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Town Council Meeting Minutes - 4 August 2016


PRESENT:   

North Ward:   

Councillor P S Christie
Councillor D A D McGeough
Councillor P J Pester
Councillor T J Johns

South Ward:   

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

South (Outer) Ward:   

Councillor D Howell (Town Mayor)

East Ward:   

Councillor Mrs R M Craigie
Councillor M C Langmead
Councillor J A McKenzie
Councillor S Robinson

IN ATTENDANCE:   

Mrs H J Blackburn (Town Clerk)
Mr R D Coombes (Deputy Town Clerk)
Councillor G Dezart (DCC)
Dr P Bowser (Bridge Centre Project)
Sgt S Ferris (Bideford Police Station)
PFCSO S Huxstable (Bideford Police Station)
21 x Members of the Public
2 x Member of the Press

057  APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE

Councillors S G Inch (South Ward – personal), D Bushby (North Ward – personal), Mrs P Davies (East Ward – illness).

058  DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST ON ITEMS ON THE AGENDA

Councillor Christie declared a non-pecuniary interest in Item 23.  (Member, Bideford Bridge Trust). 

059  PUBLIC PARTICIPATION SESSION

Two members of the Public spoke on the Londonderry Estate and lack of facilities for all members of the Community.  The poor transport links and lack of a centre hall, such as enjoyed by the residents of East-the-Water, have an adverse effect on the health and wellbeing of those more senior and less able.  They welcomed the efforts made by Wings and urged the Council to support their initiative.  Opportunities where the old pass on their experience to the young could only be good; a shop within walking distance similarly would be beneficial.

A third member who had been awarded a grant confirmed that only the single, correct, payment had been received.

The Mayor confirmed that the Council was aware of the lack of progress in providing facilities for Londonderry.

060  MINUTES

The Minutes of the Meeting held on 23 June 2016 were approved and signed as a correct record.

(Vote – For: 13, Against: 0, Abstention: 3)

061  ACCOUNTS

To approve the payments listed.

It was proposed by Councillor Pester, seconded and

RESOLVED:  That the List of Payments be approved.

(Vote – For: 13, Against: 0)

062  REPORT FROM POLICE ON ISSUES WITHIN THE PARISH

a.   A report by Sergeant Ferris, Neighbourhood Team Leader, Bideford Police Station, had been circulated to Members giving crime figures covering June 2016. 

b.   Sergeant Ferris thanked the Chairman and addressed the Members. 

Statistical analysis for the safest region to live had placed Devon and Cornwall second in the Country; statistically first for public satisfaction.  Sergeant Ferris explained that the public confidence was derived from the performance of the dedicated and committed public servants.

She introduced Steve Huxstable, the first officer to combine the roles of PCSO and retained fire fighter, who had been called out to the recent fire at the foot of Bridgeland Street.  The initiative would see the public services working closely and efficiently together.

The popular PCSO Hayley Watts, newly wed, is now called Hayley Ryan.
Sergeant Ferris advised that the Police had a full programme ahead of them including:

•    OPERATION JESSICA.  Scam crime is increasing where the young and old are fraudulently targeted; Information Technology and telephone hacking is prevalent.

Combat measures include educating the public, working with Trading Standards and the Royal Mail.  Also joint working with the Fire Service where household visits to the vulnerable may detect the constant (telephone) calling and increase in mail.

•    Anti-social behaviour.  Working with TDC and parents.

•    Sexual Exploitation.  Working with schools and parents highlighting the potential dangers.

•    Support to One Bideford.

•    Out of the Blue.  Ten week Youth project for year “eight and nine” to help those identified children with issues including poor self-esteem and confidence (as a result of bullying) reintegrate with society.  (Ilfracombe have piloted a scheme that has seen other services, including the Fire Service, combining to run the courses.)

c.   The Chairman raised concerns about the on-going street drinking problem that provided a terrible image for the Town (especially when, alighting from coaches, they are the first sight that meets visitors).  He noted that Bradford had enjoyed success with a suitable movement order.  He implored action for what was basic policing.

Sgt Ferris stated that the authorities do try and move the problem on; members of the public should notify the Police accordingly.  PFCSO Huxstable implied that it was a matter of semantics and the mandate provided to them by the local authority, TDC.

Councillor Langmead reminded members that he was the Council’s Police liaison representative and had been meeting with Inspector Gray; the matter had been discussed at their most recent meeting.  He would highlight the deficiency to TDC.

Members continued to raise questions and comments that included:

•    Alleged cannabis farming and trading from resident in social housing.
o    Warrants can only be activated when the Force Intelligence Officers have the appropriate levels of intelligence.
•    Alleged filming of young girl receiving a beating outside the Pollyfield Community Centre.  Parents and children should be advised that the practice is not acceptable.
o    On-going investigation.
•    Policing of the Long bridge weight limit in excess of the three ton maximum limit.
o    Any breaches should be referred to the Road Traffic Officers.
•    Increase in domestic violence (higher than street violence).
o    Greater confidence in reporting has occasioned the increase.
•    CCTV limitations.
•    Illegal car parking.
o    Civil Enforcement Officers responsibility.

d.   The Chairman thanked Sergeant Ferris for addressing the Meeting.

063  DEVON COUNTY COUNCIL COUNCILLOR REPORT

a.   The Chairman welcomed Councillor Dezart to the Meeting.

Councillor Dezart thanked the Chairman and greeted the Members.  His report, that had previously been circulated, referred to meetings with representatives of both the Bideford Amateur Football Club, the Sunday Junior Park Run, Active Devon and indicated the arrival of SS Freshspring (mid-September).

He further referenced:

•    A Royal British Legion 2021 Census (entry) initiative.
•    East-the-Water bus services (noted the Town Council’s Working Group organisation of an Open Meeting to be held on 20 August 2016).
•    Self-help effort to address Manteo Way excessive undergrowth.
•    The new Police Commissioner’s safe optimum policing message.

b.   The Chairman asked who had the costings for the Mill Street / Allhalland Street resurfacing.
o    Mr J Roskilly, DCC Highways Officer.

Members were invited to raise questions and comments that included:

•    The unacceptable continued use of temporary barriers, over an eighteen month period, around a Kingsley Road / Victoria Park tree whose roots have disturbed paving stones.  Councillor Dezart was requested, in the light of DCC inertia, to encourage a timely solution.
o    It was suggested that a flower planter could be installed that would, at least, enhance the look.
•    DCC receive 85% of the Council Tax collected from the people of Bideford.  In relation to Bideford:
o    What is going on at County Hall?
o    The consequence of funding cuts?
o    What is the position in relation to potential withdrawal of NHS Services (in North Devon)?
o    Change to business rates?
o    Addressing the impact on the A39 in the light of local housing developments?
o    How are the DCC councillors, in particular, addressing Bideford issues at County Hall?  Have they raised any questions to date?
o    Impact of Brexit?
•    Grange Road has remained closed as a result of a landslide for over two years; PLEASE take it to County Hall.

c.   The Chairman thanked Councillor Dezart for addressing the Meeting.

064  BRIDGE CENTRE PROJECT

a.   The Chairman welcomed Dr Paul Bowser to the Meeting.

b.   Mr Bowser thanked the Mayor and councillors for the opportunity to address them on the Bridge Centre Project. 

Councillor Christie stated that correspondence had been sent to Dr Bowser, from TDC advising him that the time limit, set out in the legal document, had expired.  He should like a definitive statement from TDC.

Dr Bowser stated that the TDC correspondence was factually incorrect and that information was provided before the deadline; he confirmed that the funding was in place.

The Town Clerk indicated detail from an E Mail received from the TDC Solicitor advising the current planning position regarding the Wings Project.

Councillor Christie stated that the timeframes specified within the s106 agreement (between TDC and the Developers) had simply expired.

Dr Bowser spoke of a “Catch 22” regarding the signing and, therefore, confirming of a shop lease agreement.  He felt TDC had pulled the plug on a seven year project, in just two days.  Dr Bowser had spoken to the developers, Redrow and Bloor, who had expressed no problem with any extension; he stated that they were shocked at the development.

Councillor Langmead (also Chairman of TDC) indicated that it was an awkward situation, taken out of TDC control; he noted that the deadline had previously been extended.  He continued that the five year business plan was not complete and not all funding was in place.  Subject to TDC change (of position) the Town Council had nowhere to go.  He confirmed that the responsibility lay with TDC.  The Town Council cannot do anything (at all).  He commiserated with Dr Bowser’s position.

Councillor Christie indicated that the Town Council were in a state of limbo in relation to the Project (funding).  Given the present circumstance he did not see the need for Dr Bowser’s presentation.  He suggested that the presentation should be rescheduled (perhaps for the next Council Meeting).

Dr Bowser confirmed that the original deadline of December 2015 had been extended, so that all conditions (could be met) – delays on both sides.

Councillor Brenton demanded a letter from the TDC Leadership and expressed frustration that TDC decisions were often made by an exclusive club.  (Councillor Christie confirmed that both he and Councillor Langmead had been party to the Leadership Meeting where the matter had been raised.)  Councillor Brenton expressed further concern that the scenario replicated previous Londonderry development disappointments.  He was against the fall-back position that would see the land revert to the Developer.  He reaffirmed that Bideford needs a Community Centre.

Councillor Brenton proposed that an urgent meeting is arranged with the Mayor, Dr Bowser and the TDC leadership.

He felt it was a bad service to Bideford; Londonderry is a big area but has no facilities.  The Community could end up with nothing.

Councillor Mrs Craigie believed that TDC should welcome the opportunity (that the Project offered) and work with the developers.  She questioned whether the legal and planning departments had provided help and the attitude of TDC, in general.

Councillor Day recognised the need for more facilities but sought reassurance that Wings, a Christian based charity, did not seek to proselytise.

Dr Bowser confirmed that Wings was not a front for anything and works will all creeds / open to all.

Councillor Robinson noted the development of Grenville College, 205 houses, where the original conditions for 40% affordable homes were reduced to 35%.  He highlighted the availability of the School Community Hall.  He expressed concern that once planning applications had been passed TDC “took their eye off the ball.”

Councillor A T Inch whilst saddened at the developments and expressed agreement with Councillor Brenton stating that a community hall (for Bideford) was long overdue.  He seconded Councillor Brenton’s proposal for an urgent meeting.

Councillor Christie supported the proposal, stating that the meeting needed to be called very quickly.

RESOLVED:  That an urgent meeting is called between the Mayor, Dr Bowser and the appropriate TDC leadership (to discuss the Wings Project development).

(Vote – For: 13, Against: 0)

d.   The Chairman thanked Mr Bowser for attending the Meeting. 

065  COMMUNICATION BROUGHT FORWARD ON THE DIRECTION OF THE MAYOR

The Town Clerk advised that a Civic Reception would be held for the Bideford Landivisiau Twinning Association at the Pannier Market Hall on Saturday, 27 August 2016 at 10.30 am.  The Association will be marking their fortieth anniversary.

The Mayor spoke on a “Save our Hospital Services” (SOHS) campaign that would see a demonstration on Tuesday, 23 August 2016; he would seek to encourage participation by writing to fellow Parish / Town Council chairmen.

066  STAFFING, FINANCE & GENERAL PURPOSES COMMITTEE

Members noted the recommendation at Minute number 029. 

Minute number 031 (grant application form).  Councillor McGeough asked that the minute be amended to reflect the caveat, that if Grant Recipients did not attend the Annual Parish Meeting the Grant would be withdrawn – unless there were exceptional mitigating circumstances for non-attendance.

The Minutes of the Meeting held on 21 July 2016 were approved and adopted.

(Vote – For: 13, Against: 0)

067  PLANNING COMMITTEE

The Minutes of the Meeting held on 29 June and 20 July 2016 were approved and adopted.

(Vote – For: 13, Against: 0)

068  MARKET MANAGEMENT COMMITTEE

The Minutes of the Meeting held on 30 June 2016 were approved and adopted.

(Vote – For: 13, Against: 0)

069  RENEWABLE ENERGY GENERATION COMMITTEE MEETING

Councillor Day confirmed that four councillors had taken the opportunity to visit Wadebridge and briefed Members accordingly.

The Minutes of the Meeting held on 7 July 2016 were approved and adopted.

(Vote – For: 13, Against: 0)

070  TOURISM COMMITTEE

Minute number 020.  The Mayor invited Members to consider a date for the next Spruce up of the Town.  It was agreed that the Spruce up day should be scheduled for mid-October 2016.

The Minutes of the Meeting held on 27 July 2016 were approved and adopted.

(Vote – For: 13, Against:  0)

071  TRANSPORT WORKING GROUP

Councillor Mrs Craigie alluded to the need for the Planning officers to include transport development funding when negotiating s106 conditions.

Councillor Christie confirmed that Ward Members can be party to s106 negotiations.

Councillor Langmead exclaimed that a good and open Meeting had been held on 27 July 2016.   He expressed incredulity and frustration at not being able to make telephone contact with a fellow Ward councillor.

The Members received the Notes of the Meetings held on 29 June and 27 July 2016.

072  MANOR COURT – CONFIRMATION OF DATE CHANGE

Following the Town Clerk’s communication Members had indicated acceptance, at the Town Council Meeting held on 23 June 2016 that Manor Court would be held on 25 March 2017, given that the Royal Hotel could not accommodate the reception on 18 March 2017.

Proposed by Councillor A T Inch, seconded and

RESOLVED:  That Manor Court will be held on 25 March 2017.

(Vote – For:  13, Against: 0)

073  LANDIVISIAU CIVIC RECEPTION

Councillor A T Inch declared a non-pecuniary interest.  (Member, Landivisiau Twinning Association). 

The Mayor in detailing the reception to be held in the Pannier Market on Saturday, 28 August 2016 at 10.30 am sought Council support for the joint hire (with the Association) of a charabanc to transport the visiting Dignitaries from their hotel to the Pannier Market.

Proposed by Councillor Howell, seconded and

RESOLVED:  That a provision of £180 is made towards the hire of a charabanc to transport the visiting Landivisiau Dignitaries (to and from the Pannier Market).

(Vote – For: 13, Against: 0)

074  EMERGENCY GRANT REQUEST – TORRIDGE, NORTH, MID & WEST DEVON CITIZENS ADVICE

The Members gave consideration to and received further detail on the emergency grant request from the Torridge, North, Mid and West Devon Citizens Advice first raised at the Meeting held on 10 March 2016.

Councillor Christie confirmed that an approach had been made to the Bridge Trust who, effectively, provided an early grant payment.  Although noting that it was their own building he reminded Members of the extremely important role that the CAB plays (to the Community).

In confirming the grant payment made by the Council for the financial year 2015 / 2016 of £3,000, it was

Proposed by Councillor Howell, seconded and

RESOLVED:  That a payment of £5,000 is made to the Torridge, North, Mid & West Devon Citizens Advice in lieu of a grant payment for the financial year 2017 / 2018.

(Vote – For: 11, Against: 2)

075  NOTICE OF MOTION

Submission by Councillor J Day:

“That Bideford Town Council lobby Torridge District Council to adopt a planning policy similar to the “Merton Rule” which requires all new builds to meet sustainability criteria and to encourage for the local plan to be modified accordingly.”

Following advice from the Planning Department of TDC which argued that the ground breaking and innovative policy of the Merton Rule led to the introduction of Building regulations, “Part L Conservation of fuel and power” (introduced in 2013), Councillor Day advised that Section L provided a fabrics based approach rather than an energy generation policy.

Councillor Day submitted an amended Motion:

“That Bideford Town Council lobby Torridge District Council to have a zero carbon emission strategy which requires all new builds to meet sustainability criteria.”

Councillor Day went on to explain that new builds would need to incorporate both efficient design and renewable energy  generation, going beyond current regulations to achieve a close to zero-carbon build.

Councillor Christie confirmed that the Local Plan has been issued.

Councillor Robinson seconded the amendment to the Motion adding that it was at the building stage that most efficient renewable features could be implemented.

Proposed by Councillor Day, seconded

RESOLVED:  “That Bideford Town Council lobby Torridge District Council to have a zero carbon emission strategy which requires all new builds to meet sustainability criteria.”

(Vote – For: 10, Against: 0 , Abstention: 3)

076  APPOINTMENT OF NOMINATIVE TRUSTEE ON BRIDGE TRUST

Members had been advised that Councillor Langmead’s term as a nominative Trustee had expired in July 2016. 

Councillor McKenzie proposed Councillor McGeough but was not seconded.

Proposed by Councillor Brenton, seconded

RESOLVED:  That Councillor J Mckenzie serve as a nominative Trustee on the Bridge Trust from August 2016.

(Vote – For: 13, Against: 0)

077  DALC MEETING

Councillor Brenton indicated that Devolution is concentrating the minds and that other Towns were more up to speed.

078  TORRIDGE DISTRICT COUNCIL – UPDATE

Councillor Langmead touched on Brunswick Wharf, Tantons, TDC Transformation and the formation of a Working Group to consider the future of Bridge Buildings.

He agreed to approach the Planning Department about the BMX planning application / permission on behalf of Councillor Mrs Craigie.

079  BRIDGE TRUST

Councillor Christie briefed Members on the income, expenditure, charitable donations and grants figures.  He advised that the old warden had retired and had been replaced.

The business of the meeting having been concluded the Mayor thanked the members for their attendance at the meeting which concluded at 8.33 pm.
























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