2nd August 2021 Town Council – Draft

MINUTES: TOWN COUNCIL

Minutes of the meeting held on 2nd August 2021 7pm at The Old Courthouse, Jaycroft Road, Burnham-on-Sea.

Present: Cllrs Mike Facey (Chair), Andy Brewer, Nick Tolley, Chris Allen, Peter Clayton, Julie Flurry, Phil Harvey, Andy Hodge, Janet Keen, Alan Matthews, Mike Murphy, Louise Parkin, Colette Winfield with Sam Winter, Town Clerk, and Sally Jones, Responsible Finance Officer, in attendance.

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

The meeting agreed to change the order of agenda items to first hear a report from Police.

100/21/TC     Report from the Police

The meeting heard that Police response officers are now based in Burnham-on-Sea police station, which means that locals should see quicker response times. The numbers of calls from the public to Police were shared and it was identified that locally reported incidents remain low.  It was confirmed that Police are working alongside other agencies to tackle crime and support those who end up in the criminal justice system.   It was confirmed that the Police are actively working with multiple agencies to resolve the anti-social behaviour issues in the centre of Highbridge, not to simply move-on those involved. However, reports to Police of ASB in this area are low and residents are therefore encouraged to report all non-urgent incidents of ASB on 101 so that the Police can allocate appropriate resources. It was stated that the Police have scheduled a couple of days of action in Highbridge to tackle ASB using Police powers and must balance robust action with consideration of the surrounding issues affecting those involved.

Public Participation

The meeting heard from a resident with regards agenda item 8.4 (min ref: 112/21/TC). The resident disagreed with the suggested change that would see the public speaking time during a meeting used to hear only representations on items on the agenda and expressed a preference to instead including a standing item within the agenda where any subject matters raised by the public are addressed.

101/21/TC     Apologies

                        Cllr Bill Hancock, Cllr Sue Barber, Cllr Dawn Carey, Cllr Sue Harvey and Cllr Helen Groves

102/21/TC     Declarations of Interest in items on this agenda & dispensations granted

                        There were no declarations made.

103/21/TC     Approval of Minutes

The minutes of the Town Council Meeting held on 21st June 2021 were approved and signed by the Chairman as a correct record.

104/21/TC     Action List

                        The Action List was noted

105/21/TC     Chairman’s announcements

The Chairman was delighted to report that he had launched a charity event at the Lighthouse Inn, Burnham-on-Sea, in support of the Mayor’s charity, In Charley’s Memory. The Lighthouse’s Fun Day held in July had raised an impressive £460 for the Highbridge based mental health charity, which is also being supported by fundraising efforts at The Crossways Inn, West Huntspill and The Puriton Inn, Puriton.

106/21/TC     Reports from county councillors on county council matters

Members received a report from Cllr Clayton regarding the recent unitary decision announced by the Secretary of State.

107/21/TC     Reports from district councillors on district council matters

There were no reports.

108/21/TC     Reports from town councillor representatives appointed to outside bodies

Members received a report from Cllr Winfield to state that she had attended the Highbridge Festival of Arts AGM

 Motions for note/resolution

109/21/TC     To consider taking part in The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Beacons event on 2nd June 2022.   

It was resolved to refer the item to the Town Improvements Committee to be considered and actioned, potentially in collaboration with other parishes.

110/21/TC     To note that the Burnham Visitor Information Centre is planning to organise a Burnham Jubilee event in June 2022 and invites event ideas from councillors

The meeting noted this event and councillors were requested to contact the VIC manager direct with event ideas.

112/21/TC     To approve the adoption of a new and revised format for agendas, ahead of the implementation of electronic meetings papers

Discussion focussed on the suggested changes to include a public participation session within the main body of the meeting, and that the public comments voiced at the meeting are kept to matters on the agenda. It was acknowledged that a town council meeting is not permitted in law to resolve an item raised that is not on the agenda and is subject to notice requirements. The meeting was reminded that NALC’s model standing order relating to public participation states that the public may make representations in respect of business on the agenda.

Councillors shared their personal experiences and practice to always speak with and try to assist any resident who makes contact with them outside of a meeting. It was noted that residents are free to choose to approach any councillor, not just the ward member. Opinion during discussion was split between those who supported that the public participation session is used to hear public comments about items on the agenda so that the comments can be used in discussion and decision-making, and those who supported retaining the status quo of hearing the public’s comments on any subject matter, even without the lawful ability to debate and resolve that matter during the meeting.

It was proposed by Cllr P Harvey, seconded and resolved that a standing item should be added to agendas to consider the matters raised in the public participation session and determine what actions to take. The proposal was carried on the Chairman’s casting vote and does not change the existing standing orders.

The suggested change to include on committee agendas an item to receive information updates from the chair was welcomed, and the changes to the order of items generally was unchallenged.

113/21/TC     To hear from Cllr Allen on the Somerset County Council Bus Back Better Scheme

The meeting heard from Cllr Allen about Somerset County Council’s scheme and survey, as detailed on the town council website, and it was noted that Cllr Allen has been seeking out residents’ opinions to pass on to SCC. Councillors identified a number of difficulties with the existing bus provision relating to cost, frequency and the location of stops. It was requested that those councillors wishing to share feedback and suggestions direct them in writing to Cllr Allen for inclusion.

114/21/TC     To note the decision from the Secretary of State that a single unitary authority for Somerset will be formed and to receive an update on the discussion of the LGR working group.

The meeting heard that this town council has been put forward by the clerk and chairman to the One Somerset team to serve in the pilot of the new Local Community Network.

It was noted that the town council’s LGR working group had reviewed a list of assets and services under the ownership & management of existing principal councils and identified those the town council might be in a position to take on should it be appropriate. The working group’s focus had included consideration of potential changes to street cleaning, public toilets, car parks and the former SS&L building in Princess Street. The meeting heard that the town clerk was tasked with obtaining more detail on assets, liabilities and services to enable the working group to make recommendations to the council. It was noted that the office is arranging meetings with surrounding parishes to ascertain initial thoughts on how councils might work together.

                        Financial Reports

115/21/TC     To receive and approve the details of expenditure for May and June 2021

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

116/21/TC     To receive & approve the town council accounts and earmarked reserves up to the 30th June 2021

The Town Council accounts & EMRs for the month of June 2021, were received and approved

117/21/TC     Minutes of previous committee meetings:

It was noted that the minutes of the following committees had been circulated and received:

24th February 2021Burial Committee
13th April 2021Princess Management Committee
26th April 2021Finance and Resources Committee
17th May 2021Town Improvements Committee
2nd June 2021Planning Committee
23rd June 2021Planning Committee

118/21/TC     Correspondence

                        The list of items of correspondence was received.

119/21/TC     Date of Next meetings

The committee meeting dates were noted. The next town council meeting will be held on 4th October 2021 at 7pm.

The Chairman closed the meeting at 20:41

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