Skip to content Skip to left sidebar Skip to footer

Torridge District Council Bulletins

Council launch new draft Strategic Plan for Public Consultation

A draft strategic plan has been voted through by Torridge Councillors that sets out the vision and ambitions of the Council and what it hopes to achieve over the next five years through to 2028. Following the vote at Full Council the draft plan will now be published for public consultation for six weeks before being finalised in December. 

The consultation is the next step in a process which began in July with a councillor workshop where ward members shared their wish lists for the district and debated and prioritised themes. The task has since been taken forward by the council’s leadership, lead members, and senior officers who took the raw output from the earlier meetings, refining the information, to produce a list of high level deliverable actions. Councillors incorporated a previous decision to group the actions under the existing headline themes of the Local Economy, Communities Health and Housing, Our Environment Our Future, and Our Council.

The plan is likely to have even greater significance this time around as Torridge has been identified as one of twenty Local Authority Areas across England to be invited to form a Levelling up Partnership with Government. The details of this initiative are still emerging but around £400m in total will be available with exact allocations for each authority yet to be announced. Torridge Councillors have seen this as an opportunity to align actions under the Strategic Plan with the governments emerging policy and to put forward broad workstreams and project areas that might be supported through grants from the partnership.

Joint working will also continue to be an important aspect of the plan with a joint local plan with North Devon Council and supporting the economy through joint funding of North Devon Plus highlighted as current examples. With an eye on future collaboration opportunities both councils are now members of the recently formed Northern Devon Futures, a strategic partnership of multiple organisations working together with the aim of improving the lives of everyone living and working in the wider northern Devon area. The Torridge Strategic Plan has also been shaped to compliment the Northern Devon Economic Strategy, which is also being refreshed in the coming months and will focus on growth and opportunity where the previous version was understandably focused on recovery following the Covid Pandemic.

The consultation will be open to all Torridge residents and will be shared with Town and Parish Councils, businesses, voluntary organisations and other partners for comment. The consultation can be accessed on the Torridge website at and will remain open until 14th November 2023. A final version of the plan will be agreed during a meeting of the Full Council in December.

Councillor Ken James – Leader of Torridge District Council said:    

“This is a very exciting opportunity for the area and having a clear vision, allowing us to tap into additional funding, will be vital to improving so many aspects of people’s lives in Torridge, particularly for our younger generation. Better educational outcomes, an improved economy and earning potential, improved health provision and access to affordable housing will be our goals and I’m optimistic that all of this work will be a forerunner to a much more positive outlook for the region, our residents and businesses.”

Active Torridge providing funded Health Interventions for Torridge residents

Active Torridge have been awarded funding to deliver a 12-month health intervention scheme for 100 local patients. The leisure organisation run centres throughout the Torridge district on behalf of Torridge District Council including in Northam, Holsworthy and Torrington and will be working in partnership with local NHS Social Prescribers to provide access to the Health Intervention scheme. Patients will be prescribed the scheme by their GP surgery, based on a specified criteria with the focus on providing support to improve their health before they reach a stage where they might require more complex medical treatment. There is also a focus on engaging with those people who currently would struggle to access leisure facilities due to financial barriers.

The £37,000 funding was provided as part of the government’s Contain Outbreak Management Fund which was introduced to reduce the spread of coronavirus but also to support local public health.

Matthew Wright, Head of Operations at Active Torridge said:

“It’s fantastic news to have been awarded the funding and to be able to support the local community. We are already delivering a successful Exercise Referral programme within our centres and these health interventions further highlight the ongoing transition of leisure centres into health and wellbeing facilitators rather than purely catering for sport and fitness. We already have strong relationships with clinical partners in the NHS and this project will aim to further strengthen and expand on these, whilst improving our engagement with those harder to reach user groups.

For more information on Active Torridge the centre’s they manage, and available activities and facilities please visit:

Latest News & Events in Torridge

North Devon+ launches Government’s Prosperity Fund support schemes

A new round of business and community support grants has been announced by North Devon+, the region’s economic delivery partner for both North Devon and Torridge District Councils.

Grants ranging from £2,000 to £25,000 to support rural jobs and improve local facilities are now available. The Rural England Prosperity Fund (REPF) grants will be funded by both local authorities through central government’s wider UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKPSF) as part of the levelling up agenda.

The Rural Fund is integrated into the UK Shared Prosperity Fund, which supports activities that specifically address the particular challenges rural areas face. The business schemes are aimed at small and micro businesses, with up to 50 employees with a turnover of less than £10m. The principal objective of the REPF scheme is to provide funding to assist with the purchase of capital items such as  equipment or software that will help businesses to create jobs or introduce new technologies or processes with a focus on net zero. There will be a requirement for match funding of 20-30% depending on the size of the grant and adherence to other terms and conditions.

Eligible local business and social enterprises will be able to apply under three key Investment Priorities, which include:

  1. Small scale investment in micro and small enterprises in rural areas focussed on funding for net zero infrastructure, and diversification of farm businesses outside of agriculture.
  2. Growing the local social economy and supporting innovation. This call is only for community businesses and social enterprises.
  3. Developing and promoting the visitor economy.

The grant programme will be run in small rounds for each investment theme over this year and next year. Businesses will only be able to apply for that investment theme grant during the open window for applications. Grant eligibility will be determined by the address where the business is registered, which is the address on business bank statements and which local authority the business pays rates to. 

Lead Member for Economy and Estates at Torridge District Councillor Bob Hicks said: 

“This is a broad range of support packages for our business community to benefit from, offering assistance in helping them diversify or grow their businesses or to help them to adopt new technology and processes. With this in mind I would recommend that firms study the packages on offer carefully or seek the advice of the expert advisors at North Devon+ in working out which option would best suit their needs and aspirations.

“There’s also support for community businesses and social enterprises run either entirely or substantially for the benefit of the communities they serve. So, as well as promoting business growth there will be benefits for local residents though the support aimed at growing the social economy, which is being launched at the same time.”  

More information on the programme including eligibility criteria, guidance, application details and timetables are available via the following link 

Proving letting information for self-catering holiday lets – New criteria from April 2023

Staying in a self-catering holiday lets is a popular option for many holiday makers in Torridge and across the UK. Holiday lets are often run on a commercial basis, providing a source of income for their owners.  

If an owner wants their property to be liable for business rates, they need to meet the criteria to be eligible to remain in the non-domestic rating list often referred to as business rates. The criteria changed in April 2023. Torridge District Council administer the billing of Council Tax and Non-domestic Rates, the Valuation Office Agency make the decision on the eligibility of a property to be business rated, all enquiries regarding the holiday let criteria should be directed to the Valuation Office Agency.

This article is designed to provide a quick update on the rules and criteria and is based on the article posted by Chris Sykes – Director of Operations, Regional Valuation Units in July of this year.

Why the Valuation Office ask for letting information 

The valuation office is legally required to make sure the non-domestic rating lists and Council Tax lists are accurate.  

The valuation office has been writing to holiday let owners, whose properties are currently in the non-domestic rating lists, asking them to provide letting information about their property. They then use this information to check whether the eligibility criteria have been met. If it has, then the property can remain in the non-domestic rating list and continue to be liable for business rates.  

They are also asking for letting information as part of their regular revaluations.  

They have been letting owners know when they need to provide this information. The only time owners need to contact them proactively, to share letting information, is when a property is currently in the Council Tax list, but the property has met the criteria to move to the non-domestic rating list. There is a specific form for this, which can be found here: form for England.  

Provide the information within 56 days 

If you receive a letter from the VOA asking for letting information about your self-catering holiday let, it’s important that you return it within 56 days of when it was issued. If you don’t then your property will be moved into the Council Tax list, regardless of whether you meet the criteria or not.  

They and the council are legally required to do this. Again, this is part of the statutory requirement to maintain accurate non-domestic rating lists. 

Digital is best 

The Valuation Office send a hard copy of the form when asking for this information. But you can complete a digital version of the form and return it to the VOA via email. The link for the form can be found here: form for England. They have a stated preference for receiving this information via email as it gets to them quicker, and can be processed more efficiently.

All queries about individual cases should be directed to the Valuation Office using this form contact form.

Further general information can be found here: VOA – understanding business rates or on Torridge District Council website here: TDC Business Rates Pages

August Bank Holiday Waste & Recycling Collection Changes

Ahead of the late August bank holiday the Council are reminding residents that there will be some changes to the normal collection days for Waste and Recycling, both on the bank holiday itself and throughout the following week.

There will be no waste or recycling collections on Monday, 28th August and collections will take place one day later than usual for the whole week from Tuesday, 29th August to Saturday, 2nd September.

The normal collection timetable will resume on Monday, 4th September.

Full details of the bank holiday changes and normal collection times for the rest of the year for any address in Torridge can be viewed on the Councils’ website at:

Torridge District Councillor Chris Leather, Lead Member for Operational Services, said:

“We hope everyone has a fantastic bank holiday weekend and our fingers are crossed for some sunny weather to make it even better! As usual, people’s collection days will be a day later than usual following the holidays and I would like to thank our crews who will be working extra shifts to catch up on the week’s collections. If you’re planning a party or social get together please encourage everyone to recycle their empty bottles, cans and any leftover food so that we can continue with the excellent recycling rates you’ve already helped us achieve in recent years. As a reminder our top recycling tips are listed below.”

Top Recycling Tips!

Plastics and Cans: Wash and squash any plastics or cans and put them in the green kerbside box. Squashing plastic bottles and metal cans helps free up extra space in the green box, making it easier to collect and recycle more. The councils vehicles can also collect more in-between tipping out saving fuel and reducing carbon emissions.

Glass: All glass bottles and jars can be recycled in the black kerbside box.

Cardboard: Any cardboard placed out for collection must fit into the brown bag. Households can have up to two brown bags, and these can be ordered online

Recycling centres throughout Torridge also accept cardboard as well as many other materials. The nearest centre can be found using this

Kerbside Food Caddies: Households can use plastic bags such as carrier bags to line their caddies. Lining the caddies will help keep them clean and make them cleaner for households and Torridge crews to handle. The caddies can be used to dispose of both raw and cooked food.

Check your collection dates here!

Have a great Bank Holiday Weekend!

Torridge Business Bulletin – August 2023

North Devon+ launch next phase of Free Business Support for regions businesses – Business BOOST programme

The latest round of business support packages from North Devon+, the region’s economic delivery partner for both Torridge and North Devon District Councils.

  • Help to take an in depth view of your business’s circumstances, priorities and options to create and implement a realistic action plan for development and growth.
  • Help to incorporate an effective recovery approach post covid.

The Business BOOST programme is funded through grants from central governments UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKPSF) as part of the levelling up agenda. The scheme is aimed at small and micro businesses, with up to 50 employees with a turnover of less than £10m.

Phase two will continue to provide free one to one businesses  support tailored to the needs of your business. As well as working with a business advisor your business may also be eligible for a small business support grant of up to £1,500 subject to qualifying criteria and available funding.

For more information on the programme and how to book your appointment please contact quoting Business Boost, your name and contact details.

Supporting the development of the Celtic Sea economy to enable economic, social, and cultural transformation in northern Devon

Petroc’s University Centre is rooted in Northern Devon and is committed to supporting emerging sectors and growing skills to enable the South West’s net zero aspiration.

Keen to challenge the view that you need to leave the region to get impactful careers they have continued a focus on supporting and growing the local economy, engaging with employers and industry to ensure talented people can access excellence on their doorstep.

Courses and links to further information:

Attention Farmers/Landowners – Plans to Host a ‘Farm Diversification into Tourism’ Workshop 

The North Devon UNESCO Biosphere, in conjunction with North Devon Plus and both North Devon and Torridge District Councils, are planning to host a FREE ‘Farm Diversification into Tourism’, workshop for farmers/landowners to get an overview of how to set up a tourism business, whether it be as a form of accommodation provision, farm shop, farm tour, or other experience held on their land. Before they start planning this workshop, they need to ensure the demand is there. Therefore, they would be grateful if you could complete this short survey, to let them know your views: Farm Diversification into Tourism Workshop

If there is enough interest, the workshop will be held on a weekday, towards the end of January/early February 2024 between 10am-2pm, on a farm that has already diversified into tourism. Pasties and refreshments will be provided. There are plans to include:

  • A talk from the venue host about the benefits and challenges of diversifying.
  • Information from North Devon Plus about the help, support and advice they can offer
  • A talk from a Glamping & Eco-Resort Business Coach
  • Information from Planning Departments – for an overall summary of what is required to erect various units on sites (different types of accommodation/toilet blocks or compost toilets etc.)
  • An introduction to Nature Tourism and the support and resources available through the Biosphere and both councils
  • Information on Countryside Stewardship Payments for educational visits and how this could tie in with a tourism offer
  • Information on marketing and reaching new audiences
  • Information on Health & Safety when hosting visitors on your site

The survey will be open until Friday 1st September 2023.

DWP launches new Midlife MOT website

A new online Midlife MOT has been launched to help older workers with financial planning, health guidance, and to assess what their skills mean for their careers and futures.

Participants must be aged 44-56 and will receive a six-week programme of support covering three core areas: Wealth, Work and Wellbeing. Any employers wishing to get involved on behalf of their staff should go to the Midlife-Mot-Website

Free Digital Business Support for Devon and Somerset SME’s 

Looking to improve your digital presence but don’t know where to start? If you’re a business in Devon, Somerset, Plymouth or Torbay, you can access free dedicated time with our ‘in-house’ Digital Business Advisers.

Starting with a Digital Business Review, advisers will offer guidance in various areas of digital support to help your business shine online and progress your digital journey. Whether you need help with your digital marketing, social media strategy, choosing software, using and analysing customer data or something else completely, they’re there to help you navigate the digital world.  Complete their Get in Touch form quoting ‘Digital Business Review’ to book your 1-2-1 review today:  Contact Us – Heart of sw growthhub

West Country Women Awards 

Do you know a woman who’s making a remarkable difference in the West Country? Help them get the recognition they deserve and nominate them for one of these prestigious awards. There are 16 categories to choose from, from ‘Small Business of the Year’ to ‘Women in Tech’ and more. The West Country Women Awards is all about recognising Women in Business across the West Country.

Nominations are now open. Find out more and send in your nominations by August 25th: West Country Women Awards – Recognising Inspirational Women

Kick off in business 

Kick Off in Business is a free, fully funded, short online business start-up and self-employment programme that can be enjoyed from the comfort of your own home. The courses are designed to give you an insight and understanding of business start-up and self-employment to provide you with the foundational skills should you wish to take this path now or some time in the future.

Find out more: Free online business & self-employment courses | Eventbrite

Grant Funding for young people in Devon

Young people in Devon can now apply for personal grants up to £500 and business grants worth up to £2,000, helping them get into training and employment, or set up their own business. There are two funding opportunities:

Training & Employment Support Grant Up to £500 for any young person (16 to 30) who is entering training, an apprenticeship or starting a job after being unemployed. The grant can be used for essential items to help access training or employment, for example, interview clothing and travel costs.

South West Enterprise Fund Up to £2,000 for young people (18 to 30) with plans to start their own business within 6 months or have a business trading for less than 2 years. The grant is for costs directly related to the business, for example, purchasing equipment or machinery, printing marketing material or purchasing stock. 

Find out more and apply: Young Devon & South West Enterprise Fund – Devon Funding News

Devon Skills Bootcamps 

Skills Bootcamps are free, flexible courses of eight weeks, delivered in a blend of online & in-person. They are designed to help teach and strengthen skills for anyone who wants to increase their business activity or up-skill in their current role. Learners from Devon, Plymouth and Torbay are eligible to apply for the Skills Bootcamps.

Topics include:

Digital Marketing – Helping you hone in on building brand values, e-commerce platforms, marketing campaigns, social media, advertising and website optimisation run in-person and online

Digital Workplace Skills – Focusing on software solutions to drive efficiency, digital transformation, e-commerce, GDPR and data handling Future of Construction – Covering sustainable construction approaches, digital design, retrofit, offsite construction and pre-manufactured value

For more details visit:

Win a £250 cash grant for your business

Enterprise Nation and Adobe Express are giving away £250 cash grants to help small businesses grow and enhance their brands. You’ll also get free branding and marketing support for your small business.

Enter your business into the draw and take advantage of this exciting opportunity: Brand Builder monthly prize tracker | Enterprise Nation

Discover Bideford: Unveiling Regeneration Strategy & ‘Love Bideford’ Campaign

The ongoing promotional campaign, ‘ Love Bideford’, continues.

The campaign aims to promote Bideford through the Discover Bideford website, the ultimate digital resource for all things related to the town.

If your business or event is not currently on the website, please contact the team using the details below.

 Website Discover Bideford


Support for Farmers

Navigating the Agricultural Transition Between 2021 and 2027, the government will reduce and then stop Direct Payments. Instead, farmers will be supported to improve the environment, improve animal health and welfare, and reduce carbon emissions. This is the biggest change in farm support for generations and all and a challenge for all Farmers as to how they will adapt.

The Future Farming Resilience Fund has been funded by Defra to allow organisations to support farmers and land managers with this transition. The support, which includes workshops, events and more, is free to any farmer or land manager currently in receipt of BPS payments. Find out more about what support is available in your local area.

Government Consultation on Business Rate Property Improvement Relief – Help Shape Legislation

Improvement Relief will support businesses wishing to invest in their property. It will ensure that no ratepayer will face higher business rates bills for 12 months as a result of qualifying improvements to a property they occupy. The Non-Domestic Rating Bill currently before Parliament contains powers to allow for the Improvement Relief Scheme.

This consultation seeks views on the draft regulations the government proposes to make under the powers in that Bill and closes on 28th August 2023 Business Rates Improvement Relief: Draft regulations – GOV.UK (

Childminder Grant Scheme 

The government have launched a new start-up grant for childminders. A £600 grant for those who register with Ofsted, and £1200 for those who register with a childminder agency, will be payable to any individual who has completed their childminder registration on or after 15 March 2023. New childminders will be able to apply for the grant from autumn 2023. Find out more: Childminder grants scheme update: April 2023 – GOV.UK (

Digital Leadership for SMEs

Free Digital Leadership training for small and medium businesses (SMEs) across Devon, Plymouth, Somerset, and Torbay, is now available. Business leaders who operate in the following sectors: Manufacturing, Clean Growth and Health and Adult Social Care, and who have 250 or fewer employees are eligible to apply for this free training opportunity.

Businesses can receive up to 32 hours of tutor led digital leadership training with the aim of embedding digital transformation within their business. Two training opportunities are available, these include driving digital transformation and driving digital business. More information about what you can expect from each training opportunity can be found here:

To apply click the button below:

Digital Leadership for SMEs Application

Fully Funded Support for Tech Businesses

Barclays Eagle Labs has been awarded a new ‘Digital Growth Grant’ by the UK Government that will allow them to offer support to boost small and scaling tech businesses. Applications for businesses to access this support launched today and it will help drive growth in the UK tech sector over a two-year period.

SME’s can access a number of new programmes, one-to-one business mentoring sessions and much more. You can read the full announcement here: Barclays Eagle Labs launches two-year programme of business support to drive growth across the UK tech sector  and find out more about some of the programmes here: Digital Growth Grant | (

Free cybersecurity support for small businesses

Regional police are now offering free cybersecurity support to local charities and businesses. 

We all know someone who has been scammed, and with that in mind, the South West Cyber Resilience Centre has been set up to offer you simple guidance to get some basic digital safeguards in place. Businesses can join up and receive simple help like e-learning for your staff, a twelve-week bite-sized programme on the simple measures that you can implement in place in a few minutes.

You can also access free training, use a student cadre to test your website and systems security, or take a critical look at your continuity plans and policies. With Home Office funding in place, the police-led team is genuinely here to offer you something for nothing. Around two in five businesses spot a cyber attack every year, and even the smallest of businesses are vulnerable. Find out more and join up here:

Free Promotion for your Business on the Discover App – don’t get left behind by your competition!

Keen to promote your business for FREE? Then take up the option of a free listing through the Discover app. The app, which is free to download, uses the latest technology to connect users to the opportunities available to them on their doorsteps, including shops, restaurants, bars, events and experiences. 

Simply get in touch with Discover and they will help promote your business using your own branding, imagery and anything else you want to be included in the listing. 

Features of the app include:

  • each town has its own area on the app meaning it can be tailored to specific locations
  • details of local businesses, special offers and links to online purchases
  • places to eat and things to do, including walking, cycling, history and even nature trails!
  • ability to identify people’s location so when they open the app, it will show them locally available content
  • Events, cultural and leisure facilities promoted for free
  • allows users to tailor their feed to what interests and matters to them
  • push notifications if there’s a message that needs to be communicated quickly

Any businesses that would like to add information or have any questions should email or download Discover free through the App Store or Google Play.

Digital support for small businesses

New online support is available to help small and medium sized businesses to be more savvy with their digital skills.

It includes an online self-assessment tool, called the Digital Maturity Index, devised to enable businesses to gain an understanding of their digital strengths and weaknesses.

It also offers insights into digital tools that may help their business to develop and grow.

Once businesses have completed the self-assessment, they’ll receive targeted information that can guide them to access funded digital training courses and resources or further advice from one of the project’s expert digital advisors.

There’s also a Digital Course Finder, providing an extensive database of digital skills training courses delivered by training providers across Devon, as well as online digital skills courses.

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

Business Grants for Young Entrepreneurs in the South West

Are you a young entrepreneur, age 18-30 in Devon? Been trading for less than two years? You can apply for grant funding for South West based start-ups and businesses. Get access to a business mentor who can act as an independent sounding board for any business issue you would like to discuss and meet a network of other people in the same position as you. Find out more about the support available:  South West Enterprise Fund (SWEF) Business Grants for 18 – 30 Year Olds

Works to renovate historic Victorian Market House in Great Torrington to commence

A 14 week programme of works is due to commence at Great Torrington Market House and pannier market which will include significant restoration of both the facade and interior. The works have been made possible thanks to a £200k grant, procured by council officers, from the Governments Rural Prosperity Fund. Recent condition reports have prompted English Heritage to place the Grade II* listed structure, originally built in 1842, on their “at risk register.” The last major refurbishment was at the end of the second millennium in 2000 although further redecoration projects were also undertaken in 2010.

The programme will include the reintroduction of the iconic Bellcote structure to its rightful place on the roof area at the front of the building. The Bellcote was found to be in a very poor and unsafe condition during a thorough structural inspection in 2021 and was removed to undergo conservation and repair. Additional tasks will include the redecoration of most of the building with repairs to the render, windows, parapet, and roof in an extensive schedule of works.

A work compound in a section of Barley Grove Car Park will be set up from 31st July and will be followed by the erection of scaffolding from Sunday 6th August. The scaffolding will cover the front façade with the installation scheduled over the weekend when the market is closed to minimise disruption to market traders and customers. The project is expected to be completed by early November and will be undertaken by Devon based chartered building company Arque Ltd. Officers from Torridge have planned ongoing dialogue with builders and traders to ensure that tasks are scheduled in a manner that will allow retail and business activity to continue with as little disturbance as possible during the works.

Councillor Cheryl Cottle-Hunkin Lead Member for Culture and Community Engagement said:

“The Market House is an iconic structure in Great Torrington so it’s great that these works will see it restored to its former glory. The Council acted quickly when the extensive decay in the Bellcote was detected and made the building safe while a thorough survey was undertaken. It will be lovely to see the unveiling of the finished works, which I know will be very welcomed by both commercial business users and visitors to the hall.”

Dave Gibbons – Chair of Trustees at Torrington Museum added:

“We’re delighted to hear that our iconic Market House is finally getting the attention it needs and would like to thank Torridge District Council for their hard work in making it happen. The museum team have started planning a major overhaul of the interior and look forward to unveiling an exciting new display space for future generations of locals and visitors alike.” 

Northam Burrows rangers seek volunteers for late summer and autumn conservation work in Torridge

Volunteer recruitment is underway once again in Torridge for an exciting new programme of conservation projects on Northam Burrows, Kenwith Valley and other local area nature reserves. This year, as well as the familiar scrub clearance and meadow improvement tasks, the rangers have also planned a complimentary nature recovery programme to give a boost to a wider range of sites across the district.

The extended programme will include work to establish greater numbers of wildlife corridors, making habitats more resilient and better able to support a wider variety of wildlife and flora. The events kick off from early August running right through to the beginning of December, and as usual, will be heavily reliant on a willing volunteer workforce to partner with the rangers in their tasks. This year’s projects start with meadow management works designed to establish a number of vibrant wildflower meadows to better support our important pollinators such as bees and butterflies. This will be followed by equally important scrub clearance, coppicing and reedbed management works leading up to Christmas.

Many people have learnt new skills from previous volunteering and the events have proven to be a great way for people to get closer to nature and enjoy the company of like-minded local residents. Rangers hope that the more diverse range of tasks for this year’s programme will attract even more people to give up their time in a good cause.

Councillor Cheryl Cottle Hunkin – Lead Member for Culture and Community Engagement said:

“I’m really excited about the new programme of volunteer events put together by our rangers, which will encourage further biodiversity across the district. The recent BioBlitz day on the burrows added 189 previously not recorded species to our records which is a testament to the hard work of volunteers and rangers in creating better habitats and conditions for wildlife to flourish. We always start each season with a blank sheet but I hope that everyone reading this will be inspired to get in touch and join our rangers in this important work. Also don’t forget all the fun and educational family events on the burrows throughout August as well!”

All volunteer events are free to attend and usually take place between 10am and 3pm starting with a meadow management event at Harvest Lane, Bideford on 9th August. All equipment will be provided but pre-booking is essential, and more information can be found by emailing or calling 01237 479708.

Don’t lose your vote – Look out for the annual electoral canvass form coming through the post soon!

Torridge District Council Electoral Services Team will begin sending letters to households from 27th July to verify the accuracy of the information held on the electoral register for properties across the district.

The annual canvass ensures that the register remains current and accurate and reflects anyone entitled to vote in elections. The process is designed to pick up any gaps in the register or changes to people’s circumstances while it also helps to identify those who no longer reside at a given address.

The simplified system introduced in 2022 means that residents do not need to respond if all the information in the letter is correct and includes everyone eligible to vote at the address.

The electoral register is important as residents who are not registered will not be able to take part in any future elections or referendums. Being absent from the Electoral Register may also negatively impact people’s credit ratings and cause difficulties when applying for financial products such as mortgages, credit cards, or even a mobile phone contract.

Councillor Simon Newton, Lead Member for Legal & Democratic Services at Torridge District Council said: 

“It’s important that residents keep an eye out in their post for their voter registration letter so we can make sure we have the right details on the electoral register for every address in the district. To make sure you are able to have your say at future elections, simply follow the instructions on the form.

“If you’re not currently registered, your name will not appear in the messages we send. If you want to register, the easiest way is online at Please remember that residents only have to respond if any information in the letter needs updating or if someone residing at the address is missing from the form.”

For more information, contact the electoral services team on 01237 428739 or

New accessible gates on Northam Burrows unlock spectacular coastal path for all!

There is exciting news for visitors to Northam Burrows as thanks to Torridge Council’s summer works program, three new accessible gates have recently been installed by the Burrows Rangers and contractors. The new gates now provide a more accessible access point from the Burrows to the flat coastal path leading to Cornborough Cliffs, which offer breathtaking views over Bideford Bay, Clovelly, and Hartland Point.

The gates were planned in consultation with members of the Disabled Ramblers Group to ensure that the design could be matched to the needs of disabled walkers, wheelchair and motorised scooter users. The new gates incorporate ‘trombone style handles’ allowing footpath users to open the gates with ease, making them accessible to a wide range of users . The Rangers have also installed ‘2-way’ gates between the Burrows and Westward Ho! to further improve accessibility and access to facilities in the village.

The new gates form part of a broader initiative to improve accessibility on the Burrows which has been the focus of recent ongoing projects. An improved and extended disabled access track has already been installed linking the raised car parking area and the recently rebuilt visitor centre. Funded by the North Devon Coast AONB “Access for All” programme, the project included a complete replacement of the old track, which had deteriorated over time. As part of the visitor centre refurbishment, fully accessible changing rooms and toilets were also installed for year-round use.

Anyone interested in exploring the routes along the coast are advised to go to the South West Coast Path’s website, which has detailed information on a wide range of walks, including fully accessible routes.


Councillor Cottle-Hunkin, Lead Member for Culture and Community Engagement said:

“Working together with other organisations, the Burrow’s Rangers have completed some great projects to help people from all backgrounds and abilities enjoy the amazing coastline we have in Torridge. The Council is passionate about ensuring that these natural wonders are available for everyone to enjoy with people being able to choose from sheltered wooded valleys to stunning Blue Flag beaches. The Northam Burrows summer event program will also start on the 25th of July, so be sure to check out the Northam Burrows Facebook page or visit to see the full schedule.”