Category Archives: News issued by a local Council

NEW SOLAR LITTER BIN TRIAL FOR NORTH DEVON

A smart bin is being trialled in North Devon in a bid to reduce littering in the district.

Barnstaple High Street is the first location for the solar-powered bin, which can take up to seven times more rubbish than a standard bin as the waste gets crushed and compacted several times a day, using only energy from the sun.

Even when it’s not a sunny day, infrared technology means that energy can be collected without direct sunlight so the bin will still work. The units are sealed to stop birds and vermin getting in and can be opened using a foot pedal or by the handle on the pull-down door. When the bin is full a sensor sends out an email, so that it can be emptied before it overflows.

North Devon Council’s Lead Member for Environment, Councillor Netti Pearson, says, “This trial is at a fairly low level with just one bin at present, but we will be monitoring its progress to see what difference it makes. We will place the bin in busy areas, and position it in tourist hotspots over Easter, to see how well it works.

“Smart bins bring many benefits, such as lower carbon emissions as they need to be emptied less often, so refuse collection trucks make fewer journeys. The advantages are clear – they cut down on littering, save time and money on collections, deter vermin and best of all they use renewable solar energy.”

Local ward member for Barnstaple Centre, Councillor Robbie Mack, says, “Barnstaple High Street gets a lot of traffic – and therefore a lot of rubbish! Currently, the bins here are emptied daily. A bin like this should mean less risk of overflowing and littering in the High Street, and we all want to see less litter. I’ll be interested to see the results of the trial.”

The bin will also be trialled in other locations in North Devon during the six-week trial, and if it proves successful more of them may be rolled out across the district.

HAVE YOUR SAY ON THE ILFRACOMBE SEAFRONT MASTERPLAN

Local residents and businesses are being invited to take part in a public consultation event to comment on a new masterplan for Ilfracombe seafront. The consultation includes a face-to-face event at the Landmark Theatre on Thursday 30 and Friday 31 January and an online survey an online survey – www.northdevon.gov.uk/Ilfracombe-consultation – which runs until 9 March.

As part of Ilfracombe’s Strategic Plan 2015-2025, North Devon Council and the Ilfracombe Regeneration Board have been working together to oversee the process of a new public realm masterplan for Ilfracombe seafront. Consultants Node were appointed to create a masterplan that will enhance the seafront’s natural beauty, draw tourists and local residents to the seafront area of the town and help regenerate the area.

A stakeholder consultation took place last year, during which members from a wide range of Ilfracombe’s community groups were asked to help shape the masterplan in a way that represented the views of Ilfracombe. Now the public are being invited to examine the ideas and share their own in a six week online consultation, which began on Monday 27 January or by attending a face to face event at the Landmark Theatre on Thursday and Friday (30-31 January).

Some of the ideas that are the subject of the Ilfracombe seafront masterplan consultation are:

  • improve accessibility and connections to the High Street and the harbour
  • more seating, shelter, lighting, interpretation and dog bins are needed throughout the seafront area
  • public spaces need a clear function and purpose in order to make the seafront a better experience
  • the wilderness and natural aspects of Capstone Hill should be protected
  • more activities for all ages including young and elderly should be provided
  • play park precedents from Paignton and Minehead should be looked at
  • the museum should be extended or possibly relocated to the old pavilion site
  • a fitness and/or art trail could be incorporated that also includes sculpture and work by local artists
  • an outdoor amphitheatre / stage should be incorporated with three possible locations: Jubilee Gardens / Capstone Hill top / Old Pavilion site

North Devon Council’s Lead Member for Economic Development and Strategic Planning Policy, Councillor Malcolm Prowse, says:  “We have lots of exciting ideas for how we would like Ilfracombe’s seafront to be regenerated in order to improve the health and well-being of all those who live and work in the town – as well enhancing the enjoyment of the tourists who visit it. We now want to hear from our residents about what they’d like to see happening on the seafront, to make sure we have captured the views of those who matter most. I hope the people of Ilfracombe will help us by sharing their views, either by coming to our face to face event in Ilfracombe or taking part in the online consultation.”

Officers from the council’s regeneration team will be available to chat through their ideas at the Landmark Theatre between 10am and 2pm on 30-31 January. Residents who are unable to attend the event can take part by completing an online survey at www.northdevon.gov.uk/Ilfracombe-consultation between 27 January and 9 March.

CALL FOR VOLUNTEERS FOR CONSERVATION DAY IN FREMINGTON NEXT WEEK

Volunteers are being sought to help at a hands-on conservation day in Fremington next week.

The Practical Conservation Day will take place at the Fremington Local Nature Reserve on Sunday 26 January from 10am.

At this  event, run by local wildlife experts in conjunction with North Devon Council, North Devon Biosphere and Fremington Parish Council, volunteers will have the opportunity to help with  conservation tasks such as clearing the blackthorn scrub and managing the wildflower meadow.

Leader of North Devon Council, Councillor David Worden, says: “This is a great example of how our communities can come together to improve their local area. It’s a free event that is open to all ages, and will give volunteers the opportunity to help their local wildlife whilst meeting new people and getting active in an outdoor environment. There is no need to book, just come along on the day and help out as much as you are able to.”

Local ward member for Fremington, Councillor Frank Biederman, says, “This is a wonderful activity for people of all ages to get involved in, or even do together as a family, and I would really encourage people to take part.”

Local ward member for Fremington, Councillor Jayne Mackie, says, “This is a chance for local people to take an active role in the development of their own natural environment. Here we have an ideal learning opportunity for all ages, so please come along to join in with the activities and then take your new skills and ideas back with you to use at home or elsewhere within the community.”

Anyone wishing to take part in this nature conservation work is asked to meet at the entrance to Griggs Field, off Beechfield Road, bring a drink and a packed lunch, wear clothing appropriate for the weather and sturdy footwear suitable for uneven ground.

Parking for the event is available at Beechfield Road car park.

SHOPKEEPERS URGED TO ENTER BEST SMALL SHOPS COMPETITION

Shopkeepers, not only in North Devon, but across the region, are being encouraged to enter a competition which celebrates the creativity of independent retailers on the UK’s High Streets and the role they play in building local communities.

The Best Small Shops competition is free to enter and is open to all independent retailers from any retail sector across the UK. A shortlist of 25 of the most impressive applications will be shortlisted by a panel made up of established representatives from the independent retail industry. The judges are looking for evidence of business innovation, entrepreneurial spirit, and what has been done by the shopkeeper to have a lasting positive impact on their community.

North Devon Council’s Deputy Leader and Executive Member for Economic development and regeneration, Councillor Malcolm Prowse says: “We are very lucky in North Devon to have a brilliant array of quality, independent small shops that help make our district such an attractive place to live and visit. We’d love for our local shopkeepers to have the hard work they invest in their businesses recognised in a national competition like this one and urge them to nominate their shop for an award.”

Hannah Harrington, Barnstaple Town Centre Manager, says: We have many excellent independent retailers in Barnstaple, with 75% that have opened their doors over the past seven years being independents. The same can be said in other parts of the district and it’s time we shouted about the success of our small shops and the boost they give to our local economy and communities.”

Nominations must be submitted by Monday 9 September. Shortlisted finalists will be invited to an awards ceremony in London in November where the winners will be announced.

You can nominate your business through www.bestsmallshops.co.uk. Every business who enters the competition will be displayed on the Indie Retail Directory, raising customer awareness throughout the UK.

BARNSTAPLE URBAN SPORTS FESTIVAL

Barnstaple is set to host an exciting new event, as the Urban Sports Festival and a range of adrenaline sports come to town in September.

The Barnstaple Urban Sports Festival is a one-day event designed to showcase non-mainstream sports to the local community, with entertainment on offer for all the family. The festival will take place on Sunday 8 September at various locations across the town.

North Devon, which has recently been labelled ‘England’s Adventure Coast’ by Visit England, has a strong connection with adrenaline sports, thanks to its surf culture and outdoor lifestyle. The festival will feature exciting sports such as BMX, skateboarding, rollerskating, scooter trials and parkour, celebrating Barnstaple’s offer as an ‘urban playground’.  As well as the various activities being demoed, there will be have-a-go sessions for children and adults, street food, live music and competitions on offer.

Barnstaple Town Centre Manager, Hannah Harrington, says, “We are incredibly proud to be hosting the Urban Sports Festival in Barnstaple. This will be a free community festival-style event that will be great fun for participants and spectators alike. Get the date in your diary and bring your family along to enjoy the day with us.”

North Devon Council’s Deputy Leader and Executive Member for Economic development and regeneration, Councillor Malcolm Prowse, says: “This promises to be an exciting event for the people of North Devon and we would like to see as many residents attending it as possible. You don’t have to be an adrenaline junkie to go along and enjoy the day but, who knows, you may feel inspired to take up a new hobby!”

More information about the event is available online www.urbansportsfestival.co.uk If you’re interested in getting involved in please contact Vanessa Harrison vanessa.harrison@northdevon.gov.uk or 01271 388216.

COMMITMENT TO TACKLE CLIMATE CHANGE REITERATED BY NORTH DEVON COUNCIL

North Devon Council has reiterated its commitment to the environment by signing up to a joint Devon-wide climate change declaration.

At a Full Council meeting recently, councillors voted unanimously to sign up and also agreed to setting up a special working party to look specifically at tackling climate change and what the council can do to help prevent global warming.

The climate declaration involves committing to helping the country achieve a 45% reduction in carbon emissions by 2030 and by 100% by 2050.

The council also appointed a lead member for climate change, Cllr Caroline Leaver.

Cllr Leaver says: “We all need to work together to tackle this huge threat to our future. We can all do our bit and, of course, that’s important, but we need to work with all of our partners and our community to strengthen action through collaboration. The scale and urgency of the global challenge from climate change must be recognised and acted on or the world will be an entirely different place by the time a child starting primary school this year finishes their secondary education.

“I look forward to working with council members and officers, and other organisations and groups, to tackle this massively important issue. It’s time for us to be bold. I relish the challenge ahead.”

More information on the Devon Climate Declaration can be found on Devon County Council’s website. The declaration has been prepared and signed up to by a consortium of public, private and voluntary organisations collaborating through a Devon Climate Emergency Response Group.

 

SPORT ENGLAND FUNDING SUCCESS FOR NEW LEISURE CENTRE

North Devon Council has been awarded £1.75m of National Lottery funding from Sport England towards a project to replace the ageing North Devon Leisure Centre in Barnstaple. This latest news comes hot on the heels of the council’s successful bid for £1.5m from the Coastal Communities Fund.

With this funding in place the council has now requested final tenders from the leisure operators who are currently vying for the contract to design, build and manage the new leisure centre at Seven Brethren. The council has requested tenders to include a minimum of a 25-metre, eight-lane pool, learner pool, sports hall, fitness suite and exercise studios on land adjoining the tennis centre. The exact design and final mix of facilities will be determined by the leisure operator who wins the contract, as long as they meet the council’s minimum requirements.

The contract will also include operating Tarka Tennis Centre and Ilfracombe Pool and Fitness Centre for the next 20 years. The successful leisure operator is expected to be selected in the next month.

Leader of North Devon Council, Councillor David Worden, says: “This is superb news! I’m so pleased to hear we’ve been successful in both our funding bids, which is testament to the hard work of the team delivering the project. Both funders have recognised how important swimming is to our community and we will press on now to deliver a top-notch pool and leisure facilities we can all be proud of at Tarka Tennis Centre. Thanks to Sport England and all the National Lottery players.”

Work has already begun to replace one of the grass football pitches at Tarka Tennis Centre with a full-size artificial grass pitch, following more successful funding bids to The Premier League and FA Facilities Fund and Devon County Council.

Follow the progress of the new leisure centre project by signing up to the council’s blog www.newleisurecentre.wordpress.com/ or look out for updates on Facebook (@northdevoncouncil) or Twitter (@ndevoncouncil).

NOCTURNAL ADVENTURES AT FREMINGTON NATURE RESERVE

A free event for nature lovers is being held in Fremington next week.

The popular annual bat and moth evening at Fremington nature reserve takes place on Thursday 25 July from 8.30pm. As the sun goes down, lots of creatures begin to wake up and you can work with local wildlife experts to explore the nature reserve to find out more about these nocturnal residents.

You will be able to find bats using bat detectors and identify the wonderful array of insects captured in the moth traps, which will be released afterwards.

The event is being run by local wildlife experts in conjunction with North Devon Council, North Devon Biosphere Reserve and Fremington Parish Council.

North Devon Council Leader, Councillor David Worden, says: “The nature reserve is brimming with wildlife and this is a fantastic opportunity to explore and enjoy the area at night, with the added bonus of having a wildlife expert on hand to answer all your questions. It’s free and open to all ages. There is no need to book – just come along on the night!”

Please meet at Fremington village green, bring a torch, wearing clothing appropriate for the weather and sturdy footwear suitable for uneven ground.

For more information please contact the council’s parks team on 01271 388326 or email parks@northdevon.gov.uk. Follow the council’s Facebook page to keep up to date with news and events from the Parks Team.

COUNCIL CONTRACTORS BECOME ‘HEDGEHOG HEROES’

Contractors working for North Devon Council are helping to save hedgehogs by placing special warning stickers on all of their grass-cutting machinery.

In conjunction with the British Hedgehog Preservation Society, the council have provided free stickers to be placed on all grass-cutting machinery which warns contractors to check the area for wildlife before using the equipment.

Leader of North Devon Council, Councillor David Worden, says: “Hedgehogs are in decline in the UK, so we are delighted to partner with the British Hedgehog Preservation Society and Tivoli Group Ltd to help prevent injuries to these lovely animals by reminding our grass cutters to ensure there are none around before they start work.”

Fay Vass, Chief Executive of the British Hedgehog Preservation Society says: “We are pleased to welcome North Devon Council as the latest group to join our Hedgehog Heroes roll of honour, after fitting our warning stickers on their contractors’ cutting machinery to help hedgehogs. Raising awareness of the problem is half the battle, long grasses and the bottom of hedges are both places hedgehogs are likely to be found; a quick check before work begins can literally save lives.”

Brad Cole, Tivoli Regional Director, commented: “Hundreds of hedgehogs are injured every year, sometimes fatally, as a result of grounds maintenance work. Working in partnership with North Devon Council, Tivoli are proud supporters of the British Hedgehog Preservation Society, making sure all our operatives are aware of the dangers that mowers, strimmers, hedge cutters, etc. can pose to wildlife. These dangers can be avoided by carrying out a thorough visual check of the area before work commences. By attaching the BHPS stickers to our equipment and raising operator awareness, our aim is to reduce the number of hedgehog injuries and deaths caused by grounds-maintenance activities.”

Contact the British Hedgehog Preservation Society for more information at info@britishhedgehogs.org.uk or email the NDC parks team at parks@northdevon.gov.uk.

Photo: British Hedgehog Preservation Society

ILFRACOMBE SCHOOLCHILDREN QUALIFY AS JUNIOR PARK RANGERS

The latest group of Year 4 schoolchildren from Ilfracombe Junior School have made the grade as ‘Junior Park Rangers’.

Earlier this month, 120 children were presented with their certificates after successfully completing the four-week junior Park Rangers course, which covered topics such as orienteering, tree identification, mini beasts and pond dipping.

The course, organised by North Devon Council’s Parks team, is so successful that it has been running for the past 14 years. The course aims to raise awareness about the importance of parks and how we can help look after them. As well as learning practical skills, the children are taught about wildlife, biodiversity and the natural environment.

North Devon Council Leader, Councillor David Worden, says: “It’s great to see so many new Park Rangers.  The idea behind this scheme is to raise young people’s awareness of the importance of parks and why we need to protect them for future generations. So it’s reassuring to know that we have another group of youngsters who will be looking after them. It is also very important to the Parks team that the children enjoy themselves and have lots of fun while they are learning. The children were very enthusiastic in all the activities they took part in and I would like to commend them all for being a credit to both their school and their community.”

Joe Alcock from Ilfracombe Junior School says: “The children at our school really enjoy the Park Rangers activities they get to participate in and the course is a real highlight within the school year. The opportunity to learn more about the park and explore the beauty it offers is a real joy for all involved.”

If you would like to get involved as a volunteer at Bicclescombe Park, there is a very active group on Facebook – contact the council’s Parks team on 01271 388308 for more information.

PHOTO: Back row, left to right: Cllr Netti Pearson, Mike Jones (NDC Parks), Cllr Geoffrey Fowler; front: children from Ilfracombe Junior School Y4.