2023-07 Parish Council meeting minutes 6th July 2023

Held in Gittisham Parish Room


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

Vale ward: Cllr P Orchard

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

Apologies for absence: Cllr J Twist (Vice Chair), PCSO Darren England

Before the meeting, Justin Lascelles spoke regarding the premises licence for Combe Farm Shop and Café.  Mr Lascelles explained that the farm shop and café had been holding the occasional evening event, where food and alcohol were served.  To do so, Combe Estate had applied for a temporary premises licence, but had been advised that if they wanted to hold regular events they should apply for a permanent licence. 

48/23        To accept and approve apologies

Apologies were received and accepted.

49/23        To confirm the minutes of the meeting held on 1st June 2023

The minutes of the meeting held on 1st June 2023 were confirmed and signed by the Chair. 

50/23        To receive the Beat Manager’s Report

April 2023: no reported crimes.

51/23        To receive declarations of interest

Cllrs Rowe & Walker declared an interest in agenda item 14 (minute ref. 60/23), as they are members of the village fete committee.

52/23        To consider actions from the last meeting not otherwise on the agenda

The clerk said that Royal Mail had refused the application for a new postbox at Hayne Farm.

53/23        Reports from County Council and District Council representatives

Cllr Twiss reported that cheap toys could contain harmful chemicals.  He said this subject comes up all too often as people seek out best value when shopping.  Consumers across the region are being urged to ensure that the toys they buy display the UKCA mark, or the European CE equivalent on the packaging, following concerns that the cost-of-living crisis is driving people to buy cheaper but potentially dangerous products. 

The warning, from the Heart of the South West Trading Standards Service which covers Devon, Plymouth, Somerset and Torbay, follows toy testing by national partners the Chartered Institute of Trading Standards (CTSI). Despite UK legislation to protect the public, recent testing on a toy bow-and-arrow set revealed that the product contained 100 times the legal limit of phthalates; while a fashion doll set was 300 times over the legal limit. Phthalates are plastic-softening chemicals that are used to make plastic more durable. The use of certain phthalates is tightly restricted in toys across Europe and toy products must contain no more than 0.1 per cent. 

Restricted phthalates are carcinogenic and can cause reproductive problems and can affect child growth and neuro-development.  Pregnant women are vulnerable, as are young children, who are prone to putting things in their mouths.  Other items that failed safety tests include a desktop fan heater with a counterfeit fuse and inadequate safety guards, and an adaptor plug on a set of children’s LED lights. The latter was found to have no breakdown isolation between the input and output, which is a fire hazard. 

CTSI’s product safety campaign sought to explore the link between the cost-of-living crisis and whether consumers were being forced to buy cheaper products, and if that  was putting consumers at risk from substandard and unsafe goods.  They visited local high streets and found that the top products shoppers are seeking to save money on are ‘phone chargers, toys, hair straighteners, washing machines, toasters and kettles. 

Overwhelming majority of councils want hybrid meeting powers 

Cllr Twiss explained that a new survey by the Local Government Association has found that there is still overwhelming support for councils to be allowed to use virtual options for council meetings.  As it stands, legislation says voting must take place in person.  Ninety-five per cent supported the return of powers to councils to decide for themselves whether or not to use virtual and hybrid technologies for council meetings. In  addition, one in 10 councils had had a councillor voluntarily step down because of  the in-person meeting requirement and nine in 10 councils said they have disabled councillors who would use virtual attendance as a way to attend.  The majority also said they have councillors who would use virtual attendance to manage clashes with work, childcare and other care commitments. 

DIY waste collection

Cllr Twiss said that while outwardly looking like good news, the Government stating their intention to stop councils charging for DIY waste at Household Waste Recycling Centres like Sutton Barton will come at a price.  DCC introduced charges for some DIY waste in 2011, in response to swingeing cuts to local council funding. The Government’s decision will mean that DCC will lose around £1 million income, money used to maintain the comprehensive service across all of 19 Household Waste Recycling Centres in the county.  If the plans go ahead and stop councils charging for DIY waste, it will make it harder for DCC to maintain the Household Waste Recycling Centres service as it is, and could mean it will consider reducing opening hours.


Cllr Twiss circulated several documents outlining the county council’s current position on road maintenance. These documents explain that due to the financial position of the local authority, decline of some roads is unavoidable in future. The service has developed a sliding scale of maintenance strategies ranging from ‘improved condition’ through to ‘safety only’.  For example, unclassified roads fall under the approach of safety and routine maintenance only.  This will result in uneven surfaces, where the carriageway has “multiple localised repairs and defects of a non-safety nature.”  Roads such as these will only be suitable for use by farm vehicles or similar.

New wave of skills boot camps launched 

A £3 million investment in skills across Devon and Cornwall has been announced with the launch of the latest wave of Train4Tomorrow Skills Bootcamps https://www.train4tomorrow.org.uk/  More than 50 boot camps are now  recruiting learners with more than 1,000 places available, and demand continues to grow for the training provided through this successful scheme. Courses are open to adults aged 19 or over who are looking to improve their skills and employability. For those seeking new employment, a guaranteed interview is offered.  Courses DCC are delivering (in partnership with Cornwall Council) offer a range of fully-funded training courses of up to 16 weeks across a variety of sectors: digital, technical, construction, green skills, healthcare, hospitality and professional services.  The latest Skills Boot camps being provided include: modern construction methods,  regenerative farming, data analyst, digital skills for the workplace, cloud  computing, digital marketing, marine engineering, welding, civils and  groundworks, electrical vehicles, retrofit, floating offshore renewables, clinical  pathways, long-term health conditions, project management, coaching and mentoring, hospitality management and many more. 


Cllr Twiss said he wanted to reassure members that Jurassic would be tying together agreed routes, settling payments in the schedule and then it would be ready to go with the roll-out.  Justin Lascelles said the estate had issued Jurassic with information on the underground structure to get the process moving, as the estate does not wish to see any new overhead poles erected. 

Justin Lascelles left the meeting.

Cllr Bruce pledged to contact EDDC about the jubilee oak which has died, as he had heard of similar problems in other parishes. He also promised to enquire when the river dredging scheduled for April would be taking place.  Cllr Walker said there was some confusion among residents over the proposed access to Church Mead bridge, and Cllr Bruce said he would seek clarification from EDDC.

Cllr Valentine expressed his disappointment over the content of the latest discussions he’d attended on EDDC’s Local Plan.  There will be a planning strategy meeting on 21st July.

Cllrs Bruce & Twiss left the meeting.

54/23     To consider the following planning applications:

  1. 23/1199/MFUL Land at Weston Park Devonshire Road Heathpark Industrial Estate – construction of new industrial units (Use Class B2)
  2. 23/1221/FUL Shermans Farm EX14 3AU – roofing over silage clamp 1
  3. 23/1222/FUL Shermans Farm EX14 3AU – proposed roofing over silage clamp 2

Parish councillors resolved to have no objections to a), b) or c).  

55/23     To consider the following licensing application:

a) Combe Farm Shop, Hayne Farm, Gittisham, Honiton, EX14 3PD Ref.055816

Premises Licence Application to include

Premises Open Hours requested

Monday to Saturday 09:00 to 23:00

Sunday 09:00 to 20:00

Activities – Times requested

Supply of alcohol for consumption On and Off the Premises

Monday to Saturday 09:00 to 23:00

Sunday 09:00 to 20:00

Councillors understood the reason to have an alcohol licence for on-site sales at such events as outlined by Justin Lascelles, but objected to the proposed licence terms which would allow for off-site alcohol sales during extended opening hours until 11pm.  It’s understood that restricting a licence to on-site sales only is possible.  EDDC’s Licensing & Enforcement sub-committee will discuss the licence at a hearing on 12th July.

56/23     To receive reports from councillors on areas of responsibility and actions since the last meeting:

  • To note the latest planning decision notices

23/0436/FUL – Proposed storage building for timber Blamphayne Sawmill EX14 3AN – Approval.

  • To receive an update on Highways

There was no update to report.

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

There was no update to report.

  • To receive an update on public transport

Cllr Orchard reported that after a period with no books in the Vale bus shelter, a small stack had crept in on 2nd July.

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

Cllr Rowe said EDDC had requested parish council help with tree planting along the strip of land that backs onto Ferndale Close later this year. 

  • To consider parish council support for scam awareness and security

There was no update to report. 

  • To consider limited residential development in the parish

Cllr Valentine explained that the project’s preferred housing association partner, the East Boro Housing Trust (EBHT), is still assessing the scheme for viability before deciding whether or not to become involved.  The loss of the previous HA has had further knock-on effects and the solicitor has decided to stand down.         

  • To consider updating the parish emergency plan

Cllr Orchard agreed to convene all parties listed in the plan to make sure they were well informed of responsibilities before the onset of winter.

  • To consider purchasing a dog waste bin and long term collection

The clerk said she was waiting for up to date figures for a standard waste bin and collection from EDDC.

ACTION: Clerk to chase up information.

  • To consider the creation of a footpath linking Hayne Farm with Gittisham village

Members discussed the path, and the Chair said it would be necessary to present a formal proposal.

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

Cllr Walker said someone had stolen the black sacks and hand sanitiser stored in the bin.  Members heard that the new goal post had been well received, and no issues raised about noise. 

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

Members chose forest green for the bus shelter redecoration.

ACTION: Len Abbott to be reimbursed for paint.

57/23     To receive a report from the Chair

The Chair said there was nothing to report this month.

58/23     To consider the casual vacancy in Gittisham Vale

The clerk reported that she had been in touch with EDDC to see if they needed to set the ball rolling.

59/23     To approve the July payments and to note the current bank balance

F Clampin             £24?? Clerk’s salary & expenses (travel)

Michael Poll        £65 Grass cutting (inv. ref. 10232)   

Michael Poll        £65 Grass cutting (inv. ref. 10238)   

Michael Poll        £65 x2 Grass cutting July 2023 (inv. ref. tbc)   

Redlynch Leisure       £3,079 (+VAT) net for table tennis table

F Clampin             £235.? Clerk’s salary (August)

Gittisham Fete          £500 fete start-up costs

DD          NEST                     £24.82   Clerk’s pension (July)

DD          NEST                     £24.82   Clerk’s pension  (August)

Members were informed that the current bank balance stands at £16,810.33 (which includes approximately £7,000 in the business reserve account). 

Cllrs Walker & Rowe left the meeting.

60/23     To consider parish council support for the village fete

Members heard that 500 publicity leaflets had been printed for distribution.

Cllrs Walker & Rowe returned to the meeting.

61/23     To consider decorating and / or refurbishing the parish bus shelters

CF minute ref. 56/23 l.

62/23     Clerk’s Report

ACTION: Clerk to write to Jurassic Fibre, inviting them to a parish council meeting.  

63/23     For information only; items for the forward agenda

Councillor vacancy; footpath at Hayne Farm, financial regulations.

64/23     To consider any late entry correspondence


65/23     Date of next two meetings  

Thursday 7th September and Thursday 5th October 2023 at 7.30pm. 

There being no further business, the meeting closed at 2105 hrs.


7th September 2023