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Torridge District Council – Dog owners guide to better behaved dogs and owners! By Mandi Farinacci TDC Neighbourhood Officer

Dog Owners

You can’t help but notice when you’re out and about in Torridge that there are a very large number of dog owners across our district, a trend which seems to have grown in recent years. We are of course very lucky to live in such a wonderful part of the country and an area in which we can enjoy the countryside with our four-legged companions.

As a Neighbourhood Officer with Torridge District Council, I carry out the Dog Warden Duties on behalf of the council. I am in the really lucky position to be able interact and work with many wonderful and responsible dog owners, breeders and their dogs.

Whilst the majority of owners are responsible in their approach, we do sadly also receive quite a large number of complaints about irresponsible dog ownership. The calls range from dog fouling, dogs barking, dogs running free, dogs causing a nuisance, dogs worrying and attacking livestock, to dogs attacking other dogs. Here are a few reminders on good practice we should all be following:

Etiquette!

Dogs do have altercations and we can’t expect every dog to get on amicably with others. However, all owners should be aware that it is unacceptable to allow your dog to repeatedly attack other dogs. If your dog is aggressive to another dog, it may also cause an owner to feel threatened and at risk. As a result of escalating incidents, the law regarding dangerous dogs was changed recently, meaning that if a person feels at risk from a dog, a criminal offence may have been committed.

Owners need to be aware that even if you think your dog would never bite a person, this change in the law means that you should not allow it to run up to a person and potentially make them feel threatened. The other thing to remember is that although we all love our dogs and may also feel confident around any other dogs, there are many people who have a very genuine fear of dogs, maybe caused by a bad experience in their past. It is kind and polite to put your dog on a lead if asked to do so by someone – and to remember that they are not purposefully trying to offend you!

Dog Behaviour

It is the responsibility of every owner to watch their dog, know their dog’s behaviour and manage their dog’s interactions.  If your dog is off lead and you see another dog on a lead, it is important that you place your dog on a lead too. Your dog may be friendly and love other dogs, however, other dogs may not feel the same, even though this may not be due to anything an owner has done. Dogs on leads sometimes behave differently than when off a lead and so balancing any interaction is important.

Puppies

Many adult dogs do not like puppies as they are usually overly exuberant when young and have not yet learnt dog behaviour and how to interact with other dogs. As a result, it is not OK to allow a puppy to rush up to an older dog without checking ahead that it is OK to do so. Puppies do not need to ‘learn their lesson” by being snapped at or potentially injured. Interactions should be positive and managed to help the puppy grow up into a respectful, confident, and non-reactive dog.

Council enforcement powers

Under the Antisocial Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014, Torridge has a district-wide Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) with regard to dogs. It covers land open to the air and to which the public are entitled or permitted to have access to. The PSPO makes it an offence to allow dogs to:

•   Foul

•   Cause harassment, alarm or distress off lead

•   Be in vulnerable areas such as the restricted areas of our busy blue flag beach or children’s play areas.

Failure to pick up dog mess is a district-wide, and serious problem. However, I would say that almost every dog owner I meet and talk to is either carrying their bagged dog poo to a bin or has a pocket full of poo bags. It is sadly the absolute minority that fail to pick up after their dog, but this minority cause a significant issue and tarnish all other dog owners by their behaviour. Our team of Neighbourhood Officers have issued and will continue to issue fines for failing to pick up dog mess – and just to note, claiming not to notice it happening is not a valid excuse.

Even if a dog is in an area where it is allowed to be off lead, if an officer witnesses it being out of control and causing harassment, alarm or distress, they will ask you to place your dog on a lead. Failure to do so may result in the individual being served a Fixed Penalty Notice of £100. The wonderful countryside we have in Torridge is for everyone to enjoy, dog owners and non-dog owners alike. By following these simple rules, we can all enjoy it together in harmony.

Remembrance Sunday – 13th November 2022

A Service of Remembrance was held at the war memorial in Great Torrington cemetery on Sunday 13th November 2022. Representatives from many local organisations laid poppy wreaths in memory of the fallen and the service was also well attended by members of the public.

We will remember them 🥀

The full service is now available to watch here.

Short videos of the Remembrance Parade arriving at the Cemetery, marching down the entrance drive and arriving at the War Memorial can be viewed here:-

Parade

Entering the Cemetery

Arriving at the War Memorial

Council vote to boost Affordable Housing Provision through Development of Council owned Land

Torridge District Councillors have voted overwhelmingly to progress the evaluation of 11 sites and parcels of council owned land for affordable or mixed housing development, in a landmark decision that delivers on one of the councils’ key strategic priorities. The debate at Full Council on Monday night followed on from a decision in July which authorised the commissioning of architectural and cost consultants to evaluate the inventory of council owned property and determine which sites would be suitable to progress for development and submission for planning permission. The funding for the study was provided by the Local Government Association (LGA) and the detailed reports generated for each site will form the background for drawing up planning proposals at the next stages.

In total councillors voted to progress 11 of the 12 sites evaluated, which included a mixture of council owned garage units, vacant land, car parks, and offices spread across multiple parishes. The proposals brought forward considered a number of key factors such as varying densities of housing on any given site, and in some cases the appropriate mixture of affordable and commercial value units to make some sites viable. The recommendation also considered the exiting use of the sites and striking a balance between preserving a proportion of the community, social or council benefit where this was appropriate or achievable.

The vote will now trigger meetings and negotiations with registered housing providers to discuss the potential for partnerships to build-out and manage the units as part of their housing stock. The decision will also sanction an approach to government bodies, Homes England and One Public Estate, to seek opportunities for grants and funding. The advantage of some of the sites were that they evaluated to be “shovel ready” which will hopefully make them more likely to be positively considered under criteria set for some of the funding.

The decision does not mean that housing will be developed for each of the sites as the studies so far have only confirmed that housing development is possible. More detailed proposals and a business case will be prepared and brought back to full council ahead of any planning application submissions. The proposals will be drafted in consultation with elected ward members, to ensure local views on any of the emerging schemes are included as part of the process.

The list of sites approved for further progression included:

Pynes Lane Garages, Bideford

Garages, Tuckers Park, Bradworthy

Land at The Crescent, Langtree

Land at Cliveden Road, Bideford East

Jackets Lane, Northam

End of Ethelwynne Brown Close, Bideford

Windmill Lane Offices and Car Park, Northam

Bone Hill Car Park, Northam

Springfield Car Park, Chanters Road, Bideford

Part of South Street Car Park, Great Torrington

Land at Cleave Wood, Bideford East

Councillor Ken James – Leader of Torridge District Council said:

“This was an important exercise to look at sites owned by the council and to bring forward those that were suitable for housing, which Councillors have previously agreed is a key strategic priority. The reports were commissioned to include a strongly weighted balance in favour of affordable or social housing and this will be our goal in decisions regarding the final agreement of designs for each site. I appreciate that in some instances this has asked for a sacrifice of the current or partial use of some sites but this was carefully weighed in respect of the urgent need for housing in each area. I thank councillors for their support in bringing the chosen sites a step closer to delivery.”

Councillor Rachel Clarke – Lead Member for Housing Options and Homelessness said:

“This is significant step towards delivering on our pledge to do everything we can as a council to alleviate the housing crisis affecting our residents in Torridge. The availability of affordable units seems to shrink with each passing quarter while prices have only increased. Anything we can do to reverse this trend is important and collectively we have taken a thoughtful approach to making a better use of some of our assets. I look forward to the final proposals being drawn up shortly and to see the plans implemented. In the meantime, we will also continue to look for other ways in which we can address this ongoing issue”

Sister Nivedita 155th Birthday Celebrations

This morning Great Torrington Town Council commemorated Sister Nivedita’s 155th birthday. The Mayor, Cllr Doug Smith, along with Cllr Cheryl Cottle-Hunkin and Cllr Doug Bushby, Chair of Torridge District Council, placed a flower garland on her statue, said a traditional prayer and paid tribute to Sister Nivedita. 

Sister Nivedita spent much of her life in India where she is revered as an educationalist and campaigner for India’s freedom movement. Her involvement with India came about after a meeting with Swami Vivekananda in London in 1895 after which she travelled to Calcutta. She was given the name Nivedita meaning “dedicated to god” and opened a girls school in 1898. Her intention was to educate girls who were at the time deprived of even the most basic education. She is also noted for nursing the poor during the plague epidemic in Calcutta in 1899 as well as having a close association with the Ramakrishna Mission until later when she made an active contribution in the field of Indian Nationalism.

The statue of Sister Nivedita was placed in Great Torrington’s cemetery by Ramakrishna Mission and Sister Nivedita Celebrations UK.  Her ashes were interred in the family grave in 2019. 

To read the Torridge District Council press release regarding this event please click here.

Great Torrington also made the news in India in the following articles and below those a link to the Ramakrishna Mission Nivedita Educational and Cultural Centre’s Facebook page which also celebrated Sister Nivedita’s 155th birthday:-

Sister Nibedita’s 155th birth anniversary celebrated at Great Torrington, UK

155th birth anniversary of Sister Nivedita observed in Darj, UK

Ramakrishna Mission Nivedita Educational and Cultural Centre

Great Torrington Calendar 2023

A Great Torrington Calendar is being produced! The idea for this calendar came from Great Torrington Town Council’s Marketing Working Group. It has been commissioned by the Town Council, working closely with the Futures Group. Local photographers from the town of Great Torrington and surrounding areas have contributed their own photographs. There were so many brilliant entries to choose from!  The Futures Group will undertake the marketing of the calendar and any profits from the sale of this calendar will be re-invested in activities and projects led by the Futures Group which will benefit the town of Great Torrington. We would like to thank all who put forward a photograph and hope you all enjoy the different perspectives of our lovely town portrayed in this calendar.

If you wish to purchase a calendar, keep a look-out in next month’s Crier for more details, on the Town Council’s social media and also the One Great Torrington website.

Torridge District Council launches third round of Household Support Funding

Torridge District Council has launched the third round of Household Support Funding with effect from Monday 17th October. Nationally £421m has been made available by central government to cover the period October 2022 to March 2023. Devon County Council has received £5m from this sum and allocated £193k for Household Support in the Torridge district.

In line with previous schemes the purpose of the grant is to provide support to households experiencing hardship due to the significant rises in living costs over recent months. The grants will be available to help people buy food, pay essential utility bills or meet other essential living or housing costs.

People will also be able to apply for assistance with other winter necessities such as warm clothing, blankets, and boiler servicing or repairs. Also falling under the criteria for the scheme will be cases where households are perhaps struggling to meet the cost of purchasing or repairing white goods such as fridges, freezers and ovens. To ensure a fairer overall distribution, priority will be given to applicants who have not received previous hardship funding in the current financial year from either Torridge’s own Hardship fund or the second tranche of nationally funded Household Support. Due to the limited funds available the housing costs provision under the scheme, for example to cover rent arrears, will be limited to exceptional cases of genuine emergency.

Access to the fund will once again be via an application form, with initial applications being processed by the council’s partner and local charity organisation, Encompass via this link Torridge Household Fund

Alternatively, people can contact Encompass by telephone if they do not have access to the internet on 01271 371499.