Magazine report


November report

Residents will have noticed that work has started on the Wheat Park development. Jameson Homes have installed temporary fencing to secure the site from the remainder of the owners retained land and are carrying out proprietary site clearance, formation of haul route and construction of site compound. Subject to weather conditions this is likely to take approximately 3 weeks. Unfortunately, the SWW utility works are not scheduled to happen until mid February 2019 so the utility works are likely to happen individually rather than just one disruption as the Parish Council had hoped.

SHDC Cllr Steer noted that the difficulties with waste collection are now resolved. Councillors agreed that they were impressed that the waste collection had continued despite road closures.

DCC Cllr Hosking noted that:

  • The Council has an £8m overspend, mainly due to statutory social care provision. There will have to be savings.
  • DCC is not treating Japanese Knotweed unless it is a safety defect (for example on the Highway) where it will be treated as an emergency.
  • No response has been received as yet from the design team regarding Gara Bridge. Cllr Hosking will continue to press them.
  • A national review is taking place on 20 mph zones.
  • The local Highways Officer and Cllr Hosking will be looking at Coombeshead Cross to see if they can find a low cost solution funded from the Locality Budget. This might be a blind summit sign.

Work is starting shortly to make the picnic area more accessible at the Playing Field. This is funded by the Town and Parish Fund as unfortunately there have been difficulties with regard to the composting toilet at the Playing Field. The Devon Association of Local Councils (DALC) advised that the Parish Council could be challenged if they installed a conventional composting toilet and not a fully accessible one. There are siting and access issues with a larger accessible toilet so this is currently not viable unfortunately

 Like individuals the Parish Council can comment on all planning applications(and do so) but they are only statutory consultees on full planning applications – not reserved matters or permitted development. There were two full planning applications this month – to upgrade the Church’s heating oil tank which was supported and an application to retain an ancillary residential outbuilding which was not supported. Further details are available in the Parish Council minutes on the noticeboard and the website,  The details of all local planning applications can be viewed on the South Hams website as well.

Councillors will be sending a Parish Council response to the Plymouth and South West Devon Joint Local Plan. This will stress the importance of road infrastructure and genuinely affordable housing and the importance of parking in village and town centres. Until the 5 December, individual comments can also be made at:

 Cllr Franklin met the local Flood Officer and Highways Officer to discuss the problems at Bradridge Cross. They will contact the local landowners. The second defibrillator has arrived from Heartswell so it will installed at Curtisknowle as soon as the local electrician is free.

The Parish Council will start investigating a heritage lottery application with regard to the industrial history of Larkham Quarry. This may be done jointly with Harberton Parish Council as the Quarry goes along their boundary. If local residents have any information on how the quarry was used or the remaining buildings or landscape features please contact the Clerk.

TheAnnual Parish Meetingwill be held on 28 May 2019. May will be a very busy month as elections to the Parish Council will take place on 2 May and the Annual Parish Council (like an AGM) is held on 14 May. Please consider standing as a Parish Councillor and support your local community. All training is provided. A full list of all Parish Council meeting dates is on the noticeboard and the website

The date of the next Parish Council Meeting is Tuesday 11 December at 7.30 p.m. in the Village Hall.

October report

Four members of the public attended to talk about the Playing Field. At the July Parish Council meeting there was a discussion about the practicality of part of the Playing Field being used as a drop off area for the school and a proposal to change the football pitch to a bowling green with a putting area / walking netball. Mike Cox summarised on behalf of the Playing Field Group that the football field would be missed. It was felt that the playing field is a big draw for the village and the school. The tennis court is well used for tennis but also cricket and other ball games. Children at secondary school meet at the Skate Park as there are few alternatives.

It was agreed that the gravel surface of the tennis court is problematic and it is also difficult without a toilet. Ideally, the tennis court would be resurfaced with marking for multi use purposes such as tennis, netball and walking netball. It was agreed that the Playing Field Group would investigate the costs and feasibility of a composting toilet, as well as connecting to the mains and relevant disability legislation. The Parish Council will look at options for a multi use surface on the tennis court, as in South Brent and Yealmpton.

The current Town and Parish (TAP) funding is earmarked to increase access to the Playing Field and Amenity land. It was agreed that these funds would be spent on a composting toilet. If a toilet is not feasible then they would be spent on a communal area by the tennis court and more picnic benches.

Members of the public also asked about ways to make it safer for children to walk to the park. The Parish Council has previously approached Highways unsuccessfully. There is a Give Way sign but Devon Highways refused speed bumps. A solar powered flashing “Slow Down” sign would be helpful if another request for traffic calming measures is unsuccessful. Parish Councillors agreed that they would talk to other parishes to submit a communal bid for the Communities Together Fund (the successor to the TAP funds) and swap the sign between parishes.

Update on the Wheat Park development. Jameson Homes provided the following update, “Due to the delay in receiving planning permission unfortunately this has pushed our programme back. We have a number of pre-commencement planning conditions that we need to discharge and will be submitting these this week. Subject to approval in a timely manner by SHDC we are looking at a start on site in the new year and aiming for January 2019, unless there is an opportunity to bring this forward in which case we would look to start earlier.

One of the first operations will be the offsite works by SWW (connecting the site to their existing adopted foul water sewer) and works by Western Power Distribution to extend their existing services to the site. This regrettably will mean some disruption for local residents with either a partial or full road closure. To limit the disruption we have asked both SWW and WPD to coordinate their works and share the same trenching works. SWW programme indicates the works will take about 5 weeks. Approximately 4 weeks before we start our own works on site we will undertake a letter drop to immediate local residents advising them.”

Update from District and County Councillors. Cllr Hosking reported that sadly drainage measures at Bradridge Cross could not be undertaken this year as the Council has run out of money. Parish Cllrs expressed dismay. Cllr Hosking agreed to look at it and pursue other options.

Any pot holes not fixed need to be reported again through the DCC website. The local infestation of Japanese Knotweed has been treated. DCC will refresh the road markings at Coombeshead Cross. DCC would not take any further measures as there had been no significant traffic accidents in the past five years. Cllrs reported that there was a double fatality there, possibly just before the five year period. Cllr Hosking agreed to investigate.

Cllr Hosking is training as a Scam-bassador. There are two new Scam reporting lines:

Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline 03454 04 05 06

Action Fraud 0300 1232040 or

If parishioners have someone at the door trying a scam they should call 999.

Steve Mullineaux, acting Deputy Chief Executive at SHDC attended in response to concerns about the waste collection services.He apologised on behalf of SHDC that not all problems had been resolved but noted that the situation has improved since the discussion at the Parish Council meeting in August. Cllrs agreed that the service is getting better although there were still problems over the bank holiday weekend. Steve Mullineaux offered to return in another month. Hopefully all difficulties will be resolved then.

Planning Applications2706/18/FUL    Replacement and extended agricultural building
Lower Farleigh Farm, Moreleigh, Devon, TQ9 7JW                                           Support

Defibrillator. The Parish Council has received £419 from Diptford Community Fund towards the second defibrillator at Curtisknowle. A local electrician has been appointed. The Clerk will order the defibrillator from Heartswell and it is hoped that it will be in place by November.

 Ivybridge Ring and Rideneed more financial help and more volunteer drivers. Please could anyone who is interested in being a volunteer driver contact the Clerk.

 The Police and Crime Commissioner for Devon and Cornwallis seeking the opinion of the public and stakeholders about a proposed merger between Devon and Cornwall Police and Dorset Police. It is very important that as many people as possible give us their thoughts on the proposal. The easiest way to do this is by reading the information on the dedicated website and by completing the survey found there.

There are currently two local websites– the Parish Council one and the Diptford website. It was agreed to have one more comprehensive website. The Diptford website will be closed down and the extra pages will be added to the Parish Council website.

July report

 Update from District and County Councillors

District Councillor Robert Steer commented that Cllrs have raised concerns about delayed bin collections. The District Council is going through a procurement process for a private waste company to take over collections. This may be impacting on collections.

Devon County Councillor Richard Hosking has chased the Highways proposals for Gara Bridge. Unfortunately, it has been passed to a third design engineer and is further delayed. Cllrs discussed options to stop vehicles damaging the bridge. Cllr Foster raised concerns about Coombshead Cross and dangerous driving over the brow of the hill. Cllrs asked if DCC could address speeding through additional signage. Cllr Hosking will investigate. The Clerk also will draft a letter to Devon Highways raising concerns.

Playing Field. Thank you very much to the villagers who came forward to help cut the grass using the recently purchased ride on mower and strimmer. There was a discussion about the practicality of part of the Playing Field being used as a drop off area for the school due to the difficulties with the school run and parking near the school. The Parish Council will discuss this with the school.

Do you use the football field?Next year the TAP Fund (which currently funds improvements to the Playing Field) changes to the Community fund and there is a greater emphasis on collaboration. Councillors discussed possible projects which could collaborate with other community groups or parishes. There was a proposal to change the football pitch to a bowling green with a further area for sports such as putting or walking netball. This would provide additional sports opportunities and be accessible to other parishes as the nearest bowling green is in Yealmpton and Buckfast. Would you prefer to have a football pitch or a bowling green or other sports area? Please let the Clerk have your views.

Planning Applications

1943/18/PDM  Barn at Crabadon Cottage Farm, Halwell, Totnes, TQ9 7JZ

Proposed change of use of agricultural building to dwellinghouse                   No Objection

1750/18/FUL   Barn conversion at Wagland Farm, Halwell, TQ9 7LB                No Objection

1374/18/FUL   Coachman’s Cottage, Ashwell House, Halwell, Devon, TQ9 7LB   Change of use of barn from office to ancillary/holiday cottage                                             No Objection

2112/18/PDM  The Cabin, Murtwell Farm, Diptford, Totnes, TQ9 7NQ

Proposed change of use of agricultural building to dwellinghouse                        Previously refused

Larcombe Quarry In July the Parish Council met Devon County Council at Larcombe Quarry to discuss ways to improve the areas of the path which become slippery when wet. This is a stunning area with a lot of historical features which could be used more if the path could be improved. Devon County Council are looking into the options.

Dog fouling and dogs on leads Dog fouling is an on-going problem in the parish and is an offence. South Hams are having a new campaign to combat dog fouling and make sure that dogs are kept on leads in public areas. Spot fines and penalties have been introduced. The information is on the noticeboard and on the South Hams website.

South Hams new Corporate Strategy. South Hams District Council are currently consulting on their five year Corporate Strategy. Please take part in the roadshows across the South Hams or look at their website:

Parish Council business. The Parish Clerk’s office will be closed from August 9 – September 3. Please contact the Chair, Cllr John Foster, or the Vice Chair Cllr Sue Franklin if you have any urgent queries during this period. Their details are on the noticeboard outside the school. The website is being moved to a different host to stop the adverts. This is currently taking place but will take a couple of months. Please bear with the adverts in the meantime – they will be going. Thank you.

May report

There have been three meetings in the past month. They started with the Annual Parish Meetingon 24 April. This is an opportunity for all local community groups, charities and public organisations to share their work and ask questions. The Parish Council is very grateful to all the speakers, especially the representatives from the Primrose Trail who told us all about their work trying to get a path from Kingsbridge to Dartmoor. Full notes from all the speakers are available in the minutes of the meeting on the Parish Council website.

Then, the Parish Council had their Annual Parish Council meeting to elect officers for this year, (the local Council year runs from May – April). Cllr John Foster was re-elected as Chairman and Cllr Sue Franklin was re-elected as Vice-Chair. Next year all the Parish Councillors will be up for election and there will be an opportunity for local residents to stand as Parish Councillors. Please do consider supporting your local community in this way.

The following members were appointed to serve on Committees and outside bodies:

Committee/Outside body 2018/9 Members
Village Hall Committee Cllr Hill
P3 liaison Cllr Parker-Davidson
GDPR liaison Cllr Parker-Davidson
Diptford Community Fund Cllrs Baggott & Lethbridge
Community Lengthsman liasion Cllr Crocker

The Parish Council will continue to meet in the Village Hall on the second Tuesday of the month – except in August when the meeting will move to accommodate holidays.

There were two planning applications considered at the May Parish Councilmeeting.

1226/18/PDM  Old Barn, Thornlands, (opposite Thorn Farm), Diptford, Devon, TQ9 7NF

Notification for prior approval for proposed change of use of agricultural buildings to dwelling house

No objectionsubject to concerns about the proximity of the soakaway to other properties and public highway.

1394/18/HHOAshwell House, Halwell, Devon, TQ9 7LB

Householder application for altering the tennis court to garden area with greenhouse, garden shed and raised planting beds. No objection

Negotiations are progressing with regard to a possible second defibrillator in Curtisknowle. There are a couple of options for its location.

All Councils are required to implement an annual independent internal Audit examination of its Accounts and accounting processes. The aim of the internal audit is to conclude whether a Council’s systems of financial and other internal controls are adequate and effective. The internal auditor found that Diptford Parish Council has sufficient systems of control in place which, as a result, supports the lowering of risk to the Council. There were no matters of concern.

The internal audit can be viewed on the Parish Council website. At the moment there is a problem with the website displaying adverts. However, that is going to be addressed shortly. The Clerk is going to update the website generally and put more notices on there. If you have any items of information which you would like to see on the website please contact the Clerk at 01752 873446.