Annual Report 2021 (April 2020 – April 2021)

The past year has been one of the more unusual ones in Yarnscombe Parish Council’s [YPC] long history. The council is aware of the effects that Covid-19 has had on our community and is grateful for the efforts made by all those key workers, volunteers and many others who have contributed to the welfare both of this parish and of the wider community. We hope with the present vaccination programme and progress made to date that we will all look forward to a brighter future after these troubled times.

YPC took measures last year under ‘gov.uk’ Covid-19 guidelines from April 2020 to mitigate any effect on the provision of parish council services. The main change noted by many will be the holding of remote meetings via Zoom (40 minutes limit, thereafter a cost) and latterly, to save costs, Jitsi (free). This turned out to be quite successful but highlighted the issues found with limited internet access in rural communities, a subject we are all aware of and as such I will not dwell on.

A point to note was the YPC Emergency Plan. On being advised on the Covid-19 outbreak and government measures in late March 2020 this was actioned. A volunteer group was quickly set up, financed and action taken to aid those considered vulnerable within the community. With a vastly improved situation noted in recent weeks brought about by the vaccination programme, lockdown and common sense attitude of our local community, the volunteer group has now stood down. I would personally like to thank Councillor Ian Newberry, team leader, and those willing volunteers for their fine efforts.

It will be noted that we have now implemented the playing field Devon Air Ambulance landing site. This to my knowledge has been used once since activated and continues as a major asset to our community. I would like to thank Councillor Paul Williams for his efforts in both supervising and obtaining the additional funding and planning permission required to achieve this.

Planning over the year has been quite interesting with several barns within our parish obtaining permission under section Q to be turned into residential homes. Based on rough figures we could be looking forward to an increase of parish population of 5% to 10%, though domestic stock could go down proportionally?

Finances have over the year held up well, gratefully aided by volunteers within the council carrying out a significant amount of unpaid work. I would particularly like to give my thanks to Councillor Denys Cooke for his work in keeping the playing field tidy, for, though we pay to have the field mowed, Denys both trims the hedges and controls growth along boundaries. We should also note that he personally trims the hedge at Cloggshill Cross to aid safe crossing and vehicular emergence on a very busy road.

We can say with a reasonable degree of confidence that our finances are sound and held within budget.

Though only required a few times this year the Snow Warden, Councillor Dan Farr, has carried out his duties and maintained our equipment to a high standard. We wish to thank him for his services to the community.

Finally after a long search I can advise that the Footpath Warden, Councillor Paul Williams, has found a replacement. I am sure we can all thank him for his efforts over the years.

We should point out that we have been recognized by the National Association of Local Councils as a Quality Council, one of the few at present in Devon. This in a large part is due to the efforts of Councillor Richard Pengilley, who ensures our operation manuals are both relevant and fit for purpose, and who continues to maintain our website, which in this past year has been made compliant, as is now legally required, with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines.

On a final note I think we must all thank our Parish Clerk, Martina Dymond, who does sterling work and has the patience to put up with us all.

Chris Brice
Chairman, Yarnscombe Parish Council