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Whitestone Parish Council

Minutes of Whitestone Parish Council held at Whitestone Parish Hall on Thursday 11th April 2019 at 7.30pm.

Attendance:
Chairman – Councillor L Hickman
Councillors Ms T Baird, Mrs M Belt, Mrs L Fairley, R Phillips, A Reed, A Rose.
Mrs P Vaughan, Clerk to the Council.
Devon County Cllr A Connett, Teignbridge District Cllr K Lake, Mr A Wood, Ms T Lines, Mrs L Hickman, Mrs S Greenfield, Mrs C Jones, Mr S Gibbons, Ms A Warren, Ms S Llewelyn
Apologies Cllr B Netherway, District Councillor P Bromell.

  1. Minutes of the Council Meeting held on Thursday 14th March 2019 having been circulated were taken as read and signed by the Chairman.
  1. REPORT FROM COUNTY COUNCILLOR

Councillor Connett reported that the Devon County Council planning application for Importation of 350,00m3 of inert soils and topsoil for the land raising of previously disturbed land that is not capable of sustaining commercial agriculture at Lower Hare Farm, Lane from Higher Hare towards Alderbed Copse was still under consideration and that Teignbridge District Council had submitted a request for further investigations to be carried out. No date for determination has been fixed. All the relevant information is available for public inspection on the Devon County Council website. The Chair thanked Cllr Connett for updating the Council/Parish. In response to Cllr Hickman’s question Cllr Connett confirmed that the DCC planning decision meeting was a public meeting and in addition it could be watched online as a Web Cast. DCC will publish the date of the meeting in due course.

  1. PLANNING

The following planning applications were examined and discussed and the subsequent observations were confirmed to be relayed to Teignbridge District Council

25.1 19/00684/NPA Application for Prior Approval under Schedule 2, Part 3 Class P of GDPO for change of use of a storage or distribution building (Class B8) to a dwelling at Unit 1, Rebecca Springs, Nadderwater. The application is not supported owing to the visibility of the current access to the site.

25.2 19/00703/VAR Variation on condition 1 on planning permission 15/03178/COU to enlarge dayroom at Hurston Bungalow, Tedburn Road. This application is supported but stipulations that the same restrictions are placed upon this applicant that were placed on the original application, in that the site is only for use of the dependent family listed in the application. It was noted that in the past Highways expressed concerns in regard to the safety of the entrance splay onto this fast road from the site and the Council therefore request that this should be re-examined by DCC Highways to ensure safety onto this high speed road.

The Clerk reported on the following:-

25.3 Grant of request for prior approval

19/00058/NPA Application for prior approval under Part 3 Class Q (a) and (b) paragraph W of the GDPO change of use of agricultural building to a dwelling on land rear of Higher Hare.

25.4 Grant of Conditional Planning Permission

18/01252/FUL Erection of a stable building and the provision of a riding arena and associated infrastructure at Rebecca Springs, Nadderwater.

  1. MATTERS FOR DISCUSSION

26.1 Parish Action Plan Report.

Mrs Bryant has informed Cllr Hickman that she has nothing to report. Cllr Hickman has contacted her with the news that the flower boxes had now been built and put in place at the east and west Whitestone signs. Whilst he advised her that Councillors would complete the project and fill the boxes he has been informed that the Parish Plan Action Group will take the necessary steps to fill with soil and plant the boxes and will advise the Parish Council if this proved difficult. 

26.2 Recycling Bank

Request from Teignbridge District Council to remove recycling bank in Hall car park due to it being underused. Discussion took place with some input from Mrs Greenfield as the problem of recycling was raised in the Parish Plan and by Councillor Lake who advised regarding the possibility of parishioners obtaining extra boxes for recycling at home. It was agreed that Teignbridge should be requested to extend the recycling bank for a further six months with publicity to parishioners to encourage more regular use of the bank if they did not want it to be removed. Before a final decision is made for its removal an additional request would be put forward for a dual bank that would include both cartons and plastics

26.3 Rural Skip

It was reported that a rubbish skip will be at Crossways, by the bus stop, on Saturday 27th April 2019 from 10am to 4pm. Cllr Hickman will contact Mr Hanson with regard to communicating the information on the Parish e-mail system. The Clerk had displayed notices regarding this and had requested the organiser of the Parish Magazine and Whitestone website to advertise the location and date for the skip. Mrs Hickman agreed to put a notice board in place at the actual site to advertise the skip again this year.

26.4 Annual Parish Meeting

This will take place at 7.30pm on Thursday 25th April when all organisations within the Parish are invited to attend and give reports.

26.5 School Houses

Cllr Reed said there was nothing to report. A comment was made regarding the lovely improvements made to the garden at No 2 School Houses.

26.6 Crossway Park

Cllr Rose reported that he has been informed that Wicksteed have set a date in June for the installation of the children’s playground equipment and will require the Park to be closed off for the work to be completed. They have confirmed the price as £9,951.82 + VAT.

With regard to the Outdoor Gym equipment a representative visited the site yesterday and will be sending a plan to show the layout. The installation will be prior to mid May and take 2 to 3 days for installation. The price was confirmed at £9,000 + VAT. 

Cllr Rose reported that there was a need for replacement of the area under the existing older children swings and was requested to obtain quotations. 

Cllr Rose realises that he will no longer be a Councillor when these improvements are made but would be willing to oversee the installation for the new Parish Council if they desired.

Cllr Hickman following a query had been raised by a parishioner which questioned the validity of the vote to purchase the adult gym equipment, wished to affirm that the minutes recorded were consistent with appropriate advice in both the February and March minutes, confirming that an appropriate expenditure on these items had already been voted upon and resolved at previous meetings. The Chair asked Councillors in the form of a vote to confirm whether the aforementioned votes had been appropriately taken and this was duly passed in favour.

26.7 Community Garden

A request from the Gardening Club for replacement sleepers at the community garden was discussed and it was resolved that these be purchased. Cllr Phillips and Cllr Hickman agreed to explore the cost of the sleepers required however due to the imminent election of the new Council members this request may need to be handed on.

  1. MATTERS RAISED BY THE CHAIRMAN

27.1 Cllr Hickman reported that as previously stated the planters at the entrances to the village had been installed and he had approached the DCC Highways who had thankfully collected the old tyre that had been in situ.

27.2 A check on the Defibrillator had found that the cabinet door was open. This must be kept locked to obviate the equipment being stolen.

27.3 In response to the previous request by the Parish Council the Chair had recently received initial very impressive drawings from Nicola Oakey (a renowned young garden designer) regarding the formation of a Remembrance Garden at the bus stop site to celebrate 100 years since the ending of the First World War in which parishioners had fallen as well as the Second World War. These will be passed to the new Council in May.

27.4 Currently we are waiting for a response from the tree surgeon in respect of confirming the pruning date of the walnut tree in the Community Garden

27.5 It has been reported that the central public telephone was again not working. BT to be contacted

27.6 He reported on attending the Teignbridge Association of Local Councils meeting including a report from the office of the Police and Crime commissioner in respect of the reduction in manpower and impact of rural policing. Community Infrastructive Support was discussed, including the impact of not having a Neighbourhood Plan as Parish Plans were not considered applicable to receiving the full percentage of CIL.

27.7 In response to an article recently published in the Parish Magazine headed “Council Tax Confusion”:- These concerns were also mirrored by another Parishioner and sent directly to the Clerk of the Council. Therefore it seems appropriate to provide a response here, to give parishioners the full picture. The article is correct in that the Council Tax Support Grant has been removed. This change is a decision made by Teignbridge District Council (TDC), not the Parish Council (who do not have any influence over this decision). It is important to understand that the removal of this Grant by TDC is the same for all Parishes in the Teignbridge family, not just Whitestone. Reference to the raise in the Precept is misleading, the Precept has not been raised this year, the Precept was raised last year, as a small contribution toward the Parish Plan as a way of us all being inclusive and part of the Parish Plan commitment. The author raises again the Parish Council reserves held on your behalf, that mitigate against risk, ensure financial resilience and funds developments. Whist we should recognise different financial stream arrangements, this and previous councils have not mixed reserves with revenue unless it has been absolutely vital.

To clarify, if we take the accepted number of 700 residents in this Parish, the removal of £240 support grant as highlighted in the article amounts to 34.28 pence per person per year. The article quoted the raise in Precept of £120, this amounted to 17.14 pence per person per year. As previously indicated the Precept had not been raised for a considerable number of years, if 5 years is taken as an example the increase in precept amounts to 3.42 pence per person per year. That does not seem an unreasonable increase to live in the area we all enjoy.

It is always easy to quote percentages, as in the article, but by translating the percentages into monitory amounts clearly demonstrates that Parishioners still receive good value for money, this Council believes, in respect of living in this Parish and being part of the Teignbridge community. The article indicates these issues will affect pounds your pocket; the figures indicate that the changes being put in place by TDC will indeed affect your pocket, but in relation to pence rather than pounds.

  1. FINANCE

28.1 Parish Council accounts for year ended 31st March 2019

The Clerk reported completion of the accounts/balance sheet for the year ended 31st March 2019. The closing balance at Nat West Bank at the year end is:-

Current A/c

£200.00

Business Reserve A/c 1

£44,532.95

Business Reserve A/c 2

£3,408.72

 

£48,141.67

28.2 Annual Audit for 2018/19

The Annual Audit Governance statement for 2018/19 was presented to the meeting for authorisation and agreed for presentation and was duly signed by Cllr Hickman as Chairman and the Clerk in her role as Responsible Financial Officer.

28.3 The Annual Audit Accounting Statements for 2018/19 were presented to the meeting for authorisation. It was resolved by the Council that the Annual Governance and Accountability Return statement was approved and this was signed by Cllr Hickman as Chairman and the Clerk in her role as Responsible Financial Officer.

28.4 The Clerk reported on notification of the illness and subsequent death of Mr Hinchcliffe who was our internal auditor and stated that she had approached an accountant, Mr R Cox, in order for this audit to be carried out to enable the necessary Return to be sent to PFK Littlejohn.

Income

28.5 1 School Houses rent to 29th April 2019 £725.00 - £69.60 (includes £11.60 VAT) = £655.40

28.6 2 School Houses rent to 1st May 2019 £800.00 – £76.80 (includes £12.80 VAT) = £723.20

Expenditure

The following expenditure was proposed and seconded for payment. All in favour and the cheques were signed by Councillors Belt and Phillips.

28.7 Clerk’s expenses £72.45

28.8 DALC Membership Renewal £173.83 (includes £23.01 VAT)

28.9 Buildbase £36.02 (includes 6.00 VAT)

  1. CORRESPONDENCE

29.1 Notification of the date of the May Parish Council meeting being changed to 16th May owing to the Parish Council elections being held on the 2nd May

29.2 Notice of the Annual General Meeting of the Committee of Management for the Parish Hall which will be held on Monday 13th May.

29.3 Receipt from the Devon Archives and Local Studies Service where the Clerk had deposited Parish Council minute books from 2001-2005, 2006-2010, 2011-2014, and a cash book from April 1980 to March 2017 for safe keeping. These together with other records from the Parish are available for perusal at the Devon Heritage Centre at Sowton.

29.4 Email received from PC Steve Hodges, Neighbourhood Beat Manager, following a request for police attendance at a Council meeting.

29.5 Information re raising a Red Ensign passed to Cllr Fairley as this could be done at the Whitestone Church.

  1. REPORTS

30.1 Cllr Phillips reported rubbish being left on the highway after refuse collection and Cllr Belt also reiterated this problem. Cllr Hickman reminded the Council that these issues had been reported previously and he understood it had improved. If this was not the case this should be discussed again and reported if appropriate.

30.2 Cllr Fairley reported that a recent accident on the M5 had meant considerable congestion along the C50 when traffic had to be diverted.

30.3 Cllr Belt reported a farewell note from District Councillor Peter Bromell giving thanks for help and support from the Parish Council over the years as he is retiring.

PUBLIC PARTICIPATION

A parishioner raised a question regarding Rebecca Springs planning application and was given a response by Cllr Hickman.

Cllr Lake spoke regarding a Neighbourhood Plan and said that if refuse was dropped from collection lorries this should be reported to Teignbridge District Council. 

Mr Gibbons invited any parishioner wishing to visit Lower Hare Farm for an inspection to contact him on infolowerharefarm@gmail.com

Mrs Greenfield said that she realised this was the last meeting of the current Parish Council and wished to give thanks to the Councillors for their work over the past years.

The meeting closed at 9.30pm.