Response to the great flood.
We hope that you were not badly affected by last week’s freak storm. However, we know that lots of people in the Otter Valley have incurred much damage to homes, possessions and some business too. We’re sure that you like us, have already helped in some way but if not or if you would like to help a bit more then Roger Giles, our local councillor, would like to remind you that E.D.D.C has set up a ‘hardship’ fund for those people who need financial assistance at this time. (Cheques made out to ‘Ottery St. Mary Flood Relief Fund’ and sent to the E.D.D.C. Offices at the Knowle, Sidmouth EX10 8HL or taken to the T.I.C. in Ottery) Also, there is desperate need for temporary rented accommodation for people who need to move out of their homes whilst repairs and cleaning are taking place. If you know of any second homes or holiday homes in the areas or are able to offer accommodation or help in any way, then please contact E.D.D.C. Housing Association.
Also, Miss Jarrett, Headteacher at the King’s School, has offered the use of washing machines and tumble dryers at the school for those that could make use of them. (01404 812982). Sustainable Ottery are also thinking about fund-raising ideas and are planning a meeting on Thursday 13th November at 28 Longdogs Lane at 7.30 to discuss this.
Finally. would anyone be interested in recording or expressing feelings, emotions, sights and sounds from the storm that hit us on the early morning of 30th October? If you are please get in touch by email and we will organise a place and time to meet to work out the best way of doing this.
The LOAF Group - Why not share your unused garden plot?
More and more people want to start growing their own fruit, vegetables and herbs but allotments and garden space are at a premium. One option that the L.O.A.F group is looking at is setting up a 'Garden Share' scheme. You may have seen something about this type of scheme on Hugh Fearnly-Whittingstall's programme last week, and seen the great work going on in Totnes, who already have a scheme up and running.
So what do we need to get this type of scheme going in and around Ottery? We need people and land - it's that simple! So if you have a piece of unused land or garden that you would be willing to let someone come and cultivate OR if you are someone who is really wanting to start growing things but are frustrated by a lack of space then please get in contact with Nicki on 01404 812552 / 07971 978646 or email nicki email@example.com.
At this stage we are really trying to gauge interest in such a scheme so in order to make it work we really need people to come forward and register their interest. We have already had a great offer of some land but always need more and obviously people who want to dig!
Response to our e-mail about the Ottery Cyclepath and bridge across the River Otter.
Thank you and well done for all your e-mails to D.C.C. and ED.D.C. concerning the above. It certainly seems to have stirred things up again and ensure that the matter is not forgotten. Copied below are the official responses from Phil Norrey (Chief Executive of D.C.C.) and Roger Giles our councillor on the Town, District and County Councils. We look forward to a harmonious solution and a swift resolution to the problem.
From Phil Norrey: "Over the past few days I have received many emails about the Connect 2 project for a cycle path in Ottery. The bid for this project was initiated by the Environment Agency and supported by East Devon District Council. The County Council agreed that it would adopt the path when completed which means that it would take on responsibility for repairs and maintenance from that point. Unfortunately it appears that the cost of the scheme as planned by the Environment Agency is considerably in excess of the funding available from various sources.
Having spoken to the Chief Executive of East Devon and a senior officer at the Environment Agency it has been agreed that our three organisations will meet shortly to see whether a more affordable scheme can be implemented. The current plan involves a 120m single span bridge but I understand from the Environment Agency that other solutions were considered before the bid was submitted and these will be re-examined.
The County Council will support the Environment Agency and East Devon District Council in trying to find an acceptable solution. In the current circumstances I am sure you will appreciate that any design must have flood risk minimisation as the overriding consideration.
CHIEF EXECUTIVE , DEVON COUNTY COUNCIL
From Councillor Roger Giles:
Thank you very much for taking the trouble to write to Phil Norrey (Devon County Council Chief Executive), and Mark Williams (East Devon District Council Chief Executive) concerning the above project. There have been many letters on the subject from individuals, and from Ottery St. Mary Town Council, and from the Kings School. Many of you have received responses from Phil Norrey and Mark Williams. I would like to update you on the situation.
I made a report to the OSMTC meeting on 6th October expressing my frustrations at the failure of DCC and EDDC and the Environment Agency (EA) to agree on who should be the lead authority for the project (there is no implication that whichever body is the lead authority and thus “manages” the project is required to provide the necessary financial input). I consider this element of the scheme to be a minor matter. Mark Williams replied to some people (later responses were shortened) saying about the whole scheme: “for your County Councillor to portray it as a `minor` matter is somewhat wide of the mark”. Of course the whole scheme is a major matter; I was referring to who should be the lead authority, when referring to a `minor matter`.
You may be aware that there have been a number of difficulties in moving this problem forward. To break the impasse on financing the necessary feasibility study I agreed to fund this from my DCC Locality Budget, so that this work could be carried out quickly. A major obstacle was removed when OSMTC recently acquired a piece of land adjacent to the River Otter over which the bridge could go. Another difficulty is a funding shortfall largely as a result of the EA requirement for a 120 metre span bridge of 3 metre width – which is hugely expensive, and in the view of many of us, quite unnecessary.
You will be pleased to know that this morning I had a meeting with Phil Norrey to try to resolve some of the difficulties. In the last few days discussions have taken place between Phil Norrey and Mark Williams, and between Phil Norrey and the EA over who should be the lead authority, and also about the EA bridge requirements. I hope that as a result of those discussions, there will be constructive partnership working between DCC, EDDC and the EA - the three principal authorities (which, unfortunately, there had not been of late) – and other bodies such as OSMTC and the Kings School, which will help to deliver this vitally important project in the near future.
Thanks once again for taking the trouble to write. I am sure that the volume of messages from Ottery was very helpful in concentrating minds at the highest level to work together (rather than against each other) for the benefit of Ottery.
Would you be interested in helping getting people re-skilled in the crafts and techniques that will be invaluable in the years to come, as resources become scarcer and more expensive? These could be things as diverse as hedge laying, bread making, darning socks, vegetable growing or using hedgerow herbs, indeed anything. Or would you be keen to learn some new “sustainable” skills? If so please email Sustainable Ottery and put the word “reskilling” in the subject line. We will then arrange to get together and see what can be done.
Next Community Market is 9.30 - 12.30 Sat 22nd November at The Institute, Ottery St Mary. Another full house with all the usual stalls, including children's face painter. There are 5 new stalls selling some interesting and unusual Christmas gifts plus Richard Parkyn local children's author, will be signing copies of his new children's book, 'The Balaclava Boy' ( which is set in Cornwall where Richard grew up.)
Come early! At the last market, the local produce and vegetables were picked clean by 11.00am!
If you would like to have your own stall (charge = £3) or would be willing to help with the set-up or the clearing up, please contact Beatrix Godfrey : 01404 812213 or Penny Hounslow 01404 814632.
We will be having a special Christmas Community market on Saturday 13th December so mark the date in your diary and if you would like your crafts or produce to be considered please call Penny on the above number.
Don’t forget you can still borrow our electricity monitors which will show you exactly how much electricity your appliances are using and how much this costs. (You will need to find out how much your utility company is charging you per Kw/h from your bill). They’re quite simple to use and come with a ‘Noddy’ guide. You can hire these from us for £2 for 2 days or £5 for the week. To find out more please contact Jill Dixon on 01404 811067.
Did you know that there is no recycling currently taking place at The King’s School? This appalling state of affairs is due to the fact that E.D.D.C. wishes to treat the school as if it were a commercial concern, because of the large amount of waste it would need to pick-up! However, other District Councils manage to collect from 100% of schools (Exeter City, Torridge, West Devon) and most of the others over 90% (South Hams, Teignbridge, Torbay and Plymouth). Mid-Devon manages 78% and E.D.D.C. ‘languishes’ at the bottom of the league with a paltry 20% (none from Secondary Schools), according to a recent report to DAWRARC (Devon Authorities Waste Reduction and Recycling Committee). We need to encourage our young people to become responsible adults and I’m sure they are already aware of our environmental impact through lessons at school as well as all the information via the media so how frustrating is it that our own school children are unable to recycle anything in their own schools because of the cost of picking it up! What of the cost of sending it all to landfill? The cost to the environment? How short-sighted. However, members of Sustainable Ottery’s Resources Group are on the case. We will let you know next time what developments have taken place.
Bio-fuels Film Showing.
Maureen Fairley of Sustainable Ottery has arranged a showing of a film about the potential problems with biofuels. This will be shown at the Fountain Room at St Sidwells, Sidwell St, Exeter, at 7 for 7.30 p.m. on 20th November Please contact Maureen on 01404 812683 for more details.
For jazz enthusiasts and live music aficionados!
Tickets will soon be on sale at the TIC and at Ottery Office and Computer shop for the Ellingtonia Concert to be held next February. This superb nine piece band specialise in recreating the sound of Duke Ellington. The LOAF Group are planning to provide buffet refreshments at the concert which is expected to be a sell-out.
Sustainable Ottery sets up a company.
As we continue to grow and take shape it has become clear that we need some kind of structure to aid us as we seek to implement our vision:
"of a thriving Ottery St Mary, where local people play a key role in determining their own future. There are plenty of local jobs and the town is self sufficient in staples like food and energy. There is a strong local community and a vibrant local economy.”
For that we reason we have decided to set up a Community Interest Company or CIC. We want to be able to apply for funding for projects and also to make sure that we limit the liability we face as individuals.
The company will be limited by guarantee, and those who offer to serve as directors carry a limited liability of one pound each. The other strength of this kind of structure, is that it is rooted in the community and has what is called an ‘asset lock’, so if it is ever wound up, any funds and assets are passed to a like minded organisation, ensuring that the fruits of our work stay in the community.
The CIC will work by having Directors who will be on the steering group of Sustainable Ottery. We have designed the founding articles of the company so that the directors will hold the structure on behalf of the whole as their gift of service to the community. They will serve along side other members of the steering group who belong to the different working groups that make up Sustainable Ottery (SO).
Directors will be elected each year at an AGM of the membership. At this stage of our development we have decided that the formal membership will be the people who are most active in SO, simply to keep the administrative burden to a minimum.
We continue to welcome everyone from the community who wants to get involved at any level they wish, either by offering to serve as a director or other member of the steering group; by joining in the working groups or continuing to endorse and support the work we do, for example by shopping at the community market, telling your friends about us, handing out leaflets and putting up posters and supporting our events.
We are an open and welcoming group and we value the energy, expertise and engagement of everyone. Thank you for supporting us and we hope you will continue to do so in whatever way is right for you.
Next Sustainable Ottery Steering Committee Meeting.
Our next meeting is at 7.30p.m. on Thursday 20 November in the U.R.C. hall (opposite the Co-op). Anyone is welcome to come along and join in the discussions or just sit in quiet contemplation if you prefer! But do come along and help us help guide Ottery St. Mary towards a sustainable future.
Coaches running to Exeter from Ottery, West Hill and Honiton for Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra Concerts. Save money/hassle and especially CO2. Phone 01404 41915 (Ms Patterson)or 0140443914 (Ms Hughes)" If we don't get enough people it won't be able to continue.
`Save petrol and carbon emissions by coming along to an evening of lively and entertaining jazz in Ottery with the City Steam Jazz Band. In aid of the Colour of Hope, a charity founded by a local Ottery girl, Amy New, to rehabilitate street children in Lima, Peru. Fri 14 Nov, 7.30pm - 10.00pm at Ottery St Mary football club (Butts Rd). Tickets £5 from 01404 815188 or 01404 814867.
Stop E-On building a new coal-fired power station at Kingsnorth, Kent.
National Climate March on Saturday December 6th 2008. The march this year goes to Parliament Square to demand the Government acts now on Climate Change (http://www.campaigncc.org/). It will start at Speaker’s Corner, Hyde Park at 12 noon.
Sustainable Ottery welcomes new members. Anyone interested in finding out more or in joining one of the working groups (energy, resources, food, art and creativity, transport, factory future, communications and awareness raising) can e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. See www.sustainableottery.org.uk for future events.
Please pass this on to any relevant contacts you have. If you would like to be removed from the mailing list please let us know.