DISTRICT COUNCILLORS REPORT AUGUST 2016
It will not have escaped the notice of residents who use the town centre, either for recreational purposes or retail, that some of the buildings look distinctly sad and uncared for. A number of these buildings are empty and are either for sale or undergoing refurbishment. Whatever the reason, it impacts on the general ambience or distinct lack of it. Chudleigh and District Amenity Society have been in talks with Teignbridge’s Conservation officers and are to undertake a project to record, in both written and photographic form, buildings that are of interest but not listed. This will enable both CADAS and Teignbridge District Council to have a record of the buildings as they are now and will allow the Conservation officers to police any changes authorised or otherwise in the future.
The town council at my instigation invited one of the conservation officers, a lady called Naomi Archer, to visit and speak to town councillors and members of CADAS about conservation and existing policies currently in place to protect buildings, both listed and those unlisted but in the conservation area.
Some may question why we do this and the answer is, to preserve our built heritage, now and for future generations. Sometimes there is conflict when a person who owns a property wants to install double glazing or a new door and does not understand why UPVc is unacceptable. Very often they are not aware that it can be cheaper to repair doors and windows or to install secondary glazing, rather than to ask one of the many specialist companies who only use UPVc. Anybody who cares to look down Fore Street will notice the difference where UPVc doors and windows have been installed, rather than preserving the character of the original wood fittings, combined with the unsightly satellite dishes on the front of buildings, it detracts from the unique vista of a mainly Georgian town.
As a town council we have asked Naomi to look into introducing some legislation known as Article 4 of the buildings act which will restrict the inappropriate use of materials and fixtures to the detriment of the existing structures.
It is regrettable that it is not only empty properties that are neglected, there are examples, some glaringly so, of dilapidation, where a timely repair and/or coat of paint would not go amiss. The town council recently agreed to fund a small sum to help retailers improve their shop fronts by means of small grants as a lesser percentage of the trader’s own investment to help improve the town centre. This has worked extremely well in places like Dawlish and Newton Abbot where similar schemes have been going for a while.
Improving the visual appearance will also assist by encouraging potential retailers to the town as well as visitors, such as holidaymakers.
Finally, there is good news about the long empty, ‘Blue’ building behind Harcombe Cross garage. Soon it will be occupied by an award winning maker of specialist electrical motors for the automotive industry, who propose to transfer their existing business, lock stock and barrel, creating 40 jobs immediately, with the possibility of another 40 within two years.
This will impact favourably on Chudleigh’s economy by providing employment for those qualified for the jobs as well as secondary sales of items such as food and drink as well as incidental shopping by those who venture into the town. We at Teignbridge District Council have worked hard to facilitate this move, which complements the 80 new jobs which will be created at Finlake, which again will impact on Chudleigh’s economy.
As always, if you need help or advice please contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org or 07869066055 or 01626 854892. Doug Hellier Laing.