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Minutes of the Staffing, Finance & General Purposes Committee Meeting - 11 September 2014


North Ward:

Councillor Mrs M Fulford    
Councillor T Johns

South Ward:    

Councillor S G Inch
Councillor P J Pester (Chairman)

East Ward:    

Councillor M C Langmead (Town Mayor)
Councillor D R Ratcliff

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


Councillor Mrs E A Brenton (North Ward – Personal).
Councillor A T Inch (South Ward – Work commitments).
Councillor R Vanstone (East Ward – Personal).


Councillor Johns declared a personal interest in agenda item 9. (Personal connection with Springfield).


There was no public participation.


The Minutes of the Meeting held on 24 July 2014 were approved and signed as a correct record.

(Vote – For: 5,  Against: 0, abstention: 1)


•    As most Members will already be aware, Les Gates, Beadle and Mace Bearer has handed in his notice and will be ceasing his duties at Christmas.  The Clerk will work in conjunction with the Mayor and Mrs V Morrish (also Mace Bearer and Beadle) to recruit a replacement.  She was asked to place this on the next SFGP agenda so that a gift may be considered for Mr Gates.

•    The Clerk reported that she and the Mayor had attended a Highways Meeting along with representatives from DCC, TDC and the Chamber of Commerce. The Town Council has been asked to consider working with DCC to provide a minimum of 6 cycle lock up boxes.  The Clerk has asked DCC for a proposal  regarding what they could provide and is waiting for further information.  Her initial discussion with the officer from DCC did however indicate that they would prefer the cycle lock ups to be near the Burton Art Gallery, and issues of maintenance and key holders were raised.  Councillor Christie advised that he had been let to believe at a recent Chamber of Commerce meeting that they were progressing this.  The Town Clerk will check.

•    At the same meeting, Cllr Hughes suggested that Bideford Town Council could set up a Highways and Traffic Order Committee (HATOC) which has the following members; 2 x DCC, 2 TDC, 1x Highways. The County Councillor would Chair the meetings twice a year and the aim would be to sort out minor highways issues. The Town clerk will place this on the TC agenda for discussion.

•    The state of disrepair in respect of loose coping stones and cracks to underside of some of the arches was raised at the Highways Meeting.  The Town Clerk was asked if she could look into whether any money for this could be applied for from English Heritage or Lottery Heritage.  The Committee felt however that it should be incumbent upon the custodian of this Grade 1 listed monument to make such enquiries and progress the repairs.  The Town Clerk was asked to speak to the Conservation Officer about the legal requirement to maintain the Long bridge.


a.   Members received the list of payments.   

The Town Clerk and Chairman explained a number of payments.  It was agreed that PV 181 should be expanded to read “Travel expenses and Deputy Mayor expenditure at official engagement”.

Proposed by Councillor  Ratcliff, seconded and

RESOLVED:  That the list of payments is approved.

(Vote For: 6, Against: 0)

b.    Internal Finance Inspector's Report

Members received the Internal Finance Inspector’s Report for the period 1 April – 30 June 2014.

Proposed by Councillor Langmead, seconded and

RESOLVED: That the Internal Finance Inspector’s Report for the period 1 April – 30 June 2014 is adopted.

(Vote For: 6, Against: 0)


Port Memorial – The Town Clerk advised that the land transfer and other legal agreements had now all been signed.  The terracotta plaques have been commissioned, and the artist has suggested that 2 are fixed either side of the Port Memorial, with the plaque depicting the railway being fixed to the Art Centre wall, marking its route.  Councillor Christie is investigating feasibility and permissions.

Road Sweeper – The Town Clerk advised that this seems to be working well and some very positive comments have been received.  Unfortunately his uniform went astray during the logo process, but the Company responsible are replacing it.

Renovation of Benches - This project has not yet started.  Members advised that John Emms is preparing a list of tradespeople and this should be requested.

Finger Posts - Work on the finger posts has started.  It was reported that the post pointing to the police station is stuck fast and cannot be removed.  It was agreed to leave this post in situ as the police station is open during the day and the post is still relevant.  The post signing toilets at the East-the-Water side of the Longbridge will be removed.


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:

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.
Councillors Langmead, Pester and Mrs Brenton have made a site visit and chosen 2 pieces of equipment to recommend to SFGP.  A further 2 pieces have been selected subject to funding.  A preliminary funding enquiry has been submitted to Sport England and is being progressed.


Members considered investigating the (viability) of registering the Springfield Centre as an Asset of Community Value.  Councillor Christie has prepared the form.

Proposed by Councillor Ratcliff, seconded and

RECOMMENDED: That the Springfield Centre is registered as a community asset.

(Vote For: 6, Against: 0)


Members received the grant request letter from the Sea Cadets.

There was discussion regarding whether quotations should accompany the projected expenditure and the paper trail required.

Proposed by Councillor Langmead, seconded and  

RECOMMENDED:  That a grant of £15,000 is approved on the proviso that The Sea Cadets do not receive an annual grant from the Town Council for 3 years, and receipts are provided on the major purchases for audit purposes (following receipt of the grant).

(Vote For: 6, Against: 0)


The Town Clerk advised that the inspection report had been received from East Devon Tree Surgeons and 2 trees urgently need attention.  Further work is required, but the usual tender process will be followed for the less urgent work.

Proposed by Councillor Langmead, seconded and  

RESOLVED:  That The quotation from East Devon Tree surgeons for the urgent arboricultural surgery is accepted.

(Vote For: 6, Against: 0)


Members gave consideration to the Job Description, working hours and recruitment process.

Proposed by Councillor Langmead, seconded and

RECOMMENDED:  That the revised job description and working hours (37 p/w) are approved.  The permanent position will be offered to the Temporary post-holder with a probationary period of 3 months. The salary will remain at the current level until the assessment report is received from South West Employers, at which point it will be reviewed if required.

(Vote For:  6, Against: 0)

The business of the meeting having been completed, the Chairman thanked the members for their attendance and the meeting concluded at 7.30 pm.

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