MINUTES OF THE PARISH COUNCIL MEETING OF BUCKLAND BREWER PARISH COUNCIL HELD ON WEDNESDAY, 13th NOVEMBER 2013 AT 8.00PM AT BUCKLAND BREWER SCHOOL
Members Present: Mrs Barbara Babb, Mr Andrew Hewitt, Mr George Heywood, Mr David Lloyd, Mr Jim Lowe, Mr Trevor Mills, Mrs Kate Slocombe, Mrs Shirley Tilley and Mr David Watson.
Also in attendance 5 members of the public, Christopher Bowman and Glen Harper (NEW Clinical Commissioning Group)
Parish Clerk: Patrick Blosse
KEY: Actions are shown in bold blue type Decisions are shown in bold red type
1038 Apologies for Absence Cllr. Robin Julian and PCSO John McGovern
1039 Minutes of the Meeting of 9th October 2013 The minutes of the meeting held on 9th October 2013 were confirmed and signed.
1040 Declarations of Interest: None
1041 Public Participation: George Schofield and Maggie Melville both spoke in opposition to planning applications for wind turbines.
1042 Care Closer To Home/’Torrington Community Cares’: Shaping the Future of Healthcare in the Torrington Area
Dr Chris Bowman, Vice-Chair of the Northern, Eastern and Western Devon Clinical Commissioning Group and Dr Glen Harper, Care of the Elderly Consultant, gave a presentation about the Care Closer To Home initiative. The group is a revised version of the previous PCT, now lead by GPs. There had been a marked increase in demand for services for the elderly, many now having more than one condition, and significant cuts in health funding planned by 2015. Research indicated that more people recover better at home and that it takes only 2-3 days for patients to become institutionalised in hospitals. There has also been a rise in the demand for A&E services since 2010 but this is not always the best place for people to be treated. The Commission is tasked with developing a plan for the future and believes that getting the plan right for the rural areas of Torrington and Holsworthy will mean that it should work anywhere. Research shows that 40%-50% in hospitals don’t need to be there but, in spite of this, lengths of stay have gone up and the small turnover of patients leads to loss of nursing skills. During the current 8-week consultation period, the beds at Torrington Hospital have been re-opened by transferring nursing staff from South Molton. The Commission is using an independent oversight group to evaluate their plans over the coming 6 months. The Commission is seeking to use resources more creatively but to provide services of the same quality which are safe and provide the same level of satisfaction. Key themes include improving end-of-life care and they are considering opening clinics that combine additional social support like old style day centres. A question and answer session followed. Kate Slocombe pointed out that more beds could be needed for the winter/’flu season. Jim Lowe said that centres of excellence were needed that were accessible. For example stroke patients needing care within 1 hour. Chris Bowman said that GPs needed to do more to help with prevention to avoid so many people having to use centres of excellence. Andrew Hewitt asked if Torrington Hospital was used enough or if it could be used for recuperative care. Glen Harper said that he hoped people would get home sooner and benefit from community care. Chris Bowman pointed out that 60% of patients in Torrington Hospital were in for social rather than medical reasons. Shirley Tilley asked if it was more expensive to have nurses travelling round the community. Chris Bowman said that, although there was a cost involved it was still cheaper than maintaining a bed in a hospital and the nurses could treat more patients in the community. George Heywood praised the work of the local A&E but felt they were under too much pressure. Chris Bowman said that ambulance and paramedic services were trying to get more people straight home rather than having to visit A&E. A number of brochures/questionnaires were left for parishioners to complete.
1043 Clerk’s Report
• Correspondence. A summary of various items of general correspondence was supplied to each member. The following item was specifically drawn to the Council’s attention:
• DCC: Review of in-house Day Service Provision
• War Memorials Trust – Flyer regarding care of memorials
• Community Council of Devon – Surgery in Holsworthy 20/11/13
• Torridge DC: Emergency Planning and Community Resilience – Encouragement to develop a Community Emergency Plan Clerk to respond to Torridge showing that this has already been included in the Parish Plan
• Letter from Jenny Wallace re Wind Turbines
• DCC Highways: Travelling in Winter leaflet
• Healthwatch Voices: Issues 1 and 2
• South West Water: Water Main Requisition
• Friends of Buckland Brewer School: Thank you for the grant
• Devon Highways: Safety Awareness Training – 8 sessions available including Barnstaple Civic Centre Friday 6th December AM or PM – distributed by email 12th November 2013
• Northam Town Council: Grass Cutting information request – distributed by email 12th November 2013 No action to be taken
• Care Closer to Home Event 13th November 2013: Distributed by email 12th November 2013
• Register of Electors: Alterations, November 2013 (2 creations)
• DCC: Highways, Capital Development and Waste Management: Storm Events 2012 – Infrastructure Legacy and 2014/15 Budget Priority Consultation – distributed by email 12th November 2013 Clerk to supply electronic link for members to make comments online if theywish
• DCC: Devon Remembers – helping communities mark the centenary of WW1 – grants for restoring war memorials – distributed by email 12th November 2013 No action required
• Atlantic Array: notification of the appointment of the Examining Authority and notification of the Preliminary Meeting – distributed by email 12th November 2013
Shirley Tilley asked whether the ‘Village Green’ publication was still available. Clerk to investigate.
• DALC Council Health Check Scheme The clerk had explained the workings of the scheme to Frithelstock Parish Council, who chose to wait until after the clerk had attended the training day on 20th November before deciding whether the scheme was necessary.
• Crime Report In the absence of a police representative, the clerk reported that there had been 3 incidents reported in the last 3 months: 2 thefts from the Hillpark building site which had resulted in 2 site visits, an article in the Village Scene and 2 newsletters placed in the community shop and on the notice board. Also one theft of garden equipment from an open outbuilding/shed. Officers will be attending the Christmas Market. A new officer, PCSO 30674 Liz Rendle, has recently joined the team.
• Allotments Peter McClymont has today given notice on plot 5b. It was understood that the tenants of plot 5 (Walters) were interested in taking over 5b and this was agreed in principle
1044 Localism Act: Dispensation It was unanimously agreed that all Parish Councillors would sign a dispensation to permit them to speak and vote concerning the setting of a budget and precept for 2014/15 at meetings between now and 31st January 2014.
1045 Mobile Library Consultation: Proposed Withdrawal of Service DCC is consulting on the withdrawal of various library services including the mobile service that is currently offered to Buckland Brewer as it falls into the category of one that has 3 or less regular users. Kate Slocombe said that she thought the Year 6 children were using it. She will find out and report back.
1046 Asset Register and Insurance Review The insurance company had stated that it should not be necessary to increase the Council’s level of Public Liability cover and that additional cover for the public’s use of Parish Council land should not be necessary. The Clerk is still waiting for a written response from the Council’s insurers.
1047 Minute 1014 (iv) of 11th September 2013 – clarification of policy re future wind turbine applications Following some discussion about the new guidance document and whether this should replace or enhance the existing policy, it was agreed to defer a decision to the next meeting. Clerk to email a link to the new guidance document.
1048 Summer Bus Service No invoice has yet been received.
1049 Thornhillhead Moor No report had been received.
1050 Thornhillhead Communications Mast The clerk had written to Arqiva on 13th October 2013 but no reply had yet been received.
1051 Winter Road Salting George Heywood had obtained a quote from the contractor: £350 per trip for the first 4 trips per year, £300 for next two and £200 for any subsequent trips. George has made a number of attempts so far to obtain further supplies of salt from DCC but has had no response yet.
1052 Village Hall Good progress is being made regarding the new community hall plans. Jane Lowe will attend the next Parish Council meeting to provide an update. A public meeting has been arranged for Wednesday 20th November in the village hall. The Village Hall Trustees require a new representative from the Parish Council as David Lloyd has decided to step down. It was unanimously agreed that Jim Lowe should take his place.
1053 Village Green Jim Lowe thanked Andrew Hewitt for removing the tree. It had been too wet to plant a new one so this will be done in the spring. The schoolchildren are growing the poppies on. Andrew Hewitt will prepare the poppy beds.
1054 Football Pitch The clerk had met with Tony Grills of Northside Atlantic Football Club, and, subject to the Parish Council’s approval, agreed to lease the site them from 1st January 2014 at an annual rent of up to £400 per year. However, an email had been received yesterday stating that, although the club were still keen to take over the pitch, they would not be permitted by the league to change venues mid-season and hoped that the pitch would still be available next year. The clerk had also met with June Gaydon, who would like to use the area for archery practice with the possibility of developing a small archery club. Subject to June meeting adequate health and safety requirements, including signage, maintaining recommended distances behind the bosses etc, it was agreed to allow June joint use of the field for a rent of £100 per year. June and her friend, Paulette (who has recently been chosen for the National Team) expect to use the field about 3 times per week throughout the summer months and less frequently during the winter. There was some discussion about how best to keep the grass down. A final decision about this would be made at the next meeting
1055 Budget Review Sub-Committee The Clerk advised that, at the Torrington Area Advisory Group meeting held in Monkleigh last month, the Leader of DCC, John Hart and Jenny Wallace of TDC had advised parishes to be prepared to take on some of the services that the County and Districts are having to cut due to grant reductions. As yet, there is no cap on parish precepts but this situation might not exist forever.
A letter had been received from the Playing Fields Association asking members to consider an annual allowance in the parish budget to contribute towards maintenance. Also, the Council will need to consider the cost of elections coming up in 2 years time.
Members were asked to provide the Clerk with bids for spending before the Budget Review meeting on 3rd December 2013.
1056 Members’ Reports
Andrew Hewitt i) Andrew provided an overview of the ‘Tough Choices’ presentation given by the Leader of DCC, John Hart, at the recent Torrington Area Advisory Group meeting. (For members guidance, a resume is attached at Appendix 1. Ii) Andrew had been in touch with a company called Wild West Net that could provide 20mbfast broadband by satellite for£25 per month. It would also require an initial cost of £100 and users would be required to ‘bounce’ their signal to other users if necessary. There could be a possibility of obtaining a free wi-fi link for the village hall. A representative of the company will attend the next parish council meeting.
Jim Lowe Thanked Andrew Hewitt for the refurbishment of the war memorial.
George Heywood i) George had heard of a scheme for a free defibrillator and appropriate training. Item to be added to next agenda. Ii) It was confirmed by the clerk that Joe Wolfe has paid the rent for Hymns Peace. Jim Lowe is to contact him about its future use. Iii) George reported that a tree had blown down on Snow’s field. Iv) George asked if future winter meetings could start earlier. It was agreed that, in future, meetings from November to March inclusive would start at the earlier at 7:30pm
Trevor Mills reported that the heads, legs and skins of 2 calves had been dumped at Hymns Peace. Jim Lowe had spoken to Torridge Environmental Health Dept. who had said that the Parish Council would need to deal with it and he would ask a suitable contractor to have the remains bagged and removed
David Lloyd reported that the Barton Road gullies needed clearing. Clerk to follow up with the lengthsman.
David Watson reported that a wire fence was down alongside the football pitch but repairs were in hand.
Kate Slocombe reported that the school bus to Torrington was now following its designated route and not going via ‘The Glen.’
Email from Paul Green at Torridge DC re Industrial Units It was agreed that Jim Lowe and the Clerk would draft a suitable response to Torridge asking for the industrial units to remain as an integral part of the settlement plan.
i) 1/0801/2013/FUL: Land at Tuttsclump Farm, Parkham, wind turbine No comments
ii) 1/0864/2013/FUL: 15 Southwood Meadows, proposed extension No objection
iii) 1/0696/2013/FUL: Tythcott Farm – Refused
iv) 1/0688/2013/FUL: Holbrook Farm – Granted permission
v) 1/0721/2011/FUL: Sunderleigh wind turbine additional information – Refused
vi) 1/0790/2013/FUL: Coles Manning, single storey side conversion – Granted permission
vii) 1/0559/2012/FUL: Land at Swanton Farm, Horns Cross – single small-scale wind turbine and associated equipment – sent to appeal – previous submission was “no comment”. It was unanimously agreed to make no additional comments.
• Parish Council Current Account was £4,053.65 as at 31st October 2013
• Thornhillhead Moor Account £14,514.44 as at 19th September 2013
Receipts since the last meeting:
• Field rents, £247.50
Payments due (£1050.20):
• Parish Clerk’s salary, expenses and associated PAYE to 31st October (£127.52)
• Grant Thornton Audit Fee – £510.00 (of which £485.00 will be met from the Thornhillhead Moor Account). The clerk read a letter from Grant Thornton in response to a request for a reduction this fee that had been turned down
• DALC, Training Courses (Planning, A Hewitt, 16/10/13. £42 and ‘Budgets and Precepts’, J Lowe, 22/10/13, £30)
• Jim Lowe, travel expenses in relation to the ‘Budgets and Precepts’ course held in Exeter. £40.68
• Lemon Jelly Youth Work, donation- £300.00
Dates of Next Meetings:
Tuesday 19th November 2013, Personnel Sub-Committee – Clerk’s 6-monthly review
Tuesday 3rd December. Budget Review Sub-Committee
Wednesday 11th December 2013, Buckland Brewer School
Wednesday 8th January 2014 at Buckland Brewer School
The meeting closed at 10:20 pm
Chairman: ………………………………………………………………………. Date: …………………………………
Buckland Brewer Parish Council – 13th November 2013 Appendix 1
Notes from the Torrington Area Advisory Group meeting held on 22nd October at Monkleigh Village Hall
At the previous meeting held on 23rd July, Cllr. Cathrine Simmons of Torrington Town Council was elected Vice Chair of the Group. However, she now has a further role with Torrington Town Council and so is not able to fulfil the Vice Chair role for the Advisory Group. In view of this, Andrew Hewitt of Buckland Brewer Parish Council was elected as Vice Chair.
After the usual agenda items, i.e. Minute approval, matters arising etc., John Hart, Leader of DCC, was invited to speak.
Essentially, his message was that there will be many more cuts to budgets in the coming years.
• Excluding education, due to government grant reductions, spending has been cut from £600m to £500m and this has resulted in reduced staff numbers and a change to working practices. There has however been no real apparent change to service.
• Another £110m cuts are necessary by 2017
• There will be no support to parishes who will be required to undertake some duties currently undertaken by DCC (nothing specific yet)
• Library Services- under consultation. The current 8 library buses likely to be cut to 4 because 4 are nearing their ‘end of life’
• Youth Services will be targeting those not in employment. There is quite a small percentage take-up of younger people of the services available (youth clubs etc.)
• Day Centres – these too will be looked at
• Currently, DCC subsidises the bus service by £6m. DCC receives £7m from the government for bus services but pays the bus companies £12m!!
• DC is looking at a 1.98% increase in Council Tax next year. Anything over this percentage requires a referendum which would cost the county £1m to organise
• DCC only receives 50% of the Business Rates, the rest goes to central government (and forms part of the grant distribution)
• New Homes bonus (a levy on every new home built- £250) is of the order of £20m, of which DCC keeps 20% and Districts 80% (Parishes get nothing!!)
• Fast Broadband – Torridge is a priority
• 407 parishes in Devon
Local Plan Update (Ian Rowland of Torridge District Council)
The 4,000 comments received following the January consultation are being worked through.
A new draft consultation will be published early in 2014 but with a very short turnaround period.
Contrary to perhaps popular belief, the beds closure has only been delayed for an 8-week evaluation period and the feeling is that the closure will still take place.
• Only 2 beds are currently occupied
• An independent survey is being undertaken of people’s views
• Cllr Martin (Mayor) holds a surgery every Saturday morning at 10:00am to receive views
• An Oversight Group is being setup to oversee the survey results
TDC Budget (Jenny Wallace of Torridge District Council)
The current year grant of £10m will be cut to £6mby 2016/17
A number of services have been tendered giving savings of £2m
More cuts are to come and TDC will be consulting in the coming months on what services can be cut.
Parishes were strongly advised to seriously consider their precepts in view of DCC expectations that we will be asked to take on more duties and responsibilities.