Category Archives: News

CHICKS leaves Brentor

The CHICKS national charity (Country Holidays For Inner City Kids) has put its Brentor property, Moorland Retreat (formerly Bonnaford) up for sale and appears to be leaving the village.

The charity bought Moorland Retreat in 2006 but has not been using it for holidays since 2018 and has other bases in Cornwall and Derbyshire.  At one time the charity had intended to build its headquarters in Brentor and to refurbish its property here.  Its annual reports show that it has been considering what to do with the Brentor property since 2018.
The organisation is one of the charities supported this year by the current High Sheriff of Devon, Simon Martin, who lives in Brentor.

Village Hall Open Meeting suggests rebuilding the Hall

Brentor’s Village Hall and Playing Field Committee has been looking for ideas on how to move forward with the Village Hall.  They are a registered charity, whose duty is to run the Village Hall and Playing Field for the benefit of our community.

Although the Hall was improved with a new kitchen, toilets and store in 2010, the old part of the building, dating from 1912, has significant problems with its fabric.  About 20 villagers (including most of the Parish Council) went to the meeting about future plans for the Hall and heard from Sheryl Burroughs, the Chair of the Committee, that a structural survey of the hall has revealed that the Hall’s outer cladding will need complete replacement.  This could apparently cost up to £30,000, and the Committee asked for suggestions on how the money could be raised.  Click here to read the full Village Hall Structural survey.

However, members of the audience questioned the sense of spending so much money, only to end up with a building with the same problems as at present.  As well as the issues with the cladding, they pointed out that there are problems with the floor structure, which will probably soon need replacing at considerable cost.  Also the completely uninsulated nature of the building leads to condensation and mould growth on the inside walls.  Due to the timber-frame construction of the building it is not possible to insulate the walls and roof within the structure, and the roof would not be strong enought to be insulated internally.  A representative of Brentor Parish Council said that the Parish Council had discussed the issues of the Hall and would not support any proposals just to maintain the Hall as it is.  It was said that Government regulations relating to the declared Climate Emergency would necessitate improving the environmental sustainability of the Hall if it is to remain open in the future.  It was also pointed out that most grant-giving bodies these days rightly insist on building work improving the sustainability of the building being funded, so the likelihood of funds being available to maintain the status quo were therefore reduced.

Many attendees at the meeting expressed a great love for the Hall in its present form, but the meeting overwhelmingly came to the conclusion that it would be far wiser to attempt to rebuild the Hall, enabling it to be properly insulated and to improve the quality of its provision for our village.  When the Hall was refurbished in 2010 with a new kitchen, toilets, store and disabled persons’ facilities, the grant applications were made on the understanding that this was phase 1 of the project, with the replacement of the main hall as a phase 2 for the future.  The new build was constructed so that this could happen, and therefore only the hall would need to be replaced completely.  It was suggested that, with careful design from a sympathetic architect, the new Hall would be able to preserve its current welcoming atmosphere and character.

There was also concern about closing the Hall for up to a year during the rebuilding period.  However, when the Hall was closed in 2009/10 for the phase 1 rebuild, events such as the Mistletoe Fair were successfully held elsewhere in the village and the Brentorians created a film rather than a play.  When the improved Hall reopened in 2010 there was a marked surge in bookings due to its much improved facilities.  Now that the Hall owns a marquee this could be used on the playing field for larger events during the closure period.

A number of attendees at the meeting volunteered to help with fundraising for a hall rebuild, and at the end of the evening the Village Hall and Playing Field Committee agreed to discuss this matter at their next meeting and to progress this issue further in the near future – watch this space!

Compost toilet for the Playing Field

Thanks to a grant from the Communities Lottery, the Village Hall and Playing Field Committee is pleased to announce that they have ordered a compost toilet, which should be installed in early March at the Playing Field (weather permitting).
Once installed, the toilet, which is also suitable for disabled persons,  will be open for public use and a path will be added later when funds allow.

The toilet will belong to the whole village who will ALL be responsible for looking after it.
If you have any queries about this project please email brentorvillagehall@gmail.com

Villages in Action is back!

After almost three years, Villages in Action events are back in Brentor Village Hall on 8th March.  This service, which organises professional drama, dance and music events in rural locations, closed due to loss of funding from Devon local authorities.  But it is now back , piggy-backing on Cornwall’s Carn To Cove organisation.  Funding from Arts Council England has been influential in making this happen.

The first event is ‘Twisted Tales Vol.2’ from the Owdyado Theatre company – Don’t miss it!  Tickets, £9 for adults, £7 for children and concessions, £25 family, are available from Sue Fraser, tel 811097, email swhitfraser@gmail.com

Where next for Brentor broadband? Will the Conservative government’s election pledge help?

NEWS

In 2018 the Government introduced a Universal Service Obligation (USO) for broadband provision, aiming for this to be in place by 2020 at the latest.  This has clearly not been achieved although it should have applied to Brentor residents who cannot receive an Airband signal and who currently have less than 10mbs broadband download speed. 

In their 2019 election pledges the Conservative party made a further pledge.  Their manifesto states:
‘We are Europe’s technology capital, producing start-ups and success stories at a dazzling pace. But not everyone can share the benefits. We intend to bring full fibre and gigabit-capable broadband to every home and business across the UK by 2025.’

In his election leaflet in December 2019 our local MP, Geoffrey Cox, states that he will be ‘Turbocharging Digital Connectivity’.  To do this there will be ‘gigabit broadband for all parts of Torridge and West Devon by 2025 with a new £5bn commitment to rural areas.’  He also restates elsewhere in his leafle that  ‘A pledge of superfast digital connectivity for rural areas will be backed by a £5bn commitment.’

All we can do is wait…… It might well be worth contacting Geoffrey Cox MP to ensure that both of these Government commitments are actually implemented as promised!  Even 10mbs would be better than the 5mbs and below for those of us in the parish who are unable to access the Airband system.  Superfast broadband would be a game changer for those Brentor residents currently trying to manage with less than 5mbs!

For information, 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. 

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

Community Housing latest

There has been very little obvious progress since July 2019.  There is still no sign of a planning application, but it is understood that the scheme’s plans have been amended by the architects to reflect the views given at the open days.

Brentor Parish Council released the following statement on 18th July 2019:

PROPOSED HOUSING

Figures have now been collated from the Housing Needs Survey conducted in July 2018 and the 2 public presentation days.  

The presentations were very well attended and figures show that the development is oversubscribed by local people who will be eligible to live there.

The latest data indicates a need for 11 affordable homes and 6 open market homes, which meet the criteria for an affordable development as required by WDBC and DNPA.  The planned development remains fixed at 12 properties.

Further progress has been slightly delayed due to the recent elections, but it is understood that the plans will be submitted to DNPA shortly with a planning decision expected in September.  Construction should then commence late Autumn or early next year.

 Further information will be published as and when it is received.

Traffic speeding in Brentor

The Parish Council is trying to organise a meeting with the County Council Highways department about local concerns regarding the speeding of traffic through our village.

The current speed limit throughout the village is 60mph, which is clearly too fast for many of our roads.  If you have witnessed traffic obviously travelling too fast through Brentor please contact Caroline Oxenham, Parish Clerk, by emailing her at brentorpc@yahoo.co.uk .

A Brentor Inn memory

At the Brentor Inn, about 1968

In response to this website’s request for memories of the Brentor Inn during  its heyday, (scroll down the page to see this), Francesca Bell has sent this photo.

She writes:  “Just having a lovely read of your Brentor Village page and thought you may like this photo. It’s at the then Brentor Inn the day of my younger brother’s christening about 1968. My dad in the background, Eric Doidge, farmer at Cross Trees Farm South Brentor, my Mum Celia (a Brentorian, I’ve memorabilia from then – original programmes and photographs), then there is my sister Beverley, my brother Ashley, myself Francesca and my grandmother Ethel May Scott (formerly of the Fox and Hounds).
Many a cherryade had on that day by the look of it!
Regards Francesca Bell (nee Doidge) “

If you also have any memories of the Brentor Inn we would be pleased to hear from you.