THE HISTORY OF WINSHAM PARISH COUNCIL
Summaries of Parish Council business
(RPI Index-18-see Introduction)
On 30 March the Council met in the Jubilee Hall. Members present were Mrs Evans, Major Cull, Miss Harding, Mr Pym and Mr Phillips. Apologies were received from Mrs Bowden, Revd Childs and Miss Ralston. Mr Pym, Vice Chairman of the Council, chaired the meeting. The Clerk reported that Messrs Spillers had redecorated the dado rail in the Jubilee Hall! He continued by saying that Mr Evans, Caretaker of the Cemetery, could no longer dig graves due to failing health. It was agreed to discuss this at the Annual Parish Meeting. The Chairman was authorised by the members to negotiate a new fire insurance policy for the Jubilee Hall with The Royal Insurance Company if he considered it to be beneficial. Various cheques were signed.
On 7 June the Council met at the Vicarage. The Clerk reported the results of the uncontested election of Parish Councillors held on 14 May. Those elected were Harry James Akhurst, Theodore John Childs, James Cull, Hilda Mary Evans, Beatrice May Harding, Walter Herbert Paull, Joe Hodder Phillips, Janet Dunn Ralston, and Alfred Richard White. Revd Childs was re-elected as Chairman with Miss Harding Vice Chairman. Mr Phillips agreed to continue as Clerk. The Council heard that in future undertakers would assume responsibility for the digging of graves in place of the Caretaker. After hearing relevant details, the Council agreed to insure the Jubilee Hall with The Royal Insurance Company for both Fire and Storm and Tempest. The sum insured was £6900 for a premium of £4:0:6d per annum. There was a long discussion about the maintenance of the Recreation Ground at the end of which it was agreed to ask Mr Slade to repair the swings and for Mr Evans to cut the grass as required. It was also agreed to get an estimate from Mr Churchill to replace the chestnut fencing with iron posts along the boundary with the Council houses. The members heard of the problems caused by children in the streets and of the efforts of the local police constable to control them. Mr Akhurst reported that the Picture House audience was getting wet because of a leak in the roof of the Hall! The Clerk said that the matter was in the hands of Mr Dunster the builder and that he had promised to see what the trouble was and to report back. The Council decided to name the proposed new road in the Western Way site “Orchard Crescent”. Various cheques were signed.
On 19 September the Council met in the Jubilee Hall. Revd Childs was Chairman. The Clerk reported that the grass on the Recreation Ground had been cut and the chestnut fence repaired. He also reported that he had contacted Mr Dunster about the repairs to the Jubilee Hall roof and that he could get no satisfaction, only promises. The Council agreed to a request from the Football Club to use the shed at the rear of the Jubilee Hall as a Dressing Room and for the Club to erect a Notice Board on the Jubilee Hall wall. They also granted permission for the Quaker Oats Company to hire the Hall for twenty-five shillings to show a film entitled “Full- o- Pep”. The Chairman read a letter from the Sports Club Committee saying that they had resigned en bloc and asking for a Public Meeting to be called to decide what should be done with the Coronation Money. The members decided that a Parish Meeting should be held on 27 October. Major Cull produced a list of property in the Parish which was considered of historical interest .The list was agreed with the addition of “ Wynards and Lower Bere Chapel”. Revd Childs and Mrs Bowden were re-appointed Managers of Winsham School representing the Parish Council. The Clerk was asked to speak to the Highways Surveyor about the improving the road markings at the crossroads. Various cheques were signed.
On 24 November the Council met in the Jubilee Hall. Revd Childs was Chairman. The Council agreed a new set of charges for hiring the Jubilee Hall after inviting the Caretaker, Mr Evans, to attend. Examples of the new charges are:
(a) Wedding Reception £1:10:0d
(b) Whist Drive £0:17:6d
(c) Wedding Reception and Social £3
The Clerk reported that temporary repairs to the Hall roof had been done by Mr Ken Slade .He, Mr Slade, had reported that it would be necessary for the tower to be dismantled and thoroughly inspected before a sound plan of work could be made. The Council accepted this idea. It was reported that, owing to remarks made by several Parishioners at the recent Parish Meeting, Mr Evans had resigned as Caretaker of the Cemetery and Recreation Ground. Mr Paull expressed the appreciation of all Parish Councillors of the work Mr Evans had done and the Clerk expressed his great satisfaction with the work done by Mr Evans. It was proposed that this appreciation be recorded in the minutes. This was carried unanimously. A letter from Mr Wheaton was read seeking permission to erect a concrete seat overlooking the Axe in memory of his father Mr Herbert Wheaton and for the use of elderly people. The idea was supported and the Clerk was asked to write to Mr Wheaton and to Chard R.D.C. He was also asked to arrange for the Village Pump to be removed as it was redundant and posed a danger to children. An offer from Mr White to obtain a new coke stove for the Hall at trade price was accepted with gratitude. Various cheques were signed.
On 20 February the Council met in the Jubilee Hall. Revd Childs was Chairman. The purpose of this meeting was to discuss repairing the Jubilee Hall roof. Two options were considered:
(a) Renovate the turret and weather vane thereby keeping the building in its original format.
(b) Renew and repair the roof without the turret and weather vane.
The Council decided to obtain estimates for both options before making a decision.
The first meeting was on 27 February 1956.It was held in the Jubilee Hall and was chaired by Revd Childs. The purpose of the meeting was to decide whether to have the turret and weather vane on the Jubilee Hall roof repaired or not. The Clerk reported that the cost of repairing both would be £120 and that it would cost £65:10:0d to repair the roof without reinstating the turret and weather vane. He also reported that the Parish Council Account was £250 in credit. The Council decided not to reinstate the turret and weather vane. The Clerk informed the members that he had applied for a Rate Exemption for the Jubilee Hall and was awaiting a decision from Chard R.D.C. On 23 April the Council met in the Jubilee Hall. Revd Childs was re-elected Chairman with Miss Harding Vice Chairman. The Clerk reported that the repairs to the Jubilee Hall roof had been completed but the cost had totalled £145:10:0d. This was far more than expected but was due to the roof being in much worse condition than expected. He was of the opinion that Mr Slade had done a very good job and this was supported by the Council. The Clerk said that he had asked Mr Price from Drimpton to cut the grass in the Cemetery three times a year for £30. This idea was supported by the Council. It was proposed by Mrs Evans and seconded by Miss Harding that the Clerk be re-imbursed in full for all expenses associated with Parish Council business. This was carried unanimously. Various cheques were signed.
On 19 July the Council met in the Jubilee Hall. Present were Mrs Evans, Miss Ralston, Miss Harding, Mr Akhurst, Mr White, Revd Childs, Mr Paull and Mr Phillips. Revd Childs acted as Chairman. A letter from Chard R.D.C. “extinguishing the footpath at Cricket St Thomas which connects Chalkway via Puthill and Hen Hill with the main Wind Whistle Road to Chard and Crewkerne was read and discussed and it was decided that no action be taken by the Parish Council in this matter”. A letter from Mr H H Wheaton, Secretary of the Playing Fields Committee, was read. In it he suggested that a pool of money should be formed from a number of moribund organisations to enable a Playing Field to be purchased. This idea was discussed and it was agreed to seek villagers’ views at the 1957 Annual Parish Meeting. The Council decided to charge those hiring the Jubilee Hall an extra thirty shillings if they were running a licensed bar. Comments from the Ramblers Association on a number of footpaths were discussed. It was noted that repairs to the Recreation Ground fence were being done by Mr Evans. Payments were authorised for the following:
(a) South Western Electricity Board Jubilee Hall £2
(b) A H Groom Jubilee Hall Fuel £2:19:5d
(c) Prudential Assurance £4:10:0d
(d) Halse & Son Jubilee Hall lights £0:7:6d
(e) K D J Slade Jubilee Hall repairs £95:10:0d
(f) D J Evans Jubilee Hall Caretaker £13
(g) A Broadbridge Jubilee Hall Account £0:2:6d
(h) Mr Price Grass Cutting of Cemetery, Churchyard and Recreation Field £17
On 1 November the Council met in the Jubilee Hall. Major Cull was Chairman in the absence of Revd Childs. The Council noted that the accounts had been audited but that the Clerk had not been paid his expenses. It was agreed that this should be resolved at a future meeting. It was reported that the Football Club had approached Chard R.D.C. to acquire part of West Field as a pitch but they had learnt that the present tenant, Mr Wheaton, was unwilling to give possession. The Chairman agreed to contact Mr Ebdon of Thorncombe to repair the Churchyard wall, which was reported to be in a dangerous state of repair. He then reminded members of the importance of Civil Defence and of the ongoing need for volunteers. Various cheques were signed.
On 21 February the Council met in the Jubilee Hall. Revd Childs was Chairman. The Clerk opened the meeting with a review of the Councils finances saying that due to rising fuel costs a Precept of £70 would be needed. He also said that the cost of repairing the Churchyard wall, some £80 to £100, should be met from the Burial Board Account. These proposals were agreed. The Council also agreed to ask Mr Ebdon to repair the Churchyard wall on Poole’s Lane and Church Street areas to the Vicarage boundary. Mrs Evans asked if Mr Price was to continue cutting the grass in the Churchyard, Cemetery and Recreation Field and Major Cull reminded the members again of the importance of Civil Defence saying that “ we could not rely on outside help if H Bombs etc were dropped and that more volunteers were required in this area”. The Council agreed that the Scouts should not be charged for the use of the Jubilee Hall. Various cheques were signed including one to KDJ Slade for £3:5:6d for repairs to the Village Cross and the removal of the Village Pump.
On 6 June the Council met in the Jubilee Hall. Present were Mr Akhurst, Miss Harding, Mrs Evans, Miss Ralston, Mr White, Revd Childs and Mr Phillips. Apologies were received from Major Cull and Mr Paull. Revd Childs was re-elected as Chairman and Miss Harding Vice Chairman. Mr Phillips agreed to continue as Clerk. Major Cull said he would compensate a lady following a complaint about barbed wire on a path at Broadenham and on stiles on the path to Ammerham. There was a long discussion about the maintaining of the Cemetery, Churchyard and Recreation Ground. It was agreed that Mr Price should be employed to do the work but that the Clerk should discuss with the auditors ways of meeting the high cost involved. The Clerk was asked to contact Chard R.D.C. following complaints about the bus service. Mr Akhurst reported that he had £22:15:0d in hand from the Snowball Whist Drives for which he was congratulated.
On 9 December the Council met in the Jubilee Hall. Miss Harding was Chairman in the absence of Revd Childs. The Clerk reported that the recent audit had been satisfactory. An application from Miss S Jeffery to hire the Jubilee Hall for a Badminton Club was agreed at a cost of £0:7:6d per night with an extra £0:2:6d if a fire was lit. The management of the Jubilee Hall and the use of the funds of moribund clubs were discussed. It was decided that both should be aired at the Annual Parish Meeting. An application by the Football Club to convert the area next to their changing room in the Jubilee Hall into a bathroom was refused. The reason was the lack of other storage space. The re-numbering of the houses and naming of the streets in the village was raised by Mr White. It was agreed that the R.D.C. representatives should bring this matter before the appropriate R.D.C. meeting. Mr Akhurst presented his accounts of the weekly Whist Drives, which he had been running for the Jubilee Hall funds. A “ very hearty vote of thanks to Mr Akhurst and his helpers particularly Mr R Singleton and Mrs A Grabham for the work done” was unanimous. Various cheques were signed.
On 2 June the Council met in the Jubilee Hall following elections on 10 May. Council members were:
Harry James Akhurst - Church Street
Theodore John Childs - The Vicarage
James Knos Cull - Broadenham Farm
Hilda Mary Evans - Fore Street
Beatrice May Harding - School House
Walter Herbert Paull - Colham House
Joe Hodder Phillips - High Street
Janet Dunn Ralston - Bakersfield
Alfred Richard White - The Stores
Revd Childs was re-elected as Chairman with Miss Harding Vice Chairman. Revd Childs and Mrs Bowden were elected to represent the Parish Council on the Board of Managers for the Primary School. The Council decided to accept Mr Prices offer of a one cut of the grass in order to save money. A letter of resignation from Mr Evans, Caretaker of the Jubilee Hall, was read. The Council agreed to offer him an increase in salary to twelve shillings a week in the hope of keeping him. Mr Phillips told the meeting that he was prepared to continue as Clerk until the accounts were audited which was normally November. Various cheques were signed.
On 4 September the Council met in the Jubilee Hall. Revd Childs was Chairman. The Clerk reported that:
(a) The renumbering of houses could be delegated by Chard R.D.C. to the Parish Council. (The Council agreed to seek advice as to whether they were empowered to enforce any changes on private dwellings).
(b) He thought it likely that there would be a Public Enquiry in to the closure of the footpath at Cricket St Thomas due to pressure from the Ramblers Association. (Council Meeting on 19 July 1956 refers. The Clerk said that he had written to the Ramblers Association to say that the Councils view remained unchanged i.e. the footpath is not used and should therefore be allowed to lapse.)
(c) The large Recreation Field had been used by the British Legion for their Fete the previous week without permission. (The Council asked the Clerk to write an appropriate letter to the organisers).
(d) The accounts had been audited and were satisfactory except for the fact that the balances were reducing in both the General Fund and in the Burial Fund. This was being caused by rising costs. Balances were £113:7:7d in the General Fund and £68:14:8d in the Burial Fund. A Precept for £70 was agreed for the General Account.
(e) He was awaiting a reply from the Taxation Authorities for a claim for a rebate on tax paid at source from the Royal Agricultural Hall Ltd shares for the four years to 31 March 1958.
No applications had been received for the post of Caretaker of the Jubilee Hall. (The Council discussed this matter further and agreed to try to persuade Mr Evans to continue, if necessary by increasing his salary to fifteen shillings a week. Mr (a) Evans was then invited to join the meeting and agreed to continue for £8 per quarter with some improvements to conditions).
(b) He had had a meeting with Mr Woolcott, the Chard R.D.C. Surveyor, about repairs and improvements to the Jubilee Hall. As a result a meeting had been arranged with representatives from all relevant village organisations on 15 September to discuss peoples ideas. He also said that he had contacted the County Education Authority and the Somerset Rural Community Council to see what grants might be available.
The subject of the expenses of the Clerk was discussed again and it was agreed that he should be paid £20 as a gesture towards past costs but that in future all his expenses should be met by the Council. “ The Clerk was pleased to accept this sum and was grateful to the Council for the appreciation of his work.”
The Clerk put forward an idea for obtaining a large
area for a Recreation Ground, one suitable for playing all types of sports.
After a long discussion, the Council agreed to meet on West Field Site at
12:15pm on Sunday 14 September to consider this important matter further.
He then told the members that a decision had to be made this evening about the transfer of the shares to the Alliance Property Co Ltd “ as a reply had to be given”. He read out letters from the Treasurer of the Parish Council and from The Secretary of the Royal Agricultural Hall Ltd advising the Council to accept the offer. After a long discussion it was agreed to accept, the exchange being 2240 Ordinary Shares of one shilling in The Alliance Property Company in place of 140x£1 shares in the Royal Agricultural Hall. The Clerk spoke of the criticisms being voiced in the village about the recent allocation of the ex Schoolmasters house. He said that he resented this very much and that the final decision rested with the Chairman of Chard R.D.C. As it was getting late, the meeting was adjourned until Monday 15 September.
On that day the Council met with members of the Village Organisations. Representatives were Mr and Mrs R White, Mr R Singleton, Mr Morton, Mr Higgins, Mr L Singleton, Miss Creech (Girl Guides), Mr and Mrs Frecknall, Revd Waters, Mrs Butler and Mrs Newton (BRCS), Mr C Hawker (British Legion), Mr H Spurdle, Mr A Spurdle (Toch H), Mr J Loaring (Band), Mrs Archurst, Miss Young and Miss Budge (WI) and Mr L Griffin. Mrs Tucker, representing Somerset Rural Community Council, was present to consider any applications for grants. She explained the range of grants available saying that general repairs were the responsibility of the Hall Trust Committee. However she said that the replacement of the old heating system might qualify and she promised to investigate this possibility. The Council then continued with the unfinished business from the meeting on 4 September, Mrs Tucker and the village representatives having left. The Clerk reported that:
(a) A Public Enquiry is to be held on 14 October about the closure of the footpath at Cricket St Thomas.
(b) He had received an apology from the British Legion following their unauthorised use of the Recreation Ground.
(c) The shares exchange was progressing.
(d) A tax refund of £20:9:5d had been received and that a further £5:19:0d was expected. The Clerk recommended that this money be invested in Premium Bonds in the name of Winsham Jubilee Hall.
It was reported that five councillor's had met at West Field on Sunday 14 September and had agreed in principle to exchange a suitable area of this field with the large Recreation Ground for housing. The Clerk had been asked to relay this information to Chard R.D.C. The Council agreed to use Mr Price to cut the Cemetery Hedge for £10 on the condition that he removes the grass when he cuts it rather than leaving it on the ground. A letter was read out from Mrs Warren, President of “The Young Men’s Club” asking the Clerk to call a meeting to dispose of the funds suggesting that they be given to the Jubilee Hall for necessary repairs. Various cheques were signed.
On 7 November the Council met in the Jubilee Hall. Revd Childs was Chairman. There was a long discussion about the maintenance and improvements to the Jubilee Hall. Estimates were discussed and it was finally decided that “ a concerted effort to raise funds was needed” and that this matter would be discussed at a later date and at a Parish Meeting. The next subject debated was the creation of a new Sports Ground. The Clerk reported that he had had a meeting with the Chairman and Mr Dommett, formerly the Clerk to Chard R.D.C., and that they had visited several possible building sites in the village and places suitable to meet the needs of the Football Club. Mr Dommett had agreed to pass on his observations to the Housing Committee. The Clerk reported that he had attended the Public Enquiry into the closure of the footpath at Cricket St Thomas. The Ramblers Association was not represented. The outcome of the enquiry was not yet known. The Council decided to form a small sub committee to investigate the need to raise Burial Fees. The attention of the Council was drawn to the showing of a Civil Defence film. The Clerk told the Council that he had written a letter of appreciation to Chard R.D.C. on the retirement of Mr Dommett. Mr Dommett had been Clerk to Chard R.D.C. for many years and had been very helpful to Winsham. Various cheques were signed.
On 19 January the Council met in the Jubilee Hall. Revd Childs was Chairman. The Clerk gave an update on the Councils finances saying that while costs have been rising income has remained the same. Miss Ralston volunteered to try to recruit some villagers to re-decorate the Hall in order to save money. This offer was gratefully accepted. The Clerk reported that six new council houses would be built in West Field in the coming year and that the District Council would adopt the road to Bakers Field when building was complete. He also reported that a licence had been obtained for the playing of copyright music, the cost being fifteen shillings a year. It was reported that the Recreation Ground had been left in an untidy state after a recent bonfire. The Council decided that in future there would be a charge of three guineas for profit making concerns and one guinea for its use as a car park. As Mrs Bowden had resigned from the Board of School Managers, the Council decided to ask Mrs Rawlings to fill the vacancy. Mr Akhurst thanked members of the Council for the prizes donated to his Xmas Whist Drive for the Improvement Fund. He handed in £20 as the profit from the evening and was congratulated and thanked for his efforts. Various cheques were signed.
On 10 March the Council met in the School Room. Members present were Major Cull, Mr Paull, Miss Ralston, Miss Harding, Mr Phillips and later Revd Childs. Apologies were received from Mr White and Mr Akhurst. Miss Harding chaired the meeting. The Clerk reported that Mr White had seen Mr Thompson who had agreed to cut the Cemetery grass and to tidy it up for £12. The Council agreed to this quote and the Clerk was asked to arrange for the work to be done by Whitsuntide. (The Council had been unable to reach agreement with Mr Price over cost). Nurse Ralston said that she had got a team of volunteers willing to re-decorate the Jubilee Hall led by Mr C Loaring. The second week of May was the planned start date. The Clerk reported the financial state and said that he thought a Precept of £70 would be sufficient. There was a long discussion about the problems of floodwater in Ebbon Lane and of some flowing down Fore Street. The Clerk said that he had spoken to the District Surveyor who had promised to do something about Ebbon Lane and to monitor other areas. The Council voted unanimously to increase burial fees by 50%. Various cheques were signed.
On 24 June the Annual Council Meeting was held in the Jubilee Hall. Members present were Mrs Evans, Miss Ralston, Miss Harding, Major Cull, Revd Childs, Mr Akhurst, Mr White, Mr Paull and Mr Phillips. Revd Childs was re-elected as Chairman with Miss Harding Vice Chairman. Mr Phillips said that he would be willing to continue as Clerk for a further year. He reported that work had been done on the problem of floodwater in Ebbon Lane. A letter from Mr Thompson was read in which he said that he would be unable to cut the Cemetery grass due to a lack of time. The Council decided to follow up an advertisement in the local paper and failing that to accept Mr Evans offer to cut it with a scythe. After a long discussion the Council decided to meet Mr Loaring in the Jubilee Hall on 29 June to plan its re-decoration. Various cheques were signed.
On 29 June the Council met in the Jubilee Hall. Revd Childs was Chairman. Mr Loaring was present. After a lengthy debate it was agreed to ask all the volunteers to meet at the Jubilee Hall on 8 July. The Chairman reported that he and the Clerk had met a Mr Dowell about cutting the Cemetery grass. His terms were that he would cut the grass for £15 on condition that he was given the contract for levelling the unattended graves. The Council decided to refuse this offer. The Council then asked Mr Evans to join the meeting and an hourly rate of four shillings was agreed with him.
On 29 September the Council met in the Jubilee Hall. Revd Childs was Chairman. The Clerk reported that the audit had been satisfactory apart from the accounting for £20 expenses by the Clerk!! This had been resolved by Mr Phillips when he explained that the twenty pounds was the first money he had been paid for expenses since he became Clerk in 1946! However, it had been agreed that an expenses account was required in the future. The financial position at 31 March 1959 was, in the General Account, a balance of £163:6:8d and, in the Burial Account, a balance of £22:6:2d. There was a discussion about the renovation of the Jubilee Hall as the volunteers had apparently stopped working on it. It was agreed that the Hall should be closed from 26 October until 20 November to enable the necessary work to be finished. This was to include the replacement of the glass in the main window by Messrs Martins of Chard. (Mr Slade had renewed the frame earlier). The need for a Village Civil Defence Warden was explained by Major Cull and it was agreed to inform the local press. Various cheques were signed.
On 3 December the Council met in the Jubilee Hall. Revd Childs was Chairman. It was reported that the large room in the Jubilee Hall had been re-decorated since the last meeting by volunteers under the supervision of Mr Charles Loaring. They were Messrs J Monkton, G Sear, L Singleton, R Frecknall, F Newton, G Brown, L Griffin, A Loaring and J Loaring. Mr Arthur Hayes repaired and tested the lights. Revd Childs proposed that a vote of congratulations and sincere thanks be conveyed to all the volunteers. This was seconded by Miss Ralston and carried unanimously. It was reported that Mr L Singleton had offered to re-decorate the Hall kitchen on a voluntary basis and this kind offer was accepted. The cost of the paint and other materials for re-decorating the Hall was £40 and this was paid for by some of the money raised by Mr Akhurst's Snowball Whist Drives. The Council was told that Mr Evans, Caretaker of the Jubilee Hall, wished to forego one month’s salary as there had been no bookings. The Council decided not to accept this kind gesture as it was thought that both Mr and Mrs Evans had had a lot of clearing up to do both during and after the re-decoration of the Hall. Various cheques were signed.
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