Parish Council meeting: Monday, 6 December 2021

Please note Please note that this meeting was held on a Monday, not the usual Tuesday.

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 Monday, 6 December 2021

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 2nd November 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:

Land south of Higher Norris Farm

9:             Correspondence

To consider correspondence received.

  • Mobile Booster Signal
  • Parish Diversity Audit
  • Draft Memorandum
  • Code of Conduct

10:      Finance

To note recent and future income and expenditure.

  • Website costs.
  • Proposed Budget 2002-2003
  • Precept proposal

11:      Highways

To consider Highway matters.

12:      Next meeting

To consider items for future meetings

To agree upon a date for the next Meeting. (4th January 2022?)

Approved Minutes

Approved Minutes for the Parish Council meeting on Monday, 6 December 2021

These minutes were approved on 4 January 2022

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 6th December 2021.

1:  Open Forum

There was one member of the public present.  Concern was raised over a development near Brookdale. This would be followed up by the Council and by District Councillor Smerdon. The parking of a car at the entrance to the North Huish road at Avonwick was causing concern to parishioners. It was seen to be causing unnecessary danger to traffic entering and leaving this road. Action clerk. The proposed development in a field in North Huish continued to cause concern. (See planning below.)

2: Present

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

3:  Apologies for absence

Cllr Gabriel

4:  Declarations of Interest

Cllr Seager-Berry donation to Avonwick Church Council. Cllr Bell development at field in North Huish.

5:  Minutes

The minutes of the meeting held on the 2nd November 2021 were confirmed and signed. Proposed Cllr. Hunt seconded Cllr. Seager-Berry.

6:  Matters Arising

There was no information from the group of parishioners who were to meet to discuss concerns over traffic in Avonwick. The clerk was asked to seek a quotation for repairs to the notice board in Avonwick

7: Reports

County Council (Cllr Thomas)

Vaccination Programme

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

Supporting Devon Residents into Homes of their Own

Very happy to report that Cabinet are recommending support of the motion and have agreed that County will lobby our local MPs to strengthen the criteria for properties becoming liable for business rates, instead of council tax. This would avoid the huge amounts of business grants paid out over covid in Devon.

COP 26

A motion has gone to Cabinet asking Council to support the following:

[DCC] will work with Government and local Government networks, to make sure the COP26 text is translated into meaningful local and national programmes to reduce carbon which are supported by agreed and sufficient funding by Government.

Divestment of Fossil Fuels

DCC has received numerous communications from Devon residents (including this Division) asking County to divest its pension fund stakes immediately. Regrettably, the administration has voted this down and for now, the various pension funds will continue to profit from fossil fuels. There is a commitment not to make new investments, but I know many residents will be extremely concerned. I will continue to vote against the status quo when I can.

Cobbley Walk

Council will recall that the Clerk brought this matter to my attention last month (November). I have since discovered that for the work to take place, the Public Rights of Way Team have to apply for a Land Drainage Consent from the Flood and Coastal Risk Team. While I have been assured that permission will be granted, works cannot take place (due to Environment Agency regulations) during the spawning season. This leaves a window of opportunity between 1st June and 31st October.

Clearly, as work has yet to commence, it cannot now do so until June 2022. The only exception to this would be if the work was deemed an emergency, in which case formal consent would not be required.

Definition of emergency as below:

“emergency” means an occurrence which presents a risk of—

(a) serious flooding;

(b) serious detrimental impact on drainage;

(c) serious harm to the environment;

I have asked for assurances that:

  • The LDC consent is being sought, and
  • That works will commence in June 2022.

District Council (Cllr Smerdon)

Helping residents to pay essential bills this winter

As the winter cold starts to bite, South Hams District Council invites households experiencing financial hardship to get help with paying essential bills. The council will be handling applications for the Government's new Household Support Fund from today, 15 November 2021, and throughout the winter. There's also a reminder of other support available to residents who are struggling to make ends meet over the coming months.

The new Household Support Fund is designed to provide rapid short-term financial support for people who don't have enough money to buy essentials like food or pay for heating. Anyone over 16 years old in the South Hams could be eligible, but you will need to confirm that your need is genuine. These grants aim to help people to meet daily needs such as food, clothing and utility bills. Payments will be made directly into your bank account. Residents without a bank account should contact us.

As well as being the place to apply for Household Support Fund money, there are other ways the Council can help local people in crisis situations. This includes help with making adaptations to your home to help you to live their independently, support for people threatened with homelessness or struggling to pay their rent and help to reduce energy costs. The Council also works closely with a number of other agencies that provide more specific support and can help signpost residents to access all the help available.

All you need to do is go online or call 01803 861234. But the support we can offer does not stop there. We can also help to signpost residents to help with paying housing costs, reducing energy bills and provide assistance so people can carry on living in their home independently. We have a member of staff on hand to help individuals and community groups to access all that is available or you can also ask your local councillor for advice."

Devon County Council led the bid for a share of the government funding, securing a little over £5 million for the county.

South Hams District Council's support for local communities extends beyond helping individuals in crisis situations. It has been working closely with the voluntary sector as well as Devon County Council and the NHS to provide grants and support to reduce health inequalities and rural poverty. This includes investing £4m to develop an integrated health hub in Dartmouth.

Co-Mingled Waste Collection

We’ve updated the video on our website explaining why we’re asking residents to keep separating their recycling while FCC Environment uses co-mingled waste collection vehicles.

The video shows what happens to co-mingled collection waste at the Chelston Meadow Transfer Site:

Christmas recycling and waste collection schedule is at

District Councillor Smerdon told the Council of ongoing efforts to improve the performance of the waste collection service.


The monthly report was that everything was OK on the date of the inspection.

8:  Planning

Councillors expressed great concern over an application for development in a field south of Higher Norris Farm in North Huish. The application was felt to be confused and confusing. It mentioned materials more suitable for a domestic building. Councillors stated that there had been no history of difficulties over access to the field and that a hard surface at this point was not necessary. The declared use of the barn was also deemed unnecessary. The request was considered to be poorly presented and in opposing this request the Council also noted that the development impinged on both the AONB and a nearby listed building.

9:  Correspondence

The Council was made aware of the possibility of households purchasing a mobile ‘phone signal booster. Cllr Luscombe told the council that she had had such a booster fitted to her home and that it provided a remarkably good signal where none had existed before. Parishioners could contact the clerk for further information

10:   Finance

Balance c/f


Inc (int)


Exp (Buddle holes)




The Council agreed to make its usual donation to the Avonwick Church Council

The clerk presented the council with a proposed budget for 2022/23 – see attached. This was accepted by the Council. Proposed Cllr Steer seconded Cllr Seager-Berry.

The Council agreed to keep the precept for the year 2022/23 at its present level.

The Council agreed to advertise the vacant position as clerk in the local press.

Proposed Budget for 2022-2023

Planned Income
Balance b/f         £9,000.00
Precept             £4,000.00
Interest            £    1.00

Total Income       £13,001.00
Planned Expenditure
Insurance           £  360.00
Church Donation     £  220.00
DALC subs           £  120.00
Buddle hole repair  £1,250.00
Park Grass Cutting  £  800.00
Park Maintenance    £   50.00 
Website             £   50.00
Salary + on costs   £1,500.00
Contingency         £8,651.00

Total Expenditure  £13,001.00
Contingency Funds
Contingency        £ 8,651.00
Total Contingency  £ 8,651.00

11:  Highways

No progress had been reported concerning Cobbly Walk in Avonwick (Please see County Councillor report submitted after meeting for further information.).

The state of the road surface from Old Bridge towards Horsebrook in Avonwick and at Haswell from Brushford to North Huish Cross was reported as being in need of attention.

12: Items for future meetings

It was agreed that, when necessary, interviews for the new clerk should be undertaken by the Chairman, Vice-chairman and Clerk.

13: Next Meeting

Tuesday 4th January 2022 at 7.30pm. St James’s Church, Avonwick.