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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

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, case number 23/02036/MAJ.

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,, 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.

Museum’s early £2,000 Christmas gift courtesy of Persimmon Homes

NEWTON Abbot Museum has been awarded £2,000 by Persimmon Homes who are busy developing sites in the town such as that at Bradley Barton.

The cash is part of the firm’s Community Champions Scheme and will help staff cover operational  costs.

‘In the areas we develop we like to leave a positive and lasting legacy,’ said Calum Davies, External Affairs Manager for Persimmon.

‘Part of that is donating money to local good causes and valued organisations like Newton Abbot Museum.

‘It’s in the centre of town and much loved so something of a focal point. Our donation is about making sure that good causes such as this can still be around for the future residents who will be living in our developments in the years to come.’

The gift has been welcomed by Mayor Cllr David Corney-Walker as the museum is funded mainly by Newton Abbot Town Council.

‘Awards such as this are very important and since we moved into Newton’s Place the museum has become a major attraction in the town,’ he said.’

‘Any contribution that assists with costs such as new exhibits is very much appreciated.’

Curator India Jolly said: ‘The money will help us look after the items we already have in the collection as well as going towards new exhibitions about the town.

‘It will also support more community engagement so there’s lots we can do and we’re very very grateful.’

With the 2023 season due to end in a few weeks Curatorial Assistant Lucy Cokes is busy preparing for next year.

‘The winter closure is very important for us as we get to change out some of our display cases and this type of funding helps with making sure we’ve got all the right equipment and material we need, and it helps train staff and volunteers too,’ she said.

Among the treats promised for 2024 is a board game creation activity.

For details visit

The above image shows left -right Persimmon Planning Manager Ollie Thorogood, Calum Davies, India Jolly, Lucy Stokes and Cllr David Corney-Walker.

3 Days of Wonder

Newton Abbot Town Council

UP and coming rock band, 3 Days of Wonder, have been added to the entertainment line-up for Newton Abbot’s Christmas lights switch-on on Saturday November 25.

The Devon outfit, led by frontman Luke Notman, are scheduled to perform some of their latest material in front of St Leonard’s Clock Tower from 10am – 11pm.

Their recent number, Younger Days, has been nominated as Album Track of the year by Smart Radio while their list of gigs around the region and beyond continues to grow.

The new EP, Eyes Wide Open, is on sale at Phoenix Sound, Queen Street.

Luke said: We’re often described as having music that is mature for such a young band. We take inspiration from The Police, U2, Foofighters, The Script and Big Country.  Our ultimate goal is to play to a packed out rock stadium!

‘We love playing our energy filled shows and connecting with our audience and followers.’

Town Development Manager Sally Henley said: ‘It’s great that the band has found time in their hectic schedule to play for us live on the day of the Christmas lights switch-on.

‘They are storming the music scene at the moment and I’m sure they’ll go down really well with the Newton Abbot audience.

‘We’ve also got live music from Simon Prince who will be performing in Courtenay Street 10am – 2pm, what a great start to our seasonal festivities and it’s all completely free.’

Other attractions on the day include walkabouts by town mascot Newton, free activities for children, Taiko drumming and stilt walkers.

The Christmas Parade from The Avenue to the Clock Tower is set to start at 5pm, featuring Father Christmas, Newton’s Float, the Ipplepen Winter Carnival Float, cars from Prestige Events plus The Mayor and his Consort.

Also expected to take part, operations permitting, is one of the town’s fire engines and crew.

All eyes will be turned skywards at 5.30pm when Mayor Cllr David Corney-Walker and Santa throw the switch to illuminate the town for the festive season.

There will be free giveaways for children in the afternoon and evening while stocks last, plus the chance to meet and greet Santa on his sleigh after the lights switch-on until 6.30pm.

Images of the band are available at

Eric Collar: A Man of the Trees

NEWTON Abbot Town Council has bid a fond farewell to its Voluntary Tree Advisor Eric Collar who stepped down in October aged 94.

In more than 20 years with the authority, Eric advised members on planning applications which threatened to remove trees, probably saving hundreds from the axe.

Despite understanding little about the subject at first, he accumulated a vast body of knowledge and learned to appreciate the importance of trees to both society and the environment.

‘Trees are life and we need more of them,’ he said.

Before volunteering with the Town Council, Eric spent 40 years as a bus controller in his native Home Counties.

Later, with wife Janet, he opened a guesthouse in Aller and their successful ten years on the busy road between Newton Abbot and Torquay was followed by Eric returning to the transport industry for another short stint.

By 2001 Eric was in his 70s and assumed retirement was on the horizon.

But the then Town Clerk, Rod Tuck, had other ideas.

He knew Eric through the Chamber of Trade and appreciated his methodical approach and attention to detail.

‘Rod said to me, now you’ve retired I’ve got just the job for you and it’s to do with trees,’ recalled Eric.

‘I knew nothing about them at the time.’

According to wife Janet, Eric rose to the challenge by immersing himself in all things arboreal, reading books and asking questions of professionals.

‘He really, really put himself into it,’ she said.

So extensive did Eric’s knowledge become that he was dubbed ‘Wood Man’ by the late Henry Cole, a town councillor for many years and later made an Honorary Freeman for his services.

Eric championed the cause of the town’s trees with vigour, challenging the need to fell anything other than diseased or damaged specimens.

‘Quite a few people move into this area and then the autumn comes,’ he said.

‘Leaves fall down on the ground and they say “oh dear” and all the rest of it, so they say “fell them, fell them” but I was dead against it.

‘We need trees, sorry but we do, and I was very forceful on it.

‘If it’s diseased that’s it, it’s finished.

‘If it’s struck by a vehicle there’s not a lot you can do about it, you’ve got to lose it.

‘However, if the ground isn’t affected by fungus or other problems I’d always recommend that it was replaced, that was a condition of saying yes to felling.’

Asked why protecting trees had become a passion he said: ‘Because it’s nature. We need it, the air we breathe. The mere existence of a tree, it’s a cycle, we need them as human beings.

‘One of the things I always remember as a boy, we used to cycle down to Chichester through the South Downs and there, in the autumn, the broad leaved trees, colour, really cracking!’

Janet added: ‘You’ve also got to think of the birds, think of the insects, they’ve got to live somewhere.’

Asked if it felt good to have done his bit for the town’s trees Eric said, without hesitating, ‘Oh yes, good lord yes.’

Mayor Cllr David Corney-Walker expressed his gratitude, saying:

‘Most people in their 70s decide to sit back and take it easy, not Eric however.

‘He took it upon himself to delve deeply into the subject and provided the council with sound advice for more than two decades, all on a voluntary basis.

‘We are extremely grateful for all he has done and his sense of civic duty is an example to us all.

‘May Eric and Janet continue to enjoy many happy years together without the demands of serving the public, month in month out.’

Eric, who endured a spell of poor health earlier this year, still intends to attend his regular Probus meetings and keep his mind active with interests such as rail and the campaign to re-open the line from Buckfastleigh to Ashburton.

Asked how he felt about his 22 years as Tree Advisor he said: ‘It’s been interesting, always, oh yes. It was worth the effort, definitely.’

The attached photo shows Mayor Cllr David Corney-Walker with Mr and Mrs Collar during a farewell presentation at the November 15 meeting of the Full Council

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

Christmas Lights Switch-on nears

Excitement mounts as Newton Abbot Christmas lights switch-on nears

ORGANISERS of the November 25 Christmas lights switch-on in Newton Abbot have said excitement is mounting as the big day approaches.

The fun and games are due to get under way at 11am when St Leonards’s Clock Tower opens its doors for fireside selfies until 1pm.

Also at 11am, town mascot Newton will start the first of his walkabouts and, if previous years are anything to go by, youngsters of all ages will be queuing up to have their photos taken with him.

At 12 noon, free children’s entertainment will begin with face painting, balloons and crafts from Creative Newton Abbot.

Street food stalls are set to start trading at 1pm in Courtenay Street and an hour later, DJs from Torbay Hospital Radio will spin their first discs by the Clock Tower.

At 2.30pm the Taiko Drummers will begin an hour-long performance followed by the ever-popular stilt-walkers from 4pm – 6pm.

The Christmas Parade from The Avenue to the Clock Tower is set to start at 5pm, featuring Father Christmas, Newton’s Float, the Ipplepen Winter Carnival Float, cars from Prestige Events plus The Mayor and his Consort.

Also expected to take part, operations permitting, is one of the town’s fire engines and crew.

All eyes will be turned skywards at 5.30pm when Mayor Cllr David Corney-Walker and Santa throw the switch to illuminate the town for the festive season.

There will be free giveaways for children in the afternoon and evening while stocks last, plus the chance to meet and greet Santa on his sleigh after the lights switch-on until 6.30pm.

‘It’s been a lot of hard work but endless fun putting together this year’s Christmas programme and we can’t wait for the lights switch-on on Saturday November 25,’ said Natalie Hicks, Events Co-ordinator for Newton Abbot Town Council.

‘The excitement is mounting and we’re sure everyone will love our month of free family fun and games as December 25 gets ever nearer.

‘We look forward to welcoming thousands of people and, dare I say it already, happy Christmas everyone!’ The full programme is listed at