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Apologies For Absence
To receive apologies for absence from the meeting.
Apologies for absence were received from Councillor Simmons.
Confirmation of the Minutes of the meeting held on 9 January 2019.
It was proposed by Councillor Laws, seconded by Councillor Pennington and –
That the minutes of the meeting held on 9 January 2019 be agreed and signed as a correct record.
(Vote: For 5, Abstentions 2)
Minute 50 b) – North Devon Marketing Bureau
The Planning & Economy Manager advised the Committee that an internal officer group had met to consider the practicality of developing Tourism Business Improvement Districts (TBID). The group would like to involve the Lead Member for the Economy in the ongoing discussions.
A report will be brought back to a future meeting of the External Overview & Scrutiny Committee for further consideration.
Minute 61 a) and b) - Impact Evaluation
It was noted that a follow up procedure had been implemented which appeared to be successful.
Councillor Pennington presented the Pre Meeting Protocol document and the amendments recommended by Mr Topham.
The importance of being able to question speakers was acknowledged. Furthermore, should any response require further research, something needed to be in place to ensure feedback was forthcoming. It was agreed that any open questions, where a reply had been promised, should be added to the action list.
It was proposed by Councillor Pennington and seconded by Councillor Laws –
The Pre Meeting Protocol document, including the amendments made by Mr Topham, be adopted.
(Vote: For - unanimous)
15 minute period for public contributions
There was no public participation.
Declaration Of Interests
Members with interests should refer to the agenda item and describe the nature of their interest when the item is considered.
Members were reminded that declarations of interest should be made as and when the specific agenda item to which they related was under discussion.
Mr Topham declared an interest - he is a member of community groups in Great Torrington which have a working relationship with the Chamber of Trade, but with no legal or financial entitlement.
Agreement Of Agenda Items Part I and II
There were no Part II items.
Urgent Matters Brought Forward With the Permission Of The Chair
There were no urgent matters brought forward.
Torrington Chamber of Trade
To receive a presentation from Torrington Chamber of Trade.
The Chair welcomed Catherine Wapshott and Jayne Wafforne who in turn thanked the Committee for the opportunity to address the meeting.
Catherine Wapshott is Chair of the Great Torrington Chamber of Trade and Jayne Wafforne is the Vice Chair and both are traders in the town.
Catherine gave a brief history of the Chamber of Trade, which had re-emerged in autumn 2017, with the first meeting being held in October 2017. She spoke about the events the Chamber of Trade had held and the challenges faced. Trading was being made more difficult by issues such as:
· Parking – the disparity of parking fees between the 2 carparks led to confusion and the Chamber of Trade fully supported the request by the Great Torrington District Councillors that the Council introduce the same terms and conditions for both car parks.
Additionally, the Chamber of Trade would welcome the introduction of a long-stay area in South Street car park which could be used by traders and would release spaces nearer the town for visitors.
· The Pannier Market – There had been concerns about the lack of provision and poor quality of the markets. Negotiations had taken place with Genesis and the Chamber had taken over the running of the markets in August 2018. At the end of March the overall responsibility for the Pannier market will revert to Torridge District Council, with the Chamber remaining as overseers of the markets. Regeneration of the Pannier Market would ensure economic growth.
The Chamber of Trade worked with other groups in the town, supporting projects such as updating the town website, improving signage and Torrington in bloom. They also supported the Cavaliers and the heritage festival. A recent request for financial support had been for a viewing platform for the disabled in South Street car park.
The Chamber meets every 4 – 6 weeks and membership costs £30 per annum and a membership drive is planned for 2019.
The Chair will raise on-street parking issues with HATOC.
The Planning & Economy Manager responded on the issue of the car parks. TDC reviews car parking annually and the last meeting had been at the end of October 2018.
Equalisation of the parking arrangements had been discussed extensively at recent committees and it had been proposed by the Great Torrington Councillors that this be reviewed. It had been considered by the Community & Resources Committee who had dismissed the proposal for this year. The decision had then been called in by the Internal Overview & Scrutiny Committee and the recommendation had also been to dismiss the proposal but to concentrate on trying to assist the trading environment by promoting events.
The Planning & Economy Manager urged the Chamber of Trade to bring it forward again next year if there was still an issue.
A period of discussion and questions followed.
The Planning & Economy Manager elaborated on the initiatives to promote footfall in the town centres, stating that this was in the business plan for economic development and there were 2 employees primarily ... view the full minutes text for item 74.
Play Areas Working Group
To receive an update from the Play Areas Working Group.
A proposal to Community & Resources had been made by the Play Areas Working Group that a budget be set aside the development of a play strategy. The Community & Resources Committee resolved not to support the application for funds and dismissed the recommendation. This decision was called in by Councillor Watson for consideration by the Internal Overview & Scrutiny Committee. The call-in will be debated by Internal Overview & Scrutiny on 12 March.
The Planning & Economy Manager will report on the outcome at a future External Overview & Scrutiny Committee.
Health, Wellbeing & Social Care (Standing item)
The Lead Member for Health & Wellbeing commenced his update by informing the committee that the police precept had increased by £24 per annum, which equated to 41p a week for a band C property. Devon and Cornwall is a low precepting authority, yet it is the biggest area force in the country and has a huge pension deficit.
Devon and Cornwall is the 7th safest area in the country but crime is increasing.
Councillor Hackett alluded to an increase in poaching in certain parishes around the A30 corridor.
There will be one additional warranted officer for each of the 27 sectors within Devon & Cornwall. However, the number of PCSOs is due to decrease.
The Government pay each police force across the country 33p per head per day but in Devon & Cornwall that figure is only 26p per head per day. A further consideration is that during the summer months, there is an increase in the population of one third.
The proposed increase will still mean that there are 450 fewer police officers and 150 fewer PCSOs than in 2010.
North Devon Healthcare Trust
Councillor Hackett briefed the meeting on a telephone conference he had had with Councillor Pennington and the Trust. The North Devon Healthcare Trust had made progress and was no longer considered to be a challenged provider, although there were still challenges around workforce. The Trust will place more consideration on what the community feels is best for the North Devon Healthcare Trust. It was vital that the External Overview & Scrutiny Committee maintain adequate engagement with the Trust, whatever form it might take on in the future.
Action: Forward Plan – North Devon Healthcare Trust (Suzanne Tracey)
Councillor Pennington added that he had attended the North Devon Healthcare Trust AGM in September 2018 and it was clear that Suzanne Tracey was joint CEO on both the North Devon Hospital and the Royal Exeter Hospital and that they wanted 2 individual organisations. However, the most recent conversation would suggest they may go into partnership with somebody else. It was unlikely that North Devon would stand alone in the future and this raised the concern about the remoteness of northern Devon.
A deficit of £17/18m had been agreed with the regulators to address staffing and this was to be balanced by 2020. The long term plan was that locum staff would be replaced by permanent staff which would decrease the deficit.
Parking had been discussed during the telephone conversation and reassurance had been given that additional staff parking had been made available which should release public spaces and reduce traffic in the run up to the hospital.
A further goal was to reduce the waiting list for orthopaedic surgery to a maximum of 52 weeks by the end of March but this was dependent on the recruitment of surgeons.
An additional £7m has been made available for mental health.
Holsworthy inpatient beds had also been discussed. The response had been that this was reliant on medical cover and might ... view the full minutes text for item 76.
The Planning & Economy Manager led the discussion on the Forward Plan.
Councillor Laws requested that an inspection of Torrington Pool be conducted by TDC staff before the next meeting, as the condition of the facility was poor.
The Planning & Economy Manager agreed to have an inspection carried out.
Future items for the new Committee:
· Health Care / North Devon Healthcare Trust (Suzanne Tracey) / Healthwatch
· Great Torrington Community Development Trust (end of the summer)
Cllr Pennington declare an interest – he owns a farm.
Members discussed the many issues facing agriculture and felt a good point to kick off the debate would be the future of farming and the concerns of local farmers. Future scrutiny could also include the knock on effect on secondary industries; valuers of agricultural land to speak on the usage of land; and a link with education.
Action: A spokesperson from the NFU to be invited. To be added to the Forward Plan if Cllr Whittaker has not already arranged for it to be added to the Full Council Forward Plan.
· Broadband - The Planning & Economy Manager recommended an update by the Economic Development Officer.