Helping to Make a Difference

Helping to Make a Difference

With local authority budget constraints affecting some of the services provided in our community, Ilfracombe Town Council is working to help make a difference to ensure where possible, these effects are minimised. As a Town Council we do not receive any direct funding from Central Government but rely on a small element of the collected council tax; income from our own generated projects and any funding that we receive if we are successful in applying for specific grants.

These are some of the projects that we are working on.

m-gardensWar memorial and Gardens

Situated in the grounds of our Holy Trinity Parish Church, the town’s war memorial is surrounded by trees and tranquil planting. It provides a restful space to all those who wish to have some quiet reflection time and the memorial pays tribute to the members of the Armed Forces who have lost their lives in conflict. It includes the names of Ilfracombe men who died serving their country during the First World War (154 names), during the Second World War (60 names) and those who died during other conflicts in the 20th century (4 names)*

Ilfracombe Town Council along with many other organisations in the town pay their respects with members of the Royal British Legion on Remembrance Day.

Why is this included under our Helping to Make a Difference’ section?

For many years the war memorial and garden area were managed by North Devon Council; However since 2014 when budgets were being squeezed, the area was formally handed back to Ilfracombe Town Council who have embraced the area and work hard to keep it ‘special’.

In addition to installing extra seating and replacing the litter bin, we ensure that the grass is cut and the trees and bushes pruned. The volunteers of Ilfracombe in Bloom work with us in weeding the flower beds and planting new shrubs.

At Christmas, the area becomes the focus of the town when the Lighting of the Lights ceremony starts with the Town Christmas tree lights being turned on.

*For a list of these name and further information please visit www.devonheritage.org

Additional Highway Drain Clearing

drainWith drain clearing and cleaning now being completed on a less frequent basis by the County Council, we are aware that some of the drains in and around the town are clogged by debris and overgrown with weeds. This means that when we have a heavy downpour, the excess rain water does not empty down the drains but cascades along the roads and in some of the most severe cases causes flooding to occur.

Ilfracombe Town Council were successful in applying for a grant to commission additional drain cleaning which for the most part can only be completed by specialist contractors who also arrange for the waste to be disposed.

Our councillors and Hygiene Operative highlighted those most badly affected drains prior to arranging for them to be deep cleansed.

Whilst we realise that this is an ongoing problem and we may not be able to arrange for all such gullies to be cleared; we have arranged for part of the grant to be spent on drain cleaning hand-tools. This means that in the months and years to come we will be able to help keep the surface areas free of debris which should hopefully limit the amount of full cleaning work that is required.

Community Planning Scheme

planningWhilst Ilfracombe Town Council does its best to help obtain funding to use in the community, the council members also recognise that there are many instances where grants are not available or funding streams not suitable.

In an effort to ‘help make a difference’ the Town Council has developed its own ‘community planning scheme’. 

This is a process whereby qualifying* community groups could benefit from a  quirk of the national planning process whereby parish and town council’s receive a statutory 50% reduction in planning application fees.

In short, the community group will need to approach the council with a full set of planning documents and fulfil all requirements for a registered planning application. The paperwork will be assessed by the ITC Planning Committee in the first instance to confirm if the application can be processed via its Community Planning Scheme. If it meets the required criteria, then the application can be formally submitted to the Planning Authority with the Town Council as the ‘applicant’. Thus the 50% reduction in the initial fee would be triggered leaving the community group with a substantial saving. The Council will be acting in name only and any associated costs must be met by the community organisation making the proposal.

There will be some administration fees to be paid with regard to this process and of course the applicant must satisfy the council that it meets the qualifying criteria. The Town Council will not be included in any determination of the outcome of the application.

For further information please contact theilfracombcecentre@northdevon.gov.uk

*ITC operates a community planning scheme under the following system.

Is there clear evidence that:

  • The community needs the facility or service being offered
  • The community will use the facility or service being offered
  • The facility or service will add to existing provision.
  • Does the proposed project meet the aims of the council?
  • Is the organisation a registered charity or a legal entity with charitable aims that benefit the local community?
  • Is the community involved in fund raising?
  • Is the community involved with the management of the project?
  • Does the project or service contribute to local sustainability, development and quality of life

Bulb Planting and Grass Cutting

flowersIlfracombe Town Council has a well-established history in supporting local organisations in providing grants to fund the planting and maintenance of shrubs and flowers in the town. In fact, the local ‘Ilfracombe in Bloom’ community group who are all volunteers have won many prestigious awards in the ‘In Bloom’ countrywide competitions.

In addition to this funding, the Town Council decided to commit some of its budget to provide monies to enable it to clear weeds, cut grass and generally clear overgrown areas in and around the town. This has been working well under the Council’s ‘Green Team’ initiative and has seen us purchase a ride-on mower enabling us to cut lengths of grass verges. This is a particularity important task to undertake as; – as with other items included in our ‘Making a Difference’ we have seen the grass cutting service provided by the County Council dwindle to once or twice a year.

In addition to the weeding and grass clearing, we have also tried to make some of the public areas in the town as attractive as possible and to that end with the help of volunteers, we arranged for ten thousand spring bulbs to be planted. This investment will ‘grow and grow’ and will help to welcome visitors to our town and provide a lovely view for locals to enjoy for years to come.

In the process of this work carried out by volunteers of the Green Team, it soon became apparent to council members that a dedicated resource was required to complete this work all year round. Consequently, we are looking to appoint a new member of staff in the new financial year to undertake this work and make up some of the shortfall where other local authorities have scaled down their operations.