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With the recent change in ownership of Burgh Island has come a welcome change in management style. At a recent, very well-attended, Bigbury History Society event held by invitation in the Burgh Island Hotel’s spectacular Ganges Room, we were all treated both to a presentation by Duncan Gray, the Managing Director, and to some generous hospitality.
Duncan reviewed something of the hotel’s history but also revealed his far-sighted plans for redevelopment of the hotel and the Pilchard Inn, on the island, together with Warren Cottage and the Bay View cafe – which his business consortium has also purchased, on the mainland. Whilst maintaining the exclusivity of the hotel and developing its attractions as a high-class venue for social and business events, the plan is to welcome other visitors to the island, especially local people. Perhaps the most visible immediate manifestation of this plan are the changes to the Pilchard Inn, where the outside seating capacity has already been doubled, non-resident visitors are made welcome throughout the pub, and the basement cafe has been reopened.
Longer term, we were told amongst other things, about ambitious plans to develop the tidal Mermaid’s Pool, set amongst the island’s cliffs, which until recently had been used as a repository for unwanted junk and accumulated silt. For example, the natural shape of the rocks and good acoustics might make for a floating, under-lit stage in an amphitheatre similar to the iconic Minack Theatre in Cornwall. To widespread acclaim, the new owners have dropped the recently approved but highly controversial plans for a stand-alone hotel suite perched on the cliff top overlooking the Avon Estuary.
Local concerns about the future of Warren Cottage and the Bay View Cafe should be allayed because the future of both buildings now looks secure; Warren Cottage as residential accommodation for hotel staff and a revitalised, re-named Burgh View Cafe.
Plans are afoot to help develop closer local relationships by holding a fund-raising BBQ event in aid of the Hope Cove lifeboat in September – watch out for details!
The Decision Notice for approval of the application by the parish council for a night landing site at Bigbury Golf Club for the Devon Air Ambulance is available as a DOCUMENT in the Bigbury Parish Council GROUP.
Toilets around the South Hams will be kept open thanks to a decision made by the District Council’s Executive this week.
A pay on entry system will now be installed around the District at many toilets; this will go towards their running costs and protect them from closure.
During their recent budget setting process, South Hams District Council agreed to look in detail at what it does with the non-statutory services. Public toilets are one of the services that the Council provides, but are not required to provide. Despite this the Council dearly wants to provide public toilets for the benefit of their residents, tourists and local businesses. This proposal will enable them to do so.
South Hams District Council currently spends close to £1m per annum providing and maintaining public toilets. With a predicted budget gap of £0.3 million, a pay on entry scheme is a way of helping to close the gap but continuing to provide a valuable service.
Cllr Rufus Gilbert, Executive Portfolio Holder for Commercial Services, said: “There’s no doubt that continuing to provide public toilets is important for residents, visitors and businesses in the South Hams. As a result the council was determined to find a way to protect them, despite the enormous pressures on our budget. Many local authorities throughout the UK have had to close their public toilets and rely instead on businesses to provide them – Manchester City Council, one of the largest councils in England, only have one council run public toilet!”
“As the Executive member with the responsibility for public toilets, I take my role very seriously and I have said before that the last thing that I want to do is to be responsible for closing toilets. I visit many of the toilets around the District while I am out and about, when I see something that is not satisfactory I speak to the team to make sure any issues are resolved to the best of our physical and financial ability. Securing additional funding for our toilets will not only help us keep them open but also in good working order.”
The proposed fee is 20p. The busiest toilets have been chosen to have the pay on entry system installed as these have high running costs:
- Creek, Salcombe
- North Sands, Salcombe
- South Sands, Salcombe
- Coronation Road, Totnes
- Steamer Quay, Totnes
- Civic Hall, Totnes
- Fore Street, Kingsbridge
- Slapton Line
- Glanvilles Mill, Ivybridge
- Mill Bay
- Ferry Steps
Councillors also agreed to look again at the Hope Cove toilets which receives a similarly high number of visitors in peak season.
The pay on entry system is expected to generate £16,000 in 2018/19 and £36,000 by 2019/20, income which will be used to continue to run the toilets.
Mill Bay toilets are a recent addition to the list, while Slapton Memorial toilets have been removed. The recent storm damage at these toilets has left the septic tank very close to the beach and at risk of failing in another storm. This could cause a serious pollution incident. Relocating the tank is unlikely to solve the problem, as well as being very expensive and so these toilets, sadly, will have to close.
Cllr Gilbert continued “The decision to close the toilets at Slapton Memorial has not been taken lightly. Storm Emma had a huge impact on the area and the beach has receded a long way inland very quickly. The old septic tank is now dangerously close to the beach. Relocating it would only be a very expensive temporary measure and so reluctantly, we will have to close the toilets to prevent any risk of pollution on the shore.”
See thie following link for further information:-
South Hams District Council and West Devon Borough Council are calling out to all community groups, charities, and good causes in the area who might be interested in being part of a new council run Lottery initiative.
The SeaMoor Lotto is a new venture which is being led by the councils to provide a way for local good causes to raise funds.
60% of all money raised will go towards local good causes, 20% of ticket sales will be put towards prizes and 20% will go towards the running costs.
Now the councils want to hear from any interested parties, so that they can be invited to a launch event in May and find out how to sign up to become part of the SeaMoor Lotto.
Cllr Neil Jory, West Devon Borough Council’s Hub Lead Member for the Lottery explains: “This is a win win situation. The local charities and groups who sign up to be part of the lottery will be able to raise money for their own projects; we will be able to support local good causes with the proceeds of the lottery and the members of the public who buy tickets stand a chance of winning a monetary prize of up to £25k”
Cllr Keith Wingate, South Hams Executive Portfolio Holder for Business Development added: “Local authority run lotteries are working very well for many other communities around the country. We are working with Gatherwell, the company who manage lottery initiatives nationwide and will provide the know-how. Their mission is to help good causes raise money, their first project was a schools lottery, helping schools across the UK deal with increasing austerity pressures, now they help a wide range of local causes from local community centres to Age UK. With their support and guidance we are in safe hands and will be delivering a lottery service for our community and charity sector that will benefit everybody.”
Lottery tickets will only be sold via the internet and tickets will cost £1 each per draw. When a player buys a ticket they will opt to support a specific good cause or contribute to the community fund – the latter will be administered by the Council.
The draw will take place every Saturday evening at 8:00p.m and as with other lotteries the more numbers matched the bigger the prize.
South Hams District Council and West Devon Borough Council expect to launch the SeaMoor lotto to the public in this summer.
So if you are a charity, community organisation, or a good cause based in the South Hams or West Devon and you would be interested to find out how to get involved please email firstname.lastname@example.org stating your cause and your contact details. We will add you to our information list and invite you to the launch event for good causes.
Following the recent press release about Community Housing, please see the following link to our poster advertising the survey:- Housing survey poster_final
Vicky Croughan │ Communications Specialist – BA(Hons), PGCE
South Hams District Council │ West Devon Borough Council
Tel: 01803 861429 l Mobile: 07780 561740