Venue: Town Hall - Bridge Street, Bideford, EX39 2HS
Contact: Mary Richards Email: email@example.com
Apologies For Absence
To receive apologies for absence from the meeting.
Apologies for absence were received from Mr Topham.
Confirmation of the Minutes of the meeting held on 22nd July.
It was proposed by Councillor Leather, seconded by Councillor Newton and –
That the minutes of the meeting held on 22 July be agreed and signed as a correct record.
A recorded vote was taken.
Councillor Ford was not present for the vote.
(Vote: For - unanimous)
Minute 2 - Matters Arising
Minute 69 – Appledore Shipyard: Councillor Cottle-Hunkin commented on the good news that the shipyard had been bought up and asked whether there was any update on orders. The Planning & Economy Manager responded that there were rumours but at present he did not have information to substantiate these. Attempts were being made to contact the owners to network them with some of the different marine businesses around.
The action list was reviewed and updated as follows:
Minute 25 – To compile a list of organisations to be included on the Forward Plan
The Environmental Health & Community Safety Manager advised that there are a lot of organisations to invite to future meetings and this action had arisen from discussion around the Forward Plan. The list should be completed by the next meeting.
Minute 75 – Play Strategy
To enquire whether there is a representative on the Board of Westward Housing. There is no longer a requirement. Action closed.
15 minute period for public contributions
There were no public contributions.
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
The Chair referred to the Local Outbreak Management Member Briefing delivered by Virginia Pearson on 19 August. He had found the briefing very interesting and the local management plan very impressive. The Chair was delighted that 5 members of the External Overview & Scrutiny Committee had also attended.
It was proposed by Councillor Pennington and seconded by Councillor Cottle-Hunkin –
A letter of thanks be sent to Virginia Pearson.
A recorded vote was taken.
(Vote: For - 6, Abstentions - 2)
Councillor Newton informed the Committee that he had questioned with the Chair of Community & Resources the fact that C&R was reviewing one of TDC’s cultural providers in isolation at their next meeting, rather than looking at the cultural provision throughout the District as a whole.
The information was noted and the Chair reminded Members of their right to call-in.
Councillor Ford referred to a letter he had received from Stagecoach about parking in Appledore. Stagecoach had approached TDC 18 months ago about the difficulty in turning buses by the slipway. The letter stated “it is an accident waiting to happen.” Councillor Ford was concerned that the slipway is still zoned for launching for power craft.
The Planning & Economy Manager confirmed that TDC is responsible for the management of Churchfields car park. Within the car park there are some bus waiting areas and a bus turning area. Each year, there are issues during the summer with the turning of busses. Quite often this is due to inappropriate driving by the bus drivers. The issues are usually resolved. The Planning & Economy Manager asked that Councillor Ford forward the letter to him so that he can look into this.
The slipway is off Churchfields car park and belongs to TDC and it had been noted that the slipway had been busier this year. Historically, there had been a slipway warden but the post was made redundant when TDC had been advised to consider carefully what responsibility it wanted to take in respect of the management of jet skis in that area. There was no legal obligation on TDC to manage the slipway and, at some future date, Members might like to debate whether they want to encourage, manage or even ban jet skis.
The Chair urged Councillor Ford to take the matter forward with Officers but he refuted Councillor Ford’s opinion that TDC and this Committee were washing their hands of the issues in Churchfields car park.
The Planning & Economy Manager defended the work of the Enforcement Officers who he believed to be doing a good job.
To receive the report of the Planning & Economy Manager.
The Planning & Economy Manager presented the draft Play/Open Space Strategy, adding that the document was very much a first draft but acknowledging that there was a need to get a draft strategic document out to Members as soon as possible for them to consider how to prioritise actions and resources and to reassure them that something has been done.
The document outlined the main strategic directions, recognising the importance of play and protecting, looking after and maximising access to open spaces. It presented opportunities to consider how to empower communities to take management responsibilities and it talked about equality of provision. The next step was to get feedback from the Committee.
The Chair invited the Community Engagement Officer to introduce himself and thanked him for his work and contribution.
The Chair opened the floor for debate. A summary of observations is as follows:
Members had been expecting a more detailed document, providing specifics on the play areas and open spaces in Torridge. Although considered over-general and vague, the document was a good starting point upon which to build. The overarching theme of the document, that the Council recognised the importance of play, was acknowledged.
It was felt the document concentrated on play areas and did not look, in any depth, at open spaces. It was also felt the Playing Pitch Strategy should be incorporated in the overall Play/Open Space Strategy, although the Planning & Economy Manager stated that the Playing Pitch Strategy was a stand-alone document, but the Play/Open Space Strategy could reference the Playing Pitch Strategy.
It was noted that the basic document had been drawn up by Tivoli and there had then been input from the Property & Procurement Department and the Community Engagement Officer. Members asked whether there would be a possibility to bring Tivoli in to answer questions. The Planning & Economy Manager will speak to the Property & Procurement Manager, although he believed much of the work Tivoli had completed had been background work. The Committee wished that Tivoli be requested to attend when the document is brought back.
There was a focus on what Torridge had traditionally provided but it was essential to look at and accurately record what is out there as a whole already, including, for example, the numerous open spaces such as wildlife reserves. Changes were anticipated in the funding of the agriculture sector, one of the themes being more access to and use of the countryside.
Many of the villages and some of the towns in the District have taken on the responsibility for play areas and open spaces and fund and maintain these. Play areas and open spaces are a local and community resource.
Although there was no obligation on the Authority to provide play facilities, it was felt, in recognition of the importance of play, that the Council should invest in this provision and maintain sites. However, in the new financial landscape the bar for the justification for spending Council Tax payers’ money had been set even higher.
Where parks are taken ... view the full minutes text for item 8.
Westward Housing was scheduled for 14 October with a view to talking about play areas; Westward Housing’s development plans in the area and how these are progressing; an update on their strategic plans for the future and measures they are taking to meeting climate change and reduce their carbon footprint.
The Planning & Economy Manager confirmed
that the revised draft of the Play/Open Space Strategy would not be
ready for that meeting.
It was proposed that the Committee look at the impact of Covid-19 and the conclusion of the Furlough scheme, in relation to employment prospects and rent arrears and perhaps the CAB could be invited to address this. Proposed date January meeting.
The Senior Solicitor & Monitoring Officer informed the meeting that Torridge District Council was currently working with the CAB and Encompass. TDC has a Hardship Fund where people directly affected by Covid-19, such as reduced hours or loss of jobs, can apply for support and the CAB and Encompass were helping to administer this. There had been a low uptake. The money had been provided by DCC and it was hoped the funding would continue past the withdrawal of Furlough. The Senior Solicitor & Monitoring Officer urged Members to help spread the message that assistance is available.
The Planning & Economy Manager and Chair to liaise re invitees for meeting on economic hardship post Covid-19 with a view to tailoring services to meet the needs.