MINUTES OF THE PARISH COUNCIL MEETING OF BUCKLAND BREWER PARISH COUNCIL HELD ON WEDNESDAY, 9th APRIL 2014 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 6 members of the public, Claire McIntosh (Hicks & Co.), Tim Newman (WildWestNet) and Cllr. Robin Julian (DCC)
Parish Clerk: Patrick Blosse
KEY: Actions are shown in bold blue type Decisions are shown in bold red type
1145 Apologies for Absence None
1146 Minutes of the Meetings of the Parish Council on 12th and the Support Network Sub-Committee on 17th March 2014 The minutes of the parish council meeting held on 12th March 2014 and the Support Network Sub-Committee held on Monday 17th March 2014 were confirmed and signed subject to correcting item 1139(d) to Miss Nicholls instead of Mrs Nicholls.
1147 Declarations of Interest Kate Slocombe re item 1151 (ii) Football Pitch, Grass Cutting and item 1152 Field Rents.
1148 Public Participation Maggie Melville spoke to oppose the application for a wind turbine at Braddons Park on the grounds that it would affect property values and could makes homes unsaleable. She was disappointed that many parishioners had not been invited to the consultation offered by the applicant and asked the Parish Council to oppose the scheme.
1149 WildWestNet: Broadband Supply Tim Newman gave an overview of the service provided by his company, WildWestNet, which provides satellite broadband to rural areas that cannot take advantage of fibre-optic cabling. The company taps into the internet supply and broadcasts from the top of the Civic Centre building in Barnstaple. A receiver has already been installed at Orleigh Lodge and is used as far away as Woolsery and Bittenden – a distance of more than 20 miles. Distance is not necessarily an issue but a clear line of sight is essential. No planning permission is required for a receiver (about the size of a housebrick). A dish can also be supplied to provide the service for a group of properties (up to about 20). A high spot could be needed for a booster and the church tower was suggested as the most suitable position. Tim has already spoken to the Dioceses Office who is very keen on the idea. 80% of users use their receivers to bounce the signal on to other users. The cost is £100 to install plus £25 per month. There is no minimum contract period and the equipment cost would be refunded if cancelled within the first month. Free broadband could be supplied for village halls on a casual use basis only (limited hours). There is no requirement for a minimum number of users in the village. Increasing the number of users should have no impact on speeds as the company currently has the option to buy extra capacity whenever it needs it. Speeds of 15-20 mbps can be expected. Jim Lower recommended that the company sets up a demonstration in the village hall at the Annual Parish Meeting on 28th May 2014. The Clerk is to send Tim a copy of the settlement plan which would demonstrate the village’s plans for development over the next 30 years.
1150 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:
• Marretta Corliss: Proposed building of 550 new houses Junction of Littleham road and Clovelly road The Clerk is to write to the Planning Department asking for guidance should the issue of complaints from people who move into the area about existing farming and other businesses become an issue in Buckland Brewer.
• SLCC: Newsletter March 2013 (Repeal of two signatories rule and new Transparency Code)
• Turbine application in Peters Marland The Clerk had already informed the correspondent about Buckland Brewer’s policy of not commenting about turbine developments in other Parishes
• The Big List: Big Issue subscription request – declined
• RSN Online: Rural Vulnerability Service, Broadband 2014
• Rural Services Network newsletter March 2014
• DALC Newsletter: April 2014
• TTVS: Snippets Issue 60 – [Annual subscription due]
• Police Commissioner’s Surgery, Bude, 16th April
• Kate Little, Torridge Planning – the Planning Department will no longer permit extensions for comments on planning applications. The Chairman called a special meeting for 22nd April 2014 (8:00pm in the Village Hall) to discuss the application that had already come in too late to be discussed at today’s meeting but which must be responded to by 29th April, and any others that might arrive in the meantime.
(ii) TTVS Subscription: The Clerk explained that TTVS now require a £10 annual subscription. It was agreed that the Parish Council would subscribe.
(iii) Audit & Accounts Training – Truro: The Clerk asked for permission to attend a training course being organized by the Cornwall Association of Local Councils at a cost of £30 + VAT, subject to spaces being available. Permission was granted.
1151 Football Pitch
i) Club House: Andrew Hewitt has removed 2 white-lining machines, a gas stove and a generator from the site. Jim Lowe had distributed a report of the options available for the repair, replacement or demolition of the club house. It was agreed to defer the discussion to the special meeting on 22nd April 2014, when there would be more time to give the report proper consideration.
ii) Grass cutting: The Clerk reported that there had been 2 bids for grass cutting of the football pitch. The higher bid had been received from Eric Tucker and the Council agreed unanimously to accept his offer of £200 per year.
1152 Parish Council Fields and Allotments:
(i) Rents: The clerk had written to Peter Bromell setting out the proposed rent increase for Job’s Field to take place with effect from 1st June 2015. Mr Bromell had been asked let the Council know if he wishes to object to the increase by 3rd May 2014. Once the final rent figures have been agreed with Mr Bromell, Mr Babb and Mr Nicholls, Hicks & Co. will be asked to revise their agreements.
(ii) Allotments: Mrs Catherine Fry had asked to take over vacant plot 2. She already has plot 3. Normally allotments are limited to one per household but as there had been no other applicants and there are a number of empty allotments it had been agreed, in consultation with the Chairman, to permit Mrs Fry to take a second plot. Letters have been sent asking for the annual rent, which increased to £10 (£6 per half plot) from 1st April 2014. It was agreed that plots 13, 14 and 15 need clearing. Jim Lowe to advertise in Village Scene.
1153 Thornhillhead Communications Mast: A letter had been received from Arqiva enclosing a cheque for £1,000.
1154 Thornhillhead Moor:
(i) A presentation was given by Claire McIntosh. Cutting had finished and a claim will be submitted to RPA. All the fencing is nearly complete. There has been a lot of fly-tipping which needs to be cleared. Grazing starts on 1st May 2014 and Claire will organize a Graziers Meeting. The recent swaling was disappointing as Devon Wildlife Trust could not supply volunteers because their insurance did not cover them for it. Although it had not been done this year it will be possible to catch up with it next year. Getting agreement to suitably worded signs had been difficult but it 7 innocuous signs saying “Cattle Graze This Common” will be erected. It was recommended that about £4,000 should be retained in the Thornehillhead Moor account as a reserve and that about £4,000 should be shared between the graziers.
(ii) Invoice from Hicks & Co. The Clerk had suggested that it could be financially advantageous (in respect of the audit fee) to pay the invoice that had been received from Hicks & Co. before the end of the financial year. Councillors had been contacted by telephone and email prior to the meeting and had agreed unanimously to this suggestion.
1155 Summer Bus Service: Parkham Parish Council had confirmed that they wished to join in the scheme this year. Jim Lowe had made the necessary arrangements and the bus will run every Friday from 11th July to 29th August.
1156 Pannier Market Hopper Bus Jim Lowe had made further enquiries about the possibility of a hopper bus and now needs to talk to the Prince’s Countryside Fund and to other local parish councils. The hope is to establish a service to run once a week to and from the Bideford Pannier Market.
1157 Best Kept Village Competition: A map was supplied by Kate Slocombe both as a hardcopy and on a CD. This can now be passed on to the organizing committee. There are 3 flower boxes in the village which need replanting. David Lloyd is to do one and Jim Lowe the other two.
1158 TAP Fund Application/Village Green Confirmation had been received that the TAP Fund application had been successful and payment had already been received. Council approved payment of the elements of grant due to Langtree Parish Council (£1,456), Peters Marland Parish Council (£168) and Frithelstock Parish Council (£333). A bill had been received from Ernest Martin for £75 for maintenance of the village green and it was agreed that this expense would be applied to the TAP Fund project. Jim Lowe is to develop a plan for the refurbishment of the footpaths in the village.
1159 War Memorial: Grant Application The Clerk is awaiting written confirmation from the Royal British Legion and Cllr. Robin Julian that they approve of the grant application. He is also required to contact the Conservation Officer and/or the DCC Historic Environment team.
1160 Village Library: The PCC had responded favourably to siting a small village library in the back room of the church and had suggested that it should be made available to parishioners on Fridays to coincide with the coffee mornings? The Clerk is to discuss arrangements with Betty Walters.
1161 Torrington Hospital: Andrew Hewitt reported that the review panel were awaiting the results of today’s referendum organised by Torrington Town Council.
1162 Lengthsman Service/Drain Clearing/Pothole Survey: Andrew Hewitt and David Lloyd had carried out a pothole survey on 1st April 2014 and Andrew presented a written report (see Appendix 1). He also stated that he had tabled questions to be addressed at the next Torrington Area Advisory Group meeting on 15th April 2014. It was agreed that a joint approach with Parkham might be more effective as it was the road between the two villages that required most attention. The Clerk is to write to them.
1163 New Development Update: An update on the progress of work on the new development had been received from the Contract Manager, Paul Knox:
• We have 20 of the 40 homes in production and have reservations on 12 of these.
• The necessary infrastructure (roads drainage and services) is in to facilitate occupation of these 20 homes
• First occupations on the site will be occurring at the end of this month (April)
• We anticipate allowing the school to re-occupy the open space behind the school after Easter via a casual arrangement between us and the school and there will be ongoing dialogue with the school if that position needs to change for safety reasons.
• We will be facilitating a visit to the site for up to 60 school children from Buckland Brewer and Parkham schools on the 6th May and Pearce are sponsoring some design competitions that the children will undertake after the visit for prizes
• The second phase of 20 homes will start this spring and we hope that we may be able to make a start on the village hall subject to negotiations.
1164 Community Defibrillator: The Clerk presented a report on the Community Heartbeat scheme, which he recommended as offering the safest and best supported arrangement for a community defibrillator. The equipment would be registered with the local ambulance service and it would be guaranteed that they could support the equipment supplied. The scheme would cost over £2,500, of which £500 would be met by a grant from the Community Heartbeat Fund. In addition, it would be the responsibility of the Parish Council to meet the cost of installing the electricity supply and meeting electricity charges and the cost of consumables. Members supported the principal of the scheme and expressed a preference for the equipment to be sited in the centre of the village. It would be necessary to consider how the funds could be raised. Members agreed to continue to discuss the project.
1165 Members’ Reports
Andrew Hewitt reported that consultation about library services was available on the DCC Tough Choices website. Cllr Robin Julian explained that there had been a County Council meeting today, that there were no plans to close any libraries at present and that he would oppose any such proposals. David Watson suggested that similar consultation on Youth Services had been ignored and that proposed cuts were already decided. Robin Julian regarded these as essential services and did not want to see any shut down. He was keen on one-to-one contact within the community and had been fighting for services to be retained and had “ruffled a few feathers”. Andrew Hewitt asked members to respond on the Tough Choices website. Jim Lowe said that he thought the rural bus services would be the next services to be cut. Robin Julian said that the County should be fighting harder to keep revenues coming in rather than cutting more services.
David Lloyd said that he had experienced problems with email. Other members had also been unable to open some attachments sent by the Clerk. The Clerk said that he would investigate alternative email systems.
Jim Lowe (i) asked for 4 questions to be put to Cllr Phil Collins when he attends the Annual Parish Meeting. First on the list will be the question of being given only 21 days to respond to planning application consultation requests. Three further questions are needed. (ii) Jim asked whether members wished to move the stones from the village green. It was agreed to leave them where they were for the time being. (iii) Jim has a dozen saplings for planting in public places.
Trevor Mills (i) informed members that the planning application for the Old Post Office, which had been refused, had gone to appeal but the Parish Council had not been informed. The Clerk will write to Torridge D C asking for an explanation. (ii) Trevor stated that Richard Mills would like to take on Hymns Piece. Richard had submitted an unsuccessful bid in December 2012 when the plot had been leased to Joe Wolfe. Trevor will organize a meeting on site with Richard to discuss what he proposes to do with the land.
Kate Slocombe had reported a faulty light but had been told that it could not be done because the sub-contractor would only visit if there were two or more lights not working. It was reported that Western Power has sub-contracted repair works to Southern Electric and the new arrangements showed a noticeable deterioration in the level of service. Jim Lowe said that he would report the fault again.
Shirley Tilley reported that the bungalows at 3, 4 and 5 Gorwood Road were experiencing problems with deliveries and needed a suitable sign. It was agreed that this was necessary but that it would be the responsibility of the residents.
(i) 1/0128/2014/FUL – Erection of a wind turbine, measuring 34.6m to tip with associated infrastructure, Braddons Park, Buckland Brewer, Devon. Members discussed the application at some length. George Heywood wished to support the application on the grounds that one of the residents living less than 600 metres from the turbine had no objection. Three other members stated that the Council had adopted a policy not to support any turbines within 600 metres of habitable dwellings and that there were two such properties affected, albeit that one was thought to be a holiday cottage. A vote was taken and it was agreed by 8 votes to 1 to oppose the application.
ii) Devon County Council Planning Application at Buckland Brewer CP School – Retention of one existing modular classroom for a further 15 years: Supported unanimously.
(iii) 1/02450/2014/FUL – Mambury House, erection of double garage, wood store and wood boiler room had been received too late to be added to the agenda for today’s meeting. Decision deferred to a special meeting to be held on 22nd April 2014.
(iv) 1/0133/2014/FUL – Removal of condition to allow the change of use of the existing garage in to a kitchen, The Jays, 1 Gorwood Road – Granted Permission
(v) 1/1151/2013/FUL – Erection of a single storey conservatory extension, change to the rear elevation of dwelling with fitting of a new glazed bi-fold door, Beeches Farm – Granted Permission
(vi) 1/0654/2013/FUL – Installation and operation of a single 250kW wind turbine Land At Langtreemoor Lane, Fore Street, Langtree – Refused
(vii) 1/0801/2013/FUL – Proposed siting of 1 x 24.8m high (hub) wind turbine with a tip height of 34.5m, Land at Tuttsclump Farm, Parkham – Refused
i) Bank balances:
• Parish Council Current Account was £4,924.23 as at 31st March 2014
• Thornhillhead Moor Account was £18,216.03 as at 19th February 2014
ii) Payments due (£10,950.15 + VAT)
• Parish Clerk’s salary, expenses and associated PAYE: £183.06
• Hicks & Co. (Cheque dated 28th March 2014 – £8,500 + VAT
• Ernest Martin, Village Green maintenance – £75.00
• Langtree Parish Council (TAP Fund Grant) – £1,456.00
• Peters Marland Parish Council (TAP Fund Grant) – £168.00
• Frithelstock Parish Council (TAP Fund Grant) – £333.00
• Flying Start Federation (Hall hire) – £50.00
• DALC (Annual membership) – £175.09
iii) Receipts since last meeting (£1,812.00):
• Field Rents: £770.00
• Contribution from Monkleigh Parish Council towards training costs: £30.00
• Allotment rent: £12.00
• Arqiva – £1,000.00
(iv) Audits: The Clerk reported that the annual internal and external audits were due and notices would be posted in due course
Dates of Next Meetings:
22nd April 2014: (Special Parish Council Meeting; 8:00pm; Village Hall)
14th May 2014 (Annual Meeting of the Council; 8:00pm; School Hall)
28th May 2014 (Annual Parish Meeting; Village Hall; 8:00pm)
There being no further business, the meeting closed at 10:05 pm
Chairman: ………………………………………………………………………. Date: …………………………………
Potholes in Buckland Brewer
On Tuesday 1st April Councillors Hewitt and Lloyd drove around the parish to try to ascertain the extent of the pothole problem in Buckland. This is a very regular subject at Parish Council meetings where there is a strong feeling the DCC is not even trying to maintain the roads in a serviceable condition.
Basing the route for the tour of inspection on the number of references to the road at Parish Council meetings the councillors drove first along Barton Road. This is the shortest route between Parkham and Buckland and is heavily used by the staff of both schools, which are federated, necessitating much travel between the two by both staff and pupils. The Parkham end of Barton Road at Bableigh Barton Farm, right up to the Bradworthy/ Holsworthy road junction, is almost completely covered in potholes, and the edges of the road are breaking up. Also, some of the holes are quite small currently, but if left, they will increase in both area and depth. Heading back to the village, the edges of Barton Road are badly damaged. Being a narrow road, with unsupported edges creates situations where heavy vehicles, e.g. tractors, are forced out on to the edges so that they collapse under the loads for which they were not designed. Where the lane that leads to Twitchen and Brendon joins the Parkham end of Barton Road, the nearside of the road is virtually all potholes. Some repairs have been carried out in that area. There is a properly formed concrete gulley which is currently full and breaking up past Bableigh Barton for about half a mile. There is a passing place in this area that is so damaged as to be a hazard. In the area close to the unmade-up lane that leads to West Stone the road is effectively reduced to about two metres wide. Upon inspection one is left with the inescapable conclusion that attempting to repair potholes along this road is not feasible. What is required is complete resurfacing with a properly supported surface that would endure that type of use to which it is subjected. How this could be financed is not immediately obvious.
Councillors Andrew Hewitt & David Lloyd, Buckland Brewer Parish Council, 1st April 2014