Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: Queen Camel Memorial Hall, High Street, Queen Camel, Yeovil BA22 7NF. View directions

Contact: LCN Team Email: 

No. Item


Apologies for Absence

To receive any apologies for absence.


Apologies for absence were received from Pam Griffiths and Lynn Hughes (Ditcheat PC), Robin Bastable (Charlton Musgrove PC), Julia Hunter (Shepton Montague PC), Amanda Ware, (PCSO Supervisor, Avon & Somerset Police), Kirsten Lambert, Somerset Wildlife Trust and Angela Kerr (Citizens Advice Somerset).



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 made by the Somerset Councillors present at the meeting.



Notes from the Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 162 KB

To approve the notes from the previous meeting.


The notes of the previous meeting held on 22 February 2024 were approved as a correct record by those present.



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.



Updates - working groups


Ewan Jones advised that the Civil Contingencies Sub Working Group had met recently in Bruton and had been joined by representatives from Lydford parish.  He said they were working on action plans for each of the villages and they needed to schedule a meeting with the Somerset Prepared Civil Contingencies unit to bring all of the action plans together. He concluded the Working Group had been very productive.


Councillor Nicola Clark advised that the Highway Sub Working Group had met on-line on 10 April and discussed the issues across the LCN area.  She said there were challenges with both rural and urban issues and they were working on compiling contacts to capture the issues from all of the parishes. Parishes would be grouped together to make best use of the contacts. Issues discussed included road restrictions, blocked drains and the importance of reporting any issues to the Highway service.  The Sub Working Group were hoping to meet with officers from the Highway service very shortly,  The Terms of Reference of the group had been shared and agreed.


Ewan Jones advised the Health and Wellbeing Sub Working Group had started in the pilot LCN with a survey which had resulted in a proposal for a Youth Outreach project.  This had been supported by Milborne Port, Castle Cary and Wincanton Town Councils to provide two youth outreach workers and they had successfully applied to the Somerset Association of Local Councils (SALC) for funding.  Following some recruitment issues, the scheme was now due to start on 01 May 2024.  More publicity would follow and the headteachers of the local secondary schools would be involved.




Health and Wellbeing Presentations

Presentations from:

·         Sue Place – Connect Somerset Champion

·         Kirsten Lambert – Somerset Wildlife Trust

·         Barry Taylor – Rural Practice Network

·         Rupert Farthing – Carymoor Environmental Trust

·         Ewan Jones – SALC priorities


(Please see power point presentation attached to the end of these notes)


Connect Somerset Champions

Sue Place of Connect Somerset gave a short presentation on the 12 Connect Somerset Champions who had been recently appointed following a Council restructure.  She said their first priority had been agreed as education as Somerset had high levels of school exclusion, expulsion, low attendance and home schooling which had little regulation. They had spoken to headteachers to gain an understanding of the social and family support needs and to connect public services with voluntary and community services to help.  A meeting had taken place that day between Council leaders, voluntary sector leaders and the NHS to address health and wellbeing issues.


Sue Place then spoke regarding the Balsam Centre in Wincanton which had been established over 23 years in a former cottage hospital.  She said it was a health and wellbeing centre, a cultural activity centre and a children’s centre.  There was a nursery at the site, a mental health team, employment and skills development,  cultural and therapeutic activities.  There was a particular expertise in mental health support and maternal and young people’s mental health, in partnership with the NHS.


In response to questions, Sue Place advised:


·       Around 18 months ago Connect Somerset were hoping to received funding for specific family support however the funding was not received and it was quite specific and so may not have benefitted many families.

·       There were 42 staff at the Balsam Centre which equated to 19 ½ FTE’s. There were also 120 active volunteers and the centre had between 800 to 900 visitors per week.

·       The centre advertised for specific areas of support from volunteers.


Rural Practice Network (RPN)

Barry Taylor, Primary Care Network Manager, provided a presentation on the Rural Practice Network (see power point presentation attached to end of minutes).  He advised that it was led by clinicians and they encouraged GP practices to work together to achieve more.  The drive to work together made it easier to recruit healthcare specialists to share across the RPN area.  They had also been the highest performing area to deliver COVID vaccinations, had set up pain cafes, bereavement cafes, and volunteer-led health walks.  Future plans included using Artificial Intelligence (AI) to make early interventions in health care.


In response to questions, Barry Taylor advised:


·       All 5 GP practices within the RPN area used Ask My GP and they aimed to respond to enquiries within 30 minutes.

·       Pharmacy First was struggling to recruit pharmacists so patients still ended up in GP surgeries

·       The GP practices had absorbed additional costs to keep up with inflation during 2023 and they were expecting a 3% budget increase the following year which would be difficult.

·       It was estimated that there were 14,000 undiagnosed cases of hypertension across Somerset.


Ewan Jones noted that the meeting which had taken place that day at Haynes Motor Museum was about bringing the voluntary and statutory organisations together to help each other.  LCN’s could help statutory NHS services  ...  view the full minutes text for item 42.


Actions from meeting


Ewan Jones advised that the Flooding Working Group and the Footpaths Working Group would be meeting shortly.  More information on the Youth Projects would be available when they were commencing.


It was noted that

·       North Cadbury Parish had issues communicating with the Police and there had usually been a police presence at previous LCN meetings.

·       PCSO Officers could only attend meetings when they were on-duty.

·       The Police Crime Commissioner was aware of the low level rural crime.

·       Council Tax precepts had been raised and increased rural policing had been promised.

·       The consultation on the proposed closures of the Waste Recycling Centres was still on-going and discussions with contractors was still taking place.  No decisions had been taken.

·       Issues with HGV traffic on the A359 were still an issue and this was a priority of the Highway Working Group.


Ewan Jones felt it would be good for all the LCN’s to ask their City, Town and Parish Councils and stakeholders for their priorities for the following year.  Kate Hellard advised that the Frome LCN had created a questionnaire which could be shared with other LCNs.  It was suggested that the questionnaire be circulated ahead of the AGM on 13 June.


Kate Hellard advised that she had met with planning officers that week as a number of the LCNs had raised planning enforcement as an issue in their area and they also wanted information on the new Local Plan.  The Council held a fortnightly briefing for Clerks and this would be extended for a planning related discussion and to include any training required for City Town and Parish Councillors.  Planning Officers would not have capacity to attend he LCN meetings but the LCNs could discuss how they fed into the Local Plan process.


At the conclusion of the meeting, Judi Morrison thanked Terena Isaacs for her work with the LCN as she would shortly be leaving and presented her with a bouquet of flowers




Dates of future meetings


It was noted that the Annual General Meeting would take place on Thursday 13 June 2024 at the Wincanton Sports Ground, Moor Lane, Wincanton at 7.00pm.


Both representatives of Town and Parish Councils and interested local residents were all welcome to attend.


South East PP April 24 pdf icon PDF 2 MB