16th June 2016

Present:  Carole Girling (Chair), Sarah Edwards (Secretary), Ros Cole, Chris Lakeman Fraser, Steve Gillan, Simon Leech, Teresa Noel, Peter Noel, Adrian Ragbourne, Jo Witherden (Dorset Planning Consultant).


Apologies: Phil Davidson, Paul Oatway, Lorna Cowan, Simon Farrington, Andy Bateman, Eden Thomson, Beth Gillan, Jeff Prosser.


The Chairman welcomed Jo Witherden (JW) to the meeting.  Jo is a qualified town planner, previously working with Dorset District Council, and now a consultant advising steering groups on the preparation of neighbourhood plans.

The Chairman reminded members of the requirement under the Terms of Reference to declare any interest in any item on the agenda or in any topic that arises during the meeting.  


Minutes of the last meeting were agreed.


Matters Arising

RC said that the meeting with Terry Sweeney had been extremely helpful.  She handed out Notes covering both the general discussion and the environmental discussion.


The rest of the meeting was recorded.*


Jo Witherden spoke in general terms about the process of producing a neighbourhood plan, and then took part in a general discussion.

CG said she, AR and RC had met to discuss the format of the questionnaire, which would cover residents, visitors etc.  RC said we had agreed to ask only residents first, rather than people who are only here for a few days. 

JW asked what was the key reason for doing a neighbourhood plan – the consensus was that it was concerns re housing, transport etc, and wanting a voice in what is decided for Charmouth.  The Parish Council has not given a steer.  Some growth has to take place.  A lot of issues were raised by the Parish Plan in 2010, but not much happened after that.

JW said that the first step is to confirm the key issues to be tackled – a questionnaire might identify these or confirm them. There are ways of checking if the Plan is going in the right direction eg a stall at the fete, standing outside Morgans with a clipboard etc. Although evidence is important and must be submitted with the Plan, it is not necessary to go so far as to retain hundreds of questionnaires that have been processed.  Evidence is mainly needed where there is a clear dichotomy between the Plan and other factors.

AR said the village needs a cohesive plan that would give a framework to someone wanting to develop a site – eg too many second homes would reduce the number of families in the village, with a knock-on effect on the school; how does the plan to develop the church and rectory site fit with what the village wants.

CG said we must be careful that it is not our view,  it must represent people in the village.

It was agreed that the Plan should focus on key issues, and that we need to canvass opinion to define those issues. The Group can put forward ideas but the public can add to them.

CG said that each sub-group should be represented in a mission statement.  JW said it was important that this was done in layman’s terms, and explained.  People need to be prompted about their vision for the village.  Groups have approached this in different ways, for example, a meeting where people are asked to write down what they would most like/would least like to lose/would want to develop etc.  Doing a big survey up front may mean missing issues later.

CLF asked how difficult it was to alter the boundary of the village.  JW said it can be done, but evidence is needed of what is required and also the sensitivity of the proposed sites – flooding, access, impact on the landscape etc.  There are seldom easy options of sites without issues.

CG asked how to find out what businesses the village needs.  JW said there is no formula, Charmouth is likely to have home-grown businesses, and the questionnaire may be a way to find out.  Ask people for their views on what we have, then what they think we need.

In relation to the questionnaire, PN made the point he has on three occasions done house-to-house deliveries in Charmouth, and the response has always been abysmal.

RC said that the government is producing a simplified approach to Plans in the autumn, but JW said there is no detail available yet.


CG thanked Jo for coming and for her helpful input into the discussion.


The next meeting will be on Monday 18th July at The Elms, if available, or the Community Hall if not (subsequently confirmed as The Elms).

The meeting ended at 9.10pm.




*This recording has subsequently been distributed by TN to the Group









AB Andrew Bateman; ABr Alan Brownjohn; DC David Clifford; RC Ros Cole; LC Lorna Cowan; PD Phil Davidson; SE Sarah Edwards; SF Simon Farrington; CF Chris Fraser; BG Beth Gillan; SG Steve Gillan; CG Carole Girling; SL Simon Leech; TN Teresa Noel; PN Peter Noel; PO Paul Oatway; JP Jeff Prosser; AR Adrian Ragbourne;  BR Bernard Rogers; ET Eden Thomson;  TT Tanya Trenholm; TW Tim Warin


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