Category Archives: News

Closure of Butcher Park Hill from 11 February for 14 weeks

A main route from Brentor toTavistock is to be closed for around three months as groundworks for a the new Embden Grange housing estate, being built on the northern edge of Tavistock, are being carried out.  Butcher Park Hill will be closed from Monday 11 February 2019, with an anticipated end of the closure on Friday 17 May.  The road closure has been granted by Devon County Council so that the developer of the 120 houses being built at the to of the hill, (Barratt Developments PLC) can instal sewerage and gas pipes and modify the BT cable.  A footpath is also planned to be built at the same time.

Although the closure is anticipated for 14 weeks, the closure order is for up to 18 months, so the closure could be extended if there are delays to the works.

This is likely to increase traffic through Brentor and will doubtless inconvenience residents in other ways.

New proposals for affordable housing in Brentor

The concept plan for the site which was displayed at the drop-in session

At the drop-in session about possible affordable housing, held at Brentor Village Hall on Saturday 17th November 2018, visitors were able to view concept layout plans for up to 12 houses at Hammer Park. They were also able to question representatives of the Parish Council and West Devon Borough Council about the proposals. The recent Brentor Parish housing needs survey has demonstrated that, with existing housing list members, there is demand for up to 12 new homes. These would be built at Hammer Park as a ‘small affordable housing exception site’ scheme, which allows for the building of principally affordable housing in the National Park.

The current landowner has generously agreed to provide the Hammer Park site for an extremely reasonable sum, which would therefore enable the houses to be truly affordable.  A mix of perhaps three full market value homes (which would cross-subsidise the others), three discounted homes and six rented properties would in all likelihood make the scheme economically viable. Open market properties are commonly needed due to the decline of funding for local needs housing.

The full market value homes would be marketed only to people from Brentor Parish in the first instance, such as those wishing to downsize from their existing home. The discounted homes would be sold to local people at a much reduced price (which might be at about 40% discount, but in the future they could only be sold on for a similar discount to other local people). The rental properties would be rented only to people from the Parish initially.

In the future, if there were no takers for any of the properties from within the Parish they could only be occupied by people from within adjoining parishes, and if there was no demand from them, only by people from within the National Park. These properties will never be allowed to become second homes or holiday homes. The s106 planning agreement would include this detail to ensure that the properties were targeted for local people to the parish in perpetuity.

There would be a possibility of including some single-storey properties for the elderly if there is demand.

It was made clear that this development will only go ahead if there is support from people in Brentor, and this will probably need to be gauged by the Parish Council. If it does go ahead there would be full consultation about the mix of properties, their layout, materials and design. They would be well built, reflect the local vernacular, and be low-carbon emission. The properties would probably be built by West Devon Borough Council and retained by them as their own housing stock.

There are other possible housing sites in Brentor, such as the field behind the bus shelter in the village centre (which is currently listed by Dartmoor National Park as being suitable for development with up to 29 homes). If the site at Hammer Park were to go ahead the likelihood of development elsewhere in the village would be reduced for the foreseeable future.  West Devon Borough Council and the Parish Council clearly understood the sensitivity of this issue and the feeling in the village that it will engender, but they explained that that there is considerable pressure from Government for each Parish area to provide housing for local needs.

If you need further information about this issue contact Alex Rehaag from the West Devon Borough Council housing team – tel 01822 813600. This issue will no doubt be discussed at forthcoming Parish Council meetings – details of these are on the Parish Council pages of this website.

Watch this space for more information as it emerges.

If you want to find information about earlier proposals for affordable housing in Brentor click here.

Mistletoe Fair success

Preparations for the Mistletoe Fair well under way

Brentor’s Mistletoe Fair at the Village Hall on Saturday 8th December attracted a large number of visitors.
Everyone enjoyed the wide range of stalls selling decorations, soap, pottery, Brentor calendars, cards and other gifts.  As always the food, which was provided all day, was wonderfully tasty and all home made.   And all washed down with copious amounts of Gluhwein.  The team of table clearers and washers-up was kept very busy!
The hall’s decorations included large bunches of mistletoe (courtesy of Glenys Mason) and huge amouts of fir and pine (from Margaret and Dave Calder).
Thanks also go to the choir from the Mary Tavy and Brentor Community School and to Father Christmas who made a special early visit!
The event raised 0ver £1,300 and all profits from the event go to help run the Village Hall and Playing Field.

Conservation work for Brentor Commons

The Tavistock Taskforce put in two solid days work on Bowden and Liddaton Down for the Brentor Commons Association.
On Bowden Common they have virtually opened up the full length of the ancient drovers route, once the main route from the north towards Tavistock before the roads went in.  We call it the ‘hollow way’ as it was eroded by hundreds of years of use by packhorses etc.  It is a lovely walk with fantastic views over towards Dartmoor.  There will be more work along here in coming months, such as hedge laying and coppicing of hazel to let more light in.
The Taskforce spent a very messy and muddy day removing and reducing invasive willow from the quarry pond on Liddaton Down.  The pond is a much-neglected feature that had been used in the past as an illegal dump and place for the dreaded fly tippers to dump rubbish over the years.  Incredibly it is home to a wide variety of invertebrates and molluscs, including our very rare mud snail.  In spring it is covered in a mass of frog spawn, deer go there to graze and drink and now hopefully more birds will come in to the open water.  Again more work will be done in the coming months to make the access easier and hopefully we will make some ‘rustic’ benches from the felled willow.
The work has been carried out by the Tavistock Taskforce who undertake restoration, renovation and environmental projects.  They have a wide range of volunteers including people with additional needs who are gaining work experience and qualifications.  I cannot express how amazed I was at their commitment , energy and positivity while working in pretty difficult conditions.
All of this work has been made possible by the amazing amount of money, £5501, that we have received from the Co-Op Good Causes Fund.  It’s great to recycle the money we have received back into another local organisation.
Will Walker-Smith

Comment on the new Dartmoor Local Plan!

Help plan for the future of Dartmoor National Park by commenting on the new draft Local Plan being launched next week.  The Local Plan sets out what type of development is and isn’t acceptable in the National Park. It is what the National Park Authority uses to decide planning applications, and sets out where future development may take place.

The Local Plan contains a broad range of policies that cover things like extensions and conservatories, conversions and new houses. It identifies land for future housing or employment development in Dartmoor’s larger towns and villages. It covers farming and other business. It also considers the natural and historic environment and resource issues like energy and quarrying.

In order to ensure that planning works for everyone with an interest in Dartmoor the National Park Authority is asking for your comments on a new draft Local Plan.  This means reading the draft Plan and sharing your comments with them.  It’s important to tell them what you like, what you don’t like; whether you think they should change any of the policies, and why.

Dan Janota, Head of Forward Planning and Economy, Dartmoor National Park, said:
‘We have carried out a lot of research and community engagement to reach this point. Over the last two years we’ve held 23 public meetings or events, meeting with around 750 people, and we received a lot of written comments and views which, alongside the research we’ve published, have shaped this draft Plan. At this stage we now need people to take a look at what it says, and share their views with us in writing. This is the first draft so there is still plenty of opportunity to influence, but it’s important people share their views with us.’

‘The policies in the Local Plan could affect your home or your neighbours’, the businesses and services you use, and the places you like to visit. Commenting on a planning application is an important way of influencing planning decisions, but those decisions are made based on the policies in the Local Plan – if you really want to influence what happens in the future take a look at what it says, and give us your comments. Importantly you need to tell us what you do like, as well as anything you might like to see changed, and how. ‘

The Local Plan is available on the Dartmoor National Park Authority website or at libraries, parish councils and National Park Visitor Centres.  The consultation runs until 4 February 2019.   You can complete the online form on the Dartmoor National Park Authority website (go to the link below) or download the form and return it by email or post.

The consultation process begins with a series of local drop-in events, held over the next few weeks:
South East Dartmoor: Ashburton Christmas Fayre – Thursday 6 December 2018, 4pm – 7pm
South West Dartmoor: Meeting Room, Yelverton War Memorial Hall – Tuesday 11 December 2018, 3pm – 6pm
North Dartmoor: Whiddon Down Village Hall – Thursday 13 December 2018, 3pm – 6pm
East Dartmoor:  Moretonhampstead Community Club – Tuesday 18 December 2018, 3pm – 6pm
The National Park Authority is holding a number of other awareness-raising events and workshops aimed at a variety of audiences, with further details on their website.

Join the discussion and help the National Park  plan for the future of Dartmoor:
Click here to go to the Dartmoor National Park Authority local review page
Twitter: @DartmoorPlan
Facebook: /DartmoorPlan
Email – forwardplanning@dartmoor.gov.uk
Tel 01626 832093

Review of the Dartmoor National Park Management Plan – have your say

Dartmoor National Park Management Plan is currently under review –  click here to see the plan.  This is the single most important plan for the future of Dartmoor National Park.  It is a strategic plan which sets out the long-term ‘Vision’ for the next 20 years, and guides decisions affecting Dartmoor’s future over the coming five years.  It is not to be confused with the Local Plan, also currently under review, which sets out planning policies for Dartmoor, identifies how land is used and determines what will be built where.  

As part of the Management Plan review, Dartmoor National Park Authority has launched a survey to collect the public’s views about priorities and issues for Dartmoor National Park – you can find this by clicking here and you should respond by 5pm on Friday 30 NovemberThe National Park is not asking Parish and Town Councils to respond formally at this stage, so our comments should be important in setting the tone of the review.  Much of Brentor is within the Dartmoor National Park, so this really is a chance to have your say about how our surroundings are managed.

If you have any questions you should contact Sassie Tickle, an Assistant Forward Planner at the Dartmoor National Park Authority, tel 01626 831053. 

Brentor and the First World War

To mark the centenary of the end of the First World War  Brentor Archive Group has done a huge amount of work to research what happened in Brentor during WWI.  Irene Cradick has researched the lives and service of local men who died in the war and who are listed on the Brentor War Memorial.   She has also brought together many other accounts of those who survived the war – all this makes fascinating and poignant reading.

The results of her research on those who lost their lives can be seen by clicking here.

To find out more about the people and families in Brentor who contributed to the war effort click here.

Results of the Playing Field Survey

Last December Brentor village residents were invited to fill in a survey asking for comments and suggestions for the future of the Brentor playing field. 
Disappointingly, only 20 responses were received.    The results of the survey were as follows:

50% asked for the field to have more of a community feel with seating, barbeque and toilets installed
35% suggested relocating the field closer to the village hall (if possible)
5% suggested selling the land for affordable housing
5% suggested leaving it as it is
5% wanting the committee to decide.

Over the last few months this has led to some lengthy deliberations by the committee,  to discuss the way forward based on the results.

What happens next?
Based on the results, the committee has been looking at external shelters, compost toilets and seating to enable it to take things forward.  It will require some fundraising and looking into grants available.

How can you help?
Would you like to get involved in making our playing field a more usable, sociable place?  If you have ideas for fundraising, can help with applying for grants, or have further suggestions/comments or even wish to make a donation, please contact Sheryl, tel 870554, email sheryl_burroughs@hotmail.com or Clare, tel 810322, email mrsclarep@gmail.com .

Broadband user survey closes on 9 December 2018!

The Parish Clerk was contacted on 27 November concerning the broadband user survey being conducted by Connecting Devon and Somerset.  The deadline for completion was Sunday 9 December.
The survey aims to find out people’s broadband needs and compare whether these needs are being met by the service they receive. The survey was open to all residents and businesses within Devon and Somerset and in addition to determining the impact from the new infrastructure (this must mean Airband in Brentor), it could help Connecting Devon and Somerset identify the broadband needs across our counties and the data ought to influence their future Digital Strategy.  For Brentor, where we still hope to get a superfast fibre connection to the Mary Tavy exchange to serve those properties not able to be reached by Airband, the survey could be very important in highlighting the patchy coverage here.
The Broadband User Survey asked questions about current available speeds, what homes or businesses can and cannot do with their existing broadband and the levels of satisfaction with their provider.
Connecting Devon and Somerset was apparently keen for the survey to be completed by as many local residents and businesses as possible – so it’s a pity that it wasn’t advertised more widely!

Where next for Brentor broadband?

NEWS

The Government is introducing a Universal Service Obligation (USO) for broadband provision and is aiming for this to be in place by 2020 at the latest.  This should apply to Brentor residents who cannot receive an Airband signal and who currently have less than 10mbs broadband download speed.  Below is the House of Commons Library Briefing that details the Government’s plans to introduce a Universal Service Obligation (USO) for broadband.  It was published on June 5, 2018.

What is the broadband USO?

The UK Government is introducing a Universal Service Obligation (USO) for broadband. The new USO is a UK-wide measure to deliver broadband connections to the hardest to reach premises in the UK. It is intended to fill the gap left by the UK Government’s existing broadband roll-out programs.
The USO will provide a legal right to request a broadband connection of at least 10 megabits per second (Mbps) download speed. Eligible consumers and businesses will be able to request a connection under the USO and a Universal Service Provider(s) will be required to fulfil all requests up to a cost threshold of £3,400. The USO will be funded by industry through a cost-sharing fund.
The USO is underpinned by secondary legislation made under the Digital Economy Act 2017, and will be implemented by Ofcom. The Digital Economy Act allows for the Government to review the USO and to increase the minimum speed. There was broad cross-party and consumer support for the introduction of a statutory USO for broadband in general, but there were mixed views from industry stakeholders as to how universal access to broadband should be delivered.

Technical specifications
The minimum technical standards for connections made under the USO will be:

  • Minimum download speed of 10 Mbps.
  • Minimum upload speed of 1 Mbps.
  • Additional quality parameters: medium response times, a minimum data cap of 100 GBs and a contention rate of 50:1 (which means a maximum of 50 users to share one bandwidth).

A mix of technologies that meet the minimum specifications will be used to deliver the service.  In 2016 Ofcom advised that satellite connections will probably be the only option for some consumers (approx. 0.2%) but may not be able to fulfil the additional quality parameters.

When will the USO be implemented?

The Government is aiming for the USO to be in place by 2020 at the latest. Secondary legislation was laid in Parliament in March 2018, and came into force on 23 April 2018. Ofcom has responsibility to implement the USO and that process is expected to take up to two years. Several factors need to be finalised, such as the designation of a universal service provider, and the design of an industry cost-sharing fund. Ofcom’s first document on the USO implementation is expected in summer 2018.

How many premises will be eligible?

Ofcom reported that as of January 2018, 925,000 premises in the UK (3%) would qualify for the USO based on the proposed technical specifications.
The USO will be available only to those consumers that do not have access to broadband connections that fulfil the minimum standards, not those who have such a connection available but choose not to subscribe to it. The number of premises covered by the USO will ultimately depend on the number of consumers that register.

Click here to see the full Government report as a PDF


So that is where those of us without Airband access are at the moment.  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)is actually implemented by 2020 as promised!

For more information about how this issue has evolved click here


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

 

Colin Dawes, Editor