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Minutes of the Westleigh Parish Council Meeting held remotely on Wednesday 3rd March 2021

In attendance – Cllrs David Fairbrother, Lyn Gear, Lesley Burgess, Chris Heard, also County Cllr Frank Biederman, and District Councillor (&MP) Selaine Saxby.

Parish Clerk Roger Levick


1. Apologies received in respect of the meeting – Cllrs Colin Frajbis and Kevin 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 3rd February 2021 – agreed and updates accepted

4. Correspondence and Communications – to include a summary of C&C received from the Chair and Clerk – an email received from Mr & Mrs Duke thanking the Council for the new road signage – a request for information from Blatchfords Solicitor regarding a Certificate of Lawfulness at Firs View Eastleigh – confirmation of the NDC PSPO being fully authorised which means offenders can now be prosecuted.

5. County and District Ward Members reports – NDCllr (&MP) Saxby reiterated the relevance of the PSPO now being fully ‘signed off’, especially in view of the expected surge of visitors from April onwards. She also said that the Sandhills car park in Instow had now been taken back under the control of Christies which would please a lot of people. Regarding the hi-speed broadband proposition, she needed to know incidents where parishioners had been told they were not geographically included, i.e. their names, phone numbers, and post code, as she was part of the Parliamentary Committee responsible. Cllr Heard asked that Eastleigh could be a specific focus, as broadband speeds there were, in his words, pathetic, and affecting businesses. Again, DCllr Saxby asked that specific details be forwarded to her on her Member of Parliament email.                                                          DCCllr Biederman reported the bad news that Council Tax would rise by 4.99% this year (1.99% + 3% social care), but that DCC had received a slight increase in funds, some of which he hoped would be designated towards the Highways budget. With over 8000 miles to cover, Devon Highways was very stretched. (in her guise as MP, DCllr Saxby said that she was also raising this issue with the respective Minister as the pothole problem was just getting worse). DCCllr Biederman concluded his report by saying that he considered himself lucky to have Westleigh as one of his Parishes. (a sentiment that all Councillors completely agreed with !!)

Public Session – no questions had been received from parishioners prior to the meeting

6. Finance – to receive an update on the current position, and to agree accounts to pay – no invoices had been received since the last meeting, therefore the account balance remained the same at £4860.04p.

7. Planning matters – application 72830 (The Folly, Westleigh) – no comments or objections raised

8. Eastleigh Defibrillatorstill awaiting a suitable weather window to complete the painting

9. Highway issuesdrainage work at the Southcott junction now completed, however the ‘spring’ from the field on the right towards Eastleigh becomes an issue when the drain is blocked with vegetation. DCCllr Biederman will raise this with Highways

10. Environmental issuesKnapp House – see appendix. Rewilding – the Council decided that 10 packs of wild flower seeds would be purchased and scattered in suitable locations. Cllr Fairbrother to obtain said seeds. Cllr Burgess wanted it noted that since the fields surrounding West Living had been left to stubble over the Winter, there had been no flooding problems to report.

11. Agenda items for the next meeting (Wednesday 7th April) – Cllr Heard requested that Broadband become an agenda item, and it was also agreed to include the proposed Tapeley meeting as another item in April.

12. Any other business – nothing raised

Appendix – Knapp House

Planning Matters Application 1/0077/2021/CPE application from Knapp House to grant a Lawful Development Certificate (LDC) to the lands of Knapp House, Churchill Way, Northam, Bideford EX39 1NT.

Cllr Burgess asked WPC to object to this application. At present the Knapp Lands are agricultural, highly visible, both to the grade 2 listed Tapeley Park and gardens and to the conservation area of Westleigh. Any changes to make this site recreational would have an adverse impact on the rural setting and valued landscape.

Cllr Burgess further argued that Westleigh Parish Council had a responsibility to protect the conservation and heritage interests of  both Westleigh and Tapeley Park. The Parish Clerk was tasked to write to Torridge Planning on the Council’s behalf, and the decision to write was subsequently endorsed by Tapeley Management.