Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: Town Hall, Bridge Street, Bideford

Contact: Democratic Services  Email: democratic.services@torridge.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

67.

Apologies For Absence

To receive apologies for absence from the meeting.

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Boyle, Dart, Langton-Lockton and Morrish.

68.

Council Minutes pdf icon PDF 83 KB

Confirmation of the Minutes of the Meeting of the Council held on 21 January 2019 and the Budget Special meeting held on 25 February 2019.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

It was proposed by Councillor T Inch, seconded by Councillor Hackett and -

 

Resolved:   That the minutes of the meeting held on 21 January 2019 be confirmed as a correct record and signed by the Chair.

 

(Vote: For 25, Abstention 5)

 

Resolved:   That the minutes of the Budget Special meeting held on 25 February 2019 be confirmed as a correct record and signed by the Chair.

 

(Vote: For 28, Abstention 2)

 

69.

Public Contributions

15 minute period for public contributions

Minutes:

Mrs Joyce Comfort addressed the meeting on the lack of a community centre in Londonderry and homeless in the district.  Mrs Comfort had for many years been campaigning for a community centre in Londonderry, and the need was even greater now as bus services were being withdrawn. 

 

Mrs Comfort told the Council that there were several homeless in the area and she too was facing homelessness. She praised two TDC officers, Roger and Patrick, who had been exceptionally helpful.  Mrs Comfort urged the Council to think about providing a health and wellbeing centre, perhaps even using empty properties such as Moreton House.

 

70.

Declarations of interest

Members with interests to declare should refer to the Agenda item and describe the nature of their interest when the item is being discussed.

Minutes:

Members were reminded that declarations of interest should be made as and when the specific agenda item to which they related was under discussion.

71.

.Agreement of Agenda Items Part I and II

Minutes:

It was proposed by Councillor T Inch, seconded by Councillor Whittaker and –

 

Resolved:

 

That the Agenda as circulated be agreed.

 

Councillor Simmons asked why the report on the Work Hub had to be considered in Part II, stating that if the figures had been left out, it could have been discussed in open forum.  The comment was noted.

 

(Vote:  For 26, Against 3. Abstentions 1)             

72.

To consider correspondence or other business especially brought forward by the direction of the Chair

Minutes:

The Chair bade farewell to retiring Councillors and thanked them for their services to their constituents and to the Council.

73.

To answer questions submitted under Procedural Rule A9

Minutes:

A question was submitted by Councillor Brenton under Procedural Rule A9.

 

In accordance with the Constitution a written answer to the question had been circulated to all Members.

 

Question from Councillor Brenton

 

“Who authorised TDC to apply to Land Registry to obtain the unregistered land known as “The Green” at Hillcrest, East-the-Water?”

Response

 

TDC have been insuring and maintaining the land for many years and it is shown in our estate plans as land owned by TDC.

Upon further investigations it was noted that the land remains unregistered and therefore an application was made to register the land in line with TDC’s policies and procedures of Land Registration.  Following objections to that registration we have not progressed it further and we have ceased cutting the grass and taken this out of our ground maintenance contract.

 

 

Councillor Brenton responded that residents were being encouraged to register the area as a village green.

74.

Petitions

To receive petitions (if any)

Minutes:

There were no petitions.

 

75.

South West Mutual Bank

To receive a Presentation from Mr T Greenham.

Minutes:

Mr Tony Greenham of South West Mutual thanked the Chair for the opportunity to present his business plan to start a new fully licensed regional bank to serve both residents and SMEs which would promote local reinvestment.   The proposal had been presented to other local authorities and 5 Devon districts had bought in.

 

The aim of the bank was to support sustainable prosperity in the region, providing a full range of services through video linked automated branches with some staffed times, as well as fully staffed high street branches.  A charge of £5 per month would be applied to personal current accounts.  Mr Greenham illustrated the disparity of wealth prevalent in the South West and the resilient performance of European banks where a diverse offering of financial institutions was provided.

 

The intention was that the bank would open in 2020/2021.  Proceedings were currently at pre-application stage, for which £0.5m was required.  Thereafter, a further £2.5m would be required and for the final phase £17.5m.  He acknowledged the risk associated particularly with the first phase and advised that other local authorities were exploring the use of economic grants for the initial phase.

 

The floor was opened for debate and further information was provided by Mr Greenham in response to questions.  On the whole, the proposal was generally well received but Members were very mindful of the associated risk.

 

The Chair thanked Mr Greenham, adding that the topic would come back for consideration by the new Council.

76.

Firework Displays/Starlings roosting under Bideford Bridge (Petition) pdf icon PDF 36 KB

The Petition received conveyed concerns regarding the distress and harm caused by inappropriate firework displays authorised by Torridge District Council  primarily to the starlings roosting under Bideford Bridge, but also to other wildlife to pets and domestic animals and to people.

 

Petitioner Requests attached, together with letter received by Bideford Town Council from Devon Wildlife Trust

Additional documents:

Minutes:

In accordance with the Council’s Procedural Rules, Mr Durrant was invited to introduce the petition.  He referred to letters from the RSPB and Devon Wildlife Trust and the support of celebrity wildlife advocates.  Mr Durrant advised that Bideford Town Council had unanimously agreed to support the petition and to explore the option of much quieter, smaller fireworks and that TDC would work in conjunction with Bideford Town Council.

 

The move was to protect not only starlings but all wildlife, pets and the environment.   It was hoped any changes could be applied to all firework displays throughout the year and not just the New Year celebrations.  Most displays took place on land owned by Torridge District Council, land which was held in trust for the people of Torridge and the authority had a duty of public welfare.

 

Mr Durrant concluded by referring Councillors to the 6 bulleted requests as included in the agenda.

 

Councillor Christie gave an update on the Town Council’s investigations.  Laser fireworks were proving too expensive, however, the organisers of the New Year celebrations were going to provide the Town Council with some silent fireworks for trial.

 

It was proposed by Councillor Christie, seconded by Councillor Simmons and –

 

Resolved:

 

That the petition be presented to the Community & Resources Committee for further consideration.

 

(Vote: For 27, Abstentions 3)

77.

Transforming Torridge Programme - Progress Report pdf icon PDF 94 KB

To receive the report of the Strategic Manager (Resources)

Minutes:

The Strategic Manager (Resources) presented the report, drawing attention to the following:

 

Bideford Skate Park         

 

The figure shown in the Capital Programme was a net figure and it should be a gross figure to include grant funding.

 

Wilkey’s Field

 

Councillor Laws asked whether the transfer of Wilkey’s Field to TDC had been completed.  The Strategic Manager (Resources) confirmed that Wilkey’s Field did now belong to TDC and the Property & Procurement Manager was working towards achieving opening in time for this summer.

 

East-the-Water Wharves

 

Councillor Christie asked for a timescale for completion of the scheme.  The Strategic Manager (Resources) responded that until the legal issues had been resolved it was not possible to give a date.

 

Future High Streets Fund

 

Councillor Hellyer asked which town in the district had been selected for this scheme.  The Strategic Manager (Resources) replied that it was Bideford.

 

Homelessness and Temporary Accommodation

 

The challenges facing TDC and the extraordinary costs had been brought to Community & Resources, Internal Overview & Scrutiny and Full Council.  The report presented to Community & Resources had detailed the options which were being considered, namely the acquisition of properties and a review of internal resources.

 

Councillor Christie sought advice on whether he should declare an interest – as a member of the Bridge Trust and he believed one of the properties being considered belonged to Bideford Bridge Trust.  The Strategic Manager (Resources) explained that no details about individual properties were to be discussed.

 

The types of property being considered included a property to be used as a hostel, temporary modular style accommodation, private property lease and development of appropriate TDC owned properties. Properties had been identified and were being viewed.  Internal resources had been reviewed in relation to the prevention of homelessness and the temporary staff post had been extended utilising money allocated to TDC by MHCLG.

 

The Strategic Manager (Resources) spoke about the over extended capital programme and the proposals to increase the provision for homelessness by £1m and to increase borrowing by £1m.  He then explained the need for an integrated human resources and payroll system, highlighting the benefits, costs and proposed funding.

 

It was proposed by Councillor Watson, seconded by Councillor Hackett and -

 

Resolved:

 

(a)       The progress made, as highlighted in the report, be noted.

(b)       The Bideford Skate Park amendment to the Capital Programme to £0.203m in order to reflect the total cost of the project including external grants be approved.

(c)       An increase of £1m in the Capital Programme be approved for the provision of homeless accommodation, with expenditure subject to approval by Community & Resources Committee of a business case(s) demonstrating a financially viable and suitable (e.g. location) scheme

(d)       An increase to TDCs approved borrowing of £1m to cover the additional resources required to fund the growth in the Capital Programme be approved.

(e)       The inclusion of a replacement integrated HR / Payroll system in the

Capital Programme be approved at an estimated cost of £0.1m to be funded from the balance remaining following the procurement of  ...  view the full minutes text for item 77.

78.

Notices of Motion

Written Notice of Motion from Councillors C Simmons and P Christie

 

Save our hedgehogs

We propose that a condition is added to all planning permissions that remedial action is taken to allow hedgehogs to roam from garden to garden and to fields, through holes in fences, walls or other barriers.  Hedgehogs need a large area to find their food and this small action will make a difference.

We understand that this will be added to planning advice by central government in the future, but we think that Torridge should lead the way.  Hedgehogs are in rapid decline and this much-loved mammal should been given as much help as possible.

 

Written Notice of Motion from Councillor J Whittaker

The use of the Implication Report as part of the Council’s planning procedures:

 

“I am hoping that Cllrs will support me in my efforts to have the ‘Implications Report’  process removed from the way which the Council still deals with some of the planning applications it considers. There is no understanding from a public perception as to why this process is used or indeed why it's necessary. Many of our residents take the view that something inappropriate or even underhand is taking place. Whilst this is not at all the case, and Members of the Plans Committee do have a responsibility in making well judged decisions, the use of this process does nothing to improve the public perception of our Council, something I really care about.   

 

I would therefore urge my fellow Councillors to support this Notice of Motion to remove the Implications Report process when considering planning applications at our Plans Committee Meetings” .

 

 

Minutes:

Written Notice of Motion from Councillors C Simmons and P Christie

 

1.         Save our hedgehogs

“We propose that a condition is added to all planning permissions that remedial action is taken to allow hedgehogs to roam from garden to garden and to fields, through holes in fences, walls or other barriers.  Hedgehogs need a large area to find their food and this small action will make a difference.

We understand that this will be added to planning advice by Central Government in the future, but we think that Torridge should lead the way.  Hedgehogs are in rapid decline and this much-loved mammal should be given as much help as possible”.

Councillor Simmons briefly presented the motion and a short discussion followed.  The motion was seconded by Councillor Christie and -

Resolved:

That the motion be referred to the Plans Committee for consideration.

(Vote: For – unanimous)

 

2.         Written Notice of Motion from Councillor J Whittaker

The use of the Implication Report as part of the Council’s planning procedures:

 

“I am hoping that Cllrs will support me in my efforts to have the ‘Implications Report’ process removed from the way which the Council still deals with some of the planning applications it considers. There is no understanding from a public perception as to why this process is used or indeed why it's necessary. Many of our residents take the view that something inappropriate or even underhand is taking place. Whilst this is not at all the case, and Members of the Plans Committee do have a responsibility in making well judged decisions, the use of this process does nothing to improve the public perception of our Council, something I really care about.   

 

I would therefore urge my fellow Councillors to support this Notice of Motion to remove the Implications Report process when considering planning applications at our Plans Committee Meetings”.

 

Councillor Whittaker introduced the motion, stating that Implication Reports were generally only implemented for major applications, and she cited the Heywood Road and Knapp House applications.

 

Councillor Brenton spoke in support of the motion, reminding Councillors that the Council is Member led. 

 

Councillor Lock proposed the motion be deferred for 6 months to allow new Plans Committee Members to undergo training before considering the motion.

 

The motion was debated further and it was noted that:

 

·         The Implications Report process cannot be applied retrospectively.

·         Other LAs in Somerset, Devon and Cornwall, with the exception of Mid Devon do not use Implications Reports.

 

Councillor Hicks recalled that Members had been given no opportunity other than to accept the Implications Report process when it was introduced and he requested that old minutes relating to the process be consulted.

 

 

The Notice of Motion was seconded by Councillor T. Inch and

 

Resolved:

 

That the motion be referred to the Plans Committee.

 

(Vote:  For 29, Abstentions 1)

 

 

Councillor Brenton left the meeting at 20.03pm.

79.

Exclusion of Public

The Chair to move:

 

“That the public be excluded from the remainder of the meeting because of the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972”

Minutes:

It was proposed by Councillor S Inch, seconded by Councillor T Inch and –

 

Resolved:

 

That under Section 100(a)(4) of the Local Government Act (as amended) the public be excluded from the meeting for the following items of business because of the likely disclosure of exempt information by virtue of Paragraph 3 of Part 1 and Paragraph 10 of Part 2 of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972.

 

(Vote:  For – 28, Against 1)

80.

PART II - (CLOSED SESSION)

 

Items which may be taken in the absence of the public and press on the grounds that exempt information may be disclosed.

 

81.

Replacement mooring posts & additional water points at Bank End

To receive the report of the Strategic Manager Resources

Minutes:

The Strategic Manager (Resources) explained that the purpose of the report was to outline the need and approval for the funding of improved mooring facilities at Bank End.

 

Following a brief debate, it was proposed by Councillor McGeough, seconded by Councillor Hellyer and –

 

Resolved:

 

·         That the replacement of the mooring posts for the Bank End area be approved.

 

·         That additional water standpipes be provided

 

(Vote:  For 25, Against 2, Abstentions 1)

 

 

Councillor Gregorek left the meeting at 20.18pm

82.

Bideford Town Hall Work Hub

To receive the report of the Economic Development Officer

Minutes:

The purpose of the report, presented by the Economic Development Officer, was for Members to approve funding for the Work Hub development in Bideford Town Hall.

 

The power point presentation given by the Economic Development Officer outlined the background to this Project, the ways in which it would work including an online booking system and smart phone access locks and the successes of other Work Hubs within the area.

 

During the discussion it was suggested that Officers place more emphasis on the offer and highlight the actual benefits of the Work Hub rather than working from home. 

 

It was proposed by Councillor McGeough, seconded by Councillor Christie and -

 

Resolved:

 

That the allocation of monies from the Capital Acquisition Reserve for Economic Regeneration purposes for delivery of the Bideford Work Hub be approved.

 

(Vote:  For – Unanimous)