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Minutes of the Town Council Meeting - 28 January 2016


PRESENT:   

North Ward:   

Councillor D Bushby
Councillor P S Christie
Councillor T J Johns
Councillor D A D McGeough
Councillor P J Pester (Town Mayor)

South Ward:   

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

South (Outer) Ward   

Councillor D Howell

East Ward:   

Councillor Mrs R M Craigie
Councillor J A McKenzie
Councillor  S Robinson

IN ATTENDANCE:   

Mrs H J Blackburn (Town Clerk)
Mr R D Coombes (Deputy Town Clerk)
Councillor R Julian (DCC)
Mr P Bowser (Bridge Centre Project)
Inspector P Gray (Bideford Police Station)
PC N Domachowska (Neighbourhood Beat Manager)
2 x Members of the Public
1 x Members of the Press

159  APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE

Councillors Mrs Davies (East Ward – work), J Day (South Ward - personal) and M Langmead (East Ward – personal).

160  DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST ON ITEMS ON THE AGENDA

Councillors Brenton, Christie, Howell and Pester all declared a non-pecuniary interest in Item 20.  (Members, Bideford Bridge Trust).  Councillor A T Inch declared a non-pecuniary interest in Item 14.  (Member of Landivisiau Twinning Association.)

161  PUBLIC PARTICIPATION SESSION

There was no participation.

162  MINUTES

The Minutes of the Meeting held on 17 December 2015 were approved and signed as a correct record.

(Vote – For: 12, Against: 0, Abstention: 1)

163  ACCOUNTS

To approve the payments listed.

It was proposed by Councillor S G Inch, seconded and

RESOLVED:  That the list of payments be approved.

(Vote – For: 13, Against: 0)

164  BRIDGE CENTRE PROJECT

a.   The Chairman welcomed Dr Paul Bowser to the Meeting.

b.   Mr Bowser thanked the Mayor and councillors for the opportunity to address them on the Bridge Centre Project. 

Largely addressing the newly elected councillors he told Members of the endorsement received from the Council including the £20,000 payment that was fundamental in the (planning matters) process.

In presenting the need for the Project he spoke of the disadvantaged Torridge area:

•    lowest GDP
•    lowest average income
•    up to 30% of children struggle at school

he promoted the safeguarding of eleven Wings’ jobs, the creation of a further fifty five  and the support received from eighty volunteers.  The facilities will bridge the gap and provide opportunities for the young and old, those employed, unemployed, disabled and able bodied within / without the Community.

He reminded Members of the Royal Visit and spoke of the (unpaid) Executive Board that were driving the Project forward.

•    Reserve Matters approved on 31 January 2015.
o    No objections received from the Public.
•    Pre commencement conditions included having sufficient funds available to complete Phase I, identify lead contractor for the construction of:
o    Shop
o    Café
o    Restaurant
o    Community Hall
    Youth facilities including gymnasium.

(Torridge District Council also demanded surface water storage tanks.)

While he spoke of the structure fitting in with the surroundings and not dominating the skyline he indicated that the focus was on delivery and cost saving:

•    Reduce construction cost
•    Negotiating materials free or at cost
•    Funding received from money in lieu of rental income
•    Partnerships (meeting with new Head of Bideford College) and the sharing of resources.

He identified the construction cost for Phase I at £1.5m.

Concerns had been raised over the “College Park” flooding which was exacerbated by the shillit and solid rock base.  Underground water storage tanks will be installed under the car park to deal with the surface water from the Wings development.

c.   The Chairman then invited Members to submit questions.  Questions and comments raised included:

•    The benefit of contacting the Environmental Agency who will look at the geology and not just the topography.
•    Following the seven and a half year development when is the anticipated start date, given that £180,000 (Council) monies are ring fenced and could be used for other (match funded) projects?
o    Once the Planning Department are satisfied construction should start end of July 2016.
o    Also, confident in finalising the necessary finances.
•    Safeguards with those providing free services.
o    Confirmed everything is done contractually; proven track record.
•    Rainwater systems including grey water systems for toilets.
•    Need for Community Centre in South Ward / Bideford.

d.   The Chairman thanked Mr Bowser for an excellent presentation.  He further invited him to return to the Council at the end of July 2016.

165  REPORT:  DEVON COUNTY COUNCIL

a.   The Chairman welcomed Councillor Julian to the Meeting.

Councillor Julian thanked the Chairman and greeted the Members whilst speaking on the flooding at Pitt Lane (repaired within two days), The Quay pipe blockage (completed), Cold Harbour Street (officers have confirmed there is a problem to address), Bus Stop and Community Hospitals (decision deferred, nothing from Central Government).

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

•    Whilst there was a request for the Silver Street repairs to be chased up it was noted that there was a considerable hole in the road behind the Pannier Market / in front of Victoria Terrace (Market Place).
•    Request for the County Councillor to provide a report at the next Council Meeting on the Devolution of Devon (and Somerset).  The process will have a huge impact upon the Towns within the Counties transferring greater responsibilities upon them.
•    Request for DCC to address the pot holes in the “Little America” car park (as you leave Bideford for Torrington, on the left).
•    Request for clarity on the negotiations behind DCC and its preferred Highways contractor given that the SWH contract is running down.
•    Discussion on poor state of roads (management) and accountability; pre-emptive work.
•    It was noted that the Old Rectory sold by DCC to a private concern, was again being marketed.  The County Councillor was asked whether an overage clause had been inserted.
•    Concern over priorities: £2.4m earmarked for pedestrian bridge at Roundswell when monies could be used to repair present issues.
o    Local DCC councillor also expressed concern at decision.
•    The Council, on the invitation of Barnstaple Town Council had paid £2,000 towards a fund that kept the (Barnstaple) Record Office open until April 2016.  Given the significance of the Office to Bideford Town and other local parishes, the County Councillor was asked what was happening (to the Record Office). 
•    Bus 75: Quay, Atlantic Village, Moreton Park, Londonderry and return.  Demand for Abbotsham provision.

c.   The Chairman thanked Councillor Julian for addressing the Meeting.
   
ORDER OF BUSINESS

Proposed by Councillor Brenton, seconded and

RESOLVED:  That the order of business be changed to allow agenda item 12 to be addressed before item 8.

(Vote – For: 13, Against: 0)

166  MARKET MANAGEMENT COMMITTEE

The Minutes of the Meeting held on 21 January 2016 were approved and signed as a correct record.

(Vote – For: 13, Against: 0)

(Councillor Brenton left the Meeting.)

167  REPORT FROM POLICE ON ISSUES WITHIN THE PARISH

a.   A report by Sergeant McWhinnie, Neighbourhood Team Leader, Bideford Police Station, had been circulated to Members giving crime figures covering December 2015. 

b.   Graffiti was highlighted as an increasing problem while the CCTV operation in Bideford will be reduced from 1 April 2016.  Two arrests were recorded, one for serious assault – in Exeter – and another for possession with intent to supply Heroin.  It was also noted that the New Year’s Eve celebrations in the Town went extremely well with limited Police intervention.

c.   The Chairman welcomed Inspector Gray to the Meeting.

Inspector Gray thanked the Chairman and introduced himself and career background to the Members.  He largely discussed the Report clarifying that Happy Daze had not be closed although, effective March 2016, Government legislation would effectively remove the Legal High retail outlets from the High Street.
While the number of PCSOs had been secured (at least for two years) a pilot scheme would see a Police Community Fire Officer opportunity, where a volunteer PCSO would be trained and operate as a retained fire officer.

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

•    Graffiti sightings and vehicular damage.
•    Lack of motivation to report incidents.
o    Important to report – dictates allocation of resources.
    101
    Police Face book page
    E Mail (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.).

168  COMMUNICATION BROUGHT FORWARD ON THE DIRECTION OF THE MAYOR

The Town Clerk advised Members:

a.   Trustees are being recruited by the Burton Art Gallery.

b.   The Mayor’s Civic Charity Ball is being held on 12 February 2016; those wishing to attend please confirm by 1 February 2016.

c.   Tidy up Day: 3 April 2016.

169  STAFFING, FINANCE & GENERAL PURPOSES COMMITTEE

It was noted that Minute Nos. 090, 096,097, 099, 100 (Precept) contained recommendations.

The Minutes of the Meeting held on 7 January 2016 were approved and signed as a correct record.

(Vote – For: 12, Against: 0)

170  PLANNING COMMITTEE

The Minutes of the Meeting held on 23 December 2015 and 13 January 2016 were approved and signed as a correct record.

(Vote – For: 12, Against: 0)

171  TOURISM COMMITTEE

Councillor A T Inch advised that he had been unable to attend the Meeting because of personal reasons, not as had been recorded, for work reasons.  Councillor Robinson advised that he had attended a Holocaust Memorial Service.  The Town Clerk indicated that the Minutes would be corrected.

The Minutes of the Meetings held on 27 January 2016 were approved and adopted.

(Vote – For: 12, Against: 0)

172  LANDIVISIAU TWINNING ASSOCIATION – FORTIETH ANNIVERSARY GIFT

Members considered a gift for the people of Landivisiau marking the fortieth anniversary of the Twinning Association.

Proposed by  Councillor S G Inch, seconded and

RESOLVED:  That the decision is deferred until the Meeting scheduled for 10 March 2016 to give Members time to return prepared with ideas and also engage with the Twinning Association. 

(Vote – For: 12, Against: 0)

173  LOCAL GOVERNMENT ASSCIATION TRAINING

Members had received information on a Training opportunity for councillors from larger town and parish councils.

No councillor put themselves forward to attend.

174  NOTICE OF MOTION

Submission by: Councillor Howell

“That the Council holds a short, no longer than half day, “reaching out” session in the Town Centre on a Saturday in March. The session could be held in the square in front of the Baptist Church or perhaps, should one be available an empty shop.”

Councillor Howell expanded by advocating an increased profile, advising the local public / electorate how the Council interacts with the Community: grant provision etc.

Promotional literature and pictures on boards can be arranged.

While Councillor Howell had considered March he reflected that April may offer a better date given that March is a busy month for Town Council activities.  

Councillor Howell advised that he would make enquiries about the use of an empty shop should the weather be inclement.

He said this would provide a forum for two way open communication where exchanges would allow for the Public to be informed about the Council’s work as well as gaining valuable feedback from them. 

Councillor McKenzie seconded the Motion.

The Chairman led the Chamber in fully supporting the Motion.  He directed Councillor Howell to liaise with the Town Clerk in organising the Event / date.

Proposed by Councillor Howell, seconded and

RESOLVED:  That the Motion is carried.  Councillor Howell to confirm date and arrangements.

(Vote – For: 12, Against: 0)


175  TOWN CENTRE PARTNERSHIP

Councillor Bushby referred to the Licenses behind hanging baskets, chairs and tables advising that DCC will no longer charge for hanging basket although application would still need to be made.  He added that DCC would like to offload the licensing for table and chairs to either the District (although having a Licensing department, the officer indicated that the Council would not take on the additional duties) or Town Councils.

The Town Clerk indicated that there was not currently sufficient staff provision / capacity to operate a licensing programme.

Councillor Bushby indicated DCC were open to a partnership plan to Tarmac Mill Street.  Mr Slocombe believed that the price could be in the region of £100,000 – he could provide a more accurate cost.  A joint venture would be the best opportunity to see a result in the near future.

Councillor Christie intimated that the Bridge Trust might support a venture as a number of their properties front Mill / Allhalland Streets.

The Chairman invited Councillor Bushby to liaise with Mr Slocombe with a view to submitting a Notice of Motion.

Councillor Bushby indicated that he would approach Mr Slocombe, through the Partnership, believing that Mill Street represented a very significant area of the Town.

Discussion followed on funding, potential monies from the Atlantic Village Development and the poor return garnered from the Tesco project.

Councillor Christie talked about the New Homes Bonus and money which could possibly be available through that scheme.

Members noted the Notes from the Bideford Town Centre Partnership Meeting held on 20 January 2016. 

176  DALC MEETING - UPDATE

Members received the Minutes from the DALC: Larger Councils sub Committee.

177  TORRIDGE DISTRICT COUNCIL – UPDATE

Councillor S G Inch referred to the Budget setting process currently taking place.

Councillor Christie spoke of an interesting Harbour Meeting that he had attended; the Sunken Boat in the Torridge should soon be removed.

177  BRIDGE TRUST

Councillor Christie briefed Members on the income, expenditure, charitable donations and (start-up) grant figures.  He noted that the uncommitted funds at £520,000 were, for the first time, below the aspirational reserve.

The business of the meeting having been concluded the Mayor thanked the members for their attendance at the meeting which concluded at 8.23 pm.














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