Minutes – July 11th 2023


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

Tuesday 11th July 2023 at 7:00pm


  1. Public Session (15 minutes) 
  • Apologies for absence

Cllrs Grigg, Hulett, Gilpin – accepted

  • Declarations of Interest


  • Urgent business not listed on the agenda below, by permission of the Chair.
  • Cllr Skeaping congratulated the organisers for a successful Lydford Fair. 
  • Cllr Southcott reminded the meeting that the survey on closure of railway ticket offices closes on 27th July should anyone wish to make a comment.
  • The defibrillator installed outside the Nicholls Hall was apparently drawn on the weekend 1st / 2nd July but returned unused. Chris Blackmore has agreed to monitor the device until such time as another Cllr is willing to take it over.
  • Cllr Hulett reported that some holes in the road just uphill from Lydford House have been filled in.
  • Minutes of the meeting 13th June 2023
  • Cllrs accepted a proposed amendment from Cllr Hulett – item 13 paragraph 2 – change “Overgrown from the hedge” to “obstructed by road signage”, after which the minutes were accepted and signed by the Chair.
  • Matters arising from the meeting 13th June 2023 
  • Consideration of Lydford Resilience Plan delayed until October meeting.
  • The hedge atop Gorge Hill has been cut back by staff from Lydford Gorge. Thanks to Simon Thompson from NT.
  • Cllr Gilpin advised that the existing website needs only a few amendments in order to be fully compliant with transparency legislation. He is happy to work with the Clerk to get these changes made.
  • Housing in Lydford

Standing orders were suspended by the Chair in order to allow parishioners to contribute to the debate. 

  •      Cllr Skeaping opened the discussions by outlining previous proposals to bring affordable housing to the village and suggested reasons for their failure to develop successfully. The cost of land is prohibitive and any that could be considered for use will need to be donated or given below market price if the housing built on it is to be genuinely affordable.
  •     Councillors received a presentation from Dan Morrow (CEO of Dartmoor MAT) who outlined a number of demographic issues facing the village, particularly the increasing age profile with over 80% of residents currently over 60 years of age, the ages of those purchasing houses and moving in to the village, the price of the average property in Lydford, and how these issues are impacting upon the primary school. Dan requested that the Council take action to explore whether affordable housing is wanted in the village and if so how this could be achieved. His initial proposal was to find a way for the Council and others to set up a local cooperative to build and supply housing on individual sites around the village. This housing would come with covenants prohibiting occupation by any other than local needs.
  •     Cllr Southcott suggested that a local needs survey be conducted specifically for Lydford. WDBC conducted a broader survey of local housing needs recently. The results are pending.
  •     Those Cllrs present were keen to proceed with canvassing the village (AP1 – Clerk to investigate of WDBC how to conduct a local survey.) (AP2 – single agenda item meeting. Propose dates to Cllrs in August). 
  •     There will obviously be a need to canvass WDBC & DNP to gauge their support for such a project
  •     Need to move forward on this slowly!

Standing orders re-instated by Chair.

  • Notice Boards outside Nicholls Hall
  •     Cllr L Lenton thanked Dan Morrow for the offer of support from DMAT to repair the existing board but felt that this was not appropriate – the boards are beyond repair and need replacing. Cllr Lenton proposed that the new boards need to be aluminium as this material needs almost no maintenance. 
  •     Cllr Lenton showed the Council different styles and probable costs. A specific style was agreed by the Council who asked Cllr Lenton to obtain a firm quote (AP3). Sue Powne agreed to talk to the Hall Committee to see whether they were willing to contribute to the costs of replacing the existing community board.(AP4)
  • Traffic through Lydford village.
  •     Cllr Southcott reported that he had taken a stall for Speedwatch at the village fayre the previous Sunday. Only one person spoke to him the entire day and that was to resign from Speedwatch. The lack of engagement from the village population means that Speedwatch cannot operate presently in the village.
  •     Cllr Skeaping felt there was a need to pressurize DCC into committing to the objective of the20’s Plenty campaign and restricting speeds to 20mph through every village across the county.
  •     Dan Morrow suggested that children from Lydford Primary school could get involved in any campaign to highlight speed awareness within the village; producing posters, conducting traffic surveys etc. Signs  can be sponsored, and printed by the school, although Cllr Skeaping pointed out that they cannot be made to look anything like road traffic signs and that any that do resemble official signs will be removed by DCC Highways.

(AP-5 Clerk to write on behalf of Council to DCC to engage in 20mph campaign).

(AP-6 KL to contact possible sponsors for 20’s plenty signs for the school to print).

  1. Update from Dartmoor National Park Forum
  2.   There is considerable work being done in the Park to reintroduce curlews and pine martens, and on landscape recovery.
  3.   There is a lot of anger amongst those farmers whose stock graze the moor. The removal of EU funded schemes in favour of new national schemes is thought to mean that 80% of stock will need to be removed from the moor and many farmers would give up or fail as a consequence.
  4.   National Trust is looking at preparing a plan to ban dogs from Trust land, although this is only likely to be for a brief token period and not during holiday time.
  1. Finances
    1. Councillors resolved to approve the following payments –
      1. J. Bright                            £340.58           July salary
      1. HMRC                                £80.60           PAYE July

 Proposed Cllr L Lenton, seconded Cllr Skeaping. All in favour.

  • Banking reconciliation 30.6.23 – for information

Opening balance 1.4.23         £10,015.25                              Bank holdings at 30.6.23

Add receipts                              £5,164.56                              Deposit Account         £12,000.00*

Less payments                         £3,059.70                              Current account               £120.11*

                                                £12,120.11                                                                  £12,120.11

* £500 to be transferred from Deposit to Current account.

  1. Planning
    1. Councillors previously agreed responses to the following applications.
  2. 23/0040           Castle Inn        Fell 4 Ash Trees & 4 Beech Trees – Neutral View
  3. 23/0043           Beech Trees   Remove 1 central stem from Beech Tree with TPO – Oppose.
  • Noted
  • 0267/23           Bridge House  Application for certificate of lawfulness 

(Internal alterations to restore the house to a single dwelling)

  • Noted
  • 0202/23           West Pulborough Barn – extension above existing lean-to. Refused
  1. Councillors felt it unnecessary to exclude members of the public for this item, and after a brief discussion Diana Moyse was co-opted onto the Council to serve as a Parish Councillor.

Proposed Cllr Skeaping, seconded Cllr L Lenton. All in favour.

Meeting concluded: 20.25

Action points from meeting:

 Action to be taken byAction to be takenOutcome
01ClerkInvestigate of WDBC how to conduct a local surveyCommunications with Borough Cllr Mott. A council-wide needs survey was very recently carried out by WDBC. The results are awaited.
02ClerkWhen requested by the Chair / Acting Chair or two Cllrs, to call an extraordinary meeting to discuss any agenda for moving the idea of affordable housing in Lydford forward.No request made
03Cllr L LentonObtain a quote for manufacturing and delivering two aluminium notice boards of the type and design agreed. 
04Sue PowneTo enquire of the Nicholls Hall committee whether they were willing to help fund the replacement of the community notice board.Enquiries made. It was felt that the matter was best handled slowly and with care.
05ClerkTo write to Chief Officer of DCC Highways encouraging them to engage with the 20’s Plenty campaignEmail to Meg Booth 8.8.23
06Cllr K LentonCan sponsors be found to cover the cost of speed awareness banners printed by DMAT staff?