GITTISHAM PARISH COUNCIL
MINUTES OF THE EXTRAORDINARY COUNCIL MEETING
HELD VIA ZOOM ON 24th July 2020 at 11.30am
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 C Hall (Chair)
Cllr D Valentine
Gittisham Vale Ward
Cllr A Wilkins (Vice Chair)
Cllr P Orchard
Cllr J Twist
In attendance: Cllr Susie Bond (EDDC), Richard Ayre (Baker Estates), Fiona Clampin (clerk),
Prior to the start of the meeting, Richard Ayre from Baker Estates exercised his right to speak as a member of the public regarding the planning application 20/1404/V106 Land Adjacent to Hayne Farm, Hayne Lane, Gittisham – Variation of requirement for affordable housing and other obligations in Section 106 Agreement pursuant to application 13/2744/MOUT. He said that members were probably aware that the government was encouraging local planning authorities to be understanding of the problems being experienced, in particular, by small and medium-scale developers and had instructed “that a pragmatic and proportional approach” should be taken. It would mean deferring Community Infrastructure Levy payments to parishes to reflect the current circumstances and uncertainty on the horizon due to the pandemic. Mr Ayre explained that if Baker Estates was able to have some flexibility on payments such as this to the district council, as well as S106, it would help the company proceed at its current rate of building affordable homes on the Hayne Farm site and employ local people. Mr Ayre said Baker Estates was looking at delaying part of the £500k housing contribution to September 2021 and the following September. Cllr Valentine asked if the parish council could expect a similar request to defer payments this time next year, but Mr Ayre insisted that while it was difficult to predict how the situation would progress, the company intended to pay the amount due in the future. He argued that the alternative was the company not being around to deliver the scheme or make the payments. In response to Cllr Bond’s question, Mr Ayre confirmed the affordable housing proportion would be index-linked in the future.
The Chair thanked Mr Ayre for his explanation.
1. To receive and accept apologies.
Apologies were received and accepted.
2. To receive declarations of interest
3. To consider the following planning applications:
a) 20/1404/V106 Land Adjacent to Hayne Farm, Hayne Lane, Gittisham – Variation of requirement for affordable housing and other obligations in Section 106 Agreement pursuant to application 13/2744/MOUT
b) 20/1380/PDQ Land North Of Hamlet House Hamlet House Weston – Conversion of agricultural building to dwelling
Members discussed the potential delay that approval of a) might have on the development of the Gittisham CLT. Cllr Valentine said he had had a number of concerns about the possible impact that a delay in providing the commuted sum for affordable housing might have on the current proposals for the affordable housing scheme in the village. He had considered the timetable of the various steps required, and concluded that with other sources of income available such as EDDC’s Community Housing Fund it would be possible to proceed. He reminded members that Baker Estates was not seeking any reduction in levels of contribution – just the timetabling.
Members resolved to have no objections to the variation application.
Members resolved to have no objection in principle to b). However they expressed concern over the lack of supporting evidence of agricultural use in the permitted timescale. This is a key point in establishing whether this should proceed as permitted development or as an application for prior approval. They felt this could lead to a separate proposal to extend further down the line.
4. To consider the re-opening of Gittisham’s play area
Members discussed re-opening the play area, having considered EDDC’s proposed strategy and risk assessment regarding its own open spaces and parks. A risk assessment specific to Gittisham parish was distributed and approved.
The Chair said that subject to the lengthsman seeing to a number of maintenance issues, it would be possible to reopen the play area in one week. There will be some new rules for using the area (displayed at the entrance), including having one family at a time on each piece of equipment, hand sanitizer at the gate, a weekly inspection rota and cleaning of high use equipment by two councillors and installation of a rubbish bin. Members agreed this should comply with guidance from insurers, district council and the government.
They resolved to approve the purchase of necessary cleaning items and protective equipment by Cllr Wilkins, which he will claim back at a future meeting.
The Chair said she was grateful to parish councillors for their work in allowing the re-opening to go ahead in a safe and secure manner, and their continuing commitment to ensuring the play area meets the requirements. She added that she would get in touch with families, nearby neighbours and The Pig to inform them of the re-opening, and speak to those whose properties are close to the play area.
Action: Clerk to inform the insurer that the play area will be re-opening.
There being no further business the meeting closed at 1158 hrs.
2nd September 2020