Agenda and minutes

Venue: Town Hall, Bideford

Contact: Mary Richards, tel 01237 428705  Email:

No. Item


Apologies For Absence


An apology for absence was received from Councillor A Inch.


Minutes pdf icon PDF 70 KB

Confirmation of the minutes held on 6 February and 20 February 2018.

Additional documents:


It was proposed by Councillor S Inch, seconded by Councillor K James and –




That the minutes of the meeting held on  6 February 2018 be agreed and signed as a correct record.


(Vote: For 9, Abstentions 1)



Matters Arising:


Minute 65 – Action List


Cornwall County Council Rolling Investment Fund - Councillor James advised he had been in contact with Cornwall County Council and agreed to bring to the next meeting a report giving details on the work being undertaken by them, including money being invested into CLT, promoting affordable/rural housing. 


Minute 69 – Council Tax Support Scheme


The Strategic Manager (Resources) reminded Members they had resolved to refer this matter back to Full Council for further consideration.  A Task and Finish Group had been set up and a meeting was held on the 6 March. The outcome from that meeting was to be more proactive in identifying areas of change to communities.   A report to be taken to Full Council on Tuesday 27 March.  


Councillor Pennington advised he had been in contact with Age Concern following the comments he had made at Full Council on 6 February, 2018, regarding the effects Universal Credit would have on those in receipt of Pension Credits.  He agreed to further review this matter.


Minute 70 – Empty Homes Strategy


Following an enquiry from Mr Harper, the Strategic Manager (Resources) explained that at present the Authority had no plans for a Compulsory Purchase Strategy.   Councillor Simmons stated she had been assured by the Leader there would be a Strategy.   Prior to the Committee taking this further Councillor Watson agreed to speak to the Leader.



It was proposed by Councillor M Langmead, seconded by Councillor

P Pennington and –




That the minutes of the meeting held on  20 February 2018 be agreed and signed as a correct record.


(Vote: For - Unanimous)



Matters Arising:


Minute 81 – Budget 2018/19, Medium Term Financial Strategy and Capital Programme


Prior to the meeting a copy of a letter to the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, which had been requested by Members, was circulated to the meeting.  It was agreed that the letter be signed by the Chair and sent to the MP.


Councillor Simmons referred to the Old Creamery Site in Torrington, and in particular to the comments made with regard to the Feasibility Study and S106 monies.  The Strategic Manager (Resources) clarified that no Feasibility Study had been carried out by TDC, and the Head of Paid Service had been referring to the information submitted with the planning application.  This information is now being reviewed by the Property Manager.   Councillor Simmons outlined her concerns with the site and asked to be kept involved, and for all information to be sent to her.  She urged the Council to move matters forward as the site is becoming a nuisance and an eyesore.  



Councillor Cottle-Hunkin recommended that the letter to the MP be made public.  This was agreed by the Committee.  ...  view the full minutes text for item 83.


Action List pdf icon PDF 46 KB


The action list was reviewed with the following update:


Minute 81 – following Member approval to the letter previously circulated, the action had now been completed.


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.



Urgent Matters Brought Forward With The Permission Of The Chair


The Strategic Manager (Resources) updated the meeting in relation to a report received from the Government regarding the Effectiveness of Local Authority Overview & Scrutiny Committees.  The report contains a number of recommendations.


This item will be presented at External Overview & Scrutiny Committee on Wednesday 28 March, when a Task and Finish Group will be set up.   The report to be circulated to Members.


It was recommended by the Chair that the Task and Finish Group consist of Chair, Vice Chair plus one Member from each Committee.  


It was agreed that Mr S Dengate be appointed from this Committee to sit on the Group.     Once External Overview & Scrutiny have appointed Members, a meeting of the Group will be arranged as soon as possible.


Agreement of Agenda Items Part I And II


There are no Part II items.


Quarterly Business Report - Quarter 3 financial year 2017/18 pdf icon PDF 72 KB

To receive the report of the Strategic Manager (Resources).

Additional documents:


The Strategic Manager (Resources) presented the Quarterly Business Report (QBR) to end of December 2017.  As previously, Members had been asked to submit any questions prior to the meeting to ensure that answers are provided.    Prior to the presentation, responses to QBR quarter 3 questions had been circulated to Members.  


The Strategic Manager (Resources) gave a brief overview of the covering report, the purpose of which was for Members to recommend how the projected 2017/18 surplus could be utilised.   The report identified four areas where the monies would be usefully set aside into reserve for future utilisation.


Following a brief discussion it was proposed by Councillor Langmead, seconded by Councillor Simmons and –




That the setting aside of resources to the specific reserves as outlined in the report be agreed, and


That a report with the recommendations from Internal Overview & Scrutiny be taken to Community & Resources Committee.


(Vote:  For – Unanimous)



The Chair then referred Members to the Responses to QBR 3 Questions document and invited further questions/comments. 


The responses were reviewed and the following observations were made:


Land Charges – timescales. It is a small team and the turn around time for Local Searches increases when people are on holiday leave.   Additional staff Member now trained in Land Charges.


Harbour and the loss of car parking revenue when boats are in.  This matter was addressed by the Strategic Manager (Resources) who stated that those wishing to park in the town would find an alternative car park.   The Harbour and car park and both owned by Torridge District Council. 


Salaries – Empty homes and the level of staffing to undertake the work/action required.  Managers had now started to review different options.  Next step is to have a Member Day or Members Workshop to discuss further key areas and key projects.


TDC2 – Inward Support Figures - Mr Harper sought assurance that a written answer would be available at the next meeting.  


TDC3 – Inward Investments - Mr Harper referred to the response and commented as follows:


If Inward Investment is part of the Economy Strategy yet will not be ready until later in the year, answer to question TDC3, that is concerning, as it was reported on the meeting of the 6th February that the Economy Strategy, drafting, would commence in April, Page 7 item 71 last para refers.

Whilst appreciated that a draft will be produced, taking up to 6 months, surely in the first instance a briefing document would be critical.

The work commencing April 2018 is the Economy Strategy, is there a briefing paper for this, one that is produced for Torridge, not a rerun of previous Strategy , updated, or one produced by North Devon, this also applies to the Inward Investment Strategy.”

This matter to be referred to the Commercial & Leisure Services Manager for a response.


D. Heyes left the meeting.


Discretionary Business Rates Relief

To receive an update from the Strategic Manager (Resources).




The Committee had agreed for this item to be included on the Forward Plan following a report presented in August 2017 when Members considered a new Discretionary Rates Relief Policy.  


The Strategic Manager (Resources) gave an update on the Scheme, highlighting the key areas.   He explained the largest area of relief is that provided to charitable organisations.  There are 140 charitable organisations across the district receiving this relief.  Details of the costs involved were reported to the Committee.


The pros and cons of taking this matter further were discussed.  One of the key areas under discussion was how charities are trading,  whether they are genuinely trading  and if they are competitive against businesses.  It was acknowledged this would be difficult to prove.  


Following on from the debate, it was agreed that due to a number of issues, including the number of charitable organisations involved and the time scale in reviewing each one, this matter at present would not be taken further.



Forward Plan 2018/19 pdf icon PDF 55 KB

To consider the Forward Plan for 2018/19.


The Forward Plan was reviewed and updated as follows:


Peer Review –  Members asked that this item be reinstated on the Forward Plan for the May meeting.


Policies and Procedures around S106 Monies – Mr Dengate circulated to the meeting his report on this matter, and considered this was an item to be included on the Forward Plan for the May meeting.    The Strategic Manager (Resources) advised that the Senior Solicitor was also reviewing this matter and suggested Mr Dengate make contact with him.  It was agreed this matter be brought back to the May meeting.


Leisure Contract – this to be included on the Forward Plan for the June meeting.


GDPR update – Report by the Senior Solicitor to be brought to the August meeting.