WHITESTONE PARISH COUNCIL ANNUAL PARISH MEETING
April 27th 2023
Minutes of Annual Parish Meeting held on Thursday 27th April 2023 at 7.30pm.
Attendance: Cllr T Miles, Antony Galton, Jane Richards, Cllr Vicky Bryant, James Bryant, Cllr Mary Belt, Laurence Blades, Bryan Durrant
Apologies:- Cllr C Galton, Cllr S Llewellyn, Cllr L Fairley, Cllr T Baird Judy Sandford, Marian Durrant, Guy Fielding.
Parish Council Chairman’s Report by Councillor Tanya Miles
A warm and hearty greeting to you all this evening and thank you for attending the Whitestone Annual Parish meeting for 2023. As is customary, I will chair the meeting as the presiding Chairman for the Parish Council and the meeting will be minuted as per legislation by our clerk. I am happy to submit a report on behalf of the Parish Council to explain our undertakings for the last year and then follow by inviting members of the community groups to also give their reports. We will then continue to open up the meeting to the rest of the Parish residents attending the meeting for any discussion or statements on an open platform. Throughout the past year the Parish Council have worked tirelessly behind the scenes fulfilling our various roles with dedication and commitment, we have had a full complement of members.
Some of our biggest challenges that we have faced have been in response to some controversial planning applications which has caused some anxiety with parishioners, in this regard we have always responded in support of our community with fair, unbiased and impersonal comments based on local knowledge; local policy and the established Parish Plan. The parish plan continues to be at the forefront of our decision-making with regards to planning as it should be our community that shapes the future of our parish and not outsiders. Always send in a comment and have your say. All final decisions and other actions by enforcement are under the jurisdiction of Teignbridge District Council or Devon County Council.
Here are just a small selection to name a few where several applications were submitted within the last year:
· Lower Hare Farm – Second Application for Landfill DCC S73 approved 27th July 2022.
It is noted that an Environment Agency Waste Carrier permit has been issued to PS Gibbons & Son of Lower Hare Farm, Licence number CBDL481421 on the 19th April, this does not give permission to dump anything at Lower Hare Farm, it is only a basic carrier licence to move things from A to B to a designated licensed destination, which doesn’t include Lower Hare Farm. A full EA waste licence has still not been applied for and a public consultation will be expected if and when an application is submitted. The EA have confirmed that no dumping is currently permitted at the site.
· Crosspark Farm – Series of Retrospective applications and new Class MA application – office to dwelling – Refused.
· Devon View – Original application dismissed at appeal for South West Refrigeration Commercial site then Class Q applications – approved and recently Class R - refused
· Hackworthy Farm – Class Q - approved
· Chants Cottage – Glamping & Camping Site dismissed at appeal. Subsequently TDC refused.
Whitestone has shown good representation to Teignbridge District Council submitting our views on the Draft Local Plan Policy 2020 – 2040 Consultation and final consultation of development sites, in which we confirmed our objection to the inclusion of the site at Attwells Farm for major development. Many objections were submitted from Whitestone residents alongside Exeter City Council who also opposed development at this site. It is not known as yet which sites have remained in the plan going forward. The final draft version will be submitted to the Planning Inspectorate for public examination. We have continued to collaborate with Tedburn St Mary Parish Council on matters that jointly affect our parishes to ensure that our parishes are heard as one voice. In addition to dealing with specific issues that crop up and listening to parishioners concerns there are always the general operational functions that Councillors undertake and strive to address them with professionalism and to the best of our ability.
On that note, I would like to say, a specific thank you to Cllr Bryant who has continued to do sterling work in respect of the footpaths and obtaining a P3 grant for the parish for repair works etc. and also to Cllrs Fairley & Lee for their endless work in the Playpark. It was unfortunate that last year some of our equipment was condemned and obtaining replacement swings and groundworks from Wicksteed proved an ongoing battle, nevertheless the work was completed and we now have received a good inspection report this year with only a few minor maintenance issues to deal with. Hopefully, lots of fun to be had this summer. The outside toilet benefitted from a much needed full refurb, which will provide better and easier to clean surfaces. The tap has been replaced with a short run time to preserve water and a hand dryer to avoid waste and disposal issues, not to mention mess. Thanks to Cllr Baird for organising the works. Sadly during the year, there was an incident of vandalism which involved a break-in at the Parish Hall sheds where the pantomime equipment is stored and items of paint stolen, this was subsequently used to spread graffiti on a wall in the community grounds. This was reported to the Police and immediately they requested any CCTV footage, unfortunately on that occasion there was none, however as the Parish Council have a duty under the Crime and Disorder act to ensure the safety of the parish and the parish buildings, discussions are underway to install a CCTV system to cover the Parish Hall and play area.
Speed – our Vehicle Activated Speed signs have been in use for some time now and in the main, do a very good job at reminding drivers of the speed restrictions in place, as we all know there are many incidents of inconsiderate and speeding motorists that cause alarm or even danger to residents and we ask that you report these to the Police with the registration number if possible. Many of you will be unaware that as of 19th April, the Police 101 email address has been withdrawn and now you are requested to visit the Police website, https://devon-cornwall.police.uk and complete one of the blue boxes to register a complaint. This will be for anything that you want to report to the police from now onwards. As per a request, we moved the VAS sign at the top end of the village to a safer and more preferred location, this was completed by Cllr Evans with the help of Laurence Blades. A big thank you to Cllr Evans for looking after the VAS system and providing data reports when required. Such a report was required when the school bus was going to be re-routed and the pick up point changed which would affect several pupils from the village, residents contacted the Parish Council and we were able to provide data which helped to overturn the decision to re-route the bus in order to keep our young parishioners safe. The Parish Council are keen to support initiatives that help the climate emergency and this may involve Solar Energy applications or other ventures to provide energy saving measures point for works. We are very grateful to Laurence for being on hand to be able to assist whenever necessary.
Conclusion – Finally and most importantly I give thanks and appreciation to our Parish Clerk Pat for another year of hard work and commitment to Whitestone Parish and she has been a real treasure in guiding us through the minefield of legislation, not least of all, for keeping us well informed and organised and as the Responsible Financial Officer has ensured our accounts are fully accountable and audited. The councillors have worked well as a team and been enthusiastic and have served the community well throughout the administration of their duties and deserve our gratitude and appreciation. We have reached the end of our 4 year elected term and some councillors have decided to retire from duty and I can confirm that Councillors Lee, Llewelyn and myself are standing down. Going forward, Teignbridge have received nominations from Cllrs; Baird, Belt, Bryant, Evans and Galton who will continue to serve from May onwards. There will be vacancies for councillors to be co-opted on to the council so please make your interest known to the Parish Council. I will personally say that it has been a pleasure working with the Parish Council and bid you all farewell. A big thank you to all of the councillors for their unwavering commitment and support to Whitestone Parish who have always acted in a fair and balanced manner whilst adhering to the objectives set before us and working within the governance required by the Town and Parish Council legislation. Lastly, to note that Cllr Andrew Swain, who has been our elected Teignbridge District Councillor for the last four years has been very supportive to Whitestone and has announced that he will be stepping down and will not be standing in next month’s election. A new candidate John Parrott will be standing in the election instead. I hope that whoever is successful in the election as district councillor will support Whitestone as enthusiastically as Councillor Swain and we give thanks to him for his help and support with Teignbridge District Council. Our Devon County Councillor, Alan Connett, has also been very supportive to Whitestone and we are grateful for his help and guidance too
Following her report, Cllr Miles invited parishioners to give their reports.
Gardening Club Report by Antony Galton - Treasurer
2022 was the year in which the Gardening Club resumed normal service after the hiatus caused by the pandemic. We held our usual series of monthly meetings, as well as a number of garden visits. I wrote an account of all this in the December issue of the parish magazine, so I won’t reprise the details here. But I think it is worth highlighting the extremely successful Plant Sale in May, at which we raised over £600, which we divided equally into donations to the Church Roof fund and the Disasters Emergency Committee’s Ukraine appeal. Our next Plant Sale is coming up next month, on May 20th, and we hope it will be equally successful. At the recent Annual General meeting in February, both our chair (Philip Nierop) and our secretary (Gillian Oakey) stepped down, having competently served the club in various capacities for a number of years. They were replaced by Ron Bramhall as chair and Lesley Williams as secretary. We hope and expect the club to continue to
prosper under the new management. We currently have 27 paid-up members, and our finances are healthy.
Whitestone Parish Hall Management Committee Report by Jane Richards Chairman WPHMC
The Hall continues to provide an essential venue for the activities of many Whitestone organisations and so the Management Committee does its best to ensure that the standard of the building is maintained. To this end there have been several projects put in hand – refurbishment of the front door, relaying the floor covering in the lobby and loos which has shrunk, treating the main hall floor for infestation and replacing the strip lights with up-to-date LED ones. We have increased our booking fees slightly to cover the increased cost of heat and light but they still are the best value in the area. Last summer we planted a flowering cherry tree, to commemorate the Platinum Anniversary of Queen Elizabeth, on the edge of the car park and it is now blooming. We would like to have more local user organisations represented on the committee and invite any such to contact us.
Ecclesiastical Parish of Whitestone with Oldridge Report by Jane Richards Churchwarden
Most of the activities of the Parish of St Catherine have been involved in preparation for the repairs to the roof of the Church, which is now closed for 6 months finishing at the end of September. We have appointed a firm of architects, Jonathan Rhind of Taunton, and they have helped us to contract with Corbel to do the work which started on April 3rd. As t he Church is now closed services are taking place in the Parish Hall. Our main concern is urgently raising funds to pay for the work. So far the Roof Fund stands at £139,000 which is only half of what we need. We are selling some Expendable Trust Funds but ask all our parishioners and friends to help us reach our target. Despite this we have paid our Diocesan “Parish Share” which helps towards the cost of clergy stipend and housing, and £2092 to mission and Charities. Our congregation remains small but faithful and we have lively services, including Harvest Praise which was followed by a Harvest Supper enjoyed by many farming friends from the locality.
Footpath Inspection Report from P3 Cllr Vicky Bryant
Every February Devon County Council receive from Whitestone Parish Council a Summary of Work Completed on our footpaths and bridleways during the past year, a Summary of Expenditure for the last financial year and an Annual Grant form whereby the P3 Cllr responsible for the paths applies for money to cover the work and materials needed to bring failing paths up to the required standard set by Devon County Council. In Whitestone we have 8 footpaths and 5 bridleways, all of which have a number that can be found on the large parish map outside the Parish Hall.
Summary of annual inspection
1. Footpath 7 (runs behind the Parish Hall) – date of inspection 12.12.22 - Fail
Sadly due to vandalism the fencing and posts that were all relatively new had been either forced over or loosened. Owner of the field was notified and will sort it out in due course.
2. Footpath 6 (Kentlands to Church Bridge Cottage, Church Lane) – date of inspection 24.1.23 – Pass
3. Footpath 17 ( Kentlands to Deerslake) – date of inspection 24.1.23 – Pass
4. Footpath 18 (Deerslake to Halsfordwood Lane) – date of inspection 24.1.23 – Pass
However I have again asked for a higher more visible post which the directional discs can be attached to so that the private driveway at Deerslake isn't used instead.
5. Bridleway 16 ( Nadder bottom up to Rowhorne Road) – date of inspection 8.2.23 – Fail
This continues to be a very wet bridleway at the Nadder bottom end and two very heavy storms last year brought a lot of debris, soil, silt and water down towards the nearby properties. The field to the left of the bridleway was sold in July and the new owners attempted to lay paving slabs, concrete and matting so that they could access their field in a vehicle from the lane driving over the bottom part of the bridleway. Jonathan Rowlands from DCC came to clear the small tunnel that carries the water from the path into the culvert so that it doesn't flow across the lane. Highways have also visited to work on the culvert. This isn't a permanent solution and will not be helped by vehicles driving up the bridleway to the field.
6. Bridleway 27 (Tom’s Head Cross, Oldridge) – date of inspection 1.7.22– Pass
7. Footpath 28 (follows on from bridleway 27 and joins Tedburn St. Mary’s footpath 9) – date of inspection 1.7.22 – Pass
8. Footpath 23 (Copperwalls, Oldridge) – date of inspection 5.2.23 – Fail
Signpost close to the slurry pit is rotten at the bottom and the top has been lopped off by hedge cutting equipment. The signpost on the road to Crediton needs clearing of brambles etc which I can't safely remove.
9. Footpath 9 (immediately opposite the junction of Hill and Pound Lane) – date of inspection 7.2.23 – Pass
10. Bridleway 10 (Whitehorse Motors to Holcombe Burnell) – date of inspection 7.2.23 – Fail
Alterations have occurred up this bridleway making it unclear where the path now goes so I have asked for a post for attaching directional discs to. The first gate after Springdale Farm doesn't close.
11. Bridleway 14 (Folley Hill to the C50) – date of inspection 10.2.23 – Fail
I have again asked for two new posts that can be waymarked to clarify the correct route ensuring that the private vehicle track from the C50 isn't used by mistake.
12. Footpath 22 (“Greenfields” on the Crediton Road) – date of inspection 5.2.23 – Fail
The stile needs a replacement step, the gate as you enter the woods jams at times and the last gate before entering the Parish of Newton St. Cyres is rotten and needs replacing.
13. Bridleway 2a (on Rowhorne Road between East and West Rowhorne Farms) – date of inspection 9.1.23 – Pass
Whitestone Band of Bell Ringers St Catherine’s Church Report by James Bryant, Tower Captain
Having returned to normal ringing arrangements we hosted the Deanery ringers on the 5th May 2022. We then rang on Friday 3rd June to mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations. Those ringing were Herb Piper, Judith Reed, Jock and Sue Kirkpatrick, Mary Eyre, Gareth Clatworthy and Gemma Prouse. Very sadly a few days later we lost a very committed ringer in Chris Piper who passed away after a long illness and has been greatly missed by all. Covid continued to raise its head periodically and we avoided contact with any infected ringers and cancelled a number of practices from time to time.
On the Thursday 8th September following the announcement of the death of HM Queen Elizabeth II we rang peels with full muffles on the bells in the evening. This is one of the very few occasions bells are fully muffled. Those ringing were Gareth Clatworthy, Herb Piper, Judith Reed, Jock and Sue Kirkpatrick, Ed Purser, Zoe Furness and James Bryant. Several ringers then arranged to toll the Tenor Bell continuously for one hour from noon on Friday, the 9th, in line with the nationally recommended practice. On Saturday 10th we rang un-muffled peals to officially mark the accession of King Charles III. The Ringers involved were Herb Piper, Judith Reed, Jock and Sue Kirkpatrick, Ed Purser, Zoe Furness and James Bryant. On Monday 19th we rang half muffled peals for 45 minutes and tolled the Tenor Bell for the final 15 minutes immediately prior to Queen Elizabeth’s funeral service. Ringers involved were Herb Piper, Mary Eyre, Judith Reed, Jock and Sue Kirkpatrick Ed Purser, Zoe Furness and James Bryant.
I am grateful to all the ringers for ensuring that we could maintain parish tradition and contribute to marking these historic events for the community. We did also ring to commemorate Armistice Day on the 13th November and to celebrate Christmas Eve and at Midnight on New Year’s Eve. Ringing is likely to be curtained for several months in the new future due to renovation works taking place o the Church roof. Hopefully we will return to regular ringing in September. We are still seeking new recruits to our team so please do not hesitate to contact me by phone or email if you are thinking of having a go at ringing and would like to come and observe a Thursday evening practice and have a look at this great and historic part of our Parish heritage. 01392 811391.
Church House Education Foundation Report by James Bryant Chairman
The Trustees successfully held meetings in May and November 2022 as usual. We were able to resume face to face meetings following virtual meetings over the past 2 years due to COVID19 pandemic restrictions. Over those two meetings a total of 12 grants were awarded amounting to £3,616 in aggregate. The total income for the year was £6,670 less expenditure of £3,642 leaving a surplus for the year of £3,028. These are provisional figures from the draft accounts to be considered at the AGM on 17th May 2023. The Trustees are continuing to refine their procedures to improve the efficiency and consistency in decision making regarding applications, whilst working within the parameters set by the Trust’s Scheme Document.
Whitestone Handbells Report by Mr. Bryan Durrant
I am pleased to report that after a two-year break due to COVID we now have a full team of nine handbell ringers. The new members have done incredibly well and we continue to meet every two to three weeks in preparation for our first public performance. Thanks to Jennifer Kellagher for hosting all of our meetings. For more information contact Bryan Durrant on 811328
Whitestone Social Club Report by Mr. Bryan Durrant, Secretary
Social Club meetings normally consist of a guest speaker followed by the opportunity to socialise and to share food and drink brought by members. The Club currently has 30 paid up members. Members pay £12 per annum and visitors pay £3 per visit. The Social Club recently celebrated its 17th birthday with the annual anniversary meal. Members enjoyed a meal of venison casserole, followed by limoncello trifle or apple pie, cheese & biscuits, coffee and Prosecco. Quite a feast,- and all for the annual membership of £12! It was great to see so many people enjoying a relaxing evening and a big thank you to Jenny, Gill and Jane for the fabulous meal.
Whitestone Walkers Report by Mr H J Piper
The Whitestone Walkers held its first walk on March 2007. The group has now expanded to over twenty, with walkers from Crediton, Exeter and Ide in addition to Parish members. Being a resident In the parish is not necessary; anyone is welcome to join us. We normally meet at 9.30am on the first Sunday of each month at the Parish Hall car park and share transport where possible. We walk in all weather (unless considered dangerous because of cold or storms) and dogs and children are welcome on any walk There is no charge for attending the walks. All walks are led. All walks are rural wherever possible and are normally within the Dartmoor National Park or on Coastal Paths. The majority of walks are attended by between 8 and 18 people. Details of the proposed walks are normally published on the village website two to three weeks in advance and circulated by email to those who request one.
Whitestone Players Report by Laurence Blades
After a break of two years the pantomime is back! Rehearsals started in September 2022 in preparation for the production of Cinderella by Alan Frayn in February 2023. It was with some trepidation that we embarked on the project. Several of our experienced people had decided to retire and with them went a treasure trove of experience. However, new teams formed bringing new ideas and a different approach. It was exciting (and nerve racking!) to see the teams finding their feet and forming a unit. We hope that these teams will build on this in the next pantomime. As far as the cast were concerned most of the “regulars” returned and we also welcomed some new actors to the stage. We certainly found a ghost who could scream! As ever the atmosphere was good and caring with the “Pantomime Family” quickly forming. The children’s chorus was a much younger group, some of them very young! They did brilliant dances remembering all the moves seemingly without effort. In the meantime some of the previous chorus moved up to take roles in the main cast. The audiences were brilliant and the fact that the hall was more than half full for the first few nights and there were full houses for the latter performances indicate that the Whitestone Pantomime had been missed but not forgotten. The accounts have not been prepared yet so we do not know the sums to be distributed. However, the nominated charity was Hospicecare in memory of Chris Piper who was so involved with the children’s costumes for many years. There are plans for another pantomime in 2024. This is such an important event for the village. It brings many skills together as well as involving all ages ranging from about 5 to over 80. The whole community benefits. New people will always be welcomed in any aspect of the pantomime. In particular we will be looking for assistance with the scenery painting next year.
STAWL (Stop Another Whitestone Landfill) Report by Guy Fielding Chair
Application for planning permission for a waste disposal site at Lower Hare Farm, Whitestone, EX4 2HW was originally received by Devon County Council on 5th December 2018 and put out to public consultation in January 2019. STAWL was formed shortly afterwards to support and coordinate the opposition to this scheme by residents of Whitestone and surrounding parishes.
After a considerable delay caused by the inadequacy of the application, Devon County Council’s Development Management Committee (DMC) considered this application at their meeting of 2nd December 2020. As a result of the casting vote of the Chair, Cllr Jerry Brook the committee gave the application conditional approval. Some six months later, on 1st July 2021 Devon County Council announced that they had issued their planning consent, the initial conditions having been met by the applicants.
2022/23: At some point in late 2021/early 2022 GRS Stone Supplies Ltd acquired an interest in the Lower Hare site from the Gibbons. GRS Stone Supplies are a subsidiary of GRS Earth Solutions who are a large UK firm operating landfill sites for the disposal of construction and other kinds of waste. GRS then submitted a new planning application to Devon County Council under section 73 of the planning regulations to vary the planning permission originally granted to Stewart and Philip Gibbons in 2020. The application was originally submitted in February 2022 but due to multiple inadequacies was not deemed adequate, and was only finally validated in early May 2022.
Section 73 applications are supposed to be used by applicants to ask for “minor amendment” to conditions which have been made when an existing planning consent was originally given.
The GRS Section 73 application sought to modify the original planning consent in a number
of significant respects. These included:
1) A major reworking of the proposed drainage scheme
2) A revised treatment of the existing pond (further increasing the loss of biodiversity)
3) A revised sequence of filling and restoring the landfill itself
4) And most importantly a change to the nature of the waste to be dumped, from inert
soils to construction, demolition and mining waste
5) Etc, etc
A total of 26 substantial changes were proposed to the originally approved scheme. Taken
together these changes in effect constitute a complete re-writing of the existing scheme and
in no sense can be considered a mere “minor amendment” to the existing scheme. They are in effect a completely new scheme and cannot be considered as a legitimate Section 73 application.
Nonetheless, at their meeting on 27th July 2022 the DCC’s Development ManagementCommittee approved the application. STAWL continues to believe that the application was not a legitimate Section 73 application and that the DMC acted ultra vires (beyond their legalpowers) in granting approval, and as such their decision can, if necessary, be challenged in
However, since the DCC’s decision in July 2022 no “progress” appears to have been made
at Lower Hare Farm in order to turn the site into an operational landfill.
A key requirement in order to do this would be to apply for, and obtain the necessary permits from the Environment Agency. We have therefore been carefully monitoring the EA website. On Wednesday April 19th the Environment Agency issued Permit CBDL 481421 to PS Gibbons & Son of Lower Hare Farm, Whitestone. STAWL immediately contacted EA to get more information about the permit that has beenissued. It turns out that this permit DOES NOT GIVE ANY PERMISSIONS RELEVANT TOTHE OPERATION OF A LANDFILL FOR THE DISPOSAL OF WASTE. Rather, the permit is merely a Carrier’s Licence ie it allows some kinds of waste to be moved by the permit holder from Point A to Point B. It is a “lower tier permit” which means that it only allows “domestic” waste to be carried. It doesn’t allow waste from construction or demolition sites to be moved. And the waste can only be deposited (dumped) at a licensed receiving site, which Lower Hare Farm isn’t. These permits are free, almost anybody can apply for one, and they are issued in relatively large numbers.
However, there is a possibility that attempts may be made to dump waste at Lower Hare Farm although a Carriers Permit does not confer permission for this to occur. Clearly, careful monitoring of traffic to and from Lower Hare Farm will now be required, in order that the EA can be informed if any unauthorised dumping of waste were to occur at this unlicensed site. The conversations STAWL has had with the EA regarding this permit have given us the opportunity to remind the EA of the public interest in any application for a further permit, and the requirement that the EA should then launch a public consultation should any such application be made.
The following reports received from those not in attendance.
Arts and Crafts Report 2023 Report from Marian Durrant
We meet in the Parish Hall on the 2nd Thursday of the month from 9.30 to midday. Our members bring along their own projects, which includes a variety of crafts, drawing, knitting, weaving, crocheting and spinning. Anyone is very welcome to join us, even if you just feel like coming along for a tea/coffee and a chat. Our meetings start in September and finish in May.
Whitestone Pilates Group Report sent by Judy Sandford
Weekly Pilates classes on Monday led by Caroline Dodd, continue to be a regular Monday night fixture at the village hall. These are open to all with options to pay weekly or monthly with additional online fitness classes with Caroline available, Caroline is a highly trained experienced teacher and the group a welcoming and friendly bunch
Whitestone Book Club Report from Jan Rose
The Club, launched in January 2011, continues to be enthusiastically supported by its members and we have a good attendance each month. We are operating at optimum capacity of 13 members, enabling time for book discussions and feedback and access to the Devon Libraries book club scheme. We obtain our books every month from Devon Libraries and currently pay an annual fee of £90. Each year we select 24 books from a vast list of titles offered by Devon libraries and we have a surprise each month when we get our next book! We have read a wide variety of fiction and non fiction in the last 12 moths resulting in interesting lively and often humorous discussions. During our meetings we share our own recommendations for good books and also local literary events/festival information. We also provide a monthly book report for the parish magazine and work as a team to share the tasks associated with running the group (chair /finance/refreshments/library interface).
James Bryant addressed the meeting and wished appreciation to be recorded to Cllr Miles for chairing this meeting and for all her work within the Parish during her term as Chair of the Parish Council during the past years.
Cllr Miles thanked all those who had contributed to this meeting and the meeting was closed at 8.45pm
These Minutes were presented to the Parish Council at their May meeting and duly signed by the Chair as a true copy