Parish Council meeting: Tuesday, 2 November 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, 2 November 2021

Agenda for the NHPC meeting to be held at 7.30pm on 2nd November 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 5th October 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. others (if any)

8:             Planning

To consider Planning Applications and to note decisions

9:             Correspondence

  1. Parish Clerk

10:          Finance

To note recent and future income and expenditure.

11:          Highways

  1. Traffic through Avonwick
  2. Cobbly Walk

12:          Councillors’ Register of Interests

13:          Next meeting

To consider items for future meetings

To agree upon a date for the next Meeting. (7th December 2021?)

Approved Minutes

Approved Minutes for the Parish Council meeting on Tuesday, 2 November 2021

These minutes were approved on 6 December 2021

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.

Minutes of the NHPC meeting held on 2nd November 2021.

1:  Open Forum 

There were 19 members of the public present. Various members of the public raised concerns over the speed of traffic through the village of Avonwick. Suggestions were put forward as to how the situation could be resolved. The chairman informed the meeting that for many years now the Council has been involved in seeking improvements to traffic control, some of which had been undertaken by the County Council. It was agreed that further measures should be investigated and that the best way to do this would be for parishioners to meet as a group independently of the Council to discuss this and to present the Council with its decisions. The Council would support the group by having one or more councillors present at the meeting and by presenting its findings to the Highways Authority

Concerns were also raised over the amount of water on the roads and over drain clearance. The meeting was informed of the work of the Council’s lengthsman and of the Devon Highways website on which reports of blocked drains could be made by the public.

The missed recycling collections were also a matter of concern. Parishioners were encouraged to report these to South Hams District Council.

2: Present

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

3:  Apologies for Absence

Cllr Gabriel

4:  Minutes

The minutes of the meeting held on 5th October 2020 were confirmed and signed. Proposed Cllr Steer seconded Cllr Hunt

5: Matters Arising 

It was decided to defer consideration of both the new Code of Practice and the Memorandum of Understanding till the next meeting.

The possibility of finding another location for the defibrillator in Avonwick would be investigated. Further concern over the ease of access to the defibrillator would be addressed.

6: Reports 

County and District Council reports

are available on the Council website. Both County Councillor Thomas and District Councillor Pannell were concerned over the lack of action over what is commonly seen as a tax dodge used by some owners of second homes in the County.

Cllr Thomas was asked for further information regarding the Highways proposals for Gara Bridge. Clerk to follow this up. Cllr Thomas told the Council of a proposed feasibility study for improvements to pinch points on the Loddiswell road.


The monthly report was that everything was OK on the day of inspection

7:  Planning 

The Clerk was instructed to object to the proposed creation of a hard standing at the field entrance on land South of Higher Norris Farm due to the confused nature of the planning application. It was felt that the request should be withdrawn and that improved documentation should be submitted should the applicant wish to proceed with this.

8:   Correspondence 

The clerk submitted his wish to resign from his position with the Council. He felt that after 21 years it was probably time for someone new to carry out this work.

9:   Finance

Balance c/f  7,978.54
Inc (int)  0.22
Inc (VAT Refund)  650.60
Inc (Precept)  2,000.00
Exp (Website)  42.96
Exp (Buddle holes)  396.00
‘Phone box repairs  120.00
Balance  10,070.40

10:   Next Meeting

Monday 6th December 2021 at 7.30pm at St James’s Church Avonwick.

Please note change of day for next meeting.

Items for next meeting

  • Defibrillator
  • Code of Conduct/Memorandum of understanding
  • Repair to noticeboards

County Council Report

From Devon County Councillor Dan Thomas

Vaccination Programme

Statistics for vaccination were presented: up to date statistics are available at HM Government's Coronavirus dashboard.

Highways – 20mph zones:

At October’s full Council, a motion was moved as follows:

In response to the growing demand for safer vehicle speeds in town and village centres and along residential roads, this Council will now consider further applications for 20mph pilot schemes that can be implemented in parallel with the Newton Abbot pilot scheme to ensure a more timely response to supporting Active Travel measures that need reduced vehicular speeds to be implemented and effective.

Unfortunately, it was defeated and the Newton Abbott pilot scheme, which as been discussed for over 2 years and is yet to start, remains something of a stumbling block.

Instead, Elected Members are invited to make representations for communities that they would wish to see considered for 20 mph speed limits pending any change in County Policy.

I would urge the Parish Council to continue to suggest such any areas and I will attempt to lobby on your behalf.

Supporting Devon Residents into homes of their own

At October’s full Council, a notion of motion (which I support) was sent to be discussed by Cabinet as follows:

Devon County Council calls on the Government to:

  1. End the tax dodge loop-hole of second home owners switching from Council Tax to Business Rates and then claiming ‘small business’ exemption, so they pay nothing at all.
  2. To re-extend the notice period given to tenants to 6 months
  3. Maintain the Local Housing Allowances at Covid-levels (plus cost-ofliving increases) to support families into homes

and that the County Council will:

  1. Work with Devon's District, City and Borough councils to establish a 'housing taskforce' working across the county to tackle the flight to Air BnB and holiday rentals
  2. Support the provision of urgently needed rented housing on County owned land

This will come back to the next full Council meeting with a Cabinet recommendation.

District Council Report

From South Hams District Cllrs Pannell and Smerdon

Covid 19 rates rising again

Cases of the virus are rising again across our local area, and we would ask all residents to take care. Booster doses have become available, and we would urge all those eligible to take these up, and any residents still not vaccinated for the first or second time to seriously consider doing so.

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. Please continue to register missed collections through the system online or by phone, as this will assist in holding our contractors to account.

The brown bin service remains suspended and In the light of FCC’s ongoing staffing issues the Executive has taken the decision that it will not resume until the Spring. Sustainable South Brent is happy to accept garden waste at their composting centre at The Marsh on Sunday mornings. It can also be taken to Devon County Council recycling centres.

Several SHDC councillors have been on a tour of Chelson Meadow Materials Recovery Facility (MURF) at Plymouth, where residents' co-mingled (mixed together) recycling is taken to be sorted and recycled. This gave a wider insight and understanding of these materials' journey from the kerbside, the sorting process and showed the high quality materials that our residents are involved in producing. We can reassure residents that everything is properly and efficiently recycled, and the sorted and baled waste is sold on for further reprocessing. None goes to landfill.

Budget/Spending review

Multi-Year Spending Review

For Local Government there will be an average real-terms increase of 3% in core spending Power. (However core spending power includes Council Tax and New Homes Bonus funding so we will need to see the detail of this with the Finance Settlement announced later). £4.8billion of grant funding will be available to local government over the next three years, the equivalent of £1.6billion a year

Council Tax

The Government will set out full details of the council tax referendum principles within the draft Finance Settlement before Christmas. Today’s statement states that the referendum  threshold is likely to remain at 2% per year throughout the 3 years of the Spending Review (presumably for Districts this would include the allowance to go up to £5 per year but this will need to be confirmed.)

Business Rates

The Chancellor’s speech highlighted that the Government does not intend to abolish business rates, though the review states that the Government will launch a consultation on an Online Sales Tax (OST) to consider the benefits and drawbacks of an OST. There will be a further freeze of the business rates multiplier in 2022-23 (the pence in the £ that is applied to business rates bills). This was due to increase by 3.1% in line with September Consumer Price Index (CPI). The small business multiplier will remain at 49.9p in 2022-23. There will be a 50% business rates discount for the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure businesses for 2022-23 up to a maximum of £110,000.  After the next revaluation in 2023, business rates revaluations will take place every three years.

Business Rates loophole

There is no announcement about closing the business rates loophole for second homeowners who let out their property for at least 140 days.

On-going COVID pressures

No new funding has been announced for any additional pressures from COVID in local government.

New funding to help local businesses and communities to grow stronger

South Hams District Council  are offering cash grants to local businesses to help them to bring ideas to life that will boost the local economy or community wellbeing.  The new scheme, called the Community Recovery Grant, opens on 1 November 2021 and could be worth up to £30,000 to businesses in the District. It’s for businesses of all sizes in the South Hams and West Devon and has been secured by the Council via the government’s COVID recovery fund. The funding will give a boost to the local economy and community by kick-starting a chain of positive business activity. Through the scheme, a business can bid for a grant to cover or part-cover the costs of setting up a new business initiative that will have a positive impact on others in the community or other local businesses. For example, a business may want to set up a collaboration with another local business or may have plans for an event that will involve the wider community. It essentially takes the ‘shop local’ concept and applies it to business. Just as the local high street benefits when people shop in their local town, SHDC wants our local businesses to look to see where they can work together to support each other and spend money within the local business community. We’ll give businesses the money to overcome any financial barriers to doing this and make your ideas happen.

For example, a local drinks producer links up with a local artisan bottle producer to create a limited edition range and collaborates with a local artist for a series of new labels. Or a business could apply for a grant to help them to link up with local food and entertainment suppliers to stage a festival for local people, which results in a community wellbeing benefit.

Business owners are invited to submit their ideas and plans to the Council, outlining what they want to do and how they will either work with other local businesses or engage with their local community. Applications that deliver greater benefits from the funding requested will be more likely to be approved. More details and an application form can be found at:

Applications will close on 30 November 2021. It is anticipated that the majority of grants to be awarded will be valued between £2,000 and £10,000. However grants up to £30,000 will be considered for exceptional and innovative schemes that can show a wide range of benefits for the local economy and community.

S106 Update

Officers have agreed to provide Members and Town and Parish Councils with an update of the s106 contributions for Open Space, Sport and Recreation (OSSR) and Affordable Housing currently held by the council. Funds are also detailed in the individual section 106 agreements for the planning application and should be available to view on line.

The tables for affordable housing contributions detail what has been collected so far, the date received and when this will need to be spent by.  Also included in the section 106 document is the timescale for when off-site contributions need to be committed or spent and that the money can be spent anywhere in the South Hams. However, officers and members are trying to direct these sums to be utilised in the areas where development has occurred in the first instance.

If Parish Councillors have any queries please contact:

  • Alex Rehaag or Cassandra Harrison for Affordable Housing queries
  • Alexis Huggins for OSSR queries

Platinum Jubilee Celebrations

Buckingham Palace has announced a weekend of celebrations on 2 – 5 June 2022 across the UK, the Commonwealth and around the world to mark the Platinum Jubilee. The Platinum Jubilee celebrates the Queen’s historic reign and 70 years of service.

Platinum Jubilee Homepage

Activities are being planned by communities, individuals and organisations and we are therefore asking Members if you are aware of any planned activities in your area and to ask for your help in encouraging activities to be planned.

The Platinum Jubilee is a great way to bring our communities together and get involved in the celebrations! We will be offering support by coordinating the events across our region and promoting activities via advertising and through our social media platforms. We will be sending information out to our communities and asking them to tell us what events they are planning and explaining how they can get involved. This will help us to identify what plans are in place and where we can offer support. Event organisers can tell us about their events by filling in a short survey.

Mobile Boost Scheme

Connecting Devon and Somerset has announced the expansion of its Mobile Boost Programme, which aims to upgrade indoor 4G coverage in “not-spot” areas.

Businesses and households can apply for a voucher of up to £1,200 towards the cost of one of a number of mobile signal booster options from a registered supplier.

The value of the voucher will be dependent on the type of technology most suitable for the premises. Suppliers will be able to advise on the most appropriate option. Businesses and residents will be required to make a contribution to cover the cost of installation.  Information on the scheme has been passed on to residents and TAPs via an e-bulletin and social media. For more information and to apply visit Connecting Devon and Somerset - Mobile Boost Scheme