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Westleigh Parish Council – Minutes of a meeting of the Parish Council held on Wednesday 20th March 2019 at the Westleigh Village Hall commencing at 7.30pm.

Present: Cllrs K. Griffin, L. Burgess. L.Gear. Farrell-Roberts C. Heard, D. Fairbrother, B. Moores

In attendance: Mr. M. Harris, Parish Clerk, Helen Ward (incoming Clerk)

Brian Lees attended to speak to correspondence item relating St Peters Churchyard path improvements.  Brian Lees left the meeting at 7.45pm.

MH03.19.1        Apologies

No apologies were received for the meeting.


Declarations of Interest

Members were reminded that all interests must be declared prior to the item being discussed.     

No declarations of interests were received.


3. To approve, and sign the minutes of the Parish Council Meeting held on the 16th January 2019

Cllr L. Gear proposed an amendment to minute MH01:18.8 – Action point to read: Cllr L. Gear agreed to draft a poster to forward to Cllr K. Griffin

It was resolved, to approve the minutes with the above amendment, as a true record.

There were no matters arising.


Correspondence and Communication:

a)  The following items of correspondence were received:

Nigel Morgan – Quotation for repairs work to Bus Shelters – Agreed to approve works for a cost of £75.

Colin Savage – Details of Community Led Housing Schemes – circulated to all Councillors.

Parish Clerk – resignation letter – noted.

Brain Lees – update on the plans for improvements to the St Peters Churchyard path.

Brain Lees explained the current position relating to funding of the path improvements and suggested that the parish council may wish to consider a reduction in the £350 grant provided to support the works.  After a discussion it was agreed to maintain the level of grant at £350.

North Devon Council (NDC) – information on the withdrawal of the dog bin emptying service.

NDC – Notice of Election for District & Parish Councils 2nd May 2019 & Parish Council Nomination packs – notices forwarded to Cllr K. Griffin for display on noticeboards.  Nomination packs distributed at the meeting.  Deadline for return by hand to NDC 3rd April.

Action Point: It was agreed that all Cllrs seeking re-election would return the completed forms to Cllr K. Griffin by Monday 1st April 2019.  The clerk to collect the packs and take to the NDC offices in Barnstaple in advance of the deadline.

b) County and District Council Ward Members Reports

Cllr B. Moores NDC reported the following:

The budget for 2019/20 had now been approved, based on some assumptions on revenue levels.  A confirmed 2.9% increase in Council Tax on band D properties had been confirmed.  There has been an 8% reduction in strategic grants.  The Parish grants have been held at current levels until 2021, at which juncture the grants will be withdrawn.

Public Session – at the discretion of the Chairman members of the public can ask questions and make comments to the Council.

No members of the public were present at the meeting.


Financial Matters

a)  To receive an update on the current financial position.

The Parish Clerk reported that the current balance in the Community Account was £4,656.56 as of the 1st March.  There are several commitments to be deducted with a predicted balance of £4,086.60.  

The Clerk then presented the revised budget for 2019/20.  The budget includes a sum of £1000 to undertake footpath improvements with a grant of £529 to off set the cost.  The precept has been increased from £3,000 to £3,500.  It was agreed to maintain the current grants.

It was resolved that the revised budget for 2019/20 be approved. (all in favour)

b)   To receive any accounts to pay:

To approve/note payments as follows:

Nigel Morgan – repairs to Bus Shelter – cheque no 100471 - £75.  Paid.

Parish Clerk – Quarterly Salary – cheque No 100472 - £334.96.

It was resolved to note and approve payment of the above cheques.

c)  To note any income received:

The sum of £5 VAT refund.  TAP Fund grant – footpath improvements - £471.

d) Any other financial issues


No other matters for discussion.                                        


MH03:18.7      Planning Matters

a)  New planning applications


None for this meeting.

b)  Planning decisions

 None for this meeting.


c)  Other planning issues

Wooda Road Appledore – response sent on behalf of the Parish Council to Torridge District Council setting out reasons for objections to the planning application.

Other ongoing issues to be monitored; Walled Garden adjacent to White Lodge Westleigh, and 3, Oman’s Cottage. Westleigh

MH03:18.8     Review of Parish Projects

a)  Westleigh Footpath

Cllr K. Griffin reported that a quotation from Nigel Morgan for £1,500 had been received to improve the surface of the existing footpath. This quotation was lower than any of the other quotes received.

Noted that a grant of £529 is available via the TAP Fund and must be claimed by the 30th June 2019.

It was resolved to accept the quotation from Nigel Morgan and arrange for the work to be carried out in early spring.

Action Point:  Cllr K. Farrell – Roberts agreed to investigate the possibility of a funding application to the Bridge Trust to make up the shortfall in funding for the footpath work.

b)  Housing Needs Survey

Confirmation has now been received from NDC that 100% funding is now available to Parish Councils to undertake a Housing Needs Survey.    

Action Point:  The Clerk to contact Sue Southwell – Devon Communities to confirm that the Parish Council would now like to take forward the offer to undertake a Housing Needs Survey.


c)   Highway Issues

Cllr K. Farrell- Roberts reported a dead Badger in the hedge on the Westleigh Road.  Agreed to inform Highways requesting removal – Clerk to action.

It was agreed that the Clerk would continue to raise the issue of speeding on the main road via Cllr F. Biederman.

Cllr. C. Heard raised a number of highway issues relating to Eastleigh.

Follow up information on the traffic survey conducted in Eastleigh.  An issue relating to flooding on the entry road into the Village from Bideford.

Action Point:  The clerk to include these issues in the email to Cllr F. Biederman – DCC.

d)  Defibrillator - Eastleigh

Cllr K. Griffin reported that an estimate from the British Heart Foundation put the cost of a defibrillator would be approximately £1,580.  This does not include the maintenance costs and required training.

Action Point:  The Clerk to contact Cllr F. Biederman with a request to consider providing funding from his Locality budget to support the purchase of a defibrillator for Eastleigh.  

Noted poster to be redrafted subject to the outcome of the approach to Cllr Biederman.       

e)  Resignation of Westleigh Parish Clerk

A letter had been received from the Clerk resigning from the above position.  Following a recruitment process Helen Ward had been appointed as the new Clerk, commencing from the 1st April 2019.

Cllr K. Griffin thanked Malcolm Harris for his commitment and bringing his Local Government experience to the post.

f)  Bus Shelter

Work has now been undertaken on the damaged shelter. It was agreed to investigate the potential for a mural on the back wall of the shelter, and treatment with anti-graffiti solution



Future meetings

Cllr K. Griffin proposed that the Parish Council now hold ten meetings per year.

It was resolved that the Parish Council will now hold ten meetings per year commencing as from April 2019.

Action Point:  Cllr K. Griffin to circulate the list of meetings, subject to the availability of the Village Hall.

Agenda items for the next meeting

Westleigh Footpath

Bus Shelter

Eastleigh Defibrillator

Highway Issues – standing item

There being no further business the meeting closed at 8.30pm

Next Meeting:  Annual Parish Meeting, followed by a Parish Meeting on Wednesday 22nd May 2019, commencing at 7.30pm.