Minutes of the Annual Parish Meeting held in the Council Chamber, Windmill Lane, Northam on Wednesday 18th April 2007


PRESENT: Chairman – The Town Mayor, Cllr K A Lane
together with 12 Councillors and 14 Parishioners

1. Matters arising from the minutes of the Annual Parish Meeting held 12th April 2006

It was reported that the Recycling Centre referred to in Minute 1 will be officially opened on 1st May.

Cllr Ford reported that further car parking restrictions were being invoked in Appledore and a disabled parking bay provided outside the Co-op.

2. Mayor’s Annual Report

The Town Mayor, Cllr Lane, thanked the public for attending and would like to encourage people to be involved with the Twinning. He thanked the long serving Members, Councillors Bradford MBE, Waters and Mrs Mounce for their service over many years.

3. Reports from County and District Council Ward Members

Cllr Ford advised as County Councillor that it had been a difficult year with budget constraints. However the pelican crossing for Northam Surgery had been provided and co-operation between the Town Council and the County Council has led to the installation of flashing speed restriction signs in Appledore.

Cllr Mrs Mounce, as a District Councillor reported that the District Council was to transfer the housing stock to a Housing Association and 84% of the tenants had voted in favour. As Chairman of the Burrows Committee she thought the last four years had been more positive, although Natural England had been difficult to deal with. The current problem with regard to the high tides and the pebbleridge would, she hoped, be resolved and the MP Geoffrey Cox was to visit. As a Member of the Licensing Committee on the District Council it had been necessary for Councillors to take exams and visit licensed establishments. She advised that the District Council experienced difficulties in Members attending meetings. The Bideford Sports Committee had been difficult to get off the ground but there were now 20 organisations involved which included all the schools and they were a strong Committee.

Mrs Clayson, a parishioner, expressed concern at the lack of action with regard to the pebbleridge. She thought Northam had gone downhill with no toilets, rubbish in the roads and problems with the youth and lack of police.

Cllr Robinson advised that he had been a District Councillor for a short time but it was his intention to put the needs of Northam first. There was a need to strike a balance between reasonable development and the squeeze in availability. Inappropriate development must be resisted and he gave an as example the tennis club. With regard to Northam Burrows he questioned the tardy response from Natural England and queried why there were so many QUANGOs. He also advised on his efforts to fight off the closure of Appledore Library.

Mrs Clark, a parishioner, questioned why Natural England have so much power.

Mrs Clayson queried why the car parking in Northam was not free.

Mr Clark was critical of the Town Council in not harrying the District Council.

Cllr Ford reported on his efforts to stop the Burrough Farm being used by the tennis club.

Cllr Tisdale advised that he was on 15 different committees with the District Council. He advised in particular on his work on the Planning Committee to stop the high rise developments in Westward Ho!

Cllr Davies advised on the committees on which he served.

Cllr Hames was critical of the District Council’s actions with regard to the Burton Art Gallery.

Cllr Eastman advised that the Burton Art Gallery have a plan to run the facility in conjunction with the District Council, the difficulty was that the District Council had no money. He also advised with regard to housing, efforts were being made for key workers and a local needs survey was seriously needed.

Cllr Braund reported on his work in trying to establish Youth shelters at Lords Meadow and Appledore Play area.

Cllr Brading reported on the community centre toilet which was to be opened soon.

4. Reports from Members on outside bodies

Cllr Bradford MBE reported on the Leisure Centre where he was Chairman of the Committee. The facility was used every day, seven days a week. The Committee had funded redecoration, carpeting and new chairs, all funds being raised by the users. With regard to the Bideford College Foundation they met twice per year and provided small donations to appropriate causes.

Cllr Mrs Mounce encouraged people to attend Police Liaison meetings. With respect to the Northam Charities, these help a lot of local people and also give small sums to local organisations.

Cllr Davies advised that the Leisure Centre was the most used amenity in Northam.

Cllr Mrs Cox reported on the work of the Taw Torridge Estuary Forum, particularly in respect of Northam Burrows and the SSSI. She advised on the new rules in respect of dredgings from ditches. There is also concern that the Environment Agency had messed up the consent for the work at Knapp House and there was insufficient enforcement.

Cllr Hames reported on the Taw Torridge Estuary Forum and the CAB.

Cllr Eastman reported on the work of the DAPC and the training courses for new Councillors.

Cllr Waters reported on the three outside committees he attends.

5. Reports from representatives on Governing bodies of local schools

Cllr Mrs Mounce reported on St Margaret’s, St Mary’s and St George’s. They were all excellent schools with good leadership. None of these schools are full.

Cllr Mrs Mounce and Cllr Waters had been presented with long service certificates by the County Council.

Cllr Waters reported on Appledore Primary School which was now full to the brim. The school was financially sound and generally well off. It had a good Ofsted report.

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

It was agreed to nominate Mrs M Tucker.

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) Mrs Tucker proposed that there should be a Commons Association for Northam Burrows and asked the Council to obtain information and guidance on how to set it up. She also questioned the sense of the new rules with regard to the clearing of ditches and was concerned about the continuing discharge of sewage into Goosey Pool and with Westward Ho! being a prime attraction with a clean Blue Flag beach was it sensible to have a dirty common. She expressed concern with regard to the safety of the old refuse tip and Natural England’s Officers apparent ignorance of the contents. She requested the Town Council to make enquiries as to what precautionary measures are being taken to protect the tip.

(b) Mr Tom Edwards thought that the Town Council needed to be more persistent in their dealings with other organisations.

(c) Mrs Avery enquired as to what had happened with regard to the lease for Blackies at Appledore. She also supported the planting scheme at the roundabout and enquired if there was going to be more.

(d) Mrs Waters advised that the sea wall at West Quay is in a poor state and needs attention.

(e) Cllr Bradford MBE reported that on Bone Hill there was a serious amount of broken glass, particularly around the flagpole, which needed to be removed.