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Churchstow Parish Council


Of the meeting held on Thursday 11th July 2019

Held at Churchstow Church Hall @ 7:30pm

Present:  Cllrs Hind (Chair), Stewart, Woodley, Williams (departed 9pm), Green, Johnson, Louisa Pepperell (Clerk).  Cllr Gilbert (DCC),  Cllr Kate Kemp (SHDC).

Apologies: Cllr Barrett-Burn

Chairman welcomed everyone to the meeting

Minutes from the last meeting (18/06/19):  These were approved.  Signed by Cllr Hind.

10 minute public forum:  No other persons present.

Matters arising from last minutes:  The Clerk presented an invoice from D Reeves and Partners for the hedge cutting carried out on Pump Lane to rectify residents overgrown boundaries.  A discussion was had as to whether the residents would be required to pay their share of the cost, Cllr Gilbert informed that the correct procedure was for the PC to send a letter requesting residents cut back their boundary (which was done by the PC) but that a timescale for completion should be included and if the work is not done then Highways will be informed and then Highways will write to the residents giving them a chance to still complete the work before Highways do it themselves and bill the resident.  On this occasion The PC had not referred it to Highways and had gotten the work completed due to complaints being made by residents being obstructed whist walking to the village and it therefore being quite hazardous, therefore on this occasion the PC agreed to pay the invoice.  Cllr Johnson had been in contact with Cllr Kemp to discuss possible wording for a leaflet in relation to a considerate neighbour scheme, with main reference to residents being considerate to one another with noise and power tool use when neighbours are enjoying their gardens.  A discussion was had as to whether the PC felt it was a appropriate to go ahead with this idea and as there have been no specific complaints of this nature within the parish it was felt that is was not the PC’s place to dictate on this matter.  The Clerk reported on some information she had received from Kingsbridge in Bloom regarding possible wild flower verges and asked the Cllrs if they had seen specific wild flower verges in Kingsbridge as a gauge of what may be possible, she is to contact Kingsbridge in Bloom again to request further specific information regarding the creation and up keep of such flowerbeds.  Cllr Stewart reported that the Solagen speed sign solar panels were up and working, however the panels should face south and this means they face a resident’s boundary hedge.  The PC are to contact the resident to ask whether he would be agreeable to cutting the hedge lower.  The Clerk raised the point from the previous meeting that it may be useful to put the sign on Pump Lane in order to obtain the dowloadable information regarding speeds, Cllr Gilbert advised that this would not be acceptable proof and that the PC would need to contact Highways to request a SCARF be done (official means of recording vehicle speeds), he said he would support this request, the Clerk is to request this from Highways.  A discussion was had regarding possible means of slowing traffic on Pump Lane, the conclusion of which is that 20mph signs are under national review on their effectiveness, speed bumps are proven to cause more noise and pollution and therefore chicanes would probably be the best solution if proof of speeding is gathered.  However Cllr Gilbert did inform the PC that they are expensive and funding for such is hard to obtain and usually only granted in exceptional circumstances, he would however support the PC in their request for these if a need was proven and would also be able to provide financial assistance.  Cllr Stewart reported that the village 30mph signs are being obstructed by residents foliage, the Clerk is to contact Highways to ask them to contact the resident regarding this.  Cllr Woodley commented on the damaged state of the road sign at Langworthy Barn, the Clerk is to report this to Highways also.  Cllr Gilbert advised that the PC contact Graham Price of Kingsbridge in Bloom to discuss the town signs that he arranged for Kingsbridge to gather more information about the possibility of Churchstow having new village signs that are created from vinyl stickers such as the ones for Kingsbridge,  Cllr Gilbert informed that he may have funds to assist in paying for these signs, the Clerk is to gather more information.

Cllr Gilbert Report: Cllr Gilbert reported that he had received a complaint regarding advertising on the highway which had resulted on the sign being removed. A discussion was had about the amount of advertising that is happening in the village and Cllr Gilbert advised that if the PC were concerned that they contact Highways if any action is required.  Cllr Gilbert also reported that the road to Avon Mill has had funds allocated to its repair but a timescale for the work is unknown at present but hopefully this year, the traffic lights near Modbury will be there for some time as there was found to be significantly more work to be done once it commenced.  Cllr Gilbert is to forward an email to the Clerk regarding Ash tree dieback, the information within may be good to forward to landowners with Ash trees on their land, especially near highways.

Cllr Kemp Report:  Cllr Kemp reported that SHDC and West Devon are joining forces to eradicate the loophole that allows second home owners to avoid paying business rates.  SHDC accounts have been completed and SHDC generated a surplus of £49,000.  Cllr Kemp has also attended many meetings and forums and completed her training.  Cllr Stewart raised concern regarding the possibility of more commercial development in Churchstow and wanted to make Cllr Kemp aware that the PC are opposed to it.  Cllr Hind told how he was approached at the NP meeting and asked how he felt about the possibility of Emery Oils and Jewson creating business units by Leigh Cross, it was discussed and suggested that it would be much better for the businesses to relocate to the already available facilities at Torr Quarry.  Cllr Kemp informed the PC that the recycling service is moving from Torr Quarry to Ivybridge which would subsequently create more space.  Cllr Kemp spoke about the Rope Walk project in Kingsbridge and the Quayside development, more information is to be gathered for both by Kingsbridge.  Cllr Kemp gave the PC some information regarding the recent planning application at Gratton Farm addressing the consideration the family are giving to address any concerns regarding materials and impact from glazing.  Cllr Williams put a complaint forward regarding the state of Torr Quarry’s recycling centre when he visited recently.

Clerk’s Report:  The Clerk reported that she had received an email from the local police stating that due to their limited resources they would now only provide an annual police report and would not attend meetings but would respond accordingly if approached regarding any issues within the parish.  The Clerk reported that she had had no luck in speaking to or getting a response to messages left to the SHDC legal team regarding the ownership of the Section 106 land adjacent to Reeves Way, Cllr Kemp gave the Clerk a direct email to try.  The Clerk had been in touch with Land Registry and requested a cheque to send as payment to request the ownership details for the land, the Clerk has the SIM form and is to complete accordingly.  A discussion followed and it was agreed that SHDC has not upheld their side of the ‘deal’ in handing over the piece of land that has a Section 106 on it.  Cllr Woodley raised the point that if the liquidator knew that the PC had officially lodged an interest in the piece of land then he should have been obligated to approach the PC to ask if they wished to make an offer on the land, the PC believe this should be the case as Cllr Ian Bramlbe had reported at previous meetings that a SHDC legal person had been in contact with the liquidator on the PC’s behalf, the Clerk is to pursue this matter.  The Clerk produced the Making The Connection grant forms and requested the PC bank account details to put in it, the Clerk is to complete the form and submit it.  The Christmas party was discussed, the Clerk relayed information she had gained from the police regarding the process for a possible road closure.  Cllr Stewart recalled the PC looking in to the for a possible Jubilee celebration and that it was abandoned due to cost.  The Clerk is to  contact Highways to find out more precise information regarding the timings, process and exact costs so this information is available for consideration but it was felt upon further discussion that perhaps this year it would be more sensible to just try to increase the attendance in the Church Hall by putting more effort in to advertising and liasing with Mike Langman to create more of a spectacle of the countdown and if it is successful in raising numbers then the PC could look to making it a road closure event next year.  Cheques were raised for £200 for the Clerk’s salary, £4 for Land Registry fee and £36 for hedge cutting.  Cllr Stewart did present some invoices from Bayleaf Gardening for the grass cutting but the Clerk is to speak with the company following her request that they clarify what the invoices cover before payment be sent.

Additional Matters:  Cllr Hind referred a discussion back to the issue of roadside advertising, they are becoming more prolific especially on the verges at Bantham roundabout, also at Elston Cross, outside the business park and throughout the village.  It was agreed that the PC support the erection of short term signs for specific events but do not want such a presence of commercial signs throughout the village as it is illegal.  The Clerk is to contact Highways regarding this.  Cllr Hind gave an update on the Neighbourhood Plan meeting that himself and Cllr Johnson attended.   It was a 5 hour meeting and was very interesting.  Cllr Hind should receive the minutes from that meeting and will forward this to the PC accordingly, the next NP meeting is to be in September and there should be an indication then of what Churchstow’s (and W Alvington) involvement will be going forward.  Cllr Johnson said the main points raised on behalf of the PC were to reinforce the views of the parish that further housing is not needed, nor is any further business development and that the area of AONB should be protected.  Also there is a need for a proper pedestrian crossing across the A379 to the bus stop in the village, there is a need for a car park in the centre of the village,  there is a real need for proper footpaths in the village and traffic calming on Pump Lane and the A379 through the village.  A footpath/cyclepath connecting the village to Kingsbridge is desirable as is a newer larger community space in the village.  Cllr Johnson reported that the NP team seemed to receive all of the above well.  Cllr Johnson produced an apsirations map of the parish which showed where all of the above needs can be applied, this is to be submitted to the NP committee to incorporate in to the draft NP.  The question of whether we wanted to put in place a settlement boundary was raised, no conclusion was reached.  Cllr Hind reported that the NP stated that Churchstow was not seen as a development need, that the NP wish to encourage extensions to enable working from home, that the PC need to review if the aspirations for the village are affordable and maintainable, that any development should provide adequate parking for itself.  The NP committee requested the PC provide them with images of views from and in Churchstow, Cllr Stewart and Cllr Green both said they had something applicable and Cllr Woodley said it would be possible to take a picture from the top of the Church tower if required, it was also suggested that the village PC website be looked at as there are images on it that may be of use.  Cllr Hind said that at the end of the process the PC will need to hold a public event for the public to view and consult on the proposed NP.

The Clerk raised concerns on behalf of Cllr Barrett- Burn regarding the speeding on Pump Lane.  Cllr Barrett-Burn has been witness to many children on bikes playing in Pump Lane, especially now that the piece of land adjacent to Reeves Way has been fenced off and gated closed.  As previously minuted the Clerk is to contact Highways to request a SCARF be carried out.

Planning Application for The Church House Inn – Ref. 1442/19/FUL was discussed and it was agreed that ‘support’ would be entered by the PC.  

Planning Application for The Church House Inn – Ref. 1443/19/FUL was discussed and it was agreed that ‘support’ would be entered by the PC.

Planning Application for Barn south of Spread Eagles – Ref. 2053/19/FUL was discussed and it was agreed that ‘support’ would be entered by the PC.  Cllr Hind and Cllr Johnson declared an interest in this agenda item.

The fact that SHDC no longer provide the PC with a paper copy of planning applications was discussed, the PC agreed that it was really helpful to have printouts of plans to all view together and discuss at meetings, it was agreed that the Clerk would try to download planning documents on to her laptop and bring that to meetings with a view to aid discussions.

Any Other Business:  Cllr Stewart reported that a resident of Reeves Way had been knocked by a car whilst walking home from the village shop.  He raised the point that the development was only supported by the PC on the grounds that it was an exception site and came with the agreed provision of a footpath linking the development to the village amenities, low level lighting and parking and play area on the Section 106 land, non of which has been fulfilled.  It was agreed that the PC need to chase up on this with SHDC and the developers which the Clerk will do.  Cllr Stewart recalled a SHDC planning lady being present at a PC meeting who was concerned solely with it being an exception site.  The Clerk is to try and find out who this was.  Cllr Kemp voiced her support in getting this issue addressed.

The meeting closed at 10:10pm.  

Next meeting is due to be held in the Church Hall at 7:30pm on Thursday 8th August but a final decision as to whether it is adjourned due to summer holidays is to be made the week prior on whether there are any pressing agenda items which would be best attended to in a meeting setting.