Present: Jane Williams (Chairman), Eddie Oram (Secretary & Treasurer), Sue Dickerson, John Stembridge.
Apologies: All present
Apologies: All present
JW opened the meeting at 7.10pm
The Minutes of the Executive Committee Meeting held 11th November 2019 were accepted and taken as read
EO reported that Litter/Dog Poo Bins had been sited in Forum Lane, Bowlish Meadows and Wells Road Layby
JS said that in January the Environment Agency (EA) had carried out a water quality (litmus paper) test at Darshill Square with no adverse findings
JW related yet another incident of slurry spilling onto Ham Lane at “Allen’s Corner”. EA were not interested since nothing had entered a drain – the nearest drain in Ham Lane being outside Westholme – whilst neither Somerset County Council nor Mendip District Council responded. Rain subsequently washed the spill off the road
AM gave an update on progress
There were up to 3 surveys outstanding. Bowlish House by SVBRG, with 2 other mini-surveys to be made by AM and IK. Individual reports on all properties were yet to be finalised
There might be a further dig for Primrose Hill but as it at a former quarry site it is difficult to justify a search using ground penetrating radar
SD said that she and JN had started work on the legacy teachers’ packs to be available for download from the website, whilst a meeting had finally been arranged with Doulting School to discuss an event in September. Contact had been made with Oakhill School and the team were likely to repeat the September event at St Paul’s
AM said that we were planning to have a display at Collett Day in June, whilst initial discussions had started for the Heritage Trail Launch Party and the reconstruction of the Police Court both of which could also act as fundraisers for the project
With all surveys completed, JW was now preparing draft narratives for the dbhp.org website
EO said that apart from circulating a number of advisory messages from Avon & Somerset Constabulary to residents during the past three months the only local issue had been a car parked/abandoned in Ham Lane, although there had been a series of garage break-ins on the Shaftgate and St Peter’s estates
Annual Litter Pick:
EO confirmed that all arrangements had been made for the Annual Litter Pick of Bowlish, Ham and Darshill this coming Sunday
DBCS 25th Anniversary:
The committee would give further thought to some form of commemoration in August 2021 and there would be a discussion at the May meeting
Natural History Activities
RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch:
JW compared 2020 sightings with those made by the same residents in 2019. There had been a decline in sightings of the Dipper, although they had returned to the bridge at Darshill Square, whilst no Gold Crests or Great Tits had been seen. On the positive side, there had been an increase of sightings for Dunnock, Great Tits, Long Tailed Tits and Wren
Bat Survey at Darshill Bat Roost:
JW said that a survey was made on 19th January by AA of Somerset Bat Group and BB of Somerset Mammal Group. 6 Greater Horseshoe and 2 Lesser Horseshoe Bats were found in hibernation, in perfect conditions of 77% humidity and 9-10°C
JW would be circulating members shortly to ascertain their preferred day of the week for a Botany Walk with DrHC and a Bumblebee Walk with JB
JW reported that all bird and bat boxes on the Springs and Millpond sites had been cleaned, but only 1 bird box had been used last year. One of the two dormice boxes had been removed for repair and would be sited elsewhere late-March
JW said that there were 2 issues for discussion -
Vandalism of the Car Park Gate and Sign and theft of the Padlock, and an equally unacceptable instance of parking reservation, reported by a member
- the details of both having been pre-circulated to the committee.
EO said that the relevant Section 106 agreement was dated 17th July 2001 and that allowed the Executive Committee to deal with the car parking issue raised.
After a very long discussion it was agreed that a new lock would not be fitted at present, decision to be reviewed at the next committee meeting, whilst JW would speak to the owners of the unacceptably parked car, to further emphasise the issue that EO had previously discussed with them
EO said that he was planning a Work Party for Sunday, 8th March to complete remaining works on the Millpond site, and on Sunday, 5th April to start cutting back the Back Lane bank opposite the cottages
AM reported that the Government Inspector had advised Mendip District Council (MDC) to review their proposals in the Local Plan for Open Areas and Green Spaces in light of the government requirement for new housing. Similarly, Shepton Mallet Town Council (SMTC), in their Neighbourhood Plan (NP), need to show justifiable reasoning for all proposed Open Areas and Green Spaces.
AM said that SMTC are aiming to have a draft NP available for local consultation by mid-2020.
AM said that MDC had approved the planning application for a Hydroponic Farm on land east of Forum Lane
EO circulated income/expenditure summaries to 15th February 2020 for both Conservation Society and Heritage Project. Conservation Society:
EO said that whilst he anticipated a balance of over £500 to be carried forward to 2020/2021, and with membership fees now easily exceeding normal annual expenditure, the Society needed to start creating a reserve to cover possible tree surgery on the tall mature trees along the river bank of Island 8 and on the Springs site adjacent the Wells Road pavement.
EO said that the Project Management Team (PMT) [IK/AM/EO] had carried out a budget review at the end of 2019 prior to submitting a substantial project review to Heritage Lottery (HLF) and that subsequently HLF had released the second tranche of grant for £8,000, making £18,000 (90%) released to date. EO said that BA was continuing to approach small charities and family trusts for grants towards proposed Outreach activities but that the PMT were comfortable that the level of grants received and promised to date together with proposed Community Outreach fundraising opportunities would cover the latest estimated project expenditure
The committee agreed that the AGM would be held on Monday, 20th April 2020 (EO to arrange)
EO said that he had responded to a resident who had written to cancel her membership, being unhappy with works carried out at the Millpond and Springs sites and with past/proposed Community Outreach activities. His offer of a face to face discussion was not taken up
EO said that he had received an email from MS who had now moved house from Darshill to Keinton Mandeville, “Many thanks for the community e-mails over the years and it was really great working with you on the DBCS committee and during the working parties"
Website Managers’ Report
EO distributed the annual report received from SP, together with website visitor/page view data for January 2020
The committee agreed to stay with the basic Weebly package and expressed their thanks to SP for giving her time to maintaining such an informative website
(Report attached to these Minutes)
JW mentioned that frogs were now emerging from hibernation and she had seen a number crossing Ham Lane from Ham Manor to reach the pond at Marechiaro
AM said that he and JN would prefer a July date this year for the Garden Party (EO to follow up)
The next committee meeting was provisionally agreed for 7pm on Monday 1st June 2020, venue to be advised
The meeting closed at 9.30pm
The meeting closed at 9.30pm