Council Meeting held at Whitestone Parish Hall at 7.30pm on Thursday 11th January 2024 to be ratified on Thursday 15th February 2024.
Attendance:- Chair – Councillor L Fairley
Councillors Cllrs T Baird, M Belt, V Bryant, A Evans, M Frankum, C Lang
County Councillor A Connett (left the meeting at 8pm)
District Councillor K Lake
Mr G Palfrey
Mrs P Vaughan – Clerk to the Council
Apologies:- Cllr C Galton, B Moody, District Councillor J Parrott
Mr Palfrey said he was in attendance regarding planning applications he is making in regard to the erection of roofing over existing silage pits at Upper Kingswell Farm. Cllr Fairley explained that this planning has only just been received from Teignbridge and will be on the agenda for the February meeting. Mr Palfrey made some comments regarding his application and remained for the rest of the meeting.
1. Cllr Fairley opened the meeting and the minutes of the Council meeting held on 14th December 2023 having been circulated were taken as read and signed by the Chair.
2. REPORTS FROM COUNTY COUNCILLOR / DISTRICT COUNCILLOR
2.1 County Councillor Alan Connett reported on County Finances and said that the Council Tax for Devon County Council is highly likely to increase by a total of 4.9% from 1st April. This is made up of the maximum 2.99% permitted by the Government PLUS a 2% increase in the levy to support adult social care services. In a report to the county council Cabinet for 10th January the current year end overspend is estimated to be £4 million. Alongside that the overspend on special educational needs budget is predicted to reach a cumulative total of £165 million by the end of March. This deficit, under Government direction, will be carried forward to future years to be dealt with. The in-year increase is forecast to be just short of £40 million.
Cllr Connett also gave updates on South West Exeter planning, cycling and walking infrastructure plans, mobile libraries and the over 28,000 potholes which were reported to Devon County Council between April and the end of November in 2023.
2,2 District Councillor Lake also gave a report to the meeting and promised to take on board comments regarding the Oldridge footpath and confirmed that Rural Aid was no longer available.
Applications can be viewed on line by going into the public access system at Teignbridge Planning following the directions giving the application reference. The following applications having been received from Teignbridge District Council with a request for comments were examined and responses were sent which can be viewed on Teignbridge District Council Planning site.
Whitestone Parish Council have discussed and considered this planning application. The applicant wishes to extend the time to allow continued evidence of being profitable and likely to remain so. This application has been submitted after the three year period. In the 20/01130/FUL application the applicant agreed to “provide audited accounts at the end of year three to demonstrate that the farm is profitable and can remain so, in the event that this doesn’t happen to satisfaction, the applicant agrees as part of the application that all infrastructure being mobile and temporary would be removed and the land returned to pasture”. Whitestone Parish Council have not been provided with any audited accounts or any financial documents so are unable to make judgment as to whether this has been a successful enterprise or likely to be in the future, nor can we firmly agree that the applicant needs two more years to establish this. However, we do recognise that the three year condition set in application 20/01130/FUL was granted in July 2020 at a difficult time when Britain was coming out of lockdown with many restrictions in place and since then financial recovery has been slow.
Whitestone Parish Council are divided in opinion regarding this application as to whether to object or support it. However, we are ALL in agreement that if Teignbridge District Council are minded to grant permission then we would like ALL the conditions set in application 20/01130/FUL to be applied to this new application and should be adhered to. In summary these conditions include:
In addition, we would like the following two new conditions applied:
Grant of request for prior approval
3.2 23/01872/NPA Application for prior approval under Part 3 Class Q (a) and (b) paragraph W of the GDPO change of use of an agricultural building to a dwelling house at Glebe Farm.
3.3 Enforcement updates - none
4. MATTERS FOR DISCUSSION
4.1 Plough/milk stand
Cllr Belt reported that having discussed the proposed painting of the plough/milk stand with Mr Pike (the owner) she had been informed that he was not willing for it to be painted and it was decided that this action should now be abandoned.
4.2 Bus Shelter
It was reported that there was no quotation at present.
4.3 Request for a plaque giving names of the fallen parishioners in the wars be placed on the green in the area of the bus stop.
It was reported that a proposal had been investigated in 2019 for the formation of a Remembrance Garden which had been abandoned in July 2019 due to the passage of time and Cllr Belt will contact the parishioner (Nicola Oakey) who had been involved at that time in making some drawings for the project at that time.
4.4 Fir tree by the telephone box
A quotation of £360 had been received for cutting down of this tree and this was accepted. Cllr Belt felt that there were other trees in the area which need to be investigated.
4.5 BT Boxes within Parish
These boxes were discussed and it was felt that it should be noted that food only should be left at the one by the bus stop (no books) and Cllr Lang will be putting up notices to this effect.
4.6 CCTV for carpark and play area
A response has now been received from the Parish Hall Committee with regard to taking this matter further and the possibility of Cllr Fairley attending one of their meetings will be investigated.
4.7 STAWL updates
An update has been received from Mr Guy Fielding and it was relayed to the meeting.
4.8 Vehicle Activated Speed Signs
Cllr Evans reported that he will be sending the damaged sign as reported in the December meeting for fixing and the cost would incur a £200 fee.
5. MATTERS RAISED BY THE CHAIRMAN
Cllr Fairley reported on a Police Report received from Ashburton and Chudleigh Neighbourhood Police Team in which it was reported that in the period 1st December to 31st December 2023 there were no offences recorded and no non-offence reports within the Whitestone Parish to the Police. Non offence reports are those made through the 101 system or some that arrive through the Devon and Cornwall Police website, road traffic incidents or antisocial behaviour and they are keen to hear any ideas that would help them support the local community in the future and in particular any places they could hold a Police surgery. Surgeries give the community the chance to meet the local Police team and discuss any local policing concerns they may have.
6.1 Precept for 2024/25
This had been distributed at the December meeting and discussion took place regarding the adjustments which had been made and the figure of £58,275 was adopted for expenditure for 2024/25. It was proposed and seconded that the Precept for 2024/25 should remain as £6,100 with no increase. A vote was taken and the proposal was adopted.
6.2 1 School Houses rental to 2nd February £950.00 - £174.00 (includes £29.00 VAT) = £776.00
The following expenditure was proposed and seconded for payment. All in favour and the cheques were signed by Councillors Fairley and Belt.
6.3 Mr L Blades - £264.60 (Lengthsman)
6.4 Whitestone Parish Hall £68.00 (Hire for 16th December)
6.5 Top and Bottom (repairs at 1 School Houses - paid through Winkworth) £276.00
6.6 It was reported that the successful Christmas Party held at the Parish Hall on 16th December which had been organised by the Sports and Social Club had a total cost of £521.77 of which £250 had been contributed by County Councillor Connett and District Councillors Lake and Parrott.
Correspondence from Mr David Friend regarding Hare Farm had been passed to Cllr Fairley and she had replied to his comments.
8.1 Cllr Bryant reported on the death of Mr David Kindred and the Parish Councillors wished condolences be sent to Mrs Louise Kindred.
8.2 Cllr Belt reported flood water at the top of Redhills by Luggs Farm on the road leading to Whitestone and wished it reported to Devon Highways.
District Councillor Lake congratulated the Council on holding the precept to £6,100 for the coming year.
The next Council meeting will take place on Thursday 15th February 2024 in the Billiard Room as the Main Hall is already booked for another event.
The meeting closed at 9.05pm.