News from around the Hamlets
Broadband Phase 1 rollout nears completion : 13th October 2017
Following a busy few weeks, with more fibre optic cables being connected, and a large number of properties finally getting a fast broadband service, I’m pleased to report that the CDS Phase 1 project looks like it is more or less complete. If you recall, this project was designed to provide fibre optic broadband to Thornbury, Woodacott and Lashbrook, but regrettably did not include South Wonford or Brendon. As of today, the Openreach checker website shows:
Total properties in Thornbury Hamlets, in Openreach records = 136
Total who can order fibre optic broadband = 94
Total “in scope” of Phase 1, and who cannot order (from OR website) = 9
Total of all in the Hamlets who cannot order = 42
Percentage of Phase 1 scope that can now order = 91.3%
Total of all properties in Hamlets that can order = 69.1%
So about 70% of Thornbury Parish can now get fast broadband over fibre optic cable, and the number of properties on the Phase 1 list that cannot order, is less than 10, and maybe even fewer. Please contact me if you have any questions about ordering, choice of suppliers etc. Paul Taylor
Harvest Supper : 22nd September 2017
At last night’s Harvest Supper at Bradford & Cookbury Hall, some 60 residents enjoyed an evening of thankfulness, delicious food and lively entertainment. After a short service and a rousing rendition of “We Plough the Fields and Scatter”, we were treated to a fine buffet of pasties and salads, followed by a tempting array of puddings which left us spoilt for choice. In between, Arthur Sillifant recalled his life, growing up in Thornbury and serving abroad for his National Service after some adventures learning to drive a truck in Rhyl. Julian Pomeroy then reflected on the role of apples in our culture, from Great Expectations’ Pip, to some truly excruciatingly fruity jokes, helped by his son Will, who also showed another use for fruit, for juggling! The Providence Trio then played a selection of tunes to warm appreciation from the audience. Hearty thanks to all those who laboured to bring the event together and ensure it ran smoothly on the night. Proceeds from the evening will go to chosen charities.
New Community Hall for Thornbury
A separate page has been set up to house the details of the planning application and other related documents. You can find it here.
Summer Events at Thornbury Holiday Park
Until the end of August, there will be Bingo every Tuesday at 7.30, and a Pizza Night every Thursday, between 7 and 9pm. Get a delicious pizza and a pint (or other drink) for £10, child size available at £5.
New Community Hall for Thornbury ?
At a meeting of the Torridge District Council Plans Committee on 6th July 2017 the application from Thornbury Hamlets Parish Council for outline planning permission to demolish the old school / hall building and replace it with two houses was refused, as being contrary to planning policy. Similarly, the outline planning application to build a new hall on a site at Windy Cross was also refused for the same reason. You can find links to both applications and the relevant decision documents below:
Demolish old hall Build new hall
Keith Hutchings, Chair of Thornbury Hamlets Parish Council commented “This is obviously not the result we were seeking, and the Parish Council will meet soon to decide on our next steps. We continue to believe that Thornbury needs, and deserves to have, its own hall for local events. We will keep residents fully informed of any decisions.”
Thornbury Fun Day and Dog Show, 1st July 2017
Thank you to everyone who came to the Thornbury Fun Day and Dog Show — we reckon about 80 lucky people enjoyed the afternoon, with plenty to do, as well as eat and drink ! Congratulations in the competitions go to: Kate Prowse for the biggest oak leaf, Laura Priest for the best animal photograph, Natalie Waters for the best miniature flower arrangement (adult), Leah Waters for the best miniature flower arrangement (child). The results of the Dog Show will be published in due course. A big big thank you to Bradley Bond and his team for arranging the day, and to everyone who manned a stall, cooked or served. See you next year !
New Village Hall for Thornbury
At a meeting on 11th May at Woodacott Chapel, Keith Hutchings, the new Chair of Thornbury Parish Council, outlined the plans for a new village hall for Thornbury. After describing the long legal and administrative journey necessary to get this far, he told the meeting that the plan was to demolish the old hall / school building near The Priory, and use funds from the sale of the plot and the resulting erection of two 3 bedroom houses to kick-start the new hall. Funds would then be sought from various bodies and local initiatives, to make the plan a reality.
In parallel, a plot has been identified at Windy Cross, where it is proposed to erect a new hall, with parking for 60 cars. The size of the hall would be similar to the one at Pancrasweek, which members of the council have inspected and believe is of an appropriate scale for Thornbury’s needs.
Outline planning permission for the above has been submitted, and residents cab view the plans online at Torridge Planning here
Points were raised by the audience, including access to the site, disturbance late at night and due to headlights etc, and the Council will consult further during the detailed planning stage, to ensure concerns are addressed.
District Councillor Philip Hackett commented that this would be a “community resource”, as a focal point for the area. Councillor Gaye Tabor echoed this message, saying that it would help to bring together the five hamlets that comprise Thornbury parish. The Parish Plan survey found at more than 50% of residents believed that a village hall is needed, and this initiative addresses that request.
More details will be posted here once the planning process is underway, and as the design for the hall progresses. Any questions can be addressed to Keith Hutchings or other members of the Parish Council in person, or via the Tatler, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thornbury Holiday Park – Grand Opening Day, 29th April 2017
The holiday park at Woodacott re-opened on 29th April, with a day of celebrations and events, as Lisa and Paul welcomed visitors to see the fruits of all their hard work in recent months. Pasties and cakes were consumed, and the bar proved popular, with its wide range of beers and other drinks. Ashwater Steel Band were on hand to add a ‘calypso sound’ to a relaxed afternoon. The well-stocked shop will be open to all, for groceries, fresh produce and daily papers. Do call in and see what’s available.
The fishing lake was opened, and within minutes of the first cast, fish were being landed. There was also a chance to see the newly-decorated holiday homes. Lisa and Paul would like to thank everyone who came along and supported them.
Broadband Update, April 2017
Some properties in Thornbury and Woodacott now have fast fibre optic broadband installed, others have it on order. But many cannot order yet, and BT are being chased to make sure they can. The Broadband Voucher scheme has been extended to the end of June, so if you have one and want to use it, contact one of the CDS suppliers. We are still waiting for news of Phase 2 (expected in January!), to see if and when South Wonford and Brendon will get connected. The latest news is always on our Facebook group.
Broadband Update, 31st January 2017
On 6th January, the BT fibre optic broadband service to Thornbury and Woodacott went live and started accepting orders. Orders are being accepted for some properties that appear of the Openreach checker website at:…
The ordering process seems to work, and installation dates are being given within a few weeks. But as many have found out, although the main fibre optic cable runs from the Milton Damerel exchange, through Thornbury and onwards to Woodacott, not everyone who would expect to be able to connect (since they are close to the cable run or a “green box”) comes up as “able to order” on this tool. I am now in dialogue about this gap with the BT Project Manager for the CDS rollout. As far as I can see, there is no technical reason for this, other than gaps in the BT / Openreach database that drives the ordering process.
In parallel, we are still waiting for the award of the Phase 2 CDS contract for this area. That will open up a whole new discussion about options for the residents of Brendon and South Wonford, who are not passed by the Phase 1 cable run described above. Given that the Phase 2 rollout could still be a year or more away, I have advised those who hold a CDS Broadband Voucher in these hamlets to look at the 4G mobile option, as at least an interim solution to get faster broadband. For Lashbrook, we are waiting to hear if it will be served as part of Phase 1 (as has been promised), or Phase 2. Maybe this will become clearer when the Phase 2 contract is announced?
In the coming weeks, I hope we can start to see the first local fibre broadband installations happening, and better information being available about who can connect to what and when. In the meantime, please post your experiences on the Facebook group to help us get a better picture of the overall situation.
Church Tree Planting, 3rd December 2016
This morning at St. Peter’s Church there was a planting ceremony and blessing for the three remaining apple trees that were donated to the village by the Sylvanus Trust. The other trees (apples and a mazzard cherry) were planted last year on the Green at Woodacott. The Rev. Kathy Roberts planted the last of the trees, and then blessed them – we hope for plentiful fruit from them in years to come ! Everyone then retired to the church for a very welcome cup of mulled wine and a mince pie.
Faster Broadband meeting, 5th October 2016
The “Faster Broadband” public meeting at Bradford & Cookbury Hall, with an audience of some 80 people from across the two parishes, heard that the work to complete the “Phase 1” fibre optic broadband installations in both Thornbury and Bradford & Cookbury remains on target from completion by December. This uses the “Fibre to the Premises” solution, and will mean that a significant number of homes and businesses should be able to order fast broadband (at least 25Mbps, …and maybe up to 300Mps) early in the new year. We also heard about the process for the “Phase 2” work, which will address those who are not connected in the current phase, and I have agreed to meet with CDS in January to look in detail at the lists of premises not already able to connect. Thank you to all those who attended and made their voices heard – it really does help in our efforts to make sure that this corner of Devon is not forgotten !
We also heard about the Broadband Voucher Scheme, which provides a free £500 grant towards the cost of an alternative faster broadband connection, if you have less than 2Mbps today (who doesn’t round here??) — if you don’t believe you will be connected by the Phase 1 project that’s due to finish in December, you need to apply for one. Note that the closing date for applications is 30th November. I am still investigating which suppliers will be able to support you, and I hope that will give options other than satellite, based on approaches I have already had from voucher scheme approved suppliers. More when I have news. Also more news later on FREE 1-to-1 training courses for business and FREE group training sessions on how to get the best from fast broadband. Paul Taylor.
Thornbury Fun Day, 16th July 2016
Well, the Thornbury Fun Day certainly lived up to the name ! Wellies were wanged, ‘cows’ were milked, sheep were weighed and fish were hooked. A massive raffle resulted in what looked like a prize for everyone, and vast quantities of burgers and hot dogs were eaten. Thank you to everyone who came along, and special thanks to Brad, Ben, Lisa and the team for arranging the side shows and games. It was lovely to see such a good entry in the Dog Show and our own local dogs doing so well. Sue Whitehead’s two year old Basset Fauve de Bretagne won her pedigree class and also the Best Local Dog. Jill Wiltshire’s beautiful matching pair of Deerhounds won first in the Brace class with Joan Smith’s pretty Paterdale sisters getting the second prize. It was great to see the St Bernard puppy bitch getting a rosette for the prettiest bitch. The best pedigree dog was the magnificent 16 month old Otter hound bitch and the best in show was the veteran Lurcher.
See more pictures in the Facebook gallery here
Thornbury celebrates the 90th Birthday of Her Majesty the Queen: 11th June 2016
Wow ! What an amazing evening at the Thornbury Hamlets Queen’s 90th Birthday Party. Blessed with evening sunshine between the rain showers, some 60+ residents of all ages enjoyed a tasty BBQ followed by a delicious range of desserts and ice creams, and then toasted the health of Her Majesty in bubbly, and gave a rousing rendition of ‘God Save the Queen’. Keith Hutchings thanked our hosts and expressed everyone’s appreciation for the service that The Queen has given to this country for so long.
The Royal Raffle and other donations raised a total of £307.31 for the Air Ambulance and the North Devon Hospice. There are too many people to thank for making this happen, but special mention goes to Ray and Joan Smith for hosting the event in their beautiful garden, to the Parish Council for funding the food, to Martin Trevett for funding the Loyal Toast and bunting, to Meg and Lins as ‘Queens of the BBQ’, and Sue and Wendy for running the raffle. And of course, thanks to all those who came out to meet their neighbours and support these worthy causes.
Broadband update: “CDS to launch Broadband voucher scheme for “not spots””
The CDS Board has agreed to run its own broadband voucher scheme, separate to the national satellite scheme launched by BDUK. The local scheme will help people that are currently not able to achieve a broadband speed of at least 2Mbps within the CDS area and will also aim to offer a range of solutions including satellite and wireless. It is anticipated that this scheme will be up and running in March, and any residents or businesses that take part and are offered speeds less than 24 Mbps, will remain eligible for support under phase two of the CDS programme if they’re in a non-commercial roll-out area. We will provide a further briefing as soon as the details of the scheme have been worked up.
The rest of phase two
In consultation with BDUK and the EU Commission, CDS is analysing information from the commercial sector to determine how much of the remaining Devon and Somerset area will require a public funded broadband roll-out to achieve 95% coverage. CDS are aiming to complete this challenging work in March. Once concluded, the proposed public-funded area will be published for consultation which will refine this area based on any further evidence provided by the market. The consultation will run for a minimum of 30 days.
Meanwhile, BDUK continues to negotiate a new National Broadband Scheme with the European Commission and CDS has been asked to contribute. State Aid approval needs to be secured from the EU before CDS can go out to tender as the industry has indicated that it will not incur bid costs without this certainty. There is good interest from suppliers to bid for all or part of the Devon and Somerset area. These include fibre based and wireless providers.
BDUK is consulting the industry on a proposed State Aid scheme and has advised that the earliest this will be agreed with the EU is late April. The anticipated date for contract(s) award is October 2016 – still ahead of when BT could have started on phase two even if its bid had been value for money.
For further information contact: Matt Barrow – CDS Engagement Officer: email@example.com
Roads petition presented in Westminster
The Parliamentary Petition to improve our rural roads, which was promised by Geoffrey Cox MP at a meeting of the Bradford Dangerous Roads Action Group was taken to Downing Street by Geoffrey and a group of local school children on Friday 20th November. Councillor Philip Hackett drove the group up in the Holsworthy College minibus. As he says, “This was a truly inspirational day for us all, as not only did we have a tour round Parliament, but spent an hour in Downing Street and had an opportunity to take many photographs outside No 10.”
Pictured are Geoffrey Cox MP and Philip Hackett, with Liz, Laura and William Priest, Katie Wood and others from Sheepwash, Milton Damerel, Holsworthy and Halwill, who attend Holsworthy School.
Background — Geoffrey Cox launched the Public Petition to the House of Commons calling for the improved maintenance of local roads. He said “This issue has been raised with me time and time again as your local Member of Parliament, and I am keen to take action. It is plain to see why people remain frustrated and angered by the state of local roads when I travel down the country lanes that connect the many small settlements that characterise our communities. While we have seen welcome investment and proposals come forward for major routes, I believe that our rural roads have been overlooked and have been allowed to fall into a state of serious disrepair. The petition therefore declares that Parliament and the Government have an obligation to ensure that those living in rural areas are not at a disadvantage when it comes to the maintenance of the roads network and that more needs to be done to tackle the problems of poor road surface quality and to make pothole repairs. I hope that by gathering as much support as possible we will be able to send a strong signal to Government Ministers that action needs to be taken to support local authorities.”
Faster Broadband for Thornbury — Update
As I write, BT are digging up the road outside our house to install more pits and cables. So progress continues slowly, with no better guess as to when they will be finished than very late this year, or during the first quarter of next year. At the public meeting in Bradford, I met with Paul Coles, the Regional Director for BT, and pressed him for commitments about connecting ALL of Thornbury. His follow up email to me was far from encouraging…..
“I believe the Thornbury area is served by Milton Damerel 1. We have to wait for the full surveying and planning to determine what can be done but we do believe the outcome will be a number “north” of 50 FTTP premises, possible significantly so. The Connecting Devon and Somerset will announce the areas as they go live.”
This is the context of their being approx. 120 premises in the area in question.
We have also heard that the CDS tender for Phase 2 of the project, which “fell apart” with BT this summer, will not now be issued until next year, meaning there will almost certainly be further delays for those not included in Phase 1. So I’m afraid there will be “haves” and “have nots” for some time to come. For those who are lucky, fibre optic broadband can deliver speeds of 70Mbps or more, with monthly costs of around £10-30, depending on the package chosen. The normal line rental cost of £17.99 /month will also apply. I will give more details when the service goes live — do follow the Tatler Facebook page to get the very latest information on when that will be. Paul Taylor, 261804
Kerbside recycling services in Torridge
I am aware that some people are rather concerned that the recycling waste that is being collected from our homes is not, in fact, being recycled as they see it going into the back of a conventional refuse lorry. I therefore contacted Torridge Council to find out what happens to our waste and I was reassured that our waste IS being sorted and recycled: this is how.
When the Council first learnt, without prior warning, that its contractor could no longer provide the service we had been used to, they had to move fast to put something new in place. They therefore decided to use a different sort of service in which the recycling waste is collected with a minimum of kerbside sorting. In some cases, this has benefits in that less material escapes and is left behind on roads, pavements etc. At the moment glass is separated from other materials into a special compartment of the split bodied vehicles. Apparently this allows for a much smoother and quicker collection.
As before, we are still being asked to separate our recycling into different bags and boxes and these include a Green Box for cans, glass, plastic bottles, a Green Bag for Paper and a Brown Bag for Cardboard. The latter process has apparently caused some confusion with the general public who have, for example, questioned why they need to separate materials into different bags and boxes if most, apart from glass, is then co-mingled into the same compartment of the vehicles. The answer is twofold: firstly it keeps the cardboard and paper materials dry and easier to process later on; and secondly kerbside sorting may be re-introduced at some point in the future and so for the time being the same methods of separation are being advised. The same types of materials previously collected should be put out for now but the Council will continue to review additions to this growing list. The recyclable materials end up at the Coastal Recycling plant near Torrington where they are transported to a Materials Reclamation Facility for sorting. This has the ability to mechanically sort the materials by a system of magnets for tins, air blowers for paper and card, and other conveyors. All the materials are then baled and transferred to a range of companies for onward processing. In the first week of operation over 142 tonnes of recycling was collected which was far in excess of the 75-90 tonnes normally collected at that time of year. Feedback from the reprocessing facility has also indicated that the material is of a high quality with little contamination or unwanted product mixed in.
Carry on Recycling !