Minutes – December 12th 2023


Minutes of the meeting held at the Nicholls Hall, Lydford on

Tuesday 12th December 2023 at 7:30pm

  1. Public Session (15 minutes) 

Anthony Purnell has been accredited as Lydford’s CrimeWatch Ambassador. He outlined his plans for  upskilling the community in preventing crime in the village, including an awareness of cybercrime. He asked that the council consider nominating a member as a CrimeWatch Champion. (AP1 Clerk to include on the agenda for January)

Anthony shared the menu for a Xmas lunch he is providing at Nicholls Hall on Christmas Day. He has invited a number of parishioners but asked that if Cllrs know of anyone in the village who might welcome the company, they might suggest that they contact Anthony.

Brian Cook suggested that documents relating to a published agenda might be included on the website to inform parishioners. The Clerk felt that this was possible for most documents. (AP2 – Clerk to find a way to make this possible ready before January’s meeting). Brian further suggested that the council might want to consider streaming meetings in the future. Cllr Southcott reminded the council that public meetings of WDBC are routinely live streamed on YouTube. (AP3 – Clerk to include an item on the agenda for January). 

  • Present – Cllrs Skeaping (Chair), Hulett, L. Lenton, K. Lenton, Gilpin, Moyse. Cllr Southcott (Borough Cllr), 2 members of the parish.
  • Apologies for absence

Cllr Mott (WDBC), Cllr Sanders (DCC), Simon Thompson (NT, Lydford Gorge), Richard Drysdale (DNPA).

  • Declarations of Interest


  • Minutes of the meeting 14th November 2023 

Cllr L Lenton could not recall making the comment accredited to her at the final sentence in item 12 and asked that it be removed. This was agreed, and the amended minutes were accepted by all as an accurate record of the meeting.

  • Matters arising from the meeting 14th November 2023 
  • The Clerk fed back to the council on Highways’ responses to reports mud from a neighbouring field washing onto the highway at School Road opposite Sharp Tor bungalow and the problems caused by an overgrown hedge at the same location. Highways did not feel that the matter met their action criteria. Cllrs felt that it would be helpful in the future if they were able to identify the landowner(s) responsible for the field in question. (AP4 – Cllr Skeaping to enquire of the contractor who cut the hedge very recently as to the owner of the field.
  • Devon Highways were not willing to act on damage to the grass verge at the top of Gorge Hill. Nevertheless, Cllrs wanted to explore ways of preventing similar damage in future. (AP5 – Clerk to contact highways regarding ideas to place rocks on the grass or a sign prohibiting parking on the verge.
  • Cllrs identified a number of minor works that could be carried out on the carriageways through the village. (AP6 – Cllrs to send suggestions for work to the Clerk to collate and deploy the council Lengthsman accordingly.
  • Following on from discussions about the dedicated email addresses for each Cllr, the Clerk will send out instructions on how each Cllr can open a free Gmail account using the same format. – AP7
  • On the matter of the thermal imaging camera discussed at the November meeting, Cllr L Lenton is happy to look into the logistics of how a camera might be borrowed from WDBC as she feels that it may be helpful to parishioners. She will report back to the council at January’s meeting. (AP8/9 – Clerk to include an item in agenda for January. Cllr L Lenton to investigate how a camera might be borrowed and report back in January).
  • Home Guard Bench – Gorge Hill

Cllrs agreed that the bench should be relocated so that passers-by could sit further from the carriageway. It was felt that the bench could be safely moved by a working party properly equipped rather than needing to hire anyone. (AP10 – Cllr Hulett to co-ordinate working party).

  • Car Park

Cllr Moyse felt that the matter of parking charges needed further action and that Cllrs should press to have the matter considered by DNPA Members as part of their next public meeting. Cllr Moyse reminded Cllrs of the opposition withing the community to charging at Lydford and stated that Geoffrey Cox MP has written to Kevin Bishop of DNPA in an attempt to force the matter. Cllrs agreed that this should be followed up on. (AP11 – clerk to write to DNPA Members with a strongly worded request that the matter be included on the agenda of the next possible meeting of the Authority.

  • Playground

Cllr Hulett requested an update on the status of the identified repairs. Cllr Gilpin stated that he now has the required beam and that Morwellham timber will be installing it this week.

Cllr Gilpin stated that the Playground Committee will be re-forming. It is hoped that they will run the summer fayre in 2024 and that any proceeds from the fayre will be donated to the council to be used to cover the costs of future repairs to the playground. The Committee will have no formal responsibility for the playground. Cllrs agreed by a majority of 5 to 1 accept any donations so offered.

  1. Community Emergency Response Plan

Cllr Hulett reported that the working group now has 5 members, including two members of the parish. The plan is proceeding well and should be ready for adoption and publication in January 2024. (AP12/13 – Cllr Hulett to obtain an indication of printing and binding costs. Clerk to apply for grant funding to cover costs of production of the Plan.)

  1. Clerk’s Salary

It was agreed that rather than award additional weekly hours, the Clerk will continue to monitor hours worked for the next six months to see whether the excess hours worked would be offset in “quieter” months. If there is still an excess of unpaid worked hours, these can be claimed by the Clerk as “overtime”.  Proposed Cllr L Lenton, seconded Cllr Skeaping. All in favour.

  1. Finances
    1. To resolve to approve the payments:
  1. J. Bright                            £590.12           December salary + backdated pay rise.
    1. HMRC                              £143.00           PAYE December
    1. J. Bright                              £19.88           Printer ink
    1. J. Bright                           £150.32           Website hosting
    1. Diana Moyse                      £26.55           Mileage
    1. J. Bright                                £5.99           Printer paper
  • Budget

Cllrs reviewed the draft version of next year’s budget produced by the Clerk and suggested some  adjustments which can then be approved in January (AP14 – Clerk to adjust budget costings).

  • Christmas Grant (to Nicholls Hall)

Cllrs agreed that the council should make an annual contribution to the Nicholls Hall committee to help cover the costs of providing the Christmas tree outside the hall.

Items a-c proposed Cllr Skeaping, seconded Cllr Hulett. All in favour.

  • Banking reconciliation 30.11.23

for information

Opening balance 1.4.23         £10,015.25                              Bank holdings at 30.11.23

Add receipts                              £9,551.78                  Deposit Account         £14,033.22

Less payments                         £5,452.57                  Current Account               £360.44

                                                                                                Less O/S items*               £279.20

                                                £14,114.46                                                      £14,114.46

* Payments to HMRC and unpresented cheques

  1. Planning


  1. Any urgent business not listed on the agenda below, by permission of the Chair.

(For information only)


Meeting closed 8:50pm

Action pointAction to be taken byAction to be takenOutcome
1ClerkInclude an item on CrimeWatch in January agenda – council to nominate a Champion.Included
2ClerkTo find a way to include background documents with the published agenda on parish website Temporary “Fix” applied.
3ClerkTo include an item in January agenda for Cllrs to consider streaming public meetings.Included
4Cllr SkeapingTo ask the contractor who cut the hedge to the field opposite Sharp Tor bungalow, who owns that field. Enquiries made. Findings circulated 15.12.23. Subsequent enquiries revealed owner. Circulated 20.12.23
5ClerkTo consult with local Highways community officer as to the best actions to prevent future damage to the Gorge Hill verge caused by vehicles parking. First enquiry sent 13.12.23. Suggestions from Highways Officer circulated to Cllrs 15.12.23 Enquiry about verge markers sent 20.12.23
6All CllrsIdentify minor works to carriageways in the village (drains, ditches etc.) and forward to Clerk who will collate and deploy Lengthsman as required.Awaited
7ClerkFormulate and distribute instructions to Cllrs on how to set up a free Gmail account in a standard format which can be used as their dedicated account for council business.Sent 20.12.23
8ClerkInclude an agenda item in January about the possible loan from WDBC of a thermal imaging camera to be available for use by parishioners.Included
9Cllr L LentonResearch how a thermal imaging camera might be loaned from WDBC for the use of parishioners.Awaits
10Cllr HulettTo co-ordinate a working group of Cllrs to relocate the Gorge Hill Home Guard bench to a safer position.Bench relocated 29.12.23
11ClerkTo write to DNPA requesting that Members reconsider in a public meeting the imposition of charges on the car park in LydfordOngoing. Enquiries of Cllr Mott about raising of an agenda item by Members
12Cllr HulettTo obtain an estimate of costs to print and bind copies of the Lydford Emergency Plan.Pending final adoption – February
13ClerkTo apply for grant funding to cover the cost of printing and publishing the Lydford Emergency Plan.Pending final adoption – February
14ClerkTo adjust proposed budget in light of Cllrs’ suggestions  and distribute next draft of budget.Completed. Circulated 14.12.23

Approved 9.1.24 – item 4