South Brent is a large village on the southern edge of Dartmoor. The Parish is the second largest (after Cornwood) in South Hams at 3742 ha, and 6th largest (after Ivybridge, Totnes, Kingsbridge, Dartmouth and Bickleigh) with a population of 3043 in 2012.
The village was originally a woollen and market centre with 2 annual fairs and a station. Now the village centre is within Dartmoor National Park, and it is a thriving community with shops, businesses, school, village hall and community centre.
The Parish Council consists of 12 elected councillors - 9 from the Village Ward, and 3 from Brent Moor Ward. The present Council were elected/co-opted in May 2015, and will serve for 4 years until 2019. A list of the Councillors may be found here.
Parish Council meetings normally take place in the Side Hall at the Village Hall, on the 4th Monday of each month starting at 7:30pm. In August the meeting takes place at The Old SChool Community Centre. All members of the public are invited to attend meetings, and will have the opportunity to speak at a public forum at the start of each meeting.
As most people have now heard, The Post Office services in South Brent ceased on Sunday 24 December. After a very difficult year, the current providers, South Brent Stores, despite it being a busy Post Office, felt that they were unable to makethe Post Office services financially viable. With added cuts to payments, which they could not sustain, in the pipeline for next year (they are paid ‘per transaction’), they requested that Post Office Ltd find alternative provision by the end of the year. [See their Facebook page.]
Having been informed about this on Wednesday 6 December, an urgent discussion was held at the South Brent Parish Council meeting on Monday 11 December and although a number of alternatives are being considered, given the very short notice it was hard to imagine anything being in place in time to prevent at least an interim period of closure. The best alternative would be for an existing local retailer to take over the Post Office services. The Co-op was suggested, however we are informed that The Coop Group are not currently taking on new Post Offices. South Brent Community Land Trust has suggested that a CLT could offer a framework for running a Community Post Office. A Pub has also been suggested.
The Post Office confirmed its commitment to the continuation of Post Office services in South Brent and to finding a solution to the current situation, following correspondence between the Parish Council, our MP, Dr Sarah Wollaston and Post Office managers, about our concern for Post Office services in South Brent. A meeting between Dr Wollaston, Parish and District Councillors and Mr Stuart Taylor (Post Office External Relations Manager) was held in the village on Thursday 4 January, with all participants working towards the best solution to this serious problem for the community.
The Post Office Network Operations Manager has now investigated whether the Old School Community Centre could host a service using its mobile GSM network and has confirmed that this would work. This would reduce delay as a new communications line will not need to be installed. The operators of Strete Post Office have the necessary portable equipment and this has been tested satisfactorily in the Old School and they have now offered to host temporary a limited service.
The best option remains for an existing South Brent retailer to offer to host the service and several local retailers (including the Co-op) have been approached with responses awaited. In the mean time, although the finer details need to be confirmed, a temporary solution is being put in place involving an Outreach Post Office Service in South Brent Old School Centre run by the Strete Postmistress.
This would operate initially on Wednesdays from 9am-1pm and Fridays from 9am-12noon in the Old School Community Centre and arrangements should be in place before the end of January. This could continue while longer term arrangements are explored involving a Post Office service hosted by an existing village retailer or an outreach service being set up from another, more local Post Office branch.
The Devon Countryside Access Forum is a statutory local access forum under the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000.
It has seventeen members who advise on the “improvement of public access to land for the purposes of open-air recreation and the enjoyment of the area..” The Forum gives independent advice to a number of Government bodies in addition to Devon County Council, district and borough councils and parish and town councils.
Devon County Council is currently appointing members to the Forum and would like to receive applications from anyone with an interest in recreational access. I should be very grateful if you could share this information with the Parish Council and also pass this e-mail onto your networks.
In this round of appointments applications from keen walkers would be particularly welcome as the Forum is looking at coastal access (the England Coast Path) on stretches between Kingswear and Cremyll and Combe Martin and Marsland Mouth. All applications will be considered and we would love to hear from landowners and managers, access users and people with other relevant professional interests such as planning, education, sport, sustainable transport and business, or people who could represent groups currently under-represented such as young people or ethnic minority groups. Although membership is voluntary, a generous mileage rate is paid.
Why don’t you consider applying to join the Forum? It’s an interesting opportunity and you can:-
For details and an application form please see www.devon.gov.uk/dcaf
The closing date is Friday, 9th February 2018.
To see details of South Brent Parish Council's Annual Accounting Statements for the 2016-2017 years please go to 'Financial Publications' on the Home Page and click on the relevant year.
To go direct click -South Brent Parish Council Annual Accounting Statement for 2016/17 .