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Minutes of the Market Management Committee Meeting held in the Council Chamber of the Town Hall, Bideford, on Thursday 25 October 2017 at 6.31 pm

PRESENT:

North Ward

Councillor D McGeough (Town Mayor)

East Ward

Councillor Mrs R Craigie
Councillor J McKenzie

South Ward

Councillor D Brenton (Chairman)
Councillor B Wootton

Market Hall

Mrs J Fisher
Ms M Sparkes

Butchers Row
Mr N Morgan

IN ATTENDANCE:

Mr R Coombes (Deputy Town Clerk)
2 x Trader

69.  APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE

Councillor T Johns (North Ward – personal).

70.  DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST ON ITEMS ON THE AGENDA

There were no declarations of interest.

71.  PUBLIC PARTICIPATION PERIOD

A Trader stated that they, and other Market Traders / Tenants, had raised concerns, to the Council, over social media comments posted by a fellow tenant but had received no feedback.

The Chairman confirmed that he had interviewed two tenants including the person responsible for the posts, a number of which he had seen. In addressing the matter he emphasised that there would be no repetition and a line had been drawn.

He expressed his antipathy towards and warned against the pitfalls of ill-conceived social media expression.

Mr Monk referred the Chairman to his comments about not tolerating anyone who was opposed to or hostile towards fellow market traders; he called into question the outcome.

Ms Sparkes believed that the Traders had shown great restraint but trusted the Market Management Committee in their deliberation.

Discussion continued that highlighted the strength of feeling amongst traders, damage to the Market vis a vis individual businesses and references to tenancy probationary timeline.

The Chairman agreed to address the Committee in Part II at the Meeting to be held on 7 December 2017.

72.  MINUTES

The Minutes of the Meeting held on 14 September 2017 were approved and signed as a correct record.

(Vote – For: 5, Against: 0)

73.  MATTERS ARISING

Minute Number 53.a. Ms Benton having been invited to deliver on her proposals for Festive Entertainment, Christmas Card Event and Christmas Trees / Lights Decoration (Trees / Lights to remain for the whole of the Christmas period) has now withdrawn her offer.

Councillor Mrs Craigie confirmed that the budget for the period of £1,500.00 remained in place.

74.  ACCOUNTS

It was proposed by Councillor McGeough, seconded and

RESOLVED: That the list of payments be approved.

(Vote – For: 5, Against: 0)

75.  CHAIRMAN’S / MARKET ADMINISTRATORS REPORT

a.  An E Mail had been received from Ms Benton, which had been distributed amongst the Committee Members, regarding the opportunity of Butchers Row tenants to open whilst the Market Hall has been hired. Ms Benton believed that it should be at the discretion of the private hirer, of the Market Hall, if businesses on Butchers Row are able to open on a Sunday. She ventured that should businesses want to open on a non-trading day they should make a small contribution towards the marketing effort to bring new business their way.

The Chairman led the Committee in confirming that the Hirer of the Market Hall, is hiring the Market Hall and that their enterprise has the potential to reach out and benefit Bideford as a whole, including the Market environs. They agreed that there would be no move for tenants to make a contribution to the hirer.

b.  The Market Officer is currently on sick leave. The Market Administrator advised that Mrs Fisher had been opening and securing the Market in his absence. He also advised that Ms Sparkes, Mr Sidwell and their fellow traders had pooled their efforts to make the current Wicked Week a success. He noted that the Market Officer had been the recipient of goodwill and friendly banter from the Market Community; Mr Monk had taken the Officer to and from the Medical Centre.

76.  ADDITIONAL MARKET COVER – MS M SPARKES

The Market Administrator confirmed that currently Mrs Fisher opens and secures the Market Hall, in the absence of the Market Officer, provides a general point of contact during the trading day and a link with the Council officers, where necessary.

It was proposed by Councillor Brenton, seconded and

RESOLVED: That Ms Sparkes, in the absence of the Market Officer and Mrs Fisher, is engaged to open / secure the Market Hall, provide a general point of contact during the trading day and a link with the Council officers, where necessary. She will be paid on the same terms (as Mrs Fisher): £20.00 per day during the normal working week and £30.00 per day outside Council office working days. Ms Sparkes will receive a brief and contact detail.

(Vote – For: 5, Against: 0)

77.  NEW YEARS’ EVE EVENT – HIRE OF MARKET HALL

Members had been advised of a request to Hire the Market Hall for a New Year’s Eve Event on Sunday, 31 December 2017; the Magical Moments was presented as a free family party for children.

Following discussion from the previous Meeting (Minute Number 55.) the organisers were invited to provide further detail including space requirement for the Event.

Detail had been provided indicating that the Hall should be made as clear as possible to allow for a range of activities including arts and crafts, bouncy castles, soft play area, computer gaming area and shows which will include magicians, bubble show, party dances and games with the children. They stated that more free space available would be better for the children to be able to interact with the acts.

The Market Administrator reminded Members that disquiet had been indicated regarding preparation for the Event on Sunday 17 December 2017 and the spectre of further “disruption” with the proposal of another Event. Given the cancellation of the Sunday 17 December 2017 fears may have been dispelled and traders would be more receptive; Ms Sparkes believed this to be the case. 

It was proposed by Councillor McGeough, seconded and

RESOLVED: That the request for the Hire of the Hall for a Community New Year’s Event is agreed.

(Vote – For: 5, Against: 0)

78.  WAIVER OF MARKET HALL TRADERS’ RENT FOR JANUARY 2018

The Market Administrator advised Members of an historical goodwill incentive that enabled market hall traders to enjoy a free trading month (January). Members had also received a request from the Market Hall Tenants to enjoy a similar bounty.

Councillor Mrs Craigie whilst in favour of a rent free January 2018 she felt that as a consequence there should be an increase in rent, to effectively pay for it.

Discussion followed where Members agreed, led by the Chairman, for it to be considered together with item 14. Rent review for the next financial year.

79.  TO REVIEW THE MARKET STALL PROVISION FOR REGISTERED CHARITIES TO ENOY ONE GRATIS STALL PER YEAR

The Chairman and Mrs Fisher discussed their understanding of the provision of gratis stalls to Charities.

It was their belief that historically one stall was available gratis for a charity each trading day.

It was proposed by Councillor McKenzie, seconded and

RESOLVED: That one gratis stall is available each Tuesday and Saturday to a charity, on a first come, first served basis.

(Vote – For: 5, Against: 0)

80.  BIDEFORD FLOWER SHOW – 19 AUGUST 2018

A request had been received from Mr Avis, representing the Bideford Flower Show, requesting the Hire of the Hall for Sunday 19 August 2018. It is a successful annual event that has run for many years.

It was proposed by Councillor Brenton, seconded and

RESOLVED: That the request for the Hire of the Hall for the Bideford Flower Show on 19 August 2018 is agreed.

(Vote – For: 5, Against: 0)

81.  DEVELOPMENT PLAN WORKING GROUP

a.  Variation to floor layout, providing for exhibition / specialist market space. Mr Morgan had provided Members with five representations of stall layouts. The spatial exercise is primarily to free up space but create interesting layouts that draw the eye / visitor. He conceded that the benches / forms take up a lot of space and that other seating arrangements could be considered.

The Chairman saw merit in introducing variation but felt that the next stage should be stall holder consultation.

Councillor McGeough favoured the introduction of a rotational initiative that would see the stall holder positioning changing, being less rigid and more varied.

Mrs Fisher indicated that while Studio Units 7 and 8 appeared ostracised the floor space in front of them would be utilised by exhibitors.

Councillor McGeough signalled that the progression would lead to improved footfall.

Councillor McKenzie observed that accommodating the pot plant / flower trader would be an organic exercise.

b.  Advertising push / offer for specific traders e.g. < 25 years, antiques, fruit and vegetables, arts and crafts on specific days. The Market Administrator suggested there was an opportunity to advertise generally for new traders but with the option to offer three months’ trading for the price of one, or variation on pricing, as an incentive. He suggested that with the potential free / exhibition space dedicated markets could be introduced to run alongside the traditional i.e. every other Friday could be dedicated to antiques.

Councillor Mrs Craigie speculated on a Business start-up scheme for young people (who represent the future), with mentoring provision.

Members saw merit in more themed markets; the Chairman spoke on developing ideas to encourage new traders but intimated that the Council did not have the capacity to organise such events.

82.  RENT REVIEW

Having brought forward item 10. it was

Proposed by Councillor Brenton, seconded and

RESOLVED: That the rent for the month of January 2018 is waived for those Bideford Pannier Market Hall Traders. That each tenant / trader is advised accordingly.

(Vote – For: 5, Against: 0)

Councillor Mrs Craigie indicated that the monthly rate for those trading three days or more a week should be increased from £30.00 to £35.00 as, she believed, the additional trading days had not been considered. (Members hastily calculated this to be in excess of a fourteen per cent rise).

Proposed by Councillor Brenton, seconded and

RECOMMENDED: That rent tariffs, across the board, be increased by two per cent effective 1 April 2018. That each tenant / trader is advised accordingly.

(Vote – For: 5, Against: 0)

The Chairman invited Members to consider the request from each of the Market Work Shop tenants for their January 2018 rent to be waivered, in line with the Market Stall holders’ traditional gift or at least reduced. 

The Market Administrator wondered if the Butchers Row or Market Place tenants would not also be in line for Council largesse. The Chairman did not believe this to be the case given the restrictions upon the Market Work Shop tenants to work only when the Market Hall was trading.

He judged that whilst they were not exposed fully to the same commercial variances as the Stall holders, the Work Shop enabled them to create still, when not selling. He believed there was a genuine case to reduce their rent for the month.

Proposed by Councillor Mrs Ruth Craigie, seconded and

RESOLVED: That the rent for the month of January 2018 is reduced by half for those Bideford Pannier Market Hall Studio workshop tenants. That each tenant is advised accordingly.

(Vote – For: 5, Against: 0)

83.  ‘DRAFT’ BUDGET 2018/2019

The Market Administrator presented a ‘Draft’ Budget for consideration by the Committee.

Proposed by Councillor Brenton, seconded and

RECOMMENDED: That the Draft Market Budget 2018/2019 be supported by the Council.

(Vote: – For: 5, Against: 0)

84.  REVIEW OF DOG POLICY AND THE WORKPLACE

Mr Morgan confirmed that there were no dissenters among the tenants of Butchers Row who expressed support for allowing dogs in the workplace. He alluded to the provision that tenant dogs should remain out of the way and not cause nuisance.

Councillor McGeough vigorously opposed the idea citing Health and Safety concerns.

Mr Morgan suggested that the dogs could be separated off, caged.

Councillor McGeough reiterated his opposition adding that insurance policies would not cover dogs in the workplace.

Proposed by Councillor McGeough, seconded and

RESOLVED: That the current policy remains: Visiting dogs and their owners are welcome (on leads) to the Market Complex (entry to Units only on agreement of the respective tenant). Tenants and traders are not permitted to bring their dogs to the Complex to remain, while they work.

(Vote: – For: 5, Against: 0)

85.  COMMITTEE TRADERS / TENANTS

Ms Sparkes stated that the Wicked Week had been good news for the Market. She confirmed that the traders had organised, shock horror, with Annette Joyce providing paper pumpkin and ghost workshops for children. Jack Monk and Sophie Cobb had collaborated in creating a similar vehicle - spooky decorations for Halloween.

There had been much positive feedback from parents, children local and visitors to the area.

She expressed thanks to Morrisons and IntaGr8 who had stepped in with the provision of fifty pumpkins.

86.  GAZETTE ADVERTISING OPPORTUNITY

Members had received detail on the Gazette’s Christmas advertising push.

Discussion followed on the cost and perceived benefit of advertising in the magazine as opposed to the paper.

Proposed by Councillor McGeough, seconded and

RESOLVED: That a full page advertisement is taken in the Christmas North Devon magazine.

(Vote: – For: 5, Against: 0)

87.  MARKET HALL INNER DOORS

Members had sight of the response from the TDC Conservation officer.

Concern was raised at her suggestion of glass windows within the current, heavy and unwieldy inner doors; the cost too was believed to be eye watering.

The Chairman and Councillor McGeough agreed to hold a meeting with her.

88.  CONFIDENTIAL ITEMS TO BE TAKEN IN PART II

Proposed by Councillor McGeough, seconded and

RESOLVED: That in view of the confidential nature of the business about to be discussed, it is advisable, in the public interest, that the public be excluded for the remainder of the meeting; the tenants / traders were instructed to withdraw.

(Vote – For: 5, Against: 0)

89.  PART II (CLOSED SESSION)

90.  TERMINATIONS OF LEASES BY TENANTS/APPLICATIONS RECEIVED FOR TENANCIES OF PREMISES

There were none.

91.  UPDATE ON RENT

The Market Administrator advised that one rental payment had not been received for October 2017. Upon hastening the Tenant promised to make good the payment.

The Chairman, having established that there was no further business to discuss, thanked the Members for their attendance and concluded the Meeting at 8.03 pm.

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