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Written by Judith Reynolds   
Wednesday, 11 February 2015 22:24

With this, my first “Council Matters” of 2015, may I, on behalf of the Council, wish you all a happy and healthy new year.

At the first of December’s Full Council meetings approval was given to the recommendations of the Finance and General Purpose Committee meeting which included Grants to be awarded. Vision.OM, Tipton St John Residents’ Association, Tipton Times, Tipton St John Community Hall – Computer Group, Ottery St Mary & District Later Life Forum, Ottery St Mary Carnival, Pixie Day (OSM Joint Guide & Scout Committee), Ottery Community Theatre, Ottery St Mary Food & Families Festival, East Devon Citizens Advice Bureau, Ottery St Mary Twinning Association, 1st Ottery St Mary Scout Group and Ottery in Bloom will each receive a Grant cheque at the Annual Parish Meeting which this year is to be held on Tuesday 28th April 2015 at the Institute in Yonder Street at 7pm. You are all encouraged to attend this meeting. Approval was given at the January meeting to also make a grant to West Hill Village Hall.

The Council has submitted its detailed response to the Clinical Commissioning Group’s consultation which affects the future of Ottery’s Hospital and now awaits future developments as it seems that there is to be more consultation.

Following the handover of the Station building to the Council the Youth Group was able to hold an open evening in December and have plans to re-launch the Youth Group fully in late February or March. The Council has undertaken improvement work in and around the building and plans to make full use of the building are going ahead.

An extraordinary Full Council meeting was held on 16th December at which the business plan applying to the County Council for asset transfer of its property at St Saviour’s to the Town Council was approved. Councillors and partners using the “Delivering Differently” project worked extremely hard to meet the 20th December deadline set by the County Council. Subsequently the County Council requested further information so this has been submitted and a decision is now awaited, hopefully by the end of this month.

At the January meeting it was decided with regret, to suspend the Market which has been held in Mill Street on the first Friday of the month since May last year. Again, the Council has worked very hard to provide a service to replace the previous Farmers’ Market with the intention of drawing more customers into the town who would then use local shops and businesses as well. Support from traders has been variable and that from customers has been poor, hence the decision. However, the situation will be monitored and reviewed as required.

Since the completion of the Sports Pavilion at Strawberry Lane, the Council has been working with two local sports groups which had hoped to be able to build their pitch facilities on the field there. Unfortunately the groups have not been able to achieve this and so the Council is now requesting that any group which has an interest in using the facilities for sporting purposes should get in touch. You will find an article elsewhere in the Gazette for further details.

The Emergency Plan for the Parish has been completed and the Council is now looking for volunteers who would be willing to help in emergency situations. Volunteers would not be expected to get involved in emergency rescues but could help in monitoring, preparing for and responding to things like floods. There is Flood Warden Training on offer in early February. If you are interested, please contact me.

You may have read in the local press that Redrow has provided financial support of £1,750 to add to Council funds to erect a rabbit-proof fence around the Cemetery. Many people have found that floral tributes to their loved ones have been devoured as soon as they have placed them and it is hoped that this will stop the problem. It will of course mean some disruption when the fence is being erected and your understanding is requested. The work will be undertaken as sensitively as possible.

At the time of writing, the outcome of Redrow’s planning application to build on the current allotments and provide new allotments is due to be decided on by the District Council. Allotment tenants will be kept informed.

The Council will make an award to the “Citizen of the Year 2015” at the Annual Parish Meeting on 28th April so it’s time once again to consider who you think is worthy of this honour. That person may be someone who has done a lot in your community, worked to see through a particular project or………it’s really up to you to decide who you think merits this honour and why, although no Councillor or Council employee is eligible. The person receiving this recognition will be the one receiving most votes by you, the public. The person voted for must live in the Parish but the person voting can live outside the Parish. Use the voting slip on page 11 (or write a separate letter giving all the relevant information if you don’t want to cut up your Gazette) and submit it to the Council Office by 27th March 2015. Remember that the person who will become “Citizen of the Year 2015” will be the one who receives most votes so it’s up to you! Should there be a tie following the voting then the Council reserves the right to make the final decision.

The Citizens Advice Bureau continues with its Tuesday afternoon sessions, being available between 1.15pm and 3.45pm. The next Highways Surgery held by Mike Brown (Neighbourhood Highways Officer) will be held at the Council Offices on Thursday 12th March between 10am and 12 noon. Appointments are not needed for either the CAB or the Highways Surgery.

If you might be affected by flooding in this winter season, do get prepared and collect sandbags (empty) from the Council Office. If you need sandbags urgently when the Office is not staffed, please contact the Mayor Glyn Dobson on 813403, or the Deputy Mayor Ian Holmes on 811583.

Judith Reynolds

Town Clerk                               

Council Offices

The Old Convent

8 Broad Street

Ottery St Mary

EX11 1BZ

01404 812252

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www.otterystmary-tc.gov.uk