Minutes of a meeting of the Town Council held in the Council Chamber, Windmill Lane, Northam on Wednesday 24 th June 2009


PRESENT: Chairman - Town Mayor – Cllr R H Osborne

Members - Cllrs Mrs A Boyle, Mrs S Collins, Mrs M Cox, J Braund, A Eastman, P Hames, R J Johnson, C K Langton, R W A Miller, R Tisdale together with 6 parishioners

Apologies were recorded on behalf of Cllrs Mrs P D Biggs, B Edwards, and S R Robinson

1. The Town Mayor congratulated Councillors Mrs Boyle, Eastman and Robinson in being successfully elected as County Councillors to Devon County Council.
2. Letter from Westward Ho! Tennis Club

The Town Clerk reported that the Tennis Club were requesting the Town Council to submit the planning application for their development of a new Tennis Centre at Silford Road. Cllr Mrs Cox advised that as a member of the District Council's Planning Committee she would need to abstain from the discussion and left the room.

Standing Orders were suspended in order that the Chairman of the Club's Development Committee and members of the public could speak. Mr Lobato outlined the process they had gone through so far and explained that they were unable to convince the District Council that the application should be treated as a standard Sporting Club application. If the Town Council agreed to make the application this would save the Club approximately £9,000, which would be money that could be spent on the facility or aid the youth of the area in playing tennis. Mr Michael Smith, of Gresham Court, advised that he lived contiguous to the proposal and whilst he supported schemes such as this which supported the youth he thought the Club had chosen the wrong site. The fundamental problem, he thought, was one of access. Mrs Siobhan Black, of Daddon Hill House, also expressed her concern that access was the problem. On returning to Standing Orders, Members discussed the proposal of Cllr Johnson that the Town Council supports the application of the Club and agree in principle to the Town Council submitting the planning application. The Town Clerk advised that as the application would be the Town Council's, then the Council needed to be satisfied that they supported the proposal as they would be unable to make any further comments once the application was registered. It was RESOLVED to agree in principle that the Town Council would make the planning application for the new Westward Ho! Tennis Club proposal at Silford Road subject to them examining the application in detail at a later date and being satisfied.

(Vote: 6 For, 4 against)

3. Minutes

The minutes of the Town Council meeting held 27 th May 2009 were approved and signed.

(Vote: Unanimous)

4. Minutes of Town Projects Advisory Committee

Minute 4 – in respect of hanging baskets was considered and Cllr Miller reported that the hanging baskets had now been put up and that Landscapes Southwest would undertake the watering. Cllr Johnson proposed a vote of thanks to Cllr Miller for the work in getting this project through and this was unanimously supported by his fellow Members.

Minute 5 – To consider requesting full Council to allow the Committee delegated powers to spend their budget. Members considered the recommendation that all Committees should be given delegated powers. This was to be on the understanding the expenditure would be contained within their budgets and with regard to the Burrows Committee that decisions could only be made by Members of this Council. It was RESOLVED to accept the recommendation.

(Vote: Unanimous)

5. Minutes of the Northam Burrows Advisory Committee held 3 rd June 2009

Cllr Miller reported that the Committee had met to decide the make up of the Committee for the forthcoming year. The Burrows 1716 Committee had been asked to provide their constitution and list of members but to date there had been no response.

6. Notice of Motion from Cllr Eastman – “ That the Chairman of the Council be allowed to arrange the Prayers at the start of the meeting.”

On a proposal by Cllr Mrs Cox, seconded by Cllr Hames, an amendment was tabled to the effect that instead of prayers there be a two minutes silence at the commencement of a meeting. On being put to the vote the amendment was lost (9 votes to 2).

The proposal of Cllr Eastman on being put to the vote was approved

(Vote: 9 For, 1 against, 1 abst)

7. Notice of Motion from Cllr Mrs Cox – “Primrose bank on bank to Windmill Lane car park”

Members considered the above Notice of Motion. Cllr Mrs Cox explained the Bio Diversity Group on the District Council were seeking to improve the natural environment. From discussions she had held with the Contractor who cuts the grass on the bank it would appear that the bank causes some health and safety concerns. It is proposed that species, such as primroses and ox-eye daises, be established with mowing taking place on a much less frequent basis. There was general Members' support for this proposal, the work of which would be carried out by the District Council and it was RESOLVED to support the Notice of Motion.

(Vote: Unanimous)

8. Town Clerk's Report

(a) Monthly Financial Report – The Town Clerk presented the monthly financial report that included payments for this month and it was RESOLVED to accept.

(Vote: Unanimous)

(b) Standing Orders – The revised Standing Orders were considered by the Council and it was RESOLVED to adopt them as a working document.

(Vote: 8 For, 1 against, 2 abst)

(c) Allotments – Burrough Farm – The Town Clerk reported that following further discussions with the Development Control Section of Torridge District Council, it would appear that planning permission is not required to establish new allotments on agricultural land. He suggested that there be a meeting between the Council and the applicants on the allotment waiting list in order to take the scheme forward. It was RESOLVED to delegate this matter to the Town Projects Committee.

(Vote: Unanimous)

9. Beach Huts

Members considered letters of complaint from two beach hut owners who were expressing their concern regarding the loss of toilets in Ennisfarne Road and also the cutting off of the cold water supply. Cllr Tisdale, the District Council Member for Westward Ho! reported that the toilets were closed approximately 3 years ago in order to save money. This included other toilets within the District Council's area. The District Council is unable to

re-open them as there is insufficient money in their current budgets to do so. It was agreed that the Town Projects Committee would examine the possibility of re-opening the toilets and it was RESOLVED to write to the District Council to seek reinstatement of the water supply.

(Vote: Unanimous)

10. Tarka Child Contact Centre

The Town Mayor reported that he would be attending the Annual General Meeting.

11. Northam Town Twinning Association

The Town Mayor advised that he had a previous appointment and would be unable to visit France. As a number of Members were missing from the meeting it was agreed to put this item on the agenda for the next Town Council.

Cllr Mrs Cox left the meeting at this juncture.

12. Blue Lights Hall – Appledore

In the absence of Cllr Edwards, Cllr Braund reported that the Blue Lights Hall has serious problems of rot in the floor and he was seeking the Town Council's agreement to make an interest free loan to help cover the cost of the works. At this stage the costs were unknown but it would be helpful if an in principle approval could be given. It was RESOLVED to grant the Blue Lights Hall an interest free loan, the details of which would be considered by the Finance Committee.

(Vote: Unanimous)

13. Streetworks and related matters

Cllr Langton reported that the graffiti on the Bone Hill monument was still a problem and that the District Council had not responded as promised. Cllr Eastman undertook to deal with the matter with the District Council.

Cllr Tisdale reported that dogs on the beach were seen by many members of the public as a nuisance. Cllr Johnson advised that following discussions at the District Council meeting a consultation letter was to be sent to Town Councils for consideration.

Cllr Hames reported that the flowerbeds outside the Library and Northam Hall, which were under the control of the Town Council, were in need of regular maintenance. It was agreed that this matter would be discussed by the Town Projects Committee.

Cllr Hames reported that the County had responded well in clearing the pavements along Churchill Way. However, hedges were now growing over by Bloody Corner and needed to be trimmed back. It was agreed to write to the County Council.

Cllr Eastman reported that the need for a pavement between Fairway and Staddon Road on the seaward side was being pursued by himself with the County Council and that the parents of children who live in Cherry Park would be submitting a petition. He also advised that the pavement on the western side of Heywood Road, from the Heywood Road roundabout to Raleigh Hill, required attention due to overhanging growth from trees and shrubs and also problems associated with the roots of trees. He was taking this matter up with the appropriate County Council Officers.

Cllr Osborne reported that Tarka Housing had erected a sign in Pitt Avenue, Appledore to the effect that parking in the road was for residents and visitors only. As this was a public highway it was thought that the sign was inappropriate and it was agreed to send a letter to Tarka Housing requesting that the sign be removed.

Cllr Eastman reported that having had discussions with the District Council Officers it had been agreed to provide a bin by the Appledore War Memorial re-positioned from a site on the Quay and to provide a larger bin on the Quay.

14. Mayor's announcements

The Mayor advised that his charities for the forthcoming year would be-

(1) Portable Echo Scanner;

(2) Appledore Community Hall;

(3) Any other local charities having regard to the funds available.