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Minutes of the Staffing, Finance & General Purposes Committee held in the Council Chamber, Town Hall, Bideford on Thursday 13 June 2019 at 6.30 pm

PRESENT:

North Ward:

Councillor P S Christie
Councillor D Bushby (Chairman)
Councillor D McGeough

South Ward:

Councillor R Wootton

East Ward:

Councillor Mrs R Craigie
Councillor Mrs J Gubb
Councillor Mrs L Hellyer

West Ward:

Councillor Mrs K Corfe (Substitute for Cllr McKenzie)
Councillor D Ratcliff

IN ATTENDANCE: Mrs H J Blackburn (Town Clerk)
5 x Members of the public.

001.      ELECTION OF A CHAIRMAN

Councillor Bushby was proposed by Councillor McGeough and seconded by Councillor Mrs Gubb.

RESOLVED: That Councillor Bushby is appointed as Chairman of the Committee for the coming year.

(Vote – For: 9, Against: 0)

002.      ELECTION OF A VICE CHAIRMAN

Councillor Mrs Gubb was proposed by Councillor McGeough and seconded by Councillor Mrs Hellyer.

RESOLVED: That Councillor Mrs Gubb is appointed as Vice Chairman of the Committee for the coming year.

(Vote – For: 9, Against: 0)

003.      APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE

Councillor J McKenzie, East Ward, (Personal).

004.      DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST AND ANY REQUESTS FOR DISPENSATION ON ITEMS ON THE AGENDA

Councillor Mrs Corfe declared a non-pecuniary interest in agenda item 14. (Direct work with individuals relative to situation within her employment).

005.      PUBLIC PARTICIPATION SESSION OF 15 MINUTES DURATION

A Member of the public addressed the meeting on the subject of Fireworks. He asked Members to consider attaching a condition to any grants awarded to reduce the decibel level of the fireworks as well as moving the display well away from the old bridge in order to reduce stress caused to roosting starlings.

006.      MINUTES

Proposed by Councillor McGeough and seconded by Councillor Wootton, the minutes of the meeting held on 25 April 2019 were approved and signed as a correct record.

(Vote – For: 7, Against: 0, Abstentions:2)

007.      CHAIRMAN’S ITEMS

• The Town Clerk advised that the Treasurer of Bideford O.A.P No. 1 Branch had written to thank the Council for the £500 Grant that they have received. It is very much appreciated by their members and goes a long way towards the smooth running of the club.

• The Clerk asked for permission to circulate information to Members that had been provided by a member of the public. This was agreed.

008.      ACCOUNTS

Members received the list of payments.

Proposed by Councillor McGeough, seconded by Councillor Ratcliff, and

RESOLVED: That the draft list of payments is approved.

(Vote – For: 9, Against: 0)

009.     FIREWORKS

Members discussed the criteria to be stipulated when grant funding is provided to local organisations deploying fireworks. During a lengthy discussion, the following issues were raised:

• Is the deployment of fireworks a tradition the Council wishes to encourage, given that Bideford Town Council has committed to reducing carbon emissions.
• Deployment from the new bridge would not be permitted by Devon County Council. Advice has been sought from the relevant officers.
• This is not a good value for money tradition and doesn’t necessarily benefit the town.
• The loud bangs emitted from fireworks do not singularly affect wildlife and pets. There are many individuals who suffer from conditions such as PTSD and autism who find fireworks alarming.
• Members discussed various alternative locations including Bank End, Pollyfield, a barge in the river, and Round hill (behind Jewsons).
• Setting up a sub-committee to generate new ideas. (It was however pointed out that the organisation of the events in town is done by the grant recipients.)

Proposed by Councillor McGeough, seconded by Councillor Christie and

RESOLVED: That Standing Orders are suspended to allow the Members of the Pubic present at the meeting to participate in the discussion).

(Vote For: 9, Against: 0)

Points raised by Members of the Public were as follows:

• The petition does not push for alternative arrangements. A decent display can be put on with a noise level of 120 db or lower. Please insist this is the maximum allowed.
• There were further suggestions for firework locations including a field at Westleigh, Pollyfield (some concerns were raised about the proximity of houses), the garden in front of Riverbank House, and Round hill.

Proposed by Councillor Bushby, seconded by Councillor Christie and

RECOMMENDED: That the firework display organisers use an area at Pollyfield to be identified or preferably an area at Round Hill, East-the-Water, if that is available. Furthermore, it is a condition of funding that the least noisy fireworks possible are deployed at all times, with a maximum level of 120db. Excessively loud thunder flash type fireworks are not to be used at any time. This is as good a compromise as possible to provide both a firework display whilst doing everything that is reasonably feasible to avoid disturbing roosting birds, or indeed any other animals or wildlife.

(Vote: For: 8, Against: 1)

Proposed by Councillor McGeough, seconded by Councillor Bushby and

RESOLVED: That Standing Orders are re-instated.)

(Vote For: 9, Against: 0)

010.      MANOR COURT PRESENTMENTS

Presentment Number: 3:

“That this Council writes to the BMX Track organisers asking them what they will do to make the facility available to East the Water children at no cost.”

Councillor Mrs Craigie said that she objected to Presentment 3 having been discharged. She said that the track was only open to the children from East the Water on a Saturday morning and Wednesday evening. She advised that it could be opened up at additional times if funding could be found. When the track is open, it is actually when the BMX club are using the track. She felt that parishioners never know when it is going to be open. She would like to see the dates and times advertised. She would also like to know when the Open Day will be held.

Councillors Mrs Hellyer and Mrs Gubb spoke in support of the work of the BMX club and the facility they provide within the community. They both felt that the information provided by the club when they attended a SFGP meeting in April was correct. In terms of the Open Day, a date cannot currently be set, due to the building work which is taking place on site.

Proposed by Councillor Mrs Hellyer, seconded by Councillor McGeough and

RESOLVED: That the Presentment is accepted as discharged.

(Vote For: 7, Against: 2)

Presentment Numbers: 4 & 5:

“That this Council writes to TDC to request more play equipment for young children at the Pollyfield and to include a basket-ball hoop for older children.”

“This that Council writes to TDC to request that the small play area in Victoria Park has its tyre and fencing replaced as a matter of priority.”

Torridge District Council has written to say that their target at the moment is renewal of high priority play provision due to end of life situations and planned maintenance.
Councillor Christie said that he felt that Bideford Town Council may need to consider taking some money from the Regeneration fund, for new play equipment. He will put a motion to Town Council.

Presentment Number: 6:

“To investigate the ownership of the railway bridge on the Royal Hotel side to have a regularly scheduled deep-clean to keep it clear of pigeon droppings and install pigeon deterrents, also replace the fencing on the approach to the station on the right-side slope and to replace the dilapidated benches.

To write to TDC requesting replacement of the recycle bins on the railway station.”

It was agreed that the Clerk writes to Devon County Council and requests that they consider executing the requests in the first part of Presentment Number 6. Councillor Mrs Hellyer advised that the recycling bins on the railway station are situated on private land and Torridge District Council are not in a position to replace them.

Presentment Number 2:

“For this Council to commemorate Holocaust Memorial Day with an engraved stone or plaque near the War Memorial.”

The Clerk was asked to contact the parishioner who had submitted the presentment, for suggestions on what wording to put on the stone or plaque.

Presentment Number 10:

“That this Council writes to DCC to request a mirror for the right turn out of Grange Road into Torrington Lane to help drivers with a virtually blind entrance. That this Council considers funding for this work to be carried out.”

Councillor Mrs Hellyer offered to make enquiries with Devon County Council concerning presentment 10.

Proposed by Councillor Bushby, seconded by Councillor Mrs Gubb and

RESOLVED: That actions to progress the presentments are carried out as detailed in Minute number 010.

(Vote For: 9, Against: 0)

011.      ARMED FORCES FLAG RAISING CEREMONY

Members considered a request from Torridge District Council for a contribution towards the cost of the catering and drinks for the Armed Forces Flag Raising Ceremony on Monday 24 June 2019 at 6.30 pm in Victoria Park. Torridge District Council has also requested to borrow the benches from the Pannier Market with the Maintenance Team providing the transportation.

Proposed by Councillor Bushby, seconded by Councillor McGeough and

RESOLVED: That a grant of up to £500 is given to Torridge District Council towards the cost of the catering and drinks for the Armed Forces Flag Raising Ceremony on Monday 24 June 2019 at 6.30 pm in Victoria Park.

(Vote For: 9, Against: 0)

012.      GRANT FOR WICKED WEEK

Members considered a request from the current organisers of “Wicked Week” to transfer the Town Council grant funding to a volunteer organiser who is not currently named on the grant application.

Proposed by Councillor Bushby, seconded by Councillor Mrs Gubb and

RESOLVED: That the grant funding for Wicked Week is transferred to Mrs T Quance to allow her to directly pay the invoices for Wicked Week.

(Vote For: 8, Against: 1)

013.      WELCOME TO BIDEFORD BANNERS

Members considered correspondence from Devon County Council regarding the installation of the Welcome to Bideford banners.

Proposed by Councillor Bushby, seconded by Councillor Christie and

RESOLVED: That banners are erected on Kingsley road. The Clerk was asked to write to Devon County Council to see if they can provide an explanation of how they determine if the lampposts cannot bear a light weight banner. If there is an issue with the strength of lampposts over ten years old, they should be replaced as a matter of urgency.

(Vote For: 8, Against: 0, Abstention: 1)

014.      FORD WOODS

Members noted correspondence exchanged with Torridge District Council Environmental Health and Bideford Police regarding rough sleepers in Ford woodland and resolve upon how to proceed. The Town Clerk advised that this situation had now been resolved, and those involved had vacated Ford Woods.

015.      MAINTENANCE OPERATIVES

a.          Members received an update on the tasks undertaken by the Maintenance Operatives and noted the report.

The Town Clerk advised that the most recently employed Maintenance Operative will be attending a basic level Chapter 8 course being hosted by Torrington Town Council in either July or September at a cost of approximately £100. Members expressed approval.

b.         Members considered the options for replacement roof panels on the Coach Shelter at Landivisiau Walk.

Proposed by Councillor McGeough, seconded by Councillor Bushby and

RESOLVED: That option 1 is approved.

(Option 1: Alexis Plastic – toughened, doesn’t go cloudy, provides uva protection. 18 sheets x 6 mm totalling £996.40 including vat).

(Vote For: 9, Against: 0)

016.      PART II CLOSED SESSION

Proposed by Councillor McGeough, seconded by Councillor Mrs Gubb and

RESOLVED: That in view of the confidential nature of the business about to be discussed, the meeting moves into part II.

(Vote For: 9, Against: 0)

017.      STAFFING MATTERS

a.          There is a confidential minute associated with this item.

(Councillor Mrs Hellyer left the meeting).

b.          Proposed by Councillor Bushby, seconded by Councillor Mrs Gubb and

RESOLVED: That Councillors Bushby, Mrs Gubb and McGeough form an Attendance Hearing Panel.

(Vote For: 8, Against: 0)

018.     Proposed by Councillor Bushby, seconded by Councillor McGeough and

RESOLVED: That The Meeting returns to Standing Orders.

(Vote – For 8, Against: 0)

The business of the meeting having been completed, the Chairman thanked the members for their attendance and the meeting concluded at 8.11 pm.

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