Minutes of a meeting of the Town Council to consider planning applications and allied matters held in the Council Chamber, Windmill Lane, Northam on Wednesday 14th January 2004.



PRESENT:     Chairman   -     Town Mayor - Cllr A Barnes

Members - Cllrs Mrs M M Cox, Mrs S A Mounce,

J A Bell, R D Bradford MBE, E J Davies,

A Eastman, A Eastwood OBE, L Ford, Dr P Tamplin, P Waters,

together with 13 Parishioners                           


Apologies were recorded on behalf of Cllr K A Lane


1.         Devon County Council


County Councillor Collins, Mr Ian Hobbs, the Strategy Officer, and Mr John Wilde, Local Services Officer, addressed the Council on the County Council’s position with regard to developers’ contributions under Section 106 Agreements, traffic matters and gave some outline as to the future from their perspective.  Wherever possible the County Council secures contributions to local infrastructure but in order to do so they need to establish a current shortfall.  There was concern expressed over the proposals for a new Bideford School.  The following points were put to the County team who undertook to report back if they were unable to address the issue at this time: -


Cllr Bell queried the cost of providing a recycling centre at £550,000 and despite requests to the County Environment Director no satisfactory answer had been forthcoming.


Cllr Eastwood OBE referred back to a request early last year to the County Council to undertake an urgent review of traffic management in Northam area.  In his view more pedestrian crossings were required and a blanket 20 mph speed limit.  There were serious parking problems in Daneshay with residents unable to gain access to their properties.  Northam Town centre is a mess with regard to traffic and he thought a one-way system would overcome the problems. 


Mr Wilde, for the County Council, advised that with any form of traffic scheme there are always knock on effects and he did not think that the imposition of a 20 mph speed limit would have the support of the Police.  The County Council’s policy is to target know problem areas, usually highlighted by accidents, and he gave the example of Bloody Corner where the new lining was introduced as a result of 4 minor accidents.  They do review traffic orders on a regular basis and Appledore was programmed for next year.  They do have a transport strategy for Northam and it was intended to provide a controlled pedestrian crossing at the Health Centre and the Hanson Park footpath link was to be constructed soon.  In answer to a question, Mr Wilde confirmed that the County Council would not be providing double yellow lines in Churchill Way.


Cllr Eastman raised the matter of the grass island in Pitt Avenue.


Cllr Mrs Mounce asked the County to look at the congestion and poor visibility at the Park Lane junction with Chanters Road, particularly at school travel times. 


Council suspended Standing Orders in order to allow members of the public to ask questions.


There was some criticism of the County Council with regard to Churchill Way and the provision of the new footpath.


The Town Mayor thanked the County Council team for attending.

2.         Minutes


The minutes of the meeting of the Town Council to consider planning applications and allied matters held 12th November 2003 were approved and signed.


3.         Planning applications


954/03             Amended Plans and description - Proposed 62 residential apartments Bath House Hotel Site, Bath Road, Westward Ho! – RESOLVED - The Council remains strongly opposed to the fundamental design of this building.  The amendments now being considered and the tone of the applicant’s letter seem to indicate that the District Council is likely to approve it subject to some relatively minor details currently under discussion with the Planning Officers.  There is real concern that the District Councillors are failing to come to terms with the sheer size of this proposal which will tower 22 metres above the promenade i.e. nearly 70 feet.  This is higher than David Lott’s “Ocean Park” which sits back into the hillside and 3 metres of which is below road level.  This would ruin the promenade from the public’s viewpoint and it would literally be in the shadow of this proposal.  The drawings, as submitted, to some extent are misleading, particularly in relation to the low-level masonry wall fronting the promenade.  This may be at a low level in relation to the structure above it but from the public’s viewpoint on the promenade it is not less than 2 metres high at the eastern end, next to the putting green and rises to over 3 metres high at the western end, next to the beach huts.  My Council would like to know whether any independent advice has been taken in the form of a risk assessment in respect of the shape of the proposed building.  There is concern that the introduction of a curved structure in this very exposed location, which will experience very high wind speeds at times, could result in excessive wind speeds on the promenade to the danger of the public and that the variations in pressure around the structure may cause problems with windows and doors.   


It was further RESOLVED to write to the Chief Executive of the District Council expressing this Council’s serious concern with regard to the consideration of this planning application and also to the Government Office for the South West requesting them to investigate the actions of the District Council. 


(Vote:  All in favour)


Cllr Eastwood OBE reported that other District Councils, and he cited Taunton Deane as an example, were devolving the consideration of planning applications down to Parish and Town Council level.  He proposed that the Council should write to the Town and Parish Councils within Torridge to ascertain the level of support for seeking from Torridge District Council a similar system.  It was so RESOLVED.


                                    (Vote:  All in favour)


2208/03           Proposed ground floor gallery/arts/gift shop and first floor residential

2272/03           2 Myrtle Street, Appledore – RESOLVED - Recommend approval but not keen on the sign being affixed to the building.


                        (Vote: All in favour)

2209/03           Proposed new dwelling house and detached garage - Garden of Greensleeves, Limers Lane, Northam RESOLVED – Recommend approval.


                        (Vote: All in favour)


2268/03           Proposed new access for caravan club - Torridge Road, Appledore –

RESOLVED – Recommend approval.


(Vote: 8 For, 1 Against, 2 Abstentions)


2275/03           Proposed erection of dwelling in part grounds – Briarlea, Hilltop Road, Raleigh – RESOLVED - Recommend approval but keep as much of the hedge as possible.


                        (Vote: 7 For, 1 Against, 3 Abstentions)


2298/03           Proposed erection of 3 dwellings - Site adjoining 23 Tomouth Road,

Appledore – RESOLVED – Recommend Approval.


(Vote: All in favour)


2305/03           Proposed House and Garage - Buckleigh Lodge, Westward Ho! –

RESOLVED – Recommend approval.


(Vote: All in favour)


2312/03           Proposed dwelling to be used for residential use as owner’s accommodation. - Watertown Garage, Long Lane, Appledore – RESOLVED - Recommend approval


                                    (Vote: 6 For, 3 Against, 2 Abstentions)


2327/03           Proposed single storey extension to rear of property and conversion of loft including new dormer windows front and rear. - Rosedale Cottage, Vernons Lane, Appledore – RESOLVED - Recommend approval subject to work being in accordance with that required for a conservation area.


                        (Vote: All in favour)


2336/03           Proposed new first floor extension to provide additional bedrooms and bathroom. - 24 Staddon Road, Appledore – RESOLVED - Recommend approval subject to overlooking not being a problem.


                                    (Vote: All in favour)


2339/03           Proposed creation of new window opening in second floor bathroom and replacement of modern windows with traditional glazed windows - 13 Bude Street, Appledore – RESOLVED – Recommend approval.


                        (Vote: All in favour)


2351/03           Proposed repairs to gable end - 15 Meeting Street, Appledore – RESOLVED – Recommend approval.


                        (Vote: All in favour)


4.         Local Community Sustainability Bill


Cllr Mrs Cox circulated a campaign newspaper which set out the arguments for supporting a Local Communities Sustainability Bill.  It was RESOLVED to defer consideration of this item to the Planning Meeting on Wednesday 11th February.


(Vote: All in favour)


5.         Public Footpath No 6 – from Wooda Road to Boat Hyde


Cllr Waters reported that this footpath was poorly signed and had inadequate stiles.  It was RESOLVED to write to Devon County Council requesting appropriate action to resolve the problem.


(Vote: All in favour)


6.         Public Entertainment Licences


Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982 – Public Entertainments Licence – Lenwood Country Club [Neptunes Function Room and Bar] Northam -

RESOLVED – No objection


(Vote: All in favour)


Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982 – Public Entertainments Licence – Durrant House Hotel [Ballroom and Cedar Bar] Northam – RESOLVED – No objection.


(Vote: All in favour)


7.         Transfer of Justices’ Licence


            Knapp House Social Club, Churchill Way, Northam – RESOLVED – No objection.


            (Vote: All in favour)


8.         Matters brought forward at Chairman’s discretion


(a) Cllr Waters reported that the question of jet skis launching from Appledore Quay

Churchfields car park was to be considered by the Taw/Torridge Estuary Forum.  It was understood that few of the jet ski operators were willing to be involved in a club and it seemed that there were difficulties in obtaining third party insurance.  The previous position of the District Council had been that unless a club was formed and members obtain third party insurance then the launching from Churchfields slipway would be banned to them.  Cllr Bell, as this Council’s representative, shared Cllr Waters’ concerns and undertook to express them at forthcoming meetings.


(b) Cllr Barnes reported that he was concerned about the Council’s unwillingness to support the Northam Youth Group and he thought the Council would be able to at least help in the short term.  He advised that he would be putting an appropriate item on the agenda for the next Council meeting for consideration.