Minutes of Whitestone Parish Council meeting held at Whitestone Parish Hall at 7.30pm on Thursday, 9th October, 2014.
Attendance: Chairman − Councillor Mrs B Bramhall
Councillors Mrs M Belt, Mrs P Fisher, S Heathcote, L Hickman, D Munro, P Nierop, A Reed.
District Councillor P Bromell (left at 9pm)
Mrs P Vaughan, Clerk to the Council
Mr D Friend, Mrs B Netherway, Ms T Baird, Mrs T Taylor, Mr P Rich (left at 9.40pm), Mrs S Greenfield.
Apologies: Cllr R Phillips
The October Draw for the 100 Club in support of the Parish Hall Development Fund was conducted. The lucky number was 26 belonging to Rob Jones.
Mrs Taylor said that there had been two accidents involving a haulage van on the 1st September and a lorry on the 23rd September. These had occurred on the dangerous bend on the road from Heath Cross to Hangman’s Corner. She felt that warning signs need to be placed on the road and had been in touch with Devon County Highways regarding this and she was reporting this to the Parish Council.
The Chairman opened the meeting.
67. The minutes of the Parish Council Meetings held on 11th September 2014 having been
circulated were taken as read and signed by the Chairman.
67.1 Cllr Nierop raised amendments which he wished minuted to the following:− 62.1 The request from the tenant at No 1 for further heating in the bathroom should have included the information that the building was of single skin construction and two Councillors suggested that external insulation (as recommended by Teign Housing) should be investigated prior to or in conjunction with improved heating.
It was noted that the heating of the bathroom was of a legal standard according to the independent report undertaken by the Teignbridge District Council Housing Inspector.
67.2 Cllr Nierop disagreed with the wording recorded in Minute 62.2. Cllr Bramhall said that she would be addressing this item in her Chairman’s Report.
67.3 In the Reports section (66.4) Cllr Nierop did not feel that this minute had properly covered his proposal that the Parish Council investigate the cost and implications of gully cleaning in the Parish for possible inclusion in the forthcoming budget and in the absence of work by Teignbridge District Council.
The Clerk responded that having looked on the Council website there was no indication that this service is being discontinued.
67.4 It was suggested by Cllr Munro and Cllr Hickman that the process of recording of minutes be investigated further.
68. REPORTS FROM DISTRICT COUNCILLOR AND COUNTY COUNCILLOR
68.1 District Councillor Bromell said how nice it was that Cllr Bramhall had attended the Tedburn St Mary Parish Council meeting. He mentioned the imminent proposals for the closure of local Police Stations and said this was one of the worries that Tedburn St Mary would be discussing with a Police representative.
68.2 The Clerk then read a report which had been sent by County Councillor Brook and which was circulated to Councillors.
69.1 14/02768/NPA Application for Prior Approval under Part 3 Class MB (a) and paragraph N of the GPDO for change of use of a barn from agricultural use to a dwelling at Ham Farm, Tedburn Road. The application and plans were examined and the applicant, Mr P Rich, answered some queries regarding his submission. There were no objections
69.2 14/02859/FUL New stables and barn/store to replace existing wind damaged structures at Exeter View Stables, Rowhorne Road. The application and plans were examined and Councillors felt that there should be conditions laid down that these buildings could not be converted to living accommodation.
69.3 14/02511/AGR Widen access opposite Oldridge Cottage. The application and plan was discussed and there were no objections.
Planning application in adjacent parish
69.4 14/02899/FUL Rebuilding of redundant barns to form one dwelling at Down House Farm, Longdown. The Council had not been supplied with any plans for this but the Clerk had downloaded some information from the Teignbridge website and this was placed before the Councillors and there were no objections
Notification of Grant of General Permitted Development
69.5 14/02224/NPA Prior Approval under Part 3 Class J and paragraph N for change of use of upper ground floor from office to a dwelling at Brooklands Mill, Nadderwater.
14/01961/NPA Prior Approval under Part 3 MB (a) + (b) and paragraph N of the GPDO for change of use of a barn from agricultural use to a dwelling and building operations at Rowhorne Farm, Nadderwater.
69.6 14/02141/NPA Prior Approval under Part 3 MB (a) + (b) and paragraph N of the GPDO for change of use of a barn from agricultural use to a dwelling and building operations at Rowhorne Farm, Nadderwater
Refusal of Prior Approval
69.7 14/02136/NPA Prior approval refused for change of use of barn from agricultural use to a dwelling and building operations on land west of Hindcross NGR 287451 93349
70. MATTERS FOR DISCUSSION
Asset Group Report
70.1 School Houses. Cllr Reed submitted a report indicating that all the identified work at School Houses is now complete. All works have been completed at a total cost of £3,171.35 which includes £270.00 to replace the shower on No 1 which was not part of the original expenditure plan. This gives a saving of £298.11 on the original planned expenditure of £3,436.46.
70.2 Crossway Park. Due to Health and Safety issues raised in the recent Play Inspection report Cllr Reed had been in touch with The Play Inspection Company and they have supplied contact details for two qualified companies who could carry out any remedial work required in future.
Cllr Bramhall thanked the Asset Group for their work and stated that she would be writing to the Teignbridge District Council Housing Inspector to confirm that all remedial work indicated in his report to ensure legality had been completed.
Whitestone Parish Hall Committee of Management
A letter had been received and circulated to Councillors and the following matters arising were discussed:−
70.3 The Committee of Management have given early notice of its intention to provide a storage facility for the parish hall in the car park area to accommodate additional storage necessary in view of limited space within the Hall to have the necessary capacity for the hirers equipment. Discussion took place and after some discussion it was suggested that the existing storage spaces in the car park could be examined by the Hall Committee and the Asset Group with a view to a reorganisation of the space available.
70.4 A request was made to the Parish Council to continue financial support to the Parish Hall by meeting the cost of the hall insurance and paying half the costs of the cleaner. The two sums combined would total £2,218 and they requested that this be paid in twelve monthly instalments. This item will be discussed in conjunction with the Parish Council budget proposals at the November meeting.
70.5 Enquiries have been instituted by the Hall Committee regarding the purchase of a de−fibrilator to be based in the Parish Hall and although they are happy to continue to manage this project for the parish with regard to servicing the equipment and training they are requesting that the Parish Council consider taking the lead in ordering and paying for the package. Enquiries have been made and the most suitable package is offered by St John at a one off cost of £1,630 excluding VAT which includes the provision of the Zoll de−fibrilator, the necessary wall mounting brackets and a four hour training package for twelve persons. A grant of £900 had already been obtained from the Electors Fund and there was a proposal that the Parish Council should bear the responsibility for the balance and this was supported by the meeting. This would obviate the necessity of the small number of village organisations being approached for donations as there was general consensus that this equipment would be of general benefit for the Parish The Clerk was instructed to contact Mr Fisher as the order would officially need to come from the Parish Council and this could be placed on the November agenda for further discussion.
70.6 Report on progress of Nadderwater Signs
Devon County Highways were contacted regarding the Nadderwater signs and a response was received on 24th September to apologise that this has not yet been done. However, assurance was given that the matter is now being dealt with.
71. MATTERS RAISED BY THE CHAIRMAN
71.1 Cllr Bramhall stated that at the September Council meeting it had been agreed that the Clerk and Cllr Neirop would meet to resolve the queries that he had raised in connection with the accuracy of the figures used by the Accountant in his report. This meeting had not taken place but figures had been provided to Cllr Nierop and having reviewed these he had sent a list of queries to the Clerk to be directed to Stapletons. The Clerk had referred this list to Cllr Bramhall and Cllr Bramhall had sought advice from the County Secretary for the Devon Association of Councils. Following this Cllr Bramhall had met with the Clerk and Vice Chair to verify the accuracy of the Accountant’s report and the Vice Chair agreed to report back to the Council with the findings.
71.2 Cllr Hickman explained that as Vice−Chair he had been asked to present the outcome response to the points raised by Cllr Nierop. He commenced by thanking Cllr Nierop for raising these important points that would be added to the body of information held by the Parish Council in respect of School Houses as they would help to ensure appropriate financial probity was in place.
The Clerk had supplied explanations regarding the variation in the figures on the spreadsheet which she provides for the Councillors and those used in the Stapleton’s report which was owing to the way in which she had documented the income/expenditure. These accounts for the years 2007/08 and 2009/10 had however been audited by an external auditor and passed by the Audit Commission. Mrs Vaughan felt that all the figures she had supplied to Stapletons had given a correct interpretation of the financial situation in respect of School Houses from January 2007 to date.
Cllr Hickman demonstrated that apparent discrepancies between the Parish accounts summary and Stapletons figures could be reconciled. He stated that historical insurance costs were based on the Accountants professional judgement and should be left unchanged but accepted that the historical costs and methodology used by Cllr Nierop would result in higher figures. He stated that as the £500 cost of replacement deeds for School Houses are detailed in the Parish Accounts as an administrative cost they were not submitted to Stapletons and the additional insurance premium due to the rebuild cost revaluation was not included in the report as the Clerk was advised of this increase after figures had been submitted to Stapletons.
In response Cllr Nierop suggested that if Stapletons report was to be viewed as a definitive statement of costs the report should be amended to include these missing figures.
71.3 Discussion followed and the matter put to a vote in which it was resolved that the report should be left unchanged and only the higher insurance costs should be added as a footnote to the report prior to its publication. The full particulars of the queries and subsequent detailed responses could be made available on application to the Clerk. There was a unanimous decision that the Stapleton Report should now be published on the website and if requested copies could be provided for parishioners not having a computer.
Cllr Bramhall thanked Cllr Hickman for his report.
71.4 Cllr Hickman did ask the Council to consider if the discrepancies in the figures would have changed the way they voted in respect of the future of School Houses and in the general discussion which followed it appeared that this would not have been the case.
71.5 Cllr Bramhall reported attending the Tedburn St Mary Parish Council meeting at the invitation of their Chairman Mr Charles Pallot and also of attending the Teignbridge Association of Local Council meeting on 25th September.
71.6 It was with regret that she had received the resignation as a Councillor of Steve Heathcote and she gave a vote of thanks to him on behalf of the Parish for all the service he had given to the Council since May 2011 and to the help he had given to herself.
It was reported that a preliminary meeting had taken place between the Chairman, Vice Chairman and the Clerk and information received from the Internal Auditor has indicated that the range for free reserves is between 3 and 12 months payments. The budget proposals will be presented at the November meeting.
72.2 Nat West Bank statement as at 30th September 2014
Business Reserve A/c
Business Reserve A/c
This balance includes £56.89 P3 Grant Money
72.3 School Houses rents for October £1,425 − Letting Agency fees £136.80 (including £22.80 VAT) = £1,288.20
72.4 Teignbridge District Council 2nd half year Precept payment £3,000
The following expenditure was proposed and seconded for payment. All in favour.
72.5 Whitestone Parish Hall Management Committee (October) £95
72.6 Clerk’s quarterly salary/expenses £256.60 (this includes £15 for British Legion Poppy Wreath)
72.7 ACS Electrical £1,058.27 (incl £176.38)
The following two items have been organised by Devon Sales & Lettings and taken from the rent at source
72.8 The Green Sweep £40.00
72.9 ACS Electrical £324.00 (incl £54.00 VAT)
73.1 Teignbridge District Council Planning Support Manager wrote in response to a request to arrange a meeting to answer questions regarding legislation changes and regrets that it is not possible for her Department to visit individual parishes. If Councillors supply a list of questions they could be relayed to the Department for answers.
73.2 Greentrees Arboricultural Services have been approached regarding the tree in the bus stop area but there has been no response. They previously indicated they will be attending on 16th October and Cllr Nierop seemed to think that the tree which is leaning badly may have been included in the estimate given last year.
73.3 The Clerk had received relevant invoices from the Parish Hall Committee regarding the internal insulation which had now been finished. The necessary claim to the Rural Aid Scheme for the grant of £900 which had been approved by them in July 2014 had now been completed.
Mr Friend commented that he was of the opinion that the distribution of draft minutes was a good idea.
Mrs Taylor commented on the charge noted in the finance for a chimney sweep at School Houses.
Mrs Greenfield gave the following update on the progress of the Parish Plan Steering Group:− “We await the final finished questionnaire and web link from our providers, following quality assurance from the Steering Group as being fit for purpose”
The meeting closed at 10.10pm.