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Colyton Parish Council

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


WINTER 2021-22

What a year! As a newsletter, we have tracked the highs and lows of the pandemic. We have seen the CeramTec site lie dormant while the planners complete their deliberations. We have looked on in awe as the Town Mill development has risen from the ashes of dereliction. Businesses have fought back against pandemic pressures. The Coly has steadily revitalised itself from devastating pollution. The social life of the parish has substantially re-emerged. It's been another tough old year but, through it all, life in Colyton and Colyford remains pretty good! Happy Christmas everyone!


map showing  layout of new planned homes for former Ceram Tek site

WainHomes South West has briefed the Parish Council on a proposed revised layout for the former CeramTec industrial site. Land & Planning Director Mark Harding explained proposed changes which see open space moved from higher parts of the site to a location on the Sidmouth Road frontage. He said it would be easier for the community to access and would make the area accessible for disabled users and mothers with prams. Other details remain much as per the original outline permission - a total of 72 homes of which 14 will be affordable, plus six commercial units. The homes will include some split-level properties on sloping parts of the site. Materials will reflect the local vernacular with coloured render, brick and stone. The detailed planning application has yet to be submitted to EDDC.

Mr Harding's presentation is summarised here.


Councillors raised concerns about the failure in the detailed plans to provide parking for the Primary School. Asked whether the local sewer system could cope, Mr Harding said that the proposals had met tests set by South West Water and the Environment Agency. He did not regard the width of new roads within the site as creating a problem for emergency access when cars are parked on both sides. Asked whether the affordable homes should include some three-bed properties, he said that the one and two-bed affordables proposed had met the requirements of Homes England. He confirmed that air source heat pumps were being considered along with underfloor heating.


map showing potential locations for new homes in East Devon

East Devon District Council has published a new draft Local Plan with potential locations for hundreds of new homes and an aspiration to become carbon neutral by 2040. It stresses that it represents an early 'work in progress' and is subject to change. The draft plan is needed to satisfy the Government's requirement for over 900 homes a year to be built across the district and focuses the majority to the east, including a new small town near Exeter. Axminster's allocation comes down to around 335 homes, while some 264 are envisaged at Seaton and about 228 at Honiton. Under the plan, all new homes will be required to be zero carbon with better insulation, triple glazing, solar panels and air source heat pumps. With public consultation planned in 2022, no comments are needed at this preliminary stage. Council Leader, Colyton's Councillor Paul Arnott, points out that the draft plan has been produced at a very early stage in the process and that many suggestions for sites won't actually happen.



view of good prospect site for new homes in Colyton

With the former CeramTec site set to satisfy much of the immediate local need for new homes, the draft plan identifies just one site in Colyton that qualifies as a 'good' prospect and four more that it says are 'poor' with 'large constraints and sensitivities'. The 'good' prospect (pictured above) lies next to the Reece Strawbridge Centre, close to the town centre and with development on three sides. The fact that it is in the floodplain restricts the suggested potential yield to five homes, but the report says that there may be scope for more. The 'poor' prospects identified are: to the north of the Old Sidmouth Road (two sites): land north of Shells Lane; and off Hillhead / Cuthouse Meadow. The report acknowledges that high quality development could overcome the issues posed by these sites and that, despite high infrastructure costs, they could be deliverable. See pages 9 and 10 in the site assessment below.



The Colyton Parish Neighbourhood Plan has cleared its final hurdle with the referendum vote on 2 December producing a 90.3% vote (from a 22% turnout) in favour of its adoption. It means that East Devon District Council will now use the plan to help decide local planning applications. It will also mean that the Parish will receive a greater portion of the Community Infrastructure Levy payments generated by planning applications. Caroline Collier, Chair of the Colyton Parish Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group, said she was delighted and thanked members who had worked so hard over the six-year process. She also thanked consultant Paul Weston for his expertise and guidance, and community members who had commented and in doing so helped to shape the final version. She added: "Colyton now has a Neighbourhood Plan that will guide the future shape of our wonderful community."


a chart showing recent corona virus cases in Devon

Latest available information for the seven days to 13 December showed 50 coronavirus cases in Colyton, Kilmington and Uplyme, which is equivalent to 595.1 cases per 100,000 of the population. Meanwhile, over 91% of those eligible had had first doses of vaccine, 86% the second dose and 62% the booster. Over the previous seven days, a total of 24 people had been admitted to the Royal Devon & Exeter Hospital - down 16 on the previous week. Meanwhile, statistics show that local GP patients have embraced online consultations during the pandemic. Where previously some 80% of consultations were face-to-face, the figure has now 'turned on its head', with around 90% now conducted remotely.


Colyton firefighters in an exercise staged in a house

Two years on from being saved from threatened closure, the firefighters at Colyton Fire Station are buoyant - and still grateful for the community campaign that saved them. "Even now, people who come across us on a 'shout' tell us how relieved they are that we didn't close," says Crew Manager Tracy Trelease. "It's good to be valued in the way that we are. As a result, morale is really high." Since the closure threat was lifted there have been a succession of local emergencies, including two serious barn fires, a pub thatch fire at Wilmington and people trapped in cars caught in floods. Colyton has supported the stations at Seaton and Axminster and continued a strict training regime to reinforce the skills that could save local lives. Our photo shows one such exercise staged at a house that was soon to be demolished. The station currently has 12 retained firefighters and needs two more. We will follow its activities in future issues and seek advice from the fire fighters on measures that can help to keep us all safe.


Continuing to back our fire station remains vital. We cannot assume that it will not come under threat again. Please take a little time to complete a new survey attached to the Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service's Community Risk Management Plan for 2022 to 2027. Repeatedly reminding the service how much this community values its station is invaluable. The fact that Colyton is classified as a low-risk town does not recognise the strategic importance of the station in a much wider rural area and its role supporting neighbouring stations. Colyton also has a high proportion of buildings where height and confined spaces pose added risks. And the fact that it is close to the coast generates cliff fall incidents. Amidst all those risks, the sheer commitment of the retained crew means that the station has one of the highest availabilities in the service. Use the links below to view the plan and complete the survey. Please do it before the 14 January 2022 closing date.




photo showing people enjoying Colyton's Christmas Fayre

After a year's pandemic absence, Colyton's Christmas Fayre returned full bore with what seemed like the entire town either celebrating or participating in some way. Organiser, Kate Clode, said: "It was the busiest turnout yet, especially as the carnival had to be cancelled two years in a row." She went on to thank everyone involved, with special mention going to her team from Colyton Caterpillars who helped put the event together. Events took place from the Social Club and Market Place to the Town Mill, Dolphin Street and Umborne Bridge. There were craft and food stalls galore, mince pies and mulled wine, miniature rescue ponies wearing unicorn horns, late night shopping and the church, beautifully lit. The brass band played carols in Market Place and the Primary School choir sang at the Town Hall. Father Christmas turned on the Christmas lights from the balcony of the Colcombe Castle to huge cheers. It all made for a wonderful start to the Festive Season.


photo showing people enjoying Colyford's Christmas Fayre in the Memorial Hall

Colyford held its Christmas Fayre on 11 December at the Memorial Hall with proceeds going to Mill Water School, a specialist school in Bicton educating pupils, aged 3 to 19, with severe and profound learning difficulties. Organiser Michelle Gould, whose seven-year old daughter attends the school, said: "The support from the community has been amazing. The Christmas Fayre was a massive success. We have been selling raffle tickets since October and there's been an entry donation plate at all our regular Sunday tabletop sales." Along with many Seaton businesses donating raffle prizes, there were craft stalls and lucky dips on the day, the Seaton Acappella Choir (pictured) took a star turn on stage and Santa managed to drop in thanks to the Seaton & District Lions Club. Over £200 was raised for Mill Water School - a cheque will be presented in the New Year.


night time photo of Colyton's St Andrew Church which live-streamed annual Carols service

What a triumph for the team at Colyton's St Andrew's Church as they successfully live-streamed the annual Carols by Candlelight Service for enjoyment at home. Installation of the internet over recent months created the opportunity, and a group led by Simon Ford took full advantage in filming and broadcasting the service of nine lessons and carols via Facebook. If you missed it, you can view it again here.



photo of Santa and a child making a donation to the Lions club fund raising event

Thank you to the Seaton & District Lions Club for braving the bitter weather and bringing Santa and his elves (men in hi vis jackets bearing donation buckets) to Colyton and Colyford once more - you made a lot of children very happy. One such was young Brendon Rhodes, pictured here by his mum Charly, eagerly making his donation in his PJs. Brrr!


photo of Lucy Dack and Ryan Smith in the Kingfisher Pub amongst Christmas decorations

Congratulations to Lucy Dack and Ryan Smith who have been appointed to the Colyton Chamber of Feoffees, replacing retired members Dr Mick Askew and Tony Hibberd. Lucy, landlady of The Kingfisher, is the first woman to be appointed as a member since the chamber's creation in 1546 when King Henry Vlll granted a Royal Charter to 20 local worthies who had petitioned him to buy back some of the estates he had seized seven years earlier. Local builder, Ryan, was raised in Colyton and, until three months ago, had been chairman of Colyton Youth Football for 12 years. Outgoing Feoffees chairman, Andrew Parr, said of Ryan and Lucy: "Both are well known members of the Colyton community and will bring a great deal of local knowledge and expertise to the Feoffees." More about the Feoffees and their work here.


photo of striking metallic green Banded Demoiselle dragonfly

We are delighted to make over the nature column in this issue to Phil Hutt who lives in Colyton and is Chief Executive of the Dartmoor Preservation Association, one of the oldest environmental and amenity bodies in the UK. One of Phil's great nature passions is dragonflies; and one of his great skills is macro photography. As he puts it: "One of the very few benefits of lockdown was being restricted to taking pictures in our garden, which brought home what a huge range of colourful creatures share our living space!" The amazing shot shown here and those in the attached file were taken over a slightly wider area around Colyton. In the full column Phil advises on where you can expect to see them.

This dragonfly pictured above with its striking metallic colours is a Banded Demoiselle, one of the earliest to be seen in spring, usually near running water. Lots of these on the Coly, the Umborne, the Otter and the Axe at Whitford.



photo showing street in Colyford

A proposal to establish a separate Parish Council for Colyford has taken a further step forward. The fact that more than 25% of members of the electoral roll residing in Colyford voted to form their own council triggered what is known as a Community Governance Review by East Devon District Council. The EDDC Cabinet has now voted unanimously in favour of the review proceeding, which gives the authority 12 months to consider the matter. The process will include asking residents and businesses in Colyford and Colyton for their comments. If the proposal is finally approved by EDDC, the Colyford Village Council will be elected at the next Parish Council Elections in May 2023.


photo of children lying on the floor with legs in a ring to show off their odd socks

It has been another busy term at Colyton Primary Academy. The children have been studying a range of subjects; from earthquakes to Scott of the Antarctic. In younger classes, the children have been looking at old fashioned toys, studying Scott and Neil Armstrong. Older children have been comparing Colyton with Naples and studying tsunamis and earthquakes. Says head of learning Aerfen Mills: "At Colyton, we ensure that the children's learning goes further by studying influential people, developing our understanding of being a good citizen and learning life skills." People the children have enjoyed learning about include Nadia Hussain, Zaha Hadid and Warburton's bread makers and Valentina Tereshkova - the first woman in space! It is vital we support our children to be good citizens; we took part in UK Parliament Week, Anti-Bullying week, a bat protection workshop and the older children did some lovely readings on Remembrance Day at the war memorial. All in all a busy term!

Pictured above: Odd Sock Day reminded everyone that it's good to stand out.


photo showing footpath near to the river

At the end of October, Devon's rights of way officer received a report that the bank of the Coly had collapsed and destroyed a short section of Colyton FP11 in the spinney opposite Bonehayne. The brush has now been cut back, and the footpath moved a few metres away from the river, but ultimately the bank needs to be reinforced to prevent further erosion. The prompt action of the Rights of Way Officer ensures that walkers will still be able to enjoy the wonderful springtime display of daffodils and bluebells in this little patch of wild woodland.


Hopes are high of reaching a successful outcome to a long running issue that has seen one of the parish's footpaths periodically blocked. The path in question (foopath 40) runs from Knowle Farm to the public road near Scruel Barton to the north west of Colyton. The route has been checked on numerous occasions in the last four years and periodically found to be physically blocked. Devon County Council signposts and waymarks on the route have disappeared. The problems were reported to the County Council's rights of way officer who has been in touch with the landholder. Recent developments give grounds for hope that a resolution may now be in sight.


photo showing a tractor in the field

The farming community in the Coly Valley is facing one of its most significant issues in a generation as the industry moves progressively away from the previous EU funding scheme under which they received payments based on the amount of land they farmed. In future, farmers will receive taxpayer funded support for taking measures to restore nature, nurture the soil, improve air and water quality, and provide habitats for wildlife under a system of environmental land management contracts. With many farmers anxiously awaiting further details from Defra over changes to their subsidy payments, the Future Farming Resilience Fund has been set up to provide information and support through the transition. Those needing information are being urged to contact the Future Farming Resilience Fund via its website or by calling 01837 659 059.


photo of Simon Armitage Poet Laureate

Poet Laureate Simon Armitage is to visit Colyton on Saturday 26 March as part of his ten-year national tour of the UK to celebrate libraries. "It is a real coup for a small town," says Jane Dauncey, Chair of the Friends of Colyton Library. "We invited him to come and are delighted and honoured to be one of eight libraries chosen for a visit in 2022." The programme will follow later. A poetry and art competition is being arranged for the event, which will include the reading of the winning poems on the theme of 'Our Future Our Planet', composed by budding poets from the local secondary age population. The event will be live streamed from Colyton Library. Email Jane with any enquiries. (Photo courtesy Peter James Millson).


photo of partially cleared Millfield site adjacent to the allotments

Colyton Parish Council has begun clearing Millfield (adjacent to the allotments) of the tangle of brambles growing there. Completion of the clearance is scheduled for the spring once hibernating creatures have woken from their slumbers. Originally approached by allotment holders to create raised beds for the less able-bodied in the community on this site, the vision of the parish council has since been extended to incorporate a spinney of hazel, willow, oak, aspen and other native trees, plus a hedge of similar trees planted in the Devon fashion to encourage dormice, nesting birds, harvest mice and other small rodents, plus a wild flower meadow and native fruit trees of apple and plum. More parking space was also requested and will be provided using hardcore and gravel. Like the parking area, the plan is not set in concrete and is open to suggestions.


picture showing a flooded river in Colyton

The end of October brought the first of the winter storms with it and it lashed down relentlessly one weekend, giving rise to fears of flooding. If you think your property is in danger of flooding, Colyton Parish Council keeps a stock of sandbags at its yard opposite the rear end of the Town Mill on Rosemary Lane, and you can access them via Cllr Andrew Jarman by phoning his wife, Gail, on 07513 366257. You will need to collect them from the yard where Andrew will meet you. In an emergency flooding situation with potential threat to life call 999. More information on who to contact in the event of flooding can be found on the Devon County Council website.

Two other useful websites when floods threaten: 1 This one shows all the flood alerts nationally; 2 You can also monitor the local river levels via a website which has specific data for the River Coly at Bonehayne. It shows the highest recorded level as 2.04m in July 2012. At time of writing, the level is a reassuring 0.04m. It similarly shows the River Axe at Whitford Bridge.


photo of councillor Keith Mills

"My wife and I have lived in Colyford for 12 years, deciding to reside here two years after retiring, enabling us to be closer to family. During my working years I spent considerable time with an international company providing mailroom systems and banking solutions. I am involved with several local groups and societies, also providing support for St Michaels Chapel of Ease for matters relating to the chapel's fabric. I have also been involved with volunteer driving on behalf of Hospiscare. I enjoy my allotment in Colyton and photography. On local issues, I believe that the 'green wedges' that surround us must be protected at all costs. Local housing needs, greener and affordable, must be supported. The increasing volumes of speeding traffic across our community needs to be focused upon, and actions taken by the enforcement agency. Being co-opted has given me an opportunity to contribute personally in the way the Parish Council functions by offering the skill sets I have acquired over the years for the benefit of our community."


photo showing driveway into Vanier's Patisserie business premises in Colyford

Tucked away at the end of Holyford Lane is Vanier's Patisserie, a wholesale patisserie and desserts business set up by Bernard and Jill Vanier 35 years ago, supplying restaurants, pub and hotels nationwide. Starting as a retail outlet in Seaton, the company moved to a purpose-built unit in Holyford in 1984 as one of the first rural businesses in East Devon. The company presently employs 12 and prides itself on good products, good local staff and good customers, without any unnecessary advertising. All products are made from scratch using locally produced ingredients, and presented in unique and patented packaging. The Covid pandemic seems to have had little effect on production and, with 60 products on offer, Vanier's continues to perform.


picture of the cover to publication titled The story of Colyford by Tamsyn Pady

There aren't many copies still around but this little publication tells the fascinating story of Colyford. Its origins go back to the early 1980s when, as pupils at the then Axminster Secondary School, Debbie Riley and Tamsyn Pady researched it as a history project, collecting information and interviewing locals. From its occupation by Iron Age man to its emergence as a thriving medieval town and "Rotten Borough" sending two representatives to Parliament, they learned much about Colyford.

In the 19th century it had six or seven farms, three inns, a clock maker, shoemaker, tinner and pot mender. Lace was made in many cottages. Five years on from her original school project, Tamsyn picked it up again as a student at Plymouth College of Art and Design, adding illustrations and further research thanks to the Devon County Library Service. The final product earned her a merit and pass. "I'm happy the publication still exists but it definitely could do with a 'reboot' 40 years on," says Tamsyn from her current home in Nevada, where she works as a graphic designer. A few copies are still available at Colyford Post Office.


picture representing the Colyton and District Garden Society of a basket with fruit vegetables and flowers

Colyton & District Garden Society starts its 30th anniversary year with a talk on Wednesday 19 January from local garden designer Jenny Short on 'Tall Tales' - trees for smaller gardens. As usual, this will be at Colyford Memorial Hall at 7.30pm. Subscriptions for 2022 remain at £10 per person and will be due at that meeting. In February, members will hear about 'Creating an Organic Vegetable Garden' from Will Livingstone of Willgrow (previously the Head Gardener at River Cottage HQ). In March, the society will hold its AGM and Bulb Show. Members new and old will be welcome for what is hoped will be a more normal year. For more information contact Sue Price, chairman, on 01297 552362.


photo showing the owner of FitAgain gym Andrew Watkinson and his business manager Alanah Bray inside their premises

A personal training gym that works with people of all ages and abilities and has a particular specialism in back care, rehabilitation and disability is the latest addition to the growing business community on the Town Mill site. FitAgain styles itself as "a gym for those who do not like going to the gym" and has clients ranging in age from six to 83. It focuses on helping them gain strength and confidence. The business was set up four years ago by Andrew Watkinson following a back injury suffered while serving in the Navy. His rehab built an affinity for others suffering physically and he went on to to do a specialist course in back care. He started in a small room in Axminster and has saved up in order to expand. Business Manager Alanah Bray (pictured with Andrew) has a daughter with cerebral palsy, and has a close affinity with managing disability. FitAgain chose the Town Mill as "an idyllic location, surrounded by countryside and set in a picturesque town."


photo showing Juliette McElligot in her workshop making jewellery

The Juliette McElligot Jewellery School is set to become the first business to occupy a studio in the former Mill House element of the new Town Mill development. Juliette's metalwork career started with an HND in Design Metals at Plymouth College of Art and Design. As she progressed she found a love of teaching, and aims now to create a 'fun and educational hub' where clients with no experience feel relaxed and confident to try their hand at silversmithing. There will be space for birthday and hen parties around silversmithing and Juliette also aims to accommodate workshops and exhibit work from other local artists and craftspeople. The studio will also be home to Juliette's other business, Stitches Sewing Services, which specialises in 'heavy-duty' projects such as awnings and motorcycle leather repairs.


photo showing Jurassic Vets staff in their new premises

Jurassic Vets has opened its fully equipped surgery at the Town Mill site in Colyton. Overlooking the River Coly and with spectacular views up the valley, the building has consulting rooms, a modern operating theatre, digital X-ray facility, ultrasound imaging suite and separate cat and dog kennels. Cat owners also have the benefit of a separate feline-only waiting-area and consultation room. Based in Sidmouth, the practice is led by Dr Peter Martin (pictured with members of his team on the opening day). Peter set up the business in 2014 with the aim of combining a friendly, professional bedside manner with the highest possible standards of clinical pet care.


photo of Colyton town toilets which are threatened with closure

An online questionnaire run by East Devon District Council has shown that the community overwhelmingly regards the public toilets in Dolphin Street, Colyton as a valuable and necessary asset, particularly as the Tramway brings over 90,000 visitors to the town annually. East Devon District Council says that, based on water usage, the WCs are among the least used in the area, and placed them in category C - relatively little use and with potential to be closed. No formal decision has been made, but with a limited budget, funding may now be in doubt to maintain the toilets. EDDC is presently debating a way forward with options that may include offering the building and site to the Parish Council.


Colyton Parish Council

Allotments ... Cemetery ... Benches ... Footpath maintenance ... Gardens ... War Memorial (grass cutting) ... Local Grants ... Neighbourhood Plan ... Picnic Site ... Community Woodland ... Peace Memorial Playing Fields & Pavilion ... Tennis Courts ... Reece Strawbridge Youth Centre... Road Green & Playground ... Colyford Play Park ... Churchyard (grass cutting)


Benefits & council tax ... Car parking ... Community safety ... Elections and electoral registration ... Environmental maintenance and dangerous structures ... Flyposting ... Food hygiene & safety ... Parks & recreation, countryside, trees ... Housing & homeless ... Licensing ... Litter, graffiti & fouling clearance, street cleaning ... Pest control ... Public toilets ... Waste collections & recycling.


Fallen trees ... Flooding / drainage ... Highways inc drains, potholes ... Libraries & archives ... Parking on road, parking enforcement ... Public transport ... Recycling centres ... Registration (births, marriages, deaths) ... Rights of ways ... Social services ... Trading standards ... Traffic management ... Wildlife guidelines.


Use the menu at the top of this page to access Agendas and Minutes for Colyton Parish Council and Meeting dates

East Devon District Council planning portaL

Recycling and waste collections

Report a pothole


photo of Parish Clerk Sasha Haines

Parish Clerk Sasha Haines can be contacted at the Town Hall from 10.30 to 12.00 on Tuesday and Thursday mornings. She 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 Crispin Denny and Alison Stenning plus volunteers Barrie Hedges, Hugh Westacott, and Kaz Rhodes. To subscribe to future issues or to submit ideas please email us at Your personal details will be confined to this use and will not be shared.