2022-06 Parish Council meeting minutes 9th June 2022

GITTISHAM PARISH COUNCIL

MINUTES OF THE PARISH COUNCIL MEETING

HELD ON 9TH JUNE 2022

in Gittisham Village Hall

Present:

Village ward: Cllr D Valentine, Cllr A Rowe

Vale ward: Cllr J Twist (Vice Chair), Cllr P Orchard

In attendance: Cllr Phil Twiss (DCC), Cllr Jake Bonetta (EDDC), Fiona Clampin (clerk)

Apologies for absence: Cllr C Hall (Chair), Cllr J Fowles, Cllr M Walker, Cllr Alasdair Bruce (EDDC), PCSO Darren England

25/22        To accept and approve apologies

Apologies were received and accepted.

26/22        To confirm the minutes of the meeting held 12th May 2022

The minutes of the meeting held on 12th May 2022 were confirmed and signed by the Chair. 

27/22        To receive the Beat Manager’s Report

No crimes in the parish in April 2022.

28/22        To receive declarations of interest

Cllrs Rowe & Twist declared an interest in agenda item 10, as they are due to be reimbursed by the parish council.  Cllr Twist said she is now a member of Gittisham PCC.

29/22        To consider actions from the last meeting not otherwise on the agenda

Cllr Valentine said he was continuing to monitor EDDC’s strategic planning committee meetings, and he thought it would be late summer before EDDC would be assessing the land which has come forward in response to their call for new sites.   

The clerk reported that EDDC had agreed that moving one of the litter bins from the Vale to Hayne Farm might be an option to help reduce dog mess, but had not heard anything more.

The clerk said the parishioner whose home was due to be refurbished by Grainger had sadly died, but the council should monitor the situation with regard to the other person living there. 

30/22        Reports from County Council and District Council representatives

Cllr Bonetta said that following the Annual Council meeting of East Devon District Council on May 19th, the council continues to work on many policies and projects affecting the entire district. Cllr Paul Arnott (Democratic Alliance Group, Coly Valley) remains as council leader, having been elected by members of every political group. The Chair of the council also remains as Cllr Ian Thomas (The Independent Group, Trinity), achieving unanimous support alongside the continuing Deputy Chair, Cllr Val Ranger (Democratic Alliance Group, Newton Poppleford and Harpford).

Due to the ongoing Parliamentary by-election for Tiverton and Honiton and his affiliations to the Labour Party, although not a candidate, Cllr Bonetta said this report will be purely factual and based on the work of himself as a Ward member and the work of the wider council. He wished everyone a happy belated Queen’s Platinum Jubilee and said he was glad to hear of the successes of the village’s events.

Ukrainian refugee resettlement

As of the EDDC Annual Council meeting on May 19th, 95 sponsor households for Ukrainian refugees have come forward in East Devon, with an estimated 300 refugees to be housed in these properties. Following the meeting of Cabinet on 8th June, wraparound support is also beginning to be provided and funded by East Devon District Council alongside Citizens Advice, on top of the Environmental Health and other work the council has already been undertaking as per national Government guidance.  The Homes for Ukraine scheme is still open for applications, meaning potential sponsors are still able to come forward and record their interest in supporting the housing efforts. If you are interested in getting involved, please visit https://www.gov.uk/register-interest-homes-ukraine

Flood drain clearance

Following a meeting with the EDDC StreetScene Area officer, Barry Maher, on Tuesday this week, Cllr Bonetta reported that the flood drain on the border of the Vale ward by Cherry Close is due to be cleared and works carried out within the coming few weeks. These works will alleviate the pressures on the storm overflow drain, clear the blockages on the drain itself and will also see the clearing of dense overgrowth alongside the stream to help support drainage of flood water.  Cllr Orchard said he had reported this some time ago as a matter of urgency, as it is holding back the water level which is usually lower.  Cllr Bonetta said he would ensure this work is carried out in a timely manner.

East Devon Together month

EDDC is currently running a month-long event celebrating the work of environmental volunteers across the district, representing the first time such an EDDC event has been organised to support the work of various groups and projects across East Devon. As part of this month, events have been organised across the district relating to plastic reduction, plant growth and rewilding, and energy advice to name a few.  If you are interested in getting involved with the various projects being organised across East Devon, or just want to know more about the month-long project, please visit the council website here: https://eastdevon.gov.uk/climate-change/east-devon-together/ Cllr Bonetta thanked the EDDC Climate Change Officer, Catherine Causley, for her tireless work in organising this fantastic celebration.

Community Buildings Fund

A new round of EDDC’s Community Buildings Fund is open for applications to help fund capital projects or refurbishments for village halls, shared community spaces or community shops. The scheme has proven to be very successful across the district, with schemes funded in the last financial year in Branscombe, Lympstone and Northleigh.  The closing date for the current round of applications is Monday 27th June 2022. If you would like to know more about the scheme and how to apply, please visit the following website: https://eastdevon.gov.uk/community-buildings-fund/

Cllr Twist said letters had gone out to those residents who do not pay their council tax by direct debit to explain how the energy bill rebate will be paid to them.  Around 80% of households in East Devon already pay their council tax by direct debit and will have received the payment into their bank account without needing to take any action.  But those who do not currently pay their council tax through this arrangement will need to go through a claims process for the rebate.  Councillors agreed the wording of the letter could be confusing, and urged anyone struggling to understand the process should call East Devon’s Customer Service Centre on 01404 515616.  The clerk reported that finding that number on EDDC’s website was not obvious, and members agreed this was a concern for those needing to speak to somebody.

ACTION: Clerk to write to EDDC chief executive to express the PC’s concern over a lack of telephone numbers on the council’s website.

Holiday Activities & Food Fund 2022

Cllr Twiss said he was very pleased to say the Holiday Activities & Food programme for summer has been published on the DCC website, where there are 61 approved providers across Devon delivering 44,000 places across the county for children on benefit-related free school meals [FSM] and they all include a hot meal. See https://www.devon.gov.uk/educationandfamilies/family-support/haf-programme  

The aim of the scheme is to support children to eat more healthily, be more active over the school holidays and have a greater knowledge of health and nutrition as well as be more engaged with school and other local services.  The children who take part will enjoy fun and enriching activities in a safe and sociable environment and have the opportunity to develop new skills or knowledge and try out new experiences. This could include physical activities such as football, table tennis or cricket; creative activities, for example, putting on a play, junk modelling or drumming workshops or other experiences like a nature walk or visiting a farm.  At least one meal per day will be included and the children will improve their knowledge and awareness of healthy eating. The scheme aims to help families develop their understanding of nutrition and food budgeting.  There is an extended criteria so 15% of the fund can be used for children outside of the FSM criteria.

The fund is for children aged 5-16 across Devon and £1.8 million is allocated from the DFE to deliver this project.

Fostering in Devon

Part of the services DCC operates is the county-wide fostering service, which is often and quite unintentionally overlooked by many people, unless they have some sort of involvement with fostering.

DCC needs more foster carers across Devon for the 800+ children in the council’s care. They are particularly keen to hear from people with the knowledge and skills to care for teenagers and young people with complex and challenging needs.  All foster carers receive exceptional support and training as well as competitive rates of pay. Fostering is a big commitment for any household, but DCC is confident that the right people will find the rewards worth it. If you think you have or anyone you know has the skills and compassion needed, please get in touch for an informal, in confidence chat on 0345 155 1077 or email foster@devon.gov.uk  

Below is an example of how mainstream fostering works: this is the most common form of fostering and means giving a child or young person a safe place to stay, perhaps for a night or two whilst their family are helped to resolve their problems, through to a longer-term or even permanent arrangement.  You can also be asked to offer on-going support to a family or another foster carer by looking after a child on a regular basis, say one or two weekends a month. If you have the space, you can look after brothers and sisters who would otherwise be separated.  In some cases the child will wish to stay in touch with their birth family, you will be providing the safe and stable environment which makes this possible.  Some foster carers provide round-the-clock care, helping children with the most challenging behaviour to find a safe haven, a supportive family, and a place in society. This level of foster care comes with additional support, training and higher rates of pay.  There are times when you may be asked to provide respite care.  Respite care helps ease situations where a parent has a long-term illness, or it can give families time to repair relationships before a permanent breakdown occurs, or it can provide support to another foster carer as required.

Post-Covid Economic Recovery

The economy looking forward for Devon is a potentially mixed picture, with ongoing Covid-19 impacts on the economy, rises in the cost of living and the Russian invasion of Ukraine creating global uncertainty, particularly in energy markets.  There has, however, been some recent good news over the past two years, some of which are in the wider Exeter area ‘sub-region’ not far from us, said Cllr Twiss. Below are a few highlights in a wider Devon context where the positive economic effect is likely to be felt county-wide as we continue to recover:

 • Irish-owned Exeter Aerospace taking over Flybe’s aircraft maintenance facility at Exeter Airport and immediately advertising for 100 aircraft mechanics, engineers and aviation professionals

 • Designation of Plymouth and South Devon as one of eight Freeport sites. Plymouth and South Devon Freeport is to begin operating in 2022 and has the potential to generate 3,500 jobs and add £400 million GVA into the local economy. The Freeport contains three main sites: Langage Energy Park, Sherford Employment Zone and South Yard in Devonport, areas where businesses will benefit from more generous tax reliefs, customs benefits and wider government support

• Government infrastructure funding including £60m upgrading the A361 North Devon Link Road, improvements to the A303 route into Devon, £40m of funding reinstating passenger services on the Okehampton to Exeter line (implemented ahead of time and under budget), and £38m of funding to upgrade the A382 between the A38 and Newton Abbot

• Further £5m of development partnership funding over 3 years towards re-opening stations in Cullompton and Wellington in Somerset to help reconnect local communities and support regional growth with potential for the projects to be completed during 2025

 • The sector specific Airport and Ground Operations Support Scheme (AGOSS) was extended 6 months to 31 March 2022 with domestic air passenger duty reduced from £13 to £6.50. Exeter airport has fully restarted operations and currently expects about 500,000 passengers in 2022, compared with 1m in 2019 before the pandemic.

In his absence, Cllr Bruce sent the following report: “I hope all your jubilee events were not disrupted by weather and went as planned.

Since requesting that EDDC officer contact with the parish committee also includes me, l believe it is now working better than before, and allows me the opportunity to contribute in real time with both the officers and parish. This also means l can fulfil one of the requests made of me from one of my other parishes to update the committee in between meetings rather than include it in my monthly report. It may still take time to bed in, but I’m confident this will generate a better flow of information in both directions between us.

It seems jubilee events and planning at EDDC have meant that l have little to report this month.  Not directly linked to Gittisham, but worthy of note is an update on the flooding works in Feniton.  It was great news to hear we now have a firm time frame for the flood alleviation scheme to get underway. Let’s hope these works will bring to a close a very stressful and damaging chapter in the history of Feniton.

Finally, and with some sadness, l feel l have to point the committee in the direction of a link from a recent press story from Radio Exe http:/www.radioexe.co,uk/news-and-features/local-news/east-Devon-council-bust-up-at-top/  I say sadness because l feel that it’s not relevant whether you are in power or in opposition regarding your district council being portrayed in this way. You are free of course to make up your own minds, but it may go some way to underlining the difficulties and frustrations I am experiencing trying to discharge my duties as your councillor.”

Cllrs Bonetta and Twiss left the meeting.

31/22        To receive an update on Hayne Farm from Baker Estates

The clerk said there had been a delay in Baker Estates submitting the planning application, and they would provide an update once this has been sent to EDDC.

32/22     To receive reports from councillors on areas of responsibility and actions since the last meeting:

  • To note the latest planning decision notices

22/0195/VAR | Removal of Condition No. 2 and 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. | Land SW Side Of Weston Lane Road From Weston Cross To Cherry Bridge Weston EX14 3NY.  Approval with conditions.

  • To receive an update on Highways

Cllr Orchard reported that the grill on Old Elm Road balancing pond has still not been cleared. 

Although outside the parish, people should be aware that a portion of the A35 going out of Honiton towards Axminster would be completely closed 27th June – 11th July.  Cllr Orchard also reported that some work would be taking place on the road past Pomeroy Lodge, 26th –28th July, but there was no information yet as to what kind of work this will be.

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

ACTION: Cllr Orchard to check time scales for spending S106 contributions.

  • To receive an update on public transport

Cllr Orchard said the Vale bus shelter was once again full of discarded items.

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

Cllr Twist said the new defibrillator had been installed but was not yet live.  There will be a photo opportunity with Baker Estates and Sovereign Housing on Monday 13th June, accompanied by a press release.  Cllr Twist added that the leaflets were ready to be circulated, and future residents will receive a leaflet in their welcome pack. 

  • To consider climate change measures within the parish

Cllr Twist reported that EDDC is planning to install 15 EV charging points in public car parks across the district.   

  • To consider parish council support for scam awareness and security

Cllr Orchard said he had personally experienced two scams recently, but he was not taken in by them.

  • To consider limited residential development in the parish

Cllr Valentine said the Gittisham Community Land Trust would be holding an AGM on Thursday 16th June at 7.30pm in Gittisham Village Hall.

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

The clerk reported that she had contacted three local tradespeople to quote for work to the damaged fence, but had not received any bids so far.  Members suggested other tradespeople to contact.  Cllr Rowe said he had looked at the work needed to the telephone box, and felt that it was beyond what he could provide.  Members resolved to ask Honiton Glass to repair the telephone box, as the most cost-effective quote at £143.16 inc VAT. 

ACTION: Clerk to contact three other suppliers for fence repairs.

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

In her absence, Cllr Walker sent a report to say that she would check the Gittisham Vale and Hayne Farm walk ways.  She was aware of a few stinging nettles overhanging the walk through by the locked gate, opposite Hayne Farm.  Len Abbott has been busy strimming grass banks. 

33/22     To receive a report from the Chair

In her absence the Chair sent the following report: “Sorry to be missing the meeting this month. Thank you Janet for taking over.  I have no news or updates, just a big thank you to all those involved in the jubilee events last weekend. There was a good turnout from the Vale and Hayne Farm and it was lovely to see so many people enjoying themselves. The first of many parish social gatherings at the hall this summer, hopefully. The Village Hall Committee are very short of members and are in desperate need of a hall bookings clerk and a treasurer. Neither are onerous roles, but due to resignations the positions do need to be filled ASAP. Please spread the word.

Can I also add that we need to sort out our village playground a bit. The plastic fence replacement, corner fence and various safety report works should be done soon, preferably this month, before the school holidays.”

Cllr Rowe asked if the Gittisham Fete was likely to be scheduled this year.  Members agreed it was short notice to try arranging a fete for September, so Cllr Rowe agreed to get the ball rolling for next year by setting up a working group.

34/22     To approve the June payments and to note the current bank balance

Members resolved to approve the following payments:

1167       Carol Hall             £442.74 Jubilee weekend food & associated items

Cllr Rowe left the meeting.

1168       Alex Rowe            £50 Jubilee weekend disco

Cllr Rowe returned to the meeting.

1169       F Clampin             £231.73 Clerk’s salary & expenses (stamps)

1170       DALC                    £18         Being a Good Councillor, 1 x session @£18 each inc. VAT       

Cllr Twist left the meeting.  Cllr Valentine took the chair.

1171       Janet Twist            £171       Reimbursement for payment to Sidmouth Print for x500 defib leaflets 

Cllr Twist returned to the meeting and resumed the Vice Chair.

1172       Michael Poll          £65         Grass cutting, inv. ref. 10149

1173       Michael Poll          £65         Grass cutting, inv. ref. 10157

1174       Len Abbott           £58         Lengthsman work, 4xhrs April 2022 @£14.50 / hr      

1175       Len Abbott           £58         Lengthsman work, 4xhrs May 2022 @£14.50 / hr      

1176       Len Abbott           £33.54   Lengthsman expenses, petrol & nylon line      

1177       Alison Marshall    £150       Internal audit 2021-22

DD          NEST                     £22.86   Clerk’s pension (5% employer, 5% employee)

Members resolved to approve the clerk’s request to readdress cheque no. 1166 to her, as she will pay for the bus shelter solar lights by personal credit card.  (Following the meeting the clerk circulated details of this payment to members.)   Cheque number 1165 for £500 made out to Gittisham Village Hall will be cancelled, and instead £442.74 will be paid to Carol Hall to reimburse her for the jubilee weekend food and sundry items, and £50 to Alex Rowe for the jubilee disco.  Members were informed that the current bank balance stands at £22,807.46 (which includes approximately £7,000 in the business reserve account). 

35/22     To receive and note the annual internal audit report

Members noted the annual internal audit report.

36/22     To approve the annual governance statement 2021-22

Members resolved to approve the annual governance statement 2021-22.

37/22     To approve the 2021-22 accounting statements

Members resolved to adopt the 2021-22 accounts.  Prior to the meeting, the clerk circulated the accounting statements.  The parish council ended the financial year on 31st March 2022 with a balance of £21,942.80 (inc. £7,031.06 in business reserve, with £0.70 interest accumulated this year).  There is VAT to be recovered of £609.40. 

ACTION: Clerk to draw up list for the next meeting of items to be addressed by the audit report.

38/22     To consider the criteria for meeting exemption from the annual limited assurance review 2021-22, and approve the exemption certificate

Members agreed the criteria had been met, ie that during the financial year 2021-22 the higher of the parish council’s gross income or gross annual expenditure for the year did not exceed £25,000.

39/22     To set and approve the period for the exercise of public rights 2021-22

Members approved the period for the exercise of public rights to extend from 13th June to 22nd July 2022.

40/22     To consider changes to the parish council’s banking policy

Members resolved to change the banking mandate to remove David Fallows and Russell Hayman, and add Janet Twist as an authorized signatory.

ACTION: Clerk to enquire how Nat West manages payment authorization for online banking.

41/22     Clerk’s Report

The clerk said she was unlikely to make the meeting scheduled for 7th July, and would circulate possible dates.

42/22     For information only; items for the forward agenda

Internet banking policy. 

43/22     To consider any late entry correspondence

Members resolved to delegate the decision on planning application 22/1197/FUL – Curlditch House to the Chair, Vice Chair and one other councillor so that there is more time to consider the application and meet the deadline, which falls before the next parish council meeting.

44/22     Date of next two meetings  

July & August meetings 2022 tbc. 

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

Chair…………………………………….

5th July 2022