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Minutes of the Meeting of the Town Council held in the Council Chamber, Town Hall, Bideford on Thursday 25 January 2018 at 6.30 pm

PRESENT:

North Ward:

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

South Ward:

Councillor D Brenton
Councillor J Day
Councillor S G Inch
Councillor B Wootton

South (Outer) Ward:

Councillor D Howell

East Ward:

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

IN ATTENDANCE:

Mrs H J Blackburn (Town Clerk)
Mr R D Coombes (Deputy Town Clerk)
Councillor L Hellyer (DCC)
Inspector S Kenneally (Bideford Police Station)
5 x Members of the Public

136.     APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE

Councillors Mrs P Davies (East Ward – illness) and A T Inch (South Ward – DCC Meeting).

137.     DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST ON ITEMS ON THE AGENDA

Councillor Christie declared a non-pecuniary interest in Item 18. (Member, Bideford Bridge Trust).

138.     PUBLIC PARTICIPATION SESSION

A member of the Public requested that the Litter Bin sited in the Baptist Square be returned.

Councillor Bushby indicated that following the resurfacing work new street furniture would be installed.

A second member of the Public advised that the Bideford and District Chamber of Commerce had purchased two bins, one of which had been earmarked for the Baptist Square. He congratulated the Mayor and Mayoress on the birth of their son; spontaneous applause filled the Chamber.

A third member similarly accorded felicitations to the Mayor and Mayoress.

He then spoke about his understanding of “Section 215” and the need for the local authorities to prosecute landlords over the poor condition of their buildings. He indicated that Bideford was blighted with buildings suffering from errant landlords; tenants too were living in a poor state, their desperation could lead to criminal activities. Whilst Mill Street and Allhalland Street were being improved with the resurfacing works they would be let down by the poor adjacent buildings; he felt Bridgeland Street was of main concern, though. He encouraged both Bideford Town and Torridge District Councillors to pursue the matter.

139.     MINUTES

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

(Vote – For: 14, Against: 0)

140.     ACCOUNTS

It was proposed by Councillor S G Inch, seconded and

RESOLVED: That the List of Payments be approved.

(Vote – For: 14, Against: 0)

141.     POLICE PRESENTATION

a. The Mayor welcomed Inspector Shaun Kenneally, Bideford Police Station.

b. Inspector Kenneally thanked the Chairman and addressed the Members.

In referring to the road traffic accident at Horns Cross, earlier in the day where there had been a fatality, he advised that the road closure (time duration) in effect protects the scene enabling the best opportunity to obtain evidence.

The hotspot for car concerns in Bideford is the Town Centre where wing mirror / park (obstructions) predominate.

Inspector Kenneally updated Members on the County Lines issue that he had introduced to them in August 2017. Working with the Met Police had proved very successful resulting in a significant arrest. Two new gangs had moved into the area albeit that there had been six arrests in Barnstaple with one case of attempted murder.

Work on the Longbridge had created challenges to the Police response times / disruption although their work had not been unduly disadvantaged.

A new sergeant and neighbourhood beat manager, who will operate with a higher profile in the Town, have been introduced.

Despite the TDC purple lighting installation in the Quay toilets, designed to inhibit the introduction of drugs into the veins, the activity and paraphernalia found in them, after use, remains a problem; the Police are working with TDC.

The Police again are in discussion with TDC over a consultation document where new legislation offers zero tolerance towards troublesome drinkers.

An alternative is being explored to officers spending time on paperwork only to find that the offenders do not receive sentences - a drinking zone that can be agreed between the participants and authorities. On the spot fines can be made although the efficacy may be somewhat limited by the liquidity of the miscreant.

Inspector Kenneally finished by stating that the New Year’s Event had gone well. He indicated that as a licensed event it was important to ensure that the right security arrangements are in place, he noted that they were but reiterated that everything must be in place for the next Event. Whilst the Police will always like to provide support their presence can be determined by other operational demands (he made reference to a machete incident and car theft at Pit Hill) which can draw on their resources.

c. The Chairman invited Members to raise questions and comments, that included:

• Bideford is the safest place in the Country regarding burglaries.
o Perception! There are low level house and shed burglaries.
• Street Drinkers. No fundamental difference; no action unless causing a nuisance – anti social behaviour.
o Perception. It is not always the case that those drinking in public are anti-social.
• Apparent quick turnover of staff – lack of continuity / local knowledge and experience.
o New recruits are local and keen to be here.
• Vehicle / parking obstruction.
o Not a police priority (with 50% loss of neighbourhood beat officers).

d. The Mayor thanked Inspector Kenneally for addressing the Meeting.

142.     DEVON COUNTY COUNCIL COUNCILLOR REPORT

• The Mayor welcomed Devon County Councillor Linda Hellyer.

Members had received a report from the County Councillor that included:

• Longbridge essential maintenance work has been completed.
o Pointing work was revisited where necessary and was “signed off” by an independent, experienced mason.
 Fresh lime and mortar takes time to blend in.
• Torridge Bridge work to replace the expansion joint at the west end of the bridge has commenced.
o The majority of the work is being carried out at night, with one lane open, under traffic lights.
 The restricted speed limit needs to stay in place until the expansion joint has been replaced.
 Independent safety inspection work will be conducted at the same time as the roadworks.
• The Mill Street works is underway.
o Allhalland Street resurfacing work is scheduled to commence in February.
• Landslip. Communication channels have been opened with the Landowner’s solicitor. Correspondence will ensue on contract detail.
• DCC Report a problem website. Residents can report potholes, flood, blocked drains, fallen trees etc. using this medium.
o Customer Services offer an alternative: 0345 155 1015 or 0845 155 1015.
o This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. / 07828758360.

• The Chairman invited Members to raise questions and comments, that included:

• Landslip.
o Subsequent hopeful development offer to accelerate the process.
• Road hazards / Highway issues.
o Speeding down Chingswell Street leading to Main road will lead to a serious accident. Suggestion that apparent superfluous traffic calming furniture in Cold Harbour could be relocated.
o Barnstaple Street over flowing car parking bay opposite entrance to Wooda Surgery and dangerous parking approaching the brow of the hill (leaving Bideford towards Barnstaple on the left hand side).
o Councillor Mrs Hellyer had hoped to address the issue at a past HATOC meeting but will report the concerns to the Enforcement Officer.
• Longbridge pointing. Councillors observed that the work on the iconic / historic structure to date had been dire.
o Councillor Mrs Hellyer will invite the Head of Bridges and Structures to meet with Town Councillors on site and view the bridge (the Contractor will return to action any remedial work).
• Mill Street works are on programme; Allhalland Street work to begin mid-February. Many positive comments have been received. DCC have kept traders informed.
o It was noted that a trader operating from a temporary stall once a week, not regarded as representative of Bideford Shopkeepers, had been less than positive when given exposure on the local TV network.
o On questioning a contractor had advised that anyone wishing to take old bricks from Mill Street may.
o Dog mess appears to be the biggest problem that the Contractors have to deal with on a daily basis – they regard Bideford as one of the dirtiest Towns.
• Torridge Bridge going to plan – aiming to finish before Easter.
o DCC may offer a tour.

• The Chairman thanked Councillor Hellyer for her contribution to the Meeting.

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

Members had sight of an E Mail received from Barnstaple Town Council inviting the Council to participate in hosting a civic Twinning occasion on 28 April 2018.

Councillor Bushby indicated that he would very much like to support the opportunity. The hospitality that both he and the Mayor had received in Germany was excellent; he should like the Council to reciprocate.

Members intimated a positive response. The item will be placed on the agenda of the next Staffing, Finance and General Purposes Meeting.

144.     STAFFING, FINANCE & GENERAL PURPOSES COMMITTEE

The Minutes of the Meeting held on 11 January 2018 were approved and adopted.

(Vote – For: 14, Against: 0)

145.     PLANNING COMMITTEE

The Minutes of the Meeting held on 10 January 2018 were approved and adopted.

(Vote – For: 14, Against: 0)

146.     MARKET MANAGEMENT COMMITTEE

The Minutes of the Meeting held on 18 January 2018 were approved and adopted.

(Vote – For: 14, Against: 0)

147.     TOURISM COMMITTEE

The Minutes of the Meeting held on 19 December 2017 were approved and adopted.

(Vote – For: 14, Against: 0)

148.     COMMONWEALTH (FLY THE FLAG) DAY – 12 MARCH 2018

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

Proposed by Councillor Howell, seconded and

RESOLVED: That the Council mark the Commonwealth Day at Riverbank House on Monday, 12 March 2018.

(Vote – For: 14, Against: 0)

149.     TOWN CENTRE PARTNERSHIP

Members received the minutes from the Town Centre Partnership Meeting held on 17 January 2018.

Councillor Christie noted that TDC will install six Electric Vehicle Charging Points, with InstaVolt; Holsworthy are keen to have the first at their Manor car park.

Discussion followed on the scourge of pigeons menacing the Town. Whilst the effectiveness of the Hawks employed in Trafalgar Square was remarked upon Members bemoaned the fact that nothing would happen to purge the vermin.

Councillor Howell while noting that there were no signs indicating that they should not be fed (a woman was signalled out who does feed them) he stated that he would approach his contacts in the Falconry world.

The Members noted the Minutes.

150.     DALC MEETING

Councillor Brenton advised that without a meeting there was no report.

151.     TORRIDGE DISTRICT COUNCIL – UPDATE

There was no update.

152.     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 7.38 pm.

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