Minutes of a meeting of the Town Council held in the Council Chamber, Windmill Lane, Northam on Tuesday 27th November 2007


PRESENT: Chairman - Town Mayor Cllr A Eastman

Members - Cllrs Mrs P D Biggs, Mrs S Collins, Mrs M Cox, J Braund, 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 Alan Smith, a local resident, attended the meeting for the purpose of explaining to the Councillors his development proposals at Westward Ho! Members considered

Mr Smith's request but decided it was inappropriate for a developer to address the Council. It was RESOLVED to refuse Mr Smith the permission to speak.

(Vote: 12 For 1 abst)

Mrs Avery, an Appledore resident, asked what had happened to the lease of the Blackies plantation land from the District Council to the Town Council. The Town Clerk advised that the District Council had required that Sections 24 to 28 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954 are not to apply to this proposed tenancy, which in practical terms would mean that the Town Council would not have security of tenure.

2. Minutes

The minutes of the Town Council Meeting held 30 th October 2007 were approved and signed.

(Vote: Unanimous)

3. Minutes

Members considered the recommendations of the Finance Advisory Committee held on 21 st November 2007. On a proposal by Cllr Tisdale it was agreed to award a grant of £100 to Westward Ho! Residents' Association.

(Vote: 6 in Favour, 3 against and 4 abstentions)

It was RESOLVED to approve grants to local organisations on the attached schedule totalling £5000. It was further RESOLVED that the Council in accordance with its powers under Section 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 £2600.

(Vote: Unanimous)

With regard to items 4, 5 and 6 it was RESOLVED to approve the recommendations.

(Vote: Unanimous)

4. Minutes of the Local Development Framework Advisory Committee

It was RESOLVED to accept the recommendations of the Local Development Framework Advisory Committee held 5 th November 2007

(Vote: Unanimous)

5. Grant to St Mary's School

Cllr Mrs Cox reported that St Mary's School would like to build a cob bird hide in their environmental area and they were requesting that this be considered for the £2000 grant previously agreed by the Council

It was RESOLVED to award a grant of £2000 to St Mary' School for the purpose of constructing a cob bird hide

(Vote: Unanimous)

6. Town Clerk's Report

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)

7. Northam Burrows

(a) Response from South West Water following Town Clerk's letter to Chief Executive

Members considered the letter from South West Water and RESOLVED to accept their invitation to visit the works. The Town Clerk to arrange.

(Vote: Unanimous)

With regard to the water quality schedule it was RESOLVED to advise South West Water that water quality rated as good is not acceptable on a long-term basis for Blue Flag status.

(Vote: Unanimous)

(b) Pollution incident

The Town Clerk reported that the Environment Agency was still considering the pollution earlier in the year and they were unable to issue any details as they were considered to be sub judice. It was agreed to ascertain the costs of analysing the fish held in store.

8. Streetworks and related matters :

Members' items

Cllr Johnson reported that a dog bin had now been provided on the Hanson Park footpath and following his request the path had been cleared of the overgrowth.

Cllr Robinson expressed concern about the amount of weeds on the highways.

Cllr Mrs Collins was concerned that there were no direction signs to the Registrar's Office.

Cllr Hames asked whether highway figures for Heywood Road had been furnished by the County Council. The Town Clerk advised that he had received an acknowledgement but no figures to date. Cllr Hames also questioned whether the District Council had responded regarding the planning application for the works at Knapp House. The Town Clerk advised that he had not yet received a response.

Cllr Eastman reported that he had received requests for the dog bin situated on Bone Hill to be moved away from the public seat. It was RESOLVED to request the District Council to move the bin.

9. Appointments of Members on outside bodies :

(a) Northam Community Centre

The Town Clerk advised that an additional Member was required to represent the Council on the Northam Community Centre and it was RESOLVED to nominate Cllr Braund.

(Vote: Unanimous)

(b) Torridge Voluntary Services

The Town Clerk advised that under their constitution Torridge Voluntary Services were only allowed one representative from the Town Council. It was RESOLVED to vote on the matter by way of ballot.

(Vote: Unanimous)

Councillors Johnson and Osborne left the meeting. It was RESOLVED that Cllr Johnson be nominated to serve as the Council's representative on Torridge Voluntary Services.

(Vote: 8 to 3)

10. Local Energy Supply for new development and the Merton Rule

Members considered the letter from the Minister for Communities and Local Government but were concerned that the proposals, when it came to the implementation stage, would be site specific and not general policy. This would result in considerable additional bureaucracy and increase the workload for Planning Officers. Cllr Mrs Cox reported that the District Council were in the throes of introducing a Merton Rule for Torridge.

11. Torridge District Waste Recycling Plan

Members considered this Plan and whilst accepting the general thrust of the document concern was expressed that there was insufficient emphasis on repairing and re-using. Cllr Johnson highlighted some of the difficulties in fully complying with recycling due to the high density of certain developments where insufficient space is available for the storage of the many recycling bags and boxes.

Cllr Braund expressed his concern that the recycling efforts were fundamentally flawed and were not energy efficient.

It was generally agreed that Members would make their own responses.

12. Naming of the new Richmond Dry Dock proposals

Members considered a letter from a local resident suggesting a name for the dry dock proposals. It was RESOLVED to advise Mr Leslie that this was premature.

(Vote: Unanimous)

13. Cleaning of toilets at the Community Centre

The Town Clerk reported that the toilets at the Community Centre were cleaned twice a week. It was RESOLVED to reduce this to once a week during the winter months if possible. The Town Clerk to advise the contractor.

(Vote: Unanimous)

It was also RESOLVED to send a letter of thanks to the hairdresser for being the key holder.

(Vote: Unanimous)

Cllr Braund was to enquire if the hairdresser would be willing to keep a record of the use made of the facility.

14. Fields in Trust

This item was deferred to the next Council meeting.

15. Streamlining of Services at the District Council

Cllr Johnson reported on the new Committee structure at the District Council.



16. Bridge Hall

The Town Clerk advised Members on the discussions he had with the District Valuer. He had advised the District Valuer on a financial figure which he thought the Town Council would be willing to pay for the Bridge Hall. It was RESOLVED to endorse the Town Clerk's actions.

(Vote: Unanimous)

17. Community Constables

Cllr Eastman reported that he wished to reward two local residents who have acted as Special Constables for many years. It was RESOLVED to support the Town Mayor and it was agreed to present a suitable gift later in the year

(Vote: Unanimous)