Minutes of the Town Council Meeting held via Zoom on Thursday 8 April 2021 at 6.30 pm
Councillor P S Christie (Town Mayor)
Councillor D Bushby
Councillor J Herron
Councillor T Johns
Councillor Mrs S Langford
Councillor P Lawrence
Councillor Mrs K Corfe
Councillor C Hawkins
Councillor D Ratcliff
Councillor J Craigie
Councillor Mrs R Craigie
Councillor Mrs J Gubb
Councillor Mrs L Hellyer
Mr R Coombes (Deputy Town Clerk)
Councillor A T Inch (DCC)
Station Manager Sanders (Bideford Fire Station)
Ms Blatherwick (Learn Devon)
1 x Member of the Public
1 x Member of the Press.
334. APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE
No apologies for absence were received.
335. DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST AND ANY REQUESTS FOR DISPENSATION ON ITEMS ON THE AGENDA
Councillor P Christie declared a non-pecuniary interest in Item 22. (Trustee, Bridge Trust).
336. PUBLIC PARTICIPATION SESSION OF 15 MINUTES DURATION
There was no public participation.
The Minutes of the Zoom Meeting held on 4 March 2021 were approved as a correct record.
(Vote – For: 13, Against: 0)
It was proposed by Councillor Christie, seconded and
RESOLVED: That the List of Payments be approved.
(Vote – For: 13, Against: 0)
339. PRESENTATION BY THE FIRE SERVICE
a. The Chairman invited Station Manager Sanders, to address the Council.
b. Station Manager Sanders thanked the Chairman for the opportunity to address the Members.
He spoke about budget and priority changes and the impact of the Grenfell Tower fire on station structures.
Bideford is one of the busiest stations in the area with twenty nine incidents during March 2021 (there were three earlier in the day) including fire, road traffic accidents and assisting partner agencies.
There are national challenges in recruitment of on call staff and a new payment scheme is being introduced.
Appledore is not under threat of closure.
All stations are reviewed five yearly under the community risk management plan; the make-up of their full time / retained establishments are considered.
c. The Chairman thanked Station Manager Sanders for addressing the Council.
340. LEARN DEVON PRESENTATION
a. In a Change to the Order of Business the Chairman invited Ms Blatherwick, to address the Council.
b. Ms Blatherwick thanked the Chairman for the opportunity to address the Members.
She has held the post of North Devon Area Coordinator and worked from home for five months.
Learn Devon have run Nationally accredited courses for twenty years working with Job Centres, Community Groups and Libraries.
Primarily Maths, English, IT skills and helping people back into employment are their main focus.
Face to face courses have been extended to online / zoom training during the Pandemic. This has proven beneficial in that courses can be accessed throughout Devon rather than simply what is available on a more parochial level.
There has been no charge during this period.
The summer programme is already full.
There are a number of challenges, going forward, for those adult disabled members of society with learning difficulties and the economic recovery. Learn Devon are able to supply devices but not the means for connectivity.
Ms Blatherwick announced that the Bideford Library would be moving into the Bideford Arts Centre next year.
She reiterated the large demand for functional skills and GCSEs, but with the online format access to courses can be made at almost any time. Coming out of the Pandemic there appears to be a greater demand for “community learning,” – Arts and Crafts activities.
Whilst the courses offered are restricted to the corps group of tutors, training for customer services based employment and setting up of individual businesses is being developed.
c. The Chairman thanked Ms Blatherwick, who indicated a willingness to return post COVID-19, for addressing the Council.
341. DEVON COUNTY COUNCIL (COUNCILLOR) REPORT
Councillor A T Inch indicated that with the run up to the County elections much was on hold.
His message was for the Community to report pothole and drainage issues online.
Councillor Mrs Craigie asked that the Library move to the Arts Centre be corroborated and given the Central Governments desire for tree lined walkways why were DCC not compliant given a recent planning application at Northam?
Councillor Inch understood that monies had been budgeted to move the Library and as for the trees he suggested cost and potential damage to services were factors.
Members raised further points that included:
• Damage to road sign should be claimed against the driver’s insurance.
• Road / drainage defects that have resulted in accidents should be rectified as a priority.
• Action against speeding drivers in restricted areas.
Councillor Mrs Hellyer reminded Members that speed monitoring equipment to cover the Clovelly Road remained in a queue system.
Trees cannot simply be planted on verges (for example Torrington Lane) close to highways as they become a visibility issue; flowers can be.
The Library will move to the Arts Centre in April 2022 subject to planning. There will be full access including a disabled changing cloakroom facility. The present Library building belongs to TDC.
Further points raised included tree cutting during the nesting season and Clovelly Road / Atlantic Village / McDonalds pedestrian / highway provision.
342. COMMUNICATION BROUGHT FORWARD ON THE DIRECTION OF THE MAYOR / TOWN CLERK
The Chairman advised:
1. The resignation of Councillor Bob Wootton.
2. DCC decision not to renew the Heritage Railway Centre. Both he and Councillor Mrs Hellyer provided detail on various licences, obligations not met and the involvement of Norfolk Property Services management of the area on behalf of DCC.
Councillor Mrs Hellyer confirmed that she had spoken to the Leader of DCC, Councillor John Hart, who would discuss the decision at a Cabinet Meeting with a view to a positive outcome for all concerned.
Members indicated a desire to write to Councillor Hart expressing the Council’s support for the Heritage Railway Centre, its work, activities and importance to the Town.
The Town Clerk advised:
1. That she had attended a meeting with the Chairman of SF&GP of what was formerly the Future High Street Steering Group for the Isaacs Yard bid. TDC can submit a new funding bid for the Isaacs Yard proposal, under the terms of the Levelling up fund. It will need to be agreed by TDC, at a full council Meeting. The submission date for the bid is 18 June; prompt action will be needed. Members will be updated accordingly.
2. The Annual Parish Meeting will be held, via Zoom, on Tuesday, 20 April 2021 at 7.00 pm. The Agenda / Report will be distributed next week. She reminded Members that it was the Electors Meeting.
(Councillor Herron left the Meeting.)
343. STAFFING, FINANCE & GENERAL PURPOSES COMMITTEE MEETING
Minute No. 237. Funds earmarked for play equipment.
Members discussed the recommendation not to allocate £10,000.00 to Victoria Park from the ringfenced funds.
Proposed by Councillor Christie, seconded by Councillor Bushby and
RESOLVED: That £10,000.00 is allocated to Victoria Park from the ringfenced funds with the remaining £15,000.00 being allocated to the smaller play areas in Bideford.
(Vote: For: 6, Against: 6)
The Chairman’s casting vote carried the vote.
The Minutes of the Zoom Meeting held on 25 March 2021 were approved and adopted.
(Vote – For: 12, Against: 0)
344. MARKET MANAGEMENT COMMITTEE MEETING
The Minutes of the Zoom Meeting held on 1 April 2021 were approved and adopted.
(Vote – For: 11, Against: 0, Abstention: 1)
345. PLANNING COMMITTEE MEETING
The Minutes of the Zoom Meetings held on 10 and 31 March 2021 were approved and adopted.
(Vote – For: 12, Against: 0)
346. TOURISM COMMITTEE MEETING
The Minutes of the Zoom Meetings held on 9 March and 6 April 2021 were approved and adopted.
(Vote – For: 12, Against: 0)
347. EMERGENCY PLANNING WORKGROUP
The Minutes of the Zoom Meeting held on 29 March 2021 were approved and adopted.
(Vote – For: 12, Against: 0)
348. ANNUAL TOWN COUNCIL MEETING
Members considered whether to bring forward the date of the Annual Town Council meeting (currently scheduled for Thursday 13 May) to Thursday 6 May, to allow for a Zoom meeting, before the remote meeting permissions expire on 7 May 2021.
Proposed by Councillor Mrs Hellyer, seconded and
RESOLVED: That the Annual Town Council Meeting is held, via Zoom, on Tuesday, 4 May 2021 at 6.30 pm.
(Vote - For: 11, Against: 0, Abstention: 1)
349. MAYOR INTRODUCTION CEREMONY AND PARADE
Members considered how to proceed with the Mayor Introduction Ceremony and Mayor’s Parade scheduled for 3 and 6 June respectively.
The Town Clerk advised that in the light of Central Government’s road map no more than thirty people could take part on the given dates. She believed that the options were a reduced ceremony / parade, cancellation or delay.
It was proposed by Councillor Bushby, seconded by Councillor Ratcliff to have a reduced ceremony and parade on 3 and 6 June 2021. (Vote - For: 3, Against: 9).
It was proposed by Councillor Mrs Craigie, seconded by Councillor Mrs Hellyer to delay until after 21 June 2021. (Vote - For: 12, Against: 0).
It was proposed by Councillor Lawrence to combine the Ceremony and Parade with the Bideford Fair in August 2021; there was no support for the proposal.
RESOLVED: That the Mayor Introduction Ceremony and Mayor’s Parade scheduled for 3 and 6 June respectively are delayed until after 21 June 2021.
The Town Clerk would seek to make a provisional booking with the Royal Hotel with a view to the “road map,” and personnel resource.
350. WELCOME BACK FUND
Members had sight of a letter from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and local Government to NALC regarding the Welcome Back Fund.
The Chairman indicated that £160,000.00 had been allocated to TDC for division between the main Towns in the area, however, there has subsequently been a change in policy.
The Council will await further information and consider any development / request at the next SF&GP / Council Meeting, according to timeframes.
351. NOTICE OF MOTION
Submission by Councillor D Ratcliff.
That this Council’s Planning Committee add the following wording when resolving on Outline Planning applications for developments in the Bideford area:
“That it is compulsory for the Applicant to supply and install dog waste bin(s) to the site and fund the collection of the waste therein for 12 months thereafter, payable to the Local Authority, Torridge District Council”.
Councillor Ratcliff in noting the District and Town Councils good service provision to date observed that TDC are pulling back their provision.
Councillor Bushby seconded the Motion (providing that it was an area of authority that the Council could legitimately place a ruling).
The Chairman asked what size of development should be considered. He indicated that the Council could suggest that TDC draw provision from a section 106 agreement. He noted also that the Council are the lower tier authority.
Discussion followed where Councillor Ratcliff agreed to amend the Motion for developments of twelve houses or more and Councillor Bushby, in agreeing to second the change noted that the wording should see the Council “strongly recommend,” the supply and installation.
It was proposed by Councillor D Ratcliff, seconded by Councillor Bushby and
RESOLVED: That the amended Motion:
That this Council’s Planning Committee add the following wording when resolving on Outline Planning applications for developments of twelve houses and more in the Bideford area:
“It is strongly recommended that the Applicant supply and install dog waste bin(s) to the site and fund the collection of the waste therein for 12 months thereafter, payable to the Local Authority, Torridge District Council”.
(Vote – For: 12, Against: 0)
352. NOTICE OF MOTION
Submission by Councillor J Craigie.
To form a Bideford Youth Council to determine the distribution of funds from the Town Council's play equipment funds for the parks within Bideford Parish.
The Youth Council can be formed along guidelines from the British Youth Council Association to mirror as closely as possible the town or parish council it is providing suggestions to. Therefore, the proposal is to have a 16 member council formed by anyone aged between 11 and 18 living, receiving education in or work in Bideford Parish. That individuals be able to self nominate and elections held if more than 16 nominations are received. Terms of two years are the standard for youth councils.
Councillor J Craigie believed that it was important to introduce young people into politics given the post COVID-19 and Climate Change epoch. In reiterating the sixteen member mirroring of the Council he explained that a councillor would need to be in attendance at meetings to report back to Council.
The Chairman reflected that Bideford had had one before, that it’s success was down to a dedicated school representative and a very keen student. He expressed concern given the extreme times and need for pupils / schools to catch up. He asked which schools Councillor J Craigie were going to approach.
Councillor Mrs Corfe seconded the Motion.
Councillor Ratcliff recalled the previous incarnation. He felt it was a very good idea however, the former Town Clerk was run ragged by the extra workload. There would be a need for Disclosure and Barring Services (DBS) checks (at a cost). He did not believe that it would be a good idea for a councillor to be committed to attending each meeting suggesting that a youth representative could attend the Town Council meeting.
Councillor Ratcliff noted that Bideford College set up its own Youth Council with the demise of the Bideford Town Youth Council.
Councillor Mrs Corfe believed that it was a wonderful idea but questioned why a representative couldn’t attend a Town Council meeting. Councillor J Craigie simply replied that it was what he had been advised by the British Youth Council.
Councillor Bushby indicated that Council meetings are open to the public yet are poorly attended unless there are really contentious issues. He added that he could not remember when a young person was last in attendance.
Councillor Bushby did not have a problem with Councillor Craigie’s proposal and setting up all of the work but he believed that there would be a lot of work. A sledgehammer was being employed to crack a nut in forming a Youth Council, made up of eleven to eighteen year olds, to determine the allocation of play equipment funding. He did not believe that sixteen to eighteen year old children would be interested in play and park equipment that targeted very young children. There would be little uptake from young families. It was a step too far. TDC own the play strategy, they are the main drivers; Bridge Trust and Council funding is being administered by TDC.
Councillor Lawrence wondered if the Bideford Youth Council was still in existence.
Councillor Mrs Corfe offered to work two hours a week on the project.
Councillor Mrs Hellyer agreed that teenagers were not interested in play parks and that it would be better to encourage young people to attend council meetings.
Councillor Bushby reminded Members when council meetings had been held at the Bideford College theatre only three students had attended but their motivation was guided by lifts home following the event.
The Chairman indicated that one councillor would have to take on the project adding that a teacher must be in place first, noting that the Council can not go in search of children. He reiterated to Members that this must be understood when considering their vote.
It was proposed by Councillor J Craigie, seconded by Councillor Mrs Corfe and
RESOLVED: That the Motion is supported.
(Vote – For: 6, Against: 5, Abstention: 1)
Councillor Mrs Craigie advised that there had been no meeting of the DALC.
354. TORRIDGE DISTRICT COUNCIL – UPDATE
The Chairman noted that there was little to advise; there had been two days of planning meetings and concerns raised over a TPO.
355. BRIDGE TRUST
Councillor Christie gave detail on income, Estate expenditure, Grants: individual, student, group. A new Bridge Steward has been appointed; they will be advertising for a new Bridge Warden. The Business Start Up grants were being restarted.
The business of the meeting having been completed, the Mayor thanked the members for their attendance and the meeting concluded at 8.10 pm.
Minute Number 319.
DEVON COUNTY COUNCIL (COUNCILLOR) REPORT
At the time of writing, the Rock defence works on station Hill are nearing completion, as is the work raising the railings on the Torridge Bridge.
There has been a flurry of works around the area. Northdown Road has been resurfaced. Drainage works are underway, just as you drive out of town, by Mount Pleasant, East of the water. This has meant the closure of that section of the Tarka trail. In March, some footway works are planned along the Quay and in Queen street. I am waiting for DCC to install the tactile slabs on the Lundy building side of the Quay, which should be happening in the spring.
I have various things that are in progress, including footway works in various locations e.g. Abbots Drive and sorting out drainage problems e.g. Torrington street.
I have secured funding for the new library in Bideford, subject to planning. This will give Bideford much better Library facilities than the current building allows. If this is given the green light to go ahead, it will have one of the Changing places rooms, which is something the town has, in the past, been asked to provide for the town.
I have written to our MP, Geoffrey Cox, and to the leader of DCC, to ask that they support a multi-use trail through the Kenwith valley to Westward Ho! I have also been working with the public rights of way team to see if we can improve access to the Tarka trail by Hows Cottages. This is to link up the cycle trail through Pollyfield to the Tarka trail.
I have met with the head of traffic management, and the traffic order for Mill street should be actioned early in the next financial year. Currently it is a work in progress and then it will be advertised for 5 weeks. The new traffic order will enable the C.E.Os (traffic wardens) to issue a penalty ticket to anyone parked or driving down Mill street during the pedestrianised hours.
Tomorrow, Tuesday 18th February, Devon County Council sets its budget.
Two thirds of the budget will go on the caring services e.g. Children and vulnerable adults of working age. The good news is that the council has found another £600,000 for Highways to use on potholes and drainage.
There will be an additional £100,000 that Towns and Parishes can bid for e.g. to paint street furniture
Another £600,000 is being given to the district councils, on top of the £1.5million that they had last summer. This money is intended to support people who find themselves unemployed and need help until the Universal credit kicks in.
Most people want to preserve our green spaces and lovely countryside and are aware of Climate change issues. Devon County Council spent £2million to set up the structure for the Devon Carbon Plan. This has been handed over to Exeter University to run, but DCC cabinet members are very much involved and working hard to make us carbon neutral.
DCC is opening 13 new centres for working people to get tested to see if they are asymptomatic. Our nearest one is Taw View in Barnstaple. People need to ring to make an appointment.
DCC has given out £69,000 to 70 organisations helping with COVID-19 related issues in the last 3 weeks.
15,000 vouchers have been delivered to families who are entitled to free school meals to help prevent holiday hunger during the half term break. They can be used at all the major supermarkets, including Aldi. Special arrangements are made for those who can’t access the supermarkets.
DCC have installed 42 electric charging points across the county and another 78 are planned in the next 12-18months.
The Government has said that the elections for the County Council, and for the Police and Crime commissioner, will go ahead on May 6th. Polling stations will be made as COVID-19 secure as possible, with screens, masks, and sanitiser etc. Voters will be asked to take their own pen or pencil. The turnout at local elections is woefully low. So, considering that the polling stations will be open from 7am to 10pm, it is probably safer than going to the local supermarket.
However, the Government is advising that all those, like myself, who have been shielding, apply for a postal vote, and do that sooner rather than later, to avoid delays. To apply for a postal vote, you can email Torridge District council
Or Telephone TDC at Riverbank house. 01237 42870
You can report routine matters, e.g. potholes, blocked drains and gullies, overgrown vegetation direct to Devon County Council. If you google Devon County Council report a problem, it takes you to a page, and you just click on the appropriate icon.
Or you can telephone the Customer care department at DCC: 0345 155 1015.
For speeding issues, in the first instance, it is best to inform the Police. You can email 101 on your phone or go to the Devon and Cornwall Police website. The web page has the facility to use Live Chat or to email your local police team. I can recommend the Live Chat option.
I am always happy for people to contact me about County matters: