Parish Council Minutes December 2020


Clerk to the Council:
Mr John Vanderwolfe Chartered MCIPD, MCMI
5 Halletts Way
EX13 5NB
 01297 34444

Minutes of the Council Meeting held by Skype on the 22nd December 2020, commencing at 7pm.

Present: Cllr’s R Churchill (Chairman), S Bartlett, T Greenshields, L Harper, J Baker and A Nolan

In Attendance: The Clerk (Mr J Vanderwolfe),

274 Apologies
Apologies received from Cllr D Searle (work) and Cllr R Fox (sickness). Apologies also noted from Cllr I Hall and P Hayward.

275 Public Question Time
No items received or members of the public present.

276 Declarations of Interest under the Code of Conduct
No Declarations of Interest under the Code of Conduct were made at this stage of the meeting.
277 Minutes
The Minutes of the meeting held on the 17th November 2020. Having been previously circulated, were adopted as a true record.

278 Matters Arising
There were no matters raised under this item.

279 County Councillor’ s Report
Cllr Hall had forwarded details of various funding that is available through Devon County Council, which was noted.
280 District Councillor’s Report -Written Report

Who would have thought, back in April this year, that we would still be facing such challenges from the Covid-19 pandemic in December? It seems almost inconceivable that our local community is still suffering such hardship, anxiety and uncertainty, and whilst we are now at a point where a vaccine is available (and starting to be distributed), the effects of the restrictions and the consequential economic / health and wellbeing impact will be with us for a great deal longer, I fear. Back in April 2020, I reported that a great many EDDC staff had been seconded to Covid19 resilience duties. Naturally, over the summer, the vast majority of those staff returned to their posts but, as at the time of writing this report, they are once again at the frontline of keeping Council’s services operational, whilst undertaking a great many additional duties and responsibilities, with the consequence that their day-to-day work has been put on hold for the time being. This will have a short-term effect on some services That said, the District Council has not been slow in implementing (and administering) a wide range of financial support packages to assist those living, and working, in East Devon. Currently, the following funds are open: The Local Restriction Support Grant; If your business was forced to close (or suffered significant falls in income) between the 5th November and 2nd December, you may be eligible to make a claim from this government-funded scheme. The officers at EDDC have already been in touch with all those businesses that they believe (from their data) were able to make a claim – but, feel free to visit the EDDC website to check the eligibility criteria (LRSG) Next, there is the Additional Restriction Grant (ARG). This is a discretionary fund available to those not eligible for the LRSG. This is newly created and will go live at the start of December. Details will be available from the same website as above. The money for this fund was made available by central government and has been split into 3 categories; 1) A fund of £1m to support immediate business hardship for the recent 28 day “lockdown”. 2) A fund of £1m to be used to support business innovation and strategic economic projects aimed at protecting our high streets and the wider economic output to safeguard jobs and “at-risk” sectors. Finally, 3) A retained fund of just over £900,000 which we have been guided to keep back in case of further Tier restrictions in 2021; Council has been unequivocally told that NO further funding will be forthcoming from Whitehall. There is scope to “vire” or move funds between the three schemes if demand or necessity dictates. This will be reviewed on a regular basis. Needless to say, like the last fund available, we recognise that there is not enough to satisfy every claim and to help every business, but we will allocate in a fair and equitable and proportionate manner to support as many businesses as we can. The rules have also been relaxed to assist home-workers and other affected businesses. I must stress that this fund is not designed to cover lost income; but more to address costs incurred whilst being unable to trade.
The existing national government schemes for employees furloughed, and for self-employed persons suffering income losses, still remain open and I would encourage those affected to claim wherever they are able to. In terms of personal financial support, Council operates a Coronavirus Helpdesk (or support hub) and this can be reached via 01395 571500 or by accessing our website as below: There are also still funds available for individuals suffering hardship, and for community groups assisting those in need in their local areas. These include: EDDC Crowdfunding Coronavirus Community Food Fund
Covid-19 Fund (Formerly the Prompt Action Fund)
EDDC Hardship Fund DCC Locality Funding Devon CoronaVirus Response / Recovery Fund, and more available online. If I can assist in helping to match funds with those seeking help, please don’t hesitate to let me know.
There are also a wide variety of community groups providing support; local to Axminster, we have ACER (Axminster Community Emergency Response), Project Food, Nourish, Axminster Churches Together and almost every village or smaller community has people eager and willing to help. Your local parish magazines / newsletters / websites and noticeboards will no doubt contain details of such schemes and support groups. The District Council is working flat-out to both support business, and residents, as we move into the Winter period as a Tier 2 area, but is also actively looking to support the wider economy with a strategic package of support and financial help. With the recent job losses across the area (from Exeter Airport to Oscar Mayer), we are very mindful that the (already significant) damage to the economy may not yet be at its most serious and we are reacting to new events, news and challenges as quickly and as best as we can. Turning to other news, I’ll be as brief as I can as I imagine that information above is all that residents wish to read about at this time, given the seriousness of the situation. Headlines: EDDC is working with parish and town councils (via the Asset Management Forum) to discuss how they might wish to consider taking on district assets for their benefit of their communities; from benches and dog bins, to car parks and buildings, there is a policy in the pipeline that will allow a clear and structured process to be followed so that all towns and villages have the same opportunities to devolve down the services that matter most to residents. The meetings of the AMF are held in public * and livestreamed via YouTube if you wish to watch and see for yourself how the policy is being created. * As are all meetings at EDDC
The process of Section 106 / CIL (Community Infrastructure Levy) fund allocation continues to move slower than I would like as EDDC staff are moved elsewhere to assist in the CV19 response. This is money that needs to be spent in our local area and I will keep pressing for full transparency, reporting and accountability in this regard. In May 2021, there will hopefully be local County Council elections and this, coupled with the resumption of physical Council meetings, may well see the dawn of hybrid Council meetings where Councillors (and the public) can attend either in person in the room, or via a PC or tablet screen. This will require a wholesale change in how smaller Councils conduct their meetings, with new IT and broadband challenges. I know that the current way of running meetings (virtually, via Zoom) has increased public engagement and made Councils more open and I would welcome comment from residents as to whether you are more likely to “participate” in your local democratic process with the benefit of the technology available to you. On the subject of broadband, there is still a wide gulf between those able to obtain higher “fibre” broadband speeds in our rural parishes and those who cannot! The Devon County CDS project (“Connecting Devon and Somerset”) has struggled to connect as many homes as they first intended and – with the need to work “from home” due to Covid – the limitations of a slow or unstable connection have been laid bare. Communities can join forces to “lobby” BT and others to upgrade and enhance local broadband services and I would urge everyone to talk to your neighbours, your community, friends and relations to see how speeds compare and make your displeasure known if you are not getting the service and speed you deserve. EDDC has made this one of our primary goals for rural economic improvements but we need you all to be loud and to be persistent in your demands for “Better Broadband for All” EDDC has, as you probably will already be aware, disconnected itself from the GESP * planning process earlier this year and has now committed to an urgent review of the existing Local Plan in order to give a voice to local communities as to how they wish development to evolve in their neighbourhoods and across East Devon. Central Government targets have been thrown back as completely unsustainable and unrealistic but we are all aware that a White Paper on Housing is doing the rounds in Westminster. EDDC submitted a strong rebuttal of the paper and is awaiting formal response from Westminster and the Secretary of State. Our local communities (via the parish and town Councils) will have to be vigilant and vocal in order to prevent the widescale and often inappropriate development of our beautiful green spaces. ( * Greater Exeter Strategic Plan ) Finally, something that we all need to aware of as we move into 2021; the UK’s exit from the EU. Whatever your views, opinions or vote on this subject, I am confident that we will be facing the challenges together as a unified district. If 2020 has taught us anything, it is that our local communities look after one another and that respect, kindness and tolerance mean much more to us than disharmony, squabbling and tribalism. Whatever 2021 throws at us, I am sure we can meet it head-on as friends, and as neighbours, and continue to do the right thing and help one another wherever, and whenever, we can.

281 Finance
Accounts for Payment: The following accounts were agreed for payment: Darren Strawbridge £420.00, All Saints PC £106.99, EDF £34.36, I Churchill £30 and £35, Glasdon (Revised) £247.27, EDDC £20 and HMRC PAYE £187.20.

282 Financial Update
The financial update had been circulated prior to the meeting, and was agreed. Total financial assets as at the 16th December were £38,185.05

283 Budget and Precept 2021
The clerk had submitted a draft budget for the year commencing 1st April 2021. Members went through this document and resolved that the budget for 2021/22 be set at £12,498 with a precept demand of £10,000 from East Devon District Council. It was noted that the D rate base for calculations was 262; therefore, the D rate payment contribution for the parish council would be £38.17.

The meeting also agreed that subject to at least two other parishes becoming involved with the running costs this parish would wish to have the speed indicator system operating in the parish. The funding to come from the Solar Farm ear marked reserves.

284 Section 106 Update
Agreed that as it is difficult to communicate with the parish at large at present that this be delayed until the start of the next financial year.

285 Highways and Rights of Way
A ditch is blocked at School Close. The resurfacing work in Stonebarrow Lane has been completed and the markings by the school are now in place. A problem with a drain by the playfield has been reported. There is a blocked drain by Angel Farm. A works order has been issued for works by Wyld Court.

Rights of Way Report by Cllr Fox
The Annual Parish Path Survey is now underway despite the appalling weather and has revealed a few problems.
The bridge at the entrance to FP5, off Sadborrow Lane, has rotted and needs replacing. This will be done as soon as possible. One of the new gates on BW14 has dropped on its hinges and this will be rectified shortly. The narrow constriction at the Tilworth entrance to of FP39 has been reported to East Devon County Council by the Rights of Way Warden.
The core paths were cut back at the end of the season which has helped to keep the vegetation under control. However, conditions underfoot are slippery and treacherous because of the heavy rain we have had recently so I would ask you all to take great care.
A new dog waste bin has been installed at the bottom of Piercehay Lane, just off the Brimley Road. This is close to several footpaths and hopefully will be a useful addition to the one already in place at School Close.
Please remember to follow the Countryside Code:

286 Snow Plan
Agreed that Cllr T Greenshields would write a simplified snow plan, which would comply with the necessity to undertake a risk assessment. The plan, when completed, would be placed on the website.
287 Planning Application
20/2551/VAR Axe View Solar Farm, Wadbrook. Variation of conditions to extend operation lifespan of Solar Farm to 40 years and to allow siting of an additional storage container. Members felt they were unable to support this application, which they felt made the site more of a permanent nature. The site took away valuable farming land.

288 Determinations
20/1877/Ful Woodcote National Grid Substation: Amended plans for installation of a battery storage facility and ancillary development: The report submitted did not support this application

20/2530/LBC 1 Wytch Green, Hawkchurch: Replace slate roof & metal raised portico and install 2 vents on single storey extension NW elevation. Replace thatch ridge on main house. Support
289 Planning Appeal
The meeting noted that an appeal has been made to the Secretary of State by Ms Lee in respect of an enforcement notice issued by EDDC on the 5th February 2020 for an alleged breach of planning control –noncompliance with a condition on a planning permission restricting the occupation of caravans on the site known as Hawkwell Park to gypsies and travellers within the last ten years. The closing date for any representation is the 19th January 2021. Appeal Reference APP/U1105/C/19/3248557

290 Items of Urgency
Cllr Harper informed the meeting that as she will be leaving the area in the new year this would be her last meeting. The chairman thanked her for her contribution to the council.

291 Correspondence
All relevant correspondence had been emailed to members

292 Next Meeting
Tuesday 19th January 2021 at 7pm. The meeting will be run via Zoom.

Signed ———————————————————

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