Meeting Minutes 2014-11-12
Present: Cllr Alison Cruse, Cllr Philip Davies, Cllr Pam Matthews, Cllr Emma Bell, Cllr Malcolm Brewer, Cllr V Loader
In attendance: Sam Hood (Clerk), Ian Brooker( DNP Ranger)
420/3 Approval of the minutes held on 7th October 2014
Cllr Davies requested that further detail was added to 419/5 Tap Fund. Clerk agreed to add prior to publication.
Minutes were approved and signed as a correct record.
420/4 Apologies Cllr Val Barns
420/5 Declaration of Interest
Cllr Matthews declared a non pecuniary interest in 421/2
The Chair welcomed Ian Brooker DNP Sector Ranger
a) Ian Brooker DNP Sector Ranger
Mr Brooker stated that he was attending the meeting to discuss Sticklepath Moor. He reminded the Parish Council that an agreement was signed in 1995 giving combined management responsibilities for the common by both the Parish Council and Dartmoor National Park due to there being no registered landowner. He confirmed that up until recently only one individual was actively grazing stock on the common. He confirmed that there were at least 17 individuals who had registered rights to the common but at present, all their details were not known without checking the Commons Register. In the past adverts have been placed in local papers to inform any registered commoners but no one had to this point come forward. Due to a change in landownership, DNP did receive an interest to graze a couple of years ago but this was not fulfilled as the common is not stock proof for sheep. The current individual grazing stock has recently informed DNP he will no longer have stock to continue grazing the common This will result in an impact on the bio diversity of the Moor as the Moor requires controlled grazing to prevent natural succession. There has been some interest in the past but this was unsuccessful as the Moor is unsuitable for the grazing of sheep.
Ian stated he had the name of one individual with registered rights and wished the Council to discuss whether he should approach this one individual or whether he should investigate the names of the other registered commoners and offer them the opportunity to graze on the Moor as well The concern with this option was the Moor for maximum benefit could only sustain a limited level of stock and that if all individuals came forward and chose to graze stock the DNP would be unable to refuse due to the nature of the legal agreement and this could destroy the conservation benefits. Mr Brooker suggested the optimum time to place stock on the Moor was mid-July until mid- October and that both cattle and ponies were good for the conservation grazing. It was not known where the list of individuals with registered rights would be held. It was suggested Devon County Council may hold such a list.
It was suggested that if individuals were interested they would have come forward however it was acknowledged that some individuals may not be aware that they had rights in respect of the Moor.
It was noted that there was no Sticklepath Commoners Association as there is in other areas.
It was agreed that the names of those who have registered rights be investigated and contacted as possible.
Ian Brooker agreed that he would look into this and report back to the Parish Council at the January meeting.
The Chair raised the idea of the Ecology walks being re-instated Mr Brooker indicated that he would have to organise an individual with ecological experience to ensure the walks were as effective as they could be.
It was agreed that a date be set for the Village Workday on the Moor. Sunday 25th January 2015 was agreed.
b) Cllr P Davies – Sticklepath Leat – Working Party Meeting
The National Trust has made it clear that they will not take overall responsibility for the Leat. Jackie Smith from WDBC has reiterated the riparian ownership of those residents who live along-side the Leat. She has also made it clear that she will be enforcing this responsibility.
It was agreed at the meeting there were deficiencies in the survey and it was agreed that once a year the General Manager Dartmoor NT Adrian Colston and Ben Shapcott Finch Foundry manager will walk the Leat with a member from STOCS and a member of Sticklepath Parish Council.
Ben Shapcott will liaise with members of STOCS and residents of Sticklepath to organise a Village Leat maintenance morning. Sunday was highlighted as the preferred day.
Jackie Smith has indicated that flood relief funding may be available for substantial repairs from WDBC and it was agreed that residents should be made aware of this.
Repairs around the sluice gate have been completed to a good standard. The NT will make repairs at the Devonshire Inn in the near future. The flooding in Hayes Field will be monitored and a hinge barrier gate was suggested as a possible solution.
The emergency shutdown of the leat was discussed. Cllr Davies suggested that this should only be carried out by an individual who is competent and experienced due to the high risk nature of the procedure. The NT had provided contact details for Ben Shapcott – Foundry Manager, Wesley Key – Building Surveyor for DNP and Adrian Colston – General Manager, DNP for the emergency shutdown of the Leat. It was raised by Parish Councillors that it may be beneficial to have members of the community who have the skills to shut down the Leat if NT contacts are unavailable.
It was suggested that clearance parties could be drawn from the community to maintain and make small repairs to the Leat. It was noted that these parties must be respectful of property and privacy.
Major works were identified. Silt behind main sluice gate needs to be regularly removed. The road bridge across to the Finch Foundry car park is considered too low and may be prone to blockage. The foot bridge to the back of Foundry Cottage is being considered for replacement and the sluice gate at Albany House is in need of repair. The emergency sluice by Silverlake is in need of maintenance.
Mike Eastman questioned the cautions the NT had placed on parts of the Leat that have no registered interest. The NT indicated that they were seeking to have those cautions removed.
It was suggested that those affected could employ a contractor to carry our repairs and those responsible for the maintenance of the Leat could contribute financially. Cllr Alison Cruse has agreed to facilitate such a group and will contact residents via letter to explore this option.
420/7 Action from last meeting
Cllr Davies suggested amendments to risk assessment. To be completed by clerk and presented to meeting in December ACTION CLERK
No response from Highway Department. Clerk to email again and request update ACTION CLERK
Cllr James McInnes had passed Chair’s letter to Highway department. Steve Dawes stated that such decisions are dependent on priority and that priority was based on previous accidents and the serious nature of those accidents. It was suggested that residents be encouraged to report all accidents within the village.
Tap Fund Bid
Cllr Barns written report confirms that the Tap bid will go to the Eastern Links meeting on 20 November. It is joint bid with South Tawton, for a total of £2000. South Tawton will have the balance, which will be less than their anticipated costs. Cllr McInnes and Cllr Cann have confirmed support, so it is hopeful that it will be accepted unless there are large and more important bids from other PCs.
Request for funding
Letter sent to confirm that the Council will consider applications later in the fiscal year.
420/8 Actions brought forward by Chair
Email has been received from Mr M.Gilbert who informed the Council that a Walnut tree will produce a black substance on the cases of its nuts that stains and is difficult to remove and this may make it unsuitable for the playground. It was agreed that the council would reconsider the tree type for the playing field.
420/9 Matters arising
a) Highway Review
It was agreed to discuss this under 421/0
b) 30MPH Sign
Cllr Barns has noted that the 30mph is on the wrong side of the road and in the wrong position. This issue has been raised with highways in the past. It was agreed that the clerk would contact Highways and raise the issue of the signs position and obtain the timetable for its arrival and departure. ACTION CLERK
c) Remembrance Sunday
This was a successful event, The Parish Council contributes to the wreath. Clerk to await an invoice ACTION CLERK
d) Holmes Field
The Chair had been contacted by a resident of Holmes field who has raised concerns regarding a house swap. The Council agreed to write to West Devon Homes to ensure that the criteria for the S106 was being adhered to and enforced within its properties.
WDBC has offered Parish Council sand and bags for the winter months. Requests are required by the 21st November 2014. Mr D Wakley is the snow warden and Mr P Gray is Community Response Team Coordinator. It was agreed to contact Mr Wakley to enquire whether he required sand or bags for the coming month and to assess village requirement for salt for this winter. ACTION CLERK
The balances and budgetary figures were presented. The following payments were approved:
· Mrs S Hood Salary £100.00
· Grass Care Grass cutting £55.00
· DALC Training £30.00
· WDBC Emptying dog bins & litter bins £34.54
The Council discussed the procedure for setting the budget. It was agreed that the Clerk, Cllr Cruse (Chair) & Cllr Matthews (Vice Chair ) and any other interested councillors would meet and consider budget and present to the meeting on the 2nd December 2014. The Council discussed the latest cost saving proposal from Devon County Council. The proposal includes a further reduction in grass cutting. Verges would only be cut to maintain visibility at junctions on the inside of bends in town’s villages and rural areas. There would be a reduction in the number of vehicles in the second fleet of gritting lorries which are used during prolonged and severe weather which means a reduced response to issues off the main road in such a weather event. There is a process ongoing to assess criteria of gritting routes which may mean that access routes to smaller communities will not be gritted. Finally the County Council is proposing that they would no longer maintain and restock grit bins in local communities and this would fall to community groups to purchase salt through a contract procured by Devon County Council. Information is to be found on www.toughchoices.co.uk
421/1 Meetings attended
14/0046 – Sticklepath Conservation Area: Proposed Tree Works, Tawside House
There were no objections to this proposal ACTION CLERK
421/3 Correspondence received
Correspondence was placed on the table for the attention of Council.
421/4 Date of next meeting
The following dates were approved:
Tues 2nd December
Tues 6th January
Tues 3rd February