COUNCIL MEMBERS PRESENT
Attendance; A- Absent; N – No Apologies Received
Cllr. M. Fice – Mayor (in the Chair) – *
Cllr Mrs C. Bricknell – *
Cllr T. Lang – *
Cllr R. Whitfield – *
Cllr Mrs L. Sinnott – *
Cllr Mrs M. Kemp – *
Cllr K. Baker – *
Cllr N. Rudd – A
Cllr G. Lennox – *
Cllr Mrs N. Turton – *
Cllr P. Armstrong – *
Also in attendance:
Dist. Cllr S. Wright – *
Dist. Cllr Mrs Pearce – *
Cty. Cllr. R Gilbert – A
Gill Claydon (Clerk) – *
Pete Robinson (Cemetery Manager and Project Officer) – *
WPC Jo Pengilly – A
PCSO P. O’Dwyer – A
Chris Derrick Kingsbridge Gazette – *
133. DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST
Members were invited to acknowledge any declarable interests, including the nature and extent of such interests that they may have in any items to be considered at this meeting. None received.
134. OPEN FORUM
Michael Richards and Roger Tucker presented a community petition to Town Council entitled ‘Keep the Berry Safe’. The sub title was then read out to explain what people had signed and they felt that most if not all the signatories lived permanently in Salcombe. They wished Town Council to acknowledge from this the opinion of the community who wished to keep the entire Berry for Salcombe including District’s ring fenced Plot A. It was advised that local people held this area in their hearts and District Council did not understand this. Roger Tucker noted he had been visited by both District Councillors in his shop at various times relating to this matter. The Mayor thanked them both for organising this.
Rob Wheeler had relied on a paper report in the Gazette and an article on town council’s website. He felt that the public statement stated that town council agreed in principle but in his opinion could not understand how such complete transfer of other parcels of land met with enthusiasm by Town Council. He wanted to know what part was good as it appeared ‘win win’ for District and ‘lose lose’ for the town. If all such land and play areas came back to town then all the maintenance and upkeep would pass over. District had not rebuilt the Jubilee Pier from the Salcombe car parks income to date and yet this proposal would give away a £1million building plot and all town received would be further costs.
The Mayor explained that the reference to agreement in principle was a legal term and as yet it was unknown whether town council would or would not be interested in taking all this land. The Mayor had made it clear in the previous full council meeting that nothing would happen without discussion with firstly the town council and then the community. He even stated in the previous meeting that he had concerns with regard to ongoing costs. However, in principle, town council was interested in taking on some of this land as they had requested the Berry, if not all. Rob Wheeler agreed it was good for Salcombe to be responsible for their assets but without the car park income he did not see how it could be maintained. The Mayor acknowledged this and explained that to add security to the Berry in the interim town council was proceeding to effectively renew the Lease in order to continue that control. In the future there would be at least one public meeting, maybe more, depending on changes.
Mark Long followed on from what had already been said and stated what he would like to see was that there was appropriate due diligence carried out before any decision was made. To this end he hoped that SHDC was forthcoming with information as to potential liabilities including walls, structures, neighbours, harbour perimeters and noted that the play area at Courtney Park had never been replaced by SHDC for many years. Town Council must make sure aware of all risks and implications before a decision was made. The Mayor acknowledged this and noted that these were some of the studies/information required before town council could present to the town.
Police Report – None received.
District Councillors Report
Dist Cllr Wright confirmed the new events policy would remain the same with just administrative fees going from £50 to £55 per event, charges coming into effect in the future. The Mayor questioned why the town regatta had just been charged £60. Cllr Lennox also raised the question whether this included the issue with regard to cost to cover car parking lost. Cllr Wright stated that if it could be proved that adequate parking was possible elsewhere there would be no charge. At the Crab Fest there had been additional parking by the harbour and Boat Park so this covered this point. The Mayor just confirmed that it was not just SHDC parking but could include other parking provision.
District was beginning to talk about a proposed Single Council and this would be going to executive next week and thereafter District would commence a consultation and see what happened. It was noted that the consultation was during August and September but this was to engage with more public at community events. Any responses would be used to form part of a document that would go to central Government for ratification.
Rob Wheeler noted that the Kingsbridge Food and Music Festival was invoiced £280 for use of the quay area and it was acknowledged by District that this was premature as the policy was not in place as yet so suggested the same may apply to the Regatta invoice. Cllr Lennox asked with regard to the proposed single council whether the consultation was going to be properly managed and the response was that there would be a phone consultation, online consultation as well as community events. This was a member led initiative and they would be at events and if anyone wished them to attend other community events let them know. How would it be publicised, District was employing an extra person in the communication team to highlight with flyers etc. There would also be a published document as to what the proposals were.
Dist Cllr Mrs Pearce explained that the reason they needed to look at one council was because financially things were tight at present. Also a number of other possibilities might happen to do with waste collection and investments which were to be reviewed to bring money into run the council when their Government grant ran out. Cllr Lennox asked if there was still a chance of a property company/investment as outlined in the ‘Times’ the previous day. Cllr Wright explained that the Public Works Loan Board made loans to councils to do what they wanted and councils could borrow at a low rate and then invest in commercial property. The leverage between the rate paid on the loan and income was good. Long term loans were possible and other councils had not had problems and managed their own portfolio. Cllr Lennox noted that the ‘market’ was not great for an inexperienced company coming in and this was a concern. In 2018/19 District Council would be £584,000 short of budget with no Government grant to be paid. Cllr Lennox asked if Government was considering removing the cap on council tax and the answer was No.
Cllr Mrs Pearce continued and noted for clarity the new Appeal on Salcombe Court and that they were now appealing the planning notice as they appealed before on the enforcement notice.
Cllr Lang asked what was happening with the street cleaning as Salcombe had been guaranteed to have a street cleaner every day and the previous day the cleaner was told not to attend as it was raining. Neil Greenhalgh had stated 7 days a week cover from 7-7p.m. but although the street cleaner was due all last week as Adam Parnell said Merlin Rockets were in town but he only did 4 days as was called to Kingsbridge in Bloom. This week he arrived just 3 days. The Mayor was to email and copy Dist Cllrs Wright and Mrs Pearce and they would follow this up.
Both were asked for any feedback on Whitestrand. The benches, putting aside the design as personal preference, had been requested at the outset to remain the same number and that people wanted to face the water and thus view. When the bases went in there were five instead of eight and all at various angles. An email said plinths should be removed and it was stated that town council said this whereas they had not. Dist Cllr Wright felt perhaps he in fact said the plinths should be removed. The benches were set at a slight angle so as to not stare into the necks of the next people but could see around. The capstans were round and could be unbolted and the benches turned around to look across the car park if an event was held. Cllr Wright was assured that the total amount of space for seating was the same but town council totally disagreed. Dist Cllr Wright would request the same number of benches. Cllr Lennox felt that when town council was provided with an illustration of the proposed benches he assumed they had already been given the go ahead but Dist Cllr Wright said no. The email response in the strongest of terms to Town Council Cllr Lennox felt had not taken on board any information provided and was not professional. These seats provided were not in keeping with the style of design retained with the railings and that was insulting.
The Mayor noted that the original Whitestrand Risk Assessment stipulated railings must be in place where there was a four metre drop. So why had District Council brought the rails up the slipway where town council expressly stressed they did not want it as people liked to sit and dangle their feet there. People liked to holiday here and one treat was to sit on the quayside.
What was happening with the planters at the front of Whitestrand Car Park. Cllr Wright responded that the officer concerned was going to be out on site today but had to attend a meeting. All was going ahead as planned and they were removing the cycle toast racks to install planters into that space. The tattooist had again taken up residence on the entrance to the car park but the District Councillors noted they had a Pedlars Licence and this was for the police to deal with.
In an email Dist Cllr Wright referred to some of the town council comments not fitting in with the bigger picture. The Mayor what the bigger picture for Whitestrand was. He responded they were doing the things they were currently carrying out and nothing further. The next thing would be the Harbour Master’s office but this was in the design stage.
Clarification was sought with regard to reporting back to enforcement as town council believed that the camping barn at Moult Hill had been reported. However a member of the public had a new enforcement number provided but the District Councillors disagreed and advised it had been reported by them in February or March. The previous day SHDC contractors were at Cross Park but most of the vegetation they cut off the wall had been left on the road which was now drifting down Market Street. This would be attended to.
Parkside at the top of Courtney Street some trees from the park were encroaching on their windows. Dist Cllr Wright advised that they had addressed a lot of issues with the officers on maintenance already. Cllr Mrs Turton noted District grass cutters had cut back the hedges. However there were still brambles and nettles where shrubs should be. At Shaws Corner, Devon Road and St. Dunstans Road pavement it was seriously overgrown. Town Council’s contractor was asked to carry out these works but could not do so at the time because someone challenged him and said birds were nesting. He would be asked to attend again although this was not a town council matter.
The Minutes of the meeting dated 28th June 2017 were APPROVED by council and then duly signed by the Mayor as a true and correct record.
It was AGREED to defer consideration of the two applications for co-option and ask both applicants to attend the following meeting.
137. PLANNING APPLICATIONS:
The following applications were considered and such observations from town council submitted to District.
• 2074/17/HHO Householder application for alterations to dwelling Yeoman House, Loring Road, Salcombe TQ8 8AT – No objection.
• 2085/17/HHO Householder application for a proposed parking area Lea Mount, 9 Buckley Street, Salcombe TQ8 8DD – Objection. Set in the Conservation Area this change would have a significant detrimental effect on the current street scene and the Conservation Area. Also widening this small entry section into Buckley Street would enable cars to proceed further along the highway before becoming stuck whereas this narrowing currently acts as traffic calming.
• APPEAL NOTICE Received 10th July 2017 –Appeal Ref: APP/K1128/W/17/3171103 Proposal: Retrospective householder application for retention of concrete deck for use as car parking for adjoining residential property. Location Salcombe Court, Cliff Road, Salcombe TQ8 8JQ Appellants name: Mr Peter Colclough. Appeal start date: 4th July 2017. Objection to the impact on this AONB and dangerous access at this junction with its impact on the Listed Building below still stood. Viewed from across the estuary this was out of keeping visually.
138. ASSET TRANSFER
The District draft Heads of Terms were forwarded by email to all town council and the contents were discussed. The Mayor referred to an email addressed to Cllr Rudd but neither discussion nor decision had been made by town council and thus these were just noted.
• Noted an error within the Heads of Terms reference to charities as Cross Park whereas it was Courtney Park which in point was historically known as The Park which was the one covered by a charity.
• Advise District and the town council solicitor that The Park/Courtney Park map included land which is in fact the highway and that their reference to The Park was incorrect.
• The additional pieces of land offered now by District had not been under discussion initially and there were no outgoing costs known nor what budget was allocated by District for maintenance and some questioned how Town Council could fund such. Dist Cllr Mrs Pearce advised that this information would be available.
• There was no knowledge of the current structural state of Cliff House Gardens and what work was yet to be done this autumn to repair/maintain the problem with the structure thereon. More would need to know about further structural investigation with regard to the sea wall. It could be costly if town council was to accept taking the sea wall over as ownership of Cliff House Gardens included the foreshore.
• Cllr Armstrong felt that the piece of land comprising the Berry had a secure covenant on it and therefore town council would not need to take it on as it was safe anyway. He felt the community wanted the Berry but the offer of everything else was diverting peoples focus. This proposal he continued was provided by professional people just wanting ‘a prize’ whatever.
• As yet District Council had not said the town could not have one piece of land without the other. The Heads of Terms covered everything offered but town council needed to decide, in consultation with the town, what to take. To cover due diligence in considering this matter the costs and problems needed to be understood and until further information was obtained the Mayor felt that town council should focus on what had been tabled and request information to understand the matter going forward. If this land was transferred to town council an option may be to negotiate for a period of time to receive money from District for maintenance. Thereafter ongoing expenditure would be added to the precept but it needed to be acknowledged there would be no reduction from District for rates.
• It was stated that town council should focus on keeping the Berry as people in the community wanted this to remain so that none of it was taken away, including Plot A.
• One requirement from District was if town council no longer wanted the Berry the only option would be for District to buy it back for £1. The Mayor raised this point as this was discussed at the informal meeting and town council had definitely said no to such a pre emptive clause.
• The Mayor noted it was fully accepted local people wished to get the Berry transferred back in its entirety but town council did not know if the town were in favour of obtaining control of any more of these assets. Therefore to say town council was being distracted was wrong and they needed to obtain all information and consult the community.
• An issue noted was the use for the green land and pink land stating there was a restriction of no building. If town council wanted to build changing rooms for say the football club or some such group could this be said to be a requirement for sport or open space use. Use of land as only open space needed clarification as town council might want to use it differently. The contents of the District Heads of Terms were minimal and they had the vendor wrong.
• A Deed of Surrender of Lease would go hand in hand with any transfer of the land. However town council was pursuing renewing the current Lease in tandem with these discussions in order to protect that claim.
• No document for the charity covering Cliff House Gardens as yet had been provided.
• A question was raised as to any revenue that could assist such as the Hockey Field but currently it was bringing in £400 pa.
• The Mayor requested that all legal elements together with the Heads of Terms be routed through the town council solicitor. Town council would then deal with the fact finding elements such as ongoing costs for maintaining the properties and whether any structural surveys had been carried out by liaising directly with District Council.
• It was requested that it be ascertained how important it was that town council take this land on. If charity and trust protection was sufficient and its ongoing use set in stone then surely town council did not need to take it on. Reporting at this meeting had already highlighted a lack of maintenance on these areas by District so town council were asked to consider it another way as to whether having such open space under town council control they could make areas look better even though there would be a cost involved. District was running out of money but the Mayor’s biggest concern was structural problems especially at Cliff House Gardens and Cllr Lang included Cross Park walls in this. Cllr Lennox suggested that all needed to be researched to ascertain what state they would be handed back by District and obtain enough information to go back to residents with options.
• Play equipment in Courtney Park would be replaced by District advised Cllr Mrs Turton as Dist Cllr Mrs Pearce also advised there was some public open space money to be designated. Dist Cllr Wright felt District would replace the equipment if town council took on the asset together with the assistance from funds from the section 106 monies that Town Council could use. The offer was on the table and the District Councillors noted District was very keen that whatever land that had been gifted was offered back.
• However some of those present felt it was all costs and no income coming back (i.e. car parks). A lot of money was gleaned from car parks in Salcombe and they were second only to Totnes so this was a lot of money from this community. A lot of that income could go to maintain these assets and town council did not have this sort of money to maintain with. The Mayor did not feel the town should take on these assets without some assurance of future income but this would come out in the negotiations. Plot A he continued was a deal breaker as the town could not allow an iconic bit of the Berry to be taken and developed. With regard to the Lease and The Berry it was question how this position would be affected if became West Devon and South Hams became one council.
It was AGREED that the next course of action would be as follows:
• For town council to request from District the cost of maintaining St. Dunstans, Courtney and Cross Park parks, Cliff House Gardens any additional outlay in or around these areas offered.
• For District to supply structural surveys and reports in terms of physical issues with these assets, to include the steps around Courtney Park too and town council should seek their own independent surveys and reports.
• To request the town council solicitor to investigate the issue with regard to the possessory title claimed across the middle of the Berry as town council has held this before and during the Lease.
• To also ask for a copy of the charity document covering Cliff House Gardens.
• Highlight to the solicitor that although referred to no information had been provided with regard to the other park called Cross Park
• Ask the solicitor to explain what sections of the Berry were safe due to the Trust/Charity and what could be done with other sections.
• For the solicitor to ascertain what District envisaged with regard to play equipment in Courtney Park and a commuted sum or return of car parks with regard to an income stream for maintenance.
Dist Cllrs Judy and Simon left meeting along with two other members of public plus Rob Wheeler.
139. COMMUNITY LIAISON
The proposals put forward by the working party for the set up and administration of the various forms of town council media and communication were received and it was AGREED:
• That media contacts should not have names and should remain generic
• Paragraph 4 was not accepted as to authorised group to speak to press
• Paragraph 5 it was noted that Councillors own opinions would still be perceived as being town councillors.
• Paragraph 6 No only report on behalf of the council as it was explained that residents may have a different view.
• Not agreed for additional meetings with the Kingsbridge Gazette
• Administrators should always consult with the town clerk before responding to items.
• Seven councillors to communicate with the press was too many and therefore not agreed
• To acknowledge the advice from Chris Derrick Kingsbridge Gazette that only one story be created on each item and then all other media outlets link, preferably through the website.
Chris Derrick and all members of the public left the meeting.
140. TECHNOLOGY WORKING GROUP
The proposals from the technology group were provided and it was AGREED that all equipment be purchased from Currys/PC World at expenditure up to the value of £2500 and suggested that the old machines had their hard drives removed and the machines donated to the primary school.
141. CIVIC LUNCH
The invitation process had historically included all past Citizens of the Year and various organisations as noted on the previous years list. The intention was to thank unpaid volunteers on this occasion and therefore it was AGREED as follows:Check with Harbour if could go to 100 if problem.
• Only the Citizen of the Year for the past year and current year would be invited each year
• Include Friends of Salcombe library only.
• Just RNLI and not Friends of the Lifeboat
• Only one invitation (plus guest) to the Church
• Noted WRVS now called RVS
142. LICENCE APPLICATION
The permission sought for Beach Rugby on South Sands Beach on 29th August was considered and it was AGREED to respond to District with the below comments:
This was proposed to be held the day after August Bank Holiday and schools did not go back until the following week. Due to the tides and plans of where this event was to be sited, low tide on that day was above the mean tide. A question should be raised as to where people attending would park due to the reduced parking at this point. The pitches needed to be higher up the beach and pitch 3 was full of stones and boats thereon at low tide so it was unplayable.
It was acknowledged this could be quite a fun afternoon but town council required more information, as to how many teams and how they were attracting them in view of parking and what was anticipated happening at 8p.m.. Also how were people going to get there with no parking.
143. MAYOR’S REPORT
The Mayor asked that if working groups were had meetings planned and they wanted something brought back to council could they please advise of the item for the agenda stating what was to be decided and when it was coming up (i.e. Mortuary group). He attended the Chamber of Commerce meeting and a there was a good deal of discussion on the proposals for the Quay in Kingsbridge.
Sea Sunday Service the Mayor and Deputy Mayor attended but there was very poor representation from other groups which may be due to the change of year when this was held. The Neighbourhoood Development Plan was progressing with some of the steering group recently meeting with Peter Sandover, planning consultant, to get to know him. At this meeting they did agree that in September they would have a workshop which would be structured and led by Peter Sandover and invite the wider Neighbourhood Plan Group together with town councillors. Proposed to be held 11th or 12th September in the evening. It was reaching a phase now when they were starting to put policies together and there would be consultations with various groups and the public, so councillors would need to be aware of this information and raise issues before it got too far down the line. The workshop would last no more than 1.5hrs maximum
During Regatta week the Mayor noted that the event of parachuting teddies from the second level of Cliff House Gardens down to the bottom level required a shrub to be cut back.
144. COUNCILLORS REPORTS
Cllrs Mrs Turton – Received a complaint about Devon Lane being completely blocked due to an overhanging bush or tree. Pete Robinson advised he had seen a contractor cutting it this afternoon. She continued to offer an official acknowledgement and thank you to her husband for clearing all the weeds and overhanging vegetation on the steps down Baptist Lane to Courtney Park to reveal the handrail.
Cllr Mrs Sinnott – Noted the corner of Ackland Hill house hedge was pushing pedestrians out into Ackland Road/Allenhayes on a dangerous bend. She also thanked Cllr Whitfield for all his work to ensure the refilling of the Whitestrand ATM (further information in Town Clerk report below).
Cllr Armstrong left the meeting to attend to work.
Cllr Mrs Kemp – Onslow Road just before Bonaventure the buddleia was pushing pedestrians off the pavement out into the road. Onslow Road pavement was also in a disgusting state as there was a broken bottle on the pavement which arrived a couple of months ago. Bits had been kicked in but the glass was still there. Cllr Armstrong noted they had not had the roadsweeper in Camperdown Road either. The Mayor suggested that the District hit Squad be asked to attend to this to see if they came.
Island Street was full of A boards and when traffic came along and two vans wanted to pass nobody could walk past. She had challenged the DIY shop and told them they should not have them in the way and that County would take them away. It was noted that town council had tried before but County enforcement did not seem to be interested. Others noted the Eye Centre and others along Victoria Quay added to the problem.
A letter would be sent to County Council to state town council was very concerned in order that this had been formally advised and noted.
Cllr Mrs Bricknell – Grenville Road to Bonaventure was full of weeds again and was in an appalling state and did not seem as though it had been sprayed. She did acknowledge all the work that John the sweeper had done. The owner of Dower House had said he would do the hedge on his side as well. A request for the maintenance team to come down again and discuss this would be made. The newly renovated path down to Onslow Road had weeds down the sides and County would be notified.
The drains at Spar and Coronation Road were blocked but County said they would not redo these for another 3 years. She had been present when a caravan tried to get into the Park & Ride and drove his car into the car park and therefore his caravan hit the barrier. The person was unhappy and then three people had to help him manoeuvre it round and hitch it back up again.
• Pete Robinson had visited Bonfire Hill cemetery and considered the area with regard to mole damage. He had not been aware of any disturbance of the graves but the complainant explained that she had reinstated the damage. Kingsbridge Town Council advised that they had suffered severe problems historically and had employed a local mole catcher and had since not had a problem. Each visit by the mole catcher would cost approximately £25.00 and it was felt that he should be contacted and asked to attend for advice and/or a quote and to include The Berry on his survey.
• The Library had requested an overview of the Cliff House Trust’s fire risk assessment and it was felt it was poor. The balcony could not be considered a place of safety, merely somewhere to retreat to if access to the stairs was blocked. The flats above the library could not be accessed as a fire escape route. There was no real need for an evacuation chair to assist those with poor mobility as in reality it would be quicker to help people down the stairs rather than get to grips with the chair. The alternative escape route, if the position of the fire prevented use of the stairs, was through a door to the Yacht Club. However, due to furniture stored in this passageway, this would not at present allow enough room for people to get through. The advice was to contact Cliff House Trust and ask for this to be cleared immediately and permanently. Due to the newly installed fire detection system, the presence of a fire in the corridor between the stairs and the council and library offices should be discovered in plenty of time to evacuate the area before the fire became severe. However this was dependent on Cliff House Trust maintaining the system adequately. In the light of this shared information town council wished the town clerk to write advising of concerns.
• Due to complaints of no cash in the machine the ATM operator advised it was transacting well and they cash loaded on Friday but demand was high with the cash lasting until Sunday afternoon prior to them filling again first thing Monday morning. They had supported Salcombe town post bank closure and would continue to support going forward by investing £20,000 in installing a 2nd ATM in the town. The only way they could achieve this was by taking the existing ATM out of action to allow them to fit the additional ATM; this was scheduled to happen on the 7th August and should the works go as planned they would return to service on 11th August. It was not ideal however in the long term having 2 operational ATMs in the town would provide that much needed assurance that customers had access to cash 365 days a year. Road Closure and too many people around. It was noted that Salcombe was busy from the beginning of July to the end of August. Town Council wished to know whether works could be carried out over night but not on Thursday 10th August due to the firework display. Preferably not Regatta week.
• It was requested by a councillor that the New Water Quality Animation be uploaded to Town Council website and permission has been sought from AONB Team. Nigel Mortimer advised that most just grabbed an image in the film and the link was embedded in that but if not possible the link was: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bSrgPLkvP8Q and only this needed to be on the town council website.
• District Council advised that the Salcombe Regatta committee had requested closure and use of Whitestrand Car Park from the 6th – 11th August between 11.30 and 6p.m. Comments?
Current Account £500.00
Deposit Account £294,536.53
Councillors APPROVED Internet payments to:
Greenscape – Grass maintenance June £474.33
Bayleaf Gardening – Jubilee Gardens £546.98
Claydon – Postage and meeting drinks £12.16
SHDC – Bonfire Hill Cemetery Refuse £18.75
Foot Anstey – Further legal fees £2547.86
146. NEXT MEETING
The next meeting would be held on Wednesday 26th July 2017 in the Library at Cliff House, Cliff Road, Salcombe at 6.30p.m.
Meeting Closed: 21.27p.m.
……………………………………………….. 26th July 2016.