Reports from Members
Councillor Tony Capozzoli referred briefly to submitted planning applications in general and ward members being kept informed of applications. He hoped the new authority would be on board as ward members need to be aware of what’s going on in their areas so they can liaise with parish councils.
Councillor Colin Winder noted he had written to the Town Centre Regeneration Board about the grants for work on listed buildings, and whether the relevant listed buildings officer was aware of the grants scheme and was monitoring the works being undertaken. He referred to a recent communication from a member of the public who had been advised they could not submit a complaint about a plastic window that had been installed as the complaint had not been submitted in the right format. He sought reassurance that a conservation officer was aware of all the scaffolding in Wincanton at the moment and the repair works to listed buildings.
He also referred to an ongoing planning appeal for a property in the High Street, Wincanton, He understood the applicant had submitted an appeal on the grounds of non-determination. He noted as a ward member he had not been kept informed on the matter and he was interested to know what defence the planning department would put forward for the case. Councillor Lucy Trimnell also noted there seemed to have been no progress with the particular application. If the matter had not been dealt with by vesting day she asked that as she was one of the unitary members for the ward if she could be kept informed of progress.
Councillor Lucy Trimnell wanted to make others aware that some parishes were experiencing an increase in vandalism. Recently in Bruton some fencing and bins had been vandalised. The incidents had since been repaired and cleared up but at a cost to the Council. She encouraged any similar incidents be reported to the Police.
Councillor Kevin Messenger referred to his own personal experience with a planning application, including pre-application advice and the impact of the phosphates situation. He noted the current timeframes for dealing with some applications was lengthy and caused great stress and worry to applicants. He was of the opinion that any matters that may lead to delays should be highlighted to applicants at the pre-application stage.
Councillor Mike Lewis, noted that with reference to earlier comments raised about listed buildings, that SSDC were currently engaging the services of a Conservation Officer from Somerset West and Taunton Council, and the members may wish to make contact with that officer regarding their concerns.
Councillor Mike Lewis advised he had been informed that the dualling of the A303 between Sparkford and Podimore was on schedule to open in March 2024. He also noted that some parishes were reporting that costs for grass cutting had substantially increased since last year, in one case the costs seemed to have tripled. Apart from seeking other quotes he was unsure what other advice could be offered, but he wanted to make other members aware of the situation that some parishes may be facing for upkeep of their play areas and recreation fields etc.