Agenda and minutes

Venue: The Guildhall, Chard

Contact: Jo Morris, Case Services Officer (Support Services) - 01935 462055  Email:

No. Item


To approve as a correct record the Minutes of the Previous Meeting held on 19th September 2018


The minutes of the previous meeting held on 19th September were approved as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.



Apologies for Absence


Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Marcus Barrett, Mike Best, Carol Goodall and Martin Wale.


In the absence of the Vice Chair, Cllr. Angie Singleton was elected as Vice Chair for the meeting.


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 Mike Best, Angie Singleton 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.


Cllr. Amanda Broom declared a personal interest in Agenda Item 8 – Town Centre Events Programme Final Evaluation in relation to the Chard Goes Global Event, as the owner of Chard Bookshop.


Cllr. Garry Shortland declared a personal interest in Agenda Item 8 – Town Centre Events Programme Final Evaluation as Chairman of Chard Town Team and a member of Chard Town Council.


Cllrs. Dave Bulmer and Jenny Kenton declared personal interests in Agenda Item 8 – Town Centre Events Programme Final Evaluation, as members of Chard Town Council.


Cllr. Jason Baker declared a personal interest in Agenda Item 8 – Town Centre Events Programme Final Evaluation as Vice Chairman of Chard Town Team and a member of Chard Town Council.


Cllr. Val Keitch declared a personal interest in Agenda Item 9, Ilminster Community Office Impact Assessment and Future Provision for Customer Access, as a member of Ilminster Town Council.




Date and Venue for Next Meeting

Councillors are requested to note that the next Area West Committee meeting of the Area West Committee is scheduled to be held on Wednesday 21st November at 5.30pm at The Guildhall, Chard.


Members noted that the next meeting of the Area West Committee would be held on Wednesday 21st November 2018 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 Chair of Hinton St George Parish Council referred to the questions he had raised at the Full Council meeting in October regarding a planning application in the parish and explained that there were numerous questions that had not been answered. 


The Leader of Council confirmed that officers had made a note of the queries and questions raised at Full Council and that she had provided a written response.  The Portfolio Holder for Strategic Planning (Place Making) said that she would ask officers to revisit the questions once more.


The following question was asked by a member of the public:


In view of the parlous state of public transport in Ilminster would the Committee consider writing to Somerset County Council about the loss of the nippy bus service N10 back in October 2017.  Also, would the Committee bear in mind that South West Coaches would consider taking over the lapsed service, provided the subsidies previously paid to Nippy Bus was paid to them/South West Coaches.  Are the Committee aware that we in Ilminster lost 7 daily services to and from Taunton?


The Chair noted that Somerset County Council were responsible for the provision and funding of bus services and that the Area West Committee had agreed to look at transport links as part of their area priorities.  Cllr. Linda Vijeh, the Somerset County Council Divisional member for Ilminster advised that she would contact officers at SCC to establish the current position.  She noted that a new service had recently been launched to cover the route between Taunton and Ilminster focusing on the villages between the two towns.


Chairman's Announcements


The Chair made no announcements.


Update on Cresta Swimming Pool/Kingfisher Community Pool, Chard pdf icon PDF 59 KB


Councillor Amanda Broom informed members that the Trustees held a public meeting on 10th October and were pleasantly surprised with the positive nature of the meeting, despite the sad outcome of Somerset County Council not agreeing to sell the pool to the community.   At the meeting several people spoke and it was agreed that the Kingfisher Community Pool Group would continue with its key focus of putting pressure on all Councils to ensure that the new pool is built in Chard.  It was also agreed that the community would like to look to run the new pool, as a not for profit organisation and would be expressing a formal interest in due course.


It was noted that one of the Trustees was now a member on the Chard Regeneration Stakeholder Group.


A member referred to the strong support from the local community and said that it was imperative to take the scheme forward as quickly as possible.  It was encouraging that the community wished to play an active part in the running of the new pool.


The Committee was addressed by a member of the public who said that the community were devastated that the pool, which was built by the community for the community would not be handed back to the community.  She commented that swimming was an essential lifesaving skill and must be available to all children.  She said that the community needed to be assured that a new pool would be delivered as part of phase one of the regeneration scheme for Chard.


Cllr. Amanda Broom said that the Trustees were in contact with SCC Councillors to try and ensure they understand the impact of the loss of Chard pool in relation to the National Curriculum.


Members expressed their thanks to Cllr. Amanda Broom and the Kingfisher Community Group for all their hard work.


Town Centre Events Programme Final Evaluation pdf icon PDF 77 KB


The Neighbourhood Development Officer summarised the report.  She explained that the Month of Saturdays event in Chard had been delayed and an alternative event would now be held in December.  She was of the opinion that the grants had been very well received and feedback had indicated that it would either not have been possible to run the event or that the existing event was greatly enhanced by the grant. 


Cllr. Angie Singleton commented that the grants had been well received, enhanced the events provided in Crewkerne and enabled people to stay in the town centre for longer.  She felt that the town centre grants programme was a much better use of the money than offering free car parking before Christmas.


Cllr. Garry Shortland reported that twenty children had attended the Children’s Christmas event organised by Chard Town Team.  The event had enabled parents to spend time shopping in the town.


Cllr. Val Keitch stated that despite efforts being made it was disappointing that no suitable ideas for events or activities had come forward from Ilminster.


Cllr. Jenny Kenton advised that the Month of Saturdays event had been cancelled due to the lack of take up from shopkeepers in the town.


Members were content to note the report.



That the report be noted.



Ilminster Community Office Impact Assessment and Future Provision for Customer Access pdf icon PDF 79 KB


The Deputy Community Office Support Manager summarised the report.  She explained that as part of the lead up to the closure of the Community Office in January a lot of work was undertaken to help customers look at other ways of accessing services.  Following the closure, Ilminster Town Council have provided support to customers and continued to give out leaflets and information.


Members were informed that the District Council had been working with Somerset County Council’s Library Service to look into the possibility of them providing support to access SSDC services at the town’s library which has many more opening hours than the former community office.


It was hoped that a new Customer Access Point would be installed in Crewkerne Community Office during November.


A member commented that the impact of the closure on Ilminster Town Council had not been vast and they have been able to absorb the extra enquiries with the current staffing levels. 



That the report be noted.



Area West Committee - Forward Plan pdf icon PDF 90 KB


The Communities Lead advised that the update report on the Chard Regeneration Town Centre Scheme would come forward to the December meeting.


A member expressed an interest in receiving an annual Historic Buildings at Risk report.



That the Area West Committee Forward Plan be noted.



Planning Appeals pdf icon PDF 59 KB


Members noted the report that detailed a planning appeal that had been received.



Schedule of Planning Applications to be Determined by Committee pdf icon PDF 85 KB


Members noted the schedule of planning applications to be determined at the meeting.



Planning Application 18/00688/OUT** - Land South of Church Street, Merriott pdf icon PDF 757 KB


Application Proposal: Residential development comprising the erection of up to 50 dwelling houses and formation of access


The Area Lead Planner (North & West) updated members with a letter received from a member of the public who was unable to attend the meeting.  Issues raised related to potential harm of overlooking and recent development in the village.


The Area Lead Planner (North & West) presented the report as detailed in the agenda and highlighted the key considerations.  He advised that the application was for outline permission for the erection of up to 50 dwellings and that the access had been removed from the application.  The details of design, layout, property type, numbers etc. would come forward at the reserved matters stage which would be subject to a separate application.


In response to questions, members were informed of the following:


·         The buildings at the top of the site were part of a working farm;

·         The development would not justify a new school.  The requested contribution would go towards Merriott First School which would form part of a legal agreement;

·         There was a bus service available in the village;

·         The Housing Needs Survey was a material consideration and had been approved by the District Council;

·         Due to the Council’s current lack of a 5 year supply of housing, only limited weight could be attached to Policy SS2;

·         It was acceptable for the access to be considered as part of detailed matters;

·         It was confirmed that development had stopped on the Tail Mill site having only sold a few properties.  Some of the more bespoke dwellings on the Moorlands development were taking longer to sell;

·         Acknowledged that Merriott was reaching a position where it was having a fair amount of development.  Members were being asked to assess whether the adverse impact of approval of this scale of development would significantly and demonstrably outweigh the benefits;

·         No weight should be given to the indicative plan as the detail could change and was not for consideration at this stage.


The Committee was addressed by the Chairman of Merriott Parish Council in objection to the application.  Comments expressed related to the following: 

·         Merriott Parish Council had already supported four planning applications and if this application were to be approved the number of dwellings would increase to 192.  It was considered that 25% growth was more than enough;

·         The application did not comply with policy;

·         Affordable Housing should be demonstrated locally;

·         The meadow, hedge and verge formed an important part of the streetscene being the only open land visible from the perimeter roads of the village;

·         The application did not demonstrate local support.


A member of the public made comments in objection to the proposal.  Points raised related to:

·         Proposal higher than the HEELA figure;

·         Concerns over the strategic nature of the site;

·         The school being over capacity and implications of a two tier system;

·         The site could be useful for school playing fields;

·         Further developments in the village were on hold;

·         Lack of local infrastructure.

The Applicant’s Agent  ...  view the full minutes text for item 71.


Planning Application 18/01068/LBC - Tithe Barn, Pye Lane, Forton pdf icon PDF 1008 KB


Application Proposal: The carrying out of various internal and external alterations (part retrospective)


The Planning Officer presented the report as detailed in the agenda and outlined the key considerations.  He explained that the application was a resubmission of an application previously submitted to the Area West Committee in June 2017 to regularise unauthorised retrospective works.


With the aid of slides and photographs, the Planning Officer explained in further detail about the external and internal works undertaken to the building and how they were harmful to the significance of the listed building.  He advised that the contentious elements of the application related to the removal of the staircase from one end of the property, the installation of a new staircase in the centre of the property, alterations to the plan form specifically the removal of the ground floor partition and altered partitions on the first floor. 


The Planning Officer informed members that as there was an objection from Historic England, if the Committee were to approve the application it would need to be referred to the National Planning Casework Unit for them to make the final decision.


In response to member’s questions, the Planning Officer and Conservation Officer advised that:


·         A site visit had been made by the previous Conservation Officer and Leader of the Council between the previous application being refused and the submission of the current application to see if there was any way forward;

·         The applicant had done little to rectify the works apart from the insertion of an abbreviated staircase;

·         Members needed to consider the level of harm against the justification for the works, the duty to protect heritage assets and that the application was retrospective and the precedent for granting consent;                                                                                                                 

·         The building was never a Tithe Barn;

·         The building was originally two semi-detached cottages and was then knocked together as one and then further extensions were undertaken in the 18th century;

·         The staircase was part of the original 16th century plan form and an integral part of the building and formed a significant part of its history.  Without the staircase the building had lost its character and charm;

·         There was no material evidence to prove when the changes to the building took place;

·         The works had harmed the buildings plan form and layout resulting in an awkward layout.  A better solution could have been achieved to maintain the original plan form if the applicant had taken advice from the Council. 


The Committee was addressed by a supporter of the application who was also speaking on behalf of the Applicant.  Points raised included:


·         Extensive research about the property had been undertaken;

·         A Design and Heritage Statement had been produced and submitted with the application;

·         The level of harm was overstated by Historic England and the information was not consistent with the applicant’s knowledge of the building;

·         The property had remained as two dwellings from 1650 until the 1960’s and changed back into a single dwelling before being listed in 1988;

·         There had been at  ...  view the full minutes text for item 72.