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Staffing, Finance and General Purposes Meeting 28 November 2013


North Ward:   

Councillor Mrs E A Brenton

South Ward:   

Councillor A T Inch
Councillor S G Inch
Councillor P J Pester (Chairman)

East Ward:   

Councillor SEL Clarke OBE
Councillor R Vanstone
Councillor M Langmead


Mrs H J Blackburn (Town Clerk)
Councillor D G Brenton
Councillor P S Christie


Councillor D C Fulford (North Ward – personal), Councillor Mrs M Fulford (North Ward – personal).


None declared.


No Members of the Public were present at the meeting.


The Minutes of the Meeting held on 10 October 2013 were approved and signed as a correct record.

(Vote – For: 7,  Against: 0, Abstention: 1)

The Minutes of the Meeting held on 17 October 2013 were approved and signed as a correct record.

(Vote – For: 7,  Against: 0, Abstention: 1)


The Town Clerk advised that DS Electrical have finished installing all the Christmas lights on the Quay, replaced all of the lights within Allhalland Street, all of Cooper Street, 90% of Mill Street and installed 3 cross street decorations and 4 wall motifs in Grenville Street.  Members agreed that the Christmas lights will look spectacular this year.


Members received the list of payments.

Proposed by Councillor Vanstone, seconded and

RESOLVED:  That the list of payments is approved

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


Proposed by Councillor Clarke, seconded and

RESOLVED:  That the Internal Finance Inspector’s Report is noted.

(Vote For: 7, Against: 0)


The Town Clerk appraised members on the qualifications and experience of the proposed Internal Auditor, who has replaced the Town Council’s previous Internal Auditor as Finance Manager at TTVS.

Proposed by Councillor Mrs Brenton, seconded and

RESOLVED:  That Mrs M Wilkin is appointed as the Town Council’s Internal Auditor.

(Vote For: 7, Against: 0)


Victoria Park

A date has been scheduled for the Working Group to meet and draft a Post Card Poll.  The secretary of the Bideford Branch of the Royal British Legion has requested that a fifth option is added to the consultation, giving the option of moving the existing stone to a new plinth and position within the park.

Proposed by Councillor Mrs Brenton, seconded and

RESOLVED:  That the fifth option suggested by the secretary of the Bideford Branch of the Royal British Legion is added to the postcard poll.

(Vote For: 7, Against: 0)

Cooper Street Archway

The advice received from Mr G Davies regarding the community right to challenge and from the Emergency Planning Officer, Torridge District Council, regarding the CCTV requirements was received and noted.

Solar Lighting

The Town Clerk reported that the lease has been signed and returned to Devon County Council, and she is now awaiting a copy of the completed lease, at which point, the solar lights will be ordered.

Finger Posts

Councillor Pester advised that this work will be undertaken once the Handyman has completed the work scheduled for him at the Pannier Market.


Members considered the recommendations contained in the report on Ford House Woodland by Smartworks.

The general feeling amongst Members was that whilst the report was very thorough and informative, some of the recommendations were too prescriptive and if implemented would result in the woodland becoming too sterile.  Members felt that a certain degree of risk is to be expected when entering a woodland and that members of the public could be expected to take a common sense approach.  It was agreed that Members would resolve to implement those recommendations they felt were viable and sensible.

Proposed by Councillor A T Inch, seconded and

RESOLVED:  That the following recommendations contained within the report are actioned:

•   To create a monitoring action zone and within this area to not only inspect those trees that require reactive work but to introduce a programme of pro-active safety management that will be incorporated into the annual tree risk assessment.
•   6 monthly path inspections to be undertaken by a volunteer or Office staff.
•   To amend the management plan so that the tree risk assessment is an annual occurrence which takes place in the autumn, with partial and site specific assessments being undertaken following gales if required.
•   To implement a 3 year contract for an annual tree risk assessment with the required work then going out to fixed price quotations.
•   To obtain quotations for post and wire fencing with danger drop signs for the area above Ford House.

(Vote For: 7,  Against: 0)


Members considered moving the date of the SFGP meeting in February 2014 at the request of the Town Clerk, but felt that it could remain as scheduled with the Deputy Town Clerk clerking the meeting, in the absence of the Town Clerk.

Proposed by Councillor S G Inch, seconded and

RESOLVED: That the date of the meeting in February 2014 remains as 13 February 2014 and that the Deputy Town Clerk is requested to clerk this meeting.

(Vote For: 7, Against: 0)

082 BUDGET 2014/2015

The Town Clerk presented the draft Budget Estimates for the Financial Year 2014/2015.

Several Members spoke in favour of increasing the precept by 6% as they felt that with County Council and District Council cuts, more will be expected from the Town Council in future years.  However, Councillor Mrs Brenton felt that a 1% rise was more appropriate in the current economic climate

Following discussion a final draft budget was agreed which is attached and forms part of these Minutes.

Proposed by Councillor Clarke, seconded and

RECOMMENDED:  That the Council approves the budget of £397,673.00 and a Precept of £348,444.03 (6% increase on last year) to be submitted to Torridge District Council in respect of the Financial Year commencing 2014 and that the Council’s reserves remain at £130,000.00.

(The recommended budget involves reallocating £145,000 raised from the sale of the Pollyfield land and £13,300 currently earmarked for Town Projects to an earmarked reserve fund for the proposed Bridge Centre.)

(Vote For: 7,  Against: 1)

083 PART II (Closed Session)

Proposed by Councillor Pester 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)


This item was noted.

The business of the meeting having been completed, the Chairman thanked the members for their attendance and the meeting concluded at 7.24 pm.


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