Minutes of the meeting held on Monday 2nd September 2019 at 7pm in the Council Chamber, The Old Courthouse, Jaycroft Road, Burnham-on-Sea
Present: Cllrs Andy Brewer (Chair), Bill Hancock, Sue Barber, Dawn Carey, Peter Clayton, Mike Facey, Rich Gardiner-White, Phil Harvey, Sue Harvey, Helen Groves, Nick Tolley, Andy Hodge, Chris Allen, Janet Keen, Alan Matthews, Mike Murphy, Louise Parkin, Colette Winfield with Samantha Winter, Town Clerk.
Rev Kelton Black, 2 members of press and 15 members of the public were in attendance.
Tribute to former councillors
Cllr Andy Brewer paid tribute to respected former Town Councillors Katie Lawson and Martin Cox who sadly passed away this year. Cllr Brewer remembered the good works of Katie and Martin and led a minute’s silence in their memory.
The following presentation was heard prior to the agenda:
The Chief Executive of Visit Somerset presented on the aims of Visit Somerset to include collaborative working with other bodies in order to promote the county as a destination for visitors. An invitation was expressed to the Town Council to participate in the Coastal Communities Strategy.
A number of observations and questions were addressed and the chairman confirmed that the possibility of working with Visit Somerset will be discussed as part of the Council’s emerging Corporate Strategy.
Cllr Clayton expressed regret if his conduct whilst speaking during the public participation session of the August Princess Management Committee meeting had caused offense. He apologised for interrupting a resident’s speaking time.
Public participation session:
- A resident thanked Cllr Clayton for his apology and in turn offered his apologies if his comments to the Princess Committee meeting had been “too harsh”. The resident thanked the staff for their help in providing financial information and stated that the Princess Theatre income is better than he had believed but that the deficit must still be reduced.
- A resident expressed concern that, in a town dependant on tourism, care must be taken to ensure the unique, independent shops on the high street are not lost. The resident stated that there are too few events being organised and suggested collaborative working to plan events & provide volunteers. The resident suggested that the sea lawns would benefit from flower planting.
- A resident requested that the District Council is asked to collect grass cuttings when the grounds staff undertake mowing so that the cuttings do not create a mess and block gutters.
Cllr Keen confirmed she will speak with the District Council and respond to the resident.
- A resident requested that the District Council is asked to increase the number of disabled parking bays across the parish car parks, along with improved signage. It was additionally suggested that the Town Council & Chambers of Trade request that car parks offer free parking at Christmas time.
Cllr Brewer notified the meeting that Somerset County Council is currently working with Sedgemoor District Council to assess parking across the towns and that principal councils are expected to hold a public consultation exercise in the autumn this year.
Apologies were received from:
None – All councillors were present.
89/19/TC Declarations of Interest in items on this agenda
There were no declarations made or dispensations given for items on this agenda.
90/19/TC Approval of minutes
- The minutes of the Town Council meeting held on 24th June 2019 were received and signed by the Chairman as an accurate record.
- The minutes of the extraordinary Town Council meeting held on 31st July 2019 were received and signed by the Chairman as an accurate record.
- The minutes of the extraordinary Town Council meeting held on 13th August 2019 were received and signed by the Chairman as an accurate record.
91/19/TC Action list
Members NOTED the Action List.
92/19/TC To receive reports from the police or other emergency services
For operational reasons the police were unable to attend the meeting but submitted a report stating it had been a busy summer period where they successfully targeted problem areas linked to incidents of Anti-social behaviour. Apex Park has seen a reduction in reports of ASB and the police have had excellent feedback in the national press about Burnham’s first ‘chat bench’.
93/19/TC Chairman’s announcements
Civic Awards 2019
Cllr Brewer announced that lots of nominations for a Civic Award had been received and that it is very encouraging to know there are so many people within the community doing so much for others, often with little or no recognition. The 2019 awards will be presented on 8th September at St Andrews Church, Burnham-on-Sea, to:
Janet Chalmers founded the ‘Knit & Natter group at St. Andrews Church, Secretary to Mothers Union group for 23 years, involved with Girl Guides and volunteered at Abbeyfield for 23 yrs.
Dom Gregory, Commanding Officer at TS Dulverton – Burnham & Highbridge Sea Cadets, where he has been a highly respected and active member for a number of years, taking over as CO 3 years ago.
David Parsons has been involved with RNLI for over 16 years, currently as Tractor Driver and assistant treasurer. Chairman & treasurer of Burnham Allotment Holders Association for over 28 yrs.
Bernard Spilsbury has been involved with Friends of Burnham War Memorial Hospital for over 10 years, the last 3 as Chairman. Also involved with the King Alfred Concert Band for over 10 years.
Cllr Brewer thanked the deputies for their support over the summer. He updated the meeting on his July visit to Germany with the Fritzlar Town Twinning Society, attendance at Apex Park Play Day, the Rescue Services Day, Burnham Summer Fete & BoS Fest.
Cllr Brewer thanked the RFO for the explanation concerning invoices and financial regulations given at the August extraordinary meeting. He emphasised the importance that all councillors read the guidance provided by the Town Clerk and reiterated the Towns Clerk’s plea that councillors make themselves familiar with the governance documents of the Town Council and attend training relevant to the role as holders of public office. Cllr Brewer noted that, to help improve openness and transparency, the Town Clerk is putting in place procedures to issue meeting papers approximately 7 days before Council meetings. Additionally, all non-confidential reports are added to the Town Council website. Councillors were requested to cooperate with and support council officers while they suggest and implement changes to ensure this Council acts lawfully and appropriately.
94/19/TC Reports from County Cllrs on County Council
Members received a report from Cllr Clayton, updating the Council on a number of County Council matters regarding the current work being undertaken, which included the provision of school buses, apprenticeships and the cross-party Stand Up for Care petition.
95/19/TC Reports from District Cllrs on District Council relevant matters
Members received a report from Cllr P Harvey on subjects including the Sedgemoor Transport Investment Strategy & the Task and Finish Group established to progress action on the climate change emergency. Cllr Harvey outlined proposed motions on Fracking, as well as improvements to infrastructure delivery arising from development and opposition to fire station closures and removal of fire engines.
Members received a report from Cllr Clayton, District Council Chairman, who outlined the events he had attended over the past month, including opening of The Castles and Coast way, turf cutting for the new hotel on the woodlands Business Park, greeting the new donkeys on Burnham Beach, opening of the meadowlands play area, the Apex Park Fun Day and raising the Green Flag at Apex Park and Marine cove.
96/19/TC Reports from members attending meetings of outside bodies
Members received a report from Cllr Brewer stating that the Chamber of Trade has scheduled a fundraising event for Saturday 29th Feb 2020 to raise funds for projects including Project Coach. The number of coaches visiting Burnham is encouraging, with a number of different coach companies visiting for the first time. An advertisement in the Coach Monthly magazine has raised the profile of Burnham-on-Sea as a destination and stopping point for coach travellers. Plans are being discussed for the installation of a shelter in the coach parking area of Pier Street car park which could provide an information point for visitors. Greater use could be made of the ‘Coach Friendly Status’ logo on tourism related literature.
Resolutions and items for note
97/19/TC Adoption of a Corporate Plan
It was resolved to approve the six strategic pillars of the Town Council’s Corporate Plan and to apply to it, before the end of the year, an estimated timescale with specific aims and budgets.
98/19/TC Recruitment of Projects Officer
A report was received from the Human Resources Committee detailing the staff workloads and requirement for an officer employed to progress the new and outstanding projects and tasks identified and agreed by the Council and its committees.
It was resolved to recruit a Projects Officer on SCP 13 (£22,021) on an initial one-year fixed term contract.
99/19/TC Motion proposed to amend standing orders
A motion was proposed to require the chairmen of committees to present a written report at each full council meeting in respect of the activities of that committee, and that any member of the Council may, without prior notice, question the committee chairman on any relevant matter included or referred to in the report.
Debate on the motion identified it as an opportunity to increase openness by updating the Council meeting and attendees on the work of the committee. Concerns were expressed that chairmen would be asked to take on a role greater and more time consuming than that ordinarily required. This was felt to negatively impact on chairman with busy roles outside the Council. Proposed by Cllr P Harvey Seconded by Cllr M Murphy No amendments were proposed and the motion was rejected.
100/19/TC Relocation of Council offices – Princess Theatre
A motion was proposed to explore options for relocating the Town Council office to the site of the Princess Theatre, whilst maintaining full use of the Theatre and Arts Centre as a community space.
It was noted that, as there is not currently sufficient room in the Princess, the building would require extension. Debate on the motion identified a concern that the existing parking area might be reduced. The possibility of extending upwards on the existing first floor was discussed and it was identified that the redundant store at the rear of the theatre building could be demolished or replaced to free up useable space.
An amendment to the original motion was proposed by Cllr P Harvey and accepted by Cllr Clayton to add the words “Without ruling out any other possibilities”.
Proposed by Cllr P Clayton
Seconded by Cllr P Harvey
It was resolved, without ruling out any other possibilities, to explore options for relocating the Town Council office to the site of the Princess Theatre, whilst maintaining full use of the Theatre and Arts Centre as a community space.
101/19/TC Relocation of Council offices – former SS&L building, Princess Street
Consideration was given to whether the Council should continue to explore the opportunity of relocating its offices to the Somerset County Council owned building in Princess Street, Burnham-on-Sea, when to do so requires the Town Council to contribute financially to the feasibility study commissioned by SCC.
Concern was expressed that the building as it stands is unsuitable for the Town Council and the total financial contribution required to explore the idea in more detail was considered costly and uncertain.
It was proposed and resolved not to contribute to the cost of the feasibility study and subsequently not to pursue the relocation of the Council offices to the SCC owned building.
102/19/TC Christmas lights
A report detailing the costs for installation of Christmas lights in Burnham-on-Sea was considered. It was acknowledged that in previous years the Burnham Chamber of Trade had applied to the Town Council for a grant to enable it to organise the installation of the Council’s lights at a discounted rate. The Chamber has not applied for a grant and is unable to carry out the installation for 2019.
During debate, concerns were expressed that the costs of the 2019 lights installation in Burnham is higher than in previous years and consideration had yet to be given to awarding a grant to the Chamber of Trade to organise the separate switch-on event. It was acknowledged that Christmas lights play an important part in the celebration of the festive period and that the Council has already resolved to seek out a longer term contracts for lights installation in future years. It was proposed and resolved to proceed with the installation of the Christmas lights in Burnham-on-Sea to a maximum cost of £6k to cover all associated repair and equipment, with available funds taken from the grant budget and topped up from reserves.
The chairman proposed that, in order to conclude the business on the agenda, standing orders were set aside to permit the meeting to continue in excess of 2 hours. It was resolved by a show of hands to set aside standing orders.
Cllr Carey left the meeting
103/19/TC The details of expenditure during June 2019 were receive and approved.
104/19/TC The Town Council Accounts for the month of June 2019 were received and approved.
Cllr Carey re-joined the meeting.
105/19/TC The draft minutes of the following committees were received, as circulated and published.
- Finance & Resources Committee meeting held on 1st July 2019
- Human Resources Committee meeting held on 6th August 2019
- Town Improvements Committee meeting held on 15th July 2019
- Princess Management Committee meeting held on 19th August 2019
- Planning Committee meetings held on 10th July & 5th August 2019
Cllr Groves left the meeting
106/19/TC Items of correspondence were noted as received.
Cllr Groves re-joined the meeting
Dates of next meetings
107/19/TC The dates were noted.
Monday 9th September Finance & Resources Committee
Monday 16th September Planning Committee
Monday 23rd September Town Improvements Committee
Thursday 3rd October Human Resources Committee
Monday 21st October Princess Management Committee
Monday 7nd Oct Town Council Meeting
All meetings held at 7pm in the Council Chamber
The chairman closed the meeting at 21:15.