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Mayor’s August/September Crier Article

What a glorious early Summer we’ve (almost) had.  We are so fortunate to live in this beautiful part of the country where traditionally people from up and down the land saved their pennies to be able to come on holiday. Now more than ever with the overseas travel clampdown reducing the numbers of overseas guests very noticeably we can expect a much-needed influx of UK “staycationers” throughout the summer months.  I know we’ll all extend them a hearty Devon welcome… us’ll be plaised to see ‘em

The Local Plan referendum has taken place now and at the time of writing, we await Torridge District Council’s formal adoption.  I’d like to pay particular tribute to Cllr Clayton who along with previous councillors Roger Darch, Ruth Funnell & Alan Williams spent a vast amount of time preparing this extraordinarily detailed document.

By now most of us are aware of our local Co-vid Testing Facility in Castle Hill carpark on Tuesdays and Thursdays between. No appointment is necessary, but these times do change, so PLEASE do check before turning up. Testing and vaccination reluctance is sadly a fact of life, but I would strongly urge everyone to join me in being tested regularly as well as taking advantage of the vaccinations offered. The sooner we all become double jabbed the sooner we will be able to relax a little more.

It is wonderful to see both the swimming pool now partly re-opened, and the Skate Park back in full swing again now that the skateboard ramps have been replaced.  During a recent inspection the Bellcotte over the Market House was found to be in urgent need of remedial work. The plan is to remove it while it is rejuvenated, then reinstate it along with a new bell if that’s practical.

Last month’s Crier featured an article about Fiware4Water which is all about local water awareness and saving. The organising group held a European webinar, where speakers from Great Torrington were invited to give a brief synopsis of our progress to new groups in Eastern Europe.  Mike Machin and I were free, so we gave a Zoom presentation along with groups from Amsterdam, Cannes and Athens explaining our social history and detailing how we went about setting up our local water forum, which is hoped will lead on to mutually beneficial conversations and interactions

We have beentalking to Devon County Council who are responsible for Tarka Trail verge management and are looking to see if we could synchronise and integrate our local grass cutting and wild flower management policy with their statutory responsibility to keep the trail wide enough for social distancing.

We have seen a number of new shops opening in town in the last few weeks, so do visit them and put them on your ‘shop local’ list. They are adding to the diversity of retail outlets which all goes to make our town centre so very special.

The Town Council is gradually returning to face-to-face meetings, which, to comply with social distancing regulations, are held in the amazing Great Hall at our Town Hall.  How different it is to be looking at real people once more. Do remember, our meetings are open to the public, and we encourage you to come along to find out what is happening, although active participation is limited to a three-minute address which needs to be submitted in advance to the Town Clerk.

I have a few local appointments in my diary over the next few weeks which I am very much looking forward to and hoping they are not cancelled!  I will report about these events in the next CRIER.

Wishing you all a safe and happy summer time.

Cllr Doug Smith

Mayor of Great Torrington

07970 636199