Minutes of the Annual Parish Meeting held in the Council Chamber, Windmill Lane, Northam on Wednesday 12 th April 2006.


PRESENT : Chairman The Town Mayor, Cllr E J Davies

together with 11 Councillors and 11 Parishioners

1. Matters arising from the minutes of the Annual Parish Meeting held 13 th April 2005

Cllr Hames asked whether there had been any resolution from the District Council in respect of the Windmill Lane offices, Leisure Centre and car park. The Town Mayor advised that he understood that currently these properties were being assessed for Fair Rents and valuation.

Cllr Hames asked whether there had been any resolution of the Recycling Centre problem. Matthew Osborne advised that he understood that work was due to start in August at Caddsdown.

Cllr Hames also questioned what happened to resolve the jet ski problem. Cllr Waters advised that he understood the ideas put forward had died a natural death.

2. Mayor's Annual Report

The Town Mayor, Cllr Davies advised that he had considered it an honour and a privilege to serve for the past year, which had been particularly busy with numerous functions that he attended on behalf of the community. He identified, in particular, Remembrance Day parades and services,

St Margaret's School play and the opening of Blackies. He advised that last year beach cleaning had been carried out by Mr Garland with assistance from various volunteers and he wished to express his official thanks to them. He advised that following a questionnaire from the Town Council to all residents with regard to the Town Council's expenditure, the precept had been increased in order that the Council may proceed with certain projects to the benefit of the area. Even with the increase the Council's expenditure was not excessive compared to other similar authorities in the area. The Town Council had now produced a draft Parish Plan which was currently available for comment and he wished to thank Councillor Barnes and Councillor Miller for all their work in putting it together and the help and assistance afforded by Mrs Avery and Mr Barclay. He gave thanks to all his fellow Councillors for their help and support throughout the year.

3. Reports from County and District Council Ward Members

Cllr Mrs Mounce, as Chairman of the Northam Burrows Committee, reported on issues of concern. These included the DEFRA report on over-grazing, erosion of the sand hills by the high tides and the silting of the Burn. Works had now been undertaken to the access road and the recycling centre site was now fully reinstated. She also advised that she is a Member of the Environmental and Leisure Services Committee and she advised on the proposal of the Cricket Club for a new club room and that the Tennis Club were now looking for a new site. The new contract for the maintenance of open spaces had been let by the District Council. Her work on the Housing Committee included the proposals leading up to the sell off of the housing stock which was likely to take place in the near future and was acceptable to tenants.


Cllr Tisdale advised that he was a Member of the District Council's Scrutiny Committee who would shortly be looking at the car parking charges and he urged those who had concerns to send them to the Chairman of that Committee, Cllr Alan Bewes. He further advised that following strong representations in Torridge it had been agreed that the Rockpool in Westward Ho! would remain open this season.

4. Reports from Members on outside bodies

Cllr Bradford MBE reported on the current situation with regard to the Leisure Centre and Northam Twinning.

Cllr Mrs Cox reported on the work of the CAB who are short of space in their offices in Bridgeland Street . There have been changes in staff but there were good volunteers and they had particular skills in debt and welfare. With respect to the Taw Torridge Estuary Forum she advised on the problems of removal of mussels by mechanical means and the efforts being made to close this loophole and the need for the Parish Plan to include a policy for the Torridge Estuary to be a protected corridor in the interests of wildlife. She further advised that the bridge at Knapp House had resulted in a saltmarsh developing and there were hopes that this could be encouraged and the footpath more clearly defined.

Cllr Barnes reported on the work associated with putting the Parish Plan together and his work as Chairman of the DAWN Committee. He urged all those interested to visit the website and make comments, as appropriate, on the Plan.

Cllr Waters reported on the Burrows Committee and expressed his concerns with the views of English Nature and DEFRA. He urged local people to take an interest in the new Committee to be set up under the forthcoming Commons Act which would deal with the agriculture management of Common Land.

5. Reports for representatives on Governing bodies of local schools

Cllr Mounce and Cllr Waters reported on the local schools and advised that both in financial and staff terms all was satisfactory and that pupil numbers were just below the set level.

6. Nominations for co-option onto the Town Council's Grazing Advisory Committee

It was agreed to nominate Mrs M Tucker, Mr R Griffey and Mr S Withecombe to serve.

7. Active Grazier to serve on Northam Burrows Forum

It was agreed to nominate Mrs Tucker to serve as the Active Grazier.

8. Matters raised by Parishioners

(a) Mr Matthew Osborne of Pitt Lane , Appledore asked if the Council would consider the following matters:

(i) For a number of years his family have been pressing for disabled parking provision in Marine Parade in order that the disable may access the local shops.

(ii) He was concerned about the lack of streetlights to the entrance to the village.

(iii) He asked the Council to consider a 15-minute slot at the beginning of Council meetings to allow any member of the public to address the Council.

(iv) He was looking for better liaison between local Councils and he suggested that attendance reports of Councillors at meetings should be posted on the Council's website.

(v) He asked the Council to consider producing a quarterly newsletter.

(b) Mrs Tessa Sharpe addressed the meeting on behalf of the Torridge Pilot Gig Club which was a new club set up because of irreconcilable differences between members of the existing Appledore Club. They were looking for financial support for a new boat.

(c) Val Robbins from Appledore Arts advised that the 4 day festival was not the limit of the work undertaken by the group, which included a 9 month course for the youth on ceramic craft and slipware and weekly art classes. She also advised that they were producing a number of film shorts to the festival. They were also working with Northam, Appledore and Abbotsham schools encouraging the children to be involved in workshops on such things as garden design in order to encourage the view that art was an all encompassing area which touches everyone's life.

(d) Mrs Waters advised that there was no wheelchair access to Anchor Park, that the waste bin was still without a lid and the latch to the bind had not been attended to.