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Minutes of the Extra Ordinary Town Council Meeting held in the Town Hall, Bideford on Tuesday 21 November 2023 at 6.30 pm


North Ward:

Councillor D Bushby
Councillor K Bines

South Ward:

Councillors Ms R Clarke
Councillor S Inch
Councillor P Lawrence

West Ward:

Councillor C Hawkins
Councillor T Inch

East Ward

Councillor J Craigie
Councillor Mrs J Gubb
Councillor J Hellyer
Councillor Mrs L Hellyer
Councillor J A McKenzie (Town Mayor)


Mr P Swan (Town Clerk)
Mr R Coombes (Deputy Town Clerk)
5 x Members of the Public


There were no apologies for absence received.


Councillor Craigie declared a non-pecuniary interest in Item 3 (Member, Friends of North Devon Link Centre Charity).

Councillor Mrs L Hellyer declared a non-pecuniary interest in Item 3 (DCC Member, Health and Adult Care Scrutiny Committee).


It was proposed by Councillor J McKenzie, seconded and,

RESOLVED: That the Order of Business be changed with Item 4 brought forward to be considered before Item 3.

(Vote – For: 11, Against: 1)


Five members of the public, all with a connection to the Bideford Link Centre, addressed the Chamber with their concerns about the DCC stewardship thereof.

Points included:

• Social care budget.
o Costs / paucity of information.
• Reduced service.
o Has not returned to pre-Lockdown service.
• Mental health treatments.
o Provides for (valued) stability, consistency, familiarity, safety and stable inter action. Change can set user back years.
o Not just a drop in centre; there has been a Link Centre in Bideford for thirty years.
• Serving deprived area.
o Suicide rate poor in comparison to the wider Country.
 Staff trained in suicide prevention.
o Support provision to wider family members.
• Important benefits include social cohesion; the Centre does not judge but provides sanctuary for all comers.
• What will happen to those many users with the spectre of DCC closure?


The Chairman thanked the participants for providing a very valuable contribution.

Councillor Mrs L Hellyer indicated that the Consultation was the same as the last but provided for more information and urged everyone to look at it.

Discussion followed with points that included:

• DCC failing in Community Care.
o The cost of saving money can be the ruin of those vulnerable people without support.
• There have been multiple consultations.
• The vulnerable children and adult services represent a huge drain on the overall DCC budget.
• Fears that the vital service needed in the Town will go the same way as the Springfield Day Centre that benefited many but was closed.

Councillor Mrs L Hellyer stated that DCC pay for the Service, but the Health Service runs it.

Further discussion included:

• Change in referral notifications impact upon the apparent continued demand for the service; a reduced referral would suggest a reduced need.
• Concern that the consultation period is too short.
o A collective Corporate response will provide a reflection of the Community concern not just an individual personal response.

Councillor Mrs L Hellyer again urged Members to look at the Consultation. The Drop in Centre will not close but may operate in a different building. There will be a three month transition during which all stakeholders will be engaged.

She spoke of other service provision providing a variety of opportunities including social events (around food). Things are driven differently now to the Link of thirty years’ ago.

The closure of the Springfield Centre (where referrals had been stopped) saw the repurposing of the building to become the Marland Primary School.

It was proposed by Councillor Craigie, seconded by Councillor Bushby and

RESOLVED: That DCC is approached requesting:

a.   The Consultation deadline is extended until 6 February 2024 to allow for the digesting of the new information and provide for a sensible response.
b.   Explanation on the source of the additional funding for the “Enablers” to engage with the 274 users.
c.   Explanation as to why the cost detail is not included in the Consultation document.

(Vote – For: 10, Against: 2)

(Councillor Craigie will raise the issue, within a Notice of Motion, to TDC at the Meeting of 11 December 2023.)


Councillor J Hellyer stated that Minute 65. (record of the Devon County Councillor’s report) should simply be reduced to sub-para a. and d. Councillor Wilton-Love had not provided such a fulsome account at the Meeting.

It was proposed by Councillor J Hellyer, seconded and

RESOLVED: That the Minutes are changed to reflect, “Councillor Wilton-Love updated Members.”

(Vote – For: 11, Against: 0, Abstention: 1)

Councillor L Hellyer also noted, contrary to the Agenda items 11.a. and b., that the Planning Minutes were proposed together and voted as one item, not as recorded two items.

It was proposed by Councillor J Hellyer, seconded and

RESOLVED: That the Minutes are changed to reflect the two separate Meetings approved under one vote.

(Vote – For: 11, Against: 0, Abstention: 1)

The Clerk confirmed the Minutes will be updated.

The Minutes of the Meeting held on 26 October 2023 were approved as a correct record.

(Vote – For: 11, Against: 0, Abstention: 1)


It was proposed by Councillor S Inch, seconded and

RESOLVED: That the List of Payments be approved.

(Vote – For: 12, Against: 0)

The business of the meeting having been completed, the Mayor thanked the members for their attendance and the meeting concluded at 7.30 pm.


Table of Accounta for approval at the Extra Ordinary Town Council Meeting held on 21 November 2023

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