LITTLE BEACH HUT GETS BIG AWARD

Salad Days at Dunster Beach, Dunster in Somerset has been awarded Bronze at this year’s Visit England Tourism Excellence Awards for Dog Friendly Business of the Year.

The awards, held annually, are the culmination of all of England’s regional Tourism Awards. To reach this stage all finalists have to have won at county and regional level first and need to be the best in their chosen field, businesses have to offer world-class service and excel in all areas. Brett Bates and Susan Juggins of Salad Days won Gold for Dog Friendly Business of the Year and Silver for Self Catering Business of the Year at the Bristol, Bath and Somerset Tourism Awards in November last year, then repeated the accolade at the South West Tourism Excellence Awards in February. They were then taken aback to find out that Salad Days had been nominated for the prestigious Visit England Awards last month “and now to have gone on to be awarded Bronze is just incredible,” said Brett.

“Dunster Beach has always been a little hidden part of Somerset, now to have been recognised on the national stage, we hope to have an even greater impact on tourism in the area and make people realise they can pull off the motorway in Somerset to sample some amazing, award-winning attractions, eateries and places to stay. We have had some fantastic exposure and hope to be able to bring some of our success back with us to benefit the whole area; we know our fellow beach hut owners will be as pleased with this award as we are, it helps put Dunster Beach on the map and it is no longer a hidden gem.”

The couple were first attracted to the awards because of the offer of free advice from tourism industry experts. As beginners themselves –  Salad Days is only in its second year – Brett and Susan say they have learned so much and met some lovely people during the process; they would advise anybody to enter the awards and go on the courses offered. “Being in tourism can seem like a lot of hard work at times but to meet like-minded people via the awards process can be such a benefit to the business owner and their customers,” said Brett. “Our guests at Salad Days love the fact that we have won awards, but more importantly, they are the ones who feel the benefit of what we have learned. We have loved being able to introduce this part of Somerset and Exmoor to people who have never been here before, and the awards have helped us to be able to do just that.”

So what next? Brett and Susan are currently renovating their second beach hut, Holi Moli, to run alongside Salad Days. The aim is to learn from Salad Days’ success and improve upon what has been such a winning formula. Brett and Susan will both continue training and learning new skills, so watch this space, Holi Moli will be bringing colour to Dunster Beach and hopefully new guests to the area.

CRACKING DOWN ON FLY-TIPPERS IN NORTH DEVON

North Devon Council is continuing to crack down on fly-tippers across the district following a successful prosecution and fine.
Earlier this month, Mr Graham Kay from Peak View, Malvern pleaded guilty to the ‘Duty of Care’ offence under section 34 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990. This was for not making sure waste generated at his property in Ilfracombe which he was renovating was disposed of correctly.  Mr Kay was fined a sum of £750 for the offence with a victim’s surcharge of £75. Mr Kay was also ordered to pay a contribution of £1,160 towards the council’s costs from carrying out the investigation and legal processes, as well as the cost of cleaning up the waste.

As well as this, the council has issued a fixed penalty notice for £300 for failure to have a waste transfer note or trade waste agreement to another local resident for dumping garden waste and soil from their vehicle in North Molton.

Lead member for Environment at North Devon Council, Councillor Rodney Cann, says: “The carriage and disposal of waste is subject to the Environmental Protection Act 1990 and disposing of waste on any land is an offence of fly tipping and any vehicle used in the connection with fly-tipping can be seized. These cases show that we are prepared to take positive action against offenders through fines and prosecutions but our preferred option is it education and promoting awareness to the damage that these actions inflect on our area.

“Fly-tipping is a costly exercise for those affected by it, namely the landowner and taxpayer who can be left to foot the bill to clean it up and investigate to find out who the offender is. North Devon is a beautiful place to live, let’s keep it this way and dispose of our rubbish responsibly.”

To report littering, fly-tipping or other environmental offences please contact customerservices@northdevon.gov.uk. You can also report incidents on the council’s website northdevon.gov.uk/flytipping.