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Westleigh Parish Council – Minutes of Remote (Zoom) meeting Wednesday 4th November 2020

Attendees – Cllrs Fairbrother, Gear, Heard, Frajbis, Burgess, CCllr Biederman, and NDDCllr (and MP) Saxby. Parish Clerk (PC) also in attendance


1. Apologies received in respect of the meeting – Cllr Farrell-Roberts

2. Declarations of Interest – to receive Declarations of Interests from Councillors of any disclosable, pecuniary, or other Interests in items on the agenda – none received

3. Minutes – to confirm and agree the signing of the minutes of the meeting held on the 7th October 2020 – all actions had been completed apart from the ongoing need for the repainting of the phone box at Eastleigh. DR to seek alternative quotes

4. Correspondence and Communications – to include a summary of C&C received from the Chair and Clerk – minimal correspondence received apart from many emails regarding Covid which all Councillors receive. One email from ‘Plastic Free North Devon’ required a response which the PC was tasked to do.

5. County and District Ward Members reports – CCllr Biederman encouraged all Cllrs to keep an eye on the DCC and NDC websites, as there was guidance there for those experiencing hardship, or could well expect to, over the coming months. He also reiterated following a question raised about the many potholes in the area, that there is a mechanism in place on the DCC website to report them. Torridge District Council area issues can be input as well. NDCCllr Saxby agreed that more should be done to fix this issue, and in her capacity as MP would also voice her concerns. At that point, several Cllrs took advantage of having the MP’s attendance, and questions were asked outside of the Parish Council’s remit. Understandably, emotions are running high, and the session was curtailed.

Public Session – as the meeting is not an Open Meeting due to Covid-19 restrictions, and the unavailability of the Parish Hall, there will be no Public Session. However, Parishioners were asked to forward any questions, or subjects they would like raised to the Parish Clerk on Westleigh.Clerk@gmail.com by the 3rd November – none received

6. Finance – to receive an update on the current position, to receive accounts to pay, to note any income received, and any other matters relating – one payment required authorisation, that of £42 for printing, and mileage costs which would come under PC’s expenses. The balance of the Council’s account was currently £5631.90

7. Planning matters – any issues that need raising – none received

8. Eastleigh Defibrillator – update on phone box painting – alternative quotes being sought. It was also mentioned that the access to the Eastleigh ‘phone box’ seemed very crowded by vehicles at times. Cllr Heard (CH) would look into it and report back

9. Highway issues – dealt with by CCllr Biederman in his report. 2 instances of fly tipping had been noticed (Southcott Road, and Eastleigh), and the PC would email CCllr Biederman accordingly

10. Footpath signage – update – the PC had contacted relevant parishioners where signs were missing or broken. These will be reposted or replaced as necessary. PC to contact CCllr Biederman regarding the ‘how’ of obtaining new signs.

11. Environmental issues – PC to write to Hector Christie with the Council’s concerns regarding the following subjects:- Sticks Meadow, hedge trimming, water runoff, use of weedkiller/pesticides, footpaths, field verges (tenant farmers), plastic free North Devon. Cllr Burgess reported that there had been a definite improvement in the ‘flood’ issue at West Living, and Phil Beale should be commended for the work he had put in. Grass had also been planted in the lane, and that combined with fields still being ‘in stubble’ had all helped. Cllr Burgess will continue to monitor.

12. Bus shelter – mural update – unfortunately some ‘person’ had taken it upon themselves to spray the river facing side with red paint. The new mural would cover this when erected, and the anti-graffiti coating may help

13. Christmas meeting – left in abeyance due to Covid restrictions

14. Agenda items for the next meeting (Wednesday 2nd December) – the Council were aware of the need to be responsive in these difficult times. It was also noted that in the New Year some form of footpath exploration in the Parish competition, could be organised for children, with appropriate prizes – Council agreed that this should looked at in detail once Covid had receded.

15. Any other business not covered – the PC (in his capacity as Chairman of the Charity Harbour, in Bideford) stressed that there were also avenues of help for people in hardship, and although closed for face to face meetings, Harbour could be contacted at harbourbideford@gmail.com

Cllr David Fairbrother - Chairman