Minutes from Annual Parish Meeting 2021
Newton St Cyres Parish Council
Minutes of the Annual Parish Meeting held on Thursday 11 March 2021 at 7pm via zoom
Parish Councillors (Cllr Jim Enright as Chair) and Parish Clerk, Cllr Graeme Barnell, MDDC, Cllr Margaret Squires, DCC and 22 members of public
Cllr Jim Enright welcomed everyone to the meeting
There were no apologies
- Minutes of the Annual Parish Meeting held on Thursday 4 April 2019
Agreed and to be signed as a true record.
- Chairman’s Report
Hello, well it has been a very strange year for us all.
The Parish Council was planning our 2020 Annual Parish Meeting which was to be held in the Parish Hall on April 2nd. But to our surprise the country was put into lockdown and our meeting was necessarily postponed.
Since then, the Parish Council has been meeting via zoom and we have become quite adept. Although it does highlight the problem the village has with broadband.
Well, here we are in March 2021 and our combined 2020 and 2021 Annual Parish Meeting is being held via zoom.
So, what are the highlights of the past two years?
The most prominent was the re-surfacing of the A377. It was badly pot-holed and well overdue the attention it received.
Regrettably, problems of increasing traffic usage and speeding still blight the A377. We have been in talks with Devon County Council and with D & C Constabulary but little helpful progress has been made. We will continue to press our case together with strong support from local residents who live by the main road.
We also still have problems with large trucks, tractors and trailers using Langford Road, a narrow lane totally unsuitable to such use. We do, of course, accept that we live in a farming community and there will always be tractors and trailers at certain times of the year. These are part of the fabric of our community.
However, we are now suffering from the increasing industrialisation of farmland for use as warehousing, distribution and Anaerobic Digestion, without suitable access routes. Here again we are being supported by local residents in our attempt to get DCC Highways to accept their responsibility to their electorate and protect our rural lanes. Many homes adjoin the road and they suffer constant noise and vibration from hundreds of unsuitable transport movements daily.
Cllr. Damien Hodge, in his role as Neighbourhood Watch Officer, took on the additional work of co-ordinating the Parish Council efforts to support residents affected by the lockdown. He is still performing this role and receives well deserved thanks on behalf of our community.
We held a successful Community Fair which brought together local groups and potential volunteers and this will be repeated in future years.
The Parish Council has received a grant for the purchase of PPE to be stored at the Parish Hall and at the Recreation Ground for emergency use as both are classed as Evacuation Centres. Realising that both of these great community facilities have suffered from enforced closure during the past year, the Parish Council has budgeted additional grants to offer some extra support over the coming year.
Cllr Paul Taylor and his committee have made progress with the Boniface Trail which is now firmly in the sights of Devon County Council. The first stage will be a Feasibility Study, to be carried out within a 5-year period, which hopefully will then be approved and added to the County budget.
The Greater Exeter Plan proposed building 1200 dwellings in the Sweetham and Tytheing areas of Newton St Cyres. Fortunately, GESP has now been withdrawn, but the danger still lurks. A new Mid Devon Plan is being formulated with requests for suitable development land to be put forward by landowners.
The village Post Office closed and it took some months to make arrangements for the service we now receive in the Village Hall twice weekly. But it does work well.
The long-expected village centre Pedestrian Crossing is expected to be built in the summer of this year. Thanks go to Cllr. Roger Cashmore whose design is being used. But we still pursue “school” signs on Station Road, a pathway from the bus stop to the lay-by in Half Moon, and a crossing point for Tytheing and Sand Down Lane.
Our plans to progress a Community Land Trust were put on hold until meetings could take place. A CLT would enable the Parish Council to join together with a Developer and build Social Housing to rent to villagers. We hope to start progressing this when the restrictions on meeting face to face come to an end.
A separate project centred around a Village Community Shop and Post Office. This too was put on hold but will hopefully be dusted off and further investigated.
I must thank my fellow Parish Councillors, all of whom take on individual responsibilities in addition to their collective responsibilities. Our hard-working Clerk, Jane, and our District Councillor, Graeme Barnell, and County Councillor, Margaret Squires, for all the hard work put in over the past two years.
And there is Cllr Liz Ouldridge, our Press Officer, who keeps the village informed through the very successful Newton Wonder, produced by that local stalwart, Peter Hawksley, and his team.
What would we do without the Parish Hall, the Recreation Ground and the Arboretum, run so successfully by their Chairmen and Committees?
And of course, the very many Volunteers, mostly working behind the scenes, but who make a very significant contribution to village life.
Well done and thanks to you all.
And now we come to the Community Volunteer of the Year Award. We had decided to whom this honour was to be bestowed but the cancellation of the Annual Parish Meeting delayed the announcement, until now.
And finally, the Parish Council does now meet the criteria for application for the Local Council Award Scheme – Quality Level - and this will be pursued in the coming year.
With the vaccination program well under way, it does look as though the mid and latter part of this year will see a return to near normal.
How great that will be for us all.
- Presentation by James Anstee (Devon County Council Road Safety Manager) on road safety in the parish, followed by questions from the public
Cllr Jim Enright explained that James Anstee would be unable to join the meeting due to internet access issues. Cllr Jim Enright reported that speed monitoring cameras had been put up at the entrance to the village by Quickes, by the Village Green and by Tytheing Close on two occasions last year. At least 20,000 vehicle movements were recorded, the vast majority of which were within the legal speed limit (30mph plus 10% plus 1/2mph). Speeds of 35 to 36 mph were therefore breaking the speed limit, those travelling over 36mph would be offered a speed awareness course if stopped and over 40mph would get a fine. 60 vehicles were recorded travelling at speeds which would warrant further action. However, some of these 60 may be emergency vehicles, there is no way of knowing. The Parish Council would like to see Average Speed Cameras installed; however these are expensive with ongoing costs. Money from speeding fines goes to central government and is not kept locally. DCC data shows that between 2015-2019 there were 35 recorded accidents between Cowley and Crediton. To the end of 2018 the same section of road was ranked 39th in terms of its overall performance compared to all roads in the county.
A footpath at Half Moon from the layby up to the bus stop is needed and the Parish Council had been informed that Hanlons were making enquiries with regard to installing a footpath as required by their planning permission.
Another problem area was crossing between Sand Down Lane and Tytheing Close and when the old school site is developed, the Parish Council will request that a crossing be included as part of the planning consent.
Cllr Jim Enright opened the meeting up for comments
Half Moon resident - speeding is prolific, for example whilst reversing into my drive a car overtook on the wrong side of the road. Lorries (e.g. CMC/Gregory) are some of the offenders. Could the tachograph be checked as these would show speeds?
Cllr Jim Enright noted that a puffin crossing had been agreed for installation in the centre of the village and this would mean gaps in the traffic should develop in the Crediton to Exeter direction which may assist with crossing the road. The crossing will have pressure sensors so would remain on red until pedestrians had crossed over to the other side. DCC have said they will see if the crossing helps with reducing speeding, if not then other solutions could be looked at.
Cllr Margaret Squires noted that the crossing had been agreed and should be installed in the summer holidays. The existing central island would be taken out and the road narrowed. Letters had been sent to nearby residents together with a copy of the map. Once there is a crossing, then average speed cameras would not be an option
Cllr Graeme Barnell commented on the different stories regarding average speed cameras and whether or not they could be used. He was concerned about the social impact the A377 was having on the village. There were no safe crossing points between Tytheing Close and Sand Down lane and a footpath was required at Half Moon. He didn’t feel that we were being listened to.
Half Moon resident - lots of vehicles go too fast. Could traffic calming measurers to be looked at?
Tytheing Close resident - over the last year the road is more dangerous and walking up and down School Hill feels unsafe due to the narrow path and the speed of vehicles. The flashing lights by Belluno are in the wrong place as by the time they flash, cars are already going too fast down the hill. Incidents of road rage have also increased lately. If we can’t have speed cameras what can we do? Feels like we are not being listened to.
Cllr Jim Enright said he would like to see a 30mph speed limit all the way from Cowley to Crediton. The speed limit is determined by the number of houses.
Perhaps speed bumps could be considered?
NSC resident – speed cameras would do a better job at reducing speed than a crossing and if £120,000 was being spent on a crossing, wouldn’t this be better spent on average speed cameras?
Cllr Jim Enright explained that the Parish Council had decided to go with a crossing which there was some likelihood of getting rather than starting the process again to ask for average speed cameras and risk not getting anything.
Cllr Roger Cashmore – we could consider crowd funding our own speed camera? People have died on the A377 and the crossing will not address the underlying problem of speeding traffic. What’s the point of laws if they are not enforced?
Cllr Jim Enright said the Parish Council had looked at funding its own speed camera but this would not be sanctioned by the Police.
Newton St Cyres resident – could signage be looked at to reinforce the slow down message?
Tytheing Close resident – an elderly man with a Zimmer frame struggles to cross the road at Tytheing Close and refused to come to this meeting as he feels that nothing will be done. A child was hit by a car by Court Barton; a boy had an accident near Bernaville. The resident is going to write an article and asked people to contact her with their road issues.
Newton St Cyres resident - 5 people had died due to accidents on the A377 between Cowley and Crediton. Surely the money required is a small price to pay?
Cowley resident – it’s very difficult to cross the road at Cowley to get to the bus stops. Could more signs be painted on the road to remind people it’s still 30mph?
Newton St Cyres resident – more warning signs would be welcomed and paint is cheap
Newton St Cyres resident – had agreed to join the Community Speed Watch some time ago but had heard nothing. Cllr Jim Enright explained that the sites that CSW were using were taken out of use by the Police. However, this had been reviewed and we were waiting for the sites to be re-authorised and hope that CSW could start again.
Cllr Margaret Squires noted that any signs on the road required a Traffic Order which cost about £3,000.00 and required agreement between DCC and the police so it was not as quick and easy solution as it might seem. If 20 is plenty signs were used by residents, they should be green as red signs would be taken down. Speeding is a police issue and perhaps the Police Commissioner should be contacted?
Cllr Jim Enright noted that the police have been part of the discussions.
Half Moon resident - could the DVLA be involved as they can extract speeding data from digital tachograph when the vehicle is stopped. Could the companies of speeding lorries be contacted?
Cllr Jim Enright noted that the Parish Council had contacted several companies following reports of speeding by parishioners and a mixed response had been received.
Cllr Graeme Barnell noted that the Parish Council have been trying their best to get Highways to deal with a list of issues. The proposed planning application for a lagoon at Rixenford Lane would lead to even more traffic and a press campaign was underway. Parishioners needed to support the Parish Council and as a parish we needed to make a nuisance of ourselves.
Cllr Jim Enright noted that residents could write to DCC and James Anstee and copy to the Clerk
Tytheing Close resident – the police had told her that dash camera footage could be used.
Half Moon resident – average speed cameras may be a deterrent but will not solve the problem for which we need a change of culture. The geography of the road will affect any average speeds.
- Plans for Pedestrian Crossing
Cllr Jim Enright showed the plan for the Puffin crossing and Cllr Roger Cashmore gave a brief overview of the plans.
- Parish Council Financial Statement for year ending 31 March 2021
Cllr Jim Enright showed the Financial Statement and this was noted.
- Presentation of Community Award
The award for Voluntary Services was presented to Daphne and Tom Clague
- Public Participation/Questions
There were no further questions
The Chairman thanked everyone for attending and the meeting closed at 8.45pm