Draft minutes of the Annual Parish Meeting held on 23rd May 2022 at 7pm at Combe Martin Village Hall.
Present: 8 Members of the public and CMPC Cllrs. T Seldon (Chair), S Coomber, S Daukes,
C Galloway, D Hatherley, P Walker, D Woodbury and M Worth.
Also in attendance: County Cllr A Davies and Andrew Wyer (Clerk)
1/22 Welcome – Cllr Seldon (on behalf of CMPC, who hosted the event) welcomed everyone present and explained the format of the meeting. Some of the organisations invited to attend had sent written reports which the CMPC Clerk would read on their behalf, while others were present to give their reports in person.
2/22 Minutes – Copies of the draft minutes from the Annual Parish Meeting held in 2021 had been printed and shared with attendees prior to the start of the meeting. The minutes were agreed as being accurate and were signed by the Chairman.
3/22 Reports – Reports were given by (or on behalf of) the following local organisations:
Combe Martin Bowls Club
Combe Martin Coastal Community Team
Combe Martin Community Shop
Combe Martin Football Club
Combe Martin Museum
Combe Martin Parish Council
Combe Martin Village Hall
These reports are attached as appendices.
4/22 Matters raised by Parishioners – None of the Parishioners present wished to raise any issues or ask any questions. That being the case, Cllr Seldon closed the meeting and invited everyone to inspect the newly refitted bar in the adjacent room.
COMBE MARTIN BOWLS CLUB ANNUAL REPORT
Combe Martin Bowls Club is gradually recovering from the knock-on effects of COVID. Our income from the bar (for which we depend upon) dropped in 2020 because of the lack of matches and social interaction; however, 2021 proved to be a positive step towards recovery and the current year already looks very promising.
Of particular note has been the complete lack of touring bowls clubs that come to Combe Martin – this not only affects the bowls club but also impacts upon the visitors spending power in Combe Martin in general. Unfortunately, this appears to be becoming a trend as we have no touring sides for this year.
Our membership numbers have dropped in recent years, although a recent advertising campaign for our annual Open Day has so far proved popular in attracting new members.
Bingo still proved to be a popular event (once permitted) for many in the village along with participation in the local skittles league.
COMBE MARTIN COASTAL COMMUNITIES TEAM REPORT
Peter James has had to stand down as Chair due to health issues and Bryan Cath has stepped in as Acting Chair. Peter had done some sterling work for Combe Martin, creating our group, and putting together a wide range of projects to improve many aspects of the village. His enthusiasm and drive will be greatly missed. He raised funding for the following three projects, which is kindly being held for the group by North Devon Council (NDC). This funding has been reinstated as it should have run out, as COVID-19 has caused so many delays. Our thanks go to NDC for helping us keep that money available to us.
The team has three current projects outstanding.
1. The Greenhill Steps reinstatement,
2. Improvement to the Scar, at the bottom of the slope from the main car park,
3. And the repair to the River Umber beach retaining wall.
All of these projects have been delayed through COVID-19.
The Greenhill Steps have now been repaired and cleared of vegetation. The handrails have been replaced and fencing repaired. The Parish Council has to put a child-safe gate at the top with safety signage.
The improvement at the bottom of the slop from the main car park, called the Scar, is yet to take place. Exmoor National Park have not yet given permission for construction works to make the access safer for all users. Peter has been totally frustrated by their demands for a particular assessment report, which will cost more than the costs of the works.
Despite Peter contacting the consultants specialising in producing these reports and support from and intervention by our County Council Councillor, this impasse will need resolution before the works can be stared. Our Executive agreed to progress this issue as a priority.
The repair to the River Umber retaining wall alongside the top section of the beach is about to start. The cost of this work has increased considerably from when we first envisaged this job. Material costs have increased by about 30-50%. The wall has deteriorated considerably over the last two years, making the work needed to repair the wall much more than originally thought. This work will now use all of the remaining funding granted to us. This work should be starting in two weeks – we need to wait for neap tides to have the longest period for the work to be done.
Our Team will consider further projects once these outstanding projects are completed.
COMBE MARTIN COMMUNITY SHOP REPORT
Combe Martin Community Shop has distributed over £45,000 to local good causes but the future is uncertain as they only have 9 months left on their lease. The shop is run entirely by volunteers so anybody who wants to give some time to this, would be welcomed.
COMBE MARTIN FOOTBALL CLUB REPORT
Grassroots football is getting ever harder due to the Covid break and players commitment a lot of clubs have now ceased this season, we have been one of the lucky ones that have had two great senior teams that have both ended up 2nd in their leagues which means promotion next year.
We have now filled our advertising boards with the support of local businesses which we are most grateful for in these hard times.
We now have completed the refurbishment of the toilets and kitchen due to a grant from the Football foundation, also we received a grant from Councillor Gubb which went towards recovering our benches in the club Our next project is the Pinkney Path leading to the club which funds have been given by the families on the sad passing of Bobby Pinkney and Moose.
The death of Moose has been a massive loss to the club as he was the heart of CMFC for the past 50 years, but this has given us the determination to get the Muga pitch done in his honour as this was something he was passionate about and we feel this would be a big help to the children of the village and surrounding areas. We have now instructed an Architect to do the drawings ready to put through for planning.
Despite it being a very difficult 3 years with hard work from our committee and grants the finance of the club is looking very healthy, as of today the Senior Account has £12558.15 and the Youth have £8197.74 (£5000 allocated to Muga pitch) We strive on being one club and even though there are 2 bank accounts and 2 committees we all work together
Our Upcoming projects
Finish repairs to roof
The Muga Pitch
The Pinkney Path
Refurbish the outside of the club building
Refurbish the entrance to the club house
New Bar grills
Pitch Maintenance and equipment
COMBE MARTIN MUSEUM REPORT
The museum has been operating a limited service during the pandemic and whilst closed due to lockdowns.
However, many functions were going on behind the scenes during periods of closure which included collections care and conservation, premises maintenance and monitoring, keeping in touch with all our volunteer staff with monthly newsletters, reaching out to our audiences through virtual routes using the website and Facebook, with local information being posted in the museum windows & display boards and via the Shammickite.
All Management Committee meetings were held virtually by email on a monthly basis, and included keeping up to date with the changing requirements of the Government guidelines, Risk assessments, etc. All record keeping continued, taking note of visitor numbers, volunteer hours, purchases made, etc. Contact with partner organisations remained constant throughout, e.g. Exmoor National Park, 2 minute Beach Clean, Coastwise and the support of our area Museum Development Officer proved invaluable.
The Trustees also continued their regular functions behind the scenes to keep our charity status active & flourishing.
Fundraising was limited due to closures, but various funding was applied for and Government grants to support charity organisations were forthcoming. In house fundraising was limited, but The Friends organisation remained open to new members and renewals, the 100 Club draws took place regularly, Farmers Market stall started up again and donations were generously given with each visit.
Key achievements/milestones during the year 2021-22 were as follows:
• Museum porch open as an information service, Tuesdays only 11am-2pm.
• main museum closed to visitors.
• Main museum open to the public Monday-Friday 11am-2pm with core team of volunteer staff.
• Volunteer training for MODES database for Collections Team
• SET SAIL project underway for community engagement using new virtual tour on the website
• 2 Volunteers nominated for awards with North Devon Voluntary Services
• New virtual tour launched on the website
• Museum celebrated 30 years open with a small event and exhibition in the Sail Loft
• Major refurbishment of the front sliding door & work to remedy damage from water ingress in Mezzanine gallery from roof leak.
• New calendar produced using photos by local photographer
• 2 More new volunteers registered for induction training
• Training events/conference sessions made available to volunteers, attended by Manager
• New cleaner recruited
• Museum closed for winter period – 2 winter projects launched – PHOTO FEST theme ‘STAR QUALITY’, Research opportunity / memory share – Operation PLUTO
• Review of charges and service offer, preparation for re-opening
• Update all documentation ahead of Accreditation re-submission, after all applications on hold for 2 years
• Museum open again, Monday-Friday 11am-2pm
• Starting to plan for activities and events again such as coffee mornings, school visits, seashore safaris
• Re-submission of all documentation for Accreditation after updating all info
• Coffee mornings running again, every other Tuesday 11am-1pm
• Children’s Craft event planned for end of May – Jubilee theme
• Volunteer tea party being planned early June for Jubilee
• School visits planned for June, Seashore Safari dates planned for summer
And all achieved by a dedicated TEAM of Volunteers! So, our THANKS must go to them!
COMBE MARTIN PARISH COUNCIL REPORT
I re-joined Combe Martin Parish Council last year and within a couple of months I became Chair, with Steve Coomber as Vice-Chair. I would like to thank Steve for his constant support. At the same time, we found ourselves without a Clerk but thankfully our Finance Officer, John, who was due to leave, stayed on to help us out. For the next few months, we muddled along with part-time temporary staff. I would like to give Tanya a great big Thank You, she being the only constant in the office over these few months, we most definitely would not have managed without her. By December we had luckily found Andi (or he found us) who has proven to be a great asset to Combe Martin Parish Council, and he has made great strides in a very short time.
Just to add to the office’s workload, we relocated to the Community Centre. On the positive side they now have a much-improved working environment than at Seacott, which was small and damp, and unfit for purpose.
We have had some new Members on the Council and I am happy to say, some younger faces in the mix.
Some outstanding issues have been addressed – Japanese Knotweed at Newberry beach (ongoing), the sea wall has been repointed to avoid further damage, the shipping container has been removed from the High Street car park after long outstaying its welcome, (I would like to thank Vince Irwin for helping us out when we needed it), the railings at Kiln car park have been reinstated and we now have planning permission for a workman’s shed in Hollands Park, (These will include public toilets and we hope to relocate there before we outstay our welcome at Vince’s), Lorna Irwin’s Walk has been cleared of fallen trees with the help of a couple of Councillors and contractors, which will create space to move equipment currently stored on parking bays, 2 new dog waste bins have been installed, we have tenants in all our flats and in our Seacott office, Thank you to Steve Coomber and Martin Worth who helped Michael Johns and the Combe Martin Wildlife Park for clearing the main road during the storm and for repairing the wall at Adams Hay, hopefully we will soon see a more substantial bridge in place at Rosea Bridge Lane, with the bridge itself being donated to the Council free of charge by CES Engineering, Thank you to Andrea for finally getting the railings sorted at Newberry. There is a lot more to do and I hope we can carry on as we have started.
COMBE MARTIN VILLAGE HALL REPORT
A big Thank You to our committee, volunteers and tradesmen who have all done a great job keeping costs down while providing a hall for the benefit of the people of Combe Martin. Those present are invited to walk around after the meeting and see the improvements including the new bar.
We had a Lottery Grant for £10,000 for the work on the floor – not a full replacement but a refurb. The annex area has been rewired and sound insulated. Without the great work of Nina we would not have been able to get the grants needed.
All of the money generated by the Village Hall is ploughed back into the Hall. The Book Sales continue to be well supported and we have 2 weddings booked for later in the year.
LEYS CHARITY REPORT
Ley’s Charity financially assists young people living in the village to progress in their education. Students studying on both higher and further education courses, including apprenticeships, are able to apply for grants to help them with their course related expenses. All applications are considered on their merits and grants are awarded at the discretion of the trustees. There are 8 trustees (or governors), made up of 4 people from the local community, 1 representative from the local church, 2 from the Parish Council, and 1 from Devon County Council.
As its object has evolved over the years, the charity updated its constitution in January 2020 to reflect how it currently supports local students. The new scheme now also allows applications from Combe Martin Primary School to help fund educational projects or equipment that the school would not otherwise be able to afford.
The charity’s only source of income is from its 62 acres of land at Water Lake, Heanton Punchardon, which operates as a farm tenancy. The farm is well managed by the current tenants, Latham & partners. One of our trustees, experienced in farm management, is responsible for ensuring this continues to be the case. The farm rent is currently £6,000 a year and is reviewed regularly.
As students were finding their learning experience particularly challenging with the COVID pandemic, over the past two years the trustees have increased the individual amounts awarded. In 2021, a total of £7,750 was awarded to 21 applicants studying a variety of educational and vocational courses.
Applications for grants should be submitted in about September each year.
Please pass the word around to young people you know living in the village who are embarking on a course of study or training this coming September and may require additional funds. Applications need to be in writing to the charity’s secretary, Jill Sidebottom, giving details of their course and the reasons for requiring a grant.