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Minutes of the Meeting of the Town Council held in the Council Chamber, Town Hall, Bideford on Thursday 21 September 2017 at 6.30 pm


North Ward:

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

South Ward:

Councillor D Brenton
Councillor J Day
Councillor A T Inch
Councillor S G Inch
Councillor B Wootton

South (Outer) Ward

Councillor D Howell

East Ward:

Councillor Mrs R M Craigie
Councillor P Davies
Councillor M C Langmead
Councillor J A McKenzie


Mrs H J Blackburn (Town Clerk)
Mr R D Coombes (Deputy Town Clerk)
Rachel Hunter (Obesity in the Locality)
10 x Members of the Public


Councillor S Robinson (East Ward – personal).


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


A member of the public spoke about the need for a Community Centre in the Londonderry Estate which would be of benefit to both those senior and younger members of the area. She alluded to past promises and a forty five page petition providing a groundswell of support for the much needed facility.

The Mayor thanked the participant indicating that the Town Clerk would circulate the petition.

A second member referred to Item 15. Notice of Motion: Bideford Town Council adopting the Surfers Against Sewage (SAS) stance opposing the proliferation of single use plastics. She advised that the SAS are the most environmentally active group but noted that plastics contaminate the sea and land – eighty per cent of marine litter is from landfill (sites). The aim is to stop plastic pollution at source. In order to reduce the proliferation of single use plastic it is important to encourage a full community response. Businesses can work together, review their practices, local groups / areas can stop production at source. The local group is aiming for accreditation, highlighting pride in the Community, and to establish free coast status. The hope is that a councillor would sit on the Plastic Free Coastline Steering Group and that the Council would resolve to support Plastic Free Coastlines.


Councillor Christie referred to Item. 74. He stated that TDC did collect Renewable Business Rates that they were retained by them and are currently worth three quarters of a million pounds. The Town Clerk advised that the Minutes would be updated.

Councillor Johns referred to Item. 61.b. He asked whether Councillor Langmead had made any progress on compiling a report on road traffic incidents / casualties, including the Link Road. Councillor Langmead confirmed that he had not completed the process but it remained in his sights.

The Minutes of the Meeting held on 10 August 2017 were approved and signed as a correct record.

(Vote – For: 15, Against: 0)


a. To approve the payments listed.

It was proposed by Councillor Howell, seconded and

RESOLVED: That the List of Payments be approved.

(Vote – For: 15, Against: 0)

b. The Town Clerk advised that the External Auditor’s Certificate of Opinion on the Accounts for the Financial Year 2016/2017 had not been received. Members agreed that the Item would be deferred.


The Mayor welcomed Mr Maurice Pearce to speak on behalf of the Chamber of Commerce.

Mr Pearce stated the Chamber had concerns about the Emergency Services cover and response to incidents in the Town; he referred to a meeting with Inspector Kenneally where fears about the Night time economy and associated anti-social and violent behaviour were raised.

The Chamber have agreed a date with the representative of the police and crime commissioner’s office to discuss the problems as they see them and report back to the Commissioner. Mr Pearce invited all Councillors to attend and participate in those discussions scheduled for 31 October 2017 6.00 pm at the Arts Centre.

He referred to the Chamber’s collective dismay at the proposed siting of a Travellers’ Transit camp and the potential impact upon the local economy.

While some have purveyed negativity towards the Mill Street improvement scheme the Chamber are wholeheartedly behind it and look forward to the benefits the completion will bring.

Members are invited to the next Chamber Meeting, Tuesday 26 September 2017.

The Mayor thanked Mr Pearce for addressing the Meeting.


Members had received a report from Councillor Linda Hellyer that included:

• The Mill Street works to commence on 2 January 2018.

• Longbridge repointing, fourteen weeks’ work commencing 25 September 2017. The work should not cause any disruption given that it is under the Bridge.

• Torridge Bridge. Work to commence on the West side in January 2018 during the night, under traffic lights.

• Disbursement of Locality grant.

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

• Landslip, Grange Road

o Both Councillors Hellyer and A T Inch requested to facilitate action, not excuses

• Travellers’ Transit Camp

o Request for County Councillor to return to DCC about the A39 derelict laybys.

b. The Chairman thanked Councillor Hellyer for her contribution to the Meeting.


Members had sight of Ms Hunters circular explaining her relationship with the Cambridge Diet, statistics suggesting that a quarter of Bideford adults are obese, the dangers of the condition and a number of successful case studies.

a. The Chairman welcomed Rachel Hunter to the Meeting and invited her to address the Chamber on the subject and advise what she can offer the people of Bideford.

b. Ms Hunter thanked the Mayor for the opportunity to promote the Cambridge Weight Plan confirming that she would offer free services in relation to Healthy Eating.

She spoke about her eleven year career that had seen her help one thousand people (Ms Hunter confirmed that she personally had success with the diet) and the relationship of obesity to diabetes and other health issues.

In trying to raise awareness she had spoken to groups in Bude, Exeter and Okehampton and was seeking an appropriate forum / venue in Bideford.

Members suggested the Children Centre, Intagr8 (Wellbeing Centre) and the Pollyfield Centre.

Asked whether plans could be tailored to the physical limitations of the individual, Ms Hunter indicated that plans are tailored to the individual, taking into account health and medical conditions; initially the weight loss journey would begin without exercise.

c. The Chairman thanked Ms Hunter for addressing the Meeting and providing a few ideas for the councillors.


a. The Town Clerk reminded Members that the latest Spruce Up day would be held on Sunday 24 September 2017, 9.00 am to 1.00 pm. The Town Clerk’s Assistant would be centred on Jubilee Square co-ordinating morning for those late attendees.

b. The Administrative Assistant, Mrs Claire Parsons, joined the Council effective 1 September 2017.  She has set up social media accounts, which she will update along with the website.

c. The Mayor advised that an East-the-Water resident had sent an E Mail thanking the Council generally, but the Maintenance Team in particular for their recent work on the Old Barnstaple Road.

d. “The Mayor stated that he was compelled to inform Members that in accordance with (Bideford Town Council) Standing Order number 13, Code of conduct complaints, TDC were investigating a Code of Conduct complaint; the Councillors involved: Councillor A T Inch and Mrs P Davies.”


Item.53.a. Councillor Howell questioned whether the Committee had noted that the Signing of the Lease will be held on 2 December 2017; Councillor Brenton confirmed they had.

The Minutes of the Meeting held on 14 September 2017 were approved and adopted.

(Vote – For: 15, Against: 0)


The Minutes of the Meeting held on 30 August and 20 September 2017 were approved and adopted.

(Vote – For: 15, Against: 0)


The Minutes of the Meeting held on 12 September 2017 were approved and adopted.

(Vote – For: 15, Against: 0)


Item.054. Policy on Badger culling. Members expressed concerns over the apparent ambiguity of the item and the resolution.

It was proposed by Councillor S G Inch, seconded and

RESOLVED: That the Item is returned to the next S,F&GP Committee Meeting.

Item.055. Trainee / apprentice maintenance operative. Councillor A T Inch while noting the recommendation understood that costings were to be provided to help inform the decision making process.

The Town Clerk explained the research that she had been undertaken and confirmed the Recommendation was the most appropriate course of action.

It was proposed by Councillor A T Inch, seconded and

RESOLVED: That the Item is deferred to the next Town Council Meetings in order that all Members could have sight of the costings.

(Vote – For: 8, Against: 7)

The Minutes of the Meeting held on 31 August 2017 were approved and adopted.

(Vote – For: 15, Against: 0)


The Town Clerk advised that she had spoken to Maria Bailey (local Planning Consultant) regarding help in the completion and submission of a Community Grant Application (free of charge). (Mrs Bailey has provided help to both Great Torrington and Northam Town Councils.)

The Town Clerk instructed Members that in order to submit a grant application, next tranche 2018, confirmation was needed to support a bid, with Mrs Bailey’s help and establish the designated area i.e. whole or part of the Parish of Bideford.

Councillor Brenton advised that the Council would be able to serve the Community better with a Neighbourhood Plan in place.

Councillor Day wondered at the distinction between the Neighbourhood Plan and the Local (District) Plan.

Councillor Brenton confirmed that the Local Plan was District led and dictated the housing / planning requirements. The Neighbourhood Plan is the Parish / Town; the Bideford Plan for Bideford – it carries weight. It would provide the Town with a platform to have more say, on its future.

Councillor Christie indicated that the Neighbourhood Plan must fit with the District Plan (not at right angles), however, it does provide the opportunity to dictate how and where infrastructure monies are disbursed – which he fully supported.

It was proposed by Councillor Brenton, seconded and

RESOLVED: That Mrs Bailey is invited to assist the Town Clerk in completing / submitting the My Community Grant Application in 2018 with the area of designation being the whole of Bideford.

(Vote – For: 15, Against: 0)


Submission by Councillor P Christie:

“That Bideford Town Council adopt the Surfers Against Sewage stance opposing the proliferation of single use plastics in this area in order to both cut down on coastal pollution and the waste of natural resources they represent."

Councillor Christie confirmed that he and Councillor Day had recently attended a local Surfers Against Sewage (SAS) Meeting. He spoke of Beach Cleaning in Hartland and the potential impact upon the Estuary, raising concerns for health in Tap Water; evidently the pollution in the Ocean smells like food to fish. There is 8.3 billion tons of waste, 4/5 held in landfill sites.

The Motion was seconded by Councillor McGeough.

Members had sight of a SAS information sheet inviting Council support leading to an overall achievement of Plastic Free Coastlines status and area certification / accreditation.

SAS set out requirements from Local Councils, under the heading of Local Governance:

• Council to encourage plastic-free initiatives locally.
• Council to promote SAS Plastic Free Coastlines campaign and support events.
• Council must lead by example by removing single-use plastic items from it’s premises.
• One council member must sit on the PFC Steering Group (Councillor Christie volunteered himself).
• Local Council to pass a resolution to support Plastic Free Coastlines.

Councillor A T Inch declared the campaign to be a very good idea and also volunteered to sit on the PFC Steering Group with Councillor Christie.

(Councillor Mrs Davies withdrew from the Meeting.)

Councillor Bushby noted that the campaign was a commendable aspiration. He stated that the Northam Burrows (Landfill) fifty five acre site contains a huge amount of plastic. He believed that TDC were in denial, a big storm would create a major pollution incident in the Estuary; there is a fifty yard stretch of the site that is exposed. He noted that ten years ago it would have cost £100 million to remove the waste (from the Northam Burrows site). He conceded that the campaign would be hard to implement along the Torridge coastline.

Councillor Day felt that by encouraging change in businesses / personal practices more realistic criteria could be fulfilled. It could benefit the image (of the Town); a recent trip to St Agnes evidenced bottle refill stickers. The Council has an opportunity to take a lead, lobby TDC and impart the message to others (businesses / stakeholders).

He thanked the SAS supporters for attending the meeting.

Councillor Langmead announced that he was the lead member for waste and recycling at TDC; he advised that they are increasing that which can be collected but that they can’t recycle black plastic.

Councillor Bushby whilst in support of the Motion wondered what passing the Motion would mean.

Councillor Christie advised that with the Council giving their backing there would be practical steps, not unlike the Face to Face promotion of the Fairtrade accreditation campaign, he believed this would impact more upon the SAS than the Council.

Proposed by Councillor Christie seconded

RESOLVED: That the Motion is supported.

(Vote – For: 14, Against: 0)


Submission by Councillor R Wootton:

“To consider asking Devon County Council to put double yellow lines in Ford Rise, particularly on the bend by the crossing island. Vehicles are parking on the bend near Upcott Hill causing an increased likelihood of a collision in this area.”

The Motion was seconded by Councillor A T Inch.

Councillor A T Inch will liaise with the Highway Officer, Julie Pepworth with a view to placing the item on the next HATOC Meeting agenda.

Members discussed the weapons available to the authorities to combat wayward parking amidst caution over the fallout over increased double yellow lines.
Proposed by Councillor Wootton, seconded

RESOLVED: That the Motion is supported.

(Vote – For: 12, Against: 2)


Members received the minutes from the Town Centre Partnership Meeting held on 13 September 2017.

The Members noted the Minutes.

There was some discussion on the lapsed no drinking zone that results in the Police only taking action against town centre drinkers if they misbehave; Councillor Pester made reference to byelaws, as a means of last resort.


Councillor Brenton advised that Councillor Day would be making a Renewable Energy presentation at the AGM (10 October 2017). Further, the Council had an article published in the DALC annual report.


Councillor Christie advised that the last Meeting had been cancelled.

Councillor Brenton led discussion on the Wharfs development and his desire to see the Council purchase them under the Localism Act, given that they are such a valuable asset to the Town.


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

Upon questioning Councillor Christie confirmed that the Trust were still active in the Property Market.

The business of the meeting having been concluded the Mayor thanked the members for their attendance at the meeting which concluded at 8.10 pm.

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