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Minutes of the Staffing, Finance & General Purposes Committee - 1 May 2014


North Ward:   

Councillor E A Brenton
Councillor D C Fulford
Councillor Mrs M Fulford
Councillor T Johns

South Ward:   

Councillor S G Inch
Councillor P J Pester (Chairman)

East Ward:   

Councillor R Vanstone
Councillor M Langmead
Prior to the commencement of the Meeting the Mayor announced the sad passing of  Mrs Pauline Davy, the wife of Mike Davy who served as the Council’s Mace-Bearer and Beadle for many years.  A minute’s silence was held.


Councillor A T Inch (South Ward – Personal).




There was no public participation.


The Minutes of the Meeting held on 27 March 2014 were approved and signed as a correct record.

(Vote – For: 8,  Against: 0)


The Chairman outlined a proposal which has been put together by the Businesses of Bideford (BOB) which will involve designing and installing heritage flags along Mill Street and the High Street.  They would like to install the flags in the Christmas tree holders and are looking for an indication of support from the Council. Members of the Committee asked the Town Clerk to contact BOB and advise that in principle the SFGP Committee think this is a worthwhile project, but it would need to be discussed under a specific agenda item at a future meeting and will need to be accompanied by more detailed costings.


a.   Members received the list of payments.

Proposed by Councillor Inch, seconded and

RESOLVED:  That the list of payments is approved.

(Vote For: 8, Against: 0)

b.   Members received and approved the Internal Finance Inspector’s Report for the period 1 January to 31 March 2014.

Proposed by Councillor Inch, seconded and

RESOLVED:  That the Internal Finance Inspector’s Report for the period 1 January to 31 March 2014 is approved.

(Vote For: 8, Against: 0)

Councillor P Pester was thanked for his work as Internal Finance Inspector.


Port Memorial – The Town Clerk advised that the Tenders have been returned and financial checks are currently taking place.  A contractor will need to be selected very shortly in order to comply with the short timescales set by FLAG.

Friends of Ford Woods – The Town Clerk advised that she had attended their last meeting and the group have requested that the signage planned for the woodland is made of a material which is more visually aesthetic than aluminium signage. It was agreed that the Town Clerk would investigate using the same material as that currently used for the Town signs.

Finger Posts – This has been delayed due to the availability of the handyman.  Councillor Pester will contact him and ask if these can be refurbished soon.  Councillor Fulford has provided the Town Clerk with details of an alternative handyman who could provide a fall back position.


It was noted that actions are on-going on a number of the Presentments.  Those requiring further action at this point were discussed as follows:

1.   That the appropriate authorities be contacted, in respect of the very poor stone  paving across the road at the bottom of the High Street in Bideford  and along Mill Street and Grenville Street where it is uneven, for urgent repair.

     The Town Clerk’s assistant has contacted Highways regarding these issues and has been advised that the bottom of High Street would be regarded as a priority but Mill Street and Grenville Street less so, as only patches need      repairing as safety defects.  The Mayor also advised that he had been given assurances that Bideford High Street was on the priority list for repair.  It was noted however that the High Street is still in disrepair and the Town      Clerk was asked to contact Councillor Stuart Hughes and request a progress update, with a copy to Councillor Julian.

2.   That the Council contacts whoever is responsible for the upkeep of the historic bollards along the Quay, and sponsors their repainting and repair.  62 bollards have been identified along the Quay. The Town Clerk was asked to contact      the Highway’s Superintendent and request that he inspects the bollards with a view to advising which ones require priority repair, and to provide a cost for this work.

8.   That outside sports equipment be installed in Victoria Park for the benefit of all, for example concrete table tennis tables, more basketball hoops and football goals and that a signed fitness circuit be added. All pathways to be         maintained.

     It was agreed that the concrete table tennis tables would not be pursued as it was felt the uptake would be poor.  The Committee felt that they would like to pursue the investigation of outdoor fitness equipment for Victoria Park.       The Town Clerk was asked to ascertain where such equipment could be located, whether TDC would install it on the Town Council’s behalf and who would maintain and insure it following installation.

9.   That the old road sign at the junction of North Road and Lime Grove, saying ‘Town Centre’ and the one saying ‘Pitt Lane’ be renovated and reinstated to preserve it.
     It was agreed that Councillors Mrs Brenton and Johns would visit the site and report back to the next meeting.   

Proposed by Councillor Vanstone, seconded and

RESOLVED:  That the Presentments are actioned as detailed in Minute No. 131.

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


Members received a verbal report from Councillor Langmead on the maintenance of East-the-Water Graveyard.  It was reported that the graveyard is in a very poor state with some headstones having toppled over, some under grass and some sunken. There is only one designated path and the grass is very overgrown.

(Councillor Inch left the meeting.)

Proposed by Councillor Langmead, seconded and

RESOLVED:  That the Town Clerk contacts the Parochial Church Council and ascertains who has the grass cutting contract, how they think the situation should be addressed, and that they be asked to provide costings for measures to improve the maintenance of the churchyard.

(Vote For: 7, Against: 0)


Members discussed the viability of purchasing an insurance policy to insure against the loss of no claims for Members and staff whilst using their own vehicle on Council business.

Proposed by Councillor Mrs Brenton, seconded and

RESOLVED:  That this policy is taken up for Councillors and Beadles and that the staff be included if they so wish, but be asked to pay half their share of the premium if included.

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


Members discussed the invitation from the Mayor of Landivisiau for the Mayor of  Bideford to participate in the twinning celebrations in Landivisiau to celebrate 40 years of twinning between Landivisiau and Bad Sooden-Allendorf (Germany) between 29 May and 1 June 2014.

Proposed by Councillor Pester, seconded and

RESOLVED:  That the invitation is declined.

(Vote For: 7, Against: 0)


Members received the response from the Highways Superintendent following the questions raised about the removal of the dead ash trees on the Quay and the maintenance of replacement trees. 

Proposed by Councillor Pester, seconded and

RECOMMENDED:  That the Town Clerk responds to the Highways Superintendent to advise that the Town Council are not satisfied with the response that Devon County Council will not remove the dead trees.  She should advise that it is Devon County Council’s responsibility to remove any dead trees.  Bideford Town Council will only consider the replacement of the trees once they have been removed by Devon County Council.

(Vote For: 7,  Against: 0)


Submission by Councillor P S Christie:

“That the Council employs a part-time road sweeper to supplement the service provided by Torridge District Council.”

Members discussed the merits of purchasing this service from Torridge District Council as opposed to employing a part time road sweeper themselves.

Proposed by Councillor Vanstone, seconded and

RESOLVED:  That the purchase of a part-time road sweeper service (to include pavement cleaning) from TDC is investigated and that TDC be asked for their current street cleaning schedule. A budget of £8,000 will be allocated for this and will be taken from the general fund underspend of 2013/2014.  The Committee will review in the autumn whether the recruitment of a part-timer road sweeper to be employed by the Town Council themselves should be undertaken.

(Vote For:  7, Against: 0)


Proposed by Councillor  Langmead, 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)


The Members discussed the nominations received for the Citizen’s Award

Proposed by Councillor Vanstone, seconded and
RESOLVED:  That the Citizen’s Award be given to Jeff Facey

(Vote For: 7,  Against: 0)


The Members discussed the nominations received for the Young Citizen’s Award

Proposed by Councillor  Mrs Brenton, seconded and
RESOLVED:  That the Young Citizen’s Award be given to Ricky Knight.

(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 7.50 pm.

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