Category Archives: News issued by a local Council

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.

FOUR NORTH DEVON PROJECTS TO BENEFIT FROM FUNDING BOOST

Over £30,000 has been released for projects which will benefit residents across North Devon.

At a meeting of the North Devon Council Strategy and Resources Committee on 1 July councillors agreed to allocate S106* funding towards four projects which will improve facilities in the district.

  • £20,450 towards improvements to Tomlin Hall in Bickington (pictured)
  • £1,775 towards a shelter at Marlborough Road Cemetery in Ilfracombe
  • £5,000 towards Oakford Villas play area in North Molton
  • £3,520 towards improvements at Victory Hall in North Molton

A survey by Fremington Parish Council identified the facilities in Tomlin Hall as being in need of modernisation.  Funds will be used to improve the kitchen area and provide new plumbing and heating.

Funds in Ilfracombe will provide a shelter at Marlborough Road Cemetery to give visitors a place to shelter from the weather.

North Molton will benefit from improvements to the play facilities at Oakford Villas play area and essential health and safety work to upgrade the electrical system in Victory Hall.

Leader of North Devon Council, Councillor David Worden, says, “I am very pleased that these projects will receive the funding which is vital to help provide much needed facilities across the district. These open space funds, made as part of major planning applications, allow the council to give back to the community in a meaningful way.”

Local ward member for Bickington, Councillor Joy Cann, says, “As Bickington Councillors Helen, Will and I are all delighted to see Tomlin Hall receiving the funding it deserves and desperately needs for improvements.  Bickington is already a great place to to live and improving Tomlin Hall and providing a better community meeting space will enhance the village further.”

Local ward member for Ilfracombe West, Councillor Geoff Fowler, says, “Marlborough Road Cemetery is exposed at the best of times so to be able to get some respite from the elements for folk has to make sensitive visits more bearable.”

Local ward member for Ilfracombe West, Councillor Netti Pearson, says, “I am sure that visitors to the cemetery will be grateful for a place where they can sit in contemplation and shelter from adverse weather. There are too few shelters in Ilfracombe’s open spaces and I would like to see more installed in town in the future.

*Section 106 (S106) is money paid to the council by developers as part of the planning conditions of planning applications. The money can only be used for certain things, but is used primarily for public open space projects.

Photo courtesy of Tony Gussin.

BICCLESCOMBE PARK RECEIVED PRESTIGIOUS AWARD

Bicclescome Park in Ilfracombe has once again received a prestigious Pride in Parks award.

The park has been awarded four out of five stars for demonstrating excellent maintenance and development, good community involvement and care of the environment. Pride in Parks is run by Southwest in Bloom, in conjunction with the Royal Horticultural Society.

Bicclescombe Park is owned and managed by North Devon Council with the help of a dedicated team of volunteers from the Bicclescombe Park User Group.

Mark Kentell, Contracts Delivery Manager at North Devon Council, says: “Bicclescombe is a wonderful park and we are very proud that the judges agree. Of course, none of this would be possible without the volunteers who give up their own time to help keep the park at such a high standard. So I would like to send a big ‘Thank You’ to all of them.”

As well as this award, the park has flown the Green Flag, which recognises well-managed parks, since 2004. Judging for the 2019/20 Green Flag awards take place at the end of May and the results are expected in July.

If you would like to volunteer at Bicclescombe Park, please get in touch with the Bicclescombe Park User Group on Facebook or contact the council’s parks team on 01271 388308 parks@northdevon.gov.uk

BARNSTAPLE MAKES BID FOR HIGH STREET FUND

A new fund to revitalise High Streets across the UK opens this month and Barnstaple is making a bid for its share.

North Devon Council is working alongside Barnstaple Town Centre Management (BTCM) to apply for the government’s Future High Streets Fund, which has been set up to regenerate high streets and make them fit for the future. The first round of applications opened on 22 March and the council will be submitting its strategic vision for the town centre, taking on board ideas put forward at the BTCM meeting earlier this month.

Councils across the country will be submitting similar bids and not everyone will be selected. However, if the initial bid is successful and Barnstaple gets through to the second stage of the process, there will be a wider consultation with local businesses and residents of the town to ensure the vision meets the needs and aspirations of the local community.

Matthew Brend, Chair of Barnstaple Town Centre Management, says: “We all know that our town centre is evolving. Unprecedented changes in shopping habits and the retail landscape mean that we need to think about what function we want our town centre to play in the future. Barnstaple Town Centre has traditionally been the heart of our community, the place where people come to meet and socialise but with the changes in retail and lifestyles we need to ensure that there are still reasons for people to come and spend time in the town and ensure that it remains at the heart for generations to come. BTCM look forward to playing a local leadership role in delivering real change.”

Hannah Harrington, Barnstaple Town Centre Manager, says: “The Future High Streets Fund is an exciting opportunity that could help us turn our visions into reality. This is an initial stage in a very competitive process and Barnstaple will be up against a large number of other towns, who will all produce their own proposals however we believe we have a strong vision and our own unique set of circumstances which will hopefully make our bid successful.”

North Devon Council’s Executive Member for Economic Regeneration says: “This is an excellent opportunity for Barnstaple and any regeneration of North Devon’s largest town will also have a massive knock-on effect on the whole of the district. The High Street Fund isn’t about drawing down money to make the place look pretty, its for bold new visions, projects that will transform High Streets and make them fit for the future.”

If you would like to join Barnstaple Town Centre Management and put your forward your ideas for the town, contact Hannah Harrington (hannah@barnstaple.co.uk).

PHOTO: The Square, Barnstaple – Nos 3-7, built in 1844 by R.D. Gould of Barnstaple; Nos 1 & 2 were added in 1887. Photo by ‘Reading Tom’.