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Minutes of the Town Council held in the Council Chamber, Town Hall, Bideford on Thursday 20 September 2018 at 6.30pm


North Ward:

Councillor D Bushby (Town Mayor)
Councillor P S Christie (Deputy Town Mayor)
Councillor D A D McGeough

South Ward:

Councillor D G Brenton
Councillor J Day
Councillor A T Inch
Councillor R I Wootton

South (Outer)

Councillor D Howell

East Ward:

Councillor Mrs R Craigie
Councillor Mrs J Gubb
Councillor M C Langmead
Councillor J A McKenzie


Mrs H J Blackburn (Town Clerk)
Mr R D Coombes (Deputy Town Clerk)
Councillor L Hellyer (DCC)
Mr K Bennett (Principal, Marland Primary School)
1 x Member of the Public


Councillors S G Inch (South Ward – personal), T J Johns (North Ward - Personal), P J Pester (North Ward – personal) and Mrs P Davies (East Ward – Illness).


Councillor Bushby declared a non-pecuniary interest in Item 17. (Possible supplier of vehicle as garage owner.) Councillor Christie declared a non-pecuniary interest in Item 21. (Member, Bideford Bridge Trust.) Councillors A T Inch and M C Langmead declared non-pecuniary interests in Item 17. (Member, TDC.)


The Member of the Public indicated the Chamber of Commerce had lobbied for a concession of two hours a day free parking two years’ ago. TDC had been intransigent with their figures. He asked that the Council consider the initiative when engaging with TDC; the Chamber and the Town Centre Partnership will.

74.     MINUTES

The Minutes of the Meeting held on 9 August 2018 were approved and signed as a correct record.

(Vote – For: 9, Against: 0, Abstention: 3)

75.     ACCOUNTS

To approve the payments listed.

Councillor McGeough questioned the long-held agreement to pay for the servicing of the St Mary’s Clock, indicating that he did not agree to continually paying simply because historically it had been the case.

It was proposed by Councillor McGeough, seconded and

RESOLVED: That the List of Payments is approved.

(Vote – For: 12, Against: 0)


Councillor Hellyer’s report had previously been circulated to Members; it included:

• Torridge Bridge (eastern end) expansion work started on 17 September 2018. The work will be carried out between 19.00 and 07.00 hours. There will be occasional weekend working; it will be closed overnight one Sunday in October.

• Chudleigh road landslip work begun on 17 September 2018. It is scheduled to be completed by the end of November.

• East-the-Water School access. A traffic order currently being advertised will come into force in November to alleviate the gridlock and haphazard parking; road markings may follow by the end of the year.

• Children’s Services including provision for those in Care and others with special and highly complex needs are under pressure; there are initiatives, “Edge of Care” and plans for more special school places within Devon to help meet the needs.

• There are a number of scams taking place within the County; the over 75s are being targetted.

• Pot-holes and gullies are on the Highway’s agenda. Improvements on the North Devon Link Road between South Molton and Bideford have been given the green light.

The Chairman invited forward Councillor Hellyer to receive questions.

The Chairman invited Members to raise points and questions including:

• Confirmation that the Landslip is being addressed.
• Bideford to Westward Ho! railway track is in the District Plan. Request to DCC their intention – could they make (compulsory) purchases of land?
o DCC do like to promote cycling – part own (cycle track).
• South side of the High Street needs attention.
• The Long Bridge. Half of the drains have been blocked for some considerable time.
o Request for the County Councilor to facilitate improvement.
o The County Councillor indicated that the work was cyclical – every three to four years (this was questioned). DCC should like Town and Parish Councils to highlight urgent need, give priority to local works and provide map to DCC.
• It was noted that where work had been carried out by the Contractors (North Down Road specifically, Town generally) they had completed excellent work.


a.     The Chairman welcomed Mr Maurice Pearce to the Meeting and invited him to give his presentation on behalf of the (President) Bideford and District Chamber of Commerce.

b.     Mr Pearce advised Members that they addressed the lack of activity under section 215 (dilapidated properties / land) by TDC in a meeting with them.

He noted the recent management and personnel changes within the TDC hierarchy. With the recent adoption of the Local Plan he hoped to see progress in firing up the (local) economy with a pressing need to encourage tourists to return (opportunity to revisit car parking). He supported the appointment of the new Head of Business and Planning.

Councillor A T Inch wondered whether the Chamber could contribute to fund the parking initiative. He favoured a two-hour free parking period, but sagely observed that nothing is free, someone has to pay. He felt that all parties should work together.

The Chairman thanked Mr Pearce for his contribution.


a.     The Chairman welcomed Mr Keith Bennett, Principal of Marland Primary School to the Meeting.

b.     Mr Bennett thanked the Chairman, greeted the Members and apologised to those District Councillors who had already received his presentation earlier in the week.

He explained that the school caters for the needs of Year 2 – Year 11 students who have Social, Emotional and Mental Health needs (SEMH), based across three separate sites in North Devon:
• Marland Primary (Bideford – formerly Springfield): 30 students, Year 2 – Year 7.
• Marland Secondary (Roundswell, Barnstaple): 36 students, Year 7 – Year 11.
A third site located at Peters Marland (near Great Torrington) offers residential provision for up to 40 Year 6 – Year 11 male students from across the whole of Devon.

He stated that the aim was to provide high quality, personalised support, care and education to every student. Year 7 is a transitional and key year overlapping the final primary and first secondary levels. It provides a conduit for those students who can find change challenging; the different environment, students, teachers and location (travel).

The Bideford facility was opened “due to need”. DCC had approached Marland School given the burgeoning demand for primary (special needs) places. The Springfield, latterly Torridge Academy, facility saw building works follow re-design in July 2018 and opened in September, with a whole new staff team. The children are from North Devon.

The Chairman invited Members to raise points and questions including:

• Absconders.

o Schools are not secure units, pupils can not be locked in, it would be regarded as a deprivation of liberty. A child is encouraged to stay, the act is normally a means of seeking attention. Staff are trained and have knowledge of the individuals, know what motivates them. They can be complex, emotionally young in some instances a ten year old may have the mental capacity of a two year old.

There is a Staff plan, that addresses and deals with the issue.

• Marland Primary School is in close proximity of St Mary’s Primary School.

o Links have been forged with the School. Children are not dangerous, more vulnerable. An ex St Mary’s pupil has run off, but the incident was managed. Mr Bennett was not aware of a child running from one school to another.

• The Chairman expressed his sympathy and admiration (having School Governor experience and knowledge of the sometime harrowing background of some pupils); he was pleased to see that the former Springfield site was being properly used.

Mr Bennett finished by saying that there had been concerns raised by local businesses when the Roundswell Site was opened in September 2012; there had been no impact within the following six months.

The Chairman thanked Mr Bennett for his contribution.

(Councillor A T Inch left the Chamber.)


(Councillor A T Inch returned. Councillor Day left the Chamber.)

There was no communication brought forward by the Mayor.


The Minutes of the Meeting held on 30 August 2018 were approved and adopted.

(Vote – For: 11, Against: 0) (Out of room: 1)


The Minutes of the Meetings held on 29 August and 19 September 2018 were approved and adopted.

(Vote – For: 11, Against: 0) (Out of room: 1)


(Councillor Day returned to the Chamber.)

The Minutes of the Meeting held on 13 September 2018 were approved and adopted.

(Vote – For: 12, Against: 0)


Minute No. 11. Recommended that a VAT assessor is engaged. The Chairman led discussion by stating that the advice from the NABMA Conference was not to take any action until advised by the National Body.

Councillor Day stated that the only way to pursue the solar pv array on the Market roof was to receive definitive advice.

The Chairman indicated that VAT would impact the Market if an array was commissioned.

Discussion followed that included meeting the deadline for FiT payments and planning approval.

Councillor Day explained that the NABMA VAT (Markets v HMRC) issue was centred on providing additional services as opposed to (a change in business model) generating electricity, that would entail VAT registration, and the impact that would have on the Council business in general and the Market (including stakeholders) in particular. He added that business and commerce invest in studies. The Town Clerk concurred, confirming NABMA’s advice was in relation to a case between HMRC and Shrewsbury.

Councillor Christie indicated that the Conservation Officer and TDC were supportive; Councillor Day advised that only one of the raised rooves would be utilised and not visible from the ground.

Councillor Brenton stated that it was a modest amount that would be well spent and would provide clarity on the Council’s position.

It was reiterated that the fee would sit within the budget established for solar pv provision on the Market.

It was proposed by Councillor Day, seconded by Councillor Langmead and

RESOLVED: That a VAT assessor is engaged.

(Vote – For: 12, Against: 0)

The Minutes of the Meeting held on 19 September 2018 were approved and adopted.

(Vote – For: 12, Against: 0)


Members had received details of the Councillor advocate Scheme; no interest was expressed.


Councillor A T Inch suggested that a member of the Council who was not a member of the District Council should be nominated as a representative at the Parking Review Meeting.

It was proposed by Councillor Brenton and

RESOLVED: That Councillor Bushby represent the Council at the November Meeting of the Torridge District Annual Review of Parking.

(Vote – For: 12, Against: 0)


Members had received correspondence from the Senior Estates Officer from TDC suggesting that the Council may be interested in adopting a 100m2 grassed area of land at Mines Road, which comes with the commuted sum of £8,000. (The item had been deferred from the last Meeting.)

Councillor Langmead expressed concern at the size and makeup of the area indicating that he would not support the adoption of the land.

Councillor Craigie did not think the area was large (Councillor Day explained the difference between 10 m2 ,100 square meters and 100 m2) but ventured that the residents were paying maintenance costs (outside area).

Councillor Christie noted that the new Moreton Estate residents were aggrieved at having to pay a maintenance cost. He too indicated that he would not support the adoption.

It was proposed by Councillor Brenton, seconded and

RESOLVED: That the offer is declined.

(Vote – For: 11, Against: 1)


Submission by Councillor D McGeough.

“The purchase of a second vehicle for the Maintenance Team.”

Councillor McGeough expanded talking in terms of practicality, flexibility, better more efficient use of resource (people) and time, also as an area for (dry) tools storage.

Councillor Howell seconded the Motion adding that there needed to be lone working policies in place.

Councillor Day agreed with the concept noting the need for organisation with the subsequent increase in staff. He provided detail on electric vehicles, charging points, grants, the Eco Fair in Barnstaple (late October), economy (3 p / mile v 15 – 20 p / mile) and reliability. He suggested an amendment to consider an electric vehicle. The Chairman indicated that Electric vans were very expensive.

Both Councillors Langmead and A T Inch indicated that the £2,500 price was not a true reflection of cost when factoring maintenance, fuel, MOT and running costs. Councillor A T Inch suggested the siting of containers around the Town as “tool points”, deferring the item and the convening of a small working party.

The Chairman while noting that the running costs were a given stated there was a need – Northam Town Council has three vehicles (and praised their work). He reiterated that efficiency would be dramatically improved. Councillor Howell suggested that the improvement in “productivity” would effectively meet the cost.

It was proposed by Councillor McGeough, seconded and

RESOLVED: That the Motion is supported.

(Vote – For: 9, Against: 2, Abstention: 1)




No update available. Annual Meeting will be held on 3 October 2018; Councillor Brenton will attend.


No update available.


Councillor D McGeough advised:

• A number of Brunswick Wharf boats had moved to the West Side.
• SS Freshspring will move closer to the Quay.
• Riverbank House development is moving at a pace.
o The Leader is currently operating from the Town Hall Members’ room.
• There is potential to develop the Cattle Market Site.

Councillor Christie advised that the BMX Planning application was returning to C & R.

Councillor Craigie explained that there was an access issue (for TDC waste collection vehicles) at Grange Road as a result of (errant) car parking. The Police and DCC have been advised.

Councillor Langmead advised that smaller lorries will be sent.

Councillor Christie confirmed that the District Plan had been accepted and will govern Torridge up to 2030; it is a live document and more robust.


Councillor Christie briefed Members on the income (£47,000), expenditure (£7,000), charitable donations and grants (£70,000) figures.

It was confirmed that Councillor Brenton remains a member of the Bridge Trust.

The business of the meeting having been concluded the Mayor thanked the members for their attendance at the meeting which concluded at 8.21 pm.



Signature of Town Mayor: …………………………… Date: ………………...............

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