Minutes of a meeting of the Town Council held in the Council Chamber,

Windmill Lane, Northam on Tuesday 26 th June 2007


PRESENT: Chairman - Town Mayor – Cllr A Eastman

Members - Cllrs Mrs A J Boyle, Mrs S G Collins, Mrs M Cox, B M Edwards, P Hames, R J Johnson, C K Langton,

R W A Miller, R H Osborne, S R Robinson, R M M Tisdale together with 12 parishioners

Apologies were recorded on behalf of Cllr J Braund

1. Public Contributions

(a) Mr Tom Andrews from Westward Ho! addressed the Council over his concerns for the future of the Lakenham Convent building. He had made representations to English Heritage requesting that the building be listed but his application had been turned down as there was insufficient architectural interest.

Mr Andrews undertook to supply further information to the Town Clerk.

(b) Dr Arnold of Appledore expressed his concern with regard to the planning application in respect of the Gaiety Cinema. There had been very strong local objections to the proposals but the application had been decided by the Officers using their delegated powers. He thought that was wrong and considered the application should have been referred to the elected Members. The Town Mayor undertook to organise a meeting with other District Members to investigate the matter with Mr Briggs, the District Council Officer in charge of the planning system.

2. Mr Nick Arnold – Appledore Library and Book Festival

Cllrs Mrs Boyle and Hames declared personal interests in the Book Festival.

Mr Nick Arnold advised Members that the Appledore Library had now been saved but that the County Council required the local group to raise the necessary funds to run the building and these were estimated at £5,000 per annum. The intention was to set up the Appledore Book Festival to help raise the funds for this purpose. The intention was that the Festival would be an annual event. For this year 28 nationally known authors were coming to the area, a festival programme had been established, together with a website and tickets were now available. Grant aid had been secured from the Awards for All programme together with some sponsorship with local businesses. Support and help was still needed and volunteers would be welcomed.

3. Minutes

The minutes of the Town Council Meeting held 29 th May were approved and signed.

(Vote: Unanimous)

4. Co-option of Councillor for Orchard Hill Ward

Members considered the applications for the vacant Orchard Hill seat. One applicant had withdrawn and therefore Members considered the four remaining applications. It was RESOLVED to have a ballot.

(Vote Unanimous)

The result of the ballot was Mrs Biggs 8 votes, Mr Brading 3 votes, Mr Harrison 1 vote, Mr Barnes 0 votes. It was RESOLVED to co-opt Mrs Biggs as the Member for Orchard Hill ward.

5. Notice of Motion from Councillor Mrs Cox – That this Council establishes a Sustainability Working Group.”

Members considered the above Notice of Motion and it was RESOLVED to establish a Sustainability Working Group with the following Members:-

Cllrs Mrs Boyle, Mrs Cox, Edwards, Hames, Robinson.

(Vote: Unanimous)

6. Notice of Motion from Councillor Mrs Cox “That the Council considers making a financial offer to the District Council for the purchase of the land at Burrough Farm which is situated to the east of the football field and abuts the National Trust boundary.”

Members considered the above Notice of Motion. There was general agreement that this land, together with the adjoining football field, would be better in the hands of the Town Council who would seek to protect it as open space in perpetuity and if necessary setting up a trust to this end. It was RESOLVED to make an offer of £5,000 to the District Council for the purchase of both the land abutting the National Trust and also the football field.

(Vote: Unanimous)

7. Notice of Motion from Councillor Miller – “That this Council agrees to the formation of a Sub Committee to discuss matters to the Northam Burrows, of which we are Lords of the Manor, and that the membership of which should be three members from Northam, two from Appledore and one each from Westward Ho! and Orchard Hill. In addition there should be members of interested parties e.g. Graziers, Golf Club, Model Aircraft Club etc and also an Officer or Officers from TDC.

Standing Orders were suspended . (Vote: Unanimous) in order to allow members of the 1716 Committee to address the Council. It was their view that the 1716 Committee would take on the role being proposed by Cllr Miller as the 1716 Committee comprised a broad spread of interested parties. On return to Council business, Cllr Miller expanded on his proposals and took the view that the 1716 Committee did not fully comprise the spread of membership required as there was no formal representation from the owners or the Golf Club. It was RESOLVED to set up a Northam Burrows Committee and the Town Clerk to report back with suggestions as to the membership which needed to be all inclusive.

(Vote: Unanimous)

8. Town Clerk's Report

(a) Accounts for the year ending 31 st March 2007

Members considered the end of year accounts for the financial year 2006/2007 which it was RESOLVED to accept.

(Vote: Unanimous)

(b) 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)

(c) Replacement Answering Machine

The Town Clerk reported that the existing answering machine was no longer audible. It was RESOLVED to replace it.

(Vote: Unanimous)

(d) Appointment of Member as link for Children's services with Sure Start

The Town Clerk reported that the Bideford Sure Start organisation were seeking a Members link for the Town Council's area as many children from this area were now making use of the Sure Start facilities. It was RESOLVED to nominate Cllr Mrs Boyle.

(Vote: Unanimous)

9. Northam Burrows

(a) Abuse of Manor Passes

Members considered a letter from the Senior Ranger who had reported misuse of the Manor Pass. It was RESOLVED to write to the resident to whom the pass was issued and ask for a written explanation.

(Vote: Unanimous)

(b) Complaint from resident regarding Burrows Passes

The Town Clerk reported that a resident was complaining that only one registration number was allowed on the Manor Pass whilst if people purchased a season ticket from the District Council then they were allowed to put on two registration numbers. The Town Clerk advised that under the terms of the agreement between the Town Council and the District Council only one number was permitted on the Manor Pass. It was RESOLVED to take no action.

(Vote: Unanimous)

(c) Commons Association

Members considered a letter and statement on the history of the 1716 Committee. It was RESOLVED to thank the 1716 Committee for this information.

(Vote: Unanimous)

(d) Shoreline Management Plan

Members considered how to progress matters in relation to the pebbleridge following the publication of the report by Professor Pethick into the movement of sediment in the Taw Torridge Estuary system. Concern was expressed that Natural England were not present at the local meetings when it is known that they will have a strong influence in the final Shoreline Management Plan. It was RESOLVED to write a letter to the local MP explaining the Council's concerns and asking for his assistance in bringing Natural England into the debate at a local level.

(Vote: Unanimous)

(e) Members' items

Cllr Miller reported on a pollution incident at Goosey Pool where many fish and eels had died. It was RESOLVED to await the outcome of the tests being undertaken by the Environment Agency before taking any action. It was, however, thought that the reason for the pollution was the storm water overflow from the sewage pumping station. If the results of the tests showed it to be a sewage problem it was RESOLVED to write a letter of complaint to the Environment Agency South West Water, the local MP and Natural England.

(Vote: Unanimous)

Cllr Mrs Cox reported that the concrete path over the pebbleridge needed to be reinstated before the season.

10. Streetworks and related matters

(a) Provision of dog bins at Lords Meadow area and Bloody Corner

The Town Clerk reported that the District Council have agreed to empty these bins.

It was necessary to agree suitable positioning and to this end the District Council would like to meet with a Town Councillor on site. It was RESOLVED to nominate Cllr Braund.

(Vote: Unanimous)

(b) To consider how to respond to complaint from resident as presented at last Council meeting with regard to weeds in Fore Street and Northam

Members considered the complaint raised at the last Council meeting by a resident and the response from the County Council. It was RESOLVED to send a copy of the letter from the County Council to Mr Callaghan for information.

(Vote: Unanimous)

(c) Members items

Cllr Langton asked about the arrangements with regard to the toilets at the rear of the Community Centre as the lights were not working and the toilets needed to be cleaned.

Cllr Johnson advised that the path that ran from Hanson Park down to Riverbank requires dog bins.

Cllr Robinson reported that the hoped to be in a position at the next meeting to report on car parking.

Cllr Mrs Collins thought that the bags being used by residents to collect the dog mess should be biodegradable.

Cllr Mrs Boyle reported that one of the major concerns of the public expressed to a police questionnaire was dog mess.

Cllr Mrs Cox thought more traffic calming was required, this to be considered at a future LDF meeting.

Cllr Osborne thought the speed restriction signs on entering Appledore by Richmond Green were not in the best position.

Cllr Edwards asked if there had been a response in relation to the planters on Appledore Quay.

11. Northam Youth Group

Members considered letters from the Northam Youth Group and were mindful of the comments made by the PCSO when addressing the Council. It was RESOLVED to reply to the children who have written a letter regarding facilities for BMXs and bicycles.

(Vote: Unanimous)

12. Northam Community Centre Survey Report

Members considered this report and it was agreed that Cllr Edwards would study it in detail and report back to the LDF meeting.

13. Local Works – Campaign for the Sustainable Communities Bill

It was RESOLVED to write a letter supporting this Bill to the local MP.

(Vote: Unanimous)

14. Letter from Northam St George's C of E School

Members considered a letter from St George's School who were looking to put forward a scheme to conserve energy. It was RESOLVED to advise the school that this type of scheme would be satisfactory but could they provide more details as to how much it would cost and what would be the energy saving.

(Vote: Unanimous)