MINUTES OF THE ANNUAL PARISH MEETING OF CHARMOUTH
HELD ON WEDNESDAY 24 MAY 2017 AT ST ANDREW’S COMMUNITY HALL
55 electors, 7 Councillors and guest speakers were present. George Symonds, (District Councillor) would be arriving late.
1. The Chair, Peter Noel, welcomed Charmouth parishioners to this year’s Annual Parish Meeting.
2. Apologies were received from Cllrs Martin Sayers and Judith Sheppard, as well as County/District Councillor Daryl Turner and Jeff Prosser.
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 7 Councillors present and highlighted the fact that the Council still has two Councillor vacancies.
7. Reports were received from Guest Speakers:
- 1st Charmouth Scout Group – Explorer Scouts (Melanie Harvey and Scouts) – gave a slide show presentation of the recent camp with the Beavers as well as popular activities;
· Charmouth Heritage Coast Centre (Prof Jim Rose) – gave a brief overview of what the Centre brings to the village and its close links with the Parish Council;
· Charmouth Foreshore Regeneration Project (Simon Williams) – gave an update on how the plan was progressing and that more consultation with the village is planned. It was reported that wifi for the beach area would be included in the project.
· National Trust Golden Cap Estate (Dr Gemma Barron, Ecologist) – gave a slide show presentation on the ecology of the Golden Cap Estate.
9. Peter Noel, as Chair, repeated that the Council is two Councillors short at present and expressed his sadness that the latest space was due to the retirement of Richard Salisbury. Peter is however now very optimistic moving forward, particularly with the change of staff over the past year. Dave Humphrey had been appointed as Facilities Manager and is making a big impact across the parish with his new team: Alan Tootill who joined early in 2016; Sean Kitcher who joined in January 2017, replacing Julie Hulme who had left after many years service to start a new life in France; and Ray Hunt who had once again returned as the Seasonal Beach Attendant for the coming season. They are a very conscientious team and work extremely hard. Melissa Kirkby, the Deputy Clerk, had now been in post for just over a year and had started the CILCA qualification as well as taking significant work load from the Clerk, Lisa Tuck, who is now working less hours. Together with Katherine Townsend, Office Assistant, the admin team is strong and efficient. Peter, himself, was delighted to have been elected as Chair again for the coming year.
10. Reports of Committee Chairs
a. Paul Oatway, as Chair of the Foreshore Committee, reported on the completion and acceptance of the Beach Management Plan which is a 36 page document giving permission to undertake specific tasks without going back to Natural England each time. The last year had been “marking time” to move things forward. It is planned to smarten up the Foreshore and bring it into the 21st Century with cohesion across land owners.
b. In the absence of Martin Sayers, Acting Chair of Playing Field, Cemetery and Street Management Committee, David Clifford reported on the additional dog bins as well as new agreements with the clubs at the playing field. The speed survey had shown general adherence to the 30mph limit although the results of the Neighbourhood Plan would highlight whether there is a bigger issue. The Works team continued to work hard at the Playing Field and on upgrading the equipment. The annual Remembrance Day Parade was once again organised and during the next year it is hoped to work on the pavilion showers.
c. David Clifford reported as Chair of the HR Committee on the change of staff previously highlighted by the Chair of Council. Very good feedback continues to be received about the new Works Team.
11. Q&A Session – for residents to address the meeting in respect of any matter relevant to the Parish as a whole
Q. David Newson commented that the leaflet circulated around the village prior to the meeting was brilliant. He asked about the pedestrian steps at the Foreshore and whose responsibility these were?
A. Paul Oatway confirmed that these had been part of the sea defences originally but responsibility had now been devolved from WDDC to the Parish Council along with the associated costs. Peter Noel explained the line on defending the seafront and how this is not supported although in June the rock armouring would be adjusted to the east of the groyne on the other side of the steps to try and reduce the scouring of concrete from behind the steps.
Q. Bud Morrow stated that the erosion of the deflection steps was happening at a faster rate than ever before with the reinforcing bars now coming through.
A. Paul Oatway confirmed that this was correct and that is why WDDC had agreed to move the rock armouring. Rebuilding the sea defences is not, however, in the current plan - the policy is “day to day” maintenance in the medium term and “nothing” in the longer term. CPC will be requesting the MP to review the Shoreline Management Plan 2 published in 2010/11 and asking that housing and tourism be taken into account as economic benefits.
Q. Clive Randall was seeking a guarantee that residents would have a say in whether the Regeneration Plan should be implemented as, in his opinion, many would not want to see major changes.
A. Paul Oatway and Adrian Ragbourne (Lyme Regis Development Trust) confirmed that the regeneration would not go ahead without public consultation. Adrian also confirmed that wifi at the foreshore would be completely unobtrusive. Paul Oatway confirmed that the whole Council is very protective of the village.
Q. Jane Morrow commended the Facilities Manager and his team that the village is looking better than it has in years. She was however concerned about the area in front of the East Beach Concession which is falling away.
A. Paul Oatway confirmed that Natural England had been contacted to seek permission to make the area safer and cover the exposed concrete. There will not however be any wholesale movement of sand as this is not permitted.
Q. Keith Lander felt that wifi is not necessary on the beach and that, as the Scouts had said earlier, it is good to have activities to keep people away from their phones.
A. Peter Noel stated that it is about convenience and modern life.
Q. Keith Lander asked about the proposed purchase of the URC and what the outcome of the Council’s deliberations was?
A. Peter Noel confirmed that an extra ordinary meeting was held and views of the public considered. Based on this it was not considered a viable proposal for the Council to purchase the URC.
Q. Bob Hughes asked whether, bearing in mind the use of precept funds, the flat alterations at the rear of the Elms when completed, would be let to a Charmouth resident at a reasonable rent.
A. Peter Noel stated that he would sincerely hope so but that legalities needed to be explored.
12. Peter Noel thanked everyone for coming and confirmed that at 11am the following day, a 1 minute silence would be held at the war memorial for the Manchester terror attack victims.
The meeting closed at 9pm. Coffee was served.