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Minutes of the Town Council Meeting held via Zoom on Thursday 4 March 2021 at 6.30 pm

PRESENT:

North Ward:

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

South Ward:

Councillor Mrs S Langford
Councillor P Lawrence
Councillor R Wootton

West Ward:

Councillor Mrs K Corfe
Councillor C Hawkins
Councillor D Ratcliff

East Ward:

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

IN ATTENDANCE:

Mr R Coombes (Deputy Town Clerk)
Councillor A T Inch (DCC)
Mr A Watkins (Airband)
4 x Members of the Public

312.     APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE

N/A.

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

Councillor P Christie declared a non-pecuniary interest in Item 22. (Trustee, Bridge Trust). Councillor P Lawrence declared a non-pecuniary interest in Item 10. (Trustee, Up Close Theatre).

314.     PUBLIC PARTICIPATION SESSION OF 15 MINUTES DURATION

A Member of the Public made a plea to back the Decarbonisation and Environment Committee recommendation in support of the Climate and Ecological Emergency Bill (Agenda Item 14.). His speech had previously been circulated to Members and reiterated much that he had spoken at the Decarbonisation and Environment Committee Meeting held on 2 February 2021.

315.     MINUTES

The Minutes of the Zoom Meeting held on 21 January 2021 were approved as a correct record.

(Vote – For: 16, Against: 0)

316.     ACCOUNTS

It was proposed by Councillor Christie, seconded and

RESOLVED: That the List of Payments be approved.

(Vote – For: 16, Against: 0)

317. ORDER OF BUSINESS

The Chairman declared a change to the order of business moving to Item 7, allowing for the
delayed arrival of the Inspector Shaun Kenneally.

318.     PRESENTATION BY AIRBAND (BROADBAND FIBRE ROLLOUT)

a.     The Chairman invited Mr Watkins, to address the Council.

b.     Mr Watkins thanked the Chairman for the opportunity to address the Members on his firm’s rollout of fibre broadband to Bideford and other areas.

Airband are an independent internet service provider founded in 2009. They deliver high speed broadband to homes, businesses and industry in rural and hard to reach areas. They work closely with local authorities to plan and implement the network build to ensure that disruption will be kept to an absolute minimum.

He indicated that his Company had addressed a number of Town and Parish Councils throughout Devon explaining the work, its impact on local residents, their offer in the face of other providers and how customers can register their interest. He outlined some possible costs.

c.     Both Councillors Bushby and Lawrence expressed misgivings over a private company given an invitation to promote its organisation and product using the Town Council Meeting as a platform.

Mr Watkins indicated that the opportunity provided for early engagement advising what was happening in the Community and again thanked the Chairman for the opportunity.

The Chairman “echoed” the Councillors thrust believing that Mr Watkins had provided a commercial presentation on behalf of Airband.

The Clerk explained that Airband had asked to attend the meeting advising that they had been awarded a Government contract to roll out fibre broadband across the region. She was given to understand that the presentation was one of a number to Town and Parish Councils in Devon in order to provide an awareness of the work that will be going on and how it will affect residents across the County. She had specifically asked would there be a commercial aspect to the presentation and had been given assurances that there would be not be a commercial element.

319.     DEVON COUNTY COUNCIL (COUNCILLOR) REPORT

Members had received a written report from County Councillor Mrs Hellyer which enclosed and forms part of these Minutes.

The Chairman thanked Councillor Mrs Hellyer for a very full report.

Councillor Bushby extended thanks for the work that had been carried out on Northdown road – “a pleasure to drive on.”

Councillor Christie noted that DCC have installed 42 electric charging points (EPCs) across the County and that another 78 are planned. He had spoken to TDC, acknowledging that there are EPCs installed in Bideford but none in the centre of Town, especially Honestone Street. Whilst not a DCC area of authority he wondered if provision would be made, by them, for on street installations to serve people who live in the Town.

Councillor Mrs Hellyer agreed to raise the question.

Councillor Bushby noted that a number of gullies required attention; he agreed to forward details to Councillor Mrs Hellyer.

320.     COMMUNICATION BROUGHT FORWARD ON THE DIRECTION OF THE MAYOR / TOWN CLERK

1.     The Chairman indicated that there was hope for further Future High Street Funds monies, a second tranche, following conversations with the Economic Development Officer (TDC), in the light of the Central Government Budget announcement of money for Towns.

2.     He asked Members to support him in addressing a letter to the Bideford Carnival Committee requesting they consider preparing a banner to the NHS workers and for a number of those Health Service providers to lead the Carnival, subject to it’s staging. It would, he believed, be a very public acknowledgement of their work during the pandemic. Members intimated agreement. Councillor Mrs Gubb, as Carnival Committee Chairman, indicated a positive outcome.

3.    The Chairman advised the Bideford Heritage Railway Committee had raised funds to purchase, at auction, the lovely “Bideford” brass name plate taken from an old steam train. Others had been made available to respective Town Councils, including Barnstaple, Ilfracombe and Northam, who had received them when the trains had been scrapped in the sixties. Mysteriously Bideford Town Council had not taken up the offer, at the time.

321.     STAFFING, FINANCE & GENERAL PURPOSES COMMITTEE MEETING

The Minutes of the Zoom Meetings held on 11 and 18 February 2021 were approved and adopted.

(Vote – For: 16, Against: 0)

322.     PLANNING COMMITTEE MEETING

The Minutes of the Zoom Meetings held on 27 January and 17 February 2021 were approved and adopted.

(Vote – For: 16, Against: 0)

323.     MARKET MANAGEMENT COMMITTEE MEETING

The Minutes of the Zoom Meeting held on 25 February 2021 were approved and adopted.

(Vote – For: 15, Against: 1)

324.     TOURISM COMMITTEE MEETING

The Minutes of the Zoom Meeting held on 26 January 2021 were approved and adopted.

(Vote – For: 16, Against: 0)

325.     DECARBONISATION AND ENVIRONMENT COMMITTEE MEETING

The Minutes of the Zoom Meeting held on 2 February 2021 were approved and adopted.

(Vote – For: 15, Against: 1)

326.     EMERGENCY PLANNING WORKGROUP

The Minutes of the Zoom Meeting held on 15 February 2021 were approved and adopted.

(Vote – For: 16, Against: 0)

327.    RURAL / MARKET TOWNS GROUPING REPRESENTATIVE

Following discussion, it was

Proposed by Councillor Christie, seconded and

RESOLVED: That Councillor McGeough represents the Town Council on the Rural / Market Towns Grouping at the Zoom Meeting to be held on Monday 29 March 2021. He will provide an update to the SF&GP Committee.

(Vote For: 16 Against: 0)

328.     MAINTENANCE TEAM RELOCATION

The Chairman described the Maintenance Team as a real bonus to the Town.

He explained that TDC, who have entered a one year (ground maintenance) contract with Tivoli, has given Notice to the Council for the Maintenance Team to vacate their current premises (the former Jigsaw base, in Victoria Park) to provide for Tivoli’s occupation effective 1 April 2021.

An alternate, far from ideal, opportunity in the Cattle Market has been offered which he, the Town Clerk and Councillor Bushby had viewed.

Councillor Bushby indicated that there was a case to relocate a container in the Cattle Market. A double unit had been offered, for any length of time, by D S Electrical, at Daddon Moor Business Park, Clovelly Road, which he had viewed with the Maintenance Supervisor and Deputy Town Clerk. It would serve very well until a permanent base for the Operation can be procured.

Given the temporary nature it was not felt appropriate to set a budget.

329.    NOTICE OF MOTION

Submission by Councillor J Herron.

“Bideford Bridge Pancake Day Races. To organise and hold races across Bideford Bridge on Shrove Tuesday.”

Councillor Herron believed that the Long Bridge would provide a perfect track for a bit of fun, once a year on Shrove Tuesday.

Councillor Mrs Corfe seconded the Motion.

Discussion followed where Members expressed agreement on holding the Event but misgivings over the Bridge and the associated road closure / chagrin that would ensue. Victoria Park and the Quay were offered as alternate venues, the latter having been used in the late sixties and early seventies.

Councillor Lawrence agreed that it was an excellent idea and that it should be considered by the Tourism Committee.

Councillor Herron amended the Motion to provide for the races to be held either at the Park or along the Quay.

It was proposed by Councillor J Herron, seconded

RESOLVED: That the Amended Motion is supported.

(Vote – For: 16, Against: 0)

330.    NOTICE OF MOTION

Submission by Councillor Mrs Langford.

“Bideford Town Council should write to Torridge District Council asking them to reconsider their dog waste collection policy and capacity, particularly regarding their refusal to place a bin on Pincombe Road at the entrance to Appledore Grove Estate.”

Councillor Mrs Langford explained that during the course of a year, she had been advised that nothing could be done until the Estate was finished. TDC were at capacity (in the field of removing dog waste from bins). There are a lot of unhappy residents – all correspondence had been forwarded to TDC. Despite the Maintenance Team establishing an appropriate site, and having the opportunity to install, there was no movement; she has exhausted all avenues, she said.

Councillor Mrs Langford believed that all new estates should provide for new infrastructure, including dog bins.

Councillor Bushby seconded the Motion. He understood that TDC were at capacity in terms of emptying bins. He noted that the Maintenance Team, over time, had installed ten bins. He also felt that it was a good point regarding new provision with the onset of hundreds of planed houses being built, they would need (more) bins.

Councillor Craigie indicated that the Head of Waste, TDC will be invited to the next Decarbonisation and Environment Committee Meeting which would provide an opportunity for questions and discussion.

It was proposed by Councillor Mrs Langford, seconded

RESOLVED: That the Motion is supported.

(Vote – For: 16, Against: 0)

331.    DALC

Councillor Mrs Craigie advised Council Tax rises had been discussed noting that some authorities had raised levels by 20 – 30 and 40%.

(She took the opportunity to advise that she had attended a Bideford and District Community Archive Committee Meeting (as Deputy Mayor) noting that they would be delighted to attend the Bideford Fair in the summer, should it go ahead.)

332. TORRIDGE DISTRICT COUNCIL – UPDATE

The Chairman advised:

1.     The Budget has been set noting that whilst the Council Tax for a band D property had risen by £95.00, TDC will receive only £5.00.

2.     There has been a furore regarding Jet Skis.

3.      The Play Strategy has finally been accepted.

Councillor Mrs Langford spoke of a group called the Friends of Victoria Park formed to raise money for upgrading (the park); they were seeking to source section 106 monies from a £20,000 allocation. She speculated whether joint monies provided by the Council and the Bridge Trust to repair playground furniture could be used.

The Chairman had confirmed that the monies had been targeted at outlying facilities, noting that some equipment had, indeed, been replaced.

Councillor Bushby firmly believed that the monies should be directed at the Park with improvements made in time for the summer.

The Town Clerk indicated that the item could be considered at the next SF&GP Meeting, scheduled for 25 March 2021. The Chairman agreed.

Councillor Mrs Hellyer stated that there were more young families in East-the-Water than any other area in Torridge, it is an area of social depravation, yet the play equipment facilities are woefully inadequate (she described the Pollyfield provision). She believed that the area also ought to be at the top of any list for improvements.

333.     BRIDGE TRUST

Councillor Christie gave detail on income, Estate expenditure, Grants: individual, student, group.

The Business Start up grants will restart on 7 April 2021.

The business of the meeting having been completed, the Mayor thanked the members for their attendance and the meeting concluded at 7.44 pm.

 

Accounts for approval Town Council Meeting 4 March 2021

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