Agenda and minutes

Venue: Town Hall - Bridge Street, Bideford, EX39 2HS

Contact: Mary Richards  Email:

No. Item


Apologies For Absence

To receive apologies for absence from the meeting.


Apologies for absence were received from Councillor Langford.


Minutes pdf icon PDF 166 KB

Confirmation of the Minutes of the meeting held on 5 June 2019.


It was proposed by Councillor Leather, seconded by Councillor Harding and –




That the minutes of the meeting held on 5 June be agreed and signed as a correct record.


(Vote: For 7, Abstentions 3)


Matters Arising


Minute 4, Action List - 77 - To have an inspection of Torrington pool conducted


The Planning & Economy Manager provided an update – Monthly inspections are carried out.  The buildings are inspected by the Properties Team and the health and wellbeing aspect by the Community Engagement Officer.  More rigorous checks had been scheduled as requested.


Minute 8 – Burton Art Gallery & Museum


The Lead Member for Community, Culture & Leisure  reminded Members of the evening event being held at the Burton Art Gallery on Thursday 26th July at 6.30pm.


It was noted that the Burton Art Gallery & Museum AGM takes place on 8 August at 6.00pm.


Minute 10 – Health, Wellbeing & Social Care (Standing Item)




To follow up with the Environmental Health & Community Safety Manager re the list of agencies related to health and wellbeing.


Minute 11 – External Grants Working Group


The Planning & Economy Manager advised that the Community Engagement Officer was collating responses from agencies about how they would cope if there were changes to grant funding.  A meeting of the Working Group had not yet taken place.


Public Participation

15 minute period for public contributions


There was no public participation.


Action List pdf icon PDF 44 KB


Minute 76 c) – That clarification be sought from Suzanne Tracey about clinical and administrative collaboration


The Lead Member for Health, Wellbeing & Community Safety confirmed, as clarified by the Chair, that there had been an indication that there might be some amalgamation between the North Devon Healthcare Trust and the Exeter Health Authority.  Mr Topham was satisfied with this response.


Minute 86 – To set up an officer group to consider the findings of the officer Task & Finish Group which had researched TBID


The Planning & Economy Manager apprised the meeting of the changes.  Nick White, Chief Executive of the North Devon Marketing Bureau, had stepped down. Currently, there were no plans to further investigate a TBID.  He added that it had been anticipated the monies from the TBID could be used to fund the North Marketing Bureau business plan.  The North Devon Marketing Bureau was no longer planning to produce a business plan.  However, this may be revisited in the future.


It was proposed by Councillor Pennington and seconded by Councillor Newton –




The action be withdrawn


(Vote: For – unanimous)


Minute 8 b) – The Burton take exhibitions out to the wider Torridge area,


The Lead Member for Community, Culture & Leisure told the Committee that the Burton had plans to take the exhibitions out across Torridge and they could find out more at the Members’ evening event on 26 July.


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.



Agreement Of Agenda Items Part I and II


There were no Part II items.


Urgent Matters Brought Forward With the Permission Of The Chair

1.    Proposed Closure of Appledore Fire Station.


2.    Fire Service Consultation document.


3.    NHS Consultation document.



Proposed Closure of Appledore Fire Station


Councillor Ford told the meeting that he had attended a meeting with the fire fighters and further meetings were planned with the fire fighters and the Fire Fighters Union.   Councillor Ford recommended that North Devon Council and Councillor Eastman, Devon County Council, attend the future meetings with the fire fighters and unions and the Torridge District Council meeting on 21 August.  Councillor Ford spoke of the £8m shortfall and lengthy response times due to many stations being unmanned.  He also told Members that during the last year more fatalities were caused by road traffic accidents than by fire.


The Chair proposed that the Fire Service consultation and the Health Service consultation be discussed when considering the Forward Plan.


It was noted that the closing date for the Fire Services consultation is 5 September.


A short discussion took place about the proposals for the North Devon Hospital and Members were asked to try to attend a meeting of the Health & Wellbeing Board on 12 October.


Agriculture and agriculture supply industry pdf icon PDF 2 MB

To receive a presentation from Andrew Butler of the NFU.


The Chair introduced the guests and invited Andrew Butler to commence his presentation.


Mr Butler thanked the Committee for the invitation to speak.  Mr Butler introduced the presentation with some statistics about the National Farmers Union and its farm business members and countryside members.  He outlined the market dynamic, giving a snapshot of the sectorial prices and focusing particularly on sheep and cattle prices which are the main areas of production in Torridge.  Graphs were shown indicating producer share prices; farm business income and costs; the agricultural supply industry and exports.


Details were provided on the important contribution of the agri-food sector to GVA and employment.  Spending and borrowing had increased over the last 20 years.


Members were told of the decline in self sufficiency since 1984 and how European policy had impacted on this.  Mr Butler felt confident the industry could cover the demand of the country but people would need to be re-educated and encouraged to buy locally.  Policy change would be required also.  There was an indication that people do try to buy British but, out of the home, the source of the product was rarely questioned.


Some of the challenges include:


·         Exchange rates and oil prices

·         Uncertainty surrounding BREXIT

·         The possibility of tariff barriers


In relation to Europe, Members were informed that the UK was a powerhouse within the single market, being one of the most significant suppliers of sheep, cattle milk and wheat.


Finally, Mr Butler suggested some of the ways Torridge District Council could help.


Councillor Bushby joined the meeting (6.40pm).


The Chair thanked Mr Butler and invited Mr Bell to speak.


Mr Bell spoke of the collaboration between the North Devon Biosphere and the NFU.  He then focused on farming, land management and the environment, major factors including:


  • Changing demography in the rural areas away from traditional family farms and associated social networks
  • Fragmentation of habitats reducing the resilience of some of the ecosystems
  • Problems of diffuse pollution impacting on the aquatic wildlife in the rivers and estuary
  • The need to balance food security and production with the measures to enhance the natural environment


Northern Devon had been chosen to host the Landscape Pioneer, a Government initiative aimed at improving the environment within 25 years.

The Pioneer will trial new approaches to manage farmland, natural habitats, watercourses, coasts and urban environments in a better way.  It would also look at funding.  Wetland, culm grass and tourism were recognised as being a key part of the plan.


The Chair thanked Mr Bell and opened the floor for discussion and fact finding.  Additional information emerged from the debate:


·         The NFU has set a goal of 2040 for being carbon neutral

·         In terms of advising farmers through the changes, the AHDB (Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board) could offer advice, although the budget was very small

·         BASE (Biodiversity, Agriculture, Soil and Environment for UK)  and DEFRA had set aside funding, whereas the role of the NFU was that of facilitator

·         UK food prices are the third lowest  ...  view the full minutes text for item 21.


External Grants Working Group

To receive an update from the External Grants Working Group.


An update will be provided at the next meeting.



Firework Displays / Starlings, Bideford pdf icon PDF 149 KB

To consider the call-in by the Chair of External Overview & Scrutiny.


Additional documents:


Mr Topham left the room.


The Chair explained that the grounds for his calling-in of the Community & Resources Decision were the consideration of the use of the new bridge (A39).  He felt a social issue should not have priority over the need to protect members of the public and the responsibility to maintain direct access for emergency services.  He emphasised that the call-in was on a very specific issue – the closure of the road and access for emergency vehicles.


Councillor Leather and Councillor Bushby commented that Devon County Council Highways Department had categorically stated that the bridge could not be used for the firework display.


Mr Topham re-joined the meeting.


It was proposed by Councillor Pennington, seconded by Councillor Newton and –




That Closure of the new bridge in facilitation of social events should not be supported.


(Vote: For 9, Abstentions 1)



Play Areas Working Group

To receive an update from the Play Areas Working Group.


The Planning & Economy Manager confirmed that the group had not met but the Community Engagement Officer and officers from the Planning Team had been working on a brief.  Once the brief is completed the group will be convened to consider the information.


Concerns were raised about broken play equipment in many Torridge District Council owned sites.  The Planning & Economy Manager said that, as there was currently no Play Strategy, works had been put on hold whilst the decision was made whether to retain or dispose of sites.


The Planning & Economy Manager told Members that membership of the working group was not fixed and could be extended to invite all Overview & Scrutiny Committee Members.


It was proposed by Councillor Leather and seconded by Councillor Pennington –



The play Areas Working Group (Standing item) be removed from the Forward Plan. 


(Vote: For – unanimous)


The Lead Member to monitor the progress and report back to the External Overview & Scrutiny with any updates.



Consideration Of The Forward Plan pdf icon PDF 58 KB


21 August - SWAST, ambulance response times and First Responders


It was suggested the list of upcoming items be reorganised to include the names of relevant organisations.  Mr Topham to liaise with Janet Williams on the list of organisations; to update the Forward Plan and bring back to the meeting on 21 August.


It was agreed at least 30 minutes should be dedicated to the discussion on the Fire Service consultation.  Councillor Ford to take the lead.  In preparation, Councillor Ford will meet with Councillor Hames, the fire fighters and the Fire Fighters Union.


The Senior Solicitor advised that a letter could be written from the External Overview & Scrutiny Committee in response to the consultation without going to Community & Resources first.


Mr Topham made a suggestion that future meetings be scoped.  The Planning & Economy Manager replied that traditionally this was done in conjunction with the Chair in a meeting prior to the agenda going out.


The Chair suggested that health should be linked in with North Devon Council.  The NDHT AGM dates to be confirmed.