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Find out about our new appointments; Energy efficiency upgrades available for low-income households and Bikeability in Devon hits 100,000 and counting!

Communities praised at flood recovery event

Flood-hit communities in East Devon have been praised for their help in recent weeks.

Over 100 people attended a drop-in session in Newton Poppleford, to share their knowledge of the flash flooding earlier this month.

Information gathered from this event will be collated to support the Flood Investigation Report which we will produce and publish in the coming months.

That report will aim to highlight the extent of flooding and what work could be done to help make communities more resilient, and reduce the risk of further flooding.

Our early estimates are that the clean up after the flooding is likely to cost around £1.1 million.

There’s a second drop-in session arranged for this afternoon from 2pm to 5pm, at Colaton Raleigh Village Hall, another one of the communities impacted by the recent local flooding.

You can read more about this story on our news page.

Energy efficiency upgrades available for low-income households

We’ve been working with our partners to offer lower-income householders across Devon and Torbay, who are not on the gas network, the chance to obtain free energy efficiency improvements to their homes.

Eligible homeowners will be supported throughout the works and can help to decide what improvements are made.

All those supported through the scheme will receive a whole house energy improvement plan which can be used to carry out further, self-funded measures in the future.

The Home Upgrade Grant scheme aims to deliver energy efficiency and low carbon heating improvements to low-income households living in poorly performing homes.

It’s all thanks to the £13.2 million worth of funding that we secured to deliver this project over two years from April 2023 until March 2025.

Find out more about this scheme in the news story on our website.

Bideford gets the modern library it deserves

Bideford’s long-awaited modernised library will open in mid-June.

It’s in our Grade II listed Arts Centre building on The Quay, which we’ve renovated at a cost of £1.85 million.

The town’s current library, based at the Town Hall, will be closed from this coming Monday 29 May, to give Libraries Unlimited, who run our libraries on our behalf, time to complete the removal arrangements.

Currently our Victorian-era Arts Centre building is used by our adult education service, Learn Devon, and before the renovation it was underused and needed updating.

Restoration work on some of the original features and fittings has also been carried out, with the building’s original Victorian ceilings re-exposed and their features repaired.

Once open, the building will house both services and will include a range of new facilities including a lift to make the facility fully accessible to everyone.

Read more about the refurbishment and relocation of the library in the story on our website.

New appointments confirmed at Council meeting

Several new appointments were announced at our Annual Meeting of our Full Council this week, including a new Chairman and Vice Chairman of the Council, and a permanent Director of Children and Young People’s Futures.

Councillors Percy Prowse and Colin Slade have taken up roles as Chairman and Vice Chairman of Devon County Council.

Percy, a retired police officer, is our local Councillor for Duryard and Pennsylvania. And Colin represents our Tiverton East division.

Councillor Prowse confirmed that the focus of his year as Chairman will be young people, youth development and children in care and education.

Council members also approved the appointment of Stuart Collins as our new, permanent Director of Children and Young People’s Futures.

Stuart will be joining us from Kent County Council, where he is currently Director of Integrated Children’s Services.

There, he has helped take Kent’s Children’s Services from ‘Requires Improvement’, to ‘Good’ and now to ‘Outstanding’, in terms of their Ofsted rating.

We hope that Stuart will be starting with us in September, and in the meantime, our Interim Director, Julian Wooster, will continue in his post until then.

You can read more about the appointments of our new Chair and Vice Chair of the Council, and our new Director of Children and Young People’s Futures, in stories on our news page.

Beatrice Stothert, the 100,000th Bikeability trainee in Devon receives a bike and certificate from Councillor Stuart Hughes

Bikeability in Devon – 100,000 and counting!

More than 100,000 children in Devon have now received Bikeability cycle training.

The impressive milestone has been reached after 17 years of us running the scheme in the county.

West Exe School pupil, Beatrice Stothert is the 100,000th Bikeability trainee in Devon.

To celebrate the occasion, she was presented with a certificate and a bicycle by Councillor Stuart Hughes, our Cabinet Member with responsibility for cycling.

Beatrice, aged 11, gained her Bikeability Level 3 award. She said:

“I was really surprised to hear that I was the 100,000th Bikeability trainee. I am so happy to be able to celebrate this achievement with the team. I thoroughly enjoyed cycling out with my little group on my Level 3 course, it was great fun. We went on some busy roads that I wouldn’t have felt safe on before, but the instructor was excellent.”

You can read more about this in the story on our news page.

Devon receives Fast Followers funding

We’re one of 21 local authorities across the UK to receive a share of £6 million to help accelerate the transition to Net Zero.

We’ve been awarded a total of £300,000 over two years to attract more ‘green finance’ into the county to help deliver actions identified in the Devon Carbon Plan.

The funding will help harness new investment opportunities to support innovative activity, which will enable Net Zero commitments to be delivered in the county.

We have a good track record of delivering Net Zero projects, with grant schemes such as the Green Innovation Fund and Natural Capital Challenge Fund investing in start-ups and low carbon businesses.

You can read more about this in the story on our news page.

Magdalen Road scheme nears completion

We’ve almost completed the Magdalen Road improvement scheme in Exeter, with road closures due to be lifted tomorrow, Saturday 27 May, and the existing one-way system extended to Fair Park Road.

All that remains is the completion of some minor residual work to footways, which will start next week – these will not require road closures.

This scheme has made the temporary measures, which we introduced on the Magdalen Road in June 2020, permanent.

The original scheme was partly in response to the pandemic, using funding from the Government’s Emergency Active Travel Fund.

It aimed to encourage walking and cycling by creating a more attractive urban environment, while maintaining vehicle access for local businesses and residents.

You can read more about the work we’ve been doing at Magdalen Road in the story on our news page.

Part of A379 closed during half-term for bridge lift

The A379 between Chudleigh Road and the Devon Hotel, near Exeter will be closed to traffic for five days at the end of May to allow us to lift a new footbridge into place.

The work will take place during half-term from 10pm on Monday 29 May until midnight on Friday 2 June to take advantage of reduced commuter traffic.

The road will be closed with “Road Closed Access Only” signs displayed to ensure access for residents of Haldon Reach and the emergency services is maintained. Diversion signs will also be in place and we would be grateful if road users could observe the restrictions to help us ensure the safety of the public and of our workforce.

Unfortunately, due to the nature of the works, some noise is unavoidable, but we will attempt to keep this to a minimum and apologise in advance for any disruption.

You can read more about this in the story on our news page.