2022-01 Parish Council meeting minutes 6th January 2022

Gittisham Parish Council

Minutes of the Parish Council meeting

Held on 6th January 2022

in Gittisham Village Hall


Gittisham Village Ward
Cllr C Hall (Chair)
Cllr A Rowe
Cllr D Valentine
Cllr M Walker
Gittisham Vale Ward
Cllr J Twist
Cllr J Fowles

In attendance: one member of the public, Fiona Clampin (clerk)

Apologies for absence: Cllr P Orchard, Cllr Phil Twiss (DCC), Cllr Alasdair Bruce (EDDC), Cllr Jake Bonetta (EDDC), PCSO Darren England

143/21   To accept and approve apologies

Apologies were received and accepted. 

144/21   To confirm the minutes of the meeting held 9th December 2021

The minutes of the meeting held on 9th December 2021 were confirmed and signed by the Chair. 

145/21   To receive the Beat Manager’s Report

1 crime, November 2021:

1 x violence & sexual offences, Parsonage Lane.

The clerk said she had shared posters from the police with Cllrs Twist and Orchard about livestock worrying to put on the parish council noticeboards.

146/21   To receive declarations of interest


147/21   To consider actions from the last meeting not otherwise on the agenda

Cllr Valentine outlined his presentation to EDDC’s Strategic Planning meeting on 14th December in relation to the draft Local Plan.  The major consideration at this meeting was the working draft of the East Devon Local Plan 2020-2040. This document (more than 1,000 pages!!) rolls forward the current Local Plan and revisits all of the current LP’s policies, introduces new policies to address emerging planning issues and seeks to prioritise development opportunities throughout the district. There will be further opportunities to comment on policies. The draft plan currently recognises that given the development constraints surrounding Honiton, that only modest residential development is achievable (228 dwellings). Land previously identified as being “available” is ranked in the plan on a scale 1-6 (1. being no chance and 6. favoured for development). Inevitably land south and west of the current Hayne Lane development and south of the railway line, has been promoted (by Combe Estate) as being available. Such a development would potentially bring development into the Gitt valley and within 400m of the village. The ranking given to this land is 2 or possibly 3 (there is confusion in the documents supporting the draft plan). This would suggest that this land is not suitable for development.  However, there are caveats in the report that indicate that if figures are not achievable elsewhere in the plan that land suitability would be reviewed.  The meeting did not conclude its business and will reconvene on 11th January. Members agreed they were happy for Cllr Valentine to speak on the parish council’s behalf at future strategic planning meetings.

Cllr Valentine also reported that he and the Chair had attended a briefing regarding the Hayne Lane steering group.  This relates to the employment allocation in the current Local Plan which is located north of the railway line between Hayne Lane and the Forge. EDDC has established a steering group to discuss and share information and views, as the project progresses, in bringing forward this land for employment purposes. It was previously agreed that GPC should be represented on this steering group. The first meeting of the steering group took place on 16th November. There was no GPC representative available for the meeting, but Cllr Valentine and the Chair had received a briefing from the steering group administrator on 17th December (via Zoom).  He distributed a copy of the minutes of the initial steering group meeting to all members.  The project will be the subject of a Master Plan exercise and tenders are currently been assessed with a view to appointing a consultancy to prepare the Master Plan. Once the consultant has been appointed further meetings with the steering group will take place. The Master Plan will be the subject of public consultation before a final document is presented. The next meeting is expected towards the end of February.

Cllr Twist said the blocked drains at Hayne Farm had been cleared by Baker Estates, but had promptly filled up again with the heavy rain.  However, they are not as bad as before.

ACTION: Cllr Valentine to ask Cllr Bruce if he can reiterate the parish council’s position at the next strategic planning meeting on 11th January.

148/21   To receive reports from County Council and District Council representatives

In his absence, Cllr Twiss sent the following report: “short and sweet this month following the Christmas recess at County Hall for the majority of departments, where everyone who can is back at their posts, in the ‘virtual world’, unless their role legally requires face to face meetings or visits for those such as DCC Highways workers or social care staff.

Locality Budget

A reminder that I have something called a Locality Budget available for use in your community, where typically I am able to support small-scale applications for items such as village notice boards, footpath improvements, tree planting etc. More details and how to apply can be found at https://www.devon.gov.uk/democracy/councillors-nav/locality-budgets/ The process runs until 31st March and from 1st April for the next financial year, so if you have any projects in mind you will need to put your thinking caps on quite soon!

Scrutiny of the draft budget

The target figures for each of the main services at DCC go to the Cabinet for approval next Wednesday, before a series of scrutiny meetings by the three committees, and then on to full council in February for final approval. This is likely to be the toughest budget DCC has had to set in living memory.  What has become very clear is that with massive demand pressures on Adult and Children’s services in particular, (for a variety of reasons, not least the impact of COVID-19 and its variations) the increase in council tax is going to be the maximum 2% allowable without a referendum and an additional 1% for the social care precept, despite a very large amount of DCC reserves going to balance the books for 2022/23.

Cllr Bruce apologised for not attending, but said he had been identified as a close contact of someone testing positive for Covid-19.  He reminded members that the next round of meetings to discuss the local plan are coming up towards the end of this month. They are scheduled to look at specific towns and villages with regard to housing allocation. It’s therefore important to register if anyone wishes to speak to the agenda item. He said he would be presenting arguments on behalf of Feniton at the beginning of the first meeting, so if the parish council wished him to speak on its behalf to let him know.

In his absence, Cllr Bonetta wished all members a happy new year.

ACTION: Cllr Twist to speak to Cllr Twiss regarding Mike Brown’s recent visit.

ACTION: Clerk to ask Cllr Twiss if he can arrange an update from Jurassic Fibre on the rollout of superfast broadband.

ACTION: Available Vale councillors to join Cllr Twiss on another ‘grumble walk’ on 29th Jan at 10.30am.

149/21   To receive reports from councillors on areas of responsibility and actions since the last meeting:

  • To note the latest planning decision notices

21/1295/FUL 1 Hamlet Cottages Weston EX14 3PB – Demolition of existing workshop to be replaced with a new self-build dwelling.  Approval with conditions.

  • To receive an update on Highways

In his absence, Cllr Orchard sent a monthly report asking if the parish council can use its CIL money to spruce up the bus shelters that are looking a bit scruffy.  He reminded members that CIL funds can be spent on the provision, improvement, replacement, operation or maintenance of infrastructure.  Cllr Orchard reported that the grill on Old Elm Road balancing pond has still not been cleared.

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

Cllr Orchard said he had contacted three more contractors for play area since last month. One declined work, the other two he met on site, but no further contact to date.  The Chair said that EDDC was sympathetic, as all councils were experiencing supply issues.

  • To receive an update on public transport

There was no update on this.

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

Cllr Twist explained that Baker Estates are ready to install, and the electrics are in place for the defibrillator. Once the expenditure has been approved and the cheque sent to Community Heartbeat Trust, there is a 5-6 week lead in.  The host agreement has not yet been signed by Sovereign Housing, there are on-going discussions on one of the clauses in the agreement, and Sovereign have also requested they be able to check that the weekly checks are being carried out.  Cllr Twist said she hoped that all this may be sorted within the 5-6 weeks lead time.  One member of the public explained that his wife is the primary checker for the existing defibrillators in the parish, and he is the secondary.  Cllr Twist said that she was happy to be the primary checker for the Hayne Farm defibrillator, and would put out a call for a back-up on the Hayne Farm Facebook page.

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

Cllr Twist said she had received an email from Alastair Mumford of DCC, which said: “Still working on phases 1 & 2 of the charge point roll out. Phase 1 should be breaking ground in January, and Phase 2 is out to tender about the same time, with both completing by the end of 2022. Hope to be planning Phase 3 in the spring.”  Members thanked Cllr Twist for persevering with this.

Cllr Rowe presented details of rewilding proposals for land along Old Elm Road. Seed mixes are £15 / 100g.  1 kilo is £80.  EDDC’s Horticultural officer had talked about adding oxeye daisies, £20 / 100g and yellow rattle £38 / 100g.  Members heard that land is more fertile nearer the gate, and they agreed the parish council should pursue other funding sources including the AONB, Combe Garden Centre and match-funding from EDDC. 

  • To consider parish council support for scam awareness and security

Cllr Twist said there was no update on this.

  • To consider limited residential development in the parish

Cllr Valentine said there was a 4th Feb deadline for the VAT matter to be resolved.  

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

The Chair said she would contact Russell Hayman about the damaged oak tree. 

ACTION: Cllr Walker to speak to the lengthsman about mole hills.

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

Members thanked Len Abbott and Cllr Rowe for clearing debris from under the railway bridge, following flooding over Christmas. 

ACTION: Cllr Walker to ask the lengthsman to trim the hedge and brambles on the LH side just south of the railway bridge on Hayne Lane.

150/21   To receive a report from the Chair

The Chair said there was no update this month.

151/21 To agree the budget for 2022-23

The clerk outlined likely expenditure for the rest of the current tax year, and circulated a spreadsheet showing forecast expenditure for 2022/23.  Councillors suggested new lines for 2x bus shelter solar panels (£200), bus shelter refurbishment (£500), rewilding materials for Old Elm Road open space (£500), new benches (£1,500) and a party for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee (£500, estimated prices).  Members resolved to set budget expenditure at £16,502 which includes contingency and depreciation of play area items. The forecast expenditure details have been circulated.

ACTION: Clerk to discuss refining budget spreadsheet with Cllr Twist. 

152/21   To set the precept for 2022-23

Councillors agreed to keep the precept at the 2021/22 level of £8,323.20, the balance of the budget to be taken from reserves.  Councillors said they recognised the difficult circumstances brought about by the pandemic.

153/21   To approve the January payments and to note the current bank balance

It was resolved to approve the following payments:

1137       F J Clampin                          £225.71                 Clerk’s salary & expenses (stamp)

1138       Leonard Abbott                   £42         3hrs lengthsman work, Dec 2021

1139       CHT                                       £2,280   Hayne Farm defibrillator, inc annual support package & carriage

1140       Gittisham Parish Hall          £10         Hire for December meeting

1141       Information Commissioner£40        Annual membership

1142       Gittisham PCC                     £215       Gazette printing & paper, 2021

1143       Arthur J Gallagher Ins         £248.37                 Public liability insurance, lengthsman

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

Members were informed that the current bank balance stands at £19,964.84 (which includes approximately £7,000 in the business reserve account). 

154/21 To consider changes to the parish council meeting schedule

Members resolved to move future parish council meetings to the first Thursday of the month in order to make use of the village hall. 

155/21   Clerk’s Report


156/21   For information only; items for the forward agenda

Budget 2022/23; maintenance contract; Platinum Jubilee activities; Hayne Farm including dog poo bins.

157/21   To consider any late entry correspondence

Cllr Valentine said he had come across a man from DCC taking measurements along Dark Lane towards Pomeroy Lodge, with a view to resurfacing this part.

158/21   Date of next two meetings.   Thursday 3rd February and Thursday 3rd March at 7.30pm in the village hall. 

There being no further business, the meeting closed at 2110 hrs.


3rd February 2022