How does the Parish Council help the community plan for its future?
Newton St Cyres has a pro-active Parish Council that looks to the future and helps the community plan
At the September 2019 Parish Council meeting, a presentation took place in the public session on the setting up of a Community Land Trust with a view to developing Affordable houses in the parish. A further public meeting was held in October and it was agreed to take the project forward in 2020.
Following the closure of the Post Office and Shop in June 2019, the Parish Council invited representatives from local Post Office/shop communities to the Parish Council meeting (public session) to speak about their experiences.
Following on from this it was agreed to host an outreach Post Office service in the Parish Hall and this will start in January 2020
A separate shop steering committee was formed to look at the community shop project. A questionnaire has been sent out and the shop steering group are now working on a possible location for a shop.
Draft plans for a pedestrian crossing in the parish were shared at the Annual Parish Meeting which took place on 4 April 2019. Plans are displayed on the website and on the noticeboard and parishioners are invited to submit comments by the Summer. Comments will be passed to Devon County Council.
A successful Community Fair was held on 16 March 2019. Many Village organisations and clubs were present. A defibrillator awareness session was held attended by about 30 parishioners
Formation of the Community Resilience Group
In June 2014, the Parish Council arranged a public meeting to address parishioners concerns around flooding which had affected parts of the parish. Representatives from Devon County Council, Mid Devon District Council and the Environment Agency were in attendance together with various land owners. Around 30 parishioners attended.
Following on from this meeting the Newton St Cyres Flood Defense Group was formed and a Community Resilience Plan was written. Newton St Cyres were part of the Pathfinder initiative run by Devon County Council Environment Section and were able to secure grant funding to purchase various flooding relief equipment, including three storage sheds placed at strategic places in the parish. A tipping rain gauge was also purchased and installed in the fields above the river Creedy so that early warning can be given of raised water levels.
The Flood Defense group meets on a regular basis to progress a few outstanding actions and to keep flood defense procedures under review. A nominated Parish Councillor attends meetings and reports back to the Parish Council
The Parish Council organises a yearly meeting with all community related groups to allow sharing of information and to ensure that the Community Resilience Plan remains updated.
The first parish plan was carried out in 2008 and a second plan in 2016.
The following are some examples of actions taken as a result of the parish plan:
The arboretum was opened to the public. The Parish Council holds the licence from the land owner and a friends of the arboretum was formed who carried out the day to day maintenance and running of the arboretum. A nominated Parish Councillor attends arboretum meetings and reports back to the Parish Council
The Parish Council joined Devon County Councils Parish Footpath Scheme and appointed a Footpath Warden. The Scheme provides an annual grant towards the maintenance of the footpaths.
Community Speed watch was formed
A footpath/cycle trail between Crediton and Exeter – this project has been taken up by the Boniface Trail organisation, now a registered charity, of which two parish councillors are trustees.
Provision of a community website, run by the Newton Wonder
The Parish Council obtained funding from Mid Devon District Council, and assisted by Devon Communities Together carried out a housing survey in November 2016. The results will be used to address the housing needs of the community over the next few years.
The Localism Act 2011, gave Parish Councils the option to nominate Community Assets to be listed on a register held by District Councils meaning that nominated assets could not be sold without consultation with the Parish Council.
Newton St Cyres nominated the Recreation Ground, the Parish Hall and the Crown & Sceptre public House. Registration lasts for five years and in 2018, these assets will be considered again. The Crown & Sceptre listing was considered again following its conversion to a restaurant and it was agreed not to continue to list the building as an asset
In 2019 an application to register the old school playing field as a community asset was submitted.
Public Meeting re the future of the Post Office and Shop
Following concerns expressed about the future of the village Post Office and shop, the Parish Council organised a public meeting and then sent out a short questionnaire to all houses in the Parish in July 2015 asking if parishioners would be interested in running a community shop/post office and asking if parishioners would be willing to fund the enterprise. Just under a hundred replies were received and the results were published in the Newton Wonder in October 2015.