The Horrabridge Neighbourhood Plan movement continues, following a meeting in the village hall on Tuesday (August 1, 2017).
Parish councillors Steve Roche and Eric Hemsil, who organised the meeting, were encouraged by a turn-out of about 35.
They made clear they wanted to press on, despite the National Park Authority trying to persuade them they would be better off using existing channels to challenge planning decisions.
They had concluded that theNPA wanted to stop Horrabridge having its own Neighbourhood Plan because it would be inconveniently effective.
Clive McGavin, resident on Whitchurch Road, said that Buckland Parish, the first around here to complete a plan, had already influenced a housing allocation decision by quoting local opinion in favour of Buckland Monachorum rather than Crapstone.
Cllr Roche said the parish council had backed exploration of a Horrabridge Neighbourhood Plan and there was no need to revisit that decision yet. He would be behind the project “to the end”.
He put himself forward as caretaker co-ordinator until the Steering Group – so far just a loose collection of interests – was ready to appoint its own.
Sean Lakeman, from Bedford Green corner, suggested using existing social media platforms for discussion.
Cllr Hemsil said that might happen later. But first they needed a comprehensive house-by-house survey of local opinion done the old-fashioned way, with questionnaires and follow-up calls – followed by a paper-based vote when there were proposals to decide on.
Cllr Roche said the project needed its own website and there was grant money available to fund a professional job. Meanwhile, a list of email addresses would be useful.
Clive McGavin volunteered to collect emails. He is email@example.com
The Horrabridge Times would like a list of readers’ emails anyway. Support this site by sending yours via the Comment box below or, privately, to firstname.lastname@example.org – and say if you are happy to have it passed on to Clive.
The public discussion raised the parking issue again, with the prospect of a number of vehicles having to move on from the Leaping Salmon. Cllr Roche said it would be considered, but parking space was not cheap. Castle Drogo had been given some land for free but it still cost £30,000 for Devon County Council to make six spaces out of it.
There was a complaint about maintenance of the current burial ground and Cllr Hemsil said the subject would be on the agenda for the next parish council meeting, August 8. But any improvement would mean finding the money for more hours for the village handyman or putting pressure on grave owners to do more work for themselves.
There were questions about the £100,000 pot from the Walkham Meadows housing deal. Cllr Hemsil said there might eventually be some crossover between the decision on how to spend it and the aims of the Neighbourhod Plan. For the time being, however, it was a separate matter. The original deadline for ideas was yesterday but it has been extended. Cllrs Doreen Keane and Tracy Lear are collecting suggestions.
Cllr Roche said the Dartmoor NPA wanted to see at least 36 more houses in Horrabridge over the next 20 years, on top of 950 existing – not a huge obligation but Horrabridge might as well have a say in where they go. One approved possibility was a site uphill from Youldon Way. Another was a riverside field opposite Walkham Meadows.
Cllr Roche did not mention it but there is also some negotiating going on over Dostabrook Field, off the Whitchurch Road.
Andy Stewart, chairman of the recreation fields trust, said developments outside the village but impacting on it – like the substantial new housing development under way at Woolwell, Plymouth, and the one proposed for Tavistock – were at least equally important. A Neighbourhood Plan would give the village a way to argue against more overspill from the A386.
The meeting ended without a vote but apparently with assent to Cllr Roche going ahead with preparation of a questionnaire based on the Buckland model, but shorter.