Minutes of the meeting of Litton Cheney Parish Council
held on Tuesday 11 July 2023


Present:  John Firrell (Vice Chair standing in for Chair); Quentin Blacke; Andy King; Andrew Price; Bella Spurrier, Maggie Walsh (Clerk).   Also in attendance Cllr Mark Roberts and one Member of Public


1.   Apologies Bill Orchard (Chair); Sue Hewish

2.   Declarations of interest None

3.    Co-option of Sue Hewish to Parish Council It was proposed by Cllr Firrell, seconded by Cllr King and carried unanimously that Sue Hewish be co-opted to the Parish Council.  Parish Councillors wished to welcome Sue to the PC: her co-option brought the PC up to full complement.                                                                                                                  MW

4.    Democratic time The member of public (MOP) introduced himself: he rented 13 Baglake and represented the applicants for the planning application on the agenda. 

5.    Planning matters new application to erect single storey rear and side extensions at 13 Baglake P/HOU/2023/03584. The Chairman brought forward this item from item 11 on the agenda.  Parish Councillors had familiarised themselves with the proposal.  There had been no representations or consultee responses online earlier that evening.  They had no questions for the MOP.  It was proposed by Cllr King, seconded by Cllr Blacke and carried unanimously that the PC respond to DC as having NO OBJECTION.                        MW

6.    Approval of minutes of the Annual Meeting of the Parish Council held on 9 May 2023 It was proposed by Cllr Firrell, seconded by Cllr King and carried unanimously that these be approved.

7.    Approval of minutes of the Annual Parish Assembly held on 12 May 2023 It was proposed by Cllr Firrell, seconded by Cllr King and carried unanimously that these by approved.

8.    Matters arising since the previous meeting not part of this agenda None

9.    Dorset Council overview  Cllr Mark Roberts reported that, as well as continuing as Chair of the Harbours Advisory Committee, he was now also Lead Member for Childrens Services.  Dorset Council had nearly 380,000 residents and had the highest proportion of over 65s of any unitary in the UK.  This proportion would grow and adult services already accounted for over half of DCs entire budget.  DC continued to implement environmental improvements to its buildings and vehicles and was ahead of its targets. All streetlights would be replaced by LED.  DC was in the top 25% of all councils for recycling: 60% of waste was recycled, reused or composted and only 5% went to landfill.

The migrant barge was a private arrangement between Portland Port and The Home Office.  Dorset Council had nothing to do with the decision but were expected to provide 3 buses per day and any migrants found to be under 18 would become its responsibility, not the governments.  Legal Counsels advice was that a legal challenge would be unlikely to succeed and therefore not a good use of Council Tax funds. DC and the Police would receive some extra government funding.  50 asylum seekers were due to move into the barge in the next three weeks.

There was no further update on Natural Englands moratorium on house building because of nutrient discharge into Poole Harbour.

10.  Finance report and invoices for approval (Clerk and RFO) At the time of publishing the agenda, Parish funds stood at #20,756.42. The forecast overspend was due to The Queens Bench installation and funds would be vired from CIL & general reserves to cover this (see below).

Spend since the previous meeting was #12,278.68 comprising #5,519.30 to Russell Randall for The Queens Bench installation and noticeboard, #2,871 to Steve Elliott for The Queens Bench installation, #986 to Steve Elliott to construct path to bin and relay kerbing, #1,390 to Live4Soccer for goal posts, #712.88 Employee costs, #418.36 to BHIB for PLI and Employer liability insurance, #144.71 annual subscription to DAPTC, #94.80 to Footeprints for village map, refund Cllr Firrell #90 for stonework by Keates Quarries, #43,83 for BLAP contribution, #7.80 refund Clerk for paper purchased from Footeprints.  Income since last meeting was #2,138.08 comprising #2,000 donation from The Litton Cheney Trust towards The Queens Bench installation, #135 allotment income for 2022-23 and #3.08 interest. The PC wished to minute its thanks to The Litton Cheney Trust for its kind donation.

The Queens Bench installation had been completed and invoices paid.  The kerbing had needed relaying for some time and so it had been cost-effective to use the contractor who was already on site.

The Financial Year End Certificate of Exemption had been submitted to external auditors before the deadline and had been acknowledged. Anticipated CIL receipts meant the PC would likely not be eligible to claim exemption next year and so would be charged an external audit fee. The PC required a new internal auditor.                                                                         MW

The following invoices were for approval:

LATCH for hall hire


Refund Cllr King for maintenance materials from Travis Perkins


Refund Clerk for 3 x monthly software licence costs for MS 365




It was proposed by Cllr Price seconded by Cllr Blacke and carried unanimously that these be approved

Bridport CAB had written to the PC thanking it for its past support and requesting a donation.  It was proposed by Cllr Firrell, seconded by Cllr Price and carried unanimously that the PC donate #100 to each of Bridport Citizens Advice, Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance and the Bride Valley News.                                                                                                                MW


The cost of The Queens Bench installation was #8,391.  The Litton Cheney Trust had donated #2,000 and #920 VAT could be reclaimed.  This left #5,471 to be covered by the PC.  At its meeting in March, the PC had agreed this would be funded by a combination of general reserves and CIL.  Cllr Firrell proposed that #3,000 be vired from CIL and #2,471 be vired from general reserves to cover this amount.  This was seconded by Cllr Blacke and carried unanimously.                                                                                                               MW

NALC financial guidance is that PCs of Litton Cheneys size hold all funds in instant access accounts.  The PC would need to review its banking provider and whether earnings from interest might be increased. However, the PC already held 2 linked instant access accounts with its existing banking provider, one of which currently held approximately #2,500 and earned interest.  Historically, the amount of interest was negligible but recent increases in interest rates now meant it made sense to transfer additional funds from the main account into the interest-bearing account.  It was proposed by Cllr Firrell that the RFO transfer #15,000 into the interest-bearing account.  This was seconded by Cllr King and carried unanimously.                                                                                MW

11. Councillors portfolios:                                                                                           

Planning (Bill Orchard, Chair): Since the last meeting, Cllr Spurrier had attended an informal meeting at the Youth Hostel to understand what was planned.  Work undertaken so far involved clearing out the building and grounds.  Beth Romans was considering a number of possible uses for the building, but no decision had yet been made.

A new access had been created to Charity Farm and a large volume of chalk was stored onsite. Parish Councillors would contact Mr Romans, suggesting an informal site visit to enable a group of Parish Councillors to discuss and understand what was planned.               

Highways/Transport (Andrew Price):  The road closure at Looke Lane had ended.  Main Street between School Lane and the White Horse would be closed from 16-18 August whilst Wessex Water extended sewer renovations.  The PC was grateful to Wessex Water for repairing the damaged stream edge at the entrance to the playing field.

Cllrs Price and Firrell had attended a meeting organised by Chris Loder MP to discuss issues caused by large HGVs using Whiteway. Two Long Bredy Parish Councillors were present, and the Head of Dorset Highways, plus senior management from Ashley Chase Estate.  National Highways would be asked to carry out a safety review of the junction and Cllr Price believed a weight limit TRO for Whiteway might be back on the agenda.

Cllr Price understood DC highways intended to visit the site of the new access to Charity Farm to assess highway safety.

The PC were aware of two comments from residents about vehicles exceeding the 30mph speed limit: especially from School Lane south towards Litton Lane.  At the Parish Assembly, Chris Loder said that, in his experience, Community Speedwatch was the most effective way of keeping traffic within the speed limit.  Should the village choose to form a Community Speedwatch team, this would require volunteers for vetting and training by the Police.  Cllr Firrell undertook to draft an item for the BVN to assess the interest in doing this.        JF

Despite lines painted on the road, traffic traveling from the Long Bredy direction often used the wrong side at the bottom of Whiteway.

Agricultural Liaison/Footpaths/Rights of Way/ (Bella Spurrier/Quentin Blacke): two fields had been planted with maize across the footpaths and an approach to the farmer was unsuccessful.  The PC would contact DCs footpaths officer to see what could be done.        BS/JF

The bench on Pins Knoll required some wood treatment

Playground/Playing Field/Allotments (Andy King):  The goal posts had been delivered and were well used: the football team were most appreciative and hoped to arrange a BBQ to raise funds to repair the existing goal posts.

The PC thanked volunteers who carried out maintenance and repairs at the playground over two Saturdays.  Cllr King was investigating purchasing bird spikes for the top of the swings.  The PC had received no suggestions as to what additional equipment playground users might like to see.  Cllr King would ask the school to consult the children.  AK

It had taken some time to find a supplier for the wood required to replace the broken bench slats, but an order had now been placed.

Village Fabric/Maintenance/BLAP/DAPTC/ Administration & Probity (John Firrell)  Cllr Firrell wished to record the PCs thanks to Ashley Cooper for providing and laying the turf at the Jubilee Hut, and to Ashley Chase Estates who will donate #300 to the village for the map.

Thanks also to the Premier Crew for undertaking some clearance: the spoils had now been collected by Dorset Waste. A few areas of the village still required attention.

DAPTC and BLAP were now effective organisations with many Town and Parish Council members, creating a natural forum to exchange information and experience.

Dorset had a significant involvement in the D Day landings and the village, together with Thorners School, would create an event to mark the 80th anniversary in 2024.

Climate Emergency and Environment (Vacant) nothing to report

12.  Correspondence not dealt with as part of the agenda Cllr King had received a request for the PC to again donate to the school for its participation in Candles on the Hill.  The PC would consider this at its next meeting in September

There was currently a DC consultation on a Dog Related Public Space Protection Order.

13.  Date of next meeting Tuesday 12 September 2023

Meeting closed

Maggie Walsh
Parish Clerk