Minutes of a meeting of the Town Council held in the Council Chamber, Windmill Lane, Northam on Tuesday 31 st July 2007


PRESENT: Chairman - Town Mayor – Cllr A Eastman

Members - Cllrs Mrs A J Boyle, J Braund, P Hames, R J Johnson, C K Langton,

R W A Miller, R H Osborne, S R Robinson, together with 17 parishioners

Apologies were recorded on behalf of Cllrs Mrs P D Biggs, Mrs S Collins, Mrs M Cox,

B Edwards and R M M Tisdale


1. Northam Youth Group

The Northam Youth Group, taking advantage of the 15 minute period for public contributions, attended the meeting and their spokespersons, Connor Moyse and Joe Maund, addressed the Council on the needs of the Youth Group, what they were doing to attract additional funding and the efforts they were making to raise funds. Essentially they needed a fit for purpose building with space for storage and were also looking for an open area where a dirt track could be established for bicycles. They were looking for a base of their own. Cllr Johnson advised the meeting that he was delighted to see the Youth there expressing their enthusiasm and he advised that as a District Councillor he had been nominated as the “Play Champion”. Potentially there was money from the Big Lottery and the Northam Youth Group were one of six going forward to apply for, and share in, a substantial financial grant. The Northam Youth Group application had the full support of TDC. Cllr Mrs Boyle wished to support Cllr Johnson and advised that she had met Jane Bartlett, the Youth Group leader, with Cllr Braund and it was clear that the Group were being managed in a professional manner, there were requirements for storage and premises which are being sought.

The Northam Youth Group were thanked for attending the meeting and were advised that the Town Council would do what it could to support their efforts.


2. Mr & Mrs Cope – Bubbly Project

Mr and Mrs Cope addressed the Council on their plans to establish a new Centre on land just outside the development boundary on the west side of Heywood Road. The Centre would be for people of all ages with severe to moderate learning disabilities, family carers and relations, volunteers, students for work experience, professionals and also would cater to include for the wider community. The Centre would provide relevant services, seven days a week of rural skills, active activities, horticulture, allotments, healthy living, social and fun activities, the giving of independent information and advice on topics relating to disability and carer issues, outreach support in general terms as part of the wider community. There will be dedicated opportunities for children. It is intended that the facilities would be available to the general public.

The Town Mayor thanked Mr and Mrs Cope for attending. There was general agreement that the Council would support the Bubbly Project in principle.


3. Minutes

The minutes of the Town Council Meeting held 26 th June 2007 were approved and signed.

(Vote: Unanimous)


4. Minutes of the Local Development Framework Advisory Committee

Members considered the recommendations of the above meeting held 11 th July 2007. A number of the items were considered at the Liaison Meeting with the District Council but those minutes have not yet been circulated. It had been indicated at that meeting that Mr S Briggs, the new Planning Officer, was to take the lead in respect of the Community Hall and other TDC assets in the parish. The Town Mayor undertook to arrange a meeting with Mr Briggs and Andrew Waite and he and Cllr Miller would meet with them and report back to the Council.

With regard to item 8 - Children's play area Lords Meadow, Cllr Braund advised that whilst he could progress designs and quotations for the shelters he needed commitment from the youth as to whether they would want these shelters and effectively take ownership of them so as to minimise vandalism.

In respect of item 9 – the Community Hall survey, this was deferred pending a report from Cllr Edwards on the condition of the building and also to seek clarification with regard to the joint working party with the District Council once the minutes were to hand.

The Parish Plan could not be progressed without more advice from District Council Officers and it was agreed for them to attend a future Council meeting.

Minute 11 – Appledore Hall – Cllr Braund explained that they were looking for a letter of support for their grant application. He advised that whilst this was not the only hall in Appledore the Appledore Hall did need attention and he requested the Council to send a letter of support. It was so RESOLVED .

(Vote Unanimous)

In the absence of the Liaison Committee meeting minutes there was a general discussion on the facilities for the Youth and it was agreed that Mr Briggs and Jane Bartlett be asked to attend a future LDF meeting.


5. Minutes of the Sustainability Working Group

The minutes of the above meeting held 11 th July were accepted and Cllr Hames agreed to find a suitable audit form for the assessment of the Council Offices.

6. Notice of Motion from Councillor Hames – “In the light of concerns about the effectiveness of communications with Torridge District Council it is proposed that this Council restores Reports from District Council Members to the agendas of Council meetings and that the Town Clerk reports to Council the correspondence he has sent to Torridge District Council which has not been answered.”

Members considered the above Notice of Motion and there was a general discussion on how best to implement Cllr Hames' proposals. Cllr Johnson advised that he would not be able to support the first part of the proposal with regards to the reports from District Council Members but by way of amendment proposed that the letters sent out by the Town Clerk be copied to the relevant District Councillor and the Town Clerk and the relevant District Councillor would report back to Council. Cllr Robinson undertook to supply the Town Clerk with a list of responsibilities allocated to District Councillors. Cllr Osborne wished to add an amendment to the effect that there should be an open invitation for the County Councillor to attend Town Council meetings to enable him to report. There was general consensus to implement the amended proposals by Cllr Johnson and Cllr Osborne.


7. Notice of Motion from Cllr Miller - “That the Council seeks to have the land at Burrough Farm registered as a Village Green under Section 16 of the Commons Act 2006”

The Town Clerk advised that he had misunderstood Cllr Miller and therefore this Notice of Motion did not stand. It was noted that under Section 16 of the Commons Act 2006 land that had been used for informal recreation for twenty years could possibly registered as a Village Green.


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) Adopting a new Code of Conduct

The Town Clerk advised that the new Code of Conduct needed to be adopted by October. It was RESOLVED to adopt the new Code of conduct including Clause

12 (2) which is operational as the Council has a public participation period prior to Council meetings.

(Vote: Unanimous)

(c) Training courses for new Councillors

Members considered the details of a training course for new Councillors and it was RESOLVED to book 3 places for Cllrs Mrs A Boyle, P Hames and R Osborne. The cost of the course and travelling expenses to be met by the Council.

(Vote: Unanimous)

(d) Grants for 2008

It was RESOLVED to advertise grants as in previous years and to issue the forms. It was also RESOLVED to consider at the next Council meeting the setting up of a Finance Group to consider the applications.

(Vote: Unanimous)


9. Northam Burrows

(a) Shoreline Management Plan

Members considered the letter from Geoffrey Cox MP, the contents of which were noted. The Mayor advised that he will be organising a ‘get together' with Geoffrey Cox to discuss the matter further.

(b) Establishment of a Northam Burrows Committee

The Town Clerk advised that his report was aimed at the agricultural management of the Burrows. However, he thought that this may be premature and that Members, at this time, required a small committee or forum where all issues relating to the Burrows could be discussed. It was RESOLVED to form a Northam Burrows Committee comprising Cllrs Mrs Collins, Eastman, Hames, Langton, Miller, Osborne and Tisdale, together with representatives of organisations with an interest in the Burrows.

(Vote: Unanimous)

(c) Members' items

Cllr Robinson was concerned about the pebbleridge and was seeking to oppose the wishes of Natural England who seem to be seeking to take no action.

Cllr Langton was concerned about the state of the roads on Northam Burrows and enquired as to whether the income and expenditure incurred by the District Council over the past few years can be ascertained.


10. Streetworks and related matters

(a) Diversion of Public Footpath No 26

Members considered the proposal to divert the public footpath which currently runs from the bottom of Stanwell Hill into Kipling Tors. It was RESOLVED to object to this proposal as the new alignment was tortuous, difficult to negotiate and will become overgrown.

(Vote: Unanimous)

(b) Members items

Cllr Johnson referred to his previous request for a dog bin on the path from Hanson Park to Riverside.

Cllr Braund advised that he would be meeting the District Council Officer on Wednesday regarding dog bins at Bloody Corner and he undertook to include the Hanson Park site and report back.

Cllr Robinson reported that his previous intention to report on the parking arrangements had grown to include the condition of roads and footpaths and also possibly the siting of traffic lights. He hoped to report to the next Council meeting.

Cllr Hames advised that hedge cutting was required on the left hand side of Churchill Way from Bloody Corner to the allotments. It was agreed to report this to DCC.


11. Burrough Farm

Members considered a letter from the District Council which was rejecting the Council's financial offer for the purchase of land at Burrough Farm. The Mayor undertook to pursue this with fellow District Councillors and report back at the next Council meeting.


12. Northam Fayre

Members discussed the best way of re-establishing the annual Fayre in Northam Square. Cllr Miller advised that previously he had found it difficult to find sufficient local support. It was RESOLVED to display and circulate posters to the effect that an open meeting would be held in the Council Chamber and those people interested in the establishment of a Fayre in the Square be invited to attend.

(Vote: Unanimous)