Ottery St Mary news review 2012 - January to March

PUBLISHED: 15:00 29 December 2012

Ottery Communtiy Theatre's Mother Goose opens at the Institute from Wednesday 18-21 January.  Photo by Simon Horn. Ref sho 1634-03-12SH To order your copy of this photograph visit www.sidmouthherald.co.uk and click on myphotos24

Ottery Communtiy Theatre's Mother Goose opens at the Institute from Wednesday 18-21 January. Photo by Simon Horn. Ref sho 1634-03-12SH To order your copy of this photograph visit www.sidmouthherald.co.uk and click on myphotos24

Archant

Some of the stories that were reported in Ottery St Mary between January and March

January

A group created to help protect Ottery from overdevelopment was encouraging people to make the town’s voice heard on housing plans.

Residents formed ‘Protect Ottery St Mary’ at the end of 2010 after feeling the town wasn’t being listened to by East Devon District Council.

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Ottery’s Mayor said it was a proud moment after the culmination of several years of hard work saw the town council bestowed with ‘quality’ status.

Martin Harvey from the Devon Association of Local Councils handed over the certificate to Councillor Glyn Dobson at a ceremony in the council offices.

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More than 100 people attended a public meeting in Ottery to ask for less housing to be allocated to the town in the new ‘Local Plan’.

The latest draft of the document, which set out the future of East Devon, allocated at least 400 new homes for Ottery St Mary, a figure roundly rejected as too high.

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Pupils celebrated a tip-top result as Tipton Primary came back after Christmas to find out it had been recognised as one of the best schools in Devon.

The school was ranked 14th out of the several hundred primary schools in the county based on the performance of year six children in English and maths tests.

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Work was set to start on the new outdoor gym in Ottery St Mary.

The design was chosen by a public vote, and the gym was due to be installed on the Land of Canaan.

The gym was officially opened in February.

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Signatures were needed from residents so Ottery could become a ‘Walkers are Welcome’ town and attract more people as a walking destination.

In a joint project by the Tourist Information Centre and the town council, they were hoping to gain the accreditation and help promote the town.

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David and Irene Hayes celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary.

The couple, who met during the Second World War, said their secret was to never go to bed on an argument.

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Ottery had a new community ambulance but the fundraising was far from over said the hospital’s League of Friends.

The group, subject of the Herald’s Campaign 2012, had borrowed the cash from itself to pay for a new vehicle after it could no longer use the previous one for fear of it breaking down with passengers on board.

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Residents in the Chapel Lane area were given the chance to hear about plans to improve flood defence measures.

February

The King’s School headteacher was delighted with the secondary school league tables despite admitting she hated them and found them ‘distracting’.

The Ottery academy was well above the national average, but Faith Jarrett said: “It’s not about league tables, it’s giving them what they need, the five GCSEs including maths and English is the gold standard.”

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Ottery’s departing reverend was to give his final sermon as he left the parish after 15 years at the church.

Reverend Simon Franklin was leaving to take charge of the Bovey Valley Mission Community.

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An application to build 130 homes in Ottery was criticised by a local campaign group.

Protect Ottery St Mary said it was focusing on three main factors in its opposition to the plans; traffic problems, strain on infrastructure and environmental impact.

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Ottery’s Mayor would be ‘loathed’ to see council prayers removed from town council meetings after councillors agreed to look into the matter.

But Glyn Dobson said he didn’t think it would be a problem for the town council which looked into the issue in 2010.

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Ottery’s former treasurer returned to the council just six months after resigning saying he ‘missed it more than he thought he would’.

Paul Lewis had stepped down from Ottery Town Council after more than four years the previous September, saying he could no longer commit enough time to his civic duties.

However, he felt he still had something to offer, and had made arrangements to devote more time to the role.

The manager of Vacation World said she only found out it was closing down hours before the travel agent shut its doors for the last time.

Claire Connors, who had been working at the Ottery branch for five years, said she was called in on her day off by her regional manager to be given the bad news.

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An Ottery woman was well on the way to raising £1,000 for a charity bungee jump in honour of her ‘adventurous’ aunt who died in 2011.

Charlotte Strong, 20, said she was inspired to take on the daredevil challenge for Hospiscare after the care her aunt Chris received from the charity.

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A leading businessman said the town was entering a crucial period, following the closure of Vacation World.

Tony Abbott said the impact of Sainsbury’s opening a store would be fully realised in the following six months.

March

An application to build 130 homes on a Greenfield site in Ottery was labelled ‘sacrilegious’ by a councillor as it was slammed by residents.

Redrow Homes’ plans to create a new estate behind Butts Road had received nearly 300 letters of objection before it went in front of Ottery Town Council.

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A visiting dignitary from Melanesia was in Ottery as part of a three-month fact-finding mission.

Joe Takeli, the Education Secretary of the Anglican Church on the Pacific Islands, attended services at the Parish Church and visited several schools in the area.

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The district council was trying to put vital talks over Ottery’s future behind closed doors, according to one of its own representatives.

Claire Wright, who sat on the Local Plan Panel, said her motion to have new meetings with town councils held in public was overruled.

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A row broke out over Ottery Town Council’s spending priorities after a proposal to spend £3,000 on Diamond Jubilee mugs was defeated.

It was called an ‘outrageous way to spend public money’, but councillors did vote to set aside almost £1,500 for commemorative gifts for all children under the age of 11.

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As the creation of a new quarry in West Hill passed its latest hurdle Councillor Roger Giles said it was one step closer and was being ‘pushed through’ despite objections.

Plans by Aggregate Industries to mine gravel and sand at Straitgate Farm have been in the pipeline for at least a decade, but this month it was endorsed as a preferred site for consultation by Devon County Council.

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An Ottery teenager hoped to inspire other youngsters after being told he would be an Olympic torchbearer.

Anton Ashcroft, 15, was one of 8,000 people who would help carry the torch on its 70-day journey around Britain ahead of the London 2012 games.

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Ottery’s Mayor hit back at claims by the former treasurer the council has been ‘racking up cash’, saying they were only being responsible with the town’s finances.

Councillor Paul Lewis, said they should start spending on projects in the town instead of saving money, saying by his calculations the council will have accumulated £100,000 in two years.

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The town finally got its wish after the number of houses being planned for the town was reduced.

The district council relented and agreed to lower the allocation by 100 houses.


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