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Current Issues

How to contact the police in a non-emergency

If you need to contact the police, and it’s not an emergency then follow these simple steps to make sure you get the help you need: 

  1. Are you wanting to report a breach of Covid 19 restrictions?
    If you are reporting a breach of restrictions then you can do this using the national reporting form on the Police.uk website – www.police.uk
  2. AskNED – the non-emergency directory
    Need to ask a question but not sure who to ask for help, then AskNED – dc.police.uk/AskNED  
  3. Go online – dc.police.uk On the force website you can find the answers to many of the questions people ask when calling the police plus lots of helpful information and advice.
  4. Report Crime Online If you need to report a crime or tell the police something, then why not report online using WebChat or the Crime Reporting Form.  Alternatively, you can email 101@dc.police.uk
  5. Call – 101 Non-emergency number

Remember in an emergency, always call 999.

Commons Allotment Charity Grants and Precept Grants 2021/2022 Budget

The Town Council has allocated its Commons Allotment Grant Funding (£4,811.80) as well as Precept Grant Funding (£26,000.00) for 2021/22. A full list can be viewed on the Town Council’s website.

As per last year, Members decided to keep a small pot of reserve grant funding to be made available during the period 01st April 2021 – 31st March 2022 for adhoc urgent requests for funding.

At the January Town Council Meeting Members agreed a budget for 2021/22.  The precept arrangements reflect an increase of 1.93% on the Town Council element of your council tax bill in respect of 1st April 2021 – 31st March 2022.

This year has been a challenge as the tax base (total number of band D equivalents) has reduced compared to 2020/2021. 

The Tax Base is calculated by considering a number of factors, but the main reason for this reduction is because Torridge District Council (TDC) anticipates a considerable reduction in collection of council tax due to continued Covid19 issues in 2021/22, compared to the budgeted council tax to be collected for 2020/21.

Essentially Torridge Council is anticipating less council tax to be collected in 2021/22 because of increased claims for local council tax support and the difficulties of some residents making payment arising from having reduced income (furlough etc).

If we had asked TDC for the same amount of funding as we did for last year, there would still have been an increase of 1.78% due to the decline in the tax base.

The increase of 1.93% equates to an increase of £1.60 per annum for a Band A property and £1.87 per annum for a Band B property compared to last year. (Town Council element of increase only). Full details of increases for all Bands will be available on the Council’s website in due course.

Karen Chapman (Town Clerk)

Great Torrington Neighbourhood Plan

In early 2014 Great Torrington Town Council embarked on a journey to create a Neighbourhood Plan.  We are excited to report that we have, at last, some light at the end of the tunnel.

Throughout the past few years various Councillors have led this project. It has entailed engaging with members of the public and various agencies to establish a Plan which clarifies priorities of the town and in particular reference to ongoing development.

The Plan has needed to adhere to numerous technical requirements and has experienced delays waiting for the finalisation of the Torridge and North Devon Plan, various scrutiny exercises and then, at the last hurdle, delays enforced due to Covid19 restrictions.

At the Town Council’s November’s Council meeting, Members voted to approve proposals agreed by Torridge District Council’s Members on the 2nd November.  These proposals agreed that the “Great Torrington Neighbourhood Plan”, proceeds to referendum, at a date yet to be determined. In addition, that Torridge District Council publishes the above decisions and associated reasons in a formal Decision Statement. This Decision Statement was signed on the 3rd December 2020.

We have to wait a while for a referendum as one cannot take place until May 2021 at the earliest (due to Covid19 restrictions on any election activity). However, once a decision Statement has been signed, the Neighbourhood Plan can be used as a tool and a benchmark for all future planning decisions up to a Referendum date, and after if it is accepted at Referendum.

This Plan has been a long time coming! It has involved a number of past Councillors who have faithfully led and worked hard on this Plan.  The Town Council would like to formally thank previous councillors, Roger Darch, Alan Williams and Ruth Funnell and our current Cllr Gill Clayton as well as Maria Price, Planning Consultant for all of their hard work over the years.

We will report further as and when we know the date of the Referendum, but would encourage you to read the current Plan which can be found on the Council’s Website or via this link, https://great-torringtontowncouncil.gov.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/Referendum-plan-Final-version.pdf

You are never too young to make a difference

Last year the Town Council received a letter from a young man, Elliott Ashelford aged 5 requesting the provision of litter bins along lower Caddywell Lane. The District Council provided a bin and a delayed opening ceremony, (Covid19 restrictions), took place in early December. Elliott was joined by the Mayor and the Beadle, along with his mum, dad and younger brother, Reece. Elliott proudly cut the ribbon to officially launch a newly positioned litter bin at the end of Lower Caddywell Lane. It was great to receive this representation from someone so young in our community and we commend Elliott for his enthusiasm to help make a difference in his community!

Which Council does What?

At the start of another new year we thought it might be helpful to give a reminder regarding which tier of Council is responsible for main services within the community of Great Torrington.  We hope you find the below information helpful.

Devon County Council is responsible for the following services;

Education and schools, Highways including potholes, tourism signs, gritting, social services, child protection, libraries, recycling centres, waste management, and trading standards. Your local County Councillor is Andrew Saywell.

Torridge District Council is responsible for the following services;

Rubbish collection and recycling, council tax administration and collection, housing, planning applications, car parks, electoral services, sport and leisure, housing benefit and council tax support, business rates administration and collection, environmental protection, economic development, street cleaning, fly tipping and licensing. Local District Councillors are Cllrs Chris Bright, Margaret Brown, and Cheryl Cottle-Hunkin.  All of these District Councillors are also Town Councillors.

Great Torrington Town Council (GTTC)

GTTC is responsible for grass and hedge cutting, town maintenance, including benches, bus shelters, and the town clock. Acting as consultees for Planning matters, maintenance of GTTC owned parks (Trafalgar Drive, Greenbank and Jubilee Close), and facilitating and participating in working groups for the benefit of the community, (for example, “The Marketing Working Group” and the “Dementia Friendly Community working groups), receiving applications and awarding grants to local organisations, lobbying where appropriate, managing allotments, providing Christmas lights and bunting, events organising, footpaths and verge maintenance under contract, providing Snow and Road Wardens, overseeing Jubilee Wood/Meadow and statutory issues in relation to administration and finance of a Town Council.

GTTC endeavours to work with the above authorities, voluntary groups and individuals where possible when the outcome is for the benefit to the community of Great Torrington. Examples of these collaborations over the past 12 months include working with Devon County Council on an ongoing  project to improve signage. Working with Torridge District Council on “opening up the town centre post lockdown. Working with local volunteers from the community at Jubilee Wood, and community through the GTTC Covid19 support group. The list goes on, but Members are keen to be involved in local matters which do actually, “make a difference” to the town in one way or another.

In more normal times, the Mayor also represents the Town and attends a large number of events throughout the year and endeavours to keep good relations with our local neighbours as well as serve those within the community as and when possible.

A list of Town Councillors is held on the Town Council’s website along with contact details.  There is also a list in the Notice Board at GTTC offices, Castle Hill.

Jubilee Wood

Despite the restrictions we lived with last year, volunteers continued to be busy at Jubilee Wood. As we headed towards autumn, we saw the installation of a new land drain at the Stonemans Lane gateway so to accommodate more of the water coming down the hill when there is heavy rain. This should now help prevent the path and steps being washed away and reduce the amount of mud at that point. In addition, gravel was put down to help stabilise the path. Monitoring of this situation will be continued.

There were struggles cutting the grass due to inclement weather conditions which may mean that the longer grass will hinder the growth of flowering plants. The team has tried to rake out the thatch and sow seed, but we are not sure how effective it will be. We are hoping to have success at the School Lane end as we managed to strim the long grass there.

Volunteers have sowed the wildflower seed into pans and will plant out the resulting individual seedlings during this year.

The Town Council Technicians cut the grass triangle in the middle of the site and as a result the team was able to plant out approx. 80 “Bluecoats” trees. We are hoping to invite the Bluecoat School down next year to “adopt” the area – and maybe plant a few additional trees. It was lovely to have more people offer to help plant out these trees, which widens community involvement.

Ground has also been levelled for a new pathway to the first bench we hope to install in the New Year.

Alan Williams managed to secure plants from the Woodland Trust so we will see more trees and shrubs being planted in 2021.  In addition, we are looking to improve footpaths, including addition of steps to improve accessibility and have an ongoing programme of sowing and planting wild flowers to improve biodiversity and make the meadow more attractive.

During last year we estimate approximately 200 hours of volunteering took place at Jubilee Wood and the Town Council would like to say big thank you to Alan and his team of volunteers for all they have done and continue to at Jubilee Wood.

Please note that all of this work has been done in accordance with Covid19 precautions.