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We are reviewing our properties to reduce costs; when you stop smoking, good things start to happen and Devon’s children have been getting ‘Farmwise’ for 10 years

Children have been getting ‘Farmwise’ for 10 years

Earlier this week at least 1,500 children from 30 primary schools across the county took part in the 10th ‘Farmwise’ event.

Since 2013, more than 40,000 children have taken part to learn more about the best of Devon farms’ produce, where it comes from, how it is made and its journey from ‘field to fork’.

The event, which was held at Westpoint and involved local farmers (including our very own farms estate tenants), and there were lots of activities and animals for the children to interact with. 

From making flour and rapeseed oil to planting seeds and pressing apples! You can find out more about what they experienced by reading the full story on the news page of our website.

Spotlight on Cost of Living Support in Devon

Next week the Government’s Department for Work and Pensions is holding a Household Support Fund Awareness Week, to encourage people to visit their local council’s website or contact their local council office for more information about the cost of living support available in their area.

Keep an eye on your inbox for a special edition of this newsletter packed full of important information to help people in Devon who are struggling to afford to pay for their energy, water, food or other essential items. If you know someone who would benefit from reading it, encourage them to sign up now.

We will also be sharing lots of useful advice and guidance on our social media channels. Find us on Facebook and Instagram.

New homes to be built on brownfield sites in Devon and Torbay

Around 160 affordable homes will be built on brownfield sites in parts of Devon and Torbay with the help of a near £2 million funding award.

The Devon and Torbay One Public Estate partnership, of which we’re a part, has successfully bid for £1.99 million from the Government. It’s a share of £60 million being distributed nationally to support the release of council-owned brownfield land for housing.

The grant funding has been awarded to:

  • Torbay Council – £950,000 Crossways Shopping Centre.
    Current plans for Crossways include around 90 homes, with commercial space on the ground floor for businesses.
  • Mid Devon District Council – £660,000 for School Close in Bampton, Eastlands in Hemyock, Crofts in Sandford, Beech Road and Holly Road in Tiverton, and College Green in Uffculme. Plans for these sites combined will result in a total of 50 new Council homes within Mid Devon’s Housing stock for social rent.
  • Devon County Council – £386,000 Millwater, Honiton.
    The funding will unlock the land at the former school site by covering the cost of demolition, site clearance and infrastructure works. As part of a pilot project the proposed site aims to provide 20 affordable, low-carbon homes, primarily for key workers.

Since 2021, the Devon and Torbay One Public Estate partnership has received a total of £9,963,470 through Government funding, helping to develop more than 780 affordable homes.

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

Proposals on the A376 near Exmouth train station include dedicated cycling space and wider footways

New £154 million Transport Capital Programme agreed

Our councillors agreed a new £154 million Transport Capital Programme this week, which will see an ambitious programme of rail and bus improvements, new cycle trails and road schemes across the county.

The Programme sets out our transport infrastructure priorities for the next two years, and will progress many schemes to the design or delivery stage.

The schemes are varied, but all will look to support our vision for sustainable, low carbon economic growth and safe and better-connected communities.

The Programme is supported by Government grants, some of which we’ve achieved in collaboration with our Team Devon District Council colleagues.

Speaking about the newly agreed Programme, Councillor Andrea Davis said:

“It’s a key part in our Strategic Plan objectives to make Devon the best place to live and work and will invest in transport infrastructure that responds to the climate emergency, supports sustainable economic recovery, improves health and wellbeing and helps communities to be safe, connected and resilient.”

You can read the full story on our news page.

Larkebeare House, Exeter

We are reviewing our properties to reduce costs

We’re reviewing the properties and land that we own to make sure that we’re making the best use of them.

As part of that, our Cabinet this week agreed that we should dispose of, or re-purpose, some of our portfolio that we consider surplus to our requirements.

We have estimated annual running costs of around £8 million, and a maintenance liability in excess of £20 million on properties that we’re responsible for, excluding schools. So disposing or re-purposing of some will reduce our costs, helping us become a stronger and more sustainable council.

Our Cabinet backed plans to dispose of five properties and one parcel of land, including Larkebeare House in Exeter.

Larkebeare House is currently used by our Registration Service, and it’s a popular venue for weddings. The plan is that the service will remain at Larkebeare House until the end of March 2025, and then it will relocate to County Hall.

We’re not taking any new bookings for ceremonies beyond that date, and we’ve been in touch with the few people who have already made later bookings to either  bring their ceremonies forward or we’ll host them at another venue.

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

When you stop smoking, good things start to happenStoptober is back and is calling on the over 5 million smokers in England to join the thousands of smokers who are committing to quitting this October. This year’s Stoptober mass quit attempt is as important as ever, with quitting remaining one of the best things a smoker can do for their health. Research shows that if you can quit smoking for 28 days, you’re five times more likely to quit for good.When you stop smoking good things start to happen – quitting will allow you to start moving better, breathe more easily and will save you money. OneSmallStep is the local stop smoking service in Devon and can help you to give up with a range of free support on offer. Fill in the online form or give them a call on 01392 908139.

NHS Devon top in England for care home COVID-19 vaccinations this autumn

Devon is leading the country on the percentage of care home residents already vaccinated against COVID-19 this autumn. Over 76 per cent of care home residents in Devon have received their COVID-19 jab (the highest percentage in England), which is excellent news for some of our most vulnerable residents.

Thousands of people across Devon can now book their flu and COVID-19 vaccines online, as the NHS booking system opens ahead of what could be a challenging winter for the health service.

As part of the NHS’s commitment to making it even more convenient for people to book their winter vaccines, all eligible adults can book their vaccination appointment through the NHS website, by downloading the NHS App or by calling 119.

Bus lane improvements move a step closer

Our Cabinet has agreed to advertise traffic regulation orders for a £525,000 bus lane scheme in Roundswell, Barnstaple, and a £400,000 scheme in Exeter. Both schemes aim to achieve better bus journey times.

Proposed improvements to ‘gateway’ junction, Barnstaple

We’re inviting people to have their say on plans to improve walking and cycling links at the Station Road roundabout and adjacent traffic lights at Longbridge Junction in Barnstaple. The consultation runs until Wednesday 8 November.

Flood drop-in event in Harberton

Residents in Harberton and the surrounding area, who were impacted by the recent flash floods, are invited to attend a drop-in event at Harberton Parish Hall on Tuesday 17 October from 3:45pm to 7:15pm.

It’s an opportunity to speak directly to the teams involved in the flood recovery operation and provide them with information on the flooding in the area, as well as for staff from all of the authorities and agencies to discuss flood resilience measures with the community.