Parish Council meeting minutes 7 Sept 2021

MINUTES OF THE PARISH COUNCIL MEETING

HELD ON 7TH SEPTEMBER 2021

in Gittisham Village Hall

Present

Gittisham Village ward

Cllr C Hall (Chair)

Cllr A Rowe

Cllr M Walker

Cllr D Valentine

Gittisham Vale ward

Cllr P Orchard

Cllr J Twist

In attendance: Cllr Phil Twiss (DCC), Cllr Jake Bonetta (EDDC), PCSO Darren England, two members of the public, Fiona Clampin (clerk)

Apologies for absence: Cllr Alasdair Bruce (EDDC)

71/21     To accept and approve apologies

Apologies were received and accepted. 

72/21     To confirm the minutes of the meeting held 4th August 2021

The minutes of the meeting held on 4th August 2021 were confirmed and signed by the Chair. 

73/21     To receive the Beat Manager’s Report

Two crimes were reported in July 2021:

1 x anti-social behaviour, Laburnum Close

1 x criminal damage & arson, Cypress Close

The Chair said members were delighted to see PCSO Darren England at the meeting.   PCSO England outlined changes to staffing among the force, and expressed his desire to work with the parish in reducing and preventing crime.  He said he would like to attend between two and three PC meetings per year.  He explained that communication was improving with regular newsletters, and parishes would see more information on trends in rural crime and how to help the police tackle it.  He encouraged residents to sign up to the various schemes relevant to their individual circumstances, including Horse Watch and Farm Watch and Devon & Cornwall Alert.  (The latter is a two-way community messaging system where you can select what type of information you receive.)  He said that in general rural crime levels were low. 

Cllr Twist outlined the ways in which she was communicating information to the parish about scams.  Cllr Orchard asked why certain locations appeared to recur in the crime statistics, and PCSO England agreed to come back to him via the clerk with more information.

ACTION: Clerk to email PCSO England with meeting dates; Clerk to pass PCSO England’s email address to Cllr Twist; Clerk to investigate whether the police newsletter can be attached to the Gittisham Gazette.

PCSO Darren England left the meeting.

74/21     To receive declarations of interest

None.

75/21     To consider actions from the last meeting not otherwise on the agenda

The Chair reported that one of DCC’s Rights of Way officers had inspected the signage at Westgate and was satisfied it was clear enough; no signs have been erected by the farmer to date. 

Cllr Orchard explained that disabled access via the gate at the end of Old Elm Road may be resolved by the end of November. 

The Chair said she had not heard from Carol McCann regarding a contribution from the parish council towards the church photocopier for printing the gazette. 

ACTION: Clerk to email DCC regarding status of Ramblers’ appeal at Goldcombe; Cllr Twiss also agreed to check. 

76/21     To receive reports from County Council and District Council representatives

Cllr Bonetta said that work has continued full pace at East Devon District Council over the summer months, working towards many important policy goals and consultations. He said he had started work as a member of the Strategic Planning Committee, which is discussing the new and upcoming Local Plan. He explained he had also been active in speaking at Full Council, including in supporting proposals for expansion of our nature reserves across the District, to benefit not only our biodiversity but the health and wellbeing of our communities.

Public Toilets

Although not directly linked to the village of Gittisham and any toilet provisions within the village, EDDC is currently going through an important consultation stage with regards to the public toilets that it owns and operates. However, this consultation is vital in making sure that all our towns and villages are properly served with public conveniences across the district, especially in our principal and main towns. As a Honiton Town and East Devon District Councillor for Honiton St. Michael’s, Cllr Bonetta said it is extremely important to him that the public toilets at King Street, Honiton, are maintained and opened immediately – and he alongside other councillors have been lobbying for this in the strongest terms. This is to enable greater pedestrian support within the town centre, as well as to maintain much-needed disabled toilet access to the Southern half of the High Street.  He urged members to get involved with the consultation, which closes at 5pm on October 1st, 2021.

Housing

Over the past 2 months of representing Gittisham Vale on EDDC, Cllr Bonetta said he had taken up a number of casework items relating to council and social housing across his ward. It is extremely important to him that EDDC’s tenants are well looked-after and supported by the Council and their representatives. If any resident would like to discuss a council housing issue with him, from any part of the district, please do get in touch at jbonetta@eastdevon.gov.uk

Cllr Walker said she had been told that there were no vacancies for garages at the ex-local authority properties on Church Mead, but she knew this was not the case as there are three garages currently vacant.  Cllr Bonetta said he would follow this up.

Cllr Valentine said he would let Cllr Bonetta have the details of the Gittisham CLT.

East Devon Local Plan

At a meeting of Strategic Planning Committee earlier today, 7th September, it was resolved that a refined draft version of the East Devon Local Plan will be recommended for public consultation in March 2022. This draft plan will contain items for consultation covering multiple items referring to the powers of Gittisham Parish Council, such as planning and development, environment, and transport. At the meeting, discussions took place on the importance of town centres, as well as in protecting the individuality of our villages and introducing Green Belts to stop towns from encroaching on surrounding villages. It is therefore important that every Parish Council across the District feeds into this process, and he suggested Gittisham Parish Council include an agenda item on the Local Plan consultation in the New Year.

Enhanced Covid response area

Cllr Twiss said that as the peak summer holiday season draws to its conclusion it has clearly been an economically good one in the South West, including East Devon. However, it appears the trade off with our big temporary population swelling hugely when compared to the permanent one, the downside is that Covid case rates in Devon are currently very high, especially in our late teens and younger adults, which is to be expected since the removal of restrictions, the opening up of opportunities to socialise, and our popularity as a major visitor destination. 

The impact of coronavirus is being felt hard across the entire health and social care system, he said, with those services struggling to cope with demand and workforce pressures. The number of cases are rising again nationally, and in Devon, they are far higher (622 per 100,000 of the population) than the latest national average (332).  The government has designated Devon, Cornwall, Plymouth, Torbay and the Isles of Scilly, an ‘enhanced response area’, in response to high case rates of coronavirus.  It means additional support will be available from the government, to those areas for the next five weeks in order to try and reduce infection case numbers.

He said this doesn’t mean another local lockdown, but it does mean that authorities across the South West have more flexibility to introduce additional public health measures if considered necessary, to those in other parts of the country.  Public Health Devon is urging people to:

  • Limit your social contacts to stop the virus spreading
  • meet others outside, because that’s safer than meeting inside
  • continue to wear face coverings when indoors in public places
  • wash your hands properly and regularly
  • have the jab if you are an adult and haven’t yet had it. Please have both doses as soon as you can. If you’re aged 16 to 18, please take up the vaccination when offered to you
  • self-isolate if told to do so by NHS Test and Trace
  • self-isolate and arranging a PCR test if you show any symptoms of having the virus – the high temperature, new and continuous cough, or change of your usual sense of taste or smell

Covid news and Vaccination Programme update

Uptake of the vaccine among 16/17-year-olds has been high.  More than 1.7m doses of the Covid-19 vaccine have been given in Devon.  Between 8 December and 29 August 917,236 first doses have been given while 809,425 second doses have been given; a total of 1,726,661 doses.  People who have both vaccine doses or are under 18 don’t have to self-isolate if they are identified as a close contact of someone with Covid-19.  You can book an appointment online or by calling 119.  The Devon Vaccine Support Team can support carers who can’t leave the person they care for or those who can’t use the national booking system because they aren’t registered with a GP.  Contact:

d-ccg.devonvaccinationsupport@nhs.net   / 01752 398836 Support the health and care system by getting vaccinated.

Employment opportunities

Cllr Twiss said for a variety of well-publicised reasons there are a wide variety of job vacancies across many sectors of our economy including retail, hospitality and commercial. For those looking for a long term career path or simply a change of direction new staff are needed across all sectors of the health and social care sectors.  There are opportunities from apprentice, to part and full time The Proud to Care campaign provided plenty of information and links to jobs including those in the Honiton area at https://www.proudtocaredevon.org.uk/   

Devon jobs at https://www.devonjobs.gov.uk/  is another resource advertising many vacancies, as is the EDDC https://jobs.eastdevon.gov.uk/  and he urged members to share these links to anyone who they thought might be interested in seeking employment.

Cllr Twiss added that he had been reassured by Jurassic Fibre that the roll-out of superfast broadband in Gittisham village was heading in the right direction.  Cllr Rowe said he had also been speaking to a representative from the company, and Cllr Valentine expressed his concern that the proposed development in the village did not appear in any broadband infrastructure plans.  Cllr Twiss also promised to report back as to whether the front desk at Honiton Police Station will be reopened, following lobbying of the Police & Crime Commissioner.

Cllr Bonetta left the meeting.

Cllr Rowe enquired whether Honiton or Ottery had any plans to support an e-bike scheme.  Cllr Twiss said he was not aware of any, but said that DCC would be looking to spend money on projects to reduce carbon emissions. 

In his absence, Cllr Alasdair Bruce sent the following: Things have been very quiet at council recently, not helped by a council workforce working to rule due to ‘interference’ by some members or the ruling party. An apology has been submitted so the issue may resolve itself soon. You may already be aware of this, but it has made contacting officers over issues such as fly tipping and enforcement much harder. I am assured that communication will improve and have been asked to be patient.

ACTION: Cllr Rowe to invite a Jurassic Fibre representative to a future meeting and cc Cllr Twiss.  Cllr Valentine to email Cllr Twiss & Cllr Bonetta details of the Gittisham CLT plans.

Cllr Twiss and one member of the public left the meeting.

77/21     To consider the following planning applications:

a) 21/1165/FUL Bakery Cottage Gittisham EX14 3AF Single storey rear extension and internal alterations. Creation of courtyard and parking bay with EV charging point and erection of maximum 1.8m wall/fence. Alteration of workshop/store to form garden room. (amended plans concerning revision to extension)

b) 21/1166/LBC Bakery Cottage Gittisham EX14 3AF Single storey rear extension and internal alterations. Creation of courtyard and parking bay with EV charging point and erection of maximum 1.8m wall/fence. Alteration of workshop/store to form garden room (amended plans concerning revision to extension)

Members resolved to have no further comments to make on the amendments.

78/21     To receive reports from councillors on areas of responsibility and actions since the last meeting:

a. To note the latest planning decision notices

21/1420/VAR Unit 5 Weston Park Devonshire Road Heathpark Industrial Estate Honiton EX14 1ST Variation of condition 1 (extension to opening hours) of 19/2150/VAR  Approval with conditions.

b. To receive an update on Highways

Forthcoming road closures in Gittisham Parish:

11-12 November, Road past Sherman’s Farm – Western Power works

22-24 November, road from Ironbridge to Eveleigh’s – Jurassic Fibre works

See also minute ref. 80/21.

c. To consider plans for expenditure in the parish under the Community Infrastructure Levy & S106

Cllr Orchard said he had contacted eight contractors for the play area works. One declined, six had not responded.  He had met J Coles on site and K C Builders yesterday.  Given the criteria for the funding, three written quotes are required and therefore progress will be delayed until a further quote can be obtained.

ACTION: Cllr Orchard to obtain an additional quotation.

d. To receive an update on public transport

Members heard the replacement bus for King’s School pupils in September would arrive for the first time on Weds 8th.  The Chair said it was a good result after many years of lobbying.

e. To consider the purchase of a defibrillator for the Hayne Farm development

Cllr Twist expressed her frustration at further delays to the installation.  She said the Community Heartbeat Trust had sent her a lengthy contract, which includes a contract for a host.  She is therefore waiting for a response from Baker Estates as to who owns the land where the defibrillator will be located.  Members discussed the possibility of an alternative site for the defibrillator if the delay persists. 

ACTION: Chair to contact Graham Hutton at Baker Estates.

f. To consider climate change measures within the parish, including rewilding proposals for land along Old Elm Road

Cllr Twist said there was no update on EV chargers.  Cllr Rowe said he had met James Chubb from EDDC’s Countryside team to look at rewilding a patch of land along Old Elm Road, close to the stream.  Mr Chubb said he could liaise with EDDC’s StreetScene to mow the grass less frequently, put wild flower seeds down and protect some of the saplings.  The Chair added that hedge plants would arrive for the play area in mid-November.

ACTION: Cllr Rowe to contact StreetScene to find out whose responsibility any rewilding project should be.

g. To consider parish council support for scam awareness and security

Cllr Twist said 13-17th September there would be a publicity campaign running called Take Five, where people are encouraged to pause when asked for financial or personal information by would-be scammers.  Cllr Twist added that the new booster for Covid would likely be the next target for cyber criminals.

h. To consider limited residential development in the parish

Cllr Valentine said there was a pause while solicitors worked on some loose ends.  He was pleased to report there was funding in place for a new speed survey on the hill in Gittisham village, and hoped this might take place in October. 

i. To consider the parish emergency plan

Cllr Orchard said there was no update on this.

j. To consider the refurbishment and maintenance of the village play area

Cllr Walker thanked Cllr Orchard for his work obtaining quotes for the new facilities.  It was agreed some strimming may be needed around the bench.  The Chair agreed to speak to a resident who had raised concerns over a potential increase in noise levels when the new facilities were being used.

ACTION: Clerk to ask Michael Poll when he will be trimming the wild area grass.

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

Cllr Walker said the lengthsman had kindly given Cllr Twiss a tour to point out issues, including the pothole by Rapshayes where a drain also needs fixing.  The Chair said there were two drains outside the Village Hall which silt up, and could cause problems with flooding in wet weather.  The Chair encouraged all members and residents to report issues via the ‘report a problem’ page on the DCC website.  She added she had done this for the silted up drains.

Cllr Orchard reported that no further work had been done to cut the hedge along Old Elm Road.

ACTION: Cllr Walker to ask the lengthsman about the silted up drains.

79/21     To receive a report from the Chair

The Chair said she hoped all councillors had enjoyed a summer break. She said there was nothing specific to report, but she would like to recognise the ongoing work of our councillors in ensuring the various initiatives we have underway are making good progress. Thank you for all that you do for our parish.  

She asked if members might support a bid to fund two community e-bikes, financed by Lottery funding.  She explained that one of the students in our parish has suggested that they could take further if we could support them if needed.  The Chair said this would be a great way for us to get out and about in this hilly area, which often puts people off from getting bikes out in the first place. The project would need support in ongoing maintenance, booking and charging.  She promised to report back at a future meeting. 

ACTION: Chair to investigate funding of two community e-bikes.

80/21 To consider traffic levels and speeds in Gittisham village and on Hayne Lane

Members heard that Cllrs Orchard & Twist had carried out a traffic survey on Hayne Lane.  The results were circulated.  Cllr Orchard reported that although the perception was that traffic numbers had increased, the numbers from the survey did not bear this out.  The Chair thanked them for their work and said it was good to have data. 

Cllr Twiss had indicated that taking measures to close Hayne Lane was not possible, but members agreed that road conditions make it unsafe to walk.  Councillors also questioned the cost benefit of maintaining the road which is in such poor condition, and agreed to continue lobbying.  Cllr Rowe added that the speed limit signs will be covered up until the correct signage is in place.  Cllr Twiss had also said he would investigate a footway from the end of Devonshire Road to lower Hayne Lane, as the road appeared to be busy with people.

ACTION: Clerk to order 10 x ‘20 is Plenty’ stickers.

81/21 To consider candidates for the Gittisham Vale councillor vacancy and proceed to co-option as appropriate

The clerk said no applications had been received by the latest deadline of 5th September.

ACTION: Clerk to re-advertise the vacancy ASAP.

82/21     To approve the September payments and to note the current bank balance

It was resolved to approve the following payments:

1120      F J Clampin                       £224.86 Clerk’s salary

1121      Michael Poll                      £60        Grass cutting, play area (inv. ref. 10109)

1122      Michael Poll                      £60        Grass cutting, play area (inv. ref. 10105)

1123      Gittisham Parish Hall        £10        Hire for August meeting

DD         NEST                                 £22.48   Clerk’s pension (5% employer, 5% employee)

Members were informed that the second half of the annual precept had been received; the current bank balance stands at £20,847.11 (which includes approximately £7,000 in the business reserve account). 

83/21     Clerk’s Report

The clerk said a resident had asked if the parish council could take any action to limit the lighting of bonfires.

ACTION: Chair to investigate official rules on parishioners lighting bonfires.

84/21     For information only; items for the forward agenda

Traffic speeds in Gittisham village inc Hayne Lane; casual vacancy.

85/21     To consider any late entry correspondence

The Clerk reminded members that she had emailed councillors to notify them that the defibrillator had been deployed, following an email from Mr A Wilkins, upon whose property the equipment is situated. 

86/21     Date of next two meetings  

Wednesday 6th October (village hall) and Wednesday 3rd November 2021 (venue tbc) at 7.30pm.  The Chair asked all to observe social distancing and bring along a mask and hand sanitiser.

There being no further business, the meeting closed at 2115 hrs.