Minutes of the Westleigh Parish Council Meeting held on the 8th December 2021 at the Parish Hall – 19.30hrs

Attendees – Cllr David Fairbrother (Chair), Cllrs Lesley Burgess, Colin Frajbis, and Parish Clerk (Roger Levick)


1. Apologies receivedDCCllr Biederman, NDCllr (&MP) Saxby, Cllrs Heard, Gear and 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 6th October - agreed

4. Correspondence and Communications – a request from NDC asking for volunteers to work at the Hillsborough Nature Reserve, which is part of the Monument Management Scheme. Cllr Burgess reported that she had received a ‘thank you’ letter from a parishioner regarding the environmental work she does in the Parish – the Council congratulated her

5. Public Sessionthere were no parishioners in attendance, and no questions received.

6. County and District Ward Members reports – DCCllr Biederman sent his apologies, and wished all Councillors well for the festive period. NDCllr (& MP) Saxby also sent her apologies, and repeated the wishes expressed by DCCllr Biederman.

7. Finance – to receive an update on the current financial position – there were 3 payments to be authorised, J Harris £282.5 for bulb planting and maintenance, Village Hall £60 for 4 meetings to date, and a grant to the St Peter’s PCC for £250 for graveyard maintenance. All agreed. A Budget for 2022/23 had been sent to all Cllrs prior to the meeting, and was agreed as acceptable for the Parish needs – an increase in the Parish Precept was also agreed (the first for 2 years) of 4.9% (£203) to cope with increased costs.

8. Village/Neighbourhood Plan update – it is proving hard to obtain a suitable template for the Plan, although work continues. The Housing Needs Survey from 2019 is providing a good base position, and there may be further progress to report in February. It was never going to be a quick solution

9. Planning mattersthere had been movement in the ongoing Knapp House application (1/0077/2021/CPE), with a declaration made that changed the use from agricultural to recreational. This was backed up by the applicants saying that the ground had been used for para-gliding and football. No-one has seen any evidence to support this change, and the Clerk was tasked with writing to Torridge District Council expressing their objection to the change

10. Defibrillator trainingthe Parish Clerk continues to try and find a suitably qualifying course to attend

11. Highway issuesnothing raised

12. Councillor training, refresher training, and new Councillor training – all Cllrs would be circulated with the options provided by DALC

13. The ground behind the War Memorialit was agreed that an offer of £5000 would be submitted, with the monies provided by applying for specific grants and crowd funding

14. Environmental issuesit was noted that there appeared to have been some chopping down of trees by West Living. The Chair agreed to investigate as any lopping or chopping down has to be authorised, otherwise it is illegal. The bulb planting on the left hand side as you approach Westleigh has been completed with Daffodils, Crocuses, and Camasias, which in the spring should look spectacular! The question was raised as to whether Eastleigh would like a similar planting, and if so, where? A noted naturalist (D Paull) had offered to carry out an analysis and listing of the flora and fauna of Westleigh Parish. The idea had been raised earlier in the year, and it was felt that Tapeley should be his contact route, as the Parish Council had no authority to grant access to land. The Clerk also informed the Council that he had been in contact with North Devon Historic Paths regarding the listing of old or neglected rights of way within the Parish – this was being conducted through the Ramblers Association (Walking not Talking!) and would be an agenda item in 2022, as the cut-off date was December 2025. It was agreed that the Council would willingly become part of a mini-management team, alongside Christie Estates, to look at the management of hedge-trimming in 2022. This was a suggestion made by the Christie’s Estate Manager Andrew Woollacott.

15. Agenda items for the next meeting (Wednesday 2nd February) – nothing specific

16. Any other business not covered – nothing raised

17. The meeting closed at 21.10hrs

The Chairman and Councillors wished all Parishioners a very Happy Christmas and New Year


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