Reports published by  Winsham Parish Council of  Monthly Meetings-2020/2021/2022

Winsham Parish Council Annual Council Meeting – 11th May 2022

Present were four members of the public, our Clerk and four councillors; a rather low attendance, but four of our councillors were unavoidably absent. In the public forum we heard about worries about the Equestrian Centre near Purtington, were major earthworks are taking place and sound pollution from their public address system is a regular occurrence. Also voiced were worries about the Jubilee mugs - we will try to get them to all the Winsham children who want them!

In recent elections eight of us were re-elected (as there were no other candidates); our Chair and Vice-Chair were re-elected in this meeting. The single vacant position on the Council will be filled by co-opting Chloe Adams.

We discussed the Equestrian Centre complaints and what we intend to do about it; in Planning matters there was only one new application, 22/00787/HOU, the erection of a two-story rear extension to Ivy Cottage on Back Street; there were no objections on this going through. All Planning applications from last month: 22/00292/HOU re 9 Bakersfield, 21/03717/S73A re Puthill Barn Limekiln Lane, 21/03728/COL re Puthill Barn Limekiln Lane and 22/00485/FUL re Fulwood Ebben Lane, went through the District Council and have been permitted, though some with conditions.

As this was our Annual Meeting we looked at Finance in more detail than usual, we shuffled Councilors' allocated responsibilities (which are many!), we looked at insurance quotes, at our Asset Register, at the Internal Auditor's report: the necessary but not wildly exciting administrative matters that come with the job.

Planning for the Queen's Jubilee is going on, and the programme is as planned and as advertised in the e-letter, on Facebook and in the Parish Magazine.

In the Churchyard, a Compost & Cakes working group has been sprucing up 'Laurel Corner' and we have also been working on the re-sprouting Cherry laurel, removing some more roots and copper-nailing stumps: all in aid of a future herb corner.

Under Parish Assets, we discussed the refurbishment of the War Memorial, now well in hand before the Memorial's centenary, which is next year.  We talked about the fencing on the Lower Rec, the replacement bin on the Upper Rec, the allotments, grass cutting... our work may not always be spectacular and exciting, but we try and keep our parish a good place to live in.

The next WPC meeting is on Wednesday June 1st in the Jubilee Hall.

Report on the Winsham Parish Council ordinary Council Meeting – 6th April 2022

Present were four members of the public, and our District Councillor Sue Osborne. In the public forum we heard about the still-blocked culvert on the Chalkway (which Highways have now looked at and said they would "send an expert"); and about the footpath from Court Street to Broadenham, which is getting encroached by undergrowth. We will need to look into this. 

Sue reported on SSDC progress regarding Ukrainian refugees - but SSDC is now 'in purdah' so not much will happen over the next month or so. South Somerset asked for a substantial grant towards our buses, but we received only a small part of what we asked for (and Dorset got none at all...).

In the meeting proper we came to planning matters and discussed 21/01786/FUL: the application for two houses at the bottom of Church Street, which went through SSDC planning without a hitch - despite objections from quite a few Winsham residents, despite objections from Winsham Parish Council, and despite Sue Osborne's trying hard to get it onto the Area Committee for a serious look. All these objections were overruled by planning officer, and we are very unhappy about both residents' and WPC's comments being completely ignored. Two new applications, 22/00485/FUL (for a solar array near Fulwood House) and  22/00531/HOU (for a side extension on Western Way), were approved by the WPC, as was a pre-planning application for a dormer bungalow on land to the rear of Corner Stones.

Counsellor Hill attended the Chard Flood Resilience Group meeting on March 16th and informed them about our flooding problems. What Winsham needs is a flood warden, someone who coordinates info on flooding and our response to it, along Neighbourhood Watch lines - we are looking for a volunteer, please contact us if this could be you! We might stockpile sandbags at the Band Hut.

A village meeting took place to discuss support for Ukrainian refugee resettlement in our area. We will coordinate with other villages. Sarah Love (professionally involved with refugee children) will liaise and knows who is coming where; emphasises that any refugees absolutely need to have Home Office visas and contact local authority.

We were going to discuss concerns about the Balsom Close Nature Area that were raised in a letter to the council, but as the matter is now part of a police investigation (!), we were not able to discuss this in public.

Update on preparations for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee : plans as before: beacon lighting on Thursday June 2 at 21:00 (near Hazelwood Farm, on opposite side of the road), quiz night with cheese and wine at the Bell on Saturday 3 June, traditional children’s games, barbeque and music at the Upper Rec Club on Saturday 4th June, and a ‘Party in the Park’ at the Lower Rec on June 5: bring your own cream tea and picnic, enter the table decoration competition, children’s crown competition.

More items for report: We intend to hold our Great British Spring Clean  on Saturday 23 April starting at 10:00, ending with coffee and cake at 12:00. We have had the hedge along the cemetery-to-Ammerham footpath cut drastically to give a bit more space for walkers. The grass cutting has begun again, by the same team as last year. The telephone box library is working very well with plenty of customers.

With more village life taking place outside now the weather is improving, we would ask you to be courteous and mindful of your neighbours and do not light bonfires on nice days - and do not burn plastic and the like, nor household waste. After dusk is the appropriate time!

Outside bodies: Winsham Recreational Trust reported that they are considering next steps for grounds and clubhouse, and they are looking at legal documents regarding the lease. Their volunteers are committed and much appreciated; a recent volunteers meeting was abolished, sadly, due to governance issues.

Date of the Next Meetings: – the next Council meeting is on 11th May 2022. 


Report on the Winsham Parish Council Meeting of 2nd February 2022

Present were eight Councilors, our Clerk, District Councillor Sue Osborne and seven residents.

In the Public forum there were quite a few residents speaking up, firstly on behalf of Magdalen’s Farm, who hope to buy eleven acres of woodland in our Parish, just N of the river and S of the railroad, to use for educational services for children and vulnerable adults. They are looking for letter of endorsement from WPC.

Secondly there were two people speaking up about two Planning applications, see below for more on this.

In the meeting proper we discussed the Small Improvement Scheme, where the Highways Agency has now put up Planning signs (should be near the shop and Jubilee hall) – details will also be posted on the Parish website. Residents are strongly advised to look at these proposals and comment on them – this is your chance to influence the plans!

Next we came to the five Planning applications. The first (21/03690/FUL; you can check all these applications for yourself on proposes to build three garages with the new houses at Whatley. The second (21/03713/FUL) proposes to build a holiday let at Leigh Farm, on New Road, in a woodland copse just N of the railway. The third and fourth (21/03717/S73A and 21/03728/COL) proposed to legalise some changes to Puthill Barn on Limekiln Lane. All four of these were supported by the Council.

The fifth application however (21/01786/FUL), about the proposed two new houses at the South end of Church Street, has come under strong objections of some residents (mainly on the grounds of highway safety, environmental and conservation area grounds), and as we felt some pertinent information had not been included on the Planning Portal, we have asked for a further extension of the application so we can make an informed decision.


Several financial matters were dealt with, and then we discussed the 2022-23 draft budget and precept (this is the Winsham Parish part of the Council Tax). There was some lively discussion on this – last year we kept this precept unchanged (as opposed to all the other parts of the District Council Tax, which went up). The proposal was to increase the precept by 2.25 % for a total Parish budget of £21,043; this is how we pay for the upkeep of our assets (Cemetery, Churchyard, recreation grounds, bus shelter, war memorial, allotments, grit and dog bins  and the like). There were suggestions to keep the precept unchanged seeing the current financial problems for some of our residents; on the other hand our income from the rates has gone down, as there are fewer houses that pay rates and more holiday lets. We also have some big expenditure coming with the planned refurb of the Lower Rec. In the end the vote went 6-2 for the proposed rise, which works out at an extra £3.42 per household per year.


The Balsom Close new parking area and our proposed ‘nature area’ have not yet been handed over to the Parish Council, as South Somerset District Council need to sign off on the transfer from the developer to WPC. Sue Osborne will chase the legal team from SSDC!

We discussed celebrations for the Queen’s platinum Jubilee, and there are lots of ideas from the recent meeting, including lighting the beacon on the field next to the allotments (between the B 3162 and Colham Lane). The Bell is arranging an event for the Friday evening, on Saturday events are being organised by the Social Club for the Upper Rec and a bring your own tea event on the Lower Rec is being organised for Sunday. Cllr Love reported that, due to her busy work schedule, she is looking for someone to co-ordinate the arrangements – please come forward!


The Gardening Group is going well; they have been working on Western Way – cemetery footpath

clearing brambles and will continue on this in February.

The Winsham Community Club reported that the bar at the Upper Rec is running well on two evenings a week, the Pavilion has received a 5-star hygiene rating from the Food Standards Agency, and more functions are coming up.

Finally there was a note on the public worries about the Axwater trees that have been cut down by the road jst South of the village: this was under Planning application 19/02710/REM, they were mostly conifers, and they will be replaced by native trees such as Field maple.


The Annual Council meeting is now planned for April 13. The next WPC ordinary meeting will be on March 9th .


Winsham Parish Council meeting of December 1st, 2021


Present were four members of the public, most of them wearing masks, as well as Sue Osborne, our District Councillor. Sadly, we heard that Linda Vijeh, our County Councillor, is standing down as of January next year, but Sue will liaise & cover. Sue discussed a flooding report and advises village input; Jim Everard will attend the relevant meeting.


There was just one new planning application this month, by Mr & Mrs R Woodland, but only an outline application (which is like testing the waters), to see if they can get a provisional yes to building a house in the paddock to the back of The Bell, with access through the private lane along the Bell. While we worry about this access being right opposite the school, as well as potential future development and potential flooding down to Church Street, we  registered otherwise ‘no objection’ until we see a more detailed appilication in the future.

The outline application we discussed last month, 21/02855/OUT was refused; not because of the reservations we put in but because of the public right of way and the view from conservation area.

We discussed financial matters, including a first look at next year’s budget, and approved the Winsham Community Resource Centre bank balance of £563.54, finally in our account, to be allocated to the WCRC in Earmarked Reserves – there was applause at this stage, as it took a long time to extract this money from the bank!

We reviewed policy documents; discussed a quote to replace decking for the Lower Rec climbing frame, but decided it would be better to have a thorough check of ALL equipment here, and get a quote for the lot rather than dealing with it piecemeal.

We reported yet more fly tipping along Western Way – anybody can do this on the dedicated website of South Somerset District Council:

They can only react if they know about it! In our experience, they do get round to removing such rubbish reasonably quickly.

We discussed the Western Way newbuild developer’s request to let him release the 8th house for sale before he delivers up the parking lot and nature area, but our Chair has discovered this is up to SSDC and not to the Winsham Parish Council… we will try (through the kind offices of Sue Osborne) to have a SSDC planning officer come to the site and discuss the matter with us, possibly with the SSDC Environmental Officer Sarah Dyke. In the meantime, we have received 410 tree ‘whips’ to start planting in the planned Nature Area, once released, and we will apply for more free trees and wildflower meadow seeds.

Councillor Judith Hill reported she and several volunteers have made a good start with village gardening in what were waste spaces. Would village people be happy if we once more dig up ‘Laurel Corner’ in the Churchyard, by the back gate, and plant this small area with medicinal herbs?

Our telephone box library is doing well with books changing hands regularly.

As two dogs have been seen out of control in a field of sheep, can we remind everyone that dogs should be kept UNDER CONTROL where livestock is about! Farmers have the right to take drastic action when they find your dog causing harm, or about to cause harm – and when I say drastic, that means resolving the problem for good, to the extent of destroying the dog. 

The Highways Agency came round last week and cleaned out most of the village drains, and along the B 3162 as well; some of the smaller roads have not been done, as yet. Talking about roads, along Bakersfield and lower Church Street some houses have trailing electric leads over the pavement to charge their cars – please be mindful that in the dark this can be a serious trip hazard if not clearly marked (and it is actually illegal).

Finally there were reports from representatives from outside bodies. Steve Weller is now Acting Chair of the Winsham Recreational Trust, after Trevor Harris resigned. We wish to thank Trevor for his sterling work during his stint as Chair, and to Keith Fowler for *his* chairmanship! Thanks were also expressed to Sarah Love for her running of the Club, with the help of a great bunch of volunteers. Keith Fowler reported that CCTV has now been installed. The clubhouse is well-used!

Date of the next meeting – Wednesday 5th January 2022.

Winsham Parish Council Council Meeting – 3rd November 2021  

Present were seven council members, one (Trevor) standing in for the Clerk who was unwell. Our SSDC councillors Linda Vijeh and Sue Osborne and eleven members of the public were also present: a good turnout, but most people were only attending because of a Planning Matter! This was about the proposed new build North of Orchard Cottage, but because much of the application was ‘reserved’ (i.e. undecided, not yet included) we could not comment much. The SSDC site also did not include most of the objections raised by local people (mostly to do with drainage and the existing spoil heap), due to website problems. We felt we did not have the information we needed to come to an informed advice decision, and we will tell SSDC planning to sort things out. A second planning matter, a conversion at Leigh Farm Dairy Cottage, was more straightforward although the large number of parking places related to a one-bed holiday let seemed strange to us.

The Highways Agency plan for Church Street is still developing. They have now abandoned their idea of a pedestrian crossing with yellow lines near the Jubilee/Shop that we were not keen on! Parishioners will still be able to comment and suggest once it comes to the consultation stage.

We are working to replace the safety surfaces on several of the Lower rec playground structures; in spring, we will also do a general paint.

We are very sorry to hear about the vandalism at Winsham School, and we noted that the lower Rec picnic table has been overturned several times – probably by the same offenders.

We discussed plans for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, on 2-6 June 2022. We will try and coordinate with other parties such as The Bell. A community quilt is also in the offing.

Under ‘Parish assets’ we discussed the Churchyard ‘Laurel Corner’ where two of us intend to do some more sprucing up. Similarly, by the bus shelter we intend to ask Highways to repair the broken tarmac, and then we will replace the nettles with a nice planting of wildflowers. We are obtaining new quotes for repairs to the walls around, and pavement under, the War Memorial – in addition to the re-cutting of some of the names.

We expressed our grateful thanks to Simon Hill, who has cleared many of our choked drains. he also re-dug several drainage ditches, bless him. Everybody can help our drainage system by cleaning out drains around our houses!  More thanks to Simon, and also to Judith Hill, for their sterling work on the laying of the Allotment hedge.

The final grass cut of the year has taken place on the day of our WPC meeting, and we appreciate the work our contractors, the Powells, have been doing.

Finally, the Band Hut (or Community Resource Centre) is being checked for who has stored what, preparatory to a clear-out early next year. We are thinking of installing some solar lights .

Our next meeting will be on Wednesday December 1st – please watch announcements to see where it is to be held, depending on pandemic developments…

Winsham Parish Council Council Meeting – 1st September 2021  


We met in the main Jubilee Hall, due to Covid distancing requirements and this was possible as the ballet group graciously ceded us their booked evening. Seven members of the public were present, our District Councilor Sue Osborne and our County Councilor Linda Vijeh, and eight parish councilors and the Clerk. 

Linda and Sue reported about the new Unitary Council, which will require redrawn council boundaries : this is to bring the number of councilors down from the current 100 to 80-90 (by order of the Secretary of State). This carries a risk of the rural vote being lost, and our Councilors will keep a close eye on proceedings. They also reported that South Somerset rubbish collection problems are finally getting better (luckily, we suffered less of this than some!).

As most of the members of the public were there for a single item on the agenda, we brought that forward in our talks: the planning application for a so-called gypsy site (as specified in the application) in a field NW of White Gates, the crossing of the B3167 Fosse Way with Cow Down Road. Concerns were raised about the change of pasture to residential land, about access problems, about the unsuitability of the site and about water and flooding issues; we found the lack of information (and justification) on the application disturbing  and we went with the public mood to object to this application. Of course the site itself is in Forton (it is just on the border of the two parishes) and Tatworth & Forton Parish will vote on it this week. The cutoff date for objections is 7 September.

Two other planning applications went through without problems, one on additional stabling in Purtington and one on roof alterations in Whatley. 

We discussed the filling in of potholes and fencing along Pooles Lane, plaques for the two nice new picnic tables we have bought for the upper and lower Recs; we approved a repeat order for inspection of the playground in the lower Rec; we approved parish council finance matters; and we reviewed a series of official documents. Looking ahead, we started preparations for Remembrance Day and approved a donation to the Christmas Tree Lighting event.

As the Principal Authority elections are going to be held in 2022, we decided to piggyback the Parish Council elections on that (instead of in 2023 as planned) to save the parish thousands of pounds. 

The Highways Agency has come up with a new plan for Winsham pedestrian safety improvements. Of course this is something we approve of in principle, but we dislike the loss of seven parking spaces near the shop & Jubilee Hall, especially as there are people who have difficulties with access to such places. We will try and organise a meeting between Highways Agency and concerned residents, through the kind offices of Linda and Sue.

On Parish Assets: the gate catch of the cemetery gate has been replaced, and the large cuttings bin in the cemetery has been emptied. We intend to provide a bin so plastic flowers etc. does not get mixed with the compostable grass.  We will address the ‘cleared’ area in the churchyard, where the laurel cherry is sprouting again, of course consulting with the Church Wardens. Progress is being made with plans for improving the War Memorial, as some of the names are getting faint and the walls and flagstones around it are cracking in places. The telephone box exchange library seems to be working very well!

The fly tipping of old tyres along Western Way was reported to the SSDC and has now been cleared. We are looking into reports of fly tipping on the upper Rec. 

Reports from member representatives on outside bodies: we only heard from the  Winsham Recreational Trust, where the Pavilion has been granted an alcohol license; the bar has been stocked, security shutters have been installed, the toilets were redone, fire extinguishers have been replaced and we are repairing the roof gully; the membership drive is going well and several events have been held successfully. The WRT hopes to hold an AGM in October. 

Date of the Next Meeting – Wednesday 6th October.

Winsham Parish Council meeting of July 6th 2021

 It is nice to be back in the Jubilee Hall, even if we have to meet in the large hall due to COVID-distancing requirements, and on a Tuesday rather than a Wednesday (when the ballet group meets) which clashes with several councillors’ work schedules.

Apart from the usual administrative points (Finance, document reviews, insurance, playground inspections and the like) we discussed several planning applications, addressed a query raised by a member of the public to their satisfaction, and then came to a very topical point: flood defences. We have raised a concern with the Highways department as at least ten of our village drains have been blocked for a while, while others are not large enough to cope with serious rainfall and run-off. With extra houses being built, serious improvements are needed, and we will keep pressing on this.

There is persistent dog fouling on Pooles Lane, and we still do not know who is responsible. As the lane is a thoroughfare for schoolchildren, we are asking members of the public for help in identifying the guilty party – is it someone who is physically incapable of bending down (in which case we can help), or just a lazy dogwalker? Please help!

We discussed cutting back the hedges of the Allotments, and will tackle the one fronting the road in September/October. Similarly we talked about the hedge along the Lower rec, as well as fencing for the playground; not everyone agrees on the plans, but as a Council we feel it will improve the area.

In Purtington a part of the hedge along Rose Lane was grubbed up during the bird-nesting season, and we are still not clear why this happened. This same Rose Lane has been declared a Restricted Byway by South Somerset County Council, rather than the footpath it has been, a decision which we tried to fight and which continues to mystify us as it is a steep and rather perilous path.

We have applied to the Woodland Trust for a large number of saplings for the forthcoming nature area.

Plans are afoot for removing the old grass cuttings in the Cemetery and for dividing the current bin into two parts, one for topsoil and one for cuttings. There will be a new rubbish bin just outside the eastern gate, where people can discard old plastic flowers and such like, which should not go into the grass cuttings (which can otherwise be used as compost).

We have had positive feedback from the War Memorial Trust and will continue with our plans to refurbish the War Memorial: it needs a clean, some repairs and a localised sharpening of some of the lettering.

The only reports from member representatives on outside bodies was from the Winsham Recreational Trust, which has now applied for a bar licence; is in the process of replacing the current carpet; and will hold several more Family Fun Days, cream teas and barbeques in July and August.

Henk Beentje


Report on the meeting of the Winsham Parish Council on

June 1, 2021 (and some extras)


I will start with the ‘extras’: we had the Parish Council AGM on May 25th, an actual physical one in the Jubilee Hall! Two members of the public, seven councillors and our Clerk, and all masked (except when speaking). As Stu Davie has resigned, because he wants to spend more time on his business and family,  we needed to choose a new chairman: Jim Everard will take over from Stu, and Sarah Love will take over as vice-chair. We also allocated the various councillors’ responsibilities. The meeting was followed by the Annual Parish Meeting, for which we had an almost full (when distanced) Hall, and in which a whole range of Winsham organisations reported on the last year-and-a-bit, and talked about future plans.


On Saturday the 29th of May the Parish Council organised the Spring Clean, for which many volunteers turned up – we have a very good community spirit for these kinds of things. Several teams of two were driven to far ends of the Parish, to walk back to the Lower Rec and pick up litter along the roads and lanes – of course wearing hi-viz jackets and using proper litter pickers. Meanwhile another group gave playground equipment, tables and seats in the Lower Rec a good scrubbing/brushing/washing. Results: bags and bags of litter (boo, hiss), resulting in 'very' clean-looking roadsides (applause, flapjacks) and a nicely scrubbed-up Lower Rec, too.


On Tuesday (so as not to clash with the weekly ballet class) June 1st the monthly Parish Council meeting took place – the first live one, apart from the AGM, for a long time. Six councillors and the Clerk attended, with five members of the public. During the public forum our previous chairman, Stuart Davie, explained the reasons for his resignation: he wants to develop his business and his young family is also taking up more of his time. He thanked all Winsham parishioners for their support and told us he was proud to have served the community during his 5 ½ years on the Council – and he told us he had been especially proud to lay our wreaths at the War Memorial, as a former member of the 2nd Battalion, Parachute Regiment. As a Council we are grateful for his years of service and chairmanship, and at the end of our meeting we recorded a unanimous vote of thanks to Stuart for his sterling service to Parish and Parish Council.

We voted for a new councillor, to fill the vacancy, and from the three candidates Trevor Harris was chosen.

After discussion of outstanding items, finance and annual governance returns, we suddenly had no planning matters to discuss, the first time in a long while that this has (not) happened. We reviewed policy documents; we talked about new fencing for the Lower Rec, and the possibility of a new round table there, plus the need to re-paint and re-stain much of the equipment after its recent cleaning. This will probably happen in the autumn, with proper warning for all the users.

As to other Parish assets, in the cemetery we will have the cuttings/compost bin emptied and tidied up. The larger of the gates also needs attention. For the War Memorial we are awaiting three quotes for the sprucing up of the lettering and repairs to walls and flagstones; there has been no feedback yet from the War Memorial Trust in response to our assessment of the status of the memorial as rather poor. We discussed the placing of an additional dog pooh bin near the top of High Street, and an additional grit bin near Balsom Close/Western way.

There was not much to report from our members on outside bodies, apart from the Winsham Recreational trust who are having a Fun Day on Friday June 11th, from 5 to 8 in the afternoon/evening; and the Band Hut (Winsham Community Resource Centre) where there will be a sorting out of unwanted equipment.

The next meeting of the Parish Council will be in early July, and it depends on the easing of Covid-19 restrictions whether it will be held in the Committee Room of the Jubilee Hall or elsewhere – and on ‘where’ depends the ‘when’, so we will keep you posted.

Henk Beentje



Report on the Winsham Parish Council Council Meeting – 5th May 2021

This was our last zoom meeting for the pandemic – from now on we are legally obliged to have physical meetings again, though how this is going to work out with physical distancing and indoor rules is anyone’s guess.

Eight councillors and the Clerk attended, as well as County Councillor Linda Vijeh and four members of the public. 

In the outstanding items section we once again thanked Paul Anderson for replacing one of the old benches in the upper Rec with a smart new one, and for taking away the old slatted bench near the bus stop in order to replace that one, as well. We discussed plans for the ‘phone box at the five ways junction: it turns out it will be too hot for most plants due to sun exposure, so initially it will serve as a book- and seed-exchange. The door will be firmed up and new coats of paint will be laid on.

The only planning applications we discussed were about Woodlands garage, and we gave them our full support. We have been asked by a member of the public to consider replacing restrictive stiles on some footpaths with gates, to provide easier access to a wider range of users. Though we like the idea in principle, we are not keen on metal gates, and we will look into this further, liaising with interested parties. We will support Radio Ninesprings which aims to start broadcasting in our area -   it is a very local radio station for South Somerset, currently working from Yeovil with a mix of popular music, local community news and interviews about local issues. It is currently on 104.5 FM from Yeovil, but hopes to be on 107.6 FM from Chard as well.

We approved the new WPC Asset Register, which covers a multitude of things such as the Lower Rec, grit bins and Poole’s Lane; and maintenance of all these goes from replacing a rotten door of the Band Hut to working on protruding screw ends on the Lower Rec gates (thanks Keith) – to the regular cutting of grass in the cemetery, the Lower and Upper Rec, and the Churchyard. We are looking at providing water in the cemetery and making some changes in the children’s playground.

The meeting ended with reports from outside bodies such as the Winsham Recreational trust, reporting that WRT is applying for an alcohol licence for the Pavilion; requests for bookings for the Pavilion have already started to come in; and with the Clerk’s report, which included that WPC has officially accepted a grant from the Somerset Climate Emergency Fund for our forthcoming nature area, the ‘climate park’ behind Balsom Close. 

We are very pleased that the parking problem at the corner of Western Way and Balsom Close has finally been resolved, due to continuing pressure from the Parish Council.

The next WPC meeting will be on Tuesday, 8th of June at 19:30; probably in the main part of the Jubilee Hall. The agenda for the meeting will be made available the Friday before the meeting.



Report on the Winsham Parish Council Council Meeting – 7th April 2021


Yet another zoom meeting, with seven parish councillors present, as well as Sue Osborne (our District Councillor for Windwhistle Ward) and Linda Vijeh (our County Councillor) and two members of the public. As our Clerk is recovering from a hospital stay Lucy Miller kindly took the minutes. 

Our County and District Councillors reported on the consultation about the plans to replace the current system of the County Council and four district authorities (including our South Somerset one) with either a single new authority  (this is the One Somerset option) or two (the One Somerset option). You may have had a leaflet through your letterbox pretending to be a poll form – but these are actually illegal! The consultation continues, beset by and with complications…  Also, planning applications are now slower than usual due to low staffing, and there is a new word limit on your comments on proposed plans; a way around this would be to split your reaction over several responses, as long as these are sent in by different people.    Sue and Linda warn us about a new scam, with a fake emails supposedly from the DVLA about your car tax and asking for bank details -  do not believe these!!

 We discussed outstanding items on the agenda, including the fitting of the new bench seat in the lower Rec. Mr Paul Anderson kindly volunteered to have the bench (which he made!) put in without costs to the Council, for which we are truly grateful.

No planning matters were received.

We reviewed some of our policies, including the Freedom of Information Policy, and the Council’s Bee Policy – did you realise we have one? Even some of us were surprised.  We discussed Pooles Lane, part of which is a WPC asset, and we will ask for quotes to fill the potholes; we will also check the Diocese archives (when they open again) to find out about our responsibility to erect a proper fence on the southern side. 

We are planning  for the Great British Spring Clean – to take place somewhere between 28th May & 13th June.

Several ideas had come in about what to use the Phone Box for – thank you! After a lick of paint we will probably make it into a post-Covid flowerbox-cum-book- and seed exchange.

Councillor Everard reported he had found a lot of broken glass in the cemetery. Apparently people use these to water flowers on the graves with, which of course is laudable; but if you leave them behind instead of clearing them up after, they will get broken (is it that pheasant again?) which is not a nice thing to see.

Sadly, someone is letting their dog foul the path by the school gates and the field gate. This is both disgusting and a health hazard to our children. There is a dog bin in the area, so someone is being lazy, unhygienic and disrespectful.

We discussed putting in for a grant to refurbish the War Memorial in the village centre. The lettering is getting very faint and many of the paving slabs are now broken. We will be getting quotes from stonemasons (for the lettering) and builders (for the stones) and then look into trying to get grants to cover some of the costs.

The Council is grateful to Bethany Fowler for her hard (and voluntary) work on the parish web site, which includes making old council meeting minutes searchable. 

We are pleased to announce that the footpath between Western Way and Hazelwood Hill is now much improved, with new stiles and signs. The grass in the cemetery and the two Recs has had its first cut. On the Upper Rec, the refurb of the Pavilion is going on apace; Steve & Jacqui Weller have hung curtains – warm and homely! Jim Everard has fitted new taps in the loos, and is now working on the showers; electric heaters being installed at the moment; and a liquor licence is being applied for, and we are asking for volunteers to help us run the bar in the future. The playing field has had its first cut as well, and looks good – which is great as the Winsham United will play matches there in a mini football league; sadly, no spectators allowed due to the wretched Covid.

The next WPC meeting will be on Wednesday, 5th of May at 19:30; should you like to attend (by zoom, again, but possibly for the last time) please email the Clerk at  and she will send you an invitation a few days before. The agenda for the meeting will be made available the Friday before the meeting.



Report on the Winsham Parish Council meeting of March 3rd 2021

The council met, once again by zoom, with all councillors present; Sue Osborne and Linda Vijeh, our District and County Councillors; and four members of the public.

Linda and Sue gave information about the proposals to replace the current structure of four Somerset District councils and the County Council with a new single, unitary council, for which there are two options; as well as on delay and uncertainty around planning applications following recent guidance over unacceptable amounts of phosphates in an area of the Somerset Levels and Moors. There is a risk that areas outside the Levels and Moors catchment area (such as Winsham!) will suffer due to long delays on planning applications within that catchment area, something we do not want!

Among the outstanding items we discussed the placing of the new oak bench in the Lower Rec, which will happen soon now the weather is more suitable for pouring concrete; and the area of land to be donated to the Council by the developer of the new Western Way housing. There is no news yet about the grant we applied for to do fencing and planting for this area; we are considering signage for the parking lot to be established; and we have put in a grant proposal to the Somerset Fund to put in a table tennis table and a basketball hoop in a hardstand area next to the parking lot. We are not quite sure when the land will be handed over; but the first show home on the development should be ready by July, and completion might be in December this year.

There were no planning matters to discuss, but, as always, we discussed financial matters, including those for our year End accounts. 

Councillor Jim Everard has been going round checking on, and photographing, all our parish assets, from grit bins to land. He brought our attention to the potholes in Pooles Lane, which we will need to fill.

Dog owners are reminded that the Lower Rec is a children’s play area and as such dogs are not allowed!

Following on from a letter received from a resident, councillors discussed the refurbishment of the War Memorial in time for the 100th Anniversary of its dedication on 11th November 2023. We will be asking quotes from stonemasons for the cleaning up of the lettering on the memorial, and looking into possible grants; the pavement stones around the Memorial need some attention. 

Broken road signs at Ebben Lane and Leigh Lane will need to be replaced, and everybody is encouraged to report such breakages/damage to the Highways Agency: where you can specify and pinpoint such defects on an interactive map.

Councillors discussed a new version of the Welcome Pack for new residents, which will be both hardcopy and on the Parish website. We looked at quotes for the grass cutting and footpath maintenance, and decided to stay with the current contractors as we have had lots of positive feedback on their work. On the Band Hut the rickety and rotten old door has been replaced with a smart new hardwood door.

There is not much to report from our representative on outside bodies – apart from the Winsham Recreational Trust. The Pavilion at the Upper Rec is undergoing maintenance to the outside at the moment; electrical heating will be installed this month; the plumbing is being upgraded, and some minor electrical faults are being addressed. 

Feedback on the Parish Survey is still welcome, now the results have been published. We are discussing the results in detail, and they will be incorporated in the Five Year plan for the parish we are developing.  We will keep you informed!

And finally – we would welcome ideas on what we should do with the village phone box  we have purchased. the telephone has now been removed, and we need to decide whether it is going to be a mini-book-exchange, a recycling centre, a booth with information about Winsham and surroundings such as leaflets with walks, an art gallery, a very large hanging basket with flowers… ideas to or directly to councillors, please.


Report on the Winsham Parish Council meeting of February 3rd 2021

 Present: Eight councillors and the Clerk, District Councillors Linda Vijeh and Sue Osborne, and four members of the public.

 Once again we met by zoom, in a meeting that lasted just short of two hours. Sue Osborne reported that the rollout of vaccinations in Somerset is going very well! She also reported that many planning applications are being delayed due to a recent court judgement known as “Dutch N” having to do with phosphate levels in groundwater.

We approved the schedule of cheques and bank reconciliations, and approved the third quarter spend against the budget report as well; this might seem rather dry stuff, but for a healthy and responsible state of parish finances we do need to keep careful track of such things.

We discussed planning applications on garage extensions and the removal of agricultural ties to a house, and approved these either with ‘no objection’ or ‘recommended’; a third application for a farm refurbishment with a February deadline had come in after the agenda had been published, and we had to have a separate meeting on Feb. 10th to decide on our positive response to that one. 

Once again several activities have been delayed under the influence of COVID19  or the weather: the replacement bench for the Lower Rec. and the removal of the holly growing out of a cemetery grave, for instance. 

Following contact with the new SCC footpath warden we have raised on-going issues including one blocked footpath and other priority work that needs doing. We have ordered new way marks (the small directional disks) to improve access to the path network. 

We are still thinking about ‘rejuvenating’ the lower rec. playground, in line with comments given under the village survey. 

Councillor Fowler reported on behalf of the Winsham Recreational Trust that the loft insulation installation at the Pavilion is now complete; the next step is the replacement of current windows by double-glazed PVC ones, the installation of new fascia and of wall-mounted electric heaters.

The Winsham Community Resource Centre (also known as the Band Hut) will get a new door and doorframe later this month.

We are planning where and how to place signs for the upcoming new car park behind Balsom Close. For the nature area we hope to establish behind the car park  we have combined the existing planning permission ‘ecological management’ requirements with our own plans and come up with a document asking for minor changes in planning permission. We now have to establish whether it is the Council or the developer who should submit this request, and our District Councillors are helping us with the nitty gritty of this. 

Finally, we are considering the hedges around the allotments, which have become rather high. Rather than have them flailed (and having the hedge along the main road look very untidy) we are hoping to either have this done, or do it ourselves, in a manner that lowers the hedge – but not the tone of the village!

The next WPC meeting will be on Wednesday, March 3rd at 19:30; should you like to attend (by zoom, again) please email the Clerk at and she will send you an invitation a few days before. The agenda for the meeting will be made available the Friday before the meeting.


Report on the Winsham parish council meeting, January 6th 2021

The parish council had to meet virtually by zoom once again, due to Lockdown Mk. III. All councillors and the Clerk were present, as were District and County Councillor Linda Vijeh and three members of the public.

Linda Vijeh reported, among other things, that Area committee meetings are to be cancelled in January and February, to help the District Council to prioritise community support and vaccinations during the national COVID-19 lockdown.

The Clerk reported that the defibrillator funds have now been transferred from the Parish Magazine to the parish council, where they will be held in a ring-fenced and separate reserve for that specific purpose.

We have been spraying the Lower Rec. playground black rubber surfaces with eco- and people-friendly fluids to combat the moss (which might make the surfaces slippery) but without much success so far; though these surfaces are not very slippery at the moment – unlike the round wooden ‘stage’ or dais, which is very slippery. We will be seeking expert advice for measures such as rubber decking strips to make this surface child-safe.

The council discussed and approved the budget for 2021/2022, and Winsham might be pleased to hear that the parish council part of the council tax (the “precept”) will remain unchanged.

A single planning application, this time from our primary school, was approved: we really like the gradual changes that are improving the school.

In the cemetery Keith Fowler has replaced the kissing gate, now spruced up almost beyond recognition! We are pleased that people have commented how good the cemetery looks.

We have been made aware that the dog waste bins have not been emptied for a while; it turns out the SSC waste partnership is running behind due to a combination of Christmas and Covid-19. Similarly the Highways Agency is running late with repairs to footpaths and roads; on the South Somerset District Council website anyone can report deficiencies of roads and paths – and of course the more people complain, the more attention HA will give to a problem (at least, that is what we like to think…)

Keith Fowler reports that at the Pavilion loft insulation is being installed; wall heaters are going to be installed in the next few months; the Winsham recreational Trust is also looking at double-glazed windows and new gutters and fascia. In the spring we hope to welcome people back to a spruced-up Pavilion.

Bob Wilcox and Lisa Stevens made us aware of the original agreement between the first developers of the Western Way house-building (the current ones are the third set!) and the South Somerset District Council. This lays out in great detail many things that should already have happened, such as turf laying, regular mowing and inspections. Our nature area working group is hoping to amalgamate this document’s rules and regulations with our current plans, and we hope to come up with a plan that will be acceptable to the District Council.

The results of the parish survey will go out with the next issue of the Parish Magazine.

Finally – the parish council has agreed to buy the BT phone box in Winsham for the princely sum of one pound. BT will remove the telephone (apparently it was last used in March 2018) and we will try and come up with a creative new use for the box!

The next parish council meeting will be on February 3rd. The agenda will be on the Parish Council website a week before the meeting. If you would like to attend this (once again virtual) meeting, please email the Clerk at and she will invite you with the appropriate details and codes.

 Report on the Winsham parish council meeting, December 2nd 2020

At the end of the second lockdown of the year the Parish Council emerged… into yet another meeting by zoom, as we are more than six! All nine councillors and the Clerk attended, as well as County councillor Linda Vijeh and four members of the public. While the lockdown has stopped or slowed many aspects of our work (such as refurbishing the War Memorial and the lower Rec) we do continue with other parts of our work. We looked at, and approved, the planning application that had come in; we are working on the budget (and resulting precept) to be set at the next meeting, in January; and our Clerk, Rose Richards, is now fully CiLCA-qualified after a lot of studying and training. This means the parish council now is able to exercise “General Power of Competence” – which means we will be able to attract more grants. Currently we have one grant in the pipeline, for helping us set up the future nature park behind the new build on Western Way. 

The maintenace funds for the Bell defibrillator have now been passed to the parish council, and will be kept separate from our other funds; we are looking into having a second defibrillator installed in Davies Close, after further consultation. 

Councillor Fowler reported on progress with the Winsham Recreational Trust, where the Pavilion at the Upper Rec is now having new curtains installed and where councillor Hill has shampooed all the carpets to an almost new standard. The WRT has also accepted a quote for the installation of roof insulation and the application of a water repellent on the walls, while a quote for the installation of heaters is still ongoing. The hedges around the field have been cut.

Finally, continuing with the Lower Rec. theme, we have been made aware that the black matting around several pieces of play equipment have become slippery because of moss growth. We have gone round this week (the first week of December) with a little working party and cleaned off moss and leaves, and sprayed for algae (with a safe spray of course). 

We will keep you posted on our meetings; the next council meeting is on January 6th.



Report on the Winsham parish council meeting, November 4th 2020

Due to the current restrictions the council held its meeting using Zoom Cllr Everard chaired. Linda Vijeh and Sue Osborne were in attendance as well as 3 members of the public.

Items that were up for discussion were varied and if you wish to read the full minutes please go to the Parish Council web page.

Parish Survey Results: Cllr Everard will be writing a summary of the results to be published in the New Year

Cemetery Fees and Water Supply: It was agreed that the removal and replacement of memorials to be the same rate for non residents as residents plus the reinstatement of the water supply would be looked into.

Balsom Close Nature Area: Cllr Beentje has been working very hard with a design and grant for the new nature area which hopefully will be started once the new houses are complete.

Neighbourhood Watch: Cllr Fowler had discussed with our Neighbourhood Co-ordinator what was needed for the area and the conclusion was  that we need more volunteers so if you are interested  please contact Cllr Fowler or any other council member.

Memorial Hedge: A memorial hedge has been proposed to be planted along the new fence at the cemetery. A suggestion put forward was that parishioners could donate hedge seedlings in memory of a loved one. Please think about this and we will let you know when we have considered suitable hedging plants and have prepared the ground”.

 Grass Cutting: A complementary vote of thanks was put forward regarding the quality of work provided by Powell's through the season.

 The Pavilion: A  vote of thanks to Jacqui Weller and the team for the deep clean that has taken place within the pavilion. Future work to be done is the heating and loft installation.

 Finally the Parish Council wishes everyone a safe and Happy Christmas and New Year.


Report on the Winsham parish council meeting, October 7th 2020

We approved the single planning permission received. We decided to try and start up the Neighbourhood Watch scheme again, and will be making the first moves in this direction.

The new bench for the lower Rec, kindly made by Mr Paul Anderson, is ready for installation and awaits a dry period in order to have the concrete base poured. More work is needed as some of the equipment, and some of the safety surfaces is/are getting rather tired; we also want to update the railings and fencing. There are of course regular inspections of the playground, which so far have been positive, but we want to stay ahead of the curve!

The apple tree in the cemetery, which was getting in the way of people tending several graves, had its crown lifted; painting the railings will have to wait until springtime. A working party is going to look at other actions needed in the cemetery; we note that several people have complimented the grass-cutting there and elsewhere. Our contractors have one more cut in October, and that will be the year’s last cut.

The Winsham Recreational Trust chairman reported that the full survey has come back mostly positive. We do need better insulation, and we are looking at heating systems. The showers are being serviced. Steve Weller is doing a great job,

decorating the inside to a professional standard, and is *only* charging for materials – putting in substantial amounts of time, for which we are very grateful.

We are still working on the parish survey results – all those individual answers and suggestions have now been summarised, and we will be studying how we can convert and merge these into a five-year Parish Plan.

We will be applying for a grant to help with landscaping the area behind Balsom Close, which we want to make into an area that combines a nature area with hedgerows and trees  (and a small hill) with a footpath, as well as a small play area. We will keep you posted.

Henk Beentje (and others!)


Report on the Winsham parish council meeting, September 2nd 2020

On Wednesday September 2nd the Winsham Parish Council held its monthly meeting; after months of zoom meetings, we met face to (distanced) face in the Jubilee Hall, with members of the public present – and all under proper COVID-19 biosecurity, of course. This was the first time in months the Jubilee Hall has been used!

We had several planning applications to consider, and some of these were approved, while for others we decided to delay our answer by a week in order to have a quick site visit to make up our minds. While the WPC has no major influence on planning applications, we always hope that South Somerset District Council takes our views into account, and we feel we have to take these applications seriously – after all, they will impact our community.

On the agenda was a complaint about late night noise from Cricket St Thomas, but thankfully the activities that caused the noise have now moved indoors.

In the cemetery the wasps are still active, so please use due caution (and a note has been posted by the entrance); by the time the newsletter appears most wasps will have died, as they do each winter. Apparently there have been complaints about the removal of the fence between the cemetery and the footpath. We had no choice: Andy Partridge had shown us that all the fence-posts were rotten in the ground, and the whole thing was sagging under the weight of the brambles.  A friendly farmer replaced the whole fence and only charged us for the materials, for which we are very grateful. We intend planting shrubs like hawthorn along the fence to bring it back to life and to help insect life (not necessarily wasps, but bees and butterflies!).

In the churchyard the stumps of the laurel have been removed from near the path, and the very large stumps further away from the path have been treated with copper nails, to try and stop them from re-sprouting. Paul Welters has been removing ivy from the box tombs and the stone of the building, as the ivy was beginning to impact the stone; our grateful thanks to Paul.

We will soon be tackling the lower Rec playground; Paul Anderson has very kindly prepared a beautiful new bench to replace the rotten one, and there is a lot of other work that needs doing.

We will be liaising closely with Winsham Football Club about the cutting of the pitch at the upper Rec, as this needs more careful cutting, lifting and removal of cuttings. The council will pick up the cost of an extra cut to bring it up to scratch for the first WFC home matches.

The Winsham Recreational Trust has met a few times over the past month, and a building survey as well as an electrical survey have been done professionally; we are awaiting the reports (but a verbal report from the building surveyor was largely positive, which is good news). A fire inspection is in the pipeline. New locks have been fitted to the pavilion throughout, in line with insurance requirements. Before the Football Club can use the clubhouse, both the WFC and the WRT need to do a COVID-19 assessment; WFC has completed theirs, and WRT are working on theirs.  Re-decoration of the clubhouse will start in early October.

The new housing development near Balsom Close was discussed at length, as we need to find out who is responsible for the main drain; if the road into the closes, now unadopted, can be transferred to Highways; about the planned car park with 36 spaces, and the planned nature area between the proposed car park and Pooles Lane. We are still in the planning stage for this but we need to get it sorted before the end of the year.

We decided to defer the Annual Council Meeting of the WPC to May 2021. We considered having it later this year, but because the Jubilee hall under COVID rules can only hold twenty people, and many of the organisations that usually report at the Annual Meeting have been impacted by the lockdown, we felt deferment was the only way to go.


Henk Beentje & Keith Fowler


Report on the Winsham parish council meeting, August the 5th 2020


We are still in Zoom-mode meeting, distancing digitally, and this time we were joined by four members of the public, South Somerset County Councillor Linda Vijeh and South Somerset District Councillor Sue Osborne. Linda talked about Covid measures and the proposals for a unitary council for Somerset; Sue told us the District Council is seven million pounds in the red due to the pandemic – but also that there are still business support grants available (including for holiday lets and B&B!) but businesses should apply before the 28th of August!


Points discussed included maintenance of the War memorial and parish council website accessibility; we discussed and approved several planning applications; and we decided to support the District walking and cycling manifesto, even though we felt this was more geared to large towns. The section between Chard and Axminster is of special interest to us.

A sub-committee was formed to look at maintaining and increasing plant and animal diversity, such as in the churchyard, the cemetery and the new development behind Balsom Close.

The lower Rec has been checked weekly by the Council, and recently an independent annual inspection took place. It is clear some maintenance and repairs are needed, with rotten wood of benches one of the main concerns; but also proper fencing and some material that is getting old. We will soon do a walkabout to decide what to tackle first.

In the cemetery flowers have been removed from graves and thrown about. We worried about vandals lacking respect – but it turns out the likely culprit is a cock pheasant! There is also some tunneling going on by small mammals, probably voles, which clearly can be upsetting for relatives. The solution is probably to fill the tunnels with small stones – but please be careful as we found one hole occupied by wasps… The woodwork needs some TLC and the iron railings need a coat of paint, both will be tackled by councillors. The small gate is almost ready and will be put back in place.

The cutting down of the laurel cherry in the churchyard was not done by the council. We have been looking at the stumps and will probably treat them (drilling holes, filling with Epsom salts) to try and kill the stumps; we prefer to promote the yew hedge, which should do better now the laurel is gone.

The parish survey results are on their way – watch this space!



Report on the Winsham parish council meeting, 1st July, 2020