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Minutes of the Town Council held in the Council Chamber, Town Hall, Bideford on Thursday 8 August 2019 at 6.30 pm


North Ward:

Councillor D Bushby
Councillor P S Christie (Town Mayor)
Councillor J Herron
Councillor D McGeough
Councillor T Johns

South Ward:

Councillor Mrs S Langford
Councillor P Lawrence
Councillor R I Wootton

West Ward:

Councillor C Hawkins
Councillor D Ratcliff

East Ward:

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


Mrs H J Blackburn (Town Clerk)
Mrs L Dixon-Chatfield (Town Clerk’s Assistant)
6 x Members of the Public
1 x Journalist
1 x County Councillor


Councillor Mrs K Corfe (West Ward) – personal
Councillor Mrs R Craigie (East Ward) – personal


Councillor J Craigie declared a non-pecuniary interest in Item 15. (Chairman, East the Water in Bloom.)
Councillor Christie declared a non-pecuniary interest in item 20. (Member, Bideford Bridge Trust.)


A member of the public, who was involved with the group Extinction Rebellion, wished to speak about Items 14 and 15. She was delighted to see that the new Council were taking steps to implement Woodland / Verge management. She explained that wild-flower planting of the verges and the future management of community woodlands was vital to mitigating biodiversity loss.

She thanked the Council for their time.

56.     MINUTES

The Minutes of the Meeting held on 27 June 2019 were approved and signed as a correct record.

(Vote – For: 13, Against: 0, Abstentions: 1)

57.     ACCOUNTS

Councillor McGeough questioned Item 9 on the accounts - Recycling Waste Removal. He queried the cost and suggested that it could be a task that the Maintenance Team would be able to take on.

The Town Clerk explained that the Allotments have a budget to take away waste, which is usually heavy duty, on an annual basis. She considered the point to be fair and would raise the question with the Maintenance Team.

It was proposed by Councillor Christie, seconded and

RESOLVED: That the List of Payments be approved.

(Vote – For: 14, Against: 0)

b.     To receive a copy of the external auditor’s certificate and opinion 2019/20

The Chairman remarked that he was pleased to report that the Council had achieved a clean bill of health. He invited comments, and the external auditor’s certificate and opinion 2019/20 was noted.


a.     The Chairman invited Councillor Inch to address the Members.

Councillor Inch thanked the Chairman; his report had previously been circulated and included:

• Road repairs along the Quay from 5th to 9th for pre-works and 12th to 16th for re-surfacing. All works would be carried out overnight.

• Potholes are being repaired thanks to good weather in the winter and this summer. Please continue to report potholes and any other highway issues online.

• The improvement works to the A39/A361 is being planned with a start date of March 2020.

• DCC have given a grant to Abbotsham Parish Council to help bring back some of the wildflowers on some of their village verges. Perhaps Bideford would like to do the same?

• DCC are looking at working with the District Council on annual inspections of Ash trees due to the increase of Ash Dieback.

Councillor Inch added that he was pleased to see the new Maintenance van was on the road and looking good. He explained that he and Councillor Mrs Hellyer had made contributions from their locality budget to support the good works that are carried out by the Maintenance Team.

He informed members that he had funds still available in the Locality Budget which could assist with implementing wildlife verges.

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

Councillor Ratcliff had received complaints from three residents about parking on pavements and asked how the County Council viewed this. He added that the Enforcement Officer had been to see the situation but each time he had attended, the offenders had moved their vehicles. Councillor Inch was aware of the problem and has got photographic proof of the offenders. He would ask the Enforcement Officer to visit the area at more pertinent times. He added that he would raise the subject at the next HATOC meeting, with a view to the possible installing of bollards.

The Chairman thanked Councillor Inch for his contribution.


a.      The Mayor advised:

He had received a letter from the Rotary Club thanking him for attending the Water Festival and especially the Cardboard Boat Regatta. The letter informed him that approximately £6,000 had been raised and would be distributed amongst the good causes in the area.


Minutes of the Meeting held on 1 August 2019 were approved and adopted.

(Vote – For: 14, Against: 0)


a.     Minutes of the Meeting held on 17 July 2019 were approved and adopted.

(Vote – For: 14, Against: 0 )

b.     The Minutes of the Meeting held on 7 August 2019 were approved and adopted.

(Vote – For: 14, Against: 0)

Councillor McGeough congratulated the Town Clerk on the crimping/staple-less document and asked why some other minutes still had staples. The Town Clerk explained it was a new function on the printer and would be used more extensively in the future.


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

(Vote – For: 14, Against: 0)


The Minutes of the Meeting held on 25 July 2019 were approved and adopted.

(Vote – For: 14, Against: 0 )


The Town Clerk explained that the Chairman of this Committee is absent and that there is currently no Vice Chairman as this is planned to be a member of the public.
The Chairman proposed the minutes.

The Minutes of the Meeting held on 11 July 2019 were approved and adopted.

(Vote – For: 14, Against: 0)


Submission by Councillor James Craigie.

“To write to Westward Housing, Torridge District Council and 146 to 154 Church Road (evens) to establish if there are any objections to the Town Council creating an entrance to Pollyfield Park via the carpark to the rear of those houses and associated disability access ramp ”

Councillor J Craigie wished to thank those Councillors who attended the site visit, especially to Councillor Bushby whose suggestions were most valuable.

Councillor Bushby seconded the Motion.

RESOLVED: That the Motion is supported

Vote – For: 13, Against: 1, Abstentions: 0)


Submission by Councillor James Craigie.

“To establish a Community Woodland Committee to manage Ford Woodland and liaise with owners/managers of publicly accessible woodlands in Bideford Parish to reduce maintenance costs.

Councillor J Craigie stated that as there was insufficient knowledge in the biodiversity group, that the sharing of knowledge and understanding could make full value of the woodland and the environment.
To invite landowners and land managers to work with this Council to look at mutually beneficial reduction in costs.

Councillor Mrs Hellyer seconded the Motion.

Councillor Ratcliff recalled that Belway Homes, who were developing the site next to Ford Woodland, gifted the Ancient woods to the Town Council. He added that there were extremely large bills at the beginning of the custody and because of this he felt strongly that costings would need to be regarded closely.

Councillor Bushby explained that the SFGP Committee currently manages the Woodland and is happy that it works as it does. He did not feel it to be necessary to set up a new committee but would be more comfortable with a sub-committee who would bring findings and items to SFGP for action.

The Chairman noted that the biggest area of woodland in his ward is Kenwith Valley. He also had concerns that a new committee would incur expenses and would have to report back to SFGP. He favoured a sub-committee. He added that, in his experience, it was very difficult to find owners of woodland.

As the Motion had been proposed and seconded the Chairman called for a vote.

(Vote – For: 5, Against: 6, Abstention: 3) (The Motion was, therefore, lost.)


Submission by Councillor James Craigie.

“To establish a test of wildlife verges in line with proposals on accompanying report and organise a consultation event for residents of Bideford to provide feedback on the wildlife verges.”

The Chairman passed around an image of a wildflower verge in Rotherham.

Councillor J Craigie stated that environments differ in areas and the group would need to be conscious that in a tourist area, it is made appealing to all. He would suggest a 12-month test to see the best way forward.

Councillor McKenzie seconded the Motion.

Councillor Mrs Hellyer felt it was important that the plants are native to their environs – to plant random flowers that are there for attraction will not work. She understood that by removing the grass clippings after cutting would encourage the natural plants to come through. She added that expert advice should be encouraged.

Councillor Mrs Gubb agreed that the verges, when blooming with native flowers, look beautiful her only concern would be that the Maintenance Team may have to purchase new machinery in order to collect the grass clippings.

Councillor Lawrence felt it would be necessary to work with residents as, sometimes, they would cut the verges themselves..

Councillor Bushby saw no problem with this initiative if it produced beauty and habitat. He had two concerns:

• Would need to be mindful of the length of time of transit from cutting the grass to when the flowers come through. Just having long grass in the interim period would be unsightly. He suggested the test period be on selected areas,

• He was pleased that there were a number of volunteers to help with the test but, he explained, Chapter 8 training would be needed for volunteers if working along roadsides – costs would need to be taken into consideration and the funding for those costs.

Councillor J Craigie thanked members for their comments and pointed out to them that his report covered all their concerns

As the Motion had been proposed and seconded, the Chairman called for a vote.

RESOLVED: That the Motion is supported.

(Vote – For: 9, Against: 5)


Members noted the Minutes from the Meeting held on 10 July 2019.

The Chairman noted that Item 71 mentioned a Ceramic Centre in Bideford. He had some knowledge of a similar scheme some years ago involving the Bridge Trust. He was happy to share that information with the Partnership Chairman.


The Chairman noted that as the representative Councillor for DALC was absent, no report would be forthcoming.


Councillor Johns had attended the July meeting where the Harbour Master had given an informative talk about the problems associated with the houseboats on the river. Other items had included:

Policing issues with speeding on the river
Increasing decay of Richmond Dock
Development of housing at Yelland and the effect on the Tarka Trail wildlife
The new Appledore-Instow Ferry is now fully operational and doing good trade

The Chairman thanked Councillor Johns for his report.


The Chairman advised that the last full meeting of TDC had been cancelled, together with Plans and Overview & Scrutiny.

He added that the Harbour Board had met and discussed the houseboats at some length. This Council had been invited to get involved in finding ways to increase revenue in the port.

One suggestion had been Boat Taxis from Appledore to Bideford - although this would be strictly tidal.

There was an in-depth discussion on the reasons why meetings had been cancelled and Members wondered if the Chairman had anymore information in his capacity as Vice Chairman of TDC. Also, if it was unconstitutional to cancel meetings in this way.

The Chairman knew that Plans had been cancelled due to the lack of contentious items for the agenda. An email had been circulated to say that there were no agenda items for the Full Council meeting.

More discussion followed on items that could have been put on the agenda i.e.
• The TDC Constitution
• Erosion of Westward Ho! Beach
• Climate Emergency
• Brunswick Wharf
• An opportunity to have a Q & A with the public

A brief closing discussion regarding the TDC Constitution indicated that Torridge Councillors had now been invited to consult on the new Constitution.

The Chairman reported that at the Harbour Board meeting, Brunswick Wharf had been discussed with various suggestions being put forward for the site.

Councillor Bushby informed Members that he had put in a Notice of Motion to propose the Developer go on-hold so that the new Councillors on Torridge District Council have an opportunity to input. The Motion will be to shelve the current situation and have a full public consultation, even if there is a cost. The Chairman replied that the cost would not be to Torridge it would be to the Developer and that there had already been a consultation. This Council had formerly put forward suggestions.

Councillor McGeough concluded that this is exactly why Brunswick Wharf should have been discussed at the cancelled Full Council meeting.

The Chairman reported that he had been informed that the second part of the Tantons complex was being put on the market again for re-sale. The update from the Tantons developer is that the middle part of the three buildings, adjacent to the Police Station, had imploded and that he wishes to demolish all three and build a number of flats. The Chairman had reminded the developer that the building was listed.


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

He pointed out that Councillor David Brenton’s tenure on the Bridge Trust would be coming to an end this month and that a replacement would need to come forward. Their term of office would be 4 years, after which there is no return. He, himself, had been a member of the Bridge Trust for many years and found it to be fascinating work.

Councillor Christie further mentioned that the Bridge Trust had received information from Councillor Brenton, through the Bideford Town Centre Partnership, that they would request funding for the next Phase of the Hanging Basket Scheme. He added that they had agreed a contribution.


The business of the meeting having been concluded the Mayor thanked the members for their attendance at the meeting which concluded at 7.28 pm.


Town Council Accounts 080818




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