2022-10 Parish Council meeting minutes 6th October 2022

Held in Gittisham Parish Room


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

In attendance: Cllr Alasdair Bruce (EDDC), Fiona Clampin (clerk)

Apologies for absence: Cllr J Fowles, Cllr Phil Twiss (DCC), PCSO Darren England

78/22        To accept and approve apologies

Apologies were received and accepted.

79/22        To confirm the minutes of the meeting held on 1st September 2022

The minutes of the meeting held on 1st September 2022 were confirmed and signed by the Chair. 

80/22        To receive the Beat Manager’s Report

July 2022: 2 x violence & sexual offences, Laburnum Close & Landscores Lane

81/22        To receive declarations of interest

Cllrs Twist and Walker declared an interest in agenda item 9c), as they are members of Gittisham PCC (minute ref. 85/22 c).

82/22        To consider actions from the last meeting not otherwise on the agenda

Cllr Valentine said that he and the Chair would be attending a webinar on EDDC’s emerging Local Plan on 20th October at 7pm. 

83/22        Reports from County Council and District Council representatives

Covid / ‘flu

In his absence, Cllr Twiss sent the following report: “As we move towards late autumn and winter, everyone who is eligible for a free ‘flu vaccine and COVID-19 booster is being urged to take up the offer as soon as they are invited to do so.  It’s because cases of coronavirus are already beginning to rise across the UK, and in Devon, and natural immunity against flu is relatively low, because despite it being present last winter, coronavirus restrictions helped protect people from catching it.  People who are older or who have other health conditions that make them vulnerable, are at greatest risk this winter. And study results from early in the pandemic show that people who catch both ‘flu and COVID-19 at the same time are around twice as likely to die, compared to those who only have COVID-19.

At the moment, the flu vaccine is being given free on the NHS to adults who:

  • are 65 years old and over (including those who will be 65 by 31 March 2023)
  • have certain health conditions, such as asthma and diabetes
  • are pregnant
  • are in long-stay residential care
  • receive a carer’s allowance, or are the main carer for an older or disabled person who may be at risk if you get sick
  • live with someone who is more likely to get a severe infection due to a weakened immune system, such as someone living with HIV, someone who has had a transplant, or is having certain treatments for cancer, lupus or rheumatoid arthritis
  • are frontline health or social care workers

From mid-October, people aged 50 years old or over (including those who will be 50 years old by 31 March 2023) can also have a free NHS ‘flu vaccine.  All primary school and some secondary school children are eligible for the ‘flu nasal spray this year, which is usually given at school.  GP surgeries are also inviting children aged two and three years old (age on 31 August) for their nasal spray vaccination at their practices.

As the weather cools down, COVID is making an unwelcome return (if it ever went away!) Over the past three weeks those patients in our Devon hospitals i.e. Derriford, RD&E, Torbay, and North Devon) diagnosed with COVID, numbers have moved up steadily from 51 to 138 to 185 so we are in a changeable position.  Thankfully we have not seen a corresponding rise of patients in intensive care, currently, just 2 on mechanical ventilation.  The media are now talking about a ‘Twindemic’ with ‘flu joining up, so do get a ‘flu jab and COVID jab depending upon your circumstances.

At the moment, those being prioritised for a seasonal booster dose (autumn booster) of the COVID-19 vaccine include people who are:

  • aged 65 years old or over
  • pregnant
  • aged 5 years old and over and at high risk due to a health condition or weakened immune system
  • aged 5 years old and over and live with someone who has a weakened immune system
  • aged 16 years old and over and a carer, either paid or unpaid
  • living or working in a care home for older people
  • a frontline health and social care worker

Other people, including those aged 50 to 64 years old who are not at higher risk, will be able to get the booster jab later in the autumn 2022.

Police update

Devon & Cornwall Police has a new Chief Constable.  The Police & Crime Panel endorsed the appointment of DCC Will Kerr OBE.  He is currently Deputy Chief Constable for Police Scotland.  A highly experienced officer, where before his current appointment he held senior appointments in the Police Service of Northern Ireland and the National Crime Agency.

Hate Crime: 2,564 hate crimes were recorded in the 12 months to June 2022.  This is worryingly a 46% increase (+800) when compared to the statistical ‘baseline’ year, the 12 months to June 2019.  Despite the observed increase, it is difficult to make objective inferences about performance based on increases or decreases in hate crime; victims may be more confident to report to the police.  Conversely, the trend could also be interpreted as negative because it could be reflective of a ‘real’ increase in victimisation.  44% of all hate crimes were public order-related and these were predominantly racially or religiously aggravated.

101 call waiting times: 101 or P1 (Priority 1) non-emergency calls are those calls that are identified by the Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system as high priority.  These include calls relating to domestic abuse, sexual offences, hate crime, missing persons, and road safety.  In the year to July 2022, the average wait time on the P1 line was 17 minutes – this is an increase of 11 minutes 57 seconds when compared with the ‘baseline’ year the 12 months to July 2020.  Unsurprisingly, fewer calls have been received in the latest period, fewer answered and a higher abandonment rate is evident.  The Police and Crime Commissioner is addressing this as a matter of urgency and I will continue to lobby her for the re-opening of the front desk at Honiton Police Station for face to face reporting.


I hope to meet Matt Galley of Jurassic Fibre and Justin Lascelles of Combe Estate in the next couple of weeks to discuss the issue of wayleaves that will enable the rollout of ultrafast broadband to Gittisham more quickly by way of a ‘soft dig’, rather than a ‘hard dig’ via the Highways network.  I would add that talking to Matt very recently, Jurassic are committed to delivery of their service to Gittisham.”

Cllr Bruce said progress working with EDDC officers remains at a glacial pace for the most part, as can be seen by the ongoing issue of the EDDC garages. This exasperating issue drags on with several residents reporting to him that they have either been dealt with rudely or told incorrect information or both. After some vague email traffic back in 2021, he said he emailed the council for an update and was told that the final step to get the garages back in use required the Property and Asset team to inspect them. The request went in on March 18th, and he heard today that there would be a meeting next week.  Frustrating barely covers this farce, he said.  Regarding the bridge at Church Mead, Cllr Bruce reported there would be a meeting onsite of the property & asset team to assess the repairs needed.

Cllr Bruce explained that he had been asked to look at recent developments at the Heathpark Estate and received the following reply. “The planning permission for ‘unit B’ is 20/2751/FUL. The delegated report for this application sets out what I think is a useful section relating to the Planning history of the development of the site, which, going back to the 2009 permission referred to therein, includes the units nearer to the Cameron Fuller Ltd. premises that have now been completed for a couple of years.  There have, since the 2009 permission, been a number of approved applications for variations to the original approved layout, of which 20/2751/FUL is one.  As originally approved in 2009, ‘unit B’ was a smaller unit laid out alongside another unit (‘unit C’) within this part of the site. Planning permission 20/2751/FUL approved their substitution for a single larger unit.”

The Strategic Plan still rumbles on with a decision on what form the public consultation will take to be made in November. As those of you that have taken the time to watch on YouTube will have seen, the issue of sewerage capacity has been raised as a serious concern going forward, plus the fact that many of the sites discussed fall foul of the council’s own sustainability policy. It will therefore be interesting to see what finally emerges in November.

Around the district.

Cllr Bruce said he was pleased to attend a brief opportunity to look in on the culvert works on the main rail line at Feniton recently. As a fundamental part of the flood alleviation works for this village, it was a pleasant surprise to see the works were on time and in budget. There was a small oversight by the contractor with regard to the late ordering of inspection chambers either side of the line, but this did not result in any delay to the reopening of the line, and the costs are to be borne by the contractor. This now means that all the remaining building works can proceed without delay and hopefully put an end to the misery of flooding events in this village.

The avian bird flu epidemic is still exacting a terrible toll on our wild bird population, especially sea birds. He had never experienced seeing the number of carcasses washing up on our beaches, which we know is just the tip of the iceberg. What the impact going forward to the fish stocks of this catastrophe are will only become clear over time. DEFRA are apparently doing their best with the limited resources available and one can only hope that the remaining bird population can ride this out in time.

Cllr Bruce left the meeting.

84/22     To consider the following planning applications:

a) 22/2023/TCA Olive Tree Cottage Gittisham EX14 3AF T1, Lime : To crown lift over adjacent buildings to give a 3 metre clearance from property; to reduce weight and increase light levels via a crown thin removing 20% of the foliar area, target pruning cuts of up to 75mm; T2, Elm : Dismantle to ground level; the tree is in decline with poor vitality, possibly suffering from DED; it is also suppressed by the adjacent Lime.

Members resolved to have no objection to this application.

85/22     To receive reports from councillors on areas of responsibility and actions since the last meeting:

  • To note the latest planning decision notices

Appeal Ref: APP/U1105/W/22/3298314 The Cider Barn, Goldcombe Farmhouse, Gittisham, EX14 3AB

The appeal is allowed and planning permission is granted for change of use from holiday let to dwelling. 

  • To receive an update on Highways

3–28 October Hayne Lane closed south of the farm shop for construction of new retaining wall; a diversion will be in place via Devonshire Road, Sidmouth Road and Beech Walk.  (Revised dates.) 

21 November Jurassic Fibre will be carrying out telecom works for two days on Hayne Lane.  Closure north of old A30 junction to Weston 1900–0700 nightly.

28 Nov–2 Dec Chestnut Way off Old Elm Road will be resurfaced, so displaced parking likely on Old Elm Rd near the roundabout.

Cllr Orchard reported that work to clear the balancing pond along Old Elm Road had been completed.

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

Cllr Orchard said that Honiton Town Council had been in touch again to enquire as to when they could expect S106 funds that GPC was unable to spend to be forthcoming. The Chair said she would speak to a contact who could advise on next steps and she urged all members to reflect further on the items that would meet the sport / play criteria in the parish. 

Regarding CIL, the clerk said that £5,856.69 CIL funds remained in the parish council’s bank account.  Members discussed using it to upgrade the bus shelters, and whether goal posts, balls and a shed to store such items would meet the criteria.  The swing replacements had been funded from CIL.  The Chair said the flower show committee had offered the parish council £400 that had accumulated over time to pay towards a new noticeboard on the village bus shelter.  Members agreed that it was better to spend the existing high reserves than accept the donation, although they welcomed the offer.  Cllrs Walker and Twist declared an interest, when the Chair suggested that the £400 could perhaps be directed to the church. 

ACTION: Cllr Orchard to check the quotes received so far for work in the play area.  The Chair to obtain three quotes for smartening up the bus shelters and installing a new noticeboard.

  • To receive an update on public transport

Cllr Orchard said that track speed restrictions on a stretch of the journey from Waterloo have resulted in a service every 2 hours to Exeter. Problems discovered during the closure last month mean that another extended weekday closure is likely this autumn.

Cllr Valentine expressed his frustration at Stagecoach’s policy not to consider 16-18 year olds in full-time education who live along a Stagecoach bus route as students.  He said those children are not allowed to take the transport provided by DCC to Kings School, and are obliged to pay the adult fare between the village and the school.  However, students attending Exeter College qualify for a student discount.  He said he would continue to make the case in collaboration with Cllr Twiss.

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

Cllr Rowe said the joint event between EDDC and GPC on 13th September had laid out details of a preliminary plan to rewild part of the land along Old Elm Road.  Members discussed the concerns expressed by a resident, who felt that allowing trees and plants to grow could potentially attract undesirable activities, including those of a sexual nature.  There was also concern over the future maintenance of the land.  Councillors agreed to await the outcome of the public consultation before taking any further action.  Cllr Rowe said it would be likely that GPC could be called on to contribute towards the installation of grasscrete from where the pavement finishes behind Laburnum Close.

Cllr Rowe said he was waiting for more information about EV charging points.  He said he had also been in touch with Co-Bike, the on-demand electric bike scheme which has cycles for hire at Honiton Station.  He would enquire as to whether they would be interested in a charging point in the village.  Cllr Rowe said he would get in touch with Combe Estate to ask if they would support the idea of solar panels on the village hall.

ACTION: Cllr Rowe to contact Co-Bikes and Combe Estate.

  • To consider parish council support for scam awareness and security

Cllr Twist said police in Devon have issued a warning after an elderly man fell victim to a phone scam and lost more than £10k.  Also, there are fake texts circulating claiming to be from the Government inviting people to apply for the £400 energy bill support.  This support will be given automatically with no need to apply.  People are being urged to use Multi Factor Authentication as much as they can, but especially on important websites like banks, and anywhere else they are offered.

  • To consider limited residential development in the parish

Cllr Valentine reported that there had been no progress.

  • To consider making an application for a permissive path, Goldcombe-Hayne Lane

Members approved the letter to Combe Estate drafted by Cllr Fowles.

ACTION: Clerk to send letter.

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

Cllr Walker reported that she and Len Abbott had been on site to discuss the items identified in the play area inspection report, particularly those referring to rotten wood, and concluded they did not need replacing at this time.  Cllr Valentine said he would pass on details of a play area inspector to the clerk.  Cllr Twist reported that the Hayne Farm play area was not yet finished.

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

ACTION: Cllr Orchard to ask the lengthsman to trim the brambles by the large gate on Old Elm Road.  

86/22     To receive a report from the Chair

The Chair said she had completed a grant application to ask for support for the community kitchen, and she could also apply to Cllr Twiss’s locality budget.

87/22     To consider decorating and / or refurbishing the parish council’s bus shelters

Discussed under minute ref. 85/22 c.

88/22     To approve the October payments and to note the current bank balance

Members resolved to approve the following payments:

1195      F Clampin            £228.74 Clerk’s salary

1196      Michael Poll        £65        Grass cutting, inv. ref. 10161

1197      Len Abbott          £29   Lengthsman work, 2hrs September 2022 @£14.50 / hr          

DD         NEST                   £22.86   Clerk’s pension  

Members were informed that the current bank balance stands at £24,196.43 (which includes approximately £7,000 in the business reserve account). 

89/22     To update the parish council’s banking policy and the existing bank mandate

The clerk said progress was being made on the bank mandate.

90/22     To review the items highlighted in the annual internal audit report, 2021-22

The clerk said she had taken advice from Clare Bryden from Websites Ahoy, and members agreed that accessibility should take precedence over using the auditor’s templates that do not meet accessibility guidelines.  Members resolved to adopt Clare Bryden’s suggestion of gittisham.org.uk email addresses in line with the website domain name. 

91/22     Clerk’s Report

Members agreed with EDDC’s suggestion to swap the dog waste bin by the gate at the bottom of Old Elm Road for a litter bin, which can be emptied 3x per week.  The charge for this collection is £300 (21/22 figure), plus bin cost and installation.  The clerk said Graham Hutton from Baker Estates had said he would support a new post box for Hayne Farm, but would leave it to the parish council to make enquiries.

ACTION: Cllr Orchard to write a letter to Royal Mail, suggesting the box south of Weston (in Gittisham parish) is re-sited to Hayne Farm.  Clerk to reply to EDDC to request they install the replacement litter bin on the turning circle, on the edge of the grass area by the rocks.  

92/22     For information only; items for the forward agenda

Funding organisations with direct benefit to parishioners; bank mandate; decorating / refurbishing bus shelters.

93/22     To consider any late entry correspondence


94/22     Date of next two meetings  

15th November and 1st December 2022. 

There being no further business, the meeting closed at 2130 hrs.


15th November 2022