Housing Needs Survey forms must be returned by the end of July

Although there has been no obvious movement for some time, the subject of Affordable Housing is still very much an ongoing matter.  Added to this there is increasing pressure from central government for the National Parks to allow development in villages.

The Housing Needs Survey discussed at the Parish Council’s Annual Meeting on 14th May 2018 has now been sent to all Brentor residents.  This is being done at no cost to the parish or to West Devon Borough Council.  It has been written and funded by Devon Communities Together, an independent non-profit-making charity, who will also analyse the information from the survey and produce an independent report. They are part of the Devon Rural Housing Partnership.
The deadline for returning the forms (in the reply-paid envelope supplied with the survey or by emailing a scanned copy) is 31st July 2018. You can also complete the survey electronically on Survey Monkey by clicking here.
Once this information has been collected it is expected that a meeting will be arranged to discuss the findings with the parish.
It is very important that as many people as possible complete and return the forms.  By having a high percentage of responses it will help our local authorities to respond appropriately to any housing need discovered by the survey and also to resist unplanned development in Brentor.

Brentor Summer Fayre – 28th July 2018

Brentor’s first summer fayre is drawing close!  Time to start practising your Victoria sponge, watering your veg and selecting a photo for the competitions!There will also be a photography competition with the theme of  ‘Village Life’ – so get snapping!

Put the date in your diary and bring all your friends!

£1 entrance fee at the gate – all proceeds will go to the Village Hall and Playing Field funds

The Summer Fayre committee hard at work planning the event

Contact Clare on 810322 for more details
Click here to go to the ‘Brentor Village Fayre’ page on this website

The Unearth Project

Unearth is being organised by Villages in Action and is generously supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund. 

The Unearth Archive Film evening

The first Brentor event in the Unearth Project was the well-attended Archive Film Evening at the Village Hall on 29th June.  About 50 people enjoyed seeing a number of short films relating to Brentor and the surrounding area, provided by the South West Film and Television Archive.

Unearth is a community exploration of local history through stories, music, images and happenings, run in eight Devon villages including Brentor.  It is being led in our parish by the Brentor Archive Group, who have already provided stories of the history of the parish and our community for the project.
Brentor’s contribution to this exciting rural heritage project will culminate later this year in a multi-media performance sharing the stories of Brentor’s rich past.  A team from Villages in Action, including a playwright, two actors, a sculptor, a digital artist and a folk musician will join forces to tell stories from Brentor.

If you want to be involved in this exciting initiative please contact Mike Whitfield on 810209 or John Wheeler on 810083.

New Village Noticeboards

Two new glazed noticeboards made from oak have been erected near the Village Hall.
They have been funded by the West Devon Town and Parish (TAP) fund and have cost the village only £60.  Thanks should go to Brentor Parish Council, particularly Councillor Terry Pearce, for organising this.  One noticeboard is for the exclusive use of the Parish Council, the other is for general village use.

The old noticeboards, although currently in poor condition, will be refurbished and used elsewhere in Brentor parish.

Reporting Potholes

A pothole on Brentor Road – it was reported and is now repaired!

After the wet and freezing weather potholes seem to appear overnight in our local roads.  It is easy to report them for repair – click here to go to the Devon County Council roads and transport website page to report them.

You’ll need to take a photograph and note where the pothole is, so that you can mark its position on the County Council’s website,  but it’s easy and worthwhile to do and it could prevent an accident.

If you are reporting an emergency that requires immediate attention, please call the County Council on 0345 155 1004.  An emergency on the highway is defined as something that is very likely to present an imminent threat to life or serious injury or serious damage to property.

Brentor Commons Update – May 2018

What a year it has been for cow parsley. The roadside banks and hedges seem to be festooned with great swathes of white foliage, not only that but they are regularly enhanced by the bluebells, pink campions and buttercups giving the sensation of having been painted by  Monet.
The whole of the common seems to have burst into life over the recent weeks.  All of the trees are in full exuberant leaf with some such as the mountain ash and chestnut already in full bloom.  The bluebells are again giving a wonderful display on Bowden and especially Liddaton.  The area in the far southwest corner being particularly fine.
At last the paths on the common are now dry and in places even becoming a little dusty, what a change from the past six months.
Along the back path there had been a hatching of speckled yellow moths, their behaviour was very much that of  butterflies.  They were brightly coloured, settled with their wings open and were day flying . It took quite a bit of searching through our books to discover what species they were.
On checking the pond on Liddaton we found the tadpoles have come on very well.  Many were already developing their hind legs and were very active creating quite a ripple across the surface.  That surface was looking rather unusual as it was covered in willow fluff almost as if it had had a light dusting of snow.
We have been pleased this month to host a visit from the Tavistock branch of the Devon Wildlife Trust.  Will Walker Smith and Mike Whitfield led a party of eleven members around both commons.  The history, ecology and wildlife of the area was explained and Pete Glanville from Tavistock was on hand to help with identification of various bird and plant species.
We are hoping that some of our visitors will be coming back in the future to help with such jobs as coppicing and scrub clearance.
Would there be an interest in such a guided walk amongst the local community?  Please get in touch by phone, email or at coffee morning.

Barry Albrighton

Click here to see earlier monthly Commons updates by Barry Albrighton

Where next for Brentor Broadband?


Where does Brentor go next for its Superfast Broadband?  There is no question that those residents who have a line of sight to one of Airband’s transmitters have access to superfast broadband,  although there is evidently little choice of providers and no access to the major internet service providers as originally promised by Connecting Devon and Somerset and Airband.  For the rest of the village there is only a prospect of continuing with the current poor internet speeds via the Openreach copper cable system until we all have a right to demand a minimum of 10mbs in 2020 through the Governement’s proposed ‘Universal Service Obligation’ for broadband provision.  But how will even this modest increase in internet speed be achieved?  More Airband?  Openreach fibre to the village via a fibre cable across the moor from Mary Tavy – with us paying through a Community Fibre Partnership?  Or even some new technology such as ‘white space’ that uses the television transmitters?

The website Editor, Colin Dawes, wrote to Geoffrey Cox MP to bring these matters to his attention.  Mr Cox in turn contacted Openreach and received the following letter:

Dear Mr Cox
Thank you for your email of 1 December about Geoffrey’s constituent Colin Dawes of The Old School, West Blackdown, Brentor, Tavistock, Devon, PL19 0NB.  I’m sorry for the delay in getting back to you. 
I understand the frustration felt by Mr Dawes and other residents of Brentor over the slow broadband speeds to the village.  I appreciate their need for a faster connection and the benefits that this would bring to the area.  I have looked into the matter and I am now in a position to respond.
Current ADSL Copper broadband service
As Mr Dawes mentions, many residents of Brentor are unable to receive a faster ADSL broadband service.  The reason for this is the distance of the premises from Mary Tavy exchange that serves the area, rather than any inherent defects with the local network.
Our records show that Mr Dawes should currently be receiving speeds of up to 4Mbps.  This is the speeds that we would expect to see on his line due to the distance of his premises from the exchange.  It may help if I explain that for ADSL broadband to work effectively, the ideal cable distance of the line from the exchange to the user’s premises is up to 6km.  Unfortunately, broadband speeds are slower across Brentor as you move further away from the exchange.
We have investigated the condition of the local cable network.   Our local engineering manager has confirmed that there are no underlying issues that are impacting on broadband performance.  Also, the fault volumes for the area are below the national average.  All this confirms is that the local network is up to the required standard.  Moreover, our records show that there’s ample capacity in the local network to cope with any requests for new telephone service.
If any residents are experiencing problems with their telephone or broadband service, they need to raise with their Service Provider (SP), with whom they have a contract and pay their bill to.  All SPs have dedicated contact points within Openreach if they need to request an engineering visit or escalate an issue. 
Fibre broadband availability
Mary Tavy exchange is one of our smaller exchanges, with around 700 premises connected to it.  However, the good news is that it was upgraded in November 2016 to deliver fibre broadband with support from the Connecting Devon and Somerset (CDS) project.
The technology CDS deployed in this exchange area is largely Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC).  The cabinet serving Brentor has been upgraded, but like ADSL Copper broadband, FTTC is also a distance-related service.
For FTTC to work reliably, the cable length of the copper line from the fibre cabinet to the premises needs to be up to 1.5km. Anything over this limit, there’s a degradation in speed before the service fails altogether.  Unfortunately, Brentor is too far from the fibre cabinet and so sadly, out of range to receive FTTC services.  Mr Dawes’ premises are some 3km away – simply too long benefit from a FTTC product. 
We’re very much aware that premises in this situation present us with a specific set of engineering challenges, but the issue affects a relatively small number of lines. Technical solutions such as Fibre to the Premises (FTTP), extending the fibre cable route to bring it closer to the area/community or deploying alternative technology are being implemented in many areas right now.  However, they are economically challenging and as such they are usually only deployed via the public funding route.
Having looked into Mr Dawes’s concerns, it’s largely about a wireless solution that has been provided by Airband to deliver high-speed connectivity with support from CDS.  This is not a service Openreach has provided so we can’t offer any comment about its quality, cost or performance.  This issue is best raised with CDS or Airband directly. 
Community Fibre Partnership (CFP)
We’re having great success with a new initiative called CFP – specifically intended to help communities – that are unlikely to be covered by private commercial plans or publicly funded projects.  This will be the remaining few percent of UK premises.
Across the UK we have worked with over 400 communities directly and delivered fibre broadband sooner than otherwise would have been possible.
A CFP involves a local group working directly with us.  Mr Dawes mentions being quoted £50k to run a fibre service across the moor to serve Brentor, but our CFP team cannot find any record of providing any such quote for this area.  
If Mr Dawes is interested in this in this option, then more details on CFP can be found on our website.   He can have a discussion with other residents who are in a similar situation to him and would also like to enjoy the benefits of fibre broadband.  There are a lot of details on CFP on our website below:
We’ll be happy to engage with the local community and meet with them to discuss their options and advise of the sum they need to pay.  We try to do everything we can to provide support and make it affordable as possible, such as looking for alternative solutions such as overhead cabling.  The more residents participate in the scheme the better it is as this will help to bring down the cost for each householder.
I’m really sorry that I am unable to provide a positive response for Mr Dawes at this time, but I hope it helps to explain our position.  
Please get back to me if there’s anything else you need relating to this matter. If you have any other Openreach related constituency enquiries, please continue to contact Michael Salter-Church or Denise at parliamentary.help@openreach.co.uk. If you have constituency issues relating to BT Group (including EE and BT Consumer) please contact Clova Fyfe at clova.fyfe@bt.com.
Best wishes,
Graeme Hughes
Customer Resolutions – Openreach High Level Complaints

Web: www.openreach.co.uk

The website Editor replied to Geoffrey Cox MP in response to this information.  In turn Mr Cox wrote again to Openreach and received a further letter in reply:

Dear Mr Cox
Thank you for your further email regarding your constituent, Colin Dawes.  I’m very sorry for the delay in getting back to you.
I’m sorry to hear that Mr Dawes has received conflicting information regarding fibre availability to his area.  As mentioned previously, his area is fibre enabled, however the it is unlikely to work to a satisfactory level due to the distance his property is from the cabinet. 
I have spoken with our Community Fibre Partnership (CFP) team regarding the matter and they would be happy to discuss the matter with him and provide a quote for a CFP.  If Mr Dawes is interested, he can contact our CFP team direct.  More information and contact details are available at the following link:
Mr Dawes also refers to receiving 10Mbps in 2020.  BT had made a voluntary offer to the Government to help achieve its goal of delivering a universal minimum 10Mbps broadband service across the UK. BT’s proposed Universal Broadband Commitment (UBC) did not rely on public subsidy and was an alternative to a broadband USO which would also require legislation. It will also ensure that the majority of connections will be well in excess of 10Mbps.
After weighing up the benefits of both options the government has opted to go with the USO model which aims to give people the legal right to access a broadband connection of at least 10Mbps by 2020. We respect the government’s decision and Openreach want to get on with the job of making decent broadband available to everyone in the UK. We’ll continue to explore the commercial options for bringing faster speeds to those parts of the country which are hardest-to-reach.
Alongside this, we’ll work closely with Government, Ofcom and industry to help deliver the regulatory USO. We look forward to receiving more details from the Government outlining its approach to defining the regulatory USO, including the proposed funding mechanism.
I hope this helps to confirm he situation for Mr Dawes, but I’m sorry I don’t have any positive news for him at this time.
Best wishes,
Graeme Hughes
Customer Resolutions – Openreach High Level Complaints

Web: www.openreach.co.uk

So that is where those of us without Airband access are at the moment – ‘No positive news’.  If anyone in Brentor has further information please do contact the website Editor, Colin Dawes, at colinvdawes@btinternet.com.  It might well be worth lobbying Geoffrey Cox MP to ensure that the Government’s commitment to the USO (Universal Service Obligation) as mentioned in the above letter actually becomes law!


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

For more information about how this issue has evolved click here

Colin Dawes, Editor

Brentor Commons Association already benefitting from the Co-op Local Community Fund

Brentor Commons Association is benefitting this year from the Co-op Local Community Fund.  The funding started on 12 November 2017 and will  run until the 27 October 2018.

Their first quarterly payment from the Fund amounted to £494, an amazing benefit to the Association, because rule changes by DEFRA mean that the common land owned by the Association no longer receives any funding for conservation work – unlike commercial operations such as farms, private estates etc.  Thank you Co-op!
How the Community Fund works
Every time Co-op members shop at the Co-op, 1% of what they spend on selected own-brand products and services goes to the Co-op Local Community Fund.  The Co-op will also give the Brentor Commons Association (shared with two other local causes) a share of the money they raise from sales of carrier bags.  Co-op shoppers who are Co-op members (ie  have a membership card) must first choose the Commons Association as their cause for their 1% to go to them and not the other causes – to do this click here to go to the coop.co.uk/membership website.
The more you shop at the Co-op, the more the Commons Association will benefit.

Ongoing Community Issues

This section of the website sets out to provide a source of information about issues which are of ongoing concern to our village.  Often these issues first appear on this home page, but require additional space to do them justice.

Click here for information about Broadband provision for Brentor
Click here for information about Affordable Housing provision in Brentor
Click here for information about the possible new railway line through Brentor (part of the Dawlish alternative route)

We want your recipes!

This website now has a recipes page, but there’s only a few recipes on it! 
As we all know, lot of Brentor’s social life revolves around cooking and eating with family and friends.  The recipes on the new page have been provided by Brentor residents past and present.  No doubt some have been adapted and improved as the years pass – and they are reminders of residents past and present and of many good times around the table, as well as being household favourites. 
WE NEED LOTS MORE RECIPES!  So please email your contributions – a recipe with a small introductory text – to the editor, Colin Dawes, at colinvdawes@btinternet.com . 

Click here to go to the Recipe Book page

We need your contributions!

A carder bee on a thistle in a Brentor garden – photo by Colin Dawes

Do you have an interesting photo, an informative item about the village or an event that you need to promote?

We want to keep this website topical, local and up-to-date, so please send your potential contributions to colinvdawes@btinternet.com .

Sign up to receive Brentor event reminders by email!

How often do you think ‘I wish I had remembered to go to that!’?
If you sign up for the free village event reminder service that won’t happen again.
For many special village events or activities you will receive an email reminder during the week before the event. Occasionally events are put on at short notice and may only be advertised by this service.
So why not join over 80 households who have already signed up!
To take advantage of this free service just send your email to brentorinfo@btinternet.com.
Colin Dawes

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