A Meeting of Mark Parish Council was held in the Village Hall, Mark on Tuesday, 6th January 2015 at 7.00 p.m.

Present:- Councillor N. van  der Bijl (Chairman), Councillors Mrs D. Bayliss, Mrs E.F. Corkish, S. Emary, G. Francis, Mrs C. Gibson, M. Schollar and Mrs J. Weekes with the Clerk and County Councillor D. Huxtable.


36. Declarations of Interest


Councillors Mrs E. Corkish and Mrs J. Weekes declared personal interests in matters relating to Mark Village Hall. Councillor Francis declared a personal interest in issues relating to National Grid as a shareholder.


37. Minutes


The Minutes of the Meetings of the Council held on 4th and 26th November 2014 were confirmed and signed by the Chairman as correct records.


38. Report of the Police


It was noted that PC Wills had submitted a written report on police activity in Mark during December 2014.


39. Report of the County Councillor


County Councillor Huxtable reported upon a planning application at Harp Road, Brent Knoll, budget issues, SIDs and highway issues. He undertook to investigate possible installation of flashing warning lights at Mark School as a small improvement scheme during 2015/16.


40. Play Area


Councillor Schollar reported that he had submitted a grant application to the Nuttall Trust towards the cost of the dog proof fencing. Further consideration would be given to this matter at the next Meeting when the outcome would be known. It was agreed to form a task group comprising the Chairman and Councillors Mrs Corkish and Schollar to discuss possible future management arrangements for the play area and adjoining recreational facilities with representatives of the Mark Community Association.


41. Finance


a) Balance of Accounts

It was reported that the balances at 1st December were as follows:- Current £1,261.76, Reserve £15,830.17.


b) Authorisation for Payment

It was agreed that the following payments be made:-

000788 MCA                                grant                                        £1,512.00

000789 G. Bickers                        grass/hedge cutting                    £678.40

000790 Parish Clerk                     expenses                                     £218.36


c) Estimates 2015/16


Members considered the draft Estimates for 2015/16.  It was agreed by a majority 5 – 2 vote (Councillor Schollar requested recording of his vote against) that the estimates be approved and a precept of £17,000 for 2015/16 be approved less any Council Tax Support Scheme Grant.


d) Other Issues


The Council considered and approved a Risk Management Report for 2014/15. Members also reviewed the cemetery charges and agreed the following fees with effect from 1st January 2015:- Exclusive Right – Full Burial £140; Interment Fee – Full Burial £140; Exclusive Right – Garden of Rest £65; Interment Fee – Garden of Rest £65; Headstone £75, Tablet £60; Additional inscription £25.

The Council considered two quotations received for grass cutting during the 2015 Season and it was agreed to accept the lowest quotation received from Mr G. Bickers.


42. Highway Matters


It was agreed to report specified road defects at Harp Road, Littlemoor Road and Pill Road and to seek information from County Highways on the repair to the damaged railings at Yarrow Road. A quotation was being sought by Councillor Francis for the installation of bollards to prevent vehicle erosion damage at Jubilee Green and completion of the kerbing would be considered, subject to availability of finance. Councillor Schollar reported upon changes to the administration of Community Speedwatch in the area together with the need for long sleeved tabards. County Highways were to progress the extension to the School yellow hatching to The Croft at Mark Causeway and white edge of carriageway markings to deter parking on the bends at Littlemoor Road and would meet Councillor Schollar on site to discuss the recent installation of give way markings at Vole Road. The Chairman was in contact with an estate agent regarding a hedge at Yarrow Road. It was agreed to contact the Drainage Board regarding enforcement of their Land Drainage Notice served on Enterprise Inns Plc.


43. Planning Matters


An update of planning applications received together with the recommendations of this Council and the decisions of the District Council was submitted. The following applications were considered:- 036 Extensions and alterations to form separate dwelling, 25 Queensway Close – Mrs L. Franks – recommend permission; 052 Change of use of agricultural building to form a dwelling, Bakersfield Barns, Littlemoor Road – Mr & Mrs S. House – recommend refusal; 054 Erection of replacement rear extension, 54 Merryfield – Mr & Mrs T. Heyworth – no observations.

It was noted that the container at Highbury House had been removed but there was still no evidence of equestrian activity at that location. The oak tree at Penross, Mark Causeway had been felled. It was agreed to seek an update on Bramble Farm from the Planning Enforcement Officer.


44. National Grid


Councillor Mrs Corkish outlined the current position together with substantial amount of work required during the coming months. Councillor Emary offered to assist when possible.


45. Village Hall /Football Pitch Area


It was noted that a break in had occurred at the Hall on 4th/5th January. Councillor Schollar reported that the defibrillator training would now take place in the hall on 17th January 2015.


46. Affordable Housing


Steve Watson, Wessex Community Land Trust Project was in attendance to discuss the way forward to form a Community Land Trust for Mark. It was agreed that a Public Meeting be held in the Village Hall at 7.00 p.m. on a Friday evening during late February 2015 and appropriate publicity be sought. It was noted that two tickets had been obtained for a CLT Seminar/Workshop at Norton sub Hamdon on 11th February and a third ticket might be available nearer that date.


47. Parish Council Web-site and Connecting Somerset and Devon – Superfast Broadband


There was no further update regarding the Superfast Broadband project.


Councillor Mrs Weekes reported upon the development of the Parish Council web-site.


Information required to be published by Parish Councils with an annual turnover not exceeding £25,000 had now been published in a Transparency Code issued by the Department for Communities and Local Government. The Code was likely to become mandatory during early 2015 and there was a need to ensure that the required information was uploaded onto the web-site and that it was easy for the public to access. It was agreed that a Task Force comprising the Chairman and Councillors Emary and Mrs Weekes be formed to give detailed consideration to the requirements of the Code and how they might be facilitated by changes to the web-site


48. Mobile Library


Councillor Schollar reported upon recent publicity designed to raise greater awareness and use of the local mobile library service.


49. Review of Standing Orders


Members considered a review of Standing Order 1m following a change in regulations to permit the public to film, photograph or record Council meetings. It was agreed to adopt the following text supplied by the legal section of the National Association of Local Councils:-

1 Meetings

m. A person may not orally report or comment about a meeting as it takes place if he is present at the meeting of a parish council or its committees but otherwise may:

i) film, photograph or make an audio recording of a meeting;

ii) use any other means for enabling persons not present to see or hear proceedings at a meeting as it takes place or later;

iii) report or comment on the proceedings in writing during or after a meeting or orally report or comment after the meeting.


50. Parish Council Election – May 2015


Members gave an indication of their current thoughts regarding whether or not to seek re-election to the Parish Council in May 2015.


51. Next Meeting


It was agreed that the next Meeting be held in the Village Hall on 10th March 2015 at 7.00 p.m. (Annual Parish Meeting followed by Parish Council Meeting).



The Meeting closed at 9.30 p.m.                                                             Chairman




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