Agenda and 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.


Minutes pdf icon PDF 62 KB

Confirmation of the Minutes of the Meeting held on 24 January 2019.


It was proposed by Mr Gibbs, seconded by Councillor Langton-Lockton  and –


Resolved: That the minutes of the meeting held on the 24 January 2019 be agreed and signed as a correct record.


Vote: (For 5, Abstentions 3)



Matters Arising:


Minute No. 41 – Action List


Minute 8 – Estuary Sampling/Dredging  -  Following an enquiry from Mr Gibbs, the Harbour Master reported that the project was in abeyance until agreement can be reached as to who will pay for the sand dredging.


Minute 11 – Freshspring  -  the Habour Master updated the meeting on the current position with regard to the “Freshspring”.  He had been advised by Mr John Puddy that they would like to swap the “Freshspring” berth with that of the “Seven Seas”.  Agreement to this arrangement would need to be obtained from the skipper of the “Seven Seas”.  The Harbour Master had no objections and no objections were raised by the Harbour Board Group.


Councillor Hurley reported on a visit he had made with the Head of Paid Service to the “Freshspring”, the purpose of which was to ensure the vessel was in a good visual condition prior to moving closer to the town.  Mr John Puddy mentioned their preferred position would be two berths down.  The Planning and Economy Manager to speak to them with regard to this proposal.   The Harbour Master said this would involve a small amount of levelling of the berth to accommodate the “Seven Seas”.     Councillor Christie expressed concern with regard to the water pipe situated within that vicinity and sought assurance that this pipe would not get blocked.   


The Harbour Master informed  the Group that the Safety Management System and Risk assessments, approved by this Board in January, had now been formally approved by Community & Resources Committee on 23 April 2019.  The next stage will be to carry out a review of the risks, following which it will then be published on the Council’s website.  The Head of Paid Service to then formally write to the Maritime and Coast Guard Agency advising that the Port of Bideford complies fully with the Port Marine Safety Code.


Minute No.27 – Arrangement with ND Council


Councillor Whittaker updated the Group on a meeting that had taken place with Officers from ND Council.  They had reached a solution which would ensure the houseboats on the river do not have permanent rights. Unfortunately it will involve this Authority being served with an Enforcement Notice stating the houseboats can stay, but will have no guaranteed rights to stay there.


Minute No. 31 – “Pacemaker”


The owners of the “Pacemaker” were in attendance at the meeting, but did not wish to speak under Public Contributions.


Councillor Whittaker gave an overview of the history to this case, explaining that the owners wished to move the boat to a berth at Bank End to ensure better access for the family.   The difficulties and costs involved were clarified  to the family. 


Councillor Whittaker, who had  ...  view the full minutes text for item 54.


Action List pdf icon PDF 56 KB


Minute No. 27 – Port Sanitary Authority


Councillor Christie advised that in the past ND Council had paid towards this.  The Harbour Master to speak to the Planning & Economy Manager, following which an email to be circulated to the Group.  


Minute No. 35 – Original Harbour Acts 1925


The Harbour Master confirmed he had met with Councillor Christie.  He  advised he had no definitive answer, but had emailed a legal colleague seeking further information, no response had yet been received.  He will discuss the information, when received, with Councillor Christie, and then report back to the next meeting.


Public Contributions


There were no public contributions.


Agreement of Agenda Items Parts I and II


It was proposed by Councillor Whittaker, seconded by Councillor McGeough and –




That the Agenda as circulated be agreed.


(Vote:  For – Unanimous)


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


There were no urgent matters of information brought forward.


Financial Summary Quarter 4- 2018/19 pdf icon PDF 117 KB

To receive the report of the Planning and Economy Manager


The purpose of the report, presented by the Strategic Manager (Resources)  was to provide Members with a financial summary for the period Quarter 4 2018/19 (Jan – March).


The Strategic Manager (Resources) informed the Group of a discussion that had taken place at Community & Resources Committee regarding the overall deficit of the Harbour.  The main issue being the decline in the number of  ships visiting the Port.


He concluded by saying this is a factual report showing the final position.



Bideford Harbour - Safety Management System


An update had been given under Agenda item 2 – Minutes (Matters Arising).


Harbour and Pilotage Activity Quarter 2 pdf icon PDF 66 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.   It was confirmed that Bideford Harbour continued to be quiet with vessel movements being very slow.


Discussions had been held with the Planning and Economy Manager in relation to offering a discount to skippers.  They have indicated that if a discount is given, they may give more shipping to the Bideford Port.


The Group discussed the proposal to offer a discount, and felt there was a serious need to review the charges.  Members were reminded by the Strategic Manager (Resources) that in the interim he would be able to authorise approval, but if the discount continued, approval would be required by the Community & Resources Committee.


The Harbour Master clarified reasons as to why shipping at Bideford Port had declined, which included:


·         Competitors Teignmouth and Plymouth – the advantage they have is the sheds for storage


·         Vessels can only enter Bideford Port on high spring tides which is 12 per year


Also raised and discussed was the option of dredging the river and the possibility of a site for storage.   The Harbour Master agreed to report back on costs etc re dredging.






The Strategic Manager (Resources) informed the Group that concerns re harbour deficit had been discussed at Internal Overview & Scrutiny Committee and had recommended that this item be included on the Agenda for the new Council “Options for the future of the Harbour”.   He also reminded Members that it is not just income from ships, but has a far greater and wider economic benefit for Bideford.




Any Other Business


Appledore Shipyard


Mr Hardaker referred to the contents of a letter which stated that Chris Langham is keen to get a consortium together to keep the yard open.


Councillor Whittaker updated as follows:


She had again written to the Unions and Lord Berkley.  She had received a response from one Union Representative who had said there are a number of matters going on behind the scenes.  No response from Lord Berkley had yet been received.


Isle of Scilly Transport Board to go to Government in an attempt to obtain an interest free loan, there is supposed to be a meeting on the 5 May


The shipyard had been left in such a way that production could be restarted quickly.  Babcocks were stopped from holding an auction – Chris Langham had stepped in and bought equipment to ensure it stayed in the shipyard.


A further letter had been sent to Geoffrey Cox MP seeking reassurance from him that he would still be supporting the Shipyard.  No response had been received.


At a meeting attended by Councillor Hurley, it had been mentioned that when looking to launch his boat, the person could not find any slipways within Torridge. He had then found the slipway in Appledore and Bank End Bideford by looking on Google.  He suggested that the website is revamped to show where all slipways are located, mooring charges and tide times.   Discussions to be had with the Planning and Economy Manager and Community Engagement Officer regarding this matter, and if possible to then link into RNLI website.


Kayaks – the Group agreed for this matter to be taken forward and to be added to the Forward Plan for the next Harbour Board meeting.



Exclusion of the Public

The Chair to move:-


That the public be excluded from the remainder of the meeting 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


It was proposed, seconded 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 – Unanimous)


Part II (Closed Session)


Update on Houseboats

To receive a verbal update from the Senior Solicitor


A confidential verbal update was given by the Strategic Manager (Resources) which included an explanation of the processes and actions taken to date.



It was proposed by Councillor Whittaker, seconded by Councillor McGeough that the press and public be re-admitted.


(Vote:  For – Unanimous)