Parish Council meeting minutes 3 June 2020



The Parish Council Meeting has to take place remotely for reasons of social distancing brought in by HM Government during the COVID-19 outbreak.


Gittisham Village Ward
Cllr R Hayman (Chair)
Cllr C Hall (Vice Chair)
Cllr M Walker
Cllr D Valentine

Gittisham Vale Ward
Cllr A Wilkins
Cllr P Orchard
Cllr J Twist

In attendance: Cllr Susie Bond (EDDC), Fiona Clampin (clerk), three members of the public

Apologies for absence: Cllr Phil Twiss (DCC), PCSO Darren England

Prior to the start of the meeting, one member of the public exercised their right to speak regarding the planning application for Goldcombe Farmhouse 20/0912/VAR. He said that allowing the conversion of the Cider Barn to a residential let would allow the owners to invest in the other dwelling for holiday accommodation, creating the conditions for a viable business in the parish and accommodation for the use of local people. He added that he had received letters of support from The Pig hotel. Cllr Wilkins noted that the conversion was in line with the parish plan, and members agreed with the Chair’s comment that the applicants had been careful to follow the legal application process.

Three members of the public left the meeting.

23/20 To accept and approve apologies

Apologies were received and accepted.

24/20 To confirm the minutes of the meeting held 6th May 2020

The minutes of the meeting held on 6th May 2020 were confirmed and signed by the Chair.

25/20 To receive the Beat Manager’s Report

The police did not send a report this month, and the clerk said the link to the crime statistics on the Devon & Cornwall Police website had changed.

26/20 To receive declarations of interest

Cllr Valentine declared an interest in agenda items 8a) (minute ref 30/20) as he has advised the applicants in the past in a professional capacity.

27/20 Reports from County Council and District Council representatives

Following the meeting, Cllr Twiss emailed to say that he had agreed to support £500 from his DCC Locality budget towards the benches project for the village hall.

Cllr Bond said that as we are still in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, work at EDDC has been devoted to supporting communities and businesses across the district. She said the district council had started holding meetings via Zoom which have been reasonably successful as long as everyone adheres to basic rules of muting microphones and not interrupting others. So far, a planning meeting has been held, as well as a Scrutiny committee meeting where the Chief Executive updated councillors on the work of the Council through this crisis. East Devon, in partnership with other local district councils under the banner of ‘Team Devon’ has been awarded Beacon Council status and will lead and share good practice regarding the development of Local Outbreak Delivery Plans. EDDC will receive a share of the £300million pot to establish the delivery plan through management of infection control, setting up tracking and tracing and local testing arrangements.

At the same time as we have been working hard to keep council services running during a time of national crisis, others have been playing politics, Cllr Bond explained. A group of 31 councillors (made up of Lib Dems, Independents and Greens) have formed an alliance and, at a meeting of full council last week elected Cllr Paul Arnott (East Devon Alliance) as the new leader. On a personal level, Cllr Bond said the previous administration always had a very tenuous hold, but despite that it had been doing some great work and planning towards addressing climate change.

28/20 To consider the parish council response to the COVID-19 outbreak

Cllr Walker said the volunteer group was working well in the village, and Cllr Wilkins said this was the same in the Vale. Cllr Hall said East Devon’s supermarket deliveries scheme had spare slots available for people who were at greater risk from leaving home to buy supplies, and anyone interested in signing up could speak to one of the volunteers.

The clerk circulated the following briefing from Damian Furniss from Devon County Council:

  • Devon continues to be one of the least impacted areas regarding COVID-19 infections and fatalities
  • There are now only 4 care homes in Devon with outbreaks – an outbreak is only closed when all residents have been asymptomatic for 14 days. However, in some of the more northerly parts of the SW there has been an increase in cases and hospitalisations e.g. Weston-Super-Mare
  • If the R-number (average number of onward infections from each case) stays below 1, we’d see infections in Devon reduce to near zero over the summer. But if the R-number reduced to only 1.3 we would be back to the early April peak by August
  • Devon County Council and its partners continue our #ThinkTwice Campaign – think twice before visiting beaches and beauty spots, especially if you have access to outdoor spaces where you live
  • The Test and Trace system is also key to preventing a second wave – if you have symptoms get tested, report your contacts, cooperate with requests to self-isolate
  • 270 of the 320 primary schools across the county are open. Around 185 of these schools are offering parents wider access to provision in  Reception, Year 1 or Year 6 as well as classes for the children of key workers and vulnerable children. Other schools are planning staged openings with some provision over the coming week. Around 40 per cent of families who had access to wider provision from this week have taken up the offer. Schools are also experiencing a big increase in the children of key workers attending classes since before the half-term – nearly a third up on last month
  • For those interested, the Adult Care and Health Scrutiny Committee will be receiving detailed reports on 16/6 –

29/20 To note the latest planning decision notices

a) 20/0378/FUL 1 Riverside Cottages Gittisham EX14 3AE – Extension to existing outbuilding including single storey flat roof extension on rear elevation of main house linking to extended outbuilding.
Approval with conditions.

b) 20/0379/LBC 1 Riverside Cottages Gittisham EX14 3AE – Extension to existing outbuilding works to also include raising floor level to match the main house.
Approval with conditions.

c) 20/0584/FUL – Coign Cottage Gittisham Honiton EX14 3AB – Remodelling of existing dwelling and garage including raising of ridge heights, single and two storey enlargements, balcony, dormer windows, provision of cladding, and alterations to existing openings.
Approval with conditions.

Cllr Valentine left the meeting.

30/20 To consider the following planning applications:

a) 20/0912/VAR Goldcombe Farmhouse Gittisham Honiton EX14 3AB – Variation of Condition 5 of planning application 84/P0792 (conversion of existing buildings to holiday dwellings) to allow year round occupancy of the holiday units within the site and variation of Condition 6 of planning application 84/P0792 to allow The Cider Barn to be used as an unrestricted residential dwelling

Members had no objection to a).

Cllr Valentine returned to the meeting.

b) 20/0902/FUL – Coign Cottage Gittisham Honiton EX14 3AB – Construction of single storey front extension and provision of cladding to the existing stables

Members had no objection to b).

31/20 To consider an application for the renewal of street trading consent from: Mr Graeme James – The Codfather; 1 x catering van (fish and chips); 16:30 – 19:00 – every Saturday – far end of Old Elm Road, Honiton EX14 2YW

Members had no objection to the renewal of the above-mentioned street trading consent.

32/20 To consider plans for expenditure in the parish under the Community Infrastructure Levy & S106

Cllr Orchard said the public consultation on new outdoor sports equipment which can be purchased using S106 funding was ongoing. The clerk agreed to invite EDDC’s Jamie Buckley to the next meeting, and reported that a member of the public had commented that the money should be spent at the Hayne Farm development, as it appeared likely that several hundred children would be living there by the time the estate was built. Cllr Valentine said he would be speaking to Baker Estates about what could be provided there.

33/20 To consider capital works to Gittisham Village Hall

Cllr Hall reported that the redecoration work was now complete, and looked fantastic. She said the total cost had come in at £50 under the original budget. The Chair thanked Cllr Hall for her work.

34/20 To consider work to be carried out by the lengthsman to maintain drains and ditches in the parish

Cllr Walker reported that the lengthsman was proposing to carry out some strimming at T-junctions to improve visibility; Cllr Valentine suggested the Beech Walk / Sidmouth Road junction was particularly necessary. Cllr Walker agreed to tell the lengthsman he could carry out work in the play area as required by the annual inspection report. Cllr Hall said she had a received a query regarding strimming along the river in the centre of the village; members agreed that the main benefit was to provide confidence the river was being maintained and the waterways kept clear. Cllr Walker agreed to ask the lengthsman if this work was being carried out on behalf of the parish council or the owners of the riverside properties.

Cllr Orchard reported that the culvert between Old Elm Road and the railway was blocked; he agreed to report this to East Devon DC, as the work required was too much for the lengthsman to tackle alone.

35/20 To consider climate change measures within the parish

There was no progress on this.

36/20 To consider limited residential development in the parish

Cllr Valentine said the administration side of things was moving forward, the most significant being a call for expressions of interest from architects. He added that of the five invited, four had already responded and three had expressed an interest which he found encouraging. Cllr Valentine said that although the CLT board had been unable to hold an AGM because of the movement restrictions, he hoped that this might change in the not too distant future.

37/20 To consider the parish emergency plan

Cllr Valentine said he had been discussing updating this with Cllr Orchard, as it was felt that the situation had evolved since the original document was drafted ten years ago.

38/20 To consider the parish council’s internal communications

Members agreed that all councillors and the clerk should be copied in on all communications regarding parish council work.

39/20 To consider progress on the modernisation of the play area, including fundraising and regular safety inspections

Members heard that the play area is still not in use, due to the ongoing COVID-19 restrictions. Cllr Hall agreed to write to the residents with properties bordering the play area to update them on the situation with the screen hedge in the wild area. It was agreed that the modernisation being complete, it was no longer necessary to include that element of this item, nor to include it as a regular monthly item on the agenda.

40/20 To consider a review of remuneration of the parish lengthsman

It was agreed to increase the lengthsman’s hourly rate to £14 from 1st April 2020, and to backdate the amount of the additional rate from next month.

41/20 To approve the June payments and to note the current bank balance

It was resolved to approve the following payments:

1043 F J Clampin £219.55 Clerk’s salary and expenses
1044 Michael Poll £60 Play area grass cutting, (inv ref. 10013)
1045 Michael Poll. £60 Play area grass cutting, (inv ref. 10009)
1046 Alison Marshall £100 Internal audit 2019-20
1047 Len Abbott. £91 6.5 hours lengthsman work, May 2020 (at new rate of £14/hr)
1048 Websites Ahoy £140.40 Reimbursement for annual domain name & hosting, and website maintenance
DD NEST. £17.50 Clerk’s pension

Members were informed that the current bank balance stands at £11,079.29 (which includes the £7,000 in the business reserve account). The clerk explained that cheques 1022 and 1023 payable to 34SP for the website domain name & hosting had only just arrived at the company’s offices. In order to keep the website functioning, Clare Bryden from Websites Ahoy had instead made a payment to 34SP – hence the reimbursement. Cheques 1022 and 1023 would be torn up.

The remaining cheques for the village hall work had been written as follows [this updates minute ref 17/20]:

1039 Paul Martin £1,000 Village hall refurbishment (wk6)
1040 Adam Martin £1,000 Village hall refurbishment (wk6)
1041 Paul Martin £1,025 Village hall refurbishment (wk7)
1042 Adam Martin £1,025 Village hall refurbishment (wk7)

42/20 To consider the criteria for meeting exemption from the annual limited assurance review 2019-20

Members agreed the criteria had been met, ie that during the financial year 2019/20 the higher of the parish council’s gross income or gross annual expenditure for the year did not exceed £25,000.

43/20 To set and approve the period for the exercise of public rights 2019-20

Members approved the period for the exercise of public rights to extend from 15th June to 24th July 2020.

44/20 To approve the annual governance statement 2019-20

Members resolved to approve the annual governance statement 2019-20.

45/20 To adopt the annual accounts 2019-20

Members resolved to adopt the 2019-20 accounts. Prior to the meeting, the clerk circulated the accounting statements. The parish council ended the financial year on 31st March 2020 with a balance of £17,545.04 (inc. £7,000 in business reserve, + £14.15 interest accumulated this year). There is VAT to be recovered of £2,344.39.

46/20 To consider any late entry correspondence

Members agreed with Cllr Orchard’s suggestion that the parish council should provide a dedicated laptop for the clerk, as recommended in the auditor’s report. The clerk agreed to provide a specification and some quotes, and also to reflect on whether the parish council’s offer to pay for 20 hours’ worth of broadband made economic sense. She added that her broadband contract is due for renewal in February 2021, and early exit fees were payable.

The Chair announced that he would be standing down from his position and the parish council, as soon as practicably possible. Members thanked the Chair for his contribution to the parish and many years of public service.

Cllr Valentine thanked Cllr Wilkins for setting up the meeting link, which will be different again next month.

47/20 Matters to be reported to DCC / EDDC

Cllr Bond reminded members that the green waste collection service was once again open to new members; Cllr Hall felt this would be particularly interesting given that many people are gardening more in lockdown. The Chair asked if the parish would be well served for buses, especially considering social distancing measures in place on public transport. The clerk agreed to contact Cllr Twiss.

48/20 Matters for the forward agenda

It was agreed to include casual vacancy, election of new Chair, coronavirus, climate change, lengthsman work, limited residential development, emergency plan, review of clerk’s salary, S106 consultation, asset register, statement of internal control, standing orders, risk assessment and financial regulations on the next agenda.

49/20 Clerk’s Report

Before the meeting, the clerk circulated the annual internal audit report. Members approved the clerk’s request to write to HMRC asking for a tax rebate, as there is an amount owing.

50/20 Date of next two meetings.

Wednesday 1st July and Wednesday 5th August at 7.30pm via Skype. Should restrictions on public movement be lifted, these meetings will revert to being held in the parish room.

There being no further business, the meeting closed at 2030 hrs.


1st July 2020