April 2022 - Westleigh Parish Council Meeting Minutes

Held at Westleigh Parish Hall on Wednesday 6th April 2022 7.30pm

Attendees – Cllr David Fairbrother (Chair) Cllr Chris Heard (Vice-Chair), Cllr Lesley Burgess, Cllr Colin Frajbis, and the Parish Clerk (Roger Levick)

1. Min 01 22/23 – Opening of the meeting at 7.30pm

2. Min 02 22/23 – Apologies. DCCllr Frank Biederman, NDCllr (&MP) Selaine Saxby, Cllrs Lyn Gear, and Kevin Farrell- Roberts

3. Min 03 22/23 – Councillors Declarations of Interest. None declared

4. Min 04 22/23 – To confirm and agree to the signing of the minutes of the meeting held on 2nd March 2022. Unanimously agreed

5. Min 05 22/23 – Correspondence & Communications. All relevant had been forwarded to Councillors, and nothing noted that is not already on the agenda.

6. Min 06 22/23 – 15 minutes for Parishioner questions. None received

7. Min 07 22/23 – County & District Ward reports. Apologies received as both County & District members are attending the NDC full Council meeting

8. Min 08 22/23 – Finance – to process payments, and an update on all financial matters. Agreement to pay DALC annual subscription (£76.85), to reimburse the Chair for new defibrillator pads (£156), to make a grant of £175 to the Parish News, and to pay NDC for the Clerk’s 3-month salary (£593.32). With the imminent half yearly precept payment due, and taking account of agreed payments, the balance of the Council account is £5763.08p. All payments agreed.

9. Min 09 22/23 – Village/Neighbourhood Plan. The work to date by Cllr Frajbis will now be emailed to Cllr Heard who has a contact with experience in this field for their comments. Myrtle Cottage which is in a severe state of dilapidation was discussed, and the Clerk agreed to raise the issue with NDCllr (&MP) Saxby.

10. Min 10 22/23 – Queen’s Jubilee update. The provisionally agreed date of the 3rd September, now clashes with the confirmed Torridge Regatta and Carnival. Council agreed that they would approach Tapeley with a proposed revised date of the 10th September. Cllr Gear to liaise. Council also agreed to ask the Village Hall Committee to become involved, once a date had been finalised.

11. Min 11 22/23 – Planning matters. The Council had been circulated with all information on the Public Consultation between North Devon and Torridge Councils. httpl://consult.torridge.gov.uk/ is the website for comments. Cllr Gear, via email, also notified the Council that Torridge had agreed planning for 220 houses (40 affordable), north of the Tesco supermarket in Bideford

12. Min 12 22/23 – Defibrillator Training (20th April) update. Numbers attending to date are 15. The maximum for the evening is 35, so there is plenty of room still.

13. Min 13 22/23 – Highway Issues. The potholes at the junction of the Westleigh turn, are still an issue, as are the ones developing at the roundabout off the link road

14. Min 14 22/23 – Councillor Training update. The Council agreed that the face-to-face cost of £200 + VAT and travel costs was acceptable, and the Clerk was to go ahead and arrange for (preferably) a Monday. The Clerk reminded the meeting that there was a Code of Conduct training session run by NDC on the 26th April at 6.30pm. Full details had been sent to each Councillor

15. Min 15 22/23 – Environmental Issues – Cllr Burgess proposed and Cllr Heard seconded, that 5 Swallow nesting boxes, and 5 House Martin boxes should be purchased, in order to help stop the decline in their numbers. Discussion ensued regarding where and when they could be located, (bearing in mind that Swallow’s return to the same nesting site each year) and Cllr Burgess agreed to liaise with Cllr Gear (as Tapeley liason) for suitable locations. A budget of £120 was agreed. There was also a discussion about the rewilding on the approach to Westleigh, and the prevalence of ‘Alexanders’, often confused with Cow Parsley, not allowing the smaller flowers planted last year, to be seen. Cllr Burgess explained that in her opinion, it was necessary to take a more relaxed approach to verges and hedges, with many of the ‘first’ plants appearing, acting as food sources to hibernating insects and bees. Cllr Burgess further explained that in her opinion, there is a natural cycle where plants/flowers die down, and are replaced by other wild flowers and cow parsley. The Council agreed that verges and management of the verges should be left alone and reviewed in 12 months time.  Cllr Burgess went on to show the Council a poster from Littleham & Landcross Parish with a rewilding initiative, and felt that Westleigh could do something similar if agreed – Cllr Burgess to forward the poster to the Clerk for circulation. The Chair nominated himself as the Parish representative for the forthcoming ‘hedge management committee’ meeting with Christie Estates (date to be decided). Unanimously agreed. Cllr Frajbis raised a concern that the gates on the footpath leading up into Westleigh were often being left open – a suggestion had been made in the past that they should be ‘spring loaded’ to prevent this. Chair to investigate. Cllr Frajbis also raised the issue of blocked footpaths in the Parish. Clerk tasked to investigate and see what the process was to ‘unblock’ and the areas of responsibility for repairs.

16. Min 16 22/23 – Agenda items for Wednesday 4th May outside of the normal agenda. Cllr Frajbis expressed his concern regarding the increasing amount of second homes in and around Westleigh/Instow, and would like it as an agenda item at May’s Council meeting.

17. Min 17 22/23 – Reminder that the AGM will precede normal Council Meeting in May (4th) at 7pm, and that reports will be required from the Chairman, Cllr Burgess (Environment), and Cllr Farrell-Roberts (Village Hall). The reports to be with the Parish Clerk by Friday 29th April in ‘Word’ format

18. Min 18 22/23 – Move into Part 2, public excluded

19. Min 19 22/23 – Move back into Part 1

20. Min 20 22/23 – Any other business. Cllr Burgess raised the question of whether the Parish Council should donate monies to a Ukranian Charity. The consensus was that donations were up to individuals, and that donating Council money would not be appropriate considering that the funds were Parish funds, for the benefit of the Parish. The state of the Churchyard was briefly discussed, and it was agreed that it was looking good at this time. The Council also expressed their thanks to Hector Christie who would be donating monies for the refurbishment of a Church window.

21. Min 21 22/23 – The meeting closed at 21.07hrs

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