COUNCIL MEMBERS PRESENT
* – Attendance; A- Absent; N – No Apologies Received
Cllr Mrs N. Turton – Mayor (in the Chair) *
Cllr. M. Fice *
Cllr Mrs C. Bricknell *
Cllr T. Lang *
Cllr Mrs L. Sinnott A
Cllr K. Baker A
Cllr P. Lafferty-Holt *
Cllr M. Long *
Cllr Mrs Kemp *
Also in attendance:
Dist. Cllr S. Wright *
Dist. Cllr Mrs Pearce *
Cty. Cllr. R Gilbert *
Gill Claydon (Clerk) *
Pete Robinson (Cemetery Manager and Project Officer) *
WPC Jo Pengilly A
PCSO P. O’Dwyer A
Kristen Bounds Kingsbridge Gazette *
1. DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST
Members were invited to acknowledge any declarable interests, including the nature and extent of such interests that they may have in any items to be considered at this meeting. None received.
2. OPEN FORUM
Richard Turton attended as Snow Warden and gave a report on his attendance at the Community Resilience conference. He provided literature and a suggestion on grant funding that could be sought to assist winter gritting provision.
District and County Councilors’ Report.
Cty Cllr Gilbert advised that the gulley outside Bonningtons shop was due to be repaired on 4th February 2019 and that all road works on Shadycombe and Devon Roads had been completed. Cllr Long complimented the contractors for the speed and works completed, considering the bad weather, and said they should be congratulated. Cty Cllr Gilbert asked Cllr Long to send an email stating such so that he could forward this on. With regard to the First Responder parking place Cty Cllr Gilbert had spoken to an officer and County was completely bemused as to why white lines had not been installed and were struggling to find out why. As soon as he knew anything he would forward an email to tell everyone.
Cllr Fice noted that along Island Street a cement mixer lorry had offloaded into a building site but was washing the lorry into the gulleys. Another cement lorry driver then decided to block off Cliff Road at about 11.30a.m. Tuesday and when Cllr Fice returned at 3. 30p.m the road was still blocked. Cty Cllr Gilbert asked that anybody who witnessed cement being dispersed down a gulley should get the licence plate number. Cllr Long was worried about a traffic warden being overzealous as some contractors installing a television screen in Marchand and Petit were not allowed to remain for 30 minutes to complete the works although further along builders had been parked there all day.
The Mayor noted that the street light at the top of Cliff House Woods steps had been out for many weeks and was still not working although County contractors had visited, carried out works and repaired the paving slabs on the steps. Cty Cllr Gilbert said that contact should be made with Les Pym to ask him what was happening. The current contractor, Southern Electric, no longer not wanted Devon’s 85,000 street lights so County had gone out to tender. On the whole however Cty Cllr Gilbert felt South Electric had done a good job.
Cllr Lafferty-Holt noted discussion about the pavement outside the new Co-op, Gould Road and how cars were parking every day on this pavement, off the street and not on the double yellow lines. Cllr Fice added that the pavement should not have been installed and noted during planning highways asked for a £5000 contribution to enhanced parking. This also meant that the highway white line was therefore now off centre. Cty Cllr Gilbert agreed that all needed clarification as to whether the works were approved, and he would ask the Highways Officer, Adam Keay.
Regarding skips on the highway Cllr Long enquired if they needed a licence from Devon County and was there a requirement for them to be lit at night. Salcombe was starting to see more and more on the street, not lit and no licence displayed. Cllr Fice noted he had reported three skips and none of them had licences. Cty Cllr Gilbert asked if any skips being driven to and from site were not sheeted up please email him as rubbish from these was being sucked out. He needed a licence plate, day, time and place.
Cty Cllr Gilbert left the meeting wishing everyone Happy Christmas and he would see them in the New Year.
Dist Cllr Brazil was present, and he thanked town council for allowing him to attend the meeting to speak with regard to the public conveniences around the Salcombe Estuary. Following discussion with the Harbour Board they were unanimous in their wishes to endeavor to keep the public toilets open. District’s Executive decision moved things on but they had obtained a stay of execution for months. The decision was called in and he would go back to Executive the following day. Dist Cllr Brazil felt that the position with regard to the Salcombe toilets (including two over East Portlemouth side) had not changed. There was to a further meeting at the Harbour Office with the Mayor and Cllr Fice in attendance together with officers from District Council to discuss a way forward. Therein an eventuality and/or possibility could be that an asset transfer to town council be suggested and before that a pilot scheme for say perhaps two years to see how this would work. This was something that everyone wanted to do asset transfer wise. District Council had since stated transfer could not take place for Whitestrand or Batson and whilst Dist Cllr Brazil could see their point of view he was not impressed. There was a concern expressed for town council taking over assets not in their parish which he understood but his argument on this point, as Chairman of the Harbour Board, even though he was the member over there as well, was he saw the beaches over there as part of the package for Salcombe because most people visiting those beaches were from here.
Running costs advised for those 6 toilet blocks was £98,000 p.a. and District had suggested pay on entry and estimated this would raise £18,000. So, the suggestion was that a partnership of Town Council and the Harbour Board would look at running these with District Council providing a dowry of £80,000 pa to run these toilets. He believed those were the headline figures and the group had asked for a condition survey of all the toilets, so they could know the liabilities. The Harbour Board muted they would share the cost because of problems at Mill Bay at £18,000 to cover this. For the other 5 units a condition survey would let them know the position and Dist Cllr Brazil calculated that the fixed costs for 6 toilet units (inc electricity, water etc) of about £25,000 so £55,000 would remain to run them per annum. Obviously, the dowry would decrease but £55,000 for running costs and an advert in the newspaper for cleaning and maintenance, he felt, would attract a lot of applicants. The partnership would consist of the main two, Town Council and Salcombe Harbour, but on top of this there were other partners who could be brought in (i.e. National Trust, Venus café, hotels and restaurants at South Sands plus putting up car parking charges could be used to help running). Shops and businesses within Salcombe that did not have private facilities would be approached. This package would mean there would be ongoing revenue to help run these facilities outside any help from District Council. He was present to listen to what concerns there might be and what ideas there were around the table. A meeting had been arranged for 2nd January and there would be another one before the next Town Council to put flesh on the bones of this proposal with 10th January possibly for a working group. Cllr Lang asked if East Portlemouth Parish Council had been approached and what was their position. They had been approached but were a tiny community of 125 properties paying precept and were willing to be part of the partnership but in terms of contribution it would be low. It would cost £17,000 to keep East Portlemouth toilets open and that would be a £150p.a. increase per house contribution. Cllr Lang said Salcombe Town Council represented residents and not businesses, but others countered they were there for the whole picture and life in Salcombe without businesses would not benefit the town. Cllr Long stated that it was a direction that a lot of services were moving towards as with weed spraying as no one else was providing these. He noted the comment about Whitestrand and Batson and felt these needed to remain included, Dist Cllr Brazil agreed, all or nothing. There would be a trial before any asset transfer and this could be taken into consideration. Dist Cllr Brazil genuinely did not believe a financial contribution would need to be put in at the beginning but in future there could be. He suggested an article could put out in the press and state this was the idea and what did residents of Salcombe think of taking the public toilets on and keeping free of charge. It was possible they could be maintained in a far more efficient way because locally a response would happen quickly. The Executive was to make a final decision in February, so he needed something firmed up by then. On speaking to the Harbour Master about who could run with this idea he felt the town council staff would be better suited and the Harbour could contribute money to pay towards in house staff.
Dist Cllr Brazil left the meeting.
Dist Cllr Mrs Pearce noted Council Tax Reduction Scheme was going through Executive the following day with suggested 85%, 64%, 45% or 25% due to income bands, such tiers which would seem reasonably obvious to people receiving benefits.
Cllr Long raised the matter of Netherwood and advised he had a meeting with the enforcement officer and saw the case officer who had this on the books and was moving forward. Dist Cllr Mrs Pearce thanked Cllr Fice for turning up at Development Management and speaking on Gould Road making his points clear but the importance of the Neighbourhood Plan was apparent, and she had escalated the problem regarding Natural England. This had been ongoing for the last 6 weeks and they kept making it worse regarding the settlement boundary within the Neighbourhood Plan. In particular the concern related to one-bit round Beadon Farm which had been an approved boundary since 1994. Natural England wanted a survey done but this appeared to come from one officer and it was not just Salcombe having problems.
Dist Cllr Wright referred to the Waste Procurement and that District was now outsourcing this, and they were in a period of limbo waiting to hear who the successful contractor was. It was not a “them and us partnership” and they were keen it would work between Town Council, District and the contractor. Cllr Lafferty-Holt asked when the service would change and was advised April. Cllr Long noted the potential outline was a better level of recycling improving in 2020 so that kerbside glass and small electrical equipment, clothes etc would be collected.
South West Mutual Bank was another District idea that there should be a new bank to cover the Westcountry to fill the gap that other banks had allowed to appear by closing (i.e. talking face to face, small business needs etc). He was hoping for branches to be opened with drop in points elsewhere so that everybody could have an account with borrowing and lending being a lot cheaper as a mutual as there were no shareholders. Cllr Lafferty-Holt noted all the banks still in Kingsbridge and that Salcombe had a satellite Lloyds visiting weekly. Dist Cllr Wright continued that District support was to explore whether or not this was feasible, and they needed a certain amount of money in “their kitty” to be able to ask for a licence and get funding. District Council was keen to support so had offered £50,000 to obtain a licence. This money was from the Devon Pooling of monies from Business Rates. The Mayor asked whether people on the street had asked for this service or was it just something thought of by District. Dist Cllr Wright advised it worked well elsewhere and had a track record of being successful. It was felt strange District Council was tightening its belt but doing projects and throwing £50,000 at this. Dist Cllr Mrs Pearce responded that although it was a grant if it went ahead District would benefit from shares and a better return. If it did not go ahead they would lose money but then it would never get off the ground and the people that needed it would miss out. Cllr Lafferty-Holt asked if District had considered talking to people who they thought would benefit and asking them if they had any problems using Lloyds etc. He noted that most now used the Post Office and it was suggested better to help the systems in place. Cllr Fice could not see if this was newly started how they were going to establish a presence in various towns. Dist Cllr Mrs Pearce said it would be rolled out and they were proposing to have a lot of branches that were not physical branches but a machine in the wall and would provide all transactions that could previously be done in a bank (unmanned branches). They would probably know by Easter whether a licence had been granted and then it could take two years to set up. She was aware of three other councils in Devon who were interested but nobody was confirming at present. This would cover Somerset down to the Westcountry.
At Executive they would hopefully agree to release Section 106 funds. Cllr Fice was confused by this information because, it would appear that, the money from the development at the top of the hill was going to help cirl buntings at Malborough. He thought that monies were to be used in the area they were obtained. Dist Cllr Mrs Pearce said they could look into this as might be due to providing the right environment for the cirl buntings to offset development in another area. Cllr Fice asked if this £61,000 was coming out of Open Spaces money but it was not. Cllr Long noted that this was part of the planning application in 2013 because of an issue with hedgerows on that site and the developer had to provide an alternative one acre of land.
Under the Commercial Property Development Strategy District Council was looking at building in Totnes, a hotel in Kingsbridge, one further car parking deck in Salcombe and the Dartmouth Health and Wellbeing Unit. District met that day with the NHS representatives and they were enthusiastic to push on as quickly as possible. Cllr Fice noted Salcombe Town Council responded to David Parkes on some of these recommendations and asked if this response would this get back to Executive. Dist Cllr Wright stated he had seen this response to David Parkes. Cllr Long raised at the recent CEO/Mayors meeting that a comment within the Batson report relating to the employment units they hoped to provide referred …. “As the character moves away from marine industrial usage”. Cllr Long continued that an officer should not be encouraging this type of comment and if a developer used this it would be “open season” on Island Street.
Cllr Lang felt there were a few officers at District who felt it was already open season on Island Street.
At North Sands toilet block Cllr Long raised concern that someone at District had made a decision to take away the shower facility and Dist Cllr Mrs Pearce responded they had all been closed down. Nobody knew about this decision and District believed more dogs bathed in these than people. Cllr Lafferty-Holt said this was the only beach that allowed dogs on. Everybody who surfed there did so because of the showers and Cllr Long said it was constantly in use by families and this was a very negative thing to do but worse than that Town Council were not afforded the courtesy of being told it was going to happen. Cllr Long noted that a District employee who needed to wash themself walk there and did not know it no longer existed and could not be used.
At the Ember Road properties Cllr Fice was concerned looking in an estate agent that two of the end properties were up for sale and stated no local covenant. It was believed they were 80% of market value and Dist Cllr Mrs Pearce would get on to this first thing the following morning. On one estate agent there was now a huge screen and it was questioned whether it needed planning as it was illuminated but Dist Cllr Mrs Pearce did not feel it did because of being inside. Dist Cllr Wright felt there were two possible breaches of planning at the Co-op as the parking area in front was supposed to be loading and the blue bollards with cardboard overthrows. It was felt they could have these for 28 days and Dist Cllr Mrs Pearce said someone should firstly go into the shop and not send in enforcement.
Cllr Long noted that the earlier item regarding the cement lorry in Island Street raised Construction Management and Environmental Plans concerns. Dist Cllr Mrs Pearce noted that she and Dist Cllr Wright had discussed this that morning with Development Management and they were trying to get these plans to have more teeth. They were washing down into the drains that discharged into a controlled environment so the Environment Agency could prosecute them, but they needed a photograph and time to report to the Environment Agency.
The Mayor noted that an Appeal had been received but there was no information on the website and Dist Cllr Mrs Pearce would take this up with Pat Whymer and Becky Foulds.
Dist Cllrs Wright and Mrs Pearce left the meeting.
3. CO OPTION
No further applications received this was dispensed with.
The Minutes of the meeting dated 28th December 2018 were duly signed by the Mayor as a true and correct record.
5. PLANNING APPLICATIONS:
The following applications were considered and such observations from town council submitted to District.
• 0453/18/FUL READVERTISEMENT (Revised Plan) Change of use of open space winter boat storage (B8) to designated outdoor seating area (A3) Captain Morgans, Normandy Way, Salcombe TQ8 8ET – No objection.
• 3600/18/FUL Replacement dwelling (Revised scheme to application 41/2156/15/F granted permission 29.01.16) Topwood, Sandhills Road, Salcombe TQ8 8JP –Objection due to overdevelopment of the site and proposal for the ridge height to increase by a metre. This together with the increased amount of glass overlooking the North Sands valley, which is currently a dark natural area, would provide light pollution. If any proposal was permitted there would need to be a condition that there would be no external garden lighting apart from activated security lighting. This would be a complete redesign with an additional floor and wall of glass and effectively be two properties within one curtilage contrary to the emerging Neighbourhood Plan.
• 3645/18/HHO Householder application for single storey ensuite extension Blue Haze, Onslow Road, Salcombe TQ8 8AH – No objection.
• 3700/18/HHO Householder application for proposed rear single storey extension, garage and associated works 2 Devon Villas, Devon Road, Salcombe TQ8 8HD – No objection.
• 3838/18/FUL Extension and alterations to existing dwelling to create two separate dwellings St. Valery, Herbert Road, Salcombe TQ8 8HW – Objection as the proposal was overbearing and could potentially provide a loss of light amenity, certainly the evening light being situated so close to the boundary. In was also against the emerging Neighourhood Plan policy SALCENV7 in relation to development and was therefore not permitted due the subdivision of the plot and increase of volume in excess of permitted development. It would also provide a potential for overlooking of Rendoc so would need obscured glass.
• 3839/18/HHO Householder application for alterations and extensions 10 Longfield Drive, Salcombe TQ8 8NT – No objection.
• 3920/18/FUL Conversion (Change of Use) and Enlargement of existing garage/store and former maids quarters into self-contained one bedroom flat. Associated external works alterations and amenity improvements Caerleon, Allenhayes Road, Salcombe, TQ8 8HT – Objection. The parking space provided was not accessible for use by such development and would put pressure on onstreet parking. The proposal illustrated an amenity area in front of the existing garage and car parking space adjacent, but a site visit had shown that a car could not get within this space and if in fact such vehicle was parked it would block the entrance to the other flat.
• 2289/17/VAR Appeal Ref: APP/K1128/W/18/3210630 Proposal: Variation of condition number 2 following grant of planning permission 41/0429/14/F Moult Hill Barn, Moult Hill, Salcombe TQ8 8LF Appellants name: Mrs N. Murray Appeal Start Date: 20th November 2018. No further comments.
• 0471/18/FUL Appeal reference: APP/K1128/W/18/321386 Proposal: Erection of dwelling and associated landscaping work East Bonaventure Close, Salcombe, TQ8 8BA Appellants name: Egerton Investments Ltd Appeal start date: 5th December 2018. Appeal Town Council wished to reiterate their previous representation submitted to District Council against this proposed development.
The site plan did not correlate to the Land Registry ownership and the land edged in blue encroached on to an unadopted road and was not part of this ownership. In addition, in plans submitted, land was edged in red which was incorrect as this land was not in the ownership of this applicant but in fact was a through road and well used to access other properties. Additionally, noting the comments within the Full Statement of Case with regard to the new National Planning Policy Framework, Salcombe Town Council wished to highlight the emerging Salcombe Neighbourhood Plan as this proposal would be in contravention of SALC B1 Design Quality and safeguarding Heritage Assets.
This proposal would be an inappropriate site for development of a dwelling, being situated on a corner between garages, where vehicular access was necessary and previously more appropriate approval was given for garaging and boat storage as was recognised in the refusal by District Council for this planning application.
Town Council believed this would be tantamount to shoe-horning on this site.
WORK TO TREE PRESERVATION ORDER TREES
• 3639/18/TPO T1: Ash – remove x 2 primary limbs at approx. 4.5 metres from road level damaged by vehicles using road, crown raise to 5.2 metres from road level 7 Salcombe Heights Close, Salcombe TQ8 8EL – It was noted that there were signs of historic damage and not recent works. OBJECTION due to the extent of works requested which would remove a considerable number of branches and impact the amenity of the trees and therefore Town Council would seek guidance of the Tree Officer.
• 3772/18/TPO T1: Sycamore – Dismantle to near ground level Overbecks, Salcombe TQ8 8LW – OBJECTION. Having studied all trees in the vicinity it was not possible to find evidence to support a claim that a Sycamore which was 50% dead or moribund existed. It was felt that this was incorrect information and the proposal not clear enough to allow works.
• 3902/18/TPO T1: Holm Oak – pollard to approximately 5 metres from ground level; T2: Eucalyptus – pollard to approximately 6 metres from ground level to allow light onto gable end of house Courtenay House, Moult Road, Salcombe, TQ8 8LG – No objection.
• Cllr Long advised that 3601/18 Netherwood, Bennett Road could be refused by District Council. The application requested works to carry out 4 metre reductions all round. In discussion with Lee Marshall, tree officer, he was asking about reduction in some parts rather than felling. The Tree Officer felt he should refuse but would allow 2.5 reduction with conditions. Cllr Long felt that Town Council should accept this suggestion, and this was AGREED.
6. PUBLIC CONVENIENCES
Potentially this proposal could be a two-year trial but would not cost Town Council anything but if it went ahead to asset transfer it would start costing at some time in the future. The suggestion was that probably Town Council should start to precept for this consideration. There would also be administration of running public toilets and Cllr Fice was worried if this came to the town council office and the effect on staff. Closure of the Cliff House Gardens toilets needed a report on the structure as to whether they could be maintained rather than lost.
It was AGREED to support a pilot project in conjunction with the Harbour Board to take over the running of the six public conveniences situated around the harbour estuary to ensure the ongoing free access for use of these facilities and this would include the two facilities over in East Portlemouth.
7. SAFETY TESTING OF PUBLIC BUILDING
The quotes received were considered and it was AGREED to use EPEC to carry out an electrical survey of the whole Council building at a cost of £345.00.
8. BUSINESS RATES CONSULTATION
A draft response to the Business Rates Consultation was tabled and it was AGREED to approve the town clerk to submit such by 16th January 2019
9. BATSON PERMISSIVE PATH
The quote from the original contractor, Charles Rogers Building, to rectify the historic drainage problem along this stretch of footpath was received at a cost of £375 and it was AGREED to go ahead.
10. HIGHWAY WINTER VOLUNTEERS
A report on attendance at the Resilience Forum Event was provided and a proposal to apply for funding from Devon Communities Together towards essential equipment to carry out snow warden duties was AGREED for an amount of £1500. This would include items such as yellow jackets, a trolley, grit bins and shovels.
11. MAYOR’S REPORT
The Mayor attended the Mayors and Clerks meeting at South Hams District Council on the 10th December 2018, with Cllr Long standing in for the Town Clerk. Present were Cllr John Tucker, Leader; Cllr Simon Wright, Deputy Leader; Sophie Hosking, Executive Director and Head of Paid Service; Helen Dobby, Commercial Services; Steve Mullineaux, Support Services; Emma Christmas, Support Staff. Mayors and Clerks attended from Kingsbridge, Ivybridge, Totnes and Dartmouth. She and Cllr Long then stayed on for a Town and Parish Council Event that same evening which was well attended.
At both meetings District updated on the following:
The Peer Review, which Cllr Long also attended on Town Council’s behalf, results from which would be published in January 2019. District advised they found the review quite challenging and had work to do on both communication and customer service. On a positive note their work on the Joint Local Plan and procurement processes were flagged up as models to be followed by other councils.
The Joint Local Plan Main Modifications responses had now gone back to the Inspector, of which there were 1300, but 1100 of those were identical comments submitted just from Dartington Parish. There was still a risk from developers challenging sites, or that the Inspector reopens the Inquiry, but District was confident she would submit her final report early in the New Year. District was hopeful for adoption before May 2019 in view of the elections, but it could still be legally adopted within the period of purdah (a pre-election period, between the time an election is announced and the date the election is held). The team working on the JLP would now be split, with half moving over to work on Town and Parish Neighbourhood Development Plans. A Neighbourhood Development Plan online portal was to be launched soon, aimed at those about to start, or who were part-way through, their Plans, which should have answers to FAQs and other useful information. Only about 20 out of the 61 towns and parishes in the South Hams had or were working on Neighbourhood Plans.
After a 2-year tendering process the waste, cleansing and recycling collection service had been awarded to a private specialist provider on an equal partnership basis, for an 8 to 10-year initial contract with the ability to extend, commencing April 2019. Due to the economies of scale, District was too small to be effective compared to the new provider, which had larger procurement and resale capabilities, and this was why they could offer such a competitive price for the service. The existing staff would transfer across with protected contracts, and there would be no redundancies. The existing depots and vehicles would remain owned by District but would be used and maintained by the new provider. Monitoring, complaints and customer information would also remain with District. There would also be an increase in what was taken for recycling at the kerbside.
The new Banded Council Tax Reduction Scheme and how it aligned with the Universal Credit benefit payment was explained. The most vulnerable should be better off as the banding related to individual circumstances and not income. Disability payments were not classed as income so there should be no disadvantage to those customers. There was support available, and Locality Officers were fully trained to go into people’s houses to help generally and to fill in forms online with them.
Regarding the Budget for 2019/20, they were in limbo at present because the expected grant announcement from Government had been delayed from last week until “after a meaningful Brexit decision”. Unfortunately, District was dealing with a Negative Revenue Support Grant (the downward adjustment of a local authority’s business rates top-up) amounting to £400,000, which had to be found from somewhere. The next 5 year strategy was going to be a “best guess”, but would probably involve more cuts and changes, with less business rates expected to come in. They would not raid the cash reserves, which were earmarked, but expect to be able to fulfil the savings they needed to make and would continue to monitor the situation.
The towns present all had worryingly similar issues to raise, primarily focused on District’s proposed developments of, and concurrent increased pressure on, town car parks. This same issue was raised by some parishes attending the evening meeting, also citing an unreceptive attitude from District when apparently fait accompli development plans were presented. The unfolding situation regarding all public toilet blocks was another major concern voiced at both meetings. District confirmed that they had heard the comments, and were open to ideas; for example, some toilet facilities would be funded by an increase in car parking charges, others would be pay on entry, others supported by paying District the anticipated lost income for the facility to remain free to use. However, it was made abundantly clear that town and parishes were all going to have improve their own situations.
Salcombe asked for an update on their request for involvement at the start of negotiations with developers regarding Section 106 contributions to ensure projects aligned with the Open Spaces Sport and Recreation Plan. Now that Tom Jones was no longer so heavily engaged with the Joint Local Plan this would be raised with him.
Finally, the planning was well underway for Operation London Bridge – the codename given to preparations for the death of Royalty. One main object was to keep as many as possible away from London, so centres were to be opened locally if people wished to gather together. To this end, District had provided the Towns with the necessary start-up paraphernalia, including a Book of Remembrance. Further information would be disseminated as and when, with Town Councils taking the lead. The Mayor advised that Salcombe Town would address this matter in the early New Year with a small committee.
At the Town and Parish meeting, Cllr John Hart, Leader of Devon County Council, presented the 2019/20 Budget Update. They had made staff reductions, and this reduced expenditure had resulted in more money being available to put into services. They had overspent but Cllr Hart was confident that the budget would balance at year end despite the huge additional costs needed to be put in to Adult and Children Social Care. Council tax was expected to rise by 3.99%. The next priority for road repairs would focus on drains and road edges.
Concerns were raised by the towns and parishes with District regarding the full roll out of paperless planning. The system at present was flawed in that human error meant expected plans and reports did not appear online, were unreadable, half missing or there was an error report rather than a document. There was also no way of knowing for certain if all the documents had been uploaded. This region did not have consistent fast broadband, with some parishes saying they still had extremely limited service. It was acknowledged that projecting the plans onto walls at Council meetings could be done cheaply and simply, but detailed scrutiny on screen was felt to be problematic, particularly when at onsite reviews, and passing the cost of printing onto towns and parishes did not solve the initial uploading problems.
Cllr Long raised the concern about doors being closed on discussion with regard to asset transfer and it was noted there was a clash of personalities. District was now looking at how matters like this were dealt with.
12. COUNCILLORS REPORTS
• Cllr Lafferty-Holt – The Christmas lights ceremony was brilliant but noted it was very difficult to find information about when it was happening, and he thought Town Council should highlight this event. It was noted within the meeting that the Kingsbridge Gazette had already run a huge article. Cllr Fice advised that Carols around the tree was 20th December and this was not widely known. It was felt that Rotary needed to communicate with town council about these good family events and ensure they were widely publicised in future. Further discussion took place about the Christmas tree and lights and the fact that two different organisations arranged everything.
• Cllr Long – Notified that the District Council Grounds Maintenance team had been into Hangar Marsh and strimmed the area and were doing a good job in difficult circumstances. At the Allotment AGM in November he ran through tree issues. He then referred to Dist Cllr Mrs Pearce raising the issue about enforcement at Netherwood, and the herras fencing sitting on Plantation Ground including the path and was attached to a beech tree when it should have been set well down the site to root protect. Enforcement received this report this from three different directions and an officer was attending the next day. He had a call about potential works on a TPO in South Sands area, so he would go up and look the following day. He noted the decision with regard to Plantation House tree works which basically mirrored the town council response and refused felling.
• Cllr Fice – On the Neighbourhood Development Plan he reported at the last meeting that difficulties with Natural England were resolved. Communication was then received from an independent Inspector who advised Regulation 15 should be resubmitted, so they went back and did this. Now Natural England was saying that they wanted landscape evidence to support the undeveloped site which was the existing settlement boundary in the emerging Joint Local Plan. If this did not go ahead it would not be in time for Regulation 16 before the National Planning Policy Framework changes. He attended Development Management Committee with regard to Bangars old store next to Co-op and the District Councillors also spoke against this application. It was quite clear from this that District Planning would not pay attention to the emerging Salcombe Neighbourhood Plan unless it suited them. Had the Neighbourhood Plan been in place this application would have been thrown out. Cllr Long advised that Leader John Tucker noted Neighbourhood Plans had power.
• Salcombe Christmas Lights Committee had emailed and thanked the town council for their continued support and all the work they did for the town.
• At Jubilee Gardens the contractor had been delayed due to rain but was now filling in the sandpit and would continue with the work.
• Park and Ride barrier repair had been completed today and works would be checked and reported.
• An abandoned car at Bonfire Hill had been reported to the police and they acknowledged they were aware of the owner and dealing.
• The office would be closed for Christmas on Friday 21st December till Tuesday 2nd January.
Current Account £1045.00
Deposit Account £328,901.69
Councillors APPROVED Internet payments in December to:
HMRC – Tax and NI £753.79
NEST – Pensions £146.20
Wages – December £1752.11
Concorde I Ltd – Copier £10.42
SHDC – Maintenance November £998.95
Softcat – Office 365 £12.28
Foot Anstey – Legal fees £1981.80
14. NEXT MEETING
The next meeting would be held on Wednesday 9th January 2019 in the Library at Cliff House, Cliff Road, Salcombe at 6.30p.m.
Meeting Closed: 9.50p.m.
…………………………………………….. 9th January 2019.