MINUTES OF THE ANNUAL PARISH MEETING OF CHARMOUTH
HELD ON THURSDAY 28 APRIL 2016 AT ST ANDREW’S COMMUNITY HALL
66 electors, 9 Councillors, guest speakers, Daryl Turner (County/District Councillor), George Symonds, (District Councillor) were present.
1. The Chair, Peter Noel, welcomed Charmouth parishioners to this year’s Annual Parish Meeting.
2. Apologies were received from Cllrs Paul Oatway and Tim Holmes, as well as Jim Rose and Pauline Berridge. Jim Rose had sent a letter of appreciation for all that the Parish Council has done in support of the Heritage Coast Centre and establishing the good working relationship between the Council and the Centre.
3. The Chair explained that the meeting had been advertised in accordance with the Local Government Act 1972 using the Statutory Notice.
4. The Minutes of last year’s Annual Parish Meeting had been displayed on the website for the last 12 months and were also available around the room. The minutes were agreed as a true record and signed by the Chair.
5. There were no matters arising from the minutes.
6. Peter Noel introduced the 9 Councillors present as well as the Clerk and the new Deputy Clerk.
7. Reports were received from Guest Speakers:
- 1st Charmouth Brownies and Guides (Caroline Davis, Davina Pennells and girls) – gave a slide show presentation of the year’s exciting activities;
· The Bopper Bus Organisation (Mandy Harvey) – gave a heartfelt plea for more helpers to ensure that this well used 13 year old facility does not fold.
· Charmouth Primary School (Adrian Ragbourne, Chair of Governors) – spoke of the events of the last year and the strong links with the community. Peter Noel mentioned that Adrian is also involved with Lyme Development Trust and in this capacity is a very good voice for Charmouth.
8. Neighbourhood Plan – Carole Girling (Chair of the Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group) updated the meeting and stated that they are gradually and steadfastly progressing a Neighbourhood Plan for Charmouth, which is a planning document drawn up by the local community from community views. These will be gathered by way of a questionnaire which will be circulated to all residents from June, with a closing date in October. The questions will be open to allow people to comment fully and the views of everyone of all ages are very important. Ultimately a plan will be drawn up covering the wishes of the village for the next 5-10 years. The Plan needs to be in line with Government and Local Policies and be backed up by evidence. Following a question, it was confirmed that a web page would be available in due course for people to track progress. Peter Noel confirmed that this is a legal document and can only be adopted if it is ratified by 50% of the parishioners that vote at the referendum.
9. Peter Noel, as Chair, reported that it had been an interesting year for the Council with many new Councillors coming on board. He explained that unlike many businesses, the Council has to set budgets for the coming financial year and work within them. All expenditure/actions are agreed by the Council, no one Councillor can make a decision on their own. The Councillors work collectively together and are unpaid volunteers. Steps are being taken to try and bring the Council into modern times by way of a computerised accounting system for example and a great deal of time is spent by Councillors moving projects forward. Peter hoped that the current Council would remain for the next three years and that then there would be an election, rather than a “walk in”. Peter also spoke about the impending devolution within the County and the possibility of two Unitary Authorities with Local Area Boards, based around the 16 principle towns, covering the more local services. Parishes would continue to play an important role.
10. Reports of Committee Chairs
a. In Paul Oatway’s absence, Andy Peters reported, as Vice Chair, on the work of the Foreshore Committee over the last year. He emphasised the installation of a new car park machine which is much more reliable than the old one which was breaking down so often it had been affecting the income. The Beach Management Plan is progressing and will cover all eventualities in advance and avoid the need for lengthy permissions from outside agencies when urgent works are required, the diversion of the river being a prime example.
b. Andy Peters continued by reporting as Chair of the Playing Field and Cemetery Committee which had recently been renamed to include “Street Management”. In this connection, a small sub-committee had been formed to look at speed within the village. The zig zag lines by the crossing had finally been repainted and are being enforced. Lots of maintenance work at the pavilion and playing field is being planned.
c. David Clifford reported as Chair of the Works Committee and explained that this Committee had been established to plan, on a monthly basis, the many number of projects across all disciplines of the Council and liaise with the workforce to ensure they are not pulled in all different directions. David wanted to apologise on behalf of the Council that the steps to the beach had not yet been completed as this work had taken longer than anticipated due, amongst other things, to a series of late storms and extremely high tides. The advantage of using the “2 hour drying” cement is that it sets very quickly but it also is very difficult and timely to remove the old cracked cement first. Alternative ways of managing the access to the beach will be looked at as soon as possible and may well involve something which can be removed in the winter.
· A question was received from Helen Hughes regarding timescales for the completion of the steps? David Clifford stated that no date is available at the moment.
d. David Clifford, as Vice Chair of the Planning Committee, continued in Paul Oatway’s absence with the report of the Planning Committee. He explained that each month the Committee looks at any applications and tree surgery applications which have been received and tries to represent residents’ views on these. Plans are researched by all members prior to the meeting and comments are made based on Planning Policies. Sometimes WDDC overrule the Parish’s objections but he assured residents that the Committee do try! The Committee continue to work with Carole and the Steering Group on the Neighbourhood Plan but members of the Planning Committee sit on the Steering Group as members rather than running it.
e. Peter Noel stated that there is also a Tourism Committee which meets quarterly and Deb Gildersleeves had just taken over a Chair of this Committee.
11. Q&A Session – for residents to address the meeting in respect of any matter relevant to the Parish as a whole
· Bob Hughes asked about when any affordable housing is likely to be built? Peter Noel explained that the possibility of setting up a Community Land Trust had been looked into with various potential sites being identified which had subsequently been discounted as unsuitable. It is hoped now that this issue can be included in the Neighbourhood Plan which will be the vehicle for the future. Bob Hughes concluded that there would not be any affordable housing for the next three years.
· John Forsey asked about land identified for housing and whether land to the rear of his house had been identified. He also stated that Charmouth must be the most infilled village is West Dorset. Peter Noel confirmed that it would all be part of the Neighbourhood Plan on which every resident would have a say.
· Roger Dauncey stated that the foreshore area had been a disgusting mess over the Easter weekend with overflowing bins. He asked why the larger wheely bins could not be returned in favour of the three tiny waste bins in situ currently. David Clifford confirmed that this was an issue and would be looked at.
· John Forsey asked about the cost of renewing the access steps to the beach and whether £3000 had been allocated. It was confirmed that up to this sum had been approved to renew the metal work and the concrete. Peter Noel confirmed that the Works Manager had recently resigned.
· A question was asked about Local Area Boards and it was confirmed that they are likely to run the local services which are passed down from the District Councils which would not exist under Unitary Authorities.
12. Peter Noel thanked everyone for coming and the meeting closed at 8.45pm. Coffee was served.