Agenda and draft minutes
Venue: Online via Teams
Contact: LCN Team Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Apologies for Absence
To receive any apologies for absence.
Apologies for absence were received fromSomerset Councillors John Bailey, Norman Cavill, Bill Revans, David Fothergill, Matthew Martin, Emily Pearlstone, Alan Bradford and Adam Dance, and Cllr Gerad Tucker from Aller 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 received.
To approve the notes from the previous meeting.
The meeting notes of the previous meeting held 13thNovember 2023 were approved as a correct record.
Discussion on the Executive Committee agenda
To discuss the Somerset Council Executive Committee agenda for 15th January 2024. The agenda pack can be viewed here
The Chair, Cllr WilkinsExecutive Lead member for Transport and Digital at Somerset Council gave a verbal summary of the discussions that had taken place duringthe Somerset Council Executiveagendaand advised that the Executive had noted a first draft of the savings proposals that would be brought back to the Executive for approval onthe 7th February 2024, before going on to Full Council for approval at the Council’s Budget Setting meeting on 20th February 2024.
Kate Hellard,LCN Development Lead added thata summary document had been sent to all Parish and TownCouncils, andinvited comments and questions from the LCN.
There were several questions, comments and concerns raised from members of the LCN including: -
· Some members felt disappointed in the lack of communication regarding the impact of the savings proposals on parish and town councils.
· The information regardingall of the direct and indirect costs of the Somerset Council savings proposals for Parish and Town Councils is coming through very late. Many parish councils will have already set their precepts for the year, others have delayed their meetings. This is unhelpful. considering Parish and Town Councilswill likely be expected to fund more services from April ‘24 onwards.
· Most Parish and Town councils do not have the knowledge or expertise to start delivering services that may be cut under the Somerset Council savings proposals.
· The reduction of Highways Services downto statutory duties onlyis very concerning, particularly for the most rural and flood risk areas.
· Is there any scope to increase CIL (community infrastructure levy) to help Parish and Town Councils fund extra services.
· Further clarification was sought regarding any potential devolution of decision making in services such as licensing andplanning.
Members were invited to take part in the Council’s budget consultation which runs until 22 January, the result of which will help influence councillors as they seek to set a balanced budget.
During the debate, Ally Laing, Senior Media and Communications officer, via the Teams Chat function,gave two examples of potential cuts to services; -
· Public Toilets:Indicative costs to run a block of toilets are estimated between £30K-40K.
· Grass Cutting: Somerset Council charges £40-£70 per hour for a grass cut. A typical parish recreation ground would take up to two hours.
Regarding item 8 of the Executive agenda, draft Asset and Service Devolution Framework,the Senior Media and Communications officer shared links to the Somerset Council land and property assets lists and invited members to email the Asset and Devolution team with any questions: -
· Somerset County Council: Land and Property Transparency List
· Mendip District Council: Land and Property Transparency List
· South Somerset District ... view the full minutes text for item 29.
Updates from Working Groups
To receive updates from the working groups
1. Active Travel
2. Health and wellbeing
Adrian Moore, Localities Officer, gave the following updates from the working groups.
Active travel – The first meeting was well attended, and 33 maps have been printed and shared with members to begin work on route planning.
Health and Wellbeing – Officers will be talking to colleagues in Health at Somerset Council in advance of the next meeting.
Actions and next steps
To agree actions and next steps for the working groups.
Adrian Moore, Localities Officer advised that -
Active travel – The next meeting of the working group would be held at 7pm on the 18th January 2024. All welcome.
Health and Wellbeing – The next meeting of the working group would be held online sometime during the week commencing 29th January 2024 (tbc) All welcome.
Public Question Time
To receive any public questions regarding issues not covered on the agenda.
There were no questions received from any members of the public.
Dates of future meetings
To agree the dates of future meetings