Agenda and minutes

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

Contact: Democratic Services  Email:


No. Item


Apologies For Absence

To receive apologies for absence from the meeting.


Apologies for absence were received from Councillor Shepherd and Councillor Smith.


Councillor Pennington was present as substitute for Councillor Shepherd and Councillor Wheatley was present as substitute for Councillor Smith.


Minutes pdf icon PDF 1 MB

Confirmation of the Minutes of the meeting held on 30 November 2023.


Chair reviewed the minutes with members,


It was proposed by Councillor Harding, seconded by Councillor Bach and –




That the minutes of the meeting held on 30 November 2023 be agreed and signed as a correct record.


(Vote: For 8, Abstentions 2)


Public Participation

15 minute period for public contributions. The deadline for registering to speak is by 2pm Monday 29 January 2024.


Trinity Schwandt-Hawkins addressed the committee and raised concerns regarding the recruitment of a lecturer for A-Level law studies at Petroc.  She explained the impact of not having a lecturer in place and highlighted some of the longer term implications for students – in terms of wellbeing and overall grades.


Action List pdf icon PDF 77 KB

To review the action list.


The action list was reviewed with members and the following agreed:



Action complete.



Action to chase up a joint meeting on agriculture



Request from members to keep the action on Link Centres consultation on the action list.  Councillor Craigie provided an update on the consultation, which has been extended to March Cabinet Meeting for Devon County Council. 



Invitation extended to Councillor McInnes and Geoffrey Cox MP, action complete.



An update provided regarding the Holsworthy Link Centre provision was provided by Councillor James.  Action to remain ongoing. 



Request from members that a letter of thanks be sent to Stagecoach along with a request to update the committee regarding the planned review in March.



Meeting arrangements underway. Ongoing.



Action complete for PETROC.  Remaining actions ongoing.



Dem Services to contact Public Health & Community Safety Manager regarding Chair of Licensing invite to CSP.





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


The agenda as published was agreed.


Urgent Matters Brought Forward With the Permission Of The Chair



Members discussed ongoing concern regarding the delivery of post in the local area. It was raised that late delivery of post or lost post was impacting on residents – missed hospital appointments and late delivery of appointment letters were highlighted.


Members noted that this was also having an impact in the rural areas too and the reliability of mobile post offices were highlighted.


It was felt there was a need for more detailed scrutiny and it was suggested that Royal Mail / Post Office be invited to attend a future committee. 



It was proposed by Councillor A Brenton, seconded by Councillor Cottle-Hunkin and –




To invite the local Royal Mail service and Post Office to attend a future committee and discuss the postal service and delivery of mail in Torridge.


(Vote: For 8, Against 1)



Chair raised the proposed closure of the Discovery Centre, a provision that is part of Pathfield Centre for SEND Children, and went on to read out a statement from a Torridge resident whose child currently attends the centre.  


It was proposed by Councillor Cottle-Hunkin, seconded by Councillor A Brenton and



That Committee contact Pathfields and Devon County Council requesting more information regarding the proposals.


(Vote: For Unanimous)


Members agreed an action to contact Westward Housing regarding their policy on wood burners. 



Petroc - Education and Employment in Torridge

An opportunity to hear from Sean Mackney, Principle and CEO of PETROC, and Bill Blythe, Vice Principal Finance Resources & Regional Affairs at PETROC.


During the meeting Councillor Pennington declared a personal interest because his son works at Petroc College.


Chair thanked Sean Mackney the Principal and CEO, and Bill Blythe the Vice Principal Finance Resources & Regional Affairs at Petroc for attending.


The Principal and Vice Principal provided an overview of their roles and went on to advise members of the college strategy, the partnership, the economy and development plans for University status.


College Strategy

The current strategy runs to 2025 and the mission set out within this is to produce excellence through learning.


The 5 strategic aims were highlighted for members, these were explained in detail and linked to examples of the work taking place to build academic and social development for learners.


1.            Create outstanding learner achievement in all areas

2.            Transform life chances and employment prospects for all

3.            Build community and prosperity within northern and Mid Devon and the wider south west of England

4.            Boost productivity, innovation and agility of businesses and organisations

5.            Tackle the climate emergency


Members were advised that there were 18 months remaining on the current strategy and the planned engagement work that is being prepared for the next strategy. 



Members were advised of the importance that Petroc place on the role of partnership working and provided with examples of work taking place with partners and stakeholders in the community - Northern Devon Futures and Education Futures North Devon were specifically highlighted.   



The challenges of the local economy were recognised, and the local areas of deprivation noted. The Principal for Petroc went on to explain how the college links in with local business and looks to improve local employment opportunities.  The opportunities arising from the New Marine Economy and Floating Off Shore Wind were noted alongside the partnership work taking place on the Clean Maritime Centre and the need to provide the skills and people required to further develop this in the future. 


University for Northern Devon

Members were advised that the college had been delivering higher education for 30 years, and the reasons for exploring University status.  The work involved in moving towards University status were explained and members were advised this was the first step in a 9 year journey for the college.


The focus would be on 3 clustered areas - the blue green economy and marine, health and social care and advanced engineering.


A question and answer session took place and the following key points were raised:


Work taking place to build up Adult Learning and improve availability and access to courses since covid was highlighted, and members were also advised of planned consultation.  Following a question regarding digital exclusion Vice Principal advised of the adult basic skills programme but recognised some of the difficulty engaging with communities. The work taking place to improve communication was highlighted, along with Petroc’s work with Learn Devon and the adult skills programmes.


In relation to staffing and lecturer absences. It was stated that the majority of programmes were staffed but the challenges  ...  view the full minutes text for item 238.


Consideration Of The Forward Plan pdf icon PDF 111 KB

To review the forward plan.


Chair reviewed the Forward Plan with members and the following additions were agreed for the 2024-25 cycle of meetings.



·         Westward Housing

·         Royal Mail & Post Office