DISTRICT COUNCILLORS REPORT 15th December 2016.
I wish all the residents of Chudleigh, Chudleigh Knighton, Teign Village and Hennock a Merry Christmas and hope the New Year brings all you may wish for.
A lot has transpired since I wrote my last report but brevity is the name of the game. If anyone would like me to expand on any subject that I write about, but because of limited space cannot go into detail, please feel free to phone, e mail or ask me in person to elaborate.
FLOODING is an issue in Chudleigh, and one that we are addressing by working with Devon County Council and our own drainage manager at Teignbridge District Council. Most of the current concerns centre on Kate Brook and fears have been raised by residents whose properties back onto this river. I have spoken to nearly all the residents who have logged their concerns on the TDC planning portal to reassure them that proposed new developments that would impact on this river will not go ahead, until we are as certain as we can be, that a robust drainage scheme is in place.
At Teignbridge Council I have mooted the idea that we set up a new Review Group that would look at the potential for flooding in the whole of Teignbridge. I will know whether this has been agreed in the New Year.
BROADBAND is a success story with more than 82% of premises connected throughout Somerset and Devon, the remaining part of the target connections we are told will be complete by the end of March 2017. I have now attended two meetings since being appointed to the Board of Connecting Devon and Somerset and am confident in reporting to the community that the operational team are working hard to get full high speed broadband connections to everyone, including those in wild and remote areas such as Dartmoor.
There will be an announcement early in the New Year as to the new phase of broadband and how it will be achieved.
DEVOLUTION, or the transfer of some of governments power down to local government to administer, had a bit of a shock last week when Plymouth, Torbay and Exeter announced a go it alone proposal with a prospective mayor, something that Sajid Javid MP Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government has said is a must, before he would support a transfer of these powers. Until now the consortium of local authorities along with Exeter University and the Local Enterprise Partnership were working towards a plan to benefit Somerset and Devon as a whole, but without a mayor. For the moment we will continue working towards this aim until the situation becomes clearer.
SOUTH WEST AMBULANCE SERVICE TRUST has over the past few weeks been interviewing prospective candidates for important roles leading the organisation into the future. We appointed a new Non-Executive Director and a new Chairman to replace Heather Smallbridge, who having completed two terms, is no longer eligible to continue.
CHUDLEIGH KNIGHTON PRIMARY SCHOOL who recently achieved a deserving accolade from Ofsted, continue to power ahead with innovative ideas to help their young people understand other nationalities, religions and how these might impact on democracy. To this end they have organised trips to a Mosque and Synagogue for which I was pleased to use some of my District Councillors Fund to pay for the use of a minibus which enabled the trip to go ahead. A recent visit by Mel Stride MP for Central Devon, to talk about his role as an MP and to allow questions, strengthened the understanding of this important subject.
Finally, an appeal for younger members of the community (adults) to consider whether they might like to get involved in putting Chudleigh on the map, by creating a unique selling point around a theme of the Great Fire of Chudleigh in 1807. Many towns and villages have similar annual events, such as rolling rounds of cheese down hills, bog snorkelling or worm charming, and closer to home: carrying flaming tar barrels in a race around the streets of Ottery St Mary.
Anyone interested should let the town hall know and if there is enough interest it could start as soon as next year.
DOUG HELLIER LAING 01626 854892, 07869066055 or firstname.lastname@example.org