Meeting of Buckland Brewer Parish Council Held on Wednesday 12 February 2014 at 7:30pm 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 1 member of the public
Parish Clerk: Patrick Blosse
1095 Apologies for Absence Cllr Bob Hicks, Alison Boyle
1096 Minutes of the Meetings of 8th January 2014 and 5th February 2012 The minutes of the parish council meeting held on 8th January 2014 and the Budget Review and Finance Sub-Committee meeting of 5th February 2014 were confirmed and signed, subject to a clarification of item 1087 Members’ Reports: George Heywood to which was added “George Heywood stated that Councillor Robin Julian was wrong in his statement that farmers could do no more”.
1097 Declarations of Interest Kate Slocombe and Barbara Babb in respect of item 1102: Report of the Budget Review and Finance Sub-Committee held on 5th February 2014.
1098 Public Participation None
1099 Clerk’s Report
I. 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:
o Devon Countryside Access Forum, request for new members – George Heywood expressed an interest
o Village Green Winter 2013 – Jim Lowe discussed the opportunity to obtain a war memorial grant and it was agreed that a professional’s opinion would be sought to assess the extent of works needed
o DCC Highways: Response re ‘priority system’ for Tower Hill – noted that no action was possible
o DALC: Invitation to Royal Garden Party – Chairman’s name has been submitted
o DCC: Flood Clean-up and Repair Work – noted that lengthsman duties delayed
o South West Heritage Trust/North Devon Record Office – it was agreed that the Clerk would write to Cllr Julian asking why the North Devon record Office could not be affiliated. Andrew Hewitt will also ask his contacts
o Winter Friends NHS Choices campaign Newsletter – It was agreed that, in the light of all the consultations taking place about support services and inevitable cuts in these services as a result of government financial policy, the Parish Council sets up a sub-committee to look at ways and means of supporting existing groups within the parish or whether there is a call to facilitate any further practical support. The sub-committee is to comprise Barbara Babb, Andrew Hewitt, Shirley Tilley and David Watson. It was agreed to co-opt Dawn Adams. Further co-options could take place to involve other interested members of the community. The group’s first meeting will be in The Chapel at 7:30pm on Monday 17th March 2014.
o Notice of Road Closure – Babeleigh Cross to Buckland Brewer to Tuckers Park 14th April – 18th April 2014 – Western Power Network
o Notice of next Torrington Area Advisory Group – 15th April 2014, 7:00pm, Methodist Church Hall, Mill Street, Torrington
o Letter of thanks from CAB for grant payment
o Application for Hire of School Premises for 2014 – future meeting dates were confirmed and the Clerk will complete and return the form
o TDC: Empty Homes Toolkit – noted, no action required
o TDC: TAP Fund 2013/14 and approach from Langtree Parish Council for a joint application. It was agreed that Buckland Brewer would submit a TAP fund application together with Langtree. Clerk to coordinate.
o DCC: Devon Mobile Library Service – new timetables
o Linking Life in the Torridge – Parish Survey
o Jane Lowe: New Hall Update
o Invitation to join a Rural Sounding Board – Jim Lowe to follow up
o Best Kept Village Competition: Guidelines and Judging Schedule. The map provided had not been satisfactory. It was suggested that Phil Slocombe should be able to supply something more suitable.
II. Insurance: Following approval of the budget at last month’s meeting, street furniture cover has now been added to the insurance policy.
III. Future Guest Speakers: A representative from WildWestNet has agreed to attend the meeting scheduled for 9th April 2014 to present their satellite broadband services and it is hoped that a representative from Tarka Housing will attend the meeting of 12th March 2014.
1100 Consultation on the Future of Youth Services in Devon It was generally agreed that a proper youth club was needed for the village but that no-one was available to run it. There will be a forum at Caddsdown Business Support Centre 1:00-3:00pm on 9th April 2014. Jim Lowe to attend. George Heywood said that what was most needed was transportation to clubs in Bideford, Torrington and further afield.
1101 Consultation on DCC Day Services The Chairman and clerk had investigated the consultation papers provided on the internet, which were comprehensive and provided for each individual day centre. It was agreed that no comments would be submitted at this stage.
1102 Report of the Budget Review and Finance Sub-Committee held on 5th February 2014
The meeting had discussed a land valuation report that had recently been received and rent reviews for the fields and allotments. The report identified approximately 20 acres of land in the Parish Council’s ownership, most of which was used for permanent pasture, with a total value of about £165,000. The Chairman and the Clerk had attended a briefing meeting with the Parish Council’s land agent prior to the meeting and had been told that three of the rental agreements were now below the market rate and ought to be increased. It was proposed by the sub-committee that the following tenant’s rents should be increased appropriately and that the clerk should write to them seeking increases of approximately 25% to take effect on or after 25th March 2015:
Mr B Chapple
Mr F Babb
Mr P Bromell
It was further proposed that all other field rents would remain unchanged until the next rent review, which would take place in 2016/17 in preparation for any rent changes to take place from 25th March 2018. It was also proposed that the Clerk should write to all tenants to inform them that the rent review has taken place and when the next review is planned. These recommendations were proposed by Jim Lowe, seconded by Shirley Tilley and agreed unanimously.
Draft letters had been prepared but the advice of the land agent was that these did not meet the requirements of a formal rent review and that approaches should be made in person initially to negotiate the increases. It was agreed that the Clerk would contact the tenants
The land agents fee for carrying out the valuation was £300.00 + VAT
1103 Renting of Football Pitch June Gaydon is away on holiday for a number of weeks but she has agreed to the terms of the licence and arrangements have been made for her to sign it on 24th February 2014. George Heywood asked about income for the grass and it was agreed that this would be advertised in Village Scene. Jim Lowe has not yet obtained the keys for the pavilion.
1104 Thornhillhead Communications Mast – Response to Arqiva On the advice of Geoffrey Cox, MP, it was agreed that Arqiva’s offer of £1,000 as a one-off payment should be accepted, without obligation, and that the letter previously drafted by the Clerk should be sent subject to adding an opportunity to renegotiate the rent for “any future upgrades, such as the provision of 4G”. It was also agreed that Andrew Hewitt would obtain pictures of the mast as it is currently configured so that any future changes can be noted.
1105 Thornhillhead Moor An email had been received from Claire McIntosh. Mrs Holt was pleased to accept some spare trees to plant on their bank and 6 would be provided when the fence is complete. There is also quite a significant fly-tipping problem up there, which will have to be sorted out once the fencing is complete and it is clear how much funds are available. Claire had written a letter to the County Solicitor for advice on what the signs should say so as to not increase the Parish Councils liability should there be an accident.
1106 Summer Bus Service An invoice and breakdown of the service costs and usage had been received on 12th February 2014. The Clerk is to write to the other 3 parishes to confirm that they are willing to continue the service next year.
1107 Tower Hill/Glen Bridge A response had been received from Ian Rawle, Neighbourhood Highway Officer stating that priority points could cause confusion and complaints and that this site could not be recommended on safety grounds. A reply from Julie Pepworth regarding Glen Bridge also indicates that it is unlikely that a weight limit can be imposed.
1108 Village Green The School and Jim Lowe have planted poppies in readiness for planting out on the village green later in the year and Jim Lowe asked others to the same. Andrew Hewitt suggested that shrubs might be suitable than another tree and this was agreed unanimously.
1109 Village Library Shirley Tilley has been offered some shelving, which she hopes the church will be willing to put up. Pat Blosse, in his capacity as a bookdealer, is willing to keep the shelves stocked with books that could be borrowed by parishioners with an honesty box for small donations to church or village funds. It was agreed to proceed with the scheme and the Clerk will write to the PCC outlining the scheme and asking permission to erect the shelves.
1110 Pannier Market Hopper Bus Shirley Tilley distributed flyers outlining the Pannier Market Hopper Bus Service and suggested that the scheme might be extended to take in Buckland Brewer and other outlying villages. It was agreed that the Clerk would write to Torridge Community Transport suggesting such a scheme.
1111 School Bus to Torrington Nothing to report
1112 Torrington Hospital Andrew Hewitt gave a resume of the work continuing on the consultation about the future of the hospital and the Care Closer to Home scheme. There were no new developments to report.
1113 Snow Warden Update George Heywood reported that the extra salt has arrived.
1114 Annual Parish Meeting: Torridge District Council Leader The Chairman reported that Cllr. Philip Collins, the Leader of Torridge District Council, had agreed to attend as guest speaker at this year’s Annual Parish meeting on 28th May 2014. He would like notice of about 4 questions so that he can prepare suitable responses.
1115 Members’ Reports
Andrew Hewitt reported that the Orleigh Hill drains had been cleared but then the hedges had been cut and the drains were blocked again. He asked if the timing of the cuts could be discussed with DCC. George Heywood pointed out that the hedge-cutting is done by contractors and that timings are subject to weather conditions. The item was noted.
George Heywood George pointed out that the Council was earning no income from Thornhillhead Moor and that the sale of some or all of the land would raise funds for the parish. – noted.
Jim Lowe reported that i) Glen Bridge was approved for a weight limit of 40 tons and that it was highly unlikely that the County would pursue a traffic order for any change, especially as this could cost £3,000, ii) he had responded to the Devon Waste Plan consultation mentioning biodegradable landfill and the use of waste to generate energy, iii) a response had also been sent on the Public Transport consultation on each of the 4 points highlighted and iv) that the plans to extend high speed broadband were continuing but that it was unclear whether Buckland Brewer would benefit.
Trevor Mills pointed out that the leaves at Glen Hill had now been removed.
Kate Slocombe i) reported that a street light was out in Barton Road. Jim Lowe will notify DCC, ii) and that her husband had dug out the drain on Gorwood Road (Buckland side of Jewels Cottage at the bottom of Friends Hill)
Shirley Tilley i) highlighted the dangers of cars dropping-off and collecting children from the playschool and ii) reported a scam concerning phone numbers staring 0809, 0284 and 0876 which, if responded to, could cost £1,500 a minute.
i) Devon County Council Planning Application at North Hele, Buckland Brewer, Bideford, EX39 5LZ Planning Reference DCC/3618/2014 – Demolition of circular slurry store and replacement with below ground slurry store, extensions to agricultural buildings and installation of new residential sewage treatment plant – noted
ii) 1/1125/2013/FUL: Variation of conditions 2 & 14 of planning application 1/0504/2012/FUL to allow change in power output from 50kW to 100kW (Height to blade tip 39.997m) at Craneham Farm, Buckland Brewer, Devon. The Council had previously objected to this application on the grounds that a dwelling was within 600m. Following consultation by email a response had already been made to restate the Council’s objection and to point out that the nearby residents would be even more adversely affected.
iii) 1/0736/2013/FUL – 2 small wind turbines at Mambury Farm, East Putford – no comment as outside the parish
iv) 1/1151/2013/FUL – Beeches Farm, Buckland Brewer, single storey conservatory extension – supported
The Chairman pointed out that some responses had been submitted to Torridge Planning department showing that the Parish Council had “no objection” but that an earlier minute of the council had agreed that all responses would be given as a positive ‘support’ or ‘objection’ as the term “no objection” implied some ambivalence and the members would prefer to be seen to be supportive where appropriate.
i) DALC Finance update – Local Government Finance Settlement – the Clerk pointed out that there was no risk that capping or referenda would be applied to parish councils’ council tax decisions in the current year but these might be considered for the largest local councils in 2015/16. It was unlikely that such conditions would be applied to small parishes in the foreseeable future.
ii) Bank balances:
• Parish Council Current Account was £3,337.88 as at 31st January 2014
• Thornhillhead Moor Account £18,724.59 as at 19th December 2013
iii) Payments due (£615.78 + VAT):
• Parish Clerk’s salary, expenses and associated PAYE: £206.33 (including £30 for a filing cabinet)
• Buckland Brewer Village Hall: £7.00
• Robert H Hicks – Land valuation report: £300.00 + VAT
• Summer Bus Service: £102.45
iv) Receipts since last meeting (£40.00):
• Field rents: £40.00
v) Transfer Between Funds Members agreed a transfer of £250.00 from the Thornhillhead Moor account to the Parish Council’s general account to cover the cost of the Parish Clerk for the year 2013/14, being 2 hours per month plus a sum of about £30 towards office expenses and mileage costs.
Dates of Next Meetings:
Wednesday 12th March 2014 at Buckland Brewer School – 7:30pm
Monday 17th March 2014 at The Chapel – 7:30pm – Parish Support Network Sub-Committee
There being no further business, the meeting closed at 9:41 pm