Welcome you to our town
Firstly may I take this opportunity to thank the members of Bradninch Town Council for showing their trust and faith in me by electing me as Mayor for 2012/13. I will do my very best to ensure the residents of our Parish are heard and represented faithfully both at local meetings and more widely, and that we maintain a positive development of our town.
My family moved to Bradninch in 1978 and I spent my childhood enjoying the countryside, recreation facilities, youth club and many little shops along Fore Street and High Street. When school finished I left for pastures new, living, working or studying in Bristol, Leicester, Beckenham and London, and overseas in the US, Holland and France. In 2000, I returned to Bradninch – supposedly for a brief stay – but once back again I saw everything with fresh eyes and, although the little shops were now gone, the character remained and I realised how lucky I was to live in such a vibrant mixed society, in a town with so many interesting and historical properties, and in Devon itself…so I stayed. My partner and I now have two children; the eldest is very excited to start at The Duchy School this year (the youngest is just excited!).
Kindest regards to all,
This website is run by the Bradninch Town Council and is intended to keep our community in touch with the life of our town, with each other and with the rest of the world. As you already know, Bradninch is a lively and interesting town, steeped in history, with a wide range of voluntary groups and clubs to suit most ages and interests; this site has details of contacts for these groups and links to their websites.
Contact details for The Town Clerk and Council Members can be found in the contacts list should you wish to bring any matters to our attention and for your interest my monthly report and the minutes of meetings can be seen here, as well as in the monthly Parish Magazine which is available at the Spar Shop.
The Mayor’s Report for May 2013
The end is nigh! Don't worry that's not a message of doom, just the fact that my year's term is almost over; from mid-May Luke Taylor will take over as Mayor for 2013-14. Like I did a year ago, he's wondering if he'll cope and measure up, but I have every confidence he'll give his best and do us proud.
It's probably old news now, but in case anyone is still in the dark, the unsurprising outcome of the Millway affordable housing development is that the application was passed by MDDC. The vote was closer than we had anticipated with 6 votes for, 4 against and 2 abstentions. The documentation presented at the planning meeting pooh-poohed most of our traffic and safety evidence, with Highways declaring there are insufficient grounds to put up any objection on the basis of impeded access or traffic/parking problems. With this view, Highways stated they couldn't support any of the traffic calming measures that had been suggested during a site meeting with the developer, Highways and BTC. Since then however, there has been an interesting change. In April's Annual Parish Meeting, Cllr John Berry informed us that ALL the suggested measures would be implemented, including resurfacing the route from Cemetery Lane through the field to Hele Road to create a cycle route and short cut from Millway to the school. When asked if he was certain of this as it was converse to all we'd been told before, we received an emphatic yes from Cllr Berry. Let's hope so!
Another thing that came over during the APM was a tremendous sense of community. Listening to the achievements and aspirations of the many and varied groups we have in Bradninch was not only extremely interesting, but also gave me a surge of pride to live here. For a relatively small town, we really do have a fantastic crowd of people who are willing to go the extra mile for others. Thank you to everyone involved in every way however small.
If you're feeling community minded, do you fancy giving up your spare room for 2-3 nights 31 May and 1 & 2 June, can you help with cooking a meal for the masses, do you have a spare gnome? A well-known choreographer who's worked regularly with the likes of Spike Lee and Tim Burton will be directing her own film here in Bradninch. Full details are given on page 13 along with ideas of how you can get involved and maybe get your name in the film credits!
The Mayor’s Report for April 2013
I'd love to be able to say it's been a quiet month for the council, but things have been as hectic as usual, only very little of the activity has been particularly newsworthy.
The usual subject of Millway continues to rumble on, but again I have no news as of the date of writing this. However by the time this goes to print, the application will have been determined by MDDC. The set date is March 27th and Simon Tytherleigh and I will represent the majority view of Bradninch residents and speak against the application at the meeting. We have the Annual Parish Meeting on Aprill 15th (7:30pm), during which I plan to provide a full update for you.
You may have noticed three improvements in Bradninch in March. Firstly, the boggy footpath beside Charwell Meadow has been improved with stone and road planings being laid down between the kissing gate and the field. Secondly, the patch of land behind the play area in Townlands has finally been cleared of overgrown vegetation and dumped rubbish and a verbal agreement given by MDDC to pass the management of this area to Bradninch Town Council. Finally, the wall in Hen Street is at last benefiting from some overdue repair work. Obviously, we were all hampered by the five-day closure of the Cullompton road, so thank you everyone for your patience while the resurfacing work was carried out. Let's hope this, combined with dredging the stream to improve drainage, will will give us a better road for some time to come.
It's that time of year again when we ask all of you who are able to give an hour or two of your time to help us do a litter pick in Bradninch. You need to get your hands dirty as we'll provide you with a long handled litter picker, bin bag and, of course, the all-important high visibility jacket. All you need to do is let someone on the council know you're available (so we get approximate numbers for equipment) and then go to the Guildhall on April 20th at lOam to choose a road to clean.
On the subject of tidiness I have been asked to mention the on-going problem of dog-fouling, which seems particularly bad on Hele Road at the moment. If you see someone "forgetting" to clean up after their dog, don't be shy, please just politely remind them.
The Mayor’s Report for March 2013
Firstly, I must apologise for not filing a report last month. As our Editor explained, my family and I moved to Hele in January and although the move itself was as smooth as could be hoped for, everything else seemed to throw up a problem. Oh well, all good character building stuff they say, and now we are happily enjoying the delights of a snowdrop filled garden especially with these recent days of warm sunshine.
This month I expected to be able to report to you the outcome of Mid Devon District Council’s planning committee meeting discussion of the proposed Millway development. However the item was put back from the January 30th meeting due to staff holiday and was again absent from the February 20th agenda. The next meeting is March 20th, but we still don’t know if it will be included. Those of you who have walked along Millway will notice the pavements have been marked in seven places between Ty-Ein and Kensham Close. Highways has agreed to install dropped kerbs to provide safer pedestrian passage especially for people with buggies who frequently don’t bother to use the pavement due to the high kerbs. Funding for any further suggestions put forward by the Town Council to improve safety along Millway will, sadly, be dependent on MDDC’s approval of the development.
On the subject of roads you can’t have failed to notice the plethora of deep potholes. Everyone grumbles, but few people know where to report them. Councillor Berry raised this point at the February council meeting, urging all of us to call Highways to log the location. The telephone number is given in the February council minutes along with some interesting information from Cllr Berry on local road repairs.
In January Luke Taylor and myself organised an open evening at West End Hall for the young to see what the hall could offer. Around 30 young people turned up, over 20 of whom gave their names as interested in restarting a youth club. Two Bradninch residents, Katy Taylor and Sam Buckle, came forward with huge enthusiasm to volunteer as youth workers. We now have to pin down a representative of Devon Youth Services to move this forward, but this is proving difficult. It has come to my attention that the hall is subject of some worrying gossip. To set the record straight, the Town Council has not propped up and renovated the building with huge injections of parish funds; every penny spent was raised through hard fundraising efforts for which I give well deserved thanks to Cllr Jane Webber and the Clerk Lorna Knowles.
The Mayor’s Report to the Annual Parish Meeting 17th April 2012
This has been an exceptionally busy year with a number of initiatives commenced and several completed. The precept has been kept low and used to maximum benefit, thanks to voluntary support from the Town Councillors and the community plus clever management of funds.
May 2011 began with an uncontested election saving the cost of an election which is not really the best thing for democracy. Unfortunately two Councillors have since resigned and we need to co-opt two new Members. It is with our huge regret that Gerald Reed found the need to step down owing to pressure of work. He has been an exceptional Councillor and twice-over Mayor – one of the best – and, although we understand his need to reduce the load, we are the poorer for losing his strong, fair and committed contribution. Gerald being Gerald, he would hate not to be able to take a full part and here’s my personal recognition of the many hours of work he put in when we were preparing the Parish Plan during the two years before it was completed and adopted in November 2009. The Parish Plan has proved its worth and never been far from the agenda since then. I have put brief updates of progress in the Parish Magazine and an up to date Action Plan with chart of achievements is circulated here today.
Now to the thanks, of which there are many: Our Clerk, Lorna Knowles, without whom this Council would not operate, continues to administer the affairs of the Town Council professionally and in such a way that belonging to the Council is a pleasure for us all. She is our Chief Executive (our only executive) and Responsible Financial Officer, through whom all Town Council business has to be transacted. She works part-time (believe it or not) and is now a source of much information and advice and believe me she keeps the management of Town affairs functioning – no wonder she is designated ‘The Proper Officer’. Thank you Lorna for your patience as successive Mayors with their various personalities come and go!
I now thank my Deputy, Elise Anne, who has been such a good support this year, and to whom I have been for sound advice. I am so pleased to be able to announce that she has agreed to be Mayor for the coming year, and will be formally elected in May. I have for some time hoped she would agree to take the Chair.
Thanks also to all the Members of the Council. Phil Chambers (Chair of Allotments Cttee), Joan Brown (Chair of Planning Cttee), Luke Taylor (Chair of Recreation and Amenities Cttee) and Rick Andrews (Chair of Burials Cttee following resignation of Gerald Reed). The committees do the in-depth work and report recommendations to the full Council for adoption and implementation and I believe every Councillor has also taken up a project or part of one this year. We should remember that this is all done on a voluntary basis, and I believe that the amount done by our Members is outstanding. I also recognise the huge amount done throughout the town by residents, whose contribution is reflected to a degree in the Parish Plan Achievements table. Thanks also to John Berry, our District and County Councillor, who regularly attends our meetings and whose help and advice throughout the year has been so useful. Others who support the Council are our Caretaker Cliff Bennett, the grasscutting contractor Gardencare, Warwick Knowles for his part in publishing Town Council reports in the Parish Magazine and Phil Chambers and webmaster Rob for work on the town website. None of these is an easy task.
During the year achievements have been:-
Improved Best Kept Village Comp results, litter picks and a ‘Highly Commended’ Green Community Award; Organised public footpath walks/monitoring/reporting throughout August; Footpath No 1 re-routed to avoid crossing the railway thanks to Railtrack; 2 new noticeboards, another refurbished and a Rights of Way map displayed; New shelter in Kensham Ave Rec Ground; improvements at Recreation/Wetland Areas, Railings repaired and repainted; Millennium bench re-sited in Hele Road; Weed spraying; Hen St. Wall programmed for repair; Diamond Jubilee trees planted and weekend events planned; Refurbished Youth Centre opened and up and running; pavements resurfaced Townlands and Dukes Orchard; Improved website, Parish Mag and more publicity; Information Kiosk at Hele; Guildhall improvements by Town Trust; Churches’ work on meeting places; Continued work by Hele Society; grants to local organisations. I have attended and enjoyed as many events as possible, including the Civic Service, the Remembrance ceremony 22.214.171.124 and the Sunday Remembrance service; similar events for District and County; launching the Playgroup playboat, opening the refurbished Youth Centre, Diamond Jubilee tree planting, Scouts’ Christmas dinner, Christmas Lights switch-on ceremony, 12th Night ceremony televised on two channels; opening of information kiosk at Hele, birthday celebrations for senior citizens aged 102, 103 and 108! Too many events to include all, also some sad funerals as we have lost some very treasured members of our community. However, on the whole we can move into the next year feeling positive, and I know I can promise you a good year thanks to the leadership of Elise. The Mayor’s Coffee Morning is on 19th May and the Civic Service is during the Jubilee weekend, on 3rd June in the Baptist Church at 11 am. Finally, please note that the Town Council has to co-opt two new Councillors, to work with us for the next three years. Applications must be made to the Town Clerk in writing by 27th April, where you can also obtain information. I find it is a very rewarding job, if you have enough time to give, mostly in the evening, if you love the town where you live and enjoy lending a hand. Some of us have been involved for a long time, in my case 30 years at the end of this term and I have to say that I thoroughly enjoy it. I am sure that I can speak for us all when I say we shall extend a warm welcome to the successful applicants.
It has been a great honour to be Mayor of Bradninch on two occasions, and I have thoroughly enjoyed it.
Jane Webber (Mayor 2011/2012)