Agenda and draft minutes

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

Contact: Sandra Cawsey - Democratic Services  Email:

No. Item


Apologies for Absence


There were no apologies for absence.


Appointment of Vice Chair


Nominations were invited for Vice Chair of the Committee.


It was proposed by Councillor McGeough and seconded by Councillor Christie that Councillor Dart be elected Vice Chair.


It was proposed by Councillor Rossi and seconded by Councillor Dart that Councillor McGeough be elected Vice Chair.


Vote:   Councillor Dart – For 3

Councillor McGeough – For 3


The Chair used his casting vote in favour of Councillor McGeough




That Councillor McGeough be elected Vice Chair.





Minutes pdf icon PDF 60 KB

Confirmation of the Minutes of the Meeting held on 25 April 2019.


It was proposed, seconded and agreed -


That the minutes of the meeting held on the 25 April 2019 be agreed and signed as a correct record, subject to the following amendment:


“That Mr T Gibbs and Mr N Hardaker,  Independent Members, be added as present at the meeting”


Vote: (For 4, Abstentions 3)



Matters Arising:


Minute No 55 – Action List  -  Port Sanitary Authority


Councillor Christie referred to this item and asked if Officers had any further information.   The Harbour Master did not have an update, but agreed to make further enquiries.  This matter to be brought back to the next meeting.


Public Contributions


Mr Piers Chapman-Walker addressed the meeting regarding the house boat “Pacemaker”.


He gave details of his personal association with the owner of the vessel.  He felt the Owner was lacking the support he needed in moving the boat to Bank End, and agreed to pay for the dredging of the berth.  


Agreement of Agenda Items Parts I and II


There were no Part II items.


Urgent Matters of Information Brought Forward with the Permission of the Chairman and the Committee


There were no urgent matters of information brought forward.


New ideas to maximise harbour income and usage

To receive new ideas from Members for regeneration of the Harbour



This item was introduced by the Chair.   He advised that, despite its overall deficit, the Harbour is held by statute and therefore must be kept.  The purpose of including this item on the Agenda was to give Members an opportunity to put forward ideas/suggestions of ways to improve trade within the Harbour and to generate more income.


When discussing this matter the following points were raised:


Councillor Bushby felt there was a need for serious consideration to be given to this matter – whether it is a working port due to the lack of trade, or to use the port for leisure activities.  At present there is no infrastructure to accommodate leisure activities.


Councillor Hicks gave details of the significant income received when the large boats do come into the Harbour - pilotage being a large part of the income.


Pilot Boat – Councillor Bushby referred to the large costs of maintaining the pilot boat.   He also mentioned the investment and costs in maintaining the crane, and was of the opinion that the crane should be sold at a discounted cost to whoever is loading or unloading the vessels.


Councillor Hodson – As the Harbour Board is linked to heritage, she suggested heritage vessels.


Councillor Laws would like to see Bideford Town Council and the Chamber of Commerce also addressing this issue. He suggested there should be no parking on the harbour side which would then leave the harbour and river visible to the public.


Councillor Hackett suggested lowering the sea harbour defence, the barrage should be behind and not in front, this would then give pontoon access.  Also to include leisure activities, a restaurant etc. on the quayside.


The Planning & Economy Manager responded to Councillor Hackett comments as follows:


·         The proposal for a barrage had previously been looked into, but had not been feasible due to costs and massive ecological issues.   The research carried out is available for Members if required.   

·         Floating Pontoon – this again had been looked into and background research undertaken.   

·         Remodelling the Quay, that is beyond the scope of Harbour Board and would require the involvement of multi agencies.


Coastal Traffic – Councillor Christie suggested:


·         Looking at moving recycling material by river

·         To include in planning permissions for residential developments that all building materials are transported by boat

·         To look at pleasure crafts.    

·         Central recharge costs

·         The 1925 Harbour Act states that any receipts from the Quay should go to the Harbour Board, including parking income – this would be a significant increase in income for the Harbour.


The Planning and Economy Manager responded to Councillor Christies comments as follows:


·         Transporting recycling materials by river, this had been discussed with Devon County Council who at the time were not in support.  He agreed to discuss this matter again with them.

·         Planning Permissions – cannot condition applications to tell people how to bring materials into the town.

·         Pleasure Craft – this can be looked into.


The Harbour Master put forward a proposal to put a large  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7.


Financial Summary Quarter 1- 2019/20 pdf icon PDF 417 KB

To receive the report and Appendix 1 of the Planning and Economy Manager


The purpose of the report, presented by the Planning and Economy Manager was to provide Members with a financial summary for the period Quarter 1 2019/20 (April – June 2019).


A brief overview of the current financial position detailed in Appendix 1 attached to the report was given.   The deficit figure for the Harbour was noted.


The Planning and Economy Manager referred to the fees and charges for the Harbour, which each year are reviewed by Community & Resources Committee and Full Council.   It was agreed by Members that the Harbour Board review the fees and charges prior to being brought to Community & Resources Committee.   This item to be included on the Forward Plan for the third quarter.


Bideford Harbour - Safety Management System


This item to be removed from the Agenda.


Harbour and Pilotage Activity Quarter 1 pdf icon PDF 125 KB

To receive the report of the Planning and Economy Manager


The Group received an update from the Harbour Master detailing the activities and pilotage movements within the Statutory harbour limits of the Harbour Authority.


The Harbour Master asked that the Group given consideration to the setting up of a Harbour Liaison Forum.  The Forum to also involve stakeholders, and ideas/actions/decisions from the meetings to then be brought to the Harbour Board Committee.   The Forum meetings to be minuted.   Councillor Christie had concerns regarding the above request.


Following a comment by Councillor Brenton, the Harbour Master confirmed that the pilot boat was not having a refit, but an upgrade of equipment at a cost of £3,000.   In relation to maintenance arrangements, there is ad hoc arrangements but no maintenance contract.     The Planning and Economy Manager reported that a few years ago the boat cost the Authority £40,000.  It was built in 1984 and does require a significant level of maintenance.



Any Other Business


There was no other business.


Forward Dates

The following meetings to be held in the Town Hall, Bideford -


10 October 2019 - Port Security at 2.00pm followed by Harbour Board at 2.30pm


23 January 2020 at 2.00pm - Harbour  Board


16 April 2020 - Port Security at 2.00pm followed by Harbour Board at 2.30pm


The forward dates for meetings detailed on the Agenda were noted.


Moorings and House Boats

General discussion around the moorings, permission for house boats and appropriate fees and charges


The Planning and Economy Manager gave background information with regard to this item.   He explained that to date the Authority had adopted a Policy of not encouraging house boats into the harbour.


The Authority is now being asked to provide berths for those living on board the boats, but there is no Policy in place for this.


The Harbour Board Committee are being asked to give guidance as to whether a Policy should be put in place – once drafted the Policy would then be brought to Committee & Resources Committee for endorsement.  


The Senior Solicitor advised that to change bye laws is a very complicated process and would require specialist advice.  Members need to decide what is required and once a decision had been made, there will then be a need to look at bye laws going forward.   The current bye laws are not fit for purpose as they are so old. 


Councillor Christie proposed that:


“The Council accept the principle to have house boats in the harbour in areas where the Harbour Master can see no conflict.  This recommendation to then go to Community & Resources Committee”. 


He also stated that conditions be included with regard to waste etc. as he had received complaints with regard to the boats at Bank End Bideford.


The Senior Solicitor gave legal advice to Members, stating there are a number of issues for Members to consider when proposing to allow house boats in the Harbour.  These included:


·         The costs involved, ie mooring posts.  Who will pay? There are no proper fees implemented, the current fees are for moorings.

·         What security would you offer, what tenure?


The Planning and Economy Manager recommended that this Committee propose a Mooring Policy be put in place.  


Councillor McGeough proposed that the meeting move into Part II.




It was proposed by Councillor McGeough, seconded by Councillor Rossi

and –




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 3, Abstentions 4)





A lengthy confidential discussion took place during which advice was given by the Planning and Economy Manager and legal advice given by the Senior Solicitor.


Following comments made relating to the house boats at Bank End, the Senior Solicitor explained the three boats were under a separate Agreement covered by a Court Order, and cannot be taken into account when considering the other house boat.


The need for a Moorings Policy was again emphasised to Members.    The information to be included in the Policy was discussed.


Mr Hardaker left the meeting at 15.35.


The Senior Solicitor advised that if a houseboat was moved now, prior to a Policy being in place, there is nothing to stop other house boats coming into  ...  view the full minutes text for item 13.