Agenda, decisions and draft minutes

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

Contact: Democratic Services  Email: democratic.services@torridge.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

97.

Apologies for Absence

To receive apologies for absence from the meeting.

Minutes:

An Apology for absence was received from Councillor Whittaker.

98.

Minutes of the Community & Resources Committee meetings pdf icon PDF 42 KB

Minutes of the meeting held on 14 January 2019 and

Budget Special meeting held on 4 February 2019

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Minutes of the meeting held on 14 January 2019 were agreed.

 

(Vote:  For – 7, Abstentions 4)

 

The Minutes of the Budget Special meeting held on 4 February were agreed.

 

(Vote:  For – 9, Abstentions 2)

 

99.

Action List pdf icon PDF 56 KB

Minutes:

The Action List was noted.

100.

Public Contributions

Public contributions in accordance with the current scheme

Minutes:

The following members of the public addressed the meeting opposing to the recommendation for Agenda item 9 (Avon Lane Site):


Roger Tisdale, Christine Hutchins, Avril Jewell, Zoe Morrow, Claire Hodson, Adrian Attrel.

 

The following comments were made:

 

The development proposal was not in keeping with the Green Infrastructure Strategy introduced by Full Council in 2014, particularly in terms of health and social wellbeing.  It did nothing to promote a healthier lifestyle.

 

The council claims it is customer focused yet it had chosen to ignore the voice of 4,000 people who had signed a petition.

 

The public were losing their confidence in elected members.

 

Friends of Westward Ho! Park had been set up in November 2018.  106 households, local and from further afield, had subscribed to the Group.  The Group was working voluntarily to tidy up and maintain the park.

 

Younger people needed somewhere to go to participate less formally in outdoor activities.

 

The current park offers an opportunity for play whilst at the same time being  a safe place. 

 

Reference was made to the Northam Town Council Business Plan and Councillors were implored to give NTC some credit in respect of their assessment of their capacity to manage the park.  The Town Council has a vision to access funding.

 

Having an outdoor space is so important for people’s mental health.

 

The state of repair of the pavilion was brought into question and a copy of the independent surveyors report was requested.  A freedom of information request to have access to the document will be submitted.

 

A call was made that the whole of the park be returned to the community.

 

Councillors were invited to visit the park.

 

 

101.

Forward Plan pdf icon PDF 58 KB

Minutes:

The Forward Plan was noted. 

 

102.

Declarations of Interest

Members with interests to declare should refer to the Agenda item and describe the nature of their interest when the item is being considered.

Minutes:

Declarations of interest were made when the specific agenda items to which they related were under discussion.

103.

Agreement of Agenda between Parts I and II

Minutes:

There were no Part II items.

 

104.

Urgent Matters of information to be brought forward with the permission of the Chair and the Committee

Minutes:

There were no urgent matters brought forward.

105.

Avon Lane Site pdf icon PDF 2 MB

To receive the report of the Planning and Economy Manager

Minutes:

Councillors J Himan and K Davis declared interests – dual hatted – Northam Town Council

 

 

Prior to the presentation of this item, the Head of Paid Service addressed the meeting and clarified the two roles of the Authority - one as a Planning Authority and the other as landowner of the particular site.  She emphasised that this Committee would be dealing only with the ownership of the land and the principles of the future of the site, and not with any planning issues.  Members were reminded that at a previous meeting of Community & Resources Committee in January 2018 a decision had been made to progress with the development of the site and to submit a planning application for that development.    Officers have been working toward that based on that decision.

 

This Committee had also considered the application from Northam Town Council for a Community Asset Transfer, but this had been rejected. 

 

The Head of Paid Service explained that because of the highly contentious nature relating to the future of this asset and the comments being made, questions being asked it had become necessary to deal with this application in a manner not normally followed with similar applications.   As such the application and Business Plan had been reviewed by an external person.  This was not the normal process followed by the Authority and in particular when Members had already made a decision, as Officers would normally simply reject the application on that basis.

 

The Head of Paid Service reiterated her comments that this Committee would only be looking at the principles of this particular matter, and would have to decide on whether to progress with the original decision to develop, keep in house and retain the park or to look at some way of a community asset transfer, which would be at a value.  If the latter option was to be supported, it would involve further negotiations and it would be at this point that the Business Plan submitted by Northam Town Council would be considered in detail.

 

She also explained that the site had been Registered as an Asset of Community Value and such assets were dealt with under a separate process.

 

Following an enquiry from Councillor Lock, Chair of Plans Committee, the Senior Solicitor advised that Plans Committee Members could participate in the debate and decision making as no discussions would involve the planning application.

 

The Planning and Economy Manager gave a brief overview of the report, the purpose of which was to update Members in respect of the Land at Avon Lane, and to make recommendations about how to proceed. 

 

A proposal was put forward by Councillor Brenton that Torridge District Council transfer the whole of the park to Northam Town Council on a 99 year lease.  There was no seconder.  He also called for suspension of standing orders to allow for discussions to take place in relation to the transfer of a community asset, this was seconded by Councillor Davis.    The Head of Paid Service clarified that  ...  view the full minutes text for item 105.

106.

Torridge Business Investment grant pdf icon PDF 91 KB

To receive the report of the Economic Development Officer

Additional documents:

Decision:

Resolved:

 

  1. That The Torridge Business Investment Grant scheme to support the recruitment of a first employee for a qualifying Torridge-based business be rolled out offering a grant of up to £5000.

 

  1. That the scheme be open to applicants until June 30th. After this the scheme will be closed to applicants and the grant panel will meet to consider applications and to propose grant awards.

 

  1. The Grant panel will consist of:

 

·         The Leader of the Council;

·         Lead Member for the Economy;

·         Economic Development Officer;

·         Senior Revenue Accountant;

·         An independent accountant.

 

  1. That sign-off for the grant awards be assigned to the following officers:

 

·         Head of Paid Services

·         Strategic Manager (Resources)

·         Planning and Economy Manager

 

Minutes:

The purpose of the report, presented by the Economic Development Officer, was to update Members about the Torridge Business Investment Grant Scheme and to seek final approval for roll-out.

 

A short PowerPoint presentation was delivered to supplement the report.  Feedback received had been very positive and a lot of people were keen to learn more about the scheme.

 

Members raised concerns with the number of pages on the application form and felt this may well put people off applying.  It was recommended by the Planning and Economy Manager that a review of the form at officer level, in conjunction with the Lead Member for the Economy, be undertaken.

 

A question was raised about widening the catchment area to include agriculture and care for the elderly.  The Economic Development Officer responded that the scheme aimed to create jobs, regardless of which sector of employment, and he welcomed suggestions of any other groups to be incorporated in the scheme.

 

The Planning & Economy Manager clarified that the funding was to support the recruitment of a first employee.

 

It was proposed by Councillor Hackett, seconded by Councillor McGeough and -

 

Resolved:

 

  1. That The Torridge Business Investment Grant scheme to support the recruitment of a first employee for a qualifying Torridge-based business be rolled out offering a grant of up to £5000.

 

  1. That the scheme be open to applicants until June 30th. After this the scheme will be closed to applicants and the grant panel will meet to consider applications and to propose grant awards.

 

  1. That the Grant panel to consist of:

 

·         The Leader of the Council;

·         Lead Member for the Economy;

·         Economic Development Officer;

·         Senior Revenue Accountant;

·         An independent accountant.

 

  1. That sign-off for the grant awards be assigned to the following officers:

 

·         Head of Paid Services

·         Strategic Manager (Resources)

·         Planning and Economy Manager

 

 

(Vote: For – unanimous)