Minutes – November 12th 2019

Minutes of the  Meeting of Lydford Parish Council held on Tuesday 12th November 2019, 7.00pm in the WI Room of the Nicholls Hall, Lydford.

Present:  CllrSquires (Chair); Cllr. MacIntyre;  Cllr. Skeaping; Cllr Cook; Cllr Grigg; Cllr Tainsh; John Bright (Clerk), 12 members of the parish.

Public Discussion:

The Chairman thanked so many parishioners for attending the meeting.

  1. Tony Williams informed the parish that his decision on how to arrange the final dispersal of remaining funds has been delayed by the submission of three late applications which he would like to consider. He expects to be in a position to make final arrangements next month.
  • A parishioner asked that although this year’s Remembrance day functions were a great success, the Council might take a more proactive role in organising events in the future.
  • Concerns were expressed about issues arising out of visitor parking at recent events including a well-attended funeral, bonfire night and popular days at Lydford Gorge. Councillors were asked to explore ways to control parking to ensure that larger vehicles are not obstructed. 
  • Concerns continue to be raised about changes to the area of Lydford Gorge proposed by the National Trust. Parishioners remain concerned about the loss of an area of unspoilt beauty, and about the increase in visitor numbers and the impact that will have upon those who live in the village. They feel that the published figure of 80,000 visitors a year to the Gorge site places a heavy burden upon the infrastructure of a small village of 400 people. Cllr Tainsh was able to inform parishioners that letters have been sent to regional and national offices of the National trust, Natural England and Dartmoor Park planning authority expressing villagers’ concerns expressed at last month’s meeting and that Cllr Blackmore has a meeting arranged with the Operations Manager at NT Killerton House.
  • Councillors were asked whether the 118 bus could be asked to pick up from the new bus shelter so that users could avoid having to wait in the open. The Chairman stated that the matter had been raised with the operator, Dartline Coaches, when the shelter was first completed. At that time the company did not feel able to alter their timetables but they did undertake to keep the matter under review in the future. It was agreed to follow up on this discussion to remind Dartline. (AP7)

Meeting commenced 7:15pm

1) Apologies for absence:

Cllr Blackmore – duty. Accepted.

2) Declarations of interest: 

None declared.

3) Dispensation to allow Councillors to discuss, amend as necessary and vote on the village precept was granted by the Clerk.

4)   Minutes of previous meeting:

The published draft minutes of the meeting of 8th October 2019 were approved by all and signed by the Chair as a true record. Proposed – Cllr MacIntyre, Seconded – Cllr Grigg

5)  Matters arising from previous meeting:

Requests have been sent to Highways to –

  1. Repaint road markings on the exit from the car park
  2. Erect the post for the VAS in the layby opposite the Lydford Farm Shop
  3. Give guidance on the most effective ways to slow traffic passing through the village

Road signs directing users of cycle route 27 towards the public toilets have been ordered

The family of William Sowden have been contacted and are happy to pay for the construction, delivery and installation of a bench to honour their departed father who was a resident of the village. The bench has been ordered to replace the existing Home Guard bench which is beyond repair. Councillors to arrange to have the bench removed and the plinth cleared ready for the erection of the new bench.

No replies have been received from the National Trust, Natural England or DNPA in reply to letters sent last month.

Cllr Blackmore informed the Council by email that he has a meeting arranged with the Operations Manager from NT Killerton House later this week.

Cllr Squires has spoken to a parishioner who would be willing to take on the role of Road Warden / Lengthsman for the village to replace the existing lengthsman who is leaving the village. Councillors were not keen for this to be done on a completely voluntary basis. Clerk to explore possible sources of funding (AP1)

6) Reports from other bodies:

Cllr Tainsh previously circulated the latest report from the Ethos Committee of Lydford Primary School. Councillors are invited to the opening of the school’s Forest School on 3rd December at 3:00pm

7) Report from Borough Councillor:


8) Public toilets (standing item): 

Cllr Grigg informed the Council that he had arranged for a plumber to drain down the toilets in readiness for winter closure, and is looking at ways to improve the cosmetics of the facilities in readiness for opening in the spring. 

The matter of winter opening was discussed. Whilst it was agreed in principle that opening the toilets throughout the year would be welcomed, there would be considerable expense involved. Councillors agreed to keep to the same opening period for next year, explore the issues associated with keeping the toilets open for the winter and evaluate the expense involved.

It was resolved that Lydford Parish Council will assume permanent responsibility for the toilets from West Devon BC, provided that WDBC give a written assurance that – regardless of legislation changes – Lydford PC will not be required to pay Business Rate Council Tax on the toilets in the future. 

Proposed – Cllr Cook, seconded – Cllr Grigg. 6 in favour, 1 abstention. 

Clerk to communicate with WDBC and enquire of DALC the details of a lawyer to represent Lydford PC in signing the lease from DNP. (AP2 & 3)

9) Remembrance events in Lydford:

Cllr Grigg felt that whilst this year’s Remembrance Day events had been very good, the Council could do more to organise and co-ordinate them.  

It was resolved the Lydford Parish Council would look to lead and co-ordinate Remembrance Day activities in he future, and that a set of Standing Orders for the day be produced. 

Proposed-Cllr Grigg, seconded-Cllr MacIntyre. All in favour. (AP4)

The Clerk asked the Council what plans they wanted to make in preparation for the death of the Monarch or a member of the Monarch’s immediate family. Clerk to summarise and circulate Operation London Bridge to Councillors (AP5)

10) Finance:


The following payments were approved –

  • J Bright (Pay October)                         £ 249.28                      Payment online
    • J Bright (Travel Expenses)                   £ 40.94                       Payment online

HMRC (PAYE October)                         £ 57.80                        Cheque 300002

N Skeaping (Expenses)            £14.00                         Payment online

West Devon RBL (Wreath donation)  £60.00                         Payment online

Michael Jones (Bus shelter repairs)    £68.31                         Payment online

Proposed – Cllr Squires, seconded – Cllr Cook, all in favour by show of hands.

11) Budget 2020

Councillors felt that the budget for the coming year should be the same as for the present year (£9,541.00), but asked the Clerk to look again at the figures in some of the proposed budget lines and circulate (AP6).

12) Planning Applications

Councillors noted the approval of applications –

  1. 19/0039 Fell trees under TPO Lyd Valley
  2. 0353/19 Conversion of garage, Rossmoyne
  3. 0347/19 Replacement windows, Forda Farm
  4. 0396/19 Field shelter, Forda Farm
  5. 0397/19 Garden room extension, Highdown

On the matter of  C19/3222957 & linked cases, Appeal against enforcement notice Downtown Farm they felt that they had made their representations in support of the original applications and that as the matter was now being argued over points of law there was nothing more they could add.

13) Correspondence:

Previously circulated. 

14) Other Business by permission of the Chair

Councillors were saddened to hear that the Lydford Farm Shop had been broken into again.

Cllr MacAlister reported that the recent Trick or Treat Trail had proven to be very popular again, and was considered a great success by all who took part.

Cllr Grigg reported that he had met with MP Geoffrey Cox over the issues relating to the changes and use of the Gorge, and that he had promised Cllr Grigg and the Council his full support in future dealings with the National Trust.

Meeting closed 21:30

Next meeting Tuesday 10th December 2019


AP1Clerk to enquire of DCC Highways whether Road Wardens can be compensated for their work for the parish and what funds are available to help the PC do this.Email to Community Officer 29.11.19Link to Highways page
AP2Clerk to inform WDBC of resolution of the Council in relation to permanent adoption of the public toilets.Email 15.11.19. No response as yet. Chased 6.12.19
AP3Clerk to request of DALC details of appropriate lawyers who might assist with the legal aspects of agreeing and signing the lease for the toilets from DNP.Email to DALC 15.11.19. Reply suggests contacting Tozers or Wellers Hedleys, both of whom work with DALC. To next meeting.
AP4Councillor MacIntyre to produce a set of Standing Orders for future Remembrance Day events. 
AP5Clerk to summarise Operation London Bridge relevant to Lydford PC & circulate.Emailed to Councillors 21.11.19
AP6Clerk to review values allocated to individual spending lines in light of decision to increase allocation for clerk’s pay but maintain total budget & circulate.Adjustments made, emailed to Councillors 18.11.19
AP7Clerk to write to Dartline to request that they consider changing the route of the 118 bus so that it stops at the bus shelter.Email to Dartline Coaches 23.11.19. Response from Dartline that their route was dictated by DCC on whose behalf they run the service. Email to DCC 26.11.19 No reply as yet. Chased 6.12.19