Councillors’ efforts aren’t so shabby

In response to your correspondent Wendy Smith (“Town is so shabby”, Opinion, October 3) it might be helpful to explain that there are three councils in Barnstaple, all trying to serve the community – Devon County Council, North Devon Council and Barnstaple Town Council.

Devon County Council is responsible for the highways, pavements and issue such as weeds in the road.

I hope your correspondent read my report in the same edition, in which I reported that the town council is just as concerned about the weeds and overgrown flower beds in the town as your readers, and I have invited the leader of the county council to join me on a tour of the town, to show him some of the worst examples.

Thanks to the local county councillors we were able to get the worst of the weeding and mowing done before the Tour of Britain visited.

Our two county councillors also tried to get funds released from the county council’s reserves to reinstate the two grasscuts and weeding, but were voted down by the leadership of the county council. The situation is not satisfactory, and we will continue to press for a better service from county.

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North Devon Council is responsible for emptying the litter bins, cleaning the streets and for some of the street furniture.

If you see an overflowing bin or a damaged seat, why not telephone them and tell them about it so that it can be dealt with – or telephone the town council and we will report it on for you?

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As for the town council – the environment committee has installed new litter bins in the town, and, in partnership with BID Barnstaple, will be installing yet more in the coming weeks.

We have refurbished our public seats, provided the planters on the High Street following the demise of Barnstaple in Bloom (which, incidentally, was a voluntary group and nothing to do with any council), given grants to local residents groups to enable them to plant areas in the town, and been responsible for the annual Tidy Up Our Town week when individuals, residents’ associations, schools and other local organisations helped to clean and tidy the town.

Was your correspondent one of those volunteers?

Our lengthsman is well known to many people in the town for his ceaseless efforts to keep Barnstaple tidy. Residents in Newport, Forches, Pilton and Frankmarsh have all expressed their thanks for his work.

Finally, in response to Ms Smith’s question – yes, we do walk around the town. In fact, most of us live and work in the town, but with the best will in the world we cannot be in every street for every moment of the day.

If you have a problem in your area, why not talk to your local councillor and see if they can do something about it for you?

As town councillors we have just completed our ward audits – visiting each ward in the town, identifying problems and trying to resolve them either independently or with the help of the other councils.

We hold monthly surgeries in the Pannier Market on the first Saturday of each month – why not come and talk to us there and let’s see what we can do to improve the town by working together.

I am proud to be mayor of this town, proud of what we are trying to achieve and proud of Barnstaple. Yes, Ms Smith, I am always willing to “up my game”, as are my fellow town councillors – are you prepared to help us?

Cllr Lesley Brown

Mayor of Barnstaple

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