1st March 2021 Town Council Minutes – Draft

Minutes of the meeting held on Monday 1st March 2021 at 7pm via video conferencing.

Present: Cllrs Mike Facey (Chair), Andy Brewer, Bill Hancock, Nick Tolley, Chris Allen, Sue Barber, Dawn Carey, Peter Clayton, Phil Harvey, Sue Harvey, Andy Hodge, Janet Keen, Alan Matthews, Mike Murphy, Colette Winfield with Sam Winter, Town Clerk and Sally Jones, RFO in attendance

Two members of the public were present and one member of the media.

Public Participation

The meeting heard a guest speaker who detailed the positon with regards the impending closure of St Andrews ward in Wells that helps people in need of support with their mental health. The meeting heard how closure of the ward would disadvantage local communities and those who require help but rely on public transport. Members were asked for their support in objecting to the closure by writing to the clinical commissioning group & signing a petition.    

19/21/TC       Apologies

                        Cllr Louise Parkin

                        Cllr Helen Groves was absent

20/21/TC       Declarations of Interest in items on this agenda & dispensations granted

There were no declarations made.

21/21/TC       Approval of Minutes

The minutes of the Town Council Meeting held on 1st February 2021 were approved and signed by the Chairman as a correct record.

22/21/TC       Action List

The Action List was noted as completed

23/21/TC       Report from the Police

The town clerk relayed a report from the Police to notify that the neighbourhood policing team is working on new plans for the roadmap out of restrictions and looking at how policing is going to respond to re-opening of business and the increase in public being out and about. Plans include Operation Goldcoast that relates to Police resourcing for Brean, which is expected to be busy with holiday makers, requiring greater police-public engagement.

24/21/TC       Chairman’s announcements

The Chairman reported that despite lockdown, he is keeping busy with safe engagement. He reiterated that the council is pleased to support the volunteer group who continue to help with the vaccination efforts and expressed thanks to all front line workers. 

25/21/TC       Reports from county cllrs on county council matters

Cllr Peter Clayton provided a written report that updated the meeting on county council matters, including those that relate to efforts to control the pandemic.

26/21/TC       Reports from district cllrs on district council matters

Members received a report from Cllr P Harvey who stated that the Sedgemoor DC budget had been agreed, resulting in an increase to the Band D charge. He reminded the meeting that the LGR consultation has started but the Govt. has not identified parish and town councils as statutory consultees.  

27/21/TC       Reports from town councillor representatives appointed to outside bodies

Members received a report from Cllr Allen who had attended the Visit Somerset AGM where it was confirmed that improvements are being made to its website. She additionally reported that the county council had agreed to take responsibility for the costs of the 67 bus and not to charge parishes for the financially unviable route between Wedmore and Burnham.

Motions for note/resolution

28/21/TC       To note the review and renewal of the Town Council insurance policy

The meeting noted the renewal.

29/21/TC       To receive and approve the updated Asset register

The meeting received and approved the asset register.

30/21/TC       To receive a proposal from Cllr Hodge that seeks to agree the council’s position on social distancing and other public health safety measures in the high street.

The meeting heard from Cllr Hodge who made it clear that his comments were not to form a future long term debate on the high street and were strictly related to the pandemic.

Cllr Hodge stated that the council’s current position in the pandemic is very different to where it was this time last year and that there is now a wider understanding and employment of mask wearing, hand sanitisation and social distancing. He recognised that improved knowledge surrounding reduced transmission of the virus in external environments has formed the initial steps of the government roadmap to recovery, suggesting that social distancing restrictions could be lifted before the main summer period.

Cllr Hodge stated that this council will continue to provide and replenish hand sanitiser stations along high streets.

Discussion with business stakeholder groups has indicated that the high street will open in-line with the government roadmap, following guidelines to ensure a safe shopping environments in stores and at this stage there appears to be no desire or reason to make any significant changes to the high street beyond employing reinforcing messaging in line with the government recommendations and providing sanitisation stations.

It was proposed, seconded and resolved that the matter of pandemic measure on the high street should be delegated to the Town Improvements Committee to enable it to review and revise the council’s position in relation to any new threats or delays to the roadmap.

31/21/TC       To note that the provisional date of the Annual Parish Meeting scheduled for 19th April will be changed to Monday 24th May 2021 (subject to public health requirements).

The meeting noted the revised provisional date and heard that local councils are still waiting for a definitive decision on whether indoor face to face public gatherings will be permitted from 7th May, once the Coronavirus Regulations cease to be in effect.

32/21/TC       To receive a report with a recommendation from the Town Improvements Seafront sub-committee that the council permits a request to the CIM Board to reallocate c.£35,808 grant fund allocated to seafront shelters to other Burnham Evolution projects with a funding shortfall.

The meeting received a detailed report to explain that the council has a sum of money allocated to work on shelters that can’t progress, yet has other projects that are facing a shortfall in funding due to price and permissions changes since 2018.

It was proposed, seconded and resolved that authority is given to the town clerk to administer an application to the CIM Board for adjustment in agreed funding budgets.

33/21/TC       To consider using available staffing budget to move to a paperless meetings management system, with the provision of IT devices to councillors.

The meeting received a report detailing how the implementation of sector specific meetings management software will enable the council to be environmentally and legally progressive in how it operates whilst saving many staff hours; over 21600 A4 sheets of paper per year; and at least £1083 per year over the existing paper process.

Discussion confirmed that training and support for all levels of IT ability is included in the cost, that the Ibabs system is compatible with the existing IT system and that the HR sub-committee has approved that available funds held in the staffing budget can be used to cover the costs of the system (£2640) and purchase of devices (£3339) in full.

It was proposed, seconded and resolved to proceed with moving the council to the paper-free Ibabs meetings system.

34/21/TC       To receive the interim internal audit report

The meeting received the interim audit and heard that the auditor praised the council on its excellent risk report, which is used as an example of excellence to share with other councils. The council was also complemented on its strong paper-free process for making online payments.

Financial Reports

35/21/TC       To receive and approve the details of expenditure for January 2021

The details of expenditure for January 2021, were received and approved.

36/21/TC       To approve the Town Council accounts including the up to date Ear Marked report for the month of January 2021

The Town Council accounts and EMR report for the month of January 2021, were received and approved

37/21/TC       Minutes of previous committee meetings:

It was acknowledged that the minutes of committees had been circulated and received.

38/21/TC       Correspondence

The list of items of correspondence was received.

39/21/TC       Date of Next meetings

The dates were noted as listed, including the changes of the dates for the Planning Committee.

It was noted that the next town council meeting will be held on 10th May 2021 at 7pm.

The Chairman closed the meeting at 19:50

The Mayor Councillor Mike Facey said “It was with sadness that Burnham-on-Sea and Highbridge Town Council learnt of the death of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.”

The flags in the towns of Burnham and Highbridge will be flown at half-mast during this time of national mourning.

Online Book of Condolence

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