Parish Council meeting: Tuesday, 7 March 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 March 2023

Agenda for the NHPC meeting to be held at 7.30pm on Tuesday 7th March 2023 at St James’ 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 7th February 2023

6:             Matters Arising

  • Development opposite Rectory Cross formerly known as “Splendour”
  • Grit Bins re-filling and new provision
  • Coronation planning
  • 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:

Reference: 3082/22/HHO
Proposal: Householder application for removal of existing porch & roof over single storey section & erection of single storey extension
Site Address: Southornwell, North Huish, TQ10 9NL
Comments to be submitted by 30th March.

Decisions: No decisions to note this month. 

9:             Correspondence

To consider correspondence received.

10:      Finance

To note recent and future income and expenditure. To approve invoice for £18.63 for Cllr Grevatt’s recent training at South Brent. To re-approve AGAR paperwork and sign off, due to missing paperwork for year ending 31/03/22.

11:      Highways

To consider Highway matters.

12:      Next meeting

To consider items for future meetings, to agree a date for the Annual Parish council meeting, Annual Parish meeting, and to agree a date for the next meeting as Tuesday 4th April 2023.   

Approved Minutes

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

These minutes were approved on 11 April 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.

Minutes of the NHPC meeting held on Tuesday 7th March 2023.

1:      Open Forum

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

Cllr Steer said a parishioner had contacted him to report a near miss at Kitterford Cross roundabout, this was discussed and the clerk will contact Cllr Thomas to ask if the safety report has been fully signed off etc. and also ask about lighting.

The pub landlord from the Avon Inn explained that there is an event taking place on 18th March which they have organised, the South Devon Woohoo race to raise money for the Devon Air Ambulance, and thanked Cllr Steer for the use of his field, and Cllr Seager-Berry.

Two members of the public left the meeting.

Cllr Steer said that a resident, Mr Howell is holding a tree planting session at Higher Norris this coming Sunday if anyone in the village would like to attend, they are very welcome.

Cllr Grevatt advised that there is a coffee morning taking place at the church in North Huish on 1st April.

2:      Present: 

Cllrs Gabriel, Grevatt, Seager-Berry, Steer, and Luscombe. District Cllr Smerdon. Two members of the public attended the meeting.  

3:      Apologies for absence

Cllr Bell, Cllr Hunt and County Cllr Thomas.

4:      Declarations of Interest


5:      Minutes 

The minutes of the meeting held on the 7th February 2023 were confirmed and signed. Proposed Cllr Seager-Berry, Seconded Cllr Steer.

6:      Matters Arising

Development opposite Rectory Cross formerly known as “Splendour” – Cllr Gabriel advised that an enforcement case is ongoing, the details of which are confidential.

Grit Bins – Clerk has arranged for two grit bins to be refilled, and this has now been completed, a request for two new grit bins has been submitted, updates to follow.

Coronation planning – Notices have been displayed but no communication has yet been received from anyone locally about any planned events yet. Cllr Seager-Berry said that the church will be having a service at 11am on Sunday 7th May to commemorate this event, all are welcome.

Defibrillator in North Huish – Cllr Grevatt reported that this is ongoing, he noticed some snail trails left around the circuit, so he will try and improve the sealant around the electrical circuits, to see if this helps the issue.

7:      Reports

County Council

A report has been circulated to the council

District Council

A report has been circulated to the council  


Report to follow at next months meeting in the absence of Cllr Bell this month.

8:      Planning


Application ref 3082/22/HHO

Proposal: Householder application for removal of existing porch & roof over single storey section & erection of single storey extension

Site address: Southornwell, North Huish, TQ10 9NL.

Supported, proposed Cllr Steer, seconded Cllr Luscombe.

No decisions to note this month.

9:      Correspondence

All correspondence has been circulated by the clerk via email. There is an email received from the coroners casework team in London, regarding the notice of closure of St Mary’s North Huish churchyard. Any representations by members of the public need to be made directly to them within 21 days of the notice, which has been put on both noticeboards.

10:   Finance

The accounting statements and AGAR paperwork for year ending 31/03/22 were circulated prior to the meeting, approved again, with an explanation. This was approved unanimously, signed and then passed to Cllr Grevatt to publish on the website.

The chairman explained to the council that the clerk has handed her notice in two weeks ago, and it was discussed how best to advertise for a new parish clerk. Cllr Grevatt raised a concern about this, and suggested getting a locum in to cover the election period, as soon as possible. Clerk will approach parish clerks in neighbouring parishes, to see if anyone would be able to cover, and will also contact DALC about this as well.

The council thanked the clerk for her good work in the last few months. 

An invoice for £15.53 from South Brent Parish Council for recent training which Cllr Grevatt attended, was approved for payment – proposed Cllr Steer, seconded Cllr Seager-Berry.

Opening balance of treasurers account as at 13th January 2023 was £636.00, payments during the month were as follows:

01/02/23 Clerk’s salary £105.98

01/02/23 PAYE £24.12

10/02/23 J&MJ Widdicombe Invoice ref 1946 £92.40

10/02/23 J&MJ Widdicombe Invoice ref 1962 £92.40

Closing balance of treasurers account as at 10th February 2023 was £321.10.

Opening balance of the Business Bank Instant Account as at 13th January 2023 was £7,847.62, interest received during the month was £4.00.

Closing balance as at 9th February 2023 was £7,851.62.

The clerk advised she has submitted a VAT re-claim for £440.

11:   Highways

The repairs to the cobbly walk have now been completed, and it was reported as a job well done.

Cllr Steer reported that the VAS sign in Avonwick is not working, clerk to report this to highways.

12:   Next Meeting

Tuesday 11th April 2023 at 7.30pm, at St James’ Church, Avonwick. TQ10 9NA.

Approved by David Gabriel on 11 April 2023


County Council Report

County Councillor's Report March 2023

Report from DCC, March 2023

New Chief Executive

Last week was Donna Manson's first full week as Devon County Council's new Chief Executive. Donna has set out her first impressions of the county and the council, and her focus on engagement in a message to our staff and Members:

"I firmly believe that the people in our Council and our communities are our greatest asset."


Councillors recently agreed a budget that will see increases in spending on services that support vulnerable children, young people and adults, in response to rising demand for those services.

DCC will be spending 18.5 per cent more on children's services, and 8.8 per cent more on adult social care services. Overall, the Council is budgeting to spend 10.5 per cent more on services than last year.

But, to help pay for it, the average Band D householder will see the County’s proportion of their council tax bill increase by £1.49 a week.

The fact is though, the council tax rise, plus funding received from the Government, will not balance the budget book. Spending this much on priority services to meet growing demand without national support means having to make savings in the region of £47.5 million from elsewhere in order to balance the books.

Sadly, there appears to be no rush from County to support communities with 20mph limits, nor indeed is general support of communities a priority as locality budgets are slashed again, now down to £5000 per councillor. Likewise the spending allocated on highways will mean that capital projects will be few and pot hole repairs will be a constant challenge. Opposition amendments to the budget to spend a modest amount of reserves to rectify these important issues were defeated by the ruling Conservative majority.

Parents voice frustration with Children’s Services

Parents delivered DCC a strong message last month in protest over failings within services that support children who have special educational needs and disabilities (SEND). Members of the Devon SEND Parents and Carers for Change (DSPCC) group shared their experiences, and delivered a letter.

“We feel increasingly frustrated by the continual and relentless institutional failings evident within Devon County Council’s Children’s Services,” they wrote. “We all have individually raised our concerns, whether that was to a professional, a SEND caseworker, or by making a formal complaint to Devon County Council." 

Julian Wooster, DCC Interim Director of Children’s Services, and Donna Manson, Chief Executive, took time to meet, listen and talk to many of the parents.

“We accept that there have been significant problems across the whole system in Devon and that the experience of many parents has not been good,” said Julian.

Extra resources have been identified in our budget to strengthen our SEND casework team and to help us compete with other local authorities to recruit and retain experienced staff. 

“But," said Councillor Andrew Leadbetter, Portfolio Holder, "We know that this won’t be easy and there are no quick fixes."

District Council Report

District Councillor's Report March 2023

Parish report from your District Councillors, March 2023

Council Tax

 South Hams District Council has agreed a rise in the councii’s element of the Council Tax of £5 a year for a Band D property. This equates to just under 2.8%, less than 10p a week, and is slightly less than the maximum 2.9% allowed by the Government. A Band D property will pay £185.42pa.

  • Devon County Council’s increase is the maximum 4.99%, a rise of £77.67 a year for a Band D property - £1,634.13pa), Devon and Cornwall Police 6% (£15) and Devon and Somerset Fire & Rescue 5.45% (£5 - £96.79pa)
  • Council agreed to charge double Council Tax on second homes. This is dependent for this year on legislation being passed by the end of March and will make a useful addition to Council income
  • Public toilets in Council ownership will return to having free admission, and there will have discussions on supporting town and parish councils which have taken on responsibility for their toilets

Voter ID

There may be residents without access to the internet or a computer who require extra support applying for Voter ID. Residents can call the election team to make an appointment to help complete their application.

Call the team to make an appointment

to help complete your application for Voter ID online or at our offices.

Tel: 01803 861434

We will need your National Insurance number and date of birth.

Key Dates for Residents 

  • Register to vote by 11:59pm on Monday 17 April
  • Apply for postal vote by 5pm on Tuesday 18 April
  • Apply for Voter Authority Certificate by Tuesday 25 April

Election Jobs

We are currently recruiting for polling staff at the upcoming Local Elections on 4 May 2023! 

We are looking to fill the following roles:

  • Presiding Officers - Pay £348
  • Poll Clerks – Pay £230

Applicants must be available from 6.30am to 10.00pm on the day. 

Find out more on the SHDC website.

Garden Waste Update

The new South Hams garden waste collection service first collections will take place within two weeks of 6 March. Our teams have been creating the new collection rounds based on the 10,000 plus subscriptions we've already received, allowing us to deliver a high quality and reliable service for our residents. As this is a new service, it may mean that a resident's garden waste bin is collected on a different day to their refuse and recycling. Residents can now check which day their collections will take place online - visit

Please note that the garden waste service starts on the 6 March so any collection dates shown online prior to this date should be ignored.

Residents have asked us:"Where does the sticker we've received need to be fixed to on the bin?"

A: The sticker should be fixed to the outside / top of the lid so it's visible when the lid is fully shut, or to the front of your garden bin, so it's visible for our crews when the bin is presented for collection.

For more information, visit: Residents can also contact us by ‘Contact the waste team’.

Raising Awareness around the Cost of Living

As part of our Cost of Living action plan, our Communications team has been supplying our local newspapers with articles on the cost of living, for both South Hams and West Devon. We will continue to raise awareness around these issues, and the support available.