2023-10 Parish Council meeting minutes 3rd October 2023

Held in Gittisham Parish Room


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

Vale ward: Cllr P Orchard

In attendance: Cllr Alasdair Bruce (EDDC), Cllr Phil Twiss (DCC), one member of the public, Fiona Clampin (clerk)

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

82/23        To accept and approve apologies

Apologies were received and accepted.

83/23        To confirm the minutes of the meeting held on 7th September 2023

The minutes of the meeting held on 7th September 2023 were confirmed and signed by the Chair. 

84/23        To receive the Beat Manager’s Report

July 2023: no reported crimes.

85/23        To receive declarations of interest


86/23        To consider actions from the last meeting not otherwise on the agenda


87/23        Reports from County Council and District Council representatives

Transport – road safety defects

Cllr Twiss explained that with Devon having the largest network of roads in England at 12,000 kms, the permanent challenges posed by roads largely built for horse and cart – with little in the way of proper foundations – is massive!  He said that the day to day work of DCC’s Highways department is often thrown off course by unexpected ‘weather events’ which divert resources and lead to delay in delivering plans.  Following the extremely high numbers of publicly reported potholes across the network during the first part of the year, and the increase in repair gangs as a response, numbers gradually stabilised through the spring and into the summer.  However they remain above average for this time of year. This has led to some residual pressure on inspection teams in assessing backlogs. Evening and weekend working has remained in place in some areas to assist with this.

Cllr Twiss reported that work is underway to improve the messaging on the ‘report a problem’ webpages to reduce the number of defects that are incorrectly reported – since January this year this represents around 55% of all reports received.  Following a very challenging winter for asset condition and safety defects, the numbers recorded across the network had reduced to such a point that Highway Safety Inspectors (HSI) were able to re-start the identification of non-safety or ‘serviceability’ defects in June. This process offers HSI’s the discretion to record defects that do not meet investigatory criteria in DCC’s Highway Safety Policy.  A trial with material called ‘Elastomac’ is taking place and this product is providing a lower carbon and cost-effective means of repairing carriageway defects. This ‘mastic’ (natural resin for bonding) product uses up to 70 per cent recycled materials, including lorry tyres, that would otherwise be incinerated.  This can allow reactive works gangs to undertake repairs much more quickly when compared with conventional techniques.

Winter Service

Preparations for winter have been taking place over the summer, with the fleet of gritters receiving their annual servicing and calibration checks. Works to install solar panels on some of the salt storage barns have also been progressed and salt stocks have been replenished ahead of winter.  By keeping the age of the DCC gritting vehicles under 10 years old, maintenance costs are reduced and ensure the fleet is safe and appropriate for the task in hand.  In preparation for this winter, eight of DCC’s oldest/most costly gritters will be ‘traded-in’ against six nearly new vehicles. This will reduce the secondary fleet from twelve vehicles down to ten, striking an appropriate balance of service resilience against financial pressures.

Gully cleaning 

More than 5,000 drainage issues identified by the gully cleaning crews and highway officers have been resolved since April. The challenge remains dealing with more than 15,000 outstanding reported issues with limited funds available.  The ongoing trial to pre-inspect gullies due to be cleaned on the cyclical programme has shown 49 per cent of gullies inspected to date do not require cleaning. The aim of the trial is to ensure plant and equipment is deployed where it is most effective.  A joint trial with Devon’s Flood team to place gully sensors in selected streets in Devon is in the preparation stages. It is hoped this externally funded trial will offer insight into whether technology can be used to inform policy or reaction for cyclical gully cleaning. The trial intends to run for an 18-month period from the winter period.

Road markings

Since April, remarking has been undertaken in six of the county’s market towns with works planned in a further 17. The main road remarking and road stud replacement programme has completed eight locations with a further 12 locations planned.  Following a review, it has been identified that the condition of our rural give way markings was an area for improvement and that these provided important information to drivers. Plans have been developed to systematically remark these features in rural areas. There are approximately 6,000 markings that will be treated through this project that is anticipated to take 4–5 years to complete.

Traffic Management

Since April 2023, 162 requests for waiting restrictions have been delivered through the various area Highways and Traffic orders committees (HATOC) Waiting Restriction Programme across Devon and work has continued on 20mph limits in Winkleigh, Atherington, Ashburton and Tiverton, which will be implemented later this financial year. In addition, the Traffic Management team have progressed 350 applications for new or the remarking of disabled bays and 56 applications for new or the remarking of Access Protection Markings, which have been processed, and orders for works placed.

Cllr Twiss said he understood that Jurassic Fibre had a new wayleaves team, following the departure of some staff.  This team will be meeting Combe Estate in the near future to discuss what needs to be done regarding the installation of full fibre broadband.

Cllr Bruce explained that a large housing development to the north of Honiton had recently been approved. There were many objections raised against this application, not least the limited access onto narrow lanes. However, it appears the main factor that saw it through was the lack of a five year land supply, which the committee were told would make it difficult to defend were it to be rejected and an appeal raised. Whether this approval will take the pressures off other areas in the ward remains to be seen. Cllr Bruce also voiced his concern over the timing and duration of full council meetings, which do not make it easy for those with working commitments to attend.  This results in a lack of diversity among those able to attend.

The repairs to the Church Mead bridge have been put back to 16th October, due to the late arrival of materials.  However all affected residents have, Cllr Bruce understood, been advised by hand-delivered letter on September 26th of the works and the implications to them.

Cllrs Bruce & Twiss left the meeting.  

88/23     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 Gittisham EX14 3AP – Construction of a two storey 18-unit residential home for vulnerable people – Appeal dismissed.

  • To receive an update on Highways

24th–29th October: Road from Main Road to Eveleighs Farm. Wales and West Utilities; priority traffic control.

  • 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 reported that Russell, the officer he had been liaising with at EDDC, had left the council.  However another officer has taken on the project, and has quoted approximately £907 for installing mesh underneath the path that leads between the Old Elm Road gateway and the existing path by the railway track.  The clerk explained that £500 had been set aside in the budget for rewilding this area, and members agreed to discuss funding at the next meeting.  It was noted that EDDC had paid for wildflower seeds.   

  • To consider parish council support for scam awareness and security

The clerk highlighted the article in the previous week’s Midweek Herald, which urged people to be on their guard against a spate of door to door salespeople who claim they are part of a rehabilitation programme.  They sell a range of items at inflated prices.  She said somebody had visited the village around the same time who fitted the description.

  • To consider limited residential development in the parish

Cllr Valentine said the GCLT board would be meeting the following week.                 

  • To consider updating the parish emergency plan

Members agreed to convene a working party to fill sandbags. 

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

The clerk agreed to put in an application to Cllr Twiss’s locality budget to part-fund the waste bin, after Cllr Twiss said he could fund up to £300.

ACTION: Clerk to chase EDDC for a response to email.

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

ACTION: To be discussed at the next meeting.

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

There was no report this month.

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

The Chair apologised for any confusion over the location of Pigsty Corner, which will need intervention by DCC Highways to avoid flood risk.  The Chair said the wood forming part of the step in the village bus shelter was due to be replaced.

89/23     To receive a report from the Chair

The Chair said Gittisham PCC had asked if the parish council would still part-fund the gazette (3/4 of printing costs are covered by the PC).  Members resolved to approve the continuation of this arrangement.  The clerk added that the budget had allocated £250 / year. 

90/23     To consider the casual vacancy in Gittisham Vale

The clerk encouraged members to publicise the vacancy before the 22nd October deadline for applications.

91/23     To approve the October payments and to note the current bank balance

F Clampin             £235.83 Clerk’s salary

Michael Poll        £65 Grass cutting (inv. ref. 10260)   

DD          NEST                     £24.82   Clerk’s pension

Members were informed that the current bank balance stands at £19,818.00 (which includes approximately £7,000 in the business reserve account).  This figure is approximate, until EDDC confirms the price of the waste bin and the quote for the ping pong table is confirmed. 

92/23     Clerk’s Report


93/23     For information only; items for the forward agenda

EV charger; footpath at Hayne Farm, financial regulations.

94/23     To consider any late entry correspondence

The clerk reported that a village resident had enquired as to the track being created between Catshayes Farm and Shermans. 

ACTION: Clerk to contact Len Bartlett for clarification.

95/23     Date of next two meetings  

Thursday 2nd November and Thursday 7th December 2023 at 7.30pm. 

There being no further business, the meeting closed at 1955 hrs.


2nd November 2023