The Minutes can be downloaded here or read below: MN 2024 April 17 Parish Meeting Draft Minutes

DRAFT Minutes of the Annual Parish Meeting

Wednesday 17 April 2024 at 7:00 p.m. in Dittisham Village Hall

Present: 28 people were present including speakers, Parish Cllrs Nightingale (Chair), Bond (Vice-Chair), Golding, Green, Lloyd, Neale, and Unitt, and A Thom (Clerk).

  1. Parish Council Chair

Cllr Nightingale welcomed those present, reported on the Parish Council’s activities, and invited questions.

Cllr Nightingale thanked two residents for their quick response when part of the Village Hall’s wall collapsed in the middle of the night, and the Village Hall Committee and its work team on getting the road open as soon as possible.

He announced that two Parish Councillors have recently resigned: Cllrs Tucker and Cllr Hodge. He thanked them for their time and input to the Council. Cllr Tucker was thanked for 33 years of continuous service on the Parish Council and Cllr Nightingale noted that we will try to find a way to mark his long service in a permanent way.

He said that over the past year we looked at 28 planning applications and streamlined the process for how we consider applications: identifying applications as minor or major, and concentrating more closely on the major applications.

We declared personal interests nine times to be as transparent as possible. We created a standardised process for organising a planning application site visit.

The Parish Council has representatives on the Dart Harbour Community Group, the Health Services group, with Sustainable South Hams, and more. They try to represent the Parish’s interests and report back to the Parish Council.

We wrote to our MP about lack of NHS dentistry services and continue to investigate further actions. There is the possibility of a new low cost dental service in Dartmouth.

We worked with our lengthsman to keep roads clear, despite the record rain. We asked the lengthsman to do some other tasks, such as weed clearance in the village, because unfortunately budgets are constrained everywhere, so the choice is sometimes between us doing it, or it not being done.

We supported the Dart Bathing Water Status application which is now being considered by DEFRA.

We give regular grants to, for example, the Village Hall and St Georges Church.

Cllr Nightingale discussed how many tasks are carried out to keep things as they are that aren’t seen. For example, in maintaining The Ham we liaise with the South Hams District Council grounds maintenance team, who won the contract for 2024 and have done it since 2021, and do a good job. Cllrs on the Maintenance Working Group liaise with the contractors and help to adapt the contract as needed. We survey Footpaths and bridleways, and bid for grants from DCC for substantial repairs. Residents were asked to please report public footpath problems directly to Devon County Council [the authority responsible] on its website.

  1. Guest Speakers

    1. Brixton Parish Council, Chair: Being a Dementia Friendly Parish

The Chair of Brixton Parish Council discussed their experience with being a Dementia Friendly Parish and how Dittisham could take action.

Brixton is is one of five Dementia Friendly Parishes around the Yealm (a registered charity) and a member of the Four Rivers Dementia Alliance, which has nineteen member Parishes.

Of the 28 people in the room six to eight raised their hands to say that they currently know someone who is affected by dementia

The Chair said that being dementia friendly is about people with dementia not experiencing judgment or stigma. It is important to see the person and not the dementia. There are about 80 kinds of dementia, with Alzheimer’s and vascular dementia being the most common.

In dementia friendly parishes the person and their family continue to feel welcome. The person with dementia remains active in the community and part of what’s going on.

They provided an Action Plan for parish councils. Steps include: council and community awareness training, nominating a lead, signage (yellow and black, Arial font – available on the Alzheimer’s website), checking if public buildings are dementia friendly, and helping local businesses to be dementia friendly.

    1. South Devon National Landscapes (AONB) Chair

The SDNL Chair discussed what the organisation does and its priorities.

There are 46 National Landscapes. The renaming came out of an independent Report about protected landscapes. It was a recommendation of the Report: because young adults don’t understand what an AONB is and the relabelling increased its profile and broadened the audience to those less than 40 years old. The purpose of SDNL is to conserve and enhance the beauty of the landscape. That is also a duty of all relevant authorities, including parish councils. SDNL is a consultee on major applications (for more than 10 dwellings) and for single dwellings with an impact on the SDNL. They work to improve engagement, access, and quality of design. SDNL recognises that national landscapes are a living and working landscapes, and that balance is required, for example between employment and protection.

SDNL works on projects in partnership – for example with the South West Coast Path Association.

Its tools are national and local legislation and its own Management Plan. It receives funding of £200,000 per year for staff and also accesses substantial project funding, such as £500,000 National Lottery funding for a four year ‘Life on the Edge’ project about the rich biodiversity of the land between the moor and the sea. SDNL administers a popular Farming in Protected Landscapes grant program. It is in its fourth year and all funds are allocated, which has provided access to additional funds.

SDNL is working with the South West Coast Path to increase access.

SDNL is not a statutory consultee, because of the cost of making that change, although it was a recommendation of the same Report, and some pressure is being applied to achieve that.

The Parish Council can ask SDNL to be involved in a specific application.

A question was asked about light pollution from bright lights on homes. The speaker replied that SDNL has a dark skies policy in its Management Plan and that neighborhood plans can include a dark skies policy. For example South Huish / Hope Cove Neighbourhood Plan has a lights off time.

There is a program to upgrade the existing AONB signs but it’s not currently funded.

A question was asked about the proposed high development next to the River Dart at Baltic Wharf in Totnes. It was explained that because of its location it is not within the remit of SDNL. The Parish Council could comment if it took the view that the project affects the character of the River and local councillors could be lobbied.

  1. Consultations

    1. Parish Emergency Plan

The Plan is being revised in response to pressure on emergency services and because half of the village difficult to access: Lower Street and beyond The Level. The Plan endeavours to use the time waiting for emergency services to try to ensure access. Calling emergency services remains residents’ first action. However it takes time for them to arrive – for example Fire services might take 30 minutes to arrive.

    1. Jubilee Steps Handrail

There were no objections from the meeting and some strong expressions of support for the proposal. If someone falls please notify Devon County Council so that they are aware if there are safety issues with the Steps. There are instructions about how to report and webpage links on the Dittisham Parish website’s home page.

    1. Commemoration of D-Day

The Parish had a very important role in the preparations for D Day. It is the 80th anniversary of the landings on Thursday 6 June 2024. There are national and local events and activities planned that Dittisham could connect with. Residents might also wish to commemorate locally – for example a walking trail of the visible remains of the D-Day preparations, documenting local involvement, or a display in the Hall. Raleigh Estate is purchasing a new post and working to have the Armada Beacon ready for the commemoration.

  1. Announcements

    1. Production of a Dittisham Neighbourhood Plan

DPC will be arranging a public meeting to inform residents about the potential benefit of a neighbourhood plan to provide local planning policy for Dittisham. The South Devon National Landscapes (AONB) Chair has agreed to lead this meeting. The preparation of a neighbourhood plan would be a community, not a Parish Council, project. Neighbourhood Plans can be as simple or extensive as the community chooses.

    1. Drop in DPC availability – from 6 pm before the monthly meetings

From the 1 May meeting we will trial being in the Hall from 6:00 pm, an hour before the meeting starts, to project planning application plans requested by residents and also to be available to discuss other matters of interest to residents.

  1. Discussion

    1. Potholes

A resident said that Anthony Mangnall MP has asked residents to share your experiences with potholes, to inform a debate in the House of Commons on Wednesday 24th April.

The Parish Council encourages you to report potholes to Devon County Council. There are Report a Problem links on the Parish website home page which will take you to the DCC reporting page.

    1. Light Pollution

It was suggested that the Parish Council produce a leaflet. It might be used to inform residences which release a lot of light. A Parish lights off event was suggested, perhaps linking with a national/international event.