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Minutes of the Town Council held in the Council Chamber, Town Hall, Bideford on Thursday 1 November 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 P J Pester

South Ward:

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

South (Outer)

Councillor D Howell

East Ward:

Councillor Mrs R Craigie
Councillor Mrs P Davies
Councillor Mrs J Gubb
Councillor M C Langmead
Councillor J A McKenzie

IN ATTENDANCE:

Mrs H J Blackburn (Town Clerk)
Mr R D Coombes (Deputy Town Clerk)
Councillor L Hellyer (DCC)
Station Commander G Rooke (Devon & Somerset FS)
Watch Manager N Hole (Devon & Somerset FS)
Mrs S Southwell (Devon Communities Together)
2 x Member of the Public

93.      APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE

Councillor D A D McGeough (North Ward – Personal).

94.      DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST ON ITEMS ON THE AGENDA

Councillor Christie declared a non-pecuniary interest in Item 26. (Member, Bideford Bridge Trust.). Councillor Johns declared a non-pecuniary interest in Item 17. (Representative for Bideford Town Council.). Councillor Mrs Davies declared a non-pecuniary interest in Item 20. (Trustee, Pollyfield Centre.).

95.     PUBLIC PARTICIPATION SESSION

A Member of the Public spoke in support of Item 21. (for Bideford Town Council to adopt the Cooperative’s Charter against modern slavery and lobby Torridge District Council (TDC) to do the same), expressing hope that the Council would adopt the Motion.

He informed members that the Modern Slavery Act of 2015 demanded that all companies report on their supply chains although there was no enforcement.

Council procurement should be considered as many companies ignore the ruling given the absence of sanctions.

Police statistics evidence that there were sixty cases in Devon last year, including two in Bideford (car wash) and five girls were the victims of trafficking in Barnstaple.

He concluded that all Councils should support the Charter to stamp out forced labour and trafficking in our area.

A second Member conceded that there was little that could be done (to Effect a change) at a local level to save Appledore Shipyard. He asked that the Council lobby TDC fearing that the shipyard could fall into disrepair and look like the Creamery at Taddiport; Babcock should be (collectively) lobbied.

Councillor Christie advised that Babcock do not own the land (Langham Industries). He should like TDC to promise not to allow planning applications for housing (on the site). He did allude to the shipyard diversifying, given the fall in orders in 1963, to produce prefabricated houses; the Yard is a resource of skilled workers. He concluded that there was little that TDC / BTC could do.

The Chairman noted that the closure would affect the wider local community.

96.     MINUTES

The Minutes of the Meeting held on 20 September 2018 were approved and signed as a correct record.

(Vote – For: 12, Against: 0, Abstention: 3)

97.      ACCOUNTS

To approve the payments listed.

It was proposed by Councillor, seconded and

RESOLVED: That the List of Payments is approved.

(Vote – For: 15, Against: 0)

98.     DEVON COUNTY COUNCIL (COUNCILLOR) REPORT

a.       The Chairman welcomed Councillors A T Inch and Hellyer to the Meeting and invited them to present and respond to the Members.

b.       Councillor A T Inch advised that the DCC Highways Officer would investigate the flooding of Abbotsham road following resurfacing work. He noted that the Moreton Park Culvert had seen corrective (joint) works by DEFRA and DCC, up to £200,000.00, that would relieve flooding to twenty-five homes. He added that the Highways Officer would be producing a map of Bideford detailing the one and three year inspection itineraries.

Councillor A T Inch publicised the Bideford, Northam and Rural Parishes Area Advisory Group, where Councillor Hart will give an overview of issues currently affecting DCC and the budget for the coming year, that will take place in the Town Hall on Monday, 12 November 2018 at 7.00 pm.

Councillor A T Inch had previously circulated detail from a Public Health Devon Meeting that he had attended highlighting the issues of Mental Health and the prevalence of suicide.

Councillor Hellyer confirmed that the land slip works at East the Water were “progressing”. She added that traffic orders confirmed following the HATOC Meeting included East the Water School, outside Ethelwynne Brown Close, Devonshire Park and Ford Rise.

The Chairman added that he had not realised that the land slip works would have been a longer task involving heavy machinery. He thanked the Councillors for their contribution.

99.      DEVON & SOMERSET FIRE PRESENTATION

a.        The Chairman welcomed Station Commander Graham Rooke and Watch Manager Neil Hole to the Meeting and invited them to give their presentation on behalf of the Devon and Somerset Fire Service, Bideford Station.

b.        Station Commander Rooke spoke of his former colleague, now retired, Bruce Leslie noting his thirty eight years’ service and his value to the Service / Community. Mr Leslie would, though, still provide a training input and support the Out of the Blue project.

c.        Watch Manager Hole gave a brief résumé of his Bideford roots (born and bred) and time in the Service (nineteen years). Having taken on the role of Watch Manager he was actively engaged in recruitment (eight establishment positions to be filled).

He described the Station’s role of Fire Safety including auditing commercial buildings, ensuring that they remain safe and are compliant.

The Station had responded to forty seven call outs in September and thirty four in October. November had started busily including the rescue of a sixteen-year-old “jumper”, a boat fire on the Quay and a roof fire on an Old People’s Home. They continue to work with the Police, assisting in forced entries.

The Mayor wondered if the Out of the Blue Project might perhaps provide a pool of potential new recruits.

Station Commander Rooke confirmed that difficulty arose for those having to work within five minutes of the Station.

Members further raised points that included:

• Number of female firefighters in Bideford.
o One, a second has been sanctioned and looking to a third.
• Result of filling the role of breaking and entering.
o Doors will be reinstated; a boarding company is engaged to make good and secure the property.
• Recruitment. Bideford College / Academy.
o Good relationship with the School. However, struggling with industry and those self-employed.
• Appeal to TDC personnel.
o There is an apprenticeship scheme in the pipeline. Firefighters do have transferable skills. The impact of the Appledore Shipyard closure does have a knock-on effect.

Station Commander Rooke gave detail on the extension of the Out of the Blue Project to include Torrington (and associated funding). The Chairman felt that this was a good idea adding that the Council would send a letter of thanks to Mr B Leslie.

d.         The Chairman thanked Station Commander Rooke and Watch Manager Hole for their contributions.

100.     DEVON COMMUNITIES TOGETHER PRESENTATION

a.         The Chairman welcomed Mrs Sue Southwell, Devon Communities Together to the Meeting.

b.        Ms Southwell thanked the Chairman and greeted the Members. She introduced the topic of Community led housing, defined affordable housing, identified affordable housing issues, housing need and funding for Community Housing.

Community led housing:

• Trusts, charities, social enterprises, co-operatives, self-builders etc.
• Usually homes are built for a defined community where the benefits are held in perpetuity.
• Communities often own the homes or are custodians of them.
• Benefits include priority for local people, a discount from market value, an income to support other community services etc.
• Usually small scale although some communities are looking at further projects.

Affordable housing is:

• Rents below market rents.
• Shared ownership.
• Discounted market homes.
• Affordable in perpetuity.

Affordable housing issues include:

• High house prices out of reach of people on low local incomes.
• Young people, families on low incomes forced to live in unsuitable housing.
• Lack of housing suitable for older people.
• Impact on health, income, education etc.

Housing needs includes those Households who:

• Are living in unsuitable home i.e. too large, too small, bad condition, bad for health.
• Cannot afford to rent or buy on the open market.

Funding:

• In 2017 the government awarded Torridge District Council a grant of £131,359 to support community led housing developments in the District.
• This grant was available to support affordable housing projects that are ‘community led’ in both rural and urban areas.
• Wessex Community Land Trust (CLT) Project.
• Devon Rural Housing Partnership.
• Grants to local CLT groups.

Further Funding:

• £240m over 4 years*
• “The fund will enable local community groups to deliver affordable housing units … on sites which are likely to be of little interest to mainstream housebuilders and … make more schemes viable.”
• *Year 4 subject to the next Comprehensive Spending Review.

The additional funding is to be split between:

• Revenue funding to fund communities to look at the feasibility and planning of local projects.
• Capital funding for project development.

In concluding her presentation Mrs Southwell invited Members to decide if they would like to explore the idea of a CLT, encourage community involvement and form a CLT and start a project.

c.        The Chairman thanked Ms Southwell for her contribution.

101.    COMMUNICATION BROUGHT FORWARD ON THE DIRECTION OF THE MAYOR

The Town Clerk Advised:

a.        TAP Fund. £2,000.00 and £5,000.00 have been received for the Cooper Street Columns and Hanging Baskets.

b.         Extension to Littleham Parish boundary to include part of Bideford South (Outer) Parish. Torridge District Council have agreed to amend the boundary where part of the Bideford South (Outer) ward will be subsumed by Littleham Parish Council.

Councillor Brenton raised the spectre of financial implications.

c.          Remembrance Sunday. The Town Hall will be open from 9.45 am, councillors to be robed by 10.20 am.

d.          Signing of the Lease, 1 December 2018. The Town Hall will be open from 9.45 am, councillors to be robed by 10.15 am.

The Mayor had received correspondence from Mr Kermit Skinner, Manteo Town Manager, thanking the Town Council for the thoughts and kind words in relation to the recent storms; there had been no injury or loss of life.

102.     STAFFING FINANCE AND GENERAL PURPOSES COMMITTEE

The Minutes of the Meeting held on 11 and 18 October 2018 were approved and adopted.

(Vote – For: 15, Against: 0)

103.     PLANNING COMMITTEE

The Minutes of the Meetings held on 10 October and 31 October 2018 were approved and adopted.

(Vote – For: 15, Against: 0)

104.     MARKET MANAGEMENT COMMITTEE

The Minutes of the Meeting held on 25 October 2018 were approved and adopted.

(Vote – For: 15, Against: 0)

105.    TOURISM COMMITTEE

Item 5. Commemorative Benches for Chudleigh Fort and Victoria Park. Councillor S G Inch advised that TDC would be siting one bench at Victoria Park and one outside Riverbank House.

Councillor Howell suggested that the Town Council simply purchase one for Victoria Park and one for Chudleigh Fort.

The Chairman directed Councillor Howell to liaise with TDC.

The Minutes of the Meeting held on 12 October 2018 were approved and adopted.

(Vote – For: 15, Against: 0)

 106.     ALLOTMENT COMMITTEE

The Minutes of the Meeting held on 27 September 2018 were approved and adopted.

(Vote – For: 14, Against: 0, Abstention: 1)

107.     NEIGHBOURHOOD PLAN STEERING GROUP

The Minutes of the Meeting held on 17 October 2018 were approved and adopted.

(Vote – For: 15, Against: 0)

108.     ALLOTMENT COMMITTEE RESIGNATION – COUNCILLOR WOOTTON

Councillor Langmead volunteered to fill the now vacant position on the Committee.

It was proposed by Councillor Brenton, seconded and

RESOLVED: That Councillor Langmead replaces Councillor Wootton on the Allotment Committee.

(Vote – For: 15, Against: 0

109.     BIDEFORD TOWN BAND – COUNCIL REPRESENTATIVE POSITION

Members had received correspondence advising that the Town Brand are working towards becoming a registered Charity. They were invited to consider whether the Council should like the present representative role to be enhanced to a more actively involved as a Trustee for the Band, a three-year tenure, with (shared) responsibility for running the Band organisation.

It was proposed by Councillor Pester, seconded and

RESOLVED: That the Council representative position fulfils an enhanced role, the incumbent nominated for three years.

(Vote – For: 15, Against: 0)

110.     NEIGHBOURHOOD WARDEN - FUNDING INVITATION

Members discussed the principle of jointly funding a Neighbourhood Warden initiative that had been raised at a meeting of the Mayors and Clerks, from the four principal towns of Torridge: Bideford, Great Torrington, Holsworthy and Northam.

The role would include dog fouling offences and would see the officer employed by TDC but working in, and paid by, the four Council Parishes.

It was proposed by Councillor Bushby, seconded and

RESOLVED: That the Council would, in principle, jointly fund a Neighbourhood Warden engaged in the four principal District Towns employed by Torridge District Council.

(Vote – For: 14, Against: 1)

111.     NOTICE OF MOTION

Submission by Councillor Bushby.

“To make a £1,000 pledge to the “Ten Times Greener” Crowd Funding Campaign.”

Councillor Bushby highlighted the Community aspect of the Project and drive provided by the Economic Development TDC Officer and the Bideford Town Centre Partnership.

Councillor Christie seconded the Motion advised that a number of TDC councillors had provided grant money support and that Town Centre businesses had also raised monies.

The initiative would see volunteers working together, to improve their community in the manner of the splendid Market Place (Honestone Street) car park work.

Members agreed that should the Crowd Funding Campaign target of £5,000.00 be attained, if the project would benefit from additional funding, Bideford Town Council would make up to £1,000 available.

It was proposed by Councillor Bushby, seconded and

RESOLVED: That the Motion is supported - £1,000.00 is made available to the project.

(Vote – For: 15, Against: 0)

112.      NOTICE OF MOTION

Submission by Councillor Mrs Davies.

“Bideford Town Council is requested to support the TAP fund application being made by Councillor Mrs Davies / Pollyfield Association to support the Battles Over – A Nation Commemorates Event, being held at Pollyfield on 11 November 2018.”

Councillor Mrs Davies advised that the Events planned from 3.00 pm will cost £1,889.00, hence the application of £1,500.00.

Councillor Brenton seconded the Motion.

Councillor A T Inch declared that the application was emotional blackmail. With the nation commemorating Armistice Day, he questioned how long the Events had been in the planning stage. The application was late. Again, he questioned why it had not been submitted before. He was reluctant to support the Motion; it smacked of appalling organisation. He wondered when the Project started – Councillor Mrs Davies indicated three to four months prior adding that she had endured a bout of ill health during that time.

Councillor Mrs Gubb expressed disappointment as a member of the Pollyfield Association that she had not been invited to any meetings. Further, she would have offered her services for free; she could have helped (so much).

Councillor Langmead asked what the £1,500.00 was for.

Councillor Mrs Davies replied, entertainment and refreshments.

Councillor Langmead noted that £300.00 had been made available to Councillor S G Inch for refreshments at the lighting of Beacon, marking the Fallen.

Councillor Mrs Davies indicated that there would be a buffet for the children who had read the names of Bideford personnel who had lost their lives to the war.

Councillor Howell found that the timing of the request was distasteful.

Councillor Christie had seen detail on Facebook but could not marry the Act of Remembrance with a disc jockey and fun fair. He felt that in recognising the hundreds and thousands of men and women dying the Council should not be associated with the affair.

Councillor S G Inch hoped that the Council would support the application for the whole of the Community; he confirmed that the intentions were good.

Councillor McKenzie asked what the Pollyfield Association had done to raise funds. He too believed that the funding should have been in place before. He speculated that the Association would, if necessary, fill the hole.

Councillor A T Inch wondered whether the TAP Fund application should be used for such a venture.

The Town Clerk reminded Members that it was for the Council to decide whether to support an application which would subsequently be scrutinised by TDC and if successful by DCC. She confirmed that it is a Community Event open to other communities.

Councillor Langmead indicated that the process could see a delay in any payment. The Town Clerk indicated that a supported claim could see payment within nine days.

The Chairman considered the public perception of the Council should they choose not to support the application. He indicated, with slight reluctance, that the Motion should be supported.

It was proposed by Councillor Mrs Davies, seconded and

RESOLVED: That the Motion is supported.

(Vote – For: 10, Against: 4, Abstention: 1)

113.      NOTICE OF MOTION

Submission by Councillor Day.

“For Bideford Town Council to adopt the Co-operative’s Charter Against Modern Slavery and lobby Torridge District Council to do the same.”

Councillor Day introduced his motion by previously circulating the following to make it clear the scale of the modern atrocity not confined to the Towns.

This Council notes that although slavery was abolished in the UK in 1833, there are more slaves today than ever before in human history. Figures from the International Labour Organisation (ILO) suggest that there are more than 40 million people in modern slavery across the world, with nearly 25 million held in forced labour. There were 3,805 victims of modern slavery identified in the UK in 2016. A rising number but still well below the 10,000 and 13,000 potential victims estimated by the Home Office (actual figures could be as high as 136,000). Modern Slavery is happening nationwide. Traffickers and slave masters use whatever means they have at their disposal to coerce, deceive and force individuals into a life of abuse, servitude and inhumane treatment. This can include sexual and criminal exploitation.

This Council believes that action needs to be taken to raise awareness of modern slavery and the fact that it is happening all over the UK. That the current support for victims is not sufficient and needs to go beyond the 45 days they are currently given by the government. That Councils have an important role to play in ensuring their contracts and supplies don’t contribute to modern day slavery and exploitation.

This Council resolves to adopt the Co-operative Party’s Charter against Modern Slavery to ensure our procurement practices don’t support slavery.

a.      Train its corporate procurement team to understand modern slavery through the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply’s (CIPS) online course on Ethical Procurement and Supply.

b.      Require its contractors to comply fully with the Modern Slavery Act 2015, wherever it applies, with contract termination as a potential sanction for noncompliance.

c.      Challenge any abnormally low-cost tenders to ensure they do not rely upon the potential contractor practising modern slavery.

d.      Highlight to its suppliers that contracted workers are free to join a trade union and are not to be treated unfairly for belonging to one.

e.      Publicise its whistle-blowing system for staff to blow the whistle on any suspected examples of modern slavery.

f.       Require its tendered contractors to adopt a whistle-blowing policy which enables their staff to blow the whistle on any suspected examples of modern slavery.

g.      Review its contractual spending regularly to identify any potential issues with modern slavery.

h.     Highlight for its suppliers any risks identified concerning modern slavery and refer them to the relevant agencies to be addressed.

i.      Refer for investigation via the National Crime Agency’s national referral mechanism any of its contractors identified as a cause for concern regarding modern slavery.

j.      Report publicly on the implementation of the policy annually.

He advised that forty Councils had adopted the above charter.

The Council having adopted leading positions with Fair Trade and the Living Wage, opposing Modern Slavery was again an issue with which it could take a positive stance. He noted that there are E Learning Courses for those who procure items for the Council; he did not see a hindrance.

The Chairman seconded the Motion.

Councillor Day invited the TDC councillors to lobby (TDC).

Councillor A T Inch stated he would take the Motion to DCC.

It was proposed by Councillor Day, seconded and

RESOLVED: That the Motion is supported.

(Vote – For: 15, Against: 0)

114.      TOWN CENTRE PARTNERSHIP

In noting the Minutes members discussed pigeons, the incoming Bideford web site, A Boards and South West in Bloom.

115.     DALC

Councillor Brenton indicated from the AGM that Bideford again featured in their report (Maintenance Team activity). He noted that the Lay-bys on the Link road, between Bideford and Barnstaple had not been ruled out for use by Travellers.

A Planning workshop, presented by Graham Townsend (a former Planning official), highlighted that Local Authorities do not receive what they should and are entitled to from Developers. He alluded to opportunities to obtain both Section 106 and Community Infrastructure monies from the same Developers from the same Site.

Councillor Brenton intimated that he should like the Council to invite Mr Townsend to provide a briefing; the Chairman indicated agreement.

Councillor Christie had asked how Section 106 agreements are arrived at TDC (there is a “technical document”) believing that there are little returns on large Estates, but to no avail.

116.     TAW AND TORRIDGE ESTUARY FORUM MEETING

Councillor Johns advised that the Harbour Master has been engaged with clearing (boats) from outside Brunswick Wharf and identified the difficulty of strange boats half way between the North Devon and Torridge District Councils areas of authority.

Councillor Christie, who had been reading about the Port Memorial in the Bideford Gazette from 1928, indicated that the then new boundary had been drawn, between the Church Tower at Instow and Skern Lodge, and published in the London Gazette (marking it official). He would ask the Harbour Master to investigate.

117.     TORRIDGE DISTRICT COUNCIL – UPDATE

Councillor S G Inch advised:

• Local Plan adopted (although there are some concerns).

• Wharfs – moving steadily forward.

• He referenced the Bideford, Northam and Rural Parishes Area Advisory Group Meeting.

• Bridge Buildings will be vacant effective 20 November 2018; it is actively being marketed.

118.     BRIDGE TRUST

Councillor Christie briefed Members on the income £80,000.00), expenditure: £27,000.00), charitable donations and grants (including £20,000.00 to the Skate Park) figures.

 The business of the meeting having been concluded the Mayor thanked the members for their attendance at the meeting which concluded at 8.22 pm.

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