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Minutes of the Town Council held in the Council Chamber, Town Hall, Bideford on Thursday 9 August 2018 at 6.30 pm

PRESENT:

North Ward:

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

South Ward:

Councillor D G Brenton
Councillor J Day
Councillor A T Inch
Councillor S G Inch
Councillor R I Wootton

East Ward:

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

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)
2 x Members of the Public

52.     APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE

Councillors D Howell (South (Outer) Ward – personal), Councillor M Langmead (East Ward – personal) and Mrs P Davies (East Ward – Illness).

53.     DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST ON ITEMS ON THE AGENDA

Councillor Christie declared a non-pecuniary interest in Item 19. (Member, Bideford Bridge Trust).

54.     PUBLIC PARTICIPATION SESSION

There was no participation from the public.

55.     MINUTES

The Minutes of the Meeting held on 28 June 2018 were approved and signed as a correct record.

(Vote – For: 10, Against: 0, Abstention: 3)

56.     ACCOUNTS

To approve the payments listed.

It was proposed by Councillor A T Inch, seconded and

RESOLVED: That the List of Payments is approved.

(Vote – For: 13, Against: 0)

57.     POLICE REPORT

Inspector Shaun Kenneally advised that there was good news in that the target reduction of Force manpower had been reevaluated at the higher level of 200 rather than the previously proposed reduction down to 150.

He also explained that a decision to merge the Devon and Cornwall Police Force with Dorset would be made at Central Government. Currently the forces have an alliance and share “back office” resources e.g. HR and finance.

On a local level two recent incidents in Braunton and Barnstaple have seen a drain on Bideford Staff resources.

He expressed hope that the recent agreement to improve the Link Road may remove the traffic “hot spots” having referenced recent traffic fatalities and life changing injuries suffered near Hatherleigh.

Bideford is committed to working against the County Lines, organised crime infiltrators.

There has recently been a spate of vandalism in Victoria Park and the Town Centre with a small group of older teenagers stealing from the Co-op and McColls. Two have been addressed with parents having been informed. Two further have been identified from CCTV and will be handled similarly.

The Chairman invited Members to raise points and questions including:

• Road Signage indicating number of fatalities.
• Assault – should victims be able to veto charges being pressed?
o Police can take initiative when there is clear evidence that a crime / assault has been committed.

58.     DEVON COUNTY COUNCIL (COUNCILLOR) REPORT

The Chairman invited Councillor A T Inch to provide his report:

Councillor A T Inch gave detail on a number of highway issues discussed at a recent HATOC Meeting that would be subject to the Traffic Order consultation process. It is a lengthy process - signs will be posted in the localities.

He noted that there will be resurfacing work and a road closure at the bottom of Manteo Way.

Councillor Inch encouraged members to view a machine that can repair sixty pot holes in a day where a manual team of four people could manage twelve; DCC have the one machine.

He spoke of the importance of the current gully cleaning work that promotes water running from the roads.

The Chairman invited Members to raise points and questions including:

• Action/review of Traffic Orders once a year is not often enough.
• Request for DCC Councillor support for the Market to have use of the outside area on the South side under a similar arrangement to Tavistock Market.
• The Education and Traffic Management Departments should work together in providing safe passage at the School entrances without recourse to retrospective Traffic Order procedures.
• Gully work and roadside weeding needs to be improved. With the three levels of government unable to independently find an effective resolution there is a demand for a joint approach.
• Delay in painting road markings following resurfacing work.
o Alexandra Terrace, specifically, is to be completed imminently.
• Bricks at bottom of High Street need attention.
o Councillor Inch noted.
• Temporary work by the Port Memorial has again seen the tarmac riding up. A long-term solution is need – the area originally was a river.
o Core samples have been taken as part of a longer term solution.
• Dips in the road outside the Building Society on the Quay will need urgent attention prior to the parade season.
o Not a safety issue.

59.     COMMUNICATION BROUGHT FORWARD ON THE DIRECTION OF THE MAYOR

The Town Clerk advised:

• DCC has confirmed £4,100.00 grant funding (Investing in Devon) for Handy Cross Containers.
o Councillor A T Inch was thanked for facilitating this grant.
• Bideford Town Council will host the Landivisiau Twinning Associations at the Bideford Pannier Market on Saturday 18 August 2018 at 10.30 am. Members were requested to support the Event.

60.    MARKET MANAGEMENT COMMITTEE

The Minutes of the Meeting held on 2 August 2018 were approved and adopted.

(Vote – For: 13, Against: 0)

Members discussed the sale of Allotment produce at the Market. The Item will be placed on the Agenda of the next Allotment Committee Meeting.

61.     PLANNING COMMITTEE

The Minutes of the Meetings held on 18 July and 8 August 2018 were approved and adopted.

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

62.     TOURISM COMMITTEE

Councillor Mrs Craigie advised that she had attended the Meeting but was not shown on the attendance list. The Town Clerk confirmed that the Minutes would be amended accordingly.

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

(Vote – For: 13, Against: 0)

63.     STAFFING FINANCE AND GENERAL PURPOSES COMMITTEE

The Minutes of the Meeting held on 26 July 2018 were approved and adopted.

(Vote – For: 13, Against: 0)

64.     INVITATION TO ADOPT A GRASSED AREA OF LAND AT MINES ROAD

Members had received correspondence from the Senior Estates Officer from TDC suggesting that the Council may be interested in adopting a 100m2 grassed area of land at Mines Road, which comes with the commuted sum of £8,000.

Councillor S G Inch asked if any searches had been made.

The Town Clerk had liaised with the TDC officer who had indicated that they would be made as part of the transfer of land from the current landowner.

Members were split in their deliberating. Councillor Mrs Craigie cited East Ridge View as an example of where the Developers have not maintained the land and so supported adoption of the land. The Chairman was in agreement.

Councillor McKenzie guarded against, noting water running through the land. He felt that there could be problems and the area could become a burden for the Council.

Councillor A T Inch noted that Ford Wood had cost Bideford Town Council a great deal of money in maintenance expenditure.

The Chairman felt there was a difference from a Wood to the modest sized grassed area, noting that if other agencies do not care for it, responsibility would default to the Council.

Councillor Christie felt care should be taken in the decision making; there would be maintenance costs and demands from the Public to maintain other areas. He questioned why TDC would want to pass it on.

Further discussion included the Recreational space being part of the Planning Process, negotiating a higher commuted sum, exactly what is being offered and the poor condition of the marshy land.

It was proposed by Councillor Bushby, seconded and

RESOLVED: That the item is deferred awaiting further information.

(Vote – For: 13, Against: 0)

65.     NEIGHBOURHOOD PLAN STEERING GROUP FORMATION & MEMBERSHIP

Members discussed the optimum numbers for the Steering Group and came to the conclusion it should be seven or eight people, including councillors.

Councillor Day having researched the topic suggested an even split made of councillors and representatives of local groups.

He suggested having a representative for each of a number of specialist areas including energy and the environment, traffic and transport. The specialist groupings could go on to engage with specific areas e.g. the Energy Group could approach Bideford Sustainability Group, 361 Energy CIC. An Economy group would engage with the Bideford Chamber of Commerce, etc.

He advised against a strict one ward person representation.

Councillor Mrs Craigie keen to start the process volunteered to represent East-the-Water. She noted the TDC Planning Department had examples of documentation / reports.

The Chairman reiterated that the Steering Group should not be top heavy with councillors. It will take time, the Chamber, Education and Health organisations should be engaged. He asked Members to express their interest? The Plan should be Community led.

Councillor Christie advised that the Local Plan already had housing enshrined, location and numbers, the Neighbourhood Plan would not add a lot. He noted that Northam Town Council had discovered that there was a huge amount of work. Torrington too had found the complexities informed outsourcing professional help.

The Chairman indicated that there was a need for a co-ordinator to arrange meetings, noting the need for time investment.

Councillor Day volunteered to take on the Energy and Environment portfolio noting that Regeneration South West had templates of suggested policies: designated pedestrian and cycle walk ways, new building technology, identifying conservation zones.

Councillor Mrs Craigie having recently attended a presentation urged applying for grant monies of £9,000.00.

The Town Clerk advised that she was aware of grant funding but guarded against application until specific cost areas had been identified; monies had an expenditure time limit of four months and would have to be returned if not spent.

The Chairman asked for volunteers to lead and coordinate the initial stages of the Neighbourhood Plan.

Councillor Christie stated that Northam councillors had mail dropped leaflets without a great response. He advocated listing specific areas of interest to inspire a better response.

Confirming the willingness of Councillors Brenton, Mrs Craigie and Day,

It was proposed by Councillor Bushby, seconded and

RESOLVED: That Councillors Brenton, Mrs Craigie and Day will co-ordinate the initial stages of the Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group and engage the Community.

(Vote – For: 13, Against: 0

66.     BIDEFORD TOWN CENTRE PARTNERSHIP

The Chairman advised that there were yellow markings on the newly surfaced Mill Street, suggesting that it was going to be dug up imminently. He said that Bideford Town Council had been told that there would be no utilities works for a year after the new surface had been laid. Both Councillors Inch and Hellyer advised that this indicated that urgent works were required, and it would not be just for scheduled works. The Chairman asked Councillor A T Inch to establish the works and, should the work not be urgent have the yellow writing removed.

Members noted the Minutes from the Meeting held on 12 July 2018.

67.     DALC MEETING

No update available.

68.     TAW AND TORRIDGE ESTUARY FORUM MEETING

No update available.

69.     TORRIDGE DISTRICT COUNCIL – UPDATE

Councillor S G Inch advised:

• Three Brunswick Wharf boat owners had agreed to move to the West Side in September.
• The Council are drafting a Compulsory Purchase Policy.
• After providing six grants from the New Homes Bonus scheme, £30,000 remains.
• Planning work for the BMX banks has been granted.

The Chairman expressed concern at the new siting of the house boats. Councillor McGough indicated that they would be away from the Town.

Councillor Christie advised:

• That the Port is losing money.
• An accumulation of sand has made the river way under the Torridge Bridge shallow.
o The sand could be dredged and sold.
• Bridge Buildings has had interest from a developer to build shops at the bottom and provide flats above.

70.     BRIDGE TRUST

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

Councillor Brenton had been advised by the solicitor that his term on the Bridge Trust was due to expire; the Town Clerk will confirm.

 

The business of the meeting having been concluded the Mayor thanked the members for their attendance at the meeting which concluded at 7.46 pm.

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