Draft MINUTES OF THE PARISH COUNCIL MEETING OF BUCKLAND BREWER PARISH COUNCIL HELD ON WEDNESDAY, 12th MARCH 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 2 members of the public, Alison Boyle (part), PCSO Liz Rendle and Cllr. Robin Julian (part)
Parish Clerk: Patrick Blosse
1118 Apologies for Absence Cllr Robin Julian had sent apologies that he expected to arrive late.
1119 Minutes of the Meeting of 12th February 2014 The minutes of the parish council meeting held on 12th February 2014 were confirmed and signed.
1120 Declarations of Interest Kate Slocombe re item 1125 (ii) Football Pitch, Grass Cutting ; Shirley Tilley re item 1139 (a) 1 Gorwood Road planning application; Kate Slocombe and Barbara Babb re item 1126 Field Rents.
1121 Public Participation None
1122 Crime Report: PCSO Liz Rendle reported that there had been 2 crimes recorded for the parish in the past 2 months: some specialist equipment had been stolen from a vehicle (which had not been locked) and there had been another theft from the Hillpark construction site, this time of £1,500 of equipment from locked sheds. Andrew Hewitt recommended the use of wireless cameras. Liz stated that crime in rural areas remained low but these thefts proved that it is still vulnerable and that better security is needed. Liz also reported that there had been a theft of heating oil in a nearby community and advised that tanks should be securely locked.
1123 Alison Boyle: AONB Alison said that she had been appointed to the Board of the North Devon Coast Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The association had been founded in 1959 as a result of the Countryside Rights of Way Act and the local board manages the area from Hartland to Combe Martin, employing 2.4 fte staff. It maintains close links with planning issues, such as the Atlantic Array. The focus for the next year is to be on farming and land management following increasing pressures on farmers to protect the countryside. The existing 4-year plan ends this month and the next meeting of the Board, in April 2014, will concentrate on the development of a new long-term plan, which is likely to include Bucks Mill and other local issues.
1124 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:
• Devon County Council Adult Social Care Day Services – Stakeholder events
• Affordable Housing on Exception Sites (Policy DM21) – see item 1139 (c)
• DALC: Consultation on filming and use of social media at public meetings
• DCC: Invitation to Stakeholders: Briefing on the Consultation on the future of residential care services at 20 Devon County Council Residential Care Homes. Shirley Tilley offered to attend the meeting at Caddsdown Business Centre on 14th March 2014
• Sally Nicholl: Letter concerning the planning application for the turbine at Babeleigh Barton – see item 1139 (d)
• Easy Read Scheme – flyer and poster
• British Lichen Society Apprenticeship
• Village Green – Issue 135, Spring 2014
• DALC Newsletter, March 2014
• Emergency Management Flyer
• Healthwatch Voices: Issue 3
• Clerks and Councils Direct: March 2014
1125 Football Pitch
i) Having obtained keys for the club house, Jim Lowe had inspected it and found 9 bottles of gas, 30 pairs of football boots, a number of footballs, a set of football shirts and a large quantity of rubbish that needed to be removed. He had obtained a quote of £300 for clearing the rubbish but it was apparent that there was a quantity of asbestos in the building. It was agreed that councillors should visit the site at 10am on Saturday 15th March 2015. Jim Lowe had already had the gas bottles removed. It was agreed to donate the footballs to the Playing Fields Association, that the shirts would be donated to an appropriate cause and that the boots would go to the recycling centre. An indicative price of £650 had been received for making the club house secure but this had been provided without the benefit of a comprehensive survey. It was agreed that the Health and Safety Executive would be asked to evaluate the state of the building.
ii) Grass cutting – One bid had been received so far for grass cutting of the pitch but further bids were expected by the end of the month so any decision on the issue was deferred until the next meeting.
1126 Parish Council Fields: Rents: The clerk had spoken to Brian Chapple, who had agreed to an increase to £340 per annum and to Mr and Mrs Babb, who had agreed to an increase to £250 per annum with effect from March 2015. Having tried a number of times to contact Peter Bromell by telephone without response, the Clerk will now write to him.
1127 Thornhillhead Communications Mast: A letter had been sent to Arqiva on 19th February 2014 accepting their offer of £1,000 without obligation but there had so far been no response. The Clerk had been contacted by a consultancy purporting to be acting for 02 and Vodafone wanting to renegotiate the rent of the mast in order to install upgraded equipment in preparation for G4 but had not, so far, made any further contact. Robert Hicks and Co. had offered to act on the Parish Council’s behalf in any negotiations at no cost to the Council as any costs would be passed on the lessee.
1128 Thornhillhead Moor: No invoice had been received from Hicks & Co. Andrew Hewitt suggested that, once the invoice had been received and it was known how much remained in the account, a pre-meeting should be held with Robert Hicks before meeting with the graziers. George Heywood reported that there were still no ‘cattle’ warning signs up.
1129 Grant Application: Victim Support: A letter had been received from the Victim Support charity appealing for funds. Any decision was deferred to the next meeting.
1130 Summer Bus Service: All three of the other participating parish councils had been asked about continuing with the service in 2014. Putford and Bradworthy had definitely agreed to carry on. Parkham Parish Council will discuss the issue at its next meeting on 1st April but their Clerk had indicated that it was “almost certain” the council would continue to support it. Jim Lowe had been told by Community Transport that there would be little or no change in the cost.
1131 Pannier Market Hopper Bus A very enthusiastic response had been received from Community Transport but there was concern expressed about the service potentially clashing with the 372 service. One member thought that the new Waitrose in Torrington might start a hopper service of their own. Jim Lowe will continue to discuss the issue with Community Transport.
1132 Best Kept Village Competition: A map is still required. Kate Slocombe has one which she will photocopy and send to the Clerk.
1133 TAP Fund Application An application has been submitted and had received a positive response from Malcolm Harris, Community Development Officer at Torridge. It now requires approval by Devon County and Torridge District Councillors. The application now includes Peters Marland and Frithelstock as well as Langtree. The submission has been supported by professional photographs taken by a local photographer, the cost of which is to be offset against the photographer’s use of the village hall.
1134 War Memorial: Grant Application Applications are now being accepted for smaller schemes so an application will be submitted to Devon County Council for the next tranche of grants. Support is required from the British Legion and Cllr Robin Julian, who agreed in person to supply a supporting letter. The clerk will formally write to both parties.
1135 Village Library: The Clerk had spoken to the vicar who was enthusiastic about the scheme but needs to ratify the decision with the PCC, which next meets at the end of March 2014.
1136 Torrington Hospital: Andrew Hewitt reported that further consultation and opinions are being sought but that he felt that the proposals will go ahead “whatever happens”. On a related issue, Cllr Julian said that he had spoken to the leader of Devon County Council about the potential closure of the Springfield Day Centre in Bideford, and others that are threatened with closure, and had been told that no decisions had yet been made. David Watson reported that they were no longer taking any referrals.
1137 Lengthsman Service/Drain Clearing: It had been confirmed with Julian Roskilly of Devon Highways this week that there no news on when lengthsman rotas will restart. Andrew Hewitt suggested that a survey of local road conditions and potential lengthsmen works should be carried and it was agreed that Andrew Hewitt and David Lloyd would do this together.
1138 Members’ Reports
Cllr. Robin Julian reported that some pothole are being temporarily patched and would be repaired properly at a later date and that many people were “up in arms” about this. There had been reports of footpath material being used to patch potholes in roads, which was unacceptable. He stated that some money was being provided by central government specifically for pothole repairs but he did not know how much would be allocated to Devon. The County Council had stated that some roads were under threat of temporary closure notices and there was a possibility that some might close altogether. He felt that more and more would need to be done by the parishes in the future, especially as Devon County was facing another £49 million of budget cuts next year.
George Heywood (i) reported an incident at Bideford Rugby Club where a defibrillator had been used to save a life. The Clerk explained the proposals for providing a defibrillator in Frithelstock, which had formed part of the TAP Fund Grant application, and gave an overview of prices and delivery options. It was agreed that the Clerk would investigate these further and report back. (ii) George also reported that it had not been necessary to use any salt this year. (iii) A pothole at the top of Orleigh Hill needed to be filled – to be reported to Devon Highways by the Clerk. (iv) He said that he thought that the licensee using the football pitch for archery was under the impression that the grass would be kept cut at all times. The Clerk will clarify the position with her.
Jim Lowe (i) reported that there had been no response to requests for repairs to the street lights and believed that this work had been sub-contracted to Southern Electric. (ii) Four questions are wanted for the guest speak at the Annual Parish Meeting. Jim will put an item in Village Scene asking for suggestions.
Kate Slocombe announced open afternoons at Buckland Brewer and Parkham Schools on 25th and 27th March respectively.
Shirley Tilley commented on the number of vehicles parked along the road. Andrew Hewitt pointed out that this was probably because the holiday cottages are occupied. (ii) Shirley also pointed out that Cornwall Fire Brigade was using a call centre based in Yorkshire and hoped that this would not happen to the Devon and Somerset Fire Service as it would lead to loss of local knowledge.
David Watson (i) reported seeing dog mess on the ramp to the community shop and behind the chapel. It was recommended by one member that ‘No Dogs’ signs could be put up but no decision was taken. (ii) David also said that the notice board ought to have softer wood or an alternative backing as it was very difficult to insert pins. Jim Lowe to discuss with Richard Dorset.
Alison Boyle and Cllr. Robin Julian left the meeting at this point.
i) 1/0133/2014/FUL – Removal of condition 3 from planning approval 431/1993 to allow the change of use of the existing garage in to a kitchen, The Jays, 1 Gorwood Road. It was unanimously agreed to support this application.
ii) Devon County Council Planning Application at Buckland Brewer CP School – Retention of one existing modular classroom for a further 15 years. Notice of this application had been received too late to be included on the agenda. A decision was deferred to the next meeting and the Clerk was asked to notify DCC accordingly.
iii) 1/0128/2014/FUL – Braddons Park Wind Turbine. Notice of this application had been received too late to be included on the agenda. A decision was deferred to the next meeting and the Clerk was asked to notify Torridge Council accordingly.
iv) 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), Craneham Farm, Buckland Brewer, Devon – Granted permission – Noted. The Clerk and the Chairman had both reminded Torridge Council that the Parish Council had previously registered its objection to the application.
c. Rural Settlement Plan Update (i) Jim Lowe reported that most of the points raised by the Parish Council concerning errors and omissions in the draft rural settlement plan for Buckland Brewer had been corrected or re-instated, including:
• the new property for which an application has already been accepted is to be included within the settlement boundary (plot 2)
• all in-fill sites have been included
• the plot of land off Tower Hill (plot 7) has been reinstated. It had been thought that access would be too narrow but Torridge had accepted that this would be improved if a garage was demolished.
• reconsidering the limitation of the number of industrial units
• admitting that the development plot in Gorwood road had been omitted in error
It had been stated by Kate Little (Joint Head of Planning) that there was little or no hope of meeting the Local Plan’ publication deadline.
The Cock Pheasant plot (plot 1) was still not included within the settlement boundary but the Chairman had distributed an explanation of policy DM21, indicating that it could still be designated for affordable housing at a later date, and that not including it within the settlement plan could protect it from other development proposals. Jim had been contacted by a representative of Aster Homes, a housing association with properties in mid and south Devon wanting to expand into North Devon, and had asked them to attend a future meeting.
(ii) David Brown, responsible for providing the small industrial units at High Bickington, has also been asked to attend a future meeting.
d. Babeleigh Barton turbine A letter had been received from Sally Nicholl concerning an application for a wind turbine in Parkham parish. She had first written to the Chairman at this time last year suggesting that Buckland Brewer might apply to share in any community benefits from the scheme and was concerned that the issue had not been brought to the Council’s attention. The Clerk had responded to Mrs Nicholl’s pointing out that Buckland Brewer had a policy of not commenting on turbine applications in other parishes and that it had no rights in law to seek community benefits if they did not constitute part of the planning application. Jim Lowe recalled having a lengthy discussion on the telephone with Sally but could not recall having seen her first letter. It was unanimously agreed that any letters submitted to members of the Parish Council should be brought to the Council’s attention.
i) Bank balances:
• Parish Council Current Account was £3,055.46 as at 28th February 2014
• Thornhillhead Moor Account was £18,216.03 as at 19th February 2014
ii) Payments due (£1187.23)
• Parish Clerk’s salary, expenses and associated PAYE: £187.23
• Buckland Brewer Village Hall – £1,000
iii) Receipts since last meeting (£80.00):
• Archery licence: £50.00
• Contribution from Frithelstock Parish Council towards training costs: £30.00
iv) Repeal of section 150(5) of the Local Government Act 1972 (two cheque signatories).The Clerk reported that legislation requiring Parish Council expenses be paid by a cheque signed by at least two signatories was being repealed. This opened the way for the use of internet banking and other forms of transaction that were not previously possible. However, his recommendation was that it was unnecessary for Buckland Brewer to change its banking practices at this time, which worked adequately for its purposes, and this was agreed unanimously.
Dates of Next Meetings:
Monday 17th March 2014 at The Chapel – 7:30pm – Parish Support Network Sub-Committee
Wednesday 9th April 2014 at Buckland Brewer School – 8:00pm
There being no further business, the meeting closed at 9:42 pm
Chairman: ………………………………………………………………………. Date: …………………………………