PLANNERS SAY NO TO PRIME SITE PLAN – SHOCK MACHINE DRAMA REVEALED – TRUCK FOR SALE – etc

Horrabridge Council heard this week that its objections to new housing in the old meadow on Fillace Lane, alongside Weir Park, had been supported by the Dartmoor National Park Authority.

HPC planning chairman Steve Roche said he was sure that was not the end of the matter but at least there was time for better consideration.

The planning officials upheld the old objection to developing the site – road safety – in spite of an argument that two laybys on the lane would do the trick. They were also not happy that the surface water implications had been fully worked through.

Cllr Roche said some small housing improvements had also been blocked, despite no objections from Horrabridge.

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The meeting moved on to public seating. A former villager had read about need for a new bench at Bedford Green and had written offering to pay for one in memory of his parents, one of whom was a soldier killed on D Day. The clerk with-held his name and theirs for now but it was agreed to thank him very much and talk about options.

Cllr Mike Huda reported the delivery into Fillace Lane of a “beautiful” but slightly difficult gift from the WI, in the form of a new seat for Weir Park. It comes as three large granite pieces and the council needs to seek advice on how to instal it safely.

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Cllr Huda said the old council truck had blown a gasket before being replaced and also needed an MoT which might cost a few hundred but it would be a good workhorse if fixed and might still be worth £500 as a country vehicle. Offers to him or the parish clerk.

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The council has switched from BT to Plusnet for broadband and had a few teething problems. It was agreed to swap the council’s old desk computer for a modest laptop the clerk could take to and fro and to buy a new office desk for £180 unless one of the councillors could track down a second-hand one, with locks working.

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A tree maintenance bill for £1600 for branches overhanging the Fillace brook footpath was paid and more tree work agreed, although the chairman warned that the council was already being asked to take on more than its share and the Environment Agency was putting on pressure to make them responsible for river bank maintenance. Sooner or later, the council would have to call on property owners to do their share.

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A debate about the maintenance of the village hall defibrillator arose from a recent drama which Cllr Mike Huda, of the London Inn, said was an embarrassment for the village. Somebody picked up the defibrillator for an incident on the moors and returned it saying it was faulty. Luckily, it was not required. The problem was with some out of date contact pads. The machine has not been used in earnest in three and a half years. However, it is checked weekly, by Cllr Steve Roche, and it was pure bad luck that the fault had not already showed up on the machine’s dials. But the council has now bought a spare set of contact pads, £125 for four, meaning the defibrillator – a gift from a previous good initiative – is becoming quite expensive to keep, one way and another. The council heard that South West Ambulance might take it over but their charges appeared to be quite high too.

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Villagers attending the meeting were interested to see that the council was going into private session to discuss the last item on the agenda, “handyman hours”. Chairman Eric Hemsil said he was satisfied that confidentiality rules applied. And so far, there is no word on what was decided. Some councillors have previously proposed making the job more or less full-time, to allow for more thorough cutting of the cemetery. But it does not seem likely that is going to happen just yet.

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The council recognised that Horrabridge Rangers seemed to have some ideas together for pavilion redevelopment and appointed a working party to get together with the football club to talk about that and Fillace Park maintenance in general, including the broken fence around the car park. Mike Huda, Eric Hemsil, Steve Roche, will represent the council.

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Having allowed the hoardings in Weir Park  for Party In The Park, the council felt under pressure not to insist on taking down the new ones for Mad Dog Mcrea at the school. But there was general agreement that the structure had to come down before it became a permanent fixture. Eric Hemsil said he would be pursuing the matter with the DNPA and with Radio Walkham.

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It was announced that the council has booked a sales demonstration for a sound system for the hall which might include microphones for councillors: possibly £3,000.

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Cllr Andrew Moorhead reported on a briefing from West Devon on its new recycling project. Even before trial areas were selected for a new collection programme, he said, all households would get a new bag for all kinds of plastic and there would be a drive to improve on the 40 percent recycling rate for waste food.

PS: West Devon says details will be posted out “before Christmas”.

allfornow …

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Editor of The Horrabridge Times.