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Minutes of the Meeting of the Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group held in the Council Chamber, Town Hall, Bideford on Thursday 7 November 2019


South Ward:

Cllr Mrs S Langford
Cllr R Wootton

East Ward:

Cllr Mrs R Craigie
Cllr J Craigie


Mrs H Blackburn (Town Clerk)
Mrs C Parsons (Administration Assistant)
Cllr C Hawkins
Cllr J McKenzie



Cllr Mrs K Corfe – (West Ward – Personal)


There were no declarations of interest received.


There was 1 member of the public in attendance.

021.      MINUTES

The minutes of the meeting held on 26 September 2019 were approved and signed as a correct record.

(Vote – For: 4, Against: 0, Abstentions:0)


Members discussed how to best engage the community in the Neighbourhood Plan in order to make the process as open and as transparent as possible. It was felt that course of engagement needed to be done as soon as possible to ensure community involvement in the plan, and start to raise awareness in the process.

It was felt that any engagement should be made in an informal setting and not in a formal meeting environment, to encourage community involvement and enthusiasm.

It was considered that once volunteers were on board with the Neighbourhood Plan, skill sets from specific backgrounds could be utilised and fed in to different areas of the plan, to maximise the expertise in these areas. Key issues and policies to be included in the Plan needed to be decided upon and it was felt that perhaps these could be decided once volunteers were on board.

Members brainstormed ideas on the way in which community engagement could be achieved. The ideas put forward were:

• An open day event where the local community could drop in informally and find out about the Neighbourhood Plan and what is involved.
• Leaflets explaining what the Neighbourhood Plan is about made available to hand out at open day events.
• A series of drop in open day events initially every 3-4 weeks in various locations in Bideford.
• A piece asking for volunteers to be put in the Town Council’s newsletter.

Councillor Mrs Langford asked if it would be possible to facilitate an informal round table talk with other local Councils who were currently undertaking a Neighbourhood Plan, and further along in the process. Hopefully from this informal talk, members would be able to gather ideas as to how other councils started the process, what planning consultants were being used, and at what the stages the different plans had reached to date.

It was proposed by Councillor Mrs Langford, seconded, and it was


a.      Representatives from Northam, Torrington and South Molton Town Councils, along with representatives from Braunton Parish Council Neighbourhood Planning Committees be invited to attend an informal round table talk, at a date to be mutually agreed for January 2020.

b.      A number of dates to be circulated to ascertain the most popular and convenient between all parties involved.

(Vote – For: 4, Against: 0, Abstentions:0)


The brainstorming discussion then led on to open day events in which to engage the community and how it was felt best to proceed with these. The ideas put forward were:

• The open day events would be for everyone to attend.

• The open day events be titled along the lines of “Planning Bideford’s future” or “The possibilities for Bideford”.

• Members of the Steering Group would be available at these open event days to speak with interested members of the community and to explain what the Neighbourhood Planning process and what was involved.

• The Town Hall, Pollyfield Community Centre, and the Marquee in Jubilee Square to be used for open day events.

• The first open day event to be scheduled for middle/late February 2020, then March 2020 at the Pollyfield Community Centre and late April 2020 in Jubilee Square.

• The first open day event in the Town Hall would be held on a Wednesday between the hours of 11 am and 7 pm. The date would be decided upon once it was known the room was available for use. A list of available dates would be circulated.

• The open events were to gather information and the views of the community to help identify the key issues and themes that would form the Neighbourhood Plan.

• Care should be taken not to use “loaded” questions, when engaging with the community during the events. Councillor Craigie suggested that the simple survey questions used in the “Neighbourhood Plans Roadmap” guide should be used.

o What is good about the area?
o What is bad about the area?
o What are the neighbourhood’s qualities as a place to live and work in?
o What issues affect the area (now or in the future?)
o What change would you like to see?

• The questions to be posted on social media in the lead up to the open day, and either take the form of an online poll or posted one a week.

• A3 posters to be on display at the open day events showing the key questions

• Councillor Mrs Langford offered to make contact the local schools in the area to ask if they would be willing to discuss the 5 survey questions during lessons to involve the younger community.

• Leaflets with the Survey questions to be left in places such as the Library and at the Pollyfield Centre Lunch Club, and made available for the allotment tenants.

• A suitable date(s) would be circulated once it was known that the Town Hall was available to hold the first open day event.


Proposed by Councillor Craigie, seconded and

RECOMMENDED That: a recommendation be made to Full Council for the sum of £250 be put into the budget for the financial year 2020/2021 to facilitate Neighbourhood Planning enquiries.

(Vote – For: 4, Against: 0, Abstentions:0)


Councillor Mrs Craigie proposed, and it was seconded and

It was AGREED: that at the next meeting it would be decided

a.      The questions to be asked of the visiting councils neighbourhood planning representatives.

b.      The content or questions to be included on the posters for the open day events.

c.      The content to be included on the survey or feedback forms for the open day events

d.      How the room will be set up for the first open day.

(Vote – For: 4, Against:0, Abstentions:0)


Wednesday, 8 January 2020 at 5.00 pm in the Town Hall.

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