HOLNE PARISH COUNCIL
Minutes of Annual Parish Meeting
on 12 April 2016
in Holne Village Hall at 7.30pm
IN ATTENDANCE: Cllr B Owen (Chairman), Cllr D Higman, Cllr Powell, Cllr Troake and 8 members of the public
CLERK: Suzanna Hughes
- Cllr G Simpson
- Cllr E Ross
- District Cllr Smerdon
- County Cllr Rowe
- Matt Barrow
APM120416.02 SPEAKER: MATT BARROW, ENGAGEMENT OFFICER, CONNECTING DEVON AND SOMERSET
The Chairman announced with regret that, due to unforeseen circumstances, the speaker, Matt Barrow was unable to attend the meeting. It was hoped to arrange a future public meeting to which Matt Barrow would be invited.
APM120416.03 CHAIRMAN’S REPORT
I’d like to start with highlighting 2 goals to achieve for this coming year. The first is to implement a pro-active and informative Holne Hub. Tithe PC has a website – there is huge potential to utilise this for community benefit, to develop into a community noticeboard, to link to all the other Holne based community projects, such as Playpark and the shop. Currently Suzanna, our clerk uploads PC minutes to the website, but it needs a manager, to be able to liaise with all the groups, to keep the website up to date with photos and details. So we are looking for a website manager – it could be a really interesting role and help to develop IT skills.
The second is to fill the PC vacancy. This is not a scary role, nor are any previous skills or experience necessary. It’s a brilliant way to take an active part in village life and to get an insight into village workings and sometimes politics. It gives a chance to take part in village development, to maintain a sense of community and help influence positive changes. It does take several months to get into the role with the only request to attend the monthly PC meetings.
Achievements for this year
- To ensure completion of the Little Bewden Affordable Housing development – in particular to insist the external space completed and managed as outlined in the plan and as part of the planning condition
- To support Playpark Charity in securing the funding to the new play equipment. The group has worked extremely hard and the fruits of their labour easy to see as the fantastic play equipment
- The damaged clapper over the leat outside CHI has caused some angst with the PC unable to establish ownership and therefore responsibility for repair. The PC therefore decided to undertake repairs and employed Richard Gray and team. They have done a great job.
- The leat by Tythe Barn has also been on our agenda for some time. Following negotiations with Highways, this too has been repaired with the edge marked by marker posts. Hopefully no more cars will end up in the leat. While we have had excessive rain again, the leats have not overflowed on the whole as severely as 2 years ago. Hope this means that improved leat maintenance is working and thanks to those who look after the leats and to David Higman for emptying the sinks in Playpark regularly.
- The PC have introduced walk about PC meetings. Aiming for 2-3 per year, the summer monthly meetings undertake to walk around the village boundary. As result of one of such walkabouts, the old phone box has been repainted as it was looking very dishevelled
- TAP fund – this is a pot of money, funded from both DCC and SHDC – this is allocated to each PC on the basis of the population....at least it should be. The application this year was for a defibrillator and to contribute towards new chairs for the hall. Previously, applications have had to be made for projects in conjunction with another PC. This year this rule was relaxed which seemed to imply an easier path to secure funding. However for reasons not entirely understood nor supported, the funding ended up focussing on a few larger projects with the South Hams, none of which will directly benefit Holne. A letter of complaint has been written.
On the agenda for 2016
- The Leat problem has not completely resolved, as lengthsman services reduce, it is up to parishioners to be proactive. It is proposed to have a buddle hole/leat working party to ensure the main waterways are kept clear
- Newbridge – after meeting with Highways and members from Widecombe PC it has been agreed that in the short term CCTV cameras sited at Newbridge will help to ID those damaging the bridge. It gets a battering every week. It is the most expensive bridge in Devon. Apparently were used previously there has been an overall reduction in damage. Moreover, the vehicle causing the damage is contacted and fined
Finally, I would like to thank Suzanna our clerk very much for her efficient management and organising of the Council as always, to the Councillors for all their help and support over the last year and to those undertaking accessory roles – tree and snow warden
APM120416.04 FINANCE REPORT
A report was received from the Clerk:
Balances held March 2016
Current Account £ 1,170
Savings Account £ 4,312
Total £ 5,466
Grants Donated 2015/16
Parish Link £ 60
RBL £ 17
___________ £ 77
Major Sources of Income 2015/16
Precept & C. Tax support grant £ 5,759
VAT reclaimed £ 97
___________ £ 5,856
Grants received 2015/16
County Cllr Community fund £500
District Cllr Community fund £300
In terms of financial activity there is not a great deal to report. By and large, the Parish Council has stuck pretty much to its budget and has managed its finance prudently resulting in a year end balance of £5,856. This figure does include a sum of £800 kindly granted to use by our District and County Councillors towards the cost of purchasing a defibrillator. So taking this figure out, we are left with just over £5,000 which is an adequate (though not excessive) contingency fund for the new financial year just started.
There have been two unbudgeted costs – the first to repair the granite clapper bridge behind the Church House Inn which cost £600 and the second an increase in the insurance to cover damage to the new play equipment which increased the premium by around £350. A new cost for 2015/16 was the grass cutting at playpark, previously undertaken by SHDC but now the responsibility of the Parish Council which is £540 per year.
The Parish Council has no major sources of income other than the precept and council tax support grant which last year totaled £5,759. After careful consideration of the budget requirements for 2016/17, including the additional costs outlined above, the Parish Council has found it necessary to increase the precept for a second consecutive year. The Parish Council has therefore demanded a sum of £6,747 for 2016/17 (compared with £5,566 in 2015/16).
The Parish Council continues with its annual repayments of almost £1,149 to the Public Works Loan Board but there is light at the end of the tunnel and with only two more payments to go, we will see the balance fully paid off by the end of this financial year.
APM120416.05 PUBLIC QUESTIONS AND COMMENTS
- Concerns were raised about the closure of the Church House Inn and it was hoped that there will be a positive resolution over its future soon.
- A parishioner advised that two large lorries had recently gone down Michelcombe Lane and hit the wall. A request was made for a sign at the top of the lane restricting large vehicles from using the lane. It was agreed that the clerk would contact DCC.
- A parishioner commented on the recent repairs to Holne Bridge which had been carried out to a good standard. The Chairman reported that DCC are intending to install CCTV cameras at Newbridge to enable them to monitor any damage and by whom it is caused.
The Chairman thanked everyone for attending and closed the meeting at 8.00pm.
Cllr Belinda Owen
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