A new volunteer, Mike Glinn, was welcomed onto the parish council this week, giving an attendance of eight councillors to discuss recurrent issues including …
Gritting: Council was told that the new handyman had attempted to use the council’s own gritting trailer, bought two years ago, to mitigate the black ice which had the whole area skidding and falling on Tuesday morning. But it would not work, because the tow link on the new truck had been wrongly fitted and was causing a recurring problem with the wiring.
It was also discovered that the system needed two people and a driver could not do the job alone.
Former councillor Paul Beard used to do voluntary duty as the second hand.
Mike Huda said he would stand in alongside the handyman and Eric Hemsil said he would liaise with highways and work out a plan for limited gritting. But in response to some questioning of the council on Horrabridge Noticeboard, he wanted to make it clear that the parish council was not obliged to grit roads.
In this week’s case, there was no advance warning of rain followed by a big freeze overnight. But the council would usually have tried to grit some difficult corners early.
Cllr Hemsil said Devon Highways would only grit from the A386 crossroads down to the bridge and a bit along the Whitchurch road. The parish offered some time ago to pay for a diversion along Walkhampton Road to the school but had been brushed off.
Devon councillor Philip Sanders, who was attending the meeting by Zoom, said that seemed unreasonable and he would look into it.
Graves: The council reached an agreement on policy on grave decorations. They would take out of the standard terms a ban on “junk” and substitute a rule that the only memorial apart from headstones should be a container of up to six inches (15cms) in diameter, to be used for flowers. Five councillors voted for this and Fiona Peart and Steve Roche abstained but raised no objections. They all agreed not to insert “real” before flowers.
The council also approved and offered help with an offer from Julie Fitzsimmons and her sister, Sarah Aldore, to plant wild flowers along the rough south bank of the cemetery, either side of the main lych gate.
New councillor Glinn wanted to plant an oak in memory of Jinks Fitzsimmons and was invited to use the old memorial ground on Chapel Lane.
Money: It has not yet been voted on but council chairman Eric Hemsil outlined a draft plan for dealing with a deficit in the budget for the year April 2021 to March 2022. He said most of it could be covered by a three percent rise in the council’s share of the property taxes collected by West Devon. And the rest could be made up from the council’s current account surplus. A typical household precept of £55.63 a year for parish council activity would go up £1.67 a year. Decision to be made at the January meeting.
The action plan includes cutting the Open Spaces budget from £4,000 to £1,500, after a couple of years of high spending on tarmacking and park furniture.
Police liaison: Mike Huda was appointed as local link to the Police Commissioner for Devon & Cornwall, Alison Hernandez. He said it meant he could call himself Councillor Advocate Huda and get through to her office any time. And he had access to a virtual reality tour of the £29m refurbishment of police headquarters in Exeter, which everyone agreed sounded tempting. Unfortunately, he said, he could not get through to the local police any quicker.
Pencreber junction: Mike Glinn said one of his campaigns would be for something to be done about the junction of Pencreber Road and Graybridge Road. Everybody wished him luck. Cllr Fiona Peart said emerging from Pencreber was “like Russian Roulette” but Devon Highways would not intervene until somebody died.
Dartmoor crowding: County councillor Phil Sanders, who also sits on the Dartmoor National Park Authority, said one of the issues for both authorities and the police in recent weeks had been traffic on Dartmoor, from tourists with nowhere else to go. He had been wrongly reported as saying there might have to be a ban on cars but some days gave a glimpse of a future where you could see it might have to be considered. Wistmans Wood was getting 400 visitors some days, destroying ancient mosses, and Postbridge was a giant car park some days last month.
The council broke up with homework on these and other issues to do. It still has four vacancies and is looking for more volunteers for co-option. The latest recruit, Mike Glinn, was born in Meavy and has lived in the area 70 years and in Horrabridge for 34. He was the BT engineer for Yelverton, Princetown and Postbridge, and South West representative on a national forum for overhead lines management, until he took early retirement 20 years ago. Since then, he has mainly worked as a driver. He lives in Copperfields. Pictured left.
GET THE CHICKENS IN
Anybody who keeps chickens is probably already aware, but needs to be, that emergency rules to contain avian flu require them to be housed in a way which does not allow mingling with wild birds from Monday Dec. 14.
THE BOOK OF YER
Most local outlets now stocking and taking orders for A Book Of Round Yer, a collection of essays and pictures from a Horrabridge angle. So is The Book Stop in Tavistock. And we can do mail order and take credit cards and Paypal through the link below, although it’s £2 for postage on top of the £5 cover price until we find a better system. Call 01822 854054 to make local pick-up arrangements.
Get it online at this link: Horrabridge Times Store
LOCAL ANGLE ON THE CHRISTMAS STORY
Sounds like fun – Sunday morning