Minutes of the meeting held on Monday 3rd February 2020 at 7pm in the Council Chamber, The Old Courthouse, Jaycroft Road, Burnham-on-Sea.
Present: Cllr Andy Brewer (Chair) and Cllrs Bill Hancock, Chris Allen, Sue Barber, Peter Clayton, Mike Facey, Helen Groves, Phil Harvey, Sue Harvey, Janet Keen, Alan Matthews, Mike Murphy, Louise Parkin, Colette Winfield with Samantha Winter, Town Clerk, Sally Jones, RFO and Lorna Brewer, Admin Officer
The Mayor’s Chaplain, Rev Kelton Black, County Cllr Woodman, 1 member of press and 10 members of the public were in attendance
Public participation session
A resident addressed the meeting on the subject of the Budget for 2020/21 and requested that the Council explains what the increase in the precept will be spent on and how the benefit to the community will be measured.
Apologies were received from Cllrs Rich Gardiner-White, Andy Hodge, Dawn Carey and Nick Tolley
02/20/TC Declarations of Interest in items on this agenda & dispensations granted
Cllrs Brewer and Keen declared an interest in item 10/20 as Trustees of Morland Hall.
Cllr Keen noted that, in relation to correspondence received, she is a trustee of the Citizens’ Advice group.
03/20/TC Approval of Minutes
The minutes of the Town Council meeting held on Monday 11th November 2019 were approved as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.
04/20/TC Action List
No actions are outstanding
05/20/TC Report from the Police
Sgt Ash Catlow introduced himself as the new Neighbourhood Sergeant. He reported that the PCSO team had been working closely with Sedgemoor District Council to alleviate the problems of anti-social behaviour at the Pier Street car park. He stated that there were 5 calls made to report problems in January 2020, which is lower than previous periods.
Ongoing preventative measures were being sought, including security and installation of ANPR cameras at the car park.
It was confirmed that problems associated with HGVs parking overnight in the car park had not been reported to the Police but would be an enforcement issue for Sedgemoor District Council.
06/20/TC Chairman’s Announcements
The Chairman reported that December had been really busy, attending many Christmas events, including 6 Carol services. Thanks were expressed for the support received from his Deputies and their Mayoresses. The Christmas Day visits were a success and the Chairman acknowledged the many staff that were happy to work on Christmas Day, at the Hospital and Care homes. A special mention for the voluntary group at St Andrew’s Church Hall who cooked and served Christmas Dinner to people who would otherwise be on their own. Special thanks were given to local businesses who had supported this by donating food and raffle prizes.
Events attended included the Pantomime and Go Socialise Anniversary event.
He announced that Burnham-on-Sea was once more a Finalist in the Most Coach Friendly Destination Category of the Coach Tourism Awards.
The Mayor’s Charity Fundraiser in aid of TS Dulverton, B&H Sea Cadets Unit, would be held on Saturday 18th April. It will be a sponsored rowing competition. The support of Councillors is requested, more details to follow.
07/20/TC Reports from County Cllrs on County Council relevant matters
Cllr Clayton submitted a written report to the meeting.
County Cllr Woodman reported that questions had been raised with him regarding the 67 bus and he will send the Clerk relevant information.
08/20/TC Reports from District Cllrs on District Council relevant matters
There were no reports.
09/20/TC Reports from members attending meetings of outside bodies
There were no reports.
Motions for note/resolution
10/20/TC To consider supporting the library service’s provision at the Morland Hub to bring digital experiences to young people and adults.
A representative of the Hub explained that the library initiative will bring free, new digital experiences to young people and adults who might not ordinarily have the opportunity to explore the equipment available.
The funding will enable the Morland Hub to be hired fortnightly on a Saturday from 2pm until 5pm. A Library Service Outreach Officer will attend the sessions, bringing state of the art equipment such as a 3D Printer, Virtual Reality Headset, 3D pens for families to experience.
It was resolved to grant the Morland Hub £1,500 to support this initiative for a year.
11/20/TC To note the ongoing position regarding local government reorganisation in Somerset and to raise any points for discussion.
Members noted that this matter is subject to ongoing discussion at county and district levels. This Council remains alert to the potential of functions being devolved to parishes and will engage in conversations with relevant bodies regarding any associated financial implications. The Clerk confirmed she will be attending a meeting of clerks to larger councils to discuss this matter, and will report back to the Council in due course.
12/20/TC To receive a report on the Rural Services Network(RSN) and resolve whether to become a member of a Rural Market/Towns Group.
The meeting considered a report detailing an invitation from the RSN to join a Rural Market/Towns Group set up within the Network for the purposes of calling on the Government to give special consideration to rural matters under a Rural Strategy.
It was resolved to join a Rural Towns Group at a cost of £150 per annum, with Cllr Chris Allen nominated to be the Town Council representative.
13/20/TC To receive a recommendation from the Finances & Resources Committee to adopt the Financial Regulations, as reviewed by the National Association of Local Council.
It was resolved to adopt the Financial Regulations.
14/20/TC To receive a recommendation from the Finances & Resources Committee to adopt the Risk Report for Financial Management
It was resolved to adopt the Risk report for Financial Management.
15/20/TC To approve the 2020/21 budget, as reviewed and recommended by the Finance & Resources Committee
The Chairman of the Finance & Resources Committee was invited to address the meeting regarding the budget recommendations and stated that this Council is united in its ambition to improve and increase the services it offers to benefit the community and that the 20/21 budget is a start on that ambitious journey.
The meeting heard that the budget in previous years has been lean and the Council appreciates that if it wants to learn from the successes of other ambitious towns then it must, this coming year, lay the foundations to enable improvement.
The meeting heard that the 20/21 budget proposals have evolved from continuous discussion since the new Council was elected in May last year and it has been mindful to keep increases in the precept to a minimum through reallocation of reserves and changes to working methods.
Members were reminded that they have had every opportunity to meet with officers and each other; to speak out and offer informed opinion. The Committee Chairman noted that collaborative working and cross-party agreement has subsequently resulted in a budget that has not required opposition and debate.
The Chairman of the Human Resources Committee addressed the meeting regarding the 20/21 budget increase in staffing levels and reminded the meeting that the Council can only achieve its goals identified under the emerging Corporate Plan if it has the staff to action resolutions. He noted that minimal staff means minimal capacity for action, and that with uncertainty over local government reorganisation and a possibility of devolved functions, it was stated that the Council must be alert to staffing capacity.
Councillors commented on new staff roles and work areas and noted the advantages those work areas will bring to both towns.
It was further acknowledged that, if the Council creates a town hall in a more accessible location, it will see more people, host more events and increase public services by being available for useful signposting. It was noted that with greater engagement comes a greater volume of enquiries and that staff will manage a new website with improved communications, including electronic newsletters and social media functions.
It was resolved to approve the 2020/21 budget.
16/20/TC To approve the £718,211 precept demand
It was resolved to approve the precept demand of £718,211.
17/20/TC To approve the schedule of Council meetings in 2020/21
It was resolved to approve the dates recognising that there might be amendments required during the year according to business need
18/20/TC To note that an application has been made to take the Council gazebo to the 23rd May eat:festivals food festival
It was noted that the office will shortly be inviting councillors to agree their attendance at the festival.
19/20/TC The September 2019 certificate of the external auditor was received.
20/20/TC The details of expenditure during December 2019 were received and approved
21/20/TC The Town Council Accounts for the month of December 2019 were received and approved
22/20/TC Minutes of previous committee meetings:
It was noted that the minutes of the following committees had been circulated and received.
- Burial Committee held on Wednesday 13th November 2019 (draft)
- Town Improvements Committee held on Monday 18th November 2019
- Planning Committee held on Wednesday 20th November 2019
- Finance and Resources Committee held on Monday 25th November 2019
- Princess Management Committee held on Monday 2nd December 2019 (draft)
- Planning Committee held on Wednesday 18th December 2019 (draft)
- Finance and Resources Committee held on Monday 13th January 2020 (draft)
- Town Improvements Committee held on Monday 20th January 2020 (draft)
23/20/TC Items of correspondence were noted as received.
Dates of Next meetings
24/20/TC The dates were noted.
Monday 10th Princess Management Committee
Thursday 13th Human Resources
Monday 17th Burial Committee
Monday 24th Planning Committee
Monday 2nd March Next Town Council Meeting
The Chairman closed the meeting at 20:17hrs.