In 2018 the Government introduced the broadband Universal Service Obligation (USO) and it is now in operation, offering a grant of up to £3,400 per household to pay for connection to a superfast broadband service. Anyone without a broadband speed of 10mbs or a monthly bill in excess of £45 is eligible to apply. The Government says that this is designed to help residents in the areas that cannot access existing superfast broadband systems such as Airband. West Blackdown in Brentor is one such area and there are others within the parish.
However, lots of people in Brentor who have already registered their interest in the USO are being quoted £30,000 – £40,000 per property for connection! Clearly the £3,400 grant per household offered under the USO scheme is not going to encourage them to take up this offer! Several years ago we were told by Openreach that laying an underground fibre from Mary Tavy would cost about £50,000 (£20 per metre), but the total cost now being quoted to the affected properties in West Blackdown alone could exceed £500,000!!!!! Those affected are already beginning to complain to our local MP, Ofcom etc. The Parish Council is also supporting them in this issue. It is even more galling when we hear that residents in hamlets further from the Mary Tavy digital exchange than Brentor, such as Horndon, are being given free connection to superfast broadband with no extra cost on their bills!!!! This will save Openreach and BT money by removing the need to maintain the existing copper cable network.
Watch this space!!!!!!
It will still help if you can register interest in the USO, since the more of us that complain about the cost, the more likely it is that those in charge will see sense. Please call 0800 783 0223 – the staff you will speak to are very helpful and sympathetic and will just require your name, postcode and address, email address and telephone number. It is free to do and there is no obligation to take up the grant or take part in the scheme, even if you go as far as asking for a firm quotation of the cost.
Devon Communities together have provided the following information about the USO:
Broadband Universal Service Obligation (USO) update
We are writing to inform you of the latest position on the broadband Universal Service Obligation (USO) which opened for applications on Friday 20 March.
As you may know, from that date, consumers and businesses who do not have access to ‘decent broadband’ (10 Megabits per second download speeds, 1 Mbit upload) will be able to request a USO connection up to a reasonable cost threshold of £3,400 per premise (this cost threshold can be combined across multiple premises).
The USO is just one part of an extensive programme of work to improve broadband connectivity in rural areas. The USO is intended as a safety net to ensure no-one is left behind on unreliable and slow speeds.
Ofcom is responsible for the implementation of the USO and has designated BT as the universal service provider.
Ofcom and BT will be launching a page on their websites which will go live on 20 March (see below). Ofcom’s website will contain key information along with a factsheet and details of who to contact for more information/queries.
Click here to see Ofcom’s factsheet
Who is eligible? There are two key conditions, consumers must:
- Have no access to commercial ‘decent broadband’;
- Not be within 1 year of UK Government or Devolved Administration supported rollout (with a defined date for delivery).
If consumers have access to a decent service that is priced more than £46.10/month, they will also have the right to request a universal service connection.
Consumers will be able to check if they are eligible by contacting BT (or KCOM). BT will be mailing out to eligible customers.
Arrangements for monitoring and reporting progress of the USO will be through Ofcom’s Connected Nations reports.
If anyone in Brentor has further information please contact the website Editor, Colin Dawes, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information about how this issue has evolved in Brentor click here
You can check your broadband speed by clicking here. (Just click the button marked ‘Start Speed Test’ below the two dials).
BOOTS pharmacies offering safe spaces for victims of domestic abuse
From today, Boots chemists are offering safe spaces within their pharmacies for victims of domestic abuse. Anyone needing help can ask staff at the counter to use the consultation room, where they will be able to contact local services for help and advice.
It’s been launched by charity, Hestia, following an increase in calls to domestic violence helplines, since lockdown. Devon’s regional domestic violence and abuse support charity, Splitz, saw a 62 per cent rise in the number of reports to them during April.
If you need help, please call Victim Support on 0300 303 0554. Lines are open 12pm-6pm Monday to Friday. If you need support outside of these times, call Supportline for free on 08 08 16 89 111. You can now also access Victim Support’s free live chat for 24/7 support.
As I am sure you are aware the people of Devon have come forward to help those most effected by the current COVID19 crisis. Volunteers are already providing much needed support to the most vulnerable in our communities however, as COVID-19 puts more pressure on our health and social care services we are looking for High Impact Volunteers who can help support vulnerable people in their homes.
We are looking for people with recent experience as a health or social care worker, both qualified and unqualified. We will ensure you are trained, supported and equipped to help a vulnerable person, or someone who may have dementia, a disability or a mental health problem with a range of tasks vital to their wellbeing, including helping people in their own homes.
You may be asked to provide a routine check on their health or welfare, you might be asked to help someone to eat or drink, to do essential laundry or cleaning, or to help prepare someone’s home in advance of their discharge from hospital. High Impact Volunteers will require DBS checks. If you are interested or would like further information, please contact West Devon CVS at email@example.com.
Thank you, your time and efforts are very much appreciated.
Best regards, Devon County Council
A considerable part of Brentor still has no access to a decent broadband service, despite the provision of the Airband system. This has made home working difficult for some and has limited access to some digital communication systems. Our patchy mobile phone signal has added to this problem. The Government’s Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee has announced it will be looking at the impact of the ‘digital divide’ in accessing online support during the Covid-19 crisis.
MPs will hear evidence about the scale of digital exclusion at a time of a rapid shift online to access support during the Covid-19 outbreak. The challenges facing individuals and communities without access to online technology will be assessed as part of a wider inquiry examining sectors within the remit of the DCMS.
The enquiry will focus on the needs of vulnerable people such as those advised to shield, the government’s role in promoting digital inclusion and what impact digital exclusion could have in the longer term.
The inquiry into the Impact of Covid-19 on DCMS Sectors is now accepting evidence until Friday 19th June. Click here to go to the government website where you can give evidence.
The Government’s guidelines on staying safe during the pandemic have been updated.
Click here to read the latest guidelines
THOUGHTS FROM A VILLAGER …….. At Station View the neighbours are busy in their gardens. There has been a cheeky break into a chicken coup with feathers ruffled but no harm done. Vegetable gardens rotavated, turned and twisted, with rocks removed – enough to build another Brentor church. The Brentor camaraderie is in full flair, with donated jams, plants and a friendly ‘good morning’. Everyone is doing their bit for social distancing with a smile and a wave as they go. For the NHS we say ‘thank you’! For working hard to save the lives of the British public, we commend you. It may seem safe in our village haven, but there are many less fortunate in built up areas with no green spaces. For them the social distancing is all the more hard. We thank you for your sacrifice. Stay safe, save lives, stay in doors, save the NHS. Brentor for all!
If you have any reflections on Brentor’s reaction to the coronavirus pandemic, or photographs you would like to share, please send them to the editor at firstname.lastname@example.org
South Hams and West Devon Councils are now offering a hotline number for residents needing help and support during the Coronavirus outbreak – but please only use it if you don’t have access to a computer or smartphone.
The number, which will be open from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m., Monday to Friday, will be answered by the Community Co-ordination Team at the Council. Outside of these hours an answerphone service will be available.
The team can help people with a wide rangeBrentor Village – A Dartmoor Community of queries, such as where to get additional help and support, as well as putting residents in touch with their nearest community support group.
The hotline is intended for people who can’t access the information and support available through the council’s websites or social media.
Cllr Judy Pearce, Leader of South Hams District Council, said: “We’d urge you to keep this number free for those residents who don’t have a computer or a smartphone, and find it more difficult to access the help we can provide. I’m pleased that we’re able to offer our most vulnerable residents this extra service during this difficult time.”
Cllr Neil Jory, Leader of West Devon Borough Council agreed, saying: “It’s really important that we support our residents who are vulnerable and need help. Unfortunately these residents are often the most isolated members of our community without the benefits of technology. We want everyone to know that they aren’t alone and that if they have any questions they can pick up the phone and speak to us. If we can’t help there and then, we’ll know someone who can.”
The Community Support number in West Devon is 01822 813683. An answerphone service is available outside of working hours.
The public consultation on the emerging Dartmoor National Park has been extended until May 31 2020. The National Park Authority has taken the decision to extend the consultation due to the coronavirus pandemic, wanting to be flexible under the current circumstances. The extension will provide an extra opportunity for those who have not yet responded to do so.
The DNPA says that the Management Plan is a bold and ambitious partnership plan to ensure Dartmoor continues to be protected and enhanced in the future. It describes for everyone what the main issues, priorities, opportunities and challenges are whilst encouraging everyone to work together to conserve and enhance the special qualities of Dartmoor National Park, for the benefit of all. To get involved and share your views on the Management Plan please use the online survey.
Please click on the links below for the latest advice and information.
Advice on how to dispose of waste if you have coronavirus Do not put used tissues in recycling containers – only in black bags!
Brentor Community Trust, which publishes Brentor News, must of course suspend the delivery of printed copies of its news sheet during the coronavirus outbreak. However you can access the latest (June) copy and future copies of Brentor News online on this website. You can also receive it by email if you are on the Brentor ‘E-Robin’ mailing list (see below)
The Brentor ‘E-Robin’ mailing list is a free service run by Brentor Community Trust. About 90 households are already on this list and receive the latest information about events in the village. During the coronavirus outbreak this system also provides a way to disseminate useful information quickly throughout the parish.
If you would like to be added to the free ‘E-Robin’ mailing list please email a request to email@example.com .
Many retailers are offering delivery services to those who are unable to leave their homes during the Coronavirus epidemic. Many supermarkets cannot currently provide delivery slots but there are local suppliers who can deliver at shorter notice.
Sadly the Mary Tavy Post Office is now closed for personal shoppers. However, it is still running a delivery service for groceries/papers etc. If you want to place an order, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call at 810422. Due to the amount of calls they have been receiving please only call between 9.00am -12:00pm, or email at any time.
The most comprehensive list of local delivery services is the ‘Tavistock Locals Help’ website with a constantly updated list – click here to view it.
There is also a list of local delivery services for food and other items on this website – click here to see the list.
This support group has met to bring together volunteers from the village and provide assistance to those members of the community who need help during the coronavirus outbreak.
The Brentor Community Support group is made up of volunteers from the charitable sectors in the village. They have produced advice cards for every household in the parish offering help and support, from IT help to dog walking to chatting. Shopping and collecting prescriptions, if required (given that Mary Tavy Post Office will deliver a wide range of goods), will only be handled by DBS (basic criminal record checked) trained volunteers. If anyone would like to volunteer, email email@example.com.
Lots of charities are suffering from a lack of income and donations during the coronavirus epidemic. Charity shops are closed but people still need help.
You can help by making a donation to a charity. For example, you could transfer some money to a local charity such as the Tavistock Food Bank. Their bank details are: sort code 60-21-49, a/c number 59650486.
Another local charity that must be suffering a loss of income is St Luke’s Hospice – click here to donate
Stagecoach have revised their timetables in response to the coronavirus epidemic. Click here to find out more and see the timetables
Following the latest Government information on the Coronavirus epidemic, the Village Hall and Playing Committee have decided to close the Village Hall until further notice. They are very sorry to have to do this but feel that it is clearly in the interest of the health of the village community to take this action.
Thanks to a grant from the Communities Lottery, the Village Hall and Playing Field Committee has been able to install a composting toilet on the playing field. The toilet is suitable for use by disabled persons.
However, due to the coronavirus outbreak, the toilet not be opened but will be available for use as soon as it can be safely used.
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
This year’s Summer Fayre and a new music event, Summer Sounds, planned for Saturday 27th June have been postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak. It is hoped that they can be rescheduled for later in the year.
The Brentorians drama group has decided, taking into account the temporary closure of the Village Hall and the developing situation concerning the Coronavirus epidemic, that it is necessary to postpone the Brentorians production due to be performed at the end of March. They now expect to mount their production on 19, 20 and 21 November and hope to restart their rehearsals in September.
Due to the coronavirus outbreak the Archbishops of Canterbury and York have advised the Church that public worship in the Parish must be suspended.
However, both churches will remain open for private prayer, meditation, or just stillness and silence. The pastoral ministry of the Church will continue, albeit in different ways, which continue to speak words of hope to those who are going through difficult times.
Almost all the back issues of Brentor News are now available to view on this website. Take a nostalgic look at how life was from November 1987 to the present day! It’s been a mammoth task to scan all the copies and post them online, but it’s now complete! 481 copies are online but you will see that four are missing from the Brentor Living Archive’s collection. Perhaps you might have copies of the elusive ones somewhere at the back of a cupboard – if you do please contact Colin Dawes on 811079!
Click here to go to the Brentor News page.
The February storms have brought the issue of drainage into sharp focus. Drain and ditch clearance has always been important in Brentor, but the effect of climate change, bringing heavier and more frequent rain and storms, is now making this even more vital.
At a recent Town and Parish Conference a great deal of interest was shown in who is responsible for maintaining and clearing drainage systems on and around Devon’s highways. Significant public funds have been invested by Devon County Council in a programme of ditch clearance to drain the water from the highway. However, in the majority of cases, the responsibility for ditch maintenance rests with the adjacent landowner, even if the ditches take water from the highway. Therefore local authority funding is being used to undertake works which are, in part, the responsibility of the landowners! This is reducing the funds available to undertake works which really are the authority’s responsibility.
Also landowners and occupiers are required by law to trim any hedge next to the public highway where the growth is preventing the passage, or affecting the safety, of the highway user.It’s worth taking a look at the following documents if you own property by a road:
• A factsheet titled Roads and farmers produced by Devon County Council.
• Information regarding overgrown vegetation is available on the Devon County Council website here by clicking here.
Brentor Commons Association submitted an application to the National Lottery Heritage Fund in December 2019 for a grant to enable them to continue and expand their work on the Brentor commons and to carry out surveys to produce an up-to-date picture of their flora and fauna. It will enable a five-year conservation management plan to be produced, train and equip volunteers, hold events such as bat detecting, moth and small mammal trapping, pond dipping, and bird watching. They will also run walks and hold talks on the commons in the village hall.
The bid for £44,500 was successful! Well done to everyone involved! Of course the Association members are very excited about the prospects that the grant will open up, but now the real work begins. The National Lottery Heritage Fund supports environmental projects and ones which try to involve as many people as possible in the conservation, enhancement and understanding of habitats, so this application was exactly what they were looking for.
The award fits well with the objectives in The Commons Association Constitution:-
(i) To promote for the benefit of the public the conservation, and improvement of the physical and natural environment of Bowden and Liddaton Down.
(ii) To advance the education of the public in the conservation, protection and improvement of the physical and natural environment of the Brentor Commons.
The Executive Committee will be meeting soon to discuss plans and how they will implement them over the next 3 years. They will welcome ideas, suggestions and involvement from everyone in the coming months and years as this grant opens up many possibilities that they have aspired to in the past but have not always had the resources to follow up.
Brentor’s Village Hall and Playing Field Committee has been looking for ideas on how to move forward with the Village Hall. They are a registered charity, whose duty is to run the Village Hall and Playing Field for the benefit of our community.
Although the Hall was improved with a new kitchen, toilets and store in 2010, the old part of the building, dating from 1912, has significant problems with its fabric. About 20 villagers (including most of the Parish Council) went to the meeting about future plans for the Hall and heard from Sheryl Burroughs, the Chair of the Committee, that a structural survey of the hall has revealed that the Hall’s outer cladding will need complete replacement. This could apparently cost up to £30,000, and the Committee asked for suggestions on how the money could be raised. Click here to read the full Village Hall Structural survey.
However, members of the audience questioned the sense of spending so much money, only to end up with a building with the same problems as at present. As well as the issues with the cladding, they pointed out that there are problems with the floor structure, which will probably soon need replacing at considerable cost. Also the completely uninsulated nature of the building leads to condensation and mould growth on the inside walls. Due to the timber-frame construction of the building it is not possible to insulate the walls and roof within the structure, and the roof would not be strong enought to be insulated internally. A representative of Brentor Parish Council said that the Parish Council had discussed the issues of the Hall and would not support any proposals just to maintain the Hall as it is. It was said that Government regulations relating to the declared Climate Emergency would necessitate improving the environmental sustainability of the Hall if it is to remain open in the future. It was also pointed out that most grant-giving bodies these days rightly insist on building work improving the sustainability of the building being funded, so the likelihood of funds being available to maintain the status quo were therefore reduced.
Many attendees at the meeting expressed a great love for the Hall in its present form, but the meeting overwhelmingly came to the conclusion that it would be far wiser to attempt to rebuild the Hall, enabling it to be properly insulated and to improve the quality of its provision for our village. When the Hall was refurbished in 2010 with a new kitchen, toilets, store and disabled persons’ facilities, the grant applications were made on the understanding that this was phase 1 of the project, with the replacement of the main hall as a phase 2 for the future. The new build was constructed so that this could happen, and therefore only the hall would need to be replaced completely. It was suggested that, with careful design from a sympathetic architect, the new Hall would be able to preserve its current welcoming atmosphere and character.
There was also concern about closing the Hall for up to a year during the rebuilding period. However, when the Hall was closed in 2009/10 for the phase 1 rebuild, events such as the Mistletoe Fair were successfully held elsewhere in the village and the Brentorians created a film rather than a play. When the improved Hall reopened in 2010 there was a marked surge in bookings due to its much improved facilities. Now that the Hall owns a marquee this could be used on the playing field for larger events during the closure period.
A number of attendees at the meeting volunteered to help with fundraising for a hall rebuild, and at the end of the evening the Village Hall and Playing Field Committee agreed to discuss this matter at their next meeting and to progress this issue further in the near future – watch this space!
Brentor Parish Council is inviting quotes for undertaking grounds maintenance at Brentor Cemetery for the period from 1 June 2020 until 31 December 2022.
The cemetery is located west of the village centre at Ordnance Survey grid reference SX478813. The Parish Council is keen to maintain a maintenance regime which promotes the conservation and biodiversity of species present and offers opportunities for wildlife enhancement. The cemetery is always accessible for inspection.
Should you have any queries regarding this invitation to quote, please contact the Brentor Parish Clerk: Mrs Caroline Oxenham, Tel: 01822 481415 or 07846 573678 (Monday to Friday) email: email@example.com
There has been very little obvious progress since July 2019. There is still no sign of a planning application, but it is understood that the scheme’s plans have been amended by the architects to reflect the views given at the open days.
Brentor Parish Council released the following statement on 18th July 2019:
Figures have now been collated from the Housing Needs Survey conducted in July 2018 and the 2 public presentation days.
The presentations were very well attended and figures show that the development is oversubscribed by local people who will be eligible to live there.
The latest data indicates a need for 11 affordable homes and 6 open market homes, which meet the criteria for an affordable development as required by WDBC and DNPA. The planned development remains fixed at 12 properties.
Further progress has been slightly delayed due to the recent elections, but it is understood that the plans will be submitted to DNPA shortly with a planning decision expected in September. Construction should then commence late Autumn or early next year.
The Parish Council is trying to organise a meeting with the County Council Highways department about local concerns regarding the speeding of traffic through our village.
The current speed limit throughout the village is 60mph, which is clearly too fast for many of our roads. If you have witnessed traffic obviously travelling too fast through Brentor please contact Caroline Oxenham, Parish Clerk, by emailing her at firstname.lastname@example.org .
There are many people in Brentor who remember happy times in the Brentor Inn when it was open – a real meeting place for the community. Do you have any photographs that could be made into a gallery about the pub on this website? Here’s a good one as a starter…….
Did you know that the Brentor Inn used to be called The Herrings Arms – no doubt because for many years the Herring family owned Langstone and local land, including some alongside Burn Lane.
What a shame that Brentor no longer has a pub that is open. Back in May 2005 Brentor News carried the following article:-
‘ Brentor Inn Update
The new owners of the Brentor Inn – Cynthia and Dudley Smith, daughter Emma Harcourt- Smith and partner Andy Stone – are hoping to open by Christmas. Since buying The Brentor Inn last June, they have needed several re-thinks on structure, design and layout but now feel they have an achievable scheme and “will be applying for planning permission for the changes within the next two weeks”.
Changes will include a new kitchen, toilets and a cellar. The intention is to open initially as a pub with a range of beers and simple but goodbar food. The function room will open later – hopefully with restaurant facilities.
Sharp-eyed passers-by will have noticed the recent appearance in the car park of a JCB, which has been purchased for the construction. The family has engineering experience in varying forms – which should help.
We are happy to report that they all categorically deny any rumours about applying for change of use! ‘
In response to this website’s request for memories of the Brentor Inn during its heyday, (scroll down the page to see this), Francesca Bell has sent this photo.
She writes: “Just having a lovely read of your Brentor Village page and thought you may like this photo. It’s at the then Brentor Inn the day of my younger brother’s christening about 1968. My dad in the background, Eric Doidge, farmer at Cross Trees Farm South Brentor, my Mum Celia (a Brentorian, I’ve memorabilia from then – original programmes and photographs), then there is my sister Beverley, my brother Ashley, myself Francesca and my grandmother Ethel May Scott (formerly of the Fox and Hounds).
Many a cherryade had on that day by the look of it!
Regards Francesca Bell (nee Doidge) “
If you also have any memories of the Brentor Inn we would be pleased to hear from you.
This section of the website sets out to provide a source of information about issues which are of ongoing concern to our village. Often these issues first appear on this home page, but require additional space to do them justice.
This website now has a recipes page, but there’s only a few recipes on it!
As we all know, lot of Brentor’s social life revolves around cooking and eating with family and friends. The recipes on the new page have been provided by Brentor residents past and present. No doubt some have been adapted and improved as the years pass – and they are reminders of residents past and present and of many good times around the table, as well as being household favourites.
WE NEED LOTS MORE RECIPES! So please email your contributions – a recipe with a small introductory text – to the editor, Colin Dawes, at email@example.com .