Category Archives: north devon


News from the North Devon Biosphere

The North Devon Marine Pioneer held its second stakeholder workshop recently, at Alverdiscott Community Hall in North Devon. A wide range of people from across Devon, Cornwall and Somerset braved the snow to participate in this event.

With over 40 attendees, it was a lively day with input from a range of different marine sectors, including the fishing industry, local government, tourism and recreation, maritime industry and conservation.

The beginning of the day was led by the Marine Pioneer partners; they presented some demonstration projects commencing as part of the North Devon Marine Pioneer. Later, participants were asked for their advice and expertise, focusing on four subjects: marine governance and management; the local fishing industry; the Taw Torridge estuary; and how we can sustainably fund the management of North Devon’s Marine Protected Areas.

“This workshop showed just how engaged North Devon people and our neighbours are with their sea, estuaries and rivers. This was a successful day and the information from the day will be used to guide our next steps in the Pioneer,” says Chrissie Ingle, the Marine Pioneer Coordinator.

What is the Marine Pioneer?
The Government has committed to ensure that our natural environment that provides our prosperity and health is protected and improved for us and future generations. The 25 Year Environment Plan was launched on 11 January by Theresa May and sets out how this would be achieved.

To help accomplish this there are four ‘Pioneer’ areas – where new approaches from the plan will be trialled. The four pioneers are: the landscape of North Devon, the marine environment in North Devon and Suffolk, a river catchment in Cumbria and the urban area of Greater Manchester.

What has happened so far?
There have already been two North Devon Marine Pioneer workshops: one in March 2017 produced long-term aims and ambitions for North Devon’s Marine area, with agreed goals such as ‘improved local fisheries management’, ‘robust protection of biodiversity’ and ‘increased local decision-making’. The second, in November 2017, was a focussed workshop with licencers and planners to consider how our natural marine environment can be better incorporated into local decision making – both reports from these workshops can be found online at

From this second workshop local information and experiences can define how we proceed with the Pioneer. There will be a report from the day, which will be made available on the North Devon Biosphere’s Marine Pioneer webpage

PHOTO by Andrew Wheatley.


North Devon Council is extending its temporary contract with Parkwood Creative for the management of North Devon’s theatres.

At a meeting of its Executive on Monday 5 February, councillors agreed to extend the existing contract with Parkwood until January 2019. Following the collapse of North Devon Theatres Trust last year, the Queens Theatre in Barnstaple and Landmark Theatre in Ilfracombe were forced to close temporarily. In April, the council entered into a 12-month contract with Parkwood to reopen the theatres while it prepared and tendered a longer-term contract for the operation of both theatres.

Preparing the tender documents (which involves undertaking condition surveys of both theatres) for the long-term contract will take more time than originally thought and the procurement will not be completed by April this year (when the short-term contract with Parkwood was due to expire).

Rather than a further closure period, the council has agreed to extend Parkwood’s contract until mid-January 2019. This will ensure that the theatres continue to recover from the unexpected closure last year and run as normal, unaffected by the procurement of operational contracts.

Since April last year, the main focus has been on developing a strong programme of events at the Queens Theatre, which has been very well received by local audiences. Now that the Queens is operating at full capacity again, Parkwood’s extended contract will include a requirement for more events at the Landmark Theatre. Several strong acts are already confirmed, including comedians Jason Manford and Ed Byrne and the new contract will see an average of one event each week at the Landmark, between April 2018 and January 2019 .

Executive Member for Parks, Leisure and Culture, Councillor Dick Jones, says: “We’ve been really impressed with what Parkwood has delivered since they took the theatres on in April. There has been lots of fantastic feedback and the panto was a massive hit. I’m very pleased we were able to get the theatres back up and running so quickly and that we can continue to keep them open while we work to secure a long term operator.”

Find out what’s on at the Queens Theatre and the Landmark at

PHOTO: by Nilfanion, on Wikimedia