Report of the Parish Council Meeting 18th February 2020

Summary of the Parish Council Meeting held on Tuesday 18th February 2020  by Roz Fox

Present: Councillors Ruth Churchill (Chairman), Julie Baker, Tim Greenshields, David Searle, Sue Bartlett, Lesley Harper and Roz Fox. Apologies for absence were received from Cllr Nolan and Cllr Hall.

In attendance: Cllr Paul Hayward, PCSO Bolsover and 14 members of the public.

Minutes: The Minutes of the Council Meeting held on the 21st January 2020 were adopted as a true record. The Minutes of the Playing Field Committee held on 21st January were also adopted as a true record.

Matters Arising:

The Clerk said he had obtained information on a tractor salt spreader. Cllr Searle said he thought a brush sweeper attachment for a tractor would be beneficial for clearing the road gulleys and agreed to get prices. He mentioned that the waterlogged salt bins had not yet been attended to.  Cllr Fox said she had reported all the grit bin problems, including the bin that had been knocked over on Stammery Hill on 22nd January and that DCC had replied to say the matter would be dealt with by 26th February. Cllr Fox also said she had reported numerous potholes on Scouse Lane and Stonebarrow Lane. The Parish Lengthsman is due to clear ditches on Friday (21st February) and the roads should be swept by the end of April. The Big Breakfast had raised £271 for the Church and £271 for the Night Landing Site.

Police Report

PCSO Bolsover was present and said that the strength of the Axminster Police Team had increased.  Sergeant Roy Hutter had joined the team, which now included Beth Salter, Hayley Bassett and Jeanette Widger. He intended to concentrate on rural crime and would be visiting farms to talk about Farm Watch, which is a scheme designed to reduce rural crime and deter criminals. On the whole crime in the area had decreased from the same period last year. There was only one reported crime for January in Hawkchurch which was a domestic incident involving violence without injury. 

County Report: Nil as Cllr Hall was not present.

District Report:

Cllr Hayward reported that EDDC had reviewed the Local Plan.  Development in Exeter had now reached a limit and it was intended to push back into areas further east and target places such as Axminster and Hawkchurch which were not in Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. He feared that the Strategic Plan would no longer afford sufficient protection from an increase in housing in the future.  Pothole repairs were badly delayed across the county due to the extreme weather conditions. Skanska had now reintroduced Chapter 8 training courses for temporary repairs.

Democratic Period:

Cllr Marsh from Thorncombe was present at the Meeting . He raised the concern about reduced use of the Thursday bus from Thorncombe via Hawkchurch to Axminster. Numbers had fallen significantly recently. It was suggested the recent closure of Trinity House might be a contributing factor. A member of the public pointed out that the bus did not actually pick up at the bus shelter but rather at the end of Wytch Green where it turns around. Displaying the timetable at the bus shelter could be beneficial. Cllr Marsh also said that it had now been agreed that, from May, the bus would extend to Axminster Station to afford rail connections.

The Managers of Hawkwell Park addressed the meeting. They stated that during the two years in which they had managed the site there had been no problems, and no reported crimes on sites or a need to call the police. EDDC had served eviction notices to non-travellers on the site. They alleged that the same authority had requested the housing of non-travellers on the site in the past. They felt that if the site had to go back to being a Gypsy site in the future there could be a return of anti-social behaviour.

Cllr P Hayward stated that he was willing to take up this case with EDDC. They stated that they had appealed against the planning authority’s decision. Some residents from a nearby farm stated that the statement of the last two years was true. This Meeting will take place at Blackdown House on Wednesday 26th February at 5.30pm. Members of the Public are welcome to attend and are allowed to make three-minute representations.


Accounts for Payment:

These were approved. The Clerk explained the breakdown of the costs associated with the previous website.

Financial Update:

This had been circulated and was agreed.

S106 Update

The money for the tennis court had finally been received.  Cllr Greenshields said that a bandstand type structure could be placed on the playing field, but of course must be clear of the football pitch. He stated that there was at present £12,500 for amenities and play equipment, plus an additional £1,400 for junior play equipment. There was a need to undertake a survey with user groups. Cllr Churchill agreed to liaise with Jamie Buckley at EDDC on this.

Planning Applications:

Beech Corner: Installation of single storey extension on west elevation was supported.

Wyld Court: Installation of new windows – supported.

Bridewell: Retention of concrete surface on the bridleway at Bridewell – five voted to support, two abstained.

Planning Determinations:

Installation of windows on the northern elevation of Wyld Court was approved.


There were two planned overnight closures for the level crossings:  Broom Lane from 23:45, 4 April 2020 until 05:45, 5 April 2020.

Axe Bridge will close overnight on the first weekend in May.

Members of the public were urged to use the council website for reporting potholes and other issues:

Rights of Way:

The planned works on BW14 have not yet started due to the recent wet weather conditions. The Contractors have promised to try and complete by the end of March.

There had been distressing instances of dog fouling in the churchyard, including on the graves. The matter was also under consideration by the Parochial Church Council.


The new website is now up and running.  All Parish Council documents can be accessed from it together with other local information.

The Next Parish Council Meeting will be on Tuesday 17th March at 7.30pm.