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Current Issues

Fiware4Water – smart meters

Fiware4Water is a project which aims to implement innovative approaches that empower customers towards water efficiency, through the use of smart meters.  In the UK, the University of Exeter is partnering with South West Water (SWW) and the UN World Water Quality Alliance (UNWWQA).

Great Torrington has been chosen to pilot new smart meter technology as part of this project. Customers in this region will be given access to a smart phone application displaying their water consumption. They will be able to see how much they are paying for water, compare their consumption against others, set consumption targets and receive leak alarm notifications. SWW will use the data from these smart meters to locate and respond faster to household leaks in the area and derive relationships between consumption and the weather (e.g. rainfall) via an internally accessed web application. Research has shown that metered customers use significantly less water than customers who are not metered. The project team expects that increased visibility of water use behaviour will drive an even larger reduction in a customer’s water consumption. The benefits of which will be realised by SWW with a lower overall demand on resources and treatment requirements, and by the customer with a lower annual water bill.

The Project Team will be announcing details soon of a launch event at which SWW customers in Great Torrington will be invited to take part.  For more information, please follow this link to the Fiware4Water website:

Local Applications for Grant Aid

Great Torrington Town Council administers the Commons Allotment Charity.  Each year the charity allocates its small amount of funds to locally based community groups.  In addition, there are a number of Precept Grants awarded every year. Applications for either/both grant types during the year 2021/2022 are now open and the application form can be obtained by clicking the link below or in paper format from the Council office.  Please contact Charlotte Kirby, Assistant Town Clerk on 01805 626135 between 9am and 1pm Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday or email her on for more information.

Please ensure completed applications are submitted no later than 12 noon on Thursday 10th September 2020

Harold and Gillian

We have been greatly saddened at the deaths of two local people over the past couple of months, both whom have been connected to the Town Council at some time. Harold Martin, a former Town Councillor and also 3 times Mayor of Great Torrington in 2007, 2008 and 2013 and Gillian Saich, who volunteered at the Town Council offices from time to time.

Harold served the town in many ways with associations with various groups; however, we remember Harold as a keen Councillor who was passionate about local matters; well-respected, trusted and a man of integrity. Whilst he had not served the Council for a few years, we continued to be grateful for his input and dedication whilst he did. We are also conscious that Harold was faithful in his work with a number of organisations across the town up to his death.

Gillian volunteered in the Council offices for a number of years and was an enthusiastic and supportive individual who we know was also very involved with a number of other initiatives and organisations across the community.

Both Harold and Gillian will be sorely missed by many, many people and the community of Great Torrington is much the poorer because of these losses. We would like to wish both sets of family and friends our heartfelt condolences at this difficult time.

Karen Chapman
Town Clerk

Environmental Matters

In the past months the Town Council has agreed an Environment Policy and has also activated an Environment/Transport working group to look at various environmental issues (as well as transport) and challenges we currently face as a community, nation and world. At an Environment meeting in early March, (before the coronavirus lockdown) we considered matters in relation to our community maintenance programme and how the way we work could be reviewed, ensuring ongoing safety measures are in place, but also considering the impact we have on the biodiversity of the local area.

With regard to grass cutting, we are currently under contract to cut some of the grass verges for visibility purposes for Devon County Council and these must be cut 4 times per year between April and the end of October. Historically, we have cut these areas more frequently than this. However, to allow ongoing growth and increased insect/wildlife activity Members suggested that going forward we experiment by cutting the minimum amount of 4 times per year. We will keep a close eye on these verges as our first priority must be to ensure clear visibility for road users is maintained for safety reasons.

Devon County Council has confirmed that they do not intend to do any other grass cutting this year (apart from verges via the Town Council). For a number of years, the Town Council has in fact cut some of these areas anyway. Two of the larger plots are the strip of grassland adjacent to Greenbank on the left-hand side as you travel into Great Torrington from Barnstaple and the strip of grass in front of Woodland Vale Nursing Home. Again, Members suggested we experiment here and cut the edges only, leaving the grass in the middle or to the side to grow. We also discussed the possibility of sowing meadow seed and/or bulb planting in these areas after consulting with local experts on such matters. We are mindful that this approach will not result in such a “tidy” picture, however, we hope that the “natural” will be appreciated for what it is and will improve the habitat for nature.

Members also suggested looking into reducing the use of leaf blowers and herbicides and undertake some tasks manually, such as weeding.

The intention was to use this year as a pilot for possible change going forward and were looking to encourage feedback from the community as we went through the year.

Members also agreed the following;

 Consider environmentally friendly options when buying tools and machinery.
 Continue to source as much equipment and supplies as we can locally.
 Create a compost facility at the allotment site for use by the tenants.
 Consider further opportunities to plant new trees, sow meadow seed and plant bulbs across the community.
 Continue to consider various aspects in relation to the environment as an ongoing commitment.

A few weeks after this meeting, we found ourselves in lockdown. Since then, only necessary work has been undertaken, and many of the above plans have started to fall into place anyway as a result of the implementation of the Government’s social distancing guidelines.

However, we look forward to a time when we have moved away from this awful crisis and will endeavour to work to the above plans with a view to encouraging environmentally friendly practices. We continue to welcome feedback from our local community on these matters.