Parish Council meeting: Tuesday, 7 February 2023

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, 7 February 2023

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 3rd January 2023

6:             Matters Arising

Jubilee Tree plaque and wording

Water pumping station work at Avonwick

Kitterford Cross roundabout site visit

Defibrillator electricity in North Huish

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:


No planning applications to note.

Decisions: No decisions to note this month either.   

9:             Correspondence

To consider correspondence received.

10:      Finance

To note recent and future income and expenditure. To approve invoice for £92.40 for clearing drains/buddle holes in December, from J & MJ Widdicombe, clerk has a copy of the invoice already. To discuss P3 Parish Paths Partnership Annual finance forms.

11:      Highways

To consider Highway matters.

12:      Next meeting

To consider items for future meetings, and to agree a date for the next meeting as Tuesday 7th March 2023.                                     

Approved Minutes

Approved Minutes for the Parish Council meeting on Tuesday, 7 February 2023

These minutes were approved on 7 March 2023

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

The chairman welcomed everyone to the meeting, including two members of the public who were in attendance.   

Cllr Gabriel advised that representations have been made to him about a development opposite Rectory Cross in North Huish formerly known as “Splendour” ref 026815 which appears to be being used as a residence, It was agreed that the clerk will raise this issue with SHDC, and ask for an update on enforcement.  

Cllr Bell brought up the issue of potholes around the parish, following the recent bad weather, parishioners are reminded to report any that they come across to Devon county council,

Cllr Grevatt said that parishioners have contacted him regarding the provision of gritbins in the parish, there appears to be only one on Blackhall hill currently, it was agreed that the clerk will contact DCC to ask about the provision of more gritbins or sacks, particularly towards Higher Moor, and on the hill leading up to the Sign of the Owl.  

Cllr Grevatt gave a report to the council on the recent Councillor training in South Brent. He mentioned a few points that were relevant to the parish council as follows:

  • There is a template of model standing orders, it’s worth checking if we have this
  • We are legally obliged to have a code of conduct
  • In a small parish council, the clerk should be managed by a HR committee, and not the council.     

Cllr Seager-Berry has been asked by a few people about any plans for the King's coronation this year. Clerk to put a notice on the notice board to ask if there any are local committees planning anything, and also ask the pub if there is anything planned. This will also be discussed in future meetings.  

Cllr Seager-Berry reported that a former councillor, Mr Andrew Mitchell has sadly passed away recently, and the council wished to express their condolences, and recognise his hard work for the parish council and for the community.     

2:      Present: 

Cllrs Gabriel, Grevatt, Seager-Berry, Steer, Bell and Hunt. Two members of the public attended the meeting.  

3:      Apologies for absence

Cllr Luscombe, District Cllr Pannell, District Cllr Smerdon, County Cllr Thomas.

4:      Declarations of Interest


5:      Minutes 

The minutes of the meeting held on the 3rd January 2023 were confirmed and signed. Proposed Cllr Bell, Seconded Cllr Hunt.

6:      Matters Arising

Jubilee Tree plaque and wording

Cllr Bell sent an email out to the council regarding this, which has now been agreed, he will go ahead and organise this now.   

Water pumping station at Avonwick

The clerk emailed two contacts at SWW regarding this since the last meeting, and received a reply advising that there was a large amount of water infiltration into the sewer network thus resulting in the pumping station working harder. SWW contractors are undertaking some CCTV surveys to identify any areas of concerns and inform any future works. The pumps have been refurbished as a result of poor performance which resulted in the increase of tankers to the site.

Kitterford Cross roundabout site visit

Cllrs Hunt, Steer, Bell and Gabriel attended, and Cllr Hunt provided a summary, he said that councillors had expressed their concerns and those of parishioners regarding safety, and the design of the roundabout, HGV’s are having problems negotiating their way through, and sometimes causing them to cross the white lines into oncoming traffic, hitting kerbs etc – DCC said they are waiting the results of a safety audit, and any representations need to be made to county councillor Thomas regarding this, going forwards.              

Defibrillator in North Huish problem, needing an electrician

Cllr Grevatt said he has received a response from the company who installed the defibrillator now, they said the most likely cause for the trip switch going is water may have leaked into it. They are waiting further advice from an electrician, this is ongoing.

7:      Reports

County Council - a report has been circulated to the council

District Council – a report has been circulated to the council  


Cllr Bell sent an email with photos to the full council since the last meeting, to advise that the repairs to the climbing frame in the playpark have now been carried out, Cllr Grevatt has spare fittings, because Sutcliffe Play didn’t use these to carry out their repair. Cllr Bell asked whether they had a look at the rubber ring which was discussed in a previous meeting, Cllr Grevatt to follow this up with them. 

8:      Planning


None since the last meeting. No decisions either.

9:      Correspondence

All correspondence has already been circulated to the full council by the clerk, an email from a parent governor at Diptford Primary School was discussed, regarding an invite to the village hall on 10th February to discuss their plans for new classrooms following the storm damage last year. 

Both members of the public left the meeting.

10:   Finance

Two invoices to Mr Widdicombe, both for £92.40 for December and January drain clearing, and clearing of buddle holes was approved for payment. Proposed by Cllr Steer, Seconded Cllr Hunt. Clerk to pay these. 

P3 Parish Paths bid forms received, it was discussed and agreed that the council would not be submitting a bid this year. A P3 co-ordinator for the council to be discussed in future meetings, Mr Woodley used to do this.

Opening balance of treasurers account as at 14th December 2022 was £1,347.90, payments during the month were as follows:

03/01/23 Clerks wages £193.00 (more than usual, due to additional hours worked in previous month, already approved)

PAYE on above £48.20

Clerks expenses £9.50

03/01/23 Donation to St James Church £250.00

09/01/23 Mr Widdicombe’s invoice ref 1920 £211.20  

Closing balance of treasurers account as at 9th January 2023 was £636.00.

Balance of the Business Bank Instant Account as at 14th December 2022 was £7,844.27, interest received during the month was £3.35.

Closing balance as at 9th January 2023 was £7,847.62.

11:   Highways

With the recent rain we have had in the area, parishioners are reminded to report any potholes to Devon County Council – details on their website.

County Cllr Thomas has informed the clerk today that the repairs to the riverbank at Cobbly Walk are pencilled in for the week commencing 20th February.

12:   Next Meeting

Tuesday 7th March 2023 at 7.30pm, at St James’ Church, Avonwick. TQ10 9NA.

County Council Report

County Councillor's Report February 2023

Some positives, but not enough progress say Ofsted Inspectors

Ofsted has published its latest monitoring report after inspectors visited our Children's Services.

There has not been enough progress made in key areas since Ofsted's full inspection and some serious issues remain, but there are some positives highlighted in today's report.

Levelling up funding announced for projects in Devon

Multi-million pound schemes to improve transport links in Exmouth and Okehampton are among more than 100 projects receiving a share of £2.1 billion through the Government's latest round of Levelling Up funding.

We’ve been awarded £15.7 million to complete the Dinan Way link in Exmouth, and West Devon Borough Council has successfully received £13.4 million to develop a new railway station on the eastern edge of Okehampton.

The funding for the Destination Exmouth project will enable the completion of Dinan Way link road, helping to tackle congestion and remove traffic from the town centre. The project, which is also supported by East Devon District Council, will improve walking and cycling routes as well as enhancing the town’s transport hub.

The West Devon Transport Hub will build on the successful reinstatement of the Dartmoor Line in November 2021. As well as a new station on the outskirts of Okehampton, the scheme will also include cycle facilities and electric vehicle charging points to promote active travel and green travel.

Support for families as food poverty rises

The number of households in Devon unable to access or afford the food that they need to ensure that they and their families stay healthy has increased by 70 per cent in 18 months. And more than a third of households say that that they plan to switch off their heating altogether this winter to help make ends meet.

We're working with local partners, including local councils, the NHS and the voluntary and community sector, on ways to support communities, and there are a variety of schemes on offer depending on people's circumstances.

These include the Household Support FundFree School Meals and Free School Meals Holiday Voucher schemeThe Holiday Activity and Food Programme and Citizens Advice Devon.

District Council Report

District Councillor's Report February 2023

Council Awarded £1m to Support Community Net Zero Targets

 South Hams District Council has been granted funding of over £1m to help reduce carbon emissions in the District. The money will allow the Council to deliver targeted business and community support programmes.

The award comes from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities as part of the UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF). The Council is using the money to achieve the most sustainable outcomes possible to support its Climate Change and Biodiversity promise to become net-zero by 2050.

By working closely with specialist organisations, businesses and community groups, the Council can improve sustainable travel infrastructure, begin to decarbonise our marine sector, and help our farming community to adopt innovative approaches to farming that are better for our climate and ecology.                                                 The first step towards improvements is Active and Inclusive Travel through:

  • programmes of activities to encourage people to use sustainable travel for their work and leisure activities, particularly making our tourism sites accessible through low carbon transport
  • the development of a Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan, setting out and prioritising interventions to improve the local cycling and walking networks

Agriculture and Regenerative Farming improvements will support the rural economy by:

  • bringing research and development to our agricultural communities, turning them into a test bed for new technologies and processes so that they can lead the way in improving the national agricultural sector.
  • supporting farms to transition to regenerative farming processes. Focusing on improving soil quality, moving away from pesticides and fertilisers, and improving biodiversity on their sites.
  • supporting farms and food producers to get their products into local market places.
  • As a coastal district it is important also important to consider the Decarbonisation of the Marine Economy. Therefore, the District Council will be using their funds to:
  • decarbonise the Lower Dart Ferry and Salcombe water taxis.
  • establish the carbon footprint of Salcombe Harbour and develop a strategy to decarbonise the site.
  • deliver innovative pilot projects to bring new technologies and processes to the marine sector.

Across the District, the Council’s specialist officers will be offering Wider Business Decarbonisation Support and Consultancy with:

  • support for Community Energy Groups to help them bring projects forward and access funds to support their goals.
  • support for village halls to strengthen the role they play in our most rural communities.
  • delivery of decarbonisation plans for businesses, which will then be used to help them access grant support.
  • work with the local construction sector and its supply chain to strengthen its ability to deliver decarbonised building projects.
  • Some activities will begin delivery in January, but the bulk of our programme will run from April 2023 until the end of March 2025. 

Council Tax

At the December Full Council meeting SHDC members voted to adopt the aim of limiting any rise in our element of the Council Tax for the coming financial year to a maximum of £5 a year for the average Band D property.

Garden Waste Service Update

We are encouraging residents to continue to sign up to the new garden waste collection service.  You are still able to join in, a commencement date has been proposed for early March. Our waste team are currently creating the most robust and efficient rounds they can, with as much data to hand as possible. The waste team have put together a "fact sheet" with the key messages for residents over the next month.

If you want more information on the Garden Waste Service:-

Go to SHDC website->Residents>Waste and Recycling>Garden Waste Service

Waste Recycling Centres in the South Hams

Owners of a private van wanting to use the Ivybridge, Totnes or Kingsbridge Recycling Centres will need a permit from Wednesday 1 March.

Devon County Council has introduced the measure to help stop commercial waste from being deposited at their sites at public expense.

It will also help make it easier for users to access the sites by reducing queues and congestion.

Applications for the permits, which are free, are available online here.

Find out more on the Devon County Council website here.

Coronation Street Party Applications Now Open

Devon County Council is inviting communities to apply for a free street party licence to mark the coronation of His Majesty King Charles III and Her Majesty The Queen Consort.

If your community wants to hold a street party, the County Council is asking that you apply using their online basic street party application to close off your street available on their website.

The cut-off date is 26 March.

Plymouth and South Devon Freeport Approval

The Plymouth and South Devon Freeport was the first of eight Freeports to be given the full green light along with two others. The approval unlocks millions of pounds of grant seed funding and enables applicable businesses to join and take advantage of the Freeport status.                                                                                           The Freeport will:

  • Enable new employment land to be bought forward at the three sites of South Yard, Langage and Sherford
  • Accelerate the formation of advanced manufacturing clusters in marine, defence and space sectors with low carbon applications at the forefront
  • Leverage £250m private sector investment
  • Ensure seed capital grant from Government of £25m for essential infrastructure
  • Include £29m investment from local councils
  • Support a new £30m Innovation Centre at Oceansgate
  • Provide a major expansion plan for Princess Yachts
  • Deliver over 3,500 jobs

Support for Homelessness

South Hams and West Devon Councils work with all rough sleepers across the area to ensure they have access to appropriate services should they wish to engage and work with us to enable them to access accommodation. With the weather getting colder we have now activated the Severe Weather Emergency Protocol until 1 March 2023.We would be grateful if you could let us know of anyone sleeping rough and advise them to contact a member of the Housing team on 01803 861234. Outside of office hours, the number is 01803 867034. SHDC will arrange for an outreach worker to make contact with them. This is particularly important during periods of severe weather.

The Local Authority is required to complete an Annual Rough Sleeper Count. For 2022, the count was conducted on the night of 14 November. This year's count identified five rough sleepers within the South Hams. This is an increase from last year's count of two. Our understanding from our verification meeting with Homeless Link is that this sadly is a trend across the country. We are pleased to advise that subsequent to the count, two of the five identified have accepted accommodation offers and are no longer rough sleeping. There will always be some people who choose this lifestyle and don’t wish to have bricks or mortar.

Over the past 12 months, our team have engaged with 12 rough sleepers, with seven of these being successfully supported into long term housing.  This has been made possible by the hard work of our Outreach Navigators, who work with some very challenging individuals often at a point of crisis in their lives and seek to improve their outcomes and opportunities. The two Housing First properties purchased in our area are now in use,and providing a valuable opportunity to learn how to sustain and maintain a tenancy, improve health and wellbeing outcomes and enable them to move forward positively.