Parish Council meeting: Tuesday, 5 October 2021

Key information

Meeting location: The Church of St James, Avonwick

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, 5 October 2021

North Huish Parish Council Agenda: 5 October 2021

Agenda for the NHPC meeting to be held at 7.30pm on 5 October 2021 at St James’s Church, Avonwick.

1:             Open Forum

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

(NB matters concerning other bodies e.g. SWW, SHDC and DCC should normally be referred directly to such bodies.  The Parish Council would try assist where difficulties arise after such a referral has taken place.)

2:             Present

3:             Apologies for absence

To receive apologies for absence (if any)

4:             Declarations of Interest

To receive declarations of interest (if any)

5:             Previous Minutes

To agree the Minutes of the meeting held on 3 August 2021

6:             Matters Arising

To discuss items arising from those Minutes

7:             Reports

To receive Reports from

  1. County Councillor Thomas
  2. District Councillor Pannell or Smerdon
  3. Play Park inspection
  4. Community Hall Project
  5. Any others

8:             Planning

To consider Planning Applications and to note decisions:

  1. Permeable hard surface at field entrance, land South of Higher Norris Farm (3236/21/FUL)
  2. Application for approval of details reserved by condition 5 of Planning Permission 3498/19/FUL, Newpark Stables North Huish (3498/21/ARC)

9:             Correspondence

To consider correspondence received.

10:          Finance

To be deferred until next meeting

11:          Highways

To consider Highway matters, including traffic on the New Bridge and the siting of a temporary traffic cone in Avonwick.

12:          Defibrillator in Avonwick

To consider reports of difficulty with the cabinet

13:          Notice Boards

To consider the condition of the Parish notice boards.

14:          Next meeting

To consider items for future meetings

To agree upon a date for the next Meeting. (2 November 2021?)

Draft Minutes

Draft Minutes for the Parish Council meeting on Tuesday, 5 October 2021

Minutes of the NHPC meeting held on 5th October 2021 at St James’s Church, Avonwick. (Draft until approved at next meeting).

1:      Open Forum

There were three members of the public present.

A parishioner raised issues with speeding traffic within the 30mph limit on the downhill approach to the New Bridge, citing: a car striking a telegraph pole on 28th August, after which the Police witnessed speeding traffic; anecdotal reports from intermittent Police speed checks that traffic reaches 62mph within the 30mph limit; difficulties with Openreach and South West Water engineers due to their considering the speed and volume of traffic to be hazardous; repeated evidence of vehicles colliding with roadside infrastructure; damage to trees from large vehicles; danger to pedestrians. The parishioner proposes: a speed monitor and road profile similar to the western approach on the Plymouth road; extension of the 30mph limit to encourage earlier braking; a traffic priority system on the bridge; re-siting and cleaning road signs; a public display of enforcements issued by the Police. County Councillor Thomas will talk to the DCC Highways Officer to establish whether the County Council are already aware of speed issues on the road, and make them aware of it if not. He will report back next month.

A second parishioner drew the council’s attention to traffic on the Ugborough road through the centre of Avonwick, with concern that more traffic than normal seemed to be exceeding the speed limit. Parishioners are concerned that the danger has been increased due to more families with children in the village than before. County Cllr Thomas confirmed that no 20mph limits will be introduced as a matter of policy at present, pending trials in Newton Abbot which will last at least 18 months. He suggested that the parish should draw up proposals for speed management and approach DCC with them. The Parish Council will discuss this at the next meeting.

It has been suggested that NHPC would be adopting the churchyard in North Huish: NHPC are not intending to do so, and believe that it is South Hams District Council who will be adopting it. This will be checked by District Councillor Smerdon.

Damage to Gara Bridge was noted: CCTV is due to be installed to monitor the bridge at some stage, but chicanes are not currently planned.

2:      Present

Councillors Grevatt, Hunt, Steer, Bell, Seager-Berry, District Councillor Smerdon and County Councillor Thomas.

3:      Apologies for Absence

Clerk to the Council, Cllr Gabriel, Cllr Luscombe and Dist Cllr Pannell.

4:      Declarations of Interest

Cllr Seager-Berry declared an interest in discussions of the Community Hall Project and Cllr Steer declared an interest in Planning.

5:      Minutes

The minutes of the meeting held the on 3rd August 2021 were confirmed and signed. Proposed Cllr. Seager-Berry, seconded Cllr. Bell, approved by Council.

6:      Matters Arising

The Code of Conduct circulated by SHDC will be deferred to the next meeting.

The defibrillator in North Huish is now complete. The Clerk will be asked to send letters of thanks to those who contributed to the costs.

7:      Reports

Devon County Council

County Councillor Thomas supplied a generic report (included with these minutes) including: Covid-19 vaccinations; arrangements for school exams; and funding for self-isolating residents. He introduced himself and paid tribute to the previous County Councillor, Richard Hosking.

South Hams District Council

District Councillor Smerdon supplied a written report (included with these minutes) covering: Funding for Farmers and Land Managers in AONBs; electric vehicle charging points in SHDC car parks; the declaration of a local housing crisis; the Covid Enhanced Response Area; Afghan refugees; and grants for eCargo electric delivery bicycles/tricycles (application deadline 14 December 2021).

Problems with waste collection continue with no improvement in sight. Bank Holiday problems were temporary, but garden waste collection is still suspended; garden waste may be taken to Recycling Centres. Roll-out of the new recycling system is delayed indefinitely due to lack of manpower, and inadequate facilities at the new waste transfer station at Ivybridge; however, all recyclables are still being recycled.


The Playpark is in its usual condition. Smashed glass and waste had been reported to the council, and had been removed on the same day. See also Highways.

Community Hall Project

An open meeting had been held by the Community Hall Project on 15 September, including representatives from the Church and Tennis Club who are seeking wider use of their facilities. 30 members of the public attended. The meeting was useful, and will help all parties steer future opportunities for community spaces in the village.

Tree Warden

As autumn approaches, falling leaves may block drains and branches may fall. Ash Dieback is affecting trees in the parish: they may be reported to Cllr Bell or to SHDC tree warden. There will be grants available shortly for planting new community woodlands.

8:      Planning

  1. Permeable hard surface at field entrance, land South of Higher Norris Farm (3236/21/FUL)
    There have been letters of objection to this application. The exact details of the application are being confused by the supporting documents, which seem to contain conflicting/incorrect information and mismatched scales, which may be affecting objections. The Clerk will be asked to request clarification of the application before NHPC gives its opinion.
  2. Application for approval of details reserved by condition 5 of Planning Permission 3498/19/FUL, Newpark Stables North Huish (3498/21/ARC)
    For information only.

9:      Correspondence

Specific items were noted as follows:

  • Invitation from SHDC to enter into Memorandum of Understanding re. Planning: to be deferred until next meeting.
  • E-mail from South Hams Climate Network regarding CEE Bill. Noted.
  • SHDC is holding a public consultation on gambling policy, open at
  • Mess in the Playpark had been reported: this has been dealt with.

10:   Finance

Deferred until next meeting

11:   Highways

Traffic on New Bridge: see Open Forum.

Traffic cone on highway in Avonwick: District Cllr Thomas has confirmed that is not permitted for members of the public to place traffic cones on the highway or footway and asked for details to be sent. The Clerk will be asked to write to the owner of the cone to ask for it to be removed.

Road closure of Blackhall Lane: clarification to be sought regarding the road closure on Blackhall Lane from 6-17 November to check whether pedestrian access will be maintained to the Playpark.

12:   Defibrillator in Avonwick

The defibrillator in Avonwick has been collected, but not used, several times in the last month. A report of difficulty in opening the cabinet has been investigated. No permanent fault can be found. Councillors will try the cabinet themselves over the next month.

13:   Notice Boards

The parish notice boards are in need of attention to make them weathertight. The Clerk will be asked to seek quotes for repair.

14:   Next Meeting

Tuesday 2nd November 2021 at 7.30pm at St James’s Church, Avonwick.

Items for next meeting:

  • Traffic through Avonwick
  • Code of Conduct
  • SHDC Memorandum of Understanding

Devon  County Council report


Key message

  • Frontline Health and Social Care workers can now book a booster appointment via the National Booking Service or by contacting 119, provided that 6 months have passed since the date of their second vaccination. Details of walk-in clinics are available later in this bulletin.
  • The Shingrix shingles vaccine, which has sometimes been opportunistically offered alongside flu, cannot be co-administered with COVID-19.
  • Vaccinations have begun in schools for 12–15-year-olds. Parents, guardians or carers of children in this group are being contacted for consent.
  • Support is available for NHS staff experiencing Long Covid
  • 6 in 10 18–24-year-olds are fully vaccinated.
  • Between 8 December and 26 September 933,727 first doses have been given while 867,880 second doses have been given; a total of 1,801,607 doses.
  • Details of walk-in clinics are being regularly shared on NHS Devon CCG’s social media pages. You can find your nearest walk-in clinic on NHS England’s site finder.

Arrangements for GCSEs, AS and A levels in summer 2022

For the past two years, summer exams haven’t been able to take place due to the coronavirus pandemic, and instead students have been awarded grades by their teachers.

Now exam regulator Ofqual has put in place arrangements for GCSEs, AS and A levels due to take place in summer 2022 to support students and make exams fairer for them because they've had their education disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The government has introduced a choice of topics or content in some GCSE exams and exam boards will give advance information about the focus of the content of exams, designed to provide guidance for revision for students ahead of summer exams, and study aids will be allowed in some exams.

You can find out more about Ofqual’s approach to grading exams and assessments due to take place in autumn 2021 and summer 2022 on the government website.

Funding available for organisations to support self-isolating residents

We've launched a new fund to help community organisations provide practical, social and emotional support to Devon residents self-isolating due to Covid-19.

The grants of up to £5,000 for smallprojects and £20,000 for larger projects can be used to help those self-isolating with any caring responsibilities; accessing food and other supplies; practical tasks suach as dog walking; and mental health and wellbeing support to address things like loneliness and boredom.

South Hams District Council report

Waste Collection

The situation continues to be challenging, the current difficulties faced by many Councils across the country around staffing levels, particularly drivers, continue to impact on FCCs ability to collect our waste and recycling. The brown bin service remains suspended.

We will give an oral update at the respective Parish Council Meetings once we have had a chance to evaluate the situation on Monday.

Funding for Farmers and Land Managers

The Farming in Protected Landscapes Programme was launched across all AONBs and National Parks in July this year.

The programme will run from July 2021 to March 2024. It will fund projects that:

  • Support nature recovery
  • Mitigate the impacts of climate change
  • Provide opportunities for people to discover, enjoy and understand the landscape and its cultural heritage
  • Support nature-friendly, sustainable farm businesses

Diane Lethbridge, South Devon AONB Unit for enquiries within SD Aonb

For enquiries within DNP further information can be found in the Guidance for Applicants to the Farming in Protected Landscapes Programme (FiPL).

Electric Vehicle Charging

The Council has joined the Devon and Torbay Residential Chargepoint Scheme project which is a partnership with other local authorities and being led by Devon County Council to install electric vehicle charging points (EVCP) in the Council owned car parks

As a result of the Devon and Torbay Residential Chargepoint Scheme, electric charging points will be installed in the following car parks subject to the necessary surveys being carried out:

  • Steamer Quay car park, Totnes
  • North Street car park, Totnes
  • Duncombe Park Car Park, Kingsbridge
  • Lower Union Road Car Park, Kingsbridge

The Council have taken significant steps across the district to enhance the network of EV charging points available to residents and visitors alike. We have already completed or are in the process of installing the following:

  • A38 Corridor Rapid Charging – Two EV charging bays have been installed in our Glanvilles Mill car park in Ivybridge as part of Highways England project to provide EV charging points along the A38 corridor. These are available for use now for rapid vehicle charging.
  • Follaton House – EV points have been installed at the Offices at Follaton House, Totnes for use by staff, members and tenants.

Deletti Project – a collaborative project led by Devon County Council involving the Council and other local authorities such as East Devon, North Devon, South Somerset and Teignbridge Councils. The project secured Regional Development funding to deliver 22kW EV chargers with two outlets to serve two parking bays simultaneously for installation across a range of car parks. o Heaths Nursery car park, Totnes. Quay car park, Kingsbridge . Mayors Avenue car park, Dartmouth. Creek car park, Salcombe . Park & Ride car park, Dartmouth . Fore Street car park, Kingsbridge . Victoria Street car park, Totnes . Pavilions car park, Totnes . Poundwell Meadow car park, Modbury.

Tenders will be invited to supply, install and maintain the EV charging points based on a lease of the sites for 10 years at a nominal rent.

The Council will retain the ability to charge parking fees in the normal way for spaces which become EV charging points.

Officers will continue to identify and work with partners to explore ways to deliver EV chargepoints in the future. Parish and Town Councils also have the opportunity to apply for funding to install EV chargepoints on their own land should they wish to do so.

Local Housing

SouthHams District Council at its Full Council meeting on Thursday 23rd September took the decision to declare a Housing Crisis, in response to the almost complete lack of any rented accommodation available for six months or longer that local people and those working in the area can access, and the excessive rise in house prices locally due to second home-owners and those moving in from other areas where house prices are even higher.

It’s important to note that some of these actions won’t apply in SHDC parishes within Dartmoor National Park, which has its own definitive housing policy. We await clarification.

It is fortunate that we have a new Housing 5 year Housing Strategy and Housing Actions in Better Lives for All, but as an expansion of them South Hams District Council should:

  • Lobby government through our MPs and the LGA to allow council tax to be charged on plots with planning permission after a determined period, even if they haven’t been built out, so that developers are encouraged to build out sites without delay.
  • Lobby government through our MPs and the LGA to review the regulation of holiday accommodation, to ensure all holiday accommodation is suitably regulated and made subject to local planning policies and taxes. We should appeal to Airbnb for a 90-day rule as applicable in London and lobby MHCLG for a separate planning class for short term lets and a proper licensing system to cater for them.
  • Institute an immediate thorough review by the council of all holiday lettings in the District, including, but not restricted to, whether they have planning permission, whether they are paying council tax or business rates, as appropriate, for the accommodation, whether they comply with safety regulations, and to ensure they are paying appropriately for waste disposal.
  • Ask the JLP Team to review the thresholds and percentages of affordable housing on sites, and whether it would be appropriate at the Plan Revision to increase these so that the percentage of First Homes imposed by the government becomes in addition to the present 30% affordable homes rather than part of it.
  • Promote regular Landlord Forums and run a further campaign to publicise the advantages to landlords of Seamoor Lettings.
  • Work closely with our main Registered Providers to ensure best occupancy of stock, so that where tenants are prepared to downsize, not only are they given a priority banding to be able to access a smaller property but support to help them move available.
  • Use some of the affordable housing reserve to increase payments made to anyone downsizing to help make moving more attractive and affordable.
  • Use any Section 106 affordable housing contributions as soon as possible to help fund developments anywhere in the District where the terms of the Section 106 Agreement permit this.
  • Campaign for changes to the Broad Market Area to better reflect the costs of rents in the South Hams.
  • Promote the development of an exemplar site of low carbon modular housing such as ZEDpods, to show that developments like this can be both stylish and great to live in. They can offer many advantages over traditional build and could help, amongst other things, to alleviate the shortage of one bedroomed accommodation in the District.
  • To actively seek opportunities to invest in Council owned social housing with high sustainability specification, to support those on a low income who are unable to afford ‘affordable’ rental housing; and
  • To lobby Government to allow local councils to be able to charge up to 200% Council Tax on second / holiday homes as they do in Wales.

Covid Enhanced Response Area

In response to high COVID rates, South West local authorities, including the South Hams, have been added to a list of areas receiving an enhanced response package.

Being designated as an enhanced response area will help with support measures for education settings and increased national communications support, clearly outlining the continued risks of COVID-19 and the need to take personal action, such as the wearing of face masks and social distancing. Additionally, prioritised access to Wastewater testing, sequencing, national contact tracing capacity and national support with messaging will also be supported.

The District Council will continue to be required to support this public health advice from Central Govt through its communications with residents and businesses. We have not been asked to carry out any additional tasks at this time.

Afghan refugees

South Hams District Council is appealing to landlords to come forward now to help meet the acute need for homes for fleeing Afghan workers and local families. The unprecedented pressure on local housing has been well documented this summer. There is now a pressing need to find accommodation for people fleeing from Afghanistan as well as rising demands for housing for local people who have been asked to leave their homes through no fault of their own.

Cllr Hilary Bastone, South Hams District Council’s Deputy Leader explains:

“As a community, we want to do whatever we can to support the government and County Council in finding accommodation for formerly employed Afghan workers and their families. The lack of affordable private rented accommodation in the area also continues to mean many families face long periods of time in temporary housing situations whilst we struggle to secure them long-term homes.  The problem is that we simply don’t have enough properties to meet our local needs. That’s why we are asking landlords in our local communities to come forward now and help us offer a solution.

“Under the Afghan resettlement scheme, we are looking to source a private-rental sector property to offer to an eligible family. The County Council will commission support to assist the family to integrate and settle into the area. Our understanding is that the scheme will be similar to the Syrian Resettlement scheme, which South Hams District Council already supports.

“We also continue to reach out to landlords to sign up to our SeaMoor lettings scheme, which offers a full property management service. We are hopeful that the community of South Hams will show their generosity and that we will receive offers of accommodation to help those relocating from Afghanistan and those local families who are also in need of homes.”

Due to the importance of access to support, there are restrictions on where Afghan families can be rehoused. As a result, the Council is specifically looking for family-sized properties in Totnes to support a family fleeing from Afghanistan.

However, many local families are also desperately seeking homes where they can settle and bring up their children. If anyone has a property anywhere in the District that is available to rent please email to find out more about the landlord support available.

Find out more about the options and support for landlords provided by SeaMoor Lettings:

eCargo Bike Grant

Earlier this week, SHDC contacted businesses across the South Hams and reached out to Parish Councils to share details of the Government's eCargo Bike Grant.

£400,000 has been made available by the Department for Transport in 2021/22 for the purchase of eCargo bikes, to support businesses switching to a sustainable transport solution.

Funding covers up to 40% of the total cost of an eCargo bike, up to a maximum of £2,500 for two-wheel models and £4,500 for three-wheel models.

You can apply for up to five eCargo bikes per organisation.

Limited companies, sole traders, partnerships, charities and not-for-profit organisations are all eligible to apply. Public, community or third sector organisations are also eligible provided they are legally constituted and have the appropriate formal structure.

The deadline for applications is 14 December 2021. Please direct your local businesses to find more information about the scheme here.