Agenda and minutes

Venue: The Guildhall, Fore Street, Chard TA20 1PP. View directions

Contact: Jo Morris, Case Officer - 01935 462055  Email:

No. Item


Minutes of Previous Meeting

To approve as a correct record the minutes of the previous meeting held on 20 July 2022.  The draft minutes can be viewed at:



The minutes of the meeting held on 20 July 2022 were approved as a correct record and were signed by the Chairman.


Apologies for Absence


Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Martin Carnell, Jenny Kenton, Tricia O’Brien and Oliver Patrick.


Declarations of Interest

In accordance with the Council's current Code of Conduct (as amended 26 February 2015), which includes all the provisions relating to Disclosable Pecuniary Interests (DPI), personal and prejudicial interests, Members are asked to declare any DPI and also any personal interests (and whether or not such personal interests are also "prejudicial") in relation to any matter on the agenda for this meeting.

Members are reminded that they need to declare the fact that they are also a member of a County, Town or Parish Council as a Personal Interest.  Where you are also a member of Somerset County Council and/or a Town or Parish Council within South Somerset you must declare a prejudicial interest in any business on the agenda where there is a financial benefit or gain or advantage to Somerset County Council and/or a Town or Parish Council which would be at the cost or to the financial disadvantage of South Somerset District Council. 

Planning Applications Referred to the Regulation Committee

The following members of this Committee are also members of the Council's Regulation Committee:

Councillors Jason Baker, Paul Maxwell, Sue Osborne and Martin Wale.

Where planning applications are referred by this Committee to the Regulation Committee for determination, Members of the Regulation Committee can participate and vote on these items at the Area Committee and at Regulation Committee.  In these cases the Council's decision-making process is not complete until the application is determined by the Regulation Committee.  Members of the Regulation Committee retain an open mind and will not finalise their position until the Regulation Committee.  They will also consider the matter at Regulation Committee as Members of that Committee and not as representatives of the Area Committee.


Councillor Val Keitch declared a personal interest in Agenda Item 7 – Ilminster Flooding Update, as a member of Ilminster Town Council.


Councillors Jason Baker and Dave Bulmer declared personal interests in Agenda Item 8 - Verbal Update on Chard Regeneration and Agenda Item 9 – Verbal Update on Chard Eastern Development Eastern Relief Road, as members of Chard Town Council.


Date and Venue for Next Meeting

Councillors are requested to note that the next Area West Committee meeting is scheduled to be held at The Guildhall, Chard on Wednesday 16th November 2022 at 5.30pm



Members noted that the next meeting of the Area West Committee was scheduled to be held on Wednesday 16th November 2022 at 5.30pm at The Guildhall, Chard.


Public Question Time

This is a chance to ask questions, make comments and raise matters of concern.

Parish/Town Councils may also wish to use this opportunity to ask for the District Council’s support on any matter of particular concern to their Parish/Town.

Anyone wishing to raise matters in relation to items on the agenda may do so at the time the item is considered.


The Committee was addressed by a member of the public in relation to the Chard Future Development Strategy which he believed was not fit for purpose.  He had written a report on the findings of the plan which he felt contained no future strategy and was entirely retrospective.  Subsequently, he had met with the Chairman of Area West and the Acting Director – Place and Recovery to discuss his concerns.  He wanted Chard to grow and develop and have a variety of amenities it didn’t currently have such as a sports facility.  He asked for an update on how the Chard Future Development Strategy had evolved in the last seven months.


In response, the Acting Director – Place and Recovery explained that different parts of the Strategy were being progressed at different speeds depending on priorities, but work was being undertaken in all the key areas.  He was intending to provide an update on the progress made in the first year of the Action Plan, dependent upon priorities and that some actions would be for the new Somerset Council to progress.  As the plan covered the short term and the longer term, some of the items and actions would be done in months and some would take years and be handed over to the new authority to take forward.


In response to a further question, the Acting Director – Place and Recovery confirmed that the Action Plan would be monitored and updated.


Chairman's Announcements


The Chairman made no announcements.


Ilminster Flooding Update pdf icon PDF 272 KB

Additional documents:


The Strategic Manager – Somerset County Council introduced himself to the Committee and outlined his role at Somerset County Council.  He explained that the Section 19 Flood Investigation report produced following the extreme weather event in and around Ilminster on 20th October 2021 was being presented to the Committee as part of the consultation process.


The Strategic Manager gave a powerpoint presentation which covered the following areas:


·         What is a Section 19?

·         Section 19 at Somerset County Council

·         Purpose of the report

·         The Event and impacted areas in Ilminster

·         Impacted areas in Sea and Dowlish Ford

·         Ilminster and Sea – Information Gathering

- Integrated Catchment Study completed in 21/22 and awaiting sign off

- 10 November – multi agency meeting held

- Community drop-in event 17th November – multi agency

- Multi agency debrief 29th November

- Working Group established - weekly meetings (now monthly) – led by EA with LLFA attendance

·         Recommendations

- Local Resilience Group and Local Resilience Plan

- Liaison with local landowners

- Potential for NFM schemes

- Education of Riparian Responsibilities

- Modelling to include fluvial and surface water and the interaction between the two

- Auditing of gulley clearing regime

·         Next Steps

- Finalise consultation and publish S19

- Continue to develop Ilminster Flood Action Plan with Town Council and EA

- Liaise with stakeholders on delivering recommendations incl. funding

- Work with EA on Integrated Catchment Study

·         Comments and feedback on the draft S19 report required by Friday 18th November


During the discussion, various comments were made by members which included the following:


·         What actions had been taken forward following the Section 19 report produced in 2017? There were still issues with the bund around the park homes and gulley clearing. 

·         There was a lack of faith in the actions being taken forward. 

·         It was likely that significant engineering works were required to address a lot of the problems.  Positive action needed to happen as time was of the essence as a similar event could happen again soon.

·         The Lead Local Flood Authority should be liaising with stakeholders and riparian land owners.

·         Cllr. Sue Osborne was a member of the Ilminster Flooding Group and had recently attended a meeting.  The SSDC Scrutiny Task and Finish Group would be providing comments on the S19 report.

·         When would the results of the bid for a Feasibility Study be known?

·         Assurances were sought that the bund would be investigated and that funding would be released to carry out maintenance.

·         The reason for flooding in Horton in 2012 was due to unattended gullies.  The Action Plan should maximise the existing drainage channels.  Liaising with town and parish councils was suggested as they were more aware of issues.  A request was made for monthly updates on what work is intended and the work being undertaken.

·         As a result of the flooding in Chard and Ilminster local communities have come together to look after themselves and have done a lot of work that needs to  ...  view the full minutes text for item 374.


Verbal Update on Chard Regeneration pdf icon PDF 114 KB


The Committee was addressed by a representative of Chard Area Resilience Group, Residents for a Better Chard and Stop Flooding Chard.  He noted that the Forward Plan stated that verbal updates on Chard Regeneration would be given and asked for written reports to be provided in order for the Council to be seen to be open, accountable and transparent.  He said that CARG a constituted group of residents had access to significant expertise in regeneration and were willing to be involved in aspirations, community engagement and supportive of appropriate measures in Chard to address economic and social decline.  He asked for a future written report to include details of the budget, project brief and list of works outstanding together with timescales for completion as well as how the project would be developed and whether or not the Council was willing to engage in constructive debate with the local community to reflect on the projects so far and identify ways forward.


The Acting Director – Place and Recovery referred to his update focussing on the public realm works and the centre of Chard works.  He informed members of the following:


·         The Fore Street pavement build out had been removed.

·         Final snagging works were currently being undertaken and would be completed by the end of October.

·         The decorative plate at the Eastern Gateway was awaiting delivery and would be fitted in the coming weeks.

·         12 business properties in the centre of Chard had expressed an interest in grants to improve their shopfronts.

·         Early discussions were being held with an interested party over the future of Boden Mill which may include the future of Building 11.


During the discussion, some of the Chard members felt that it was important for officers to engage with the local community.


At the conclusion of the item, members were content to note the update provided by the Acting Director - Place & Recovery.


Verbal Update on Chard Eastern Development Area Eastern Relief Road pdf icon PDF 116 KB


The Committee was addressed by a representative of Chard Area Resilience Group, Residents for a Better Chard and Stop Flooding Chard.  He commented that it would have been useful to receive a written report.  He said that local residents were extremely concerned that the public impact of the relief road still blighted properties and threatened to devalue, not improve, residential amenity and have a large environmental impact. Tatworth and Forton Parish Council had raised concerns about the proposed layout, lack of independent traffic evaluation, insufficient health and education provision and community resources.  Chard Town Council recommended a full evaluation of the traffic assessment be carried out and brought up to date.  The Lead Local Flood Authority had stated that the layout towards the A358 was likely to be overwhelmed by stormwater.  There was also evidence that recent planning approvals were exacerbating flooding in the area and the proposals were over green areas that currently flooded.  The Police had also queried the design strategy at the A358 end and the Highway Authority had issues with the current form.  He suggested that meetings be held with the public and local groups and said that Chard Area Resilience Group, Residents for a Better Chard and Stop Flooding Chard were willing to engage and be involved.  He also questioned whether Chard still needed a relief road and felt traffic problems could be resolved in another way.


The Acting Director – Place and Recovery explained that the South Somerset Local Plan identified the need for an eastern relief road to relieve town centre traffic as more houses were built up to 2028 in Chard.  The indicative route around the reservoir was shown to the south of the nature reserve in the Touches Lane vicinity.  He acknowledged that the environment and community views were very important and was the reason further work was being undertaken.  He said that before any construction could occur, the necessary planning applications and permissions were required including any necessary environmental works. There would also need to be specific public consultation on any planning applications.  The Acting Director – Place and Recovery advised that the potential alignment options work being undertaken, which was work in progress at the current time would inform those future planning application decisions and the Local Plan Review which would both be carried forward to the new Somerset Council from April 2023.  Some environmental assessment work had been commissioned and this would be carried out over the coming months to allow a better understanding of the potential environmental impacts and concerns around the alignment of the eastern relief road including sections around the reservoir.


The Acting Director – Place & Recovery responded to comments and questions made by members which included the following:


·         It would be for the new Somerset Council to decide how to progress forward with a new Local Plan for Somerset within a timescale of five years.  In the meantime, the existing Local Plans would still operate.

·         South Somerset District Council had five months remaining  ...  view the full minutes text for item 376.


Area West Committee Forward Plan pdf icon PDF 334 KB


Members were disappointed to see the Section 106 report as being listed on the Forward Plan as a report to be confirmed and said that the Town & Parish Councils had been notified of what funding they would be receiving/have received but the Area Committees had not seen any reports or figures.  A request was also made for an update on CIL funding.


Members also made a request for a Listed Buildings at Risk report for key buildings located in Area West.  Members commented that the report submitted to Full Council did not contain the level of detail that was normally included in previous reports to Area West Committee.


At the conclusion of the item, members were content to note the Forward Plan.


RESOLVED:  That the Area West Committee Forward Plan be noted.


Planning Appeals pdf icon PDF 218 KB

Additional documents:


Members were content to note the report that detailed the planning appeals which had been lodged, dismissed or allowed.


Schedule of Planning Applications to be Determined by Committee pdf icon PDF 125 KB


Members noted the Schedule of Planning Applications.


Planning Application 22/01623/FUL - The Swan Inn, Lower Street, Merriott, Somerset, TA16 5NN pdf icon PDF 413 KB


Application Proposal: Change of use of Public House (Sui Generis use) to dwelling (Use Class C3)


The Planning Specialist corrected an error in the report and advised that the site was located to the eastern side of Lower Street and not the west as stated in the report.  He also advised that there was a paragraph in the report that related to the provision of an ecology survey and that this should be discounted and was not relevant to this planning application.


The Planning Specialist advised that the application was solely to consider the change of use and no external alterations or other operational development was proposed as part of the application.  With the aid of a powerpoint presentation, he outlined the application site and the surrounding area, the existing plans and proposed plans.  Photographs of the site were also shown.  He highlighted to members the key considerations which were principle of development, siting, design and visual/landscape impact, impact on residential amenity, access and highways safety and Ecology and Habitat Regulations.


 In conclusion, the Planning Specialist advised that the loss of the existing public house and accommodation was considered to be acceptable as it should not affect the village's vitality and viability, or community vibrancy given there was alternative provision of equal or better quality.  The proposal would make a limited contribution to housing supply in a broadly sustainable location.  The proposal would not harm the significance of the listed building and the character and appearance of the conservation area, there were no undue concerns regarding residential amenity, highway safety and ecology or designated sites, therefore the application was recommended for approval subject to conditions.


In response to questions from members, the Planning Specialist advised that:


·         The Swan Inn had been closed since 2016.

·         The landlords were currently living at the premises.

·         If the Committee were minded to grant permission and this was implemented, planning permission would be required for the premises to operate as a public house again.

·         Local Plan Policy EP15 set out the criteria that needed to be met.  Both did not need to be satisfied it was either or both. The claim from the applicant that the business was unviable was acknowledged but the information provided was out of date, therefore it could only be given limited weight.

·         A material change of use still constituted development.

·         The lawful use of the site was a public house so it could not be sold on the open market as a dwelling.  The living accommodation above was ancillary to the use of the public house. 


The Committee was addressed by the applicant.  He advised that The Swan Inn was an historic and cherished building and referred to there being no recent evidence of re-investment, upkeeping or profitability.  He said that the village was notified of his intention to sell the lease of the premises in June 2016 due to the business no longer being viable and explained the circumstances which led to the closure of the public house in  ...  view the full minutes text for item 380.


Planning Application 22/01441/FUL - Lavington, Furnham Road, Chard, Somerset, TA20 1AX pdf icon PDF 472 KB


Application Proposal: Change of use from a dwellinghouse (Use Class C3) to a chiropractic and manual therapy clinic (Use Class E(e))


The Planning Specialist updated members that the site was located within the Somerset Levels and Moors Catchment and not the River Axe as stated in the report although this did not have any bearing on the recommendation outlined in the report. 


The Planning Specialist presented the application as outlined in the agenda report and with the aid of a powerpoint presentation proceeded to show the application site and the surrounding area, the existing and proposed floor plans and elevations.  The proposal included provision of additional parking spaces to accommodate the proposed use.  There would also be minor changes to windows and doors and replacement fascia and guttering.  Members were asked to note that there was some advertising proposed to the western gable end and should planning permission be granted this would require advertisement consent and an informative would be imposed to advise the applicant.  The Planning Specialist showed a number of photographs illustrating the change in levels on the site and the access.  He outlined the key considerations which were principle of development, siting, design and visual impact, impact on residential amenity, access and highway safety and ecology and habitat regulations.  He advised that the access was considered to be sub-standard and the application had not demonstrated an ability to achieve the requisite visibility splays on land within the control of the applicant or highways land to allow safe access and egress.  The proposal would result in an intensification of a wholly substandard access and would prejudice the safe flow of vehicle traffic along the A358.  He therefore recommended that the application be refused.


In response to questions from members, the Planning Specialist advised that:


·         The previous application that was refused was for the same proposal as the current application.  The reasons for refusal related to the loss of housing and not being able to demonstrate safe and efficient access onto the A358. 

·         The grassland was in the control of the applicant.

·         Vehicles not being able to exit the site in forward gear had not been raised as an issue by Highways however, the Planning Specialist was of the view that vehicles would be able to exit the site in forward gear.  The only issue was the inability to achieve requisite visibility splays.

·         Officers had come to the view that providing the new use would outweigh the loss of a single dwelling. 

·         Parking arrangements was not considered to be an issue.

·         The applicants operated an existing business in Chard.

·         The application was for change of use only.  There was no operational development proposed that would increase the risk of flooding.

·         A condition could be added to mitigate surface water run off in the car park.

·         The garage would be removed.

·         The current property had two bedrooms.

·         At the present time there were no restrictions on parking at the property.


The Committee was addressed by an objector.  Concerns related to  ...  view the full minutes text for item 381.