Ottery St Mary Review of the Year - January to March
PUBLISHED: 15:00 31 December 2011
A look back on events in Ottery St Mary in 2011.
Ottery was on the verge of being handed a long-awaited £1 million link to boost pedestrians and cyclist, despite a bid by concerned residents to derail the project.
The fate of a footbridge and cycle path, connecting the Land of Canaan to the Thorne Farm estate, was to be decided when planning chiefs discussed the bid at a meeting.
Ottery portrait artist John Puckey was looking forward to 2011, following a successful year including celebrity commissions and award nominations.
The 28-year-old from Alfington was shortlisted for the prestigious Holbounre Portrait prize.
A distraught Ottery family of five were handed a lifeline after a run of bad luck turned their home into a building site with only half a roof and a missing wall.
Morny and Ian Wright, along with children Casper, Alfie and Isaac had suffered rain pouring into their house ‘like a waterfall’, but were chosen to appear on BBC show DIY SOS to fix up their Slade Road property.
Ottery Parish Church had a narrow escape after a smouldering fire caused minor damage to the church floor.
A spark from a blow lamp used by construction workers was thought to have caused the fire, which began under the floorboards.
Last orders seemed to be called for an iconic Ottery pub as the King’s Arms was set to be turned into flats.
A proposal to create eight apartments in the Gold Street property was submitted to the town council.
Ottery St Mary was named the ‘greenest’ town for Christmas tree recycling after residents across East Devon helped set a new record for 2011.
Residents in the town recycled 690 trees after a series of special sessions were held in various car parks across the district. The composted trees would then be used as mulch in parks
The King’s School continued to improve its GCSE results and rose to the fourth best state school in Devon
Headteacher Faith Jarrett was delighted with the news the percentage of students who achieved five A* to C grades including maths and English rose from 68 to 71.
Work on West Hill’s first ever playpark started as the first piece of turf was cut.
The long-awaited project, which looked like it might not get off the ground after government funding was cut, has been supported by the generosity of local companies. Work was expected to be completed by March.
The owner of the old factory in Ottery said he hoped to submit plans for a new development at the site by the end of the year.
Paul Conway, who owns part of the former Cutler Hammer factory, had previously attempted to renovate the site in conjunction with supermarket Tesco, but the new plan was just to be for homes.
A former Ottery restaurant was to be turned back into an eatery after a short spell as a residence.
Normandy House, on Cornhill, was a restaurant, wine bar and hotel until it was converted into a house in 2009. But new owners James and Karen Peglar planned to reopen it as a business with their two children.
Ottery’s long-awaited skate park was handed a huge cash boost when the town council pledged £15,000 to the project.
The scheme, which had been in the pipeline for a number of years, looked to be finally getting off the ground after councillors agreed to spend most of its Section 106 kitty, after it came top in a public vote.
The town was to lose the ‘face of Ottery police’ after the decision to close the front office at the Old Convent station due to staff budget cutbacks.
Tracey Colletti is one of several civilian enquiry clerks who would lose their jobs as part front office closures at many Devon police stations.
Governors at The King’s School were delighted with its ‘Outstanding’ rating in its latest Ofsted inspection.
Inspectors recognised the improvements made at the school since the previous inspection.
Tipton residents thought they would have to lose their village clock after they received an annual electricity bill for 10 times their usual amount.
The clock, bequeathed to the residents’ association after completion for the Queen’s Golden Jubilee, usually costs them around £20, but this year received a whopping £268 bill, which they feared they might not be able to pay.
Town councillors decided not to support plans to build nearly 40 homes at Greytops in West Hill after angry residents spoke out about it.
The planning meeting was moved to the village to allow nearby residents to have their say, who voiced their objections about the proposal, which included 22 luxury retirement properties and provision for a doctor’s surgery.
A budding musician from The King’s School was reaching for the stars after wowing the judges at a competition.
Emma Lauran made it through to the next stage of nationwide talent search Live and Unsigned.
Ottery residents will lose a valued skip but a vital bus service for the town has been saved from swingeing cuts by Devon County council.
Councillor Roger Giles said he was ‘delighted’ by the news the 382 service was to be spared from £1.35 million cuts to the public transport budget, but the monthly rural skip service at the Land of Canaan was to go.
An Ottery six-year-old was delighted to get his bike back after it was stolen from outside his house following an appeal in the Herald.
Isaiah Parsons was reunited with his pride and joy after a member of the public spotted the stolen bicycle, which had been abandoned on farmland in Wiggaton.
The Bishop of Exeter gave a service of re-dedication at the parish church in Ottery after the completion of £200,000 of renovation works.
The Right Reverend Michael Langrish helped celebrate the restoration of the Lady Chapel and added: “It’s been restored wonderfully and the quality of the workmanship in the three chapels I dedicated is fantastic.”
A former pupil of The King’s School recalled the horrific scenes he witnessed following the devastating Japanese earthquake and tsunami this month.
Julian Ryall, who grew up in Ottery and now works for the Daily Telegraph, escaped unscathed but witnessed first-hand the tragic impact of the 9.0 magnitude quake.
A governor at The King’s said the school was at ‘bursting point’ and was desperate for the council to form plans for new premises.
Robin Mitchell spoke at a district council committee meeting to say a new building for the school must be included in the draft ‘Local Plan’ for East Devon.
The Rotary Club planted more than 1,000 bulbs around Ottery and West Hill with the help of local girl Guides.
The ‘Focus on Crocus’ project took place last autumn, and the fruits of their labour were becoming visible around the town, as the plants were starting to flower this month.
Plans to increase the number of homes in Tipton St John by a quarter were roundly rejected.
Devonshire Homes’ bid to build 56 houses failed to win any support from district council planning bosses who branded the scheme as ‘overdevelopment’.
Otter Rotters said they would step in to fill the gap left by the removal of the rural skip service by Devon County Council.
The group signed a partnership deal with the district council.
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