Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Lively Plans Committee Meeting

Over 70 people attended a meeting of the Bere Ferrers Parish Council Plans committee in the Parish Hall tonight, mainly to hear the pros and cons of the planning application for the Water Sports Community Hub Club at Weir Quay.

Chairman Brian Lamb explained how the meeting would be run; as a member of the Sailing Club he is deemed to have a personal interest in the matter, so he would be vacating the Chair and someone else would take over. Cllr Mike Benson also declared an interest.

Cllr Lamb then took the committee through the planning application, which was nearly 900 pages long. He then vacated the chair and the Plans Vice-Chairman was invited to run the meeting, but she declined. The Parish Chairman, Cllr Hilary Boot-Handford was voted in as Chairman for this particular application.

Cllr Boot-Handford explained that this was not a public meeting, but after short presentations from the Hub Club and The Friends of Weir Quay there would be an opportunity for parishioners to air their views – for three minutes each.

Mr Street spoke on behalf of the Hub Club and pointed out that the Club were not trying to increase membership or the amount of traffic on the lanes.

Mrs Mary Logan, on behalf of Friends of Weir Quay, said that they had conducted a survey in the Peninsula and 75% of the people who visited were not sailors. However, the Ferret, for one, had not been consulted on this survey, so it could be considered inconclusive.

After these presentations, Mrs Patterson was first to speak and professed to ‘speak on behalf of the parish’ and was against the planning application.

Dr Frances Howard put up a good case on behalf of the glow worms. She had concerns about the destruction of their habitat and also the intrusion of lights in the area. There should be conditions on the use of lighting in the area and new screening should be erected.

Next to speak was Pete Silcox, who pointed out that the ground contamination was not as bad as some people were making out.

Sue Hamley asked if approval of these plans would lead to increased development at Weir Quay. Unfortunately, like a few other people, she got the Hub Club confused with the boatyard and the Floating Classroom and lumped the two together.

John Hilson was keen to propose a solution: the original clubhouse, the barn, was ideal, but the new development was unacceptable and would have a huge impact visually. Why was there no dialogue between the Hub Club and the Cleave Estate to purchase the barn? Perhaps the Parish Council could mediate between the two parties?

One of the trustees of the Club, Bob Turner, told the audience that all the members were local people and that both the sailing and gig clubs provided excellent facilities and tuition. If the proposal was denied, then both clubs would close. He also pointed out that it was not on the Cleave Estate’s agenda to sell the barn. He earnestly pleaded that the plan should not be thrown out.

Borough Councillor Robin Musgrave was next to speak. He had been canvassed by both sides, but pointed out that these facilities are necessary and the clubs will not get any bigger.

Cllr Lamb also said that the Cleave Estate will not sell and the other 11 sites that were proposed were not acceptable. The Hub Club has done everything possible to take on board residents’ concerns after the public meetings. But, he said, the facilities for the children are most important. Without a home the clubs will die.

Elizabeth Lenton, a trustee of the Cleave Estate, stated quite categorically that the barn has never been for sale and never will be, as the family has plans for it. Despite the rumours, the Estate has had a good relationship with the clubs over the years. She told the meeting that, having carefully studied the plans, her mother (who would be nearest to the new development) and the Estate would be happy to have the Club as a neighbour.

Several other people made points, before the Chairman closed on comments and asked the Parish Clerk to read two letters received: one was against the development and the other for it.

The Chairman told the meeting that normally the committee would discuss the plans and then vote on them. She then proposed that, with the approval of the committee, the Plans committee would, because of the split in the community, defer any decision and request that West Devon Borough Council Planning department hold a site visit.

This proposal was put to the committee and it was passed as follows: 4 For, 1 Against and two members ineligible to vote because of interest.

The application will be referred back to WDBC for a site visit.

Monday, 29 August 2011

Tamar and Tavy Regatta 2011

From Julie Rendle, Tamar & Tavy Gig Club:

Tamar and Tavy Gig Club hosted their second regatta on Saturday.  The rain held off and despite the chilly wind everything went smoothly and all crews enjoyed themselves.   The barbecue fed everyone all afternoon and the cake stall, with the most fantastic display of cakes baked by club members, kept energy levels topped up.
Visiting crews were from Salcombe Gig Club with their boat Bolt and local rivals Cotehele Quay with their boats Zeus and Cream of Cornwall.
The first race which opened the regatta was gruelling seven mile slog from Weir Quay to the Brunel Bridge and back taking over an hour.  The crews were handicapped according to age so the T & T ladies in Tamar went off first and were followed and fairly quickly overtaken by the ladies in Bolt.  The Salcombe crew were, in fact, in the lead for over half the race but were then taken by the young men from Cotehele Quay in Cream of Cornwall.  The end result was Cream of Cornwall first, second place Bolt and in third place the mixed crew from Tamar and Tavy in Ginette.
The vets race was next, a shorter course but keenly fought.  The Salcombe ladies in Bolt had a good start and got an early lead.  Tamar and Tavy ladies in Ginette, after a difficult start, pulled through past the men in Cream of Cornwall and the T & T mixed crew in Tamar, trying hard to catch Bolt.  The pull down to the buoys at the Saltash side of Cargreen seemed a long row but Ginette gradually began to close on Bolt, though finally losing to the Salcombe crew by a couple of boat lengths.  Finishing places were Bolt in first place with Ginette second, then Cream of Cornwall and Tamar.
The hotly contested Juniors race was next with a straight race from Cargreen back up to Weir Quay.  Tamar and Tavy entered two crews with both boats rowing cracking races to come in first and second places.  The junior section of the club have had an absolutely fantastic season this year with their commitment and enjoyment of the sport reaping rewards.
The last race of the day was the Barbarian race which despite being a more fun event is still keenly fought over.   All clubs fielded completely mixed crews with juniors, ladies and men all rowing in the same boats.  Cotehele Quay rowing in Cream of Cornwall came first overall and were able to celebrate some really good results during the afternoon.
At the end of the day, Tricia Stewart, club Chairman, thanked visiting crews for helping to make the regatta a success and then introduced Bob Turner, one of the club's founder members, who kindly presented the prizes.
It was all hands on deck to get the gigs out of the water and back onto the trailers ready for the homeward journeys.  The raffle then took place and, with such a vast array of gifts on offer, took some time to complete.
The day was a great success enjoyed by all.  If you would like any further information about the club please see website for contact details

Sunday, 28 August 2011

Cricket Match

As always at this time of year it was the annual cricket match on Margaret and Ron Ball's field. Trevor had rolled the pitch to an acceptable level and a sunny day was forecast. And so it proved: the sun came out and about thirty people gathered at the venue for the Picking of the Teams.
The players line up for selection (just like school!)
John and Becky were captains (as usual) and picked two strong and varied-ability teams. Becky won the toss and John's team were put in to bat. They amassed a score of 132 in 32 overs in the allotted hour and a half.
After tea at the Olde Plough, Becky's team came out for their innings. They got off to a slow start, but quickly made up the deficit until, with seven balls to be bowled, they needed seven runs to win. However, three wickets down in the last over was too much and despite a four off the last ball, Becky's team lost by three runs.
An enjoyable afternoon was had by all, particularly the visitors from Leicester who should have been somewhere else with their wives, not playing cricket!
The scorer was Margaret Ball and the umpire Bev Slaughter.
Trev prepares to deal with a delivery.

Saturday, 27 August 2011

Septic Tank Registration

The rules regarding private septic tanks in England have changed and there will be a requirement to register these very soon. The Environmental Agency web site states:
'The requirement to register small domestic sewage discharges from septic tanks and package sewage treatment plants, has changed in England.
The requirement to register was a result of regulations made in 2010 by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and the Welsh Government, as part of the implementation of the European Union Water Framework Directive. Registration was considered to provide the lightest touch approach to meet legal obligations.
However, we are now undertaking a joint review with Government on the requirement to register small domestic sewage discharges in England, details of which will be announced in the next few weeks.
While the review is underway, we will not require the registration of small domestic sewage discharges, including septic tanks, in England - although householders can still register if they wish.'
If you want to register your septic tank, go to 

Thursday, 25 August 2011

BATs Poppy Day Run

A message from Bere Alston Trekkers:

Bere Alston Trekkers (BATs) are hosting a charity event to raise money for the Royal British Legion. 11.11 miles starting at 11.11am on Friday 11.11.11 - please come and join us on the run or show your support by sponsoring us or meeting us at one of the War Memorials on the route. We also have a bugler to start us.
Please share with anyone who you think would be interested.
Here is the link:
This is a charity event and NOT a race and we will be running as one steady group on a multi-terrain course.

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Cricket Match This Sunday

It's the annual village cricket match this Sunday 28th August. It starts at 2pm on the field at Margaret and Ron's and the first innings will finish at 4. The tea interval will be at the pub until 5, when the second innings commences.
Anyone over 14 can play and it costs £5 each, including tea.
If you can't play, do come along and watch - the weather shouldn't be too bad!

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Fleeting Visit by an Old Friend

Former villager Jill Etherington was in the village yesterday and joined some old friends for a drink in the club. Jill, who now lives in the wilds of France, was about to embark on a mammoth horse ride on Exmoor for three days with Margaret Ball and four other riders, something they do every year.
Several friends welcomed Jill, including Chris Grills, L and G, Mike and Christine, Steve and Dee, Maggie and Alan, Marguerite and Jenny.

Monday, 22 August 2011

Lights Off!

It's rumoured that the street lights in the village have been turned off at night to save energy. Devon County Council have a very commendable policy of turning off all but the most necessary street lighting during the early hours to not only save energy but also a vast amount of money. In Bere Alston, for instance, the only lights on during the night will be in Bedford Street.
Apparently the lights of the village have been adjusted and go off at midnight and back on again at 5-ish, though nobody is up at these times to check!

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Cattle Drive

It's not often that a herd of cattle comes through the village, especially Highland longhorns, so it was that this afternoon villagers and visitors were surprised to see a herd (well, seven beasts!) slowly plodding up the street. They were Andrew Nunn's herd, led through the village by his brother Rich, no doubt on their way to pastures new.

Friday, 19 August 2011

Is It Autumn Already?

Recreation Field.
After a sunny start at 6am this morning, the fog came down! Surely it's not Autumn already?

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

The Green Thing

In the line at the supermarket, the checkout girl told an older woman that she should bring her own grocery bags because plastic bags weren't good for the environment. The woman apologised to her and explained, "We didn't have the green thing back in my day."
The checkout responded, "That's our problem today. Your generation did not care enough to save our environment." She was right -- our generation didn't have the green thing in its day.
Back then, we returned milk bottles, pop bottles and beer bottles to the shop. The shop sent them back to the plant to be washed and sterilised and refilled, so it could use the same bottles over and over. So they really were recycled.
But we didn't have the green thing back in our day.
We walked up stairs, because we didn't have a lift in every store and office building. We walked to the grocer's and didn't climb into a 300-horsepower machine every time we had to go two streets.
But she was right. We didn't have the green thing in our day. Back then, we washed the baby's nappies because we didn't have the throw-away kind. We dried clothes on a line, not in an energy-gobbling machine burning up 220 volts -- wind and solar power really did dry the clothes. Kids got hand-me-down clothes from their brothers or sisters, not always brand-new clothing.
But we didn't have the green thing back in our day.
Back then, we had one TV, or radio, in the house -- not a TV in every room. And the TV had a small screen the size of a handkerchief (remember them?), not a screen the size of Devon.
In the kitchen, we blended and stirred by hand because we didn't have electric machines to do everything for us.
When we packaged a fragile item to send in the post, we used a wadded-up old newspaper to cushion it, not Styrofoam or plastic bubble wrap.
Back then, we didn't fire up an engine and burn petrol just to cut the lawn. We used a push mower that ran on human power. We exercised by working so we didn't need to go to a health club to run on treadmills that operate on electricity.
But she's right; we didn't have the green thing back then.We drank from a fountain when we were thirsty instead of using a cup or a plastic bottle every time we had a drink of water.
We refilled writing pens with ink instead of buying a new pen and we replaced the razor blades in a razor instead of throwing away the whole razor just because the blade got dull.
But we didn't have the green thing back then.
Back then, people took the tram or a bus and kids rode their bikes to school or walked instead of turning their moms into a 24-hour taxi service.
We had one electrical outlet in a room, not an entire bank of sockets to power a dozen appliances. And we didn't need a computerised gadget to receive a signal beamed from satellites 2,000 miles out in space in order to find the nearest pizza joint.
But isn't it sad the current generation laments how wasteful we old folks were just because we didn't have the green thing back then?

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Ecohouse Rises: Roof Goes On

The ecohouse being built by Pete and Helen Silcox on Vinegar Hill has reached the roof stage. The external walls are in place and now the roof beams are being lifted into place. But this is no ordinary construction: the walls consist of two layers of polystyrene that are supplied with hinged spacers. When the two sheets are moved in opposite directions, the spacers lock, leaving a space between the polystyrene; this space is filled with concrete. The system is called Nudura and is from Canada.

The two polystyrene sheets and spacers.
The outside walls are up.

The sheets when filled with cement.

The roof is constructed in a similar eco way. There is a 'corrugated' section, upon which sit blocks of polystyrene. Metal rods are then inserted between them, a metal mesh is placed on top and concrete is spread on top and down into the spaces between the blocks.

The roof slabs are prepared for the crane.
Some slabs in position.

The walls and floor are protected by a triple-layer membrane that allows water to drop down into a land drain. The roof should be in position in a few days, then the polystyrene blocks will be put into place and the concrete poured. When the concrete has set, the 'green' roof will be installed.

Getting ready to lift.
Membrane on a wall.

The apex of the roof where there will
be a window.

Duck Race Profit

The Duck Race, run by the Villagers' Group to raise money for the repair of the zip slide, raised £423.50. Thanks to everyone who took part and helped the Group raise this money.

Saturday, 13 August 2011

Forthcoming Music Events at the Club

Here are the music acts booked for the club during September to November:
8th    Open Mic  Local musicians; new talent welcome.
10th  Dixieland Jazz with Jazz Connection.
13th  Open Mic
29th  Karaoke
5th   George Nixs
10th Open Mic
12th Black Jack Davey
26th Karaoke

Please try and support these events.

Sax in the Club

A small but enthusiastic audience watched, listened and danced to Katie Jaye tonight at the Club. Katie sang a wide variety of songs and played sax on some of them. She has a pleasant powerful voice and can handle a sax.
The range of different acts that Margaret Ball books for members is excellent, but the support from the village for these musical evenings is, frankly, poor. While it is appreciated that these are difficult economical times, the Club serves the cheapest drinks in the area and there can be little excuse to come and support any local event - both the pub and the club depend on our support and if we don't use them, we'll lose them.

Dog Mess on the Quay

The Duck Race was marred by several deposits of dog mess on the Quay! Dog owners are reminded - once again - that it is illegal for dogs to foul without the mess being picked up and disposed of in a waste bin within a speed limit area and owners can be prosecuted if they are caught.
However, it may be that the mess originated from dogs allowed to roam the village; this is also illegal. Dogs must be under close control at all times in a restricted area - this also includes our Recreation Field.
If anyone sees a dog roaming the village without an owner, they should immediately contact West Devon Borough Council and ask for the dog catcher.
Leaving dog poo in a public area is disgusting, irresponsible, unhealthy - and illegal.


Rain Holds Off for Duck Race

The biennial Duck Race, organised by the Villagers' Group and Diana Mitchell in particular, took place this afternoon under grey skies. A team of volunteers spent nearly an hour and a half trying to work out how to erect a large gazebo without any instructions, but succeeded just in time.
Margaret and Kerry Willmott and Lindsay Gay looked after the pop and sweets stall, while Sheila Gay looked after the cream teas (which were delicious!).
Ann Street's book stall.

Maggie, Kerry and Lindsay.

Ann Street ran a book stall in aid of the church, while Christine Grills, Daphne, Roger and Jean White sold more ducks and raffle tickets. Paul Willmott and Bethany Gay braved the mud and water to make sure the ducks went in the right direction after Ian Parsons had thrown them into the flowing tide at the end of the quay. There were no problems this time with opposing winds driving the ducks in the opposite direction, so the heats were soon over and it was the Grand Final.
Buying a Duck.
Buying a raffle ticket.
The ducks are released.

Three Wise Monkeys

The outright winner, Mel Hodge of Bere Alston, was across the line well before the next two (nearly a dead heat), second was Jenny Simpson and someone called Warn third; fourth place was taken by Kerry Willmott's duck. The winner received £30, second £20, third £10 and fourth a small model of a duck.
The raffle was drawn, with many villagers winning prizes.

Maggie Cartwright wins a bottle of wine.
Paul Willmott shows off his new tipper
trailer to an interested John Gallagher.

Thanks go to everyone who helped with the event. It is estimated that over 400 ducks took part. A final figure raised will be blogged later.

Friday, 12 August 2011

Summerhouse Strummers Debut

The Summerhouse Strummers, a summer-break working group of Bere Ukies, did their first and possibly only public performance aat the Social Club last night.
After Steve, the MC, warmed up the 'crowd', the Strummers were first on. They did five numbers; after the first one there were several requests, but they took no notice and played on anyway!
Also appearing last night were Rob and Lesley (featuring Rob's newly-serviced guitar, which sounded great!), a well-known duo sang 'Busted' and 'It's Hard to be Humble' and, of course, Rockin' Ron entertained the noisy but enthusiastic crowd, with support from George Nixs and Steve.

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

DON'T FORGET! It's Duck Race on Saturday.

This Saturday is the Duck Race, where the Villagers' Group aims to raise some cash towards the repair of the zip slide. Cream teas (always popular!) will be on sale, there will be a raffle and Ann Street will have a stall to raise money for the church. could win some money if your duck comes first, second or third: £30, £20 and £10 respectively! There are still ducks available for purchase, so don't delay, get yours now! If you already have some, buy some more - they're only £1 each.

Glow Worms

Weir Quay is the place to see glow worms about now, just as darkness falls and a little while after. The females sit in the foliage alongside the road down by the lime kilns and light up when darkness falls. The males, who fly across the river from Cornwall, aim for these lights, so it is important that any other lights nearby are extinguished so that they don't get distracted.
The photos below were kindly supplied by David Pearce.

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Art Group Day Out

Some members of the Art Group spent an exceedingly good day in hot sunshine at Weir Quay, painting the boats on the river. Thanks go to David and Frances for their hospitality.