2022-07 Parish Council meeting minutes 5th July 2022




in Gittisham Village Hall


Village ward: Cllr C Hall (Chair), Cllr M Walker, Cllr D Valentine, Cllr A Rowe

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

In attendance: Cllr Phil Twiss (DCC), Graham Hutton (Baker Estates), Fiona Clampin (clerk)

Apologies for absence: Cllr Alasdair Bruce (EDDC), PCSO Darren England

45/22        To accept and approve apologies

Apologies were received and accepted.

46/22        To confirm the minutes of the meeting held 9th June 2022

The minutes of the meeting held on 9th June 2022 were confirmed and signed by the Chair. 

47/22        To receive the Beat Manager’s Report

April 2022 – 1 x shoplifting, Devonshire Road.

48/22        To receive declarations of interest


49/22        To consider actions from the last meeting not otherwise on the agenda

Cllr Valentine said EDDC’s Local Plan is going through the assessment stage.  The strategic planning committee will present its proposals for the main settlements including Honiton at a meeting on 9th August.  Cllr Valentine said that with no parish council meeting in August, he would refer to the Chair and Vice Chair if any GPC representation at this meeting is necessary.

50/22        Reports from County Council and District Council representatives

Covid update

Cllr Twiss said the increase in Covid cases is being attributed to the new faster-spreading BA.4 and BA.5 sub-variants of Omicron, which make up more than half of new infections in England, and more people mixing socially.  While the new sub-variants are more transmissible, it is not having the same health impact. So while we are seeing a slight increase in the number of people in hospital with COVID-19, we are fortunately not seeing an increase in those patients in High Dependency Units.

National advice has not changed. If you have symptoms of a respiratory infection, such as COVID-19, and you have a high temperature or do not feel well, try to stay at home and avoid contact with others.  Face coverings are no longer mandatory in health settings, such as GP surgeries or hospitals.  But there are situations where people should consider wearing them e.g. when visiting the GP or hospital, where you are more likely to be in contact with vulnerable people.

The government’s spring booster vaccinations are still available for the moment, and there will be vaccination clinics available over the summer. An autumn booster for vulnerable groups will also become available.  Testing is no longer expected for most people, although it is required for people who are clinically vulnerable in order to access other treatments. However, if people still have any test kits, they could use them ahead of situations where they know they’ll be in close contact with vulnerable people.

Simple hand hygiene is also still important, not just to protect from coronavirus, but also for fighting other infectious illnesses. It’s a simple precaution, but still highly effective.

Shop Local

The results of a Devon-wide consumer survey reveals that 88 per cent of local people try to buy Devon-sourced goods whenever possible, which presents a huge opportunity for local businesses.  While still relatively early days, the ‘Made in Devon’ scheme, see https://www.madeindevon.org.uk/ is beginning to get up a head of steam, where businesses can advertise that they are a trustworthy business supplying Devon-sourced products whenever possible, and that those claims have been vetted by trading standards. Membership is also available to Devon-based companies in other sectors including retail, arts, and other services.

The idea of ‘Made in Devon’ is to encourage consumers to keep buying quality local products and services, to bring long-term, sustainable prosperity to the region and to help in the region’s economic recovery.  This is being done by encouraging sales and consumption of the incredible range of quality products and services which we have in Devon, supporting local businesses, and establishing Devon as a source of quality local products and services.  Supporting local keeps money in the community, as local businesses have lower overheads such as transportation, which, in turn is better for the environment.  It could be the farm shop down the road, the local producer of skincare and bath products, who lives next door etc; buying local helps them and their businesses survive, but it also helps avoid the supply issues that have been experienced by many national retailers.  Maintaining local supply lines between producers, restaurants, schools, and hospitals for instance, it creates jobs and if businesses can demonstrate that its goods are local it will give confidence to the consumer. 

Jobs in Devon

There remains a shortage of people to work in all sectors in Devon, and the Devon Jobs website https://www.devonjobs.gov.uk/ shows a wide range of opportunities in full-time and part-time employment. Much of the shortfall in people available to work is due to people taking planned or early retirement.

Many posts in the health and social care sectors remain unfilled, in some part due to the lack of affordable housing, and DCC is working with district councils to try to address this problem.

Integrated Care System

The very recent launch of the ‘One Devon’ integrated care system, see https://www.icsdevon.co.uk/ is sure to have passed by many people, but is the biggest shake up of health and care systems in my lifetime.  The Integrated Care System for Devon (ICSD) is a partnership of health and social care organisations working together with local communities across Devon, Plymouth and Torbay to improve people’s health, wellbeing and care.  Put simply, it is a more joined-up approach to improving how people are cared for from G.P. to acute hospital services, to help at home.

In his absence, Cllr Bruce sent the following report: “I have been asked to send a statement to the planning inspector ahead of his/her deliberations on the appeal submitted by Peter & Ann Stansell.  I’m hoping to make the case and demonstrate that local planning restrictions can often be out of step with the reality of community needs, given the rapid change of pace currently impacting our lives.

The condition of the Church Mead bridge was brought to my attention by Maggie Walker.  l was able to get a district surveyor out rapidly to assess the issue with result that a temporary metal plate is to be installed to maintain access until a more permanent repair can be affected. The issue of responsibility for repair is also being looked into, so that everyone knows where they stand for this, and any future repairs when they are needed. I believe that EDDC has been slow to respond to the original complaint over the deteriorating condition of the bridge, but that future reporting of problems will be actioned a lot quicker.

Around the district.

Don’t forget to claim your council tax energy rebate. So far £6.2 million has been paid out in East Devon by the government to help offset the spiralling energy costs.

It is with sadness l have to report that a spate of vandalism and graffiti has hit a number of our coastal towns. Sidmouth has seen damage to public toilets, and Exmouth has seen a skate park defaced plus excessive litter on its beaches. It is to be hoped these are isolated events but, as is always the case, there is a financial cost to be borne by the district and eventually us all.

In an ironic twist of fate, there has been a large increase in sightings of migrating red kites into our district just as we are preparing to export some chicks to Spain. Along with the growing success of the reintroduction of the magnificent white-tailed eagle, the return to our skies of these fabulous raptors is a welcome site. Although, of course, not everyone appreciates these birds as was so fatally demonstrated by the possible deliberate poisoning of two eagles in Dorset last year. However, with proper information and education, the potential impact of these birds on our farming and hunting communities can be managed.”

51/22        To receive an update on Hayne Farm from Baker Estates

Graham Hutton (Baker Estates) ran through the outline application BE has submitted for 37 homes adjacent to the current Hayne Farm development.  The principle of the site appears shaded green in the EDDC Local Plan.  Mr Hutton said there had been consultation with local people, which resulted in some changes to the masterplan including the resiting of a pumping station.  Mr Hutton said the S106 figures are yet to be clarified by officers, so the affordable housing percentage is still to be defined because of this.  If it was an allocated site, it would carry a 25% affordable housing element.  Cllr Twiss asked if BE would be working with Sovereign to deliver the affordable housing, but Mr Hutton said a call-out for providers would happen if and when planning permission is granted.  Mr Hutton said he would check the number of completions, and also for an update on the play park.  The playground equipment has been installed, but it is still enclosed by a fence because of seeding.  Mr Hutton also promised to investigate the situation with pavement parking.

Cllr Twiss left the meeting.

52/22     To consider the following planning applications:

a) 22/1197/FUL Curlditch House Gittisham EX14 3AE Proposed siting of x5 Shepherd’s Huts in the field southeast of Curlditch House

b) 22/1322/MOUT Land at Hayne Farm Hayne Lane Gittisham Demolition of existing farm buildings and redevelopment for up to 37 dwellings, formation of access, associated infrastructure and open space (outline application seeking approval of details of access only)

Members expressed concerns about a), concerns which have been voiced by parishioners and the council has also encouraged them to make their own comments on the planning application.  Curlditch House and the cottages at Riverside are part of the Conservation Area and are particularly noted in their Listing (Listed Buildings) for their character and setting as a group of buildings. Disruption to this should not happen and the addition of mobile holiday accommodation in the grounds of Curlditch would affect the character of this area and their setting. The main house at Curlditch currently enjoys an open view to the grounds in front of it and the proposal would include planting to screen the house from the holiday homes. The Parish Council suggest that the proposed mobile holiday homes could be incorporated within the main area of the Pig Hotel at Combe House, where there are already garden buildings and car parks.

The parish council is always aware of the impact of any development on climate change. These units will be available year-round and yet there appears to be little to minimise the impact on the climate of heating them. There will hopefully be electric car charging points at the car parks, which is good to hear.  The additional five cars visiting the hotel is also significant and the people staying in the huts will want to drive their cars to the hotel to get meals, use the spa facilities, etc.

Sewage capacity has been a problem since the hotel expanded from Combe House Hotel to The Pig. There has been an ongoing sewage leak problem by the village bridge. It is under control now but there is a sensor at the manhole there.  The planning application talks about the area being in use at the moment as access across the area from the staff car park via a footbridge. This is incorrect and implies that there is already regular use of this area, as well as the chickens. There is no staff car park and no footbridge here.  Although the lighting at the huts has been recommended to be restricted because of bats, there will be outside lights and also inside the vans. The village is special in having no street lights and the skies here are jaw-droppingly dark. Any extra lighting is a shame.  If the development were to go ahead, the Council would like to see some apple trees planted in that area, as it used to be an orchard.

Regarding b), councillors did not object to the outline application, but had concerns about highways, the impact on the junction with Furze Close and increased traffic passing underneath the railway bridge.  They were puzzled by EDDC’s proposal to develop Devonshire Road further as employment / industrial land, so close to residential.  Cllr Valentine advised that this is not usually considered to be a favourable mix, and members agreed they would like to see a proper assessment carried out. 

The clerk read out a message from a Hayne Farm resident objecting to the outline application.

Graham Hutton and Cllr Valentine left the meeting.

53/22     To receive a proposal from Gittisham Community Kitchen to support a weekly evening meal for residents

Members discussed the proposal in relation to the annual budget, and resolved to award the project £250 towards the cost of hiring the village hall.

54/22     To receive reports from councillors on areas of responsibility and actions since the last meeting:

  • To note the latest planning decision notices

None.  Cllr Orchard agreed to investigate the additional building which had appeared on the corner of Devonshire Road.

  • To receive an update on Highways

Cllr Orchard reported that EDDC has promised Cllr Twiss that the grill on Old Elm Road balancing pond will be cleared in October, once animals have finished nesting.  The landslip in Hayne Lane has been temporarily supported with ballast.  Also on Hayne Lane, the hedgerow and trees from the railway bridge to Devonshire Road have been butchered down to about 3ft and the site on that corner has been cleared.  The road past Pomeroy Lodge will be closed 26th –28th July for resurfacing.

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


  • To receive an update on public transport

Cllr Orchard said Stagecoach had announced it would be issuing a revised timetable for the 4a/b bus, to be replaced by the new 44 service at the end of July, but there was no detail yet on how this would affect the parish.

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

Cllr Twist said the defibrillator is now live, all the leaflets have been distributed, with Sovereign Housing and Baker Estates being provided with a stock to be included in new residents’ packs.  Over the coming weeks she will ask if any of the residents wish to attend an awareness session provided by Community Heartbeat.  Baker Estates have offered the use of the sales office for the session(s). 

  • To consider climate change measures within the parish

Cllr Rowe distributed details of a preliminary plan by EDDC to rewild part of the land along Old Elm Road, which was welcomed by members.  The district council will apply for funding, which if approved could lead to the creation of a small wetland area and pond, among other things, where residents can help nature recover and enjoy the subsequent benefits.  Cllr Fowles asked about overgrown hedges in the area.

  • To consider parish council support for scam awareness and security

Cllr Twist said “authorised push payments” scams have increased by 46% in a year.  Such scams are costing £500 million and affect 200,000 people.  Investment fraud costs £166 million, and romance fraud £3 0million affecting 3000 people.  She said the UK has the unenviable title of fraud capital of the world, and there is not enough resources put into prevention. Companies are not required to inform people if they have had a data breach, so your details may have been taken even if you have done all you can to protect yourself.  It is worth checking on https://haveibeenpwned.com/

  • To consider limited residential development in the parish

There was no update on this.

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

Members resolved to appoint Michael Poll to carry out the repair to the fence and two wooden gates, replacing the current structures which have been damaged.  The clerk advised that fluctuating costs might result in changes to the quote of £540, and there could be a delay in sourcing the large gate due to current supply issues.

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

Cllr Walker said she would speak to the lengthsman about the play area safety report. 

55/22     To receive a report from the Chair

The Chair said it was great that the defib project has finally been completed and the council will support whatever is needed to ensure training is available. She thanked Cllr Twist on behalf of the parish.  We must spend some time over the summer thinking about how to spend the playground money and make a start on this as an autumn project. It’s been difficult to progress with Covid and now builder limitations and so it’s time to re-assess our playground needs and be sensible about what we can deliver.

She said she had been contacted by neighbours about the Curlditch planning application which had led her into fascinating reading about EDDCs policy on mobile holiday homes.  She had also been contacted about the proposed-but-denied footpath from Hayne Farm to the village, connecting the two halves of the parish. There is definite support for it within the community and perhaps there is a better route for it which the landowner would support.  The Chair said she felt the parish council should take this forward. 

We will not be meeting in August, so please do have a happy summer but also keep up the good work in all that you are doing for our parish. It is appreciated!

56/22     To approve the July payments and to note the current bank balance

Members resolved to approve the following payments:

1178       F Clampin             £230.10 Clerk’s salary & expenses (stamps)

1179       Michael Poll          £65         Grass cutting, inv. ref. 10161

1180       Michael Poll          £65         Grass cutting, inv. ref. 10163

1181       Honiton Glass          £143.16         Telephone box repair

1182       Gittisham Parish Hall          £20         Hall hire, June & July 2022

1183       F Clampin             £228.74 Clerk’s salary (as no August meeting)

1184       Len Abbott           £159.50         Lengthsman work, 11xhrs May 2022 @£14.50 / hr      

1185       Len Abbott           £9.86   Lengthsman expenses, petrol      

1186       Gittisham Parish Hall    £250       Hall hire, Gittisham Community Kitchen

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

DD          NEST                     £22.86   Clerk’s pension (as no August meeting)

Members were informed that the current bank balance stands at £21,611.38 (which includes approximately £7,000 in the business reserve account). 

57/22     To update the parish council’s banking policy and the existing bank mandate

The clerk said she would be circulating a hard copy of a new bank mandate for the authorized signatories to sign, removing David Fallows and Russell Hayman, and adding Janet Twist as an authorized signatory.  She explained that Nat West had suggested applying for Bankline for Communities, an online payments system which would not require the parish council to change the number of signatories required to authorize payments.  It uses dual authority on payments.

ACTION: Clerk to apply for Bankline for Communities.

58/22     To review the items highlighted in the annual internal audit report, 2021-22

This was deferred for discussion at September’s meeting.

59/22     Clerk’s Report

Cllr Rowe agreed to pick up the solar lights from the clerk’s house for the bus shelters.

60/22     For information only; items for the forward agenda

Internal audit report 2021-22.

61/22     To consider any late entry correspondence


62/22     Date of next two meetings  

1st September and 6th October 2022. 

There being no further business, the meeting closed at 2035 hrs.


1st September 2022