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Minutes of the Town Council Meeting held via Zoom, on Thursday 29 October 2020 at 6.30 pm


North Ward:

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

South Ward:

Councillor Mrs S Langford
Councillor P Lawrence

West Ward:

Councillor Mrs K Corfe
Councillor C Hawkins

East Ward:

Councillor J Craigie
Councillor Mrs R Craigie
Councillor Mrs J Gubb
Councillor Mrs L Hellyer
Councillor J A McKenzie


Mrs H J Blackburn (Town Clerk)
Mr R D Coombes (Deputy Town Clerk)
Councillor A T Inch (DCC)
Ms L Willans (Appletree Initiative)
1 x Member of the Press
3 x Members of the Public


Councillor D Ratcliff (West Ward – personal).


Councillor P Christie declared a non-pecuniary interest in Item 20. (Trustee, Bridge Trust).


There was no member participation.

256.     MINUTES

The Minutes of the Zoom Meeting held on 17 September 2020 were approved and signed as a correct record.

(Vote – For: 13, Against: 0)

257.     ACCOUNTS

a.        To approve the payments listed up to 17 September 2020.

It was proposed by Councillor Christie, seconded and

RESOLVED: That the List of Payments be approved.

(Vote – For: 13, Against: 0)

b.        Members noted the external auditor’s certificate and opinion 2019 / 20.

It was proposed by Councillor Bushby, seconded by Councillor McKenzie and

RESOLVED: That the External Auditor’s Certificate and Opinion 2019/200 is accepted.

(Vote – For: 13, Against: 0)


a.        The Chairman invited Councillor A T Inch to address the Members.

b.        Councillor Inch thanked the Chairman he spoke on:

• The worth of the DCC reports circulated to members.
• The successful conclusion to the Clovelly Road crossing.
• There being eight cases of COVID-19 registered in the Bideford East, Bideford
West and Hartland County Council Wards that includes the Parishes of:
Alverdiscott, Bideford, Huntshaw, Landcross, Littleham, Monkleigh, Weare
Giffard, Abbotsham, Alwington, Clovelly, Hartland, Lundy, Parkham, Welcombe
and Woolfardisworthy. He urged Members to “wash, face and space;” he noted that
there had been an influx of holiday makers.
• The A39 roadworks / closure and accident at the Big Sheep “turn off,” believed to be
attributable blocked drains / flooding; the Highways Department may have to
introduce traffic control measures.
• The Notice of Motions involving cycling and trees both of which he supported.
o He referenced the work of the Cycle Paths Working Group at TDC and linking a
mixed industrial / domestic developments at Caddsdown and Atlantic Village
with dedicated cycle routes.
o Making requests to DCC for the funding of new trees. DCC should like
potential new tree / orchard sites to be identified.
• Encouraging everyone to notify highway defects / hazards to DCC either through the
website or him.
• Rotary Club Christmas Funding initiative in support of Devon Foodbank.

The Chairman had received correspondence regarding parking and vehicle passing
where Lower Gunstone meets Cold Harbour; he would forward the detail to
Councillor Mrs Hellyer.

He requested that “best regards” are sent to the returning local Highways Officer.

c.          The Chairman thanked Councillor Inch for his contribution.


a.         The Mayor invited Lucy Willans, from the Appletree Initiative, to give a presentation on the benefits that outdoor learning can have for children.

b.         Ms Willans thanked the Mayor and addressed the Meeting first by thanking Councillors J Craigie and Herron for giving her a tour of the amazing bit of Woodland (Ford Woods) at the heart of the Town.

She said that now was exactly the right time to consider using the Woodland in education; it is a sustainable process.

During the last four years Appledore School have supported after school forest clubs. The Head of the School set out to bring the outdoor environment into the curriculum, not just absorb it. The Appletree Initiative was established creating experimental space in wooded areas – outside. Teachers, parents, and children found exciting ways to engage the environment across the curriculum.

She spoke on how the Initiative placed emphasis not only on enriching and empowering children but also wider community involvement. It bestows the discovery of potential, to explore and expand ideas, taking the classroom outside, providing for knowledge and understanding. The freedom and space adapt to the demands and the changes to society and children.

Given the spectre of COVID-19 there has been a massive sea change in how much the Community want to become involved. The home / work / life balance has seen parents using “the outside” as part of learning; children have responded positively. The pandemic has been a huge catalyst to change.

Schools are using outside space more and more and finding that it works really well, under the current climate.

The Appletree Initiative has seen a raft of offers from people wishing to bring their expertise and become involved. A Bideford College teacher has provided “muddy boots” science, Park Rangers, Artists, former teachers, and environmentalists offer their time for free.

Ms Willan explained that families have been doing exciting things through their involvement with the Appletree Initiative; it is growing organically. The Community engagement has exceeded their dreams.

At the outset they set out to ensure that the Initiative would be sustainable. They looked at how to run the process. They set up a website where people were invited to post projects that they were interested in. People were invited to start projects, manage themselves but with help. They took ownership, learnt management skills.

The Initiative acknowledged those individuals and small businesses that worked outdoors, supported them and they reciprocated providing for the exchange of valuable information.

Training has been provided, by those who work outdoors; one volunteer has completed a forager leader course.

Ms Willan always believed that a piece of woodland (next to a school) would produce an interesting space for education; children benefit from the outdoors (environment).

She concluded that the Town could build something, engage best practice, has a chance to show and understand how (well) the natural environment sits with Education.

c.       The Mayor invited Members to ask questions / raised points that included:

• CRB / DBS check.
o Run by school, quick easy process.
• Encourage use of Ford Woodland.
• Definite interest in Initiative from local schools.

Ms Willans welcomed any contact.

d.        The Mayor thanked Ms Willans for addressing the Council.


The Mayor advised:

a.        He and Councillor Bushby had visited the Palladium Club where the owner requested a (generic) letter that would support an application for funding. The Chairman spoke of the Live Music venue that also provided good rehearsal space.

Councillor Bushby confirmed that the application was for external funding.

Councillor McKenzie believed that there was nothing like it within a fifty-mile radius. The Palladium nurtured local talent from grassroots level. He opined that Arts was not just all about theatre.

All thirteen members expressed agreement for a generic letter of support for the Palladium towards a funding bid.

b.        The Chairman invited Councillor Mrs Corfe to explain her “Meals for Children,” initiative.

Councillor Mrs Corfe thanked the Mayor and announced that she had created a social media group called, “Meals for Kids in Northern Devon.” Eight Bideford Cafés / food outlets, to date, had pledged free meals to children during the half-term and Christmas breaks. A similar initiative had been started encouraging toys to be donated to the Foodbank. She was also exploring a, “cotton pyjamas and sweet treat,” Christmas Eve opportunity for families.

The Town Clerk advised that the new War Memorial Plaque, recognising the civilian casualties of war, was in situ.


The Minutes of the Zoom Meeting held on 22 September and 13 October 2020 were approved and adopted.

(Vote – For: 13, Against: 0)


The Minutes of the Zoom Meeting held on 6 October 2020 were approved and adopted.

(Vote – For: 12, Abstention: 1, Against: 0)


The Minutes of the Zoom Meeting held on 8 October 2020 were approved and adopted.

(Vote – For: 13, Against: 0)


The Minutes of the Zoom Meeting held on 15 October 2020 were approved and adopted.

(Vote – For: 13, Against: 0)


The Minutes of the Zoom Meeting held on 20 October 2020 were approved and adopted.

(Vote – For: 13, Against: 0)


The Minutes of the Zoom Meeting held on 26 October 2020 were approved and adopted.

(Vote – For: 13, Against: 0)


Members had received and noted the Correspondence between the Council, Landivisiau and Manteo during the last twelve months.


Submission by Councillor J Herron.

“To consider priorities for improving the cycling network in and around Bideford as proposed by NDCC.”

In recognising and rallying support to the NDCC Councillor Herron provided statistics that indicated an increase in interest and expenditure on cycling since the 2012 Olympics on a National and International level. He also provided a projection of spend on E Bikes worldwide.

He spoke of being receptive to new ideas, the Climate Emergency and the need to explore alternative transport.

He advocated the Council commit to connecting to neighbouring Towns and Communities, through cycling. Fit, green, future.

Councillor McGeough seconded the Motion.

Councillor Bushby applauded the sentiment. He indicated that the Council could not offer any practical help, only moral support.

Councillor McGeough having indicated his full support, noting Northam Town Council’s interest, advocated a full, healthy lifestyle but agreed that the Council had only limited finances; DCC could be lobbied.

Councillor Mrs Hellyer agreed with Councillor Bushby. DCC is the Highway Authority.

She indicated support of the Kenwith Scheme but noted that Government monies earmarked for commuting would see the Tarka Trail resurfaced. She reiterated that DCC do not encourage cyclists to cross the Torridge Bridge.

A “third bridge,” was unlikely to happen – cost prohibitive.

She concluded that it was better to support something that had a chance to succeed.

Councillor McKenzie whilst supporting in principle did believe that there was not much the Council could do.

Councillor Bushby stated that he could only agree to support the Motion provided the implied financial element was removed.

Upon questioning from the Chairman, Councillor Herron agreed to amend the Motion, withdrawing any financial commitment.

It was proposed by Councillor Herron

RESOLVED: That the Motion is supported, without any financial commitment from the Council.

(Vote – For: 12, Abstention: 1, Against: 0)


Submission by Councillor J Craigie.

“That Bideford Town Council supports the efforts of Devon Wildlife Trust in conserving and preserving the IUCN red listed Devon Whitebeam Tree by:

• Procuring 3 Devon Whitebeam saplings for planting in Ford Woodland with appropriate protection against predation.

• Place signage at the entrance to Ford Woodland explaining the critically endangered nature of Devon Whitebeam trees and how they are almost extinct in the wild apart from the Torridge River Valley.

• Call on other parishes within the Torridge River Valley to take similar steps in support of the work of Devon Wildlife Trust in preserving this part of northern Devon's wildlife heritage.”

Councillor J Craigie advised that there were fewer than 100 Devon Whitebeam Trees in existence and most were in the Torridge River Valley. He spoke about the movement away to other fruit trees and the plan to protect our natural species.

Councillor Christie seconded the Motion.

Councillor Bushby believed the Motion to be admirable. He led discussion that included:

• support for the purchasing,
• questioning signage that might draw ne’er-do-wells,
o delay signage until saplings established,
• involve other parishes,
o engage Devon Wildlife Trust to promote the plight of the tree and encourage others to replicate the venture,
• introduce more saplings.

Councillor J Craigie accepted a revision to the signage until the saplings are established, though they will be planted away from the Path.

RESOLVED: That the Motion is supported, although signage will be introduced once the saplings are established.

(Vote – For: 13, Against: 0)

270.     DALC

Councillor Mrs Craigie indicated that the Board had been elected and that the business of the AGM had been conducted.


Councillor Mrs Langford advised Members:

• Convening of three Full Meetings of the Council.
• Constitution change.
• Review of Proposed Planning Rules (and report back to Government).
• Neighbourhood Plans – considering Winkleigh and Torrington.
• Letter to local MP and Government about the Agriculture Bill and support for farming.
• Re-opening of Torridge Pool, 4 November 2020.


Councillor Christie gave detail on income, Estate expenditure, Grants: individual, student, group, Business Start Up and Annual (for local groups).

The business of the meeting having been concluded the Mayor thanked the members for their attendance at the meeting which concluded at 7.47 pm.


Accounts for approval at the Extra Ordinary Town Council Meeting – 29 October 2020

Account for approval at the Town Council Meeting 29 October 2020




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