Minutes of WHFC meeting held at Wookey Hole Caves’ picnic tables 16th June 2021
Present: Julia Scarth (Chair), Doug Robinson, Roger Hancock, Sarah Chambers, Charlie Chambers, Chloe Parrish
1: Apologies for absence: Sarah Mardle
2: Minutes of last meeting 14 April 2021 agreed and signed
3: Treasurer’s report (Sarah C)
As at the previous meeting, the current balance is £1588.50, of which £520 is being held for the parish council neighbourhood plan grant and £540.73 held for LWTS, leaving a balance of £527.77.
4. Traffic in the village (Sarah C)
Sarah C reported that all street surveys are now completed, awaiting Milton Lane report. Traffic count to take place in summer.
Two offers materialised from Julia’s email requesting help with the traffic counting and surveys, one of which offered to help with the lighting survey. Sarah C confirmed that street lighting is included within the group’s remit.
The next working group meeting will be used to clarify what’s being looked at by the group and the surveys.
Thanks to SCC and the Parish council for their support and funding of traffic counters.
Help is required to put together and format the final report. Julia to request volunteers in the next email.
Julia noted that traffic was one issue raised and considered by the inspector as part of the Armchair Fields planning application review (see 6, below).
5. Future events - Bring and Share supper and date for AGM (Roger H)
Roger felt that, without a venue in which to hold the B&SS and/or limits on numbers allowed to convene together due to Covid-19, the complex logistics involved in arranging separate events in people’s houses made this idea untenable at present. He also felt this approach lacked the sociability of a large village group event.
Julia has been informed by Alec Lewis that the village hall requires building/maintenance work and is unlikely to be available for use before September. The Club was suggested as a venue but it was noted that the room upstairs has accessibility issues due to the stairs. There are also similar access issues at the Church, and as it lacks a kitchen it was felt this was not an appropriate alternative venue for the B&SS.
Sarah C suggested holding the event later in the year, when the hall may be ready. She also noted that, if the club remains closed on Wednesdays, we could potentially hold it there, downstairs. The club has the added benefit of excellent kitchen facilities.
Roger suggested asking WH Caves if it could be hosted by the hotel.
The various options will be revisited and discussed at the next meeting, with a decision made then once Covid regulations for the rest of the year are likely to be clearer, following the expected announcement on July 19. Likewise a date and venue for the AGM will be discussed and agreed upon at the next meeting, once we have a better understanding of Covid-Related regulations regarding numbers at public gatherings etc.
6. Armchair Field and other local planning applications updates
Julia explained that the developers had appealed MDC’s decision to deny planning permission, leading to a public enquiry. The inspector heard all arguments and visited the site. He upheld MDC’s decision, primarily on the basis of the effect on the landscape of the proposed development.
Thanks was expressed to Ivor Tetley for all his hard work convening residents and enlisting the help of a Chartered Town Planner.
Julia noted that, as yet, no decision to appeal the refusal of planning permission has been lodged by Gladman for the Glencot Road site.
Sarah noted that the Coombe Brook/Homestead Park application is on hold pending the outcome of the phosphate issue.
7. Parish Council (Julia)
Julia informed the group that Ed is keen to see an information or notice board installed at or in the old bus shelter. The shelter however requires maintenance works. Colin has kindly had a look and suggested some ideas for seating.
The Assets Management Committees of the Parish Council has suggested that villages might set up Village Participation Working Parties who would take responsibility for looking after council-owned property in the village. The working parties would comprise of 4 members, of whom 2 would be Parish Council members and 2 other village residents. Any works would be covered by Parish Council insurance. Other council-owned assets in the village include the allotments (which have their own management committee) and the triangle.
Suggested members for the Wookey Hole Village Participation Working Group are Ed, Colin Babb, Julia Scarth and Paul Cannon. The suggested members were agreed.
Julia to keep the group informed of developments.
An update on the footpath at Trout’s Bend - Julia said Melitta Izzard was having problems accessing the necessary form on line and was intending to phone the relevant SCC Department. However it may be a slow process - at a recent NFU webinar on public access it was highlighted that in 2019 SCC received 303 applications and processed 3!
A report is awaited from Mendip District Council explaining how the concrete paths on Holeground are permissible.
9: Next meeting
Thursday 26 August 2021, 19.30. Venue TBC.
Minutes of WHFC meeting held at Wookey Hole Caves’ picnic tables 16th June 2021
Minutes of WHFC meeting via Zoom 14th April 2021
Present Julia Scarth-Chair, Sarah Mardle-Secretary, Doug Robinson, Roger Hancock, Sarah Chambers, Charlie Chambers, Chloe Parish
1: Apologies for absence. none
2. Minutes of last meeting 10th February 2021 were agreed and signed & will be posted on Wookey Hole Website
3: Treasurers Report - Sarah C
Sarah C reported one expense for the shelving in the phone box.
The current bank balance is £1588.50 (£520 being held for Parish council grant) and we are holding £540.73 for LWTST leaving WHRF's balance of £527.77
4: The Phone Box book exchange
Colin Babb very kindly built some shelving for the phone box. A team of 6 volunteers have taken on the task of monitoring it & keeping it organised. It is now filled with a good selection of books, puzzles & seeds.
5. Road working group.
Sarah C reported that they have been working on the road sheets supplied by Ed, marking where current signs are & highlighting possible obstacles & parking areas. This information will be passed to the Parish Council to be submitted as part of a report to be submitted to Somerset County Council.
Julia to send out an email asking for volunteers to help collect information.
SCC have just funded some Automatic Traffic Counters to measure the traffic flow in & around the village. This data will be collected during the summer months.
The residents of Priddy have managed to get some roads taken off Satnavs via a web site that links to Google maps & Satnavs. Sarah M will speak to Paul Cannon to see if he knows how they did it.
6) Future Events - Roger
Roger has emailed Julia a list of ideas, we will discuss these further at the next meeting when we know more about the easing of lockdown.
The village hall is not due to be available until September due to works needed to the roof.
Julia reported that there will be a village picnic in the church grounds on 18/7/21 after the church service.
7) Trout Bend Footpath - Julia
Melitta Izzard is leading this project & has received a few residents witness statements. Melitta has been trying to download the form from MDC to submit the statements but has been unable to. She is waiting for MDC to get back to her & help her.
8) Food Bank Donations - Julia
The donations are tailing off but the collections will continue on the last Wednesday of the month for the foreseeable future.
9) Planning Applications - Julia
Armchair field - The Planning Inspectors hearing is taking place via Microsoft Teams on 5th May. Daniel Foster has submitted an objection & is attending the hearing on behalf of the 37 residents who have funded an appeal.
Coombe Brook - No decision has been made yet
Concrete paths at Holeground - Doug has written to MDC & an enforcement case has been started. Jim Hardcastle from AONB has been informed by a number of people & has notified Historic England & Natural England who are both doing a site visit shortly. Ros Wyke, leader of MDC has been notified.
Julia to speak to Mike Pullen & Ed Danson
Land at back of LA Moore site - Haybridge Residents have been voicing their concerns about the large area that has been cleared recently & asking what was being planned for the area.
Julia to speak to Mike Pullen.
Ed Danson is trying to get a Village history/ Information hub set up in the old bus shelter at the bottom of School Hill.
Julia to put out a request for volunteers to help maintain the garden around the shelter & repair the roof.
12) Next meeting will be held 16th June 7.30pm, venue to be confirmed.
Minutes of WHFC meeting via Zoom 10th February 2021
Present Julia Scarth-Chair, Sarah Mardle-Secretary, Doug Robinson, Sarah Chambers, Charlie Chambers, Chloe Parish
1: Apologies for absence. Roger Hancock, Sue Lee has stood down from the committee
2. Minutes of last meeting 9th December 2020 were agreed and signed & will be posted on Wookey Hole Website
3: Treasurers Report - Sarah C
Sarah C reported that the current bank balance is £1622.14 (£520 being held for Parish council grant) and we are holding £540.73 for LWTST balance of £561.41
4: Road working group.
Sarah C reported that they have now decided on aims and objectives and will be meeting again in March. Sarah thinks that signage will be the most probable outcome.
5: Lockdown experiences publication - Sarah M
So far we have received 1 publication. Les Cloutman has provided a lockdown wildlife report for January, this has been put on the website & has had 185 hits. Sarah & Charlie C have created some lockdown experiences & will forward to Sarah M to put on the website. Julia has just forwarded Les Cloutmans 2nd wildlife report for Feb & Sarah M will put on website.
6: Trout Bend Footpath - Julia
Melitta Izzard has volunteered to lead this project, there are a few residents that have said they will provide statements to show they regularly use the path.
It was agreed that we should put Paul Cannons article about Green Lane on the web site.
New signs have been provided by the private owner of Green Lane, information on these will go out on the next email by Julia. It was bought up about the uncertainty as to if there are signs at the bottom of the Green lane approach in Wookey hole.
Sarah C informs that there are no lost footpaths in Wookey hole that have been indicated on the Ramblers web site.
7: WH Village Website - Sarah M
John Grange has kindly tweeked the website so we can now load on lockdown experience videos.
Sarah provided a report of the amount of viewings each article had received.
The residents forums minutes for October had 285 hits, for Augusts one 653 hits, Junes 885 hits. The Coronavirus article had 3021 hits.
8) Future Events - Roger
No progress due to lockdown, we will discuss at next meeting
9) Food Bank Donations - Julia
Sandy Witters reported to Julia that the donations were gratefully received. The collections will continue to be on the last Wednesday of the month, especially needed were egg boxes & tinned ham. A reminder will be sent out to the mailing list a week before each collection is due.
10) Ivor Tetley Planning Appeal - Julia
The Armchair field appeal currently has over 30 people signed up for the Zoom meeting with Daniel Foster on Thursday 18th February at 4pm. Doug points out that there is nothing about the appeal on the actual planning website.
The committee agreed that on Julia's next WHRF info email, we would pay a tribute to Gerry Cottle who has recently passed away.
It was also agreed that a copy of Julia's WHRF newsletters should be published on the WH Village website.
Following the publication of the Residents Forums AGM newsletter, Julia has received 2 thank you's from residents.
Sarah C reported that the Conservation Report for the proposed development behind Coombe Brooke had been published & it was not in favour of the residents objecting to the planning permission. Sarah C agreed to create an email to send out to the mailing list asking for objections.
Chloe suggested setting up a book/games/puzzles exchange in the Church porch. Julia said it gets quite damp in there. Chloe suggested the old Telephone Box.
Julia mentioned a local resident who was looking for a garage or off road space to park his campervan. Julia agreed to put this request on the next newsletter.
12: Next meeting will be held via Zoom 14th April 7.30pm
9 New houses in the centre of the village.
If you are interested in keeping up to date on the application for 9 new proposed houses on Homestead Park (2020/0668/FUL) and have not yet seen the documents uploaded in December 2020 and this year please take a look now https://publicaccess.mendip.gov.uk/online-applications/applicationDetails.do?activeTab=documents&keyVal=Q7SJMDKPLEZ00 . The Conversation Officer’s critical report states amongst other things “ A design which genuinely attempts to engage with the local distinctiveness of the area, rather than just stating as such should have greater regard to its setting within a visually distinctive village.” If you have comments or objections you wish to raise, now would be an opportune moment to submit them to Mendip.
Request for plants
All being well a Somerset Wildlife Trust open day will be taking place in June. It was cancelled last year. Susan would be very grateful if you could let her have any spare plants or could produce some for the event. Email
Apologies for the accidental strange formatting on the last email. To see that email follow this link https://www.wookeyhole.info/residents-forum/372-wookey-hole-residents-forum-news-letter.html We plan to update the website with future Forum emails.
RIP Gerry Cottle 7th April 1945 – 13th January 2021
Wookey Hole Residents Forum offers sincere condolences to all Gerry’s family and friends. Our sympathy goes out to you, as it does to all those bereaved loved ones who are suffering loss during these Coronavirus blighted times.
Space for a camper van?
Adam and Louise are considering buying a medium sized camper van, but realise they need a space to store it, in (or close to) Wookey Hole before buying.
If anyone has a space, or a suggestion, it would be most appreciated.
Jigsaw, book………… exchange
The idea of having a place in the village where jigsaws, books, dvds, seeds (any other ideas) ……could be freely exchanged seems like a good idea. The phone box has been proposed but would need to be fitted out with shelving. Is anyone interested in taking on the project of kitting it out? I believe that phone boxes in Haybridge, Westbury and Coxley have already repurposed their redundant phone boxes so a starting point might be to look and see how they have done theirs. Please get in touch if this might be of interest.
A much used path from Wookey Hole to the top of Mendip has recently had closure notices put on the gate. Paul Cannon, our Parish Councillor who oversees the local footpath network has provided the document and photo below of the gate with the notices.
Anger over lane closure
A Mendip farmer's decision to close a well used local walking trail has been met with complaints and vandalism to his closure signs.
Green Lane, which runs up to the hills from the riding stables at Wookey Hole, is not a public right of way but has been used by walkers for generations.
Martin Edwards, of Higher Pitts Farm, Priddy, said he locked the gate for safety reasons after the wooded lane was blighted by ash dieback.
The first signs he posted to warn of the danger were torn down within two days and the replacements have since been damaged.
His priority in dealing with the tree disease was to make safe thirty other affected ash trees alongside the official rights of way across his land.
He does not propose to reopen Green Lane as he plans to join a new stewardship scheme for nature recovery and protect it as a wildlife haven, two to three acres in area.
Walkers concerned about the closure contacted local parish councillor and volunteer Mendip ranger Paul Cannon. He confirmed the lane wasn't a right of way despite its regular usage over time.
There is a trail leading to the village close by but it's difficult to see from the lane’s upper entrance. Farmer Edwards gratefully accepted an offer from Cllr. Cannon to make and post a sign on the gate to help people find the designated footpath.
Melitta Izzard has kindly offered to collect people’s experience of having used the Trout’s Bend Footpath. Please send the information you have of when you have used this path to
Wells Food Bank are experiencing increasing demand for food and other necessities. They are extremely thankful for all the things that we have been collecting each month. Sandy and David will be taking our next donations a week on Wednesday, 24th February. All donations are welcome but a particular request currently is for large tins of ham.
Thank you to those who have already shared their lockdown stories. Keep them coming, I know there are more in the pipeline, check out wookeyhole.info to see what has been going on from a wildlife point of view and wonderful things that have been grown at the allotments.
Minutes OF WHRF Cttee meeting via Zoom 8th December 2020
Present, Julia Scarth-Chair, Sarah Chambers-Treasurer, Charlie Chambers, Doug Robinson, Chloe Parish, Roger Hancock, Sandy Witter, David Witter.
Apologies for absence. Sue Lee, Sarah Mardle.
Minutes of last meeting. 7th October were agreed and signed and will be posted on the Wookey Hole website.
Treasurers report - Sarah C (who has replaced Roger Hancock) Sarah reported that the current balance is £1622.14 (£520 is being held for Parish council grant) Closing balance £1102.14. Julia will inform the bank about changes to signatories and change of treasurer.
Neighbourhood plan – Julia. Julia has been in touch with Tony Hathaway. Not much progress has been made with this as the council has been busy with other matters. If it is to progress more people will have to get involved. Tony said he is happy get in touch with anyone who would like more information.
Road working group – Sarah C, Roger, Julia
Sarah informed that since we last met a working party has been formed involving herself, Julia, Roger and four local parish councillors. They have met once and are meeting again tomorrow; the outcome of the first meeting was that a traffic survey has been performed whilst we were in lockdown. They thought this would measure the flow of traffic in the village when the caves are closed. A comprehensive report collating the results of this survey are available as are the individual surveys that were done in six different locations at three different times of the day over a week. Sarah says that that the aim at the moment is to have a map of the roads and lanes in the village which we can indicate our observations and requirements on e.g dangerous spots, where signs could be improved.
Sarah suggests the next steps are 1 To action a signage survey – it is felt that there could be better signs in the village, or some of the current signs in the village could be moved to better locations. Sarah would like the opinion of the rest of the Forum/village on what signage would be preferred. 2. It would be useful to do another traffic survey in the Village when the Caves/Inn/Club are open to compare to the current lockdown survey however, this would need a lot of people to be involved - we need to decide to what depth we want to take the next survey. Julia thought that an all-year-round survey would represent more of comprehensive set of results to give to the council. It was suggested that a similar scheme to Priddy could be undertaken where school children have designed and made signs. Lack of schoolchildren in Wookey Hole would mean that a wider spectrum of people would be required, no plans were made for this. Doug Robison highlighted the fact that the Homestead Park planning application road survey suggested that the average speed limit in the village was below 30mph. Julia would like to thank Tatiana for the hard work done during the road assessment along with other participants.
Lockdown Experiences – Chloe Parish
Chloe has put together a written request to the village for residents to share their lockdown experiences. This will be uploaded to the village website. Julia asked if anyone would object to this going on to the website, no objections were made. Sarah Mardle has had some training from John Grange on website management; therefore we could approach Sarah as to how to upload the content. Chloe also volunteered to help to make this happen.
Julia informed that John Grange has most likely renewed our hosting for the website as it is still up and running. Julia also said that the total number of hits on the site is 10,250. Chloe suggested it might be good to get more analytical information about who is viewing the site. Julia will also check with Sarah M what period this covers. All agreed it is worth keeping the website up and running.
Footpaths - Sarah C/Julia
Julia has asked Less Cloutman if he would be interested in taking on a footpath working party. He is not keen to do this. Sarah informed of the Ramblers new initiative to save British footpaths and maybe we could put forward the obstructed Trout Bend footpath as a case specimen. Julia thought that longer paths may be first choice and Trout Bend may be too short. Therefore, we will wait to see if the Trout Bend footpath appears on the Ramblers mapping before further investigation. In the meantime, we can continue to try to get extra sources involved within the village.
Bring and Share supper – Julia
It was discussed that the new bring and share idea suggested at the 7th October 2020 meeting will be difficult to plan and implement under the present lockdown and tier systems. Roger still feels that a new year bring and share is a good idea and will put together some ideas for the next meeting as to how it could be planned and funded. It was suggested that a summer picnic style bring and share event held in the church grounds or Glencot house grounds would be a good idea for the summer when restrictions should be easier.
Holding the AGM – Julia
Julia informed that there has not been an AGM or general meeting since October 2019. In previous years AGM’s had been in April 2015, April 2016, April 2017, and Sept 2019. Julia asked the forum if we should have an AGM via zoom in February or wait until April and assess the situation. This was voted on and the decision to postpone until April was unanimous. It was agreed that an email should be circulated reviewing what the Forum had done since the last AGM and our intention to delay holding one until we can do it in person rather than zoom. Julia will ask Sarah M if she could write this up and circulate it.
Food bank Donations - Sandy Witter
Sandy informed that 80 food parcels have been delivered from the Wells vineyard the last time she had helped. The donations from Wookey Hole are appreciated and we will continue with the current collection system.
AOB – No
Next meeting Next meeting to be held via zoom on Wednesday 10th February at 7.30