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Town Council Meeting Minutes - 23 June 2016


PRESENT:   

North Ward:   

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

South Ward:   

Councillor D G Brenton
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

IN ATTENDANCE:   

Mrs H J Blackburn (Town Clerk)
Mr R D Coombes (Deputy Town Clerk)
Councillor R Julian (DCC)
Mrs M Bailey (Bideford Chamber of Commerce)
15 x Members of the Public
1 x Member of the Press

Prior to the start of the Meeting the Town Clerk confirmed that everyone had appended their details on the Fire Register and further read the Building Evacuation procedure, to the assembled.

034  APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE

Councillors J Day (South Ward – personal), A T Inch (South Ward – work) and S Robinson (East Ward – personal).

035  DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST ON ITEMS ON THE AGENDA

Councillor Christie declared a non-pecuniary interest in Item 23.  (Member, Bideford Bridge Trust). 

036  PRESENTATION OF THE YOUNG CITIZEN’S AWARD 2016

The Town Clerk introduced the Young Citizen’s Award for 2016 recipient, Scott Craner, providing detail on his achievements that garnered such attention and made him the outstanding candidate.

Councillor Pester, who had put forward the nomination, described Scott’s accomplishments as very impressive and highlighted that he was an example to his peer group.

Scott thanked the Council and Councillor Pester in particular adding that he was indebted to Mr Stu Towers, President of the Bideford District Sea Cadets.  He then excused himself and that of Mr Towers, from the Meeting, as they had man the Safety Boat at Instow (in support of the Cadets).

037  PUBLIC PARTICIPATION SESSION

Mr Pearce supported Item 16 requesting that the Bideford Torridge District Councillors show a united front in their undertaking.

038  MINUTES

The Minutes of the Meeting held on 12 May 2016 were approved and signed as a correct record.

(Vote – For: 13, Against: 0)

039  ACCOUNTS

To approve the payments listed.

Councillor Mrs Craigie requested sight of the grass verges cutting details / itinerary; the Town Clerk confirmed that it would be provided to her.

It was proposed by Councillor Pester, seconded and

RESOLVED:  That the List of Payments be approved.

(Vote – For: 13, Against: 0)

040  BIDEFORD CHAMBER OF COMMERCE REPORT

a.   The Chairman welcomed the President of the Bideford and District Chamber of Commerce, Mrs Maria Bailey, to the meeting.

b.   Mrs Bailey thanked the Members and immediately advised that at their recent Annual General Meeting the Executive had been returned with the addition of Councillor Bushby, an act that was further forging the Links between the Council and Chamber.

She advised that the Executive would be holding a Meeting to plan for the coming year.  Priorities would see continued support for the Businesses of Bideford (BoB) including Tarka the Bronze Otter, Wicked Week and Late Night Shopping.  Free Parking would also be pursued and would be placed on the Bideford Town Centre Partnership (BTCP) agenda.

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

•    At a recent meeting the Barnstaple Town Centre Manager had observed that Bideford was doing well with a fantastic group of people making a difference showing that the Town takes a pride in itself.
•    The unity that marks Bideford contrasts with the lack of identity in Barnstaple.
•    How is the Barnstaple Town Centre Manager funded?
o    Mrs Bailey to enquire.

d.   The Chairman thanked Mrs Bailey for addressing the Meeting.

041  DEVON COUNTY COUNCIL COUNCILLOR REPORT

a.   The Chairman welcomed Councillor Julian to the Meeting.

Councillor Julian thanked the Chairman and greeted the Members.  His report, that had previously been circulated, referred to Waste Collection, Highways issues including Mill Street repair surface, unblocking of drains, Moreton Park sink hole and loss of Disabled Bay in Lime Grove (subsequently reinstated).

He advised that DCC were reviewing their assets including parks and laybys with a view to selling them to District, Town and Parish Councils.

He spoke of a Leaders’ Meeting where concerns had been raised about the removal of Services from NDDH, Barnstaple.

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

•    A request for a list of the DCC Assets in Bideford.
o    Councillor Julian confirmed he would obtain it.
•    A request to reallocate development funds from roads to medical services. 
o    Both Medical Centres in Bideford are working at 120%.  Monies from the Heywood Road Development to “improve” the roundabout could be reallocated given that any change to the roundabout will not change the resultant exit onto the two single lanes Torridge Bridge.
•    Disabled Parking Bays (Elmdale Road) – DCC Policy upon the death of a driver; reallocation / removal.
o    Councillor Julian agreed to investigate.
•    Hedge cutting – junctions Manteo Way, Gammaton and Torrington Roads.  Danger to pedestrians forced to step off pavements and walk in busy roads.
•    Flooding / blocked drains (including Pannier Market area) heightened during severe weather; demand for immediate attention.
•    Crackdown on illegal parking where lack of enforcement presents potential danger e.g. Zebra crossing close to Westcroft School and Bridgeland Street (double yellow lines).
o    Is there a policy on two enforcement officers walking together?
o    How often are Enforcement Officers scheduled to visit the Town?
•    Mill Street surface. 
o    Councillor Julian to chase up / obtain costings.
•    No Entry Sign at the Pannier Market (where Grenville, Bridge, Honestone and Market Streets meet).
o    Will be removed.
Councillor Julian, citing a recent (face to face) conversation and follow up E Mail correspondence with Councillor Christie, invited Members to E Mail him direct with details of any highway concerns which he would then pursue.  He pledged to work to his best for Bideford’s interests.  He spoke of his driving aptitude and confirmed that the traffic light / filter system outside Asda / McDonalds does work.

•    The continued absence of Councillor Dezart was noted as a concern.

It was proposed by Councillor Langmead, seconded and

RESOLVED:  That the Council writes to Devon County Council expressing concern at the continued absence and unavailability of Councillor Dezart.

(Vote – For: 13, Against: 0)

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

042  COMMUNICATION BROUGHT FORWARD ON THE DIRECTION OF THE MAYOR

The Mayor advised Members:

That the Barnstaple NHS cuts protest had been interesting; he was proud that it was supported by nine (Bideford) Councillors.  He noted the social media interest and praised Geoffrey Cox Q.C. MP for his (written) support.

The Town Clerk advised Members:

a.   Bideford Spruce Up Day, Jubilee Square 9.00 am, 26 June 2016.

b.   The Bideford Heritage Day, Saturday 2 July 2016.  The Mayor added that it would be bigger and better including WWII re-enactments, Napoleonic musketeers, English riflemen and Victorian Tri-cyclists.

c.   The Royal Hotel could not accommodate Manor Court on 18 March 2017 but offered the following Saturday, 25 March 2017; Members indicated acceptance which will subsequently be resolved upon at the Meeting to be held on 4 August 2016.

043  STAFFING, FINANCE & GENERAL PURPOSES COMMITTEE

Minute number 018.  Councillor Bushby confirmed to Members that he had received the Northam Town Council work schedules, for their maintenance staff, which would be modified and replicated, to suit Bideford’s requirements.  He urged them to start the process, sooner rather than later.

The Minutes of the Meeting held on 9 June 2016 were approved and adopted.

(Vote – For: 13, Against: 0)

044  PLANNING COMMITTEE

The Minutes of the Meeting held on 18 May and 8 June 2016 were approved and adopted.

(Vote – For: 13, Against: 0)

045  MARKET MANAGEMENT COMMITTEE

Councillor Langmead questioned the Market Management Committee’s decision to provide the Market Stall Unit tenant’s with a concession on Market Stall hire.  Following discussion where he was fully appraised on the Market rental terms and general concessions, the Councillor Brenton agreed to a meeting with him, at the Market.

The Minutes of the Meeting held on 14 April 2016 were approved and adopted.

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

046  TOURISM COMMITTEE

The Minutes of the Meeting held on 22 June 2016 were approved and adopted.

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

047  TOWN & PARISH FUND – FINANCIAL YEAR 2016 / 17

Members noted the arrangements of the Town and Parish Fund for the Financial Year 2016/17.

The Town Clerk confirmed the fund for Bideford of £14,370 and invited Members to consider projects / initiatives.

048  MAYOR INTRODUCTION CEREMONY / CHURCH SERVICE 2017

Members had received correspondence from St Mary’s Church inviting the Council to hold the Mayor Introduction Service on Sunday 11 June 2017 given that the previous week clashed with the Church’s Sunday of Pentecost.

Proposed by Councillor Langmead, seconded and

RESOLVED:  That the Mayor Introduction Ceremony will be held on 8 June 2017 with the subsequent Mayor’s Parade and Church Service to be held on 11 June 2017.

(Vote – For: 13, Against: 0)

049  NOTICE OF MOTION

Submission by Councillor D Brenton:

“That Bideford Town Council offers to lease the East-the-Water wharfs from Torridge District Council for £1.00.
An overage clause to be inserted, whereby should a profitable scheme take place on the land, the Torridge District Council would receive its proportionate share.
That Bideford Town Council applies to Torridge District Council Regeneration Budget for funds to clear and generally landscape the said site, in order to provide a temporary picnic/amenity area until such time as an appropriate development takes place.”

Councillor Brenton advised Members that he had spoken to the Head of Paid Services at TDC, Jenny Wallace.  Given the legal implications and sensitivity of the subject it was felt that the formation of a Working Group was the best way for the Council to explore and pursue the item.

Councillor Langmead expressed support for a Working Group as a vehicle to work with TDC in pursuance of the Motion.

Proposed by Councillor Brenton, seconded

RESOLVED:  That a Working Group is formed to work in conjunction with TDC on the future of Brunswick Wharf.

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

Proposed by Councillor Brenton, seconded

RESOLVED:  That Councillors Howell, Bushby, Mrs Davies, Brenton and Langmead populate the Working Group.

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

050  NORTH HOSPITAL CORRESPONDENCE

Members noted the correspondence received from Geoffrey Cox Q.C. MP and Dr Alison Diamond in reply to a Bideford Town Council letter regarding the North Devon Hospital.

Councillor Christie warned against what appeared to be an encouraging development (“A&E in Barnstaple would remain open as it is simply not viable in this rural area for it to close”) from Dame Ruth Carnall, the Secretary of State’s Advisor on the Success Regime, citing the closure of Torrington Hospital.

The Mayor encouraged further protest, in the next few weeks, with a September decision in the offing.

Councillor Brenton agreed adding that local people would rise up in the face of NHS cuts.

Councillor Wootton speculated on whether the housing and population increase had been factored into the statistical analysis of future care provision.

Councillor McKenzie believed that there were redundant beds in NDDH not utilised because they / the Wards lacked staffing numbers.

Councillor Christie spoke of Torrington’s call to action and steely resolve that saw many activities to highlight the dangers of the Hospital closure with posters displayed in every window.  (They maintain that there remains an outstanding legal issue.)

The Mayor advocated that the Council take the lead in directing effective protests.

Councillor Mrs Davies believed that the Bideford Hospital X – Ray Department had closed with provision being transferred to the NDDH.

Councillor S G Inch spoke of meetings between Dr Alison Diamond and TDC although he believed that DCC, as the Care Provider should be appraised of the Council’s concerns and the growing feeling of disenchantment felt by the Towns and Parishes of Torridge and North Devon over the potential cuts to Services in the area.

Councillor Julian confirmed that there was cross party agreement, at DCC, to fight and save the NDDH (Services).

Proposed by Councillor Inch, seconded

RESOLVED:  That a letter be sent to DCC highlighting the concern of the Torridge and North Devon Community over the possible loss of Services at the NDDH.

(Vote – For: 13, Against: 0)

The Mayor backed the formation of a Working Group to spearhead an effective protest campaign.

Councillor Langmead advocated a delay, awaiting the response from DCC (to the letter).

051  WESTWARD PATHFINDER -COMMUNITY RANGERS PROJECT

Members had received details of the Community Rangers Project, led by Westward Pathfinder, where those furthest away from employment can gain work experience and new skills to enhance their long term employment prospects by participating in voluntary work for their local communities.  The report included a request for a letter of support and an indication whether the Council would utilise such a service.

Bridge Trust Members were not sure whether the Bridge Trust had been approached for funding.

Councillor Bushby indicated that they would face challenges with their project.  He indicated, though, that once the multi-skilled maintenance personnel were in place he could see a scenario where the Council could work with them in the future. 

Proposed by Councillor Langmead, seconded

RESOLVED:  That in principle, the Council expressed their support.

(Vote – For: 13, Against: 0)

052  DALC MEETING

Councillor Brenton spoke on devolution, the relationship with Somerset, and the Government’s expectation that Town and Parish Councils should deliver more (services).

He noted the creation of a central pool of expertise amongst Town Clerks that could encourage local Town and Parish Councils to work closer together.

Members discussed the proposition of a mayor governing a devolved authority and decried the Government’s desire for another tier of administration.

053  BIDEFORD TOWN CENTRE PARTNERSHIP

Councillor Bushby advised that DCC were keen to devolve responsibility for the table and chairs licences.  Newton Abbott was a model town and arrangements will be made for the Mayor to meet with the local administrators.

Members noted the Minutes from the Meeting held on 25 May 2016.

054  BIDEFORD TOWN CENTRE PARTNERSHIP

Members noted the Minutes from the Annual General Meeting held on 14 June 2016.

055  TORRIDGE DISTRICT COUNCIL – UPDATE

Councillor Langmead advised that pricing had seen a delay to the TDC Riverbank building of four to five months.

Planning Applications had been submitted for the Tanton’s Hotel project.

The BMX Track has been leased from TDC since before 1996.  The BMX people are able to control the Site as they wish.  There is no public right of way.  There will be a planning application submission for fencing.

A child fell from a swing in a park – TDC may well face a compensation claim.

Councillor Bushby noted that the initial reason to vacate the Town Hall / Bridge Building was to save money.  He questioned whether the movement of personnel to a newly built building and further population of River Bank House remained a saving and indeed whether there would be additional costs.  Councillor Langmead confirmed there would be a long term saving in Torridge, that the Project efficiencies would see services retained and those savings filtered through to the general public.  He added that the development of Bridge Building was being investigated. 

Upon questioning from Councillor Mrs Craigie, Councillor Langmead indicated that the BMX Track Lease was long term – he did not know the exact date.
Councillor Mrs Davies whether the Pollyfield Pathway could be reinstated.  Councillor Langmead replied that a request had been made for permission, from the Factory at the top of the path, as a piece of their land is affected.

056  BRIDGE TRUST

Councillor Christie briefed Members on the income, expenditure, charitable donations and grants figures. 

Councillor Bushby had written to the Bridge Trust requesting permission to access the former Warmington’s Garage with a view to removing the highly visible litter and detritus in the popular Bridgeland Street thoroughfare.

Councillor Christie confirmed receipt of the letter; a letter had been sent from the Bridge Trust to their Tenant but was firmly rebuffed.

Members expressed their disappointment toward the Tenant and their incredulity at the powerlessness of the Bridge Trust.  It was mooted that as the Tenant’s name was in the public domain, following planning application submission, the Council could correspond with them (the Tenant) direct.

Councillor Mrs Davies questioned the delay of any work to correct the fire damaged building in Bridgeland Street.  Councillor Christie indicated that there were complications because of the Grade II Star listed status of the Building that required English Heritage involvement.

Councillor Wootton asked for an update on the Custom House.

Again Councillor Christie lamented the poor state of the Premises that had caused the protracted nature of offering a new lease, although there should be a solution relatively soon.

Councillor Bushby encouraged the Trust to be proactive and improve the dirty and unsightly exterior to the burnt building.  Members of the public had found clothing soiled through brushing up against it.  He believed it was unacceptable and requested that the Trust act; Councillor Christie confirmed he would raise the matter.

The Mayor invited the Town Councillors (on the Trust board) to consider the concerns at their next meeting.

The business of the meeting having been concluded the Mayor thanked the members for their attendance at the meeting which concluded at 8.16 pm.























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