The Minutes can be read below or downloaded here:  MN_2023 04 19 Annual Parish Meeting DPC Draft Minutes

DRAFT Minutes of the Annual Parish Meeting held in
Dittisham Village Hall on Wednesday
19 April 2023 at 7:00 p.m.

Present: Eleven members of the public were present, as were Parish Councillors Anderson, Nightingale, Bond, Hodge, Lloyd, Neale, Tucker, and Unitt, and A Thom (Clerk).

1. Dittisham Parish Council Report

Cllr Nightingale reported on the Parish Council’s activities over the last year.

DPC looked at at least 32 planning applications, took part in various consultations. Councillors represented Dittisham on various groups and external forums, went to working meetings, and met with contractors.

The Dart 10K came up with new proposals for the swim and, because we felt that the event was important, we devoted a lot of time to it. Unfortunately in the end we couldn’t justify the impact on the community of the new proposed way of running the event.

DPC tried to help Parishioners to access cost of living support. A Warm Place trial event was held in The Red Lion Inn. We published energy saving information via the Parish website, DPC Facebook, and leaflets were distributed in the Village Hall and elsewhere, and we investigated grant support for those in energy hardship.

DPC also spent a lot of time dealing with some internal issues. Improvements have been made and the Council is not vulnerable to that happening again.

There is a new Personnel Committee which is looking at training, data security, healthy working conditions and a safe, pleasant and competent environment for us all.

The Clerk completed the Certificate in Local Council Administration.

We are looking at signing the Civility and Respect Pledge to address growing concerns about bullying, harassment and intimidation within the sector and to seek to collaborate with other Parish Councils to achieve that. We already benefit from good links with other Councils, including Ashprington, Blackawton, Brixton, Aveton Gifford, and Slapton.

One of our aims this year will be to improve our communication and consultation, and to involve more non-councillors in the Council’s projects.

Cllr Anderson is leaving the area and the Council. We are very sorry to see him go. He has been a great Chair, giving a jovial yet business-like character to our meetings, and his planning knowledge has been very helpful.

2. Dart Harbour Master

The Harbour Master was very pleased to attend the Meeting to discuss the work being done by Dart Harbour and talk with Dittisham’s Parishioners.

They said that Dart Harbour’s new Strategy was launched in 2022 following consultation. Dart Harbour is also working on new policies – including mooring management, with changes prioritising local residents, especially those within walking distance. A 20 year vision is to be published.

Dart Harbour will be talking to owners of boats which lay up in Dittisham Mill Creek over the winter.

A holding tank requirement is being phased in. Dart Harbour is communicating with South West Water. The water quality measure is good 95% of the time. Dart Harbour is looking into bathing water status designation for some areas but it does not yet know about the rules which govern that.

Dart Harbor is investing in a couple of physical pontoons, including Fisherman’s in Dartmouth. There is a new visitor pontoon in Dartmouth which should help Dittisham.

Dart Harbour is looking at expanding facilities for cruise ships.

There is a possible project working with other groups to map the salt marshes.

3. The Habitat Group – Hedgehog Highways

A representative of the Group discussed some of its activities.

The Habitat Group’s booklet has been a great success. It has been distributed to 850 residences in Dittisham and neighbouring parishes and 4,500 requested for Totnes.

There is a project to reintroduce water voles into the River Gara. No water voles were found in mink traps which were in place for four months. 800 water voles will be released to four sites over two and a half years. The water voles are a keynote species and so will have a positive effect on habitat.

There has been a devastating reduction in the hedgehog population over the last twenty years. This is due to cars, pesticides, and loss of habitat. The Group is encouraging the creation of hedgehog highways. The hedgehogs need a hole the size of a CD in fences. They can travel two to three miles in a night. They eat slugs and snails.

The speakers were followed by refreshments and conversation.