MARLDON PARISH COUNCIL
Minutes of meeting of the Marldon Parish Council held on Monday 11-8-2008 at 7.15pm
Cllrs: Pennington; Benney; Palk; Joinson; Mrs Cox; Mrs Clarke; Thorp; Veasey and Danby
ALSO PRESENT: Clerk to the Council: David Eeles; Cllr Basil Cane, Chairman, South Hams
District Council; and 20 members of the public
The Chairman invited members of the public to speak before the meeting opened. Their
queries and comments were duly noted, these would be taken into account in the Council’s
deliberations of the matters raised.
2(8.08) APPROVAL OF MINUTES:
14-7-2008: Approved, after members had voted 6 for and 1 against to reject an amendment
from Cllr Clarke that Mr Harrington had said 100% of parishioners would be balloted by
questionnaire by the Marldon Recreation Group, members agreed it was 50% as recorded in
the clerks notes.
3(8.08) MATTERS ARISING
9(3.08) Stile on F/P 5: Cllr Cox reported that it was Devon County Council footpath warden
not English Nature who agreed to the works associated with the new stile
6(7.08) Bridleway: Cllr Cox said Mr Beryn had been unable to cut the hedges on the
bridleway due to the bad weather.
10(7.08) Costing of fence for Five Lanes field: It was noted that it was Cllr Danby who had
done this not Mr Harrington
4. (8.08) POLICE MATTERS
Clerk read out the July crime report which included an unauthorised taking of vehicle on
Vicarage Hill, offender on police bail; a burglary in Singmore Road via insecure back door; a
non paying drive off at the service station; an allegation of theft from a handbag during the
Apple Pie Fair; and the theft of a motor vehicle from the Old Smokey car park where the
suspect is known.
At this point the Chairman sought and gained the meetings approval to alter the agenda
order to deal with Items 8 and 11 (Five Lanes Field) at this stage.
8. (8.08) STRATEGIC RISK ASSESSMENT
The Chairman drew attention to the papers he had circulated which showed that Councils had
a statutory duty to take into account a number of issues including those where for health and
safety reasons a risk assessment must be done.
11. (8.08) PUBLIC GROUNDS
Five Lanes Field
The Chairman recounted the strenuous efforts made by the Council over the years to provide
social and recreational facilities for the village, some of which had been successful- Tor
Field, Jubilee Field, the Village Hall, others which despite great efforts had not- the
frustrated efforts to purchase fields for the football club, including he and Cllr Clarke
writing to all local landowners; his own efforts to provide tennis courts in Tor Field, Jubilee
field and at Pontins; the basketball court; bowling green, and the co-operation with the
SCARF organisation (Social, Cultural and Recreational Facilities).
He then turned to the current situation and said that Marldon had good facilities compared
with most Parish Councils. Only Staverton could compare of the 11 he represents. The
purpose of the 5 Lanes Field was primarily to preserve the green belt with Torbay. He has
discussed the community use of the land at the school with the Head teacher , and thinks
the insurance problem could be overcome.
Cllr Clarke said the school had been used for football but could not be used at weekends (no
access) and there was a problem with the drain. Cllr Pennington thought it may be possible to
devise some way of using a walkway to avoid the school. Cllr Thorp felt the drawback to using
the school was the lack of facilities, the toilets were inside the school and there were no
At this point the Chairman was urged by Cllr Cox to suspend standing orders to allow Fiona
Bailey, the Vice Chair of the schools’ Governors, to speak, and this was agreed.
Mrs Bailey confirmed the problems with the toilets and caretakers and said there was a
keypod access. The Chairman said access through Marldon Road or Kiln Road might be
negotiated. Cllr Veasey said toilet facilities could be provided, but Mrs Bailey said there
were security issues. Cllr Pennington said Kevics, Churston and Berry Pomeroy schools all
share their facilities with the community and Cllr Benney said the government had directed
schools to make facilities open for community use. Mrs Bailey said the community does use
the school. Mr Bagget said if football users were accredited the schools will get grants to
help especially for girls football. There was further discussion about this proposal and Mr
Egan said the Marldon Recreation Group were committed to investigate the possibilities.
The meeting then returned to standing orders.
The Chairman said there had been a total of 9 meetings (2 public meetings, 7 Council
meetings) to discuss the Five Lanes Field issue and standing orders had been suspended
twice to allow the public to participate. The documents had been gone through many times,
because of the danger of being accused of acting irresponsibly. We owe it to members of the
community to communicate with them, including passing on what the documents say, especially
the strictures of the insurance company to follow advice from ROSPA.
There were two concepts on the table, Cllr Danby’s and Mr Wolgars’ Environmental Meadow
proposal, together with a submission from the Pembroke Park Residents Association, titled
Broom Field. Cllr Cox interjected that the correct name for the field, according to an 1840
map, was Great Broomhill, and we should not make up other names for it. At this point the
Chairman asked the clerk to read out the submission from the Pembroke Park residents. This
was in favour of a nature meadow, and listed several concerns such as the nature of access to
the field, the nature of seating , pathways, and memorial planting. The group were not in
favour of ball games for the reasons already discussed by the council, and also were
concerned at security in the area as there had already been examples of night-time drinking
and a bonfire, leaving a mess the local residents had to clear up. They also suggested that
the land behind Brockhurst Park would be ideal for a recreational area.
Cllr Cox drew attention to the statement in the first paragraph of the Residents Association
paper that the Council had voted for and agreed to the field being used as a nature meadow,
at the Annual Public meeting, saying this was not the case.
Cllr Palk was concerned that cars parking and turning in front of the existing gates were
causing a hazard now, and any development would make it worse.
Cllr Danby was concerned that the questionnaire circulated by the MRG ignored the fact
that the Council had voted not to have ball games on the field, and in effect sought to
overturn the decision of the Councils’ democratically elected members by an unelected body.
Cllr Clarke said the MRG was covering all the public grounds, not just Five Lanes field. Cllrs
Cox and Thorpe felt the first 5 questions on the questionnaire referred pretty clearly to the
5 Lanes field, and Cllr Thorp felt it was shot through with ambiguities. Cllr Benney said he
thought the public regarded the questionnaire as about the 5 Lanes field and not sport in
The Chairman wound up the debate saying that at this stage we were looking at concepts
only, with the deadline being in October.
5 (8.08) LOCAL GOVERNMENT REORGANISATION
The Chairman reported that over 50 people had attended the public meeting last week, with
presentations from Devon County Council and South Hams DC. There was no vote, people
were urged to respond individually. The Chairman said he was supporting the status quo, on
the grounds that if it’s not broken why fix it, and the great cost reorganisation would entail.
Cllr Benney was worried that the report was so weak it may not deter Torbay expansion.
At this point Cllr Pennington read the following statement:
Marldon Parish Council has considered your draft proposal of 7th July 2008 for a new Unitary
authority consisting of the county of Devon including all authorities in the two tier area with a total
population of approximately 750,000.
Whilst we support your draft proposal not to include changes to the boundary of Torbay which
would have entailed the absorption of the rural Parish of Marldon into urban Torbay, which we
strongly oppose, we nevertheless do not support the formation of a unitary Devon.
The Parish Councils reasons for this are:
1. A unitary Devon Authority would be the second largest authority in England after
Birmingham. As such we believe that vital local issues such as housing, planning applications,
leisure and recreation, waste collection and environmental health and other environmental
issues would be severely compromised and the meaningful partnership which we currently
have and benefit from with the South Hams District Council would be destroyed. It would be
difficult and most unlikely that partnership with a remote unitary Devon could be formed.
Localism is of paramount importance on the above services and especially regarding planning
applications and the Local Development Framework. Parish Councils and local residents alike
have a close working relationship with South Hams District Council on all of the above
services which would be lost. Whereas the District Council is responsible for local services
and is “close to the people”, County services are strategic such as highways, education and
social services etc. which are clearly more appropriate for cross- border management.
2. The draft proposal does not include any costings whatsoever and it is therefore economically
unsound to recommend a completely new structure prior to any cost evaluation. To say that
this will be done after any changes have taken place is the reverse of sound financial
analysis. The draft proposal concludes that transitional cost increases should be recovered
over a five year period, but give no indication of how that would be achieved. Professor
Michael Chisholm of Cambridge University has advised that the cost of reorganising local
government for all 34 counties in England would be £1 billion. Therefore the cost to the
Devon County taxpayer would be at least £30 million. With rapidly rising food and fuel costs
no further tax burdens should be imposed on the incomes of hard-working people.
3. It is sometimes claimed by “centralists” as distinct from “localists” that large scale
organisations such as that being proposed will yield “economies of scale” and lower costs.
However economists also highlight “diseconomies of scale” which in service organisations such
local government can and do more often than not offset scale economies. Organisations like
local government become cumbersome and beyond the powers of directors to manage
properly. Everyday experiences starkly reveals difficulties in ensuring proper co-ordination
between different departments and different people, including both local people and elected
Councillors. It becomes increasingly harder to prevent misunderstandings as the chain of
command lengthens- also large organisations have a tendency for more red tape, bureaucracy
and empire building, again all paid for by Council tax payers. Your draft recommendation
admits “that we have not sought at this stage to assess the affordabilily of our draft
proposals” (Page 18 Para. 2,56)
4. No doubt to redress perceived democratic and financial deficiencies the proposal on page 25
para. 4.15 for the establishment of 28 “Community Boards requiring dedicated officer
support” again has not been costed. Elected Parish and Town Councils may not be in harmony
5. Marldon Parish Council also deplores the extremely short time scale up to 26th September
for public consultation.
6. Therefore Marldon Parish Council does not support your draft recommendations and will urge
the Secretary of State to retain the two tier system of District Councils and County Council.
Cllr Benney proposed this statement be adopted as a resolution, seconded by Cllr Cox and
UNANIMOUSLY AGREED, with copies to be sent to the Boundary Committee, Hazel Blears,
Mr Steen MP
In addition a further resolution proposed by Cllr Benney and duly seconded was unanimously
passed regretting that in the interests of democracy the Boundaries Committee had not
been given a remit that allowed it to consider the merits of the status quo as well as unitary
status, and that there was insufficient time to properly discuss and debate the proposals put
DISTRICT COUNCIL REPORT: Cllr Pennington reported that he was a member of the SHDC
Local Government Review Member Working Group which will be putting up a strong case for
the retention of S. Hams and not supporting a Unitary Devon. They hope to get strong
backing from local people, Town and Parish Councils.
COUNTY COUNCIL REPORT: Cllr Pennington reported that there had been highway chaos
at the Apple Pie Fair due to a mix-up at S.W Highways where the receipt of £600 cheque
that had been paid by the organisers had not been transmitted to the Operations dept. Cllr
Pennington had been able to extract a full apology from them and a promise of refund of the
money. This has happened with a donation of £100 to the Fair.
MEG REPORT: Cllr Mrs Cox reported:
1. Footpath work has been affected by the weather, including the new stile on F/p 5
2. Greenery cleared from around the top shops, notice-boards, post box, and from the
two Marldon Cross seats, also weeds cleared Parkfield Close – Village Road.
3. Seat on Village Road very well repaired, thanks to Mr Chidlow, to whom many thanks.
Could plaque be replaced? This was AGREED.
4. Thanks to Gavin Berlyn for flailing Village Road and Peters Field Lane, suggest usual
£50 as token payment? This was AGREED, together with payments to Mr Chidlow for
timber and Mr Hutchings for expenses for a strimmer course.
5. Apple Pie Fair- usual very busy stall with great interest shown by public. Two issues
raised- re-cycling on the Meadow and balloons being dangerous to wildlife, concerns
which were passed on the APF Committee. Sales totalled £37-80 after sundry
expenses deducted. 28 walks leaflets were sold and £9 from Cox’s garage who also
The Chairman thanked the Environment group, their efforts were much appreciated.
The Clerk reported the main items of correspondence, including a letter of thanks from
the Apple Pie Fair Committee for the Chairmans’ help in dealing with the Highways issue
during the fair.
(Item 8 dealt with earlier)
Cllr Pennington following normal practice as a member of South Hams Council Development
Control Committee did not participate in any discussion or vote on any planning applications
considered by the Council. He requested that the Chairman of the Planning Committee, Cllr.
Joinson, chair this item.
10, Marldon Cross Hill (resubmission): Cllr Benney declared an interest as a near neighbour
but said that the buildings were higher. Cllr Veasey proposed refusal on the grounds that it
was out of keeping and un-neigbourly. This was seconded by Cllr Clarke and PASSED 7 in
favour and one abstention, Cllr Pennington not voting.
Christmas Tree Farm : Cllr Benney moved approval subject to agricultural need, seconded by
Cllr Thorp, this was PASSED 5 in favour and 3 against.
10(8.08) HIGHWAYS AND MAINTENANCE
1. Cllr Danby moved in response to the comments of the police it be requested that
double yellow lines be installed at the junction of Furzegood and Millmans and
Marldon Cross Hill, to make it safer outside the school, and also a short stretch at
the top of Vicarage Hill on the village side , together with the installation of a
pedestrian refuge opposite to aid visibility at a dangerous corner. This was
seconded by Cllr Clarke and AGREED
2. Cllr Thorp complained that at both the Five Lanes roundabout and at Churscombe
Cross roundabout the signs and road markings made it difficult to turn off for
Marldon, and went against the highway code- it was AGREED to write to Highways
3. Cllr Veasey noted that there were weeds on the meadow wall opposite the Inn, it
was AGREED to report this and that the Environment group would remove the ivy.
4. Members discussed the cutting of the hedge in Church Hill, no response having been
received from Mr Berlyn regarding taking on this contract. The clerk agreed to
seek a quote from elsewhere.
5. Attention was drawn to the unsightly framework for the Apple Pie Fair signs by
Pollards when it was not in use.
11(8.08) PUBLIC GROUNDS
Five Lanes Field: This item was dealt with earlier
Cllr Joinson reported that work will start on the cemetery wall in 2 weeks time.
Concerns were expressed about the condition of the trees on the meadow and Cllr Cox
asked for permission to get a quotation for a survey on them, which was AGREED.
The following payments were AGREED:
Payments- main account
Clerk salary and expenses July £301.25
South West Water – meadow £48.01
Marldon Village Hall for special meeting £12.50
Mr A Chidlow for imber to repair seat in Vill. Rd £10-22
Mr G Berlyn honorarium for work on hedges £50
Mr Hutchings for strimmer course £12
BANK ACCOUNTS as at 31-7-08
Main Account: £27,666.92
P3 Account: £463.32
Environment Account : £341.24
The clerk reported that he had secured the services of Mr D. Chopping, B.Sc., Senior
Finance Assistant at the University of Falmouth (Dartington campus), as internal auditor, and
he had been extremely helpful as well as giving the accounts a clean bill of health. Cllr.
Benney had also scrutinized the accounts carefully. The Chairman thanked Cllr Benney for his
involvement in the internal audit.
13 (8.08) BUSINESS AT DISCRETION OF CHAIR - None
14(8.08) MATTERS UNDER REVIEW. None
15(8.08) CONFIDENTIAL MATTERS(S/O No 66) None
16(8.08) DATE OF NEXT MEETING -Monday 8th September 2008
Meeting closed at 10.30pm
Signed …………………………………………………… ( Chairman Cllr. JT Pennington) 8-9-2008