Parish Council meeting: Tuesday, 3 November 2020

Key information

Meeting location: On-line

Meeting time: 7.30 pm

Sound Recording You can download the audio recording for this meeting or use the player embedded in this page after the download link. Download the audio file here.

Agenda for the Parish Council meeting on Tuesday, 3 November 2020

Open Forum

For parishioners to raise matters of concern relevant to the work of the Parish Council

1:             Apologies for absence

To receive apologies for absence (if any)

2:             Declarations of Interest

To receive declarations of interest (if any)

3:             Previous Minutes

To agree the Minutes of the meeting held on 6th October 2020

4:             Matters Arising

To discuss items arising from those Minutes

5:             Reports

To receive Reports from

  1. County Councillor Hosking
  2. District Councillor Pannell or Smerdon
  3. others (if any)

6:             Planning

To consider Planning Applications and to note decisions:

  1. Proposal to refurbish existing out building at The Rock, Avonwick 3007/20/HHO
  2. Listed Building Control recommendations for building proposal at The Rock (see 6a above) 3008/20/LBC

7:        Correspondence

To consider correspondence received.

8:       Finance

To note recent and future income and expenditure.

9:       Highways

To consider Highway matters.

10:     Next meeting

To consider items for future meetings

To agree upon a date for the next Meeting. (1st December 2020?)


Approved Minutes

Approved Minutes for the Parish Council meeting on Tuesday, 3 November 2020

These minutes were approved on 1 December 2020

Please noteEvery care has been taken to present this accessible copy of the minutes with accuracy, but the formal record of the meeting remains the signed paper copy of the minutes.

1:      Open Forum

There were no members of the public present.  The Council was asked what progress had been made in the provision of a defibrillator for North Huish.

The future of the existence of the ‘phone box (the preferred location of a defibrillator) is still undecided. Until this has been sorted out there will be little progress made.

A parishioner raised a concern over the alleged use of a holiday home in the parish as a permanent residence. It is understood that South Hams Planning Department have this in hand.

2:      Present

Councillors Gabriel, Bell, Grevatt, Hunt, Luscombe, Seager-Berry, Steer, County Councillor Hosking and District Councillor Pannell.

3:      Declarations of Interest

Cllrs. Seager-Berry and Steer - maintenance of roadside bank in Avonwick.

4:      Minutes

The minutes of the meeting held the on 6th October 2020 were confirmed and signed. Proposed Cllr. Seager-Berry seconded Cllr. Grevatt.

5:      Matters Arising

Highways had informed the Council that the landowner or tenant of the adjoining field is responsible for bank maintenance.

The Council was informed that the van parked at the entrance to the North Huish road in Avonwick has a valid licence and MOT certificate.

6:      Reports

County Council 

County Councillor Hosking reported on the work of the County in trying to help prevent the NHS from becoming overwhelmed by the Covid virus. He also described the various helplines/funding available to those in need. His full report is available on the Parish website.

District Council

District Councillor Pannell’s report was also largely concerned with work being undertaken to deal with the Covid situation. He also covered the recent changes to the waste collection system in the South Hams. His full report is also on the Parish website.

Parish Website

Cllr. Grevatt reported on a fault within the system. He was working to deal with this and would report back to the Council at the next meeting.

Play Park

It was agreed that the Councillor making the monthly safety inspection of the play park would submit a report of the inspection at the following meeting.

7:      Planning

The Council agreed to support an application to refurbish an existing outbuilding at The Rock in Avonwick. The Council also agreed to support a request for Listed Building Consent at the same property.

8:   Correspondence

Specific items were noted as follows:

  • Bell agreed to consider acting as a Councillor Advocate to the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner’s Councillor Advocate Scheme.
  • The Council had heard from the DCC Rights of Way Warden that attention was being given to the damaged river bank at Cobbly Walk in Avonwick.

9:  Finance

Balance c/f  7,094.11
Inc (int)  0.06
Inc (precept)  1,992.00
Balance  9,086.17

10: Highways

The recent flooding of roads during heavy rainfall was discussed. It was suggested that run off from fields was unavoidable at such times. Thanks were given to Mr Widdicombe for his continued efforts to keep the buddle holes clear.

11: Next Meeting

Tuesday 1st December 2020 at 7.30pm, this will be a virtual meeting.

Report from Cllr Guy Pannell (SHDC)


South Hams District Council is working in collaboration with The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) to carry out COVID-secure spot checks on business premises where we are responsible for the enforcement of health and safety legislation. This includes businesses like shops, pubs and leisure centres that local communities use and are crucial to the local economy. The activity will check that our local businesses and respective duty holders are managing their COVID response and control measures in line with current government guidelines, and protecting staff and customers. We will use a variety of methods to conduct this activity from telephone calls to visits to premises.  Since HSE started the spot check programme in May, they have found the majority of businesses are trying to get this right, but there are a few areas for improvement common across a number of businesses including cleaning regimes being insufficient, poor understanding of good hygiene practices, and ongoing management of control measures, such as social distancing. The approach to the checks is to be supportive to businesses and, where required, provide help by suggesting improvements. But, where businesses are not managing the risk, we will take action. This will range from the provision of advice and education with the last resort of formal action. If you needed further information, please contact

There has been a marked increase in regional lockdown announcements following the arrival of the second wave of COVID-19. Rates of infection in the South Hams are still low but numbers are increasing in the region and there have been well publicised local outbreaks in Cornwall and Exeter. We are taking steps to prepare for a range of scenarios by updating our Business Continuity Plans and using lessons learnt from the first wave of the pandemic. These include making sure we have measures in place to minimise the disruption to services caused by as yet to be known impacts. It is clear that alongside national measures there will need to be a local response and therefore potentially a greater demand on, for example, our Environmental Health and Communications Teams. We are working with the Police and Devon County regarding enforcement strategies and carrying out multi-agency exercises to refine our response to outbreaks in a number of different settings. To date we have only dealt with sporadic cases but it is highly likely that an outbreak will occur and be linked to a premises in the Council area which we will have responsibility to investigate.

Track and Trace Hardship Payment Scheme

The Government has launched its Track and Trace Hardship Payment Scheme. This is when people who have been advised they need to isolate for 14 days and are unable to work are eligible for a £500 payment. There is an additional discretionary scheme which allows local authorities to make payments for people who are not in receipt of benefits, but are unable to work from home, if their employer is not able to pay them sick pay and self-isolation will cause them hardship. We are working with our colleagues in the other Devon authorities to ensure our scheme is joined up, robust and will help those that need it the most without creating a postcode lottery. We are taking steps to prepare for a range of scenarios by updating our Business Continuity Plans and using lessons learnt from the first wave of the pandemic. These include making sure we have measures in place to minimise the disruption to services caused by as yet to be known issues.

Free school meals

Devon County Council has advised families experiencing hardship without the provision of free school meals during the school holidays to apply to the District Council’s Welfare Scheme. The County says that the £63million provided to local authorities by the Government in June has already been spent. The SHDC COVID-19 Welfare Support Fund can provide small emergency payments to help with basic essentials including: household essentials such as sanitary products or nappies or electricity key and gas card top ups, etc. to help people in financial difficulties. The fund is available if:

  • They run their own business, and cannot currently trade, or their business has been drastically reduced because of the pandemic.
  • Their employment situation has changed and their income now no longer covers needs.
  • They have lost their job due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
  • They have still not received expected government funding (i.e self-employed).
  • We have been awarded a further £100,000 funding by the Government towards our Covid costs. Leisure Centres are open across the district and we have been told we will receive some funding towards the costs incurred by the closure of our leisure centres and the restrictions on numbers using them. Up to now we have received nothing for this as ours are contracted out, whereas councils which run their own centres have been fully reimbursed. We don’t yet know how much we will receive.
  • Waste services. The introduction of the new recycling system with plastic boxes replacing bags has been delayed until March, because the crisis has halted construction of the specialised lorries needed, in Ireland, and the building of the new waste transfer station at Ivybridge. The new plastic recycling containers and leaflets will be going out to householders in January/February.
  • COLLECTION ROUND CHANGES were introduced from the week beginning 5th October to prepare for the introduction of the new service. You may be aware that there have been significant teething problems with some of the rounds. It seems the brown bin and recycling bag collections are causing more problems than the grey bins. If a collection is missed the householder should report it via the South Hams Council website the following day. a missed collection
  • The contractors have three working days to remedy the situation. If this is not done please contact Peter or Guy.
  • You can find your collection day here: SHDC is offering an officer to attend (virtual) Parish Council meetings to brief members on the proposed new collection system, how it will operate, and the changes it will bring.

Devon’s householders have the chance to help the country become net-zero by joining Devon Climate Emergency’s solar panel group buying scheme.

DCE’s latest project is Solar Together and they are offering homeowners the chance to buy high quality solar PV more cheaply than by simply buying alone. Led by Devon County Council, the scheme is partnered by 10 of Devons planning authorities, who are all members of DCEs Response Group. If you are interested, the first step is to register with

A helping hand for cold homes

Eligible residents, who are living without gas heating, are being offered the chance to benefit from free gas central heating from SHDC and WDBC. The Councils are targeting residents of households who are struggling to pay heating bills and living in a cold home with no gas supply. The project is part of the wider council target of reducing the areas carbon emissions by replacing old and inefficient heating systems. South Dartmoor Community Energy will be able to give advice to households on energy suppliers and energy efficiency. To find out more go to

Help with insulation and energy efficiency

SHDC has been awarded £336,750 from the Government’s Green Homes Grant scheme for 2020/21. The money has to be spent by 31 March 2021. The capital grant must be used to raise the energy efficiency of low income and low Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rated households, through insulation measures and low carbon heating, such as heat pumps. SHDC will also allocate £200,000 from the Council’s approved Disabled Facilities Grant/Regulatory Reform Order 2020/21 capital budget, to support work to reduce fuel poverty and reduce carbon emissions, with any underspend of this allocation being carried forward into 2021/22. It is also planned to allocate the sum of £20,000 from the Climate Change and Biodiversity Earmarked Reserve, to support delivery of the Green Homes Grant scheme, bidding for future funding, and work to improve the energy efficiency of the existing private sector housing stock, in line with the Council’s emerging Climate Change and Biodiversity Strategy. We will let you know more details when we have them.

Potential grants for on-street electric charging points

There is funding potentially available from central government for 75% of the capital cost for on-street charging points from a £20m pot for 20/21. Many authorities have used a technology that allows lamp-posts to support EV charge points, especially in residential areas with no off-street parking. Devon County Council is working on a bid to support deployment of on-street chargepoints so would welcome any indications of interest which will help determine appropriate locations and, importantly, evidence of public demand. If there are any groups of residents interested please contact Cllr. John McKay ( or Alastair Mumford at Devon County Council( However, the bid is predicated on DCC being supportive of on-street chargepoints and Alastair is awaiting a position paper from colleagues in Transport Planning which would enable the bid.