2024-04 Parish Council meeting minutes 4th April 2024

Held in Gittisham Parish Room

Present:

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

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

177/23 To accept and approve apologies

Apologies were received and accepted.

178/23        To confirm the minutes of the meeting held on 7th March 2024

The minutes of the meeting held on 7th March 2024 were confirmed and signed by the Vice Chair.  

179/23        To receive the Beat Manager’s Report

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

180/23        To receive declarations of interest

Cllr Twist declared an interest in agenda item 10 (minute ref. 186/23), as she is the treasurer of Gittisham PCC.

181/23        To consider actions from the last meeting not otherwise on the agenda

None.

182/23 To receive reports from County Council and District Council representatives

In his absence, Cllr Twiss sent the following report: “As we move towards spring and summer, it seems that our traditional four seasons are now more like the Northern Territory of Australia with just two, the wet from November to April and the dry, May to October.  Unfortunately our wet season seems to be far longer than the dry one, having a detrimental impact on the Devon Highways network, particularly in rural areas where the potholes are all too obvious to see, appearing on what are effectively former cart tracks with tarmac on the top. In urban areas, most roads are purpose built with proper foundations that are generally more robust.

This state of the public highway is by some distance the item that features most in conversations and correspondence with constituents and below is a more detailed report on how this last winter has gone for DCC Highways who are trying to keep up with rising demand, combined with limited human and financial resources.

Winter 2023/24 Highways update

DCC has established a ‘Planned and Reactive Maintenance: Potholes and Drainage Task Group’ first reporting in March 2019 and an updated Performance Dashboard Report has now been produced to councillors.  As is typical for the winter period, DCC Highways has recorded a gradual increase in the number of publicly reported pothole defects (PIPs) since November, mainly via the ‘Report a Problem’ web site. A team of Highway Safety Inspectors undertake assessments, using extended weekday and weekend working where resource allows. The main contractor called Milestone are currently in the process of recruiting three additional permanent inspectors to assist in driving further efficiencies and timely inspections.

There have been more pothole defects this financial year than 2022/23. Whilst a further 12 months of network deterioration has occurred, the impacts on network condition of the relatively early and harsh freeze/thaw cycles experienced during last winter (2022/23) were felt deep into the summer months of 2023, added to by a number of severe storms and torrential rainfall.

Additional in year Government funding of £7.5 million is enabling more reactive, short notice and planned works, including minor hand patching and dragon patching will be delivered on the minor network in Devon as a result of it. 

While there have been challenges around plant breakdowns and availability relating to gully cleaning, it is anticipated the programme to clean 150,630 gully assets will be completed on time for the current financial year. The additional high pressure jetting resource is currently resolving approximately 800 recorded issues per month, effectively maintaining pace with the number of issues reported during the flooding events experienced over the 2023/24 winter period. The service continues to trial a different approach to cleaning both urban gullies and gullies that require multiple cleans per year.

Special Educational Needs Deficit (SEND)

After a protracted and very difficult period of negotiation, a high-level agreement has been signed between Devon County Council and the Government, which will see an extra £95 million of national funds set aside to reduce the deficit on special needs education.

The cumulative spending on education for children with special needs and disabilities (SEND) over the past 10 years is set to create a deficit of £163 million by the end of this financial year.  In common with many councils across the country, DCC had been negotiating with the Government for extra funding for special needs education under the so-called Safety Valve programme.  Ten million pounds have been set aside in 2023/24 to help bring down the deficit.  The new agreement will see the Government contribute £38 million by the end of March with the remaining cash being spread out over the following eight years.  We will contribute a further £5 million a year from its revenue budget and £20 million from reserves to bring the deficit back into balance by the end of the agreement.

It is recognised that DCC must improve its service to children needing help in this area and is committed to doing this, as well as managing its finances most effectively, keeping the council on a long term sustainable basis.

Locality Budgets

Devon county councillors have a small amount of money each year called a Locality Budget to support projects in their division with small grants, where demand invariably outstrips supply.  The fund opens up again in mid-April and budget for 2024/25 is £8,000 per councillor. Further details of qualifying projects and an online application form can be found at https://www.devon.gov.uk/democracy/councillors-nav/locality-budgets/

In his absence, Cllr Bruce sent the following report: “Last week at planning this council took what I consider to be a retrograde step. Two toilet blocks are to be removed and replaced by an ugly pay to use prefab literally craned into place. One in Honiton and the other in Budleigh Salterton. Now we are often told that councils do not have to provide free toilet conveniences, but it is something we have ‘enjoyed’ for many years so it is in effect a loss of amenity.  I for one have always believed it should be a right to use a public convenience for free. To be blunt those people of a certain age and/or with a medical condition rely on finding somewhere to go and often in a hurry. So to now be faced with the option of needing to use this grotesque monstrosity, in place of the previous sanctuary of relief, and pay for the privilege is a backward step. Neither buildings contribute any aesthetic value whatsoever to these towns, and to many this change will become a contributing factor in the calculation of a shopping trip out. So in future the public and visitors in Honiton is faced with either paying to pee (providing the locks work), relying on the good graces of a certain coffee shop, or, use the facilities of the large church and leave a contribution.

“The ongoing disgrace of the quality of our rivers and seas continue to attract media attention, but with little matching concerted action by our government. It is to be hoped that the growing number of action groups and legal action will bring about a profound change in how our water is managed and safeguarded for us all.”

183/23   To consider the following planning applications:

  1. 24/0652/TRE – 1 Beaumonts Cottages, Gittisham EX14 3AG – T1, Willow: pollard to approximately 8m above ground level; maximum diameter cuts of 20cm; western limb over building; reduce to 3m off main stem.

Councillors resolved to have no objection to this application. 

184/23     To receive reports from councillors on areas of responsibility and actions since the last meeting:

  • To note the latest planning decision notices
    • None.
  • To receive an update on Highways 

20 May–7 June 2024 road through Alfington is closed for water works.

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

The clerk reported that the outdoor ping pong table was now installed.  The delivery company had suggested that a set of bats and balls should have been included, but the supplier said this was not the case.  Members thanked Carla Hulbert for donating the ping pong kit.  Cllr Walker said a tournament was planned for Father’s Day, and members agreed this would be a good moment to arrange some PR and the plaque to indicate EDDC’s support.

ACTION: Clerk to invite Cllr Arnott to a Father’s Day tournament and order a plaque. 

  • To receive an update on public transport

Cllr Rowe suggested leaving a clipboard in the village bus shelter for people to log when the Stagecoach bus is late or does not turn up.

ACTION: Cllr Orchard to source a clipboard and pen.

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

There was no update to report.

  • To consider limited residential development in the parish

Cllr Valentine said EDDC had requested further information from interested parties including Combe Estate about the planning application.          

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

Cllr Powell reported he had emailed members with a summary of the points raised at the meeting with Combe EstateJustin Lascelles said he would be progressing this matter with the Marker family, tenant farmers and estate trustees. 

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

Cllr Walker said the heavy rainfall had left the play area waterlogged.  She agreed to walk the area with the lengthsman to find out if any maintenance is needed, including to the hedge, after the annual safety inspection report.

ACTION: Clerk to check status of safety inspection.

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

The clerk reported that Len Abbott had spoken to Len Bartlett (farmer) about the run-off at Catshayes, but she did not know the outcome of the conversation.  The Bartlett family has assured residents that they will step in to help should there be a flooding problem resulting from the recent work.

185/23     To receive a report from the Chair

The Vice-Chair reported that residents of the Hayne Farm development had been asking if the play area could be improved there.  Members agreed that until the ownership of the land had been established on a more permanent footing (likely in two years’ time), the parish council was limited in what support it could provide.  It had been pointed out on previous occasions that the equipment in the village play area was provided through fundraising, not capital expenditure.  The parish council is happy to assist with providing advice / support on fundraising.  Councillors agreed that it was time to invite Baker Estates to a parish council meeting to provide an update on the development, and answer concerns raised by residents about the play area to understand where the parish council might be able to get involved.

ACTION: Clerk to invite Graham Hutton to attend a parish council meeting.

Cllr Powell reported that he and Cllrs Walker and Rowe had met Richard Foord MP earlier in the day to discuss the delay in rolling out superfast broadband.  Combe Estate representatives had been unable to attend the meeting.  The MP has agreed to follow up with DCC as well as the Digital Minister in Parliament.  It appears that Gittisham parish is no longer on the list of locations for Airband, the remaining full fibre broadband infrastructure provider in the area.  Members thanked Cllr Powell for raising the profile of the lack of decent broadband. 

ACTION: Cllr Powell to reflect on how GPC can help progress Richard Foord’s media campaign on this issue.

The Vice-Chair reported that the TruckFest which had caused so many traffic problems last year in the parish had been moved to Smeatharpe. 

Cllr Twist left the meeting and Cllr Valentine took the Chair.

186/23     To approve the April payments and to note the current bank balance

F Clampin             £254.34 Clerk’s salary

34SP.com             £119.40 web hosting renewal

34SP.com             £15 domain name registration

Gittisham PCC     £21.10 electricity bill [parish council use]

Michael Poll        £65 play area grass cutting (inv. ref. 10291)

DALC                  £400.50 annual subscription 2024/25

Len Abbott           £101.50 (lengthsman work, 7 hrs Dec 2023)

Len Abbott           £14.50 (lengthsman work, 1hr Jan 2024)

DD          NEST                     £26.78   Clerk’s pension

Members were informed that the current bank balance stands at £16,399.29 (which includes approximately £7,000 in the business reserve account). 

The clerk said this did not include the first half of the annual precept, which is due to arrive in the parish council bank account.  She added that the cost of the ping pong table had already been accounted for at the July 2023 meeting, and she would invoice EDDC to have the amount (minus VAT) paid to the parish council from S106 funds.

ACTION: Clerk to contact Bluechip Payroll to arrange annual audit. 

Cllr Twist returned to the meeting.

187/23 Clerk’s report

There was nothing to report.

188/23     For information only; items for the forward agenda

The May meeting will be held following the annual parish meeting.  Clerk to find out if Baker Estates can attend in May.

189/23     To consider any late entry correspondence

None.

190/23     Date of next two meetings  

Thursday 2nd May and Thursday 6th June 2024 at 7.30pm. 

There being no further business, the meeting closed at 2100 hrs.

Chair…………………………………….

2nd May 2024

2024-03 Parish Council meeting minutes 7th March 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 J Twist (Vice Chair), Cllr Adam Powell

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

Apologies for absence: Cllr P Orchard, PCSO Darren England

162/23 To accept and approve apologies

Apologies were received and accepted.

163/23        To confirm the minutes of the meeting held on 1st February 2024

Re: 153/23 d) Cllr Powell asked that it be noted the parish council had suggested renewable energy could be incorporated into the Kings Arms Farm application in some way.  The minutes of the meeting held on 1st February 2024 were then confirmed and signed by the Chair.  

164/23        To receive the Beat Manager’s Report

Due to an error on the Police UK website which the force is aware of, it was not possible to report the crime statistics accurately. Cllr Rowe said he had attended the event to mark the re-opening of the Honiton Police Station enquiry desk.

165/23        To receive declarations of interest

Cllr Twiss declared an interest in agenda item 166/23, as he is a voting member of the South West Regional Flood and Coastal committee. 

166/23        To consider actions from the last meeting not otherwise on the agenda

Cllr Powell reported that Richard Foord MP had accepted his invitation to a meeting on 4th April to discuss the delay in rolling out superfast broadband.  He has also invited representatives of other parishes similarly affected, rural broadband campaigner Graham Long and the Combe Estate. 

ACTION: Cllr Powell to email members with an update on progress so far.

Members heard that additional sandbags have been delivered and are stored in the village bus shelter.

Cllr Walker said farmer Len Bartlett had assured her the gap in the hedge towards Catshayes would be filled once the weather improves.  A resident has expressed concern that the new farm track could be creating additional run-off coming down the road, and was alarmed at the recent increase in surface water.  Someone has placed two sandbags across the gully.

ACTION: Chair and Len Abbott to arrange a meeting to discuss with Len Bartlett.

167/23 To receive reports from County Council and District Council representatives

Covid 19 update

Cllr Twiss said that as we approach the 4th anniversary of the first Covid-19 lockdown in England, on the

23rd March 2020, it’s hard to forget the stress, anxiety, economic hardship for many and a genuine fear that the worldwide pandemic brought with it. It seems a very long time ago that we were forced to change how we lived our lives overnight, often being separated from family members, working from home and not being able to socialise in person being just a few things that the uncertainties Covid inflicted on us.

While Covid 19 may have largely disappeared from most of our lives, we are still reaping its unwelcome legacy of slow economy recovery (matters elsewhere contributing to that) and long-standing health issues.  The disease is still very much with us but reported cases in England have reduced massively, where the official UKHSA data dashboard at https://tinyurl.com/ae98rr6r showing cases weekly cases to the 21st of February of 1839 and sadly 245 deaths with Covid mentioned on the death certificate. Clearly, there is still no room for complacency and you should take precautions if you show signs of having the disease, see https://tinyurl.com/2s39cs8x

Highways – winter update

Following the very difficult winter last year the DCC Asset Management and the Network Response teams have worked very closely together through late summer and autumn to prepare for the winter season. Because of this hard work and the milder winter, the service has recorded 5,500 safety defect potholes in January, slightly below the 7-year average (5,926). This compares well to the 7,500 in 2023.  The significant reduction in the gritting operations mentioned above frees up resources to continue the planned patching operations, again helping to reduce safety defect potholes across the county, but prolonged wet weather in the last few months does not help matters when trying to make repairs to the highway.

Changes have now been made to the ‘front end’ of the public ‘report a problem’ website, https://www.devon.gov.uk/roads-and-transport/report-a-problem/ Additional information will help inform future enhancements and will highlight that members of the public can add themselves to existing reports, rather than duplicating reports. 

Gully cleaning operations have slipped behind programme due to the high number of extreme weather events the service has responded to this year, as well as a series of unexpected equipment breakdowns. Main DCC Highways contractor Milestone Infrastructure has worked hard to get this back on programme and are confident that all programmed gullies will have been attended by the end of March.  A lot of work has been put into addressing drainage referrals raised by the cleaning gangs. Over 14,000 gully issues have been resolved this 2023/24 financial year across Devon; however, the backlog remains high with new issues identified as quickly as the old ones are being tackled. The joint trial with Devon’s Flood team to place gully sensors in selected streets in Devon is in now live. The data recorded will provide 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.

Is your food bill eating away at your weekly budget?

If so, a few simple measures can help save money and reduce waste too.  A Waste Resource Action Programme (WRAP) Food Trends survey last year found that despite the Cost of Living crisis, people are still wasting food that could otherwise have been eaten.  Food prices remain the number one food concern for almost three quarters of participants, and nearly one in four (24%) reported struggling to keep up with household bills. Yet, food waste is still on the rise for four key products – milk, potatoes, chicken and bread.

Keep Cool

Keeping the fridge temperature between 0-5°C can help keep food fresh for three days longer than usual. If you want to test how cold your fridge actually is, an easy way is to use a thermometer. If you do not have a fridge thermometer, pop a regular thermometer into a glass of water and leave it in the fridge for a few hours. Try not to open the door as this can affect the reading. It is worth checking as the average UK fridge temperature is set at least 2°C too warm!

Know Your Dates

Understanding the difference between use by and sell by dates can save perfectly edible food from being thrown away.  ‘Best before’ refers to the quality of the food and your food will be at its best when used before the date given. After this peak freshness date, it might not be at its best, but it will still be safe to eat. You can use your senses to make a judgement. 

Here’s a quick guide to a few key food items and how long they are likely to remain edible after the best before date:

  • Biscuits – six months
  • Canned food – 12 months
  • Cereals – six months
  • Confectionary – 12 months
  • Crisps – one month
  • Dried pasta – three years!
  • Pasta sauce – 12 months

‘Use by’ refers to the safety of the food. You must not eat food past the ‘use by’ date. You cannot always smell the bacteria that causes food to spoil, so after the ‘use by’ date, the food may appear perfectly fine to eat, but it could be unsafe. You can freeze food right up to and including the ‘use by’ date. If you are not sure you will eat it in time, freeze it for another day! ‘Display until / sell by’ is for retailers’ attention only.

Reducing the amount of food we waste is a simple way for households to save money and reduce carbon emissions. 60% of UK food waste comes from households, having a value of £17 billion a year and is associated with 18 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions.  If we kept food waste out of the black bin, it would save £2.8m a year in disposal costs.  Using up leftovers, making the most of our freezers and understanding use by dates are just a few ways to help prevent food waste, and save money too. When food waste is unavoidable, it can still be put to good use. Either recycle using your food waste caddy (where available) or compost at home.

Cllr Bruce said our troubled waters persist in the headlines with a major debate at full district council last week. Although he believes the motion was well meant, Cllr Bruce said it lacked any significant teeth with which to encourage/ force SWW to improve the current appalling state of our sea and water ways. He attempted to add an amendment to the motion in the form of the following, ‘EDDC further asserts that no major planning application will be considered without an accompanying, and independently verified report by SWW, stating that they have the relevant capacity for such an application’. It did cause some head scratching but was considered to put EDDC in a challengeable situation and failed to gain enough votes. As a result SWW said of the unanimously passed original motion that it was “disappointed”.  Not perhaps as disappointed as we are, said Cllr Bruce, with the mess they are making of looking after our waters! To balance the issue he added he is duty bound to say that SWW have stated that they remain committed to improving things with substantial investment going into our infrastructure.

Cllr Bruce said he was pleased to report that a well-supported parking review is underway, even more pleased to see his request for there to always be a choice of how we pay is enshrined in the recommendations. He has seen for himself the chaos caused when people try to use certain phone paying apps in car parks. This why he will ensure that, when the review comes to full council for signing off, a full choice of payment options is locked in.

Following on from his comments regarding pot holes in his last report, Cllr Bruce said he had had a number of comments passed to him about residents’ experiences with using the Devon Pothole Map. It seems that inspectors that go out to confirm the state of a given hole will often remove it from the map without informing the person that complained. Now it seems ridiculous, said Cllr Bruce, to state the obvious here, but these holes don’t mend themselves and they are only going to get deeper. He also knows that budgets can only stretch so far. However, surely it makes more sense to fix an issue when it’s going to cost less. How does that old saying go………… a stitch in time……..  he said he had also seen evidence of holes marked on the map as down for repair being suddenly removed. He has taken this up with County as this is completely unacceptable.

So he would strongly advise everyone to, firstly report every relevant hole they find and, secondly regularly check that it hasn’t been removed from the map by some hidden hand. If it has put it back on and keep doing it until it’s repaired. He said he remained convinced that, as ratepayers, we are not getting the correct value out of our contribution to road repairs. He still sees evidence of poor repairs often done on a previously repaired hole. He said he would ask for the data on how many potholes on the Devon map are ones that have been done before, but he doubts that data exists.

Cllr Rowe asked whether the gaps in the yellow lines along Devonshire Road might be filled in to stop cars parking there, as he felt it contributed to increased traffic, especially at rush hour.  Cllr Twiss said the parked vehicles had helped to slow down traffic flow in the past, but Cllr Rowe argued that with increased development on the industrial estate, vehicles are forced to swerve and potentially cause more danger. 

Cllr Walker asked Cllr Twiss if there was any funding available in the DCC Locality Budget.  She suggested using some to replace a couple of rotting windows in the village hall, and Cllr Twiss said he could support an application for £1,000 under energy-saving measures.

ACTION: Chair to obtain three quotes for window replacement and complete application for the VH through the parish council as accountable body.

Cllrs Bruce and Twiss left the meeting.   

167/23   To consider the following planning applications:

  1. 23/1199/MFUL – Land at Weston Park Devonshire Road – Construction of new industrial units (Use Class B2)

The clerk agreed to check whether this was another iteration of an application that had come before the parish council last year, to which there was no objection. 

168/23     To receive reports from councillors on areas of responsibility and actions since the last meeting:

  • To note the latest planning decision notices
  • 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. Refusal.
  • 23/2725/FUL Kings Arms Farm Nags Head Road Gittisham Honiton 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. Refusal.
  • 24/0019/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. Refusal.
  • 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

The clerk reported that the legal side of releasing the S106 funding for the outdoor ping pong table had been completed, and the parish council could now proceed to purchase the item.  This was one of the most popular choices in the public consultation carried out before the pandemic.

ACTION: Chair & Cllr Rowe to speak to residents.

  • To receive an update on public transport

ACTION: Chair to log delays to the first Stagecoach bus which connects Gittisham village with Exeter, as the service has been poor recently.

  • 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 pro

Cllr Rowe said next month the parish council could purchase the matting in line for the rewilding project for land at Old Elm Road. 

ACTION: Chair to plant landmark tree donated by Devon Wildlife Trust.      

  • To consider parish council support for scam awareness and security

There was no update this month.  Members agreed there was substantial coverage of scams, including a Government campaign, and resolved to take this off the agenda.  Any particular scams to be brought to peoples’ attention can be added in ‘late entry correspondence’.

  • To consider limited residential development in the parish

Cllr Valentine said the planning application had been submitted, which was a significant milestone.  He said the architects’ drawings would be displayed at the community kitchen over the next few weeks.  Members heard that those councillors with GCLT shares will have to declare an interest when the application comes before the parish council.  There are enough members on the parish council however without GCLT shares to be quorate.         

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

Cllrs Powell and Rowe said they had met representatives of the Combe Estate and the Marker family to discuss a range of traffic-free routes between the new development and the village. The most likely option was a permissive path past the farm shop and barns to the village along a serviceable farm track that ends by the old marlpit, as it might be more acceptable than a right of way.  Conditions of use could be determined by the estate and could potentially be limited to certain times of year.  The second route discussed was under the overgrown railway bridge at the Hayne Farm development to follow the hedgerows down to the minor road leading to the

garden centre and village.  If approved, in both cases the routes and conditions of use may change, as the built landscape is likely to change in the future.

ACTION: Cllrs Powell & Rowe to draft an email to parish councillors outlining a possible way forward.  Then contact Combe Estate to ask for a summary of conditions of use. 

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

There was nothing to report this month.

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

ACTION: See minute ref. 166/23.

169/23     To receive a report from the Chair

There was no report this month. 

170/23     To approve the March payments and to note the current bank balance

F Clampin             £254.34 Clerk’s salary

DD          NEST                     £26.78   Clerk’s pension

Members were informed that the current bank balance stands at £17,417.41 (which includes approximately £7,000 in the business reserve account).  Cllr Twist said the torch and safety kit had not been returned to the Hayne Farm debrillator when it was deployed recently, but this would be covered by the annual service package.

171/23 To consider the parish council’s grant-giving policy, publication scheme, complaints policy, anti-fraud & corruption policy, Freedom of Information Scheme and code of conduct

It was resolved to approve the above policies.

172/23 To consider the Parish Council’s Statement of Internal Control, Financial Regulations and Risk Management

It was resolved to approve the above policies.

173/23 Clerk’s report

There was nothing to report.

174/23     For information only; items for the forward agenda

Nothing to add.

175/23     To consider any late entry correspondence

Cllr Powell noted there had been some graffiti underneath the railway bridge leading to Hayne Farm.  Cllr Twist said the parish council would need to urge DCC to paint double yellow lines once the roads on the estate were adopted. 

ACTION: Cllr Powell to contact Network Rail.

176/23     Date of next two meetings  

Thursday 4th April and Thursday 2nd May 2024 at 7.30pm. 

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

Chair…………………………………….

4th April 2024

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.  Members suggested renewable energy could be incorporated into the Kings Arms Farm application in some way.  

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

2024-01 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

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

    2023-10 Parish Council meeting minutes 3rd October 2023

    Held in Gittisham Parish Room

    Present:

    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

    None.

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

    None.

    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

    None.  

    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.

    Chair…………………………………….

    2nd November 2023

    2023-09 Parish Council meeting minutes 7th September 2023

    Held in Gittisham Parish Room

    Present:

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

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

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

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

    66/23        To accept and approve apologies

    Apologies were received and accepted.

    67/23        To confirm the minutes of the meeting held on 6th July 2023

    The minutes of the meeting held on 6th July 2023 were confirmed and signed by the Chair. 

    68/23        To receive the Beat Manager’s Report

    May 2023: no reported crimes.

    June 2023: no reported crimes.

    69/23        To receive declarations of interest

    Cllr Valentine declared an interest in agenda item 8k) (minute ref. 73/23k), as he owns an electric vehicle.

    70/23        To consider actions from the last meeting not otherwise on the agenda

    The clerk reported that Matt Galley from Jurassic Fibre would be meeting Cllr Twiss on 8th September, and would provide updates on the roll-out of full fibre broadband to the parish.  Councillors agreed they would still like Mr Galley to attend a future parish council meeting.

    ACTION: Clerk to write to Matt Galley.

    71/23        Reports from County Council and District Council representatives

    Cllr Bruce explained that after the summer recess, a number of national issues have surfaced that impact on the parish.

    Firstly is the issue recently highlighted in the media of the banned release of sewerage by water companies. Whilst South West Water (SWW) is not on the list of offenders, they declined to provide the relevant details that other companies did. Cllr Bruce said councillors could draw their own conclusions on this. However, what is perhaps even more concerning and related is the report by EDDCs coastal officer, which highlights the fact that on an excessively large number of occasions SWW monitors to detect spills were switched to ‘maintenance’ mode. This effectively means they are switched off, said Cllr Bruce. The officer has asked for clarification as why there were so many occasions when these important monitors were switched over; to date there has been no response. Cllr Bruce said he should make it clear that both EDDC officers and elected members of the council share a deep concern and frustration over the level of communication and response from these utilities companies, companies that are tasked with keeping our drinking and bathing water safe to use. In his opinion there needs to be a radical change in priorities in the future.

    There have been a number of proposed changes to national planning in recent weeks, sadly some driven by political expediency, said Cllr Bruce. The watering down of strict controls in AONBs is of great concern, given the damage it does to protecting these important environments and landscapes. Whilst he noted that these are only proposals at the moment, they do indicate a direction of thinking which should worry us all.  There also seems to be a mixed message coming out of the government on this. On the one hand there is theoretically more weighting being given to how local communities feel about planning applications, yet many of the standard safeguards are being swept aside to favour developers.

    Cllr Bruce said he was dismayed to hear of the lifting of the moratorium on land-based wind farms. Whilst as an element of reducing our reliance on fossil fuel for power, and they play a part in energy self-sufficiency, there are real concerns on their impact on our countryside. One only has to look at the rapid advances in micro-energy generation, particularly in wind power, to see that perhaps the future does not lie in marching these huge edifices across the landscape.

    In local matters Cllr Bruce reported that it was heartening to see EDDC planning committee showing with almost one voice their deep concerns over the application to build a battery storage facility in the east of our region. Of greatest concern was the potential risk to the local aquifers should there be any form of spillage or fire, as was seen in the Liverpool fire which the local firefighters had to let burn out and use massive volumes of water. Separately, Cllr Bruce is asking for clarification as to why EDDC planning officers felt this application merited being marked for approval whilst flagging up little concern over the potential impact on our precious water supply.

    EDDC’s Strategic Plan continues to grind through the committee stage, with a firm input from concerned communities that may be afflicted by unwanted and inappropriate housing development. Much of this seems to be driven by greed rather than the needs of a particular community.  Cllr Bruce said he remains hopeful that government guidance to be announced soon will go some way to address this. However, this once again seems to fly in the face of recent government proposals, as commented on earlier.  Cllr Valentine added that he had attended the latest virtual planning strategy meeting, and was dismayed to learn of various omissions from a report designed to inform new members about how EDDC manages the council’s housing allocation.  He was particularly concerned about EDDC’s approach to infrastructure pressures brought about by new development, which he understood as requiring developers to pay. 

    On the topic of dredging the River Gitt, Cllr Bruce said that a flood prevention consultant had advised EDDC that the best course of action would be to remove any vegetation and debris and allow for the silt to be washed away naturally during heavy rainfall.  EDDC will arrange for the works to be carried out in the next few months.

    With work due to start next month on the Church Mead bridge, Cllr Bruce said he would check that residents have been informed officially about moving their vehicles.

    In his absence, Cllr Twiss sent the following report:

    Reinforced Autoclave Aeriated Concret (RAAC) in Devon schools

    There is understandable concern about RAAC in the Devon County Council schools’ area of responsibility and what work DCC has done to establish if any schools are constructed with RAAC that poses any risk to children and teaching staff.  No local authority-run Devon schools have been identified with RAAC and an urgent piece of work is being done to check the status of other schools in Devon that were formerly local authority-run and now academies.  Ultimately if RAAC is identified, a full condition and structural review would be undertaken and if remedial works were to be identified, then these works would form a priority for investment under the DCC Schools Capital Maintenance programme.  Under this programme, Health & Safety works are deemed the highest priority for investment. 

    In an extensive survey of DCC’s own school portfolio, no buildings were found to have used RAAC. In 2020/21 DCC put in place arrangements within the existing school quinquennial condition survey programme for surveyors to highlight and report any material they suspected might be RAAC.  To date no RAAC concerns have been raised.  The Department for Education recently updated their RAAC guidance for schools/ responsible bodies, and following this guidance DCC is in the process of improving the robustness of its processes. This will involve a desktop exercise to identify specific properties constructed during the period and of the construction type where RAAC might be present. Property professionals undertake various surveys across the school estate to ensure compliance on an annual basis, in addition to the quinquennial condition surveys. It is proposed to add a RAAC review as part of the surveyors’ visit, where they are attending a building that has been identified as meeting the age and construction type criteria.

    Immunisation advice to parents and carers at the start of the new school year

    Pre-school boosters, offered to children from age three years and four months, are: 

    • The four in one pre-school booster (diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough and polio)
    • The MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine is given at one year (first dose) and at three years and four months (second dose)

    A list of all the vaccinations your child should have had, by age, and by when, is available here https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/vaccinations/nhs-vaccinations-and-when-to-have them/

    If you are not sure if your child has had all of their vaccinations, please check their personal health record (the red book) and if you have any questions, contact your  child’s doctor’s surgery. 

    Annual ‘flu vaccinations are also available to all school children from reception age to year 11, and these are usually given at school. The vaccine for children is a nasal spray. Vaccinating your child protects them, but also others who are vulnerable to ‘flu, such as babies and older people. Children who are aged two or three by Thursday 31st August 2023 will be invited for vaccination at their registered GP practice, as well as any children who are at greater risk from ‘flu to enable them to access the vaccine as early as possible in the ‘flu season. 

    Safeguard cash as a vital payment method for many people 

    DCC is a member of the Rural Services network https://rsnonline.org.uk/ and they have joined a coalition of businesses, charities and consumer groups to issue an open letter to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, urging for the protection of cash as a critical payment method for both consumers and businesses. As the cost-of-living crisis escalates, cash has become an essential tool for budgeting, allowing for greater financial control and flexibility.  Signatories acknowledge the Government’s recent release of its cash access policy statement as a positive first step, but emphasise that a more comprehensive effort is required to ensure the robust funding and safeguarding of the UK’s cash network.  Despite the huge increase in digital payments, cash remains the second most widely-used payment method in the UK, accounting for a substantial 15 per cent of all payments.  However, the viability of the UK’s cash infrastructure is under threat, due to bank branch closures and successive reductions in funding for the free-to-use ATM network, which comprises nearly 80 per cent of the country’s cash machines. Since 2018, 14,400 free-to-use ATMs have vanished from communities throughout the UK, and an additional 37,000 now face the imminent risk of closure or conversion to pay-to-use machines. This puts at risk the role of cash in future payment systems, but also endangers the financial inclusion of vulnerable populations. 

    Cllr Bruce left the meeting.

    72/23     To consider the following planning applications:

    1. 23/1207/LBC The Lodge Gittisham EX14 3AD – Demolition of internal wall, removal of roof to existing extension, construction of new extension with parapet and roof lanterns
    2. 223/1206/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
    3. 23/1631/MFUL Coastguard Road Ltd Devonshire Road Heathpark Industrial Estate Honiton EX14 1SD – development of 17no commercial units
    4. 23/1632/MOUT Coastguard Road Ltd Devonshire Road Heathpark Industrial Estate Honiton EX14 1SD –Outline application for class B2, B8 and E(g)(iii) development within two sites (Phase 2A and 2B) comprising total floor space of 4,000 sq m (all matters reserved)

    Parish councillors resolved to have resolved to have no objections to a) or b).  Regarding c) and d), councillors resolved to have no objection in principle.  However, they expressed concerns over the point of access onto Devonshire Road, given the nature of the road itself, lack of visibility on the bend, and the proximity of the bus stop. Councillors also discussed whether this application represents an over-intensification of use of the site.  

    73/23     To receive reports from councillors on areas of responsibility and actions since the last meeting:

    • To note the latest planning decision notices
    • 22/1322/MOUT Land at Hayne Farm, Hayne Lane, Gittisham. Approval with conditions.
    • 23/1009/FUL Single storey extension to dwelling and general purpose agricultural barn Landscores Cottage Gittisham Devon EX14 3AU. Approval.
    • 23/1056/FUL Unit B Weston Park Devonshire Road Heathpark Industrial Estate Honiton Installation of vents and flues on north, west and east elevations, removal of window on north elevation. Approval.
    • 23/0110/LBC Charlies Cottage 1 Beaumonts Cottages Gittisham EX14 3AG Replace all windows to match existing with slim line double glazing; gas central heating; install underfloor heating system to the entire ground floor; block up doorway on north elevation; new window on north elevation to kitchen.; new internal doorway between dining room and created bedroom/office.; new window on east elevation to created bedroom/office; new conservation roof window to the new bedroom/office on east elevation; open up the fireplace for an investigation, reinstate fireplace; radiators at first floor. Approval.
    • 23/1221/FUL Shermans Farm Gittisham EX14 3AU Roofing over silage clamp 1. Approval.
    • 23/1222/FUL Shermans Farm Gittisham EX14 3AU Proposed roofing over silage clamp 2. Approval.
    • 23/1280/LBC Batts Cottage Gittisham EX14 3AJ Remove existing capping on chimney on south east gable elevation and install flue liner and new chimney pot and flue. Approval with conditions
    • To receive an update on Highways

    21st September: road through Alfington to Ottery closed 0930–1530 for pole tests.

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

    The clerk reported that EDDC senior management team had approved the expenditure for the outdoor ping pong table, and it is now with the legal team to draft an agreement for the parish council to sign.  Given this timetable, councillors agreed it would be next year before the facility can be installed in the play area.

    The Chair said that Honiton Town Council’s Hayne Lane sub-committee would be meeting on 20th September, along with various local sport groups, to discuss how the S106 money could be distributed. 

    ACTION: Chair to write to HTC clerk, looking forward to hearing proposals that have been agreed with EDDC.

    • To receive an update on public transport

    Cllr Orchard reported that the bus shelters had been painted a tasteful green.  Members also heard there had been changes to the Stagecoach bus timetable, with a later bus scheduled between Exeter and Honiton via Ottery.

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

    Cllr Orchard said the Old Elm Road rewilding was progressing well.   

    • To consider parish council support for scam awareness and security

    Cllr Twist reported that IT systems at Mole Valley Farmers had been hacked, and anyone who has an account with them should check their bank.  It was also reported this week that 3.4 billion phishing emails are sent every day worldwide.

    • To consider limited residential development in the parish

    Cllr Valentine said there was no update on this.         

    • To consider updating the parish emergency plan

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

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

    The clerk outlined the costs sent by EDDC:

    • Installation: £41
    • Purchase: approximately £400
    • Weekly collection: £110 / year

    Councillors resolved to purchase and install a standard waste bin, to be emptied on a weekly basis. The bin will be located near the emergency gate at the bottom of Old Elm Road.

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

    Members discussed Cllr Rowe’s suggested text and photographs from a recent drone survey, and thanked him for his work.  The Chair agreed she would discuss with Cllr Rowe the best way to present a formal proposal to Combe Estate.  Councillors said there was strong support within the parish for a path, and increasing numbers of Hayne Farm residents were attending village events.

    ACTION: Chair to meet Cllr Rowe.

    Cllr Valentine left the meeting.

    • To consider the purchase of an electric vehicle charger

    The Chair said that she had been in discussions with a member of Gittisham PCC about the possibility of installing an electric vehicle charger as a way of encouraging more people to visit St Michael’s Church.  Although there were mixed feelings about a charger, it was agreed that the parish council should consider it in next year’s budget.  Cllrs Twist and Walker agreed to raise the subject at the next PCC meeting, and report back to the parish council.

    Cllr Valentine returned to the meeting.

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

    Cllr Walker said she would remove the waste bin after the October half term, and erect a sign directing people to dispose of their rubbish in the bin by the bus shelter.

    ACTION: Chair and Len Abbott to assess the state of the hedge on the north side of the play area to see if it needs trimming. 

    • 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 concerns about the drain at Pigsty Corner (on the road to Goldcombe), as if it overflows it will flood and have a big impact on the village.  Members agreed a local fix would be quicker and more effective.

    ACTION: Cllr Walker to discuss with Len Abbott.

    74/23     To receive a report from the Chair

    The Chair said the fete had been a resounding success, and all members thanked Cllr Rowe and the village fete committee for their hard work.

    ACTION: Chair to write to Cllr Rowe.

    75/23     To consider the casual vacancy in Gittisham Vale

    The clerk reported that the vacancy has been advertised, with a closing date of 22nd October.

    76/23     To consider updating the financial regulations

    To be discussed at the next parish council meeting.

    77/23     To approve the September payments and to note the current bank balance

    F Clampin             £235.83 Clerk’s salary

    Michael Poll        £65 Grass cutting (inv. ref. 10252)   

    Michael Poll        £65 Grass cutting (inv. ref. 10258)   

    EDDC                  £41 Installation of waste bin, Old Elm Road

    EDDC                  £400 (approximate figure) purchase of waste bin, Old Elm Road

    Len Abbott           £333.50 Lengthsman work (23 hrs @ £14.50 / hr, July 2023)

    Len Abbott           £53.48 expenses, July 2023

    Len Abbott           £166.75 Lengthsman work (11.5 hrs @ £14.50 / hr, August 2023)

    DD          NEST                     £24.82   Clerk’s pension

    After the meeting, it emerged the payment for the clerk’s salary in August had not gone through, so this was rectified.  The clerk said the second half of the annual precept had been received.  Members were informed that the current bank balance stands at £20,143.65 (which includes approximately £7,000 in the business reserve account).  This figure is approximate, until EDDC confirms the price of the waste bin.

    78/23     Clerk’s Report

    None.  

    79/23     For information only; items for the forward agenda

    Financial regulations.

    80/23     To consider any late entry correspondence

    None.

    81/23     Date of next two meetings  

    Tuesday 2nd October and Thursday 2nd November 2023 at 7.30pm. 

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

    Chair…………………………………….

    Tuesday 2nd October 2023

    2023-07 Parish Council meeting minutes 6th July 2023

    Held in Gittisham Parish Room

    Present:

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

    Vale ward: Cllr P Orchard

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

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

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

    48/23        To accept and approve apologies

    Apologies were received and accepted.

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

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

    50/23        To receive the Beat Manager’s Report

    April 2023: no reported crimes.

    51/23        To receive declarations of interest

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

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

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

    53/23        Reports from County Council and District Council representatives

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

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

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

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

    Overwhelming majority of councils want hybrid meeting powers 

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

    DIY waste collection

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

    Highways

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

    New wave of skills boot camps launched 

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

    Broadband

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

    Justin Lascelles left the meeting.

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

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

    Cllrs Bruce & Twiss left the meeting.

    54/23     To consider the following planning applications:

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

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

    55/23     To consider the following licensing application:

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

    Premises Licence Application to include

    Premises Open Hours requested

    Monday to Saturday 09:00 to 23:00

    Sunday 09:00 to 20:00

    Activities – Times requested

    Supply of alcohol for consumption On and Off the Premises

    Monday to Saturday 09:00 to 23:00

    Sunday 09:00 to 20:00

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

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

    • To note the latest planning decision notices

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

    • To receive an update on Highways

    There was no update to report.

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

    There was no update to report.

    • To receive an update on public transport

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

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

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

    • To consider parish council support for scam awareness and security

    There was no update to report. 

    • To consider limited residential development in the parish

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

    • To consider updating the parish emergency plan

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

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

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

    ACTION: Clerk to chase up information.

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

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

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

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

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

    Members chose forest green for the bus shelter redecoration.

    ACTION: Len Abbott to be reimbursed for paint.

    57/23     To receive a report from the Chair

    The Chair said there was nothing to report this month.

    58/23     To consider the casual vacancy in Gittisham Vale

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Gittisham Fete          £500 fete start-up costs

    DD          NEST                     £24.82   Clerk’s pension (July)

    DD          NEST                     £24.82   Clerk’s pension  (August)

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

    Cllrs Walker & Rowe left the meeting.

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

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

    Cllrs Walker & Rowe returned to the meeting.

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

    CF minute ref. 56/23 l.

    62/23     Clerk’s Report

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

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

    Councillor vacancy; footpath at Hayne Farm, financial regulations.

    64/23     To consider any late entry correspondence

    None.

    65/23     Date of next two meetings  

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

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

    Chair…………………………………….

    7th September 2023

    2023-06 Parish Council meeting minutes 1st June 2023

    Held in Gittisham Parish Room

    Present:

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

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

    In attendance: Faye Cross (Airband), two members of the public, Fiona Clampin (clerk)

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

    24/23        To accept and approve apologies

    Apologies were received and accepted.

    25/23        To confirm the minutes of the meeting held on 11th May 2023

    The minutes of the meeting held on 11th May 2023 were confirmed and signed by the Chair. 

    26/23        To receive the Beat Manager’s Report

    March 2023: no reported crimes.

    27/23        To receive declarations of interest

    Cllrs Rowe & Walker declared an interest in agenda item 19 (minute ref. 42/23), as they are members of the village fete committee.

    28/23        To consider actions from the last meeting not otherwise on the agenda

    Members approved Cllr Valentine’s suggestion that he attend EDDC’s Local Plan webinar on 15th June, where the district council is expected to discuss the draft Local Plan in the context of the government’s Levelling Up bill which is making its way through parliament.

    Cllr Walker explained that EDDC staff and contractors had visited Church Mead on 31st May to meet residents and assess the state of the bridge.  A pedestrian footbridge will be installed with disabled access, and the existing bridge will be dismantled while repairs take place.  Residents and visitors will have to park elsewhere during this period, which is expected to last approximately one month.  EDDC has approached households in Church Mead regarding garage rental.

    29/23        Reports from County Council and District Council representatives

    Cllrs Bruce and Twist did not send a report this month. 

    30/23        To receive a presentation from Airband

    Faye Cross, one of Airband’s Community Liaison Officers, explained that the company is joining forces with Connecting Devon and Somerset to bring superfast broadband to previously excluded communities.  The company plans to install new infrastructure, which would likely include poles.  The aim is to complete this work in Gittisham by the end of 2024.  Members welcomed the proposals, but felt the timescale might be too ambitious based on previous experience, combined with the challenges presented by the village setting, AONB, listed buildings and land owner negotiations.  Ms Cross agreed to send the clerk the plans for her to circulate to members. 

    Faye Cross left the meeting.

    31/23     To consider the following planning applications:

    1. 23/1056/FUL Unit B Weston Park Devonshire Road Heathpark Industrial Estate – installation of vents and flues on north, west and east elevations, removal of window on north elevation
    2. 23/1009/FUL Landscores Cottage EX14 3AU Single storey extension to dwelling and general purpose agricultural barn
    3. c) 23/0110/LBC Charlies Cottage 1 Beaumont Cottages EX14 3AG – Replace all windows to match existing with slim line double glazing; gas central heating; Install underfloor heating system to the entire ground floor; Block up doorway on north elevation; New window on north elevation to kitchen.; New internal doorway between dining room and created bedroom/office.; New window on east elevation to create bedroom/office; new conservation roof window to the new bedroom/office on east elevation; Open up the fireplace for an investigation, reinstate fireplace. Radiators at first floor.

    Parish councillors had no objections to a), b) or c).  Regarding c), they expressed support for the commitment in the application to mitigating the effects of climate change through the proposed installation of double glazing and underfloor heating.

    32/23     To consider the following licensing application:

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

    Premises Licence Application to include

    Premises Open Hours requested

    Monday to Saturday 09:00 to 23:00

    Sunday 09:00 to 20:00

    Activities – Times requested

    Supply of alcohol for consumption On and Off the Premises

    Monday to Saturday 09:00 to 23:00

    Sunday 09:00 to 20:00

    Members resolved to object to the application.  They expressed serious reservations about the application, considering it an inappropriate location for a number of reasons, including access, lack of lighting, impact on adjoining residential properties, crime and disorder, and an increase in traffic and pedestrian movements (especially in the vicinity of Hayne Lane).

    33/23     To consider the impact of the Truck Festival, May 2023

    Members discussed the significant failures in organisation, contingency planning and traffic management for this event, and the lack of awareness beyond a licensing application of a large event in the parish.  Roads surrounding the site and in Honiton were gridlocked for hours.  The clerk agreed to contact EDDC with these comments, and to request that were the event to be reproduced in the parish, it needs proper traffic management and parking. And this needs to be the same for any future events at that site.

    34/23     To receive reports from councillors on areas of responsibility and actions since the last meeting:

    • To note the latest planning decision notices

    23/0462/FUL – Gittisham Farm Gittisham EX14 3AX – Construction of an earth banked slurry lagoon. Approval with conditions.

    • To receive an update on Highways

    Cllr Orchard reported that DCC received 57 applications for 20 mph zones across the county. Six are being taken forward.  DCC said average speed, the number of vulnerable road users in an area, speed-related collision history, and the level of support for a 20mph scheme were all factors it considered when allocating new schemes.  Other factors include the presence of an active Community Speed Watch and the community’s deprivation index ranking.

    • 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 explained that a new bus route X30 has been introduced by Stagecoach – Seaton to Honiton, then express to Exeter both ways. Journey time to Exeter 40 minutes from Job Centre at:

    07:40     10:45     16:05

    And Beggars Lane 3 minutes later. Full timetable: https://bustimes.org/services/x30-seaton-honiton-exeter

    The £2 fare cap has been extended to the end of October.2023, and Cllr Orchard was pleased to report that no books had been deposited in the Vale bus shelter all month.

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

    Cllr Rowe said EDDC had scarified and sown wildflower seeds at the bottom of Old Elm Road, with further plans to start tree planting along the strip of land that backs onto Ferndale Close later this year.  EDDC has leafleted neighbouring properties to inform them.  Members thanked Cllr Rowe for his work, especially as it fulfilled one of the parish council’s commitments towards mitigating the effects of climate change. 

    • To consider parish council support for scam awareness and security

    Cllr Twist reported that there are cold callers going round park homes in East Devon, to ask if people are interested in purchasing insulation.  There has also been a rise in the online impersonation of brands.  The advice is to type the address of a website you wish to use, rather than choose from a search engine. 

    • To consider limited residential development in the parish

    Cllr Valentine said there was nothing further to report.

    • To consider updating the parish emergency plan

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

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

    Members agreed the increased precept would allow for the purchase of a standard waste bin to be installed near the turning circle on Old Elm Road.

    ACTION: Clerk to check 2023-24 prices for bin and collection.

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

    To be discussed at the July meeting.

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

    Cllr Walker said she would speak to the lengthsman about the items that need addressing in the annual play area safety inspection.  Members resolved to purchase the net that goes with the goal post.  Cllr Orchard reported that the jubilee oak tree was not doing too well, and it was agreed that Cllr Rowe should move the memorial sign away from the ailing tree. 

    ACTION: Clerk to ask Cllr Bruce for a new jubilee oak tree to be installed.

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

    There was no update on this.

    35/23     To receive a report from the Chair

    The Chair said there was nothing to report this month.

    36/23     To approve the June payments and to note the current bank balance

    F Clampin             £239.13 Clerk’s salary & expenses (card)

    Michael Poll        £65 Grass cutting (inv. ref. 10220)   

    Michael Poll        £65 Grass cutting (inv. ref. 10228)   

    Fitness Sports       £59.76 (inc. VAT) net for goal

    Bluechip Payroll  £145 annual internal audit

    Gittisham Parish Hall          £498.54 Coronation party expenses

    DD          NEST                     £24.82   Clerk’s pension  

    Members were informed that the current bank balance stands at £21,963.56 (which includes approximately £7,000 in the business reserve account). 

    37/23     To receive and note the annual internal audit report

    Members noted the annual internal audit report.

    ACTION: Clerk to send the lengthsman a copy of the insurance policy.

    38/23     To approve the annual governance statement 2022-23

    Members resolved to approve the annual governance statement 2022-23.

    39/23     To approve the 2022-23 accounting statements

    Members resolved to adopt the 2022-23 accounts.  Prior to the meeting, the clerk circulated the accounting statements.  The parish council ended the financial year on 31st March 2023 with a balance of £21,934.64 (inc. £7,061.99 in business reserve, with £30.93 interest accumulated this year).  There is VAT to be recovered of £414.76.

    40/23     To consider the criteria for meeting exemption from the annual limited assurance review 2022-23, and approve the exemption certificate

    Members agreed the criteria had been met, ie that during the financial year 2022-23 the higher of the parish council’s gross income or gross annual expenditure for the year did not exceed £25,000.

    41/23     To set and approve the period for the exercise of public rights 2022-23

    Members approved the period for the exercise of public rights to extend from 3rd July to 11th August 2023.

    Cllrs Walker & Rowe left the meeting.  

    42/23     To consider parish council support for the village fete

    The Chair outlined the breakdown of start-up costs to support the village fete:

    Leaflets £100

    Town band £90

    Revamping signs £100

    Fencing, gazebos & PA for dog show £100

    Initial food costs £110

    Members resolved to approve the expenditure.

    Cllrs Walker & Rowe returned to the meeting.

    43/23     To consider decorating and / or refurbishing the parish bus shelters

    Members thanked Len Abbott for agreeing to carry out this work.

    44/23     Clerk’s Report

    Members heard that Cllr Valentine had taken on responsibility for the village defibrillator checks. 

    ACTION: Clerk to contact CHT to include Cllr Valentine on the online check system.  

    Members agreed the parish council would not meet in August 2023, unless there was a large planning application to consider.

    45/23     For information only; items for the forward agenda

    Councillor vacancy; footpath at Hayne Farm.

    46/23     To consider any late entry correspondence

    None.

    47/23     Date of next two meetings  

    Thursday 6th July and Thursday 7th September 2023 at 7.30pm. 

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

    Chair…………………………………….

    6th July 2023