Minutes of the Meeting of the Town Council held in the Council Chamber, Town Hall, Bideford on Thursday 5 April 2018 at 6.30 pm.
Councillor D Bushby
Councillor P S Christie
Councillor D A D McGeough (Town Mayor)
Councillor P J Pester
Councillor D Brenton
Councillor J Day
Councillor S G Inch
Councillor A T Inch
Councillor B Wootton
South (Outer) Ward:
Councillor D Howell
Councillor Mrs R M Craigie
Councillor Mrs P Davies
Councillor J A McKenzie
Mrs H J Blackburn (Town Clerk)
Mr R D Coombes (Deputy Town Clerk)
Councillor L Hellyer (DCC)
Mrs J Gentry (Burton Art Gallery & Museum)
B Lesslie (Station Commander, Bideford Fire Station)
G Rooke (Bideford Fire Station)
3 x Members of the Public
181. APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE
Councillors T Johns (North Ward – personal) and M Langmead (East Ward – family welfare).
182. DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST ON ITEMS ON THE AGENDA
Councillor Christie declared a non-pecuniary interest in Item 18. (Member, Bideford Bridge Trust).
Councillor A T Inch declared a non-pecuniary interest in Item 15. (Member, Landivisiau Twinning Association).
The Town Clerk declared that Members had been given dispensation, following their applications under Section 33 Localism Act 2011 at the beginning of their terms of office, to approve minute 138 (Members’ Allowances) of the Staffing, Finance and General Purposes Committee Meeting Minutes, 29 March 2018 (item 10).
183. PUBLIC PARTICIPATION SESSION
No members of the public came forward to participate.
Councillor P J Pester declared that he had left the Meeting at minute number 177.
The Minutes of the Meeting held on 8 March 2018 were approved and signed as a correct record.
(Vote – For: 12, Against: 0, Abstention: 1)
Councillor A T Inch questioned why the Council should pay Business Rates on 1 Queen Street, believing the building to be too small to attract a charge.
The Town Clerk indicated that the Town Council is already in receipt of Small Business Rate Relief for the Pannier Market, so would not be entitled to relief on a second property.
Councillor A T Inch requested that the demand was confirmed before payment was made.
It was proposed by Councillor S G Inch, seconded and
RESOLVED: That the List of Payments be approved (excepting the £828.00 Business Rate Charge for 1 Queen Street).
(Vote – For: 13, Against: 0)
186. DEVON COUNTY COUNCIL COUNCILLOR REPORT(S)
a. Members had received reports from the County Councillors that included:
• Mill Street.
• East-the-Water Land Slip.
• Torridge Bridge. Work on the western side of the bridge is due to be completed by 12 April 2018. Work on the eastern end of the Bridge will commence in the autumn with resurfacing on completion.
• Pot holes. The Government has made provision for a further £4.4 million towards potholes and storm damage repairs to Devon roads.
• DCC own sixty nine dairy and mixed livestock farms.
b. The Chairman invited Councillors Mrs Hellyer and A T Inch to take questions from Members, that included:
• Mill Street / Allhalland Street. Demand for a “walk through” with responsible DCC officers and contractors. Standard of finish and the surface questioned; trip hazards remain (on a brand new surface!).
o Councillor Mrs Hellyer will feed back.
• East-the-Water Land slip. In addition to the protracted investigation / negotiation it was highlighted that a pot hole was proving to be an access as well as a safety concern (DCC web site informed).o Councillor Mrs Hellyer was asked to highlight the Hole issue.
• Pot Hole, Manteo Way. Councillor Mrs Hellyer advised that there would be a “total” resurface; a mini roundabout was also being considered. Other pot holes were highlighted with discussion including the cost to the road user, size criteria, monthly safety / defect checks, claim for damage, acknowledgement that North Devon is blighted and a plea for DCC rectification.
• Torrington Street / Gammaton Road. The change of a street light has resulted in the removal, and non-replacement, of a bus stop sign. This has resulted in the refusal of busses to stop.
o Councillor Mrs Hellyer asked to facilitate reinstatement.
• Bollards. The “coffin” bollard is fully functional although access to the operational keys is currently restricted.o There are traders willing to operate the Bollards in return for payment; Councillor Mrs Hellyer confirmed that there was no funding stream to support the operation.
• County Councillors’ Allowance. Councillor A T Inch confirmed that the councillor grant had been again set at £10,000.00.
c. The Chairman thanked the Councillors for their contribution at the Meeting.
187. FIRE SERVICE PRESENTATION
a. Members had received a report from Bideford Station Commander Bruce Lesslie that included:
• Response to 140 calls in last quarter of 2017 and 90 in the first quarter of 2018.
o Often supporting the Ambulance Service to gain entry to properties
• Station strength is seventeen.
• A “Fog Spike” has been added to the arsenal of equipment at their disposal. It promotes the delivery of water into any compartment by drilling a hole through a wall.
b. Bideford Fire Station Commander Bruce Lesslie and Manger Graham Rooke introduced themselves.
Station Manager Rooke introduced the subject of Finance versus Expectations in the face of challenging fiscal times; the same level of service could not be continued into the future. Community Safety. Last year £75,000.00 was spent on delivering (Community) initiatives in North Devon with a view to reducing risk in schools and homes. The Budget for this year has been reduced to £7,000.00; the Advocates delivering the community initiatives will be cut by 40 – 60 %. He assured Members that the Fire Service will do the best job within the restricted resource, prioritising accordingly.
He briefly touched on “Out of the Blue”, at £1,500 per course other funding streams would be sought; failure would see the loss of the initiative.
Station Commander Lesslie listed those other groups / agencies involved in the “Out of the Blue” initiative: RNLI, Police, Intagr8 and the Environment Agency and their collective desire to continue the work. Although trying to reduce the cost it was important to deliver a good course.
He introduced a film that was recorded at the end of 2017 showing snippets of the ten week course. It was reiterated that the Course was designed to help the “middle players”, those not exceptional, nor failing. While providing team based opportunities to help develop individuals, the future of Bideford, in stark terms the initiative is not a priority to the Fire and Rescue Service, albeit that it is very valuable to the Community.
The Film itself showed the young participants engaged in a number of disciplines:
• First Aid.
• River patrol in a Life boat
• Environment Agency study including a practical “fire bagging” competition involving the filling of sand bags by two teams who then set about directing a water hose at the opposition bags to establish the efficacy of their water barriers.
• Police Crime Scene. Following clues to establish the doughnut thief – Station Commander Lesslie!
Station Commander Lesslie concluded that the overall experience was very positive, enjoyed by all participants with no negative feedback.
Station Manager Rooke confirmed with an example of how the opportunity helps imbues confidence and brings out the characters of the participants. The final presentation with parade and distribution of certificates is a proud moment for many of the stakeholders.
Councillor Howell had witnessed three award evenings which he declared were fantastic. The Children make a commitment - there is only a small drop out. Parents described the change to the children; it was clear that the “Out of the Blue” was of enormous value to Bideford.
Councillor Howell believed that the Town Council should support the initiative. Two courses benefitting twenty people would be of value to the people of Bideford. He led the Members in thanking the Fire and Rescue Service.
Councillors Mrs Davies and Day suggested a number of funding streams including the Big Lottery.
The Mayor said the awards were fulfilling. The initiative was a credit to Bideford.
c. The Chairman thanked the Fire Officers for their attendance and presentation at the Meeting.
(Councillor Mrs Davies left the Meeting.)
188. BURTON ART GALLERY AND MUSEQUM PRESENTATION
a. The Chairman welcomed Mrs Judith Gentry, Chairman of Trustees to the Burton at Bideford.
b. Mrs Gentry thanked the Chairman and gave a presentation on Burton at Bideford entering the third year as a charity. She led on the National Portfolio Organisation (NPO) award (financial) conveyed by Arts Council England from April 2018 for four years. She stressed that this was very important and Bideford should be proud. It provides grant funding but rigorously monitors the Burton to ensure that:
• Exhibitions of national quality are secured.o Up to 10,000 visitors for current photography exhibition. Peter Rabbit (touring) exhibition secured for September 2018 visit.
• Development of an education programme.o Build sustainable relationships with schools and colleges on site, and out in the community.
• The start of digitalisation.• Increased community activity.
Mrs Gentry highlighted the Community development including: workshops, events and group involvement.
• Family drop in events (four in May, ten during the summer holidays and six at Christmas). There were forty future potters in the Kingsley Room today (5 April 2018).
• ‘Crafty Kids’ (every Monday), currently 800 pre-school children attend a year - plan to grow to 1200.
• ‘Young Friends’ Art Group (aged from seven to eleven) about fifty participants, with a view to grow to 100.
• Increase in the ‘on site’ education sessions to fifty.
• Ten Outreach projects.
• Continue to host community groups such as The Macular Society, TorrAge and, Devonshire Association.
• Contribution to Tourism – on site improvements, web site, social media & more active participation in Town Centre Partnership.
Following the cessation of negotiation with Libraries Unlimited (LUL) the present position is to:
• Get back to the core of what the Burton needs and what the public wants ‘the desire of the community, and the needs of the community.’
• Grow in a more modest way in keeping with the tradition of the Burton, and with more time for consultation with strategic partners and the community.
• There remains continued encouragement from potential funders such as Heritage Lottery Fund (were close to finalising £1.5 million investment).
• Identified key stakeholders include: Torridge District Council, Bideford Town Council, the Friends of the Burton & the community organisations, schools and general public who turned out in force for the consultation event November 2017.
Mrs Gentry concluded that in 2018/19 the Burton would deliver:
• An exhibition programme that has something for everyone (Peter Rabbit should see up to 25,000 visitors).
• Lots more activities for children in school holidays and weekends.
• More schools able to visit the Burton and learn from the curatorial team.
• Bringing people into Bideford from outside the area.
• Demonstration of a sound investment and a ‘well run’ charity.
• Formation of a new plan for the building.
c. The Chairman invited Members to raise questions. Councillor Day congratulated the Burton on their work and funding achievement in what is a difficult sector in a difficult climate for Arts Funding.
d. The Chairman thanked Mrs Gentry for addressing the Meeting.
(Councillor Mrs Davies returned to the Meeting.)
(Councillor Bushby left the Meeting.)
189. COMMUNICATION BROUGHT FORWARD ON THE DIRECTION OF THE TOWN CLERK / MAYOR
a. The Town Clerk advised Members that the Annual Parish meeting would be held on Wednesday 18 April at 7.00 pm.
Also, the Maintenance Team had taken over a garage superfluous to the needs of Grow@Jigsaw.
b. The Mayor invited everyone to join him in the Parlour, after the Meeting, where he would thank them for supporting him and Bideford during his tenure.
(Councillor Bushby returned to the Meeting.)
190. STAFFING, FINANCE & GENERAL PURPOSES COMMITTEE
The Minutes of the Meeting held on 29 March 2018 were approved and adopted.
(Vote – For: 13, Against: 0)
191. PLANNING COMMITTEE
The Minutes of the Meeting held on 14 March and 4 April 2018 were approved and adopted.
(Vote – For: 13, Against: 0)
192. TOURISM COMMITTEE
The Minutes of the Meeting held on 7 March 2018 were approved and adopted.
(Vote – For: 13, Against: 0)
193. RENEWABLE ENERGY GENERATION COMMITTEE
The Minutes of the Meeting held on 20 March 2018 were approved and adopted.
(Vote – For: 13, Against: 0)
194. STANDING AGENDA ALTERATION
Members had received a report distinguishing between the implications of “To accept apologies for absence” and “Approval of apologies and reasons for absence”.
The Town Clerk advised Members that during her CiLCA course she had been informed it was usual for Councils to vote on approving the apologies proffered; although she was not aware of other Councils protocols.
Councillor Brenton believed any change would be open to political misuse; he advocated the wording remains the same.
The Mayor indicated that he had introduced the Item. He felt strongly that councillors represented the electorate and when summoned should attend the given meeting. He did not seek any political gain.
Discussion followed on reintroducing the publishing of councillors’ attendance statistics in the Newsletter.
Members spoke of different councils’ promulgation.
Councillor Mrs Davies provided details of her medical condition but maintained that she remained committed to community work.
The Town Clerk intimated that simply accepting apologies, in accordance with Standing Order, deferred the commencement date of any six month absence ruling.
Proposed by Councillor Mrs Davies, seconded and
RESOLVED: That the Apologies remain the same. Members’ attendance figures are published in the (next) Newsletter.
(Vote – For: 13, Against: 0)
195. MAY 2018 LANDIVISIAU TWINNING VISIT
Councillor Howell led discussion on the commitment of the Mayor / Deputy Mayor (of the Day) to attend Landivisiau following an invitation from the Twinning Association. Given the request to reply prior to the Mayor Election, and the current Deputy Mayor having a prior commitment, he advocated normal civic protocol where a representative is established from the immediate past Mayors.
Councillor A T Inch advised that he would be attending Landivisiau, as an Association Member, and would be happy to represent the Council.
Proposed by Councillor Howell, seconded and
RESOLVED: That the choice of representative, in the absence of the Mayor / Deputy Mayor, follows normal civic protocol.
(Vote – For: 13, Against: 0)
196. DALC MEETING
Councillor Brenton referred Members to the Minutes of the County Committee held on 26 March 2018.
197. TORRIDGE DISTRICT COUNCIL – UPDATE
Councillor S G Inch advised changes to the refuse and recycling (collections) from 4 June 2018:
• New box for glass - separate from plastic, paper and cardboard.
• Introduction of a twenty three litre food (weekly) caddy.
• Black bags reduced from once a week to once a fortnight.o Intention to encourage more recycling and less demand for landfill.
• Garden waste once a fortnight with additional subscription premium of thirty five pounds.
o Members requested to encourage constituents to use online service.
An additional £50,000 had been voted upon for the New Hub.
Discussion followed on the challenges for the general public to access TDC at Riverbank House (away from the centre of Town), staff briefed on new waste operation, payment of bills (through the post office), absence of plan for Bridge Buildings and possible new payments for gypsy sites.
Councillor Mrs Craigie highlighted the impact upon flat dwellers of the change to the refuse collection. Would the District Council consider introducing communal wheelie bins?
Councillor Howell questioned the Brunswick Wharf project; Councillor Christie alluded to a communication from the Harbour users.
Referring to the recent Manor Court Presentment for disabled adult changing provision Councillor Bushby suggested that disabled facilities could be incorporated in the Town, part of the Torridge New Hub Building.
Councillor Bushby believed that the TDC councillors should hold the senior officers to account over the future of Bridge Buildings.
Councillor A T Inch indicated that there were purpose built disabled facilities at the Racquet Club, open to anyone (Asda, Barnstaple too).
Councillor Bushby noted that the Racquet Club is just over a mile out of Town. Councillor McKenzie agreed that facilities should be available in the Town.
198. 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 8.30 pm.