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 A
Cllr R. Moore *
Cllr Mrs L. Sinnott *
Cllr M. Long (also District Councillor) *
Cllr I. Hatch *
Cllr A. Hainey *
Cllr M. Payne *
Cllr Miss D. Ward *
Also in attendance:
Dist. Cllr Mrs J. Pearce A
Cty. Cllr. R Gilbert A
Gill Claydon (Clerk) *
Pete Robinson (Cemetery Manager and Project Officer) A
Tom Ladds 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. Ongoing advice was that Cllr Long would not take part in planning decisions due to him being on the District Development Management Committee.
2. OPEN FORUM
No members of the public being present this was dispensed with.
County and District Councillors Report
Cty Cllr Gilbert emailed a report that advised he had been keeping all his parishes updated on the various Covid-19 matter and information. During this time he had responded to a lot of emails relating to second home owners and tenants arriving in Salcombe Parish during the lockdown. A vast majority of his work was based around this virus at present. On positive note highways was catching up with pot holes and maintenance with the improved quality due to the dry weather. All County staff was working from home and meetings were being held via ‘Microsoft Team’ and ‘Skype’. He had now added ‘Zoom’ to be able to interact with Salcombe Town Council.
Dist Cllr Mrs Pearce emailed a report to advise that Local ‘clusters’ had been set up. Salcombe and Thurlestone Ward were joined with Kingsbridge Town with two District officers assisting. She asked that town council consult ward members if their local volunteers had any problems or queries and they would do their best to sort anything. The ‘extremely vulnerable’ identified by the government had been contacted and had received at least one food parcel. If anyone else thought they qualified but had not been identified on the initial list, they needed to contact SHDC.
Letters had gone out to all businesses at their registered place of business re grants available from central government. Business owners could reply by email but needed to quote the unique number in their letter. Payments were already being made to those who had replied. These were grants not loans.
There were clear details of all the help available for businesses and individuals on the District Council website.
Many council services had been suspended at the beginning of the emergency, but it was now becoming clear that there was some capacity, so District was restarting grounds maintenance and other operations were under consideration.
Refuse collection was so far unaffected, though there was a temporary shortage of blue recycling bags. These were expected next week. From April 20th supplies would be delivered by (erstwhile) civil enforcement officers. Her request was please request online as usual.
Dist Cllr Long had nothing additional but if any particular planning enforcement issues were noted he was walking around every day to do checks so please forward these concerns to him.
The Minutes of the meeting dated 25th March 2020 were approved to be duly signed by the Mayor as a true and correct record.
4. PLANNING APPLICATIONS:
The applications below were considered at this meeting and the following observations submitted to District:
• 0801/20/HHO Householder application for internal alterations and conversion of existing loft space into habitable accommodation (resubmission of 3589/19/HHO) 7 Island Street, Salcombe, TQ8 8DP – Response 24th April. No comment
• 0854/20/HHO Householder application for extension and alterations including conversion of first floor window to Juliette balcony (Resubmission of 3948/19/HHO) 24 Church Street, Salcombe, TQ8 8DH – Response 24th April. No comment
• 0911/20/VAR Removal of condition 7 and variation of condition 2 of planning permission 41/2771/10/F Beaufort and Scale, Beadon Road, Salcombe, TQ8 8JT – Response 30th April Objection as the condition was an essential requirement to reduce the incidence of parking on the public highway (this was reinforced by the Salcombe Neighbourhood Plan policies B1 and T1) as the concern was that there would be insufficient parking. There was also a concern that this was the start of an attempt to get around the refusal of application 3035/19
• 0926/20/FUL Alterations to layout, replacement roof covering and creation of recessed terrace, changes to fenestration and alterations to ground floor of the garage Rockledge, Devon Road, Salcombe, TQ8 8HJ – Response 30th April. Support due to the steps being taken to introduce energy saving measures. Town Council requested that a condition be included that the guest suite remained ancillary to the main dwelling.
• 0955/20/HHO Householder application for proposed extension and alterations to existing dwelling Braeside Cottage, Bennett Road, Salcombe TQ8 8JJ – Response 30th April. No comment
• Appeal reference: APP/K1128/C/20/3248023 and 3248025 Location: Moult Hill Barn, Moult Hill, Salcombe, Devon TQ8 8LF and Moult Hill Barn, Moult Hill, Salcombe TQ8 8LF Appellants Name: Mr C Murray and Mrs N Murray – Town Council was seeking further information on the enforcement so that they could comment on this Appeal. This would be done under delegated response by the Clerk.
TREE PRESERVATION ORDER WORKS
• 0920/20/TPO Works in accordance with Woodland Management Plan Ref: WMP-BAR-19 Bar Lodge
Sharpitor, Salcombe, TQ8 8LW – Response 22nd April.
Firstly, Cllr Long provided some clarification as this TPO Application was for agreement to the Management Plan provided by Dart Tree Consultancy, there was no specific detail provided of any individual tree to be felled. The original standard application form included an ‘example reference’ to felling of an Oak tree, this was only the standard example and did not form part of this application.
Objection. Generally, town council would be supportive of a woodland management plan to increase biodiversity with an improvement of the age profile and diversity of tree, shrub and woodland plant species, leading to overall habitat improvement. However the Management Plan needed greater detail, being primarily Arboriculturally led it was felt it would benefit in both the short and long term with an ecological survey to assist shaping the plan before any works were carried out. There was no evident mapping of present tree, shrub or woodland plant species on which to base the ‘initial clearance’ regime or areas of improvement or replanting. Any initial ‘clearance and thinning’ should be based on an ecological survey and input to ensure biodiversity was increased and the ‘enrichment’ plan was achieved.
It was suggested that trees for thinning or felling within the plan should be marked up on site and mapped in the presence of the District Tree Officer following discussion and agreement. It was questioned whether The Forestry Commission should be consulted on the requirement for any felling or thinning licence related to implementation of any management plan.
The proposed species replant and species mix should be confirmed with Ecologist input. The naturally regenerating beneficial or acceptable tree and shrub species needed to be identified and included from year one, with such species being protected prior to any agreed clearance. The retention of standing deadwood, where safe and low risk, should be made more clearly identified within the plan as should the retention of fallen deadwood, this should be retained and not removed in any clearance of the site. The burning of any debris on site should be prohibited within the plan as should the use of any chemical weed control. There was a contradiction within the plan in that plastic tree/shrub guards/shelters were referenced then; the use of individual non-plastic tree/shrub shelter, being Treebio Biodegradable Spiral Guard or similar. It was suggested that only biodegradable guards/shelters should be specified. Any works to trees not included in any agreed management plan would still need to have a TPO Works Application submitted.
PLANNING CORRESPONDENCE– Cllr Fice noted he had requested clarification on some Conservation Areas and had not had a reply as yet so was awaiting this from District and would then send this information around.
5. DEVON COUNTY LOCAL BUSES – CONSULTATION
The consultation document had been forwarded to all town council to comment upon but it was AGREED that the document allowed individual responses so councillors would respond individually to County by 24th April 2020 as this would give more weight to a higher amount of responses. .
The Mayor advised that due to the Regulations being changed with regard to the number of meetings that were required to be held, and Delegated Authority already given to the Clerk at the last meeting, it was only necessary to come together if a major decision needed to be made, or for the Year End Accounts, which were due soon.
Therefore, she suggested that town council did not need to reconvene on Zoom unless one of those two reasons arose. The clerk would keep a written audit trail of any decisions she had to make, and she would of course be in constant communication with the Mayor and Cllr Fice as lead of the Finance Working Group. All would still be available to each other via email and telephone to consider matters with the work still going on.
Hopefully town council would be back holding face-to-face meetings in June, however this was not guaranteed, but there were proper plans of delegation in place to deal with anything should the need arise.
All in agreement. Mark asked about planning but this would be delegated as normal delegation by going around everyone.
She advised that Redfern Health Centre and Boots Chemist had the list of local volunteers collected by town council. On speaking to people, she felt it seemed that neighbours and friends were looking out for those who needed support, as they did in ‘normal’ times. The local grocery shops/butchers/bakers were open and delivering, and all who have received or reached out for help have been directed to these local shops, which appeared to be working well for Salcombe. As time progressed, town council should rethink if thus was not enough.
Devon County Council would be cutting verges and visibility splays for safety reasons during the Corona virus lockdown. They only contributed around £360 to do this work normally, which did not cover the amount of cutting town council contracted, so if they were going to do this work themselves as District operatives were redeployed elsewhere then that was up to them but no Devon County grant would be paid this year.
The Mayor had been in constant touch with the relevant bodies – police/District Council/Devon County – with regard to the number of second home owners or renters who had been consistently arriving in Salcombe since the ‘lockdown’ started. Unfortunately, once the visitors arrived, at the moment, there is nothing that could be done legally to send them back to their primary residence, but she noted that all would be aware of the online campaign by District Council to try and stop people arriving during this emergency situation. The majority seemed to be staying away, but it was, as usual, the minority who went against the new rules and guidelines.
Monetary donations had been given to the Mayor for some sort of ‘fund’ for Salcombe – these funds were sitting safely at her house at the moment. Town council would need to decide what to do with this money, and whether to go all out and campaign for more – but at the moment everyone was busy dealing with the current situation as it unfolded. She asked if any had any bright ideas to please email her and/or the Clerk.
• Cllr Payne advised that he was still concerned with second home owners coming down to the area, possibly with Covid 19, and they were not being sent back to their main residence. The Mayor responded that the Police had their hands tied with no powers to actually send people back and she had been in constant contact with the police on this problem. Cllr Fice noted that traffic on the M5 was extremely busy with an accident with a caravan so more people were potentially heading this way. The Mayor continued that the media were reporting this happening in every tourist hotspot.
• Cllr Miss Ward noted a recent email from Devon County and District Council which highlighted this concern to second home owners and told them not to come. She questioned how these people were being contacted. Cllr Long advised the message had gone out through all the local and national media and as many routes as possible. There was however no specific list of people who used their properties as second homes because if they paid full tax it would not show. Cllr Long agreed that he had received calls advising that many houses were filling up with outside people. Cllr Mrs Sinnott questioned how these incomers were getting grocery deliveries, what was happening to the local bakery, Cranchs and other outlets. It was noted that due to the forthcoming Easter break many had pre planned orders in place weeks ahead and were coming down already prepared. Cllr Hainey said the situation was getting ridiculous as people were flooding in by night and since joining town council he had never seen a police officer at a council meeting. These non-essential journeys were against Government guidance but the police could not send people back, but they should stop them before coming into town suggesting the police should set up a road block at the top of town at night! The Mayor reiterated that the police had little power given to them as yet for this pandemic and were awaiting this. Cllr Miss Ward noted that media advised the Covid 19 statistics were rising in the area. General discussion took place with regard to high profile active intervention by the police turning vehicles around on the motorway and yet no police were seen around and nothing had stopped people arriving in Salcombe. Cllr Mrs Sinnott was worried that an article on the front of last week’s Kingsbridge Gazette stated more needed to be done to welcome people and make them feel part of the community but the response was that this was to do with trying to quell the animosity building up. All present felt it was the arrogance of a portion of people arriving increasingly adding to the size of households and blatantly wandering up and down town as though on holiday.
• Cllr Payne suggested that if the police could not stop these people from coming down perhaps when they went shopping businesses should not serve anyone not identified as local. Others felt this would not be fair on the shop keepers as they were put in a vulnerable position. If these people came down not knowing they had the virus and not showing symptoms they could infect Salcombe’s old people who would die and this would have a knock on effect for front line doctors and nurses in this area. Cllr Long felt that if at some point the police stopped motorists and asked them where they were from and turned them around before they got here it would reduce the problem. Cllr Fice asked the Mayor if she was in regular discussions with police to ask them how many second home owners they had actually stopped and turned around. Cllr Long added that when the police did receive a report about second homes, especially with anti-social behaviour, how many had they visited and remonstrated with. Cllr Hainey stated he had to sit at home isolating for months but had only seen one police vehicle in town since being kept at home and felt the police were letting the town and residents down not doing more. Cllr Long was asked as the local District Councillor if he would get in touch with the Chief of Police, he responded that he had been in contact and also with the local MP and stated Government must step up to this matter. As yet there had been no reply. Cllr Moore noted he had people in properties both sides of him but they had come before the lockdown and police could only deal with those coming in now not those who were here. He continued that at Easter something must be done to stop this influx as once here nothing could be done. Cllr Fice regularly saw a police car practically whizzing through the town when he went out for his daily walk. It drove past a group of 5 or 6 people walking along together and never even stopped, the police response on this matter was lip service.
• Cllr Hainey wanted to thank District Council for getting the grants out in a timely manner and acknowledged this was much appreciated. Cllr Long advised he would pass this message on in his capacity as a District Councillor because the office which had been dealing with this were working really long hours and it was admirable what they had achieved.
• The Local Authorities and Police and Crime Panels (Coronavirus)(Flexibility of Local Authority and Police and Crime Panel Meetings)(England and Wales) Regulation 2020 explanatory memorandum 392 was been brought in to force on 4th April 2020 to enable local authorities to hold meetings remotely. The Regulations further modify existing legislative provisions to remove the requirement to hold annual meetings and to enable requirements for public and press access to meetings to be complied within the same means. The presumption is that all roles will continue as currently and roll over until the 2021 Annual Meeting but does not remove the requirement if needs arise that such position requires to be considered. This will allow virtual meetings for whatever temporary period and apply in relation only to meetings that take place before 7th May 2021. It will also be possible to make amending secondary legislation to bring forward this date if social distancing rules are relaxed or removed.
Section 78 of the Coronavirus Act 2020 provides that regulations can be made relating to requirements for town council in relation to holding meetings, their timing and frequency. The Covid-19 pandemic is a severe public health emergency and a number of essential and unusual functions are being faced so this legislation means that town council can contribute to local resilience planning and continue effective delivery of local services such as planning. To enable town council to manage their resources and protect members, officers and the public the Regulations allow for town council to determine not to hold their annual meeting, have the flexibility to hold meetings at any time of day, on any day and also how frequently meetings will be held and to move or cancel meetings without requiring further notice.
As Salcombe Town Council has set up delegated authority it may be that unless you feel something needs full council discussion that you only hold a meeting when a need arises.
• Devon County had advised that they would still require the highway visibility splay cuts to take place. As District was the chosen contractor for grass maintenance and they had redeployed their staff it had been advised that County would have to include Salcombe in their arrangements for this service and Salcombe would not receive the minimal grant. Town Council usually cut more times than County who only require 4 times a year so this reduction may be noticed by residents. County would instruct their countywide contractor to pick up areas where the cuts were not going to be able to be done by a contractor. Cllr Long felt that where grounds maintenance had stopped District was looking at whether they can restart or not.
• PKF Littlejohn the External Auditor for all Local Government advised on 24th March 2020 that they would not be issuing instructions for completion of the audit at this point as they were awaiting advice from Government. They had no power to alter the timetable for submission but could not proceed until they had further clarification.
Bank Balances as at 7th April
Current Account £500.00
Deposit Account £401,753.73
Receipts: Sponsorship for Hawk Project £200.00
Sponsorship for Hawk Project £100.00
Councillors APPROVED Internet payments to:
HMRC Tax and NI £787.06 ongoing monthly payable
Wages £1791.25 ongoing monthly payable
NEST £177.01 ongoing monthly payable
SHDC – Park and Ride Rates Apr 20 – Mar 21 £2694.60
Chris Wood – Hawk Program Apr – July monthly whilst service continues £660.00
PI – Jubilee Gardens Play Area inspection £60.00
PCC for Salcombe Church – Grant towards town clock £500.00
SHDC Bonfire Hill refuse collection – clarification still awaited.
For payment by 1st June 2020
SHDC – Shadycombe Cemetery Rates £536.43
SHDC – Bonfire Hill Cemetery Rates £943.30
8. NEXT MEETING
The next Town Council Meeting would be held when Government allowed such meetings to take place following the Corona Virus social distancing exclusions.
Meeting Closed: 19.15p.m.
……………………………………………….. 27th March 2020.