Minutes of a meeting of the Town Council held in the Council Chamber, Windmill Lane, Northam
on Tuesday 26th July 2005
PRESENT: Chairman - Town Mayor – Cllr E J Davies
Members - Cllrs Mrs M M Cox, Mrs S A Mounce, Barnes, J Bell,
R D Bradford MBE, A Eastman, A Eastwood OBE,
L Ford, K A Lane, R W A Miller,
R M M Tisdale
together with 4 Parishioners
Apologies were recorded on behalf of Cllrs Sturges and Waters
The minutes of the Town Council meeting held on 28th June 2005 were approved and signed.
2. 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.
(b) Financial arrangements during August – The Town Clerk advised that it would be necessary for the Planning and Licensing Committee to consider the financial report during August and to authorise necessary payments. It was so RESOLVED.
Cllr Barnes reported on the latest situation and advised that at the present time funding was not required from the Town Council. The Baptist Hall project and Hartland Point tidal generation installation were being examined. It was generally a slow process but there were now forty towns in Devon who had joined the Devon Market Towns Forum.
4. DAWN Design and Development Brief
The Town Clerk advised that the first meeting of the group would be held on Wednesday 10th August at 2.00 pm. It was RESOLVED to nominate Cllrs Mrs Cox, Eastman, Lane and Miller to attend on behalf of the Council.
5. Westward Ho! Rock Pool
Cllr Tisdale reported his concern with respect to a proposal by the District Council to close the Rock Pool at Westward Ho! It would appear that officers had made the decision without reference to the District Councillors and no Northam Councillor had been consulted. He was very concerned over the procedures and the apparent confidentiality on such an important issue. It was RESOLVED to write to the Chief Executive of the District Council expressing the Council’s concerns and seeking reassurance that these sorts of issues would not be held in camera but would be conducted openly with full consultation.
6. Bridge Hall
Members reported on a meeting with the Bridge Trust in respect of the possible purchase and advised that they had received a very positive response. There were concerns regarding subsequent interest from Devon and Cornwall Housing Association and Devon Library Service but it was RESOLVED to write to the Bridge Trust advising them that the Council wished to proceed with negotiations to purchase the site.
7. Northam Burrows
(a) Extension of fence at Appledore Gate
The Town Clerk advised that he had received a quotation in the sum of £426.40 to extend the fence at Appledore Gate. It was RESOLVED to accept the quotation.
(b) Members’ items
(i) Cllr Mrs Mounce reported that the Burrows staff had arranged an excellent children’s programme for the summer season.
(ii) Cllr Miller advised that the 1716 Committee were organising the annual round up by requiring all horse graziers to remove their animals by mid-day on Saturday 6th August . He also advised that there appeared to be a stallion on the burrows and hopefully this would be isolated and identified on the round up day.
(iii) Cllr Eastwood OBE advised that the District Council were in the process of considering a request from the Golf Club to purchase the golf course. In view of the urgency of the matter it was RESOLVED to debate the matter at this meeting.
Cllr Miller and Cllr Barnes, as Members of the Club, declared a prejudicial interest and left the meeting. Cllr Mrs Mounce, as the wife of a Club Member, declared a personal interest.
Various Members spoke on the matter and it would appear that the request from the Golf Club had been made on 27th April, which had been considered by the District Council’s Asset Management Group, who had made a decision to reject the offer without reference to the District Council and without making it known to any Northam District Councillor and not even to the Members of the District Council’s Burrows Committee or the Chairman of that Committee. The Golf Club had pursued this rejection and the District Council considered it again at the July meeting of the Policy and Resources Committee. The matter was held in Part II and the Burrows Committee and Chairman were unaware of the development. The District Council has resolved to investigate the request and they are to consider a further report in due course.
Members expressed their concern that the procedures adopted by the District Council in considering this very important matter fell short of that expected from a public body. It was essential that the Burrows Committee should have been advised at the earliest date of this suggestion and in view of the status of Northam Burrows as a country park the views of the parishioners of Northam should be known before any final decision is taken. It was RESOLVED to write an open letter to the District Council expressing in the strongest terms the Town Council’s disappointment at the way this matter has been handled. Copies of the letter to be sent to the two local newspapers and the Church magazines.
(iv) Cllr Bell reported that there had been a problem at Appledore with sewage contamination in the rock pools. The matter had been reported to the Environment Agency and it was thought that there might be a problem with the Instow pumping station. It was RESOLVED to write to the Environment Agency to ascertain results of the sampling.
8. Streetworks and related matters
(a) Shrub beds in Fore Street
The Town Clerk reported on the quotations received and it was RESOLVED to accept the quotation from Creative Garden Services.
(b) Letter from resident regarding problems at Broad Lane junction at Watertown
Members considered a letter from a resident at Broad Lane who was concerned about damage to her property from vehicles. It was RESOLVED to write to the Local Service Officer advising him that the problem remains and that it would appear that coaches are ignoring the advisory signs and asking him whether there are any other works he could do to alleviate the problem.
(c) Members’ items
(i) Cllr Miller, with regard to speeding on local roads, advised that a mobile flashing speed limit sign was a possibility but that these cost £1500 each. He would be making further investigations.
(ii) Cllr Tisdale also reported problems with speeding on Atlantic Way/Golf Links Road etc and thought a combination of methods was required so as to slow vehicles down. It was thought appropriate that the Road Safety Officer should come to speak to the Council and Cllr Ford, as the County Councillor for the area, undertook to arrange this.
(iii) Cllr Eastwood OBE highlighted the problems for residents of Limers Lane, Durrant Lane and Hanson Park who were finding it increasingly difficult to get into the flow of traffic on Heywood Road. It was agreed this was another issue to be raised with the Road Safety Officer.
(iv) Cllr Eastman advised that Stoney Lane was almost inaccessible with the excessive growth of a hedge on the field side. It was RESOLVED to advise the County Council to take the appropriate action.
(v) Cllr Bell advised that trees at Churchfield were a nuisance for pedestrians and it was RESOLVED to advise the District Council and County Council.
(vi) Cllr Barnes questioned the latest situation with regard to Bone Hill car park. The Town Clerk advised that he had just received a letter from the District Council to the effect that the Council’s request be left in abeyance pending receipt of the results of the study into the three community facilities at Northam.
(vii) Cllr Barnes also expressed concern at the amount of traffic now using Buckleigh Road as an access to the link road. Consideration needs to be given for pedestrians and it was RESOLVED to write to Devon County Council.
(viii) Cllr Miller advised that the Devon County Council website allowed for highway defects to be reported and that the system seemed to be effective.
(ix) Cllr Davies reported that the hedges in Sandymere Road required attention as they are growing over the highway and it was RESOLVED to write to Devon County Council.
9. Torridge District Local Development Framework
Cllr Bell undertook to study the document and report back.
10. Municipal waste Management Strategy for Devon
Cllr Mrs Cox undertook to study the document and report back.
11. Removal of BT Phone Box – Fore Street, Northam
It was RESOLVED to resist the loss of this phone box and the Town Clerk to write an appropriate letter.
12. Policy for charging Parish and Town Councils for elections
Members considered a letter from the District Council who had changed their policy in relation to the re-charging of election costs. It was RESOLVED to write a letter of objection to the District Council to the effect that the Town Council does not agree with the decision particularly in light of the fact that the Government grant received by the District Council is made having regard to these costs and also making the point that simply transferring the costs from one authority to another does not achieve greater efficiency, as is claimed.
13. Trafalgar Weekend
Members considered a letter regarding the Battle of Trafalgar exhibition. The Town Mayor advised that he would be there for the parade and all Members were encouraged to attend.
14. Northam Town Twinning Association
It was RESOLVED that Members would respond on an individual basis. The Town Mayor advised that he would be attending on behalf of the Council.
15. DAPC AGM
Cllr Eastman undertook to attend.
16. New Chairman Training
It was RESOLVED to nominate Cllr Lane to attend this training session.
17. Naming end point on the South West Coast Path
Members considered a letter from the Coast and Countryside Service and were not too impressed with the suggested name of Fanny Bennett. It was RESOLVED to suggest Rudyard Way.
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