Chudleigh Mill Leat is bordered by some 52 dwellings plus other landowners who own fields or green space bordering the leat.
As it is a privately owned leat responsibility for its maintenance and upkeep rests with the residents who live along its length. Until around ten years ago there was a “Friends” group in place that would inspect the leat at regular intervals and organise vegetation clearance and other necessary maintenance. When the group ceased to function this maintenance ceased and problems developed with some residents finding that their gardens regularly flooded when the leat overflowed.
Last year Teignbridge District Council carried out relining work along large sections of the leat. This prompted Chudleigh Town Council to try and facilitate the re-launching of a Friends group to help keep the leat in its current improved condition.
The Town Council wrote to all the residents with land or property bordering the leat, inviting them to a public meeting on Monday 23 February. This meeting, chaired by Councillor Richard Keeling, was attended by seventeen residents. The meeting heard from Mike Moyse who has been advising the Town Council on issues relating to the leat. He told the audience that the most effective way of preserving the leat and making sure it functioned properly was to band together and form a group of as many of the residents as possible. He felt that the numbers present at this initial meeting indicated that the interest was there to form a thriving Friends group.
One of the residents, Alan Brunton, offered to become Treasurer of a new Friends of the Leat group and to organise a second meeting for interested residents at which a committee would be formed.
This meeting was scheduled to take place on Thursday 5 March at 7pm in the rest centre at the Town Hall. I will report on this in my next article.
If you wish to know more about the Friends of the Leat group please contact Alan Brunton on 01626 852714