AT the start of the July meeting of Sandford Parish Council, the Chair, Richard Ward, set out details of his proposals for the future of the Parish Council.

These included more use of committees to carry out council business for projects (eg: a Sandford Neighbourhood Plan), staffing, communication, the play area, finance and planning had already met.

His proposal to purchase Microsoft Teams to make communication more effective was formally sanctioned. It is understood locally that Crediton Town Council already use something similar. 

Other suggestions, which were accepted, include an award for volunteers to recognise services given to parishioners to be presented at the Annual Parish Meeting.  Also, to commission a Sandford flood report. It was pointed out that the Parish Emergency Plan was in need of being reviewed and updating. 

An “Away Afternoon Team Bonding” for councillors was agreed for later in the year.

20's Plenty Signs – These had now been erected and thanks were recorded to Cllrs Paul Sandys, David Crosby and Jim Stephens for undertaking this task. A request for signs at New Buildings was agreed.

Sandford Congregational Church – The Clerk had been informed that contracts had been exchanged, and the sale would go through “within in the next seven days”.

Shute Stream – A start had been made to clear the vegetation from the stream. It had been found that further work was needed to remove the debris in the stream to bring it back to its correct level to avoid future flooding.

It was agreed to engage machinery to carry out the work needed and Cllr  Jim Stephens would organise this.

Weavers Way – A local solicitor has now been appointed to deal with the legal conveyancing of the land being “gifted” to the Parish Council. A site meeting was agreed to discuss the still outstanding matters on the development.

A donation of £45 was agreed in memory of Michael Lee and this would be split between Devon Air Ambulance, St Swithun’s Church Sandford and Hospiscare.

Coronation walk certificate – Mike Brett had produced a sample certificate and this was agreed to be used for presentation to the 40 approximate walkers who had taken part.

The Clerk produced a framed print of the Planting of the Coronation tree (frame £6) and it was hoped to find a home for this at St Swithun’s Church.

It was noted that the Coronation tree had died and the Clerk had been in contact with the nursery which has agreed to provide a replacement for planting in the Autumn.

Cllr Mike Snow was thanked for planting wildflower seeds below both the two Royal trees and these were now in flower. These have been receiving many complimentary remarks and are also being enjoyed by the local bees.

Concern had been expressed over dogs being exercised on the playing field and the Play Area Committee is to discuss the matter of renewing, and updating, the current signage.

A proposal from the Chair for the council to take over the ownership of the benches on the cobbled footpath outside the Lamb Inn was accepted. Discussion took place over future insurance implications and the possibility of vandalism.

Cllr Sandys raised the issue of parking off the square, rumble strips, and yellow lines.

It was agreed to discuss these matters with Steve Tucker (Devon Highways) on a forthcoming visit to the parish. An update would be given at the September 7 meeting of these and any items raised.

D-Day Beacons (80th Anniversary) – Notification had been received of this Anniversary (June 6, 2024)  and it was agreed to discuss, in due course, as to whether Sandford would light a Beacon for this event.

The Parish Council has now gone into summer recess, and unless any urgent business arrives (e.g planning) the next meeting will be held at 8pm on Thursday, September 7 at Sandford Parish Hall.