The first major change this year is that this report would normally be read out at the Annual Parish Meeting, but the Covid19 pandemic has meant that, for the first time ever, we have not held the Meeting. Meetings are now conducted remotely on Zoom, so the Parish Council has continued to work for its community and has been active in co-ordinating volunteer help groups and arranging funding.
The 2019 local elections resulted in one new Parish Councillor: Tim Slater. Cllr Beable’s term as Chairman has continued until May 2020, when he handed over the reins to Cllr Fletcher – Cllr Beable had been Chairman for 9 years and Cllr Fletcher is the first female Chair, so it is a momentous step.
The public toilets in Ugborough and Bittaford dominated discussions throughout 2019. As a cost saving exercise, SHDC proposed to either shut them or hand them over to the Parish Council. Ugborough Parish Council agreed to take on the public toilets, only to discover that the terms of the sale would be very unattractive. As a result, they have not been purchased and, due to the pandemic, they would now be closed anyway.
Purchases over the year have included the new gates to the burial ground, a defibrillator (which has been installed in the former Wrangaton phone box), and the Parish Map – whose launch has been delayed by Covid19. New surfacing and equipment are planned for the Donkey Lane playpark, which is owned by SHDC and would be funded by S106 contributions.
Highways continue to dominate Parish Council work. The state of our lanes has improved immeasurably as a result of the continued work of our Community Lengthsman. Programmed flood attenuation works will hopefully reduce flooding along Lutterburn Street, and new drainage has reduced flooding at Workhouse Brook.
Residents have complained about speeding through both Bittaford, Wrangaton and Ugborough: The Parish Council continues to display speed sensors along the B3213 and has erected ‘20s plenty’ signs at the approach to Ugborough. Parish Council recommendations on planning applications for substantial housing schemes to the west of Ivybridge still highlight the traffic generated through Bittaford & Wrangaton and the need for an easterly access onto the A38.
Parish Councils along the B3196 have long complained about traffic levels and bottle necks. The Parish Council set up a petition and has so far received 260 signatories. Works to Kitterford Cross will be undertaken as part of the A3121 Safer Roads project and, following pressure from the Parish Council, a roundabout is now programmed for the junction. Visibility also needs to be improved at Ludbrook Gate, which DCC Cllr Hosking is still seeking to achieve.
The Parish Council finances are in good shape, and it has been able to provide grants towards community initiatives. Over the last year, it has provided funding towards community planting in both Bittaford & Ugborough, and has supported the Ugborough community website, Modbury Caring, Ring & Ride, the CAB and G-Up (our community-based environmental group). It has also enabled District & County grant funding for community initiatives, including Ugborough Village Hall and the Covid19 volunteer support groups.
Finally, none of this would have been possible without the support and hard work of the Parish Councillors and the Clerk, and the enthusiasm of our community. Thank you.