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Minutes of the Town Council Meeting held in the Council Chamber, Town Hall, Bideford on Thursday 23 January 2020 at 6.30 pm

PRESENT:

North Ward:

Councillor P S Christie (Town Mayor)
Councillor D Bushby
Councillor J Herron
Councillor T Johns

South Ward:

Councillor Mrs S Langford
Councillor P Lawrence
Councillor R I Wootton

West Ward:

Councillor C Hawkins
Councillor D Ratcliff

East Ward:

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

IN ATTENDANCE:

Mrs H J Blackburn (Town Clerk)
Mr R D Coombes (Deputy Town Clerk)
T/Inspector N Walkey (Bideford Police Station)
10 x Member of the Public

139.      APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE

Councillors Mrs K Corfe (West Ward – personal) and J Craigie (East Ward – illness).

140.      DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST ON ITEMS ON THE AGENDA

Councillor Christie declared a non-pecuniary interest in Item 21.

141.      PUBLIC PARTICIPATION SESSION

a.         A member of the public who had expressed scepticism toward the new glass automatic doors at the Pannier Market Hall stated that they were “brilliant” and would provide a very good advantage.

She did express concern over the bollards that have barricaded the trees for the past two years. She advised that they are rented by DCC and someone checks them once a month.

Chopping the trees (prefer not to), raise the earth beneath the slabs or remove the slabs and deal with the roots were options that could resolve the ongoing problems, of the uneven slabs. Over Christmas intoxicated young and old men, threw the bollards over the roads.

b.        A further member requested, in an effort to support the enhancement of the Pannier Market, that DCC through, Councillor Mrs Hellyer, repair the large pothole that is sited north west of the building.

He noted that the national statistic for a crime resulting in a charge was 7%; this was, he declared, dismal – the worst ever.

c.        The third member of the public referred to item 14, referencing firework displays grant conditions. He indicated that at the latest New Year’s Eve Display noise levels were controlled and did not cause excessive trouble. He requested that the Town Council, in confirming their determination and consolidating their position, write to TDC, requesting they show support by agreeing to similar (noise level, position) conditions over those that they have jurisdiction.

d.        Another Member spoke about the Community Fridge which has no any connection with Foodbanks where people are referred, and the stigma associated with them. She described working with other agencies including the Bideford Sustainability Group on a non-food waste programme. Also, how it worked, including a barter opportunity, “run by the community for the community.” Anyone in need can access the fridge – there is no stigma, people can use it, “with their heads held high.”

e.       In noting the successful work of Devon County Councillor A T Inch in pushing through a crossing at the current “dangerous” access to Asda, a fifth member requested that a shelter is introduced at the bus stop sited close to Lidl; he believed it to be the most windswept of places.

142.   MINUTES

The Minutes of the Meeting held on 12 December 2019 were approved and signed as a correct record.

(Vote – For: 13, Against: 0)

143.   ACCOUNTS

It was proposed by Councillor McKenzie, seconded and

RESOLVED: That the List of Payments be approved.

(Vote – For: 13, Against: 0)

144.   POLICE PRESENTATION

a.      The Mayor welcomed Temporary Inspector Neil Walkey, Bideford Police Station.

b.      T/Inspector Walkey thanked the Chairman and addressed the Members noting that the area had a higher conviction rate than the national average with a more positive “disposal” rate.

He indicated that the current problems related to the County Lines / London Drug Gangs operations (there were four arrests last week); he conceded that there are a number of addicts in the area.

He noted that several of his officers are resident in Bideford and take pride in their role within the Community.

Forty-five per cent of the workload is attributable to mental health and related illness and injury. The Police find that they engage in work where there is no other obvious dedicated agency. The work is not simply just “arrests” – the vulnerable need help and much is achieved through working with partners.

He continued with the challenges that 50% of established manpower in the summer and 85% in the winter presents. The latter figure provides for a less stressful workload and more uniformed / visual officers.

He spoke about those drinking on the Quay and alluded to longer term health and social care issues including homelessness. “Diversity Partnerships” had seen a 75% reduction in offending. He gave an example of an individual who had been helped to the point that he was now a trainee tradesperson.

He spoke of “diversion” and “prevention” with “connectivity” through monthly / weekly meetings including housing representatives and sometimes up to twenty other partners.

He concluded that domestic violence represented hidden harm with forty instances of assault before one conviction.

c.      Members raised questions and comments, that included:

• Sympathy for the job with incredulity expressed over eight officers covering the whole of the Torridge area.
o It was noted that Bideford officers could be drawn to Barnstaple in support of an operation reducing the numbers available. Similarly, Barnstaple can be called upon in a reciprocal arrangement.
o Other personnel can be moved around Torridge to support the night time economy.
• Councillor McKenzie introduced himself as the Council Police Liaison Councillor.

d.     The Mayor thanked T/Inspector Walkey for addressing the Meeting.

145.  DEVON COUNTY COUNCIL (COUNCILLOR) REPORT

Councillor A T Inch had provided a report where he discussed the Budget including the distribution of funds towards social and adult care, Children’s Services and schools / children.

There will be a new crossing put in place close to Asda – 106 funded.

a.     The Chairman invited Councillor Mrs Hellyer to present her report.

b.     Councillor Mrs Hellyer advised that a contractor had been engaged to “pollard” the trees outside the south entrance to the Market. The Sustainability group will also tidy the area.

• Potholes should be reported to County Hall via the website.

• Tactile slabs for the visually impaired should be in place by 31 March 2020 (at the entrance of the Manor car park, the Lundy Office Building and on the corner of the High Street, following the recent resurfacing works).

• Chubb Road will have yellow lines, by 3 February 2020, near the entrance to the Tarka Trail.

• Torrington Street will have drainage issues addressed for the second time.

c.     Councillor Herron speculated on the method / style of pollarding – whether European or English. Councillor Mrs Hellyer did not know but suggested that the result might look extreme. The Chairman requested that Councillor Mrs Hellyer establish an answer.

d.    The Mayor thanked Councillor Mrs Hellyer for addressing the Meeting.

146.  COMMUNICATION BROUGHT FORWARD ON THE DIRECTION OF THE MAYOR

a.     The Mayor’s Ball will be held on 7 February 2020.

b.     A Future High Street Meeting will be held tomorrow, Friday 24 January 2020, Onion Collective (Community Interest Company) have been taking information from various groups to support the bid. The Town Clerk indicated that it was important to provide views although there had been a poor response.

c.    The Town Clerk continued advising that the Economic Development Officer at TDC has requested that BTC submit a grant application to the Architectural Heritage Fund (AHF) for funding of £15,000 to explore the viability of Heritage projects within Town. The Members indicated support of an AHF application for viability grants that would include three heritage projects in Bideford, including The Pannier Market, as part of the Future High Street Fund project.

147.   STAFFING, FINANCE AND GENERAL PURPOSES COMMITTEE

Minute.097. Proposed Chamber Hub. Councillor McKenzie did not agree with the recommendation, believing that public money would be supporting private enterprise. He noted that the Chamber had 8,000 members who could each pay two pounds as a means to finance the Hub. He indicated that it should fall within the remit of TDC

It was proposed not to support the recommendation, by Councillor McKenzie and seconded by Councillor Hawkins.

Councillor Bushby believed that the likeminded volunteers wished to drive forward and see Bideford prosper. He spoke of the benefit of creating partnerships.

Councillor McKenzie did not believe that the Hub would support new employment or be self-sustaining. He encouraged a grant or loan application from TDC.

(Vote – For: 5, Against: 7, Abstention: 1) (The proposal was lost.)

RESOLVED: That Minute Number 097 stands and the recommendation is supported.

Minute.107. Budget 2020/2021.

Councillor Ratcliff led discussion on the Budget recommendation, stating a case against an increase. Councillor indicated that those members of society that would be challenged with an increase should receive relief on their bills. Councillor Bushby reminded the Chamber that the example given was in relation to a Band D; it would be less for Bands A, B and C.

In proposing a 0% increase, seconded by Councillor Johns, Councillor Ratcliff also called for a recorded vote on the Recommendation,

For: Hawkins, Herron, Johns, Ratcliff and Wootton.
Against: Bushby, Christie, Mrs R Craigie, Mrs Gubb, Mrs Hellyer, Mrs Langford, McKenzie.
Abstention: Lawrence.

(The proposal was lost.)

RESOLVED: That the recommendation is supported.

(Vote – For: 5, Against: 7, Abstention: 1)

The Minutes of the Meeting held on 28 November 2019 were approved and adopted.

(Vote – For: 13, Against: 0)

148.    PLANNING COMMITTEE

Minutes of the Meeting held on 8 January 2020 were approved and adopted.

(Vote – For: 13, Against: 0)

149.  MARKET MANAGEMENT COMMITTEE

Minute.102. Community Fridge.

The Chairman noted that the Project could not operate under the Resolution’s “three month trial”, citing commitments from suppliers demanding longer.

SUSPENSION OF STANDING ORDERS

Proposed by Councillor Christie, seconded and

RESOLVED: That Standing Orders are suspended in order to allow for the item to be re-considered and if appropriate the Resolution changed.

(Vote – For: 13, Against: 0)

It was proposed to extend the trial period to twelve months, by Councillor Christie and seconded by Councillor Bushby.

Vote – For: 11, Against: 0, Abstention: 2)

RETURN TO STANDING ORDERS

Proposed by Councillor Christie, seconded and

RESOLVED: That the Meeting return to Standing Orders.

(Vote – For: 13, Against: 0)

Minutes of the Meeting held on 16 January 2020 were approved and adopted.

(Vote – For: 13, Against: 0)

150.   TOURISM COMMITTEE

The Chairman personally thanked Cllrs Bushby and Mrs Langford for their excellent work in supporting the “Performance in the style of a Live Radio production” of “A Christmas Carol,” on Saturday, 21 December 2019.

The Minutes of the Meeting held on 17 December 2020 were approved and adopted.

(Vote – For: 13, Against: 0)

151.   NEIGHBOURHOOD PLAN STEERING GROUP

The Chairman of the Meeting, Councillor Wootton, thanked the Town Clerk for providing assistance in running the Meeting.

The Minutes of the Meeting held on 8 January 2020 were approved and adopted.

(Vote – For: 13, Against: 0)

152. FIREWORKS GRANT REVIEW

Members discussed the siting of the New Year’s Eve Fireworks, merit in advertising the location (for next year), factors behind clandestine operation (weather conditions and terrain) and generally in view of the problems / public outcry a very good solution.

It was proposed by Councillor Christie and seconded by Councillor Bushby,

RESOLVED: That delegated powers are provided to the Staffing, Finance and General Purposes Committee to set Grant Conditions for future public firework displays (on this one occasion).

(Vote – For: 13 , Against: 0)

153.   BUCKINGHAM PALACE GARDEN PARTY – 27 MAY 2020

The Town Clerk briefed the Members on the regulations.

Proposed by Councillor McKenzie, seconded

RESOLVED: That Councillor Bushby should be nominated as the representative of the Council for inclusion in the ballot to attend a Buckingham Palace Garden Party.

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

154.   FUTURE HIGH STREET FUND STEERING GROUP NOMINATION

Members received the resignation of Councillor Herron from the Future High Street Fund Steering Group (FHS).

It was proposed by Councillor Ratcliff, seconded and

RESOLVED: That Councillor Johns will replace Councillor Herron on the Future Hight Street Fund Steering Group.

(Vote – For: 13, Against: 0)

(The Town Clerk and Councillor Johns will attend the FHS meeting scheduled for 24 January 2020 at 2.00 pm.)

155.   COMMONWEALTH (FLY THE FLAG) DAY – 9 MARCH 2020

Members agreed to participate in Fly the Flag at Riverbank House in a repeat of last year’s commemoration.

Proposed by Councillor Christie, seconded and

RESOLVED: That the Council mark the Commonwealth Day at Riverbank House on Monday, 9 March 2020.

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

156.   DALC MEETING

There was no update.

157.   TAW & TORRIDGE ESTUARY FORUM MEETING

Councillor Johns advised the Forum, that had met on Monday 20 January 2020, was scheduled to meet once a quarter.

He provided a fulsome address covering:

• Tree planting.
• Waste discharge from House Boats that impact the estuary near Appledore at high tide.
• The Instow / Appledore Ferry.
• Biosphere at Instow addressing annual removal of sand.
• Limited affordable housing built as part of 181 estate behind Pitt Lane.
• Bird Survey indicates disturbances in the Estuary.
158. TORRIDGE DISTRICT COUNCIL – UPDATE

The Chairman advised:

The Chairman of Torridge District Council has been unwell necessitating the Vice Chairman to substitute.

Detail was given on the “non-viability” of “Affordable Houses” and the independent evaluations that impacted upon previous understanding and often behind the non-enforcement / build. Site challenges including impermeable rock and costly drainage impacted upon the Appledore / Pitt Lane estate, in particular.

Brunswick Wharf, no plans to date.

159.   BRIDGE TRUST

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

The business of the meeting having been concluded the Mayor thanked the members for their attendance at the meeting which concluded at 8.00 pm.

 

Accounts for approval at the Annual Town Council Meeting – 23 January 2020

Accounts for approval at the Town Council Meeting 23 January 2020

 

 

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