Agenda item

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 on Agenda Item 10 - Next Steps following the Judicial Review re Planning Application 21/02654/FUL.  Points mentioned included the following:

·         It had been reported in the Leveller that South Somerset District Council had been unlawful in their decision to accept plans to build a carnival park because some councillors had failed to excuse themselves resulting in a legal bill being charged to taxpayers.

·         It was hard to believe that councillors could not see the problem of voting for proposals they were personally involved with outside of their council duties.

·         The Council Code of Conduct stated in its general obligations when undertaking council business that you must not use or attempt to use your position as a member improperly to give yourselves or anyone an advantage or disadvantage.  It also stated not to conduct yourselves in a manner which could reasonably be regarded as bringing your office or council into disrepute.

·         The councillors involved were aware of the rules around conflict of interest and had received training on this.

·         Does this committee believe that it is appropriate for these individuals to continue to sit on council planning committees and what steps will be taken to taxpayers going forward.


The Committee was then addressed by a representative of Kingstone Parish Meeting on Agenda Item 10.  Points mentioned included the following:

·         Kingstone and the adjoining parishes of Dowlish Wake and Seavington strongly objected to the construction of a 20,000 sq ft warehouse in open countryside.  One of the main objections was the lack of a landscape impact assessment statement.  The Area West Committee had therefore not yet been given essential information to determine the planning application.

·         An independent landscape assessment plan had been commissioned jointly by the three parishes and its conclusion should be heard by the Area West Committee not by the Regulation Committee.  Its summary conclusion stated that the proposed large scale industrial development site which is separated from the local settlement was entirely unsuitable for this isolated location.

·         Area West Committee should be deferred to allow the Committee to undertake a site visit to appreciate the negative impact on the rural character of the area and to also assess the accessibility of another site that has been proposed by Dillington Estates.


A representative on behalf of the Grouped Parish Councils Seavington St Michael and Seavington St Mary also addressed the Committee on Agenda Item 10.  Points mentioned included the following:

·         Request for the planning application to be redetermined by the Area West Committee by councillors who respect the wishes of local rural communities.

·         Concerns about multiple road safety issues including access from all directions to the proposed site, access lanes narrow with few passing places which would lead to conflict with construction traffic and local users.

·         It was hoped that Area West Committee would accept an invitation for a site visit.

·         The busiest carnival construction period clashed with the peak of agricultural activity.

·         Residents were concerned about the increase in traffic that the site would generate.


The Committee was then addressed by a representative from the CPRE on Agenda Item 10. Points mentioned included the following:

·         A letter had been sent to the Monitoring Officer detailing why the planning application should be re-determined by the Area West Committee, and why none of the seven members who will be excluded from participating in the re-determination may participate in the debate this evening relating to this agenda item.

·         There was a legitimate public expectation that the application must be re-determined by the same committee.

·         Members of the Area West Committee had a lawful right to participate in the re-determination and not be unjustifiably silenced or otherwise disadvantaged in doing what they have to do.

·         Four alternative sites offered by Dillington were not disclosed in the Officer’s Report and no evidence had been published showing that a full analysis was made of them. The Area West Committee had therefore not yet been given essential information to determine this application.

·         Dillington were very concerned about so much opposition from the local parish councils and had now proposed an alternative site which the CPRE and the parish councils could support. 

·         Request to defer the re-determination until the end of January, so that there is sufficient time to find a better solution that can be supported by all parties.