2023-03 Parish Council meeting minutes 2nd March 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

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

Apologies for absence: Cllr J Fowles, PCSO Darren England

170/22        To accept and approve apologies

Apologies were received and accepted.

171/22        To confirm the minutes of the meeting held on 2nd February 2023

The minutes of the meeting held on 2nd February 2023 were confirmed and signed by the Chair. 

172/22        To receive the Beat Manager’s Report

Jan 2023: no reported crimes.

173/22        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. 179/22).  Cllrs Hall & Valentine declared an interest in agenda item 7a) and b), as they are the respective owners of adjoining properties (minute ref. 176/22).

174/22        To consider actions from the last meeting not otherwise on the agenda

Cllr Valentine reported that EDDC had passed a resolution at its meeting on 14th February regarding the draft Local Plan to continue with background technical work, including discussions with consultees and infrastructure providers.  But no further discussions or decisions will be made with regard to the sites or their allocations until the government has delivered the finalised National Planning Policy Framework.

The clerk said she was still investigating ownership of the land on which the postbox near Trafalgar Bridge is located.  Members agreed an application for a new postbox at Hayne Farm should be made instead.

ACTION: Cllr Valentine to provide a short piece for the Gittisham Gazette on EDDC’s resolution, if the gazette is published this month.

175/22        Reports from County Council and District Council representatives

Bus Fares £2 scheme extended 

Cllr Twiss reported that the Government’s fare cap scheme, encouraging passengers to ‘Get Around for £2’ has now been extended to the end of June 2023.  The scheme is backed by Government funding, and offers a saving of 30% on the average single fare. It’s hoped the scheme will encourage people to swap their cars for bus journeys, helping families save money during cost of living pressures, while also reducing carbon emissions by taking cars off the road and encouraging greater bus use to help the industry in its continued recovery from the pandemic.  DCC is pleased that all bus companies operating commercial and supported bus services in Devon have agreed to participate in the scheme. Full details of all eligible services can be found on the DFT website at  https://www.gov.uk/guidance/2-bus-fare-cap#south-west DCC will continue lobbying government alongside industry bodies, to implement  long-term funding reform to avoid more uncertainty and give everyone access to  affordable and reliable bus services. 

Be prepared for the unexpected 

Communities in Devon are being invited to apply for funding to help them be better prepared for emergencies or unexpected events. Independent charity Devon Communities Together https://devoncommunities.org.uk/ is working with DCC and the Environment Agency to provide the funding opportunities.  This latest programme is financed by DCC and the South West Regional Flood & Coastal Committee local levy funding, and is administered by DCT as part of its role in the Devon Community Resilience Forum (DCRF), whose core mission to help communities prepare for, and respond to, emergencies. 

Scheme 1 – up to £250 for communities that wish to develop their own Community Emergency Plan.

The Devon Community Resilience Board (DCRB) wants to encourage more communities to produce a Community Emergency Plan (CEP).  A CEP is a document which helps guide a community to organise a response to a local emergency: from flooding or snow to the completely unexpected. They ideally need to be updated every three years, however some communities in Devon either don’t have a plan in place or are not sure how to put together a support document for their community. The aim is that by providing this funding, many more communities across the county will be able to put plans in place to ensure their resilience in case anything happens within their community.  Once approved and completed, the DCRB will upload a completed CEP to a secure government gateway. This enables emergency responders to combine local knowledge with their expertise, allowing an effective place-based, joined-up response.  Devon’s communities can bid for this fund to help form their own Community Emergency Planning group.  Further guidance and support on creating the group can also be provided from the DCRF with in-person attendance from a Devon Communities Together Resilience Project Officer. https://www.devoncommunities.org.uk/grant-funding-emergency-flood-resilience    

Scheme 2 – up to £1,500 for small scale works and resilience equipment (once a CEP is in place).

Experience has shown that a wide range of small resilience measures can make a real difference to communities. This funding is available to communities to improve their own resilience with equipment and small scale works, and may range from the provision of sandbag stores and other flood protection equipment, road signs, tools and personal protective equipment, to one-off small scale works to reduce risk.  DCRF recommends that a Community Emergency Response Team defines its own shopping list to meet local requirements. Examples of resilience measures can be provided by the DCRF, other communities, or DCC to help a Community Emergency Planning Group consider what might be best for a particular area.

Fairtrade: directly supporting food producers

Devon has successfully renewed its Fairtrade status for each of the last 14 years, by promoting and encouraging people, where they can, to choose Fairtrade goods to support food producers across the world.  Fairtrade is about better prices, decent working wages and conditions, local sustainability, and fair terms of trade for farmers and workers.  By requiring companies to pay sustainable prices to farmers and food producers, which must never fall lower than the market prices, Fairtrade enables the poorest and weakest producers to improve their position and have more control over their lives.  This year’s Fairtrade Fortnight has begun and runs until Sunday 12th March. It is highlighting the urgent threat to the future of the foods we love and the livelihoods of the people who grow them, as they face the worst effects of the climate crisis.  According to the Fairtrade Foundation, food such as coffee, bananas and chocolate could become more difficult to buy due to climate change.  The current financial crisis is also taking a heavy toll on many people who are struggling to make ends meet, particularly so for smallholder farmers and workers, with the costs of fuel, fertiliser and food all increasing beyond what is affordable. See also https://www.devon.gov.uk/fairtrade/

Retaining and recruiting staff

It is common knowledge that businesses and service providers are struggling to recruit and retain staff in whatever sector they are in.  DCC has teamed up with Devon & Plymouth Chamber of Commerce https://devonchamber.co.uk/  to host the New Ways to Recruit and Retain Staff in 2023 event, see https://tinyurl.com/4mkebyjx With the region’s job market still facing a range of vacancies, this free event aims to help employers, organisations and charities to find out about alternative ways of recruiting and retaining staff. 

The event, which will be held at Exeter Racecourse on Monday 24th April from 8:30am – 1pm, will focus on supporting employers to consider filling vacancies using a wider talent pool of people, how to support those already in employment, better to understand workplace culture and to review how traditional recruitment methods can  be adjusted to attract a different audience.  Speakers on the day include Mike Adams OBE, Founder of Purple Tuesday,  https://purpletuesday.co/ who will discuss what organisations must do to be disability inclusive, as well as Helen Hart, from Devon & Plymouth Chamber of Commerce’s  Local Skills improvement Plan (LSIP) Project Executive, and Ruth Gripper, Research Impact Manager at the University of Exeter. 

There will also be discussion groups on a number of topics including: 

  • Workplace Culture – exploring how a positive, inclusive culture can impact your ability to recruit and retain great candidates for your business.
  • Differences in our wiring: Flipping the narrative – encouraging a healthy and open dialogue around some of the common strengths and abilities to be found in people with neurodiverse differences such as autism, ADD, dyslexia or dyspraxia and how we can best support some of the common needs that arise.
  • Reaching a wider jobs market: inclusive recruitment – how to make your recruitment process more inclusive from writing the job description through to the interview.
  • Being a mindful manager – Andrea Adey from Mindful Employer will empower employers to take the lead on matters of workplace mental health and wellbeing.
  • Access to Work (A2W) – Job Centre Plus Disability Advisors will discuss Access to Work, a Department for Work and Pension (DWP) grant scheme which provides money to help people with a disability or long-term health condition stay in work to do their job.

 Cllr Twiss said he would be meeting Matt Galley from Jurassic Fibre on 17th March to discuss the situation regarding the roll-out of superfast broadband, and would report back to the parish council.

Cllr Bruce reported that EDDC have finally authorised repairs to the Church Mead council garages. A date when they will be available for rent will be forthcoming shortly. Dare we hope, he asked, that this frustrating saga may be finally coming to a favourable conclusion. He has again asked for an update on the method by which Gittisham Parish Council can take over these garages, but was met with the usual silence. He pledged to maintain the pressure.

At the recent full EDDC meeting a motion was put forward to try and get the consultation on the Strategic Plan thrown out and rerun, due to its many and fundamental flaws said Cllr Bruce. Despite support from a number of independent councillors, who echoed his concerns about the serious failings of this consultation, Cllr Bruce and others were unsuccessful in getting it removed. This means that, unless there are major changes brought forward by the government, this will stand as data to inform any applications coming forward.  That said, a recent planning decision by EDDC concerning a proposed development of nine properties in Feniton may have substantial implications for further development in our ward. The decision to reject it and the reasons given will be a benchmark by which all other major applications will be measured by. This will hopefully dissuade future prospective developers seeking to blight our area with inappropriate and unwanted development, he said.  Cllr Valentine added that members should maintain a watchful eye over the issue of a five-year land supply across the district.

Cllr Bruce reported on a recent case with the replacement telephone mast in Fenny Bridges, which he said should provide a cautionary tale. 

Cllrs Bruce, Twiss, Hall and Valentine left the meeting.

176/22   To consider the following planning application:

  • 23/0309/LBC Pomeroy House, Gittisham EX14 3AJ – Internal and external remodelling with new kitchen extension
  • 23/0308/FUL Pomeroy House, Gittisham EX14 3AJ – Internal and external remodelling with new kitchen extension
  • 22/2845/TCA 2 Mitchell Cottages Gittisham EX14 3AF –
  • G1: 4 x Lawson Cypress Conifer – to dismantle to ground level; G2: 3 x Lawson Cypress Conifer – to dismantle to ground level

Parish councillors resolved to have no objection to these three planning applications.  Cllrs Hall and Valentine returned to the meeting after b).

177/22     To receive reports from councillors on areas of responsibility and actions since the last meeting:

  • To note the latest planning decision notices

22/1622/FUL – Kings Arms Farm, Nags Head Road – Construction of a two storey 18-unit residential home for vulnerable people. Refusal.

22/2845/TCA | G1 – 5x Lawson Cypress Conifer – dismantle to ground level. | 2 Mitchell Cottages Gittisham EX14 3AF. Withdrawn.

  • To receive an update on Highways

4 March Rail on bridge on lane to Catshayes Farm should be repaired 0730−1830, but Traffic Order is for five days in case of problems.

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.

DCC has written to owners of hedges overhanging west end of Old Elm Road.

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

See minute ref 178/22.

  • To receive an update on public transport


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

Cllr Rowe said EDDC was hoping to deliver the Old Elm Road rewilding proposal next spring. 

ACTION: Cllr Rowe to arrange a meeting with CoBikes.    

  • To consider parish council support for scam awareness and security

Cllr Twist reported there was no update on this.

  • To consider limited residential development in the parish

Cllr Valentine reported that GCLT would be looking for a new affordable housing provider for the scheme, as South Devon Rural Housing Association had reconsidered its position in the light of delays and rising costs.  He added that the delays may necessitate another housing needs survey.

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

The clerk said there was no update on this.

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

Members agreed the clerk could ask Alvian Ltd to carry out the play area safety inspection for 2023, and order a new ‘no dogs’ sign.  Cllr Walker reported that the small gate is not closing as it should, so Cllr Rowe agreed to look at it.  Cllr Walker thanked the Chair for helping out with the recent dog waste issue.

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

Cllr Walker said the lengthsman had carried out some work by Clysthayes.

178/22     To receive a report from the Chair

The Chair said she had gained the required three quotes from companies specialising in public playground equipment. Members resolved unanimously to approve the most cost-effective provider for the table tennis table, which is also the most practical solution for the terrain. It’s a steel outdoor table and will be installed onto the existing grass with rapid-set concrete footing pads. There will also be grass wear protection matting.  The Chair said she had also gained a price for a single half size steel goal post.  Both these items, bar £32, can be funded by the S106 Garden Centre play equipment funding, subject to the clerk confirming all is in order with EDDC.

If all is in order, the table tennis will be installed in the area where the picnic benches are as this is the flattest. The goal post is movable but can be placed on the far (north) wall of the original playground area.  The Chair agreed to speak to all the neighbours and check they’re all happy with the plan and include a notice of the new facilities in the gazette.  Members agreed to defer a decision on the goal post until another supplier provides a quote.

Devon Communities Together grant

The Chair explained that as the end of the grant period is nearing, DCT require some forms to be completed to show how their funding has achieved the objectives for the Gittisham Community Kitchen. The Chair agreed to complete these, in consultation with the Village Hall Committee, forward to members for approval and then ask the clerk to submit them this month.  The grant of £2,142.45 will then be paid to the parish council which will cover 23 weeks of £50 / week food and 23 weeks of hall rental £43.15 per week. Once received by the council, we will need to pay the hall for the rental £992.45. They previously agreed to have this paid in arrears at the end of the project (March 2023). The food money £1,150 will be retained, as the parish council has been paying this weekly to the organiser. 

ACTION: Clerk to confirm funding with EDDC for table tennis.    

Cllrs Walker and Twist left the meeting.

179/22     To consider a request by Gittisham PCC to fund repairs to the lych gate

Members heard that Gittisham PCC was considering asking a carpenter, rather than a consultant, to inspect the condition of the lych gate.  The clerk reported that James Fuller had explained there is only one architect approved by the diocese to carry out such work.  Members agreed that if the PCC decided to contract a carpenter’s services, if the PCC obtained three quotes, GPC could contribute towards the cost of the survey element.   

ACTION: Clerk to contact James Fuller.

Cllrs Walker and Twist returned to the meeting.

180/22     To approve the March payments and to note the current bank balance

                F Clampin             £228.74 Clerk’s salary

                Sara Trumper       £199.82 Reimbursement for food & sundries, Gittisham Community Kitchen, Feb 2023

Michael Poll        £65 Grass cutting (inv. ref. 10202)   

Will Wolsey        £77.36 (reimbursement for village hall canopy, funded by DCC Locality Budget)

DD          NEST                     £22.86   Clerk’s pension  

Members were informed that the current bank balance stands at £19,194.42 (which includes approximately £7,000 in the business reserve account). 

181/22     To consider the parish council’s grant-giving policy, publication scheme, complaints policy, anti-fraud & corruption policy, Freedom of Information Scheme and code of conduct

It was resolved to approve the above policies, subject to several minor amendments by the clerk.

182/22     To consider the Parish Council’s Statement of Internal Control, Financial Regulations and Risk Management

It was resolved to approve the above policies, subject to several amendments by the clerk including additional assets and an item about internet banking processes.

ACTION: Clerk to ensure documents are up to date.  

183/22     Clerk’s Report

Members welcomed the clerk’s news that Russell Hayman had waived payment for the hedge cutting.  He also defined the wording for the tree plaque: “In memory of Lilian Hayman of Gittisham Farm.”  The clerk read out an email from Graham Hutton at Baker Estates regarding recent sewage problems.  She agreed to forward this to Cllr Twist to upload to the Hayne Farm Facebook page. 

ACTION: Cllr Orchard to order a plaque & Cllr Rowe to make a stake for it; both to install EDDC’s jubilee stake in play area.  Clerk to ask Graham Hutton how he will advise residents on sewage problems.

184/22     For information only; items for the forward agenda

Lych gate; annual parish meeting.

185/22     To consider any late entry correspondence

ACTION: Clerk to investigate whether parish councils can provide funding towards a fete.

186/22     Date of next two meetings  

Thursday 6th April and Thursday 4th May 2023 at 7.30pm. 

There being no further business, the meeting closed at 2120 hrs.


6th April 2023