To provide additional communication and interaction with residents, this page contains the Parish Council notes from the parish clerk published in the “Eagle” village magazine each month. (The December issue also covers January of the following year.) This page will contain the latest notes together with those for the previous two issues of the “Eagle”.
Another year has flown by and we are nearly at the end of 2023!
At the beginning of the year we encountered recurring and new problems. Due to extreme weather and existing problems within the road network, the issue of potholes was high on the agenda. As ever, it is worth pointing out that although councillors raise this topic regularly at meetings with County Councillor Saywell, the most efficient way to get potholes logged and eventually repaired, is to report them via Devon County Council website or by phone (0345 155 1004).
Ever since the pandemic, where councillors had to hold virtual meetings, Yarnscombe Parish Council had made use of a mobile router / SIM card. Since February, councillors encountered problems when trying to join a meeting online. Despite extreme perseverance by Cllr. Pengilley to resolve this issue for several months, in the end the council cancelled the SIM card contract and asked for a refund for the router. The council has now purchased a new mobile router and is in process of obtaining a new SIM card. So, at the beginning of 2024, councillors and public alike should be able to join meetings online once again.
In the spring, the clerk and local PROW warden met up to fill in the annual report, grant application and identified potential repairs. Clerk sent off the relevant forms, but despite several reminders, clerk had no response from her usual contact. A response was received last month, the delay due to the usual contact moving to a different position within Devon County Council. All forms had been received, contractors for repairs appointed, some work already completed.
In April/May the council assisted the Village Hall / Social Club Committee in their preparation for the coronation of King Charles III by giving a grant to be used for commemorative coins for the children resident in the parish.
Apart from Cllr. Williams, who decided not to stand for re-election, all other councillors were re-elected uncontested during elections in May. We also welcomed a new district councillor, Cllr. Thomas Elliott. He took up the issue of lack of communication between parish council and PCSOs. He promised to find out more and encourage them to attend more meetings in person. Also, clerk received an email from PCSO Brown advertising virtual meetings, enabling councillors to attend from anywhere and put questions forward. At present, councillors have not been able to attend virtual meetings, as invitations have not been forthcoming, but monthly reports have been received.
With the help of a TDC grant, the parish council was able to put up fencing on the playing field. Thanks to Cllr. Cooke for obtaining materials and Cllrs. Brice and Farr helping with erecting the fence.
This winter Devon Communities Together are working with Citizens Advice to meet individuals or households and provide invaluable energy advice that will help you or your community to save money and keep warm. More details are available.
Finally, after the resignation of Cllr. Williams, the council co-opted Richard Ellison in June 2023. As a retired solicitor and having served as a councillor elsewhere, we appreciate Cllr. Ellison’s input.
May we take this opportunity to wish all parishioners a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
We were lucky to enjoy an unseasonal warm beginning of autumn, but temperatures are beginning to drop and many people will worry again, if they can afford heating and other essentials in the ongoing cost of living crisis. At our last meeting, District Councillor Elliott announced that Torridge Councillors have approved a further package of funding to support local projects and initiatives, which includes an immediate top-up for a dedicated fund to help support households that find themselves in need of a “helping hand”. The Community and Resources committee decision has allocated £36,000 to the fund. In line with previous support, the funding will be managed through the Council’s partner charity, Encompass, who work across Devon to prevent and reduce homelessness and the impacts of poverty. The application process is simple and straightforward and can be used to support or cover the cost of a whole range of necessities that in the current climate people might be struggling to afford, but the need will be dictated by the applicants themselves, and there are no set criteria for what the funds must be used for. Further details can be found at https://torridge.gov.uk/householdfund. Even if you feel you don’t need any help, please pass this information on to friends and family.
Several parishioners have voiced their concerns over the last few weeks regarding the condition of roads, as at times they had been thick with slurry and mud, therefore extremely slippery. However, issues regarding highways are outside the parish council’s remit; the council referred the query to District and County Council. Cllr. Elliott attended the last meeting and will pass on concerns to the Environment Department at TDC.
For some months now, we have been unable to live stream council meetings due to a faulty internet router; we have now managed to obtain a refund and purchase a replacement. We’re hoping to “go live” again as soon as possible: it will be announced on the agenda before the meeting takes place.
PLEASE NOTE: Due to conflicting schedules there will be no parish council meeting in November. The next meeting will be on 6 DECEMBER 2023.
As mentioned in a previous article, Richard Ellison has been co-opted to Yarnscombe Parish Council. You can find his and other councillors’ pictures and profiles at councillors.html; the website offers you the opportunity to directly write to the councillor of your choice.
As promised, some feedback from the planning workshop one of our councillors attended at the end of July:
Only local needs housing can be built in Yarnscombe, class Q applications are subject to planning permission. Torridge District Council (TDC) planning department would like input of local councils as they possess local knowledge. Any comments made by council should identify policies that comments are based on. However, these policies are vast, complex, and understanding them all would be difficult. Relevant points that can be included in comments are design, overlooking other existing properties or where existing character of area/village is impacted. Yarnscombe is not included in any Planning Development. Should the council wish to draw up a Neighbourhood Local Plan it would then be able to introduce planning application criteria. TDC offers a grant of £10,000 for development of plan, overall cost would be in the region of £20,000. A Community Engagement Officer advises councils if an area for at least twenty buildings is available. Such an officer had visited Yarnscombe a few years ago, but at the time a maximum of three houses were needed; one of these houses has now been built.
As many parishioners will remember, Yarnscombe has had for many years visits from the mobile library. At our last meeting, Cllr. Saywell (Devon County Council) informed us that after a public consultation the cabinet took the decision to end the service and develop alternative rural outreach methods, like community libraries and the home mobile library service. We will inform parishioners about developments as and when we hear about them. The virtual meeting on 5 August with local PCSOs was re-scheduled at short notice, therefore Cllr. Pengilley was unable to attend. Cllr. Elliott (Torridge District Council) highlighted the fact that he will encourage PCSOs to be more visible in rural parishes; they are due to visit Roborough PC. Again, updates on such visits as and when we receive them.