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Minutes of the Staffing, Finance & General Purposes Committee held in the Council Chamber of the Town Hall on Thursday 27 July 2023 at 6.30 pm


North Ward:

Councillor D Bushby (Chairman)
Councillor P Christie

East Ward:

Councillor J Hellyer (sub for Cllr Mrs L Hellyer)
Councillor J McKenzie (Town Mayor)

South Ward

Councillor P Lawrence

West Ward

Councillor A T Inch (sub for Cllr Mrs Gubb)
Councillor C Hawkins


Mr P Swan (Town Clerk)
Mr R Coombes (Deputy Town Clerk)
Members of the Public


Councillors Mrs J Gubb (East Ward – personal), S Inch (South Ward – personal), Mrs L Hellyer (personal) and D McGeough (North Ward – personal).




There were no members of the Public present.

017.   MINUTES

Proposed by Councillor Lawrence and seconded, the minutes of the meeting held on 15 June 2023 were approved and signed as a correct record.

(Vote – For: 6, Against: 0, Abstentions: 1)


No items were raised.


a.   Members received the list of payments.

Councillor A T Inch noted that a number of purchases had been made through Amazon. The Chairman confirmed that Council aim to source locally where appropriate.

Proposed by Councillor Bushby seconded by Councillor A T Inch and

RESOLVED: That the draft list of payments is approved.

(Vote – For: 7, Against: 0)


Members considered the Internal Finance Inspector’s report.

Proposed by Councillor Bushby, seconded by Councillor A T Inch and

RESOLVED: That the Internal Finance Inspector’s Report for the period 1 April – 3 June 2023 is approved.

(Vote For: 7, Against: 0)

The Chairman expressed thanks to Councillor Craigie for conducting the Internal Finance inspection.

Councillor Christie requested comparison figures for the Market Hall income for the last two six month periods.


1.   Abbotsham Road – 20 mph. DCC have advised that they have no funding, the “twenty twenty,” survey has now closed.

Members agreed to discharge the Presentment with the action completed.

2.   Free parking concession. The Clerk has written to TDC.

Members agreed to discharge the Presentment with the action completed.

3.   (Resurfacing) Assessment of Ford Woods lower path (New Road to Rowe Close) and budget for on-going maintenance (of the whole path).

Members considered a (costed) works proposal in the light of providing safe access to allcomers.

Proposed by Councillor McKenzie, seconded and

RESOLVED: That the proposed resurfacing works are completed, and budget provision made for the on-going maintenance of the whole path.

(Vote - For: 7, Against: 0

4.   Ford Rock (land restoration). Remains ongoing. Chairman reiterated historical context alluding to recent on site visit with senior TDC officers.

5.   Tarka Trail tree planting. DCC had written being, “loathe to add more trees to the trail,” indicating a drain on resources and citing “problems for the drainage, the surface and the verges as they mature.”

Members agreed to discharge the Presentment with the action completed.

6.   Old Town Cemetery Orchard. The Clerk had visited the Site with Councillor Christie. Notwithstanding the complications of shared ownership between TDC and the Church of England an area was identified for about six trees.

Members considered a (costed) tree planting proposal.

Proposed by Councillor Christie, seconded and

RESOLVED: That the proposed tree planting is completed subject to agreement from TDC.

(Vote - For: 7, Against: 0

The Clerk will source a plaque.

7.   Chudleigh Fort – TDC tree survey ahead of action to enhance the area / views.

The Clerk has written to TDC; awaiting response / tree assessment.

8.   TDC Play Area strategy of 2021 for the Play Area on Alverdiscott Road.

On going.

9.   Request to DCC for a study into fully pedestrianizing Mill Street.

Members agreed to discharge the Presentment with the action completed (DCC officer and councillor cited costs that would preclude study unless the Council were prepared to finance an estimated £100,000).

10.   Request TDC to review of the Play are equipment behind the Boxing Club.

Clerk visited site with Councillor McKenzie; to be raised at TDC “Mayors and Clerks” meeting.

11.   Request to TDC for siting of dog waste bin in the vicinity of the Manteo Road junction.

Awaiting response from TDC.
Concern was raised at TDC inertia over new bin placement noting that provision should be made for improved resource given any increase would necessitate an increase to the collection / emptying schedule.

Members highlighted that dog waste can be placed in any bin.

Proposed by: Councillor Bushby, seconded by Councillor McKenzie and

RESOLVED: That Presentment Numbers: 1, 2, 3, 5 and 9 are discharged / actioned; 6 also, subject to completion. Presentment Numbers 4, 7, 8, 10 and 11 remain ongoing.

(Vote – For: 7, Against: 0)


“No Mow May? To reconsider supporting No-Mow May on all scheduled grass cutting sites. To review just selected areas next season.”
Councillor Bushby spoke of the impact that the unrestrained two foot tall unsightly grassed areas had upon the workforce in terms of health and safety, the need for multiple cuts, strain on equipment and resource cost including fuel and time.

Councillor McKenzie seconded the motion.

Councillor Lawrence added that the significant growth was a danger for road users.

Members discussed further “No Mo May,” points including:

• Unattended areas can lead to a “disrespect” for communal areas.
• Increase prevalence of abandoned waste and dog detritus.
• Carbon Footprint – Council’s commitment to Net Zero.
• Return cutting contract to DCC offers cost saving benefits.
• Public reaction.
• Reputational damage.
• Introduction of wild meadows, change of grass and introduction of clover.
• Limited benefit of grass to wildlife (apart from worms).
• TDC considering their policy.

Given the polarising debate Councillor Bushby withdrew his Motion indicating that TDC would be considering the issue the result of which could inform future opinion.


a.   Members received and noted the update on the tasks undertaken by the Maintenance Operatives.

Councillor A T Inch noted the amount of time spent on grass cutting. Councillor Christie established that the Council have entered an agreement and are paid £3204.00 for the delivery of grass cutting services.

b.   Councillor McKenzie advised that Councillor Mrs Hellyer had been in discussion with Persimmon Homes in relation to the Biddiblack Way play park at Tarka Point.

They had agreed to attend to the grass cutting and that following a RoSPA (Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents) inspection of the play area will action any works required to attain a suitable standard.

Councillor Hellyer reminded members that the previous Council had indicated a willingness to take over the play park – once up to standard and with a payment to support future maintenance.

Councillor McKenzie indicated that Maintenance Team could install more benches in the area.

The Chairman observed that consideration would be given following a formal offer.


Proposed by Councillor Bushby, seconded by Councillor McKenzie and

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

(Vote - For: 7, Against: 0)


There is a confidential Minute associated with this item.


Proposed by Councillor Bushby, seconded and

RESOLVED: That the meeting returns to Standing Orders.

(Vote For: 7, Against: 0)

The business of the meeting having been completed, the Chairman thanked the members for their attendance and the meeting concluded at 7.40 pm.



Table of Accounts for presented for approval at SFGP meeting on 27 July 2023 Pg.1

Table of Accounts presented for approval at SFGP meeting on 27 July 2023 Pg2

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