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News Article
Written by Judith Reynolds   
Tuesday, 10 March 2015 23:07

At its February Meetings many issues of concern to the whole community were discussed and action decided on. The business plan applying to the County Council for asset transfer of its property at St Saviour’s to the Town Council, submitted in December, required additional information to be provided. This was done and the County Council has now responded with an offer of selling it to the Town Council at below market value. The conditions attached to the sale were discussed at an extraordinary Full Council meeting and because of various concerns further negotiations with County have been requested by the Town Council before a final decision is made.

You will be aware that the situation regarding the future of Ottery’s Hospital is surrounded by controversy regarding the consultation process and information provided. The Council submitted its detailed response to the Clinical Commissioning Group’s original consultation and will respond to the further consultation by the 24th February deadline.

The Council has also responded to a request for a “scoping opinion” for the extraction of sand and gravel at Straitgate Farm. This is in advance of a planning application being submitted by the quarry developers.

The move for West Hill to “break away” from being part of Ottery St Mary Town Council’s Parish is ongoing. I understand that there will be a meeting in West Hill on 6th March for people to voice their opinions on the proposal. It will be attended by Lesley Smith of the Devon Association of Local Councils who will explain what this will mean. West Hill residents and others may well wish to attend to take part in discussions.

The Council decided on its precept at its February meeting. The precept for 2015-2016 will be £169,000. This is an increase from £136,937 for 2014-2015. For a Band D property this equates to £45.88 which is an increase of £8.58 from 2014-2015. The increase is in large part to cover the potential cost of purchasing the St Saviour’s site as well as spending required for The Station (the old County Council Youth Centre).

Now is the time to consider whether you are willing to serve your community by standing for election as a Town Councillor. Elections for Town and Parish (as well as District and General Elections) take place on Thursday 7th May. Nomination papers for the Town Council will be available from 9th March.   You can obtain these from the District Council, or some will be available from the Town Council Office. Close of nominations for election is 9th April. If you want to find out more, do contact me or talk to any current Councillor – or why not attend a Full Council or Committee Meeting to find out about the wide range of local issues and projects which the Council is involved with?

The Council has again been consulting with neighbouring parishes under the “Parishes Together” umbrella. £1.10 per elector is available to Parishes which work together to spend on a project to benefit all those parishes. £1 is provided by the County Council and 10p by the District Council. Working together with the Parish Councils of Aylesbeare and Talaton, Ottery Town Council has submitted an application for funds to support the start-up costs of the Youth Club at The Station. It is hoped that the Youth Club will be in operation again very soon.

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. Information and the voting form are also available on the Council website. 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 Citizen of the Year 2015 shield will be awarded at the Annual Parish Meeting which will be held on Tuesday 28th April in the Institute in Ottery St Mary at 7pm. Also at that meeting Grants will be awarded to the 14 organisations listed in last month’s Gazette. All electors of the Parish are welcome to attend. Do put the date in your diary.

The Council is looking for volunteers who would be willing to help in emergency situations in the Parish. Volunteers would not be expected to get involved in emergency rescues but could help in monitoring, preparing for and responding to things like floods. Please look at the article elsewhere in the Gazette to see if you are able to help.

The Housing Department of the District Council has asked that I let you know that although you may have thought that it is very hard to get a Council House, in reality people are being housed faster than ever before. If you have a housing need and are not registered for housing on Devon Home Choice you are asked to complete an online application which will allow you to start bidding for available properties (or phone 10395 517469) for further details.

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.

Despite all the recent cold weather snowdrops have bravely appeared and daffodils are beginning to bloom on the roadside and in gardens. It’s a cheerful sight and encourages us to believe that Spring is on its way!

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