Category Archives: News issued by a local Council

MAJOR IMPROVEMENTS PLANNED FOR ILFRACOMBE HARBOUR

The following is a news release as issued by North Devon Council:

Major improvements are being planned for Ilfracombe Harbour to make it safer and more welcoming to its visitors.

The plans include:

  • creating an official entrance so people know they are entering the harbour
  • improving the facilities for the commercial operators with brand-new, fit-for-purpose, ticket sales kiosks that are modern, inviting and designed in cooperation with the interested boat trip operators
  • removing the 1950s booths which will open up the vista of the harbour entrance to be more welcoming for residents and visitors
  • widening the road, vastly improving the safety of pedestrians and cars
  • creating a larger trading area for the commercial boat operators along the side of the pier, alleviating the cramped and congested area occupied by the old booths, creating a more pleasant environment for all harbour users
  • enabling the underlying pipework that provides fresh water to be upgraded which is currently hard to access.

Chairman of Ilfracombe Harbour Board, Cllr Geoff Fowler, says: “The current booths were never built for their current purpose and do not reflect the image of regeneration that Ilfracombe is striving for. There is now the opportunity to look to the future and bring in a new era of vitality to the harbour for the benefit of everyone.”

Deputy Chairman of Ilfracombe Harbour Board, Cllr Ian Meadlarkin, says: “Ilfracombe Harbour is a wonderful facility but it needs to be made safer and more inviting. These plans are about celebrating the heritage of the harbour but also making it fit for purpose for the future.”

The new kiosks are due to be installed in April with a planning application for the road widening expected to be made later in the year.

A public consultation will take place on what the public would like to see marking the new entrance.

OPPORTUNITY TO RUN ILFRACOMBE’S POPULAR LAND TRAIN

The contract is up for renewal to run Ilfracombe’s popular land train.

North Devon Council will be going out to tender for an operator to take the wheel in April. It is five years since the ‘Dotto’ land train took to the streets of Ilfracombe, following a successful funding bid to the EU Leader 4 programme. Since then it has become an established tourist attraction, providing an all-weather ride for visitors taking a whistle-stop tour of the town and all it has to offer.

The service runs from Hillsborough, through High Street, Church Street, Wilder Road, St James Place to The Pier and back to Hillsborough via The Cove from April to October.

North Devon Council’s Executive Member for Economic Development, Councillor Pat Barker, says: “The land train is now a firmly established seasonal attraction in the town and is very popular with Ilfracombe’s numerous visitors. This is an attractive opportunity for anyone to build on what has already grown into a very popular service. Please get in touch with us for an informal chat if you’re interested.”

The opportunity to tender can be found here. For more information contact Vanessa Harrison in the Economic Development team on 01271 388216 or vanessa.harrison@northdevon.gov.uk. The deadline for tendering is 25 February.

FIVE-YEAR STRATEGY TO RID NORTHERN DEVON OF SINGLE-USE PLASTICS

A five-year strategy and action plan to rid northern Devon of single-use plastics has been agreed by members of the Plastic Free North Devon Consortium.

The consortium, which was set up in April last year to combat the global problem of plastic pollution through local action, consists of representatives from a number of charities, voluntary groups and organisations including:

Barnstaple Town Council
Barnstaple and District Chamber of Commerce
Beaford Arts
Devon County Council
Ilfracombe Town Council
Keep Britain Tidy
National Trust
North Devon Coast AONB
North Devon Council
North Devon’s Biosphere Reserve
Plastic Free North Devon
PETROC College of Further and Higher Education
South Molton Town Council
Torridge District Council
2 Minute Beach Clean
Westward Ho! Business Association

All members have now agreed the strategy for the consortium, which will work across four key areas – communities, tourism, farming and fishing, and other businesses – with the aim of making the biggest and most immediate impacts on the plastic problem in our area.

The consortium’s strategy includes an action plan, which has a number of aims:

  • increase education about the impact of plastic waste
  • reduce plastic consumption
  • remove plastic that has entered the natural environment
  • recycle or dispose of used plastic appropriately
  • deliver projects to ensure their message is reaching the people and businesses of northern Devon

The action plan focuses not only on the shoreline, but also on the problem of plastics in the rural inland areas.

Executive Member for the Environment at North Devon Council, Councillor Rodney Cann, says: “We as a consortium have a lot of work to do over the next five years and beyond, but I’m delighted that we have been able to agree such an ambitious and rounded strategy that will help us to make a huge impact on the circulation of single-use plastics in northern Devon.”

Plastic Free North Devon coordinator, Claire Moodie says: “The consortium is one of the most exciting things to come out the ‘Plastic Free North Devon’ movement. Having a joined-up vision and strategy supported by credible and competent organisations is crucial to engaging with every aspect of our community. Our vision goes beyond reducing single-use plastic; this is about driving and supporting systematic change throughout our communities which protects and enhances the natural environment we rely on.”

For more information on how you can reduce your consumption of single-use plastics and to find out about local events, follow Plastic Free North Devon’s Facebook page.

HELP OUT AT ILFRACOMBE’S HILLSBOROUGH HILLFORT ACTION DAYS

We have just received this press release from North Devon Council about two action days at Hillsborough Hillfort. The first one is tomorrow (sorry for the late notice!) – and there are some spaces left!

North Devon Council is calling for volunteers to help at two action days at Hillsborough Local Nature Reserve.

A new project led by the North Devon Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), and funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, invites volunteers to ‘adopt a monument’ and look after our precious local heritage.

On Wednesday 12 December, AONB staff, along with North Devon Council parks team, will be carrying out hands-on conservation work on Hillsborough Hillfort, one of the many Iron-Age monuments along the AONB coastline. Volunteers of all ages, backgrounds and abilities are invited to help reveal the ancient ramparts, currently hidden beneath the vegetation cover.

A further event is also planned for the new year, on Wednesday 13 February, for finishing up on winter tasks.

Executive Member responsible for Parks and Leisure, Councillor Dick Jones, says: “This is a fantastic opportunity for the local community to get involved in the care of Ilfracombe’s historic landscape. If you haven’t been to Hillsborough Hill Fort before, this would be the ideal time to discover this amazing ancient monument right on our doorstep.”

Executive Member for Environment, Councillor Rodney Cann, says: “This is a wonderful project that will enhance the historic, as well as natural environment of an already beautiful area. It should be an enjoyable and active day out, no experience is needed as training and support are provided.”

Heritage Officer at North Devon Coast AONB, Joe Penfold, says: “The Iron-Age hillfort on Hillsborough is at least 2,000 years old. As one of best examples of an Iron-Age ‘promontory hillfort’ in the area, it has stood the test of time, but still needs active management to help preserve it. As with many ancient monuments, erosion and scrub growth can take their toll, so hands-on help from local people is very much welcome. With support from the Heritage Lottery Fund our new project, ‘Coastal Heritage,’ is for people of all ages and backgrounds who want to learn about, and to help look after heritage, both at Hillsborough and other special places along the North Devon coast.”

The events start at 10.30am and finish at 3pm. Volunteers should wear appropriate clothing and footwear. All tools and refreshments will be provided.

To book your place on the conservation task day, please contact Joe Penfold on 01271 388644, or email: joe.penfold@devon.gov.uk. For further information about other Coastal Heritage volunteering and training opportunities throughout the AONB visit www.northdevon-aonb.org.uk/events or follow us @explorethecoast

NEW SIGNS POINT ILFRACOMBE VISITORS IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION

New finger posts have been installed in Ilfracombe, as part of a joint project to improve tourist links in the town.

The new posts direct visitors to places of interest and attractions around the town, such as the High Street, theatre and harbour. Each post displays the average time it takes to walk to each attraction, which is particularly useful for families and those with difficulty walking.

The fonts and colours used on the posts follow accessibility guidelines, so they are easy to read and understand. 

North Devon Council and Ilfracombe Town Council applied for funding from the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development through the Leader 5 Rural Development Programme and this was match-funded by Ilfracombe Town Council, North Devon Council and Councillor Mike Edmunds’ Devon County Council Investing in Devon fund.

Mayor of Ilfracombe, Councillor Val Gates, says: “The new finger posts have helped to modernise the look of Ilfracombe and are making it easier for tourists and residents alike to migrate around many features of the town. A number of volunteers from various groups in Ilfracombe have also been involved and are thrilled with the results. I’d like to thank each one of them for their efforts with this project.”

Meanwhile, North Devon Council is working closely with the Ilfracombe Regeneration Board on a masterplan to regenerate Ilfracombe seafront. The masterplan will provide an overall scheme for the area that can be broken down into smaller projects that will be easier to deliver as funding comes available.

WINTER WORK PLANNED AT ROTARY GARDENS IN BARNSTAPLE

Further improvements at Rotary Gardens in Pilton will continue over the winter months.

North Devon Council’s parks team will be replacing some of the shrub beds, adding more colour with new herbaceous planting and installing some more seating around the gardens for visitors to enjoy.

A number of low-quality trees will also be taken out to open up the views around the pond area and will be replaced with more suitable tree species elsewhere in the gardens. This is the latest in a series of improvements in the park, including a tree trail, interpretation boards and memorial plinth.

Executive Member for Parks, Leisure and Culture with North Devon Council, Councillor Dick Jones, says: “We like to let local residents know if we’re planning any tree work, so they don’t get alarmed. The trees we’re taking out are not of great value and aren’t suitable species for their setting. Those we take out will all be replaced with better specimens, more appropriate to the park and will much improve the look and diversity of the gardens in the future. I’m sure the extra seating will be appreciated, as it’s such a lovely space to sit and enjoy the views.”

Local ward member for Pilton, Councillor Mair Manuel, says: “We have been working together for some years on improving Rotary Gardens for the benefit of residents, visitors and community groups. The changes so far are very obvious and this additional work will further enhance the gardens, with the seating placed to take advantage of the tidying up that has been done, the new plantings and opening up of the views. All will add to the beauty of Rotary Gardens and confirm it as a great asset for the community of Pilton.”

Stay up to date with news and events from the council’s parks team on Facebook (www.facebook.com/northdevoncouncil) or follow @ndevoncouncil on Twitter.

BARNSTAPLE ABILITY FOOTBALL CLUB CELEBRATE TOUR OF BRITAIN

This is a press release from North Devon Council.

An event has been held by Barnstaple Ability Football Club to celebrate the Tour of Britain’s visit to North Devon recently, thanks to a grant from North Devon Council.

In the approach to the Tour of Britain travelling through North Devon, £3,000 of funds were made available by North Devon Council for any local community group or schools who wanted to get involved and celebrate the Tour. Barnstaple Ability FC used their grant of £200 to hold two events for their squad, including a Tour of Britain-themed football session and social, and a cycle along the Tarka Trail with players and their families. The club is made up of players over 16 with any additional needs, including sensory impairment, physical disability, learning difficulties and mental health issues.

At their football session on Thursday 30 August, the squad were encouraged to cycle to training, and afterwards spent time together enjoying a burger and the company of their family and friends. 45-50 people participated in the event, with people cycling to training from Abbotsham, Bideford, South Molton and Barnstaple to the club’s Tews Lane training ground at Bickington. At the club’s next event on Saturday 1 September, 20 cyclists from the football club set off from Barnstaple train station along the Tarka Trail to celebrate cycling and the Tour of Britain coming to North Devon, with refreshments along the way. Participants, who have a variety of additional needs including Down Syndrome, autism, learning difficulties, dyspraxia and mental health issues, used a variety of bikes to cycle along the trail to Bideford with stops at Fremington and Instow.

Melanie Regan, a volunteer coach and the chairperson for Barnstaple Ability Football Club, says: “We would like to thank North Devon Council, whose Tour of Britain grant made this event possible and meant that everyone, regardless of ability, was able to participate and enjoy cycling and celebrating the Tour coming to town. We are also grateful to Shelley’s Snacks, who provided the delicious food at our football social. Our events demonstrated that cycling is for everyone, with participants varying in age from five to sixty years old.”

North Devon Council’s Executive member for Health and Wellbeing, Councillor Dick Jones, says: “We are so pleased that we were able to help our local communities get involved in the run-up to the Tour of Britain’s visit to North Devon. The events held by the Barnstaple Ability Football Club clearly brought joy to a lot of individuals, and encouraged people to get on their bikes and get fit, whatever their age and ability. We are very proud of how the people of North Devon welcomed the Tour to our beautiful district and hope our residents thoroughly enjoyed the excitement of the build-up and the big day.”

For more information about joining the Barnstaple Ability Football Club please contact Melanie Regan on 07764 767955 or by email to melanieregan7@icloud.com. Training takes place every Thursday at 5.45pm at various locations.

DON’T RISK YOUR LIFE IN HARBOUR

This is a press release issues by West Somerset Council.

Please don’t risk your life is the warning being issued by West Somerset Council after two young men got into serious difficulties in Watchet Harbour. The pair were rescued by a passing boat and were given emergency CPR by the boat owner and a member of Watchet Coastguard before being taken to hospital by ambulance.

The incident has prompted a warning from West Somerset Council’s assistant harbour master, Craig Butler, who said: “It’s so sad that this incident happened at the end of a fantastic summer in Watchet.

“The harbour is an extremely dangerous place to swim or to jump into from the harbour walls. The Bristol Channel has strong currents, extreme tidal ranges and there’s also danger from marine traffic.

“We work with HM Coastguard, Police and the Sea Scouts to spread the message in schools and to highlight the risks.

“I take health and safety extremely seriously for harbour users and the public that frequent the harbour all year round. As harbour master I wish both young men a full recovery and really hope they and others will learn from this very serious incident.”

Cllr Martin Dewdney, West Somerset Council’s Cabinet member for Resources, said: “It is extremely dangerous to jump into the water at any harbour as there are numerous hazards. There is sensible advice on our website: www.westsomersetonline.gov.uk/Environment/Harbours/Beach-Safety so I would urge people to enjoy our coastal areas – but to do so safely.

“Water depth changes with the tide, the water may be shallower than it seems and submerged objects may not be visible, the shock of cold water may make it difficult to swim and strong currents can rapidly sweep people away.”

CHIVENOR MILITARY WIVES CHOIR TO MAKE SPECIAL TRIP TO MENIN GATE WAR MEMORIAL

This is a press release issued by North Devon Council

Representatives from the Chivenor Military Wives Choir are making a special journey to sing at the Menin Gate War Memorial in Belgium on Friday 7 September.

Whilst there, the choir will be laying wreaths as a mark of respect to the British and Commonwealth soldiers who were killed in the Ypres Salient of the First World War and whose graves are unknown.  The wreaths will include one on behalf of North Devon Council, as a way of thanking Councillors who provided the choir with a Community Grant of £1,250 last year.  Councillors Barker, Biederman, Brailey, Croft, Davis, Fowler, Haywood, Jones, Luggar, Mathews, Meadlarkin, Moores and Roome all contributed towards the grant.

The choir will also perform at a full concert on Saturday 8 September in the Het Peron Theatre in the town, alongside Emma Brown, Fiona-Jane Weston and Ensemble Cordon Bois. They were invited to Ypres by the director of the Tourist Information Board, who watched their performance at Laon Cathedral (Picardy, France) in June last year.

Leader of North Devon Council, Councillor Des Brailey, says: “Our councillors were very happy to donate some of their grants to the Military Wives Choir. We were honoured when they got in touch to offer to lay a wreath at the Menin Gate on our behalf. We wish them a safe journey to Belgium to sing and to pay their respects to the brave men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice in support of freedom.”

Treasurer of the choir, Jane Batchelor, says: “It is a huge privilege to be invited to sing at the iconic Menin Gate.  Many of us sang at the Thiepval Memorial (to the missing of the Somme) last year, and we are aware of the importance of keeping alive the memory of those who gave their lives so that we can enjoy the freedom we have today.  The performance will be tremendously poignant and probably one of our most significant yet.  We are honoured to be representing the people of North Devon on this solemn occasion.”

Between October 1914 and September 1918 hundreds of thousands of servicemen of the British Empire marched through the town of Ypres’s Menin Gate on their way to the battlefields. The memorial bears the names of more than 54,000 soldiers who died before 16 August 1917 and have no known grave and now stands as a reminder of those who died and is perhaps one of the most well-known war memorials in the world.

For further details about community grants and support available from the council or to make an application visit www.northdevon.gov.uk/grants. The council can also be contacted on 01271 388253 or by email: grants@northdevon.gov.uk.

For more information about the Military Wives Choirs, please contact Jane Batchelor on 07899 964580 (Chivenor Military Wives Choir has no connection or affiliation with the Military Wives Choirs Foundation).

Photo shows (from left to right): Lisa Arnold, Ann Horstead, Cllr Sue Croft, Cllr John Mathews, Jane Scott, Cllr Ian Meadlarkin, Jane Batchelor, Sarah Farrelly, Cllr David Brailey & Katie McSweeney

MAN FINED FOR TOMBSTONING FROM ILFRACOMBE HARBOUR

This is a press release issue by North Devon Council

North Devon Council has successfully prosecuted a man for ‘tombstoning’ from Ilfracombe Harbour.

 On 31 July magistrates at Barnstaple heard that Luke Harris, aged 24 of Oliver Road, Barnstaple, had been seen naked and in full view of families and children on South Quay on Sunday 8 July. He ignored requests by the Deputy Harbourmaster to get dressed, and instead jumped into the water five metres below. Two other young men were also swimming in the harbour, and all were shouting and swearing.

As a result of his actions, which were in contravention of the swimming byelaw that exists at the harbour, Mr Harris was fined £250 and ordered to pay the victim’s surcharge of £30 and £60 costs.

Ilfracombe Harbourmaster, Georgina Carlo-Paat, says: “Not only is tombstoning in the harbour extremely dangerous, it is also against the law. Jumping from the harbour walls may seem like good fun, but people who do this are risking their own lives. The harbour structures themselves can be dangerous, with chains and protrusions that can cause injury before someone has even hit the water. The water depth alters with the tide and water may be shallower than it seems, with submerged objects like rocks beneath the water. Boats and ships come in and out of the harbour all the time, and currents can be strong, even when the water appears calm.

“The risk is even higher when the participants have been drinking heavily. I hope that this prosecution sends out a clear message to the public that tombstoning will not be tolerated at the harbour; together with the police and CCTV evidence, we will continue to monitor this behaviour and tackle it before somebody gets seriously hurt, or worse.”

The penalty for jumping off the harbour can be up to a £1,000 fine upon prosecution.