Gittisham Parish Council
Minutes of the Parish Council meeting
Held on 3rd March 2022
in Gittisham Village Hall
|Gittisham Village Ward
Cllr C Hall (Chair)
Cllr A Rowe
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), Richard Ayre & Graham Hutton (Baker Estates for agenda item 7), Fiona Clampin (clerk)
Apologies for absence: Cllr D Valentine, Cllr Jake Bonetta (EDDC), PCSO Darren England
177/21 To accept and approve apologies
Apologies were received and accepted.
178/21 To confirm the minutes of the meeting held 3rd February 2022
Cllr Orchard requested a change to minute ref 164/21, to remove the line “Cllr Bruce thanked Cllr Twiss for sorting out the blocked exit of the balancing pond south of Old Elm Road” as this is pending. The minutes of the meeting held on 3rd February were then confirmed and signed by the Chair.
179/21 To receive the Beat Manager’s Report
There was no update on figures available on the Police UK website since the last meeting.
180/21 To receive declarations of interest
181/21 To consider actions from the last meeting not otherwise on the agenda
Cllr Twist said she had contacted the mental health charity Campaign Against Living Miserably (Calm) about QR codes on benches, and had received a good response. She thought it would be possible to attach these to existing benches.
Cllr Orchard had enquired about DCC’s school transport safeguarding policy with Matthew Joll, and received a comprehensive response. The county operates a strict ‘no pass, no travel’ policy.
ACTION: Cllrs Twist & Orchard to send information on the above to Cllr Twiss.
182/21 To receive reports from County Council and District Council representatives
Cllr Twiss said the Devon County Council Budget was approved at full council on 17th February after many months of work in what has been the most challenging one in living memory, for a variety of reasons, not least the pandemic. Members are probably aware that the DCC part of Council tax will go up by 2.99 per cent, the lowest increase in 7 years, adding 87p per week or £45 a year to Homes in the Band D Council tax bracket. As portfolio holder for Finance at DCC, Cllr Twiss said he had put back £1m in to Highways for cyclic maintenance, drainage schemes and pothole repairs, as well as £329k of funding for community organisations, which had been invaluable during the pandemic. He said that in recognition of greater healthcare working between the NHS and DCC, the council has received £10m to offset high service needs in the Adult Social Care sector and currently negotiating with the Department for Education on a multi-million pound settlement to help with the Special Educational needs deficit in Devon.
Council Tax rebate
Details of the Government Council tax discount, helping to counter some of the hike of upcoming fuel price increases are now known. They are an automatic one-off grant, which is not means tested, spreading across Council Tax Bands A-D. DCC has now received details of the total sum, which will then be split across the district councils to distribute as the collection authority. The £150 discount will be applied automatically and deducted from the bill, when issued. Cllr Walker asked if residents who did not pay by direct debit could slip through the net, so Cllr Twiss asked that if councillors knew anybody in this category they should follow up on this.
Cllr Twiss said these are clearly a major concern for the overwhelming number of our population. The Government has announced a package of support to help households with rising energy bills, worth around £9bn in 2022-23. He circulated a factsheet from the County Treasurer. This offers a step by step guide as to how this will work (as well as other help with the cost of living), and support in the form of grants will be administered via the District Councils, as with the Council tax discount.
Funding allocations of the allocations for the Devon Districts is shown below:
Discretionary Fund (£)
Non-Discretionary Fund (£)
Total Fund (£)
Devon County Council has recently released its Council Plan, setting out its 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 and you can view more details of the key points 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 fulfill 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
As a cyclist Cllr Twiss said he was particularly pleased that South Western Railway (SWR) has completed the installation of Co Bikes docking stations plus 30 e-bikes at Cranbrook and Honiton stations, launching a new eco-friendly onward travel option for their customers. He hoped this scheme will be rolled out to Axminster as well. The e-bikes, supplied by Co Bikes, will provide SWR customers with a green and efficient transport alternative, helping to tackle congestion on roads, improve air quality and give locals and visitors alike an alternative way of travelling around East Devon and Exeter, where there is already an extensive network. Over £200,000 has been invested in the schemes, which has come about through a network of partnerships between SWR, the Department for Transport, Devon County Council and others, as well as Co Bikes. There are e-bike docks available at Cranbrook Station and another 10 at Honiton and to use the new Co Bikes, people will need to download the ‘Nextbike’ app on a smart phone and register for an account. To activate the account, customers make a £10 payment which is then used for their first e-bike trips and off you go! Cllr Twiss added that DCC will be looking at making trains and buses more integrated, as the current situation is based on historic service times which do not always match up.
Covid is still very much present in our communities and while there are huge grounds for optimism, caution needs to be maintained. Cllr Twiss circulated the latest update issued by the Devon Clinical Commissioning Group on 25th February.
Cllr Bruce said in view of the current situation in Ukraine, he could not help feeling somewhat surreal writing this report and wondering what the effect would be on us all. He said he felt sure we will be able to play our part if we are called upon to help our fellow Europeans, as they look for sanctuary and support.
The rest of this report seems somewhat irrelevant in the light of this, he said, but here we go:
The strategic planning meetings continue to go through the motions towards releasing the draft plan to the public. He noted in the meetings he had attended, that the villages within his ward have been almost exclusively represented, with little input from other areas affected by this report. So he felt reasonably confident that our views have been well presented to the committee, and left them in no doubt over our concerns.
Cllr Bruce reported he was pleased to have attended a cheque presenting ceremony on behalf of Gittisham PC and EDDC, at the invitation of Baker Estates. Cheques were handed over to Admiral Nurses and Hospiscare.
Cllr Bruce said he was glad to see the parish have taken up the offer of a jubilee oak tree from EDDC as part of the celebrations, although he suspected these may be somewhat muted given the current circumstances. However let’s hope we can put on a good show for Her Majesty.
The council received hundreds of calls for assistance after the trio of storms that battered us last week.
On Friday (19 February) there were 603 calls, followed by 434 on Saturday (20 February) and 376 on Sunday (21 February). EDDC’s Home Safeguard Team has been working hard over the last week to check up on vulnerable residents to offer assistance after power outages meant they were not able to make hot food and drink, over the weekend of the storm. There have also been a steady flow of repair calls about other issues that were referred to other agencies such as DCC for fallen trees.
It is good to report, said Cllr Bruce, that more than 100 East Devon council homes are now more eco-friendly thanks to a special project that helped them upgrade their insulation, heating systems and much more. EDDC has been running a Green Homes Grant programme since 2020. The Government scheme is designed to help councils fund the cost of reducing the carbon footprint and environmental impact of its housing. The project has also allowed residents on low incomes to save energy and significantly lower their utility bills. EDDC has now installed a variety sustainable, eco-friendly technologies into the homes involved in this project – including air source heat pumps, solar panels, new radiators and pipework, upgraded insulation, smart controls, and intelligent hot water cylinders that harvest surplus energy generated by solar panels and store it as hot water.
Improvements to parking access to the East Devon Pebblebed Heaths should be nearing completion shortly, Cllr Bruce explained. This fragile and highly valued ecological/geological area offers a rare chance to walk across a unique landscape, formed by pebbles from rivers that ran across a desert environment during the Triassic era, some 240 million years ago. These now raised beds form heathland support specifically adapted plant and wildlife, including the Dartford Warbler. As most visitors travel by car to get here, it was important to work up a parking improvement plan that allowed access, whilst ensuring the preservation of this very important site.
In his absence, Cllr Jake Bonetta circulated slides from the recent presentation to EDDC by consultants acting on behalf of Combe Estate regarding potential development in the parish.
Cllrs Twiss and Bruce left the meeting.
183/21 To receive an update on the Hayne Farm development from Baker Estates
Graham Hutton & Richard Ayre from Baker Estates outlined the proposal to build an additional 37 dwellings to the south of the current Hayne Farm development. If approved, access to this area will not be directly from Hayne Lane and there will also need to be a pumping station. If the proposed footpath between Hayne Lane and Goldcombe is granted, it will cut through this part of the development. Any temporary diversion during construction could be accommodated. It was estimated that 15-20 per cent would be affordable housing; at the entrance the density and character of the properties will be similar to the existing site, and then properties will be more spaced out further away, to give a more rural, traditional feel. There will be a consultation on 15th March where Baker Estates will be happy to answer questions from residents, and those living in properties close by on Old Elm Road. Graham Hutton reported that a site investigation had been done and they found what they’d expected in terms of contaminated material, although from experience he said he did not rule out the possibility of finding more.
Members discussed the naming of this development, and Graham Hutton said he would think about this. He said he would also enquire about a postbox. The plans are expected to be submitted to EDDC in May.
Graham Hutton & Richard Eyre left the meeting.
184/21 To receive reports from councillors on areas of responsibility and actions since the last meeting:
- To note the latest planning decision notices
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. Refusal.
22/0006/LBC – Westgate Gittisham Honiton EX14 3AU : Change of use of part of paddock to habitable use and construction of 3 x bay garage/outbuilding. Withdrawn.
22/0201/FUL – 2 Drillers Cottages Gittisham EX14 3AQ : Replacement windows & replacement porch on south elevation, facade repairs on north & south elevation, new internal floor finish. Withdrawn.
- To receive an update on Highways
7th–11th March road from Chineway to Hare & Hounds closed for SW Water works.
Cllr Orchard said recent repairs on Hayne Lane had not addressed the collapsed part of the road, so another closure would surely be in the offing.
- To consider plans for expenditure in the parish under the Community Infrastructure Levy & S106
Cllr Orchard said he would be meeting the 14th contractor on site at the play area at the weekend, and warned that with the extensive delays already noted, previous quotes could rise in price. The Chair highlighted the requirement to comply with procurement policies.
- To receive an update on public transport
Cllr Orchard said he had removed a substantial quantity of unwanted items in the Vale bus shelter, as they were taking up too much space.
ACTION: Cllr Orchard to attach another sign to deter people from dumping items.
- To consider the purchase of a defibrillator for the Hayne Farm development
Baker Estates expressed surprise that Cllr Twist had taken delivery of the defibrillator some time ago, and agreed to take it off her hands immediately. It will need a sign to indicate it is not yet in use. Cllr Twist said Sovereign Housing are still in the process of agreeing the host agreement, and the leaflet is still in its early stages of design.
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
Members agreed a replacement oak tree was needed in the village play area, at a cost of approximately £85.
ACTION: Clerk to order quercus robur from Terry Trim.
- To consider parish council support for scam awareness and security
Cllr Twist said a national alert had been issued for the E.On email scam; criminals are impersonating the energy company E.On promising an £85 refund in an attempt to steal personal details and money.
- To consider limited residential development in the parish
Members heard that Cllr Valentine had made a short presentation to EDDC’s Strategic Planning committee voicing the parish council’s opposition to any development west of Hayne Farm, which is under discussion as part of EDDC’s draft Local Plan. The presentation was circulated. Developers and land owners have been promoting possible development opportunities to EDDC. The promoted land is both a prominent and extremely sensitive landscape and whilst not in the AONB, any development would have a serious detrimental impact on both the setting of the AONB and the village of Gittisham. It would encroach into the valley within which Gittisham is located and bring development to within 400m of the village. The proposal cannot support a sustainable development and car use will inevitably be the primary form of transportation contrary to the principles within EDDC’s own existing and proposed local plan policies.
ACTION: All to keep abreast of development proposals, so information can be correctly communicated to the parish.
- To consider the refurbishment and maintenance of the village play area
Cllr Walker said she would empty the dustbin. Members heard the jubilee oak would probably be delivered w/c 7th March, and the equipment for the Hayne Farm play area was due to be delivered on 22nd March.
- To consider work to be carried out by the lengthsman to maintain ditches and drains in the parish
Cllr Walker said the lengthsman had carried out some work near to Goldcombe. He has advised that work is needed to address the build-up of stones at the Riverside bridge and the build-up of silt at the village bridge bypass culvert. This work will need a mini digger. Cllr Walker will investigate how the council carried out this work in the past, using M Locke contractors. The Chair said she will assess the engineering aspects of the reported problems and advise on exactly what’s required. A report will be provided to the next meeting.
ACTION: Cllr Walker to investigate the use of private contractors for such work in the past.
185/21 To receive a report from the Chair
Members resolved to support the 20 is Plenty campaign to request Devon County Council to normalize a 20mph limit/zone throughout all residential roads and areas in the parish of Gittisham. The Chair said the PC should notify Devon CC (Stuart Hughes cabinet member plus the local highways officer) of the PC’s support and also make contact with neighbouring parishes to tell them what the PC has done. The Chair said that Wales and Cornwall have a 20 mph speed limit in all residential areas and this campaign aims to persuade DCC to do the same. If adopted by DCC, this would establish a 20mph limit throughout the residential areas of the parish, namely Gittisham village, Gittisham Vale and Hayne Farm. Research by RoSPA has demonstrated a link between the introduction of 20mph zones and a subsequent reduction in casualties. Cllr Twiss had indicated he would support this, but advised that if a large number of parishes come forward in support of the campaign, DCC will have to assess them according to priority (such as villages with schools).
The Chair said the Gittisham community has clearly expressed in the past, and continues to express, its concerns about the impacts of speeding traffic on the residents of the parish, particularly on vulnerable road-user activity (by children, older people, cyclists, mobility scooter users, parents with prams/buggies/etc, horse riders, and so on). Gittisham village has no pavements and there are no speed limit restrictions in the village or surrounding lanes, ie 60mph. The lanes in the parish are narrow and without pavements and are used by pedestrians, cyclists and horse riders. The Vale and Hayne Farm have 30mph limits but would also like to see a residential area speed limit of 20mph.
Gittiisham Parish Council is aware of an increasing number of pedestrians using the roads for leisure walking, with the expansion of the Hayne Farm housing development and a post-Covid rise in walking and cycling in the parish. GPC is also supporting the DCC climate change initiative and considers all relevant measures when addressing all aspects of parish life. A 20mph limit would be consistent with, and would underpin, these measures through, for example, significantly reduced vehicle carbon emissions throughout the parish.
Many residential areas such as Alphington, Exwick, Kenn, Starcross, have extensive areas covered by 20 mph zones/limits, in many cases with no substantive traffic calming measures having been introduced. RoSPA states: 20mph limits without traffic calming also reduce traffic speed. Their lower cost means that wider areas can be covered.
186/21 To consider upgrading the parish bus shelters
This was deferred for discussion at the next parish council meeting.
187/21 To approve the March payments and to note the current bank balance
It was resolved to approve the following payments:
1146 F J Clampin £224.86 Clerk’s salary
1147 Michael Poll £65 Grass cutting, inv. ref. 10129
1148 Leonard Abbott £28 Lengthsman work, 2hrs Feb 2022 (@14/hr)
1149 DALC £18 Being a Good Councillor 1 (training course, Cllr Fowles)
DD NEST £22.48 Clerk’s pension (5% employer, 5% employee)
The clerk said the VAT rebate for 2019/20 had been received, totalling £2,597.78. Members were informed that the current bank balance stands at £21,942.10 (which includes approximately £7,000 in the business reserve account).
188/21 To consider parish council support for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, and any funding opportunities
The Chair said the village hall committee had begun to consider holding an event, which the parish council may be able to support in some way.
ACTION: Clerk to keep a file of funding opportunities and activities to support.
189/21 To consider the parish council’s grant-giving policy, publication scheme, complaints policy, anti-fraud & corruption policy, Freedom of Information Scheme and code of conduct
It was resolved to approve the above policies.
ACTION: Cllr Rowe to upload the FoI scheme to the Gittisham website.
190/21 To consider the parish council’s Statement of Internal Control, Financial Regulations and Risk Management
It was resolved to approve the above policies. Councillors with authorization agreed to sign a letter to Nat West allowing the clerk to discuss internet banking with them.
191/21 Clerk’s Report
The clerk said she had discussed the high printing costs of the gazette with Carol McCann. It was agreed to keep this under review.
192/21 For information only; items for the forward agenda
Platinum Jubilee activities; internet banking policy; bus shelters upgrade.
193/21 To consider any late entry correspondence
Cllr Twist and the Chair agreed to attend the Baker Estates drop-in on 15th March.
Councillors agreed to take some 20 is Plenty stickers.
194/21 Date of next two meetings. Thursday 7th April and May tbc at 7.30pm in the village hall.
There being no further business, the meeting closed at 2135 hrs.
7th April 2022