At least two new signs, one warning and one educational, will be put up by the weir pool in response to a near-drowning scare this summer.
Horrabridge Parish Council accepted the Environment Agency plan at its September meeting, on Tuesday this week.
HPC also …
* Heard hope of an investigation into the closure of the path from the village to Bedford Bridge.
* Complained about Devon Highways turning a blind eye to big lorries crossing the village bridge.
* Settled for a lockdown version of the Christmas lights – without any party.
* Okayed a fireworks night and bonfire end of October – free to all but without any catering.
* Moved towards re-opening of the parish hall.
* Was informed that the handyman had given notice to quit.
Six councillors attended, with guest delegates from West Devon and Devon County authorities.
They started by voting for a letter of thanks for services to Tom Dooley, who has given notice after being handyman over the past four years.
The clerk read out a letter complimenting their work on cemetery maintenance, from Mrs Pat Holwill of Plymouth, from a Horrabridge family, including an offer of £100 to benefit a village cause – and they decided to give it to the youth club.
Cllr Steve Roche said Dartmoor NPA had approved house extensions at 2 Caradon Court, Five Chimneys on Plymouth Road, and 23 Torbridge. An application for blue cladding at Whitburn House on Bedford Road had been withdrawn. He recommended and got a council nod of no objection to minor alterations proposed at Sortridge Manor, to provide an extra toilet serving the 11 bedrooms there, now under new ownership after sale six months ago.
Cllr Christine Edmondson reported on a meeting with the Environment Agency at the weir. They told her work on repairs to the middle wall would begin this month. They asked for permission to instal an information board explaining the fish ladder and the fish life of the river – which council said okay to. She said they had also decided on an extra warning sign, saying Danger Of Death, and council could not really object, having asked EA to pay attention to the safety issues.
She said: “They would like to fence the salmon ladder off but I said kids would only climb the fence.”
The scene at the moment … borrowed from the blog of Max Dailypics Law
With the village hall losing £700 a month in rentals, a risk assessor was called in and advised it would be safe to allow group gatherings with three full days in between them. On the face of it that might allow two lettings a week but they could not be on the same days each week, because two event days and two three-day gaps would not quite fit. Also, access to the kitchens could not be allowed because “kitchen hygiene is a different ball game”, said Cllr Mike Huda. However, he and other councillors felt it was time to make a start on re-opening.
Two yoga groups will be asked if they will each take a day on alternate weeks to start with. And the possibility of more intensive use, with deep cleaning between, will be investigated.
So far, aerobics classes are still out, because they are likely to involve sweating and coughing. And the clerk needs to check to find out if this week’s new rules on gatherings affect the hall.
Christmas lights this year will be confined to the usual Weir Park tree and the parish hall and there will be no organised gathering for the switch-on. Cost likely to be £350-£400 for cherrypicker to put them up and take them down. Chris Edmondson is in charge of that one.
Grant of £300 agreed towards a fireworks display on the Fillace fields end of October. Bonfire approved as long as organisers agree to have any leftovers cleared away within a week. Event contact is Jerry Lyden. He is planning for a free show with no entry fees and no other activity, such as soup and sandwich stalls. Councillors said they would like to see it happen, subject to their caution about bonfire control.
Devon County Councillor Philip Sanders (Yelverton Rural) attended the meeting to report on his inquiries into the closure of the Magpie footpath. It is not a fully recorded right of way and it would normally be some years before the parish map was reconsidered. But he argued that walkers being diverted onto the A386 was a safety issue and had been told an emergency review might be possible. He will help HPC prepare a “Schedule 14 application” under land access law.
Mr Sanders will also take up HPC’s complaint about a brush-off letter from Devon Highways on the issue of lorries through the village. HPC chairman Eric Hemsil was fuming at being told there was no weight restriction on the bridge so nothing to be done.
HPC’s Chris Edmondson said that during the jams caused by the A386 closure last week, it took 45 minutes to negotiate an 11-ton artic over the bridge.
West Devon councillor Diana Moyse said both West Devon Council and Dartmoor NPA were deeply concerned about the government’s new planning rules and looked like being fully engaged for some time on the “huge changes” they meant.
Cllr Andy Moorhead said people kept asking about Beating The Bounds and he asked the Horrabridge Times to help spread the message that it has been postponed to next year.
AND FINALLY …
Eric Hemsil said a mother told him she could not let her child on the trampoline in the park because underneath it is a 3-foot pit full of “rubbish and toads”. Nothing to be done about the toads, said Cllr Hemsil, but the pit needs a clear-out. Councillors seeking loan of a tractor to help lift the trampoline.
MEANWHILE AT THE SCHOOL
Both nursery and primary classes were open to all their pupils for the first time for six months this week.
Head teacher John Clarke said: “We are following the local authority guidance. We’re glad to have the children back with us, with nearly all now having returned, and all our staff are back with us also. They are pleased to be working with the children again, educating them and keeping everyone as safe as possible.
“Parents/carers generally seem happy for their children to be returning to school routines.
“There is of course a lot of catching up to do now that we are all back together after such a long period of time. Inevitably there is an enhanced cleaning regime but we are managing this through redeploying our existing resources.”