Town Council Meeting Minutes - 2 March 2017


North Ward:   

Councillor D Bushby
Councillor P S Christie
Councillor D A D McGeough
Councillor T J Johns
Councillor P J Pester

South Ward:   

Councillor D G Brenton
Councillor J Day
Councillor A T Inch
Councillor S G Inch
Councillor R I Wootton

South (Outer) Ward:   

Councillor D Howell (Town Mayor)

East Ward:   

Councillor Mrs R M Craigie
Councillor Mrs P Davies
Councillor M C Langmead
Councillor J A McKenzie
Councillor S Robinson


Mrs H J Blackburn (Town Clerk)
Mr R D Coombes (Deputy Town Clerk)
Councillor R Julian (DCC)
Mr P Last (Headmaster, Kingsley School)
Mrs J Poole, Mayor’s Chaplain
1 x Members of the Public

Prior to the start of the Meeting the Town Clerk confirmed the Building Evacuation procedure, to the assembled.




Councillors Christie declared non-pecuniary interest in Item 19.  (Member, Bideford Bridge Trust). 


A member of the Public advised that an E Mail recently circulated by the Police dividing Bideford into two districts, including Barnstaple, was incorrect.


The Minutes of the Meeting held on 26 January 2017 were approved and signed as a correct record.

(Vote – For: 16, Against: 0)


Councillor McGeough praised the Town Clerk for eliciting £1,216.37 of DCC grant funding.

To approve the payments listed.

It was proposed by Councillor McGeough, seconded and

RESOLVED:  That the List of Payments be approved.

(Vote – For: 16, Against: 0)


a.   The Chairman advised Mr Alan Smith, President of the Bideford and District Chamber of Commerce could not attend the Meeting. 

b.   Councillor Christie ascertained with the Town Clerk the whereabouts of the Tidy Town File.  He then raised concern over the pressure on the NHS services (funding) where they are also faced with payment of increasing Business Rates.

Given that services are being lost he felt that with the Government imposing the increased rate charges upon the Hospitals the Council should write to Mr Cox QC MP (Members were in agreement).


a.   Members had received the report from Councillor Dezart that included:

•    Those advertising on the fencing along Manteo Way have been warned to remove them or risk a heavy fine from DCC.
•    Bideford College has staged a production following the closure of the Queen’s Theatre.

b.   The Chairman welcomed Councillor Julian to the Meeting.

c.   Councillor Julian thanked the Mayor and greeted the Members.  He advised that:

•    The top of Clovelly Road had been repaired.
•    DCC will be addressing a footpath crossing / highway issue, in the vicinity of the Asda supermarket, in the forthcoming financial year.

Councillor Julian indicated that there would be financial cut backs, across the board, that would impact upon the following services:

•    Highways.
•    NHS / Social Care.
•    Police.
•    Education particularly special needs.

He announced that a Health and Wellbeing Meeting scheduled for 7 March 2017 would include details on cutting ambulance services provision in Torridge.

The Mayor gave detail on an unfortunate episode that did not reflect well upon the Ambulance Service although the First Responder provision was excellent, but not supported.  He requested that Councillor Julian report the incident to the Meeting.

He also asked that Councillor Julian encourage DCC to honour their promise to clear Grange Road within this financial year (it has been blocked for five and a quarter years, to date).

Councillor Christie highlighted concerns with pot holes in North and Northdown roads and the damage to the road surface caused by tracked vehicles when clearing Raleigh Hill.

He noted that £600,000 had been earmarked for the first phase of consultation on whether the Link Road should be upgraded and that £7.5 million, in the face of education cuts, had been earmarked to the Route 39 Free school.

Councillor Julian requested that Councillor Christie E Mail him regarding the Raleigh Hill road surface damage. 

He encouraged Members to E Mail him in order that he can progress issues given the complaints over the lack of feedback when using the DCC website.  (The Mayor was keen to know which avenue to take when receiving no feedback.  Councillor Julian alluded to a Log system.)

Members raised further questions / comments that included:

•    The marking of pot holes in Northdown Road.
•    Alarming interpretation of Police cuts in respect of earlier intelligence provided by Inspector Kenneally.
•    Inconsistent signage: directions to Alverdiscott Industrial Estate but not to Bideford Business Park (that employs 200 people).
•    Mill Street traffic control between 10.00 am and 4.00 pm.
•    Dangerous parking at Devonshire Park.

d.   The Chairman thanked Councillor Julian for addressing the Meeting.


a.   The Chairman welcomed Mr Peter Last, Headmaster Kingsley School, to the Meeting.

b.   Mr Last thanked the Mayor and councillors very much for the opportunity to address them.

He briefly gave a history of the school to date noting his arrival on 20 December 2016.  The School is proud of its heritage and Mr Last is very keen to establish and reaffirm the community links; it is still a local school:

•    41% of pupils have a Bideford postal address.
•    56% of pupils have an EX39 post code.
•    75 % of the students are day pupils.

He alluded to the Kingsley School Sponsor’s Day at Bideford Rugby Club with the Bideford Chiefs, with further links to the Robins and the Burton.

The School is very active in engaging local goods and services with a view to also reducing food miles.

Noting Bideford College taking on theatre productions, following the Barnstaple Queen’s Theatre closure, he spoke of future productions at Kingsley School, including Brassed Off (in May) and the staging of another play later in the year. He also highlighted the popular cinema screenings, on site, by the Bideford Film Society.

Mr Last was fulsome in his praise regarding the success of the (local) Kingsley Judo Club.

Further ties that excited him included working together with the Bideford Bridge Trust in leasing Nature Reserve Development land; the pupils too have expressed enthusiasm for the project.

Finally Mr Last stated that he would be very happy to show council members around the School; they would be very welcome.  (The Mayor accepted the very warm invitation and asked the Town Clerk to liaise with the secretary of Kingsley School.)

c.   The Chairman invited Members to raise questions and comments that included:

•    The School will be hosting a boxing event on Saturday, 4 March 2017.
•    Potential for involvement with the Community owned Solar Panels initiative.
o    Mr Last expressed happiness to support the initiative with a view to reducing (reliance upon) fossil fuel /bills.

d.   The Chairman thanked Mr Last for addressing the Meeting.


The Town Clerk advised:

a.   That the Commonwealth Flag would be raised on Monday, 13 March 2017 at 10.00 am in a brief ceremony held at Riverbank House; all were welcome to attend.

b.   Manor Court will be held on Saturday, 25 March 2017; Members to be robed by 10.10 am.

c.   The Mayor and officers in full pomp and regalia will process at 10.30 am from the eastern end of Bideford Bridge (Barnstaple Street) and finish at the Port Memorial outside Learn Devon on Bideford Quay, in support of the Devon Newfoundland Story.  Councillors are invited to join – robes will be available from 9.30 am.

The Mayor advised:

d.   That the New Homes Bonus had been capped at £30,000.00 which would impact upon delivering the Mill / Allhalland Streets resurfacing work.  The Head of Paid Services, TDC had indicated that there was funding available.  The Mayor will seek assurances from Councillor J Hart, DCC and establish how much.

e.   Members of his feelings towards the correspondence received from Dr Alison Diamond.  He did not accept that the Council had been placed under pressure when one of its Members had expressed abhorrence at holding a meeting of such public importance, with her, behind closed doors.

In highlighting the stance of other local Councils, he received the Members’ support to reply, in the face of (her) quite clear pressure.


Minute Number 114.  Following Councillor McGeough’s question on whether a reply had been received from TDC regarding a contribution toward the paint for Kingsley Wall (Town Clerk confirmed acknowledgement but no reply) Councillor Christie referred to a Meeting of the Chamber of Commerce and Section 106 money in particular.


Proposed by Councillor Brenton, seconded and

RESOLVED: That Standing Orders are suspended in order for a Member of the Chamber of Commerce to address the Committee.

(Vote – For: 16, Against: 0)

Mr Pearce stated that there was Section 106 funding information on the Torridge District Council website.  He added that there would be a repeat of the recent Chamber Meeting with the same agenda – with answers.


Proposed by Councillor S G Inch, seconded and

RESOLVED:  That the Meeting return to Standing Orders.

(Vote – For: 16, Against: 0)

Councillor Christie believed that there was £4,500.00 of public art money still available that could possibly be tapped into for the Kinsley Wall operation.  Following the Mayor’s invitation, Councillor Christie confirmed that he would investigate further the funding opportunity.

The Minutes of the Meeting held on 16 February 2017 were approved and adopted.

(Vote – For: 16, Against: 0)


The Minutes of the Meeting held on 1 and 22 February 2017 were approved and adopted.

(Vote – For: 16, Against: 0)

Councillor Christie spoke of an interesting meeting with the Environment Agency regarding the Kenwith Dam.

Councillor S G Inch expressed a desire to invite the Agency spokesperson to speak to the Council.


The Minutes of the Meeting held on 23 February 2017 were approved and adopted.

(Vote – For: 16, Against: 0)


The Minutes of the Meeting held on 20 February 2017 were approved and adopted.

(Vote – For: 16, Against: 0)


The Minutes of the Meeting held on 28 February 2017 were approved and adopted.

(Vote – For: 16, Against: 0)


Following the discussion during Mayor / Town Clerk communication item Members confirmed that the Mayor would compile a response.


Submission by Councillor J McKenzie:

“Amphitheatre: To create an area for cultural performances in Victoria Park for the benefit of the people of Bideford.”

Councillor McKenzie advised that Mr D Slocombe, DCC and Mr S Kearney, TDC had indicated that the Amphitheatre project plan could be absorbed into the Burton Cultural Hub.  His raising of the Motion was to seek the Council’s thoughts and establish backing for the initiative.

Referring to his submission he reiterated the wider benefits of increased footfall to the local economy.  He declared that the only cost to the Council would be subject to its own volition.

Councillor Howell seconded the Motion, supporting it in principle.

Councillor Christie too supported the Motion in principle.  He warned against public opinion where an area was being removed from the Park although he speculated on the need for more land to be taken from the cattle market.

Further discussion points included:

•    Impact upon the bandstand.
•    A community hall would be a better alternative / better received.
•    Plenty of parking in the vicinity.
•    DCC to draw the plans.
•    Greater flexibility and many diverse uses of amphitheatre (in preference to Community Hall).
•    Good Cultural hub.
o    A community hall would be better placed in a more residential area.

Proposed by Councillor McKenzie, seconded

RESOLVED:  That the principle of the Motion is supported; Councillor McKenzie continues to research the Project.

(Vote – For: 11, Against: 4, Abstention: 1)


Nothing to report.


Councillor Langmead advised:

•    Brunswick Wharf is being marketed by agents, JLL.
•    Work on the internal offices at Riverbank House due to commence on 13 March 2017.
•    Customer Services Hub, also Riverbank House, should be completed in February 2018.
•    It is expected that Bridge Building will be vacated by the end of March 2018.
•    Tantons development work should begin in March 2017.


Councillor Christie briefed Members on the income, expenditure, charitable donations and grants figures.  He added that the Custom House should be open for business by Easter 2017 and that the fire ravaged hairdressers’ building at the foot of Bridge Street has seen refurbishment work started.

The business of the meeting having been concluded the Mayor thanked the members for their attendance at the meeting which concluded at 7.59 pm.

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