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Town Council Meeting Minutes - 7 April 2016


North Ward:   

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

South Ward:   

Councillor D Brenton
Councillor J Day
Councillor S G Inch
Councillor R I Wootton

South (Outer) Ward   

Councillor D Howell

East Ward:   

Councillor Mrs R M Craigie
Councillor Mrs P Davies
Councillor M Langmead
Councillor J A McKenzie
Councillor  S Robinson


Mrs H J Blackburn (Town Clerk)
Mr R D Coombes (Deputy Town Clerk)
Councillor R Julian (DCC)
Northern Devon Healthcare Trust:
Dr Alison Diamond, Chief Executive
Andy Robinson, Director of Finance
Helen Hartstein, Head of Communications
4 x Members of the Public
1 x Members of the Press


Councillors A T Inch (South Ward - work) and D A D McGeough (North Ward – illness). 


Councillors Brenton, Christie, Howell and Pester all declared a non-pecuniary interest in Item 16.  (Members, Bideford Bridge Trust). 

Councillor Mrs P Davies declared a non-pecuniary interest in Item 8.  (Carer). 


A member of the public expressed thanks to the Council for considering the Manor Court Presentment that would see Tarka the Otter immortalised in bronze. She asked the Members, should they be inclined to resolve upon match funding the initiative, to release the money in stages.  The request was made to support the artist in the purchasing and subsistence costs during the commission.

Councillor Langmead saw merit in the request.

The Town Clerk indicated the request could be deliberated upon whilst Staffing, Finance and General Purpose Committee Meeting Minutes were presented for approval and adoption at item number 11.


The Minutes of the Meeting held on 10 March 2016 were approved and signed as a correct record.

(Vote – For: 14, Against: 0, Abstention: 0)


To approve the payments listed.

It was proposed by Councillor  S G Inch, seconded and

RESOLVED:  That the list of payments be approved.

(Vote – For: 14, Against: 0)


Members noted the Fire Service report which included detail on the Bridgeland Street Hair Salon incident.  Members praised the Service for their actions; reference was made to the effectiveness of the Fire Doors in containing the fire.    

a.   The Chairman welcomed Councillor Julian to the Meeting.

Councillor Julian thanked the Chairman and greeted the Members.  His report, that had previously been circulated, referred to Silver Street, Bus Service Time Table on the Quay, reduced bus services and Stearts Farm Academy (will go ahead).

He added that the Government had released £8 million for road surface work within the County.

b.   The Chairman invited Members to raise questions and comments that included:

•    The Councillor was requested to obtain future dispensation as a result of DCC agency intransience in receiving non-recyclable waste, following the multi-agency clean up initiative within the Town.
o    Councillor Brenton in the face of the same intransience, at a different time but party to the same initiative, on the same day demanded a letter of apology from the Agency on account of their rudeness whilst questioning his integrity.
•    Concerns remain over Bus Service provision.  Councillor Langmead to meet with Stage Coach Representatives not least to discuss the East the Water services of 21A and 19.
o    Councillor Mrs Craigie speculated upon the influence of DCC on the routes that they did not subsidise.  Both she and Councillor Robinson should have liked to been invited to attend the Stage Coach Meeting.
•    Roads:
o    Large pot hole outside the Fire Station on the Clovelly Road.
    DCC Councillor will advise Highways.
o    Request for improved pedestrian crossing / safety: Atlantic Village / Moreton Park Road.
o    DCC Councillor requested to raise the frustrations and concerns over
    the Heywood Road development
    provision for improvement to the (Heywood) roundabout
    inadequacy of the Torridge Bridge, restricted to two lanes, to service the (increased) traffic flow.
•    Trains: Demand for increased capacity on the Exeter – Barnstaple line.
o    DCC Councillor will, “take on board”.
•    DCC Councillor requested to press DCC for new school in Bideford – primary schools are bursting at the seams.

c.   The Chairman thanked Councillor Julian for addressing the Meeting.


a.   The Chairman welcomed Dr Alison Diamond, Chief Executive, Andy Robinson, Director of Finance and Helen Hartstein, Head of Communications for the Northern Devon Healthcare Trust.

b.   Dr Alison Diamond thanked the Mayor for the opportunity to address the Council; she introduced herself and colleagues.

She explained that Northern, Eastern and Western Devon is one of three areas in the country to be put into the NHS England Success Regime.  Given the financial challenges and difficulties faced by the Care Service a whole-system intervention, involving fifteen to twenty NHS organisations, healthcare bodies and councils is needed to deliver a resilient service now and for the future.  Partners within the Success Regime are committed to deliver clinically and financially sustainable services; with no action Devon is heading for a £442 million deficit within five years.

In order to effect change the issues need to be identified, a process of consultation offering options for addressing the challenges will take place followed by the implementation of changes to services.

She added that in addressing the Council, Members would understand the challenges and what the NDHT is doing in the immediate future.

The case for change is compelling:

•     People in Devon are living longer, with increasingly more complex care needs that require more support from health and social care services.
•     Some people have more health and social care needs than others. In North, East and West Devon, 40% of local people use almost 80% of health and social care.
•     Doing nothing is neither affordable nor clinically sustainable.
•     There are health inequalities across the region.
•     There is less money spent overall on health and social care in the most deprived areas across North, East and West Devon.
•     Care needs to be more person-centred and co-ordinated especially for people with more than one long-term condition.
•     Around 95,000 people with a long-term condition also have a mental illness. These people consume a large proportion of the health and social care budget but still achieve poor outcomes.
•     There are too many people in hospital beds who don’t need to be there: every day 500 people in a bed who do not need to be there.
•     Local people are waiting too long to access some cancer services.
•     Local hospitals are finding it difficult to deliver services for some of the most seriously ill people.
•     Services could be run more efficiently across North, East and West Devon.
•     There are difficulties with recruiting and retaining staff at all levels, making it hard to provide comprehensive and high-quality services.

There are four areas that will drive change:

•     Prevention: including healthy start for children.
•     Excellent Care: including reducing the reliance on bed based care in all settings and optimise spending on continuing care.
•     Productivity: including optimising the use of clinical and non-clinical staff, reducing agency spending and improved procurement.
•     Optimising service configuration: including consolidation of specialised services.

Mr Robinson stated that the Trust had a deficit of £100m in the financial year 2015 / 16 and was facing a deficit of £130m in 2016 / 17.

In order to meet the challenge the focus for 2016 / 17 will see a campaign to :

•    Reduce length of stay in hospital.
•    Reduce unnecessary referrals and follow-ups.
o    More standardisation.
o    Follow-up appointments based on clinical need not time.
•    Continuing health care – reduce Devon’s spend to the national mean average.
o    Provide improved assessment and support.
o    Change the model of care from dependency to enablement.
•    Reduce agency spend.
•    Procurement.
o    NHS must make better buying decisions to get value for money from buildings, clinical resources, equipment and utilities.
Dr Diamond concluded that NDDH is a high performing trust, that met its cancer, operating and A and E targets.  The Customer satisfaction levels were high, also.  The Service worked well with this winter and it remained committed to people maintaining their independence.  There was no option but to embrace change, hence the consultation process, but the commitment to deliver care safely remains.

c.   The Chairman invited Members to raise questions and comments that included:

•    Agency Staff.
o    The Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) purchase services that provide health care including the North Devon District Hospital (NDDH), nurses, midwifery, district nurses and physiotherapists.  Agencies are utilised when staff can’t be attracted or retained.  With 500 patients occupying beds when they should be receiving other more appropriate care there is a greater demand for staff.  Again there is a safe number of staff needed to deliver services.
o    There is a national initiative to cap agency costs.
o    Agency use has dropped by eight per cent.
o    Bank / pool not regarded as an attractive option.
•    Great Torrington has seen care in the Community run by “agency staff”.
o    Different Agency. 
    Personal Care run by Councils are Care Agencies.
    Health Care Agency Staff will include district nurses and physiotherapists.
•    Prior to raising questions on Recruitment / Training Nationally v Locally, Councillor Brenton declared a personal interest (daughter is a local nurse).
o    Confirmed do provide feedback to national agencies (on recruitment).
o    Work closely with University of Plymouth and Petroc.
    Care Academy initiative.
    Many nursing students based at Plymouth go through the NDHT system. People do enjoy health care and district nursing (more success in recruiting in these areas).
•    Concern that savings is more important than funding the needs.
o    NHS has a formula for funding.  It is a challenge for all of Devon to operate within the funding allocation hence the need to look at innovative ways of delivery.
•    Review buildings: energy saving initiatives including: heating, lighting employment of solar.
o    Embarking on reducing costs.  Have recently entered into contract that will save £1.5m over life of contract - NDDH roof covered with solar panels.
•    Large organisations work to, and benefit from, equal work schedules spread over seven days.
o    Most services are “24 / 7”.
o    Locally have seen benefit including doctors, physiotherapists and pharmacists.
o    Looking at planned 24 / 7 nurses / doctors.
•    Mental Health Care Provision for young people.
o    Devon wide is a priority.
•    Is DCC planning to reopen Great Torrington Hospital?
o    The Hospital is vibrant in providing non bed services (ultra sound / scans).
o    Not likely to open new beds (given that 500 are occupied that should not be).
•    Incident of patient discharged in the middle of the night – lack of support / provision.
o    Ambulances are not commissioned to take people home.
o    NHS does not run transport services.
•    Clinical Efficiency v Market Efficiency.
o    Priority is always clinical efficiency; right care will make system more efficient.  End result may see a need to deliver services differently.
•    Bideford MIU will reopen on 11 April 2016.
o    MIU services are being reviewed across Devon.
o    Out-patients remain unchanged.
o    IT provision enables link with patient / patient results in Bideford to consultant elsewhere providing efficiency saving on many levels.

d.   The Chairman thanked Dr Alison and her colleagues for addressing the Meeting.


Members noted the E Mail received from Inspector Gray on the staffing levels resulting in less frequent Police reports.


The Town Clerk advised Members:

a.   Annual Parish Meeting.  Wednesday, 20 April 2016, 7.00 pm Town Hall. 

b.   Queen’s Birthday Beacon.  Thursday, 21 April 2016, 8.30 pm Pollyfield Community Centre.

Councillor S G Inch invited all councillors to attend and arrive for 7.30 pm when a Mayor of Shamwickshire and the Mayor of Bideford will shake hands reviving a moment in history.  There will be a buffet and other celebratory events.


Councillor Howell noted the cost to hire the Flowers for Manor Court.  The Town Clerk confirmed that it formed part of the Bideford floral tender which the Committee elected to maintain.  It will subsequently be reviewed.

Minute Number 126.  Manor Court Presentment 3: To erect a bronze form of Tarka the Otter.  Councillor Langmead proposed that staged payments should be made following the earlier request during the Public Participation. 

Councillor Howell supported the proposal suggesting that they should be set at increments of £1,500.

Councillor S G Inch cautioned that there was no guarantee that the full amount would be raised with the resultant loss of public monies.
Councillor Bushby made a personal pledge to make up any shortfalls.  He did though reassure the Members that knowing those behind the Project he had no doubt that the monies would be raised.
It was proposed by Councillor Langmead, seconded and

RESOLVED:  That the Bideford Town Council match funds the amount raised by the Bideford Town Centre Partnership to a maximum of £7,500.  The funding will be on condition of the wording on the plaque being agreed by all parties and that it reflects the contribution the Town Council makes.  The payment will be made in match funded increments of £1,500.

(Vote – For: 13, Against: 0, Abstention: 1)

The Minutes of the Meeting held on 31 March 2016 were approved and signed as a correct record.

(Vote – For: 14, Against: 0)


The Chairman of the Committee recognised the impressive work of the Town Clerk’s Assistant, Mrs Dixon-Chatfield, in making the Minutes available to the Council the day after the Meeting.

The Minutes of the Meeting held on 16 March and 6 April 2016 were approved and signed as a correct record.

(Vote – For: 14, Against: 0)


Councillor Brenton referred Members to the previously circulated Minutes of the Meeting held on 21 March 2016.  He indicated that Dr P Norrey, Chief Executive and Head of Paid Services, DCC) recommended that all local councils prepare a Neighbourhood Plan.


Members received the Notes from the Town Centre Partnership meeting held on Wednesday 9 March 2016.

Councillor Mrs Craigie requested sight of the “Economic Plan” and a presentation from the Harbour Board.


Councillor Langmead stated that while he had no detail “Devolution” was moving forward.

Transformation of TDC was also moving forward.

The Tanton’s Hotel Development, as he had stated previously, was on the way, too.

Brunswick Wharf.  The Developer is in discussion with three other developers.  Following a number of adjustments a new application will be submitted to the Planning Department in late May / early June 2016.

Councillor Brenton questioned the integrity of the Developer and the largesse of TDC towards him.  He voiced concerns which he had also lodged with the TDC Solicitor (following legal advice taken in London).

Councillor Day asked about the decision taken on the Route 39 Academy.  Councillor Langmead advised that it had been made in Part II and had not been released.

Councillor Mrs Craigie in answer to a question she had previously raised at another meeting was advised, by Councillor Langmead, to speak to the Planning Officers regarding any retrospective planning application made by the BMX Track at Pollyfield.

Councillor Bushby asked whether the opportunity to develop the Brunswick Wharf Site could be withdrawn. 

Councillor Langmead suggested that it was a possibility reiterating that the Officers were in talks with the Developer.  On further questioning he confirmed that the Chief Planning Officer for TDC, Mr Green, had provided him with his information.

(Councillor Christie left the Meeting.)

Councillor Robinson wondered if TDC had not been informed by the Brunswick Wharf Developer’s past record with Richmond Dock and the Gaity Cinema (Appledore).  He was reassured, though that the Head of Paid Services had indicated that the Steamship Fresh Spring project was in “safe hands” with TDC, following entreaties from North Devon Council.


Councillor Howell advised Members that the Trust had a value of £15,669.000.  The income for March was £91,000, expenditure: £47,000 and grants: £18,000.  The Warden expressed that he was very impressed with the Handy Cross Allotment Site following a recent visit.

The business of the meeting having been concluded the Mayor thanked the members for their attendance at the meeting which concluded at 8.38 pm.

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