Parish Council meeting: Tuesday, 1 February 2022

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, 1 February 2022

Agenda for the NHPC meeting to be held at 7.30pm on 1st February 2022 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 4th January 2022

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:

Planning Application ref 3808/21/AGR Construction of barn and new track

9:             Correspondence

To consider correspondence received.

10:      Finance

To note recent and future income and expenditure.

11:      Highways

To consider Highway matters.

Rectory Cross to North Huish Cross and to North Huish advance notice of surface dressing and associated works.

12:      Next meeting

To consider items for future meetings


To agree upon a date for the next Meeting. (1st March 2022?)

Approved Minutes

Approved Minutes for the Parish Council meeting on Tuesday, 1 February 2022

These minutes were approved on 1 March 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 1st February 2022.

1:  Open Forum

There were no members of the public present.  Councillors were informed that the Ring Go parking system at Bigbury was not working. District Councillor Smerdon to follow up.

2: Present

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

3:  Apologies for absence

Councillor Gabriel. It was agreed to grant extended absence to Cllr Gabriel.

4:   Minutes

The minutes of the meeting held on the 4th January  2022 were confirmed and signed. It was agreed to make a small change re the parking problem in Avonwick.

5:  Matters Arising

After a discussion between the owner of one of the cars and Cllr Grevatt, it was agreed that one of the cars parked at the North Huish junction in Avonwick would continue to be parked further back from the junction. Concern was raised that other cars owners might occupy the now vacant slot. This would be monitored.

It was agreed to offer the position of Clerk and Responsible Financial Officer to the Council to Ms Laura Gogola with a starting date of 1st March 2022.

7: Reports

County and District Council reports are available on the Council website (below)


Playpark report stated that everything at the Play Park was OK at the recent inspection.

8:  Planning

Ref. 3808/21/AGR Construction of new barn and track. Developers have been instructed to submit a new planning application for the track.

Ref.43/21/FUL Construction of new barn and hard standing on land south of Higher Norris Farm application refused.

Ref 130/22/VAR Variation to plan for development on the old Woodpecker site. Council made no comment other than that it was good to see work under way there at last.

9:   Finance

Balance c/f  8,595.56
Inc (int)  0.08
Exp (Website)  17.94
Balance  8,577.70

10:  Highways

Potholes were reported on the  Old Bridge – Horsebrook road. These are getting quite large and could cause problems for drivers.

Mill Lane, North Huish to be closed on Thursday 28th April for work to be carried out on overhead cabling.

Rectory Cottage to North Huish Cross and Rectory Cross to North Huish to be closed at some time between April and September for Surface Dressing and  Associated works. Dates to be announced later.

11:  Items for future meetings

Contract for new clerk.

Expenses Policy

12:   Next Meeting

Tuesday 1st March 2022 at 7.30pm. At St James’s Church, Avonwick

Devon County Council (Cllr Thomas)

County Report February

Devon County Council’s new Strategic Plan has been published. The heads are as follows:
  • Respond to the climate emergency
  • Be ambitious for children / young people
  • Support sustainable economic recovery
  • Tackle poverty and inequality
  • Improve health and wellbeing
  • Help communities to be safe, connected and resilient.

You can read the whole document at

The Newton Abbot 20mph trial

You will recall from my report last month that the people of Newton Abbot voted against having a year-long 20mph zone in their town. The decision from County Hall has been that no new 20mph zones would be considered until successful completion and reporting / analysis ad taken place. Now, we revert to the previous position, where standard county policy applies.

In real terms, while this is good news for all, I cannot promise that it means anything will happen immediately. Projects will be weighted and prioritised. Cabinet have proposed setting aside a sum of £100k to deal with the financials around applications but clearly, in a county the size of ours, this will not be enough.

If a project were to be self – financing then it is worth noting that this would clearly move the project significantly up the list in terms of time.

Covid Boosters

Advice from County Hall is to spread the message that anyone who had covid in December – and is yet to have one – should now book a booster. The recommendation is to wait 28 days after an infection and this time will now have passed. Home Park Stadium continues to offer drop-in sessions.

Budget 22/23

This month, we will be having the budget setting meeting. You will not be surprised to hear that it will be a very challenging balancing act. For the avoidance of doubt, this isn’t a political point. All Local Authorities are struggling to deliver the full gambit of services with the money received from central Government. I will brief you in full in my March report.

Activities in other Parishes

Rattery – I am trying to support the creation of a new permissive path across County Farmland, which they will name ‘The Jubilee Path’.

Ugborough – we are trying to work with the local school to allow access for villagers onto the school field during holidays (this is the only useful green space in the village).

Diptford – like you, Diptford are concerned about Gara Bridge. I have sent them the same email information that you have received.

Kitterford Cross – I still await updates as to when the work will begin. I suspect there have been land agreement stumbling blocks.

South Hams District Council (Cllr Smerdon)

Second home tax benefit loophole removed

Following prolonged campaigning by this Council and others the Government has announced it's planning to remove a loophole that offers tax breaks to second home owners who make use of it to claim their properties are being used as holiday lets. As it stands, people who own second homes in England can avoid paying council tax and access small business rates relief by simply declaring an intention to let the property out to holidaymakers.

The change will see second homeowners forced to pay council tax if they cannot show they are genuinely renting out their properties on a commercial basis. This new measure will apply to second home owners who let their properties for less than 70 days a year. Those who let their homes above the threshold will still pay nothing. It is reckoned that second home owners in the South Hams who have registered for business rates (meaning in effect they pay nothing) have received £20million in Covid grants.

Council tax

Discussions around the 2022/23 SHDC budget are taking place, with Members receiving briefings from Lisa Buckle, our Finance Officer. As usual, a selection of proposals came forward which will be voted on at the Full Council Budget meeting on 10th February. The proposals include a recommendation to increase Council Tax by £5 a year for Band D properties – equivalent to 10p a week. The Government has factored in this increase – the maximum allowed without a referendum – into funding presumptions for the coming year..  A LibDem recommendation that £322,000 extra be allocated to the Climate Change Action Plan will also be debated and is likely to receive approval.


An all party working group has been set up to consider the way forward, looking at a number of alternatives. Performance by the contractors is slowly improving but we can’t yet say when the switch to recycling boxes will resume. The budget proposals going to the Executive next week include a £200,000 commitment to invest in community composting.

Omicron Hospitality and Leisure Grant

In December, the government announced a one-off grant payment for hospitality and leisure businesses including restaurants and pubs. It is worth up to £6,000 and is designed to help those who have struggled in what should have been the most profitable time of the year. We are administering the Omicron Hospitality and Leisure Grant; the Council has now directly contacted local businesses by email, which, based on previous grant applications, might be eligible for this financial help.

The Council is urging local hospitality and leisure businesses that meet the criteria to check their email and junk mail folders and follow the instructions to claim the government grant. Contact the council via their website - - if you think your business is eligible.

The deadline for grant applications from businesses has been extended from 28 February to 18 March. All business grant payments have to be made by 31 March.

Community Funding News

Devon Funding News is a great place to go to see what new grant funding schemes are available to our communities. It can be found online at funding

The website is updated regularly and some of the new schemes added in January include:

  • Up to £5,000 for the repair or improvement of community buildings Screwfix Foundation
  • Up to £10,000 for community groups and artists planning activities focusing on art, creativity and culture in celebration of the Platinum Jubilee Just a couple of the schemes that may be of interest to our communities.
Role of AONBs could be expanded

Plans to safeguard England’s protected landscapes for future generations and to boost nature recovery have been set out by Environment Secretary George Eustice.

Proposals to strengthen England’s protected landscapes were announced on Saturday 15th January 2022 when the Government published their response to the Landscapes Review of National Parks and AONBs. Strengthened AONBs are central to the response that seeks to strengthen purposes, powers and resources for AONBs.

The proposals, which are subject to consultation, are set out in the Government’s response to Julian Glover’s independent Landscapes Review (known as the ‘Glover Review’) which looked at whether the protections for National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs) are still fit for purpose.

The Government’s response sets out ambitious changes to increase access to nature and ensure protected landscapes can deliver more for climate, nature, people and place for the next 70 years and beyond, as we build back greener from the pandemic and level up all parts of the country.

The 12-week consultation also asks for views on proposals to drive nature recovery within our landscapes and support for the communities that live and work within them, such as the design and delivery of new agri-environment schemes and an ambitious management plan for each area,

AONBs are to receive a 15% uplift in funding. Sadly this does not apply to National Parks.

Town and Parish Council Guide to Net-Zero

Some Parish and Town Councils have reached out to us over the past year looking for advice on tackling the Climate Emergency. Over the past few months we have been working on pulling together some resources and tips on what Town and Parish Councils can do.

The guide isn't intended to be prescriptive but rather offer to some help or inspiration to Town and Parish Councils looking tackle to the Climate Emergency. The guide is web based and intended for all audiences, whether they have yet to declare a Climate Emergency or simply looking for action ideas or tools and resources to help them along the way.

The guide is published on our Climate Change website.

South Hams District Council in District Councils’ Top 20 for Climate Action Plans

South Hams District Council (SHDC) is delighted to have scored within the top 20 nationally of all district councils for their Climate Change Action Plans, published yesterday by Climate Emergency UK. The District Council scored a very highly regarded 66% compared to the average UK district council score of only 43%. As well as being ranked one of the top performers in the Measuring & Setting Emissions Targets category.

Climate Emergency UK, who carried out the ranking exercise, examined 28 comprehensive areas of the Plan. They also investigated whether plans went beyond cutting just a Council’s own carbon footprint, but also included reducing that of the whole area through partnership working with communities.

Setting a strategy and an action plan is only the first step in acting on Climate Change. The scorecard provided will be useful as the District Council goes into a review stage of their Climate Change and Biodiversity Strategy later this year to identify areas for improvement, alongside focusing their efforts on delivering solid action across the District.

The Council’s Climate Change and Biodiversity Strategy only covers one aspect of climate action within the District. As proud partners of the Devon Climate Emergency, SHDC are working with partners across Devon (including Devon County Council) to create a carbon plan for the county that they will have a role in delivering. Some of the background work completed by the partnership provided much needed evidence and data for the District Council’s own plan. SHDC’s Climate Change and Biodiversity Strategy will be reviewed once the Devon Carbon Plan is finalised to ensure all actions are consistent and aligned.

Over the next few months, a substantial schedule of tree planting will be progressed that involves 2,550 young new trees being established to offset the council’scarbon footprint.