. Some of the points raised and responses included:

·       Budgets are tight and we know the LCN doesn’t have a budget - Insufficiencies need to be addressed – need to think outside the box – the way things have been done in the past is not necessarily the most appropriate, efficient or best way.

·       Clerk details must be kept up to date so that parishes can be kept informed.

·       If there are concerns or issues about the LCNs or the Council as a whole then parishes should feed back to the appropriate officers.

·       Could parishes have feedback on the new strategic structure of Somerset Council, and an organisational chart for the new authority.

o   In response – Kate Hellard advised that an update had been circulated to clerks the previous day, and that there were fortnightly update meetings for clerks and briefings circulated to those unable to attend. She briefly explained that a high tier restructure had taken place but it would take some time to do the whole organisation.


Kate Hellard noted that it was apparent from this meeting and the previous one that 90 minutes was not long enough for each meeting and therefore start times of meetings may need to be reviewed.



For all parishes to check their Clerk details viewable on the Somerset Council website are correct -



Dates for the next meetings


The provisional dates for future meetings were noted as:


·       Wednesday 15 November 2023 – venue to be confirmed

·       Thursday 18 January 2023 – venue to be confirmed.


The LCN team had worked hard to minimise diary clashes but asked that they be contacted on if there are any issues. The team also asked for suggestions on alternative suitable venues within the Crewkerne and Ilminster LCN area, noting that good wifi was essential.