EAST Devon district councillor Ian Thomas has said he will no longer attend meetings of Uplyme Parish Council, following what was described as a “strongly worded statement” made by a parish councillor.
Cllr Thomas represents the Trinity ward at East Devon District Council, which includes Uplyme, Rousdon and Axmouth.
He has said he will no longer attend meetings of Uplyme Parish Council but will continue to support residents of the parish individually as he has done for over a decade.
It is understood the “strongly worded statement” was made by parish councillor Colin Pratt with regards to the proposed new village primary school during a virtual meeting in December.
The matter was raised publicly at the recent annual parish meeting, with Uplyme Parish Council chairman Chris James saying: “Sadly, our district councillor Ian Thomas has stated that he will not have any formal dealings with the parish council, following a strongly worded statement from a councillor at an online council meeting.
“He was unable to accept an apology for any offence caused, which was written by me and supported by the clerk.
“Cllr Thomas has, however, confirmed that he will continue to support individual Uplyme constituents.”
Cllr James’ full report to the annual parish meeting can be read below.
Cllr Thomas declined to make a further statement on the matter.
News from Uplyme Parish Council
UPLYME Parish Council consists of 10 members who volunteer their time for the benefit of the community.
Members attend and make decisions at our monthly full council meetings, committee meetings and various working groups, which all together assists in the efficient smooth running of the council.
Members are representatives on outside bodies and are also supervisors to oversee health and safety in the village.
The clerk to the council provides full administration for the day to day running of the parish council, including financial matters and makes sure the council is working legally and within their remit.
Parish councillors and the clerk provide a service to the community delivering information to residents and answering an array of queries.
The parish council owns and manages the Millennium Copse, cemetery, village play area and Stafford Mount Garden. The Parish Council represents you the residents of Uplyme.
Annual Report by the chairman of Uplyme Parish Council, Chris James
The last 12 months have been a difficult time for the parish council due to the restrictions placed upon us by the pandemic and the need to hold meetings online.
There was no formal election for council officers last year because we were advised that the same personnel should continue in office for the following 12 months.
Some events may not have been fully reported previously and I would like to formally report the following events from 2019-2020.
The night-time air ambulance landing site has now been fully operational for 18 months.
After a campaign which included Cllr Andy Turner being interviewed on BBC Spotlight, Gigaclear contractors removed all the debris left in situ from the installation of fibre-optic cables and repaired the trenches which remained.
Sadly, despite writing to Neil Parish MP and receiving assurances via him from Gigaclear that matters would be progressed, no further work has been undertaken and information on further progress has not been forthcoming from Connecting Devon and Somerset.
We need to make further representations on behalf of the community during the coming year.
I have heard nothing since 2020 concerning the establishment of a Dorset National Park, which we formally opposed.
During the last year we have again kept within our precept but have had limited success in progressing any major issue, mostly due to the pandemic.
We have sadly had two resignations from the council with John Duffin resigning for personal reasons a couple of months ago and, due to pressure of work, Becky Turner resigning only last week.
I have already thanked them both for their service and I would now wish to place on record our thanks for all that they have done for the parish.
John will be remaining on the Millennium Copse committee and Becky will be remaining as chair of the village hall committee, so they are not totally lost to the parish.
I would also like to record my appreciation to David Sole who has resigned as tree warden and given much time to the parish for many years in various roles.
We now have an excellent relationship with Cllr Ian Hall, our county councillor, and hold a formal quarterly meeting, which includes the area highways officer.
Ian has been working hard on our behalf and I am hopeful that we will be able to progress road safety in the area of Crogg Lane. I have had some very positive emails from Devon Highways.
Sadly, our district councillor Ian Thomas has stated that he will not have any formal dealings with the parish council, following a strongly worded statement from a councillor at an online council meeting.
He was unable to accept an apology for any offence caused, which was written by me and supported by the clerk.
Cllr Thomas has, however, confirmed that he will continue to support individual Uplyme constituents.
We recently lost our clerk, Ricky Neave, who had done a sterling job from a standing start for more than five years and we have been very lucky to be able to recruit Anne-Marie Bates, who is very experienced in the role.
Cllr Bill Trundley investigated the interest in setting up a Community Land Trust for Uplyme, which was unfortunately met with almost zero interest.
Nevertheless, we have commissioned a new Housing Needs Survey from Devon Rural Housing Partnership, which should report in the next couple of months.
I would like to thank all committee members for their work during the year, particularly the members of the Planning Committee, whose workload borders on the onerous at times.
I would also wish to express my thanks to other parishioners, such as James Booth and John Fowler, who undertake so many tasks around the parish that would otherwise not be done or would result in large expenditure.
Particular thanks are due to Cllr Dave Ostler for clearing the flood prevention watercourses, Cllr Andy Turner and his team for salt spreading and for snow clearing, and Cllr Colin Pratt who is always the first to offer to repair or repaint council property.
Issues can be reported directly to Devon County Council online via their ‘Report It’ page at www.devon.gov.uk/roadsandtransport/report-a-problem/
Parish precept and finances
Uplyme Parish Council’s budget for 2021/22 is £44,482.85, which equates to £51.30 for an average Band D property per year; only £0.986 per week.
The parish council strives to achieve best value for all its expenditure; whilst abiding by our financial regulations ensuring we get good value for money and obtain the most competitive prices.
Our budget for 2020/2021 was £40,664.49 and this was spent on a number of responsibilities, looking after and maintaining our assets and general maintenance of the village, but also providing grants to a number of groups in the village.
Our income and expenditure accounts for 2019/20 are ratified and the breakdown can be found on our website.
Electors have an opportunity to view the accounts for 2020/21 around July; dates will be on our website and notice board.
Please help keep Uplyme tidy and use litter bins and dog bins which are throughout the village.
Please note that doggy bags can be put in normal rubbish bins.
The parish council has provided funding for a defibrillator located at the village hall.
Parish council meetings
Full council meetings are usually held on the second Wednesday of each month (excluding August) at 7.30pm. Planning meetings are usually held on the last Wednesday in the month.
Other ad hoc planning meetings might be called depending on volume of applications.
During the COVID pandemic all meetings have been conducted virtually, but the recent High Court judgment in relation to the virtual meeting provision has been dismissed, resulting with face to face physical meetings resuming.
Government COVID restrictions must still be adhered too. We will notify residents of any changes as this situation is fluid and being updated regularly.
Residents are welcome to attend our parish council meetings which are held at the village hall.
Our agenda and minutes for all our meetings can be found on our website at www.uplymeparishcouncil.org. This includes the Planning Committees decisions.
Contacting the council
You can contact the council by writing to the clerk, Anne-Marie Bates, at Uplyme Parish Council, PO Box 259, Exmouth, Devon EX8 9A, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 07413 947067.
Would you like to represent your community?
Have you thought about becoming a parish councillor, discussing and making decisions for the good of the village and its residents?
If yes, please contact the parish clerk for more information. The parish council is also looking for a tree warden due to the current holder retiring.