South PoolSOUTH POOL PARISH PLAN

Background  
In 2003 a core group of Parish Councillors and volunteers with the assistance of Devon County Council undertook to articulate a vision for South Pool for the next 10 years. This project aimed to express the Community’s thoughts, concerns and hopes for the future. Public meetings were held and a survey was issued to all householders during the summer of 2004. The survey undertook to engage both permanent residents and second home owners alike.

The Parish Plan is funded by the Countryside Agency; it is one of many being carried out throughout the local Saltstone Parishes. It is hoped that the results of the survey and the Parish Plan will help inform any future planning policies for the area.

At an early stage in the preparation of the plan residents agreed the key themes to be addressed; these themes formed the basis of the survey questions. Surveys were hand delivered to all households in the Parish to be completed by everyone over the age of 11 or over. In addition a separate needs survey prepared by Devon County Council was distributed to help us determine the Housing Needs of the community.

We were very pleased with the excellent response with a 69% return representing the views of 72 households (out of a total of 105) and 139 people.

This Parish Plan summarises the views of all those who responded to the survey. It identifies actions to be taken and changes to be made to address the issues raised and help shape the shared vision of South Pool for the future.

A full record of the responses to the survey can be made available on request. The results of the Housing Needs Survey are also available as a separate document.

South PoolVillage and Parish Context  
South Pool village lies in a valley at the head of South Pool Creek. The village is about four miles south-east of Kingsbridge. Access to the village is constrained with narrow streets and winding lanes. The extensive Conservation Area reflects the number of buildings of historic and architectural interest and the attractive setting that gives South Pool much of its character. The Church of St. Nicholas and St. Cyriac dating back to the early 14th Century sits in a distinctive location at the heart of the village.

Community facilities in the village include the church, which is well attended, village hall and the Millbrook public house.

The landscape setting of the village is very important; South Pool and the surrounding countryside and settlements lie within the South Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The areas to the south, west and north of the village also fall within a Nature Conservation Zone and the Coastal Protection Area. Most of the village is within a Conservation Area.

South PoolHOUSING
It has been identified from the Housing Needs Survey carried out by Devon County Council, which accompanied our questionnaire, that there is a small but urgent need for affordable housing in the parish.  

Seven households have identified as being in housing need over the next three years, and a development of between 2 and 4 homes should be considered. The homes built would be mainly for rent but with a small proportion for shared ownership, the homes being a mix of one, two or three bedroom units.

A local farmer has offered a plot of land for up to five homes; there have also been suggestions of other sites.

Recommendation/Action Plan
We will determine the specific needs and investigate the suggested sites.

We have asked South Hams District Council to include this project in the South Hams Local Development Framework.

TRANSPORT

Personal Transport
There were few concerns about living in an isolated area and no identifiable need for extra transport at present. The Coleridge Bus already serves the community well and people understandably seem intent on using their own cars.

Recommendation/Action
The Parish Council to continue to support the Coleridge Bus and display a timetable on the notice board. Investigate the various shared transport schemes (such as car sharing) being run successfully elsewhere.

Large Vehicles
Obstruction – Congestion – Damage

There is a problem with large vehicles serving and travelling through the parish. Concern was shown about the impact to the environment, damage to hedge bottoms and roads.

Recommendation/Action
Ensure that vehicles delivering to the area are aware of the narrow roads after leaving the A379. Consult with Devon County Council to control vehicle usage to ensure that heavy goods vehicles have limited access and only on designated routes.

Car Parking/ Highways
Parking is a contentious issue with residents for and against extra parking in the village. As yet we do not have the answer and will continue to monitor the situation.

South PoolSpeed on the roads/speed limits
Opinion was evenly divided on the need for extra speed controls. We will continue to monitor this.

Speed on the water
Opinion was evenly divided, and we will continue to put pressure on the Harbour Master to monitor and enforce the existing speed limit of 5 knots in the creek.

A379 Torcross to Dartmouth Road (The Slapton Line)
93% of the parishioners wish this road to be retained for a variety of reasons, for access to work, local businesses, services and socialising etc.

Recommendation/Action
The Parish Council in conjunction with neighbouring parishes and the Slapton Line Defence Group to continue to press for adequate and acceptable defence of this vital communication link.

FOOTPATHS/BRIDLEWAYS
Parishioners were satisfied with the footpaths and their upkeep. A survey has been sent to Devon County Council by the Parish Council with suggestions for a network of footpaths with neighbouring parishes.

Recommendation/Action
The Parish Council will continue to make efforts to improve and maintain the paths, in partnership with Devon County Council, have paths better marked and identified. Display the new Definitive Map when it is issued.

JOBS AND EMPLOYMENT
Employment in the Parish is as follows:-

Self-employed 22.5%. Retired 39.1%. Under age of employment 5.1%.

Employed full time 12.3%. Employed part time 17.4%. unemployed 3.6%

There are a variety of professional businesses and crafts in the Parish we need to find ways to support them and make sure they thrive.

There are at least 18 businesses operating in South Pool.
Opinion was that there is not much room for further economic growth within the Parish.

Recommendation/Action
Help should be made available for existing and new local businesses to help service the local community and provide local employment.

TOURISM
Although the survey supported the maintenance of the area as a tourism destination the majority of the community felt that we have reached saturation point and more tourists should not be encouraged in and around the parish.

Recommendation/Action Plan
The majority also thought it was time to charge a green tourism tax to secure funds for the benefit of the local environment.

South PoolENVIRONMENT
The majority of parishioners would like to conserve the existing natural and traditional agricultural landscape. Work is needed to protect and manage trees, hedges and woodlands. We need to restore damaged hedges, field boundaries, roads, road edges, the riverbanks and estuary shoreline. We need to prevent soil erosion and protect wildlife.

There is a desire to enforce traditional building design and promote sustainable farming to help conserve our rural landscape and economy. 

The community is concerned that there are major threats to the local environment through traffic-related damage to the roadside walls and hedges, light pollution from excessive and inappropriate lighting and unnecessary signs and road markings. Concern was also shown for the silting up of the creeks and estuary. However, the biggest threat is perceived to be a lack of consideration for the local countryside and excessive and inconsiderate use of heavy and large vehicles.

Concerns were raised over the risk of over-development and the need to control this through the planning system.

Recommendation/Action
We strongly recommend that the Harbour Authority consider small-scale dredging to remove silt in South Pool Creek. We also need to take steps to make the whole community aware of these real and potential threats to our environment and engage in ways of reducing or removing them.

Public Areas
Most people consider maintenance of public areas and hedgerows was good but 54% were concerned with dog-fouling in the Parish.

Recommendation/Action 
Try to encourage dog-walkers to clean up after their dogs.

COMMUNITY SERVICES
The majority of those surveyed were satisfied with fire, ambulance, mains water, electricity supply, medical services and refuse collection. The community were less satisfied with highway maintenance and the police.

The survey shows a need for recycling and composting within the village.

Recommendation/Action 
Dual dustbins will be available in the parish within a year. No site is available at present for community recycling and composting.  

The community support all the local services and businesses in the area.

The highest percentage of support was for the Village Pub closely followed by the Village Hall.

COMMUNICATION 
The four most popular sources of information for events and news in South Pool are - the notice boards, South Pool Post, the Link Magazine and word of mouth.

A large number of people in the Parish use mobile phones and have P.Cs in their homes. 75% would like access to Broadband. The area generally has acceptable reception for mobile phones although there are certain areas with bad reception.

Recommendation/Action
Broadband will be available in the near future in the Parish.

South PoolLocal Projects /Council tax
There was general support for levying additional Council Tax to fund local projects. The Parish is split between spending £1 and £5 per person per year on this.

The majority of people are willing to help with parish projects and conservation initiatives.  

Leisure/Sport/Amenities/Services 
There is increasing support in the village for promoting community activities. Since the publication of the questionnaire a local history society has been formed.

The parish is supportive of adult education courses, the art classes continue to go from strength to strength, and we support public transport through the Coleridge Bus. 

Recommendation/Action Plan 
There is support for holding more adult education courses; we will investigate other types of courses and number of students interested.

YOUTH FACILITIES
Although we do not have facilities in South Pool our neighbouring parishes and Kingsbridge have very good facilities.

South PoolSHOPPING/SOCIALISING 
The majority of people go to Kingsbridge for shopping and sport, socialising takes place mainly within the Parish.

HEALTH AND WELLBEING
A high percentage of people have difficulty finding an NHS dentist.

Although we do not have a high crime rate within the parish there are concerns over the risk of burglary, speeding, vandalism and lack of police presence in the Parish.

ChurchTHE CHURCH 
The Church plays an important part in the community and the majority wished it to be preserved for future generations. It is also recognised that the parish churchyard will have to be extended in the future. 

OUR VISION FOR THE FUTURE

Changes in the next ten years 
From the survey we believe the shared vision for South Pool to be

  • We would like to see a diverse community balanced between young and retired and holiday homes.
  • A vibrant Village Hall with activities for all.
  • Provide affordable housing for all those local people who need it.
  • Maintain a high quality environment not overrun by vehicles.
  • Support given to local farmers.
  • Support given to the existing local services, in particular the Village Hall and the village pub.
  • Central funding should be made available for local crafts, environmental projects and initiatives such as hedge ditching, stone walling and Devon Bank building and repairing.

THANK YOU
The Parish Council would like to thank all members of the community who have taken the time to complete the survey, help shape the questions and analyse the responses.

We are also grateful to the officers of Devon County Council and the Rural Housing Enabler for their help and support.