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Minutes of the Staffing, Finance & General Purposes Committee held in the Council Chamber, Town Hall, Bideford on Thursday 25 April 2019 at 6.30 pm


North Ward:

Councillor D Bushby
Councillor P S Christie
Councillor P Pester

South Ward:

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

East Ward:

Councillor McKenzie (Substitute for Councillor D Howell)


Mrs H J Blackburn (Town Clerk)
Councillor Mrs J Gubb
1 Member of public
4 Members of BMX Club


Councillor D Howell (South (Outer) Ward – Personal)


There were no declarations of interest.


A Member of the public spoke about the wonderful work done by the BMX club for people of all ages and abilities. She expressed disappointment with the actions and words of a Town Councillor who seems not to support the club and who she suspects would like to see the club disbanded.

136.     MINUTES

Proposed by Councillor Pester and seconded by Councillor Bushby, the minutes of the meeting held on 28 March 2019 were approved and signed as a correct record.

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


The Town Clerk advised that two grant cheques had not been collected at the Annual Parish Meeting and asked permission to release them to the recipients. All Members agreed with this course of action.

138.     ACCOUNTS

a.        Members received the list of payments.

Proposed by Councillor Pester, seconded by Councillor Bushby, and

RESOLVED: That the draft list of payments is approved.

(Vote – For: 7, Against: 0 )


Members considered the Internal Finance Inspector’s report.

Proposed by Councillor Bushby, seconded by Councillor Inch and

RESOLVED: That the Internal Finance Inspector’s Report for the period 1 January – 31 March 2019 is approved.

(Vote For: 7, Against: 0)

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


The Town Clerk advised that at the end of the Financial Year 2018/19, £21,808.81 remained in the General Fund. As £14,000 is unspent TAP money required for the hanging basket and artwork projects, this should be added to the current project budget. It is recommended that the remaining £7,808.81 is also allocated to the project budget

Proposed by Councillor Brenton, seconded by Councillor Bushby and

RECOMMENDED: That £21,808.81 of the non-earmarked funds is added to the current project budget with £14,000 being put towards the hanging basket and artwork project.

(Vote For: 7, Against: 0 )


Members considered the report.

Councillor Pester proposed that the incoming Council increase the allowance by 2% in line with Officer increases. A discussion followed regarding what increases Torridge District Councillors had received in past years, although some Members felt that Torridge District Councillors had voted against an increase in recent years. It was noted that the Councillor Allowance for Bideford Town Councillors had not been increased for at least 12 years.

Proposed by Councillor Christie, seconded by Councillor Pester and

RECOMMENDED: That the first tranche of the Councillor’s and Mayor’s Allowance for Bideford Town Council is paid at the current rate, and then reviewed following the Recommendations of the Remuneration Panel to Torridge District Council, with a backdated payment if appropriate.

(Vote For: 7, Against: 0)


Presentment Number: 3 – That this Council writes to the BMX Track organisers asking them what they will do to make the facility available to East the Water children at no cost.
Four Members of the BMX Club attended the meeting and advised that the club offers the following for the children of East-the-Water:
• Free club membership
• Free bike hire
• Free hire of safety equipment such as helmets & gloves
• Free coaching
A sub of £2 is paid each time the child uses the club, but everything else is free. The sub is not charged if the gate is not out.
For Bideford and surrounding parishes they have also partnered up with British Cycling to roll out a programme of free coaching with the regional BMX coach to young people in primary education. British Cycling are anticipating a take up of over 250 students in the community. This is totally free and will cover 3 free coached sessions at the track, with free bike hire and safety equipment.
Councillors asked about the fencing around the facility and why the club was not accessible at all times. The BMX Members advised that it was a dangerous sport, and there needs to be suitably qualified personnel on site. The track is open for 4 sessions a week, and the club are certainly open to more sessions if further suitably qualified volunteers can provide additional sessions.
Councillor Bushy praised the club on their work, and said he thought it was very well run. The BMX Members extended an open invite to Bideford Town Councillors to visit the club.

Proposed by Councillor Bushby, seconded by Councillor Pester and

RESOLVED: That following discussions with the BMX Club who have fully detailed the free provision of BMX riding for East-the-Water Children, that this presentment is discharged.

(Vote: For: 7, Against: 0)

Presentment Number: 1 – That this Council looks at a feature to celebrate Charles Kingsley’s 200th birthday and his book “The Water Babies” with a small art installation on the plinth of the statue and to write to TDC for permission to carry this through.

The Town Clerk advised that a local artist has been contacted for a price to produce a plaque approximately 1 ft square, in Peter’s Marland Clay (coloured light yellow) depicting a scene from the Water Babies and would be delighted to undertake this commission. She is unable to give a price without undertaking some investigations in the first place. Torridge District Council has advised that Planning permission would be required and the view of English Heritage taken into account, before permission could be given.

Proposed by Councillor Christie, seconded by Councillor Bushby and

RESOLVED: That Town Clerk seeks pre planning advice from Torridge District Council and English Heritage.

(Vote: For: 7, Against: 0)

Presentment Number: 2 – For this Council to commemorate Holocaust Memorial Day with an engraved stone or plaque near the War Memorial.

The Town Clerk has contacted the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust, asking for advice on design options and wording, but has not received a response as yet. She was asked to also contact the Chief Rabbi of the UK for further assistance.

Presentment Number: 11 –That this Council investigates the ownership of the bricked-up Police “cells” located on the Quay front under the Police Station and investigates the history with a view to installing a historical slate plaque.

The Town Clerk has written to Bideford Police station and has been advised by the Property Department at Devon and Cornwall Police that the cellars belong to the Police (strictly speaking though the ownership of police assets rests with the Office of The Police and Crime Commissioner for Devon & Cornwall).

Their records lead them to believe that the cellars never were police cells, more likely they were originally wine/spirits stores.

Proposed by Councillor Bushby, seconded by Councillor Inch and

RESOLVED: That no further action is taken following the investigation of the bricked-up Police “cells”, as they were in fact wine/spirit stores.

(Vote: For: 7, Against: 0)

Presentment Number: 4 – That this Council writes to TDC to request more play equipment for young children at the Pollyfield and to include a basket-ball hoop for older children.

Proposed by Councillor Inch, seconded by Councillor Bushby and

RESOLVED: That The Town Clerk writes to Torridge District Council making the request detailed in Presentment number 4.

(Vote: For: 7, Against: 0)

Presentment Number: 5 – That this Council writes to Torridge District Council to request that the small play area in Victoria Park has its tyre and fencing replaced as a matter of priority.

Proposed by Councillor Inch, seconded by Councillor Bushby and

RESOLVED: That Town Clerk writes to Torridge District Council making the request detailed in Presentment number 5.

(Vote: For: 7, Against: 0)


Members considered an email from the “Out of this World Events” regarding a demonstration of some Whisper fireworks and how this should be progressed.

Proposed by Councillor Bushby, seconded by Councillor Christie and

RESOLVED: That “Out of this World Events” are asked to organise the demonstration of some Whisper Fireworks, with the maximum cost to be £400 to include all other expenses. The demonstration should be held early evening and away from the Bridge. Mr Durrant and representatives of the South West Management Solution should also be invited.

(Vote For: 7, Against: 0)


The Town Clerk explained that she had been contacted by The Honorary Secretary of The Port of Bideford Regatta Committee, who said that the Bideford Bowl belonged to them and not the South Coast Council. It had been placed on loan to the South Coast where it has been used for the championships ever since. She has written to the South Coast Council to initiate discussion about the ownership. Members agreed to await the outcome of the discussions between The Port of Bideford Regatta Committee and the South Coast Council.


Members considered what action should be taken following the unauthorised removal of trees in the woods and the erection of fencing bordering the woods which exceeds 2m in height, erected without planning consent.

Members questioned whether the erection of the fence had been along the boundary line or whether in fact some of Ford Woodland had been annexed. The Town Clerk was asked to check the boundary with the Land Registry Office.

Members suggested that the neighbours are leafleted to enquire whether anyone had information about the removal of the trees and that laminated posters are also placed in the vicinity. Information received by the Clerk will be kept confidential.

Proposed by Councillor Christie, seconded by Councillor Mckenzie and

RESOLVED: That The Torridge District Council Enforcement officer is asked to take enforcement action on the fence and the gate which leads into the woods and that neighbours are leafleted and laminated posters are placed in the woodland asking for information about the removal of the trees.

(Vote For: 7, Against: 0 )


“To increase the budget for the purchase of a second vehicle for the Maintenance Team.”

Councillor Bushby advised that although a second hand vehicle has already been approved by Council, it is proving difficult to source within the current budget. He requested a budget of approximately £15,000 which would provide a much newer and more reliable vehicle which would probably still be under warranty.

Proposed by Councillor Bushby, seconded by Councillor Mckenzie and

RECOMMENDED: That the motion is supported with a budget of approximately £15,000.

(Vote For: 7, Against: 0 )


Members received an update on the tasks undertaken by the Maintenance Operatives and noted the report. The Team were thanked for their continued hard work.


Proposed by Councillor Inch, seconded by Councillor Brenton 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)


There is a confidential minute associated with this item.

148.      Proposed by Councillor Inch, seconded by Councillor Brenton and

RESOLVED: That The Meeting returns to Standing Orders.

(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 7.38 pm.

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