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Town Council Minutes 24 January 2019

Written by claire parsons. Posted in Town Council Meeting Minutes

Minutes of the Town Council held in the Council Chamber, Town Hall, Bideford on Thursday 24 January 2019 at 6.30 pm

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 S G Inch
Councillor R I Wootton

South (Outer)

Councillor D Howell

East Ward:

Councillor Mrs R Craigie
Councillor Mrs J Gubb
Councillor M C Langmead
Councillor J A McKenzie

IN ATTENDANCE:

Mrs H J Blackburn (Town Clerk)
Mr R D Coombes (Deputy Town Clerk)
Councillor L Hellyer (DCC)
Inspector S Kenneally (Bideford Police Station)

1 x Members of the Public

138.      APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE

Councillors Mrs P Davies (East Ward – illness).

139.      DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST ON ITEMS ON THE AGENDA

Councillor Christie declared a non-pecuniary interest in Item 19. (Member, Bideford Bridge Trust.).

140.      PUBLIC PARTICIPATION SESSION

There was no public participation.

141.      MINUTES

The Minutes of the Meeting held on 13 December 2018 were approved and signed as a correct record.

(Vote – For: 15, Against: 0)

142.     ACCOUNTS

To approve the payments listed.

It was proposed by Councillor McKenzie, seconded and

RESOLVED: That the List of Payments is approved.

(Vote – For: 15, Against: 0)

143.    POLICE PRESENTATION

a.        The Mayor welcomed Inspector Shaun Kenneally, Bideford Police Station.

b.        Inspector Kenneally thanked the Chairman and addressed the Members by wishing everyone a Happy New Year. He followed with a summary of the Crime Statistics for Torridge area: 23 January 2018 – 23 January 2019.

Incident                                                                           Number                                   % increase / decrease
                                                                                       (in year)

Violence with injury,
inc domestic abuse                                                           429                                                     + 10 %

 

Violence without injury –
harassment inc social media                                             648                                                     + 6.6%

 

Rape inc historical cases                                                    48                                                     + 17%
                                                                               (12 in last 12 months)

Street robbery                                                                       3                                                     No change

Burglary (dwellings
inc attached garage)                                                            64                                                    + 20%

Burglary non-dwelling inc garages)                                     78                                                     - 34%

Vehicle offence (theft /damage                                          139                                                    + 43%

Shop lifting                                                                        293                                                    + 47%

There has been an increase in power tool thefts which clearly adversely impacts upon tradesmen.

The Chairman noted that such items are offered for sale on social media.

Inspector Kenneally referenced cybercrime and trawling through E Bay when given details of a specific case / individual but indicated that the Force was not as good as it could be in the field; he conceded that it was a growing area, though.

He also noted that again the Force was not resourced to attend shop lifting incidents; there was a spike in the figures as a result of two or three individuals targeting shops in the early summer months.

Responding to whether retailers reported more Inspector Kenneally put the onus on the National Companies, especially the larger supermarkets when it came to their security precautions, numbers on the ground, CCTV provision and ability to provide evidence.

Councillor S G Inch spoke of the compromise in trading with less staff; he declared that shoplifting was a bigger issue in Barnstaple.

Criminal Damage                                                                455                                                    - 11%

Public Order                                                                        250                                                   + 25%
(borne out of frustration – sign of the times – including more assaults on police staff)

Possession of weapons                                                        20                                                     + 81%

Councillor Langmead had discovered on Facebook, an example in a school where a pen becomes a knife. Inspector Kenneally confirmed instances of concealed weapons (in schools).

Drugs trafficking / possession                                              79                                                     + 8%

Public Order                                                                         250                                                    + 25%

Jan 2018 - 19 total offences                                               2,920                                                   + 6.1%

No homicides / murders.

c.        Members raised questions and comments, that included:

• No mention of fraud and child exploitation.
o Numbers have gone down.
• Impact upon the Rural Community: animal and (farming) machinery theft.
o Heavy plant machinery (theft) has increased. Organised criminal groups in particular target Quad bikes, JCBs and trailers. It is a national problem, worth a lot of money where items are exported abroad (similar to high end motor cars). Livestock is not so prevalent.
• CCTV.
o Does provide an impact, however, effectiveness is limited.
o Talk of amalgamation between Torridge District (TDC) and North Devon Councils would provide increased operator hours.
o Currently TDC have to optimise their hours.
o When unmanned CCTV simply records a fixed point.
o The (co) location in the Police Station works well.
o The present system is seventeen years old.
o There will be updated cameras in the new financial year, of a better quality.

Inspector Kenneally indicated that the County Lines operation had improved albeit that there are emerging issues.

He noted that the New Year’s Eve celebration in the Town had been relatively quiet over the last two years. This last Event was very well run; the organisers had twenty-two security staff who did an excellent job. He reinforced that it was really well run.

He alluded to people in crisis and the increase of those with mental health issues where suicide presents a solution. There is no longer a place of safety in North Devon District Hospital. Those vulnerable people who are found in Police care outside certain times will find themselves caged in a Police van and taken to Exeter or Torbay. Apart from tying up Police resources there remains a need for a provision in North Devon, a secure place of safety with Doctors where, if necessary, detention under the mental health act can be achieved. (Less than one third are detained.)

He indicated that nine out of ten of those engaged in a suicide bid on the Torridge Bridge are, in fact, making a cry for help. A Crisis Café would be of benefit to Bideford.

Councillor Craigie raised the concerns of an elderly resident blighted by youths cycling on pavements and the Crime Commissioner’s provision of eighty-five policemen (will Bideford attract any?).
• Inspector Kenneally will send the message during school visits / presentations.
• He indicated that Bideford had taken on a new Neighbourhood officer, a detention manager and two response officers.
• He would welcome further officers but there were still reductions in the PCSO staffing until 2020.
• The increase would be financed by an increase on the precept.

d.          The Mayor thanked Inspector Kenneally for addressing the Meeting.

144.      DEVON COUNTY COUNCIL (COUNCILLOR) REPORT

a.          Members had received the report from Councillor A T Inch that included:

• Points on children’s services: foster care allowances and meeting of DCC with the Minister for Education.
• Highways statistics on winter service provision.

b.         Councillor A T Inch indicated that there would be a development management meeting about the link road next week (week beginning 28 January 2019) and a HATOC meeting on 26 February 2019, he encouraged members to E Mail him with agenda items.

DCC have been given £18.7 million, extra, towards (Devon) road repairs.

Devon County Councillors will be allocated their individual £10,000.00 grant funding in 2019. Members could consider opportunities for the funding. He had provided £4,000.00 towards the Handy Cross storage containers.

DCC have streamlined their Highways operation by extending the portfolio of the Highway Officer for Bideford North, East and Northam to encompass the Western region, reducing the Officer strength from two to one.

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

• The bottom of the High Street is sinking. The issue has been reported but the issue continues to become worse.
• Last year an agreement had been made between North Devon Council and DCC to clear the sides of the Link Road. Has an agreement been considered with TDC?
• Park Avenue / Park Lane is in a horrendous state. It is an obstacle course not a road. The on-line reporting facility does not provide for highlighting a whole road.
• Trees at the Market. Following notification of DCC intended action eighteen months previous, barriers remain in place, pavement area is damaged and presents potential trip hazards.

The Chairman invited Councillor Hellyer to respond, given the concerns fell within her area of responsibility.

• High Street. Until the safety level is reached the issue will remain; she too has reported.
• Park Lane / Avenue. Highways is a vast concern. Each demand is measured / agreed; Asset Management sometimes have issues with the bureaucratic process, though.
• Market Trees / Barriers. The Tree Officer will look, however, there is no budget.

Members raised further points including:

• Manteo Way on the way to the Tesco Stores centre of road and further along on the roadside, almost continuous pot holes; reported on a number of occasions.
o Councillor Hellyer had reported similar instances in adjacent areas. She noted that the £18.7 million pounds over the 8,000 miles of network afforded her area £27,500.00 which she believed to be a modest sum in face of the demand.
• Tree barriers, outside Market, checked every two days to satisfy Health and Safety regulations.
o Should the Town Council wish to develop the area outside the Pannier Market they would need to provide a Business Plan including what they wished to do, funding, risk assess and consider the liabilities.
• TAP Fund finished, new finance initiative.
o The Town Clerk confirmed the success of two applications where £5,000.00 and £2,000.00 have been received for the Hanging Baskets and Cooper Street Art initiatives.
• Reference was made to the recent tragic death of a woman crossing the Link road at Brynsworthy and an apparent redundant pedestrian bridge (cost £2 million) nearby over the very same road, leading to nowhere.
o An Innovation / Business Park is being planned. In order for permission to be obtained a bridge needed to be sited across the road.
o Barnstaple Street Bridge pavement works should be completed by mid-February 2019.
• Concern raised over redistribution of monies raised from Bideford projects to a general Devon “pot”. Also, “huge” amount of money allocated to the Heywood Road roundabout yet the same issue of simply two lanes leading from it.
o DCC are servicing high interest loans on £601 million albeit that reduction in staff and buildings has saved £101 million.
• Why did Bideford not attract the Innovation Park?

d.        The Chairman thanked Councillor Hellyer for her contribution.

145.    COMMUNICATION BROUGHT FORWARD ON THE DIRECTION OF THE MAYOR

The Town Clerk advised:

a.         Purdah. Information was circulated indicating that Purdah was effective 1 March 2019. Councillor Christie questioned the apparent early date; the Town Clerk agreed to update Members (subsequent to Meeting established 19 March 2019).

b.         The Officer for Leisure and Health at TDC would be submitting a last minute application for funding refurbishment of the Devonshire and Victoria Parks under the Pocket Park initiative.

c.         Councillor Brenton raised concerns about the Bowden Green Play Area that has been partially developed by Westward Housing. Much of the play equipment has been removed, the grass has not been cut, yet it had a lot of usage in the past. In opposition to any further development he felt the equipment should be reinstated in a bid to provide (more) open spaces.

Councillor A T Inch understood that there was a proposal for seventeen houses. He noted that it was TDC policy not to build on playing areas.

The Mayor brought the Members attention to the North Devon Journal:

d.         Fireworks petition signed by 5,000 people concerned about the impact upon the starlings under the Longbridge during the Firework finale to the New Year’s Eve Celebration.

Following discussion, the Mayor indicated that the matter will be addressed at the next Meeting of the Staffing, Finance and General Purposes Committee.

e.         Despite the entry in Councillor Christie’s column to the contrary, regarding the Land Train, the project has not been abandoned. He confirmed that he and the Town Clerk with a TDC officer recently had a meeting with Leader 5.

Councillor Christie advised that his information had been drawn from the recent Bideford Town Centre Partnership Minutes.

146.     STAFFING FINANCE AND GENERAL PURPOSES COMMITTEE

Minute 87. Councillor Mrs Gubb stated that the Entertainers did not give their time at the Pannier Market for free on New Year’s Eve. The Town Clerk indicated that the Minutes would be corrected.

The Minutes of the Meeting held on 29 November 2018 were approved and adopted.

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

147.     PLANNING COMMITTEE

The Minutes of the Meetings held on 9 January 2019 were approved and adopted.

(Vote – For: 15, Against: 0)

148.      MARKET MANAGEMENT COMMITTEE

The Minutes of the Meeting held on 17 January 2019 were approved and adopted.

(Vote – For: 15, Against: 0)

149.     TOURISM COMMITTEE

The Chairman stated that the Meeting held on 18 December 2018 was inquorate. He spoke about the importance of committee members attending meetings.

Members noted the inquorate minutes.

150.     NEIGHBOURHOOD PLAN STEERING GROUP

The Minutes from the 12 December 2018 Meeting were approved and adopted.

(Vote – For: 15, Against: 0)

151.     COMMONWEALTH (FLY THE FLAG) DAY – 11 MARCH 2019

Members agreed to participate in Fly the Flag at Riverbank House in a repeat of last year’s commemoration.

Proposed by Councillor Howell, seconded and

RESOLVED: That the Council mark the Commonwealth Day at Riverbank House on Monday, 11 March 2019.

(Vote – For: 15, Against: 0)

152.     NOTICE OF MOTION

Submission by Councillor McKenzie.

“Regeneration of the Pannier Market through the employment of Market Development Officer.

We would like to ask for an in-principle funding commitment of £12,000 to facilitate the initiation of this project, for the first year.”

In beginning the process of engaging a Market Development Officer Councillor McKenzie was seeking funding in principle. The role should go on to become self-funding.

The Chairman indicated from the last Town Council Meeting that the Burton had advertised for a similar operative, part time, speculating on amalgamating the roles.

Councillor Brenton advised that he had spoken to the Chair of the Burton at Bideford Trustees who expressed interest and was open to the idea. The investment was effectively regeneration of the Council’s big asset and would also develop tourism.

Councillor Brenton seconded the Motion.

Councillor Christie declared an interest – trader in the Market Hall.

Councillor A T Inch questioned the self-funding element.

Councillor McKenzie indicated events, use of public space and promotions.

Councillor Howell advised on proceeding with caution ensuring that the role was tied into results.

Councillor McKenzie stated that Tavistock Market had successfully followed this path.

The Chairman suggested offering a fixed term twelve month contract, rolling that could be extended.

Councillor Johns favoured waiting for a Burton response.

Councillor A T Inch asked how the £12,000 would be sourced. Councillor Brenton indicated the regeneration budget – confirmed by the Town Clerk.

Councillor S G Inch reflecting on previous incumbents felt that the position had not run smoothly. He spoke of the need for a job description.

The Chairman indicated that the role would be slightly different, it would not be a Market Manager position, more attracting Events.

Councillor Bushby indicated that the continuance of the role would be dependant upon the results in the first twelve months.

Councillor McKenzie added that the Market provision is different not least that the Market Hall is open six, rather than two, days a week.

The Chairman stated that the Market is the greatest asset of the Council and should be given every opportunity (to succeed).

It was proposed by Councillor McKenzie, seconded and

RESOLVED: That the Motion is supported.

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

1 x Member declined to vote having previously declared an interest.

153.      TOWN CENTRE PARTNERSHIP

Noted.

154.      DALC

Councillor Brenton advised:

a.         VAT will not be charged on public toilets.

b.         There is no need for Town Councillors to apply for registration with the ICO.

c.         There will be no Cap applied on Council Tax for parishes.

d.          DALC HQ is moving from Exeter along the A30 to Cheriton Bishop.

155.      TAW AND TORRIDGE ESTUARY FORUM MEETING

There was no report (clashed with other meeting).

156.     TORRIDGE DISTRICT COUNCIL – UPDATE

Councillor S G Inch advised:

a.         A number of activities and task force meetings have taken place in a bid to salvage the Appledore Shipyard.

b.         Houseboats and insurance were discussed at the Harbour Board Meeting.

c.         In a bid to promote the Town Mr Chris Fuller, TDC has been working on the Little Green Tidy Gardner project.

d.         The New Home Bonus will continue for next year.

157.     BRIDGE TRUST

Councillor Christie briefed Members on the income (£72,000), expenditure (£6,000), charitable donations and grants (£6,500) figures.

He announced that Mrs Sally Ellis is the new Chairman.

 

The business of the meeting having been concluded the Mayor thanked the members for their attendance at the meeting which concluded at 8.15 pm.


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