Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: Draycott Memorial Hall (Corrick Room) Latches Lane, Draycott, Cheddar, Somerset, BS27 3UE

Contact: LCN Team Email: 

No. Item


Apologies for Absence

To receive any apologies for absence.


Apologies for absence were received from Councillor Heather Shearer (Somerset Council), Gemma Gaut (Shipham PC), Delia McCarthy (Compton Bishop Parish Council) and Jim Hardcastle (Mendip Hills National Landscape).



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 Somerset Councillors present at the meeting.



Agree the notes of the last Meeting pdf icon PDF 106 KB

To approve the notes from the previous meeting.


The Chair advised that Bob Abbott had requested that the meeting notes include his comments at note number 32: Discussion: Highway Steward proposal, regarding the value of working with the Council to employ an experienced contractor.


With this amendment agreed, the notes of the previous LCN meeting held on 06 March 2024 were confirmed as a correct record of the meeting.



Actions from last meeting


The Chair advised that the first meeting of the Highway Working Group would be held on Thursday 18 April at 10.00am in Axbridge Town Hall. 



Public Questions (not covered by 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 no questions from the public present.



Revisiting our priority themes


The Chair advised that following priority themes had been identified and prioritised at their October meeting:-


Transport (inc Highways, Road Maintenance, Active Travel, Local Transport Solutions and Road Safety) – 24

Planning Enforcement – 14

Climate & Environment – 9

Access to Services – 8

Housing – 6

Affordable Housing – 5

Community Safety - 4

Communications – 2

Economy – 1


She noted that a Highways Working Group had now been set up and the LCN would seek to address Planning at a later date as there was still a great deal of change taking place. Therefore, the Chair confirmed that the two priority themes to be taken forward were:


·       Climate and Environment

·       Access to Services



Climate and Environment


The Chair invited Councillor Ros Wyke, the Lead Member for Economic Development, Planning and Assets, to address the meeting regarding the Climate and Environment theme.


Councillor Ros Wyke advised that the previous Somerset County Council had declared a Climate Emergency and had aspired to be carbon neutral by 2030.  The Council were now reviewing this and required support from central government.  She also advised that legislation on biodiversity net gain was being introduced for major and minor building projects (although it did not affect individual householders).  The concept of the scheme was to take a baseline of a development site prior to development and then create a 10% uplift on that biodiversity at the end of the build.  It was a way of creating and improving biodiversity by requiring development to have a positive impact (‘net gain’) on biodiversity.  There were options for developers to buy credits if they were unable to meet the 10% uplift on the site.  The scheme would add to the cost of developing a site and developers would need to take account of it.

There was also the issue of high levels of phosphates on the Somerset Levels and Moor Ramsar site due to agricultural sources and waste water from households.  The protected areas were currently at risk due to excessive levels of phosphates entering the water system and impacting wildlife.   Development had been held up as sites needed phosphate assessment and mitigation and this equated to 18,000 houses in Somerset.  The Council had successfully bid for £10M funding to install nutrient mitigation measures to address the issue.  It was hoped this would unlock future housing development.   Other helpful initiatives happening in the county were re-wilding projects, tree planting, farmland taken out of production and working with the Quantock Hills area of National Landscape towards a scheme of regenerative farming.


In response to a question, Councillor Wyke advised that housing developers would submit a biodiversity net gain assessment, prior to development, completed by an qualified ecologist.  The assessment would be reviewed by the Council’s own ecologists and conditions would be attached to any development site.  There would also be post-development reviews.



Discussion - what are the issues for the LCN regarding our priority themes pdf icon PDF 832 KB

Additional documents:


Doreen Smith of Connect Somerset invited those present to discuss in groups the topic:


·       Access to Services


The groups were invited to discuss the following questions:


1.      Why is access to services important? (both clinical and non-clinical)

2.     What are the benefits to accessing local services?

3.     How do we identify where our community-based assets are?

4.    How do we take our learning forward?


The meeting divided into group discussions.


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



Access to Services


Following the group discussion, feedback was given from each group:


Question 1: Why is access to services important? (both clinical and non-clinical)


·       This was a predominantly rural area and so access was restricted

·       Local Councillors should know where to signpost residents

·       Community Groups should step up

·       Village Agents were key to help to identify need

·       Wedmore had lots of community groups who worked together to point people in the right direction.

·       It would be good for the groups to come together so they all knew where to signpost people

·       Let people new to the area know what is available

·       Some people did not want to get involved

·       Avoid loneliness

·       There was a Good Neighbour scheme operating in Axbridge

·       Lack of transport was an issue

·       Some people needed face to face contact

·       On-line options were not accessible to all people

·       Word of mouth and trusted sources were invaluable to refer individuals

·       Local magazines and local knowledge were useful for referrals

·       Sometimes individuals did not know what services they needed

·       This was a rural community and so there would be need to travel to access some services


Question 2: What are the benefits to accessing local services?


·       Many elderly people were single and at risk of loneliness and isolation

·       Shopping locally kept spend locally

·       Local warm spaces had been set up

·       Accessing services locally could reduce dormitory towns/villages

·       Intergenerational matters

·       Building stronger communities

·       Enabling residents to stay in their own homes

·       Keeps rural communities vibrant & viable

·       Allows people to work from home

·       Important to enable independence for Carers

·       Early access to services prevents potential crises later on.



Question 3: How do we identify where our community-based assets are?


·       A central information point was needed

·       Town Councils should have details of local groups on their websites and a diary of events

·       Notice boards in rural communities

·       Village Magazines

·       Word of mouth, local people & local Knowledge

·       Active Church groups

·       Notices on lamp posts

·       Facebook and Nextdoor (

·       Womens Institute (WI) and Royal British Legion

·       Village Shops and Village Halls and local post delivery people

·       Warm welcome

·       Useful to have a local directory (The Space has a local directory:

·       Helpful to have the services verified in some way


Question 4: How do we take our learning forward?


·       Work with Village Agents and directories like the Link Church Magazine and the Polden Post as examples

·       Parish Plans could be used to draw information together

·       There were benefits in volunteering

·       Helpful to know what meeting space is available

·       Caution that directories could quickly become out of date

·       The Link Church magazine was kept up to date by local residents and local advertising within it had local economic benefits

·       Possible to consider a County page or central postbox



Next steps/action points arising from discussion


Doreen Smith of Connect Somerset thanked all for their feedback and she said she would collate the information.  She noted that she was meeting with the Village Agents shortly and she hoped to see positive movement going forward.


The Chair advised that the next step would be to form an Access to Services Working Group to progress the points made for the wellbeing of the local communities.


During discussions the low attendance at the LCN meetings, and the need to look at enabling the LCN to be effective and have achievements and outcomes for local communities was discussed.  It was noted that the LCNs were still in their infancy and actions were being achieved.  It was suggested that other organisations could be drawn in to help going forward.


It was also suggested that successes at other LCN areas could be reported at the LCN AGM as an inspiration to the group.



Date of AGM


The Chair noted that the Annual General Meeting of the Cheddar and Axbridge Local Community Network would take place on 18 July at 6.30pm (venue to be confirmed).