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Minutes of the Staffing, Finance & General Purposes Committee held in the Council Chamber, Town Hall, Bideford on Thursday 21 February 2019 at 6.30 pm

PRESENT:

North Ward:

Councillor D Bushby
Councillor P S Christie
Councillor P J Pester

South Ward:

Councillor D Brenton
Councillor S G Inch (Chairman)
Councillor R Wootton

South (Outer) Ward:

Councillor D Howell

East Ward:

Councillor M Langmead

IN ATTENDANCE:

Mrs H J Blackburn (Town Clerk)
2 x Students from Bideford College

095.      APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE

There were no apologies for absence.

096.      DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST AND ANY REQUESTS FOR DISPENSATION ON ITEMS ON THE AGENDA

There were no declarations of interest.

097.      PUBLIC PARTICIPATION SESSION OF 15 MINUTES DURATION

Two students from Bideford College (also speaking on behalf of a third student who was unable to attend the meeting), spoke about the outreach programme, Edukid. They will be travelling to Uganda in October where they will meet the children sponsored under the Bideford College scheme and provide them with basic provisions and a goat. Promoting and helping with the education of the children is also a key aim. The students told Members about the fund raising they have undertaken, and that they have also approached other local companies and have received funding. They said that they hope Bideford Town Council will also be able to support them with a grant. Councillor Langmead applauded their participation in the project and advised that he has some writing material they can have. He will contact them through the Clerk.

098.      MINUTES

Proposed by Councillor Langmead and seconded by Councillor Pester, the minutes of the meeting held on 10 January 2019 were approved and signed as a correct record.

(Vote – For: 8, Against: 0)

099.      CHAIRMAN’S ITEMS

The Town Clerk advised that the shortlisting for the Postcode Gardener had taken place and the interviews would be next week.

100.      ACCOUNTS

a.          Members received the list of payments.

Proposed by Councillor Inch, seconded by Councillor Langmead and

RESOLVED: That the draft list of payments is approved.

(Vote – For: 8, Against: 0)

b.          INTERNAL FINANCE INSPECTOR’S REPORT

Members considered the Internal Finance Inspector’s report.

Proposed by Councillor Langmead, seconded by Councillor Howell and

RESOLVED: That the Internal Finance Inspector’s Report for the period 1 October – 31 December 2018 is accepted.

(Vote For: 8, Against: 0)

Members thanked Councillor Pester for his work as Internal Finance Inspector.

c.         STATEMENT OF INTERNAL CONTROL

Members reviewed and approved the Council’s Statement of Internal Control for the Financial year 2018 – 2019.

Proposed by Councillor Bushby, seconded by Councillor Pester and

RESOLVED: That the Council’s Statement of Internal Control for the Financial year 2018 – 2019 is approved.

(Vote For: 8, Against: 0)

d.       RISK MANAGEMENT PAPER

Members reviewed the Council’s Risk Management Paper.

Proposed by Councillor Howell, seconded by Councillor Bushby and

RESOLVED: That the Council’s Risk Management Paper is approved.

(Vote For: 8, Against: 0)

e.       FINANCIAL REGULATIONS

Members reviewed the Council’s Financial Regulations

Proposed by Councillor Bushby, seconded by Councillor Howell and

RESOLVED: That the Council’s Financial Regulations are amended to reflect the fact that the annual budget is now set in January, and the payment methods are updated to reflect current practices.

(Vote For: 8, Against: 0)

101.    FUNDING REQUEST

Members considered a funding request from 3 students at Bideford College towards a trip to Uganda in association with Bideford College’s primary charity Edukid.

Proposed by Councillor Langmead, seconded by Councillor Christie and

RESOLVED: That the sum of £450 (in total) is awarded to the three Bideford College students to assist with funding the trip. A further £50 is to be allocated for the purchase of writing materials to be bought locally and taken to Uganda for distribution.

(Vote: For: 8, Against: 0)

Councillor Pester offered to visit the betting shops in Bideford, and ask for donations of pens which the students could also take to Uganda for distribution.

The Town Clerk was asked to invite the students to give a short presentation to Bideford Town Council following their return from Uganda.

102.      MANOR COURT PRESENTMENTS

Presentment Number: 3 – A Changing Places facility in Bideford for those who are disabled, or wheelchair bound This enables families with a member who is incontinent to be changed with dignity in a dry housing with the necessary equipment and facilities. Currently in Bideford the options are to either not go out for the day in the Town or change the person on the floor. We request this Council writes to Torridge District Council and Atlantic Village requesting future plans for such a facility.

The Town Clerk advised that she had been contacted by a changing places facility user with information about a provision called a Space to Change which fits into a smaller area than the regular sized facility. Councillor Langmead offered to see if this would be feasible for the redundant store room in the park. Councillor Christie will accompany him on a site visit as the Ward Member. The Town Clerk will furnish Councillor Langmead with the dimensions.

Presentment Number: 5 – That the Council investigates installing Recycling bins for Plastic on the quay for cyclists, runners, visitors to deposit their empty bottles etc. and that this council investigates the possibility of installing hygienic water fountains in Victoria Park and on Bideford Quay with Plastic recycling bins nearby to show support for the campaign to stop using plastics.

The Town Clerk advised that the installation of the water fountain in the Pannier Market had been agreed by the Market Management Committee. Councillor Langmead advised that he is still trying to find somewhere to put the plastic recycling bins.

103.      CHRISTMAS TREE LIGHTS IN JUBILEE SQUARE

Members considered correspondence from a Member of the Public suggesting coloured Christmas tree lights in Jubilee Square.

Proposed by Councillor Inch, seconded by Councillor Pester and

RESOLVED: That there will be no change to the white colour scheme for the Christmas Lighting as it is generally very widely admired and looks very impressive.

(Vote: For: 8, Against: 0)

104.      MILLS STREET BOLLARDS

Members considered whether the Maintenance Team are in a position to put the bollards up and take them down (when practical and not at the weekend), as they are currently unmanned and causing traffic issues in Mill Street. Councillor Bushby felt that it is important for this area to be safeguarded against traffic during the day, especially as the Town Council has made a large contribution towards the resurfacing of Mill Street. Members agreed that although traffic Management and pedestrianised areas are the responsibility of Devon County Council, the current situation cannot continue.

Members discussed the practicalities of putting up the bollards and it was agreed that Devon County Council should be asked to urgently provide a risk assessment, training for the Maintenance Operatives and an operating procedure before the Maintenance Team are able to undertake this task.

It was agreed that as the bollard at the Bridgeland St. end of Mill St. is currently missing, an “A Frame” displaying a no entry sign will be used in place of a bollard.

The Town Clerk was also asked to write to Devon County Council to inform them that someone is removing the bollards next to the Heavitree on a regular basis.

Proposed by Councillor Inch , seconded by Councillor Langmead and

RESOLVED: That The Town Clerk writes to Devon County Council advising that The Maintenance Team will, when practical, put up and take down the Mill Street bollards to assist Devon County Council with the traffic restrictions in Mill Street. Devon county Council are asked to urgently provide a risk assessment, training for the Maintenance Operatives and an operating procedure in order for Bideford Town Council to facilitate the operation of the bollards.

(Vote: For: 8, Against: 0)

104.      NEW ROAD GREEN AREA

Members gave consideration to requesting that the unkempt vegetation leading down to the river on New Road (opposite Ford Rise) is tidied up as part of the 10 x greener project.

Councillor Brenton reminded Members that the work to be done would need to take into account the nesting season.

Proposed by Councillor Bushby, seconded by Councillor Inch and

RESOLVED: That the vegetation leading down to the river on New Road is cleared as one of the first jobs of the 10 x greener project.

(Vote For: 8, Against: 0)

105.      BOWDEN GREEN PLAY PARK

Members considered writing to Westward Housing, requesting that the Bowden Green play area remains as a play park, is not used for development, and that the play equipment that was previously removed is reinstated.
Government policy is that local authorities should be encouraging play parks. Members noted that if there is a well-equipped play park on the Bowden Green side of the road, resident children will not need to cross the busy road to get to an alternative park.

Proposed by Councillor Brenton, seconded by Councillor Bushby and

RESOLVED: That the Town Clerk writes to Westward Housing requesting that they comply with government policy and that the Bowden Green play area remains as a play park, is not used for development, and that the play equipment that was previously removed is reinstated. In addition the Town Clerk will write to Torridge District Council enquiring whether there is there any 106 money which can be used for the refurbishment of the Bowden Green Play area.

(Vote For: 8, Against: 0)

106.     STUCLEY ROAD PLAY AREA

Members considered an email received from Westward Housing regarding the play area at Stucley road.

Proposed by Councillor Inch, seconded by Councillor Brenton and

RESOLVED: That the Town Clerk suggests that Westward Housing contacts Bideford Town Council again, once the play park has been completed. Members would like to see the provision of equipment which is durable and long lasting.

(Vote For: 8, Against: 0)

107.     FORD WOODS – ARBORICULTURAL WORK

Members considered the fixed price quotations for the work required at Ford Woods.

Proposed by Councillor Bushby, seconded by Councillor Inch and

RESOLVED: That Glendale Tree Surgeons are engaged to undertake the arboricultural work in Ford Woods. They will be also asked for a price for the work required on the trees at the Port Memorial, with the Chairman and Town Clerk having delegated authority to authorise the work if appropriate.

(Vote For: 8, Against: 0)

The Town Clerk was asked to investigate the possibility of chain saw training for Members of the Maintenance team and to bring back the information to a future meeting.

108.      FUTURE HIGH STREET FUND WORKING GROUP

Councillor Bushby gave Members an overview of the issues discussed at the Future High Street Fund Working Group, which was being led by the District Council. The first meeting was essentially an exploratory meeting with another one to follow on 1 March. Councillor Bushby noted that it was interesting that nothing was off the table and four different projects were discussed. The project preferred by the Chamber of Commerce is the town centre development. The Town Clerk advised that she and the Project Officer from Torridge District Council will be meeting with the landowner next week to discuss possibilities.

109.      NOTICE OF MOTION – COUNCILLOR BUSHBY:

“To progress the employment of a part-time Community Warden to work within the Bideford area. The position could possibly be shared with Northam Town Council.”

Councillor Bushby advised that Torridge District Council will support this project by assisting with the risk assessments and training and sharing the income from fines issued.

Members then discussed what issues are important to parishioners. Councillor Howell advised of the results of a Facebook survey held by the Chamber of Commerce concerning what people think is important in Bideford. Priority issues raised included car parking, more shops and more retail, street drinkers and pigeons.

Councillor Inch advised that N. Devon Council employ two Community Wardens, and Members were interested to know how this works, and whether a different option may be to see if Bideford Town Council could sub-contract this service.

Proposed by Councillor Bushby, seconded by Councillor Brenton and

RECOMMENDED: That the motion is supported and that Councillor Bushby checks with North Devon District Council how their scheme works, and whether there would be any sub-contracting opportunities.

(Vote For: 8, Against: 0)

110.     MAINTENANCE OPERATIVES

Members received an update on the tasks undertaken by the Maintenance Operatives and some of the specific jobs were discussed.

It was agreed that the Maintenance team would trim the hedge at bottom of zig zag path that is owned probably by Westward Housing and also undertake some clearance near Riverside Cottages that has been requested by the District Council.

111.      PART II CLOSED SESSION
Proposed by Councillor Inch, seconded by Councillor Langmead and

RESOLVED: That in view of the confidential nature of the business about to be discussed, the meeting moves into part II.

(Vote For: 8, Against: 0)

112.      STAFFING MATTERS

There is a confidential Minute associated with this item.

113.      Proposed by Councillor Brenton, seconded by Councillor Inch and

RESOLVED: That the meeting returns to Standing Orders.

(Vote For: 8, Against: 0)

The business of the meeting having been completed, the Chairman thanked the members for their attendance and the meeting concluded at 8.22 pm.

SFGP Accounts 190221

 


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