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Parish Council Minutes – October 2019


  Minutes of the Parish Council Meeting held on 15th October 2019

 at 7.30pm in the Village Hall Meeting Room

Present: Michael Ash (Chairman), Ann Norman (Vice Chairman), Paul Boyce, Peter Cooper, Susan Norrish, Jon Pike and Kate Little (Parish Clerk).

In attendance: Jane and Sean Lehni and Douglas Little

42.     Apologies: Theresa Weaver – on a DALC new cllr training course

43.     Minutes of the meeting on  3rd September 2019:  These were agreed and           signed by the Chairman as a correct record of the meeting.

44.     Matters Arising:

  • The lamp in the centre of the village isn’t working following it being hit by a truck.  Still awaiting repair.
  • No response received to date from the Belstone Commoner’s Association regarding threatening behaviour by livestock defending their young as the next meeting is yet to be held.
  • Stone litter bin in the centre of the village – an email has been received from Mr and Mrs Jourdan of Beechcroft explaining that they have been emptying the bin regularly and that it be retained. It was decided however that having taken advice from the DNPA about the desirability of removing the bins from the National Park, the decision about this one should stand.  The matter will nevertheless be kept under review.  The Clerk to write and thank the Jourdan’s for their helpful work.
  • Dog notices will be put up shortly.

45.     Minutes of the Special Planning Meeting of 24th September 2019: These           were agreed and signed by the Chairman as a correct record of the meeting.

46.     Matters Arising:

  • Local Plan Consultation – Belstone is listed as a settlement, but without a settlement boundary where small scale business, affordable housing and sustainable development could be acceptable.  Small scale infill development would be considered and appropriate conversions allowed.  The focus is where there is already development and associated with local people. There will be a build rate of 65 houses per year across the whole Dartmoor National Park for the life of the Local Plan, which is up from 50 in the previous Plan.

                             It was agreed that the Parish Council was generally supportive of                         the new Local Plan but that the feedback form was unhelpful,                     so no response would be sent.

47.     Declarations of Interest: Cllrs Jon Pike, Ann Norman and Susan Norrish declared an interest in the planning application for Moorlands North       and left the room. – they all own land included in supporting information          submitted with the application. The Clerk also left the room as she was the       applicant for the above application.

48.     Urgent Items Raised by the Chairman:  There were none.

49.     Correspondence:

  • DNPA – Annual Parking Pass – This proposal was noted.
  • DALC AGM, Conference and Exhibition – Noted
  • Devon LNP’s Dark Skies Day 31st October 2019 – Noted
  • Climate Change email from Ottery St Mary – To be discussed at the next meeting on 26th November.
  • Superlinks Meeting – on 27th November 2019 at Kilworthy Park, Tavistock. Chairman to attend.
  • 2 Museums Walk – request for Belstone to be involved in the project.  It was decided that as this would probably involve contributing to the cost of leaflets etc and the PC has no spare funds, the Clerk to write to advise that Belstone did not wish to be involved.

50.     Feedback from Meetings/Training Attended:

  • Eastern Links Meeting (Jon Pike) – Rural crime has gone up a little with different settlements having specific problems.  WDBC is preparing for Brexit.  The DNPA has declared a climate change emergency which requires it to review it’s entire carbon footprint and to agree a plan to reduce it.
  • WDBC Training on Standards and Governance (Susan Norrish and the Clerk) –  Cllrs should be aware of their role as an elected member in local government versus being a private person and the pitfalls that can be encountered when using social media.  Care should always be taken not to bring the Parish Council into disrepute.  The Parish Council’s Code of Conduct  which governs the behaviour of cllrs, requires reviewing as it is now 5 years old  (this will be undertaken at next meeting).

51.     Financial Matters:

  • 2nd Quarter Budget Position – Both instalments of the precept have now been received along with the Rate Support Grant.  There is an overspend on training of £96 (first year of a new term of office for the PC), with approx £80 still to come, but other expenses have been as expected up to the end of September.
  • Bank Statements for 2nd Quarter – the Current account stands at £2’038.24 and the Business Reserve account contains £2’000.35.
  • Clerk’s salary for financial year 2020/21 – The contract signed by the present clerk on taking up the post in April 2018 stated that ‘the salary would be in accordance with the national scale for part time parish clerks’, which it currently isn’t, plus a cost of living increase will be published for 2020/21 salary scale in due course.  It was Resolved that the clerk should be paid in accordance with the national scale; the clerk should provide a record of hours worked for the period up until the next meeting; and that the precept will have to be adjusted accordingly.

The Clerk left the room for this item.

  • May 2019 Election Costs  – WDBC has provided advance notice that the cost for Belstone PC will be £606.56.  An invoice will be provided in due course.
  • Payments to be made: It was Resolved to pay the following – £500 Clerk’s first 6 months salary and £125 to HMRC.  It was not agreed to pay PKF Littlejohns LLB £40 + VAT for admin costs associated with the PC submitting a Certificate of Exemption for external auditing.  Clerk to write and challenge the payment as no advance notice had been given of this charge.  There was no charge last year.
  • Section 137 Grant Requests:
  1. Community Transport Group towards purchase of new minibus  – insufficient funds available.
  2. Citizen’s Advice Bureau – insufficient funds available
  3. North Dartmoor Rescue Group – £25
  • Data Protection annual fee to Information Commissioner’s Office  – this will have to be added to the next financial year’s precept.
  • Council Diary – all the relevant tasks were signed off as completed.

52.     Planning Items:

  • Tor Down House, Belstone – Proposed demolition of kitchen wing, replacement with new extension and minor internal works.  DNPA ref: 0424/19.  It was Resolved to raise No Objection/Neutral View
  • Moorlands North, Belstone – Erection of agricultural livestock building.  DNPA ref: 0458/19.  It was Resolved to raise No Objection/Neutral View.

53.     Highways Update:

  • Email from DCC Cllr James McInness – re highways and grit bins. Seven grit bins have been identified:
  • Church gate
  • Near stone bin (opp Dartmoor House)
  • On Eagle House corner
  • Outside green shed on Watchet Hill
  • Opposite waterworks on Watchet Hill
  • By post box in Skaigh Lane
  • By pumping House gate at Tongue End

                   Clerk to write to DCC Highways to request all bins be refilled with salt                   and to request bins be provided at Birchy Lake and Tor Down Hill.

  • Road from Tor Down Cross to Lower – Pillar install – road closure only to cover vehicle and apparatus. Noted.
  • The cross drain at Broadhayes is blocked up and there may be a water main issue further uphill.  Clerk to raise with DCC Highways.

54.     Car Park

                   (i) Funding partners – pledges have been made/will be made from all                   village bodies and the DNPA.  Sufficient funds are therefore available                   to commence the kerbing project.

                   (ii) Selection of contractor – It was Resolved to select Devon                              Tarmasters  as the contractor.  The clerk to write to Devon                                 Tarmasters to accept the quote and agree details of the contract.

55.     Any Other Business

  • Sean Lehni requested the PC’s consent to put up notices in the car park re unauthorised overnight stays.  This was agreed. 
  • Motorbikes using the car park as a skid pan – vehicle nos. should be taken and reported to the police if appropriate.

There being no other business, the Chairman closed the meeting at 9.30pm.

The next meeting will be on 26th November 2019 at 7.30pm