Gittisham Parish Council
Minutes of the Parish Council meeting
Held on 3rd February 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
Cllr P Orchard
In attendance: Cllr Phil Twiss (DCC), Cllr Alasdair Bruce (EDDC), Fiona Clampin (clerk)
Apologies for absence: Cllr Jake Bonetta (EDDC), PCSO Darren England
159/21 To accept and approve apologies
Apologies were received and accepted.
160/21 To confirm the minutes of the meeting held 6th January 2022
The minutes of the meeting held on 6th January were confirmed and signed by the Chair.
161/21 To receive the Beat Manager’s Report
1 crime, December 2021:
1 x anti-social behaviour, Parsonage Lane.
162/21 To receive declarations of interest
163/21 To consider actions from the last meeting not otherwise on the agenda
Cllr Valentine said he had watched online the meetings of EDDC’s Strategic Planning committee the previous week at which developers and landowners were given 15-minute slots to promote their development opportunities before the committee. Consultants on behalf of Combe Estate gave a presentation on 25th January, where they argued that an allocation for residential development would sit comfortably with the employment land to the north of the railway land around Hayne Lane and “round off” development to the west of Honiton. It was also claimed that the development would meet sustainability criteria, given the proximity of the employment allocation and local supermarkets and access to public transport. It was put forward that access would be through the Hayne Farm development and that land has been retained to secure this access. When asked about numbers, the consultant suggested a figure in the region of 300 dwellings. There was no comment about the relationship of any development to the village, to the AONB nor to the sensitive nature of the landscape and impacts of development encroaching into the Gitt valley. There was no comment by the consultants or by the district council.
Cllr Valentine said there would be opportunities for the parish council to comment at meetings of the same committee where Honiton draft allocations are considered – possibly 8th February and 8th March. Members agreed that Cllr Valentine would be best placed to present on behalf of the parish council. The Chair added that she was concerned about the possibility of housing and other development in the parish and the responsibility that this council has in keeping up with proposals. She thought GPC’s recent involvement in the local plan and boundary matters has shown that GPC is keen to be involved in consultations. She urged members to be proactive and represent the parishioners.
ACTION: Clerk to request a public speaking slot from EDDC for Cllr Valentine.
164/21 To receive reports from County Council and District Council representatives
Cllr Twiss reported that he had met Jurassic Fibre staff who are committed to rolling out ultrafast broadband to Gittisham. He said their work is hampered by blocked Openreach ducting, which they can access to run their fibre optic cable through, but road closure notices are in place for March to enable this work to be done so that the service can go live with those who subscribe to it. The Chair said it was a shame that the apparent delay discussed by members in November appears to be ongoing, and she looked forward to hearing a definite date so GPC can keep expectant parishioners up to date.
Emergency access gate, Old Elm Road
Cllr Twiss said DCC’s Highways contractor would remove one of the narrower, restricted access points at the emergency access gate between the western end of Old Elm Road and Hayne Lane, which will allow motorised buggies and large prams to pass through easily. He said he was optimistic that this work will be completed by the end of the current financial year on 31st March.
Following residents’ requests, Cllr Twiss said he had been asked to look at the viability of a shared cycle/footway on the EDDC footpath that runs from the railway bridge on Sidmouth Road towards Hayne Lane which runs to the south of the railway line. He said he had written as an EDDC ward member, but part of the route passes over DCC Highway assets. Having had an initial look, he felt that the footpath was too narrow to accommodate both sets of users, but he will be guided by the advice that comes back from EDDC.
Cllr Fowles thanked Cllr Twiss for the recent ‘grumble walk’, which included a look at parking issues on Old Elm Road. Cllr Twiss said he would seek a view from DCC Highways as to whether it is practical to put some lines down to keep the road clear on grounds of safety, or leave as is because the parked vehicles slow traffic down.
This is clearly a major concern for the overwhelming number of our population, said Cllr Twiss. The Government has announced a package of support to help households with rising energy bills, worth around £9bn in 2022-23. He circulated a fact sheet produced by the County Treasurer which offers a step by step guide as to how this will work (as well as other help with the cost of living). Support in the form of grants is likely to be administered via the district councils, but details are still be finalised on that in the next few days. Cllr Bruce added that among the rising costs of living, prescription charges were changing. An online petition to oppose the change has already gathered more than 100,000 signatures.
DCC’s Council Plan
Cllr Twiss said the recently released Council Plan set out DCC’s key objectives and ambitions for the people and county of Devon, with climate change and the environment at the top of the tree. This document will run like a golden thread though everything that DCC does. More detail can be found at https://www.devon.gov.uk/news/council-publishes-its-priorities-for-the-next-four-years-and-invites-public-to-be-part-of-achieving-them/
Those priorities are:
- Helping Devon respond to the climate and ecological emergency, and working to protect and improve our natural environment
- Working together to ensure all children are safe, healthy and can thrive with opportunities to fulfil their potential
- Helping Devon achieve inclusive economic recovery and sustainable growth, ensure more people can take advantage of opportunities, and invest carefully to improve infrastructure
- Making Devon a fairer place, address poverty, health and other inequalities, and ensure support for those people and families struggling most
- Help people to be healthier and more resilient, ensure everyone gets the care they need, and support people to live their lives well
- Support all our communities to be safer, better connected and more resilient with a focus on communities at greatest risk or in greatest need
Cllr Twiss said he was skeptical as to how much difference the Government’s ‘levelling up’ agenda would have in the region. He circulated the 300-page document to members. However, he maintained an open mind and said to be prepared to be surprised if some real ‘new money’ heads our way!
Finally, a slightly unusual offer that might be of interest to talented young musicians in our midst.
Pipe up Devon is an opportunity for young people aged 11-18 to receive subsidised tuition for professional tutors to learn organ playing and test their skills in the local church, contributing to the local community. Cllr Twiss circulated details, and encouraged anyone interested to visit www.exeter.anglican.org/resources/worship/pipeup-devon
Cllr Bruce said EDDC’s Strategic Local Plan is grinding through its draft phase and it is important to maintain the parishes’ concerns in the eye of the committee. He said he hoped that what has been said so far will be noted when it comes for the draft document to go out for public consultation.
It was regrettable, said Cllr Bruce, that the Stansell’s planning application failed, despite a very similar application being rejected by one vote. It is yet another example of planning being shown to be inflexible when it comes to the changing needs of our communities, he said.
Cllr Bruce announced a small one-off community grant is available for voluntary, community and other not for profit groups. Grants of up to £500 are available. Deadline is December this year and for more details please contact East Devon small grants through the council website.
In his absence, Cllr Bonetta sent the following report:
As the days begin to get longer now we leave the darkness of winter, the administration of EDDC has been busy at work on a multitude of projects. The budget for 2022/23 is due to be set at an Extraordinary Full Council meeting on 23rd February, taking place at the Ocean Centre in Exmouth. As well as this, the Strategic Planning Committee has received presentations from developers across the district, bidding for land allocations in the emerging Local Plan.
Local Plan developer presentations
On 25th January, Strategic Planning Committee received two presentations from developers relating to land surrounding the Honiton St. Michael’s ward. Of particular interest to Gittisham parishioners will be the presentation relating to the allocations “Gitti_01” and “Gitti_05”, on behalf of Combe Estate, detailing plans for further extension of Honiton westwards. I have sent to the clerk the presentation which I have received detailing their bid, and a recording of the presentation itself can be found on YouTube via the following link (fast-forward to 5:39:10): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3rk-pqVTGTw
When it comes to agreeing the allocation, as a member of the Strategic Planning Committee, I am determined to ensure that the green belt between Honiton and Gittisham village is preserved and protected. This proposed development extends to within 400m of the village, which could potentially damage the heritage of the area indefinitely. I am of course happy to speak to individual councillors and residents about this.
EDDC Council Tax
In the next budget year, EDDC will be raising its council tax by £5, representing an annual council tax charge of £156.78 per Band D equivalent property. This is a 3.29% increase on last year, and is in line with assumptions made by national government on funding available to the council. This of course does not mean every household will be paying the above figure into EDDC’s budget – this will depend on your property. Although regrettable that taxes have to go up, there are serious funding gaps at EDDC that need to be filled – and the overall tax from EDDC represents well under 10% of the overall council tax bill in Honiton St. Michael’s. This rise will go into supporting recycling and waste collections across the district, as well as providing better leisure and sports facilities through the council’s service level payment to LED. It will also go towards updating the council’s archaic salary structure, which will help to alleviate the pressures on staff in the council and support them with the hard work that they do.
Wild Honiton project
As part of the Countryside and Leisure Service Plan for 2022-23, an exciting project will be launched in Honiton to deliver a local Nature Recovery Network pilot. The project, titled “Wild Honiton”, has been successfully rolled out in Exmouth through their own version of this project, and will see open space improvements and investments in our biodiversity across the town. There will also be numerous volunteering opportunities through this and opportunities for art and activity trails that link the town centre with its green spaces. I am looking forward to working closely with the Countryside team on this project, and I hope that the parish council also gets involved in this important project across the Vale ward.
Cllrs Twiss and Bruce left the meeting.
165/21 To consider the following planning applications:
- 22/01075/FUL Blamphayne Sawmill Gittisham EX14 3AN – Extension to existing machinery store
- 22/0005/FUL Westgate Gittisham EX14 3AU – Change of use of part of paddock to habitable use and construction of 3 x bay garage/ outbuilding
- 21/3165/TRE 7 Ferndale Close Honiton EX14 2YN – T1, T2 : Inspect and crown clean of 2 x Oak trees, crown lifting the Oak trees to approximately 6 m. above the public footpath pruning back to the main branch collar the 3 lowest limbs make 1 x 100 mm cut and 2 x 75 mm cuts pruning the branch tips by no more than 10% volume and making natural target pruning cuts of approximately 25 mm. in diameter.
- 22/0202/LBC 2 Drillers Cottages Gittisham EX14 3AQ – Replacement windows & replacement porch on south elevation, façade repairs on north & south elevation, new internal floor finish
- 22/0201/FUL 2 Drillers Cottages Gittisham EX14 3AQ – Replacement windows & replacement porch on south elevation, façade repairs on north & south elevation, new internal floor finish
Members had no objections to a, b, or c. Regarding d) and e), members had no objections in principle, but said they would prefer to see double glazing, so it is in accordance with EDDC’s and national policies regarding measures to deal with climate change.
166/21 To receive reports from councillors on areas of responsibility and actions since the last meeting:
- To note the latest planning decision notices
21/2474/FUL Goldcombe, Gittisham – Change of use of holiday let to dwelling. Refusal.
21/2906/FUL 3 Lower Green Way, Gittisham – Installation of first floor window in north elevation (retrospective).Retrospective approval (no conditions).
- To receive an update on Highways
9th Feb – Road to Catshayes Farm for BT pole installation
22nd–26th Feb – Chineway to Hare & Hounds for water works
28th Feb–2nd March Hayne Lane for pot hole repairs
2nd–3rd March (inc) road from Gittisham Farm to Eveleigh’s for gully works (overnight)
Cllr Orchard reported that the railway bridge at the Forge was inspected 18th January night. On Weds 20th January the old A30 under the new A30 dual carriageway was flooded during extended rain. The balancing pond south of Old Elm Rd was also 70 per cent full, part due to DCC’s summer 2020 response not to clear the outlet grill.
- To consider plans for expenditure in the parish under the Community Infrastructure Levy & S106
Cllr Orchard said he had received a quotation from a contractor for the play area, and he would discuss next steps with EDDC. The clerk added that Honiton Town Council had been in touch to enquire about progress, as it was keen to spend any S106 money that Gittisham might offer. EDDC had replied to say that as Gittisham was in the process of obtaining quotes for its own projects, there was no definitive cost for their projects as yet.
- To receive an update on public transport
Cllr Valentine reported that a student had been refused entry recently to one of the school buses, as they were unable to provide a bus pass. This caused the student and their family some distress, especially as the student had been taking the bus regularly since September 2021.
ACTION: Cllr Orchard to write to DCC’s Matthew Joll requesting DCC’s safeguarding policy on school transport.
- To consider the purchase of a defibrillator for the Hayne Farm development
Cllr Twist explained that the defibrillator had arrived, and she had informed Baker Estates and they are organising the installation date when a qualified electrician is available. The newly amended host agreement has not yet been signed by Sovereign Housing. Sovereign can sign on to the WEBNOS system to see that the weekly checks have been carried out. They have also requested a copy of the insurance certificate from Community Heartbeat. Cllr Twist said she would like to produce a leaflet for distribution on the estate, and would appreciate help on layout and wording. She said this was an opportunity for the parish council to have publicity on the estate. The Chair thanked Cllr Twist for her work on this.
ACTION: Clerk to discuss wording of leaflet with Cllr Twist, and Cllr Twist to investigate printing costs.
- To consider climate change measures within the parish, including rewilding proposals for land in the parish
Cllr Twist provided some details on EV charging: she said plugging into a regular 3-pin socket is classed as a slow charger, charging from empty could take more than 24 hours. Home charging points vary in price, but broadly somewhere between £350 and £800. There is a government grant towards having one installed, it will cover 75% of the price, but is capped at £350, and the grant is set to end on 31st March 2022. In order to take advantage of the scheme you have to be using a government-approved company installing an approved unit.
Check your eligibility for an energy efficiency grant. There is a new grant fund called LAD2 which helps tenants and owner occupiers improve the energy efficiency of their home. For details visit the East Devon District Council website.
Sign up for the Planet Pledge, to reduce home energy wastage, it started on 17th January 2022. Participants will receive a welcome guide to introduce as many as nine new energy saving behaviours each to be completed for a minimum of 66 days. For more details and to sign up visit www.planetpledge.co.uk
Cllr Rowe said that there was a new Green Spaces Development Officer in post at EDDC, Russell Giblett, with whom he was consulting about the wildflower project. Members discussed how parish residents could get involved.
- To consider parish council support for scam awareness and security
Cllr Twist said there was no update on this.
Cllr Twist said criminals are targeting parents by pretending to be a child in need of financial help, particularly on Instagram. She added that Devon Trading Standards has produced a guide to scams, rogue traders and doorstep crime.
- To consider limited residential development in the parish
Cllr Valentine said there was no update on this while the legal and financial issues remain unresolved.
- To consider the refurbishment and maintenance of the village play area
Cllr Walker said she had given the village play area a general tidy and removed some of the brambles. She had spoken to the lengthsman about the mole hills. Cllr Twist reported that work had begun on the Hayne Farm play area.
- To consider work to be carried out by the lengthsman to maintain ditches and drains in the parish
Cllr Walker said she had spoken to the lengsthman about the work Cllr Twist had requested.
ACTION: Cllr Walker to ask the lengthsman to look at overgrown brambles on the Honiton link road.
167/21 To receive a report from the Chair
The Chair said she had attended the Zoom meeting which explained the Devon-wide campaign for 20 is Plenty, and she was supportive of it. With the council’s agreement, the Chair said she would add this to the agenda for the March meeting. There is a template for parishes to use to make a formal resolution at the parish council and then to contact their county council. The Chair added that she’d agreed to contact other parishes to increase awareness, which she will do following the discussion at the next GPC meeting. She encouraged members to watch a short video the campaign has produced https://www20splenty.org/parish_council_motion .
168/21 To review the budget for 2022-23
Members welcomed the revised budget which had been drawn up by the clerk and Cllr Twist. Members resolved to set budget expenditure at £13,652, the balance to be taken from reserves.
ACTION: Clerk to discuss gazette printing costs with Carol McCann.
169/21 To consider progress on the Hayne Farm development
The clerk said Baker Estates would attend the March 2022 meeting.
ACTION: Clerk to discuss dog waste bin with EDDC and order as appropriate.
ACTION: Cllr Rowe to ask DCC’s Mike Brown if the unused grit bin after the turning for the A30 can be moved to the junction with Meadow Acre.
170/21 To approve a supplier for the Gittisham play area maintenance contract
The clerk said she had approached three contractors to invite them to bid for the annual maintenance contract. Members resolved to appoint Michael Poll for another year.
ACTION: Clerk to contact Michael Poll.
171/21 To approve the February payments and to note the current bank balance
It was resolved to approve the following payments:
1144 F J Clampin £229.70 Clerk’s salary & expenses (petrol, stamps)
1145 Gittisham Parish Hall £10 Hire for January meeting
DD NEST £22.48 Clerk’s pension (5% employer, 5% employee)
The clerk circulated a bank reconciliation for January 2022. Members were informed that the current bank balance stands at £19,702.66 (which includes approximately £7,000 in the business reserve account).
ACTION: Clerk to discuss the frequency of village hall hire payments with Judith Turner.
172/21 To consider parish council support for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, and any funding opportunities
Members agreed to speak to residents about what kind of projects they would like to see for the platinum jubilee, in addition to tree planting, a street party and bus shelter upgrades.
ACTION: Clerk to keep a file of funding opportunities and activities to support.
173/21 Clerk’s Report
174/21 For information only; items for the forward agenda
Platinum Jubilee activities; Hayne Farm including dog poo bins; bus shelters upgrade; 20 is Plenty.
175/21 To consider any late entry correspondence
Cllr Valentine said the barrier on the Curlditch side of the bridge by Riverside Cottages was rotten and therefore unsafe. It will be reported to the appropriate authority as a safety issue.
Cllr Twist suggested fitting QR codes to benches in the parish, as had been featured on the Netflix programme Afterlife. The QR code provides a link to a mental health charity.
ACTION: Clerk to report barrier defect to EDDC / DCC.
ACTION: Cllr Twist to investigate QR codes on benches.
176/21 Date of next two meetings. Thursday 3rd March and Thursday 7th April at 7.30pm in the village hall.
There being no further business, the meeting closed at 2130 hrs.
3rd March 2022