Minutes of a meeting of the Town Council held in the Council Chamber, Windmill Lane, Northam on Tuesday 25th September 2007


PRESENT: Chairman - Town Mayor – Cllr A Eastman

Members - Cllrs Mrs P D Biggs, Mrs S Collins, Mrs M Cox, B M Edwards , P Hames, R J Johnson, C K Langton, R H Osborne, S R Robinson, together with 2 parishioners

Apologies were recorded on behalf of Cllrs Mrs A J Boyle, R W A Miller, and R M M Tisdale

1. Minutes

The minutes of the Town Council Meeting held 31 st July 2007 were approved and signed.

(Vote: Unanimous)

2. 15 Minute period for consultation 

(i) Cllr Chris Leather, the District Councillor for the Orchard Hill ward, spoke in support of a request from residents of Hanson Park for a bus stop on Heywood Road.

(ii) Mrs Vikki Braddick, the Culture and Leisure Services Manager for the District

Council, reported that the Big Lottery Fund had made £200,000 available for play schemes. There had been 39 applications and after short-listing and interviews 6 projects had been selected. The Appledore Skate Park had put forward a scheme to refurbish the facility at a cost of £25,000. This was being supported and the result of the bid would be known in December. The Skateboard Park is on land leased by the Town Council from the District Council and it is considered important that the management of the scheme is undertaken by a group which should include Town Councillors.

3. Notice of Motion from Cllr Osborne - "That District and County Councillors representing wards covered by Northam Town Council be "invited" to report to this Council any items considered to be relevant and of importance to this Council. This would exclude any Planning matters that would be reported in the normal way through our own Planning Committee"

Members considered the above Notice of Motion. Following a discussion the Notice of Motion was defeated 5 votes to 4 with 1 abstention.

4. Notice of Motion from Cllr Hames – “That this Council objects strongly to the Government proposal to prevent planning authorities applying the so called ‘Merton ruling' which stipulates that developers incorporate a percentage of renewable energy into new buildings.”

There was general support for this Notice of Motion and concern that the drive for incorporating renewable energy was being diluted. It was RESOLVED to write an appropriate letter to the Secretary of State expressing the Council's concerns.

(Vote: Unanimous)

5. Finance Committee

Members considered their previous decision to establish a Finance Committee and it was generally agreed that the committee should be advisory in nature and report to full Council. It was RESOLVED to establish a Finance Sub Committee consisting of four Members , the Members nominated are:- Councillors Mrs Collins, Edwards, Langton and Osborne.

(Vote: Unanimous)

6. Notice of Motion from Cllr Langton – “That this Council considers the formation of a Working Party to undertake a comprehensive review of the issue of Burrows passes. With a remit to study the impact their issue has on office manpower and what financial benefit, if any, there is to Northam Town Council. Their findings to be reported at the next full Town Council meeting.”

The above Notice of Motion was supported and it was RESOLVED to refer this consideration to the Finance Sub Committee.

(Vote: Unanimous)

7. Notice of Motion from Cllr Eastman – “That this Council considers what further action it can take with regard to the continued discharge of sewage into Goosey Pool.”

There was general agreement that the existing situation was unsatisfactory but unless, and until, compelling evidence is produced it would be difficult to convince the Environment Agency to change their standards and thereby deny this overflow to South West Water. It was RESOLVED to seek the support of the 1716 Committee to gather evidence, to write to South West Water and to investigate with Natural England as to whether they would be able to apply pressure to the Environment Agency.

(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) To consider the appointment of Town Clerk

The Town Clerk advised that he wished to step down and was looking to leave employment by Spring 2008. Members expressed their appreciation of his work for the Council. It was RESOLVED to set up a small Working Committee to consider the details for the appointment of a new Clerk. The committee to consist of the Mayor, Deputy Mayor and Chair of Planning.

(Vote: Unanimous)

(c) Bus shelter, Churchill Way – outside Swimming Pool

The Town Clerk advised that the present bus shelter, owned by the District Council, was in a poor state of repair. The County Council had some transportation funds available and were proposing to replace the bus shelter with a similar more modern design with steel panels in the bottom sections, in an attempt to minimise vandalism. The County Council were requesting the Town Council to accept the bus shelter once it was completed. Members expressed concern that the new shelter would be vandalised as much as the old one and would prefer to see a more traditionally built stone structure with a pitched roof. It was RESOLVED to advise the County Council that the Town Council did not wish to take on the proposal as currently designed but would like to consider a stone built version.

(Vote: Unanimous)

9. Northam Burrows

(a) Items for Burrows Committee

The Town Clerk reported that Cllr Miller had suggested that perhaps Members would like to visit the Burrows on Friday evening, 28 th September when one of the highest tides of the year would be on the pebbleridge at around about 7.00 pm. It was agreed to meet at the end of the old road, the Town Clerk to advise on an appropriate time.

(b) Application to graze horse

The Town Clerk advised that Mrs Stacey of Bay View Road had applied to graze a horse. Mrs Stacey qualified and it was RESOLVED to grant permission to graze one horse.

(Vote: Unanimous)

10. Streetworks and related matters

Members items

Cllr Osborne advised that a disabled bay had been set out on Appledore Quay in front of a private garage. It was RESOLVED to request the County Council to find a more suitable location.

(Vote: Unanimous)

Cllr Osborne drew the Council's attention to the Welcome to Bideford signs on the A39 approaching the Heywood Road roundabout. He thought these were inappropriate as they were situated in the Northam parish and should be removed. On being put to the vote the proposal was lost.

Cllr Robinson raised concerns about the safety of children in Morwenna Park Road and suggested that a couple of sets of metal ramps would solve the problem. The County Council had dismissed the scheme citing lack of funds. It was RESOLVED to ascertain from the County Council the costs.

(Vote: Unanimous)

Public Submissions

Appledore Skate Park – Having considered the submission by Mrs Braddick it was RESOLVED to nominate Cllr Mrs Boyle and Cllr Edwards to serve on the Steering Group.

(Vote: Unanimous)

11. Bridge Hall

Members considered a letter from the Bridge Trust indicating their willingness for their Valuer to meet with the Town Council's Valuer with a view to coming to an agreement on the valuation for the Bridge Hall. It was RESOLVED to proceed with this valuation exercise and to appoint the District Valuer to act on behalf of the Town Council.

(Vote: Unanimous)

12. Public conveniences – Northam

The Town Clerk advised that the contract to clean the public conveniences behind the Community Centre would end at the end of the month. He also advised that the Community Centre had received a water bill in excess of what they would normally expect. It was thought this was due to the use by the public of the conveniences. It was RESOLVED to extend the contract for the cleaning of the conveniences, to make a contribution to the Community Centre's water bill and to investigate the costs of changing the water tap and reducing water usage from the wc.

(Vote: Unanimous)

13. Proposed dog bins

Members considered the details for the siting of dog bins in the Diddywell, JH Taylor and Bloody Corner areas of Northam as being suggested by the District Council following a meeting with Cllr Braund. It was RESOLVED to proceed with the provision of these dog bins on the understanding that the District Council will empty them at their cost and to investigate the possibility of moving the Heywood Road dog bin, near the roundabout, to the bottom of the Hanson Park footpath link.

(Vote: Unanimous)

14. North Devon Ferry Project

Members considered proposals being put forward to establish a ferry facility between Appledore and Instow and other locations, if viable, using amphibious craft to allow full access at all states of the tide. It was RESOLVED to support the project in principle and to write an appropriate letter in support.

(Vote: Unanimous)

Cllr Mrs Collins left the meeting at this juncture.

15. Application for aggregate extraction licence

The Town Clerk reported that the Town Council had consistently opposed the extraction of sand and gravel from the Bristol Channel on the basis that the applicants need to demonstrate that there will be no effect on the coastal regime, particularly the Taw/Torridge estuary and Westward Ho!/Braunton foreshores. It was RESOLVED to maintain this objection and advise the applicant's agents accordingly.

(Vote: Unanimous)

16. Liaison Committee minutes and to consider items for next meeting

The Town Clerk advised that the next meeting should be in October and that he needed to put to the District Council items that the Town Council wished to raise. It was RESOLVED to submit the following items: -

(i) Planning Enforcement;

(ii) Status of the Parish Plan;

(iii) Protection of pebbleridge and re-charging.;

(iv) Future of property formerly owned by Northam UDC e.g. Burrough Farm;

(v) Road safety;

(vi) Goosey Pool sewerage outfall;

It was also RESOLVED to invite Malcolm Harris to speak to the Council on Parish Plans.

(Vote: Unanimous)

17. Request for Bus Stop

Members considered a letter from Mr Coates who, as the Welfare Officer for the Royal Naval Association, had received requests for a bus stop on Heywood Road near Hanson Park. Many of the residents of Hanson Park are senior citizens and are having difficulty in getting to nearby shops. It was also noted that Councillor Leather had spoken on this item earlier in the meeting. It was RESOLVED to write to the County Council to ascertain if a bus stop could be located in this vicinity with copies to Cllr Chris Leather, Cllr Ford and Mr Coates.

(Vote: Unanimous)