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COLYTON: Independence for Colyford?

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

FIGHTING FOR A FAIR DEAL: Mayor of Colyford, Howard West

FIGHTING FOR A FAIR DEAL: Mayor of Colyford, Howard West

THE Mayor of Colyford has claimed village residents are not getting a fair deal by being grouped with neighbouring Colyton, and has asked councillors to consider its future as part of the parish. Mayor Howard West, who also sits on Colyton Parish Council, raised the issue of the future of Colyford as part of the parish at last week’s meeting, saying that residents did not get enough in return for the amount of council tax precept they paid. Councillor West said he wanted to bring the issue forward as he was under pressure from Colyford residents who voted for him, saying many of them had asked “what are we really getting out of being part of Colyton parish?” Councillor West said he was “increasingly alarmed” about how Colyford would be protected as part of Colyton parish in the future. He claimed that Colyford made up 24 per cent of the total parish population this year, but paid £12,331 of the council tax precept, equivilent to 28 per cent. He asked members of the council what the village recieved in return, adding: “In my 13 years as a resident and three years as a councillor, we have got the following: two village gateways, £9,000 for the Colyford Memorial Hall refurbishment and two bus shelters from Devon County Council, but only one painted to date by John, our handyman, after a wait of over a year! He says he is too busy in Colyton to do anything on the second shelter until September. “I also believe that we have had one seat replaced and we will possibly get Section 106 monies for a children’s playground, which is mainly funded from developments in Colyford.” Councillor West complained that Colyford received no assistance from the council’s handyman despite paying the precept for this service, and no Section 106 money for sport and recreation uses, which he said was all being spent in Colyton despite the funds being raised from developments in Colyford. Councillor West added that there was “uncertainty” over the Secton 106 money for the proposed playground at St Michael’s Chapel of Ease in Colyford, and he had heard that extra money for play uses still available was to be spent in Colyton. “Colyton already has all of the sport and recreation monies that were generated by developments in Colyford and voted on by the majority in Colyton,” he continued. “Any play monies should be invested within 600 metres of the developments that generated it.” He added that it was unfair that when residents were asked to vote on how to spend Section 106 money, Colyton residents would always win as they were in the majority. He used the suggestion of painting white lines in Colyford Memorial Hall car park for cycling profficinecy as an example, saying this was not taken forward and he had now heard it was planned for the Peace Memorial Playing Field car park in Colyton instead. Councillor West also complained that Colyton Parish Council paid for the church grounds at St Andrew’s in Colyton to be maintained but made no contribution to St Michael’s, nor to public gardens in Colyford. He added that Colyford was “fighting a lone battle” with regards to the proposed Stop Line Way cycle route through the village, and that it wanted to create a Neighbourhood Plan but the parish council was “not interested”. “Much of the time spent in parish council meetings is regarding Colyton matters and problems. None of these affect Colyford but take up council effort and time, which could be partly used to help Colyford,” he continued. Councillor West complained that the parish council had not assisted with bus issues surrounding Colyton Grammar School in Colyford, despite it being a priority in the parish plan, and that there was no safe pedestrian route between Colyford and Colyton so young people from the village could not use the sports and recreational facilities in Colyton. “In effect we are two separate communities,” he added. Councillor West said that Colyford residents had requested dog bins for the village and were told there were none available, but a new one was fitted in Colyton just months later. His final complaint was that there was no parking available in Colyton specifically for Colyford residents, so they had to pay just to go shopping or to attend meetings. Councillor West concluded: “We are the poor relations, completely outvoted on any form of referendum in the parish. Can the council give me any good reasons as to why these matters should be allowed to continue in this unbalanced situation?” Councillor Colin Pady, a fellow Colyford resident, said he understood some of Councillor West’s points but added: “Colyford has never had all the facilities Colyton has but there are a lot of services of Colyton Parish Council which benefit Colyford.” When asked for an exmaple Councillor Pady said residents benefited from a full-time parish clerk. Councillor West argued this was not one of his complaints. Councillor Sheila Smith, who lives in Colyton, said she understood some of the frustrations of Colyford residents, especially the complaint about the dog bins. Chairman of the council, Andrew Parr, argued that Colyford “had not been let down by Colyton Parish Council” with regards to the Stop Line Way route, adding that Councillor West received “our full support” but wanted to take the matter his own way, which the council allowed. Councillor Parr added that he had fully supported Colyford’s objection to the recent major planning application to develop the green wedge on the outskirts of the village, and had spoken on behalf of residents at a district council meeting on the subject. Councillor West replied: “You supported us but there’s 13 councillors here.” Councillor Parr said he was chosen by they other members to speak on their behalf. Councillor Rodney Turner also expressed disappointment over Councillor West’s comments on sports and recreational facilities, saying he was “doing them a disservice” but saying Colyford residents could not use them because of the lack of a safe route between the two communties. Councillor Turner said volunteers from the facilities at the Peace Memorial Playing Fields would pick up and drop off children from Colyford to ensure they got there safely. “I would have preferred you came to me first and I could have given you some background knowledge,” he added. It was agreed to leave the matter for members to consider and further discussion on the item is expected at next month’s meeting.


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