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Minutes of the Staffing, Finance & General Purposes Committee held in the Council Chamber, Town Hall, Bideford on Thursday 17 November 2016 at 6.30 pm


North Ward:   
Councillor D Bushby
Councillor P S Christie
Councillor T Johns (Substitute for Cllr. R Wootton)
Councillor P J Pester
Councillor D McGeough

South Ward:   
Councillor D G Brenton
Councillor S G Inch (Chairman)

South (Outer) Ward:   
Councillor D Howell (Town Mayor)
East Ward:   
Councillor M Langmead

Mrs H J Blackburn (Town Clerk)
Mr S Kearney (TDC)


Councillor R Wootton (South Ward) – personal.


There were no declarations of interest.


No members of the public were present at the meeting.


The Minutes of the Meeting held on 6 October 2016 were approved and signed as a correct record. 

(Vote – For: 7, Against: 0, Abstentions:  2)

The Minutes of the Meeting held on 13 October 2016 were approved and signed as a correct record. 

(Vote – For: 7, Against: 0, Abstentions:  2)


•     The Town Clerk had received a briefing document via the District Council on the protocol to be followed to mark the death of a Senior National Figure. Having read through the document she thought it would be prudent to purchase the appropriate condolence book stationery. Following discussion she was asked to enquire with DALC whether they would consider making a  bulk purchase for resale amongst the parishes.
•     Councillor Christie asked whether the Town Clerk had seen the letter received by Torridge District Council from Wing’s solicitor.  She said she had not, but that she had seen the Torridge Solicitor’s response.  Discussion followed on the contents of both letters and The Town Clerk was asked to ascertain from Wings how the Town Council’s £20,000 contribution towards the project had been spent given that much of the planning work was done on a pro-bono basis.
•     Councillor Howell raised the request from Nellie Guttmann to attend our next Town Council meeting to provide an update on our stroke services.  He suggested that the Town Clerk ask for this presentation to be delayed whilst he ascertained the reason behind the consultation request, with a presentation possibly to be made at a later meeting.  Councillor Langmead advised that Ms Guttmann was due to give the same presentation at the next Full Torridge District Council meeting, and Members should be offered the opportunity to attend that meeting.


a.    Members received the list of payments.

      Proposed by Councillor Inch, seconded and

      RESOLVED:  That the list of payments is approved.

      (Vote – For:  9, Against: 0)

b.    Members received and approved the Council’s Internal Auditor’s Report for the period 1 July to 30 September 2016.
      Proposed by Councillor  Brenton, seconded and

      RESOLVED:  That the Council’s Internal Auditor’s Report for the period 1 July to 30 September 2016 is approved.

      (Vote For: 9,  Against: 0)

      Proposed by Councillor  Pester, seconded and

      RESOLVED:  That thanks are given to Councillor Bushby for his work as Internal Auditor.

      (Vote For: 9,  Against: 0)


Members discussed the deferral of the annual budget setting process to the SFGP meeting on 5 January 2017, to bring this in line with receipt of information on the Council Tax Support grant from Torridge District Council, which is not expected until early December 2016.

Proposed by Councillor Brenton, seconded and

RESOLVED:  That the recommendation for the budget for 2017/2018 is deferred to the SFGP Meeting on 5 January 2017.

(Vote For: 9, Against: 0)


Members welcomed Sean Kearney, Commercial and Leisure Services Manager, from Torridge District Council. Mr Kearney advised that in early 2015, a report was commissioned into the feasibility of bringing the Library and Burton Art Gallery and Museum together in one location. The report had concluded that it was feasible and Devon County Council and Torridge District Council were keen to see if it could be achieved.  Last year a significant amount of work was undertaken to set up the  Burton as a Trust.  The library is also run as a Trust now with Libraries Unlimited having been set up.  Both the Trusts are working well, and there is now a four way meeting, between the two Trusts, Devon County Council and Torridge District Council to progress the co-location project.  The group would  like to extend an invite for a Town Council Member to join the meetings.  Devon County Council has confirmed funding of £1.58 million.  Architects drawings have been commissioned which Devon County Council funded. The likely total cost of the project is £4 – 5 million.

Councillor Bushby advised that he and other interested parties recently met with John Hart and the group were asked by Mr Hart whether they saw the refurbishment of Mill /Allhalland Street or the co-location project as a priority. All those present expressed the view that the refurbishment of Mill /Allhalland Street should take priority.

Councillor Christie asked who would own the building.    He also said that there would be some public opposition to losing ground within Victoria Park.  He asked Mr Kearney to seriously look at extending Victoria Park into the cattle market area. Mr Kearney confirmed that Torridge District Council are looking at the feasibility of extending Victoria Park into the Cattle Market area.

Mr Kearney was asked what would become of the library building if it were to be relocated.  Mr Kearney advised that he didn’t know at the moment as this project is in the very early stages.

Councillor Bushby said that he doesn’t see anything wrong with the current library and asked whether a consultation had been conducted with library users. Mr Kearney advised that there was some initial consultation when the feasibility study was undertaken.  He said that whilst the library is useable in is current situation, it is not future proof. Libraries are becoming much more interactive, with a more diverse offering.  Councillor Christie added that the plan for a new library goes back a long way.  There is no parking and no disabled access in the current location and  the new plan is for much more of a community hub.

Councillor Pester questioned the flooding risk at the Cattle Market and Mr Kearney advised that for this reason there was little else to be done with the space other than recreational facilities.  Councillor Bushby expressed concern that significant sums of money could be spent on a co-location building that was also in a flood plain.  Mr Kearny explained that there are different categories of flood risk and that the risk can be mitigated, although it is still a challenging site. 

Mr Kearney was asked how the funding gap would be bridged and he named a number of organisations that could be approached for additional funding.

The Chairman thanked Mr Kearney for attending the meeting and updating Members.  The Town Clerk asked that Mr Kearney remain for the next item (Mill Street Consultation), to clarify the Coastal and Communities fund bid requirements.


•     Mill Street Consultation

Members discussed the best method of holding a consultation on the resurfacing of Mill Street/Allhalland Street and discussed with Mr Kearney which proposals to put forward to the Coast and Communities fund. It was agreed that the proposals to be presented were option 4 for Allhalland Street and Option 3 for Mill Street.  Councillor Bushby suggested that the maps be mounted on card.  Mr Kearney advised that he had some questions he would like raised, and would liaise with the Town Clerk prior to the presentation of the proposals.

Proposed by Councillor  Inch, seconded and

RESOLVED:  ThatMembers present the proposals for the Mill /Allhalland Street resurfacing project to Members of the public and traders on Thursday 1 December and Saturday 10 December.   The Town Clerk will organise the logistics.

(Vote – For: 9, Against: 0 )

•     Victoria Park Wall and Railings

The Town Clerk reported that the wall had been built and the railings were almost complete.  The blacksmith is currently making the crown and the railings should be painted by the end of the month. A photoshoot and press release will be arranged as soon as the railings are complete. 

Proposed by Councillor  Pester, seconded and

RESOLVED:  That a vote of thanks is extended to Mr Michael Burton for creating such a spectacular set of railings.

(Vote – For: 9, Against: 0)

•     Braille Plaque

The Town Clerk reported that Mike Burton has made the base for the braille plaque and its location at the Port Memorial has been agreed with Julian Roskilly.  It will be installed next week.

•     Band stand for Victoria Park

Members reviewed the quotes received. It was agreed by the majority of Members that a free standing structure to cover the fort would be favourable, perhaps with a raised seating area outside.  Councillor Pester raised the issue of how electricity could be supplied to the structure.  The requirement for a consultation was also raised by Councillor Brenton. 

Proposed by Councillor Howell, seconded and

RESOLVED:  That Mr Floyd is approached to give a more detailed quotation for the two options he has presented.  (A small fee to undertake further investigation on behalf of the Council will be acceptable.) Once further details are available, the SFGP Committee will choose their preferred option and then the public will be asked if this is something they would like to see in Victoria Park.

(Vote – For: 9, Against: 0)


Presentment Number 1:

“That the Kingsley Road approach to Bideford (the football ground wall) is dirty and unattractive for a first impression when entering the Town.  It is currently painted pale blue with seagulls.  It needs cleaning and redecorating.  Must have an annual maintenance programme.  Invite local schools and clubs to take each section and perhaps redesign.”

Members discussed painting the wall with a base colour to clean up its appearance, with the possibility of having artistic work painted at a later date.  The Town Clerk advised that a Chapter 8 qualified person would need to be involved.  She advised that she had met with Westward Pathfinders whose team of volunteers could assist at approximately £120 day. They would require a pavement closure to conduct the work.  It was felt that it would be preferable for the Maintenance Operatives to conduct the work (painting a couple of panels at a time) to lessen the disruption to pedestrians.  This work will need to wait however, until they have been Chapter 8 trained (early in the New Year).

Proposed by Councillor  Bushby  seconded and

RESOLVED:  That the Maintenance Operatives paint the wall a neutral colour once they have completed their Chapter 8 training.  The Town Clerk will advise Torridge District Council and the Football Club of this intention.

(Vote – For: 9, Against: 0)

Members agreed that light grey would be a suitable base colour for the wall.

(Councillor Howell left the meeting)

(Councillor Bushby left the room)


Members considered the wording for the Tarka The Otter Plaque.

Proposed by Councillor Christie, seconded and

RESOLVED:  That the amended wording as noted by The Town Clerk is agreed.

(Vote For: 7, Against: 0,  Out of room: 1)


Members considered the level of honorarium for the Civic Officers.

Proposed by Councillor Brenton, seconded and

RESOLVED:  That the honorariums for the Civic Officers are increased by £50 per honorarium.

(Vote For: 7, Against: 0,  Out of room: 1)

(Councillor Bushby returned to the meeting)


Members considered the workload spreadsheet and the employment of a part time admin assistant.

Proposed by Councillor  Bushby, seconded and

RECOMMENDED:  That the employment of a Part time Admin Assistant is agreed. 

(Vote For: 8, Against: 0)


Members received the costings of additional office accommodation.  The Town Clerk advised that if the Maintenance Operatives undertook the majority of the refurbishment work for the upstairs offices, the rent would equate to £2,765 pa plus £350 service charge.  She also reminded Members that if the upstairs office space is used for a different purpose in the future, it will be difficult to move the Town Hall furniture to a temporary location during the Mayor’s Introduction ceremony.

Proposed by Councillor Bushby, seconded and

RECOMMENDED:  That the Town Clerk approaches Torridge District Council for the rental of the upstairs offices with the current accommodation also being retained.  The Maintenance Operatives will conduct the required refurbishment in order that a rent of £5 per sqm can be agreed.

(Vote For: 7, Against: 1)


Members considered under what circumstances the Maintenance Operatives should be recharged to the Pannier Market Budget.

Proposed by Councillor Bushby, seconded and

RECOMMENDED:  That a recharge should be made when in the past an external contractor’s services would have been purchased.  The recharge will be made for wages only with materials being purchased from the Pannier Market account.

(Vote For: 8, Against: 0)

(Councillor  Brenton left the meeting)


Members considered the fixed price quotations for the annual boundary survey required at Ford Woodland.

Proposed by Councillor Inch, seconded and

RESOLVED:  That Coastal Tree Consultancy be invited to undertaken the annual boundary survey required at Ford Woodland.

(Vote For: 7, Against: 0)


The Town Clerk advised that she had been contacted by The Town Clerk of Northam to ask whether Bideford Town Council would consider part funding a refuge style crossing at the end of Chanter’s Road.  The road is quite wide and can be difficult to cross safely. The Town Clerk of Northam has advised that the cost would be between £10 – 15,000.  Devon County Council will also be approached to contribute towards the project.

Proposed by Councillor Christie, seconded and

RESOLVED:  That the decision whether to jointly fund a refuge crossing at the end of Chanter’s road is deferred until it is known whether there will be a further tranche of Tap funding next year, as this could be a possible joint project which would meet the TAP fund criteria. 

(Vote For: 7, Against: 0)


Submission by Councillor P Pester

“The replacement of the deteriorating festoon lighting along Bideford Quay with Led festoon lighting.”

Members considered the quotations for the replacement of the Festoon Lighting along Bideford Quay.

Proposed by Councillor Inch, seconded and

RESOLVED:  That the decision on the replacement of the Festoon Lighting is deferred until the spacing of the LEDs is clarified on one of the quotations.

(Vote For: 7,  Against: 0)

Proposed by Councillor Inch, 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 Town Clerk left the room)

There is a confidential Minute associated with this item.

(The Town Clerk returned to the meeting.)

The business of the meeting having been completed, the Chairman thanked the members for their attendance and the meeting concluded at 8.48 pm.




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