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Minutes of the Town Council Meeting held in the Council Chamber, Town Hall, Bideford on Thursday 29 June 2017 at 6.30 pm


North Ward:   
Councillor D Bushby (Deputy Town Mayor)
Councillor P S Christie
Councillor D A D McGeough (Town Mayor)
Councillor P J Pester
Councillor T J Johns

South Ward:   
Councillor D G Brenton
Councillor J Day
Councillor A T Inch
Councillor S G Inch

South (Outer) Ward:   
Councillor D Howell

East Ward:   
Councillor M C Langmead
Councillor J A McKenzie
Councillor  S Robinson
Councillor Mrs R Craigie

Mrs H J Blackburn (Town Clerk)
Mrs L Dixon-Chatfield (Assistant to the Town Clerk)
Councillor Linda Hellyer (DCC)
Mr Graham Blight (Chamber of Commerce)
4 x Members of the Public

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


Councillor Mrs P Davies (East Ward – illness).
Councillor Brenton wished it to be noted that Councillor Wootton was currently in hospital.

Councillor Christie declared a non-pecuniary interest in Item 22, as a Member, Bideford Bridge Trust.

Councillor A Inch declared a non-pecuniary interest in Item 16, as a member of the Twinning Association.

Councillor Langmead declared a non-pecuniary interest in Item 16, as a member of the Twinning Association.

Councillor S Inch declared a non-pecuniary interest in Item 16, as a member of the Twinning Association.


One member of the public, Mr Maurice Pearce wished to raise the subject of the meeting scheduled for Friday 30th June regarding the double closure of Torridge Bridge and Longbridge.  He requested that, as this could potentially affect trade, that a member of the Chamber of Commerce could be present.

Councillor Christie explained that both bridges would not be fully closed simultaneously but that a plan was in place for a circulatory system whereby a lane per bridge would be open for access across the river.

The Chairman advised Mr Pearce that he would notify him of the results of the meeting.


The Minutes of the Meeting held on 11 May 2017 were approved and signed as a correct record.

(Vote – For: 14, Against: 0)


To approve the payments listed.

It was proposed by Councillor S Inch, seconded and

RESOLVED:  That the List of Payments be approved.

(Vote – For: 14, Against: 0)


Councillors had received a brief written report from the Chamber of Commerce President.

The Chairman invited Graham Blight, Chamber Vice-President to address the Council.

Mr Blight added to the report that the previous evening’s Chamber of Commerce meeting had been vigorous, with Councillor Morrish (TDC) attending, and informative.  Councillor Morrish, he advised, would attend the next Chamber of Commerce meeting to outline the economic plan.

Mr Blight wished also to inform the Council that the Bideford Town Centre Partnership held their AGM on Tuesday 27th June and that he was pleased to have been elected as the Chairman for the year 2017-2018.  He added that progress had been made with projects because of the willingness and co-operation of partners.  He expressed his thanks to the Council and looked forward to their continued support.

The Chairman thanked Mr Blight for his attendance and for addressing the meeting.


Councillors were in receipt of a detailed report from Councillor Linda Hellyer and the Chairman invited her to address the Council.

The following points from the report were discussed:

•    Grange Road Landslip – Councillors expressed their frustration that this matter had gone unresolved for some years and was still in a state of flux.  They urged Councillor Hellyer to keep pushing for the work to be done, and that she should be prepared for platitudes and to work through them.  They requested that the work be completed as a matter of some urgency.

•    Mill Street – Councillors mooted that it was sad to see that the County were not funding the work in its entirety and that Bideford had never been served sufficiently from County.  It was considered that as more public injury claims were made, then County may start to listen. 

Councillor Howell wondered why County used austerity as a reason for holding back on funding for Mill Street when they could afford expensive drawings for the Library.  He added that it appeared that County used “austerity” as a convenience for picking and choosing their projects and that it was appalling that people were still being injured while County were not fully committed with the funding.

Councillor Hellyer realised that she was new to this problem and understood that John Hart had made this a Bideford priority.  The Chairman assured the Councillor that he knew she was doing as well as she could.

•    New Library – Councillor Christie had viewed drawings of the new Library and expressed his concern that the building would encroach on quite a large section of the park and obscure the view of the park from the road.  He asked Councillor Hellyer to go back to County Hall and advise them that these plans were not acceptable.  Councillor Hellyer explained that at this stage nothing had been finalised.

•    Link Road Improvements – Councillors requested Councillor Hellyer ask County for more improvements on the Torridge section on the Improvements Map, they felt that the one to enlarge Heywood Roundabout would not be sufficient.  They expressed their concern that the emphasis was to make more improvements on the North Devon side of the Link Road.  Councillor Hellyer assured members that this was only a feasibility study at this stage.

Councillor Howell asked the County Councillor if she would please check with County Hall where the Asda 106 money was spent with regard to Bideford.

Councillor Langmead requested that the County Councillor insist that the proceeds from the sale of Bideford assets belonging to County were spent in Bideford.

The Chairman congratulated Councillor Hellyer on her report and asked that for future reference this Council preferred not to see political wording or detailed Devon County Council costs in the future.

He further explained to her that this is the only opportunity that Councillors have to speak about County matters with a representative and that sometimes they may express frustration.  He reassured her that nothing said would be meant personally and that she needed to keep working towards helping Bideford.


The Town Clerk advised members:

•    All Councillors will be receiving an invitation to the Out of the Blue Awards on 19th July at the Youth Centre, the Pill at 5.45pm.  The Planning meeting scheduled for that date has been brought forward to 5.00 pm in order for members to attend the event.

•    Councillor Johns had reported that a pane of glass had been smashed in the bus shelter outside Bideford Hospital.  The Maintenance Team have cleared the debris and will replace the glass.

The Chairman reported:

•    That upon walking around the town he had noticed a sharp increase in graffiti.  He had received 6 complaints this week and had informed Torridge District Council that it needed to be resolved.

•    That one of the pedestrian crossing traffic lights had been knocked over by the Harbour Master’s office.  It was being repaired.


The Minutes of the Meetings held on 25th May and 22nd June 2017 were approved and adopted.

(Vote – For: 14, Against: 0)


The Minutes of the Meetings held on 17th May, 7th June and 28th June 2017 were approved and adopted.  Councillor Christie thanked the Assistant to the Town Clerk for her speediness in preparing the minutes in time for the Town Council meeting.

(Vote – For: 14, Against: 0)


The Minutes of the Meeting held on 27th June 2017 were approved and adopted.  Councillor Day wished to add that Councillors Wootton and Robinson had given their apologies for non-attendance to this meeting.

Councillor Day wished to thank the Deputy Town Clerk for his diligence in preparing the minutes in time for the Town Council meeting.

(Vote – For: 14, Against: 0)

The Chairman thanked Councillor Day for his hard work with Renewables and expressed his pleasure that good progress was being made.


The Minutes of the Meeting held on 30th May 2017 were approved and adopted.

(Vote – For: 14, Against: 0)


The Minutes of the Meeting held on 1st June 2017 were approved and adopted.

(Vote – For: 14, Against: 0)


Councillor Bushby opened by stating that everything that can, has been said, and that now Mill Street has to be our top priority to get the work done.  He confirmed that the total amount for the works has been costed by Devon County Council at £314,000.  He added that partner funding offers were £150,000 from Devon County Council, £50,000 from Torridge District Council and with a contribution from Bideford Town Council of £100,000 from reserves and £14,000 from the, so far, unallocated TAP money would make up the total cost of £314,000.   Councillor Bushby acknowledged that this is a lot of money and he accepted that the roads belong to County but currently it is the Town Council who is in the firing line from the public. 

Councillor Bushby proposed that Bideford Town Council contribute £100,000 towards the resurfacing of Mill Street and Allhalland Street with a further £14,000  being contributed from the TAP fund.  This proposal was seconded by Councillor Christie.

Councillor Christie reiterated that County would not pay the full amount and while we have the money it would be well-spent.  He asked however, that it is stressed to County that the works are carried out during a January/February period to avoid major disruption to business and to avoid the holiday periods.  It would also be preferred to have it completed before Easter.

Councillor Robinson wished to stress that should the project go over the budget of £314,000 any shortfall should be paid by Devon County Council especially as the Town Council is contributing a very generous amount for what is the County’s responsibility.

Councillor Brenton was curious to know if this partnership funding is happening elsewhere in the United Kingdom.  He wished it to be known that he felt strongly that the Bideford ratepayers would be paying for the County’s responsibility.  Councillor Brenton proposed that although he was not in favour of Bideford Town Council contributing a large sum towards the refurbishment of Mill Street and Allhalland Street, the valid points made by Councillors Robinson and Christie should be taken as addendums to the Motion.  This was seconded by The Mayor and Members agreed with this process.

Councillor Howell fully agreed that the work has to be done but felt that it was essential that the Town Council does not give in.  He stated that he believed that County have the full amount and that this Council should visit County Hall and show that more money is needed from them.  He added that when he helped with the public consultation the favoured time for the work was January/February and that Town Council should make this a condition, otherwise businesses will suffer.

Councillor Pester asked that local contractors be consulted and it was agreed that this should be put as an addendum to the motion.

The Chairman concluded with a request for written confirmation of the £150,000 contribution from John Hart of Devon County Council.

The Town Clerk read out the motion and the addendums prior to the vote.

It was proposed by Councillor Busby, seconded and

RESOLVED:  That this Council makes a contribution of £100,000 plus £14,000 from the TAP fund to the resurfacing of Mill Street and Allhalland Street and that a letter be sent to Devon County Council expressing Bideford Town Council’s commitment to the project with the following conditions:

•    That a letter of promise from John Hart is requested confirming the £150,000 from Devon County Council.

•    Those local contractors are used throughout the works wherever possible.

•    That this Council has an input throughout the project.

•    That, in the event of running over-budget, this Council will not be prepared to pick up the shortfall and that it should be Devon County Council who finds any extra monies.

•    That, in the event of the project coming in under-budget, any monies is refunded to Bideford Town Council to be used in and around the Town.

•    That the time-scale is defined and that the project is progressed during the months January/February following the Christmas/New Year celebrations and before Easter.

(Vote – For: 13, Against: 1, Abstentions:  0)


Members discussed the appointment of a trustee to replace Councillor Howell on the Bridge Trust.

Councillor Langmead thanked Councillor Howell for his dedication to the Bridge Trust for the last four years and proposed Councillor Bushby to take his place.  Councillor Bushby was thankful but wished to decline.

Councillor Christie proposed Councillor Robinson who was thankful but declined.

It was proposed by Councillor Brenton , seconded and

RESOLVED: That Councillor Mrs Ruth Craigie take her place for a term of 4 years with Bideford Bridge Trust.

(Vote – For:  12, Against: 0, Abstentions:  2)


The Twinning Association had requested that we hold a reception for the Landivisiau Twinners on Saturday 26th August 2017 at 10.30am.

The Chairman suggested that, as it was a great success last year, the Pannier Market Hall would be a fitting venue.

It was proposed by Councillor A Inch, seconded and

RESOLVED:  That this Council will hold a reception for the Landivisiau Twinners on Saturday 26th August 2017 at 10.30am in the Pannier Market Hall.

(Vote – For: 14, Against: 0)


Members discussed the invitation to visit Lankreis Uelzen in Germany, between 20th and 23rd October 2017, to celebrate 50 years of friendship.  It was agreed that the Mayor should attend with a Consort.  The Town Clerk asked that the payment list be altered to reflect a deposit for two people rather than just one as shown incorrectly on the payment list.  This was agreed. Members also considered what to take as a 50th anniversary gift.

It was proposed by Councillor Langmead, seconded and

RESOLVED:  That the Mayor and his Consort would visit Lankreis Uelzen in Germany, between 20th and 23rd October 2017, to celebrate 50 years of friendship with Ebstorf.  A piece from Harry Juniper will be commissioned as a 50th anniversary gift.

(Vote – For: 14, Against: 0)


Submission by Councillor Joe Day:

“To consider the issue of parked vehicles impeding the bus route at Devonshire Park on occasion, and discuss appropriate action to be taken.”

Councillor Day had received a complaint about the bus situation – not being able to access parts of its Devonshire Park route because of parked cars.  He had subsequently spoken with Councillor A Inch and had discovered that the this was not such a problem as first thought.  He explained that he understood that this is a popular route and would not wish to alter the arrangement, but he did wish to know if there was a solution.  He further explained that through social media he had discovered that the problem was a parking issue, in fact poor parking practices.

Councillor A Inch suggested that, as this happens on occasion through the year, a leaflet drop to the residents could be useful and perhaps Councillor Day would be able to help with this.  The leaflet could explain to residents about parking mindfully for the bus.

It was proposed by Councillor A Inch, seconded and

RESOLVED:  That a leaflet be made up and distributed to residents of Devonshire Park, with the help of Councillor Day.

(Vote – For: 14,  Against: 0)


Members noted the Minutes from the Meeting held on 31 May 2017.

Councillor Bushby gave a brief explanation about EV Chargers and that it had been taken to the Renewables Committee by Mike Ford (TDC) who was proving to be a very resourceful and helpful officer from the District.

He further reported that the devolving of the Tables and Chairs licenses from Devon County Council to Bideford Town Council was not finalised and frankly he was not sure which way this was going because of the required Planning Permission required before applying for a licence.  The cost of the planning permission was prohibitive to traders who wished to have tables and chairs on the highway.

Finally Councillor Bushby announced that the free wifi, thanks to Councillor McGeough and Mike Ford of TDC is now up and running.

Councillor Christie agreed with Councillor Bushby that Mike Ford was making good progress with the projects he had taken on.


Councillor Brenton advised members that there was no update to report as there had not been a meeting.  The next meeting would be 17th July but he, unfortunately, would not be able to attend.  He asked for a substitute to take his place.  Councillor Mrs Craigie was nominated to attend.


Councillor S Inch advised members of an interesting meeting on Monday of the full District Council. 

Councillor Christie reported that the new Torridge District Council building had gone over budget by some considerable amount.  He added that a valuation of Bridge Buildings had come in at a mere £300,000.

Councillor Bushby suggested that perhaps a good use for Bridge Buildings would be to relocate the Library – he felt the building was perfect and would keep people using the town centre.  He asked if Torridge had considered this and that perhaps they should set up a dialogue with Devon County Council with this in mind in order to save money


Councillor Christie apologised for not bringing updated figures with him.

He was pleased to report that a number of grants, and business start ups had been applied for with a further 5 applicants next week.  He was heartened to see the entrepreneurial spirit in Bideford.

The Councillor advised that the Custom House was finished and fully functioning as a delicatessen and café with a 50-seat cinema upstairs.

The Hairdressers in Bridgeland Street, a Grade II* listed building damaged by fire, was now refurbished.

Finally Councillor Christie was pleased to announce that the Bridge Trust had negotiated with the friends of Kenwith to open a circular walk from Londonderry to the lakes and back up again, along new paths.

The business of the meeting having been concluded the Mayor thanked the members for their attendance at the meeting which concluded at 8.01pm.


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