GITTISHAM PARISH COUNCIL
MINUTES OF THE PARISH COUNCIL MEETING
HELD ON 3RD MARCH 2021
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), Cllr Phil Twiss (DCC), Fiona Clampin (clerk), Emma Talbot & Matthew Galley from Jurassic Fibre
Apologies for absence: PCSO Darren England
Before the meeting, Jurassic Fibre gave a short presentation to bring councillors up to speed on their plans to extend broadband infrastructure to Gittisham. Emma Talbot explained that once construction was underway in summer 2021, the company would be in a position a few months down the line to offer individual installations. She encouraged residents to register on the Jurassic Fibre website so the company could gauge interest, and Matthew Galley added that registration did not oblige anybody to sign up for their services. He said fibre to the premises broadband packages start from 30mbps / second and are based on rolling 30-day contracts. Cllr Twiss asked for reassurance that the roll-out would happen sooner than the end of 2021, but Matthew Galley said applying for road closures and such like for construction usually takes three months. He said they could not commit to a date until they understood fully the type of equipment needed to build the connection. Cllrs Orchard & Valentine asked about installation costs. Emma Talbot replied that in most cases this was not necessary, although Cllr Orchard said he had been quoted £500. The Chair agreed to send to Emma Talbot the addresses which had previously indicated an interest in superfast broadband for information only.
Emma Talbot & Matthew Galley left the meeting.
199/20 To accept and approve apologies
Apologies were received and accepted.
200/20 To confirm the minutes of the meeting held 3rd February 2021
The minutes of the meeting held on 3rd February 2021 were confirmed and signed by the Chair.
201/20 To receive the Beat Manager’s Report
The police did not send a report this month, so the clerk provided figures taken from https://www.crime-statistics.co.uk/ . In January 2021, 1 crime reported: 1 x anti-social behaviour (Laburnum Close).
The clerk agreed to contact Darren England again, and also follow up with the new area division commander, to see if it is possible to have more detailed reports from the police and more parish involvement in combating crime.
ACTION: Clerk to follow up with PCSO Darren England and Inspector John Gait.
202/20 To receive declarations of interest
203/20 To consider actions from the last meeting not otherwise on the agenda
Cllr Valentine said he would circulate to members a suggested response to EDDC’s issues and options report, and invited councillors to comment by email in time for him to submit Gittisham PC’s response before 15th March 2021.
204/20 Reports from County Council and District Council representatives
Cllr Twiss said in what has been a very difficult past year due to the pandemic, there is finally genuine cause for hope that we are emerging from it with the roll out and escalation of the COVID-19 vaccination programme, a reduction of daily cases, hospital and community deaths and a cautious roadmap in lifting lockdown restrictions, where we can look forward with optimism towards a good summer for us and our families and friends, as well as the recovery of our economy.
Cllr Twiss argued that the Government budget announced today has many positives items in it, not least the continuation of support to individuals and businesses on what is sure to be a long road back to recovery. Devon County Council has to set its own budget and below are some key extracts from the 2021/22,169- page budget document.
Financial targets are set for all the areas of activity that are undertaken by the County Council. Day-to-day expenditure and income are referred to as revenue and investment in assets is referred to as capital. Elected members approve all budgets of the authority and throughout the year monitoring of expenditure and income is undertaken to ensure that spending remains under control.
The funding for the budget currently comes from several sources including council tax, business rates and government grants, fees and charges. The 2021/22 Budget is set in the context of the ongoing Covid-19 global pandemic. The virus has had a devastating impact on public health, social care, the NHS and the economy. The national response has cost billions of pounds and has seen national debt rise to more than £2 trillion, levels not seen since the last world war. In November the Chancellor announced a Government Spending Review (SR2020); it had been hoped that it would be a multi-year spending review, but this was not the case. The one-year spending review was followed in December with a one-year provisional settlement. Whilst not a generous settlement, Cllr Twiss said it is better than it might have been in the current economic climate and has allowed the authority to set a balanced budget with only modest savings being required.
Cllr Twiss outlined February’s Final Local Government Finance Settlement 2021/22, which is £103.2 million. For DCC, there is to be an increase for a Band D Council Tax property by 4.99 per cent to £1,511.28 per household
Food poverty support for Families over Easter
The DCC holiday food voucher scheme is a way of providing funds to ensure families of children who are eligible for free school meals during term time are able to purchase food over the holidays; to replace the meals a child would have received during a school day.
Devon’s level of food insecurity has risen over the past 12 months, with rates of more than 20 per cent in Mid Devon, North Devon, and Teignbridge. The scheme will mean almost 16,000 food vouchers will be distributed to those families in need and that qualify. The offer over the Easter period will be similar to that provided at Christmas and through the recent half term week. The main form of support will be through vouchers (£15 per week per child) which can be redeemed at a range of supermarkets. For families not able to access a supermarket (online or in person) a food parcel will be available. The voucher scheme will continue to work alongside District Council COVID Hardship Funds, enabling a package of support (e.g. power, travel, advice services) to be awarded to applicants in tandem with food. Additional funds remain available via the Early Help system so that families in need can be provided with other support alongside food.
Cllr Twiss said the COVID Winter Grant scheme run by Citizens Advice is also continuing, providing households with a grant to help towards energy costs. This helps clients who are facing a choice between heating and eating, this money is designed to cover the ‘heating’ element for a short period of time.
Devon Community Foundation have also been commissioned to map organisations providing food across Devon and help to build networks of support in each area, ensuing that food and associated needs are coordinated.
Holiday Activities & Food Programme
In November 2020 the Government announced a significant expansion of its tried and tested Holiday Activities and Food (HAF) programme. In areas of high deprivation this programme has provided healthy food and enriching activities during the summer holidays to children who receive benefits-related free school meals (FSM). It offered valuable support to families on lower incomes, giving them the opportunity to access rewarding activities alongside healthy meals over the school holidays. For 2021 the programme has been expanded to reach all Local Authority areas and will cover the Easter, summer and Christmas holiday period. As a result, Devon County Council has recently been allocated a substantial grant of up to £1,793,720 to develop, co-ordinate and deliver the programme which will offer:
• An activity and Food programme for children aged 5 -16 years who are eligible for Free School Meals; with the aim of making it a universal offer where possible.
• The programme will offer inclusive and accessible provision (for example, SEND, young carers, etc).
• The offer will consist of at least 4 hours, for 4 days a week, per child for 4 weeks in the summer, and for one week in Easter and Christmas holidays.
Devon County Council is keen to work with a wide range of partners to maximise resources and opportunities in the development of a county-wide HAF programme. Cllr Twiss said the council aims to do this by publicising what’s already on offer, upscaling provision where needed and offering support to develop new provision where gaps have been identified. The Easter programme will focus on the areas of Devon listed below (top 30 per cent deprivation indices) which is approximately 3,000 children. The intention is to roll it out over the whole county for all 16,000 children who wish to attend over the summer holidays and Christmas period.
Cllr Bond reminded members to complete the EDDC survey on the issues and options for a revised Local Plan (see minute ref 203/20). The questionnaire is available here: https://eastdevon.gov.uk/news/2021/01/have-your-say-on-future-developments-in-east-devon-local-plan-consultation/ . It can be completed by individuals, as well as the PC.
A first meeting of the Hayne Lane employment site Working Group is envisaged for the next couple of months. This is a site which was allocated for employment in the Local Plan and initial work will be carried out to assess options, including viability of the site. The working group will consist of officers from EDDC, Cllr Paul Hayward (Economy portfolio holder), the ward member for Gittisham, a representative from each of Gittisham Parish Council, Honiton Town Council and Combe Estate.
Meanwhile, EDDC approved an increase in Council Tax of 3.41 per cent, which represents £5/year for a Band D property. Devon County has increased their element of Council Tax by 4.99 per cent (which includes 3 per cent for adult social care), the Police by 6.73 per cent and Fire by 1.99 per cent. The average Town and Parish precept increase across the district is 2.37 per cent.
Car Park charges across the main car parks in East Devon were set to increase by 20 per cent (i.e. from £1 per hour to £1.20 per hour). However, this increase has been deferred to 2022 in an attempt to help businesses during the Covid recovery. Meanwhile, Cllr Bond said the parish council would have received a survey on the Community Asset Transfer Procedure. It would be useful to complete even if there are no EDDC assets with the parish, so that EDDC has a complete picture across the district.
Otherwise work continues on coping with Covid and the rollout of business support and discretionary grants, to both businesses and individuals in East Devon.
ACTION: Clerk to complete Community Asset Transfer Procedure.
Before he left, Cllr Twiss reminded members that next month, due to local elections in May, he would be entering the purdah period.
Cllr Twiss left the meeting.
205/20 To consider the following planning applications:
- 21/0428/FUL 34 Meadow Acre Road Gittisham EX14 3FE Construction of single side/rear storey extension
Members had no objections to the application.
206/20 To receive reports from councillors on areas of responsibility and actions since the last meeting:
- To note the latest planning decision notices
20/2656/LBC Winsor Cottage Gittisham EX14 3AS Ground floor: remove walls in kitchen/breakfast room and install new door and removal of stone cladding around fireplace and under 2no. windows in lounge. First floor: remove and construct walls and doors in bedroom no.4; create door opening from bedroom no.1 onto landing for bathroom; remove and construct walls in bedroom no.1 to create ensuite and replace existing metal stair balustrade with timber balustrade. Approval with conditions.
- To receive an update on Highways
Cllr Orchard said on 9th February the signage for closure of the lane to Catshayes Farm had caused some confusion, leading to buses missing the village. He said he had reported a blocked pipe in Hayne Lane to DCC Highways on 4th February, but not yet had a response. Work on Hayne Lane for drainage, clearance of foliage and tarmac patching at the north end had been completed ahead of schedule.
Forthcoming road closures in Gittisham Parish:
10 March Outside parish, but road west of Buckerell from Orchard Cross will be closed for two days.
Cllr Walker said she thought potholes behind Truances Cottage had been repaired, and Cllr Bond urged everyone to use the appropriate website to report potholes as it appeared to be having some effect. Cllr Rowe asked if the resurfacing had taken place at the junction with the Heathpark estate, but Cllr Orchard said it had been deferred several times. Cllr Bond encouraged Cllr Rowe to mention this via the reporting website.
- To consider plans for expenditure in the parish under the Community Infrastructure Levy & S106
The Chair explained that Honiton Town Council’s new clerk is keen for her to meet HTC’s chair to discuss how S106 money from the Hayne Farm development (which belongs to GPC) can be spent, and what proportion could be spent in Honiton itself. Members discussed the history of these funds, suggestions put forward in the past and their viability. Cllr Bond reminded councillors that the criteria for spending the S106 money is strict, and can only be spent on sports provision. Members agreed that as the money came from the Hayne Farm development, it should mainly benefit those residents who would primarily be using sports facilities in Honiton. They felt Gittisham should earmark roughly £40k for use in Gittisham parish on a new boules pitch, and for anything that would likely arise at Hayne Farm. Cllr Bond encouraged Cllr Orchard to explore the new boules pitch in Seaton and how this had been acquired. Advice from EDDC indicates that Gittisham PC must be consulted on how Honiton TC would spend the remaining funds. Cllr Orchard reminded members that he had carried out a consultation exercise last year, and members heard that Honiton TC had also done this but would have to wait until all the money had been received before making any decisions on spending in consultation with Gittisham PC.
- To receive an update on public transport
See Highways item above. The clerk said the 10.46 Stagecoach bus had failed to turn up this morning, but Cllr Orchard said he did not think a real-time display board would be a priority for the company.
- To consider the purchase of a defibrillator for the Hayne Farm development
Cllr Twist said there was no update on this.
ACTION: Cllr Twist to try getting more information on an alternative location for the defibrillator in time for the next meeting.
- To consider climate change measures within the parish
Cllr Twist said there was no update on this. Members discussed whether it was possible to support particular renewable energy providers, but concluded that this was best done on an individual level.
ACTION: Cllr Twist to comment on DCC’s draft resource & waste strategy.
ACTION: All to keep eyes open for new climate change initiatives that the PC can support.
- To consider parish council support for scam awareness and security
Cllr Twist said a piece had appeared in February’s Gittisham Gazette. She warned members that the next scam would undoubtedly be focused on the census, which is due on 21st March.
- To consider limited residential development in the parish
Cllr Valentine said the pre-app submission to EDDC Planning was made on 25th February. The planning officer has 30 days to respond. In the meantime the focus will be on dwelling design and site infrastructure development. There will need to be (hopefully) a short period following receipt of the planning officer’s comments for any amendments before putting the proposals forward for public consultation. Details of this event remain to be finalised.
Regarding the use of CIL funding for a village “gateway”, the Chair said she had started a discussion on the village WhatsApp group and there appeared to be strong support. She said the discussion had led to comments about speeding in the village, and therefore it would potentially be necessary to revisit this. She suggested printing and laminating some ’20 is plenty’ signs to put on black bins etc, especially as children would start emerging in the spring.
- To consider the parish emergency plan
Cllr Orchard said he had tidied up the text and added emergency contact numbers. Cllr Rowe had smartened up the grit bin map and added lettered locations. All that remains, he said, was to fill in the names and numbers of the various responsibilities. Cllr Orchard added that as a result of his article last month in the Gittisham Gazette, one person from the Vale and one person from the village had come forward to offer help in the event of any emergency.
ACTION: Chair to add parts about flooding, and meet Cllr Orchard to discuss the names currently in use within the document.
- To consider the refurbishment and maintenance of the village play area, and approve the annual play area inspection visit
Cllr Walker reported that the play area had been used recently in fine weather. Members agreed to invite the RoSPA inspector to carry out the annual play area inspection.
ACTION: Cllr Walker to keep hand sanitiser at the entrance to the play area topped up, install rubbish bin and carry out regular inspections during fine weather and Easter holidays.
- To consider work to be carried out by the lengthsman to maintain ditches and drains in the parish
Cllr Walker said that Len Abbott had maintained ditches and drains in February for three hours.
ACTION: Cllr Walker to notify the lengthsman that Cllr Valentine would like to discuss a drainage ditch further up Dark Lane.
207/20 To receive a report from the Chair
The Chair thanked all members for their work, and said that the council appeared to be keeping on top of issues of concern and making progress on some of its initiatives. She said it was unfortunate there had been an unpleasant situation over people using the private parking in front of the play area, and she would find out if the residents intended to put up some kind of sign.
The Chair explained that the swap system in the village and Vale bus shelters would finish at the end of the month. Items in good condition would be passed to charity shops, and those in poor condition would be disposed of.
The Chair asked if grit bins should be topped up after a cold spell.
ACTION: Clerk to laminate signs for the Chair to put up in the bus shelters. Cllr Walker to sweep the village bus shelter.
208/20 To consider updating the parish website to comply with accessibility standards
Cllr Rowe said he had discussed this with the clerk to understand how the site can comply with the latest accessibility standards.
ACTION: Cllr Rowe to continue work on council documents online.
209/20 To approve the internal auditor for 2021/22
Members resolved to appoint Alison Marshall for another year.
ACTION: Clerk to contact Alison Marshall.
210/20 To consider the practicalities of returning to face to face meetings from 7th May 2021, including a review of the scheme for delegation to ensure continuity of the Council functions (as far as practicable)
The clerk explained that Gittisham PC does not have a scheme of delegation, and this might be necessary if face to face meetings return but members are uncomfortable with that or the council cannot be quorate. Cllr Bond said it was possible to hold meetings outdoors. Members agreed with the Chair that it was acceptable to wait until the next meeting to decide whether to pursue a scheme of delegation for this purpose, although Cllr Valentine indicated that it would be wise to have a scheme of delegation in place in future for such things as emergency payments.
211/20 To approve the March payments and to note the current bank balance
It was resolved to approve the following payments:
1086 F J Clampin £226.37 Clerk’s salary & expenses
1087 F J Clampin £629 Reimbursement for laptop computer
1088 F J Clampin £59.99 Reimbursement for Microsoft Office individual
1089 Michael Poll £60 Grass cutting, play area
1090 Len Abbott £42 3 hours lengthsman work, Feb 2021
1091 DALC £36 Being a Good Councillor, 2 x sessions @£18 each inc. VAT
DD NEST £22.48 Clerk’s pension (5% employer, 5% employee)
Members were informed that the current bank balance stands at £16,185.60 (which includes the £7,000 in the business reserve account).
The clerk said that the website hosting would need to be renewed at the beginning of April before the next meeting to ensure continuity of service, but she had not yet received an invoice. The Chair said the clerk should avoid where possible paying this from her personal account, and suggested the provider should agree to maintain the service until payment could be approved at the next parish council meeting. Members discussed the possibility of using internet banking in future; Cllr Twist said it was possible to set limits on payments done this way, and members agreed that with a scheme of delegation it would be easier to make necessary payments that needed to be done quickly. The clerk said the current standing orders did not permit internet banking for a variety of reasons, including a need for two signatories.
ACTION: Clerk to enquire with other councils how they handle internet banking.
212/20 To consider the council’s grant-giving policy, publication scheme, complaints policy, anti-fraud & corruption policy and code of conduct
It was resolved to approve the above documents, once former councillors’ names had been removed and Chairman replaced with Chair.
213/20 Clerk’s Report
The clerk said she had not yet received any applications for the parish councillor vacancy. The Chair encouraged all members to contact likely candidates.
214/20 For information only; items for the forward agenda
Face-to-face meetings & scheme of delegation.
215/20 To consider any late entry correspondence
Cllr Walker said one resident had been distressed by some young cyclists passing at speed through the village, playing loud music, and all members agreed to be alert to this.
216/20 Date of next two meetings
Wednesday 7th April and Wednesday 5th May 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 2115 hrs.
7th April 2021