2022-04 Parish Council meeting minutes 7th April 2022

Gittisham Parish Council

Minutes of the Parish Council meeting

Held on 7th April 2022

in Gittisham Village Hall

Present:

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

In attendance: Cllr Phil Twiss (DCC), Cllr Alasdair Bruce (EDDC), two members of the public, Fiona Clampin (clerk)

Apologies for absence: Cllr Jake Bonetta (EDDC), PCSO Darren England

Before the meeting, one member of the public explained that several large potholes had opened up.  The Chair suggested using DCC’s website https://www.devon.gov.uk/roadsandtransport/report-a-problem/

The other member of the public suggested planting a tree or bush in the rookery to commemorate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.

195/21   To accept and approve apologies

Apologies were received and accepted. 

196/21   To confirm the minutes of the meeting held 3rd March 2022

The minutes of the meeting held on 3rd March were confirmed and signed by the Chair. 

197/21   To receive the Beat Manager’s Report

Feb 2021: 1 x violence & sexual offences, Cypress Close

198/21   To receive declarations of interest

None.

199/21   To consider actions from the last meeting not otherwise on the agenda

Cllr Valentine reported that EDDC had not yet considered the proposed land allocations as part of the emerging Local Plan, and has invited further offers.  He was concerned that the district council may start to consider sites previously considered unsuitable.   

200/21   To receive reports from County Council and District Council representatives

COVID updates

Cllr Twiss said there is understandably some confusion with a number of matters relating to the COVID pandemic, as we move in to a largely open society once again. As we enter April, so did a new phase of living with COVID-19, where the virus will be managed like other respiratory illnesses. But the pandemic is clearly not over, and how COVID-19 will develop over time remains uncertain, so we all still have a part to play in helping keep ourselves and each other safe and protected.

The government has published important advice for people with symptoms of respiratory infections, such as COVID-19; people with a positive COVID-19 test result and their contacts; and advice on safer behaviours for everyone.  Cllr Twiss circulated a separate summary sheet setting out guidance and advice for all of us, with thanks to Devon CCG and DCC Public Health Teams for their contributions.

The following and other information may be helpful, he said, particularly with regard to vaccination, booster vaccinations and eligible groups:

Vaccinations for all 5-11s began on 5 April. Spring boosters are available for over 75’s, residents in a care home for older adults, and people aged 12 and over who are immune-suppressed (have a weakened immune system) including patients with chronic leukaemia or lymphoma, and those who have had immune-suppressive treatment following an organ transplant or have had radiotherapy or chemotherapy.

Free general Covid-19 testing has ended, but some people are still eligible. In Devon, a total of 2,716,251 doses were given between 8 December 2020 and 27 March 2022. This includes 994,896 first doses, 943,496 second doses and 777,859 first boosters/third doses.

The Health and Social Care Secretary has announced that people at risk of serious illness from COVID-19, and eligible for treatments, will continue to get free tests to use if they develop symptoms, along with NHS and adult social care staff and those in other high-risk settings.  Under the plans free symptomatic testing will be provided for: a) patients in hospital, where a PCR test is required for their care and to provide access to treatments and support ongoing clinical surveillance for new variants; b) people who are eligible for community COVID-19 treatments because they are at higher risk of getting seriously ill from COVID19. People in this group will be contacted directly; c) people living or working in some high-risk settings.

Booster vaccination – people who are 75 before the end of June can book appointments in advance; however they should not be vaccinated until they have had their 75th birthday. People do not need to wait to be contacted before coming forward. (The best time to have the booster is around 6 months after the previous booster, although the minimum interval is 3 months.) Appointments can be booked via the NHS National Booking System.

Ukraine

Cllr Twiss said events in Ukraine and the awful news we see and hear on a daily bass are never far from anyone and the impact is felt by all of us and Devon stands with Ukraine.  Local authorities across the county are supporting local residents who want to provide sanctuary to the Ukrainian refugees who have been forced to flee their homes and the dedicated DCC web site at https://www.devon.gov.uk/supporting-ukraine/  is regularly updated with the latest news on how residents can help.  DCC is now receiving the latest information from the government on the Devon sponsors who have registered, and are carrying out DBS checks on the sponsor families.  And Devon’s district authorities are using a common approach to assess each sponsor’s accommodation, which will help better assess any potential safeguarding risks.

This initial phase of the Homes for Ukraine scheme is designed to supplement the Ukraine Family Visa for people in the UK to support friends and colleagues. We are now seeing several hundred people in Devon being matched and, following permission to travel, we will start to see those families arrive in Devon.

The situation is evolving quickly, with updated guidance coming through from government daily, but all ‘Team Devon’ partners are working together to develop a rapid response. Anyone who is interested in offering accommodation can register their interest via the government website at https://www.gov.uk/register-interest-homes-ukraine – Local Sponsorship Scheme for Ukraine. The link also contains some frequently asked questions (FAQs) for would-be accommodation providers (sponsors).

Those wishing to offer donations on the ground are advised to make financial contributions, particularly to the Disasters Emergency Committee at https://www.dec.org.uk/

Voluntary Sector, grants and funding

The voluntary sector plays an increasingly important part in our everyday lives, but in many cases requires funding and grants to survive, which can be something of a minefield, particularly for new enterprises.

A good starting point is the DCC Funding News, where you can sign up for regular online updates and another particularly helpful source of information at which to begin can be found at https://www.devon.gov.uk/fundingnews/useful-links/  

Cllr Twiss said the Rural Services Network was another valuable resource in pointing people and organisations in the right direction, and he encouraged members to sign up for the newsletter.  This month’s digest, which can be found at https://rsnonline.org.uk/rural-funding-digest-april-2022  has a mixed bag of ‘something for everyone’.

Cllr Twiss said the attenuation pond was on EDDC’s radar; Cllr Orchard warned that the level is rising.

Cllr Bruce said that after three attempts to get a response from EDDC regarding the Church Mead garages, an update had come through this morning, as follows:

“Dear Alasdair

Thank you for your email. I can confirm that the Allocations team have visited the garages with a view to ascertaining whether or not they are in a decent enough condition to let. A request was made to the Property & Assets team on 18th March requesting an inspection. My colleague Graham Baker, Property & Asset manager, will update you when a date has been arranged for the inspection, which will be necessary in order for a decision to be made.”  Cllr Bruce said he would update as soon as he had any news.

Although not directly affecting Gittisham, Cllr Bruce said he was saddened to see an attempt to garner favour with the electorate from the controlling party a week or so back. An extraordinary full council meeting was called to discuss just one item, the redesigning of a single car park in Sidmouth to a shoppers-only car park. It was passed, despite no evidence being presented as to why only in Sidmouth and not other towns in east Devon were worthy of consideration. This was an overtly political move in his opinion, and does a grave disservice to all our other towns he said.

Cllr Bruce said a number of ward members had been in touch regarding the low flying by Western Power helicopters, centred on the standing charge levy. He had contacted our respective MPs, and Simon Jupp has agreed to investigate why helicopters are being used when drones would be cheaper.

Cllr Bruce said he wished Mr and Mrs Stansell well in their renewed planning application, adding that he was unsure how it would progress unless their agent has managed to address the concerns raised by planning at the last attempt.

Meeting in person at district council is still not happening despite the rest of the country getting back to the new normal, Cllr Bruce reported, and a promise by the chair to regularly review the situation. Cllr Bruce said he would continue to press for this to change as it has been shown to greatly hamper the smooth running of the council for all of us.

In his absence, Cllr Jake Bonetta wished everybody a happy Easter and said he hoped to resume regular reports ready for the next meeting.

Cllrs Twiss and Bruce left the meeting.

201/21 To receive an update on the roll-out of superfast broadband by Jurassic Fibre

The clerk said Jurassic had been obliged to cancel because of staff sickness.  Before leaving, Cllr Twiss said he had been assured the village was cabled, but members said they had not seen any Jurassic staff working on this.  Cllr Twiss agreed to ask Matt Galley at JF for an accurate picture of the situation.

202/21   To consider the following planning applications:

  1. 22/0498/FUL Shermans Farm Gittisham EX14 3AU – Construction of metal slurry store
  2. 22/0195/VAR Land SW side of Weston Lane EX14 3NY – Removal of Condition no.2 & 3 of Secretary of State’s Appeal Decision ref: APP/U1105/C/16/3146168-73 dated 14/07/2017 (East Devon ref: 13/1661/FUL dated 04/02/2014) to allow for permanent use of the land for the siting of a mobile home and touring caravans and their use for residential purposes.

Members had no objection to a).  Regarding b), members discussed at length the application.  Councillors took a vote on the removal of conditions, the result of which was 5:2.  It was resolved to object to the removal of conditions 2 & 3.  They expressed support for traveller sites in the community and urged EDDC to do more, but the PC was not able to support this application because of a risk of flooding and the likelihood that climate change will make flooding worse in future. 

203/21   To receive reports from councillors on areas of responsibility and actions since the last meeting:

  • To note the latest planning decision notices

21/2882/LBC Westgate Gittisham EX14 3AU – Installation of Tortoise fireboxes, flue liners, terracotta twin wall liner to top of chimney and bird guard.  Approval with conditions.

22/0107/FUL Blamphayne Sawmill Gittisham EX14 3AN – Extension to existing Machinery Store.  Approval with conditions.

  • To receive an update on Highways

Cllr Orchard said there was no update this month.

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

The Chair said she would look at the proposals to see if any modifications could be made that would make it easier to secure contractors. 

  • To receive an update on public transport

Cllr Orchard said the Vale bus shelter is still being abused to the detriment of bus passengers. All items have been removed.  Cllr Valentine added that some buses are still avoiding the village, and the Chair said people should report this on the village WhatsApp group so there was a log of issues.

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

Cllr Twist said all parties had now signed the host agreement.  A leaflet for all Hayne Farm residents explaining how to use it once it is installed is in production.  The defibrillator and its cabinet are still sitting in Cllr Twist’s hallway, until the exact location is identified.

One member of the public left the meeting.

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

Cllr Twist reported that Devon Climate Emergency is running a public consultation until 14th April.  Cllr Rowe said there was no update from EDDC’s Countryside team.

  • To consider parish council support for scam awareness and security

Cllr Twist said there had been numerous scam alerts sent out regarding Ukraine, lateral flow tests, HMRC and subscription refunds.  She said BBC 1’s three-week series “Scam Interceptors” is worth watching.  It shows how persistent and convincing scammers can be.

  • To consider limited residential development in the parish

Cllr Valentine said there would be a board meeting w/c 11th April where the lack of progress would be discussed.  He hoped to have more positive news next month. 

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

Cllr Twist said the Hayne Farm play area was progressing, and the Chair reported that the new oak had been planted in Gittisham village play area to mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.  The other trees are doing well.  Members discussed replacing the damaged oak, and it was agreed to replace it with an ornamental crab apple if space allows.  The Chair said she had affixed additional ties to the top gate, as it was being left open.  Cllr Walker will top up the hand sanitizer.

ACTION: Clerk to order crab apple from Trim Plants.

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

Cllr Walker said the lengthsman had looked at the build-up of stones at the Riverside bridge and the build-up of silt at the village bridge bypass culvert. He advised that this was not the parish council’s role to dredge a river bed.  Cllr Walker agreed to feed back that the vegetation and strimming should continue in this area.  The Chair added that Hamish Hall would produce a report assessing the situation. 

Cllr Walker agreed to discuss the fence bordering the play area with the owners of Eveleighs.  The Chair asked if the lengthsman could cut back the brambles on the left hand side of the link road beyond the Forge heading east, as the growth makes walking difficult. 

204/21   To receive a report from the Chair

The Chair said the parish was due to receive a Ukrainian couple imminently.

205/21 To consider upgrading the parish bus shelters

The Chair said the bus shelters could do with a fresh coat of paint, and she would report back with a proposed colour scheme.  She encouraged members to suggest a suitable person to carry out the refurbishment, which will include the noticeboards, solar panels and sensor.

206/21 To consider changes to the parish council’s banking policy

This was deferred for discussion at the next parish council meeting.

207/21 To consider a review of remuneration of the parish lengthsman

Members resolved to raise the lengthsman’s remuneration by 3.5 per cent in line with the national increase.  From 1st April 2022 the rate will be £14.50 / hr.

208/21 To consider a review of remuneration of the parish clerk in line with the annual NALC salary scales, and associated pension payments

Members resolved to raise the clerk’s salary in line with NALC recommendations to £11.73 / hr, for the year 2021-22.  The 2022-23 pay scales are yet to be determined.

209/21   To approve the April payments and to note the current bank balance

It was resolved to approve the following payments:

1150       F J Clampin                          £226.86                 Clerk’s salary & expenses (card)

1151       F J Clampin                          £46.80               Clerk’s backdated pay increase for 2021-22

1152        Leonard Abbott                      £56       Lengthsman work, 4hrs Mar 2022 (@14/hr)

1153       Michael Poll                            £65        Grass cutting, inv. ref. 10133

1154        DALC                                     £193.32      Annual subscription 2022-23

1155       34SP                       £95.40   Annual professional website hosting renewal, 16th April 2022

1156       34SP                       £15         Domain name hosting, 16th April 2022

1157       Trim Plants           £90         Crab apple

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

The clerk said the first half of the precept for 2022/23 had been received.  Members were informed that the current bank balance stands at £25,292.84 (which includes approximately £7,000 in the business reserve account). 

210/21 To consider parish council support for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, and any funding opportunities

The Chair said the village hall committee would like to organise an event with cream teas and sandwiches.  Members offered other suggestions, including a disco in the evening, a fancy dress competition for children, a tree planting, a commemorative coin for all children in the parish and a bench by the balancing pond in the Vale. 

ACTION: Clerk to keep a file of funding opportunities and activities to support.

211/21   Clerk’s Report

The clerk outlined the situation regarding the likelihood of acquiring two new dog waste bins at Hayne Farm, having enquired with Baker Estates and EDDC; the stumbling block appears to be the emptying of any bins.  Members discussed the possibility of resiting a litter bin currently in the Vale alongside the railway line, as these are often empty. 

ACTION: Clerk to ask EDDC to inform her of any changes to dog waste bin policy, and request resiting of bin.

212/21   For information only; items for the forward agenda

Platinum Jubilee activities; internet banking policy; bus shelters upgrade.

213/21   To consider any late entry correspondence

The clerk agreed to pass on to the Chair contact details for Grainger, in connection with a parishioner returning to one of their rented homes after a spell in hospital.

214/21   Date of next two meetings.   Thursday 12th May and Thursday 9th June at 7.30pm in the village hall. 

There being no further business, the meeting closed at 2145 hrs.

Chair…………………………………….

12th May 2022