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Minutes of the Town Council held in the Council Chamber, Town Hall, Bideford on Thursday 27 June 2019 at  6.30 pm

PRESENT:

North Ward:

Councillor D Bushby
Councillor P S Christie
Councillor J Herron
Councillor D McGeough

South Ward:

Councillor Mrs S Langford
Councillor P Lawrence
Councillor R I Wootton

West Ward:

Councillor Mrs K Corfe
Councillor C Hawkins
Councillor D Ratcliff

East Ward:

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

IN ATTENDANCE:

Mrs H J Blackburn (Town Clerk)
Mr R D Coombes (Deputy Town Clerk)
3 x Members of the Public

28.      APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE

There were no apologies received.

29.     DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST ON ITEMS ON THE AGENDA

Councillor Christie declared a non-pecuniary interest in Item 25. (Member, Bideford Bridge Trust.)

30.     PUBLIC PARTICIPATION SESSION

A Member of the public congratulated the Council on the Mill Street flower arrangement project although he felt that the Planters were not so effective. They added that Mill Street was marred by the scaffolding that prevented the Christmas Lights banner display from being removed. Noting that there were dual hatted councillors he felt pressure ought to be exerted to resolve the situation.

The Chairman had spoken to the Highways Officer who advised that the Licence for the Scaffolding had a duration of seventy days and had been renewed.

The Public Member hoped that the Christmas Lights banner would be removed, on removal of the scaffolding.

31.    MINUTES

The Minutes of the Meeting held on 16 May 2019 were approved and signed as a correct record.

(Vote – For: 15, Against: 0)

32.    ACCOUNTS

Councillor McGeough did not believe that it was good practice to publish item 21 on the accounts.

The Town Clerk had considered the transparency aspect, no personal details were included, but if Members were mindful, payment (details) could be recorded as a confidential item. Members agreed to this course of action.

Councillor Bushby asked what payment 21 represented.

The Town Clerk advised that it was a direct payment to the receiving authority.

It was proposed by Councillor Christie, seconded and

RESOLVED: That the List of Payments be approved.

(Vote – For: 15, Against: 0)

33.    DEVON COUNTY COUNCIL (COUNCILLOR) REPORT

a.      The Chairman invited Councillor Mrs Hellyer to address the Members.

b.      Councillor Mrs Hellyer thanked the Chairman; her report had previously been circulated and included:

• Bideford Quay resurfacing between the Long Bridge and the Burton Gallery, 12 – 16 August 2019.

• Bideford Library will relocate to the ground floor of the Bideford Arts School Building, within twelve months, subject to planning.

• There is at last some movement to improve the outside area of the Market including making the trees safe.

• Buses for East the Water remain an issue. DCC will subsidise the 5B to be diverted (to East the Water) to maintain a service. It is not, though, financially viable to run a new service on Sundays; Stagecoach refuse to divert 21A buses.

• DCC have declared a climate emergency and are working with councils, emergency workers, partners and business groups to ensure that Devon achieves a net zero carbon footprint.

• DCC are working with Exeter University on a Carbon Plan with a combined budget of £450,000. The Carbon Plan will be a road map towards net zero carbon emissions. A low energy LED street lighting initiative should see the authority reduce total carbon emissions, in three years by thirty-six per cent.

The Chairman invited members to raise points / questions that included:

• TDC unaware of possible Library move, away from and freeing up (TDC owned) building.
o Art School under used, owned by DCC, fit for purpose.
• Grass verges:
o Clear, neat promotes visibility.
o Encourage growth, allow to mature.
o Vital for wildlife including bees and insects.
 Decarbonisation and Environment Committee Working Group Meeting 1 July 2019 at 5.00 pm.
 Life on the Verges presentation in Braunton on 4 July 2019
• East-the-Water buses.
o East Ward Members to work together.

c.         The Chairman thanked Councillor Hellyer for her contribution.


34.      COMMUNICATION BROUGHT FORWARD ON THE DIRECTION OF THE MAYOR

a.       The Mayor advised:

• Received visitors from Manteo gifted the Town with a beautiful barometer and a small plaque.
o The Council reciprocated providing a glass coat of arms fabricated by Rob Paterson, Butcher’s Row Tenant.
• Opened the refurbished Morrisons, made very welcome, enjoyable event and gifted the Members with cakes (circulated).
b.      The Town Clerk advised:

• Bideford Fair will take place on Saturday – the Mayor will open proceedings at 11.30 am. Councillor Mrs Gubb will be running the Event and would welcome any volunteers (on the day).
o Colourful poster advertising the Event created by Councillor Hawkins – photographs provided by Councillor Lawrence.
• Councillor Mrs Langford urged Members to submit the recent NHS consultation (previously circulated).

35.      PRAYERS BEFORE COUNCIL MEETINGS

The Chairman detailed the history of prayers at the Bideford Town Council Meetings.

He conducted a vote where:

ten Members voted to retain the status quo and

two Members voted not to continue.

The Chairman confirmed that the Council will continue to invite Ministers to lead prayers before (Full Council) Meetings.

36.      MARKET MANAGEMENT COMMITTEE

a.        Councillor McGeough noted W-Fi provision had experienced difficulties that impacted upon Tenant sales; he questioned the set up and why the continued problems.

Councillor McKenzie indicated that the agreement was for free Wi-Fi provision for the customers of the Market. He indicated that a different dual provision could be considered adding that no decision had been made, adding that free Wi-Fi could be withdrawn.

Councillor Craigie stated that the item would be discussed at the next Meeting (1 August 2019).

Councillor Lawrence advised that Tenants were conducting their business transactions on the free Wi-Fi platform. He had invested in his internet provider, for his shop unit on the Market Place front. Should the free Wi-Fi provision be improved upon he would use it.

The Deputy Town Clerk explained that the original concept was simply free Wi-Fi provision to encourage visitor footfall. There was no contract between the Council and Traders / Tenants to make provision in order for them to conduct their businesses. It had been rolled out in May 2016 and was largely trouble free.

Minutes of the Meeting held on 23 May 2019 were approved and adopted.

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

b.      The Minutes of the Meeting held on 20 June 2019 were approved and adopted.

(Vote – For: 15, Against: 0)

37.      MARKET MANAGEMENT COMMITTEE

a.        Minutes of the Meeting held on 22 May 2019 were approved and adopted.

(Vote – For: 15, Against: 0)

b.        The Minutes of the Meeting held on 5 June 2019 were approved and adopted.

(Vote – For: 15, Against: 0)

c.        The Minutes of the Meeting held on 26 June 2019 were approved and adopted.

(Vote – For: 15, Against: 0)

38.      ALLOTMENT COMMITTEE

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

(Vote – For: 15, Against: 0)

39.     RENEWABLE ENERGY COMMITTEE

The Minutes of the Meeting held on 30 May and 20 June 2019 were approved and adopted.

(Vote – For: 14, Against: 1)

40.     TOURISM COMMITTEE

Councillor Ratcliff believed that a letter of thanks should be sent to Mrs Ruth Benney for her work in support of the Town. Members expressed in agreement.

The Minutes of the Meeting held on 4 June 2019 were approved and adopted.

(Vote – For: 15, Against: 0)

41.      STAFFING, FINANCE AND GENERAL PURPOSES COMMITTEE

Minute No. 9. Fireworks. Councillor Mrs Craigie believed that 120 decibels (db) was too loud noting that the recent firework demonstration recorded the highest level of 105db was loud. With the sound measurement recorded on a logarithmic scale the limit should be set at that which can be purchased in shops.

Discussion followed including distance to noise ratio and the effect that extreme decibel levels can potentially have on children, animals and some vulnerable people, especially if they are in close proximity.

Round Hill, East the Water, confirmed as site for New Year.

It was proposed by Councillor Mrs Craigie, seconded and

RESOLVED: That the recommendation is amended:
delete: “with a maximum level of 120db.”
insert: “the maximum level that is sold commercially.”

(Vote – For: 7, Against: 3, Abstention: 5)

Councillor Lawrence announced that the maximum sound level of fireworks that are available in shops for the public to purchase is 120db.

The Minutes of the Meeting held on 13 June 2019 were approved and adopted.

(Vote – For: 15 Against: 0)

42.      WEST CROFT BOARD OF GOVERNORS – COUNCILLOR NOMINATION

Councillor Mrs Corfe volunteered for the Councillor nomination on the Westcroft Board of Governors and was proposed.

Councillor Mrs Langford was also proposed and confirmed her willingness to fill the role.

The Chairman requested a vote in the order of nomination.

It was proposed by Councillor Mrs Gubb, seconded and

RESOLVED: That Councillor Mrs Corfe represents the Council on the Westcroft Board of Governors.

(Vote – For: 11, Against: 0, Abstention: 4)

The Chairman concluded that there was no need for the second vote.

43.      VE DAY 75

Members had received communication from the Pageant Master Bruno Peake regarding VE Day 75.

Councillor McGeough felt that it would be an honour for the Council to fully support involvement on the day; Councillor McKenzie concurred.

It was proposed by Councillor Christie, seconded and

RESOLVED: That the item is considered at the next Staffing, Finance and General Purposes Committee Meeting.

(Vote – For: 13, Against: 1, Abstention: 1)

44.      NOTICE OF MOTION

Submission by Councillor James Craigie.

“To accept the gift of land adjoining Pollyfield Park by Advanced Pallet System Ltd and meet the legal expenses of the land transfer.”

Councillor Mrs Craigie seconded the Motion.

Councillor J Craigie provided further detail noting that former Councillor Sam Robinson had engaged with the owners with a view to obtaining access to Pollyfield for the residents of Churchill Road and Chubb Road.

Councillor J Craigie indicated that the Council should limit their expenditure to £10,000.00.

Councillor Bushby stated that he could not support the Council having responsibility for another area of land citing Ford Woods, the proverbial millstone draining Council resources. He added that for the small authority the Council would be faced with fencing and ongoing maintenance costs.

Councillor Mrs Craigie explained that for thirty years there was a non-registered footpath up until it was sold by TDC, the consequence of which badly affected the local community. Council involvement would restore the path by providing right of way on the land. She declared that TDC would not engage in the process adding that there was very strong local feeling (on the issue).

Councillor Mrs Hellyer agreed, believing that the cut through provision was vital providing access to the school and Pollyfield for a large community. She felt the Council had an obligation to serve the public. Councillor Mrs Hellyer added that the route was not very long but would make a lot of difference.

Councillor Ratcliff commended the idea but felt further points needed to be clarified / understood:

1.    Council involvement could see exposure to disputes.
2.    Escalating financial commitment in excess of the suggested £10,000.00.
3.    The small authority does think about Bideford.

Detail was needed on the financial implications.

The Chairman questioned why when TDC sold the area of land the Council should purchase it.

Councillor Bushby reiterated that the Council do not need to own the land, that it would be a further liability. He also questioned why the owners were prepared to gift the land.

Councillor Mrs Hellyer felt that there was greater merit with investment to a path that would see tangible benefit to the Community than simply spending £8,000.00 on a firework display that lasts ten minutes.

The Chairman questioned whether it was an area of land or simply a path that was needed. He advocated a site visit; Councillor Mrs Craigie agreed.

Discussion followed on the benefit to the Community of a direct path, the land and support for a site visit. Councillor Mrs Gubb highlighted that the area of land is made up of very dense scrub.

Councillor Mrs Corfe wished to ascertain whether it was the whole area of land or simply a path that was being gifted.

The Chairman also wished to confirm the position of the path; he indicated that a decision should be deferred awaiting a site visit. He would also visit TDC.

Councillor Bushby agreed with a site visit and suggested a rewording of the Motion, he did not believe the Council needed to own the land.

It was proposed by Councillor Christie, seconded by Councillor Ratcliff and

RESOLVED: That the Motion is deferred awaiting a site visit; the Town Clerk to establish a date.

(Vote – For: 15, Against: 0)

45.      NOTICE OF MOTION

Submission by Councillor James Craigie.

“To seek a community asset transfer of land by Bideford Signal box from the County Council to the Town Council, for the establishment of a picnic area for the Rail Heritage group and the Bideford Sustainability Group to seek planning consent for a glasshouse which would be shared with the Town Council Maintenance Team.”

Councillor Mrs Craigie seconded the Motion.

Discussion followed with points including:

• The Railway Heritage Group had applied to DCC but were refused.
• Tarka Trail / public rights of way - DCC concern.
• DCC have spoken to the Sustainability Group about managing allotment land.
• DCC have spoken to Heritage Centre and were open to picnic table, growing opportunity, willing to work with community / charity groups generally but cannot support where there is a business interest i.e. café.

Councillor Bushby feared another unnecessary cost and area of responsibility. He advocated that the Sustainability Group work with DCC. He expressed reservations at the large old wall
which could cost tens of thousands of pounds to maintain / keep safe.

Councillor J Craigie confirmed that the Sustainability Group did not want to take all of the land or hold the responsibility for it.

The Chairman was in agreement on the spectre of the wall, stating that a surveyor’s report (on the wall) would be necessary before any binding commitment.

It was proposed by Councillor Craigie, and seconded

(Vote – For: 4, Against: 8, Abstention: 5) (The Motion was, therefore, lost.)

46.       NOTICE OF MOTION

Submission by Councillor Peter Christie.

“That this Council ring fence £25,000 per year for 2 years from the Regeneration budget to establish a fund to provide new play equipment for the TDC owned play areas at Londonderry, Pollyfield, Devonshire Park and Alverdiscott Road. Additional funding to be sought from other bodies.”

Seconded by Councillor McKenzie.

The Chairman had noted during the local elections that the availability of play equipment was a recurring item of concern. Play equipment was dated and TDC had no monies earmarked, however, he provided details of S106 funds that can be drawn upon by (TDC) councillors.

With the availability of monies from other areas (he would make application to the Bridge Trust) he sought to amend his Motion requesting the ring fence of £25,000 for one year only and not two.

Councillor Mrs Hellyer stated that play areas are not being looked after by developers. Councillor Mrs Langford agreed; she asked whether the funding would see TDC guarantee the provision and wish to confirm that the responsibility of the equipment would not be with the Town Council.

The Chairman spoke in terms of leverage adding that there was a time limit on the S106 monies that could see the funding returned to the Developers.

Councillor Hawkins questioned whether Stucley Road could benefit; the Chairman replied in the negative given that everything had been passed by TDC to the (Westward) Housing Association.

Councillor Bushby sought to clarify that the Council’s contribution would not attract responsibility for the equipment; the Chairman confirmed that it would remain with TDC.

It was proposed by Councillor Christie, seconded and

RESOLVED: That the Motion amended to read,

“That this Council ring fence £25,000 for one year from the Regeneration budget to establish a fund to provide new play equipment for the TDC owned play areas at Londonderry, Pollyfield, Devonshire Park and Alverdiscott Road. Additional funding to be sought from other bodies.”

is supported.

(Vote – For: 15, Against: 0)

47.      NOTICE OF MOTION

Submission by Councillor Peter Christie.

“That the Council write to Devon County Council to discover on what terms they would convey the seating area and trees outside the Southern side of the Pannier Market to Bideford Town Council.”

The Chairman explained how the trees, the roots and plastic barriers around the aforementioned items detract from the Market experience; he sought an asset transfer.

Councillor Herron stated that (the) trees were good for sucking carbon dioxide. Root spread needs a large area although the roots can be pruned; they need maintenance.

Councillor Mrs Hellyer explained that the seating area is the responsibility of DCC, highways and that there can’t be a transfer.

She added that DCC are keen to save the trees and were willing to work with the Bideford Sustainability Group; plans are underway to establish flower beds and organise planters. She repeated that it was not possible for a community land transfer.

Councillor Mrs Craigie referred to the problems that shedding leaves cause by making the uneven surfaces more slippery. She referred to a tenant who had broken an ankle in negotiating the path and cautioned Members on the many financial implications. She added that volunteers support the Market Officer in clearing the autumn leaves.

Councillor J Craigie spoke about Heritage Lottery Funding and submitting a grant application for the wider Market area.

Councillor Mrs Hellyer declared that TDC are the road sweeping authority and have a responsibility for collecting leaves. The Land is not for sale. An application for a licence can be made to look after the area again, no community land transfer opportunity.

She reiterated that DCC are trying to do something with the outside area; the Market Tenants and Traders are keen. For the Council to take control DCC would require an exit strategy.

Councillor Bushby approved of work to make the area safe, remove the fencing and deal with the roots. The Market is a good asset to the Town.

The Chairman indicated that obtaining a licence would be a great idea with the engagement of the Market Officer and Maintenance Team.

Councillor Mrs Hellyer indicated that she had spoken with the Head of DCC Highways on developing the area.

It was proposed by Councillor Christie, seconded and

RESOLVED: That the Motion is supported.

(Vote – For: 13, Against: 2)

48.        BIDEFORD TOWN CENTRE PARTNERSHIP

Members noted the Minutes from the Meeting held on 29 May 2019.

(Councillor McGeough left the room.)

49.        DALC MEETING

Councillor Mrs Craigie described how she found the Meeting very interesting with the Devon local Town and Parish Councils having the opportunity, through the forum, to exchange views and share “best practice”. She noted that while a number of councils had taken steps to address their Climate Emergency concerns, she had spoken on Bideford’s commitment and efforts, through the Renewable Energy Generation Committee to date.

She advised that Tavistock Town Council had offered to help anyone with a Lottery Heritage Funding application, having raised finance for the Market / Town buildings.

50.        TAW & TORRIDGE ESTUARY FORUM MEETING

The Chairman advised that a potential seven metre rock armour wall at Yelland could have a knock on effect the river Torridge and the Town.

51.        TORRIDGE DISTRICT COUNCIL – UPDATE

The Chairman advised that:

a.     Brunswick Wharf. There is progression.

b.     Bridge Building. There has been a viewing in the last month.

Discussion followed on the potential for the building, including office space, social housing, Community Land trusts and S215 (poor condition).

52.      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 8.32 pm.

 

Account for approval at the Annual Town Council Meeting – 27 June 2019

Accounts Town Council 27 June 19

 

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