Agenda and minutes

Venue: Remote Meeting via Zoom

Contact: Mary Richards  Email:


No. Item


Apologies For Absence

To receive apologies for absence from the meeting.


There were no apologies for absence.


Minutes pdf icon PDF 166 KB

Confirmation of the Minutes of the meeting held on 2 September 2020.


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




That the minutes of the meeting held on 2 September be agreed and signed as a correct record.


A recorded vote was taken.
















































(Vote: For 8, Abstentions 1)


Matters Arising


Item 9 – Consideration of the Forward Plan


The Committee had proposed that the CAB be invited to the January meeting.  This was not showing on the current Forward Plan and should be added.


Public Participation

15 minute period for public contributions


The Chair welcomed Ben Nigh of the Palladium Club, Bideford and explained that, in accordance with the constitution, Mr Nigh would have 3 minutes to deliver his message, after which no further debate was permitted.  However, it was hoped the Committee would be able to point Mr Nigh in the right direction to get assistance.


Mr Nigh told Members that the Palladium Club offered a unique service to Bideford and the wider Torridge District.  It is the only grassroots music venue within a 60-mile radius.  In addition to providing live music for the public, a place to jam and meet with like-minded people, the club presents the opportunity for people to practice and form bands and gives many their first experience of performing on stage.  Local businesses, such as cafes and shops, benefit from the footfall the venue brings into the town also.  So, all-in-all the Palladium offers a service to many members of the community.


Last year 558 gigs had been performed at the venue.  In its efforts to bring live music back to Devon, the club had been working with the Big Sheep to provide a bigger venue. 


The Chair invited Mr Nigh to tell the Committee what support he thought Torridge District Council might be able provide. 


Mr Nigh said the main issue was financial but also finding a space which could be used as the current layout of the Palladium Club did not lend itself to socially distancing and was therefore not able to open.  Mr Nigh had supported the business with personal funds, but these were now exhausted.  He feared the club will have to close if funding could not be secured.


The Chair thanked Mr Nigh and sought guidance from the Senior Solicitor regarding how to take this forward.  The Senior Solicitor advised that the financial aspect might be a matter for Community & Resources or perhaps Full Council.


It was noted that the Chair and the Lead Member for Community, Culture and Leisure are hoping to meet at the venue with the proprietors in the near future.


Various possibilities were discussed such as referring the matter to Full Council as a Notice of Motion or including it on External Overview & Scrutiny’s Forward Plan when a discussion on the impact of Covid-19 was scheduled.  It was suggested that the External Overview & Scrutiny Committee would not be able to discuss soon enough, by which time the business would have failed.


Action List pdf icon PDF 118 KB


The action list was reviewed and further discussions ensued as follows;


Minute 7 - Urgent Matters Brought Forward: Churchfields car park and slipway, Appledore


Councillor Ford confirmed that he had provided the Planning & Economy Manager with the letter from Stagecoach.  Councillor Ford had also requested copies of historic correspondence between Stagecoach and TDC and this had been provided.  However, some of the information provided was 5 years old and Councillor Ford had been aware of a more recent meeting, approximately 18 months ago, which had resulted in the yellow box being painted for coaches.  Documents from this meeting had not been provided.  Councillor Ford said that the Planning & Economy Manager had stated that accidents happen because coaches go too fast.  Councillor Ford had not been happy with this statement.  The Planning & Economy Manager apologised that, if he had made this statement, it was fairly inaccurate as accidents can happen for all sorts of reasons, and he confirmed that there had been historic issues with coaches which had been addressed.  There was further correspondence in the form of e-mails which the parking admin team were seeking out, but the Planning & Economy Manager had not been aware of the meeting 18 months ago.


The Planning & Economy Manager hoped for a positive outcome from the forthcoming meeting, which Councillor Ford will also be attending.


The Chair asked that the Committee be updated following that meeting.


Minute 8 – Play and Open Spaces Strategy


The Chair asked that all the open actions relating to the Play and Open Spaces Strategy be addressed at the extraordinary meeting to be held on 18 November.  The Planning & Economy Manager confirmed that Tivoli had not been invited to attend that meeting as the purpose of the meeting was for Committee Members to identify what they want for the future.


It was agreed that Tivoli need not be invited to the meeting but the information surrounding the work and the amount they had been paid should be made available for the meeting.


Reference was made to the background information which was not presented alongside the draft strategy document at the last meeting.  The Lead Member for Community, Culture and Leisure had had sight of this and reassured Members that a lot had been done.  The Planning & Economy Manager added that the Community Engagement Officer had put a lot of work into bringing together a much more comprehensive document.



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 told the meeting that he had been approached by members of the community regarding the village public house which was under threat of closing due to the impact of Covid-19.  He was aware of a further public house which had been put on the market. 


He asked Members, when considering the forward Plan, to decide whether the impact of Covid-19 on the hospitality and leisure sector was something they felt would fit in well to the January meeting.


Councillor Cottle-Hunkin would like to see the Agriculture Bill on the Forward Plan and to extend an invitation to the local MP to take part in the discussions.


A short debate took place on discussing things upon which the Committee could have no influence.




To receive an update from the Planning & Economy Manager. 


The Planning & Economy Manager advised that a report will be going to Full Council for consideration in Part II.  Negotiations had progressed a little.  Due to the fact that financial, safety and contractual issues were part of the discussions no more detail could be given at this meeting.


Review of Partner Evaluation Form pdf icon PDF 313 KB

To consider Mr Topham’s report.

Additional documents:


The report was taken as read.  Mr Topham drew Members‘ attention firstly to the summary of the findings of the partner evaluation form, which had been trialling for the last 18 months and then to the options going forward.


He asked Members to consider the options:


  1. Continue with the evaluation procedure as it is, sending online evaluations after each presentation.  To be of any value, they will need to be reviewed by somebody on an annual basis, reported to the Committee and included in the annual report.  So there is an ongoing admin task.


  1. Distribute and collate annual evaluations for reflection and for inclusion in the annual report.  Again, a continuing admin task.  Results may be less reliable as forms will be completed some months after the presentation; other factors may intervene and influence the evaluation.


  1. Replace the PEF with a different method.  Every few years - perhaps once in an election cycle - repeat the original interview survey or some other method of evaluation in order to obtain a snapshot of partners’ current views on scrutiny and the Committee. This is time-consuming and requires an enthusiastic person to organise it.  But it can provide an in-depth picture of current relations between the Committee and its partners.


  1. Abandon evaluation altogether.


Mr Topham recapped that the original survey, which had been conducted as a series of interviews with a dozen partners, and the findings from the partner evaluation forms made it clear that partners do value the opportunity to discuss their work and concerns with the Committee.  However, the analyses also show that partners are not convinced that what we say to them makes much of a difference as to how they operate.  Furthermore, partners were   often unclear about what happens as a result of the Committee’s discussions and don’t feel they are sufficiently informed about any recommendations or subsequent actions by the Committee or Council.  It was crucial therefore, if the Committee wished to continue to conduct evaluations, that a sound procedure be put in place to close the conversation between the Committee and partners.


The process and options were discussed and thanks were extended to Mr Topham for his work.  Despite the concerns that the Committee did not have the power to influence how partners operate, Members did acknowledge that sometimes the Committee’s actions and comments did have an impact, for example the fire service consultation.


It was suggested that Committee Members should be nominated to champion following up and feedback with a specific organisation as they come through.  The Chair advised that certain Councillors are linked to specific organisations outside the Lead Member role.  The Planning & Economy Manager suggested the Committee might wish to consider specifically inviting a Lead Member to future meetings for updates on the bodies they are linked with, although he did acknowledge that their role had oversight of functional areas rather than accountability of the organisation.


Mr Topham stressed that, if the evaluation process were to continue, someone would need to  ...  view the full minutes text for item 18.


Consideration of issues brought forward by the Committee


The Chair proposed this item form part of the next item.


Consideration of the Forward Plan pdf icon PDF 198 KB

To review the Forward Plan and consider how the Committee looks at preparation thereof when it has no power to instruct external partners to attend.



18 November 2020 - The planning & Economy Manager confirmed that everything is in place for scrutiny of the Play and Open Spaces Strategy at the extraordinary meeting.


25 November 2020 -The Environmental Health & Community Safety Manager confirmed that Toby Davies had been advised of the joint meeting of Torridge District Council and North Devon Council on 25 November.  The Environmental Health & Community Safety Manager will follow up with Toby Davies about information for reading being circulated pre-meeting.


20 January 2021 – to look at the impact of Covid-19 and the conclusion of the Furlough scheme, in relation to employment prospects, debt and rent arrears. Encompass, CAB and TTVS to be invited to deliver a joint presentation if possible.  Mental Health should also form part of this discussion and the organisations should be asked to bring along qualitative information, i.e. stories of how the pandemic has impacted on people.


10 March 2021 – Westward Housing


Councillor Cottle-Hunkin asked that the Committee review the Agriculture Bill and Food Standards.  To be considered at a future meeting and invitation to be extended to MP.


The Committee discussed how to look at preparation of the Forward Plan when the Committee has no power to instruct external partners to attend. 


Councillor Laws put forward that organisations with a Service Level Agreement should have a clause included in their contract that they are required to attend meetings when asked.  The Senior Solicitor confirmed this did already form part of the agreement.