Minutes of the meeting of Litton Cheney Parish Council
held on Tuesday 14 November 2023


Present: Bill Orchard (Chairman); Quentin Blacke; John Firrell; Sue Hewish; Andy King; Andrew Price; Bella Spurrier, Maggie Walsh (Clerk).   Also in attendance Cllr Mark Roberts and 1 member of the public


1.    Apologies N/A

2.    Declarations of interest None

3.    Democratic time A local resident kindly offered to supply a Christmas tree, currently growing on their property. The PC accepted the generous offer and wished to minute its thanks.                                                                                                                  JF

4.    Approval of minutes of the Parish Council meeting held on 12 September 2023 It was proposed by Cllr Firrell, seconded by Cllr Blacke and carried unanimously that these be approved.

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

6.    Dorset Council overview – Cllr Mark Roberts apologised for missing the last meeting as he was unavoidably detained elsewhere. He reported on Children’s Services legal responsibilities which meant budgets were overspent: encouraging people to become local foster carers could help reduce costs. Highways was 13% over budget due to increased costs of building materials. Asylum seekers were back on the Bibby Stockholm, including a full quota (67) of young asylum seekers for whom the substantial government funding still did not cover DC’s costs. Unlike some local councils, DC was in a fortunate position of having reserves that could be used to make up the shortfall: but this was not sustainable long term. DC received just £6k rate support grant from central government compared to many millions received by some councils.  DC had however received £19.5m from the levelling up fund, which would mostly be used in Weymouth. Round 4 of Community Funding was underway.

7.    Finance report and invoices for approval (Clerk and RFO) At the time of publishing the agenda, parish funds stood at £39,726.09. Spend since the previous meeting was £1,471.32 comprising £712.88 employee costs; £529.19 to Russell Randall to supply and fit noticeboard; £95.50 to Sinclair Electrical to fit the replacement defibrillator cabinet; £55.80 to Lady Haig Poppy Factory for remembrance day wreath; £50 donation to Litton and Thorner’s School towards pupils’ participation in Candles on the Hill at St Catherine’s Chapel; £11.76 refund to clerk for 2 months MS 365 licence costs; £10 refund to clerk for COP event fee; £6.19 refund to Cllr Blacke for teak oil purchased from Bartletts Country Stores. Income since last meeting was £22,144.59 comprising £17,112.70 Community Infrastructure Levy; £5,000 Precept and £31.89 interest.

The following invoices were for approval:

The Playground Inspection Co Ltd for annual playground inspection


Clerk’s expenses: 2 months MS 365 licence fee at £5.88 per month, and paper purchased from Footeprints for £5.95





It was proposed by Cllr Orchard, seconded by Cllr Firrell and carried unanimously that these be approved.                                                                                                                     MW


It was proposed by Cllr Price, seconded by Cllr King and carried unanimously that the PC again donate £500 to St Mary’s Church towards the upkeep of the churchyard.        MW

Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) Receipts the PC discussed how it might spend the £17.2k CIL. CIL must be used within a set number of years and government rules set out how these funds can and cannot be spent. Suggestions included outdoor gym equipment, playground equipment, community land (e.g. woodland), car club, landscaping of/repairs to stream, pavilion, electric vehicle charging point, solar panels for the Community Hall. Not all suggestions would be practicable or permissible, but the PC was keen to explore all suggestions to obtain the greatest benefits for residents. The PC would publish an item in the January edition of the BVN, hoping that this would generate ideas for discussion at the Village Assembly, after which a decision could be taken.                                                              JF/MW

8.    Councillors’ portfolios:

Planning (Bill Orchard, Chairman): Fry’s had submitted a non-material amendment application to the LPA to erect gates across the drive of the access to the 2 new dwellings off Barges Close (planning ref P/NMA/2023/05877). There had also been applications to carry out works to or remove trees.

Highways/Transport (Andrew Price):  Cllr Price had reported an abandoned car on Chalk Pit Lane. DC continued to undertake basic highways maintenance within the village. He had attended a Park Farm travel plan meeting: the next meeting was scheduled for March 2024. Following a licencing application, Parish Councillors had met the new owners of the Bride Valley Vineyard, who had ambitious plans for the vineyard and wish to amend access arrangements. The new Charity Farm access remained in the same condition.  The PC understood the owner was considering redeveloping White Thorn Cottage, which had flooded and was in a poor state of repair. The PC agreed that further discussions with the owner about plans would be helpful. The legal agreement related to the Litton Lakes planning application was now progressing. 

The issue of HGVs using Whiteway trundled on. Whiteway had been blocked again the previous week by an HGV.  All parties appeared to agree that a weight limit was the correct way forward. There was a significant cost to introduce a weight limit TRO, but the PC was hopeful this would be resolved. Meanwhile, it was important to report all instances of large HGVs in the village to Park Farm.

Whilst Cllr Price was away, Cllr Firrell represented the PC at a meeting of Parish Councils along the A35. At that meeting, Parishes agreed to set up a steering group to obtain and communicate a shared understanding of A35 issues to National Highways.

Agricultural Liaison/Footpaths/Rights of Way/ (Bella Spurrier/Quentin Blacke): a decision was required regarding a bench location.

Playground/Playing Field/Allotments (Andy King): pallets had been donated to the allotments for compost bins. 

The recent playground inspection flagged no significant safety issues, but lots of low-risk ones. The main issue related to the ground covering.  Cllr King and the Clerk would liaise to agree priorities and develop a programme of work.                                                         AK, MW

Village Fabric/Maintenance/BLAP/DAPTC/ Administration & Probity (John Firrell) Cllr Firrell thanked the Premier Crew for clearing up after storm Ciaran and DC Waste for collecting the spoils the same afternoon. The Triangle would soon need preparing for the Christmas decorations. There were concerns that loose guttering on Beech House following a vehicle impact might pose a hazard to pedestrians walking underneath. He recently attended a DAPTC meeting: DAPTC was much improved and parish and town councils were also well represented by BLAP. Local elections would take place on 2 May, but the hall was booked on 14 May. The PC therefore agreed to move the Annual Meeting of the PC, and possibly also the Village Assembly, to 7 May.                                                                                                    MW

Climate Emergency and Environment (Sue Hewish) Cllr Hewish reported on a Dorset Community Tree/working together webinar.  Cllr Firrell undertook to talk to local residents who had previously been actively involved in tree planting.                                        JF

A lobbying group had contacted the PC requesting its support for the Climate and Ecology private member's bill.  The PC asked the clerk to research and report back.   MW

DC’s policy was to cut verges once a year as this helped biodiversity. The PC was aware that some local residents supported this, while others would prefer additional cuts.  Cllr Hewish felt that the grass on Main Street alongside the stream should be cut more frequently as left uncut it looked unsightly, hindered water drainage and reduced space for pedestrians to walk. The PC could request DC to cut this stretch more frequently, although financial pressures might now preclude this. No decision was taken but Cllr Firrell would discuss the issue with DC.            JF

9.   New planning applications for consideration at the meeting The PC had been consulted on a planning application to erect a detached garage at Kowhai Cottage, School Lane. As the consultation had been received after the agenda had been published, the PC’s response therefore could not be decided at the meeting.  The deadline for comment was 30 November. If the matter could not be dealt with under delegated powers, the PC would schedule an extraordinary meeting.                                                              MW

10.  Correspondence not dealt with as part of the agenda none

11.  Date of next meeting Tuesday 8 January 2024

Meeting closed

Maggie Walsh
Parish Clerk