Thursday 30th July 2020 7.30pm via Zoom


Councillor(s) present:  Parish Cllrs: F Schott- Chair (FS), A Vigars (AV), J Chanter (JC), A Chapman (AC), T Gowlland (TG); District Councillor S Pugsley (SP, via Zoom) and Clerk C Hornsby.

No members of the public were present.

The meeting was held at The Vicarage in the garden and five councillors and clerk kept social distance at all times. There was also a link via Zoom for others to attend. The area has poor internet and so it is not possible for all cllrs to attend the meeting using Zoom.


13/20                   Questions from the public. None


14/20                   Apologies of Absence None


15/20                   Declarations of notifiable interests AV on 28/20


16/20                   Approval of the Minutes of the last meeting held on 04/06/2020 These were proposed by AV and 2nd by FS as a true and correct record and all agreed for the Chair to sign them.


17/20                   Matters arising from the minutes of 04/06/2020 None          


18/20                   Matters managed using Business Continuity Motion. Clerk explained that the following items had been actioned since the Lockdown for CV19 had taken place:  01/04/2020 Clowns donation £50.00 Chq no: 256; S&EHT donation £500.00 Chq no: 257;       05/04/2020 Clerk’s Pay and Exp for Jan, Feb, Mar £210.18 Chq no: 258; BHIB insurance paid £184.13 Chq no: 259;    05/07/2020 Clerk’s Pay and Exp for Apr, May, Jun paid 5th July £210.18 Chq No: 260


19/20                   Community Issues raised due to CV19 None


28/20                   Planning   6/14/20/104     Simonsbath Barton, Simonsbath To Lynton Road, Simonsbath, TA24 7SJ     Proposed conversion of storage rooms in stables to disabled accessible one bedroom flat for dual use of holiday accommodation and occupation by immediate family.     All Cllrs are in support of this planning as fundamentally it does not change the look and feel of the property and will improve the building as well. Clerk to email ENPA Planning.

29/20                   Finance      Bank Reconciliation: £6095.24; NB: last bank statement dated 5th May. Clowns and S&EHT probably not paid in yet due to CV 19, so no reason for bank to send a statement. Invoices to be authorised:  SALC Fees: £38.17 CHQ No: 261; C Hornsby Reimbursement for Auditor Gift:   £30.00 CHQ no: 262   These were both approved by the Cllrs and the cheques were signed. The clerk read a thank you message from the Internal Auditor Mrs L Fisher for the gift vouchers   See also Point: 23/20 (ii)                                              

20/20                   District and County council reports.              Clerk had emailed the details from FN earlier to all Cllrs as follows: Unitary Authority: The decision on the future of Local Government in Somerset will rest with the Secretary of State however there are some possible outcomes. A split authority or one authority. Whatever happens the local rural voice must still be heard. It must ensure local control which is best suited to the remotest parts of Somerset; Exmoor, Mendips etc as well as the urban areas. The proposal from the County Council has a number of community networks and these would be committees of the unitary council and would shape its policies for each area in the light of the Joint Strategic Needs Assessment of the area. These committees would include the local members of the unitary council and parish council representatives plus possibly other local organisations that join together to make sure what is important locally is dealt with and these groups can respond to local area needs instead of a one size fits all. The proposal from the County Council is that these Local Community Networks should be written into the constitution of a new unitary authority in order to ensure that they are properly resourced and cannot be left to wither in the future. SP added: All the principal local authorities in Somerset - County and District - have agreed that the current two-tier system is not working effectively and needs to be replaced. (The most likely alternatives being a single Unitary Council replacing all of the existing authorities; or the abolition of the County Council with its functions being assumed by the Districts directly or via a system of Joint Boards between them). Consequently, there will be change - the status quo is very unlikely to remain. My anxiety is that whatever replaces it should produce as much devolved decision making as possible to the most local body practicable, with the requisite guaranteed funding to support it.  FN also noted that she entirely agrees with Steven that any arrangements put in place to ensure that local needs and views are heeded must be properly resourced and part of the constitution of any new council (whatever shape). SP also reported from the SW&T DC that applications for the grants for businesses, paying business rates with a rateable value of less than £51k in the retail, leisure or hospitality sector was now closed and he was chasing up the last people who could benefit from the second grant aimed at businesses that don’t pay Business Rates as this will also be closing soon.  The Glover review was rasied as this is still an issue concerning the future of National Parks  and how control will be taken away from local people and made a more national committee. This is very concerning for Exmoor and SP urges all PC's to make their voices heard with reference to keeping local people involved in the running of Exmoor National Park when the time comes to do so.              

Points taken out of order in case internet signal was lost and SP was unable to carry on.

24/20                   Report from Simonsbath & Exmoor Heritage Trust    SP reported that the transfer of the White Rock building to the Trust is still ongoing but until the final electric problem is solved it cannot be released by ENPA. Car parking in Ashcombe was discussed                                                                               

21/20                   Highways (i) parking on the bend (ii) Hotel hedge maintenance (iii) B3223 drainage (iv) Signage for carpark and toilets from Devon routes (v) signage for the warning of riders needed on all routes.  All the matters were discussed but as FN was unable to attend, it was agreed for the clerk to email the details to FN.                                                                                                                                                             

22/20                   Parish Maintenance          (i) paths in village – The road sweeper has been asked to clean the paths through the village; AV sprayed the weeds from the pub to the top of the road near Beech Cottages. It was agreed for the PC to purchase a large bottle of weed killer rather than PC use their own supplies. TG to purchase and will be refunded by the Council.  Once this is purchased then weeds on wall heading to South Molton will also be sprayed. (ii) cleaning of signs in village – these seem fine at the present time and will be reviewed annually (iii) drains – no comment (iv) BT Phone Box – Clerk has emailed SW&TDC to try and ensure the box and phone are saved from being removed. Some Cllrs felt it was not required in the village as it needed maintenance and looked untidy but others felt it should remain due to emergency necessity and village heritage. Clerk to find out about getting phone fixed.                                                                                                              

23/20                   Correspondence (i) Thank you from CLOWNS for the £50 donation. (ii) Fundraising for Exmoor prescription delivery service. Cllrs felt this was a very good service and so £100 was donated for the cause. Exmoor Medics £100 Cheque No: 263                                                                                                                         

25/20                   Chairman’s Notices           None                                                                                             

26/20                   Items for next Agenda                                                                                                                                            

27/20                     Date and time of next meeting: TBC for September 2020

NB: Please note that the numbering was incorrect for planning and finance but clerk left it as it was still the right number of points.