• Out and About

    Mid Devon Advertiser
    01 June 2018

    Last week I focused on catching up with our local Parish and Town Clerks. There are 125 parishes and towns in the Central Devon constituency. I doubt there are many others in the UK that have anything like this number. Bruce Broughton, Town Clerk for Ashburton was able to update me on moves to improve parking provision in the town. This is an issue that I have discussed with a number of town traders and progress has been made with Grey Matter very generously permitting access to their car park for traders on Saturdays. This is one of the key days when our town car park is under most pressure and when trade is at its briskest in the town. We agreed that it would be good for me to visit the local Chamber of Trade that is working so hard under Sean Wilson’s chairmanship. I am looking forward to this. Bovey Tracey’s Town Clerk, Mark Wells updated me on the recent planning consent that has been obtained for the new community centre which will be a tremendous asset to the town. We also discussed the issue of a new school for the town and some of the funding challenges. I will arrange contact with Ashburton’s Post Office to discuss how best to encourage the provision and promotion of banking services through the post office something with which Ashburton has made particular progress – this following the closing of Lloyds Bank in Bovey. Okehampton’s Town Clerk, Emma James updated me on the Town Council’s work with DCC in addressing the traffic congestion in the town centre and I undertook to approach DCC to ask about the timing of their traffic survey which was conducted around the time of the very snowy weather that led to the closure of the A30. I was pleased to be able to discuss Vodafone coverage with Joan Banks the Clerk to Bridford Parish Council and will be taking up these issues again with the Chief Executive of the company. It was also great to catch up with the Head Teachers of Yeoford and Cheriton Bishop Primary schools. Both schools are doing really well, have positive and enthusiastic teaching staff and are forward looking. They have both just joined a local school academy federation giving them the ability to benefit from the support of a larger group of schools whilst maintaining their autonomy in the running of their individual schools. I am planning to join Yeoford school for the launch of its new Foundation Stage Unit in June. I also had a rather direct discussion with the CEO of RD&E Foundation Trust about the lack of progress in bringing forward a clear plan for the further new services that might be brought into place at Okehampton Hospital. The local community has been strongly engaged on this and we need clear plans with firm timelines.  I will remain firmly engaged on this. More from Mel on twitter @MelJStride and online at