Minutes of a meeting of the Town Council held in the Council Chamber, Windmill Lane, Northam on Tuesday 30th October 2007

PRESENT: Chairman - Town Mayor – Cllr A Eastman

Members - Cllrs Mrs P D Biggs, Mrs A J Boyle, Mrs S 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 3 parishioners

1. 15 Minute period for consultation

Mr Osborne questioned the attendance of the County Councillor at Parish Council meetings. Cllr Hames considered this to be a good point and suggested that the County Councillor be asked to come along and report. Cllr Mrs Biggs advised that County Councillors normally report at the Annual Parish Meeting but perhaps that could be every 3 to 6 months. Cllr Osborne advised that his Notice of Motion to the Town Council requesting the attendance of the County Councillor had been rejected.

2. Minutes

The minutes of the Town Council Meeting held 25 th September 2007 were approved and signed.

(Vote: Unanimous)

3. Minutes

The minutes of the Local Development Framework Advisory Committee held 17 th September 2007 were accepted.

(Vote: Unanimous)

4. Minutes

The minutes of the Local Development Framework Advisory Committee held 10 th October 2007 were accepted.

(Vote: Unanimous)

5. Minutes

The minutes of the Sustainability Working Group held 10 th October 2007 were accepted.

(Vote: Unanimous)

6. DAWN Supplementary planning documents

Sean Kearney from the District Council reported that the programme for further consultation in partnership with Northam Town Council was being firmed up. All the comments on the Baker Report were now in one document except for Westward Ho!

Members expressed their concern about the Baker report and the need for this new consultation to be effective. It was RESOLVED to delegate to the LDF Committee, to be held on Monday 5 th November, authority to finalise the documents and proceed with the public consultation.

(Vote: Unanimous)

7. Matters of report from Police Community Support Officer

John McGovern the PCSO for the area reported on activities over the past few months. He advised that he had been away from the area due to pressures elsewhere for some time but on his return he dealt with situations with the youth in the Kimberley Park area. He was having problems at Lords Meadow as there were no age limit signs on the equipment. A number of ASBO letters had been sent to offenders. The Youth Club at the Bridge Hall was going from strength to strength but there was disappointment that the Bridge Trust had been unable to allow use of the basement room. The Youth Club itself was being considered for grant aid and PCSO McGovern was hopefully obtaining funds for art equipment through the police Authority. Members congratulated John McGovern for his diligence.

Cllr Mrs Boyle reported that it was important to find a home for the Youth Club and suggestions were made of the schoolroom at the Kingsley Hall.

Cllr Osborne was concerned that the lower part of the Orchard Hill ward was not covered by John McGovern and he asked if it was possible to have a report from the PCSO covering that area.

John McGovern gave details of the number of PCSOs actually in post in the immediate area and to cover the area properly an additional three were required but government funding was not to be forthcoming.

He advised that Neighbourhood Watch schemes were being set up in the following areas:- Cleave, Limers Lane, J H Taylor Drive, Skern Way.

8. DAWN MCTI Re-launch

Members considered a report from the District Council suggesting that the Market and Coastal Towns Initiative needed to be re-launched and they were looking for new members to take the project forward. Members expressed concern that there was a great deal of effort put into the Initiative but very little chance of any monies being available to implement the identified projects. It was RESOLVED not to put forward nominations at this time but to await the results of the consultation on the Baker Report.

(Vote: Unanimous)

9. Local Infrastructure

Members considered how best to raise their concerns with South West Water, the Environment Agency and Devon County Council regarding the sewerage systems and highway network. It was generally agreed that what was required was clear evidence. With regard to the sewerage system it was thought that the problem lies at Cornborough Sewage Treatment Works and it was generally agreed that perhaps a visit to the works would be a good starting point for discussions with South West Water and the Environment Agency.

With regard to the highway issues it was agreed to approach the Highway Authority to seek detailed figures of traffic movements.

10. Notice of Motion from Cllr Robinson - “ In light of the Communities and Local Government's White Paper: “Strong and Prosperous Communities”, January 2007, and with regard to Torridge District Council's (TDC) officers Report to the Community Development Committee's meeting of Tuesday 9 th October, this Council seeks to ascertain from TDC that they are minded to transfer the management and ownership of the following local assets to Northam Town Council. To this end, and for the efficient transfer of the local assets to community management and ownership, this Council requests from TDC that it meet, immediately following the next Northam Town Council/TDC Liaison meeting, with those delegated by TDC to effect the transfer, the assets in question being:

Burrough Farm;

Recreation Centre;

Northam Town Hall;

Seagate Boat Park;

Windmill Lane Car Park, etc.”

Members considered the above Notice of Motion and it was RESOLVED to write a letter to the District Council asking how they intend to comply with the proposals as set out in para 54 of the Local Government White Paper which will, where appropriate, allow for the community management and ownership of local assets.

It was also RESOLVED to have this matter on the next Liaison Committee meeting.

(Vote: 12 For, 1 Abstention)

11. Notice of Motion from Cllr Robinson - “ Re - Planning Application no. 1/0983/2007/FUL (“Inglebrook”, Atlantic Way”) - This Council, having regard to: -

(a) The fact that the planning application in question was recommended for rejection by a unanimous vote of this council's Planning and Licensing Committee;

(b) The fact that the district councillors representing this ward were not offered the usual facility by means of an invitation from the Plans Department of Torridge District Council whereby to respond to the proposed application; and

(c) The fact that the Plans Committee of Torridge District Council took the decision to grant the application hastily and without the benefit of a site visit, seeks from Torridge District Council an explanation as to why procedures were not followed in this case.”

Members considered the above Notice of Motion and it was RESOLVED to write to Steve Briggs at the District Council and also table this as one of his questions for the meeting with him on 14th November.

(Vote: Unanimous)

12. Carol Singing

Cllr Mrs Cox suggested that the Council Members hold a Social Evening during December and sing carols in the three centres of Appledore, Northam and Westward Ho! She advised that she was happy to organise the event. Members were in agreement.

13. 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)

Cllr Langton queried the cleaning of the toilets at the Community Centre as the usage had dropped off and it was RESOLVED to investigate reduction in the cleaning frequency.

(Vote: Unanimous)

(b) Bridge Hall

The Town Clerk reported that the District Valuer, on behalf of the Town Council, and the Valuer appointed by the Bridge Trust, were now in contact with each other.

14. Northam Burrows

(a) Minutes of the Northam Burrows Committee held 24 th October 2007

The minutes of the Northam Burrows Committee held 24 th October 2007 were approved.

(Vote: Unanimous)

(b) Sewage Pollution

The Town Clerk reported on his correspondence with Natural England in respect of the discharge of sewage into Goosey Pool. He advised that the Environment Agency were now reviewing the consent. It was RESOLVED to approach Natural England and ascertain whether the Town Council can be included in the discussions.

(Vote: Unanimous)

(c) Members items

Cllr Miller asked whether it would now be appropriate for the fish that he saved in his freezer from the last pollution incident to be examined to ascertain the reasons for its death and whether these could be attributed to sewage pollution. It was RESOLVED to make arrangements for a professional laboratory to undertake the appropriate tests.

(Vote: Unanimous)

15. Streetworks and related matters

(a) Bus Shelter – Churchill Way

The Town Clerk advised that the County Council had agreed to investigate the provision of a stone built shelter and were obtaining prices.

(b) Disabled parking on Appledore Quay

The Town Clerk advised that the disabled bay situated in front of a garage had been so positioned at the request of the garage owner.

(c) Members items

Cllr Robinson raised the possibility of challenging the District Council's decision not to proceed with the Northam cemetery. Cllr Miller reported that the Church had released a large number of graves in the Churchyard for re-use.

Cllr Hames drew attention to the dangerous corner on Churchill Way at the junction with Staddon Road. It was agreed to raise this with the County's Road Safety Officer at the meeting on 5 th November.

Cllr Hames updated the Members on the current situation with regard to the coastal path at Knapp House. The drainage had been completed which would mean that the saltmarsh had been lost. The Environment Agency have admitted that they have made a mistake. Cllr Hames also reported that the earth bank had been extended and it was thought that planning consent was required for the work. It was RESOLVED to write to Steve Briggs to ascertain the situation.

(Vote: Unanimous)

Cllr Mrs Cox suggested that four more trees be planted on the Heywood Road roundabout and it was RESOLVED to obtain prices from the contractors that priced the original planting job.

(Vote: Unanimous)

Cllr Edwards agreed with Cllr Hames that a footpath is needed at the junction of Churchill Way and Staddon Road.

Cllr Miller asked for prices to be obtained for Christmas Tree lights and it was so RESOLVED.

(Vote: Unanimous)

16. Appointment of Members on outside bodies

(a) Torridge Voluntary Services – It was RESOLVED to appoint Cllr Johnson and Cllr Osborne and request TVS to accept two nominations.

(Vote: Unanimous)

(b) Trustees to Northam Community Association – This item was deferred to the next meeting.

17. Streamlining of services at the District Council

This item was deferred to the next meeting.

18. Northam St George's C of E Infant and Nursery School

Councillors considered a letter from Northam St George's C of E and Nursery School setting out details of their major energy saving project. The Council agreed that this project met their requirements and 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 £2,000.

(Vote: Unanimous)

19. Fields in Trust

This item was deferred to the next meeting.

20. Bubbly Project

Members considered a request from the Bubbly Project for a Member to sit on the Bubbly Supporters Group. It was RESOLVED to thank Mr Cope for his kind invitation and to advise him that whilst the Council was interested in the project it would decline to become directly involved.

(Vote: Unanimous)