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Minutes of the Staffing, Finance & General Purposes Committee held in the Council Chamber, Town Hall, Bideford on Thursday 11 October 2018 at 6.30 pm


North Ward:

Councillor P S Christie
Councillor D Bushby (Town Mayor)
Councillor D McGeough
Councillor P J Pester

South Ward:

Councillor D G Brenton
Councillor S G Inch (Chairman)
Councillor R Wootton

South (Outer) Ward:

Councillor D Howell

East Ward:

Councillor M Langmead

IN ATTENDANCE:   Mrs H J Blackburn (Town Clerk)


All Members were present at the meeting.


There were no declarations of interest.


No Members of the public were present at the meeting.

044.      MINUTES

Proposed by Councillor Pester, seconded by Councillor Christie and resolved that the minutes of the meeting held on 30 August 2018 are approved and signed as a correct record.

(Vote – For: 4, Against: 0, Abstentions: 5)


• Councillor Inch thanked Councillor Christie for Chairing the meeting on the 30 August 2018.

• The Town Clerk advised that the plaque on the War Memorial at Victoria Park had been scratched. John Short had been consulted and had offered to remove the scratches free of charge. The Town Clerk was asked to report the damage to the police. Councillor McGeough advised that he had asked Torridge District Council to scrutinise the CCTV for the culprits.

• The Town Clerk reported that Anglo Krempel have been very helpful for access to the Handy Cross allotments. The Town Clerk was asked to send them a letter of thanks.

• It was reported that Torridge District Council would be installing some Memorial benches and Tommies at Victoria Park. Councillor Howell advised that the Tourism Committee had also made a recommendation to install a Memorial bench at Victoria Park and Chudleigh Fort, although given that Torridge District Council would be installing benches at Victoria Park, Bideford Town Council may now choose just to install the bench at Chudleigh Fort.

046.    ACCOUNTS

Members received the list of payments.

Proposed by Councillor Howell, seconded by Councillor McGeough, and

RESOLVED: That the draft list of payments is approved.

(Vote – For: 9, Against: 0)


Presentment Number: 5 – A Changing Places facility in Bideford for those who are disabled, or wheelchair bound This enables families with a member who is incontinent to be changed with dignity in a dry housing with the necessary equipment and facilities. Currently in Bideford the options are to either not go out for the day in the Town or change the person on the floor. We request this Council writes to Torridge District Council and Atlantic Village requesting future plans for such a facility.

The Town Clerk advised that she had asked Torridge District Council if such a facility could be incorporated within the toilets at Victoria Park and was awaiting a response. This question was also raised at the Mayors and Clerks meeting, and The Head of Paid Services would also raise this with her team. Councillor Bushby advised that at the Mayors and Clerks meeting he had suggested that the disused storage facility next to the toilets could be converted into a changing places facility, and this too would be considered by Torridge District Council. Councillor Langmead also offered to raise this with The Waste and Recycling Manager.

Presentment Number: 5 – That the Council investigates installing Recycling bins for Plastic on the quay for cyclists, runners, visitors to deposit their empty bottles etc. and that this council investigates the possibility of installing hygienic water fountains in Victoria Park and on Bideford Quay with Plastic recycling bins nearby to show support for the campaign to stop using plastics.

Councillor Christie advised that Devon County Council had said that permission may take up to several months. Councillor Langmead advised that Torridge District Council had purchased some recycling bins and he was looking at where they should be situated with The Waste and Recycling Manager. This would need careful management. One option would be in the vicinity of Lundy Office, but this was not confirmed. Councillor Howell suggested the strip in front of McColls window. Councillor Langmead advised that he will look into this possibility.

Presentment Number 4. The trees in Prospect Place and Manor Car Park, opposite the Quay, need to be included in with the Christmas lights. We request this Council make the necessary arrangements in time for this year’s Christmas Lights Switch On.

The Town Clerk advised that Torridge District Council had given permission for lights to be placed in the trees owned by them, but that Devon County Council were still considering whether to grant permission. She advised that Devon County Councillors Hellyer and A Inch were supportive of the lights, but the licence could not be issued without agreement from the Highways Officer, who had yet to do a site visit. Members felt that if they waited any longer for permission from Devon County Council that they would be out of time for purchasing the lights. The Town Clerk was instructed to get the lights installed even if the licence was not forthcoming. She advised that it was possible that the trees would need pruning prior to the lights being installed (again permission would be required from Devon County Council). However, Members felt that this should not be hindered by Devon County Council and instructed her to go ahead with pruning the trees, should it be required.

Proposed by Councillor Bushby, seconded by Councillor McGeough and

RECOMMENDED: That the quotation from DS Electrical is accepted and that the Town Clerk organises for the trees to be pruned prior to the lights being installed if required. The Town clerk is instructed to give the Highways Officer a date for a site visit, and that she should go ahead with the works, even if the licence is not granted.

(Vote – For: 9, Against: 0


(Councillor Christie left the meeting)

Members considered the quotations provided for the fitness equipment in Victoria Park.

Proposed by Councillor McGeough, seconded by Councillor Langmead and

RECOMMENDED: That the Squat, Shoulder Press & Lat Pull down FST103 is purchased from TK Play at a cost of £7,815 plus vat and delivery, but that TK Play be asked to provide the required grass matting free of charge. The Maintenance Team will be asked to remove the broken machine.

(Vote – For: 8, Against: 0)

The Town Clerk advised that she had not been able to get any quotations for a wheelchair friendly swing suitable for a public area. All the companies she had spoken with to date were not able to provide equipment sufficiently robust, and to the BS standard required for a public park. They had all advised that they only catered for private facilities with supervised play. Members asked the Town Clerk to contact Pathfields School in Barnstaple and The Calvert Trust for advice. Councillor Bushby suggested the possibility of a wheelchair friendly roundabout and Councillor Howell offered to seek advice from his holiday centre contacts on disability friendly swings.

049.     NJC Pay Gradings

Members received the information on the revised pay gradings from April 2019 and how this translated for each council post.

Proposed by Councillor Pester, seconded by Councillor Bushby and

RESOLVED: That the revised pay grades are noted.

(Vote For: 8, Against: 0)


a.     Members received an update on the tasks undertaken by the Maintenance Operatives and noted the report. They remarked that the team continued to do an excellent job.

b.     Members considered the request from the Railway Heritage Group to refurbish the four Devon County Council owned benches on the platform and to paint them Heritage green.

Proposed by Councillor Pester, seconded by Councillor Howell and

RESOLVED: That the request is declined as the benches belong to Devon County Council and they wish for the Maintenance Team to concentrate on in-house tasks.

(Vote For: 4, Against: 1, Abstentions: 3)

c.     Members considered the proposal from the from the District Council for the Maintenance Team to undertake some sub-contracted painting work on the gable ends in Mill St. next Spring.

Proposed by Councillor Bushby, seconded by Councillor Langmead and

RESOLVED: That this is supported providing that there is no cost to the Town Council and the tasks are fully risk assessed and carried out in a safe manner.

(Vote For: 8, Against: 0)

d.    Members considered the working practices of the Maintenance Team.

Councillor Howell suggested that team members should be deployed in the most effective way, but that for individuals to be working on their own, a lone worker policy is required. Councillor McGeough advised that a lone worker policy alongside risk assessments are in place. The purchase of a second vehicle will allow more mobility within the team and will allow members to be deployed to individual tasks. Councillor Howell suggested a clocking in and out system and was concerned whether individuals are able to contact someone if they get into difficulties. Councillor McGeough advised that it was part of the role of supervisor to assess the lone working and to know where all team members are at all times. The Operatives currently communicate via mobile phone with each other and the office staff.

Councillor Langmead raised a concern about a ladder not being footed when the lamppost banners were being removed. The Town Clerk advised that she would raise this with the supervisor and confirmed that all of the Maintenance Team had received the appropriate training.

Proposed by Councillor McGeough, seconded by Councillor Langmead and

RESOLVED that the Supervisor be asked to do a Toolbox talk with the Maintenance Team once a quarter.

(Vote For: 8, Against: 0)

The Town Clerk advised that the Trainee Maintenance Operative had passed his driving test and requested that he receive some training and take his trailer licence. She advised that the cost would be between £500 and £700.

Proposed by Councillor McGeough, seconded by Councillor Bushby and

RESOLVED that Trailer training and a test be organised for the Trainee Maintenance Operative.

(Vote For: 7, Against: 1)

The Town Clerk advised that several members of the Maintenance Team would like to be trained in the use of a chainsaw, for minor works in Ford Woods. Members however felt that this was a dangerous activity and did not want to pursue this.

e.     Members discussed the vacancy within the Maintenance Department and considered how to proceed. Members felt that the role has evolved in the last few years and proper consideration of the working hours, and type of work required is needed. Members felt that keeping the town clean, whilst not duplicating the work of Torridge District Council is a priority. Councillor Pester also suggested that a driving licence should be a requirement of the role.

Proposed by Councillor Pester, seconded by Councillor Bushby and

RESOLVED: That the vacancy within the Maintenance Team is filled and that the aspirations for the cleanliness of the town will be discussed with the Supervisor.

(Vote For: 8, Against: 0)

Proposed by Councillor Bushby, seconded by Councillor McGeough and

RESOLVED: That the recruitment process is carried out by The Town Clerk, The Maintenance Team Supervisor and Councillors Inch and Bushby.

(Vote For: 8, Against: 0)


Proposed by Councillor Pester, seconded by Councillor Langmead and

RESOLVED: That in view of the confidential nature of the business about to be discussed, the meeting moves into part II.

(Vote For: 8, Against: 0)


There is a confidential minute associated with this item.

053.     Proposed by Councillor Langmead, seconded by Councillor Bushby and

RESOLVED: That the Meeting returns to Standing Orders.

(Vote – For: 8, Against: 0)

The business of the meeting having been completed, the Chairman thanked the members for their attendance and the meeting concluded at 8.05 pm.

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