There was lively debate about the activities in the Village Shop which is now under new ownership. The new owners, Xiota Retail appear to follow an aggressive business plan which is aimed at taking over the trade from other shops in the locality. In our case this means that the Village Post Office is facing stiff competition and it is unlikely to survive this unless we all start to make more use of it for day-to-day things.

The Parish Council received a letter from George and Mary Truell who also spoke on the matter. Always succinct and to the point, George and Mary made it clear that residents needed to be aware that the Post office is a vital resource for the Village. It is a regular meeting place in the Village and performs many central functions beyond being a shop and Post Office that help to keep Lympstone a happy village. It is part of the heart of the Village whereas it is feared that owners of the Londis Shop are just here for the bottom line.

The Parish Council wants to make it clear to residents that the village Post Office appears to be under threat and so it asks if everyone could start shopping there and using the facilities of the Post Office. Only in this way is the Post Office, in particular, likely to remain available to those who cannot go elsewhere or shop online,

It is a clear case of ‘Use it or Lose it!’

Lower Halsdon Farm was left to the National Trust some years ago to prevent it from being developed so that it remained open to local people, particularly young people to enjoy.

The National Trust has put in place measures to ensure that the land is not sold or developed other than in ways to support its continuous existence. The Trust has now set up a Focus Group to look at ways of making the Farm a viable business and opening it up more to the Public. The Focus Group is looking at increasing access and it is proposing a link to the Exe Estuary Trail, hopefully linking with A La Ronde in the future. The Group is also looking into Community needs, Conservation measures and creating a visitor experience. A proposal for a Farm Shop has been dropped as there is no parking.

There was an initial consultation last year and this will be followed by a more detailed consultation in the coming weeks. There will be a Consultation Event in the Village, so look out for it to find out more about what might be included in any future management plan for this very attractive area that is right on our doorstep.

Planning for the Future.

As readers and those who attend Parish Council meetings (1st and 3rd Mondays of the month) Planning is a major activity at the moment. EDDC are renewing their Local Plan and the Parish is using its responses to formulate the contents of a Neighbourhood Plan. This will give greater control over development for the future. There is a current consultation about the Villages section of the new plan. The Parish Council’s response will be drawn from its own deliberations and those of the various planning groups that have been meeting over the last couple of years, including the Courtlands Action Group.

Three planning issues have arrived recently. A planning application has been submitted for 15 dwellings on land to the north of Glebelands with a vehicle access between the bungalows. There has been an enquiry regarding building approximately 80 houses on land between Strawberry Hill and the A376 and building houses on land to the rear of Meadow Gate which can be accessed off the lane to the side of the house. The last one is now possible as the flood plain has been reviewed and reduced.

The sites will be brought into the latest Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment (that’s the third one of these in recent years) and the Parish Council, through the Neighbourhood Plan Group, will be considering each of these.

The Neighbourhood Plan Group includes volunteers who have offered their skills to help plan for the future of the Village. The Parish Council has agreed that these volunteers should be bound by the same Code of Conduct as Parish Councillors and so all will be asked to sign up to this before the next meeting.

Parking in the Village

Parking will be the main subject of debate at the next meeting of the Parish Council on 17th September. A Parish Council Group has been asked to look into the possibility of taking over the Underhill Car Park and finding opportunities to provide more car parking in other parts of the Village. Please come along to hear about the problems and, if you wish, to give your views on the parking issue. The meeting starts as usual, at 7.30pm in the committee Room of the Village Hall. Everyone is welcome.

Parish Council grants

Again this year, the Parish Council has funds to give away to organisations in the Village. In addition, County Councillor Hughes has funds to give away to local Groups. Some of this money can only be used for ‘capital’ works but the rest is available for just about anything that brings any kind of benefit to a group of people that is based in the Village. Application Forms can be downloaded from the Village Website in the Parish Council section or Tony, the Clerk, can send you one. Applications should be sent to the Clerk by 22nd September if possible. If you would like to apply, but cannot get an application completed in time, please let Tony know.

Tony Le Riche (Clerk to the Council)