Key information and documents

Meeting location: The Church of St James, Avonwick

Meeting time: 7.30pm

Please note: Annual Parish Council Meeting and Annual Parish Meeting

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.


Annual Parish Council Meeting

Election of Chairman and Vice Chairman.


Annual Parish Meeting

1:        Chairman’s Report.

2:        Feoffees Report

3:        Other Reports (if any).

  1. St James Church report
  2. Avon Vale Tennis & Croquet Club
  3. Community Hall Project


Annual Parish Council Meeting, 3rd May 2022

Minutes of the NHPC Annual Parish Council Meeting held on 3rd May 2022 at St James's Church, Avonwick.

These minutes are DRAFT until approved.

1:             Election of Chair and Vice Chair

Cllr Gabriel nominated as Chair, proposed by Cllr Seager-Berry and seconded by Cllr Luscombe.  Cllr Gabriel to continue as Chair.

Cllr Grevatt nominated as Vice Chair, proposed Cllr Steer, seconded Cllr Hunt.  Cllr Grevatt to continue as Vice Chair.

Annual Parish Meeting, 3rd May 2022

Minutes of the NHPC Annual Parish Meeting held on 3rd May 2022 at St James's Church, Avonwick.

These minutes are DRAFT until approved.

1:             Present

Cllrs Gabriel (Chair), Grevatt (Vice Chair), Hunt, Steer, Bell, Seager-Berry, Luscombe

County Cllr Thomas

Locum Clerk Ali Kohler

3 members of public

2:             Apologies for absence

Cllr Smerdon (SHDC), Cllr Parnell (SHDC)

3:             Chairman’s Report

Read by Vice Chairman on behalf of Chairman and Vice Chairman.  After all the on-line meetings due to Covid restrictions, we finally moved back to face-to-face meetings again.  The meetings were moved from the vestry, to the main body of the church to help with social distancing and we have had larger than expected number of the members of the public attend meetings over the last 12 months due to interest in planning and highways matters. There have been a high number of planning applications which have been inaccurate and ill advised, to the frustration of the councillors and public.  We are hoping that this is a short-lived trend.  Potholes have been a regular topic at our meetings.  DCC has repaired a single pair of pot holes 4 times since January.  Traffic issues were first noted in parish council minutes in 1932, and we are currently concerned by the high number of speeding vehicles through the village.  A group of local parishioners have formed a group to discuss possible solutions to the problem.  The blanket opposition to 20-mile speed limits by DCC has been removed. The parish council has duly applied for a 20-mile limit in Avonwick. The Tour of Britain Cycle Race was welcomed when it sped through the village in the blink of an eye. CCTV is being installed to monitor Gara Bridge, as the structure has been repeatedly damaged. It is hoped that the CCTV will deter or at least detect any damage to the bridge by vehicles.  Keeping costs low has also been on the Parish Council’s mind in the current financial climate and the Parish Council has gone against the trend by not increasing its precept this financial year.  The value for money from SHDC for the shambolic recycling service it has been providing has been on many people’s minds. We were promised more but have received far less. A big thank you to Tony Luscombe who has retired from his role of Parish Clerk duties after 21 years. Tony was a hard act to follow and it says it all when the new Clerk resigned after 2 weeks.

Cllr Gabriel then continued the speech and thanked Cllr Grevatt for stepping up to cover during his absences due to his health during the year and he also gave a vote of thanks to Tony Luscombe for all the years’ service he gave as Parish Council Clerk.  Thank you also goes to Ali Kohler who stepped in as locum Clerk whilst we recruit a permanent salaried Clerk.  John Widecombe has provided a wonderful service to the Parish and hopefully we will find enough funds to keep up with requested works.  Cllr Gabriel then closed his report. 

4:             Reports

Feoffees’ Report

The Trustees of North Huish Feoffees – the Bowden and Perring Charity.

Mrs M Luscombe  Chairman, Mr J Bell  Treasurer, Mrs M Seager-Berry, Mr A Mitchell, Mrs V Pearse, Mr R Cooper, Mrs D Lethbridge.

We are still receiving income from the rental of Mary Park and are waiting for the fences around the field to be ameliorated.

Two familes in the Parish benefitted from Christmas donations.

The Pemberton Trust now gives the proceeds as a gift to any child baptised in the Parish.

The Feoffees are aware of these difficult times and welcome any notification of anyone in need of a small grant.

St James Church Report

This was read out at the meeting and a copy of this report is available on the website [below].  The church is available to other groups as a meeting place if requested.

Report to Parish Council for year  to April 2022

Having had a very disjointed 2021 due to covid restrictions we started the year 2022 with services every Sunday when permitted. We followed the rules of the Government and Church with social distancing, masks, and hand gels.

Gradually these restrictions and rules have been lifted and we are more or less back to normal and are one of the very few small village churches that has a service every Sunday except when there is a 5th Sunday in the month.

We are cared for by our licenced Priest The Revd Preb Philip Darby who is a retired priest living in Ashburton - He takes 2 services a month. The Revd Preb Paul Hancock (a retired priest from Ivybridge) takes the first Sunday service each month and Keith Butler (a licenced Reader) takes Mattins once a month.

The church is a Corporate Member of the Prayer Book Society and the majority of our services are taken from the Book Of Common Prayer. There is a regular organist and small choir and a very loyal congregation – many of them help with the running of the church and make up the church council. There is a rota for cleaning and flower arranging.

The church is a Propriety Chapel built for the community in 1878 and serves the village of Avonwick.

It is independent from the Diocese financially so there is no help with expenses. We manage to maintain the church from a Trust set up by the Cornish-Bowden family (who built the church). The church council have funds from collections and donations which pay for the general bills of electricity, candles, and some maintenance.

Outward giving: Through our collections we annually support Combat Stress, The Children’s Society and at Harvest 2021 we gave money to the Afghanistan Appeal and the local food bank – obtaining a Certificate of Appreciation for our contribution of food items.

Recently the West Wall which was showing signs of water ingress etc has been repaired and will be decorated when the new plaster is dry.

A tree has had to be taken down due to honey fungus – we have the offer from the Parish Council of a tree to plant in the church yard – this will mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.

Marigold Seager-Berry, Chairman of the Trustees

Community Hall Project

This was read out at the meeting and a copy of this report is available on the website [below].

Avonwick and North Huish Community Hall Project Report to Annual Parish Meeting 2022

After a period of hiatus caused by external factors, over the last year the Community Hall Project has gained new members and held a number of useful meetings.

Chief among these was a public meeting we organised in September 2021, at which the Community Hall Project, Church of St James and Avon Vale Tennis Club all gave presentations about their plans and opportunities for community space in the parish. The Community Hall Project explained the difficulties with the site allocated for a village hall, and clarified the issue with parking, demonstrating that only a small hall with minimum parking might be fitted on the site, and not the facility that the community survey had identified as wanted by the parish.

The meeting was very well attended, generated lively discussion and was described as “very helpful and informative” in the feedback we received. The vast majority of the feedback we received supported the concept of some sort of community space within the parish, with support for shared use of existing spaces but also continued support for a stand-alone facility.

The Community Hall Project has never set out to build a 'white elephant’, and there remains interest in a village hall for the parish. We are well aware that a stand-alone hall is not something that can be built quickly or cheaply. As we consider the best ways forward, we are looking at ways in which we can encourage community activities in the short term as well as the more distant future. With this in mind, we have been looking into organising additional community events and we hope that we will be able to make grants available later this year for more immediate community projects within the parish.

Gudrun Wiersum, Chairman, ANHCHP May 2022

Tree Warden Report

Tree Warden Cllr Bell stated that ash was dying back but it was manageable and it is not worth bringing down at present.  The tree wardens are being asked to check the trees in the churchyards in their parishes, also those in public land.  We are looking at planting a tree in the churchyard to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, it will replace a diseased tree in the church grounds

Report From DCC Councillor Dan Thomas

It has been a difficult year and I am now glad to be supporting the Parish Councils in person again.  I must praise the NHS on their vaccination programme and commend their efforts vaccinating everyone.  It is a difficult forthcoming financial year with monies not being sufficient from central government and the shortfalls in budgets are made up from the council tax increases.  I have managed to meet requests from Parish Councils for funding from my localities budget.  71 parishes have applied for the 20-mile limit zones but the funding to do this in full will only allow for this to fund 3 zones.  The funds for the 20-mile zones will go further if parishes can accept less and can go forward with just 20-mile speed limit signs, etc.  With regards to the reported potholes, contractors will not get paid for the repair work until it has been completed to a satisfactory standard, this is regardless of the number of times contractors have to return to repair the pot holes in question.  Finally, please do not hesitate to contact me if I can be of help with any issue for the Parish.

Tennis Club Report

The Tennis Club is a registered charity, with 3 Trustees. The poor quality of the clubhouse facilities have prevented the clubhouse being rented out to other groups in the past.  There is currently a programme of works to modernise the club house which includes the repair and insulation of the roof, mains electricity, improved WC facilities and changing rooms plus a sewerage treatment plant.  Currently the external repairs to the roof have been completed but the internal roof repairs are still outstanding.  Electricity has been hard to install as there is no easy route available to help with this. There have been complications/confusion over the necessary legal documentation required to enable this to happen.  Money has been raised to commission higher kilowatt cabling to cope with the better cooker, water heaters and sewerage plant.  A grant was received for the changing room works and this work has almost been completed.  Proper WCs have also been installed.

A deficit of £10,000 is expected and this monies need to be raised to complete the works such as the sewerage plant, etc. Currently the quote for the sewerage work is currently £9,400. Without the works being completed, we are unable to hold large events or rent out the clubhouse to other groups for their events. The clubhouse is currently available for people to rent for things such as dancing groups, etc.  The Clerk is to look to see if there are any grants which could be applied for to complete the works and pass any such information on to the Club.

Cllrs asked for an idea of the number of members of the public who currently live in the Parish who are members of the club.

Cllrs asked what currently happens to the current sewerage under the existing system.  It was advised that the sewerage currently ran into a soakaway.

Members of the public then left the meeting

The Annual Parish Meeting then closed and the Parish Council moved on to the monthly parish council business.


Approved by ...................................................... .

on ………………………………….