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Minutes of the Staffing, Finance & General Purposes Committee held via Zoom on Thursday 19 November 2020 at 6.30 pm


North Ward:

Councillor D Bushby (Chairman)
Councillor P Christie

East Ward:

Councillor Mrs C Craigie
Councillor Mrs J Gubb (Vice-Chairman)
Councillor Mrs L Hellyer
Councillor J McKenzie

West Ward:

Councillor D Ratcliff

IN ATTENDANCE: Mrs H J Blackburn (Town Clerk)


Councillor R Wootton (South Ward – Personal). Councillor D McGeough (North Ward – work Commitments).


There were no declarations of interest.


No Members of the Public were present at the meeting.

175.    MINUTES

Proposed by Councillor Mrs Hellyer and seconded, the minutes of the meeting held on 8 October 2020 were approved and signed as a correct record.

(Vote – For: 7, Against: 0)


The Chairman advised that the North Devon Branch of the Royal Marines had sent a letter thanking the Council for their donation, in lieu of the Remembrance Sunday expenditure.

177.    ACCOUNTS

a.    Members received the list of payments.

Proposed by Councillor Ratcliff, seconded, and

RESOLVED: That the draft list of payments is approved.

(Vote – For: 7, Against: 0)

b.    Members received the Internal Finance Inspector’s Report for the period 1 July – 30 September 2020.

Proposed by Councillor Ratcliff, seconded by Councillor Bushby, and

RESOLVED: That the Internal Finance Inspector’s Report for the period 1 July – 30 September 2020 is accepted.

(Vote – For: 7, Against: 0)

Councillor David Ratcliff was thanked for his work as Internal Finance Inspector.


Members considered the costings and report for the refurbishment of the John Strange Portrait.

Proposed by Councillor Christie, seconded by Councillor Hellyer and

RESOLVED: That the quotation by Sophie Brummitt for the work required is approved

(Vote For: 7, Against: 0)


Members gave consideration to the costings and detailed proposal for the Pollyfield path project.

The Town Clerk advised that she was still waiting for two quotations. The maintenance team have advised that they will be able to put the fencing posts in themselves. The Town Clerk was asked to obtain an additional quotation from each company, for them to erect the fencing, as this activity will tie up the maintenance team resource for several weeks.

It was agreed that the costing options will be emailed to Committee Members when they are received, and a consensus on how to proceed will be agreed by email.

Proposed by Councillor Christie, seconded by Councillor Mrs Hellyer and

RESOLVED: That once all the costing options have been received, a decision on which Company to engage, and who will erect the fencing will be agreed by email.

(Vote For: 7, Against: 0)


Members considered a request from a Way of the Wharfs Trustee, for a donation towards the map which provides insights into the East-the-Water Wharfs. The printing costs were discussed.

Proposed by Councillor Christie, seconded by Councillor Mrs Hellyer and

RESOLVED: That Town Clerk requests a copy of the brochure and further details on the printing costs, in order that a decision can be made.

(Vote – For: 7, Against: 0)


Members considered a request from a botanist to conduct paid guided tours of the woodland. In return, half the tour charge would be donated towards the woodland upkeep.

Members were concerned that if the Town Council accepted payment from the tour guide, this may have liability and insurance implications for the Town Council. Members expressed the view that Ford Woodland is free for the public to use, and that the botanist could conduct tours within the woods, under his own insurance and liability.

Proposed by Councillor Christie, seconded by Councillor Bushby and

RESOLVED: That The Town Council will permit the botanist to conduct tours within Ford Woods, under his own insurance and public liability, and that he is asked to make a donation to Devon Wildlife Trust from the tour proceeds.

(Vote – For: 7, Against: 0)


Members considered a request from Persimmon Homes to take over a Public Open Space at Tarka Point, East the Water.

Councillor Bushby advised that he had visited the park with the Maintenance Team Supervisor and felt that it was a large area to maintain, with a Muga and play equipment, and would cost considerable funds to upkeep.

Several other Members expressed the view that there were few facilities for the residents of East-the-Water, and they would like to see the Council take on the Open Space, but that Persimmon Homes should be asked to bring the area up to an ‘as new condition’ before it is taken over, and to provide a maintenance dowry. Councillor Hellyer felt that the path and street lights belong to Devon County Council.

Proposed by Councillor Bushby, seconded and

RESOLVED: That the Town Clerk contacts Persimmon Homes and advises that The Town Council will consider taking over the Public Open Space, but would like the play equipment, and Muga upgraded before the area is handed over. The Town Council would also like to agree a cash sum for ongoing maintenance.

(Vote – For: 7, Against: 0)

183.   NOTICE OF MOTION - Councillor Corfe

“To support local food outlets/cafes etc with a fund of £1,000, in order to buy the ingredients for free meals for children during the school holidays”.

This motion was withdrawn by Councillor Mrs Corfe prior to the meeting.


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

The Town Clerk advised that the pipework under the bridge at Ford Woods had collapsed and needed replacing. The materials for this work have been costed at between £80 and £100. This was agreed.

The Maintenance Team Supervisor has advised that the team cut a piece of shrubbery on Old Barnstaple Road, opposite Ethelwynne Brown. He feels that the area should be dug out and either seeded or planted with wildflowers. Members agreed that permission could be pursued with Devon County Council. Councillor Mrs Craigie requested that East the Water in Bloom could become involved and facilitate some colour planting. This was agreed by all Members. Councillor Mrs Gubb wished to thank the Maintenance Team for the work they do in East-the-Water. Some members felt however, that this area did not receive as much regular maintenance as West of the Water, although all agreed that the Maintenance Team were very responsive to specific requests.

Councillor McKenzie asked the Town Clerk to advise the split of work by the Maintenance Team between East and West of the Water, and also the precept raised.

Councillor Christie then raised the issue of dog fouling along Marland Terrace. The Town Clerk was asked to speak with Torridge District Council about the use of their mobile camera and look into the possibility of purchasing a mobile camera for use by Bideford Town Council.

Councillor Mrs Craigie raised the subject of a Community Warden. Councillor Bushby advised that the original idea had been to share such a post with Northam Town Council, but that had decided not to pursue this. He offered to speak with Janet Williams of Torridge District Council, about the possibility of doubling up their new Traffic Wardens with a Community Warden role.

Councillor Ratcliff suggested planters for the area on Old Barnstaple Road, discussed above. Concern was expressed about the visibility splay, but Councillor Ratcliff advised low planters were available.


Proposed by Councillor Bushby, seconded 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.

187.    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 7.36 pm.


Accounts for approval at SFGP Meeting 19 November 2020

Accounts for approval at SFGP Meeting 19 November 2020


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