Shipton Gorge Parish Council

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SGPC 11 November 2015


WEDNESDAY 11 November 2015

at 7.30pm in Shipton Gorge Village Hall

Open Forum One member of the public had come to the meeting to hear the Cuckoo Lane update. See 16.03

Present Cllr Mary Boughton (Chair) (MB); Cllr Richard Cunningham (V Chair) (RC); Cllr Barbara Chambers (BC), Cllr Hilary Cunningham (HC), Cllr Andrew Fry (AF), Cllr Christine Huxtable (CH), Cllr Gerry Pyke (GP),

In attendance Parish Clerk - Paula Biss (PB), John Russell (JR) District councillor, there were 2 parishioners in attendance.

15.90 Apologies for absence – Alex Drew (AD) who hoped to arrive part way through meeting, Cllr John Porter (JP), Ron Coatsworth (RC)

15.91 Declaration of Interests – There were none.

15.92 There was an amendment to Item 15.76 in the Minutes of the meeting held on 16th September 2015. Otherwise Minutes approved and to be signed by Chairman when amended.  MB

15.93 Chairman’s Report.

It seems weeks ago now, and indeed it is, since the death of Keith Sorrell, who was an active, much respected and appreciated member of this council until his illness earlier in the year.  I am including his passing in my report as I am sure that all councillors, and indeed the village as a whole, would want our appreciation to be recorded in these minutes for posterity.  He will be, and is already, sadly missed.

I have to report that Ernie Thomas, our webmaster, feels it is time for him to retire from his post.  Ernie has been running our website with his usual efficiency since its start and all the village organisations owe him a great debt for the work and dedication he has put into it, from learning the technical information to being punctilious about making sure everything was uploaded to the site on time.  He has agreed to continue until a replacement can be found and I will be putting a request for a new webmaster into the Bride Valley News in December. It was agreed a formal letter of thanks should be sent to ET for his huge efforts over the years keeping the Website up to date. Clerk

I have been keeping in close contact with Dawn Atkins from Dorset County Council, with emails and meetings, over the past month while work has been going on in Cuckoo Lane and also answering various queries on this from the public.  There will be an update later in the meeting.

I’ve had various meetings with the clerk to finalise the agenda and also look at a draft budget for next year.   I’ve had a meeting with Barbara Chambers regarding the Playing Field and also been to the County Council’s depot in Charminster with Chris Huxtable to search out some more, hopefully free, items needed to finalise the fingerposts.  Chris will tell us more about this later.

I have completed a draft parish council entry for the December Bride Valley News, which is attached for your information.  Please have a look and if there are any errors, omissions or additions you have for this let us know at the meeting, when the entry will be reviewed.


Shipton Gorge Parish Council

Village Website

We are saddened to report that Ernie Thomas, our webmaster, feels it is time for him to retire from his post.  Ernie has been running our website with his usual efficiency since its start.  All the village organisations owe him a great debt for the work and dedication he has put into it, from learning the techology needed to being punctilious about making sure everything was uploaded to the site on time.  You will be sorely missed, and a hard act to follow, Ernie so thank you from us all.

Ernie has agreed to continue until a replacement can be found, but we are now looking for a new webmaster to take over the running of the site.  If there is anyone who feels able to take this on or who would like more information, then please contact either myself This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or Alex Drew This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it The website is the main source of information for the village, and for visitors, and with a new website due to go on-line shortly it will be a great time to get involved in this vital village resource.

Meeting agendas and papers

While mentioning the website, we are pleased to let you know that under our new Transparency Code now in place, all agendas and reports for Parish Council meetings will be put onto the website for you to view three days before each meeting, in addition to the usual notices being displayed on the noticeboards.

Neighbourhood Plan

At the Village Fete our vice-chairman Richard Cunningham talked to a number of people about what is entailed in producing a Neighbourhood Plan and the potentially enormous benefits for the village that having this would bring.  Several people expressed an interest in being involved, but if this is to go forward, and we should stress that it is not a parish council project but a community one, then it needs one or more people to drive it and make it happen.  There is funding available to cover costs, which the parish council can apply for, and although the benefits could be enormous, it will be a big project for the village entailing a considerable amount of work.  If any of those who spoke to Richard, or indeed anyone else who is interested, could contact Richard on 897928 or call in and see him at Old Manor Farm for further information, we can then see if this is something that the village can proceed with.

Grit bin – installers wanted !

The parish council is planning to put an extra grit bin at the junction of Rosamond Avenue and Cuckoo Lane and wonders if there is a volunteer who could install it for us rather than having to employ a contractor for this.  If you think you could help, please contact Hilary Cunningham 897928 or the Clerk 898189 – we would be most grateful to you.

Cuckoo Lane re-opened

After over three years everyone will be pleased that Cuckoo lane is re-opened and of course is now a one way lane going upwards from the centre of the village.  During its closure the lane was used a great deal by walkers and so we ask drivers to be aware that as a public highway there will be people walking in the lane and to drive with care.

Next Parish Council meeting

The next Parish Council meeting will be held in the New Year on Wednesday 13th January at 7.30pm in the Village Hall and all are welcome to attend.

Extra to report: MB stated there was again some fly tipping in Barr Lane (approx. 20 sacks).  In the Water Tower field gateway. She is aware of the person doing the tipping and will have a quiet word, meanwhile it will be reported to Council for clearance.  Clerk

Clerks Report

1. Cheques to be approved:


Nantes – Surrender of Lease and Land Registry fees



C Huxtable - Fingerposts



Jewson – Jigsaw blades and screws



C Chambers



M Cheron



St Martins Church-Annual donation


Unanimously agreed

2. Village Green – We have sent Nantes £80.00 for Surrender of Lease and Land Registry. Mailed Nantes on 3 November for update. Transfer was completed in September and paperwork now with the Land Registry for their completion of the transfer which may apparently take a few more weeks.

Information re insurance on Land Acquisitions from Came & Co:

“Over the last six months we have received various enquiries regarding land acquisitions. As soon as a council takes responsibility for any land, the policy will provide cover under the Public Liability section. Prior to taking responsibility for the land, the council should consider the ongoing management of the space, asking

questions such as: Who will be carrying out risk assessments, inspections, maintenance? Does the land have any rights of way, water, trees, fences etc? Whilst we do not normally charge an additional premium,

there may be an additional premium if cover is required for property such as bins, seats and fences”.

3.  Update of Contact list – I still await any corrections/additions to the Village Contact list as requested in my last report. I have attached another list.

4. Application for purchase of grit bin sent to Ron Coatsworth 28 August 2015.  Mail received from RC 24 October 2015. Our allocation is £216.00 plus roll over from last year of £190. I have asked for a proforma invoice from Viatec. However we need a quote also for someone to fix the grit bin and do we need scoops? This was discussed but I don’t think decided upon.   We estimated approx.  £215.00 for this purchase and installation but we will probably have approx. £190 left of this grant.  Ideas please how it can be used?  Information and proforma invoices have to be with Ron by the 20th January 2016. Clerk to follow up revised prices for Village Green fence

5. 2016 Audit – This has one more year to run with BDO and then the Council do not need to have an external audit as we are a small council.  We do however, have to follow the Transparency Code.

6. I have sent Transparency Code to Ernie for inclusion on the Website.

15.94 To consider any other matters arising from the minutes of 8 July 2015.

(i)             Annual Return was displayed for 14 day

(ii)            Thanks were sent for the 3 donations towards new website.

(iii)           Wifi – Village Hall. Nothing heard.

15.95 To consider Budget/Precept 2016/2017

Draft papers of monies committed and suggested precept including last year’s precept were circulated and discussed.  Agreed subject to completion and slight alterations.  RC commented the precept looked good.  GR asked if the Playing Field equipment budget could be used for replacement of the mower which is getting old - this was confirmed.     Proposed RC, Seconded AF.

MB commented that the way the accounts were presented were being re-considered by MB and CH, Responsible Financial Officer, as they need simplifying.

15.96 Service Level Agreement for Footpaths and Rights of Way.  AD not arrived for meeting so unanimously agreed item to be put on next Agenda

15.97 Village Green update – Transfer is now complete and papers are with the Land Registry for their completion – this may take several weeks.  It was agreed however to:

a)    ask for previous estimates received for the fencing to be updated. Clerk

b)    Inform Came and Co of our ownership. Clerk

c)     Complete Risk Assessment.  Clerk

15.98 Fingerposts Update CH – Still hoping to get the posts free from Dorset Works if they are collected and we can maybe ask for them to be cut into manageable lengths to enable them to be collected.  CH to ring Dorset Works.  It was hoped that they would have been delivered during the Cuckoo Lane refurbishments but this had not been possible.

16.01 Neighbourhood Plan. Notice, for anyone interested, had been put in BVN – No response to date.

16.02 Parish Website. Ernie Thomas has stated he intends to retire when a suitable replacement can be found. Damon Allen from Bridport Radio had mailed AD requesting new of progress.  AD had apologised and would respond as soon as possible.

16.03 Cuckoo Lane. Is now open albeit very muddy.  MB had sent/received various mails from Dawn Atkins and the new present landslip has been cleared.  Cracked gullies had also been repaired.  G Rosamund stated it was not the Council’s responsibility to protect banks.   MB confirmed the Parish council and DCC had written to owners prior to re-opening of lane but the Parish Council’s remit was to ensure safety of vehicles and people using the lane.

16.04 Grit Bins. See 15.94.  Item 4. Notice had gone in BVN asking for someone to fix the grit bin to the pavement.

Discussion about use of extra Membership Divisional Fund monies.  Clerk would contact Ron and ask if village green fencing could be suitable (£335.00) or extra waste bin (which would take dog waste) for village. Dorset Waste Partnership provide bins – clerk to enquire.

16.05 Publication Scheme. Agreed subject to minor amendments. Proposed MB Sec HC

16.06 Climbing Wall – BC.  Has investigated equipment for playing field.  A Warrior – Ant Hill Climber seems very appropriate for age groups 8 – adult.  It is approx. 13’x2’x6’6” High.  The cost of this would be £6702.00 +VAT and installation would be £789.00 + VAT. Carriage would be £300.00 +VAT and required safety mats £1104.00 +VAT.

The most appropriate place would be where the monkey bars are at present and the council could probably sell these as scrap metal.  All agreed. Pro RC Sec CH.  It was agreed that the Parish Council’s contribution towards the total cost could be taken from equipment replacement fund and all Playing Field Committee were asked to investigate grants.  It was suggested Dorset 4 You Website might be a good place to start.  All Councillors

16.07 To receive the following reports:

a) Resilience - GP – Suggested papers circulated to committee.  RC commended GP and JP on their hard work on this project but felt some of the wording could be changed to remove the Parish Council responsibility to respond in all situations.  It is the PC responsibility to put together an emergency plan not necessarily to instigate it should there be an emergency. There was discussion as to how to present the plan. Suggestions:  BVN (it was noted Linda Buck puts flyers in BVN before local delivery), local people to deliver in areas.  Once the EP up and running it was agreed that location of vulnerable people in the community should be reviewed at least annually. MB thanked GP for his efforts to date.  A query was made where to get sand bags.  It was thought Keith Sorrel had kept dumpy bags on his farm for the public to fill their sandbags up as required. Clerk to check and also whether free sand bags could be collected from the County Council.

(a)   Highways – Resident Robert Cornish had recently contacted Highways through Dorset 4You with concerns that the greenery on the bend by Innsacre had not been cut back and drain covers. HC to contact Robert Cornish for update. She had emailed Dorset 4You about the bent marker posts along this stretch of road and it had been put on list to be dealt with within 28 days. It was also commented that the white line markings need to be chased up.

(b)   Playing Field Report – BC - Apart from the matters dealt with at the PF Committee meeting on 31st October there is little else to report.  It was however brought to my attention that one of the small goalposts was being placed against the chain-link fencing at the western end of the field to presumably act as a goal net.  This was bowing the chain-link outwards which eventually could do some damage.  GR has been asked to attach the nets which were bought for these goal posts and has said that he will do so.

SES have a 5% offer off a mower service until the end of December which I hope to be able to make use of.  Not a great discount but every little saving helps our budget. HC very happy with SES but wondered it PC should get further quotes bearing in mind the transparency code. Clerk


Meeting held in PF 31/10/2015 at 11am

Present:  Cllr Barbara Chambers, Cllr Christine Huxtable, Cllr John Porter, Cllr Gerry Pyke and Grayham Rosamond.

Apologies for absence: Cllr Alex Drew

A useful and productive meeting was held as follows:

1. Play Equipment Maintenance. All present agreed that the ROUNDABOUT needed cosmetic attention and were unanimous in recommending that Townsend Engineering be given the job of renovation of all metal work re their estimate of £535.  This includes all labour, paint and consumables and leaving site clean and tidy.  They will dismantle it for stripping down, preparing and repainting of all metalwork in mid-Brunswick Green satin finish paint as used on the slide.

GR will re-oil the hardwood top and foot plates before re-assembly of the roundabout by Townsends, and Christine Hewlett is still in the process of repainting the wooden side panels - 2 repainted, 2 in progress and 2 awaiting attention.

SWINGS. It was noted that the shackles/bolts holding the swing chains have quite a lot of play - one of the baby swings and one of the ordinary swings were particularly bad.  JP has volunteered to dismantle these and rectify the problem which should cost us less than Townsend Engineering would charge.

GOAL POSTS. The large post needs to be rubbed down and repainted which I hope can be done at a Maintenance Day (more lately).  GR has been asked to attach the new nets to the pair of small goal posts, which I expect to be done shortly.

2.   CLIMBING WALL. I proposed that we look at the possibility of removing the Monkey Bars, which all but GR felt were rather boring, and replace them with a CLIMBING WALL. Everyone was in favour and the added benefit of the Warrior-Ant Hill Climber from Wicksteed, which is being looked at as a possibility, is that it will fit in the exact location of the Monkey Bars with only the rubber safety mats surrounding it taking up a little more space.  It will still not intrude into the open, ball playing area.  This will be discussed further at the next PC meeting as at a cost of round about £7000 outside funding will have to be sought if we are to go ahead. (See item 16.06)

3.  LEAF BLOWER/VACUUM. GR had asked that we look at the possibility of buying this piece of equipment for the PF as he felt that it would save him time and effort.  Apart from the cost of over £300 three of the councillors present were not in favour of such a purchase as they did not feel that this would necessarily be the case.  One councillor could not decide whether he was pro or con the idea.  It was also suggested that perhaps in the autumn when leaves were more of a problem GR could employ one of the young people who help him on occasions to sweep up the leaves as this can be done with a broom whether they are wet or dry unlike using a leaf vacuum. (This had been discussed at the September Parish Council Meeting where it was agreed and minuted that a leaf blower would not be purchased)

4.  GENERAL MAINTENANCE. There has not been a Playing Field Maintenance Day held this year, and for the last three years there has been very little support from villagers when one has been held.  In 2016 we propose holding the Maintenance Day in the spring - March/April - and making it somewhat more of an event.  It was suggested that cakes and drinks could be served, but even better was CH's idea that we could bring a barbecue and serve bacon and beef burger rolls to sustain the troops, which might encourage more helpers to appear.  Perhaps we could even provide hot drinks.  It was also suggested by GP that an alternative date could be given at the time in case of rain.

Dougal (Michael Cheron) who built the PF shelter has indicated that it is time to give it a coat of either Cuprinol or Sadolin because the coating that was originally used has been banned by the EU.  Will check further with him as to exactly what should be used and GP has very kindly volunteered to do the actual work.

It was felt that perhaps the trees which overhang the swings should be cut back for safety.  To be investigated.  (Above & Below were mentioned as a possibility).

It was noted that the ridge of the shed has been repaired and the missing/broken tiles replaced where it was possible to do so.

Meeting finished at 12.10pm.

(c)   Planning – Nothing to report

(d)   Rights of Way/Footpaths – No report in absence of AD.

(e)    Website – From Ernie Thomas.

Since my last report, copies of the following have been placed on the web site:

  1. The final version of the minutes of the Parish Council Meeting of 8 July 2015.
  2. The draft version of the minutes of the Parish Council Meeting of 16 September 2015
  3. The Agenda for the Parish Council Meeting of 11 November 2015
  4. The Parish Council’s accounts for the year 2015/16 to 3 November 2015.
  5. Details of the Parish Council’s monthly expenditure over £100 for September and October 2015.
  6. The Parish Council’s Annual Return for the financial year ended 31 March 2015.

Further entries have been made in respect of forthcoming village events.

On a personal note, I have mentioned to Mary that having had responsibility for the Shipton Gorge web site for almost 10 years, I would now like to retire from the post of Webmaster.  I feel that, especially with the introduction of an entirely new platform for the web site imminent, the time is right for me to hand over to a younger person who could be trained in the operation of the new system.  I have greatly enjoyed my duties as webmaster and am willing to continue for a short while to allow time to find a successor. Further entries have been made in respect of forthcoming village events.

MB stated that a separate Finance Report would be included in the next Agenda rather than being incorporated in the Clerk’s report.

16.08 To confirm date for the next SGPC meeting – 13th January 2016. - Meeting ended 9.45pm