Minutes of WHFC meeting held at Wookey Hole Caves’ picnic tables

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 16 June 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.

8. AOB
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.

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