Parish Council meeting minutes 6 January 2021



via Zoom

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

Cllr M Walker

Cllr A Rowe

Gittisham Vale Ward:

Cllr P Orchard

Cllr J Twist

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

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

163/20   To accept and approve apologies

Apologies were received and accepted. 

164/20   To confirm the minutes of the meeting held 2nd December 2020

The minutes of the meeting held on 2nd December 2020 were confirmed and signed by the Chair. 

165/20   To receive the Beat Manager’s Report

The police did not send a report this month, so the clerk provided figures taken from .  In November 2020, 1 crime reported: 1 x shoplifting.

166/20   To receive declarations of interest


167/20   To consider actions from the last meeting not otherwise on the agenda

The clerk said she had not yet contacted Mr Sellick regarding the gazette distribution, but would be writing to him.

Cllr Rowe said he had visited the store in the village and was satisfied there was a good supply of grit, salt and sandbags.  The Chair suggested that stocks of grit and salt should be kept under review as part of the parish emergency plan.  Cllr Orchard reminded members that there is a stock of sand at Gititsham Farm, and Cllr Rowe agreed to follow this up.  Cllr Twist said spreading some salt where Hayne Lane meets Meadow Acre would be worthwhile, and it was agreed to approach Cllr Twiss about a new green salt bin at the entrance to Old Elm Road by the gate. 

ACTION: Cllr Rowe to contact Russell Hayman about sand supplies at the farm. 

ACTION: The clerk to contact Cllr Twiss about the possibility of a new green salt bin. 

168/20   Reports from County Council and District Council representatives

Cllr Bond said she welcomed the news that the Government had bowed to pressure following their consultation on housing numbers and withdrawn the plan to impose annual development numbers of 1,614 houses on East Devon. Instead, the current number is 928 new houses per year, which in itself will be a difficult number to achieve, she said, but will be used as the benchmark for the ongoing Local Plan review.

169/20   To consider the following planning applications:

  1. a) 20/2657/FUL 26 Cypress Close Honiton EX14 2YW  Construction of single storey rear extension

b)    20/2437/FUL 2 Hamlet Cottages Weston EX14 3PB Construction of single storey rear extension

c)     20/2751/FUL Land At The West End Of Devonshire Road Heathpark Industrial Estate Honiton Construction of single storey industrial unit for use classes E, B2 & B8 including alterations to car park layout approved under 07/3056/MFUL

The clerk explained there had been a misunderstanding over the deadline for submitting responses to a) and b) because of the Christmas period.  However, councillors had no objections.

Members resolved not to object to c) subject to satisfactory measures being put into place to deal with surface water. 

170/20   To receive reports from councillors on areas of responsibility and actions since the last meeting:

  1. To note the latest planning decision notices
  2. 20/2437/FUL Construction of single storey rear extension 2 Hamlet Cottages, Weston, EX14 EPB  Approval (standard time limit)
  3. 20/2657/FUL Construction of single storey rear extension – 26 Cypress Close Honiton EX14 2YW Approval (standard time limit)

Cllr Orchard agreed to take on responsibility for this brief.

a) To receive an update on Highways

Cllr Orchard agreed to take responsibility for the Highways brief, given his past career related to this area.  He explained that Network Rail is due to complete an annual inspection of the bridge by the Forge on the night of 18 January. The signs, with all the relevant information, explain what needs to be said, but unfortunately the contractors have put them by Hayne Lane bridge.  Cllr Orchard said he had informed Network Rail of the error.

b) To consider plans for expenditure in the parish under the Community Infrastructure Levy & S106

Cllr Orchard said there was no update on this.  The Chair said she will ask a highways engineer for examples and costings for gateway schemes, if this can be funded from CIL.  Cllr Valentine said he had emailed Tom Vaughan at DCC to enquire about costs.  Cllr Bond said she had believed similar schemes existed which had been part-funded by CIL money.

c) To receive an update on public transport

Cllr Orchard reported that having had early assurances direct from Stagecoach that an earlier school bus would take children from King’s School on the last day of term 2020, the bus did not materialize.  Stagecoach had replied to say they were aware of it, and had received several complaints.  As yet, Cllr Orchard said he had not yet heard from the Operations Manager.

d) To consider the purchase of a defibrillator for the Hayne Farm development

Cllr Twist said there was no update on this.

e) To consider climate change measures within the parish

Cllr Twist said there was no update on this.  The clerk said Broadhembury PC’s chair had been in touch with her regarding the experience of securing an Electric Vehicle Charging point. 

ACTION: Clerk to forward Broadhembury chair’s email to Cllr Twist. 

f) To consider parish council support for scam awareness and security

Cllr Twist warned members and the public to be aware of the latest scam, which involves a message asking people for their personal details in connection with a Covid-19 vaccine.  She circulated the Devon Trading Standards newsletter to all the parish councillors.

g) To consider limited residential development in the parish

Cllr Valentine said the current work of the project team is focused on working with the architect in designing a suitable footprint for the proposed development having particular regard to access, surface water management and relationship with the adjacent Conservation Area and Listed Buildings with a few (!) design issues thrown in for good measure. A major challenge is producing a scheme which meets the expectations of the GCLT, the Combe Estate, the Housing Association and not forgetting the Planning Department at EDDC. It is hoped that a preferred option can be agreed within the next couple of weeks and that further discussions will then take place with EDDC Planners. This will be followed by a short period of amendment which in turn will be followed by a public consultation on the preferred option (details to be announced later).

h) To consider the parish emergency plan

Cllr Orchard said that he had been filling in some of the gaps in a template for the future when councillors an get together and address this properly.  The Chair said there will be some overlap between Councillors Valentine, Orchard and Rowe on this and advised them to stay in touch and produce a revised version as soon as possible.  Cllr Rowe suggested saving a version on Google Drive or similar, so that those involved could contribute to one saved document rather than multiple versions.

i) To consider the refurbishment and maintenance of the village play area

Cllr Walker explained that the play area will stay open during the current lockdown, although it is used infrequently during the winter.

j) To consider work to be carried out by the lengthsman to maintain ditches and drains in the parish

Cllr Walker said that Len Bartlett, very kindly, will be addressing the surplus water that runs from just below the bend at Catshayes to Talbot cottages.  Len Bartlett intends to address the lack of a ditch, as water simply pours out of the bank just below the big barn and creates a fast-flowing stream.  Members agreed to ask Pierre Graeber to draw a card to mark Len Abbott’s birthday.

171/20   To receive a report from the Chair

The Chair said the Covid-19 village support network is still in place, with recent contact to confirm volunteers are still able to help.  Some members said they knew of people in the parish who had received their first vaccination.

Off roading vehicles on bridleways at Westgate Hill

The Chair said she had encouraged parishioners to report damage to the DCC Rights of Way and to report illegal vehicles to the police.  She had also been in touch with Combe Estate to establish their position and Councillor Twiss has asked the DCC Rights of Way team for advice. Members hoped this would go some way to alleviating the problem, as a physical solution such as a barrier is unlikely. 

Grit bins/ice on roads

The Chair said there had been some correspondence around New Year’s Day and offers from villagers to spread grit in dangerous areas.  She advised that this needs to be comprehensively covered in the parish emergency plan.  Cllr Rowe has done a check on the bins again following the new year freeze and will request top-ups and investigate a central store. The Chair felt that the grit is there to be used in situations such as we face at new year but not for private ground, or the full length of the village or long term. The response at new year was appropriate, she said.

The Chair said she had not yet contacted the neighbouring parish council chairs about an annual meeting to share experiences and work together.


Councillor Twiss is making progress on improved broadband, the Chair reported.  Members agreed that with people working from home and school pupils now learning online, this cannot come soon enough.

172/20   To consider the casual vacancy in Gittisham Vale

The clerk said she had notified EDDC, and the councillor vacancy had been advertised.  If by 22nd January a request for an election to fill the vacancy is made in writing to the Returning Officer at EDDC by 10 electors for the ward, an election will be held to fill the vacancy; otherwise it will be filled by co-option. Members agreed to fill the Vice Chair position once the parish council was up to full strength.

173/20 To agree the budget for 2021/22

The clerk outlined likely expenditure for the rest of the current tax year, and circulated a spreadsheet showing forecast expenditure for 2021/22. Councillors suggested new lines for an additional defibrillator £2,000), dog poo bins (£450) and replacement for toddler swings (£500) in the village play area (estimated prices). Members resolved to set budget expenditure at £15,205 which includes contingency and depreciation of play area items. The forecast expenditure details have been circulated.

ACTION: The clerk to contact Graham Hutton at Baker Estates to request a dog poo bin at Hayne Farm, if the parish council funds a second.

174/20 To set the precept for 2021/22

Councillors agreed to increase the precept by 2 per cent in 2021/22, the balance of the budget to be taken from reserves. Councillors said they recognised the difficult circumstances brought about by the pandemic, but agreed it was necessary to balance the books and cover the council’s increasing costs.  The increase amounts to £163.20 shared across the whole parish, not per elector.

175/20 To approve the January payments and note the current bank balance

It was resolved to approve the following payments:

1077       F J Clampin                          £224.86  Clerk’s salary & expenses

1078       F J Clampin                          £40         Reimbursement for ICO annual subscription

1079       Websites Ahoy                      £17.50       Website maintenance        

DD          NEST                                     £22.48   Clerk’s pension in line with new rate of pay (5% employer, 5% employee)

Members were informed that the current bank balance stands at £18,050.75 (which includes the £7,000 in the business reserve account).  The clerk circulated a bank reconciliation showing the financial picture as of 30th November 2020.

176/20   Clerk’s Report

The clerk said the chosen laptop was still out of stock.

ACTION: Cllr Valentine to ask his son for recommendations of in-stock items. 

177/20 For information only; items for the forward agenda

Play area maintenance contract 2021/22; frequency of parish council meetings; website.

178/20 To consider any late entry correspondence

Cllr Valentine said the pothole problem opposite Gittisham Farm was getting worse.  The Chair explained that this is on the Highways team’s to-do list, but encouraged as many people as possible to report the situation to DCC Cllr Bond said people should take photographs.

NB Since the meeting the potholes have been filled in.

179/20   Date of next two meetings.   Wednesday 3rd February and Wednesday 3rd March 2021 at 7.30pm via Zoom. 

Should restrictions on public movement be lifted, these meetings will revert to being held in the parish room or another suitable venue. There being no further business, the meeting closed at 2040 hrs.