Parish Council meeting minutes 4 Nov 2021

Gittisham Parish Council

Minutes of the Parish Council meeting

Held on 4th November 2021

in Gittisham Village Hall

Present:

Gittisham Village Ward
Cllr A Rowe
Cllr D Valentine
Gittisham Vale Ward
Cllr P Orchard (acting Chair)
Cllr J Twist

In attendance: Cllr Phil Twiss (DCC), Cllr Jake Bonetta (EDDC), Cllr Alasdair Bruce (EDDC), one member of the public, Fiona Clampin (clerk)

Apologies for absence: Cllr C Hall (Chair), Cllr M Walker, PCSO Darren England

In the absence of Cllr Hall, Cllr Orchard agreed to chair the meeting.

104/21   To accept and approve apologies

Apologies were received and accepted. 

105/21   To confirm the minutes of the meeting held 6th October 2021

The minutes of the meeting held on 6th October 2021 were confirmed and signed by Cllr Orchard. 

106/21   To receive the Beat Manager’s Report

1 crime, September 2021: burglary, Devonshire Road.

Cllr Twiss added that he had attended a meeting with senior police officers including Sgt Hutter.  Cllr Twiss reported that a new method of reporting crime figures would be trialled, with a report formulated for larger towns each month.  For parishes there will be a trial newsletter that will be more relevant, targeted and specific.

ACTION: Clerk to distribute police newsletter.  All to feed back to Cllr Twiss their thoughts on the newsletter.

107/21   To receive declarations of interest

None.

108/21   To consider actions from the last meeting not otherwise on the agenda

None.

109/21   To consider EDDC’s Community Governance Review (CGR) and Honiton Boundary Review

Members approved Cllr Orchard’s motion to move this item up the agenda.  Parish councillors expressed their disappointment that neither GPC nor Honiton Town Council had been informed well in advance of a report proposing a review of the parish and town boundaries that went before EDDC cabinet on Wednesday 3rd November. 

Cllr Bonetta explained that at its meeting last night, the Cabinet of EDDC resolved that – pending consultation with and representations from both Honiton Town Council and Gittisham Parish Council – officers be given delegated authority over whether or not to proceed with a boundary CGR in time for the next local elections in May 2023. This constitutes a major step towards a CGR and changed boundaries, and therefore much greater consultation with GPC is needed on this. It is important to note that this CGR would only affect the parish boundaries, not the district ward boundaries.

He added that with his Honiton Town Council hat on: he is personally supportive of a move towards a CGR, and he made this clear at the Cabinet meeting yesterday. The form that this takes and the physical extent that the boundary review goes to will obviously come from conversations had between all three councils involved, and it would not be his place as a single ward member to comment on where the lines should be drawn as of yet.  Any CGR he said, would include a three-month public consultation.  However, he offered his support towards a transfer of the Gittisham Vale ward into Honiton Town Council boundaries, based on not only current EDDC ward boundaries but the neighbourhood currently split in two between parishes.  Cllr Bonetta declared an interest as a member of Honiton Town Council, and apologised for not declaring previously at this meeting his membership of Honiton Forward.  He invited members and residents to address any specific concerns or comments, so that he could forward them to the relevant team at EDDC.

Cllr Valentine said he had watched the discussion online, but there appeared to be no reference to the concerns expressed to EDDC’s officers by both HTC and GPC.  Members agreed that any change in the parish boundary between Gittisham Vale and Honiton St Michael’s in particular could have significant implications for council tax rates, and even the existence of the parish council itself.  Cllr Orchard had crunched the numbers, and estimated that with a Band D precept for Gittisham presently around £25, and Honiton £75, if the Vale transferred to HTC, the income for GPC would fall around a third, meaning an increase of around 50% for the remaining households in Gittisham parish.  If Hayne Farm also transferred that would be a loss of around two thirds of the total properties in the parish, meaning an increase of around 300% for each of the remaining households in order to retain the parish income level. 

Members agreed there are those in Gittisham Vale and Hayne Farm who feel strongly that they are part of Gittisham parish, and the importance of this should not be ignored.  Particularly during Covid, the parish has worked hard to bring residents together, encourage support networks and organise events which have attracted people from across the parish.  Discussions have taken place at GPC about representation to ensure that the number of councillors in the two wards of the parish reflect the size of the community in the Vale, Village and Hayne Farm, although these did not include a discussion of changing the ward boundaries.

Members heard that the item was deferred for further consideration by EDDC on 8th December.  They agreed to ask EDDC for the discussion to be postponed until a proper consultation can take place.

ACTION: Cllr Valentine to draft some further points, and clerk to send update and request for postponement to EDDC’s Mark Williams & Henry Gordon Lennox.

110/21   To receive reports from County Council and District Council representatives

Cllr Bruce said that having managed to clear up the incorrect information supplied to the parish council at the last meeting concerning the status of the Church Mead garages, he had since contacted the officer concerned for an update.  He has been assured an update on whether/if they need any work before being available for rent will be available before the next parish meeting.

District council is still hosting meetings via Zoom , and Blackdown House remains a virtual ‘Marie Celeste’, said Cllr Bruce. This is not a satisfactory situation for the proper functioning of EDDC. He fully appreciates the concerns expressed by a number of councillors over Covid-19, but with a large number of town and parish councils meeting face to face in the district, the council finds itself at odds with the general picture.  Cllr Bruce said he remained hopeful that the situation will be resolved in January 2022.

After the last meeting where Mr Elkins gave an impassioned description of his flooding experience recently, Cllr Bruce met him to see if the district could offer anything to help. He was able to provide some practical tips based on his own experience and assured him that he would continue to ensure that DCC made sure the drains were kept clear. Without a wholesale dismantling of our drainage system, the most practical steps we can take is to ensure the system we have works to its maximum at all times. Cllr Bruce has proposed to Cllr Twiss that a major change is needed within the Highways section at DCC, which he concurs with. We need to shift from a reactive system to one which either preempts heavy rainfall events (after all we now have one of the most powerful weather predicting computers in the world just down the road), or uses another method to ensure that the drainage system works at 100 per cent most of the time. Cllr Bruce has serious reservations as to whether any of the above will be achieved, but it is clear the current system does not serve the needs of our communities.

On the same front it was a great relief to hear that funding has now been secured for the final phases of the flood defence system  in Feniton. This been given a push, not least due to the Environment Agency being in a position to stump up the money as EDDC does not have any. We now await a date from Network Rail as to when they will close the main line to allow the culvert to be placed through the embankment.

Cllr Bruce said he welcomed the news from central government that more than £500 million  is to be allocated to encourage developers to favour  brown field sites. This is not a new initiative by any means and successive governments have tried to get these sites developed before greenfield locations, something we would all wish to see. However, the right form of incentive needs to be in place for any developer to look at these old sites before they will take on what can be problematic issues, for example contaminated land.

Cllr Bruce said he and Cllr Twiss had met Baker Estates w/c 1st November to go over the proposed plans in more detail. It was useful to see the planned loop road to help facilitate a future bus run which Cllr Bruce said he knew Cllr Twiss will take forward for us. He also asked questions regarding the infrastructure planned and built in to cope with increased volumes of field run off from storm events. Cllr Bruce was assured that most of the system is in place and being added to. He also enquired what system was being used to insulate these properties. As someone who has built his own home to A++ level, he said he was acutely aware of the massive impact this can have on energy costs, and was promised a walk round the estate to see the works for himself.  There was also good news to report on the playpark trigger being met with new build and equipment on order. However, this will not be available until early next year for well-documented reasons.

Seaton Jurassic

Cllr Bruce reported he had attended a meeting today regarding the fate of Seaton Jurassic.  He explained his involvement in it from the beginning.  He felt much progress had been made, and the options presented were well laid out.  Cllr Bruce said he hoped it would be possible to find a way of working with a commercial partner in future.

Cllr Bruce left the meeting.

Roads

Cllr Twiss said that adverse weather conditions have taken their toll on Devon Highways in recent weeks, and locally the Feniton & Honiton Division is no exception ranging from serious flooding to road surface damage etc.  Hayne Lane as you may be aware is one such place where DCC Highways has been preparing a scheme to lay kerbs and channels to protect the edge from erosion, but when NHO Mike Brown visited the site recently with the contractor’s agent to discuss the necessary work, they saw that the recent storms a couple of weeks ago had caused a complete collapse of the bank.  The DCC reactive works team has tried placing sandbags and barriers to keep the lane open but the permanent works are of a scale which will now need referring to the structures team.  Cllr Twiss said he feared that any further deterioration will lead to closing the road until a new scheme can be put in place and he had no fixed timescale for this currently.

Members discussed the current state of Hayne Lane, with some in favour of turning it into a green lane if further extreme weather damages the road in future.  Cllr Orchard remarked that the traffic survey he had undertaken with Cllr Twist showed that traffic turning out of Hayne Farm tended to turn downhill, rather than travelling up Hayne Lane where the state of the road is particularly poor. 

Cllr Rowe asked if the yellow lines would be painted back on Devonshire Road, and Cllr Twiss said they would.

Broadband

Cllr Twiss reported that Jurassic Fibre are preparing for installation of fibre optic cable in to Gittisham and he was waiting for an update on a potential ‘Plan B’ access route from Matt Galley at JF who is their partnerships Director. This follows an email from Cllr Hall, who had bumped in to a surveyor from JF who expressed concerns that the current infrastructure that Openreach are obliged to share may need to be upgraded.

Buses

DCC has produced an updated bus strategy (which was circulated to members) where broadly, once Hayne Farm is ‘built out’ will trigger a regular bus service hopefully encouraging a reduction in car trips in to Honiton and beyond, the population trigger being 500 people.  Cllr Twiss aid he had written to DCC Transport to put this on to their radar re Hayne Farm a year or so down the track.

Cllr Jake Bonetta said that as‌ ‌with‌ ‌every‌ ‌month‌ ‌at‌ ‌EDDC,‌ ‌the‌ ‌administration‌ ‌has‌ ‌been‌ ‌very‌ ‌busy‌ ‌working‌ ‌towards‌ ‌the‌ ‌delivery‌ ‌of‌ ‌major‌ ‌projects,‌ ‌and‌ ‌hisy‌ ‌work‌ ‌as‌ ‌a‌ ‌Honiton‌ ‌St.‌ ‌Michael’s‌ cCouncillor‌ ‌has‌ ‌been‌ ‌no‌ ‌different.‌ ‌Many‌ ‌of‌ ‌the‌ ‌achievements‌ ‌of‌ ‌the‌ ‌council‌ ‌over‌ ‌this‌ ‌previous‌ ‌month‌ ‌have‌ ‌happened‌ ‌outside‌ ‌of‌ ‌the‌ ‌area,‌ ‌with‌ ‌major‌ ‌advancements‌ ‌being‌ ‌achieved‌ ‌with‌ ‌the‌ ‌new‌ ‌Sidmouth‌ ‌Beach‌ ‌Management‌ ‌and‌ ‌Flood‌ ‌Alleviation‌ ‌Schemes,‌ ‌and‌ ‌a‌ ‌new‌ ‌Council‌ ‌Plan‌ ‌focusing‌ ‌the‌ ‌work‌ ‌of‌ ‌EDDC‌ ‌on‌ ‌a‌ ‌greener‌ ‌and‌ ‌more‌ ‌economically‌ ‌prosperous‌ ‌East‌ ‌Devon.‌ ‌

Cllr Orchard said he had received a complaint about the overflowing dog poo bin at the Old Elm Road terminus, which was echoed by Cllr Twist. Cllr Bonetta explained that there are discussions at EDDC about the situation with dog waste bins across the entire district, and he would speak to StreetScene for an update.  He reminded members that if a dog waste bin is full, the waste can be double-bagged and placed in a standard black bin.  

Working Together for the Future of East Devon Conference 2021

Cllr Bonetta said that voluntary organisations, as well as parish councils, are being invited to book places on the free conference, taking place virtually on November 16th from 9:30am to 1:30pm. This conference will be a great opportunity to network with voluntary organisations from across the District and to celebrate their achievements, as well as looking at East Devon’s work in areas such as Citizens’ Advice, Poverty Strategy and the Local Care Partnership / Community Mental Health Framework.  Places must be booked in advance for the free conference, so if representatives would like to attend on behalf of Gittisham Parish Council or another organisation then they will need to email jbuckley@eastdevon.gov.uk (or call 01395 517569) with their name, contact details and the name of their organisation by 5pm next Wednesday, 10th November.

ACTION: Members to ask Baker Estates for an update regarding dog waste bins when they attend the next meeting. Cllrs Orchard & Twist to ‘grumble walk’ the Hayne Farm estate.

Cllr Twiss and Cllr Bonetta left the meeting.

111/21   To consider the following planning applications:

a)            21/2741/VAR – I Hamlet Cottages Weston EX14 3PB – Variation of condition number 2 (approved plans) of application 21/1295/FUL (Demolition of existing workshop to be replaced with a new self-build dwelling)

b)            21/2603/LBC – Pomeroy House Gittisham EX14 3AJ – Single-storey extension to side with raised patio, installation of porch canopy to courtyard west elevation and east elevation, and internal alterations, involving demolition of existing porch to side

c)             21/2602/FUL – Pomeroy House Gittisham EX14 3AJ – Single-storey extension to side with raised patio, installation of porch canopy to courtyard west elevation and east elevation, and internal alterations, involving demolition of existing porch to side

Members resolved to have no objection to b) or c).  In relation to a), members resolved to object to this application on the grounds outlined previously, ie granting permission would establish a new residential unit in the countryside without agricultural need being sought, and it will act as a precedent for other opportunities in the future which would be detrimental to the overall policy-making of EDDC. Parish councillors also raised concern about the proposed materials in terms of the roofing.

112/21   To consider the casual vacancy in Gittisham Vale ward and proceed to co-option as appropriate

Jan Fowles was elected by a unanimous vote to represent Gittisham Vale ward.

ACTION: Clerk to send Cllr Fowles register of interests form and investigate training courses for new councillors. 

113/21   To receive reports from councillors on areas of responsibility and actions since the last meeting:

  • To note the latest planning decision notices

21/1350/FUL – Land West Of Devonshire Road Heathpark Industrial Estate Honiton – Construction of two storey offices (Unit D) for Use Class E (g) (i), alterations to car park layout, and internal access. Installation of covered bike store to front..  Approval.

  • To receive an update on Highways

Forthcoming road closures in Gittisham Parish:

11-12 November Road closure for Western Power – Road past Shermans Farm.

22-24 November Road closure for Jurassic Fibre – Ironbridge to Eveleigh’s Farm.

Cllr Orchard reiterated the previous discussion on Hayne Lane, pointing out that the road is washing away again adjacent to where it was repaired last year. There are warning cones in place.  He said the Old Elm balancing pond downstream exit grill is blocked. EDDC is aware and has appointed contractors urgently.

ACTION: Cllr Orchard said he would follow up with DCC School Transport to ask what DCC is doing about the school buses during the closure.

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

Cllr Orchard said he had contacted a further four contractors for the play area works. One declined, two not answering their phones and one will call back later (hopefully). K C Builders had told Cllr Orchard last month that he is finding it impossible to get a price for tarmac, so can do the boules court and leave the skittles and t/tennis for someone else to surface.

ACTION: Cllr Orchard to update Sulina Tallack at EDDC on progress so far.

  • To receive an update on public transport

Cllr Orchard said he had removed more items from the Vale bus shelter since the last meeting.  He added that the Stagecoach staff strike had been called off at the last minute.  Trains are running only as far as Gillingham or Salisbury, following the collision last weekend.

  • To consider the purchase of a defibrillator for the Hayne Farm development

Cllr Twist said she had received no response from Baker Estates since the email sent on 13th September.

  • To consider climate change measures within the parish, including rewilding proposals for land in the parish

Cllr Twist said she had received no response from DCC since an email on 25th January 2021.

Cllr Rowe said he had not received a reply from Goren Farm regarding seeds, so he had been investigating prices online.  However, he felt that transporting them from elsewhere would be counter-productive.   

ACTION: Cllr Rowe to discuss rewilding with Cllr Bonetta.

  • To consider parish council support for scam awareness and security

Cllr Twist outlined two current scams: 1) a scammer impersonating an EDDC officer regarding re-banding of council tax rings and asks for money.  Please hang up and call EDDC on their official number.  This scam was also outlined by Cllr Bonetta before he left the meeting.  2) Tesco “free prize draw”.  This is an email scam, asking you to complete a survey for the chance of winning a prize in order to steal people’s bank details.

  • To consider limited residential development in the parish

Cllr Valentine said the speed monitoring box installed temporarily at the west end of the village had found that the vast majority of traffic (90%) travels at less than 30mph.  Members noted that 3,445 traffic movements were recorded over a seven-day period. 

  • To consider the parish emergency plan

The clerk said she had publicised the emergency plan, including ‘phone numbers, on the website and noticeboard.  Cllr Rowe said he had checked all the grit bins in the parish, and all was well.

  • To consider the refurbishment and maintenance of the village play area

There was no update this month.

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

There was no update this month.

114/21   To receive a report from the Chair, including considering any potential action on measures to alleviate flooding

The Chair did not send a report this month.

115/21 To consider traffic levels and speeds in Gittisham village and on Hayne Lane

Cf items 113/21 h) and 110/21.

116/21 To consider the parish council’s position on a proposed footpath between Hayne Farm and Goldcombe

Members discussed the history of the proposal for a path, and took a vote to clarify the parish council’s position.  One councillor was in favour, and four abstained. 

117/21   To consider support for the Climate and Ecological Emergency Bill

This was deferred until the next meeting.

118/21   To approve the November payments and to note the current bank balance

It was resolved to approve the following payments:

1130       F J Clampin                          £226.84                 Clerk’s salary & expenses (stamps)

1131       Michael Poll                          £60         Grass cutting, play area (inv. ref. 101xx)

1132       Gittisham Parish Hall          £10         Hire for October meeting

1133       Len Abbott                           £210       Lengthsman work, 15 hours, Oct 2021

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

The clerk said that £3,829.87 had been received in CIL money.  Members were informed that the current bank balance stands at £23,639.73 (which includes approximately £7,000 in the business reserve account).  The clerk circulated the half-yearly budget.

ACTION: All to consider future expenditure to reduce the reserves.

119/21   Clerk’s Report

The clerk said she was unable to make the meeting scheduled for 1st December.  Members discussed whether future parish council meetings should move to a different day in order to make use of the village hall.  The clerk said that Baker Estates would like to attend the December meeting.

ACTION: Clerk to arrange date for December meeting.

120/21   For information only; items for the forward agenda

Hayne Farm development, to include a presentation by Baker Estates; parish boundary; Hayne Lane; day of meetings; Climate & Ecological Emergency Bill.

121/21   To consider any late entry correspondence

None.

122/21   Date of next two meetings.   December 2021 (tbc) and Wednesday 5th January 2022 (tbc) at 7.30pm. 

ACTION: Clerk to ask Judith Turner about village hall availability in January 2022.

There being no further business, the meeting closed at 2120 hrs.

Chair…………………………………….

9th December 2021