15 members of the Parish attended. Malcolm Summers was in the Chair.
1. Minutes of the last meeting
The minutes of the Annual Parish Meeting held on 26th April 2006 were taken as read and signed as a correct record.
2. Bishop's Hull Charity
Mrs Mapletoft, the Clerk to the Bishop's Hull charity, presented the annual report. At the end of the financial year 2007, the Charity had £176.51 in hand. Five families had received donations of £20 each, flowers had also been sent to the four nursing homes at Christmas, and the Allotments Association had received a grant of £40. Mr Peter Chandler had replaced Mrs Christine Quartly on the Charity, as, sadly, Mrs Quartly had died recently. The Charity had existed for around 400 years; it was intended mainly to assist the elderly, but they tried to spread the money wider if it was necessary.
3. Parish Council Accounts
The Clerk to the Parish Council presented the Statement of the Council's Accounts for the year ended 31st March 2007 (appendix A to the signed copy of these minutes).
The Accounts showed total receipts of £23,772.55 and expenditure of £17,055.70, leaving a credit balance of £6,716.85.
The Clerk explained the accounts and then invited questions. It was explained that any money left in the Footpaths maintenance part of the budget could be used for any jobs reported. If the Council was made aware of any particularly overgrown, they would ask the person who did the strimming to go there, and there was a small underspend on that budget available to be spent. The division of costs between the Clerk and the Street Cleaner was queried and the Clerk explained that it was almost an exact 50/50 split, with the Street Cleaner's part slightly below that of the Clerk.
There being no other questions the Clerk was thanked for her clear presentation of the accounts.
4. Parish Tree Warden's Report
Mrs Rose Humphreys, the Parish Tree Warden, presented her report.
She commented on the sad demise of the cedar trees in Daws Mead; everything had been done to try to save them but they were beyond saving. An oak had been planted to replace them but it would be many years before it was a reasonable size. The early onset of virtual drought conditions was not good news for any tress, especially those recently planted in the Community Woodland. The dry conditions would also encourage weeds such as dandelions and thistles.
The use of the Community Woodland by 'campers' and party goers was reported, along with some criminal damage. It was pointed out that the land was not intended for these purposes and it should be discouraged.
5. Chairman's Report
Mr Summers presented his report. He thanked the members of the groups set up by the Parish Plan, particularly the Youth Group and VEG, who were doing very good work. The Community Woodland was also a great success. Traffic using the village as a 'rat run' had been perceived to be a serious problem, but following a recent survey organised by Cllr Alan Paul, this had proved not to be the case. Parking was still difficult in some places, but at least the situation in Mountway Road had improved. The bus gate was something of a joke, being out of action as much as it was functioning.
Mr Summers thanked his fellow councillors for their support, also the Street Cleaner, the Clerk, the councillors from other authorities, and David Greig (the Parish Liaison Officer) the potential loss of whose post alone Mr Summers personally felt justified opposing unitary status for SCC.
6. Other matters
Surveyors had been seen in the fields along Bishop's Hull Road and it was thought that this land would be recommended for development in Taunton Deane's Local Plan, which would be drawn up probably in the next twelve months. If this development was to be opposed it was necessary to be well organised and have relevant planning grounds. On the other hand, if it was felt that the development was inevitable everything should be done to maximise any benefits to the village which might be gained through S106 agreements, for example an extension of the footpath along Bishop's Hull Road to the main road.
A question was raised about unauthorised development at Fideoak Mill - the Chairman said that the Parish Council was keeping a close eye on this and already had the matter in hand.
It was noted that the URC building was now in the hands of an absentee landlord and some desecration of headstones had occurred, and the garden was in disorder. The Chairman said he would contact the new owners who he thought were based in Yorkshire.
More repairs to the speed humps were noted along with bridge re-surfacing - Cllr Paul confirmed that money had been with-held from the contractors until everything was considered to be satisfactory.