TONY ALLEN’S COLUMN “COMMUNITY MATTERS” GETTING INVOLVED WITH YOUR LOCAL COUNCIL
Mon 2 Aug 2021
By Tony Allen
Do you want to be more involved with your Town Council? Well, the truth is that most councillors on the council want you to be just that and are seeking the best ways for bringing it about. During the lockdowns, this has not been easy to achieve, but as things settle down again, the council will be creating a more conducive environment to enable this to happen.
Some people feel posting things on social media is the answer, while others feel putting information up on a website is all that is needed. The problem here is that only a relatively small number of people take any notice of either channel to give or get the information. To influence matters of interest or concern tends to need a direct two-way dialogue. Councillors are already working with residents addressing things that matter to you (see below for examples), giving opportunities for you to get involved.
The council declared a Climate Emergency for Bovey and Heathfield back in October 2019, and a group was set up to establish what can be done to reduce the town’s carbon footprint, with some initial successes giving away trees for residents to plant on their own property, with sowing wildflower seeds in some of our road verges, and looking at how the council can reduce its own carbon footprint through taking appropriate action with the design and construction of the new Riverside Community Centre. Residents with particular knowledge and skills concerning environmental issues are welcome to join in this group’s activities.
PLASTIC FREE BOVEY…………
We have had a Plastic Free Bovey group for well over three years now, and Bovey has established official “Plastic Free” status from the Surfers Against Sewage organisation, which is a great credit for work already done in raising awareness. This work has to carry on, as we all seek to reduce single use plastic in our lives, change our shopping habits, and encourage traders and their suppliers to reduce the plastic packaging of many common products we use. Help would be welcomed in monitoring what shops are doing and how we can influence that. New faces would be welcomed in joining in these activities, through organised litter picks and surveys of progress being made by shops and suppliers. See the new Plastic Free Bovey Facebook account for regular updates on what is happening.
Action on Climate Teignbridge (ACT) has recently established a network of volunteer Wildlife Wardens in its towns and parishes to spread the word to the local communities about what we can do in our homes, gardens, and neighbourhoods to promote the sustainability of nature. Many people are unsure of what they personally can do to make an impact, so the Wardens are there to help improve awareness of how to help reduce carbon pollution and enhance the natural world and to spread the word on successes. The wardens are receiving free training by ACT so that they can educate and encourage us as to how we can play our part in achieving climate emergency targets. This important work is alongside that of our councils. If you’d like to be considered for this, please email the Council at “email@example.com”.
Planning is another area where many residents want to have a say. Teignbridge (TDC) has just announced a consultation on the new Teignbridge Local Plan, and in particular wants feedback on proposed sites for development in the various parishes. Bovey Town Councillors have set up a small working group to seek the views of our residents on five sites selected in Bovey and Heathfield for a further 450 homes. The Local Plan includes targets set by government, so it is imperative that parishioners help in the selection of sites, otherwise the government will impose its own mandatory higher targets for TDC as a whole. There will soon be a chance for you to have your say in this process.
The council is also keen to create an improved dialogue with the residents of Heathfield, who we know feel a bit “out of the way” when it comes to community needs and responses. It has been suggested that the St Catherine’s School Parent Teacher Association may have advice to give here, so if the PTA would like to set up a dialogue with councillors, we’d be all for it.
MILL MARSH PARK………
We all know and love Mill Marsh Park (MMP), Bovey’s jewel in the crown. The council has just established a “Friends of Mill Marsh Park” group, affiliated with but independent of the Town Council. This great new initiative is intended to promote how the space and fixtures in MMP can be better used. The group will address adding attractions for children and visitors, including creating a tree trail, a wilding area, additional seating and picnic benches, way lighting along the footpaths, additional and updated play areas for children of differing ages, the possibility of skating demonstrations at the skate park, and a possible jump track being requested by secondary school students. It will also seek and generate funding schemes to help meet its objectives. If you are a keen user of MMP, you are welcome to join the Friends on an informal basis or as a committee member, and influence the facilities, attractions, and new events that MMP can run or host in years to come. On Saturday 24th July between 2 pm and 4 pm, the council will be manning a stall in MMP to allow residents to come and find out what the Friends group is all about. Please come and talk to us there if you want to know more or would like to join in.
History tells us your waistline expands on reaching middle age, as the Roman numeral for 40 is XL.
I’m not sure exactly what calories are but, clearly, they taste delicious.
I tried setting up a business as a shepherd, but I just couldn’t get the staff.
A man at work one winter’s morning gets a text from his wife that reads, “Windows frozen”.
He texts back, “Boil the kettle and pour some hot water over them.” A few minutes later, he gets another text from his wife saying: “The computer’s stopped working all together now”.
Ken phones his boss at five o’clock in the morning and tells him, “I’ve caught the train out of London and I’m heading to the south coast”. “Why are you calling me this early?” asks the boss. “And where the hell are you going?” “Don’t be like that,” says Ken, “you’re the one who told me to be in Brighton early this morning.”
It’s the annual convention for plastic surgeons. The organiser gets up to make the opening speech and says, “Nice to see so many new faces this year.”
For years I’ve struggled to overcome my addiction to doing the hoke-cokey. Recently though, I’ve managed to turn myself around, and that’s what it’s all about.
Tony Allen is a Bovey Tracey Town Councillor. This column is written in a personal capacity and presents my views on the above Council activities. The jokes are all in the public domain, so you may have seen some or all before! If you’d like to contact me about my column, please do so via the Cottage Magazine website: www.cottagemagazine.co.uk.
Other columns by Tony Allen
TONY ALLEN’S COLUMN “COMMUNITY MATTERS”
BOVEY THANKS VOLUNTEERS & “LIFELINE” SHOPS - Mon 14 Jun 2021
TONY ALLEN’S COLUMN “COMMUNITY MATTERS”
BREATHS OF FRESH AIR ALL AROUND - Tue 7 Jul 2020
TONY ALLEN’S COLUMN “COMMUNITY MATTERS”
- Tue 11 Feb 2020
CLIMATE ACTION: WHERE DO YOU START?.......... - Mon 2 Dec 2019
WHAT’S BEEN GOING ON IN OUR LOCAL COUNCILS…? - Thu 1 Aug 2019
BOVEY TRACEY ACHIEVES “PLASTIC FREE” STATUS........... - Fri 3 May 2019
IDEAS & SUGGESTIONS FOR THE FUTURE........ - Thu 24 Jan 2019
COMMUNITY MATTERS - “PLASTIC FREE BOVEY”, RARE PRAISE, ELECTIONS
- Thu 8 Nov 2018
Young people in the community - Thu 15 May 2014
Moving Bovey Tracey forward - Tue 4 Mar 2014
Is Bovey Tracey too shabby and run down to attract visitors? - Mon 9 Sep 2013
A public consultation should be just that - Mon 11 Mar 2013
Athletes, young people and rural watch - Tue 13 Nov 2012
Bovey Beats Most Of The Summer Weather - Wed 5 Sep 2012
What sort of Town do you want Bovey to be? - Sun 1 Jul 2012
Awards, Traffic, Policing & another Top Shop! - Thu 3 May 2012
GOOD NEWS, SPECULATION, AND MORE GOOD NEWS - Thu 5 Jan 2012
RUBBISH, SPEED, LIGHTS OUT, BADGERS and more! - Mon 7 Nov 2011
Newspapers, Tragedy, Cheques and MORE! - Sun 11 Sep 2011
Community Matters - Mon 11 Jul 2011
Growth of Neighbourhood Watch In Bovey Tracey - Tue 3 May 2011
Which would you rather have: A PC (Police Commissioner) OR Several PCs (Police Constables)? - Thu 10 Mar 2011
Helping Ourselves In Time Of Austerity - Sun 9 Jan 2011
Security in the current Economic Climate - Thu 4 Nov 2010
Security Matters - Spelling it Out - Mon 6 Sep 2010
The Ultimate Deterrent or Not - Tue 6 Jul 2010
NHS Summary Care Records Will Your Personal Health Information Be Secure? - Mon 3 May 2010
Social Networking - A risk or a good thing? - Sun 28 Feb 2010
Security Matters - Back to Basics! - Thu 3 Dec 2009
Security matters - are you being conned? - Wed 4 Nov 2009
Security matters - ID cards and hotel key cards - Wed 4 Nov 2009
Security matters - Personal security - Wed 4 Nov 2009
Security Matters - Who owns your identity? - Wed 4 Nov 2009
Security Matters - Victim of crime - need help? - Wed 4 Nov 2009