COUNCIL STUMPS UP FOR WAR CROSS – and other business

Horrabridge Council this week pledged £1,000 to make up any shortage in the fund-raising for a meticulous overhaul of the village war memorial, starting early October.

Royal Navy man Andrew Collins organised it, with the backing of the Combined Service Group. But the necessary funds are not yet raised.

Cllr Eric Hemsil updated on the situation to the parish council’s monthly meeting on Tuesday Sept. 11.

He said: “Total cost is £2,160 and he has raised £685 and expects another £500 from a quiz night” (Sat. October 6). That leaves £1000 short. It’s a listed monument and we are responsible for its upkeep.”

After the meeting, Mr Collins posted on Facebook to say his collection was up to £1306. His online donation page is https://paypal.me/pools/c/85OY2MvvWD/

However, the council agreed to underwrite the project by setting aside £1,000 to guarantee payment if necessary. The only dissenter was Cllr Doreen Keane, who said it was un-necessary work. She had been quoted a couple of hundred for renewing the lettering and volunteers were only waiting to be asked to clean it up.

Seven of the council’s new line-up were present and six voted to commit the money.

The council also voted in favour of releasing up to £3,500 to commission an architect to make some suggestions and estimate costs for a rebuild of the Fillace Park sports pavilion and changing rooms. There are two contenders for the drawing contract so far and Cllr Andy Moorhead is talking to them to pin down the details of what their bids include, in terms of detailed costing. The council has £25,000 set aside and hopes to get something out of the Lottery Fund.

Councillors Mike Huda and Eric Hemsil were appointed to liaise with Horrabridge Rangers once the council officially takes back landlord responsibilities fot Fillace Park, which should be any day now.

The council went on to approve a number of improvements to the parish hall: new stair carpet and hoover, lighting improvements, new crockery and the installation costs of a boiler which the WI are prepared to buy.

Also, up to £500 for a hedging contractor to do some cutting back, between bus stop and Manor Garage, along Fillace Lane and Old Station Road, and elsewhere. And £224 for new signs around the village spaces. The old ones were thought to be so faded they were sometimes not even noticed, and inconsistent in their wording. The new ones will re-enforce the No Dogs rule for Weir Park and other areas. Chairman Paul Beard wondered if they should also say No Bikes, because cyclists did a lot of damage to the park turf. But nobody wanted to stop toddlers riding on the path and nobody could think of a simple rule to put on a sign, so that concern was left for another time.

A significant constitutional issue was also postponed for now – a debate on the council’s new Public Participation Policy, which has caused some confusion. In the public seats, Alan Berry, a prospective councillor who was turned down by a co-option committee on first application, was waiting for an answer to questions he raised about it. But Cllr Beard said he would have to wait for vice-chairman Steve Roche, who was absent.

However, Cllr Beard admitted he personally had his doubts about the way the PPP had been working out – effectively making it harder for the public to ask questions at council meetings. It would not be enforced for the time being and once some procedure for changes to standing orders had been observed, it would be reconsidered.

He said: “We rushed into it a little bit and I basically hate it. Twenty minutes of questions before a meeting and 15 after is good for communication.”

The biggest financial matter of the night was new play equipment for Weir Park. Some months ago, the council set aside £27,000 from the sale of land at Walkham Meadows to pay for a wheelchair swing and replace an old climbing frame with a pirate ship. After a lot of shopping around, Cllr Beard said the swing – originally costed at £14,000 – could be got and installed for about £700 and the play ship for £6,630 rather than £13,000. It was agreed to go ahead on that basis, meaning the council should be able to put £13,000 back into its contingency fund.

Cllr Adam Minns said parking outside the village shop and the old post office had held up an ambulance again recently. Yellow lines were not always popular but it had become essential to have them there. Cllr Beard said the council had tried for a 20-minute limit in the past but Devon Highways had come up with excuses why not, and it would be another year before there was another chance. Cllr Minns was deputed to talk to the local county councillor, Philip Sanders.

The allotment holders raised a complaint about the fencing between the new Walkham Meadows housing and their plots, which were being invaded by dogs. Devon & Cornwall Housing, now part of Liverty, had promised a solid lapped fence but the builder said he only had instructions for posts and rails. The clerk, Shane Honey, was appointed to chase the matter up.

Cllr Christine Edmondson reported on a successful campaign, to get Devon Highways to fill some village potholes, and asked the council to help chase them up over an ominous-looking patch of subsidence in Caradon Court, where rainwater is draining through to a hole underneath. She also appears to have got Highways to adjust their street lamp timings to make more sense, but the council will follow up on that too.

The council promised £300 towards another Fillace Park fireworks display, on October 26. The village Christmas lights party was scheduled for December 1.

Next meeting Tuesday October 9.

  • To support the Cavaliers’ quiz in aid of the war memorial effort, contact Bill Mullery: bmullery@tiscali.co.uk/

 

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