2023-02 Parish Council meeting minutes 2nd Feb 2023

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, Cllr J Fowles

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

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

151/22        To accept and approve apologies

Apologies were received and accepted.

152/22        To confirm the minutes of the meeting held on 5th January 2023

The minutes of the meeting held on 5th January 2023 were confirmed and signed by the Chair. 

153/22        To receive the Beat Manager’s Report

Dec 2022: no reported crimes.

154/22        To receive declarations of interest

Cllrs Twist and Walker declared an interest in agenda item 10, as they are members of Gittisham PCC (minute ref. 160/22). 

155/22        To consider actions from the last meeting not otherwise on the agenda

Members discussed parish council support for the Coronation of King Charles III, and agreed to put £500 towards an event.  Cllr Bruce said he would find out where the plaque had got to for last year’s jubilee tree.

ACTION: Cllr Fowles to apply for a road closure for the bottom of Old Elm Road; Chair to liaise with Gittisham Village Hall committee about an event.

Cllr Bruce said he was not aware of any policy reconsideration regarding EDDC’s draft Local Plan, in spite of comments from the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities.

156/22        Reports from County Council and District Council representatives

In his absence, Cllr Twiss sent the following report:

DCC Budget setting 2023/24 

Unlike other Government and quasi-Governmental organisations, such as the NHS, DCC is required by law to produce a balanced budget each year.  The process for 2023/24 is nearly complete, having progressed through most of the checks and balances, scrutiny and consultations it must do before reaching Full Council, to seek approval on 16th February 2023.  In normal times this is a monumental task, trying to balance the books with many competing interests for the limited resources available.  But we do not currently live in what might have previously been regarded as normal times. This time last year , having got through the worst ravages of the Covid-19 pandemic, it would have been hard for the majority of us to predict the horrifying situation in Ukraine, and the  impact of it on our economy and cost of living, making life much harder for very many  people. 

DCC puts great focus on helping those who need help most, including young people and vulnerable adults.  Items like Public Health and funding for schools are ‘ring fenced’ i.e. must be spent  on these items and so the amount that DCC can use as its day to day running or  revenue expenses is nearly £630 million in 2022/23 and a proposed £696 million in  2023/24, a 10.5% increase.  The overwhelming amount of this is invested in to Adult and Children’s services, which  are both set to get large increases of 8.8% and 18.4% respectively, largely driven by  soaring demand and the cost of providing services, many of which are mandatory for DCC to provide.  The figures are staggering and there is still never enough in the pot, where DCC is constantly looking at ways to work more efficiently and effectively for the people of  Devon, getting a share fairer share from Westminster.


As we go about our daily business it is apparent that our highways are taking a severe battering this winter, with safety defects (largely pot holes) being reported at an alarming rate over the longest roads network in England, where DCC is responsible for more than 12,800 kilometres (8,000 miles), a huge task at the best of times with limited resources.  Over and above the proposed Highways budget for 2023/24, it has been agreed to put a further £1m in to Highways drainage for 2023/24 , as I’m sure many of the  reasons for so many potholes this winter is down to water on the roads.  In the overall  scheme of things, the total amount of money to fix potholes and get our entire road  network in England to a safe and acceptable standard is quite small at approximately  £14bn pre this winters ‘rainy season’.  The problem with constantly fixing potholes is you never get ahead of the game with planned maintenance, in order to reduce them or deliver planned upgrades where money is better spent on long lasting solutions. As you might imagine DCC is constantly lobbying for increased funding on a permanent and ad hoc basis, in order to improve matters. 

Just a reminder that if you want to report a problem, including Highways defects,  faulty street lighting, flooding and blocked drains etc please visit  https://www.devon.gov.uk/roadsandtransport/report-a-problem/  (Cllr Bruce added his frustrations about the current Highways system, which he described as a reactive process that will never keep up with the ongoing damage to our roads.)

Want to hold a Coronation street party? 

Finally something to and celebrate!  DCC is inviting communities across Devon, (who prefer something local to them), to apply for a free street party licence to mark the coronation of His Majesty King Charles III and Her Majesty, The Queen Consort.  The Coronation takes place on the morning of Saturday 6th May at Westminster Abbey, and on Sunday 7th May Coronation Big Lunches will bring communities together with a special Coronation Concert at Windsor Castle.  Throughout the weekend of festivities hundreds of events, ranging from traditional street parties and lunches to Jubilee markets, fun-days, and galas, are expected with many taking place on Devon streets. 

If your community wants to hold a street party, DCC is asking that you apply using the online basic street party application to close off your street available at  https://tinyurl.com/ymxf5we9  you can do this for free and applications can be made  for Saturday 6th, Sunday 7th, or Monday 8th May.  This form is for minor residential roads and cul-de-sacs only and they will be considered on an individual basis. If you want to apply for a street closure on a busier road, applications can still be submitted by making a Special Event application at https://tinyurl.com/38cfvsrn  However, these usually require three months’ notice, and they will only be approved if it’s practical. The application may incur a fee.  DCC expects a huge number of applications, approximately 160 street closures were granted ahead of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations last year, and if you are thinking of applying, please do so ahead of the cut-off date of Sunday 26th March.

Cllr Bruce reported that despite being promised a meeting in person to discuss the Church Mead garages, it has not transpired. However, on a positive note perhaps, an assessment by EDDC has stated that it will take £4K to repair the garages to a state fit for renting. He said he had challenged this, as the cost seems excessive and he had also reminded them about his request on GPC’s behalf about taking over responsibility/maintenance and renting them. So far nothing back.

Kings Arms Farm

Cllr Bruce said he was very disappointed to hear that this application had been refused. He said he had made a strong case for approval and will now be advising the owners to appeal, pointing out that we have a good record of success in this area. Cllr Valentine added that the applicant could ask for an informal enquiry where they represent themselves, or go for written representations. 

Cllr Bruce left the meeting.

157/22   To consider the following planning application:

  • 23/0096/FUL Nags Head Farm, Nags Head Road, Gittisham EX14 3AW – Extension to agricultural building
  • 22/2845/TCA 2 Mitchell Cottages Gittisham EX14 3AF – 5x Lawson Cypress conifer, dismantle to ground level

Parish councillors resolved to have no objection to these two planning applications.

158/22     To receive reports from councillors on areas of responsibility and actions since the last meeting:

  • To note the latest planning decision notices

22/1718/FUL  Westgate  Gittisham EX14 3AU – Erection of solar panels on existing pool house / garage roof and erection of summer house. Approval, standard time limit.

  • To receive an update on Highways

6-10 March Hayne Lane closed off-peak for installation of illuminated signage on Hayne Lane rail bridge.

10-16 March Honiton bypass will have various closures for overnight maintenance.

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

Members agreed with the Chair’s summary that the parish council had explored many options of spending the first tranche of S106 money from the Hayne Farm development.  The pandemic, coupled with the rapidly increasing cost of materials, had made the process more challenging than it should have been.  However, they had to conclude that as a small parish, Gittisham would not be able to spend these funds, particularly as the criteria were so limited (to sports pitches).  Members resolved by a unanimous vote to return the whole of the first tranche to EDDC with a request to the district council to take Gittisham residents into account when redistributing this so that they could benefit.   

Parish councillors agreed to redouble their efforts to use separate S106 funds with match funding from GPC and elsewhere to install an outdoor ping pong table in the village play area.  This was one of the items put forward when parishioners were consulted previously about sports facilities in the area.  

ACTION: Clerk to write to EDDC S106 officer; Chair to speak to Honiton TC clerk; Chair to canvass residents whose homes are next to the village play area; Chair to obtain three quotes from suppliers for purchase & installation of ping pong table.    

  • To receive an update on public transport

Cllr Orchard explained that the railway between London Waterloo and Exeter has had a tough time of late, owing to track being washed away near Basingstoke. Notice boards have been installed on both bus shelters.

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

Cllr Rowe said he would ask Co-Bikes for an update, and also speak to Russell at EDDC about the Old Elm Road rewilding proposal.  Members discussed installing a bench for the coronation in the area, subject to consultation.  Cllr Twist said a local resident had donated a large number of tulip bulbs.  

ACTION: Chair to advertise tulip donation on village WhatsApp and Cllr Twist to do the same on the Hayne Farm Facebook page.  Cllr Rowe to plant some where the ‘Welcome to Gittisham’ sign used to be.    

  • To consider parish council support for scam awareness and security

Cllr Twist reported that said a new scam awareness programme is being screened on Channel 5,

Wednesday nights at 8pm.  W/c 30th Jan it featured buying on line and recommended 3 tips: 1-do your research; if it’s a firm you don’t know put their name in the search box followed by the word scam, it might show reviews; 2- never leave the platform you found them on, and 3- always pay by credit card as it adds another layer of protection. 

  • To consider limited residential development in the parish

Cllr Valentine reported that there was no update on this.

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

Cllr Fowles agreed to follow up with Combe Estate now the shooting season has finished.

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

ACTION: Cllr Valentine to send the clerk contact details for an alternative playground safety inspector.

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

Cllr Walker reported there was no update on this. 

159/22     To receive a report from the Chair

The Chair said she had received an email from a resident asking if changes could be made to the areas covered by the 30mph limit at Hayne Farm.  Cllr Orchard reported that DCC is looking at this, according to Cllr Twiss. 

ACTION: Clerk to contact Russell Hayman to ask if he would like to be reimbursed in some way for the hedge cutting he had carried out on behalf of the parish.  Also to ask regarding wording of the plaque on the tree in the play area.

Cllrs Walker and Twist left the meeting.

160/22     To consider a request by Gittisham PCC to fund repairs to the lych gate

Members resolved to approve a contribution towards the consultant’s fees for a report to assess the condition of the lych gate, provided the PCC obtains three quotes and value for money.  Councillors were satisfied that it was appropriate to proceed, having taken legal advice from DALC / NALC on this matter.

ACTION: Clerk to contact James Fuller.

Cllrs Walker and Twist returned to the meeting.

161/22     To consider recurring sewage problems at Hayne Farm

The clerk said that South West Water had not yet adopted the drainage / sewage system on the development, although it’s understood they have sent engineers to investigate. Some residents have reported problems, particularly following periods of high rainfall.  Baker Estates are responsible for the system until Hayne Farm is completed; the clerk said she would flag this up with them.  Councillors agreed that this exposed weakness in the current infrastructure, which would come under further pressure if EDDC approved any additional development close by.

ACTION: Clerk to contact Graham Hutton at Baker Estates.

162/22     To consider play equipment at Hayne Farm

Members approved the Chair’s email to a Hayne Farm resident who had asked if it was possible to improve the local play park with the parish council’s support.  The Chair explained the situation regarding the criteria for S106 spending, ownership of the site, maintenance and insurance, and said that any future collaboration would have to be consulted on.  Funding for new equipment could come from other sources such as the National Lottery. 

143/22     To approve the February payments and to note the current bank balance

                F Clampin             £228.74 Clerk’s salary + expenses £2.70 (petrol)

                Sara Trumper       £187.69 Reimbursement for food & sundries, Gittisham Community Kitchen, Jan 2023

                Community Heartbeat Trust £162 Hayne Farm defib annual support cost yr2      

                Arthur J Gallagher Insurance £275.54        Lengthsman public liability insurance

Websites Ahoy         £65       Support & maintenance of website during 2022, inc setting up gittisham.org.uk email addresses

DD          NEST                     £22.86   Clerk’s pension  

Members were informed that the current bank balance stands at £19,788.20 (which includes approximately £7,000 in the business reserve account). 

ACTION: Clerk to investigate councillors’ expenses allowance limit, and information to be provided in the event of a claim.

164/22     To approve a supplier for the Gittisham play area maintenance contract, 2023-24

The clerk said she had approached three contractors to invite them to bid for the annual maintenance contract.  Members resolved to appoint Michael Poll for another year.

ACTION: Clerk to contact Michael Poll.

165/22     To update the parish council’s banking policy and existing bank mandate

The clerk reported that online banking is now up and running.  However, the current financial regulations still request two authorised signatories, of which the clerk cannot be one.  Bankline only allows for authorised signatories to process payments, which are currently being handled by Cllr Twist and the Chair.  Members agreed the clerk could discuss the situation with the internal auditor in May.

ACTION: Cllr Twist to order online banking tools for Cllr Valentine. 

166/22     Clerk’s Report

The clerk said she needed a person’s name from National Highways (who own the land where the postbox is located on Hayne Lane) in order to process the request to move it.    

ACTION: Cllr Rowe to send details to the clerk. 

167/22     For information only; items for the forward agenda

Grant-giving policy, publication scheme, complaints policy, anti-fraud & corruption policy, Freedom of Information Scheme, code of conduct, Statement of Internal Control, Financial Regulations and Risk Management.

168/22     To consider any late entry correspondence


169/22     Date of next two meetings  

Thursday 2nd March and Thursday 6th April 2023 at 7.30pm. 

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


2nd March 2023