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Minutes of the Town Council held in the Council Chamber, Town Hall, Bideford on Thursday 7 March 2019 at 6.30pm

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 R I Wootton

South (Outer) Councillor D Howell

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)
Mrs J Maynard (Chamber of Commerce)
24 x Members of the Public

Prior to the start of the Meeting the Chairman spoke of the sad loss called the Chamber to hold a minute’s silence – which was respectfully observed - on the recent passing of Councillor Mervyn Langmead and former Mayor Noel Deakes.

158.        APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE

Councillors Mrs P Davies (East Ward – illness) and S G Inch (South Ward – illness).

159.       DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST ON ITEMS ON THE AGENDA

Councillor Christie declared a non-pecuniary interest in Item 20. (Member, Bideford Bridge Trust.).

160.       ORDER OF BUSINESS

Proposed by Councillor Bushby, seconded and

RESOLVED: That the order of business be changed to allow agenda item 6 to be addressed before item 3.

(Vote – For: 13, Against: 0)

161.     CHAMBER OF COMMERCE PRESENTATION

a.         The Mayor welcomed Mrs Jayne Maynard, President Bideford and District Chamber of Commerce.

b.         Mrs Maynard thanked the Chairman and addressed the Members stating that she was proud and very pleased to have been elected President following the recent resignation of the previous incumbent. She is also a Director of the North Devon Chamber of Commerce and Chairman for Small Businesses in the area. Mrs Maynard said she had passion and vision and that the Chamber would engage in a lot of activities in the future.

She spoke on the Future High Street Fund, expression of interest, with an application very close to being submitted identifying that the Town has problems but there is a vision and passion to meet the challenges.

Mrs Maynard spoke of the Chamber engaging in partnerships with both the District and Town Councils. Strategic, visionary thinking and letters of support could see potential millions of pounds invested in Torridge (as a result of the fund). She informed Members of a meeting to be convened on Tuesday 12 March 2019 at the Arts Centre to discuss the (strategic) future again referencing the High Street Fund. There have been positive responses gleaned from social media. She declared that the heritage, arts and culture in the area provides the potential for Bideford to “re-invent” itself; she alluded to a future undercover shopping opportunity.

The Police and Crime Commissioner Alison Hernandez will attend a second meeting on 11 April 2019 at 5.45 pm for a one hour question time session. Members were invited to provide questions.

In summary Mrs Maynard alluded to some very exciting projects in the offing, drew attention to the new website and highlighted the AGM to be held in May 2019 that would witness a new committee.

c.         The Mayor thanked Mrs Maynard for addressing the Meeting.

162.    PUBLIC PARTICIPATION SESSION

A Member of the Public advised Members that an on-line petition had accumulated 6,672 “signatures” in a move to protect the Starlings that roost under the Long Bridge from the fallout of firework celebrations. He declared that decisions were required (from the Council). It was essential to move the detonation site; he noted that Councillor S G Inch had suggested a move to the Pollyfield Centre. He requested serious consideration be given a significant reduction of noise level noting that pets and people were not immune to the cacophony.

The public member highlighted the depletions of the mumurations as a result of the twenty years of carnage. While referring to the past he made a public call to Bideford to move forward and care for the environment.

He noted that “eyes” were on the Council.

A second Member spoke of the importance of recognising the effects of climate change and the need to act for the future generations to come.

A third Member referred to climate change and the importance of the Climate Emergency Notice of Motion which he encouraged the Council to support. He believed that it was the duty of the Council to look after the people of Bideford by taking the steps towards attaining carbon neutral by 2030. He concluded that the Council can show its commitment by funding the solar panels on the Pannier Market.

A fourth Member felt encouraged by the Council’s agreed approach to plastics made eighteen months previously – bold steps. She confirmed that there were forty businesses in Torridge that were plastic free.

She indicated that the Secretary General of the United Nations had stated that climate change posed the greatest threat (to the world). Rising water levels will lead to food shortages. There are twelve years to limit the damage. She too alluded to future generations and the importance of Council decisions and actions in the interim.

163.      MINUTES

The Minutes of the Meeting held on 24 January 2019 were approved and signed as a correct record.

(Vote – For: 13, Against: 0)

164.      ORDER OF BUSINESS

Proposed by Councillor Bushby, seconded and

RESOLVED: That the order of business be changed to allow agenda items 14 and 15 to be addressed before item 5.

(Vote – For: 13, Against: 0)

165.      NOTICE OF MOTION

Submission by Councillor Christie.

“That this Town Council, taking into account the strong feelings recorded in the petition regarding the effects of the Fireworks on the starlings in Bideford, now investigates what action could be taken to mitigate this issue.”

Councillor Christie stated the Town Council gives money to the Christmas Lights Switch on and New Year’s Eve Celebrations but has no jurisdiction over the land where they are held.

The starling petition was the largest that has been passed to the District Council; he believed, though that both Councils should work together (on the issue).

The disturbance for the starlings is upsetting for (other) starlings and people.

Councillor Christie offered four discussion points:

1.   No fireworks (or anything – New Year’s Eve has changed).

2.   Move the Fireworks away from the Bridge – perhaps Pollyfield.

3.   Introduce low noise fireworks.

4.   Something different e.g. laser displays.

Councillor A T Inch indicated support for something new.

Councillor Christie had contacted a firm that could provide a laser display of ten to fifteen minutes duration for between £5,500 and £7,000.

Councillor A T Inch felt that a laser display would be fantastic PR for Bideford; it would be new, exciting and put Bideford back on the Map.

Councillor McGeough seconded the Motion. He indicated full agreement for something different. Councillor A T Inch suggested placing caveats on grant funding.

Councillor Howell expressed agreement, while noting the distress caused to the starlings, domestic pets and the wild life too suffered. He called upon an end to fireworks. There should be no grant monies for fireworks – the Council should be quite clear.

The Chairman suggested that there are quiet fireworks – visual impact but without noise. He believed that the present course had to stop, that the organisers (Christmas Lights / New Years Eve) had to be told what the Council wanted to fund.

The Chairman did highlight the very strong language that had been directed at both Councils, via the petition. He had asked the TDC officer responsible for the street cleansing following New Years Eve celebrations how many birds had been picked up. Not one dead starling had been collected.

Councillor Brenton informed the Members that the Starlings fly off in a distressed state and die distant from Bideford. He proposed an amendment to the Motion, “that the Organisers should experiment with a laser show this year.

Members noted that the grants for the New Year’s Eve and Christmas Lights Switch on this year had been given without conditions.

The Chairman reassured the Chamber that there would not be a repeat. And that the Council would speak with both groups to convey the wishes (of the Council).

Councillor Christie indicated that the fallback position would be TDC, who would, hopefully, not allow the use of fireworks on their land.

Councillor Pester suggested that members of the public were free to engage in pyrotechnics.

While the Chairman agreed that the public could not be controlled Councillor A T Inch felt that by making a stand others would follow.

Proposed by Councillor Christie, seconded and

RESOLVED: That the Motion is supported but amended to read:

“That this Town Council, taking into account the strong feelings recorded in the petition regarding the effects of the Fireworks on the starlings in Bideford, ensures this year’s Celebrations have a Laser Shows.”

(Vote – For: 13, Against: 0)

166.      NOTICE OF MOTION

Submission by Councillor Day.

“For Bideford Town Council to declare a ‘Climate Emergency’ and lobby Torridge District Council to do the same. Commit future funds for local sustainable energy projects and aim to make Torridge District zero net carbon by 2030.”

Councillor Day stated that the current global temperatures are among the warmest recorded. The world stage has seen devastating hurricanes and islands sinking in the Pacific. He quoted the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report that indicated we have twelve years to limit climate change catastrophe and keep global warming increases to a maximum of 1.5oC, to achieve Carbon dioxide emissions of net zero by 2050. He believed that the same level of action extended during World War II was required.

He urged the Council to commit to concrete action reiterating the aim to make Torridge District zero net carbon by 2030, through providing financial support.

He indicated that in Torridge the seven tons of waste produced per person in 2005 fell to 6.4 tons per person in 2009; there is a need to increase reductions further.

He spoke on achieving at a more personal level: councillors volunteering in street cleaning, Renewable Committee projects, keeping jobs in Bideford. Two per cent of the precept could be earmarked / £10,000 on other projects – providing more solar panels in the Community, tree planting, local food production / selling, positive initiatives on the local economy, keeping money in the Town and stimulate jobs (creation). The Public Support demands that the issue should be on the forefront of the Town Council Agenda.

Councillor Brenton seconded the Motion.

Councillor Christie revealed, as a geography lecturer instructing on geology and climatology, the gravity of Climate Change.

He noted that the Environment Agency had stated that the Quay Wall would see one instance of flooding in 100 years. But after twelve years they no longer adhere to the creed.

The Environment Agency have directed that should Northam Burrows / Pebble Ridge be breached TDC should not take action.

Councillor Christie remarked upon the folly of TDC having earmarked £160,000 towards Northam Burrows gabions in a “managed retreat”. He believed the Burrows will go underwater, once breached; Chivenor, Instow Beach, all the way up to Tesco and along the Link Road will similarly go underwater – the rise in water levels will affect the local area.

Councillor Christie expressed concern that a figure of £10,000 had no specific details. He suggested in facing the Ash Tree dieback that replanting would be practical and involve citizens.

Councillor A T Inch agreed caution over allocating £10,000, he felt that the precept was high, already. He would support the motion but for committing £10,000 – “the Council would look at Climate Change in a favourable way.

Councillor Christie indicated that the Council should commit future funds.

Councillor McGeough was not prepared to pledge funding. Councillor Brenton agreed practical support warning it would be expensive to aim for carbon neutral. He believed that influence should be brought to bear on the TDC Planning Department: include caveats for eco-friendly new systems for new builds.

In support for Councillor Day’s Motion and carrying on his work Councillor Mrs Craigie cited the success of the Pollyfield crowd funding venture for the solar panel installation. By investing in the Children’s Centre, energy costs would be brought down making a saving for the operation. The cost will be at least £10,000 and she encouraged the Council to commit funds.

Councillor Mrs Craigie in reiterating the vulnerability of Appledore, Braunton and Instow in the face of Climate Change declared that it was a crisis, local and global; the Council must ensure that Bideford leads the way.

Councillor Day believed it was important to give financial commitments; grant funding should be prioritised. The impact on the rate payer would simply be tens of pence. He spoke of benefits to primary schools, with solar installations, other solar initiatives, tree planting, opportunities to install LED lights and efficient heating systems.

Councillor Day explained that there were other finance options including crowd funding, community share offers and other funding bodies including central government and the Bridge Trust.

Councillor McGeough called for a recorded vote.

The Chairman did not agree with the Council lobbying TDC. He believed that the five TDC Councillors (in the Bideford Council) would be more effective in their petitioning.

The Chairman continued that Northam Burrows will be flooded and that the stated aim of Natural England, a quango with a huge budget, is to see Northam Burrows as a salt marsh that will be flooded twice daily.

The local MP, the Rt Hon Geoffrey Cox QC MP had twice raised concerns.

The Chairman added that TDC are the Coastal Defence authority; the Ridge is very weak. Up to the year 2000 TDC twice yearly redeployed the migration of rocks. Since 2000 no money has been spent. He stated that TDC overrule Natural England, they are the Freeholders of the land. There will be an erosion of the sand dunes within five years.

He expressed incredulity that TDC have earmarked £1,500,000 on establishing a Visitor Centre. He called on the TDC Councillors to remedy the situation.

Councillor Christie reiterated that Council Climate Change initiatives should not be restricted to £10,000 but that future funds would be allocated.

The Chairman indicated that identified schemes would be funded having passed the relevant committee stage.

It was proposed by Councillor Day, seconded and

RESOLVED: That the Motion for Bideford Council to support future initiatives to combat Climate Change is supported.

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

Vote:

For: 12

Councillors Brenton, Bushby, Christie, Day, Mrs Craigie, Mrs Gubb, Howell, Johns, McGeough, McKenzie, Pester and Wootton.

Abstention: 1

Councillor A T Inch.

167.      ACCOUNTS

To approve the payments listed.

It was proposed by Councillor Brenton, seconded and

RESOLVED: That the List of Payments is approved.

(Vote – For: 13, Against: 0)

168.      DEVON COUNTY COUNCIL (COUNCILLOR) REPORT

a.          Members had received the report from Councillor L Hellyer that included:

• A list of HATOC waiting time restrictions that will be advertised and confirmed at the HATOC Meeting in June, when they will become legal.
• Traffic order for Mill Street will go through the June HATOC.
• Barnstaple Street Bridge hole. Work will start on 4 March 2019.
• DCC has provided new signage for the Coach Park; this will benefit an application for coach friendly status.
• No domestic waste in Devon goes to landfill.
• The DCC budget for Children’s Services is bigger than the entire budget for TDC.
• DCC has declared a climate emergency and is continuing to look at things it can do to become carbon zero.

b.         The Chairman invited Members to raise points and questions including:

• Entry / Exit signs on Bridge Street car park.
• Request to County Councillor to establish whether substitutes can attend the HATOC Meeting.
• Railings opposite Saint Peter’s Church damaged.
• Zebra crossing / school patrol light blown over last year present a safety issue.
• Pot holes in Park Lane, Elm and Lime Grove, a “pit” at the bottom of North Road.
o Dips on the Road along the Quay and Kingsley Corner will be attended to in April and September.
• Request to County Councillor to investigate DCC officers visiting to check on the barriers around the trees at the Pannier Market.
• Town Council will operate the Bollards on confirmation of approved safe system of work / risk assessments in place.

c.        The Chairman thanked Councillor Hellyer for her contribution.

169.    COMMUNICATION BROUGHT FORWARD ON THE DIRECTION OF THE MAYOR

The Town Clerk advised:

a.       East-the-Water clean-up day, this Saturday, 9 March 2019 meet at the Pollyfield Centre at 10.00 am.

b.       Commonwealth Flag Day, Monday 11 March 2019: flag will be flown over the Town Hall; brief ceremony at Riverbank House, 10.00 am.

c.        Nomination papers are available from 18 March 2019 at Riverbank House for the elections to be held on 2 May 2019.

d.       Manor Court 16 March 2019. Town Hall open from 9.45 am, councillors to be robed by 10.15 am.

170.   STAFFING FINANCE AND GENERAL PURPOSES COMMITTEE

The Minutes of the Meeting held on 21 February 2019 were approved and adopted.

(Vote – For: 13, Against: 0)

171.    PLANNING COMMITTEE

The Minutes of the Meetings held on 30 January and 20 February 2019 were approved and adopted.

(Vote – For: 13, Against: 0)

172.    MARKET MANAGEMENT COMMITTEE

Minute. 168.

The Committee Chairman, Councillor Brenton, proposed an amendment, seconded by Councillor McKenzie to the Recommendation:

RECOMMENDED: That the Lintel works are funded by the Council from the Regeneration Budget.

(Vote – For: 13, Against: 0)

The Minutes of the Meeting held on 28 February 2019 were approved and adopted.

(Vote – For: 13, Against: 0)

173.    TOURISM COMMITTEE

Minute. 82.

The Committee Chairman, Councillor Howell, proposed, seconded by Councillor Pester

RECOMMENDED: “To engage Promultis to populate the content of the Interactive Display Board at a cost of £1,800 under the direction of the Town Clerk’s Assistant.”

(Vote – For: 13, Against: 0)

The Minutes from the 29 January 2019 Meeting were approved and adopted.

(Vote – For: 13, Against: 0)

174.    RENEWABLE ENERGY GENERATION COMMITTEE

The Minutes of the Meetings held on 25 January and 5 March 2019 were approved and adopted.

(Vote – For: 13, Against: 0)

175.    TOWN CENTRE PARTNERSHIP

Noted.

176.     DALC

Councillor Brenton advised that there was nothing to report.

177.     TAW AND TORRIDGE ESTUARY FORUM MEETING

Councillor Johns advised that there was nothing to report.

178.    TORRIDGE DISTRICT COUNCIL – UPDATE

Councillor McGeough advised that the TDC Economic Regeneration Officer was active in applying for the High Street Fund and that the Precept had been raised.

Councillor Christie advised that Northam Burrows had eroded by seven metres since the last measurement and that TDC were planning a Business Hub on the ground floor of the Town Hall.

179.    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 8.25 pm.

 

Accounts for approval at the Town Council Meeting – 7 March 2019

Accounts Town Council 7 March 2019

 

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