Agenda and draft 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 Councillors Adam Dance, Val Keitch, Sue Osborne and Jo Roundell Greene, and also from Geraldine Wills (Chaffcombe Parish Council), Hugh Williams (Haselbury Plucknett) and Kathy Head (Crewkerne Town 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 interests from Somerset Council Councillors present at the meeting.



Notes from the Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 174 KB

To approve the notes from the previous meeting.


The notes of the previous meeting held 18 January 2024 were agreed as a correct record subject to a couple of amendments being made to correct the names of attendees.



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.


A member of the public (Secretary of the Friends of Crewkerne Station) addressed the LCN regarding Crewkerne and the new development between Station Road and the A30. She asked if plans had been made for a pedestrian cycleway along the green corridor and whether it could be linked onwards to Crewkerne station – for an integrated pedestrian and cycleway from the town to the station. If no plans have been made, she would like to request that they were put in motion now and the Friends of Crewkerne Station kept informed.


In response the Chair noted the LCN had an Active Travel Working group and suggested the question be raised there as the relevant officers attended and would be able to provide an update. The question would be forwarded to the group and dates of the meeting would be provided.



Presentation from the Civil Contingency Team pdf icon PDF 2 MB


The Chairman introduced Paul Stevens from the Somerset Council Civil Contingencies Unit (CCU) and Bel Deering from Community Engagement at Somerset Rivers Authority (SRA). Together they provided an informative presentation and responded to questions about civil contingencies and emergency planning, including information about:

·       Emergency preparedness

·       What is an emergency

·       Highest risks in Somerset and other risks

·       Multi-agency planning and response

·       Category One Responder Statutory Responsibilities

·       What can be done in your community and LCN

·       Community emergency planning

·       Somerset Prepared – resources, support and advice.

·       Community places of safety.

·       Somerset Emergency Community Contacts


The Chair acknowledged comments and concerns raised during discussion regarding capacity in smaller parishes, and also the high volume of information and correspondence in general being circulated to parish and town councils.


Contact details for the officers:

Paul Stevens (CCU) –

Bel Derring (SRA) –


Note – the presentation slides for this meeting can be viewed at the end of the printed minutes pack or online at:



Update from Highways and Traffic Working Group


The Chair reminded everyone there were currently two working groups, one for Highways and another for Active Travel. He asked those who had attended the Highways Working Group meetings how they felt the meetings went and whether to continue them in their current format. Feedback included:

·       Five officers had attended from across Highways.

·       The working group was very useful.

·       If having specific subjects at each meeting need to make sure it’s the right officers.

·       Needs to be good communication between Highways and parishes, especially regarding road closures.

·       Not easy to find a time where can get a meaningful; number of councils represented.

·       Another working group on emergency planning would be useful.

·       Parishes are being overloaded with information from various departments of Somerset Council – need to try and streamline, cascade or filter all the information.


Kate Hellard responded to some of the comments raised and reminded everyone that anyone could help or join with the working groups and it didn’t need to be restricted to parish/town councils – if there were volunteers or other interested parties in the community they were welcome to attend the meetings.


The Chair noted going forwards the working groups were likely to become the backbone of the LCN. The larger LCN meetings would probably become less frequent with more emphasis on working groups.



Table Discussion on Highways and Traffic


There was no breakout session, and discussion about some general Highways issues were discussed as part of the updates on the Highways Working Group and the Active Travel Working Group – see notes for those agenda items.



Update from Active Travel Working Group


Following on from the Highways Working Group feedback, the Chair asked for comments about the Active Travel Working Group, and opinions included:

·       For provision of cycle paths and safe walking routes we need to be able to engage with developers. Some issues in Crewkerne were cited as an example.

·       Need open communication.

·       Meeting was worthwhile.

·       Need more notice of the meetings.


Regarding the two working groups, the Chair acknowledged from comments raised that there was a need to think about how to get more people involved, especially from the smaller parishes. He noted to increase participation going forwards there may be a need to consider the format of working group meetings - e.g. times or if more could be hosted online so that people did not have to travel. The Chair agreed with some comments raised that a programme of meeting dates for working groups needs to be circulated well in advance and in a structured way to Parish and Town Councils.


During discussion it was felt monthly meetings of working groups were probably required. A working group for emergency planning had been previously suggested, and another proposal was for a working group focussed on young people.



Action and Next Steps


The Chair noted there had been pilot schemes for working groups in other areas and we could learn from that. There is a need to establish how groups will work and to get people involved. During a short discussion some of the points raised included:

·       Terms of Reference for the working groups should be shared as may provide to parishes the information they need to be interested in attending group meetings.

·       There are time constraints on parishes and clerks – information needs to be cascaded down to Parish and Town Councils that is brief and accurate.

·       Information to parishes and clerks needs to be streamlined to give focus.

·       The volume of information had also been discussed at another LCN – perhaps could be a web page specifically for clerks to access information?

·       If parishes feel they are not getting information on a required subject they could contact their division members who should be helping share information.

·       A weekly bulletin to clerks may be more useful as it would substantially reduce the amount of emails received and/or needing to be forwarded to councillors.


The Chair noted he would take away the comments and suggestions raised and discuss with officers.


Kate Hellard provided a quick update on a recent meeting of all the LCN Chairs, where there had a been a lot of conversation about communication. She noted that when LCN link workers are in post shortly they would be key to helping with sharing of information between parishes, working groups and LCNs. She acknowledged lots of staff from different teams were circulating information to Town and Parish Councils, and that a newsletter may be a way forwards to help reduce emails.


The Chair noted there was a need to form a structure – and this would be progressed between now and the next meeting. A programme of arranged meetings which are well planned would also be formulated.



Dates and Themes of Future Meetings


The date of the next meeting of the Crewkerne and Ilminster LCN was noted for Thursday 20 June 2024 – venue to be confirmed.


Contact officer for the meeting – LCN team: