2024-02 Parish Council meeting minutes 1st Feb 2024

Held in Gittisham Parish Room

Present:

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

Vale ward: Cllr Adam Powell

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

Apologies for absence: Cllr J Twist (Vice Chair), Cllr P Orchard, Cllr Phil Twiss (DCC), PCSO Darren England

147/23 To accept and approve apologies

Apologies were received and accepted.

148/23        To confirm the minutes of the meeting held on 4th Jan 2024

The minutes of the meeting held on 4th January 2024 were confirmed and signed by the Chair.  See also minute ref 156/23.

149/23        To receive the Beat Manager’s Report

Due to an error on the Police UK website, it was not possible to report crime statistics accurately.  The clerk said she had been in touch with D&C Police to raise the issue, and made Cllr Twiss aware.

150/23        To receive declarations of interest

None.

151/23        To consider actions from the last meeting not otherwise on the agenda

Cllr Powell said he had drafted a letter to Richard Foorde MP regarding the continuing delay of installing superfast broadband in Gittisham village.  Members agreed he should use the village WhatsApp group to build a picture of the issues people experience.  Cllr Powell reported that Airband had told him the rollout would happen in the first half of 2024, which was at odds with an email the clerk had received from the company.  Members noted that Airband vehicles had been seen in Fenny Bridges.

ACTION: Cllr Powell to email Airband and invite one of their senior staff as well as the MP, to attend a PC meeting.

Members reiterated the parish council’s support for the community kitchen, and asked Cllr Walker / Cllr Hall to enquire whether the organisers would like the parish council / village hall committee to apply for a grant on their behalf to cover the cost of rental.

Cllr Rowe reported that the village fete is scheduled for 31st August.  He encouraged people to sign up as volunteers.

152/23 To receive reports from County Council and District Council representatives

In his absence, Cllr Twiss sent the following report:

As we have literally weathered the storms of post-Christmas, let us hope that we are able to move beyond what passes for winter this year and look forward to more spring-like condition quite soon. Damage to our highways in January has caused the DCC Highways teams considerable headaches in keeping up with emergency repairs and those of a temporary (prior to resurfacing) and permanent repairs.

Further down this report is quite a lengthy section about devolution, which really is a big deal for Devon, together with Torbay Council.

Highway repairs

An almost permanent fixture in County Councillors email inboxes is potholes, and residents’ concerns are shared by us and the officers and staff.  On 4 October 2023, the government announced £8.3 billion of additional highways maintenance funding over the period 2023 to 2024 and the next 10 years for local road resurfacing and wider maintenance activity on the local highway network. This includes £2.8 billion for Local Authorities in the East, South East, South West and London. Devon’s share over 11 years is £222 million consists an additional funding allocation of £6.663m in each of 2023/24 and 2024/25:  Currently potholes repairs in Devon are funded by ‘in year’ revenue, where for more permanent patching and repair of a higher quality this must be funded by longer term capital investment with the minimum qualification area being 1 square metre.  Significantly, it has now been agreed that DCC are able to reduce this qualification to half a square metre funded by capital funding, which will provide for better quality, long lasting repairs, rather than less durable ‘temporary’ fixes. (It is important to remember that emergency repairs are often temporary before a more permanent one is made).

Devolution – levelling up

In what is regarded by many as a very positive step forward devolving powers and money, Devolution for Devon and Torbay has taken a big step forward with the publication of Government proposals for a ground breaking deal that could re-draw the future relationship between local government in Devon and Torbay, and Whitehall. It’s hoped that additional powers with the cash that follows will happen in future years.

This would enable more decisions to be made locally by people who know their areas best and on things that matter to local people such as building more affordable homes, investing in new quality jobs and skills, and improving public transport. This could see the transfer of a range of powers and funding to a Devon and Torbay

Combined County Authority (CCA), subject to public consultation. Under the proposals, the new body would have direct control of adult education to create up to 50,000 new training and retraining opportunities by 2030.

Through Local Skills Improvement Plans, the proposed CCA will work with business and education leaders to create a stronger, joined-up relationship between employers and schools, colleges and universities to provide the skilled workforce the local economy needs for the future.

The Government is proposing to transfer over £16 million of new funding to invest in new green jobs, homes, skills, and business growth and accelerate Devon and Torbay’s transition to a net-zero economy, capitalising on the area’s world-leading expertise in green science and technology.  The Government is offering a stronger partnership with Homes England, capitalising on the Affordable Housing Programme and Brownfield Infrastructure and Land Fund to create a joint action plan for affordable housing schemes for local people and reduce homelessness. The proposal includes additional land assembly and compulsory purchase powers and would facilitate greater Community Land Trust-led delivery.

On transport, the proposed deal builds on Devon County Council and Torbay Councils’ long history of working well together on local transport planning. The proposed Deal will strengthen this joined-up approach with Devon and Torbay working as equal partners on a CCA and improving the efficiency and co-ordination

of public transport. There is an ambition to introduce a single ticketing system for travellers and investment in services to provide greater access to public transport.  The Government is also offering to transfer responsibility for developing, designing and delivering the next stages of the UK Shared Prosperity Fund from 2025.

The CCA would be responsible for working with Devon County Council, Torbay Council, District Councils and the business and education sectors to support high growth business sectors such as advanced marine engineering, defence, photonics and digital, and improve the look and feel of local communities with street and town centre enhancement.

Do you have community equipment you no longer use?

Devon residents, who have been loaned community equipment that they no longer need such as walking frames, are being urged to take advantage of the final week of an equipment ‘amnesty’ and to arrange for it to be collected, free of charge. Every month, around 5000 items of equipment are returned, more than 80 per cent

of which are refurbished, sterilised and then put back onto warehouse shelves ready for reuse. Almost 70 per cent of the equipment collected and refurbished in this way is reissued within a month to someone in the community.  Returning these items not only reduces how long people who need them have to wait it also saves on having to buy new equipment – it saves up to £100,000 a month which could then be spent on other things.

There are hundreds of pieces of community equipment, such as four-wheeled walking frames, toileting equipment, hospital beds, clinical mattresses, pressure cushions and hoists that are not being used, sitting in garages and in storage for instance.

So, Devon County Council, NHS Devon CCG and Millbrook Healthcare Ltd, which provides community equipment to people on their behalf, launched an equipment ‘amnesty’ last month, asking those who no longer need their community equipment, to organise a collection free of charge.  The previous amnesty in 2021 resulted in hundreds of items being returned, refurbished, sterilised and put back into use in the community. This amnesty is now in its final week and will run until Monday 5 February. People should call 0330 124 8214 to arrange a collection.  Wheelchairs, however, are not part of the amnesty, because these are not provided

by the community equipment service Millbrook delivers.  Collection of the equipment from people’s homes is free, and Millbrook staff will collect the items from the property.

Devon funding news

Just a reminder that Devon funding news is a mine of useful information for individuals and organisations supporting the community and the Rural Services Network equivalent is also a useful source on information and possible funding. See https://www.rsnonline.org.uk/category/rural-funding-digest . Sign up at https://www.devon.gov.uk/fundingnews if you haven’t already.

Cllr Bruce said that coastal damage from storm Henke was much less than Ciarán with the beach defences at Exmouth doing the job they were designed for. A small cliff fall was reported at Budleigh, but nothing on the scale of the collapse at Jacob’s Ladder which also did not reactivate at the time of writing.

The focus on sea water bathing quality is a hot topic at present and rightly so, said Cllr Bruce. Speaking to fellow cold water swimmers (what Cllr Bruce simply called going for a swim), there is much anecdotal evidence of a major deterioration in the quality of our coastal waters. Many experience stomach illness and ear infections, even dog walkers tell him their animals are sometimes poorly after a stroll on the beach. This situation is wholly unacceptable, he said and we are seeing a retrograde step in how we take care of our waste in this country.

With this in mind, Cllr Bruce thought the parish might be interested in some figures recently released by the EDDC coastal officer:

1) Permitted Discharges from CSOs (storm overflow discharge): In total in 2023 there were the following (the number in brackets is the number that fell within the formal bathing season May 15th to September 30th)  Sandy Bay 21 (8), Exmouth 40 (15),  Budleigh 44 (15), Sidmouth 28 (10) Beer 32 (13), Seaton 31(12).   Given that in their Water Fit document South West Water (SWW) commit to achieving no more than 20 discharges at any given beach, this is pretty poor performance.

Currently only two of our beaches are tested for water quality by the Environment Agency, but we are pushing for all to be tested. The trail to operate electric water quality signage at Exmouth failed due to the sign frying itself due to sea water penetration. However, manual signage with the relevant sites to get up to date information are almost ready to be deployed. For all our safety, it is clear that there needs to be a sea change (excuse the pun) in how the water companies operate and a much greater level of accountability and responsibility to the rate payer. Sadly, the district has little leverage to apply as major change can only come from government, said Cllr Bruce. He can only hope that off the back of the Post Office / Horizon IT scandal some serious pressure will now be brought to bear on all our utility companies.

Potholes continue to be a scourge of our road network. It is to be hoped that new money released by government will go some way to addressing this. However, Cllr Bruce remained concerned at the level of poor repair of potholes. He was sure he is not the only person who sees repairs done that will obviously fail in short order, nor where reported holes are removed from the potholes map despite complying with the criteria. Cllr Bruce would like to see a greater level of oversight of repairs by DDC, with contractors who fail to undertake a satisfactory repair not paid until it is done correctly. Now it may be that this does happen, but if so it’s not good enough. Perhaps one step would be a reporting system whereby members of the public can report such instances to the council. Much like the current pothole map.

There are two major planning applications before the planning committee coming up this week which may have broader implications for our parish: the redevelopment of the Knowle site, and a development of 72 houses at Colyton.  Whilst not directly impacting on us, it presents the committee with an opportunity to question the sustainability of infrastructure, with particular emphasis on sewerage capacity and road layout. Cllr Bruce said he was not showing prejudice, but with two major developments in the system heading for Feniton, it will be interesting to see the direction of travel.  The Chair added the importance of recording the experiences of parish residents when it comes to sewerage and flooding.

Cllr Bruce reported that the Combe Farm Shop application had been taken off the agenda, in order for the applicant to address flooding issues raised.

Cllr Bruce left the meeting.

153/23   To consider the following planning applications:

  1. 24/0055/TRE 8 Campion Way Honiton EX14 2YR – T1, Oak approx. 14 metres high and 14 metres wide at all points; to pollard back to previous pollard position when work last carried out in 2016
  2. 24/0019/VAR Rapshayes Farm Gittisham EX14 3AB – Variation of condition 2 (approved plans) of planning permission 20/0782/LBC (Conversion of barn to holiday accommodation) to change the proposed roof covering from clay roman tiles to natural slate
  3. 23/2583/VAR Rapshayes Farm Gittisham EX14 3AB – Variation of condition 2 (approved plans) of planning permission 20/0782/LBC (Conversion of barn to holiday accommodation) to change the proposed roof covering from clay roman tiles to natural slate
  4. 23/2725/FUL Kings Arms Farm Nags Head Road Gittisham EX14 3AP – House of multiple occupation (HMO), that provides individual living-rooms for vulnerable people; the facility includes communal areas for socialising, cooking and dining set with private and secure gardens

Parish councillors resolved to have no objections to the above applications. 

154/23     To receive reports from councillors on areas of responsibility and actions since the last meeting:

  • To note the latest planning decision notices

There was no update this month.

  • To receive an update on Highways 

20th March road to Catshayes closed to install sewer level equipment.

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

There was no update this month.

  • To receive an update on public transport

There was no update this month.

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

Cllr Rowe said he had met EDDC officer Paul Feely and a colleague, who felt some revision of the proposals for land at Old Elm Road was necessary. EDDC may look at obtaining a capital grant and is considering a tarmacked path to link the green space to other paths.

ACTION: Clerk to revisit Sulina Tallack’s S106 document to see if any S106 funding could be released to fund a track that supports running or other physical exercise.      

  • To consider parish council support for scam awareness and security

There was no update this month.

  • To consider limited residential development in the parish

Cllr Valentine said GCLT was waiting for a response from a housing association they had approached to take on the project, as well as further commitment from Combe Estate.         

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

Members discussed next steps towards the creation of a permissive path and Cllrs Powell and Rowe agreed to draw up an agenda for points of discussion with Combe Estate.

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

The clerk reported that she had accepted the offer of a free silver birch tree from Devon Wildlife Trust, which is due to be delivered w/c 5th February.  The organisation is offering parish councils in East Devon, North Devon and Torridge a “landmark” tree.  DWT plans to plant and nurture 250,000 trees outside of woodlands to help combat the devastating effect Ash Dieback is having on the landscape with a significant proportion of ash trees due to die in the coming years.  The tree, (around 1.2m – 2m), is designed to be planted in a community space that can act as a focal point and be enjoyed by everyone.

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

Members discussed the level of insurance cover for the lengthsman.  Cllr Walker agreed to explain to him that there are activities which are not covered by the policy, and the parish council can only ask him to carry out work which falls within the policy cover.  If the lengthsman chooses to undertake other work, this is at his own risk. It may be necessary in future to contract another person to carry out activities such as those at height. 

155/23     To receive a report from the Chair

There was no report this month. 

156/23     To approve the February payments and to note the current bank balance

F Clampin             £254.34 Clerk’s salary

Gittisham PCC     £30         Gazette printing for Nov & Dec 2023

CHT                       £162       Defibrillator annual support package

AJ Gallagher Ins  £308.42 Public liability insurance, lengthsman

DD          NEST                     £26.78   Clerk’s pension

The clerk reported that the Information Commissioner fee was now paid by direct debit, so the fee reported last month had been reduced from £40 to £35 / year.  Members were informed that the current bank balance stands at £17,698.53 (which includes approximately £7,000 in the business reserve account). 

157/23 To approve a supplier for the Gittisham play area maintenance contract 2024/25

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.

158/23 Clerk’s report

The clerk said she had contacted Combe Estate regarding concerns over the continuing run-off on the lane to Catshayes. 

ACTION: Cllr Walker to speak to Jack Bartlett (farmer). 

159/23     For information only; items for the forward agenda

Traffic-free amenity route.

160/23     To consider any late entry correspondence

The Chair said she had asked Gittisham PCC for a list of where hard copy gazettes are left.

161/23     Date of next two meetings  

Thursday 7th March and Thursday 4th April 2024 at 7.30pm. 

There being no further business, the meeting closed at 2125 hrs.

Chair…………………………………….

7th March 2024

2024-02 Parish Council agenda 1st Feb 2024

GITTISHAM PARISH COUNCIL

Ms Fiona Clampin

Clerk to the Council

Garlands

Gittisham

Honiton

EX14 3AJ

01404 851442

clerk@gittisham.org.uk

26th January 2024

Members of Gittisham Parish Council

You are hereby summoned to attend the February Parish Council Meeting to be held in Gittisham Parish Room on Thursday 1st February 2024 commencing at 7.30pm to discuss items on the Agenda and to make resolutions as appropriate.

Prior to the start of the meeting a period of 15 minutes is allowed to permit any resident to bring appropriate matters to the notice of the Council.  Please contact the clerk if you would like to do this, preferably by email in advance of the meeting, with a question you wish to be raised with Councillors on your behalf. 

  1. To accept and approve apologies
  2. To confirm the Minutes of the meeting held on 4th January 2024
  3. To receive the Beat Manager’s report
  4. To receive declarations of interest
  5. To consider actions from last meeting not otherwise on the agenda
  6. To receive reports from County Council and District Council representatives
  7. To consider the following planning applications:
    • a) 24/0055/TRE – 8 Campion Way Honiton EX14 2YR – T1, Oak approx 14 metres high and 14 metres wide at all points; to pollard back to previous pollard position when work last carried out in 2016.
    • b) 24/0019/VAR – Rapshayes Farm Gittisham EX14 3AB – Variation of condition 2 (approved plans) of planning permission 20/0782/LBC (Conversion of barn to holiday accommodation) to change the proposed roof covering from clay roman tiles to natural slate
    • c) 23/2583/VAR – Rapshayes Farm Gittisham EX14 3AB – Variation of Condition 2 (approved plans) of planning permission 20/0781/FUL (Conversion of barn to holiday accommodation) to change the proposed roof covering from clay roman tiles to natural slate
    • d) 23/2725/FUL – Kings Arms Farm Nags Head Road Gittisham EX14 3AP – House of multiple occupation (HMO), that provides individual living-rooms for vulnerable people; the facility includes communal areas for socialising, cooking and dining set with private and secure gardens
  8. To receive reports from councillors on areas of responsibility and actions since the last meeting:
  • To note the latest planning decision notices (Cllr Orchard)
  • To receive an update on highways (Cllr Orchard)
  • To consider plans for expenditure in the parish under the Community Infrastructure Levy and S106, inc publicity (Cllr Orchard / Cllr Twist)
  • To receive an update on public transport (Cllr Orchard)
  • To consider climate change measures within the parish, including proposals for rewilding land off Old Elm Road (Cllr Twist / Cllr Rowe)
  • To consider parish council support for scam awareness and security (Cllr Twist)
  • To consider limited residential development in the parish (Cllr Valentine)
  • To consider the creation of a footpath linking Hayne Farm with Gittisham village (all)
  • To consider the refurbishment and maintenance of the village play area (Cllr Walker)
  • To consider work to be carried out by the lengthsman to maintain drains and ditches in the parish (Cllr Walker)
  1. To receive a report from the Chair
  2. To approve the February payments and to note the current bank balance:

F Clampin £254.34 clerk’s salary & expenses tbc

Len Abbott lengthsman work £tbc

Len Abbott expenses £tbc

Arthur J Gallagher Insurance (lengthsman cover) £308.42

Gittisham PCC £30 gazette printing Nov & Dec 2023

NEST (clerk’s pension) £26.78 

  1. To approve a supplier for the Gittisham play area maintenance contract for 2024/25
  2. Clerk’s report
  3. For information only; items for the forward agenda
  4. To consider any late entry correspondence
  5. To note the date of the next two meetings, Thursday 7th March and Thursday 4th April 2024 at 7.30pm. 

F J Clampin – Clerk

2024-01 Parish Council meeting minutes 4th January 2024

Held in Gittisham Parish Room

Present:

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

Vale ward: Cllr J Twist (Vice Chair), Cllr P Orchard, Cllr Adam Powell

In attendance: One member of the public, Fiona Clampin (clerk)

Apologies for absence: Cllr A Rowe, Cllr Alasdair Bruce (EDDC), Cllr Phil Twiss (DCC), PCSO Darren England

127/23 To accept and approve apologies

Apologies were received and accepted.

128/23        To confirm the minutes of the meeting held on 7th December 2023

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

129/23        To receive the Beat Manager’s Report

Due to an error on the Police UK website, it was not possible to report crime statistics accurately.  

ACTION: Clerk to contact D&C Police & Crime Commissioner to understand how to obtain timely and accurate crime figures for Honiton Rural.

130/23        To receive declarations of interest

None.

131/23        To consider actions from the last meeting not otherwise on the agenda

An Acceptance of Office form was signed by Adam Powell and the clerk. Register of Interests form completed to return to EDDC within 28 days. Cllr Powell took his seat at the meeting.

132/23 To receive reports from County Council and District Council representatives

In his absence, Cllr Twiss sent the following report:

Happy New Year as DCC ramps back up to full speed after the Christmas holiday break, which I hope will be a prosperous and healthy one for all of you, your families and friends. This month’s Division member’s report focuses on the finances of Devon County Council ahead of target setting for the various service areas of the council ahead of next month’s budget setting for 2024/25 in what is going to be an interesting year for everyone in local and national government.

DCC Budget

Setting the DCC budget for 2024/25 is, like any year, a huge task for a large scale organisation. Over 79% of the net revenue budget of £743.4 million proposed for 2024/25 is spent on children’s and adult service areas i.e. £588.5m with £154.8m for the others.  Demand in these two areas in particular continues to surge, where DCC must legally provide them, often at very high costs, over and above what is termed discretionary services such as routine roads maintenance (other than safety issues) of a 12,000 mile road network, bus service subsidies, climate change initiatives and much more.

The funding for this comes from a wide range of core funding income from the Government and other grants totalling around £236.4m, but the majority of the income is derived from council tax and a share of business rates.  This is set against set against a background inflationary cost of living pressures and huge challenges to local government in general. Social care provision is particularly impacted by increases to the national living wage, which at first glance a 30p per hour increase announced by the Government does not seem vast. However, it will add an extra £25.7m to the DCC wage bill, which will need to come from further savings and efficiencies.

There is an above inflation proposed 10.4 per cent increase in the revenue budget for children’s services with a 6 per cent rise in adult services and 4.7 per cent extra for climate change, environment and transport.  Reductions in other departmental spending means an overall rise of 6.3 per cent in the council’s budget for next year within the total spend of more than £743 million where officers of the council have worked closely with the DCC Cabinet to secure best value across Devon’s operations and ensure continuing financial sustainability.

To set a balanced budget, savings, alternative funding and additional income of £49.6 million have been identified. Overall, there is additional funding of £43.8 million or 6.3% for services next year. It is not planned to support the proposed budget targets by using general reserve balances. This reflects a strategy of DCC living within its means and to set service budgets that are affordable within anticipated income and funding totals for next year.

In his absence, Cllr Bruce sent the following report:

It’s been a quiet few weeks around Christmas with only two incidents/topics to report on. Firstly, there is still an ongoing issue on the Hayne estate regarding anti-social behaviour, with a resident becoming increasingly fearful. I have raised this with Sovereign Housing and the council officer responsible.

Secondly, having gone through the recently published NPPF hoping to find some material changes that could protect our communities. I am profoundly disappointed to find none of the changes to planning promised by Gove. Instead the ‘presumption to approve’ developments remains in place making it harder to refuse. As a result, I am seeking a meeting with the head of planning at EDDC to see how he feels this new document affects our local planning policy going forward. I am also instigating changes to our local constitution to bring it in line with other districts. For example at present any member of the planning committee who does not attend a site visit is precluded from voting. I have argued that this is a ruling that is not applied by all districts, and that the information provided by officers should be sufficient to make a decision with or without a site visit. This is now being actioned. Also I have asked for the powers to summon officers from the EA, Highways and the water companies to planning meetings, to be applied. This should allow members to question statements made by these companies and raise the level of accountability. I have also asked for the ability to defer decisions on applications if these companies do not attend.  I will keep you informed as to how these changes pan out.

Cllr Valentine agreed to report back to members on the latest iteration when he’d had a chance to go through it.

133/23     To receive an update from All Points Fibre (formerly Jurassic Fibre) on superfast broadband

Stephen Harris, Head of Strategic Partnerships from All Points Fibre (APF) was due to join the meeting remotely, but due to issues with broadband it was not possible to connect.  Members expressed their profound disappointment that the company would not be pursuing its roll-out, which APF explained was no longer commercially viable.  Cllr Twiss indicated in a recent email that the contract for Airband to deliver the roll-out under the Connecting Devon & Somerset scheme appeared to be the most likely option.

ACTION: Cllr Powell to liaise with Broadhembury Parish Council which is experiencing similar issues, and draft a joint letter to Richard Foorde MP.

ACTION: Clerk to contact Airband and invite them to a meeting to provide an update.

134/23     To receive reports from councillors on areas of responsibility and actions since the last meeting:

  • To note the latest planning decision notices

There was no update this month.

  • To receive an update on Highways

Road closure: 7th January 2024 0930-1530 road through Alfington closed for BT pole work. 

20th March road to Catshayes closed to install sewer level equipment.

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

Cf minute ref. 142/23.

  • To receive an update on public transport

Cllr Orchard said rail passengers had had a rough time recently, with disruption caused by landslips and stormy weather. 

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

The clerk reported that Cllrs Rowe and Orchard had been unable to meet EDDC officer Paul Feely in December, owing to staffing issues.   

  • To consider parish council support for scam awareness and security

There was no update this month.

  • To consider limited residential development in the parish

Cllr Valentine said GCLT was drawing up a memorandum of understanding with Combe Estate. The planning application is due to be submitted very soon.  Research into a possible housing association partner is ongoing.             

  • To consider updating the parish emergency plan

ACTION: Cllr Orchard to arrange a meeting with flood / snow wardens. 

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

Members discussed the creation of a permissive path and agreed that there would be funds available to pay for hedges, fences etc.  It would fit with the parish council’s climate change agenda and take cars off the road.  Cllr Powell highlighted the success of a newly created path linking Feniton and Colestocks, and he said he thought the path would receive widespread support on the Hayne Farm development. 

ACTION: Cllr Powell to take forward.

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

There was no update this month.

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

The clerk reported that DCC’s Mike Brown had been in touch regarding the collapsed pipe at Pig Sty Corner.  Cllr Walker agreed to ask Len Abbott whether the tip of the tree which fell down into the stream at Church Mead can be removed without risk.  Members noted that water appears to be staying put in the ditch by Truances, following remedial work.    

ACTION: Cllr Rowe to follow up with Mike Brown (DCC Highways).   

135/23     To receive a report from the Chair

The Chair wished all parish councillors a happy new year. 

136/23     To consider donations to organisations under S137 and Transport

Members agreed to donate £60 each to TRIP, Force, Hospiscare, Citizens Advice and Diabetes UK.

137/23     To consider a review of remuneration of the parish clerk in line with annual NALC salary scales, and associated pension payments

Members resolved to raise the clerk’s salary in line with NALC recommendations to £13.73 / hr, for the year 2023-24, and to apply the increase retrospectively.  This increase also applies to pension contributions.  The 2024-25 pay scales are yet to be determined.

138/23     To approve the January payments and to note the current bank balance

F Clampin             £254.34 Clerk’s salary

F Clampin             £175.50 9 months’ backdated pay for 2023-24 at new NALC hourly rate, SCP12

Information Commissioner               £40 Annual membership

TRIP                      £60         Donation

Force                      £60         Donation

Hospiscare            £60         Donation

Diabetes UK         £60         Donation

Citizens Advice    £60         Donation

Websites Ahoy      £81.67   support and maintenance during 2023

Sandbag Co          £28         Additional delivery charge of sandbags to EX postcodes

DD          NEST                     £26.78   Clerk’s pension

Members were informed that the current bank balance stands at £18,480.07 (which includes approximately £7,000 in the business reserve account). 

139/23 To agree the budget for 2024/25

The clerk and Cllr Twist outlined likely expenditure for the rest of the current tax year, and circulated a spreadsheet showing forecast expenditure for 2024/25.  Councillors agreed to add £100 to the donations list.  Members resolved to set budget expenditure at £12,662 for the year.

140/23 To set the precept for 2024/25

Councillors voted unanimously to increase the precept by 8.5 per cent to £10,139.08, the balance of the budget to be taken from reserves.  Members agreed that as the population of the parish has increased significantly, this should not represent a rise at the individual level.

141/23 To update the parish council’s bank mandate

Councillors resolved to approve the clerk’s appointment as a Payment Controller on Bankline.

ACTION: Cllr Twist to contact Nat West.

142/23 To consider entering into the grant funding agreement with EDDC (S106 monies) relating to land at Gittisham play area, money for outdoor table tennis table

Councillors resolved to enter into the grant funding agreement, which will see £3,079 (net) released from S106 monies to part-fund the outdoor ping pong table in the play area.  Cllrs Hall and Twist signed the agreement, witnessed by the clerk.  The clerk advised members that costs for the table would likely have changed / increased.

143/23 Clerk’s report

The clerk reported that a parishioner had expressed concern over the continuing run-off on the lane to Catshayes. 

ACTION: Clerk to write to Combe Estate to outline concerns and ask whether hedge will be restored on the same road. 

144/23     For information only; items for the forward agenda

Play area maintenance contract 2024-25.

145/23     To consider any late entry correspondence

None. 

146/23     Date of next two meetings  

Thursday 1st February and Thursday 7th March 2024 at 7.30pm. 

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

Chair…………………………………….

1st February 2024

Members Code of Conduct Adam

GENERAL NOTICE OF REGISTERABLE INTERESTS

I, Adam Powell

being a Member/Co-opted Member of Gittisham Parish Council,  give notice in this form of those interests which I am required to declare under The  Relevant Authorities (Disclosable Pecuniary Interests) Regulations 2012 and the Council’s Code of Conduct. I understand that I must also declare any interest of a  ‘relevant person’ [my spouse or civil partner or of any person with whom I am living as  a husband or wife or as if we were civil partners] on sections 1-6 of this form, as defined  in the Council’s Code of Conduct. 

I have also declared my personal interests as required by the Code of Conduct, as shown on section 7 of this form. 

Disclosable Pecuniary Interests

1. Employment, Office, Trade, Profession or Vocation  Please give details of (i) every employment, job, trade, business or vocation you  or a relevant person has, for which you receive any benefit or gain (i.e. profit,  salary or benefit in kind) including a short description of the activity e.g.  ‘Accountant’ or ‘Farmer’ and (ii) the name of any employer or body, firm or  company which you own or in which you have any beneficial interest.


Description of employment,  job, vocation, trade or 
business 

None

Name of Employer, body, firm or company by which you are employed or in which you are a partner or a  remunerated Director in which you have a beneficial  interest
N/A

2. Sponsorship 

Please give details of any person or body (other than the Parish Council)  who has made any payment to you in respect of your election or any expenses  you have incurred in carrying out your duties as a Parish Councillor.​   

None

3. Securities: Interests in Companies 

Please give details of body which has a place of business or owns land in the  Parish Council’s area and in which you or a relevant person has a  beneficial interest (a shareholding) of more than £25,000 (nominal value) or  more than 1/100th of the total share issue of that body (whichever is the lower)  or if there is more than one class of share, the total nominal value of shares in  any class of that body of more than 1/100th of the total shares of that class  Note: It is not necessary to declare the nature or size of the holding, simply the name of the company or other body. 

None

4. Contracts: for Goods, Works or Services with the Council  Please give details of any current, existing contracts for goods, works or  services between the Parish Council and you or a relevant person and any  body, firm or company by which you/they are employed or which you own or in  which you/they have a beneficial interest, as referred to at 3 above.​       

None

5. Interests in land in the District Council’s Area (you must include the land  and house you / relevant person live in)  Please give the address or other description (sufficient to identify the location) of any land or property in the District Council’s area in which you or a relevant person has a beneficial interest (either as owner, lessee / tenant or licencee including land in which you/they may have a licence, alone or with others, to occupy for a period of one month or longer) and state the nature of that interest. For example this would include allotments that you own or use. Where it is not easy to describe the location of the land, you may wish to include a map showing the location / extent of the land in addition.

5 Hedge Field Close Gittisham EX14 3FP – owner

6. Corporate Tenancies: Land leased from Parish Council.​ Please give the address or other description (sufficient to identify the location)  of any land leased or licensed from the Parish Council by a you or a  relevant person or any body firm or company by which you/they are employed  or which you/they own or in which you/they have a beneficial interest (specified  at 3 above).

None

7. Your Personal Interests

Membership of any Body or Organisation  to which you have been appointed or  nominated by the Parish Council  as its​ representative
None
Membership of any other body exercising functions of a public nature (for example District or other Parish Council; Health, Police or Fire Authority or Quasi Autonomous NonGovernmental Body)
None
Membership of any body directed to charitable purposes (for example an Industrial and Provident Society or Charitable Body or you are a Freemason who is a member of the Grand Charity and/or have membership of an individual lodge that has charitable status or is a lodge directed towards charitable purposes)
None
Membership of any Body whose principal purpose is to influence public opinion or policy or which, in your view, might create a conflict of interest in carrying out their duties as a Parish Councillor. (for example Political Party; Trade Union, Professional Association, Local Action Forum, Civic Society or Interest Group such as National Trust; RSPB: Greenpeace or membership of the Freemasons or similar body)
Labour Party member
Any easement, servitude, interest or right in or over land which does not carry with it a right for you (alone or jointly with another) to occupy the land or to receive income. [This includes options to purchase which you have on land in Gittisham parish]
None

DECLARATION

I recognise that if I fail to comply with the Code of Conduct for Members of Gittisham Parish Council or:

1. omit any information that should be included in this Notice;

2. give false or misleading information; or

3. do not tell the Town/Parish Council of any changes to this Notice or new interests I acquire.

There may be a criminal offence and/or the matter may be referred to the East Devon Monitoring Officer /East Devon District Council’s Standards Committee for investigation.

Date:04/0/2024

Signed: Adam Powell

Gittisham Parish Council Internet Banking Policy

GITTISHAM PARISH COUNCIL

e-mail: clerk@gittisham.org.uk

website: https://gittisham.org.uk/

Internet Banking Policy for Gittisham Parish Council

Background

This policy is based on the advice issued by the National Association of Local Council (NALC) relating to parish councils’ use of online banking and the implications for the way in which the Parish Council operates with regards to the authorization of payments.

Banking arrangements have changed significantly in recent years, with more transactions being carried out online. As a result of this, the use of cheques is becoming rare. Many businesses prefer to receive payment by electronic means and are now discouraging the payment of invoices by cheques. This became particularly apparent during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Legislation

The Legislative Reform (Payments by Parish Councils, Community Councils and Charter Trustees) Order 2014 (SI2014/580) came into effect on 12th March 2014.  This Legislative Reform Order repeals the statutory requirement (Local Government Act 1972 section 150(5) which states that “every cheque or other order for the payment of money shall be signed by two members of the council”.

The removal of this particular legal requirement enables the Parish Council to take an overall approach to how it controls its money as well as taking advantage of modern technology including internet banking.

Internal Controls

The Parish Council must ensure that it maintains robust controls on payments as an integrated part of its overall financial control system and proposes an Internet Banking Policy as part of its governance.

At all times the advice of NALC in relation to dual authorization will be followed:

“Councils must not relinquish the “two member signatories” control over cheques and other orders for payment until they have put in place safe and efficient arrangements in accordance with the guidance noted from the NALC Finance and Audit Advisor: “the overriding requirement resulting from the abolition of S150(5) is that each and every local council seeking to depart from the two signature rule must “implement and maintain robust controls on expenditure as an integrated part of their overall financial control system”.

It is not a requirement that two people authorize electronic payments, however it is a general principle that more than one person should be involved in any payment, whether that is before, at or after the point at which the payment is made.  Councils must consider the appropriate systems, procedures and controls available by banking providers.”

Current position: November 2023

The Parish Council has two bank accounts with NatWest Bank (one Current Accounts and one Business Reserve) with internet banking facilities set up for the day-to-day payment of invoices and receipt of income on the current account.  This facility is known as Bankline for Communities.

The Clerk provides periodic reconciliations supported by bank statements to full Council on the Council’s main Current and Reserve Accounts. 

Payments by cheque will be made when necessary, following the existing controls and approvals, but the Council has moved to online payments as the default position.

The Council will have a minimum of three Councillors as authorised signatories at any one time.

Policy

1. Wherever possible, payments will be made using online banking and should be initiated as per the procedures set out below within one week of being agreed at a council meeting.

2. Payment for items made by internet banking transfer must have evidence retained showing which members approved release of the payment.

3. Where internet banking arrangements are made with any bank, the Clerk / RFO shall be appointed as the Payment Controller. The Clerk / RFO will operate a ‘create and submit only’ authorisation and will be able to transfer funds between accounts held at the same bank.

4. The Bank Mandate approved by the Council shall identify a minimum of three Councillors as Signatories who will be authorised to ‘approve only’ transactions on those accounts.

5. Access to internet banking accounts will be directly to the bank’s log-in page and not through a search engine or e-mail link. Remembered or saved password facilities must not be used on any computer used for council banking work. Breach of this requirement will be treated as a very serious matter.

6. The Council, and those signatories using computers for the Council’s internet banking, shall ensure that anti-virus, anti-spyware and firewall software with automatic updates, together with a high level of security, is used. Signatories may request reimbursement for the installation and annual update of such software on their personal computers.

7. No employee or Councillor shall disclose any PIN or password, relevant to the working of the Council or its bank accounts, to any person not authorised in writing by the council.

8. New beneficiary details and changes to beneficiary details used for internet banking must be supported by hard copy or email notification for checking and supported by hard copy authority for change signed by the Clerk and a Signatory.

9. A programme of regular checks of standing data with suppliers will be followed.

Procedure

The actual process of operating the online account will be the subject to the rules and security authorisation process of the agreed bank:

1. All orders for payment will be verified for accuracy by the Parish Clerk and included on the payment schedule.

2. The schedule of all payments shall be prepared by the Parish Clerk and presented to each meeting of the Council together with any supporting invoices or other documentation for approval. The approved schedule will be signed by the Clerk as Responsible Financial Officer and Chairman of the meeting.

3. The Parish Clerk will initiate payment.

4. Two of the three authorised Councillors will confirm the payments online (from the list of authorised Councillors held by NatWest Bank). Councillors are expected to authorise payment requests within two days of the payment being initiated by the Parish Clerk.

5. Where a councillor is to be reimbursed for expenditure, they should not be an authoriser (in the case of internet payments), or a signatory (in the case of cheque payments).

Inter Account Transfers

Transfers between the Council’s Accounts held with NatWest Bank will continue to be subject to the Council’s own Financial Regulation 5.5c “fund transfers within the councils banking arrangements up to the sum of £10,000 provided that a list of such payments shall be submitted to the next appropriate meeting of council.”

Use of online banking – Risk Assessment

Benefits: quick and safe payment of invoices and staff salaries, access to cheaper, online products and services, preparation for the future when cheque payments may not be possible. Materiality level of risk relatively low with annual budget of approximately £5000.

Risks:Actions to minimise risk (as stated in NALC revised Financial Regs):
Premature payment of invoices.All invoices for payment shall be examined, verified and certified by the RFO to confirm that the work, goods or services to which each invoice relates has been received, carried out, examined and represents expenditure previously approved by the council, or authorized by the Chairman of a Committee.
Over payment of salaries.For each financial year the RFO shall draw up a list of due payments which arise on a regular basis as the result of a continuing contract, statutory duty, or obligation (such as but not exclusively, Salaries, PAYE and NI, Superannuation Fund and regular maintenance contracts and the like for which council [,or a duly authorised committee,] may authorise payment for the year provided that the requirements of regulation budgetary controls are adhered to, provided also that a list of such payments shall be submitted to the next appropriate meeting of the Council.
Unauthorised payment.Instructions for each payment to be signed by two authorised bank signatories, either at a meeting of the Council or by email. Copies to be retained and payments to be reported to council. Bank reconciliation for all payments to be signed off by the RFO and Chair at the next Council meeting.  Any discrepancies to be minuted.
Failure to make paymentFollowing authorization, the RFO will check that all payments have been made.
Payment to incorrect accountThe Councillor making a payment to cross-check accuracy of the account details.  Parish Clerk to follow up with new payees that payment has been received.
Mis-use of pin or passwordNo employee or councillor shall disclose any PIN or password to any person.
Loss of pin or password.The person who has lost the pin or password will follow the bank procedures to obtain a replacement.
Risk of internet fraud.The council will ensure that anti-virus, anti-spyware and firewall, software with automatic updates, together with a high level of security, is used. Access to any internet banking accounts will be directly to the access page (which may be saved under “favourites”), and not through a search engine or email link. Remembered or saved passwords facilities must not be used on any computer used for council banking work.
Embezzlement.The Parish Council has insurance.
Mis-use of debit card.No debit card will be issued

Reviewed: November 2023

Review due: November 2024

2024-01 Parish Council agenda 4th Jan 2024

GITTISHAM PARISH COUNCIL

Ms Fiona Clampin

Clerk to the Council

Garlands

Gittisham

Honiton

EX14 3AJ

01404 851442

clerk@gittisham.org.uk

28th December 2023

Members of Gittisham Parish Council

You are hereby summoned to attend the January Parish Council Meeting to be held in Gittisham Parish Room on Thursday 4th January 2024 commencing at 7.30pm to discuss items on the Agenda and to make resolutions as appropriate.

Prior to the start of the meeting a period of 15 minutes is allowed to permit any resident to bring appropriate matters to the notice of the Council.  Please contact the clerk if you would like to do this, preferably by email in advance of the meeting, with a question you wish to be raised with Councillors on your behalf. 

  1. To accept and approve apologies
  2. To confirm the Minutes of the meeting held on 7th December 2023
  3. To receive the Beat Manager’s report
  4. To receive declarations of interest
  5. To consider actions from last meeting not otherwise on the agenda
  6. To receive reports from County Council and District Council representatives
  7. To receive an update from All Points Fibre (formerly Jurassic Fibre) on superfast broadband
  8. To receive reports from councillors on areas of responsibility and actions since the last meeting:
  • To note the latest planning decision notices (Cllr Orchard)
  • To receive an update on highways (Cllr Orchard)
  • To consider plans for expenditure in the parish under the Community Infrastructure Levy and S106, inc publicity (Cllr Orchard / Cllr Twist)
  • To receive an update on public transport (Cllr Orchard)
  • To consider climate change measures within the parish, including proposals for rewilding land off Old Elm Road (Cllr Twist / Cllr Rowe)
  • To consider parish council support for scam awareness and security (Cllr Twist)
  • To consider limited residential development in the parish (Cllr Valentine)
  • To consider updating the parish emergency plan (Cllr Orchard)
  • To consider the creation of a footpath linking Hayne Farm with Gittisham village (all)
  • To consider the refurbishment and maintenance of the village play area (Cllr Walker)
  • To consider work to be carried out by the lengthsman to maintain drains and ditches in the parish (Cllr Walker)
  1. To receive a report from the Chair
  2. To consider donations to organisations under S137 and Transport
  3. To approve the January payments and to note the current bank balance:

F Clampin £254.34 clerk’s salary & expenses tbc

F Clampin 9 months’ backdated pay for 2023-24 at new NALC hourly rate, SCP12 £175.50

Len Abbott lengthsman work £tbc

Len Abbott expenses £tbc

Information Commissioner annual membership £40

Websites Ahoy support & maintenance during 2023 (inv. ref. W23-GPC-2) £81.67

NEST (clerk’s pension) £26.78 

  1. To agree the budget for 2024-25
  2. To set the precept for 2024-25
  3. To update the parish council’s bank mandate
  4. To consider entering into the grant funding agreement with East Devon District Council (S106 monies) relating to land at Gittisham play area, money for outdoor table tennis table
  5. To consider a review of remuneration of the parish clerk in line with the annual NALC salary scales for 2023-24 (pub. Nov 2023), and associated pension payments
  6. Clerk’s report
  7. For information only; items for the forward agenda
  8. To consider any late entry correspondence
  9. To note the date of the next two meetings, February tbc and Thursday 7th March 2024 at 7.30pm. 

F J Clampin – Clerk

Gittisham Parish Council CIL report 2022-23

Reporting Year 1 April 2022 to 31st March 2023

ATotal CIL Income Carried Over from Previous Years£5,202.54
BTotal CIL Income Received (Receipts)£566.85
CTotal CIL Spent (Expenses)£0
DTotal CIL Repaid following a repayment noticeNIL
   
ETotal CIL Retained at the end  (A+B-C-D)£5,769.39
CIL expenditure
Item / purposeAmount spent
Total spent

Signed Parish Clerk:

 Fiona Clampin

Verified Vice Chair of Parish Council:

 Janet Twist

07.12.2023

2023-12 Parish Council meeting minutes 7th Dec 2023

Held in Gittisham Parish Room

Present:

Village ward: Cllr D Valentine, Cllr A Rowe, Cllr M Walker

Vale ward: Cllr J Twist (Vice Chair), Cllr P Orchard

In attendance: Fiona Clampin (clerk)

Apologies for absence: Cllr C Hall (Chair), Cllr Alasdair Bruce (EDDC), Cllr Phil Twiss (DCC), PCSO Darren England

111/23 To accept and approve apologies

Apologies were received and accepted.

112/23        To confirm the minutes of the meeting held on 2nd November 2023

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

113/23        To receive the Beat Manager’s Report

Due to an error on the Police UK website, it was not possible to report crime statistics accurately.  However, another site published figures for the whole of Honiton Rural, for which 1 reported violent crime in August 2023.

114/23        To receive declarations of interest

None.

115/23        To consider actions from the last meeting not otherwise on the agenda

Cllr Valentine reported that EDDC has decided to proceed with the development of a second new town of 8,000 homes between Exeter Airport and Crealy.  He said this was likely to have some sort of impact on the reallocation of development sites in the Local Plan.

116/23 To receive reports from County Council and District Council representatives

In his absence, Cllr Twiss sent the following report:

Transport: Bus

The £2 bus fare is to be continued until end 2024.  Not only does this help with the cost of living, it also encourages more people to use buses thereby reducing congestion and helping with decreasing carbon emissions.  The revised Stagecoach timetables are now bedding in and there are a lot fewer complaints. Unfortunately, the changes coincided with an increase in illness, mainly respiratory infections amongst bus drivers. Resilience will improve as Stagecoach now has a full cohort at the bus training school.

Transport: Rail

The unexpected, but for us very good news that some of the allocated HS2 funds would be reallocated around the country was very welcome.  Devon is very proactive at having schemes ready or in the pipeline to go when

opportunities arise and DCC actively lobbies for money for schemes. The investment in time at Westminster is not wasted as all the schemes outlined to the minister by DCC have now received a commitment to funding.

  • Tavistock to Plymouth; confirmed project would be funded to delivery subject to ongoing business case development
  • Wellington and Cullompton stations- this would lead to an hourly service for these communities.

More rail news! On December 10th the launch of through tickets on our integrated bus routes, for example someone travelling from Leeds could get a through ticket to Honiton. The integrated working with GWR is producing excellent results and Devon is looked at with a lot of envy from around the country. For a large rural county we have achieved more already than urban areas, with hopefully more to come.

Transport: Roads

Safety Defects

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 have gradually stabilised through the spring and into the summer.  However, they remain above average for the time of year. This has meant that there is still some residual pressure on inspection teams in assessing backlogs.  Evening and weekend working has remained in place in some areas to assist with this.

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 road condition and safety defects, the numbers recorded across the network had reduced sufficiently that Highway Safety Inspectors (HSI) were able to re-start the identification of non-safety or ‘serviceability’ defects in June. This process offers HSIs the discretion to record defects that do not meet investigatory criteria in our Highway Safety Policy.  The ‘Elastomac’ product being used is envisaged to provide a lower carbon and cost-effective means of repairing carriageway defects. The mastic product uses up to 70% recycled materials, including lorry tyres, that would otherwise be incinerated and, in the right scenarios, allows reactive works gangs to undertake repairs much more quickly when compared with conventional techniques.

DCC welcomed the Government’s announcement of an £8.3 billion investment for road maintenance over the next 11 years.  We’re receiving an extra £6.66 million this financial year, from the funding redirected from the scrapped HS2 rail line extension to Manchester. It will be followed by the same amount next year, and then there will be a minimum of £208.6 million between now and 2033/34, according to the Department for Transport.  The funding will help address some of the repair backlog on Devon’s 8,000 miles of roads, the biggest highway network of any authority in the country. Some of the money will be used to carry out patching work and other repairs before potholes deteriorate further this winter due to the wet and freezing conditions of the season.  The majority of the funding for this financial year will enable us to bring forward resurfacing schemes earmarked within our future works programme.

Winter Service

Preparations for winter took 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 barns have also been progressed and salt stocks have been replenished ahead of winter.  By keeping the age of the gritting vehicles less than 10 years old maintenance costs are reduced and ensures the fleet is safe and appropriate for the task in hand. In preparation for this winter, eight of our oldest/most costly gritters will be traded-in against six nearly-new vehicles. This will reduce the secondary fleet from 12 vehicles down to 10, an appropriate balance of service resilience against financial pressures.

Gully cleaning 

Over 5,000 drainage issues identified by the gully cleaning crews and highway officers have been resolved since April. The challenge remains dealing with more than15,000 outstanding reported issues with funds available.

The ongoing trial to pre inspect gullies due to be cleaned on the cyclical programme has shown 49% 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’s 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.

Grass cutting

Despite a challenging growing season, the planned first cut of rural grass had been completed by the end of August. Working alongside Torbay Council, efficiencies have been realised in our operations in the south of the county.

Ash Dieback [ADB]

The expert tree inspections have recorded 113 individual reports of ADB, which is an increase when compared with 96 records at the same point last year. This mirrors the overall increase in the total number of individual trees reported with ADB, which is 437 compared with 235 trees at this point last year.

In his absence, Cllr Bruce sent the following report:

There is still no timetable available as to when the National Planning Policy Framework legislation will transit Parliament. This is very frustrating, given the deluge of large applications being inflicted on Feniton. On which subject, I’m getting very little steer from EDDC planning regarding the Taylor Wimpy [TW] pre app. However, in my brief and non-committal correspondence with TW, they have said they are aware of the super inquiry and the judgement but feel it does not apply to them as the housing numbers are significantly less for this application. I felt there was little point in going back to clarify the obvious flaw in their logic, it can wait for a later conversation! I mention the ongoing issues with Feniton in this report as they have implications for all of us.

As I write this report we are experiencing heavy rainfall but I understand that no houses have, at this point, been affected in the ward. Given the district-wide nature of this rain, and the number of flooding rivers, I suspect flooding may well be on the news later tonight.  Of course pothole issues are going to be aggravated by this weather, but I’m assured by DCC that, despite a significant shortfall in funding yet to be addressed by government, the repair teams are doing their best to prioritise damage that has the most impact.

An incident of anti-social behaviour has been reported to me regarding Longlands Way at Hayne Farm. Apparently this has been aggravated by unnamed residents removing the security locks on the main doors. I have reported this to both EDDC and Sovereign.

Both councillors wished the parish council and all residents a wonderful festive season and said they looked forward to 2024.

117/23     To receive reports from councillors on areas of responsibility and actions since the last meeting:

  • To note the latest planning decision notices

Members noted the recent flooding along the Honiton Link Road which has made it impassable.  They highlighted the assertion in the outstanding planning application 22/2723/FUL for the proposed Combe Farm shop that the development will not increase the flood risk elsewhere.  Councillors expressed serious concerns that the recent rainfall and surface water flooding have shown this development is unsuitable.

ACTION: Clerk to draft a response with photographs to EDDC Planning and send to Cllr Valentine for approval.

  • To receive an update on Highways

Road closure: 7th January 2024 0930-1530 road through Alfington closed for BT pole work. 

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

The clerk said she was due to sign EDDC’s draft grant funding agreement to release the S106 money (£3,079 net) towards the cost of the outdoor ping pong table.

  • To receive an update on public transport

Cllr Orchard said trains had been suspended from 7-10December between Yeovil Junction and Salisbury for planned engineering works with a rail replacement bus in service.  However, since those works were scheduled a landslip has occurred at Crewkerne which has closed the line between Exeter and Salisbury.  The line is not expected to reopen before 13th December. 

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

Cllr Rowe said he and Cllr Orchard would be meeting EDDC officer Paul Feely this month.  Cllr Walker said a resident had expressed concern about the apparent use of pesticides in the rewilding area of Hayne Farm.   

  • To consider parish council support for scam awareness and security

Cllr Twist said WhatsApp users are being encouraged to be vigilant after scammers hacked into accounts and asked their victim’s friends and family for money.

  • To consider limited residential development in the parish

Cllr Valentine said he had been re-elected as the chair at the recent board meeting / AGM, and the GCLT planning application was due to be submitted.  The clerk told Cllr Valentine that a page on the Gittisham website could be created for the GCLT.             

  • To consider updating the parish emergency plan

Councillors resolved to purchase pre-filled sandbags at a cost of £178.31 for 90. 

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

There was no update on this.

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

There was no update on this.

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

Cllr Walker reported that the lengthsman had been clearing the drains up Parsonage Lane, and he had also dug a hole along that stretch which had kept one entrance to Gittisham village free from flooding.  In addition he had cleared a ditch behind Church Mead to stop those houses from flooding.  Len Abbott has asked for DCC to be reminded of the collapsed pipe at Pig Sty Corner, grid reference 50.778538, -3.225841 as fixing this will have a positive impact elsewhere. 

118/23     To receive a report from the Chair

There was no report this month. 

119/23     To consider the casual vacancy in Gittisham Vale

Adam Powell was elected by a unanimous vote to represent Gittisham Vale ward.

ACTION: Clerk to send Cllr Powell register of interest forms.

120/23     To approve the December payments and to note the current bank balance

F Clampin             £248.32 Clerk’s salary & expenses (paper & drawing pins)

Michael Poll        £65 Grass cutting (inv. ref. 10275)   

Leonard Abbott       £87 (6 hours lengthsman work, Nov 2023)

EDDC       £357.80 waste bin & installation

EDDC       £60.92 weekly waste collection total from 13th Oct to financial year end

CHT        £324 annual defibrillator maintenance package x2

The Sandbag Co        £178.31 10kgs pre-filled sandbags x90     

DD          NEST                     £24.82   Clerk’s pension

Members were informed that the current bank balance stands at £18,887.43 (which includes approximately £7,000 in the business reserve account).  Cllr Twist said that as members had resolved to change the clerk’s status on Bankline from ‘viewer’ to ‘payment controller’, a new bank mandate was needed. 

ACTION: All to come with suggestions for budget setting at the January meeting.

122/23 To approve and sign the annual CIL report

The clerk distributed details of CIL income and expenditure for 2022/23.  Members resolved to approve the document, and it was signed by the Vice Chair.

ACTION: Clerk to upload the CIL document 2022/23 and send to EDDC.

123/23 Clerk’s report

The clerk reported that parish & town councils were due to receive a framed photo of King Charles III, should they wish to. Members agreed to liaise with the village hall committee.

Following the visit of a beaver to the River Gitt on 2nd December for the first time since their re-introduction, the clerk said she had reported this to the Devon Wildlife Trust who will give a presentation on how parishes can manage beaver colonies.

ACTION: Clerk to find out whether DWT would like to hold an information session in the village hall.

124/23     For information only; items for the forward agenda

Budget; bank mandate.

125/23     To consider any late entry correspondence

None. 

126/23     Date of next two meetings  

Thursday 4th January and Thursday 1st February 2024 at 7.30pm. 

There being no further business, the meeting closed at 2030 hrs.

Chair…………………………………….

4th January 2024

2023-11 Parish Council meeting 2nd November 2023

Held in Gittisham Parish Room

Present:

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

Vale ward: Cllr J Twist (Vice Chair), Cllr P Orchard

In attendance: one member of the public, Fiona Clampin (clerk)

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

Before the start of the meeting, councillors discussed the flooding in the parish which had occurred in the early hours of Thursday morning, 2nd November. The member of the public, who works for a flood risk organisation, advised the parish council that when serious flooding occurs, getting involved in mitigating its effects during the event can be dangerous and it is often best to wait until the worst has passed. For example inspection covers often lift in floods and can’t be seen under water or in the dark. Flood risk is best dealt with proactively, he said, and the parish council is not in a position to advise individuals. All agreed that with climate change bringing about more extreme weather events, people would have to adapt their behaviour and take further precautions to try to minimise flood damage.

96/23 To accept and approve apologies

Apologies were received and accepted.

97/23        To confirm the minutes of the meeting held on 3rd October 2023

The minutes of the meeting held on 3rd October 2023 were confirmed and signed by the Chair. 

98/23        To receive the Beat Manager’s Report

Due to an error on the Police UK website, it was not possible to report crime statistics for August & September 2023.

99/23        To receive declarations of interest

Cllr Valentine declared an interest in agenda item 7j) (minute ref. 102/23j), as he owns an electric vehicle.

100/23        To consider actions from the last meeting not otherwise on the agenda

Cllr Twist reported that the waste bin has been installed at the end of Old Elm Road.

101/23 To receive reports from County Council and District Council representatives

Budgeting and living with the means available

In his absence, Cllr Twiss sent the following report: Devon County Council is going through a major restructure currently of how the ‘business’ operates, so that it can best serve the needs of the residents of Devon with the physical and financial resources available to it. There is a lot of publicity currently about the financial health of local government and a number of them issuing what is called a section 114 notice. In effect, this is a declaration that they cannot meet their obligations in producing a legally required budget.  They are therefore ‘handing back the keys’ to central Government to send in commissioners to run services at the minimum legal level. There is often no one single reason for this but certainly growing demand for services, children’s in particular, combined with inflation, are major factors in many instances.

Devon County Council took early steps to address this, reorganised and as part of this are currently in advanced negotiations with the Department for Education for a very significant financial settlement (called the ’safety valve’) and DCC is not currently at risk of having to issue a section 114 notice.  Setting a balanced budget early next year is going to be very difficult, resulting in some very difficult choices having to be made where core spending power has reduced in real terms by 27 per cent since 2010/11 as councils remain firmly in the eye of the inflationary storm and finances are under pressure like never before.

Levelling Up

The Levelling up & Regeneration Bill recently received Royal Assent.  A raft of new measures came into force which the government says will “put local people at the heart of development”eg county and district councils will be expected to work with a faster and less bureaucratic planning system with developers held to account; more beautiful homes (whatever that means in Devonshire English!), built alongside GP surgeries, schools and transport links, and environmental enhancement; communities taking back control of their future with new powers to shape their local area.  This all sounds very good, but of course the proof of the pudding is in the eating and it will be interesting to see how councils interpret the Bill where clearly it’s critical in protecting our rural green spaces, but much of it seemingly has a more urban than rural focus and must not just be a tick box exercise.

The Act says it will:

  • Boost local services – requiring developers to deliver vital infrastructure. This will put an end to lifeless edge-of-town developments with no community assets and ensure developers deliver the schools, doctors surgeries and public services communities need and expect. Further details on these measures will be set out shortly.
  • Rebalance the housing and land markets, giving local councils the power to increase council tax on empty homes and reforming compensation for compulsory purchase orders by removing ‘hope value’ where justified.
  • Encourage developers to get building; giving communities updates on the progress of development and giving councils the chance to consider slow ‘build out’ rates when approving planning.
  • Bring high streets back to life, giving councils the powers to work directly with landlords to bring empty buildings back in to use by local businesses and community groups through high street rental auctions. It will also make it faster for local authorities to give hospitality businesses permission to use outdoor seating.

Station ticket offices proposals and other railway news

Although not a primary function of DCC, many concerns have been raised with colleagues and me by residents about proposals to close all railway station ticket offices, with much reduced staff and hours of operation for larger or busier ones where staff would be on hand to help.  Following a lengthy nationwide consultation and much lobbying, the government has determined that they must be scrapped; not reaching the threshold of an acceptable replacement that was fair on all users of the railways. I think we all recognise that times are changing with most people buying tickets online from machines at railway stations but these proposed major changes were too extreme at this time

The Friends of Honiton Station recently won the gold award for the second year running, for the community planters on the station. They are now working on a project with the Thelma Hulbert Gallery, Honiton Primary school, Honiton Town Council, South West Trains and Devon and Cornwall Rail Partnership to install children’s artwork relating to Honiton Lace, and the ‘Honiton Hippos’ on the inside of the footbridge at the station.

Highways 

DCC Highways teams have taken an absolute battering this year where climate change, and flooding events in particular have decimated planned maintenance.  But despite that, Highways are pressing on with as much of the programme as possible when not dealing with ’risk to life’ events or clearing up after flooding, fallen trees and damaged buildings.  They are doing their best to keep all of the plates spinning and I would ask that you understand that they must prioritise workload those ‘risk to life’ events while not diminishing the priority of things you have reason to contact them for.

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

In his absence, Cllr Bruce sent the following report:

I have to report, with some regret, that East Devon District Council saw the retirement of one of the longest serving Chief Executives in the country. Without delving into the array of conspiracy theories flying about, it is suffice to say he leaves a big pair of shoes to fill.

I took some encouragement from the definitive statements that have come out of last Strategic Planning Committee meeting. If implemented in full they could offer us an element of protection from the scourge of never ending developer-led mass housing applications.  The Government will be issuing a new NPPF in the near future. At its core is the following statement:

“The Levelling-Up and Regeneration Act is at the heart of this long-term plan and will ensure new development is built more beautifully, produces more local infrastructure, like GP surgeries, schools and transport links, is shaped by local people’s democratic wishes, enhances the environment, and creates neighbourhoods where people want to live and work.”  This should help empower our planning committee to make a stand against inappropriate development.  A case in point was last week’s refusal of the application for 63 houses to the south of Ottery St Mary. Despite officer recommendation, the committee decided to refuse. It remains to be seen if the council lawyers come back with reasons why these grounds will fail (an unfortunately familiar scenario).

With the ongoing spell of unpredictable weather, all our minds turn to the issue of flooding. As of 27th October I understand that, although some roads have been affected,  no houses in the ward have suffered. I hope this remains the case by the time this report appears. In the meantime I can only hope that the incoming Storm Ciarán does not cause too much damage.

Finally, I’d like to express my very grateful thanks to all those that have written to me recently. Your fine words and support at this difficult time have been of great help to me. Thank you.

ACTION: Clerk to advise Cllr Twiss that Jurassic Fibre has not responded either way to the invitation to attend a parish council meeting.

102/23     To receive reports from councillors on areas of responsibility and actions since the last meeting:

  • To note the latest planning decision notices

22/1206/FUL The Lodge Gittisham EX14 3AD – Demolition of internal wall, removal of roof to existing extension, construction of new extension with parapet and roof lanterns.  Approval with conditions.

  • To receive an update on Highways

Cllr Orchard reported that the internal channel of the balancing pond has filled with rubble, so it needs to be cleared out. Cllr Rowe said the broken grit bin on the road heading west out of the village had been reported.

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

The clerk said she had approached EDDC for an update, but had not received a reply.

  • To receive an update on public transport

Cllr Orchard said the 44a service through the village had been rather unreliable over the past few weeks. The clerk said she had written to Stagecoach.

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

Cllr Rowe said he and Cllr Orchard would be meeting EDDC officer Paul Feely in December.   

  • To consider parish council support for scam awareness and security

Cllr Twist said a lot of information about scams had been circulating.  In the first half of 2023, 1.4 million cases of fraud through scams were recorded.  Cllr Twist said the online safety bill soon to come before parliament should help to bring down cold calling about finance.

ACTION: Cllr Twist to order some Take 5 stickers which people put on their ‘phones.

  • To consider limited residential development in the parish

Cllr Valentine said the GCLT board had decided to press ahead with the planning application, in spite of the lack of housing association involvement. The decision is subject to the availability of funds.                 

  • To consider updating the parish emergency plan

Given the recent weather, members were reminded that there are various locations marked on the emergency plan where sandbags are stored. Councillors resolved to purchase additional sand for the sandbags. In the event of a flood, those affected should call the emergency services. The Chair thanked Cllr Rowe for clearing the drain under the railway bridge by the Forge.

ACTION: The Chair & Cllr Rowe to check how many sandbags are currently filled and to feed back to the clerk. 

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

ACTION: To be discussed at the next meeting.

Cllr Valentine left the meeting.

  • To consider the purchase of an electric vehicle charger.

Members discussed the likelihood of finding a suitable location and getting approval from the landowner, as well as the high cost of a charger fast enough to be suitable for visitors to the village. It was agreed to put this ambition to one side for now, but to continue investigating grants for the project.

Cllr Valentine returned to the meeting.

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

    The Chair confirmed the memorial plaque had been moved.

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

    The Chair thanked Len Abbott and the bridge contractors working at Church Mead for removing the fallen tree.

    103/23     To receive a report from the Chair

    The Chair said there was no report this month. 

    104/23     To consider the casual vacancy in Gittisham Vale

    The clerk said that no applications had been received. Members agreed to re-advertise the vacancy, with a deadline of 23.59 on Sunday 3rd December 2023 for applications.

    105/23 To consider updating the financial regulations

    The clerk circulated the current financial regulations and an internet banking policy to reflect the changes in the parish council’s banking methods.  Members discussed at length the best way to retain the system for two councillors to authorise payments, as NatWest’s Bankline for Communities does not allow those who are not authorised signatories to process payments.  Members resolved to allow the clerk to become an authorised signatory and payment controller, which will give her the ability to generate payments to be approved online.  (Cllr Twist is currently doing this.)  Once the clerk has raised the payments, they will be checked and authorised by one of the authorised signatories on the account (Cllrs Hall, Twist & Valentine).  A second councillor will check each invoice against the bank statement, sign and report back at the following meeting.

    106/23     To approve the November payments and to note the current bank balance

    F Clampin             £235.83 Clerk’s salary

    Michael Poll        £65 Grass cutting (inv. ref. 10264)   

    Leonard Abbott       £123.25 (8.5 hours lengthsman work, Sept 2023)

    Leonard Abbott       £101.50 (7 hours lengthsman work, Oct 2023)

    DD          NEST                     £24.82   Clerk’s pension

    Members were informed that the current bank balance stands at £20,233.60 (which includes approximately £7,000 in the business reserve account).  The clerk said that a payment to Leonard Abbott for £53.48 in September had not gone through, as Bankline will reject additional payments when one is pending for the same payee. Cllr Twist agreed to add £53.48 to the amount owing to Len Abbott as outlined in November’s payments. 

    107/23     Clerk’s Report

    None.  

    108/23     For information only; items for the forward agenda

    None.

    109/23     To consider any late entry correspondence

    The clerk agreed to alert Cllr Twiss about the inadequate ditch clearance reported by a village resident near Truances Cottage. The ditch overflows and the road requires more than patching. 

    110/23     Date of next two meetings  

    Thursday th December 2023 and Thursday 4th January 2024 at 7.30pm. 

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

    Chair…………………………………….

    7th December 2023

    2023-12 Parish Council agenda 7th Dec 2023

    GITTISHAM PARISH COUNCIL

    Ms Fiona Clampin

    Clerk to the Council

    Garlands

    Gittisham

    Honiton

    EX14 3AJ

    01404 851442

    clerk@gittisham.org.uk

    1st December 2023

    Members of Gittisham Parish Council

    You are hereby summoned to attend the December Parish Council Meeting to be held in Gittisham Parish Room on Thursday 7th December 2023 commencing at 7.30pm to discuss items on the Agenda and to make resolutions as appropriate.

    Prior to the start of the meeting a period of 15 minutes is allowed to permit any resident to bring appropriate matters to the notice of the Council.  Please contact the clerk if you would like to do this, preferably by email in advance of the meeting, with a question you wish to be raised with Councillors on your behalf. 

    1. To accept and approve apologies
    2. To confirm the Minutes of the meeting held on 2nd November 2023
    3. To receive the Beat Manager’s report
    4. To receive declarations of interest
    5. To consider actions from last meeting not otherwise on the agenda
    6. To receive reports from County Council and District Council representatives
    7. To receive reports from councillors on areas of responsibility and actions since the last meeting:
    • To note the latest planning decision notices (Cllr Orchard)
    • To receive an update on highways (Cllr Orchard)
    • To consider plans for expenditure in the parish under the Community Infrastructure Levy and S106, inc publicity (Cllr Orchard / Cllr Twist)
    • To receive an update on public transport (Cllr Orchard)
    • To consider climate change measures within the parish, including proposals for rewilding land off Old Elm Road (Cllr Twist / Cllr Rowe)
    • To consider parish council support for scam awareness and security (Cllr Twist)
    • To consider limited residential development in the parish (Cllr Valentine)
    • To consider updating the parish emergency plan (Cllr Orchard)
    • To consider the creation of a footpath linking Hayne Farm with Gittisham village (all)
    • To consider the refurbishment and maintenance of the village play area (Cllr Walker)
    • To consider work to be carried out by the lengthsman to maintain drains and ditches in the parish (Cllr Walker)
    1. To receive a report from the Chair
    2. To consider the casual vacancy in Gittisham Vale
    3. To approve the December payments and to note the current bank balance:

    F Clampin £235.83 clerk’s salary

    Len Abbott lengthsman work £tbc

    Len Abbott expenses £tbc

    Michael Poll play area grass cutting £65 (inv. tbc)

    EDDC waste bin, installation & collection tbc

    NEST (clerk’s pension) £24.82 

    1. To approve and sign the annual CIL report 2022-23
    2. Clerk’s report
    3. For information only; items for the forward agenda
    4. To consider any late entry correspondence
    5. To note the date of the next two meetings, Thursday 4th January and Thursday 1st February 2024 at 7.30pm. 

    F J Clampin – Clerk