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Minutes of a Meeting of the Parish Council
held at the Village Hall, Holne on
Tuesday 5 February 2013 at 8.00pm
Cllr Mrs B Owen (Chairman)
Cllr C Jones
Cllr E Ross
Cllr G Simpson
Cllr D Troake
In attendance
Suzanna Hughes (Clerk), County Cllr Penington, District Cllr Smerdon, John Nutley (DNPA), Sue Hitchcock (Rural Housing Enabler, Community Council of Devon), Cassandra Harrison (Rural Housing Enabler, South Hams District Council) and 34 members of the public.

The Chairman explained that the main item on the agenda was consideration of the planning application for seven affordable homes in Holne (item 7.1) and because of the level of interest from members of the public, she would be allowing an extended open forum (up to 1 hour) to allow parishioners to voice their support and/or concerns for the proposal prior to the Parish Council forming its view.   

She explained that the District Councillor’s report would be read by the clerk this evening and following that a report would be received from Paul Arrowsmith as Chair of the Holne and Scoriton Housing Group.

Open Forum:

District Cllr Smerdon
The clerk read a written report from District Cllr Smerdon (attached).

Cllr Jones asked Cllr Smerdon for his view on the electoral review proposing a reduction in the number of District Councillors in South Hams from 40 to 30.  Cllr Smerdon informed Cllr Jones that he wasn’t really in support of the proposal due to the size of the geographical area which would need to be covered.

Paul Arrowsmith – Chair, Holne and Scoriton Housing Group
Gave a brief summary of the process which had been followed so far.  He advised that a need for affordable homes in this parish had been shown some time ago.  The Group have looked carefully at appropriate sites and given careful consideration to design and style.  The Housing Group ask that the Parish Council support the Housing Group’s recommendation to support the planning application.

Views were then invited from members of the public in respect of the planning application for affordable homes and can be summarised as follows:

District Cllr Smerdon

Mike Bonney

Keith Evans

Mike Cunniam

Gill Gray

Steve Kew

Sue Hitchcock, Community Council of Devon

Richard Gray



Rev’d Corynne Cooper

Sue Hitchcock, Community Council of Devon

Ross Gray

Michael French

Sue Hitchcock confirmed that in 2007 the need was for 24 houses.  Following the desktop review, 9 people have a need who have also satisfied the local connection criteria as set by DNPA.

Stuart Hemingway

The Chairman thanked everyone for attending the meeting and invited a show of hands which indicated two thirds of those who voted in support of the application and one third against.

The meeting was opened by the Chairman, Cllr Owen, at 9.05pm.


Apologies for Absence
None received.


Declarations of Interest
Members were reminded of their responsibility to continually update their Notice of Registerable Interests and invited to state whether they have any interests in any matter to be discussed during this meeting.

  • Cllr Jones declared a personal interest in item 7.1 as he has close family ties with one or more persons on the housing list.



Requests for Dispensations
None received.


Ratification of Minutes
Members present received the Minutes of the Parish Council meeting of 8 January 2013.

RESOLVED unanimously that the minutes of the Parish Council meeting dated 8 January 2013 be signed by the Chairman as a true and correct record of the meeting.


It was RESOLVED to approve the following invoice for payment:

  • Cheque no 668 – Scoriton Methodist Chapel – £25.00 (for use of the chapel for recent meetings of the Housing Group)
  • Cheque no 669 – HMRC - £8.60 – S Hughes (postage)
  • Cheque no 670 – Holne Village Hall - £12.00


Holne and Scoriton Housing Group
Report already given in the Open Forum.



7.1  0022/13 – Development of seven affordable houses with associated access road,    
       parking area and drainage at land to north-west of Michelcombe Lane, Holne

       Cllr Troake advised members that he had visited the site with Cllr Owen and     
       explained that he had looked at the application on four levels:

  •  Impact on individuals and in particular two properties which would be most

       affected by the development

  •  Impact on the village in its entirety
  •   Impact on those with a need for housing
  •   General/national issue of affordable housing which is an important and relevant

        issue for every community and not just someone else’s community.

With these issues in mind, Cllr Troake summarized that, in principle, he was in favour of affordable housing.  A need in this parish has been established – Holne is currently a ‘gated’ community and unless one has £300,000, access is not available.  He accepts that such a development will have a mixed impact on Holne and that the site is perhaps not perfect, but where is?  It is difficult to square the impact on individuals.  In summary, Cllr Troake concluded that he was in support of the application.

Cllr Ross advised that she has had severe reservations for some time mainly because of its situation.  However, she agrees with Cllr Troake and has also been influenced by some of the comments made by members of the public this evening in particular Richard Gray who stated that this was a once in a lifetime opportunity and that the community needed to speak on behalf of the next generation.   She therefore concluded that she was inclined to recommend approval.  However, she expressed three specific concerns:

  • Concern for bats – was there an up to date report for mitigation of bats available.  Her question to DNPA has not yet been answered and must.
  • Run-off water.  There is already a lot of water coming off that lane.  The developers say that it will flow into existing watercourse and road but Cllr Ross expressed concern about this.
  • Loss of dark – would like to see more mitigation of light.

Cllr Jones acknowledged that this was not an easy matter but although there are one or two issues which are not perfect, a lot of work has gone into this and the application makes sense.   It is acceptable in planning terms and whilst there are mitigation issues, these can be addressed.  The major issue is the future of the community and the parish needs to move forward.  He therefore expressed his support for the application.

Cllr Simpson agreed with what her fellow councilors had already said.  A lot of work had taken place and it is very important to have a balanced community and she therefore supports the application.

Cllr Owen  acknowledged that the Housing Group had worked very hard to establish a need, to secure funding and thoroughly investigate the most appropriate site.  She h as a belief that it has to be right for the occupants and it has to be right for the village as well.  She is concerned that the site is on the edge of the village in a traditional rural settlement. She also expressed concern about drainage with particular reference to the water that has been running through the churchyard over recent weeks and does not feel that the application addresses this issue satisfactorily.  She expressed further concern for road safety due to the increased use of the lane and the speed of traffic.  She also supported Cllr Ross’s concern about potential loss of dark.

On conclusion of the discussion, Cllr Simpson proposed that the Parish Council supports the planning application for seven affordable homes, which was seconded by Cllr Ross and was agreed by the majority of members present and voting. (4 in support, 1 abstention).  It was further agreed that the Parish Council would express to DNPA that it addresses the following concerns:

  • Bats 

The Parish Council has not seen an up to date copy of a report detailing the measures being taken to address bat mitigation despite a request by a member having been made.  The Parish Council suggests that the DNPA ensures that a recent report has been carried out and that a copy is provided to all members to ensure that this matter has been dealt with satisfactorily.

  • Run-off water

There is concern that the problem of run-off water has not been addressed.  The application states that it will flow into the existing watercourse and road but this would seem inadequate.  Given the recent flooding experienced by this village, particularly through the churchyard, it would appear that to rely on current drainage would exacerbate an existing problem.

  • Loss of Dark

Whilst members acknowledge that there are no street lights they feel that further mitigation of light should be encouraged such as the positioning of external lights on the houses and possibly limitation of wattage.  Darkness is a rarity and should be preserved.

  • Road Safety

Members wish that consideration be given to the speed of traffic travelling down the lane which would be used by those living in these properties.  Speed on this lane is already an issue and if use of the lane is to be increased by this development then appropriate safety measures should be taken to reduce traffic speed.

A site meeting would take place on 14 February and it was agreed that Cllrs Simpson and Ross would attend to represent the Parish Council.

The application was to be considered by DNPA members at the Development Management Committee on 1 March 2013 and it was proposed by Cllr Jones and seconded by Cllr Troake that Cllr Simpson would speak at that meeting to represent the Parish Council’s views.


7.2  0581/12 – Alterations and extensions to reform garage and outbuilding, Stares Nest,  

       Members noted that conditional planning permission has been granted.


Shaping Community Services for the Future
Members received details of a consultation launched by Torbay and Southern Devon Health and Care NHS Trust to engage local communities about options for care in Ashburton and were asked to consider whether to support or object to the proposals to relocate inpatient beds from each community hospital to the community hospital in Newton Abbot.

After a discussion, members agreed the following actions:

  1.  The Parish Council will respond to the consultation opposing the relocation of inpatient beds from Ashburton & Buckfastleigh Community hospitals to Newton Abbot.  The smaller hospitals provide care which avoids long journeys for patients and visiting relatives and offers a more personal level of care than the larger hospitals.  There is also a great deal of goodwill in Ashburton from those who volunteer their services and this should not be overlooked.
  2. A letter should also be sent to support the views of other local councils such as Ashburton Town Council and Woodland Parish Meeting that the consultation process is flawed, in particular the questionnaire is biased and that the consultation leaflet fails to mention the broader financial issues which are the real drivers behind this proposal.



Electoral Review of South Hams- Consultation
Members were invited to comment whether South Hams District Council should be represented by 30 councillors in future – ten fewer than the current arrangements.

After a discussion it was agreed that this council would not support a reduction in the number of councilors.  It is thought that with the new 'localism' agenda and delegating more powers and responsibilities down from the centre, councillors probably need smaller not larger areas/populations to serve.

District Councillors already have a large geographical area to cover (Eastmoor Ward, for example, already covers 5.5 parishes).  Increasing that geographical area would increase the workload of district councillors and dilute the influence they are intended to have.  This would undoubtedly discourage those with full-time jobs to stand as councillors.  The Parish Council believes that it is not healthy to have a situation where the only people who have time to be District Councillors are retired.


Members received and noted the proposed wording for signage for Holne Playpark and further noted that two signs had been ordered from South Hams District Council at a cost of £30 each.


Annual Parish Meeting
It was suggested that the Parish Council invites a speaker from Western Power Distribution to speak about power distribution in the parish at the Annual Parish Meeting to be held on Wednesday 27th March.   District Cllr Smerdon advised that a speaker had attended a recent meeting of Rattery Parish Council and it had been very informative.


Potholes, highway maintenance reports and other highways issues
No new issues were reported.


Clerk’s or Councillor’s Reports on matters authorised by the Council at previous meetings not otherwise on this agenda.


Chairman’s urgent business for action by the clerk if covered by delegated powers or for inclusion on the agenda of the next meeting
Items for next month’s agenda:
14.1  The Chairman informed members that a further round of applications for TAP 
         funding had been invited as there was still a surplus (£4,391.80).  It was therefore
         agreed that an application would be made for an emergency lengthsman provided
         support could be obtained from either Staverton or Buckfastleigh West Parish
         Councils to make a joint application.


15.1  A letter of thanks from the PCC for the Parish Council’s award of £400 was noted by
15.2  Buckingham Palace Garden Parties – the Chairman did not wish to be nominated.


Date of Next Meeting
It was confirmed that the date of the next Parish Council meeting will be Tuesday 5 March 2013 at 8.00pm.  


The meeting closed at 10.10pm




Cllr Mrs B Owen



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