Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: Godney Village Hall, Kingdom, Lower Godney, Wells, BA5 1RZ

Contact: LCN Team Email: 

No. Item


Apologies for Absence

To receive any apologies for absence.


Apologies were received from:


Councillor Theo Butt Philip                          Somerset Council

Councillor Ros Wyke                                   Somerset Council

Jim Hardcastle                                           Mendip Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty Manager



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 none.


Notes from the Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 177 KB

To approve the notes from the previous meeting.


Councillor Philip Blatchford proposed and Councillor Edric Hobbs seconded that the minutes of the meeting held on 1 February 2024 were a true record of the meeting.



Public Questions (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.


There were none.


Updates from working groups

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


Active Travel Working Group


Active Travel Working Group


Councillor Tony Hathway gave an update on what has happened since the last meeting.


He highlighted that the areas of interest have grown and they would like to spread the meetings out to include the whole community and to encourage everyone to get involved as a general member of the public.


He highlighted the following key areas of interest:


·     Ramblers

·     Cyclists

·     Horse riders

·     Dog walkers

·     Bus users

·     People with mobility problems


Councillor Hathway mentioned that there would be a meeting next Tuesday evening, 7 May 2024 at 7pm at the Venue Club in Wells if anyone would like to attend.


The following would be discussed at that meeting:


1.        Priority work which needed to be done will be identified.

·         A list must to be made of key areas of action to ascertain which paths need to be given attention.

·         Paths have been washed away by the storm water, bridges have been lifted, etc. which are just some of the issues as a result of the flooding.

·         Looking at the water courses.

2.       The Strawberry line running through the LCN. In the end it will run from Cheddar through to Shepton Mallet. A few gaps need to be filled, but work on that is progressing.

3.       Trying to get links to the Strawberry line for those not living close to it.

·         To find out what people’s aspirations are for the future.

·         Get from village to village without going on the road. For example, across Chew Valley Lake over the top of the Mendips.

4.       How these aspirations are going to be funded.

·          Grants.

·          S106 money which was used for planning applications.

·             Volunteer ‘co-operatives’ who produce products at much lower cost.


Flood Working Group


Flood Working Group


Terena Isaacs gave her update.


She highlighted:


§  They had also set up a working group for flooding.

§  They had their initial meeting on teams and they were joined by Paul Edison and Bel Deering as part of their civil contingency team. There were lots of questions asked and answered, for example, tree planting schemes, rain gauges and who was responsible for blocked rivers (the land owner’s responsibility).

§  Moving forward with this group, there will be an email sent out in due course from the new person who is going to be taking over from Terena , in the next month or so.



Highways and Traffic Working Group


Highways and Traffic Working Group


The Chair gave his update on the Highways and Traffic Working Group highlighting:


·     They met on 29 April in Wells Town Hall and there were 5 highways officers present including Andrew Turner, Strategic Manager Highways.

·     The Highways team had a pilot study in relation to highway stewardship running on Exmoor for a couple of years. There were issues which came out of that such as parish expectations differed widely from what Somerset had the ability to deliver.

·     It was suggested that the Parish Steward Scheme, which they had invited people to look into, (an approximately £50 000 per year role) should be taken up across a LCN or a division. It was common knowledge that the Parish precepts were low and this needed to be discussed further. If the amount need could be reached, the service would, nevertheless, still continue, for example by buying the service as and when it was needed.

·     Bus users and road closures were discussed as notifications of works to take place were advised at the last minute. This was disruptive and needed to be co-ordinated properly so people knew where the temporary bus stop had been placed. Notices needed to be distributed and could be found at Causeway, which showed all works up to three months in advance, who was doing them and where the diversion was.

·     It was discussed that roadside ditch clearing’s budget had significantly reduced from 2007 to today for the whole county. The Highway department were under a lot of pressure to carry out their statutory functions.

·     White Lining on border junctions was another one whose budget had been significantly reduced.

·     It was discussed to communicate this to the community so that they may realise the pressures the highway department were under and, hopefully, they would then be more tolerant.

·     Blocked gullies were a problem, which the new contractor, Kier, needed to investigate once reported and if deemed a flooding issue take action on them. Kier, were doing their best to catch up taking up this service whilst the previous contractor wound down. 

·     The Statutory duty of inspection of roads was discussed. Town centres, A and B roads were subject to monthly inspections, minor roads, six monthly inspections and small country lanes, yearly inspections.

·     Double white lining was debated on A roads but it was agreed that this was not necessary as you should not be overtaking when the speed limit was 30.

·     A highway meeting will be held in 3 months’ time and councillors and officers would be invited if there were certain things on the agenda to which their expertise were relevant.




Question and Answer session


Police and Forestry England regarding Rave issues in Wells and Rural LCN area


The Police and Forestry England answered questions regarding the current situation following several illegal raves in a similar area of the Mendip Hills, in Stockhill Woods.


Residents raised the following concerns:


·     The loud music from the raves which impacted on the wellbeing of the residents.

·     Beth Brennan recounted that she had called the police during a rave on two separate occasions, and they did not stop the events.

·     Police could not stop rave goers climbing over crime scene ‘do not enter’ tape put at the bottom of her driveway to prevent rave goers using their driveway to get to the forest.

·     Taxis and other cars pulled into their driveway to drop people off.

·     On one occasion a large patch of human blood was found on one of the paths, which was reported, but never cleaned up.

·     Angie Brennan, Beth Brennan’s mother, saw fires lit under trees and pointed out that this could cause a wildfire.

·     The damage to property from the partygoers when they crossed private land to get to their venue by leaving gates open and animals getting out.

·     Donna Morrison, who ran holiday cottages in the mendip hills, an area of outstanding natural beauty, related the negative impact the raves had on her business when people mentioned the raves were a nuisance in reviews online.

·     The possible harm to youth and their wellbeing as they were out in the open at night and usually wearing dark clothing.

·     The raves took place in a wider area spilling over into Harptree woods and Rowberrow and they were taking place more often.

·     Vehicles which were abandoned after raves, including one which had been reported in the middle of chew but remained in situ. The police agreed to have a look at removing this and they requested the “what three words” be sent to them. 

·     Forestry England agreed that they could do everything possible to secure the forests but unless the police took action to convey that they were not going to tolerate the raves, they would continue.

·     John king mentioned that when they have phoned the police, they had turned up in a car and merely sat on the side of the road but had not done anything.


The residents further asked about:


·     The possibility of confiscating equipment and the issues surrounding this.

·     The possibility of arresting offenders and the issues surrounding this.

·     Using technology and/or drones to block noise making equipment.

·     Reactions to late night calls complaining about noise whilst the raves were in progress.

·     The large amount of complaints parish councillors received from residents regarding the raves.

·     Administering breathalyser tests.

·     Informing the wider public in general of the negative impact of the raves.

PC Simon Lancey and PCSO Jason Wyatt answered questions and in summary explained the current policing situation of the force, the order of events when a call came in reporting an illegal gathering, the command and control measures and decision making that took place and their desire to work closely with local residents to, where possible,  ...  view the full minutes text for item 45.


Planning for future meetings


It was agreed that future meetings would include:


·     Inviting the police to the Annual General Meeting (AGM).

·     Dicsusion at the AGM regarding a forward plan there will be an annual report which will give a review of activity and action in year 1 of the LCN.

·      Topics raised by participants and the general public who are encouraged to participate in the discussion at the AGM to inform future discussion topics.



Action and next steps?


Dates of future meetings


AGM 4th July 2024.