Agenda and draft minutes
Venue: Ilchester Town Hall, High Street, Ilchester, BA22 8NQ
Contact: LCN Team Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Apologies for Absence
To receive any apologies for absence.
Apologies for absence were received from:
Emma Jayne Hopkins – Yeovil Town Council
Jane Knowles - SASP
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 from Somerset Council Councillors present at the meeting.
To approve the notes from the previous meeting.
The notes of the previous meeting held on 1 November 2023 were approved as a correct record by those present.
Update on Somerset Council's Financial Position
The Chairman introduced Cllr Federica Smith-Roberts (Lead Member for Communities, Housing and Culture) who provided an update on the financial position of Somerset Council. She noted that Somerset Council had declared a financial emergency back in November due to a £100million budget gap for the coming financial year driven by increasing costs particularly in adult services and children and family services. Somerset Council had looked at what services it could continue to provide in the future and there were some difficult decisions to be made. The budget proposals had been published and there was a timetable of meetings to discuss the proposed budgets and where things could be cut or reduced. The Government had announced additional funding of £5million for Somerset but this was not enough to fill the budget gap. The Council were looking for approval to increase Council Tax and to use capital funding. She explained that the Council would be asking for help to deliver some non-statutory services.
During a question and answer session, Cllr Federica Smith-Roberts (Lead Member for Communities, Housing and Culture) and Kate Hellard provided some responses to points of detail. A summary of some of the points and responses are provided below:
· Yeovil Town Council were pursuing many options of looking to run many services including Yeovil Recreation Centre which would come at a cost. Clarification was sought regarding a request made by Yeovil Town Council to Somerset Council to obtain some of the previously earmarked reserves for Yeovil Recreation Centre.
It was confirmed that the earmarked reserves from the four District Councils and Somerset County Council had been looked at by the Executive who agreed that they were not needed and therefore agreed to move those reserves to fund the overspend from the previous financial year, the overspend from the current year and to support the budget for the following year.
Cllr Graham Oakes, Leader of Yeovil Town Council said that he would welcome support from other parish councilsto help fund Yeovil Recreation Centre as it was highlighted that it was not just residents that fall under Yeovil Town Council who use those facilities.
· How did the Council become one when two Councils was the preferred option? Was there a referendum?
The decision was taken by the Ex-Leader of Somerset County Council who asked the Home Secretary at the time in relation to making Somerset unitary. Along that journey, the four District Councils felt that two unitary councils would be the better option and Somerset County Council felt that one unitary council was the better option. Two business cases were put forward and a public consultation exercise was undertaken by the four district councils. The results stated that the people of Somerset would prefer the two Somerset model rather than one. The results were forwarded to the Secretary of State and it was decided that it was the One Somerset case that was going to be implemented.
· What is the budget for LCNs?
LCNs don’t have a budget. There are marked ... view the full minutes text for item 21.
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.
Discussion on What Can Be Achieved Together
The LCN was asked to consider what future topics it wished to discuss and what was important. The following issues were highlighted:
· Buses and bus cuts
· CCTV cuts – it was suggested that this could be discussed at the Anti- Social Behaviour Working Group.
· Likely to be an increase in anti-social behaviour following the budget cuts.
· Octagon Theatre (also about economic regeneration) – there is a lot of support from outside of the town to help facilitate leisure facilities. Possibly look to organise friends of groups/groups of individuals/organisations to come together and offer support.
· Highways – concerns about the state of the roads particularly the issue of potholes.
With regard to the Octagon Theatre, it was noted that conversations were continuing with the Department for Culture, Media and Sport in relation to the grant funding and business cases were being prepared.
It was noted that Somerset Council had approached Avon and Somerset Police Constabulary for additional funding to continue CCTV monitoring, but the request was declined. The Council would be looking for support from the towns to continue the service. It was suggested that the Somerset Police and Crime Commissioner be invited to attend a future meeting of the LCN.
Bel Deering, Community Engagement Officer at Somerset Rivers Authority explained about her role in supporting flood resilience in parishes and towns across the County. She explained about how the Somerset Rivers Authority may be able to help, which included: small grants scheme up to £5,000 to help with flood resilience equipment and sandbags, writing parish emergency plans, training on managing water courses and property level flood resilience. To get in touch with Somerset Rivers Authority please email: email@example.com.
Update from Connectivity and Transport Working Group
Nathan Turnbull, Locality Officer advised that there had been a low response received to joining the Connectivity and Transport Working Group, which had been identified as a key priority at the last meeting. A meeting of the Working Group had not yet been arranged. He was looking for at least six people to join the group.
He asked anyone who was interested in being a member of the Connectivity and Transport Working Group to email: firstname.lastname@example.org. A meeting would be held sometime in February.
Update from Antisocial Behaviour Working Group
Nathan Turnbull, Locality Officer advised that there had also been a low response received to joining the Antisocial Behaviour Working Group, which had been identified as a key priority at the last meeting therefore a meeting had not yet taken place. He asked anyone who was interested in being a member of the Antisocial Behaviour Working Group to email: email@example.com.
It was noted that a meeting of the Antisocial Behaviour Working Group would be held on 7 February 2024 at 2.00pm and would be an online meeting.
Rachel Clark, Neighbourhood Inspector for South Somerset said that she would be happy to get involved and could explain about the Police ASB tools and powers.
Action and Next Steps
The LCN was about bringing people together to make some change and to make things better for everyone. Members of the LCN were encouraged to get involved and join one of the working groups.
It was agreed to invite the Police Crime Commissioner to a future meeting of the Yeovil LCN. Rachel Clark, Neighbourhood Inspector for South Somerset offered her team to attend and give a presentation on policing in the local area.
Dates of Future Meetings
The date of the next meeting of the Yeovil LCN was scheduled to be held on Thursday 7March 2024 at the Council Offices, Brympton Way, Yeovil.
Provisional future date is:
· Wednesday 13 June 2024 (AGM) – venue to be confirmed.
Any suggestions for accessible, low cost public venues with wi-fi capability that could host future LCN meetings were always welcome.
Contact officer for the meeting – LCN team: