Brentor Commons Update – Autumn 2015

Travelling across the common recently, it was good to see the Kestrel again. This is a bird that we did not see for several years, but it has now returned as a regular visitor, it’s presence throughout the summer would indicate that it is breeding nearby.Kestrel (2) The Windhover as it is poetically known was demonstrating its skill to us as we drove past, it did not change position just hanging in the air with just a seemingly gentle flutter of its wingtips.
As travellers have done for hundreds of years we can now see our milestone where a bit of ‘gardening’ has once again made it visible just opposite the big ash tree and a little way down the slope. We can all now be confident that it is only 6 miles to Tavistock.
The hazel has been very prolific this year. The nut crop is as heavy as I have ever seen. The squirrels will no doubt take the great majority of them as the debris on the roads under the overhanging branches clearly shows. I do however live in hope of collecting some ripe crunchy nuts in a few weeks time. Unfortunately we have to wait until they are ripe, if we pick them green they seem to shrivel as they turn brown off the tree.
It is good to see the trampled grass next to the blackberry bushes. A lot of people will be enjoying their blackberry and apple pies this year. I wonder how much of the massive sloe crop will be used for sloe gin. So easy and foolproof to make and so delicious to drink over the coming winter months.

Barry Albrighton

Newspaper and other deliveries to Brentor

Mary Tavy Post Office has ceased to deliver to Brentor, but all is not lost!

The Riverside Stores and Post Office in Bridestowe is now offering a delivery service to Brentor, including daily papers, magazines, milk, bread and groceries.  Click here to see their advertisement on this website or here to find out more on their website.

Sites for affordable housing in Brentor – update

The village of North Brentor has been identified by Dartmoor National Park Authority (DNP) as a rural settlement where the provision of a small number of affordable houses to meet an identified local need could be permitted. Suitable sites will be within or adjoining the settlement and well related to the existing buildings.

  • Following an appeal for suitable sites for affordable housing nine locations were put forward by the deadline of 30th September 2013.  These were initially assessed by the Community Council of Devon and have already been visited by representatives of Dartmoor National Park Authority Planning, West Devon Borough Council, and the Community Council of Devon, accompanied by Brentor Parish Councillors. Following this, the Dartmoor National Park Authority has produced an assessment of all the sites and a shortlist of those considered to merit further investigation.  All these documents are available on this website from the ‘Affordable Housing – Background documents’ section below.
  • The sites put forward and a shortlist from these were discussed at a special Parish Council meeting on Monday 24th February 2014.
  • A drop in session, where parishioners were able to ask questions about the affordable housing on a one-to-one basis with Parish Councillors, representatives of DNP and WDBC etc, was held on 17th March 2014 and was attended by some 80 parishioners, many of whom filled in feedback forms for the Dartmoor National Park Authority’s Planners.  The sites map and consultation/background document available at the session and a feedback form are all available to view or download from the ‘Affordable Housing – Background documents’ section below.
  • Tim Beavon, Chair of the Brentor Parish Council, provided the following update on 17th April 2014:The initial assessment by DNPA of the sites put forward concluded that site 9 was undeliverable following a report that the land price required was too high.  In response to receiving a letter advising him that the site was considered undeliverable the owner has been in contact with DNPA and confirmed that affordable housing land prices are acceptable to him, making the site an option for affordable housing. DNPA has therefore revised its report, also updating some inconsistencies drawn to its attention at the consultation event.  The revised report is available below in the ‘background documents’ section.   
  • A question and answer session was held at the Village Hall on 12 May 2014, where  planning officers from DNPA, the Housing Officer from West Devon Borough Council and the Community Council of Devon’s Rural Housing Enabler answered questions about the plans for affordable housing. DNPA has completed a summary of the feedback received by 8 April on the possible sites for affordable housing. This is available in the ‘background documents’ section below.  Since receiving the feedback site 9, land at Station View, has been reassessed as deliverable therefore DNPA was able to accept further comments on this site.
  • Further discussion about affordable housing took place at a Parish Council Meeting on Monday 19th May 2014. The three Parish Councillors not affected by a declaration of interest were asked to rank the five shortlisted sites in order of preference and the result of the voting was as follows, in order of preference:-  Site 2 (War Memorial), site 3 (Shell Park), Site 1 (Hammer Park), Site 4 (Station Road) and site 9 (Station View).  This order of preference has been passed on to the Dartmoor National Park Authority planners.  The full minutes of the Parish Council meeting are available in the ‘Parish Council’ pages of this website.
  • The Dartmoor National Park Authority planners wrote to the owners/developers of the shortlisted sites, asking them to fill in a questionnaire about the deliverability of their sites – a copy of this letter and the questionnaire are available below in the ‘background documents’ section. 
  • DNPA has now provided its report on the responses made by landowners to the questionnaire on whether the sites can be developed to provide affordable housing in a reasonable period of time. The report is available below and is also pinned on the village notice board outside the village hall.
  • Officers from DNPA and WDBC attended the parish council meeting on Monday 15 September and responded to questions about the report. DNPA also reported that an outline planning application had been submitted for the development of 12 houses at the Hammer Park site. Not all of the requirements regarding the drawings and supporting information were met at the time of the meeting but the application was validated on 17 October 2014 and was published online in the DNPA planning applications list. A site notice was displayed advertising where the plans can be viewed, and how to comment on the plans. A notice was also placed in the local newspaper. A copy of the planning application was placed in the village hall. Copies of all the documents can be viewed on the planning section of DNPA’s website as well as at DNPA’s offices. Anyone wishing to comment on the application had to do so by writing direct to DNPA or submitting comments online by 14 November 2014.
    The application was considered by the Parish Council at its meeting on 17 November 2014. Dartmoor National Park authority put on hold any further work on the call for sites exercise until the planning application was determined.
  • The Chair of Brentor Parish Council, Sheila Burrows, wrote, as an insert for the Brentor News:   ‘Dartmoor National Park Development & Planning Committee met on the 9th January 2015 and refused Planning Application 0606/14 for outline planning permission for 12 affordable homes on a site at Hammer Park. The need for affordable homes in Brentor remains, therefore DNPA Planning Officers and representatives from West Devon Borough Council and Devon Communities Together (formerly Community Council of Devon) are seeking to explain the next stage of the planning process at the earliest opportunity.
    Many challenges remain in fulfilling this process and therefore an additional meeting of the Parish Council is being called where the above representatives will explain what are likely to be the next steps. A period of purdah due to forthcoming local council elections starts on 22nd March 2015, so there is little time available.’ Therefore the Parish Council is taking the opportunity to call an additional meeting on Monday 16th February 2015 at Brentor Village Hall starting at 7.30pm.
  • For further general information about affordable housing contact the Rural Housing Enabler, Sue Southwell, at Devon Communities Together, telephone 01392 248919 ext 122.

Affordable Housing – Background documents

The following links are for documents which relate to the topic of affordable housing in Brentor.  Click on them to go to the relevant website and document:

Brentor Housing Needs Survey Report, February 2011, produced by the Community Council for Devon on behalf of the Devon Rural Housing Partnership

Brentor Housing Needs Survey comments, February 2011.  Comments provided by respondents to the survey to question C8 of the Brentor Housing Needs Survey.  Please note that these are unedited comments and are provided on this website in response to a request to the current Parish Council by a local parishioner.  This document was released by the Community Council for Devon in response to a request by the Parish Council.

General information about affordable housing on the Dartmoor National Park website

Dartmoor National Park Development Plan on the Dartmoor National Park website

Dartmoor National Park Draft Supplementary Planning Document (SPD), relating to Affordable Housing in Dartmoor National Park, from the Dartmoor National Park website

Brentor Affordable Housing Sites assessment produced by the Dartmoor National Park Authority

Brentor Housing Needs Survey Report produced by the Dartmoor National Park Authority

17th March 2014 drop-in session background/consultation document, produced by the Dartmoor National Park Authority

(Left) Annotated plan of sites put forward for consideration, produced by the Dartmoor National Park Authority and displayed at the 17th March 2014drop-in session.

Click on the plan to see an enlarged version


Housing sites consultation feedback form produced by the Dartmoor National Park Authority.  Use this form to send your comments on affordable housing to the Dartmoor National Park planners.

Brentor Affordable Housing Sites Assessment (revised April 2014) – the latest Sites Assessment produced by the Dartmoor National Park Authority

Brentor Affordable Housing Sites Shortlist (revised April 2014) – the latest Sites Shortlist produced by the Dartmoor National Park Authority

Brentor Affordable Housing Sites Final Feedback Summary -  feedback from the 8th April 2014 drop-in session, compiled by the Dartmoor National Park Authority (final amended version made available on 12th May 2014)

Letter to the owners of shortlisted sites - a letter from the Senior Forward Planner at Dartmoor National Park Authority to the owners/developers of the shortlisted sites for affordable housing in Brentor,  introducing the questionnaire below

Questionnaire about the shortlisted sites – sent for completion by the Dartmoor National Park Authority to the owners/developers of the shortlisted affordable housing sites in Brentor (this has to be returned to the Authority by 1st August 2014)

 Review of landowner’s returns – compiled by the Dartmoor National Park Authority from the responses to the questionnaire about the shortlisted sites

Planning Application for Site 1 (Hammer Park) – published on the Dartmoor National Part Authority website on 17 October 2014. (This link takes you to the Planning section of the DNPA website – first accept the terms on the first page and then text search for ‘Hammer Park’ or enter the application number, 0606/14 to view the application).

Broadband update – no hope for faster broadband in Brentor until 2017 or later

Thank you to everyone who has taken part in the local broadband survey over the last year or so.  The results can be seen by clicking on the link below – please note that these are the combined results for Brentor, Mary Tavy and Peter Tavy, all served by the Mary Tavy telephone exchange.  The speed results are for Brentor only and show that 88% of broadband users in the parish get less than 2 mbs download speed and 89% achieve less than 0.49 mbs upload speed.  The government’s target of 90% of broadband users having 2 mbs download speed is clearly not the case in our parish!

Click here for the Broadband survey results

The Parish Council has been in touch with our local MP concerning the plans for improving our broadband speed.  Councillor Drury met with our MP on behalf of Brentor Parish and has received two copy responses as a result of his discussions:

1)   From Devon County Council to our MP – click on this link to see the letter DCC letter to MP

2)   An e-mail from BT to our MP.  Click on this link to see this e-mail – BT response

The Editor of this website, Colin Dawes, has also been in contact with ‘Connecting Devon and Somerset’ about his apallingly slow broadband connection and received this e-mail from Ed Cross of the ‘Superfast Broadband Team’ on 29th September 2014.  So it looks as if Brentor has no hope of faster broadband until at least 2017 or later!

It would seem that the best way forward will be for us all to register our interest in this issue and keep all parties involved fully aware of our desire for a better broadband connection!  Why not follow BT’s own advice……………..register interest with the project team and keep in touch with them for any further updates.  The web link below has more information:

You can still check your broadband speed by clicking here. (Just click the button marked ‘Start Speed Test’ below the two dials).

Please register for better broadband in Brentor!

INCA Welcomes Broadband Funding & Launches Superfast Notspot Registration Scheme

The Independent Networks Co-operative Association has launched a registration scheme for people who want to access better broadband but can’t get it.  Announced  on the BBC Radio 4 You and Yours programme, the scheme encourages individuals, businesses and communities register their notspot information at

The information collected will be made available to alternative broadband providers looking for opportunities to serve areas that are left out of BT’s superfast broad band roll out plans.

Earlier this week the government announced the distribution of an additional £250m central funding amongst local authorities. Councils are expected to find matching funds making a pot of £500m to extend superfast broadband coverage. Alternative providers delivering fibre, wireless or satellite broadband are well placed to fill in many of the gaps, often more cost-effectively than BT.

David Cullen, INCA’s chair and a director of ITS Technology Group said, “Further government funding to extend superfast broadband into the hardest to reach areas is very welcome. There are many companies and community projects eager to get involved and help deliver a truly world class digital infrastructure for the whole of the UK. The Notspot Registration Scheme will identify pockets of pent up demand, helping private sector providers and local councils direct their efforts to best effect.”

For more information contact

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