Saturday, 18 April 2020

Parish Council Meeting

This is just a brief report to say that the Parish Council met via Zoom and received the reports which form the basis of our annual report (see previous blog). There were unsurprisingly no questions from the public to deal with, so the whole meeting took about 10 mins.

The minutes will appear on the website in due course.

The Annual General Meeting is postponed until July which means that all the current post holders (Chair, Vice Chair etc.) remain in post until then. 

Richard Haigh
Rattery PC

Thursday, 9 April 2020

Parish Council Meeting and Parish Assembly 14th April 2020

The Parish Council meeting will take place on line and the Parish Assembly has been postponed to a date yet to be decided.

Below are the reports which have been received for those meetings. We would welcome any input from parishioners so if you have any points to make or questions to ask please email them to our Clerk Mrs Sharron Ragget or post them on the email exchange and we will respond. 

Richard Haigh
Chair, Parish Council



Nick Ferguson, Chairman

The Initial Phase of the Rattery Parish Plan effectively reached its conclusion in January 2020 – 4 years after being initiated, following a Public Meeting in January 2016.   The Parish Plan itself was published in May 2018 and it has, for the greater part, been implemented.   There are outstanding and naturally ongoing activities; perhaps most notable amongst these is the state of the roads and the surface water flooding which the Village and surrounding area suffer.

The wishes of the Parishioners - resulting from a survey in 2016 – formed the basis of a strategy on Building and Land Development within the Parish.   A Youth Club has been established for the younger members of the Parish.   High Speed Fibre Internet has been brought to half of the Parish.   Environmentally, great improvements have been made with a new Footpath at Kettlewell and a much-increased awareness of what Rattery has to offer – and a free Tree for each household to plant.

Moving on to its next Phase – and under the title of Resilient Rattery – the Plan will aim to focus on actioning the Parish Council’s Declaration of a Climate and Environment Emergency. 

In the meantime, activity has been dominated by the local demands in responding to the onset of the Coronavirus outbreak in The World.

The Resilient Rattery Group has maintained activity by email and has been able to establish a register of volunteers and a helpline (telephone and email) to provide assistance to anyone who needs help during the emergency.

The group is planning to create a network across the parish to ensure that every parishioner is kept informed and has access to any help needed.

Cllr Lister Bass and Ray Willis, co-chairman.

Note: All non-urgent highway and drainage work by DCC is suspended for the foreseeable future due to Covid-19.

Current Position
Ray Willis last met with Nick Colton the DCC Neighbourhood Highway Officer on 2 March and this report has been updated to 2 April.
  1. Potholes
The Road Warden, Cllr Lister Bass, has continued to fill potholes during the year, subject to weather conditions.
  1. Gully Emptying
    1. Frequency: Gullies with speed limits of 30 mph or less once every three years. Gullies with speed limits above 30 mph once every year.
    2.  DCC has been asked to place some critical gullies on their multi-clean programme.
  2. DCC Lengthsman Programme DCC are unable to give any information.
  3. Buddle Holes DCC Contractor will only clear from road and will not enter fields.
  4. Road Clearing Budget
DCC has been asked to consider some verge clearing (tractor and disc) to try to limit debris from entering drains.
  1. Highway Maintenance County Enhancement Fund.
RW will suggest some items that Parish Council could potentially obtain from this fund and liaise with LB.
  1. Mill Cross
First stage is completed. Next step is CCTV survey of pipe into field or tracing to see how this can be improved.
  1. Bulkamore
Action with DCC to clear ditch and jet pipe. (This may be suitable item for Chris Talbot to clear ditch when also clearing ditch at Willing Cross).
  1. Penswell Cross
Action with DCC to clear gully and manhole, undertake CCTV survey and minor works.
  1. Rattery Mill
Action on DCC to remove gully clearing debris.
  1. Willing Cross Ditch
    1. DCC has confirmed that this is a highway ditch but little prospect of work being undertaken for foreseeable future,
    2. RW has spoken with Chris Talbot with the view to clearing this ditch when ditch contents have consolidated. In May suggested but Parish Council to consider if this is wise given Covid-19 and approach taken by DCC). Looking at the guidance notes for the Highway Maintenance County Enhancement Fund notes it may be possible to get DCC to fund 50% of work.
  2. Road Safety
    1. New welcome signs with speed advisory warnings had been received and will be installed when the current crisis allows.
    2. The on-going plans to install additional hazard warning signs on the Drybridge- Culver Lane access are delayed by the current crisis.

Cllr Lister Bass

A new gate has been fitted to footpath 1 (next to the old post office) and now closes and latches nicely. General trimming and cutting off foliage and a small amount of mowing has been done. The year has been a wet one, and the footpaths in the village have been quite wet and muddy but have recovered extremely well. Having walked some of the paths last week, Ihave noticed a need for some extra signage to be added to footpath 3 to keep people on the correct path.

Due to the current situation, more people than ever are walking the footpaths, enjoying the wild flowers, superb scenery and fresh air. I would like to remind people to be aware of their dogs, to clean up after them and to keep them on a lead if there is livestock in the field that they are walking through. Please report to me any issues you happen to come across.

Cllr Kim Howard        
1.  Key achievements for year ended 1/4/2020

  • Kettlewell Walk  maintained and well-used by parishioners.
  • Rattery Rambles leaflet printed and distributed via the pub and village hall.
  • Environmental and gardening advice and news published on the village website.
  • ‘Free tree for every household’ scheme successfully implemented, resulting in the planting of 200 trees in the parish.
  • Working collaboratively with the Zero Carbon Group of Sustainable South Brent to run a Climate Fair (now postponed from 18th April to 5th Sept.2020).
  • Facilitating an Energy Saving Advice event by Devon Communities Together (now postponed from 28th March to date tbc).

2. Plans for 2020/21

a) Biodiversity action plan to protect and enhance local flora and fauna
The EAG have agreed that the best way forward is to have a main focus, something special to Rattery. This will be Greater Horseshoe Bats, as actions to help them will encourage greater biodiversity overall, and hopefully support the creation of wildlife corridors. Advice from the Devon Wildlife Trust Bat Project will be followed on how best Rattery can achieve their ‘Bat-friendly community’ award.                                

Other actions that will be taken include:
·         Building on Devon Biodiversity Record Collection information.
·         Informing parishioners re. citizen science projects.              
·         Encouraging parishioners, via the website, to make their gardens more insect-friendly.        
·         Parish-wide questionnaire, to get parishioner’s ideas on improving the environment.

b) Continue to lobby DCC for creation of a public open space and memorial garden.
Discussions are continuing with Devon County Council.

Cllr Rob Hatt

Over the course of the past year the Advisory Group has continued to focus on the provision of super fast fibre broadband for the community, in particular those areas of the parish unable to benefit from 4G or Airband options.  Connecting Devon and Somerset's decision to withdraw the contract from Gigaclear Plc, and thus removal of Rattery from their immediate plans, coincided with Openreach’s confirmation that work had commenced to extend their fibre network into the parish from the Buckfastleigh exchange.  Having overcome a number of technical difficulties, Openreach was able to complete their agreed programme of work in December 2019, providing approximately 120 properties to the east and north of the parish with access to “full fibre” (fibre to the premises) broadband services.  Recognising that the work approved to date leaves significant areas of the parish (including a large number of the businesses located in the parish) lacking a decent broadband service, Openreach committed to carry out a detailed survey by June 2020 to establish the scope to extend the fibre network in the directions of Mill Cross and Crabbers Cross.  Separately, it has been reported that the Buckfastleigh exchange area is to be a pilot project for an upgrade to full fibre, hopefully leading to the inclusion of at least those parts of Colston Road that receive their existing telephone service from the Buckfastleigh exchange.  The Advisory Group will maintain contact with Openreach as these further plans take shape.

Work has also continued to expand the scope of the on-line directory of local businesses.  This now contains the details of 20 local businesses including catering / food and drink; property maintenance and a range of other businesses.  The significance of being able to “buy local” has been brought home in the starkest way by the current movement restrictions that we all face and it is hoped that the directory will continue to expand as awareness and its contents continue grow.

Cllr Richard Haigh

The final stages of the Joint Local Plan (JLP) were formally adopted during the year and so we have a clear framework for all planning decisions in the South Hams, including Rattery. The key point for the village of Rattery is that the JLP indicates that Rattery might be expected to see about 10 more houses built in the village during the lifetime of the plan (the next 15 years).

The Parish Council, when considering its response to any planning application for building development in the parish will be guided by the Joint Local Plan (JLP), the current Parish Plan; and the Council’s Declaration of a Climate and Environment Emergency.  In making any decisions the Parish Council will be guided by the results of public consultation.

There are currently no planning applications for building development in the parish but the Parish Council is awaiting details of proposals from Devon County Council for the possible development of the Glebe Farmstead.

Cllr Richard Haigh

The Parish Council is a member of TRAYE, the Totnes Rural Youth Area Engagement Project ( This is charity which provides youth services to several neighbouring parishes in the South Hams. In Rattery TRAYE runs a fortnightly (Mondays) youth club in the village hall for young people from eight years and above. TRAYE also runs a summer programme in the school holidays available to young people across the area. Each of the parish councils involved contribute financially to TRAYE but the bulk of its funding comes from fund raising and grants. The Youth Club is now successfully established in the parish and proving to be popular. As a small parish we could not hope to provide such a service without the services of TRAYE.

In March we were pleased to welcome Cllr Lisa Wensley to the Parish Council as she has agreed to act as our lead councillor for Children and Young People. We hope that this will mean the pace of development will accelerate with the establishment of a Children and Young People Advisory Group and the provision of additional facilities and services for young people in the parish.

The Playing Field equipment is regularly inspected by SHDC and the Parish Council responds to all reports requiring maintenance and repair. The Playing Field is currently closed during the current crisis.

 Cllrs. Guy Pannell & Peter Smerdon

We are obviously sorry that we won’t be able to visit you as all PC Meetings have been cancelled or are being held remotely for the next few months. We thought we would take this opportunity to give an update on both SHDC and DNPA activities. This is a deeply worrying time for many reasons for our residents, and if we can help in any way don’t hesitate to call. There are manyfantastic voluntary groups now working in most Parishes, we would like to thank everyone for their amazing Community spirit.

The main contact email for SHDC in this crisis is

We would like to wish you all a happy Easter and hope that this dreadful crisis soon eases and life begins to return to normal.

Best Wishes from Peter and Guy.

Council is in emergency mode, with decisions being taken by senior officers in consultation with the Leader. The Executive held an informal meeting by video conference, and the Council is awaiting guidance on whether this can be used for formal meetings. Virtually all staff are working from home.

There could be significant financial implications for SHDC – loss of parking income and emergency expenditure, and concerns that future Leisure Centre responsibility might fall back on the Council – but it will all depend on whether the Government is able to recompense local authorities in full. Many normal functions of the Council will be under resourced as staff are redeployed to deal with aspects of the current
Emergency. Parking charges in Council car parks have been suspended and there is no parking enforcement.

DNPA. All staff are working from home, and Parke house is locked and the grounds are closed to the public. The Rangers are still working but with reduced capacity, helping to reinforce the message that people should not visit Dartmoor at this time. Financial implications are hard to predict but unlikely to be good. Development Management is still functioning but obviously with reduced resources, applications are still being processed and decisions made by Officers but there is as yet no provision for DM Committee to make online decisions. All other Committees are suspended.

New applications are suspended temporarily. Those in the pipeline are being worked on, and the Council is investigating whether it can resume with remote working and video meetings.

Waste services.
Household recycling centres closed. Refuse collections continuing as normal at present but may need to be reduced/amended

Public areas
Public toilets closed for reasons of public health, as should children’s play areas. Parks and open spaces should be kept open at present for exercise, so long as people respect distancing.

Council tax reduction
Help is available for people who already receive help with their Council Tax because of low incomes through the Council Tax Reduction Scheme, and this will be extended to help thosebmost affected by the COVID 19 situation. More details will follow.

Small Businesses
Help is available to businesses which have had to cease operations because of Government regulations. Business Rate holiday for the current year – nothing to pay. Those eligible for this have been informed by letter sent to their business address. Cash grants of up to £25,000 from the Government for those in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors. There is also the Government assistance available to pay 80% of staff wages up to £2,500 per month. Anyone who considers they are eligible and who hasn’t received a letter by 5 th April please go to

Grants for local community groups and Town and Parish Councils
Quick grants of £500 from Devon County Council and also £500 from DNPA (for those in the National Park) are available to community groups/parish councils who are supporting people with food banks, shopping, emergency financial assistance etc. Bigger grants of up to £6,000 are also available from Devon CC.

Food parcels
 The Government has identified 1.5million people ‘shielding’ at home because they are vulnerable with health conditions. These have been informed by letter and food parcels have been received by SHDC who will use their staff to distribute them in the first instance. These deliveries may be handed over to supermarkets to handle.

Working with Community Groups
Devon CC and SHDC will be identifying and liaising with community groups so assistance can be co-ordinated and to avoid duplication. Groups will be issued with a short guide covering issues such as selection, registration, safeguarding, risk assessments etc. SHDC is making a sum of money available from reserves to support residents in danger of running out of money for food and essentials. For further details use the email at the top of this item or go to

Food banks
Morrisons have said they will supply surplus food to groups running food banks.

Domestic abuse
There is an increased risk of domestic abuse. Help is available from Devon and Cornwall Victim Support. Email Tel: 0300 303 0554.

Councillor Richard Hosking
South Brent & Yealmpton Division

1.      Coronavirus containment
The Country is gripped by the Coronavirus crisis. Having adopted a strategy of containment we are all staying at home as much as possible and practicing social distancing. The message in this County Council report to everyone is Keep Safe.

We are all extremely appreciative of those who work in the NHS, caring community and key services, and thank you for your dedication at this challenging time. I paste below a link to a U tube clip that says it all.

 I was pleased to be included in the community e-mail group created by Rattery Parish. Regrettably I had to unsubscribe to avoid the temptations of fresh croissants and honey, but I congratulate you on establishing a Community Support network. This is quite a challenge for our smaller Parishes. Your Community Support contact details have been provided to our MPs and the Devon County Council Community Support network.

 I will continue to feed to Parish Clerks important National and County information and announcements as I become aware of them. Website addresses for important public bodies such as the NHS, Public Health England, Devon & Cornwall Police, Health & Safety and HoTSW LEP with Business advice have been provided to Sharon.

Devon County Council is now establishing a Devon wide network of hubs organised at District level to provide information and access to voluntary services. This will be organised locally by Cassandra Harrison at South Hams District Council.

I paste at the end of this e-mail a recent Devon County Coronavirus update that provides a wealth of information about staying safe, Social Care, County Council funding of up to £5,000 for Community Support volunteer services, Devon County Council Services, Business Support, Highways, links to the important national websites and even more.

The County Council are currently still providing all of our Statutory Services and staff have responded superbly to requests to redeploy to fill absences and to prepare for anticipated shortfalls as the virus progresses.

 I will be pleased to assist anyone in the Parish who may have difficulty accessing any of our services.

2.     Highways
Safety has become the determining factor for highway maintenance and repair. Safety defects will be repaired where possible and when social distancing can be observed. Work on patching, drainage and footways has currently been suspended.

Thanks to the good weather the number of pothole reports are falling and the waiting list is reducing daily. We have two “dragon patchers” working in the County that will hopefully improve the rapidity and quality of repairs.

Road use has fallen dramatically and we are investigating the possibility of maintenance works to our busier stretches of road.

Safety inspections, on highways, bridges and trees will continue.

Nick Colton is working from home but is currently not able to carry out on site visits. There has been correspondence with Cllr Willis on local issues and I anticipate this will be included in his report.

3.    Issues raised at the March Parish Council Meeting
 a)    I have raised the proposed road closure at Colston Road with Devon County Highways and alerted Cllr Barker to the proposal. Stuart is on the case. The works have recently been rescheduled.
 b)    Please find attached the most recent update on the Devon Carbon Plan as promised. We have been advised that the roll out will be delayed as a result of Coronavirus, and resumed as soon as movement restrictions are relaxed. The Plan will be split into two components and the Peoples assembly will not in all probability take place until the Autumn of 2020.

 4.    Questions
 I will be pleased as ever to answer any questions. Perhaps these could be addressed by e-mail through the Chair and Parish Clerk to ensure we all remain informed.   

The regulations issued on 1st April suggest that we may next meet virtually and I look forward to receiving details. I have now attended a Scrutiny Committee meeting on Team available through Windows 365, and I will hopefully be playing Trivial Pursuit on Zoom this evening. All good practice for on line meetings and answering questions.

 I very much look forward to my next live appearance at a Parish Council meeting.

Kind regards, Richard

Thursday, 19 March 2020

Resilient Rattery Update

The Resilient Rattery Group is making good progress with plans to deal with the current emergency.

In most cases people who are confined at home are being helped out by their friends and neighbours  but we have a growing register of volunteers and a help line to provide back up. Details on the parish website.

We are now looking into setting up an easily and locally accessible supply of foodstuffs should that prove to be necessary.

The situation in general is developing rapidly and no doubt there will be challenges to meet in the next few months.

If you have ideas and suggestions please share them on the email exchange or send them to or phone one of the help line numbers 01364 72239, 01364 642694 or 07957 136987.

Parish Council Meeting

This is just a brief report to say that the Parish Council met via Zoom and received the reports which form the basis of our annual report (...