Burnham-on-Sea & Highbridge Town Council

23rd March 2020 – Extraordinary Town Council Meeting


Minutes of the extraordinary meeting held on Monday 23rd March 2020.

In order to follow Government guidelines to protect public health, and to maintain democratic input from elected members, this meeting was conducted remotely using email. The exchange of information was coordinated and recorded by the Chairman and Town Clerk.

Comments received and shared from: Cllr Andy Brewer (Chairman), with Cllrs Nick Tolley, Dawn Carey, Peter Clayton, Sue Barber, Phil Harvey, Chris Allen, Sue Harvey, Colette Winfield, Janet Keen, Helen Groves, Mike Murphy, Andy Hodge and Louise Parkin.

  • 46/20/TC Apologies Cllrs Mike Facey, Rich Gardiner White, Bill Hancock, & Alan Matthews
  • 47/20/TC Declarations of Interest in items on this agenda & dispensations granted

Motions for note/resolution

  • 48/20/TC To consider a business continuity proposal from the Town Clerk:
    The meeting considered the motion and, in light of the Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic and Government advice, it was resolved that:
  • (a) Should the council be unable to meet for whatever reason, the Town Clerk is given delegated authority to progress all ongoing matters and projects and authorise all regular payments and incur expenditure in line with the council’s agreed budget.

    Cllr Brewer proposed an amendment to the wording, to read, ‘due to exceptional circumstances’ instead of ‘for whatever reason’. It was agreed that the motion should not be qualified or restricted. The proposal was defeated, and the original wording was resolved.
  • (b) Any decisions taken under resolution (a) above will be taken, whenever possible, in consultation with the Chairman and Deputy Chairman of Council or the relevant committee chairman (if appropriate). A record of all decisions and expenditure incurred under delegated authority will be kept and reported to members when the council next meets.

    It was confirmed by the Chairman that, the procedure for delegation is as laid out in the motion and that full notes of any decision taken will be published online much the same way as minutes. Whereas the clerk will always endeavour to email all councillors for views before taking a decision, the law requires a formal delegation to an officer.
  • (c) The authority to decide the Council’s response to planning applications is delegated to the Deputy Clerk, in consultation with the Chairman of the Planning Committee and Deputy Chairman of the committee. Whenever possible, members of the Planning Committee (or Council in the case of large applications) will be informed of applications out for consultation and will be invited to submit comments to the Deputy Clerk.
  • (d) The provisions outlined in resolutions (a-c) above will override any requirements to the contrary in the council’s standing orders, financial regulations or terms of reference.
  • (e) In the interest of staff, volunteer and public safety the Council office is closed to the public, except by appointment.
  • (f) In line with government advice, staff will be encouraged to work from home where possible.
  • (g) Should the Town Clerk be unable to perform her duties, the Deputy Clerk will be Proper Officer.
  • (h) Should the Town Clerk and Responsible Financial Officer not be able to perform their duties, the Deputy Town Clerk will assume the responsibilities of RFO for the purposes of making payments and meeting deadlines.
  • (i) The Town Clerk, in consultation with the Chairman of Council and Chairman of the Finance & Resources Committee, may incur expenditure from the grants earmarked reserve where such expenditure will help the community’s efforts to support those in need of assistance or prevent social isolation.
  • (j) Should government allow councils to meet virtually (online), the Council will take all reasonable steps to facilitate this.
  • 49/20/TC To consider a proposal from Cllr Phil Harvey & Cllr Peter Clayton that the Council approves that an initial sum of £5,000 is earmarked from the grants budget to give emergency assistance, if required, to the Highbridge based food bank.

    Proposed by Cllrs Phil Harvey & Cllr Peter Clayton Seconded by Cllr Dawn Carey

    It was resolved to approve the motion.
  • 50/20/TC Date of Next meeting To be confirmed.

The Chairman closed the meeting at 20:26hrs.

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