Upper Deverills Parish Plan
Feedback on Survey and Consultation in the Village Hall
19 February 2021
Richard Munro (RM) UDPC Chair welcomed about 50 residents to the meeting and explained the purpose of the Parish Plan and the process that was being followed to build on the existing Plan published in 2014.
Ted Flint (EF) Parish Plan Working Group Chair introduced Richard Kitson (RPK) another member of the WG and explained that this was an opportunity for residents to reflect on what had come out of the survey and how the WG had developed its draft proposals. Those attending had the opportunity to look at the presentation slides which had been displayed before the meeting started and paper copies of the details behind the presentation had been made available.
EF apologised that it had not been possible to include in the presentation proposals in relation to Brixton Deverill Conservation Area and the Dark Skies initiative but said that these would be added and reflect the results of the survey.
EF then took the meeting through each of the proposed Parish Plan topics in turn, highlighting the outcome of the survey and the outline proposals for tackling the issues raised.
HGV traffic reduction and improved road safety on the B3095
[REDACTED] referred to the 7.5 ton limit which he said was agreed in 2009 but was not implemented by Wiltshire Council (WC). An alternative route using the B3089 was identified. Despite lobbying by UDPC on a number of occasions nothing had progressed. He recognised that the present UDPC was now looking at this and had engaged with WC. A resident suggested the collection of data on current HGV use but this was said to be unnecessary as the 7.5 ton limit had previously been agreed. [REDACTED] questioned whether HGV’s were only 4% of traffic. [REDACTED] referred to the Neighbourhood Speed Watch and said that cars were a bigger problem since the widespread use of Google Maps and Sat Nav systems. Other residents agreed that there was a need to slow down speeding cars with reduced speed limits thus making it less attractive to use the B3095 as a short cut. [REDACTED] agreed that, apart from when the A303 was closed, the main safety issue is not HGVs but the volume and speed of cars. EF pointed out that the WG proposal was for an Action Group and [REDACTED] and [REDACTED] indicated that they were happy to be members of the AG. It was agreed that the focus of the AG needed to be on the quantity and speed of traffic and perhaps less on HGVs. The majority at the meeting were supportive of the introduction of 20 mph limits in the villages.
Concern was also expressed about the danger caused by WC’s poor maintenance standards, residents referring to the numerous potholes. It was agreed that this needed to be added to the Plan. In addition efforts should be made to encourage residents to report necessary road maintenance and UDPC should request more frequent attention from the Parish Steward. Some residents requested a repeat of previous publicity about how repairs could be reported to WC. Simon Martin suggested permanent monitors for speed and volume of traffic as well as road condition.
There was support for the proposals outlined in the presentation.
A number of residents expressed concern about BT Openreach’s policy to discontinue its analogue service. EF and RPK explained the background and implications of this including in relation to smart meters and the lack of communications through the landline if the electricity supply failed. [REDACTED] advised that BT had contacted him to say that his service was converting to digital immediately and despite his objections this had happened. Residents agreed that the proposed withdrawal of the analogue service in 2025 should be a concern that should be added to the issues to be tackled by the Mobile Communications Group.
Reference was made to the successful work of the Broadband Action Group but a couple of individuals indicated that they were not receiving a satisfactory broadband service. As all other residents had a contrary view it was thought that there may be property specific problems for the two individual households and EF offered to discuss this with those residents following the meeting.
There was general support for these proposals and EF advised that a group had already been set up to progress issues. Sarah Fagan asked about the locations that might see changes in cultivation and in particular how this could take place on privately owned sites. EF referred to the potential in churchyards as an example. [REDACTED] and others mentioned the need for sensitive handling especially in relation to relatives who had graves of loved ones in the churchyards.
RM referred to the Annual Parish Meeting on 20 April and said that it was proposed that community facilities would be specifically discussed then.
[REDACTED] asked about progress in fund raising for a replacement village hall. EF explained that this had not been progressed during the pandemic but that nonetheless the Village Hall Trustees had accumulated funds of over £19,000 from various Covid related initiatives which was a good foundation to start from.
Residents broadly supported the approach suggested in the consultation papers.
It was suggested that the bullet in the outcomes about developments not resulting in an increase in traffic would be very difficult to achieve and perhaps the phrase should be “significant traffic”.
[REDACTED] questioned whether infilling would result in more damage to the appearance and character of villagers than open fields development. [REDACTED] referred to the history of the villages and the gradual change from a preponderance of smaller and lower cost properties to more expensive larger homes. She felt that the villages lacked smaller homes for younger people buying their first home and older people wishing to down size. EF agreed that this was in the proposed plan.
There was debate about the interpretation of the statement that “There should be no large-scale wind farm or solar farm development in the Parish.” [REDACTED] felt that in particular the description “large-scale” might suggest that smaller scale developments would be acceptable. [REDACTED] suggested that “large scale” should be omitted. However others felt that large scale should be referred to. There was a clear consensus that there should not be commercial wind or solar developments but that domestic installations may be acceptable if appropriately sited. It was suggested that the AONB policies on this topic should be examined as that may clarify the point. It was noted that some domestic solar installations fell under permitted development rules.
There was agreement in relation to the proposed approach for Kingston and Monkton Deverill.
Police and Community Safety
[REDACTED] referred to the Neighbourhood Watch Scheme and said that it was regrettable that no one in the Upper Deverills had volunteered to be the Neighbourhood Watch Co-ordinator. As a result the Upper Deverills were reliant on a representative in Longbridge Deverill. EF suggested that this ought to be tackled again.
EF also mentioned the Community Safeguarding Groups developed at the start of the pandemic and the associated email contact lists. [REDACTED] reminded people that under GDPR rules people needed to be asked to “opt in” rather than “opt out” of such lists. The importance of using bcc or other methods to ensure confidentiality of addresses. It was noted that some villages have social contact lists whereas the safeguarding lists were more of an information broadcast mechanism.
In response to a question about a community resilience plan RM said that there was not a plan as such but that there was relevant information on the UDPC web site.
Health and Social Care
EF explained the background to this section, in particular that it flowed from comments made by individuals in response to a variety of questions. There was a feeling that a section should be included in the plan.
[REDACTED] referred to the community coffee morning and afternoon open art session. There was a need to consider what help was needed for vulnerable people in the community. There was a consensus that the plan should refer to the valuable service provided by the Mere and Avenue, Warminster surgeries. [REDACTED] said a major concern was the adequacy of the ambulance service and it was agreed that this concern should be added to the plan.
[REDACTED] also raised the desirability of a more flexible bus service and it was agreed that this should be added to the plan, perhaps under Community Facilities.
RM explained that the draft plan will be published on the UDPC web site. A request was made for copies of the draft plan to be put on the parish notice boards and for people to be alerted to its publication through the email distribution lists and the Upper Deverills Facebook page.
It was to be hoped that the Parish Plan will be presented to and hopefully adopted at the UDPC meeting on 11 May 2022.
[REDACTED] asked whether UDPC will seek endorsement of the Plan from WC and RM confirmed that it would do so.