Where Next? – Workshop Report

Buckfastleigh & Buckfast – Where Next” – Wednesday 17th Oct 2018 – Report

Last week Buckfastleigh Town Council held the fourth of it’s annual community consultation workshops – ‘Buckfastleigh & Buckfast – Where Next?’

As the council is coming to the end of a 4 year cycle and will be up for election next May, after a review of what had been achieved already, the workshop focused on looking forward to the next 4 years.

Participants agreed that much had been achieved in the last 4 years and this needs to be consolidated as a further cut of £9,000 comes next year to the council’s funding from Teignbridge District Council, meaning that the town will now only have what it can raise itself with no help from government.

Lots of good proposals were made including…

  • The Food bank is still getting much use and a Community Fridge was proposed to reduce food waste and provide free food for those in need, as well as cooking skill-shares to help people incorporate more fresh food in their diet. The Council have offered to see if this could be sited on Town Hall property.

  • Whiteboard notes from the workshop…

    The Council was told to keep up it’s lobbying of Devon County Council and local bus companies to improve bus services that have been hit by devastating cuts. The council will again talk to Stagecoach to attempt to get them to have the Falcon bus stop at Buckfastleigh on it’s way past the town.

  • The need for more cycle/walking routes were highlighted and the Council agreed to revisit the possibility of a section to join up with the existing route to Totnes. This will be taken on by the Council-led group, Cycle South Dartmoor, which has already developed a proposal for a route to Ashburton.

  • Residents pointed out that communications could still get better – there were still residents who were not getting to find out about events and important information despite the council’s much-increased use of newsletter, newspapers, social media and noticeboards. One suggestion was for Electronic noticeboards around town in shops, library and other public places.

  • Older people are struggling to cope in isolation as care & health services and other support continue to be cut – Shared community events such as the Christmas Lunch go a little way to address this and the council will again be organising this at Christmas (with the help of the Globe and Buckfast Abbey) – to take place at the Town Hall (volunteers welcome!)

Chair of the Council and mayor of the town, Andy Stokes said, “What has happened in Buckfastleigh since 2015 has been an almost unique experiment in local democracy and working with local voluntary groups and residents we have achieved an enormous amount compared to other small town councils. If we want this to continue and grow, we need people from the community to step up and volunteer to become councillors for the next 4 years.” He said that no matter what happened in the future, due to the new rules that had been put in place, it would be almost impossible for the Town Council to revert to the old style – residents will always get to have a say in the running of the town.

You can download and view the presentation from the workshop (which includes a breakdown of Town Council spending) here