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Town Council Meeting Minutes - 27 October 2016


North Ward:   

Councillor D Bushby
Councillor P S Christie
Councillor D A D McGeough
Councillor P J Pester
Councillor T J Johns

South Ward:   

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

South (Outer) Ward:   

Councillor D Howell (Town Mayor)

East Ward:   

Councillor M C 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)
Graham Rooke (Fire Station Manager)
Station Commander B Lesslie (Bideford Fire Station)
Mr D Slocombe (DCC, Locality Officer)
1 x Members of the Public


Councillors A T Inch (South Ward – working), Mrs R M Craigie (East Ward – personal), Mrs P Davies (East Ward – illness).


Councillor Christie declared a non-pecuniary interest in Item 24.  (Member, Bideford Bridge Trust). 


There were no public participants.


The Minutes of the Meeting held on 15 September 2016 were approved and signed as a correct record.

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


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: 13, Against: 0)


a.   The Chairman welcomed Station Manager (Stn Mgr) Graham Rooke and Bideford Station Commander (Stn Cdr) Bruce Lesslie to the Meeting. 

b.   Stn Mgr Rooke thanked the Chairman and addressed the Members. 

He spoke on the Force’s role in Community Safety work where home (safety) visits are made to those most vulnerable people.  He alluded to partnerships and working with the Councils to target those in most need.

There is a Road Traffic Reduction Group, Torridge Area, Campaign at Atlantic Village where crashed vehicles are displayed.  One of the vehicles was included at the behest of a family whose daughter had died as a result of a crash; feedback has been positive.  In addition there is a driver simulation set up where a vehicle crashes into the back of a van.  “Beer Goggles” give a realistic effect of reaction times when under the influence of alcohol (but without the hangover).

In November a joint campaign with the Police will be launched targeting younger drivers. 

School visits have also been undertaken with DCC / Highways and the Police, under the “Honest Truth” banner targeting children, including those approaching driving age;  200 “song masks” have been issued:

•    Cheetah – drives too fast.
•    Monkey – messes around.
•    Parrott – talking whilst driving.

The initiative seeks to challenge drivers / parents and is proving effective.
The Fire Station remains committed to and retains a lead role in One Bideford.

“Out of the Blue” is a joint agency, ten week initiative that is aimed at the middle of the road school children whose performances are not bad but not excelling.  Some lack confidence, are socially stigmatised, poor communicators but are given the opportunity through the programme to gain team / leadership and problem solving skills:

•    Fire Service: First Aid.
•    Environment Agency: Sand bagging.
•    Police: Crime / consequences.
•    RNLI: Water safety.

Certification and accreditation is gained at the conclusion which can support future course work.  It will run from 1 February 2017 with a final day presentation involving the Mayor.

Halloween Event – public safety message delivered in a fun way.  The training building has seen hard work from the Station Crew to turn it into a haunted house on three levels: children, teenagers and adults.  Council members were invited to attend on 31 October 2016 between 5 pm and 8 pm.

Business Safety and house inspections (biggest concern house conversion to flats – exit / entry) had seen no high level enforcement – very positive.

Stn Mgr Rooke advised that he would be working from HQ for the foreseeable future although he was expecting to return.

Station Commander Lesslie briefed Members on the operational aspects of the Bideford Fire Station:

•    There are nineteen personnel.
•    Benefits of the new appliance light rescue pump:
o    1,300 litres of water carried compared to 1,800 litres but has compress air foam capability that has the big advantage of less need for water.
    Used for motor vehicles and thatch (roof) fires.
•    Joint Working with the ambulance service since 5 September 2016.
o    Three out of five occasions have responded faster (than the ambulance service).
•    Incidents that have been responded to included:
o    Electric Blanket.
o    Three visits to the Old Rectory (squatters).
o    Arm caught in potato picking machine (worked with Air Ambulance).
o    Chip Pan fires.

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

•    Old Rectory call out responses – was the owner charged?
o    There is on site security – police issue.
•    Impact of illegal parking on responses.
o    Does cause problems e.g. Pitt Lane, Clovelly Road not helped by no policing after 6.00 pm.
•    Councillor Langmead brought to the Chamber’s attention the lack of response from the Fire Service following a Home Fire Safety Visit Application submitted at the Woolsery and District Agriculture Show.

•    Councillor Bushby led the Council in a vote of thanks to the members of the Fire Service in recognition for their work.

d.   The Chairman thanked Stn Mgr Rooke and Stn Cdr Lesslie for their Community involvement and for addressing the Meeting.


a.   The Chairman welcomed Mr David Slocombe, DCC Locality Officer, to the Meeting. 

b.   Mr Slocombe thanked the Chairman and addressed the Members advising that in his liaison / DCC point of contact role he would provide support and help.

In stating that he was not a Highways Service Man he recognised the great importance of Mill Street although it was somewhat worn out and unsightly.  He confirmed, though that DCC had no capital allocated to the project and in the present climate promoted safety over regeneration.  DCC would, however, design and project manage the initiative.

He referred to a meeting with a number of councillors and the Local Highway Officer, Mr Julian Roskilly, where various alternatives were considered some of which were displayed (at the present meeting).   He also offered help with a consultation exercise.

Councillor Christie believed that a consultation with local traders and members of the public should be entered into at the earliest opportunity.  He expressed disappointment on the DCC stance on capital funding indicating that there was no funding for the “dangerous” Rose Hill Heywood Road development yet £3 million had been spent at Roundswell on “a bridge to nowhere”.

He invited Mr Slocombe to advise DCC that people continue to trip / fall on Mill Street and that the initiative was not about aesthetics but safety.

The Mayor endorsed the sentiment adding that any safety defect, reported should be fixed.

Councillor Bushby indicated that BTCP will be meeting Councillor John Hart, Leader of DCC and will impress upon him that Mill Street is a Devon Highway and they would expect equal funding.

Councillor Brenton questioned the designs indicating that the axles of the heavy lorries would distribute the weight of the vehicles to the sides of the thoroughfare necessitating tarmac provision where the wheels drive.  He added that the surface would be better for repair purposes.

Members reviewed and discussed the merits of the various designs.

Councillor Pester offered the status quo.  Councillor Christie questioned who would run the consultation.  Councillor Robinson recalled DCC Cabinet Ministers on walking through the street stating that it was not fit for purpose; he declared that it remained dangerous.

Further discussion found the Mayor noting the inattentiveness of not having recorded any accidents.  With a reflection on the Council finances he believed that no more than £50,000.00 could be committed to the Project.  He invited the Chairman of TDC and Councillor Christie to investigate application for funding (from TDC) although he could not confirm with any certainty that the Project would run.

Councillor Bushby thanked Mr Slocombe for his work with both the Council and BTCP.

Proposed by Councillor Langmead, seconded and


•    £50,000.00 is the reserved contribution.
•    Consultation made to the general public.
•    Application is made for a new homes bonus payment in the new tranche.
•    That agreement is subject to the Council’s agreement with the design and specification.

(Vote – For: 13, Against: 0)


Members had received a report from Councillor Gaston Dezart that included:

HATOC advice that there was no solution to the traffic issues circulating the Pannier Market.

•    The changes to Stagecoach bus routes were the result of reduced subsidies from DCC.
•    Removal of overhanging growth along Manteo Way.
•    Pollyfield Centre’s desire for solar panelling (contribution made by Councillor Dezart, in support).
•    The berth of SS Freshspring.  John Puddy is organising a painting competition and Councillor Dezart will provide cash prizes for the winner and the school/college.
•    The Junior Park Run (every Sunday morning at 10am around Victoria Park) now issues framed certificates of achievement to all comers, not just winners.
•    The homing device has been installed at the Rugby Club ground; this will enable Air Ambulance to respond safely to any emergencies.

a.   The Chairman welcomed Councillor Julian to the Meeting.

Councillor Julian thanked the Chairman and greeted the Members. 

He stated that the Air Ambulance switch gear device for night activities would work from 2 November 2016 and that the Mines Road Primary School had been denied a crossing point on the Alverdiscott Road.

b.   The Chairman invited Members to raise questions and comments, that included:
•    Clarity was sought on Councillor Dezart’s payments, whether personal or public contributions were being made.
o    Personal.
•    Request for Chanters Road drainage to be investigated.
•    Funding for Cattle Market ships’ storage cargo facility.
o    Councillor Julian confirmed monies remained earmarked for the initiative.
•    Demolition of Old Rectory – did DCC have an overage clause?
o    Councillor Julian will investigate.
•    Councillor Julian was asked to provide a report on the Devolution Process.
•    Request for Councillor Julian to pursue the East-the-Water School crossing point.  A meeting including a school governor, DCC Councillor (Dezart), Health and Safety and Highway officers and the Police noted the demand (for a safe crossing point)  – 510 pupils use the entrance – where the barrier was found to be unsafe, flashing lights did not work and no delineated zig zag lines.
o    Further concern expressed highlighted the dangerous and chaotic road.
•    It was felt that DCC were remiss in that post utility work should see the highway made to a standard that matches the existing environs.
•    There was a demand for an update from Stage Coach (following the public consultation meeting in August 2016).
o    Councillor Julian advised that an announcement had been expected in October 2016.

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


The Mayor announced that there would be a public meeting held in Pollyfield on Wednesday, 28 November 2016 to discuss the fight against the NDDH reduction (of services).

The Town Clerk advised members:

a.   Remembrance Sunday: 13 November 2016.  The Town Hall will be open from 09.45 am, Members to be robed by 10.20 am for the Victoria Park Service that will commence at 10.50 am.

b.   Signing of the Lease: 3 December 2016.  The Town Hall will be open from 09.45 am, Members to be robed by 10.15 am for procession to the Pannier Market for 10.30 am.


a.   Councillor McGeough highlighted that he had been incorrectly listed representing North Ward.

The Minutes of the Meeting held on 6 October 2016 were approved and adopted.

(Vote – For: 13, Against: 0)

b.   The Minutes of the Meeting held on 13 October 2016 were approved and adopted.

(Vote – For: 13, Against: 0)


The Minutes of the Meeting held on 21 September 2016 and 12 October 2016 were approved and adopted.

(Vote – For: 13, Against: 0)


The Minutes of the Meeting held on 29 September 2016 were approved and adopted.

(Vote – For: 13, Against: 0)


The Minutes of the Meeting held on 26 October 2016 were approved and adopted.

(Vote – For: 13, Against: 0)


The Minutes of the Meeting held on 22 September 2016 were approved and adopted.

(Vote – For: 13, Against: 0)


Councillor Christie advised that, along with Councillor Langmead, they had attended the TDC Members Leadership Team Meeting where it was unanimously agreed that there would be no extension to timeframes.  He believed that it was now time to “grasp the nettle” adding that TDC would move on to develop a viable scheme for the site that delivers the necessary community benefits within an acceptable timeframe.  He believed that the (Bideford Town) Council should similarly agree with the TDC stance and draw their commitment to a close.

Councillor Langmead stated that he was in agreement and confirmed that TDC had drawn the matter to a close.  While he said that it was unfortunate TDC, nonetheless, can drive forward what the Public want; it was time to draw a line.

Councillor Langmead proposed that the Council should un-ring fence the funds for use elsewhere.

Councillor Johns expressed sadness towards the demise of the Project but fully understood the decision.  TDC would listen to what the many residents would like to see is the best way forward.

Councillor Brenton confirmed that the Town needs a Community Centre and should take a lead.

The Mayor sought clarification on the Council’s funding commitment.

Councillor Christie quoted from the original Motion,

“A further £180,000 will be earmarked over three years (2014-2016) to be released when the reserved matters are met and the £5,000,000 project costs have been raised.”

Councillor Bushby seconded Councillor Langmead’s proposal.

Councillor Langmead agreed with the demand for a Community Centre adding that TDC are in discussion with the builders.

Councillor S G Inch confirmed the need for a community hall adding that Bideford South does not have a community building.  He believed that Bideford College had priced their facilities out of reach for (smaller) organisations.

The Mayor proffered working with TDC and other groups who can raise funding (in support of a community building).

Councillor Robinson believed that in view of the recent events the Council funds can no longer be “ring fenced” for the Wings Project.

Proposed by Councillor Langmead, seconded and

RESOLVED:  That in view of recent events, the Town Council sees no merit in continuing to ring fence the £180,000 set aside for the Bridge Centre and withdraws its funding.

(Vote – For: 11, Against: 1, Abstention: 1)


Councillor Pester informed the Members that ten nurses from the Lundy Ward at North Devon District Hospital (NDDH) went to London to receive an award from the Nursing Times in recognition of their looking after / prevention of harm to (their) patients.

He believed that the Council should thank them for their efforts; the staff should be recognised.

Councillor Brenton advocated supporting a letter in applying more pressure in resistance to any potential cuts.  He spoke of the strength of feeling and passion within the North Devon community.

Councillor Wootton while referring to the birth of the NHS in 1945 believed that market conditions should be removed.

Councillor Christie spoke strongly against NHS funding practises.  Whilst he did not support the template letter he believed all councils should withdraw funding and not invest in privatising the NHS.  He advocated writing to the local MP requesting a motion that this Government abolishes the iniquitous Private Finance Initiative (PFI) agreements.

The Mayor invited Councillor Christie to draft a letter to the MP.

Councillor S G Inch advised that he felt so strongly about the issue he had, indeed, written to the Prime Minister.  He had received a reply from the Health Department advising him to write to the (local) Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG).

He urged his fellow Members to follow the same course.


Submission by Councillor P Christie:

“Given that DCC say they have no funds to replace the three dead trees on the Quay, this Council ascertains the cost of doing this, and if the price is reasonable, go ahead with the work.”

Councillor Christie had spoken to the “tree officer”, from TDC who indicated that the cost would be in the region of £400 per tree and that a better species be adopted. 

Councillor Christie referred to the original Victorian scheme and how over time the arboriculture replacements had been arbitrary. 

Councillor Bushby seconded the Motion.

Councillor S G Inch confirmed the price but warned against Ash.

Proposed by Councillor Christie, seconded

RESOLVED:  That the Motion is supported in principle.  Councillor Christie will obtain further details on which species should replace the current trees and more detailed costings.

(Vote – For: 13, Against: 0)


Submission by Councillor D Howell:

“To make all Councillors, including those that have served on the Bridge Trust, eligible for selection when a vacancy arises, by removing the current four year block on those that have previously represented the Council on the Bridge Trust.”

Councillor Brenton disagreed believing that each councillor should have an opportunity to serve on the august body; the block went some way to optimise that chance.

Proposed by Councillor Howell, seconded by Councillor Pester,

(Vote – For: 5, Against: 7, Abstention: 1)

The Motion failed.


Submission by Councillor D Howell:

“To support the community, open to everyone, Christmas Day lunch being provided by Intagr8 by supplying a large Christmas pudding.”

Councillor Howell advised that Intagr8 had approached companies, cafés and restaurants who had given a commitment to cook and deliver items on the day.  He sought to provide a large Christmas Pudding that would be created at the Youth Centre where Members could take part in stirring.

Councillor Bushby seconded the Motion.

Proposed by Councillor Howell, seconded

RESOLVED:  That the Motion is supported.

(Vote – For: 13, Against: 0)


Submission by Councillor J Day:

“For Bideford Town Council in partnership with 361 Energy CIC to provide an energy clinic during the winter months.”

Councillor Day reminded Members that 361 Energy CIC were a North Devon Based Social Enterprise group who helped those in fuel poverty e.g. low income, elderly people with free advice on grants, tariff / provider switching.

He advised that Tara Bowers, a 361 Energy CIC volunteer, was willing to

•    brief the Council
•    provide training to some councillors / staff
•    run a couple of (public) sessions in Bideford
o    Pollyfield Centre
o    Local schools
o    Town Hall / Council Chamber.

He requested that a provision of £200 be made for advertising / promoting the surgeries.

Councillor Brenton seconded the Motion.

Councillor Pester wondered whether the CAB would provide the service.

Councillor Day indicated that the CAB provided general advice, 361 Energy CIC were specifically aimed at energy; there are a number of cold homes in the community.  He felt the small sum would provide a good return.

Proposed by Councillor Day, seconded

RESOLVED:  That the Motion is supported, that Tara Bowers is invited to brief the Council and £200.00 is made available to advertise and promote the initiative.

(Vote – For: 11, Against: 1, Abstention: 1)


Councillor Bushby highlighted the BTCP concerns over the parking of coaches in the Town.

The Mayor noted that DCC have yet to provide any detail on local licence transfer of administration.  Councillor S G Inch remarked on the scourge of the A Board to those with poor sight.

Members looked forward to the siting of the railings.

Councillor Bushby spoke of the Wicked Week success advocating a letter of thanks to Tonia Quance and her able lieutenants.


Councillor Brenton spoke of support across the Parish and Town Councils of Devon against capping the Precept.

He advised that the Road Warden Scheme had been taken up by twenty out of four hundred and fifty councils over the two years.  With costs, including £200 / person insurance hindering the take up, along with extra staff responsibility there would need to be greater flexibility.

Councillor Christie referred to a briefing from the Accounts officer, Steve Hirst, who had advised that the re-evaluation of Business rates had seen Torridge rise by ten per cent against an increase of one per cent for Exeter and North Devon.

Proposed by Councillor Brenton, seconded

RESOLVED:  That a letter of support against capping for Town and Parish Councils is sent to the Consultative Body.

(Vote – For: 13, Against: 0)


Councillor Langmead enlightened Members on Brunswick Wharf, planning application for Tantons, the stagnation of the Devolution process and “Transform”, that will see the imminent move of the IT Department from Bridge Buildings to Riverbank House.


Councillor Christie briefed Members on the income, expenditure, charitable donations and grants figures. 

The business of the meeting having been concluded the Mayor thanked the members for their attendance at the meeting which concluded at 8.50 pm.

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