DRAFT Minutes of Council Meeting held at Whitestone Parish Hall at 7.30pm on Thursday 13th April 2023 to be ratified on Thursday 11th May 2023.
Attendance:- Chair – Councillor T Miles
Councillors Cllrs T Baird, M Belt, V Bryant, A Evans, L Fairley, C Galton, P Lee.
County Councillor A Connett
District Councillor A Swain, Prospective District Councillor J Parrott
Mrs P Vaughan – Clerk to the Council
Apologies:- Cllr S Llewelyn
26.1 Cllr Connett thanked Councillors who were standing for election again and told us how much he had enjoyed attending our meetings and also thanked the retiring councillors for their service. He had no specific message but advised the Council that he was available to help with anything as a county matter..
26.2 Cllr Swain reported that he would be retiring as a Councillor in May and introduced John Parrot who would be standing as a candidate for our Parish in the May election. Cllr Swain also mentioned an ongoing investigation at Teignbridge regarding Devon View, as a resident had brought the matter to their attention. This referred to a recent refusal in planning for a Class R proposal which had highlighted the fact that this site was not eligible because it was not part of a registered established agricultural holding with a holding number, which is an essential part of the planning criteria to meet and it was being questioned whether the previous Class Q permission was in fact valid and should be revoked. This seemed to be new territory for TDC who were checking out the legal implications. The Parish Council would be informed of any decision.
27.1 23/00445/NPA Application for Prior Approval under Part 3 Class Q (a) and (b) paragraph W of the GPDO change of use of an agricultural building to a dwelling at The Store, Three Corners. Whitestone Parish Council have considered this application which is described as being for change of use of agricultural building to 1 no. dwellinghouse and associated building operation, via Prior Approval under Part 3 Class Q (a) and (b) paragraph W of the GPDO.
The Council notes that the names “Three Corners” and “the Store” are new, and that there is some confusion over names and map references in the documentation on the TDC website. The site in question is located within open countryside in an AGLV, on the edge of the hamlet of Nadderwater, and consists of a small group of buildings, namely a concrete block workshop (about 6m x 4m), a timber summerhouse (about 2.5m x 3.5m), a set of timber stables (3.5m x 7m) and a single axle caravan sited on a cleared area. It was purchased by the applicants in August 2022 and the current caravan on site has replaced the one which was part of that sale. The cleared area opens via a timber gated entrance onto the public highway to the east. Boundaries to the land are formed by the Nadder, a stream to the north, and road frontage to the south. The additional timber walls and PVC windows of the concrete workshop have been constructed by the applicant, since purchasing the land in August 2022. A large polytunnel was also erected by the applicant (around September 2022). The applicant has installed some bright external lighting on both the south and north ends of the building.
The planning history of the site is important to evaluating this application. The workshop was constructed under a light engineering license pre-1990s (expired). The summerhouse replaced an existing structure in 2015, the original dating to early 1990s. The stables were constructed in early 1990s. The sale of the property in 2022 included that old caravan which had been used solely as a restroom and ancillary to the activities on the land. As noted, this applicant has replaced the old caravan with a newer type and added a timber porch to the front (see photos below, 1-3 and 4). Following Investigation by Enforcement in 2023 the applicant has formally declared to the Enforcement Officer under 22/00350/ENF that no residential activity has taken place on the site or is in fact occurring on this land. It is therefore duly recorded with Planning that this site has no residential status and there is no permission for any residential activity at this location. It is also noted from Enforcement that if any future residential activity is observed at this location in breach of permission, then a subsequent report will be made to the authorities for action.
The Parish Council does not support this application on the primary grounds that, contrary to statements made in the application, this building has not been used for agricultural purposes as required by Class Q applications, but has instead has been used only for equine purposes, for up to the last 50 years. The statement in this application that this site was part of an established agricultural holding is untrue: there is and never was any Agricultural Holding Number recorded for this site. To be clear, the site and building have not been used solely for an agricultural use as part of an established agricultural unit as required by paragraph Q.1(a). As such the application is invalid, and we respectfully request Teignbridge District Council to dismiss the application. It is clear that development is not permitted if ‘…the site was not used solely for an agricultural use as part of an established agricultural unit (i) on 20th March 2013 or (ii) in the case of a building which was in use before that date but was not in use on that date, when it was last in use’. Schedule 2, Part 3, paragraph X of the GPDO sets out that an ‘established agricultural unit’ for the purpose of Class Q means agricultural land occupied as a unit for the purposes of agriculture, on or before 20 March 2013 or for 10 years before the date the development begins. This workshop building in question comprises a block and timber framed structure with a concrete floor slab and block partitions. The existing roof structure is timber joists with an external corrugated metal sheet cladding. The Structural Report submitted with the application is extremely vague and consisted of a visual inspection only; it is very clear that the roof's suitability to be able to carry horizontal loads is unknown, as no connections were visible for examination, and with no additional design loading calculations provided. The base is also as uncertain, and the report clearly points out the uncertainties and the potential that underpinning could be required. The structure has to be completely structurally sound in its entirety as to not require any additional structural elements. This report is far too vague and does not provide any clarity on the integrity of the structure to accommodate the additional stress and loadings required for a dwelling.
Misleading statements recur throughout the application. For example, concerning transport, the applicant states in section 2 that ‘The conversion of this small building into a single dwelling will likely decrease the traffic movements to and from the site and will create less heavy vehicle movements than the agricultural use” . But this is wholly inaccurate since there have never been any agricultural vehicles accessing this location, and recently, only vehicles belonging to the applicant. Other material considerations which impact on this application:-
In conclusion this application fails to accord with Class Q on multiple levels and Whitestone Parish Council is firmly of the view that this application should not be supported and submits an objection.
Grant of Conditional Planning Permission
27.2 22/00406/FUL Alterations of the existing dwellings and conversion of part of the former farmhouse to a separate dwelling at Attwells Farm, Rowhorne Road.
27.3 23/00283/HOU Conversion of attached store to artist studio and increase of chimney height and oil tank to front at Merrymeet.
27.4 23/00062/FUL Erection of covered way at Treelands, Five Mile Hill
Refusal of Planning Permission
27.5 21/02812/FUL Replacement dwelling at Nadderbrook House, Rebecca Springs
Refusal of Request for Prior Approval
27.6 22/01616/AGR Agricultural building on farm road between Waddlesdown Cross, St Catherines Parish Church
27.7 23/00267/NPA Application for prior approval under Part 3, Class R and paragraph W of the GDPO for a change of use of agricultural buildings to a flexible commercial use (Use Class B8) at Devon View.
28.1 DCC4293/2022 – Lower Hare Farm Landfill
There is no known action to report at present.
28.2 Enforcement matters
Several matters were discussed including a complaint from a resident at Shippens, Nadderbottom which had been brought to the attention of Cllr Baird. This concerned unprecedented flooding due to changes in land formation on higher ground and also road ditches being being blocked and over hanging hedges onto the Highway. Cllr Connett advised that he would refer the matter to Highways who had powers to request the hedges to be cut back and to clear the blocked gullies. Cllr Baird was to send the information to Cllr Connett. Other existing matters are still awaiting responses; Crosspark Farm, the refusal of the last planning application would trigger enforcement action and Three Corners was awaiting the outcome of a planning application. In addition the application at Chants Cottage which is still pending a TDC decision to create a camp site. The applicant had written to the members of the Parish Council by email and advised that the planning decision had been overridden by an organisation called Wanderlust. The Devon County Councillor and Teignbridge District Councillor were not familiar with this company or where their powers of
authority originated and were keen to understand the eligible criteria that had to be met. It was made clear that planning permission could not be overridden as claimed but there were organisations such as The Camping & Caravan Club that operated within a strict set of powers and regulations. The Councillors were going to speak with Teignbridge Planning to understand the powers of Wanderlust that had been claimed by the applicant and advise the Parish Council.
Councillors Connett, Swain and Parrot left the meeting at 8.05pm
28.3 CCTV for carpark and play area
Cllr Baird reported that she has been unable to get any quotes for this project despite actively contacting companies.
28.4 Telephone Boxes
Discussion took place regarding the usage of the Nadderwater Phone Box and it was resolved that this should be kept in place with potential usage to be decided by the local residents, one suggestion was to use as an information centre for the Parish with books and maps, and maybe some leaflets with different walks around the Parish. Cllr’s Baird & Bryant were going to investigate this option further. More suggestions are being urged from the local community and with some ownership of the project/action to be able to retain the phone box.
The other phone box in the village which has been used for a Food Swap and in the main seems to be working well with deliveries from Olio, however it needs to be more locally managed with spoilt food being disposed of in a timely and appropriate manner otherwise it risks spoiling good food.
28.5 Vehicle Activated Speed Signs
Cllr Evans gave a short report. The VAS system is working well, with a new cable being required for one of the signs and the possibility of another sign being purchased later in the year with a view to it being a mobile setup being moved around to problem locations for data capture.
28.6 Climate Action – Awareness + Activities
There is no activity at the present time.
28.7 Banking update
It was confirmed that action is underway for Cllr Baird to be added for the signing of cheques and next month following the AGM another signatory would be sought and set up. Additionally, arrangements will be made for the Parish Council to go online due to the imminent closure of the branch of Nat West Bank at St Thomas. It was discussed at length that the mandate requiring two signatories on cheque payments would be continued as the primary and sole method of payment. Cllr Miles stressed that all financial transactions should continue to be open and transparent as they are now and the clerk confirmed that all expenditure is minuted and recorded and the councillors had all been given copies of the final expenditure for the year end 2022-2023.
28.8 Parish Pals
Cllr Baird spoke at length regarding this venture which had been set up over the winter months primarily for residents to have somewhere to gather which was warm with a cup of tea and biscuits and friendly chat, on occasion offering soup and bread rolls too. However she felt that it was not being given sufficient support and she was no longer in a position to continue with organising this. Discussion followed and it was resolved that funding for the hire of a room would continue until the 10th May and then perhaps some residents would come forward to form a “Club or group” which the Council could potentially support with a grant of funding. The Council are keen for it to continue, it just needs some volunteers to organise it.
Notification of the Annual Parish Meeting which will be held at 7.30pm on Thursday 27th April 2023 with everyone from the Parish invited to attend. Cllr Miles said that she was sorry to be leaving the Parish Council in May but had given four years good service and owing to her work commitments and her health felt it was the right time to stand down. She praised the members of the council for being such a good team and for their hard work and commitment. Over the years the requirement to have a good understanding of planning had become very important with some Councillors attending DALC training courses and Cllr Miles thanked the team for attaining such a good level. She wished all the councillors good luck and thanked the other retiring councillors, Cllr Llewelyn and Cllr Lee. Cllr Lee indicated that she would be more than happy to continue helping in Crossway Park as and when needed to continue supporting the community. This was very well received by the Council, especially Cllr Fairley and thanks were given to Councillor Lee.
30.1 Bank balances at Nat West Bank as at 31st March 2023
Business Reserve Account 1
Business Reserve Account 2
30.2 Annual Audit for 2022/23
The Annual Audit Accounting statements were presented to the meeting for authorisation and it was resolved by the Council that this was approved and signed by Cllr Miles as Chair and the Clerk is her role as Responsible Financial Officer. All necessary documents and paperwork will now be examined for an internal audit which will be completed by Mr R Cox. Cllr Miles thanked the Clerk for all her hard work on the preparation of the detailed accounts.
30.3 2 School Houses rental to 1st April £825.00 - £79.20 (which includes £13.20 VAT) and £30 Rent Protection Insurance = £715.80.
30.4 1 School Houses rental to 2nd May £925.00 - £148.80 (includes £24.80 VAT) = £776.20
The following expenditure was proposed and seconded for payment. All in favour and the cheques were signed by Councillor Miles and Councillor Belt.
30.5 Mr L Blades £372.35 (Lengthsman £292.35 + Grass cutting £80)
30.6 Devon Association of Local Councils £213.98 (includes £25.99 VAT)
30.7 The Play Inspection Company £87.54 (includes £14.59 VAT)
30.8 F Nicol £30.09 (payment for plug plants purchased for the community garden and flower box at the western edge of village)
31.1 The Clerk reported that the inspection of Crossway Park had been completed and a copy had been distributed to Councillors. It was noted that there were no major concerns regarding any of the equipment or area.
31.2 Cllr Fairley expressed thanks to the retiring Councillors, I,e. Pam Lee, Sue Llewelyn, Tanya Miles for their service to the community during their term of office. She also thanked Cllr Evans as he had delivered paperwork to Teignbridge District Council for some of the new Councillors wishing to continue in office for a new four year term.
31.3 Cllr Bryant reported that the Heath Cross sign has disappeared.
31.4 Cllr Belt stated that she still has several Platinum Jubilee mugs which were purchased for distribution and are unclaimed. She requested that she be allowed to bring these to the Parish Hall where they could be donated to be used and this was agreed.
31.5 Cllr Belt also raised a question regarding funding for the hire of a room at the Parish Hall owing to the closure of the Parish Church for repair work to the roof covering a period between April to September. This would involve 25 Sundays. This matter is to be placed on the agenda for the May meeting to discuss and vote.
Cllr Miles thanked everyone as this would be her last meeting except for chairing the Parish Meeting on the 27th April.
The meeting closed at 9.30pm.
The next meeting will take place on Thursday 11th May 2023.