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 19 June 2019


The minutes of the previous meeting held on 19th June 2019 were approved as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.


Apologies for Absence


Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Jason Baker and Martin Wale.


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 and Sue Osborne.

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.


Councillors Val Keitch and Brian Hamilton declared personal interests in Planning Application No. 18/03454/OUT – Land Adj Winterhay Lane Farm, The Beacon, Ilminster, as ward members.


Councillor Paul Maxwell declared a personal interest in Planning Application No. 19/00564/DPO – Moorlands Farm, Broadway, Merriott as the ward member.  


Date and Venue for Next Meeting

Councillors are requested to note that the next Area West Committee meeting is scheduled to be held on Wednesday 21st August 2019 at The Guildhall, Chard.


Members noted that the next meeting of the Area West Committee would be held on Wednesday 21st August 2019 at 5.30pm.  Venue to be confirmed.


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 a planning application for 10 houses in Ashill which was considered by the Area West Committee on 19th June followed by the Regulation Committee on 16th July.  She wished to know on what grounds the Regulation Committee could ignore the guidance set out in Policy EQ3 of the South Somerset Local Plan and advice contained within the NPPF and the South Somerset Heritage Strategy.  She also referred to the Council fulfilling the Council’s 5 year housing supply plan at whatever cost to the environment and local community.


Cllr. Val Keitch, Leader of the Council, agreed to provide a written response to the comments and questions raised.


Chairman's Announcements


The Chairman made the following announcements:


Local Plan drop-ins would take place as follows:


Crewkerne 23rd July 4pm – 7pm

Ilminster 30th July 4pm – 7pm

Chard 8th August 4pm – 7pm


Members were asked to keep Tuesday 3rd September free as there may be an extra Area West Committee followed by Regulation for the Chard Regeneration Project.


Area West - Council Plan Priorities 2020/21 pdf icon PDF 97 KB


The Specialist – Strategic Planning introduced the report which gave a summary of the priorities agreed by members at a recent workshop.  She explained that the priorities that have a wider potential impact for the District would go forward for consideration as a corporate strategic priority in the Council Plan and the other priorities would be developed into the Area West Chapter.   


Members made the following comments:


·         With regard to Crime and Community Safety and the importance of supporting the multi-agency One Team approach, a member advised that Crewkerne have their own community safety group which is part of the Town Council and did not work with the One Team in Chard.

·         The Crime and Community Safety Portfolio would now come under the Leader of the Council.  A recent meeting had been held to look at the Council’s approach and working with the One Teams.

·         Cllr. Linda Vijeh advised that she was an independent member on the Advisory Group for Avon & Somerset Police and invited members to raise any issues to be taken forward to the next meeting.

·         The potential for re-opening Chard Junction and delivering Stop Line Way were issues that should still be given some priority.


The Locality Team Manager explained that following a period of transition, members would now see progress going forward with regard to community safety. It was also important to note that some towns including Crewkerne had taken a Local Action Group approach which was different to the One Team approach operated in other areas.


Members unanimously approved the recommendations of the report.




That the proposed corporate strategic priorities be presented to District Executive for consideration for inclusion in the Council Plan.



That the other priorities raised at the workshop be developed into the Area Chapter in collaboration with the chair of the committee.


(Voting: unanimous)


Area West Committee Forward Plan pdf icon PDF 91 KB


Cllr. Sue Osborne advised that a community grant application would be coming forward hopefully in August from one of her parishes for a porch extension.


Cllr. Linda Vijeh agreed to provide the update on Chard and District Museum Society in December in Cllr. Jenny Kenton’s absence as she was a Trustee.


It was noted that Ilminster Forum and Crewkerne Heritage Centre may no longer require SSDC member representatives but this was still to be formally confirmed.


It was confirmed that quarterly update reports would be given on the Chard Regeneration Scheme.  The next report would be considered at the September Area West Committee.



That the Area West Forward Plan be noted.



Planning Appeals pdf icon PDF 60 KB


Members noted the report detailing two planning appeals that had been received.


Schedule of Planning Applications to be Determined by Committee pdf icon PDF 86 KB


Members noted the schedule of planning applications to be determine by the Committee.


Planning Application 18/03454/OUT - Land Adj Winterhay Lane Farm, The Beacon, Ilminster pdf icon PDF 583 KB


Application Proposal: Outline application for the erection of two dwellings with garaging


The Specialist – Development Management presented the application as detailed in the agenda.  She explained that the application was seeking outline planning consent for two dwellings with garaging, with all matters reserved except the access.  She informed members that the existing access was currently used for Winterhay Lane Farm and the site was located on a steeply sloping site.  She displayed an indicative layout and plan of the proposal showing how the development would sit within the landscape.  The main issues to be considered were visual amenity, landscape character and highway safety.  Members were informed that since the publication of the agenda, a Transport Statement had been submitted.  The report addressed the visibility splays and details of trip generations to and from the site.  The Specialist – Development Management indicated that the visibility splays were now achievable based on the information provided, however, the Transport Statement did not provide sufficient details on how the gradient of the access and an access width of 5 metres for the first 6 metres of the access would be achieved.  There was also lack of information with regard to the engineering works.  She concluded that the need for additional housing was outweighed by the adverse impact on the landscape character and character of the area, there was lack of justification and detail of how the access could work and was therefore recommending refusal of the application.


In response to questions from Members, the Specialist – Development Management confirmed:


·         The applicant had not submitted adequate information to show that the access met Somerset County Council standing advice.

·         The access detail had not been requested from the agent because of pre-app discussions, the site was not located for development and the main reason for refusal related to the impact on the character of the area and landscape character.

·         The access could possibility be made safe but the evident to show this had not been provided.  The visibility splays were acceptable but the gradient, getting into the site safely and how the engineering works would impact on the landscape character and character of the area had not been demonstrated.

·         There would need to be space for a car coming in and out of the site.

·         The access was an existing access and could be used.

·         SSDC’s Highway Consultant could not comment on the application as he had carried out pre-app discussions with the application.

·         The two brick pillars at the side were in the ownership of the applicant.  Moving the pillars would make the access wider and would require the hedges to be cut back more.

·         The visibility could be achieved coming out of the site.


The Committee was addressed by two people in opposition to the application.  Concerns raised related to the following:


·         During the construction period the access would be too narrow and steep for delivery vehicles.  Some of the works could only be done by crane from the road and would require  ...  view the full minutes text for item 183.


Planning Application 19/00564/DPO - Moorlands Farm, Broadway, Merriott pdf icon PDF 429 KB

Additional documents:


Application Proposal: Application to vary Section 106 Agreement dated 27 March 2013 between South Somerset District Council and Clipper Development Partners LLP in relation to removing provision for GP surgery and pharmacy


The Specialist – Development Management explained that the application related to land at the former Moorlands Farm, Merriott.  He reminded members that planning permission was granted in March 2013 for a mix of 24 residential units comprising both conversion and new build dwellings, and a GP surgery and pharmacy.  The DPO (Discharge/Variation of Planning Obligation) application was seeking consent to remove Paragraph 7 of the legal agreement which prevented the construction of any other buildings on the medical centre/pharmacy plot of land for a period of 10 years.  The Specialist – Development Management advised that the residential element of the scheme was nearing completion with most of the units now occupied but the medical centre had not been developed.  He referred to the changes in GP provision, recruitment and accessibility to GP’s and advised that the retention and recruitment of GPs was a national issue.  He was not aware of any interest shown in progressing the project in Merriott and was therefore recommending that the DPO application be agreed as it was unlikely that a medical centre would be developed on the site within the 10 years set aside for the plot. 


In response to questions from Members, the Specialist – Development Management confirmed:


·         He was not aware of any ongoing discussions taking place to deliver the project in Merriott.

·         Members needed to consider whether the legal agreement still served a useful purpose.

·         With regard to the covenant on the land, the developer has tried very hard to negotiate the matter however it was a separate issue to the planning process.


The Committee was addressed by the Parish Council representative and a member of the public in objection to the application.  Their comments included:


·         The legal agreement should still stand until the agreed date.

·         Restricted covenant still has 3 ½ years left to run.

·         The Parish Council have been in communication with NHS England, the Clinical Commissioning Group, the local pharmacist and the Ward Member about progressing a scheme.

·         Somerset has been allocated a post under the NHS England enhancement recruitment scheme in a drive to try and increase GPs.

·         An enhanced pharmacy for Merriott would be an alternative.

·         Land should remain as a benefit to the community.

·         Increase in housing in Merriott in the coming year.

·         Increasingly difficult to book a doctor’s appointments at other surgeries.

·         Poor public transport making it difficult for people to access surgeries.


The Committee was then addressed by a member of the public in support of the application.  Comments raised related to the following:


·         Difficulties in recruiting GPs/nurses

·         Not enough parking spaces provided for the centre

·         Not feasible in this area

·         Lack of funding


The Applicant advised that he had received an email from the owners of the land, stating that lines of communication regarding the proposed surgery/pharmacy have always  ...  view the full minutes text for item 184.