Minutes of a meeting of the Town Council held in the Council Chamber, Windmill Lane, Northam on Tuesday 28 th November 2006.

PRESENT: Chairman - Town Mayor Cllr K A Lane

Members - Cllrs Mrs M Cox, Mrs S A Mounce, A Barnes, R D Bradford MBE, J Braund, A Eastman, L Ford, P Hames, R W A Miller, R M M Tisdale together with 7 Parishioners

Apologies were recorded on behalf of the Cllrs H Brading and E J Davies

1. Minutes

The minutes of the Town Council meeting held on 31 st October 2006 were approved and signed.

(Vote: Unanimous)

2. Appointment of Councillor for Northam

Members considered applications for the vacancy for Northam Ward from Mr Braund and Mr Robinson. It was RESOLVED to have a secret ballot.

(Vote: Unanimous)

The result of the ballot was that Mr Braund was co-opted by 8 votes to 1. Cllr Eastman declared a prejudicial interest and left the room for this item.

On being co-opted Cllr Braund took his seat.

3. Northam Burrows charging system

Mrs Braddick, from the District Council, gave a presentation on a review of the seasonal gate keepers and access arrangements at Northam Burrows. A number of options were presented but at this time no costings were available. It was a general view that the existing system should be maintained with the roads being patched and repaired as necessary. It was reported by Cllr Mrs Mounce that there would be a special Burrows Meeting in January 2007 when this matter would be further discussed.

4. Minutes of Finance Advisory Committee

Members considered the recommendations of the Finance Advisory Committee held on 15 th November 2006. With regard to minute 2, in respect of grants, they RESOLVED to approve grants to local organisations on the attached schedule totalling £4150 . It was further RESOLVED that the Council in accordance with its powers under Sections 137 and 139 of the Local Government act 1972, should incur the following expenditure which, in the opinion of the Council, is in the interest of the area or its inhabitants and will benefit them in a manner commensurate with the expenditure of £4300 .

(Vote: Unanimous)

Members considered the situation with regard to the Schools and it was RESOLVED to set aside £2,000 for this purpose. The schools to be advised that the Council is mindful to financially assist a suitable special project up to a maximum of £500 for each school.

(Vote: Unanimous)

It was also RESOLVED to accept the recommendation that late applications should not be entertained.

(Vote: Unanimous)

In respect of the Budget it was RESOLVED to accept the recommendation and to precept the sum of £72,000 for the financial year 2007/2008.

(Vote: Unanimous)

5. 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) Northam Buildings The Town Clerk reported that the District Council were, at this time, unwilling to discuss the Northam buildings as they were undertaking a comprehensive review. However, Members felt that the Liaison meeting was necessary and it was RESOLVED to ask the District Council to arrange this as soon as possible at Northam. Items for the agenda to include Knapp House, school parking, surf life-saving club, development at Westward Ho!, involving the District Council's properties.

(Vote: Unanimous)

6. Northam Burrows

(a) Letter from Natural England

The Council considered the letter from Natural England who were amenable to receiving applications for works on the Burrows. It was RESOLVED to send the letter to the 1716 Committee to seek their views as to how this may be progressed.

(Vote: Unanimous)

(b) Members' items

Cllr Miller reported that it is likely that Bassetts Bridge will need to be removed for safety reasons and that he was taking a number of photographs by way of monitoring the erosion on the north west corner of the Burrows.

7. Streetworks and related matters

Cllr Bradford MBE queried the reason for the barriers in Northam Square and it would appear that some work is required to a metal grid. He also complained on the state of the road direction signs at the end of Lenards Road which need to be cleaned.

Cllr Miller advised that the arrangements for the Christmas tree needed to be put in hand and he undertook to investigate the possibility of erecting it in the entrance to the Churchyard.

Cllr Tisdale advised that he continues to pursue traffic calming works which he feels are necessary in Westward Ho! in order to slow traffic.

Cllr Ford was concerned about the anti social behaviour which had resulted in two bus shelters being vandalised.

Cllr Mrs Cox advised that Durrant House Hotel had not been in contact regarding the planting on Heywood Road roundabout and it may be that the Town Council will need to do a small scheme itself. She would report back at the next Council meeting.

Cllr Ford reported that he had a small budget from the County Council which he could use as he saw fit and mention was made of joint funding projects.

Cllr Mrs Cox again reported that whilst canvassing a number of concerns had been raised and these included North Street speeding, pavement at the bottom end of Sandymere Road, lack of play area at Kingsley Park, problems with bollards at Breton Way and Commodore Close and pavement on Golf Links Road. It was agreed that these could be considered by the Local Development Framework meeting.

Cllr Hames again raised his concerns with regard to the coastal path at Knapp House which was unduly muddy due to the works being carried out. It was RESOLVED to pursue this with the County Council's Footpath Officers. He also advised that four people had shown an interest in the Post Office at Appledore.

Cllr Eastman again requested that the County Council be pursued over the condition of Tomouth Road.