COUNCIL CALLED TO COURT – and more village business ….

Horrabridge Parish Council met on Tuesday this week and …

Gave £100 each to Citizens’ Advice and Radio Walkham – because they were the only two organisations to get applications in on time for support from the ratepayers.

Complained about more “stupid” decisions by Dartmoor planners.

Responded to the proposed new planning policy for Dartmoor and its allocation of land for Horrabridge housing.

and

Noted, without comment, that Horrabridge PC had been called to explain itself to a court – but revealed no details.

The meeting convened without council chairman Paul Beard, for the second month running, and his colleagues were not sure when he would be back. Meanwhile, a number of questions were deferred because only he knew the answers – including when the Christmas lights would be taken down. Three other councillors were also absent, leaving five to deal with the agenda.

January was the deadline for grant applications and the councillors decided to stick to it, although some obvious contenders, like the football club, had missed it. Radio Walkham got in just in time and was rewarded with £100. One member of the public said the opportunity could have been better advertised and a review of grants policy was promised. Another asked why the councillors’ register of interests did not include any mention of Radio Walkham although at least one (Mike Huda – not present at this meeting) appeared to be part of it. Deputy chairman Steve Roche said he would raise the question.

Cllr Roche, chair of the planning committee, said the parish had no objection to an extension being built behind the garage at Hildersley, 43 Station Road, near the Church Corner junction. But the council supported the stables application on Jordan Lane and Dartmoor NPA had refused that, for no obvious reason. Cllr Andrew Moorhead said the DNPA was wasting money fighting a development which would have bothered nobody. Cllr Roche said the DNPA had ignored the parish objection to the office pod at London House except for requiring it to be moved three feet. He commented: “It’s crazy. It would make more sense to give in and leave it where it is. This achieves nothing.”

Cllr Roche had drafted a comment on the Dartmoor plan which was agreed on as the HPC response. The summary is …

* The new housing at Walkham Meadows appears to have mopped up local need for subsidised housing for now and the DNPA needs another housing needs survey to prove that any more is needed.

* The DNPA is being wildly optimistic to think that several dozen houses might be built in the wet meadows beyond New Park and anyway it is not desirable to keep building beyond the bottleneck at the Walkhampton end of the village. The parish council wants the authority to revisit the possibilities at the other end – alongside the A386 on one side of the river and in Dostabrook Field, opposite the bottom of Old School Lane, on the other side.

* The DNPA is blocking reasonable development by insisting on 45 percent of housing being artificially made “affordable”. Building in floodland is expensive and only feasible if the buyers pay.

Cllr Moorhead reported on his ongoing efforts to tackle flooding down Jordan Lane. Horrabridge shares a “lengthsman”, a highways labourer, with neighbouring parishes, and he and Cllr Moorhead have identified where digging out of drains is required, but the owners of adjoining farmland have to be persuaded to co-operate. Inquiries on who is responsible are still in progress.

Cllr Moorhead also announced a meeting for allotment holders – Tuesday February 5, 7.30, parish hall. Cllr Hemsil said the parish needed to raise another £37,000 to balance next year’s budget and that would mean raising their tax on a Band B property by three percent for 2019-2020. The next parish council meeting will be Tuesday Feb. 12.

As for the court action, the only information was a short statement by Cllr Roche saying: “HPC has received a court claim but our solicitor says we should not be discussing it because it is going to court and anything said could be part of the evidence.”

Keep up to date on developments by reading the Horrabridge Times every week.

For the December council meeting report, click here

allfornow …

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Editor of The Horrabridge Times.

2 Comments

  1. I appreciate that central government continue to put the squeeze on local government so that it is local government that have to take all the flak of decisions made in Westminster, however, it would be useful to know why the shortfall was not foreseen ( or forecast in the past 2 years audits that have been surrendered ) or spending decisions and debates. As I recall, some 4 years ago, I pointed out that HPC had previously had somewhere in the region of £48,000 at bank ( no doubt due to past prudent decision making ) with the balance then reduced to £14,000 within a couple of years and at the time when the council was debating spending even more. It appears that HPC has been run as an alto ego bank account; entertaining a level of spending and grand ideas that one would never undertake for oneself due to the personal consequences of getting it wrong. And yes – I do think many other people would and could have done better ! The season is not yet over – relegation may be avoided should some decisive action be taken.

  2. I would like to point out as treasurer of radio walkham that no councillor other than Mr Huda needed to declare an interest as none of them are involved in the group. Happy to publish the full committee if required

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