The Meeting of the Parish Council of Withypool and Hawkridge

Hawkridge Village Hall, Tuesday 2nd July 2019 at 7.35PM

Attendees: Parish Cllrs: A Howard (AH - Chairman), K Branfield (KB), A Collins (AC), T Lloyd (TL) , W Lock (WL), County Cllr F Nicholson and Clerk C Hornsby (CH)       

Members of the public: 2

21/19    Apologies of Absence District Cllr S Pugsley (SP) and FN would arrive later

22/19    Declarations of notifiable interests AH for 32/19 Withymead planning

23/19    Approval of the Minutes of the previous meeting on 14/05/19 The minutes were proposed by AC and 2nd by KB as a true and correct record of what took place.

24/19    Matters arising from the Minutes of 14/05/19        07/19 Saltbins – these are now at AC’s farm awaiting the time when the cllrs will site them around the parish. Clerk to email SP to discover if Highways need to be notified about siting of bins. 15/19 BT wire in tree – Dan Passmore (DP) is going to do this work however he is getting a tree felling license from ENPA.

25/19    Co-option of Councillors    Mrs Jo Down (JD), who was unable to attend the meeting, was proposed by AC and 2nd by TL to be a parish councillor, all agreed and so JD is now co-opted on to the W&HPC. Mr Turner had shown an interest in becoming a councillor however the parish council agreed that due to the ongoing issue with the fence in the village it was not the right time for Mr Turner to join the W&HPC. It was stated that once this issue was resolved he would be a valuable member of the parish to have on the parish council.

26/19    Withypool Bridge Common Land Report from Working Group   TH reported that the working group had a meeting and that the matter is now in the hands of ENPA and the Lady of the Manor. KB stated that he had received information that there were documents dating back to 1890 and that he was going to view them. He will report any findings to the clerk. WL who is new to the situation of the fence asked ‘was it actually a civil issue and not an issue for the parish council’ but as it was stated it was the responsibility of the parish council to listen to the parish and as there had been concerns raised about access to common land, the PC had to look at the situation. It was noted that ENPA had been informed at the start by the PC but are only now taking an active role. It was also stated that issues like these do take time as the PC only meet bi-monthly and are volunteers. The parish council are trying to ensure that costs are kept as low as possible and to date it has cost the PC nothing. Cllrs and members of the public discussed the issue but as both parties are now waiting for information from ENPA there was nothing further available to discuss. The members of the public then left the meeting.

27/19    Report by the District Councillor None

29/19    Finance report

Bank Rec: £8290.12 including unbanked cheques.

(i)                  Invoices: (i) SALC Fees: £56.90 all agreed that this should be paid as SALC are extremely helpful in mattes of guidance. CHQ No: 493     £56.90    Payable to SALC (i)   Defib Service: £ 35.00 all agreed that this should be paid. CHE No: 492    £35.00 Payable to Life Saver Tech

(ii)                VAT claim is underway for £473.08 which includes the VAT on the village signs, laptop and sand box. The clerk stated that VAT claims will now be made every twelve months from 1st April to 31st March.

(iii)              Accounts have been published on Website and public are able to view the full records by appointment but all info is very clear on the website. The public viewing date of the bank statements and invoices is until Friday 26th July but the accounts will be on the website indefinitely.

(iv)              Financial Regulations (FR) The clerk informed the council that the FR need to be brought up to date as the present ones are dated 2000 and are not relevant to today’s finances. These FR are on one page of A4. The model FR from NALC are on 26 pages of A4. A lot of it will need to be thinned down as W&HPC do not deal with the kind of finance that large Parish and town councils deal with. Clerk to email the FR over the next few months for Cllrs to view and then these can be adopted at the next PC meeting in September.

(v)                Minute Book - The clerk informed the Cllrs that the minute book was nearing the end and it would soon be time to buy a new one. This will cost £135 plus VAT but it will last at least 10 years so is a cost of £13.50 per year. The council agreed that this was worth buying and gave the clerk authority to purchase one. All agreed that if the clerk can have a cheque sent to the company for the order a cheque will be given to the clerk before the September meeting. 

(vi)              Clerks Appraisal – the Chairman stated that the cllrs had met to discuss the clerks appraisal and as all were very happy with the work that she does wanted to offer an increase in hourly rate from SCP17 which she is now in to SCP 20. The clerk was very grateful and accepted the increase stating that she enjoyed the work that she does for the council.

30/19    Highways including winter gritting - (i)  WL reported that part of the edge of the road between Slade Bridge and the top cattle grid on Anstey Hill had washed away and was a problem for vehicles travelling uphill – clerk to email Devon Highways. (ii) WL reported that signs had been put up by residents to slow vehicles down on the approach to Tarr Steps. It was agreed that this was a matter for Highways when they check the roads, if they have a problem with it then they will deal with it. (iii) Sat Nav is still an issue with directing people to via Tarr Steps via Hawkridge. (iv) winter gritting was raised in 24/19

31/19    Parish Gardens letters will be sent to tenants during July/Aug for September 12 month payments.

FN arrived

32/19    Planning             06/06/2019   Withymead, Withypool, Minehead, Somerset - Proposed Change of Use of ground floor to provide a holiday let.                       After much discussion it was agreed that the parish council would support the change of use however they wish to recommend that it can also be used for affordable needs housing. They stated that there are already a lot of holiday lets available but young local people, who wish to remain and work in the area, have difficulty in finding suitable housing. They would also like to refer the planning committee to page 179 of the Local plan – Policy HC-D14                                         

28/19    Report by the County Councillor (i) SP was now the new chairman of the planning committee and no longer chair of the Consultative Forum. (ii) Highways were continuing their works of surface dressing the roads. (iii) The matter about the signs (raised in 30/19 (ii)) was not something to be overly concerned about and if Highways had an issue, they would deal with it. (iv) WL reported that the concrete pad on the Tarr Steps slip way now had a crevice large enough for a tyre and so FN said she would take that information to Highways. (v) Verge trimming was discussed but it was stated that it was only done once a year.

FN then left the meeting

33/19    Parish Maintenance(i)  DP will include the bench by the shop as part of his work for next year and will add that to his quote. AH had been paying for this him self but now the parish council will take on the responsibility as it is a parish council bench. (ii) DP cut grass and footpath around the Old Chapel. (iii) AH reported that ex cllr Jeremy Davies had made an excellent job of repairin the kissing gate in the village. It was requested that as Mr Davies does not want to be paid for the work WL proposed and all agreed that Mr Davies must be formally thanked in the minutes and clerk to email to say thanks on behalf of PC.

34/19    Aims and Objectives (A&O) Due to the issue raised by the internal auditor about possible risks being recorded in the A&O the following points were added to the policy.

·       To ensure that all councillors adhere to the Code of Conduct adopted May 2019

·       To ensure that all councillors adhere to the Standing Orders as adopted in May 2019

·       To ensure that at least one member of the Parish Council is aware of how the RFO runs the accounts in case the RFO is absent from work for any length of time and is unable to carry out the correct account keeping. This Cllr will meet with the RFO twice yearly to go through the accounts and record keeping procedure.

·       To ensure that should the clerk be absent from a meeting at short notice, a member of the parish council can stand in to take the minutes.

It was also agreed to change the wording of the following to remove villages to parish.

·       Support local business and economic activity in the parish

The A&O will be published on the website

35/19    Correspondence The clerk read out several items that had already been forward to the Cllrs prior to the meeting. The following required action. (i)  National Park Authority has now produced a ‘Quick Guide’ to the Draft Rural Worker and Succession Farm Guidance. The closing date for this consultation remains the 31st July 2019 – all cllrs to ensure that they have read this and will email the Clerk if they wish anything to be reported to the consultation. (ii) At the recent Exmoor Area Panel meeting, Cllr Andy Milne gave an update on the proposed cuts to the Devon and Somerset Fire & Rescue Service to modernise the service and make cost savings under the banner of ‘Safer Together’.  These options included the loss of stations in Devon and Somerset, including Porlock, and a reduced number of fire engines/services, the latter affecting Williton.   These options were discussed by the Devon and Somerset Fire & Rescue Service on 28 June and the chosen options will go public today on 1 July as part of an 11-week public consultation. It was agreed at the Panel meeting that the weblinks to the Safer Together programme and public consultation would be circulated and Cllr Milne and Cllr Pugsley urged all to participate. It was agreed by the council to await to hear any further information from the panel meeting and there were many options.



36/19    Report from representatives of other groups:

Withypool Village Hall, TH reported that he had been approached by a member of the public who suggested a donation box in the village hall carpark for visitors to use the space. As the car park does not belong to the village hall, this could not be done. KB reported that the fete and produce show will be on 21st August and permission was granted by the W&HPC for the use of the parish garden for the fete. Hawkridge Village Hall, WL said no meeting recently but an issue over encouraging visitors to use the car park without the village hall being responsible was an issue that had been raised to stop the visitors parking in other places causing problems to road users.  Henry Leigh Trust next meeting in September. Exmoor Panel Nothing to report.  Consultative & Parish Forum KB said he was unable to attend but WL lock said he had heard that the matter for young people and housing had been raised. Historic signpost restoration project this will now be taken off the agenda as there is no longer a representative from the PC who attends.

37/19    Items for September agenda

                                            Financial Standing Orders to be reviewed and approved

38/19    Date and time of next meeting:

                                           Tuesday 10th September 2019 Withypool Village Hall 7.30pm


There being no further business the chairman closed the meeting at 9.35pm