What does the Parish Council do?
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What does the Parish Council do?

As you know, there will be a Parliamentary Election on 7th May. Local residents will also be able to elect a Borough Councillor and [in theory] four Parish Councillors to represent the village.
In practice, it’s rare to have a contested election for the Parish Council and at the last election four years ago, only three candidates came forward.

So, if we want Chillaton to be fully represented on the Parish Council, we need at least four people willing to be parish councillors.  What would happen if we got more than four candidates?  Having checked we weren’t dreaming, we would see if anyone wanted to stand aside to reduce the number to four. If not, then there would be a contested election.

But, why would anyone want to be a parish councillor unless they had a good idea of what the Parish Council does, or tries to do?  Here are some of the issues that the Parish Council’s been involved in over the past four years, that have affected Chillaton.
Caring for Chillaton
Without going all ‘Best Kept Village’, your Chillaton parish councillors have tried to protect and improve our amenities whenever we can.

For example, we have:
  • Regularly chased the Borough Council to sweep the lengths of road we have to use to walk on, as there are no pavements.  We have also got a higher priority for Chillaton in the clear up of fallen leaves in the autumn.
  • Argued, unsuccessfully, for a larger post box in the pub car park to help local businesses [and ebayers] send small parcels.
  • Got the Parish Council to pay for the cost of repairs to a village bench.
  • Joined the Snow Warden scheme and, with the help of other residents, distributed supplies of road salt around the village.  This has been extremely successful – it hasn’t snowed since.
  • Taken up complaints about dog fouling and roadside litter.
  • Complained about grass verges not being cut where sightlines are affected.
Planning applications

The Parish Council is not the local planning authority, but it is listened to when planning applications are considered.  Your Chillaton parish councillors have tried to protect the village from inappropriate development, but also supported proposals that would help maintain our community.  They have:
  • Objected to proposals that would have over-developed land near April Cottage, but still left a derelict building on the site.
  • Supported proposals to relocate the Chillaton Garage, whilst seeking safeguards for nearby properties.
  • Sought controls over any additional HGV traffic that might be generated by an expansion of the Hayedown Industrial estate [unsuccessfully].
Highways and traffic
Your Chillaton parish councillors continue to seek improvements to road safety in Chillaton, wherever they can. But we have to accept that the downside of a good road network for the village is always going to be the traffic that uses it.
They have:
  • Got speed checks carried out and, as a result, Chillaton is regularly visited by mobile speed camera patrols and we have speed camera warning signs at two entrances to the village.
  • Got agreement that making the boundaries of the village clearer to motorists and carrying out other improvements within those boundaries would be a good thing.  Getting that approach implemented is a long drawn out process, but it is still being worked on.
  • Got funding from the Parish Council for one vehicle activated speed warning sign and a grant from the Borough Council for another one.  The posts for the signs have now been erected; surely the signs will follow soon?
  • Unsuccessfully sought a safety barrier at Windwhistle corner on the road to Tavistock.
  • Tried to get the feed mill at Lifton to do like Ambrosia and not send its lorries through Chillaton.
  • Developed a successful informal partnership with Lifton Parish Council over traffic issues that affect both villages.
The bigger picture
Chillaton is affected by what happens in the environment around it and by various Borough-wide planning policies.  The Parish Council’s influence on those issues is very small, but by working constructively with the Borough Council, your Chillaton parish councillors believe that there are changes taking place that reflect the sort of concerns that local residents would have, as follows:
Renewable energy developments

That’s wind turbines and solar panel farms.  The Parish Council supports the local production of renewable energy, especially for local consumption and it is asking the Borough Council to make it a requirement in 'Our Plan' [the new draft local plan for the whole Borough] that all new development is as ‘green’ as possible.

However, it does not support large wind turbines or solar farms where they would harm the amenities of local residents and adversely affect the landscape or the environment.  It has held special meetings for residents to consider proposals for three large wind turbines in the parish and then made representations to the Borough Council on their behalf.  So far, none have received approval.

The Parish Council is also arguing that there should be a Landscape Sensitivity Assessment carried out, so that there is an objective understanding of the impact of turbines and solar panels in the area.  They also propose that there should be a minimum distance between residential properties and wind turbines.  If agreed, there would be greater certainty for applicants and greater security for residents.

Housing Development

There will be some new housing development in rural areas, as the demand for new homes cannot be met by expanding Tavistock and Okehampton alone.  Your Chillaton parish councillors have successfully argued that most of the sites in Chillaton recently identified as having some potential for development, are not in fact suitable.  Chillaton is not currently identified as having to contribute to any minimum target for new homes over the next 15 years.

On the other hand, your Chillaton parish councillors [and others] have been working with planning officers to look at the potential for very small-scale development in rural locations that is restricted to meeting local need.  That approach has been reflected in ‘Our Plan’.


Your Chillaton parish councillors have supported the creation of a neighbourhood development plan for the parish that will give local people more control over where new development should go, what it’s for and what it should look like.  MACKPlan, the Milton Abbot, Chillaton and Kelly neighbourhood development plan is being produced by a team led by a Chillaton parish councillor.
How the Parish Council works
Your Chillaton parish councillors have supported a range of improvements to the way in which the work of the Parish Council is carried out, making it more open and transparent, as well as more accountable.
One other thing
There’s no salary, no attendance allowance and no car mileage payment. You'll have to supply your own sense of humour. The most common remarks made about the Parish Council are that it doesn’t do anything and it’s always interfering.

So why do it?  You’ll either know why or you won’t.  If you do, why not give it a go?  First step; call Howard Asbridge, who is Acting Parish Clerk [unpaid] until we fill the current vacancy, on 860378 for nomination papers and more information..

And another thing
This isn’t an advertisement for your present Chillaton parish councillors, Howard Asbridge, Ray Brewer and Amanda Westcott.  If four other residents came forward to take our places, we should be delighted, as change in local government is always a good thing [and we can go to the beach].
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