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 Harding and Staci Dorey (Head of Legal and Governance & Monitoring Officer). Tope Ojikutu attended as the Legal Services Manager.


Confirmation of Minutes pdf icon PDF 128 KB

Confirmation of the Minutes of the meeting held on Tuesday 13 June 2023.


Chair reviewed the minutes page by page with members.


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




That the minutes of the meeting held on Tuesday 13 June 2023 be agreed as a correct record.


(Vote: yes 6, abstentions 3)


Public Participation

15 minute period for public contributions.  The deadline for registering to speak is by 2pm Thursday 27 July 2023. To register please email


It was agreed by Chair that people attending to speak regarding the Link Centre would be allowed to address the Committee under Public Participation.


Anna Fors spoke as service user of Link Centre and as a member of Friends of North Devon Link Centre.


Anna provided members with an overview of why they were attending External Overview & Scrutiny Committee and provided some background to their challenge of proposals for the mental health provision locally and the provision of services locally. 


She stated her opinion on the potential impact of the proposals both in terms of finance and the impact for service users.


Sonia Gold then spoke as a service user of Link Centre and explained the support she has received from the Link Centre staff and peers. She highlighted how important it was to have one place to access support and how the service had helped her personally.


It was asked that Members support the work of Friends North Devon Link Centre and the services users locally. 


Vice Chair thanked the speakers for attending and provided her reasons for support, as well as her thoughts on the benefits of the provision locally. 


Chair advised of work that had taken place since the last Committee where this was raised under urgent matters, she also provided some background to the Committees involvement in the consultation process.


It was suggested that the Committee share their feedback with Councillor Hodson as a District Member on the DCC Health & Adult Care Scrutiny Committee.


There was some ambiguity regarding the extension of the consultation period for this proposal.  It was agreed that Democratic Services would look to firm up understanding of the consultation process and timescales.


Councillor Craigie advised members work was taking place to prepare a Notice of Motion to Full Council and provided his thoughts on the need to scrutinise the decision making process on this potential change in provision.





Action List pdf icon PDF 115 KB

To review the action list.


Chair reviewed the action list with members and the following actions were agreed:


·         Contact North Devon District Council and explore possibility of joint committees on Agriculture and Dentistry.

·         Add to action 192 – request an update in relation to the impact of the resignation of CEO Suzanne Tracey.

·         Raise the provision of bitesize training sessions for Councillors and their importance with the Police at the upcoming Community Safety Partnership.



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


No items.


Urgent Matters Brought Forward With the Permission Of The Chair


Chair advised members of the proposed closure of Mobile Libraries in Devon and updated on work taking place to challenge the proposals.  Members were advised of the petition and campaign and provided with context on the potential impact. 


The led to a discussion regarding the closure of train ticket offices raised and the impact for communities in the Torridge district.



North Devon Plus

To receive a presentation from Louise Adam, Programme Delivery Manager.


The Head of Community and Place introduced members to North Devon Plus and explained the business focus. He provided details on the Board structure, along with the structure of the organisation and a summary of the roles within.


Louise Adam, Programme Delivery Manager, then introduced herself and provided members with a detailed overview of what North Devon Plus have delivered and achieved.


The Programme Delivery Manager provided a summary of the different aspects of the business, the staff that support this work and how they’ve supported local businesses and managed the impact of big change locally.


There was particular interest in the Rural England Prosperity Fund (REPF) and detail on timescales and planned funding was shared with members. 


During the presentation Councillor Grants were highlighted and it was confirmed to be one of lowest residual budgets last year. It was explained that North Devon Plus also had good intelligence on smaller grants, which Councillors’ communities could benefit from as well. Members were advised to contact the Project Officer for more information. 


The Head of Community and Place provided members with some insight into how the expertise of North Devon Plus has been beneficial for TDC in terms of the project delivery, and how North Devon Plus work alongside the council’s Economic Development Team to support the local businesses and economy.


More details on current projects and programmes North Devon Plus were engaged with were shared, and the Pre-Start Provision (for start up businesses) was also highlighted.


Members were asked their questions.


Following a question in relation to North Devon Plus funding it was confirmed there is core funding of £20,000 from each Local Authority and this is topped up by bid writing. The Head of Community and Place advised how this funding had dropped significantly in recent years and how the organisation had adapted as a result.


Members asked if North Devon Plus supports the charity sector and it was confirmed this was offered through the business support function highlighted in the presentation.  


Members asked what support was available for small start up companies looking to go into the solar panel or heat pump industry.  The REPF was highlighted and the focus on net zero targets. It was explained that the Business Support function of North Devon Plus would be best placed to support those who wanted to operate in this sector, but it was noted that more specific support around this business area could be explored. 


Following a question about the historic funding of North Devon Plus it was confirmed that the statistics regarding support to 4,000 businesses related to 2015 onwards and were equally spread across the years - the scale of support had not reduced due to the reduction in core funding. 


Members asked about the kind of support available to social enterprises who want to access funding like the Community Ownership Fund. The Programme Delivery Manager advised that these groups could access support through the business support function, but North Devon Plus were not able to  ...  view the full minutes text for item 203.


Consideration Of The Forward Plan pdf icon PDF 214 KB

To review the forward plan.


Chair reviewed the forward plan with members and the following additions and amendment were agreed:


·         Members were advised of the change of date for September’s joint Community Safety Partnership meeting, which will move to 12 October.

·         The September committee date will be used to hold an Extraordinary External Committee where mental health provision will be discussed.  It was requested that a panel of local services and service users be formed and questions for the panel would be agreed in advance of the meeting.

·         November committee to remain as an Education and Employment focus.

·         Explore dates for joint committee on Agriculture with North Devon District Council.