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A NEW initiative by Newton Abbot Town Council to promote grass roots arts and cultural projects has got off to a flying start according to the organiser.

Kate Green, Community Outreach Worker with Newton Abbot Museum, set up her stall in Courtenay Street on Wednesday [April 17] to share information about local events and organisations.

Dubbed ‘Creative Newton Abbot – What’s Happening?’, the pop-up gazebo attracted plenty of interest from people ranging from aspiring authors to film-makers and those simply looking for something to do other than stay at home watching television.

Kate’s arrival was announced by Town Crier Nigel Kenneison whose sonorous tones soon had passers by stopping to find out more.

‘Creative Newton Abbot – What’s Happening?’ really started out as an idea that the museum should have a presence in the town centre on market days which is why I’ve brought some items from the collection with me,’ she said.

‘I talk to so many people who say they didn’t realise what events were taking place in the town or that they’re lost for something to do in the evenings or at the weekend, so this is a brand new initiative to fill that gap.

‘We’ll be in Courtenay Street every Wednesday between 11am – 1pm with information about workshops, exhibitions and any other creative or cultural opportunities people tell us about.

‘For example, today we’ve got loads of information about Teign U3A who have 60 different interest groups, Irish ceilidh dancing at The Jolly Farmer, the next performance at the Alexander Theatre, a new local film about cycling, plus leaflets about the museum as amazingly some people still don’t realise we have one in town.

‘Hopefully on future stalls we’ll be joined by members of the arts community who can tell the public all about their projects and in time this will be known as the go-to place for knowing what’s on, all the more important now we have no tourist information office.

‘Already on the first day I’ve talked with lots of people which is great start and I look forward to meeting many more.’

Anyone wanting to join Kate or have information on display at the weekly stall can leave leaflets at the museum or call 01626 201121.

Alternatively email [email protected].

Newton Abbot Museum and its outreach programme are funded by Newton Abbot Town Council, both located at Newton’s Place, Wolborough Street.

The below photo shows Kate and Town Crier Nigel at the stall in Courtenay Street.

For more information please email [email protected]..

Oak trees planted to commemorate 50 years of Newton Abbot Town Council

TWO native oak trees have been planted to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Newton Abbot Town Council.

On Saturday April 14, Mayor Cllr David Corney-Walker was joined by colleagues past and present for the ceremony in Courtenay Park.

Following a proclamation by Town Crier Nigel Kenneison, Cllr Corney-Walker and Deputy Mayor Cllr Alex Hall scattered mulch over the Quercus Robur specimens before heading to Newton’s Place for a civic reception.

The audience was addressed by former Town Clerk, Rod Tuck, who highlighted some of the many extra responsibilities the Council has taken on in its 50-year history.

The current Clerk, Phil Rowe, added to the list including items such as increased street cleaning and the development of Newton’s Place with its museum and community rooms.

Both men’s observations chimed with those in a national news report published in The Guardian. The article quoted Councillor Keith Stevens, chair of the National Association of Local Councils, who said: “England’s parish and town councils are the unsung heroes of local government, stepping up to play a more active role in improving their communities, and increasingly taking on more responsibilities from financially challenged larger local authorities.

‘While their small share of council tax is just 1.9 per cent of overall council tax, they are investing five times more in local communities than they were two and half decades ago, helping tackle some of the biggest challenges our communities face – from health to housing, the climate and cost of living crisis, and supporting younger and older people.”

Cllr Corney-Walker added: ‘Another significant initiative from Newton Abbot Town Council was the creation of our Town Development Manager role.

‘Retailing has changed beyond recognition in recent years and our decision to appoint Sally Henley has meant our town centre is fairing so much better than many other communities.

‘I thank her and all our officers for their tireless work on behalf of our town, and of course all councillors past and present whose time is given willingly with no financial reward in return.’

Newton Abbot Town Council came into being in April1974, at the same time as Teignbridge District Council was formed.

Both came about as as a result of the Local Government Act 1972.

The below image shows the ceremony in Courtenay Park.

Bee happy – a green New Year resolution for Newton Abbot Town Council

MEMBERS of Newton Abbot Town Council have voted unanimously to declare the authority pesticide-free.

The change means replacing harmful chemicals for weeding with an eco-friendly state-of-the-art hot foam machine.

In addition, the council will consider reduced mowing and plant removal to allow wildflowers to flourish and provide a greater nectar resource for bees and other pollinators.

The authority is also working with Green Futures Newton Abbot, Teignbridge District Council and SUEZ Recycling and Recovery UK to pilot the Pesticide-Free Bradley initiative, encouraging the use of insect-friendly alternatives in gardens and homes.

A Pesticide-Free Gardening Guide is due to be published and will contain guidance from organic gardeners and growers.

A ‘Pesticide Amnesty’ will be held later this year with a kerb-side collection service across Bradley ward for residents to dispose of unwanted weedkillers and similar products.

Mayor Cllr David Corney-Walker, an experienced beekeeper, said: ‘I am delighted our town council has voted to adopt this new and much greener.

‘Across the UK and globally we have been experiencing a concerning decline in pollinating insects over the last 50 or more years.

‘I’m told that in parts of the world the populations of some insects have plummeted by 98 per cent since the 1970’s and across the UK there have been declines of between 45 -91 per cent in butterfly populations and an average of 11 bee species lost per square kilometre.

‘Newton Abbot Town Council is now doing its bit to help reverse this worrying decline and I’d encourage all households to follow suit.’

Andrew Rothery, Green Futures Newton Abbot Co-ordinator, said: ‘Pollinators are essential for maintaining the fertility of most plant species across our ecosystem and are estimated to be needed for at least 75 per cent of global crop production.

‘This means that declines in pollinators have a direct impact on our ability to feed ourselves, as well as impacting on most other animals and birds in our local environment.

‘One of the main causes of pollinator decline across the UK and the rest of the world is the increasing use of pesticides. I welcome the town council’s decision to be part of the solution.’

The below image shows NATC Facilities Maintenance Officer Tony Little using the hot foam device to remove weeds at Town Quay.

Election of one Town Councillor for Newton Abbot Bushell Ward.

Newton Abbot Town Council

There is a vacancy for one Councillor in the Bushell ward of Newton Abbot Town Council. As we have received the requisite number of requests to fill the vacancy by election, an election will be held on Thursday 8 February 2024.

Important dates:

  • Publication of Notice of Election – Thursday 4 January
  • Delivery of nomination papers – from 10am on Friday 5 January until 4pm on Friday 12 January
  • Deadline for registration applications – 12 midnight on Tuesday 23 January
  • Deadline for applications to vote by post – 5pm on Wednesday 24 January
  • Deadline for applications to vote by proxy – 5pm on Wednesday 31 January
  • Deadline to apply for Voter Authority Certificate – 5pm on Wednesday 31 January
  • Polling Day – 7am to 10pm Thursday 8 February

Please remember that all voters must now show suitable photographic ID at the polling station. 

Information for candidates can be found HERE

For more information see https://www.teignbridge.gov.uk/council-and-democracy/elections/election-of-one-town-councillor-for-newton-abbot-bushell-ward-1/

Town Criers Competition – 9th September 2023

After a dismal summer the sun had decided to shine upon Newton Abbot for the Competition, however it had not only decided to shine but to generate temperatures not normally found in September in Devon.

The Mayor, competitors, escorts, family members and judges assembled at the Royal British Legion to renew old friendships and to provide a suitable venue for the draw of who and when each would perform their cries in the competition.

Once all the appropriate pre-competition procedures were completed we left the RBL and to prevent the appearance of excessively perspiring Town Criers at the start of the competition a coach was arranged to transport the gathered “host” to a bus stop close to the competition site instead of the usual parade through the town.

Once at St Leonards Tower, the assembled criers and consorts provided picture opportunities for residents and visitors alike prior to the welcoming cry by the host Nigel Kenneison and a welcome from the Newton Abbot Mayor David Corney-Walker.

The competition then proceeded in the usual format, of a hometown base cry from the host followed by a hometown cry by the competitors in the previously drawn order.

Upon completion of the hometown cry the criers, escorts and officials were provided with vouchers for a refreshment at either the Clock Tower Café or the 1220, a local hostelry to relax and refresh their vocal cords prior to the second cry.

The second cry was themed “Sweets” as Sunshine Sweets, a local market trader, was providing a take home pack for the competitors. As with the first cry the host commenced with a base cry – a variation upon “Bring me Sunshine” reworded as – “Bring me Sweets” – we had had enough of actual sunshine by this time anyway.

The winner of the second cry, who had presumably spent a considerable amount of time getting a list of the possible sweets and had worked them into his cry, he came with a true Bounty of Topics causing several Snickers and a Boost to the gathered crowd, which had been judged by Sally-Ann Walker and John Thomas of Sunshine Sweets. A basket of confectionary was presented by Sunshine Sweets whilst numbers were compiled by the score collators, Dulcie and Ken Purchase.

The winners were presented with their appropriate envelopes (stuffed with cash courtesy of the Lord of the Manor, Keith Stokes-Smith) and cups, shields, and perfumery which was kindly donated by Austins department store.

  • 1st Place – Andrew Fox (Ilminster)
  • 2nd Place – John Pitt (Plymouth)
  • 3rd Place – Mark Wylie (Calne)
  • Best Dressed Crier – Chris Smirthwaite (Liskeard)
  • Best Dressed Escort – Angie Bishop (Frome)
  • Best Dressed Couple – Phil and Rose Northcott (Penzance)
  • Loudest Crier – Andrew Fox
  • Best Devon Crier – John Pitt
  • Sweet Cry Winner – David Green (Torpoint)

There was plenty of things happening in the town as well as the competition on Saturday. From the Clock Tower being open for tours, free crafts with Creative Newton Abbot and free face painting and balloon modelling.

Once all the presentations had taken place, all criers reboarded the bus and returned to the RBL for a cold buffet, refreshments and chatter prior to departing for their homes.

Newton AbbotTown Council would like to thank the following for their help:

  • Lord of the Borough Keith Stokes-Smith, sponsor of cash prizes & consort gifts;
  • Natalie Hicks & Kelly Burridge, Town Council Events Co-ordinators;
  • Nigel Kennieson, Newton Abbot Town Crier;
  • Newton Abbot branch of the Royal British Legion;
  • Austin’s Department Store, gifts for the ‘Best Dressed’ categories;
  • Twelve Twenty & The Clock Tower Café;
  • Tony Little, Steve Ryan & David Samson, Town Council Maintenance Officers;
  • PA – ‘The Booze Brothers’;
  • Sunshine Sweets.

Newton Abbot Town Council paves the way for affordable eco homes

Newton Abbot Town Council

MORE than 20 affordable eco homes look set to be built in the heart of Newton Abbot after the Town Council signalled its support for the scheme.

The proposals for 23 one and two-bedroom rented apartments on Sherborne House Car Park have been tabled by Teignbridge District Council.

All would be built to internationally recognised ‘Passivhaus’ standards meaning maximum energy efficiency and low running costs.

Two will be wheelchair-friendly and have the only car parking spaces with other tenants encouraged to use alternative means of transport.

In the planning application documents it states: ‘These new flats will be constructed to the highest quality and environmental standards to reduce energy costs and create attractive, healthy homes.’

It adds: ‘The site as a whole is a brownfield urban site, and as such should be considered favourably in the search sequence set out in the Local Plan Policy.

‘It is in walking distance from the town centre with good connections to public transport in close proximity on Kingsteignton Road and a local cycling route to the south.

‘Within two minutes walking distance residents will have access to local amenities, shops, green spaces and sport and leisure facilities.

‘Being a town centre site, it offers the opportunity for highly sustainable residential development in close proximity to shops, public transport routes, amenity and leisure facilities and as such should be developed with a high density to maximise the opportunity, whilst being respectful in scale and massing within the urban grain of Newton Abbot.’

Members of Newton Abbot Town Council’s Planning Committee considered the scheme on December 13 and voted unanimously not to object, local government rules preventing an actual vote in support.

Cllr Nick Yabsley, who chaired the meeting, said: ‘This is a project to deliver energy efficient, well-built homes right in the town centre and it’s important our council gets behind it.

Teignbridge District Council is expected to grant planning permission in the new year.

Details of the planning application, including visualisations, can be viewed at www.teignbridge.gov.uk, case number 23/02036/MAJ.

Town Criers Competition

Oyez oyez oyez, town criers set to descend on Newton Abbot

A PARADE of richly-clad participants and civic dignitaries will launch the Newton Abbot Town Criers’ Competition on the morning of Saturday September 9.

Events are due to get under way at 10.15 a.m when the representatives of 15 towns from four westcountry counties will make their way from the Royal British Legion to Courtenay Street.

The first ‘home town’ cry is to be heard at 10.45 a.m, with more following until a break at 11.45 a.m.

The second ‘sweets’ cry will begin at 12.45 p.m and last for an hour, after which the judges will announce the winners and present trophies and prizes.

Mayor Cllr David Corney-Walker and his consort, Cllr Tom Corney-Walker, will make special presentations for the best dressed crier, best dressed escort and best dressed couple.

The host will be Newton Abbot’s own town crier, Nigel Kenneison, who is prevented from taking part in the competition by Guild rules.

Flying the flag for the Manorial Borough of Newton Abbot however will be Eveline Davies.

Also featuring on the day will be free family craft activities in Courtenay Street, courtesy of Creative Newton Abbot, plus the ancient St Leonard’s Tower will be open to visitors.

Another draw will be the offer of free face painting and balloons between 10am – 2pm.

‘This is a real taste of tradition in Newton Abbot and we’re looking forward to welcoming the criers from as far afield as Penzance in West Cornwall and Calne in Wiltshire,’ said Natalie Hicks, Events Co-ordinator for Newton Abbot Town Council.

‘We’re also opening up the clocktower as it’s a popular destination with locals and visitors alike, and in addition our Outreach Worker Kate Green will be providing a great free crafting event close by.

‘And we certainly know from previous events that the free balloons and face painting will go down a storm.

‘The actual cries will be taking place outside Austins but I’m sure no one will need directions, just follow the very loud voices coming from the town centre!

‘As a matter of interest, the traditional ‘oyez oyez oyez’ used by town criers to introduce themselves comes from old French and means ‘hear ye, hear ye, hear ye.

‘Believe it or not, it’s still used in American courts but thankfully you’ll not need to travel any further than Newton Abbot to hear it said on September 9.’

For more information please email [email protected] or call 01626 201120

Victorian Evening – we are amused

A GREAT night was had by all at the Newton Abbot Victorian Evening on Wednesday December 6, despite the rain which fell throughout.

With 25 charity stalls in Market Square, entertainment from Elfic the Jester, an appearance by Squirrel Nutkins, the antics of a stilt-walking policeman and Santa in the Clock Tower, there was something for everyone.

Taking a £50 prize for best dressed stall was Newton Abbot Community Shed whose members have recently created a ‘meet and greet’ table top in Courtenay Street using the trunk of a felled alder tree as its base.

The evening was arranged by Newton Abbot Town Council. Events Coordinator Natalie Hicks said: ‘It was a great evening with lots of people enjoying themselves despite the weather.

‘Queen Victoria might be well known for the expression “We are not amused” but that definitely didn’t apply here.

‘I’m very grateful to everyone who helped, took a stall or just turned up for some festive cheer, it was a great atmosphere.

‘And of course, each stall raised money for its charity which is brilliant.

‘We look forward to the rest of our Christmas calendar which includes the Doggy Carol Service on Saturday December 9, the Lantern Parade and late night shopping on Wednesday December 13 and the Mayor’s Christmas Carols with more late night shopping on Wednesday December 20, all subject to last-minute change depending on the weather conditions etc.

‘All the details are on the council website, www.newtonabbot-tc.gov.uk, where you can also scan a QR code to check out all our social media updates and learn about forthcoming events.

‘You don’t get anything like this with online shopping, Merry Christmas everyone.’

The below image shows Mayor Cllr David Corney-Walker presenting the £50 cheque to Community Shed members.

Below images show some of the antics and smiling faces at the event.