Isn't Maidencombe the most wonderful place to live as we see signs of spring and look forward to the summer? So, here's my quarterly update from the MRA.
Around 20 brave and hardly souls enjoyed the annual Christmas morning swim off the beach. I dont think we lost anyone in the fog and mist and thanks to all swimmers and supporters, especially Paul with the wonderful food, and those who provided reviving drinks!
Our first quiz of the year was on 15 January which was great fun and a good time was had by all as usual.
The kilts were out in force at the Burns Night where we enjoyed a wonderful 3 course meal with haggis and neaps and some amazing moves on the dance floor led by Rodney & Sheila.
Our next quiz is on St. Georges Day 23 April where we will be challenged by Quiz Master Extraordinaire Brian Crisp and also have some fun with the wonderful Black Bess Morris Dancers who will put us through our paces, broom handles at the ready! Please support this event which is being held in aid of Rowcroft Hospice.
Sladnor Park continues to be a major focus as you will be aware. We have had a wonderful response on the planning portal with a 152+ objections to the development proposal. Thank you again for taking the time to write in. Rodney, Nigel G and I have had numerous meetings with councillors, the mayor, and council officers where we have put our case against the development. Much of the information can be found on the Torbay council website at www.torbay.gov.uk (go to planning & type in Sladnor Park). I have also made sure that the important things have been put up on the Saving Sladnor Park Facebook page. Two very lengthy and important documents were submitted by the developers agents on 31 January dealing with flood risks and tree removal. Many of you will remember the 169 trees and the hedgerows which were removed previously (including trees with TPOs) and there are now plans for a further 65 mature trees plus 17 additional groups of trees making some 300 in total. By their own admission this will increase the flow of surface water from the site with the additional risk of flooding and landslip. If the water table also rises (as is probable) then there is the potential for our bio-discs and cess pits to cease to function, making our homes uninhabitable! The whole of the village from Sladnor Park down to the beach is in Flood Zone 3 which speaks for itself!
We have no confirmed date as yet for the development application to be decided by the council. Essentially, there are 3 possible outcomes. Either, the developer will win, in which case we have pretty much NO recourse, or, the application is refused and then the developer will go to appeal. If this happens, then a decision will be made by an inspector who, at that point, will not accept any further submissions unless we can come up with some totally new evidence. At that point, even if the current application is refused,, the developer may still come back at a later date, just as they have this time, with further plans for the site.
I am sure that you know that Sladnor Park is designated as Countryside in the Local Plan, and there is a Nature Reserve on the site, again acknowledged in the Local Plan. It is NOT designated as land available for development as the developers know only too well and freely admit in the opening statement of their planning application.
Whilst it is not a specific MRA project, a group of us have been working hard to try to save the beach cafe. Meetings have been held with Torbay Council officials, Councillors, Torbay Coast & Countryside Trust, and the Mayor. Three potential candidates to run the cafe have had contact with the Trust (whose final decision it is) but as I write, no agreement has been reached although negotiations are on-going. As always, there is the question of finances, and whilst we have put forward ideas to try to reduce re-opening costs including putting working parties together to repair & redecorate the building, there remains a substantial financial shortfall. As soon as there is any concrete news, I will obviously let people know.
On Thursday 2 May, Torbay residents will go to the polls to vote for our new councillors. I have no doubt that you will be inundated with literature & leaflets, from prospective candidates, but that date has an extra special significance. When you go into the voting booth (or receive your postal vote) you will have an opportunity to vote for the Neighbourhood Plan. This plan is the culmination of 6 years of hard work by a dedicated & frankly exhausted band of volunteers across Torbay. Rodney Nigel G & I have worked to ensure that Maidencombe is protected and is given every opportunity to flourish. Many of you will have attended meetings where things such as the Village Envelope were discussed and agreed. The full plan is available on line at www.torquaynp.org. . PLEASE PLEASE will you vote in favour of what is YOUR plan for Torbay over the coming years. If passed, the Plan will protect green spaces such as the Community Orchard from development, whilst agreeing a 5 year housing plan for the Bay to ensure that the homes that are needed are built where they are needed. The Plan includes business enterprise and development, schools, leisure and transport as well as a host of other areas important to residents. Please put your X in the box to support YOUR Plan, as without it, we will have no protection as Newton Abbot are experiencing to their cost.
So, looking to the future. You may know that we have a Book Club in the village where a different book is chosen each month by members & then we meet over a glass of wine or a coffee to discuss its a great way to read outside of your comfort zone. Please contact Linda McCormick or myself if you would like to join us.
Saturday 16 March will see a St. Patricks Night at the Thatched Tavern, great menu at just £10.00 (tickets available from the pub). It promises to be a great night with some River-dancing and the odd rendition of Danny Boy no doubt! Saturday 27 April we are hosting a Murder Mystery at the Thatched Tavern written by our very own Lesley Young, and no I have no idea Who dun it! Come and find out.
The Maidencombe Residents Association AGM will be at the Thatched Tavern on Wednesday 8 May. All members are welcome and please consider whether you might like to join the committee, YOUR VILLAGE NEEDS YOU! Its not an onerous task but we do need to have some new folk who are prepared to take on specific roles and help make our village the best place to live and play.
Finally, it would be great to have some photographs of spring in Maidencombe up on the MRA website www.themra.co.uk.Please help us share some of your favourite photographs by emailing to Peter Young or myself.
As always, please let me have your thoughts, views & ideas. The MRA is your association, working for you.
If you are not already a member, why not join us?
Very best wishes,
Chair Maidencombe Residents' Association