Newton St Cyres community shop and Post Office survey results revealed

By Crediton Courier Newspaper   |   Editorial   |
Tuesday 3rd December 2019 3:56 pm
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THE November 7 meeting of Newton St Cyres Parish Council was attended by nine Councillors, the Parish Clerk, the Mid Devon District Councillor, Graeme Barnell, the Devon County Councillor, Margaret Squires and a member of the public.

Before the start of the meeting, the council took time to remember Margaret Waters, who died recently. Margaret, and her husband James, were central contributors to village life and James was a Parish Councillor for many years. Margaret will be greatly missed and our sympathy goes to James and his family during this difficult time.

News about the village shop and Post Office

• BT has just installed a secure line to the Parish Hall. This will enable the part-time Post Office to operate. We look forward to it being set up, probably early in the new year.

• The Parish Clerk has been chasing up progress on the new Post Box in the village centre. We are assured that it will be installed soon and is on the "engineer’s list".

• The steering group for the community shop has completed its survey. This is a summary of its findings.

* A total of 161 responses to the survey were received. The overwhelming response to the survey was positive. About 90 per cent of respondents said that a community shop was either important or very important.

* About 88 per cent of people said they would use a shop at least once-a-week. The most popular items that people would buy were newspaper and bakery items. A total of 86 per cent of people would also like the full Post Office service restored.

* Very encouragingly, 70 per cent of respondents would be prepared to volunteer in the shop and 47 per cent would be prepared to buy a small stake in a community shop.

This survey forms a sound basis for the development of a community shop. The steering group will now meet to lay down a constitution and during the next few months will be visiting other community shops, before forming a plan for our shop.

Community Land Trust (CLT)

Our application to have the old school site listed as a community asset has been turned down. The Parish Council decided to ask for a review of this decision, with the support of the Mid Devon District councillor.

Some of the trees on the school site are of sufficient importance that they should have Tree Preservation Orders, and nearby residents should be encouraged to apply for them. This just requires a letter to be sent to Mid Devon District Council from a member of the public.

After a recent meeting of interested people, the council decided there was sufficient interest to set up a community land trust. Another meeting has been arranged (that will have taken place by the time you read this). However, the Parish Council has also been contacted by a housing association which is interested in developing the site. The Council will be keeping a watch on the progress and is prepared to support them if their plans are appropriate.

The tipping rain gauge

Newton St Cyres has a tipping rain gauge to alert us to the possibility of the Shuttern Brook flooding. The gauge automatically sends text message warnings to the flood wardens if there is sufficient heavy rain in the area that might cause the stream to flood.

Recently the maintenance checks have become very expensive and it was decided that we could just as easily keep the area free of debris ourselves, although we would have to call in an engineer should it be found to not be working.

The council was also concerned that should the text message arrive at night, it would not be picked up until the morning, it was decided to see if the messages could be made more obvious by, eg. ringing to a land line. You might be interested to read more of the council’s plan for community resilience. The full document can be found on the council’s website.

Reports from areas of responsibility

• A new defibrillator has been bought for the village centre, and we received a grant of £265 from Devon County Council as a contribution to the cost.

• The speedwatch co-ordinator recently met with the police, who are checking the suitability of the sites we wish to monitor, and then checks can resume, probably in the new year.

• The vegetation on local footpaths has been cut back. There was some concern that Kingsway has not restored the permissive footpath that was lost when the new houses were built. This will be followed up with Kingsway.

• The new snow warden co-ordinator has arranged to go on some training. As DCC no longer automatically checks the grit bins, it was decided to check these and ask them to be refilled if required.

Highways issues

As usual many of the issues remain unresolved and the council is actively pursuing them. However we have had some progress on some issues.

• After we asked DCC to issue a compliance order to the water company, the manhole on the bridge over the Creedy has been repaired.

• DCC has also responded to our request to cut back the vegetation on the School Hill footpath. This however has not entirely solved the problem as the path has been made narrower by earth sliding down from the bank and this too needs clearing.

• Parish councillors and our Mid Devon District Councillor continue to meet with representatives from DCC, currently we are pursuing a pedestrian crossing in the village centre, amongst other items.

The next meeting of the Parish Council will be held on Thursday, December 5 at 7pm. Members of the public are welcome to attend. There will also be a Parish Surgery at the Coffee Morning to be held on Saturday, December 7 in the Parish Hall.

Liz Ouldridge

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