Skip menu. Go to main content

Colyton Parish Council

Local information for the people of Colyton, Colyford and the Coly Valley

Colyton Parish Council Community Newsletter - Winter 2020 / 21

It's been a year like no other, and most of us will be happy to say goodbye to it as we look forward to a 'new normal'. With coronavirus a constant, we have endeavoured over our four issues to date to chart the rich life of the community as it has coped and carried on. Looking ahead, we want to ensure that we are covering the full range of local life, so if your group has not been featured or if there are issues you feel we are missing do please tell us. We would like in particular to be more representative of younger people's views of their parish and are planning a simple survey of what teenagers think about Colyton. If you have a young person in your household who would be willing to contribute views please email us. Our next issue is due at the end of March. On behalf of Colyton Parish Council, we wish you all a very happy Christmas and a healthy and fulfilling 2021.

CeramTec demolition in final stages


Demolition of the former CeramTec buildings has been progressing at pace and, with a break between 23 December and 4 January, should finish by the end of January. Homes England's Senior Development Manager, Sam Gammon, said that while there have been a small number of complaints associated with the work, contractors Hughes & Salvidge had been proactive in their liaison with neighbours and remained committed to minimising disruption. He apologised for any inconvenience the works might be causing and added: 'I look forward to being able to provide you with a further update on the demolition works and our next steps at the site in the first Parish Newsletter of 2021. For now, I would like to wish everyone in the community a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.'

Colyton Parish Council has instigated a liaison committee

involving both councillors and local residents to facilitate a two-way flow of information between the developer, contractors and the Parish Council. If you have any concerns or would like further information please contact the Parish Clerk in the first instance.

Auf Wiedersehen old friend

In 1965, the Co-op bakery on Sidmouth Road and the adjacent land was acquired by German china and porcelain manufacturer Rosenthal who built a production hall and introduced processing equipment for the electronic industry. Initially manufacturing resistor bodies for radio circuit boards, further halls were added between 1967 and 1987 for the production of technical ceramics including fuse bodies from 20 mm to 400 mm long, but mainly the smaller ones for domestic appliance plugs which were then shipped internationally. Igniters for the gas industry were also made in the early years, and production of substrates for the technology sector began with the introduction of a laser facility in 1989. The final product range by the time of the factory's closure in 2015 was both impressive and extensive. Below: Employees celebrate Oktoberfest in 1979. With them is the popular Managing Director Robert H. Raeithel (with moustache). The bottom photo shows production in hall 1 in 1966

Founders of Ceramtec

Staff group photograph

Prodcution hall

CeramTec was known as a generous employer which cared well for its staff, some of whom worked there for over 40 years. In its 50 years of existence in Colyton, employing up to 130 people, its contribution to the social history and development of the town has been of great significance and the Colyton Parish History Society intends to mark it in some way at a future date. It was, then, with mixed emotions that we watched demolition work for the new owners, Homes England, commence at the end of September to make way for 72 new houses and six light industrial units. We bid a fond farewell to “The German Factory”. A real friend to Colyton.

Corona virus update

Devon operates under 'high alert' Tier 2 restrictions as we head towards Christmas. The Government has reviewed the three-tier structure and decided that because of our circumstances – including case numbers, their demographic, pressure on NHS services – Devon will stay in Tier 2 until its next review at the end of the year. That means: no household mixing indoors; the rule of six applies outdoors; pubs and restaurants shut at 11pm; alcohol can only be served as part of a substantial meal; personal care, including hairdressing, is allowed. Devon County Council leader John Hart said: “I'm afraid this is the right decision because of the number of positive cases in Devon right now – especially among our older residents – and the huge pressure on our NHS services. But if we are to accept these restrictions continuing into the New Year, the Government must act swiftly with more support for local businesses.” Latest figures show 875 cases in Devon in the week to 15 December (564 cases in the previous week) and 20 deaths in the week to 4 December (24 in the previous week). Useful links: Devon coronavirus data EDDC coronavirus updates Making a Christmas bubble with family and friends

* You can find the latest EDDC updates here virus update and the Devon CC infection data virus data.

The local challenges of river pollution

The river

There are reports of migratory trout and other fish starting to repopulate the River Coly and Southleigh Stream following the major pollution incident in May 2020. The Environment Agency says it is pleased to report that SEED Environmental has now completed its remediation work including gravel restoration. Meanwhile, the EA has also provided us with background information on the condition of the wider River Axe Special Area of Conservation which shows that it is in unfavourable condition and declining. Its report shows that nutrient enrichment and sediment pollution has led to a number of ecological problems, including loss of habitat and fish species. The problem arises from intensification of dairy farming and associated maize growing for fodder. There is, however, hope for the future following a three-year EA campaign of regulatory visits between 2016 and 2019 during which 86 farm audits were carried out. As a result of the advice-led visits, farmers in the catchment (with grant support) spent a total of £4m on 33 slurry slopes, three silage clamps, ten fuel stores and 21 infrastructure projects. Initial evaluation shows that some 33km of the Axe has been enhanced as a result.

Santa drops in

Father Xmas in sleigh

Santa brought some Christmas cheer when he toured Colyton and Colyford over two busy evenings courtesy of a sleigh provided by Seaton & District Lions Club who collected for their charities.

Shine on brightly

Xmas illuminations

Colyton's Christmas Lights seem especially uplifting this winter. Despite the cancellation of the Christmas Fayre organised each year by Caterpillars, Santa arrived at the Town Hall to turn on the lights and welcome in the festive season. Originally purchased with part of a generous bequest left to the Colyton Carnival Committee by Mrs Byrd in 2015, the beautiful lights are expanded to different parts of the town each year with money raised by donations from the Parish Council, the Colyton Chamber of Feoffees and members of the public through local shop collection boxes. The greatest contributor to the lights, however, is the 100 Club with 13 cash prize draws annually. Membership is £12 per annum from organiser Bee Sammons 01297 551292.

Library serves us well

Colyton librarian

Friends of Colyton Library (FoCL) has worked with the charity Libraries Unlimited to maintain a well supported service through the pandemic. Initially online, more services became available in the second lockdown with more people joining and actively using it for ebooks, DVDs and audiobook loans with free reservations until March 2021. Home deliveries to housebound people continue. The Choose and Collect lockdown service changed in early December, with the public able to choose books from the shelves. Details including opening hours here. Book groups and play-reading groups are continuing in a revised form. Anyone can join FoCL - membership for adults is £5. Please visit the Friends website or call 01297 552514.


Parish Councillor Crispin Denny has taken a further look at how businesses are being affected by the pandemic. “I was hoping to provide some good news but, at the time of writing, we are in lockdown 2 and moving to tier 2 tomorrow,” he says. “Of those businesses open, the picture is mixed. Some continue to operate, with home working now the norm. For others, a complete month without trading has taken its toll but the time has been used wisely for renovations and offering an alternative service within the recommendations. Life, however, may not be so good for some, with all staff furloughed and opening hours cut back. 'Some days it was not worth the effort' due to social distancing rules and the lack of profitable custom. Local customer support remains strong and we can hope a vaccine will provide a much needed boost to return to more normal times.” Footballers tackle the challenge

It's been an on-off sort of year for Colyton AFC.

football pitch

In March, COVID-19 forced the FA to abandon the 2019-20 amateur season. When the new season got underway in September, the first team was riding high in the Premier East division of the Joma Devon & Exeter League when the most recent lockdown brought a new temporary halt. The second team was languishing in Division 2 East. Even during lockdown, Chairman and Secretary Roy Turner (pictured) continued the year-long imperative of cutting the grass at the Peace Memorial Playing Fields which takes him three to four hours a time. The club currently has 45 players on its books. Its first recorded games were in the Perry Street League in the 1909 – 1910 season. The club has played at various venues but settled at the current site some 15 years ago. Flooding occasionally forces it to share the pitch at the Chantry field which is used more regularly by Colyton Youth Football Club.


Meet your councillor: Crispin Denny

Crispin Denny

I am a new kid on the block when it comes to the Parish Council. As chair of the Planning Committee, I feel working closely with the local community is essential. I was brought up in Cornwall before going to university followed by work in London and Exeter. I set up CD Architects in 2006, initially operating from Honiton but now from my home in Colyton. I believe a councillor needs to be approachable and try to work in the interests of all. I think a thriving, growing community is the way forward and I am heartened by the amount of local caring shown during the ongoing pandemic. I enjoy cycling and walking with my partner Juliana, and have two grown-up children and two grandchildren.

Busy behind the scenes

The level crossing

While the Seaton to Colyton Tramway has had to cancel its popular Polar Express due to the COVID-19 restrictions, it's all systems go for the behind the scenes team that keeps the wheels turning. In early January it will head into track maintenance that will necessitate closure of the main A3052 from Coly Road to Cownhayne Lane for a short time as the 50-year-old rail is removed and replaced. Meanwhile, the awaited second planning permission has been granted for a new halt at Seaton Wetlands and it is expected that work will take place over the winter months for a planned opening early in the 2021 season. The 100,000 project will improve access to the stunning natural environment of Seaton Wetland Nature Reserve, enabling passengers to explore its trails, hides and other visitor facilities. Pathways across the wetlands cross land owned by the Burgesses of Colyford who have kindly given their permission. The work will be done in partnership with East Devon District Council and will use Heritage Lottery funding matched by the Tramway's own resources.

Neighbourhood Plan consultation closes

Despite the restrictions of COVID-19, an extended statutory Regulation 14 public consultation of the draft Neighbourhood Plan (NHP) was concluded on 14 December. All comments will now be reviewed by the NHP Steering Group and individual councillors prior to a full meeting of the Parish Council early next year to debate and agree what changes to incorporate. Thank you to all members of the parish who took part in the consultation process and to EDDC for their advice and production of hard copies.

Strong interest in Town Mill units

redundant Colyton factory

Work is progressing well on the redevelopment of the old Town Mill site, with developer Axminster Property reporting strong interest in the eight workshop and business units being created. Managing Director Ian Styles says: “We have one anchor tenant who we are hoping will take two units – the remainder will be ideal for artisans and for small businesses that may currently be operating from home.” He said that scaffolding was in place over the river frontage to allow the site team to get a roof onto the buildings as quickly as possible. The wall fronting the site had, he said, been weakened by roots growing into it and had been demolished for safety reasons. It will, however, be rebuilt in the same stone. The much loved door from the Rosemary Lane frontage has been stored and will, he said, be a feature of the new development.

Glitter and glue for Caterpillars

Nursery School activities

The run-up to Christmas was certainly very different this year, but fun and excitement still bubbled over at Colyton Caterpillars Early Education. With language development as the main focus of 2020, the nursery age children started writing their letters to Father Christmas in mid-November and began a 'Story Advent' on December 1st by opening a new story book each day throughout Advent. December was also a month of glitter, glue, baking, wrapping, singing festive tunes and, of course, a visit from Santa himself. The children's nativity play was recorded so that parents could watch it at home - the children were so excited about being on television! Caterpillars would like to thank the whole community for their support during this pandemic, both financially and through gifts of equipment.

Let there be light

St Andrews church, Colyton

A new state-of-the-art LED lighting system currently being installed at St Andrew's Church will cut costs by around 75% and deliver huge improvements in light quality. The current system is over 30 years old and has been expensive to run and maintain, and of variable colour. Says Churchwarden David Fouracre: “About five years ago we decided the installation was no longer fit for purpose. We experienced failures of several fittings, and at the same time the wider electrical installation started to cause problems. The work to replace all the lights and selectively rewire the church is the culmination of several years planning with our contractor, AJ Smith (Gloucester) Ltd, acknowledged specialists in church lighting.” The project is being funded by the Friends of St Andrew's, a totally separate charity whose remit is to support the care of the fabric of the church.

Shining a light on The Lantern

The Church charity shop

Repairs to St Andrew's Church wiring, lighting and heating, generously funded by The Friends of St Andrew's, will be completed by Spring 2021. Such charitable assistance is vital as the church has been drawing on reserves for many years, but now that resource has dried up, leaving a large weekly deficit, Fr Steven Martin reports. To help generate income towards the continuation of services provided by our parish church team for future generations, the Lantern Charity Shop opened its doors on Market Place in November 2019 and has proved popular ever since. Run by volunteers, bargains are always to be found with nothing going to waste as all unsold donations are purchased by CTR Group for recycling and reuse.

Conversion continues on church hall

Hall rebuilding

Plans are being drawn up for five bedrooms with en-suites, new kitchen and toilets. Meanwhile, owners Eddie and Jo Dayment have also purchased the grade 2 listed St Andrew's Hall in Lower Church Street, which has been partially redeveloped to create three two-bedroom homes. The units are in various stages of development and were sold by the administrator following the demise of the original refurbishment company. The building, adjacent to the church, was left partly open to the elements with little having been done in 2020. The first two properties are now moving to being watertight, with a new roof being fitted to the third unit in the New Year. Each property will have an open plan ground floor. It will be good to see this building back in use in 2021.

New plaque for Town Hall

The foundation stone

Colyton Chamber of Feoffees has replaced the foundation stone on the front of Colyton Town Hall with a new bronze plaque, which was installed by Feoffee Jonathan Sweetland (pictured). The Chamber of Feoffees commissioned the building of the town hall for the benefit of the community in 1927. Feoffee Colin Pady, who commissioned the new bronze plaque from Bridport Foundry, said: “The foundation stone had become badly eroded over the years, with the writing on the lower half having worn away so much it had become impossible to read. We felt it was important to replace it with a new plaque containing all the original details.

John signs off

Council gardener and handyman

Keeping Colyton and Colyford looking good has much to do with the input of Parish Council handyman John Rollings who retires in April after 12 years. John does everything from hedge and grass cutting to maintaining the parish's various play and street furniture and emptying a dozen waste bins in his 20 hours each week. He will soon be ordained and plans to pursue his future curacy close to home in Chard. “I have got to know so many people and have been made to feel such an integral part of the community, he says. “It's important to keep it beautiful because it is such a lovely town and we get a lot of visitors. Jobs like trimming the yew trees in the churchyard give him great satisfaction, while his biggest frustrations lie with the few who leave litter and fail to pick up dog poo. John's role is being advertised – contact the Parish Clerk for more details.

Spare a thought

Foreign aid

We have all been having a difficult time during Covid but please spare a thought for those less fortunate. Christian Aid is dedicated to working in many countries helping with coping with the pandemic. All donations are gratefully received by either Jane Dauncey, Wavertree, Market Place, Colyton EX24 6JS or Crispin Denny, 1A Burnards Field Road, Colyton EX24 6PE. Please make cheques payable to Christian Aid Colyton & District Committee. Alternatively you can donate to the cause via bank transfer to Lloyds Bank plc, Sort Code – 30-90-37; Account No 00982768.

Walking back to happiness

Book of Colyton district walks

COVID-19 restrictions limit the ways in which we can all enjoy ourselves

the beautiful Colyton countryside is still there to be enjoyed – and there are some great resources to help you. It's been around a while now but 'Exploring the Coly Valley', which was produced by the Parish Council, is still as valid as ever. It is built around six circular walks ranging in length from 4.6 to 7.5 km and includes detailed guidance, drawings and maps. The charming little book also carries a short history of the landscape and industry of the Coly Valley, a guide to local wildlife and a town trail. It's available from the Little Shop and might well be the best £3.95 you will spend this year. The Visit Colyton website is another source, with eight walks of varying difficulty compiled by Hugh Dyer-Westacott. You can download the details for printing or load them onto your mobile phone.


East Devon District Council planning portaL

Recycling and waste collections

Report a pothole


Sasha, our Parish Clerk

Parish Clerk Sasha Haines will be starting maternity leave just before Christmas - we wish her well. Her husband, Ian Haines, has been recruited to provide cover and will assume the position of Parish Clerk. He can be contacted at the Town Hall from 10.30 to 12.00 on Tuesday and Thursday mornings. He can also be contacted by email or phone as shown at the foot of this newsletter.

This newsletter has been produced by a small group made up of parish councillors; Ray Watts and Crispin Denny with volunteers Alison Stenning and Barrie Hedges.

Copyright©2020 Colyton Parish Council Our mailing address is: Market Place, Colyton, East Devon EX24 6JR Tel 01297 552460 Email: