Gittisham Parish Council
Minutes of the Parish Council meeting
Held on 9th December 2021
in Gittisham Village Hall
|Gittisham Village Ward
Cllr C Hall (Chair)
Cllr A Rowe
Cllr D Valentine
|Gittisham Vale Ward
Cllr P Orchard
Cllr J Twist
Cllr J Fowles
In attendance: Cllr Phil Twiss (DCC), Cllr Alasdair Bruce (EDDC), Richard Ayre & Graham Hutton (Baker Estates), one member of the public, Fiona Clampin (clerk)
Apologies for absence: Cllr M Walker, Cllr Jake Bonetta (EDDC), PCSO Darren England
123/21 To accept and approve apologies
Apologies were received and accepted.
124/21 To confirm the minutes of the meeting held 4th November 2021
The minutes of the meeting held on 4th November 2021 were confirmed and signed by the Chair.
125/21 To receive the Beat Manager’s Report
2 crimes, October 2021:
1 x anti-social behaviour, Ferndale Close, 1 x violence & sexual offences, Parsonage Lane.
Members agreed the police newsletter was informative and would be useful to receive on a monthly basis.
ACTION: Clerk to feed back to PCSO Darren England on police newsletter.
126/21 To receive declarations of interest
127/21 To consider actions from the last meeting not otherwise on the agenda
128/21 To receive reports from County Council and District Council representatives
Cllr Twiss said he is regularly asked by residents about lowering speed limits to 20mph in built-up areas. There has been a pilot scheme in Newton Abbott since 2019 that DCC has been undertaking, and the results of that have been evaluated to a point where the Cabinet has approved a framework for this to happen.
Cllr Twiss circulated a paper as evidence that there is quite a bit of work for communities to undertake, including setting up a Community Speed Watch if one doesn’t already exist. Further details on this can be found at https://www.communityspeedwatch.org/FRONT-v2-Home.php and clearly this is likely to provoke debate on the merits of this in each area. A reported collision data map for the previous five years can be found at https://www.devon.gov.uk/roadsandtransport/safe-travel/road-safety/collision-data/collision-map/ which is not to say that in areas with low or no records, people couldn’t drive more responsibly, particularly in areas with a national speed limit. Cllr Twiss added that as we move towards Christmas and what might usually be regarded as winter, he was pleased to report that DCC salt and grit barns are fully stocked to cope with demand if needed during cold spells.
DCC Budget 2022/23
Cllr Twiss explained that the process of budget setting has now begun in earnest and is likely to be the most testing for the authority in living memory, where DCC is legally obliged to set a balanced budget. This is likely to impact on services provided by the council who are going to have to rise to the challenge of working in even more effective ways, having risen to the challenges thrown at it by the Covid pandemic.
Pressures being faced by services are mirrored both locally in Devon and nationally. The unprecedented circumstances we face have exacerbated and created demand growth, an increasing cost base, labour market dynamics and staffing shortages.
The autumn spending review gave some indication of the funding that may be available in the coming year, but at this time DCC has had to estimate what this may mean for Devon. There remains a risk that funding may not be at this level, but also the potential that it may be a bit better when the final settlement figure from Government is known. Cllr Twiss said as we emerge from the worst of the pandemic, it is going to be a bumpy ride for a few years.
One of the biggest challenges facing all Tier 1 Councils is the provision of social care, which is a huge problem in rural and not so rural areas in Devon. The recently published Government White paper sets out 3 core principles to fix the clearly broken system, as below:
- Everybody has choice, control and support to live independent lives
- Everyone can access outstanding personalised care and support
- Adult social care is fair and accessible for everyone who needs it
For this and the ‘levelling up’ agenda to work most effectively, local authorities in largely rural areas such as Devon must be properly funded, after suffering from years of historic underfunding compared with urban areas. DCC will be looking for financial reform to bridge the funding gap for social care budgets to ensure that they can meet growing demands on the service and current levels of unmet need for various reasons.
The full White Paper can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/people-at-the-heart-of-care-adult-social-care-reform-white-paper
Cllr Bruce announced with regret that meetings at EDDC will remain via Zoom, and that final responsibility for fundamental policy decisions will remain with the chief executive. Whilst he appreciated the safety concerns expressed by members of the ruling party, particularly around the latest variant of Covid-19, we are now very much out of step with regard to most of the district councils in the South West. He expressed concern that this model of running a council is undemocratic and therefore the ability, and some might argue, the relevance of a district councillor is rendered irrelevant. He had tried to put forward an amendment to shorten the four month extension to two, but did not get support from the ruling party. He did however get a promise from the chair that the decision will be reviewed regularly and would be brought back for debate, if the landscape changed for the better.
In his absence, Cllr Bonetta sent the following report:
Life at EDDC continues as always at full pace, with the administration working hard on many projects and policies as we approach the new budget season.
At last week’s Cabinet meeting, and yesterday’s Full Council meeting, the final plans for public toilets across East Devon were approved and announced. This means that the loos in Lace Walk Car Park will remain open and operated by EDDC as Category A conveniences, and the King Street public loos have been given a stay of execution after his recommendation to the Overview Committee and Cabinet was passed. This means that both public conveniences in Honiton will remain open in one way or another, and he was proud to have played his part in securing these for the benefit of the residents of Honiton St. Michael’s. Although this does not directly affect Gittisham Parish Council, it is important to note, considering the close ties between the communities, and the strong need for town centre amenities to be protected and even enhanced.
At the EDDC Council meeting on 8th December, Cllr Eileen Wragg read out a statement from a victim of a former Exmouth district councillor and convicted paedophile, John Humphreys, regarding his treatment by Humphreys and the police. This statement was extremely moving and has prompted the Leader of the Council, Paul Arnott, to announce that mandatory safeguarding training will be required to be undertaken by all district councillors. This, along with two letters that were written to the Conservative Party regarding their internal investigation and Devon and Cornwall Police asking for a referral to the IOPC, will hopefully resolve as a substantive effort by the administration to root out and prevent forever the rot of abuse that Humphreys committed.
In his report, Cllr Bonetta explained that work has continued with the East Devon Local Plan, with a 650-page draft copy of the plan being released last week for public viewing. Although we are not yet in the public consultation period, it is important to note the proposals within the Gittisham Village ward of the village, on the border with the Vale ward, especially surrounding the designated employment area and housing allocations between Hayne Lane and the Forge. Consultation is due to open into the document in March 2022, and therefore Cllr Bonetta highly recommended that the PC take part in the consultation to ensure its interests are heard. The document is available here: https://democracy.eastdevon.gov.uk/documents/g1671/Public%20reports%20pack%2014th-Dec-2021%2009.30%20Strategic%20Planning%20Committee.pdf?T=10
Cllr Valentine asked if it was possible to identify the guidance given to officers and members about consultation with parish councils, as he was very unhappy that so little consultation appeared to have taken place on the parish boundary review. Cllr Bruce agreed to investigate, and Cllr Twiss added that he would ask EDDC’s Jamie Buckley who carries out public consultations.
Cllr Valentine added that there were documents circulating in connection with the draft Local Plan, looking at a variety of measures and justifying the selection of sites. He hoped that these documents could be made public so that it would be possible to comment before the sites had been allocated. Cllr Twiss advised him to attend EDDC’s next strategic planning meeting on 14th December to make this point. He said the documents would be available with the agenda.
ACTION: Clerk to send strategic planning agenda to Cllr Valentine.
Old Elm Road gate
The clerk said that the issue over disabled buggy access was due to be resolved by Highways at the end of November. Cllr Twiss agreed to ask Highways for the current state of play, and said he would suggest this could be resolved using DCC’s Doing What Matters budget. Cllr Fowles also raised the issue of parking along Old Elm Road by the electricity substation, where there have been some near misses of late.
ACTION: Cllr Twiss to contact Cllr Fowles about walking the road on a Saturday morning to experience the issue.
Hayne Lane drains
The clerk said a resident had reported blocked drains on Hayne Lane opposite the emergency gate several times, and was unhappy with DCC’s response. Cllr Twist said the issue appeared to originate with material emanating from tractors using the lane, and there was concern that any flooding on this corner where the lane meets the estate access road would be very dangerous in icy weather. Graham Hutton from Baker Estates said that he and Cllr Twiss would come to a solution and let the clerk know the outcome.
129/21 To receive an update on the Hayne Farm development from Baker Estates
Cllr Bruce said he and Cllr Twiss had carried out a ‘grumble walk’ on the Hayne Farm development, and this had given them a good understanding of the proposed bus route. He thanked Cllr Twist for facilitating this and said he considered this an important part of councillor work and an excellent way of highlighting specific issues on the ground. He would be taking forward all the identified elements that came out of this walk.
Cllr Bruce added that there was an issue with traffic sweeping round the corner into the development at a higher speed than the road was designed for. He was concerned that when the development was finished and more children present, this could get worse. Graham Hutton replied that at the planning stage the road had been widened to allow large agricultural vehicles to navigate down the hill. Cllr Twiss said he would enquire with Highways whether it was possible to consider a traffic calming measure on this section of road into the site, which has now been adopted by DCC as a public highway.
Richard Ayre outlined Baker Estates’ plans for the former farmyard site (which does not include the shop and café), arguing for a logical development in a sustainable location. It has been indicated as a potential allocation in the emerging local plan. He said they would look to bring access through the existing Hayne Farm development when the road is finally adopted. In terms of the design, he said there would be a natural transition from something similar to the existing estate to something more rural in design to reflect the edge of the urban area. There will be an affordable housing element out of a total of approximately 35 dwellings, although it’s not sure how many will be affordable yet. There would be no development on open fields with this site. There will be a public consultation around February 2022, with a view to submitting a planning application in the early spring. Graham Hutton said he would be happy to meet residents to discuss, and to come back to the parish council early next year.
Cllr Bruce asked if would be possible in future to have an idea of the inclination on the site, and the Chair suggested using 3D technology to communicate their plans. Cllr Bruce queried the fake chimneys and the gas infrastructure, but Graham Hutton said it was still critical to install gas infrastructure for when hydrogen power may or may not come on stream. Mr Hutton explained that building regulations would be changing next year, which would allow for a 31 per cent increase in energy efficiency.
One member of the public asked if nearby residents could be assured of the safe removal and disposal of any asbestos or hazardous materials on site. Graham Hutton replied that hydrocarbon oil-based contamination had been identified. He said demolition contractors could not be appointed without a rigorous asbestos survey, and those appointed would have the necessary certification.
Cllr Twist said drainage had been an issue on the existing development because of low-lying land, and Cllr Rowe asked if there would be an increase in surface water capabilities. Graham Hutton said there would, and Baker Estates would be able to install new attenuation systems on site.
Cllr Valentine enquired whether Baker Estates had any plans to extend the site in a westerly direction, but Richard Ayre said the company did not. Graham Hutton said he was aware of the potential for allocation in that direction, but Baker Estates was not involved.
One member of the public asked if residents could be assured that the proposed build will not impact the light and privacy currently enjoyed by those occupying the current Hayne Farm site, particularly as the land rises behind Hodges Close towards the farmyard. Graham Hutton said the member of the public was correct about the level change, and that respectable back-to-back distances would be considered. He added that the first planning application would be outline, followed by a reserved matters application which would include more detail on point distances, heights and locations.
Members discussed the proposed defibrillator, which appeared to have stalled because Sovereign Housing had not signed the host agreement. Graham Hutton said he would pursue the matter with Sovereign and confirm the location with them, as everything else was ready to go.
Graham Hutton agreed that Baker Estates would purchase a bin for dog waste, and the parish council would pay for a second.
Cllr Orchard enquired about progress on the play area. Graham Hutton apologised for the delay, and said the equipment was on track to be delivered in February 2022. Cllr Twist asked if there would be a fence next to the play area, due to the gradient. Graham Hutton said there would be. The Gittisham PC noticeboard will be installed by the public open space; it is currently in site containers.
The Chair thanked Richard Ayre and Graham Hutton for sharing their plans at this early stage, and for being open to discuss any issues arising with the current development.
ACTION: Cllr Twist to send Graham Hutton the defibrillator host agreement.
130/21 To consider the proposal for a parish boundary review
Members discussed the recent proposal for a boundary review, which had been discussed by EDDC Cabinet on 1st December. Cllr Bruce, the Chair and Cllr Orchard had both spoken at this meeting. The proposal did not gain widespread support and was therefore deferred until after the EDDC Local Plan was issued and the implications of it better understood, including any development around Hayne Farm and the garden centre.
In his report, Cllr Bonetta said he was pleased to see strong representation from Gittisham at this meeting. He had aired his views on the subject, but was in complete agreement with the outcome of the meeting in that more consultation and discussion is needed here – especially considering the poor overall consultation response and engagement from Honiton Town Council members. Therefore, he was happy that a deferment was sought on this matter and looked forward to having fruitful discussions with the council in the future about this. The Chair thanked Cllrs Bruce and Twiss for having supported the process.
Cllr Twiss, Richard Ayre, Graham Hutton and one member of the public left the meeting.
131/21 To consider the following planning applications:
a) 21/2882/LBC – Westgate Gittisham EX14 3AU – installation of tortoise fireboxes, flue liners, terracotta twin wall liner to top of chimney and bird guard
b) 21/2906/FUL – 3 Lower Green Way Gittisham EX14 3FT – installation of window to north facing dormer
Members resolved to have no objection to a) or b).
Cllr Bruce left the meeting.
132/21 To receive reports from councillors on areas of responsibility and actions since the last meeting:
- To note the latest planning decision notices
21/1756/FUL – Erection of a storage building on land adjacent to Combe Garden Centre
Retrospective approval with conditions.
- To receive an update on Highways
Forthcoming road closures in Gittisham Parish:
2-3 March 2022 road closure for Jurassic Fibre – Ironbridge to Gittisham Farm.
Cllr Orchard raised the possibility of using CIL funds to spruce up the bus shelters. He added that the grill on Old Elm Road balancing pond had still not been cleared, and that Combe Garden Centre had added stop lines to their exit on to the lane.
- To consider plans for expenditure in the parish under the Community Infrastructure Levy & S106
Cllr Orchard said he had contacted a further three contractors for the play area works since last month. One declined, two met him on site, but there had been no further contact since. So far he has been in touch with 13 contractors, but frustratingly the plans are no further on.
ACTION: Cllr Orchard to update Sulina Tallack at EDDC on progress so far.
- To receive an update on public transport
Members agreed to keep an eye on the developing situation as regards buses serving the Hayne Farm development.
- To consider the purchase of a defibrillator for the Hayne Farm development
Cf minute ref. 129/21.
- To consider climate change measures within the parish, including rewilding proposals for land in the parish
Cllr Twist said there was no update on this.
- To consider parish council support for scam awareness and security
Cllr Twist said there had been reports of criminals following delivery vans and stealing parcels left for residents who were not at home to receive them.
- To consider limited residential development in the parish
Cllr Valentine said there was no update on this.
- To consider the parish emergency plan
Cllr Orchard said this should be reviewed in May 2022, and the Chair said in the meantime it could be removed from the agenda.
- 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. Cllr Twist asked who is responsible for the land on the left hand side of Hayne Lane going downhill to the culvert, as brambles have started to overwhelm the pavement.
ACTION: Cllr Walker to ask the lengthsman to trim the hedge and brambles there.
133/21 To receive a report from the Chair
The Chair said she had been focused this month on the parish boundary review, which had been discussed earlier in the meeting. She circulated the statement she had made to EDDC at the Cabinet meeting. The Chair thanked all members for their work on behalf of the parish, thanked their families for supporting them and wished all a happy Christmas.
134/21 To consider traffic and the state of the road and associated infrastructure in Gittisham village and on Hayne Lane.
Members discussed problems with water that is gushing down Hayne Lane and taking rubbish and other items with it. Land management techniques could be investigated to address the problems of surface water run-off from fields at Hayne Lane and in the wider parish.
ACTION: Chair to discuss with Cllr Bruce.
135/21 To consider support for the Climate and Ecological Emergency Bill
Members resolved to support the bill.
136/21 To approve and sign the annual CIL report 2020/21
The clerk distributed details of CIL income and expenditure for 2020/21, available at https://gittisham.org.uk/2021/12/09/gittisham-parish-council-cil-report-2020-21/. Members resolved to approve the document, and it was signed by the Chair.
ACTION: Clerk to upload the CIL document 2020/21 and send to EDDC.
137/21 To approve the December payments and to note the current bank balance
It was resolved to approve the following payments:
1134 F J Clampin £234.85 Clerk’s salary & expenses (printing paper)
1135 Gittisham Parish Hall £10 Hire for November meeting
1136 CHT £324 Annual support package for 2 x defibrillators
DD NEST £22.48 Clerk’s pension (5% employer, 5% employee)
Members were informed that the current bank balance stands at £23,048.40 (which includes approximately £7,000 in the business reserve account). Members discussed measures to reduce the reserves, including sprucing up the bus shelters, installing solar panels for lighting inside the bus shelters, wild flower planting, Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations. The Chair encouraged all members to speak to residents about what they would like to see.
ACTION: All to consider future expenditure to reduce the reserves, and send details to clerk in time for budget setting next month.
138/21 To consider changes to the parish council meeting schedule
Members agreed that future parish council meetings could move to the first Thursday of the month in order to make use of the village hall. The clerk said the next two meetings would be on a Thursday.
ACTION: Clerk to canvass opinion on proposed changes from district and county councillors.
139/21 Clerk’s Report
140/21 For information only; items for the forward agenda
Budget 2022/23; precept; day of meetings; Climate & Ecological Emergency Bill.
141/21 To consider any late entry correspondence
142/21 Date of next two meetings. Thursday 6th January 2022 and Thursday 3rd February at 7.30pm in the village hall.
There being no further business, the meeting closed at 2115 hrs.
6th January 2022