South Molton Snippets

These snippets are of general interest and reflect changes going on in South Molton.

I would like to thank two viewers of the North Devon Link website for their feedback - which concerned the updating of this website.  I am always pleased to get e-mails from those who navigate to this page but I should point out that, as stated above, "These snippets are of general interest and reflect changes going on in South Molton."  they are not intended to be a kind of online newspaper with reports on all the local events.  However if anyone would like to see any images or information of particular interest to them I will, if possible, oblige.

Just a few statistics.  The North Devon Link has been online since the year 2,000 and contains about 150 pages and over 350 images.  The website gets over 100,000 page views a year.  Updating to all pages is done when any new information is available.  To those who veiw this site from other countries why not send in an account of your daily life with pictures for inclusion on this page?  Get involved - I am sure anything from expats would be of great interest to us in the UK.

My best wishes to you all,

Gordon Bray

This is a photo of the ancient clapper bridge at Tarr Steps showing part of the bridge washed away by floods.  The river is the Barle and the bridge is a grade I listed building which possibly dates to around 1000 BC.  The stone slabs weigh up to 1-2 tons apiece. According to local legend, they were placed by the devil to win a bet.  The bridge has now been restored.  See image below.

First the good news

Referring to the item below with the title:  "Is the North Devon District Council trying to poison us?"  There is some correspondence from the Leader of the North Devon District Council, Cllr. Brian Greenslade, (Lib Dem/Indepentant when it suits) representing the Ward "Barnstaple (Pilton)".  This concerns the council's knowingly dumping of hazardous waste (compact fluororescent lamps) in landfill and then trying to cover it up.

A letter from Cllr. Greenslade shows that he concurs with the advice given by Ann Riley, (Team Leader Environment Management (Waste Audit and Compliance) thus;- 

Although Cllr Greenslade knows full well that the council is knowingly channelling hazardous waste containing mercury to landfill he ends his letter by telling me  "I do not believe I can do anything else to assist you".  What about stopping this irresponsible practice Cllr. Greenslade?

Cllr. Greenslades letter may be read here  So it would appear that hazardous waste, in the area covered by the North Devon District Council may, according to Cllr. Greenslade, be disposed of in the black bin collection.  Cllr. Worden (Lib Dem) of South Molton has stated that he is in agreement with Cllr. Greenslade (Lib-Dem/ Independant when it suits).

And now the bad news

A low energy lamp/ compact fluorescent lamp/ CFL = hazardous waste.

There is of course a problem here - this concerns the mercury which is contained in compact fluororescent lamps.  A website lists the potential unwelcome effects on us, our children and our grandchidren.  Read the bad news here.

Comments are invited from Cllrs. Greenslade and Worden.

And you can read about the Environment Agency's complicity with Cllr Greenslade and the North Devon District Council in polluting the environment here..  Instead of protecting the environment this agency is protecting the polluters!

But perhaps thr most revealing and shocking part of this business is the total lack of concern the Council has for the dustmen as when the CFLs go into the cart and are crushed they release an invisible cloud of mercury vapour which can enter the bloodstream and the brain.  Dustmen beware!

Mercury is a highly effective nerve poison!


The South Molton Archive has recently published an updated version of the book "Lest we Forget".This was originally produced by the late David Ryall.  The new publication includes names from the following war memorials from South Molton and local villages

East Anstey


West Anstey


Bishops Nympton


East Buckland


West Buckland

North Molton

West Buckland School





Rose Ash

Charles Bottom

Satterleigh & Warkleigh


South Molton





George Nympton


High Bray

Worlington, East & West

Kings Nympton

Enquiries through our e-mail will be passed on to the South Molton Archive.

Why all the secrecy about Tesco Cllr. Greenslade?

No doubt readers of the local papers will have heard all about the possibility of a new Tesco store in South Molton.  In a letter to the Journal this week Cllr. Greenslade "explains" why,at a recent council meeting, Cllr. Moore was prevented from speaking on the subject and could not express the views of the voters of South Molton.  It appears that the reason for this was that, according to Cllr. Greenslade, the matters which Cllr Moore Moore was referring to "could only be addressed at a private session of the Executive".  So why should a simple matter of a possible planning application be discussed behind closed doors Cllr. Greenslade?  Why are these discussions kept from the people you represent and who pay you and the "officer" (employee) to whom you refer in your letter?  What are you up to at your secret meetings?
For the record.  In the council elections last May Cllr. Greenslade polled 872 votes with a majority of 107 while Cllr Moore polled 1,221 votes with a majority of 488.

In a letter to the press Cllr. Greenslade stated that "Cllr Moore gagged himself by not observing the rules of debate".  So who decides the rules?  And what "rules" did Cllr. Moore infringe?  If an elected representative cannot speak for the voters because of "rules of debate" then the rules need to be changed!

Delving deeper into the rules of debate applying to the North Devon District Council including the meeting in question it would appear that Cllr. Greenslade, whilst critising Cllr. Moore, also ignored these rules.  There is no provision for an employee, in this case Mrs. D. Hill, Head of Properties, to attempt to silence a councillor.  Cllr Greenslade should have known this and should have prevented the interuption by Mrs Hill - but maybe what she was doing suited his agenda and he allowed the rules of debate to be ignored.  One further point - the Council's rules of debate allow secret meetings only of a "quasi-judicial" nature.  How do the secret meetings by the council referring to the possibility of a Tesco store in South Molton sanctioned by Cllr. Greenslade fall into this category?

One further point should be bourne in mind - if our money grabbing council fail to negotiate a market value for any land that is sold off there would by grounds for a judicial revue!

nb: definition of quasi-judicial - noting, pertaining to, or exercising powers or functions that resemble those of a court or a judge.

This is the central car park with Norrington's yard where one day we might see a Tesco store.

Post-script.  An item appeared today (13th April2013) in the Daily Mail online stating that:

"The next time you buy chicken or eggs from Tesco they may come from birds fed on genetically modified soya.  The supermarket chain yesterday abandoned its 11 year commitment not to sell poultry reared on controversial GM feed"

These "Frankenfoods" will not be labelled as being GM!

Is the North Devon District Council trying to poison us?
No action by Cllr Des Brailey MBE on the council's dumping of hazardous waste in landfill!

Having some low energy light bulbs (CFLs) to dispose of and knowing they contained toxic mercury I rang the council to find out what I should do with them.  Remarkably I was told by the Waste and Recycling Department to "wrap them up in paper and put them in the black bin".

The DEFRA Website (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.) states:

"The public should contact the local authority for advice on where to dispose of broken or intact CFLs as they should be treated as hazardous waste and should not be disposed of in the bin. All local councils have an obligation to make arrangements for the disposal of household hazardous waste at a civic amenity site or household waste recycling centre."

And the Health Protection Agency gives this warning if one of these little horrors should be broken:

  • Ventilate the room
  • Wipe the area with a damp cloth, place that in the plastic bag and seal it
  • Sticky tape (e.g. duct tape or similar) can be used to pick up small residual pieces or powder from soft furnishings and then placed in a sealed plastic bag. The plastic bag doesn't need to be air tight, but should be reasonably sturdy.
  • Place it in another, similar bag and seal that one as well (this minimises cuts from broken glass).

Rubber gloves should be worn and a vacuum cleaner should not be used as this could spread the toxins.

And our Council states on it's website:

"By improving the way in which we manage all wastes classified as hazardous we reduce the risk they might pose now and in the future."

Really?  One wonders how much toxic waste our council has already dumped in landfill sites - and if they realise they are putting their staff and the public at risk by collecting hazardous waste in black bins.

Low energy light bulbs may be taken to Maclin's Quarry for safe recycling.

I have e-mailed the Leader of the Executive Cllr. D. Brailey asking why his council are advising the disposal of hazardous waste in landfill via the black bin collection, his reply and further correspondence may be read here.  Cllr. Brailey's reluctance to name his recycling manager reminds me of the proverb "Where the broom does not reach the dust will not vanish of its own accord".

At a council meeting last April Cllr. Brailey assured Cllr. Worden that a press statement would be issued telling everyone of the dangers.  As nothing appears to have been done I have e-mailed the present leader Cllr. Greenslade asking that this should be done without delay.  We await a response.  The correspondence can be viewed on Cllr. Greenslade's dedicated page here.

As both Cllr. Brailey and Cllr. Greenslade appear to have little interest in this issue I have made a complaint to the Environment Agency.  You can follow the correspondence here.

The Environment Agency has proved complicit with the North Devon Council's avoidance of their legal duty of care by channelling hazardous waste to landfill via the black bin collection. Therefore I have sent all the evidence to the Secretary of State for the Environment the Rt. Hon. Owen Paterson MP - you can read the e-mail and any further correspondence here.

The Daily Mail reports:-

"Councils across the UK are refusing to pick up low-energy lightbulbs from homes as they contain toxic mercury, which gives off poisonous vapours.

But confused consumers are putting the new bulbs – classed as hazardous waste – in their dustbins when they burn out, potentially putting the safety of thousands of binmen at risk."

There is another kind of low energy bulb called an LED which also contains toxins.  These are probably being consigned to landfill by the council.  There is an excellent article on the dangers of low energy bulbs on the Natural News website.  You can read it here.

There are further doubts about the safety of energy saving light bulbs after a group of German scientists warned that they contain cancer causing chemicals.  A report in the Telegraph advises that "the bulbs should not be left on for extended periods, particularly near someone’s head, as they emit poisonous materials when switched on.  Peter Braun, who carried out the tests at the Berlin's Alab Laboratory, said: “For such carcinogenic substances it is important they are kept as far away as possible from the human environment.”

German scientists also claimed that several carcinogenic chemicals and toxins were released when the environmentally-friendly compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) were switched on, including phenol, naphthalene and styrene.  Andreas Kirchner, of the Federation of German Engineers, said: “Electrical smog develops around these lamps.

The Migraine Action Association has warned that they could trigger migraines and skin care specialists have claimed that their intense light could exacerbate a range of existing skin problems.

And is the Government trying to poison us too?  Strange Skytrails in the sky!

These images were all taken during the last year.  They show a number of strange skytrails over South Molton

The first two images show a normal contrail which disappears very quickly, the rest shows a number of skytrails which persist for much longer.  Any ideas why? - replies to our  Guest Book  There is an interesting article on Wikipedia about chemtrails which you can access here.  There is also a great deal of information about chemtrails at this website chemtrail-page.html  A video can be watched on YouTube here.

A report from a Boston, USA. website video states that the chemicals being sprayed upon us include:

Ethylene Dibromide, a chemical pesticide which is a carcinogen and chemical toxin.

Aluminium, which is a metal associated with Alzheimers Disease.

Barium, which is a radioactive substance.

Don't believe the government would spray us with something nasty?  They've done it before! Read this report in the Guardian. Many of these tests involved releasing potentially dangerous chemicals and micro-organisms over vast swaths of the population without the public being told.

This is the beginning of an article on chemical spraying by by Claude-Michel Prévost.  To read the full article please click here.

This is a must watch video from Serbia's Nikola Alecsic to President Tadic - click here

Over the past ten years, through research and the personal accounts of many individuals, it has become readily apparent that the aluminum and barium salt mixtures, polymer fibers, toxic chemicals and biologicals sprayed in the atmosphere are the irritants that are either directly or indirectly responsible for health problems on the rise in the United States and elsewhere.

These toxic particulates are rapidly absorbed from the respiratory system and / or the gastrointestinal tract and are deposited in the lungs, muscles, and bone.

This illegal aerial spraying is producing atmospheric and ground conditions detrimental to human and animal health but favorable to the growth of harmful molds / fungus.

There is also a truly frightening video on YouTube - watch it here.

And yet another here

The first two images below show contrails which are harmless and do not persist for long - the rest of the images show chemtrails....

and this on 13th November at 4.30pm

The following two images were taken on the morning of 21st January 2011.  The top picture shows more chemtrails and the bottom shows the way in which the chemicals spread across South Molton.

The following four images were taken on March 9th and 10th.  The first image is interesting as it shows a chemtrail stop abruptly as if the spray had run out or was turned off.  This is the trail in the centre of the image pointing upwards.  The fourth image shows spraying going on behind the clouds.

The question is what chemicals are being sprayed and by whom - and for what purpose.  This is obviously something the government is doing without telling us.  These chemicals will fall to earth, get into the soil and the water and eventually get into us and our families via the food we eat.

This is a must read article with loads of information on what we are being sprayed with - click here.

And this is how a clear blue sky shoild look like:

Somerfield out - Sainsbury's in!

The old Somerfield store is no more as work on the new Sainsbury's supermarket progresses.  See the pics below for the latest....

The old Somerfield store.  Below - the new store now open for business.  However it seems as always we have to watch prices as a pack of "on offer" Braeburn apples 99p at Sainsbury's were priced at 68p at Tescos.  Caveat Emptor!

The Factory Shop opens in South Molton

A Factory Shop has opened in South Street, South Molton.  This is in the premises of the former MK Home Hardware shop.  A wide range of goods is available - most at bargain prices.  While customers may be pleased the impact upon other shops in the town remains to be seen.

Photos show the shop front and the rear with parking.

A New Care Home for South Molton?

A new Care Home for South Molton is on the cards - the proposed site will be on vacant land adjoining the Kidney Unit between Widgery Drive and Raleigh Mead.  Access for vehicles will be from Raleigh Mead and there will be a public footpath and cycle way between Widgery Drive and Raleigh Mead.  The project is being designed by architects Burritt Holland Ltd of Waterrow, Taunton on behalf of Eastleigh Care Homes Ltd.  We hope to be able to show an artist's impression of the proposed complex soon.

The photographs below show the proposed site at the top of Widgery Drive and work in progress.

Introducing the South Molton Group for the Visually Impaired.

We are a group of visually impaired people who meet on the first and third Mondays of the month at the George Hotel, South Molton at 10.30a.m.  We share information and discuss experiences and treatments.  We also act as a pressure group for people with visual impairment.  We are a social group and are associated with the Devon County Association for the Blind and the See/Hear in Barnstaple.  Most of our members suffer from Macular Degeneration.  Our Chairman for 2009 is Miss Maureen Rees.  Telephone number 01769-574571.  New members are most welcome!

Is it a sheep, a ram, a pig or is it maybe.....a Gnu?

The refurbishment of the Town Hall is nearly complete.  The Town's Coat of Arms on the front of the building however looks different.  What started out as a ram and then became a sheep has now become a bit of a hybrid.  See the Images below.  Left to right: as it was in the wood carved courtroom version c1740 - On the front of the Town Hall before the renovation - and after the renovation.  This is what English Heritage calls "renovation". Do they know what they are doing?  Of course, as usual, we the taxpayers have to foot the bill for this amateurish representation of our Coat of Arms!  Why was it necessary to disfigure the stone carving with red and blue paint?  The lower photograph shows the Town Hall with the work completed.

Image copyright Gordon Bray 2009. Image copyright Gordon Bray 2009.

Image copyright Gordon Bray 2009.

Amory Centre Opens

The Amory Centre is now open for business - the open day was 31st October 2008.  The new Library opens next week.  First impressions are:  lots of money spent on what may to be a white elephant as far as the rooms to let are concerned - woefully inadequate toilet facilities - a temperamental lift which stuck between floors when I was there - a super Library and a high standard of workmanship all round.  Pictures below.

The Reception Desk

The Waiting Area

The Garden Room

The Conference Room

The Beech Room

The Library

Our Dishonest District Council

Civic Centre, Barnstaple.

This is the Civic Centre in Barnstaple – home of the North Devon District Council. Inside you will find honest employees with your interests at heart led by a team of honest councilllors.

True? No – unfortunately not. This is where employees tell lies and others cover up the lies. Even councillors join in to protect the dishonest employees.

A few years ago these despicable people could close ranks and shut out any complaints – no one would know about it or could even get at the facts. Now, with the Freedom of Information Act and the Internet there is no hiding place for dishonest employees and councillors.

Click here to read all about the way the council lets us down – all the names are there.

Beech House

Beech House, South Molton.

The photo above shows Beech House, a residential care home for the elderly of the town.  There is a possibility that this facility will be lost if the Devon County Council have their way.   The following letter tells all about this mad scheme to demolish a building only thirty or so years old.

Re Beech House Residential Care Home, South Molton, North Devon

On February 27th 1975, Mr. Jack Carter, seven times Mayor and a Freeman of the borough of South Molton opened the new Beech House. In his speech he said, "Beech House is fortunate in being much more than bricks and mortar. It has excellent staff and a good spirit in a home that has the latest up-to-date facilities". There were 51 residents, the eldest being 96 years old.

Thirty-three years later, with an aging population, there is a proposal to demolish this facility for the vulnerable elderly and to build extra care housing in spite of the fact that David Johnstone the Director of Adult & Community Services admits that this will leave South Molton short of residential care. I understand that there are 41 residents living at Beech House at present and would like to know how many of these elderly people would be fit to live in this new development? Beech House also provides day care and additional support for many older people who live independently in their own homes, what is planned for them?

Apparently this proposal is based on the "assumption" that there will no longer be a demand for this number of residential care beds in South Molton and that more people are exercising a choice to stay at home as long as possible – this is a red herring as this choice has always been an option. This proposal seems to contradict the fact that there is often a waiting list for people to enter Beech House either for short term or long term care. It is natural and understandable that everyone wants to live in his or her own home whilst they are fit and able to do so, but in a town with a population of over 4000 and a catchment area of around 20,000, there is bound to be a proportion that need good residential care.

In addition to North Devon Homes warden controlled housing which provides some support for the independent elderly, South Molton has two Abbeyfield homes that provide "extra" care with a resident manager – providing bed/sitting rooms and bathrooms and a communal dining/sitting room where two meals each day are provided but residents cannot stay there if the time comes that they need 24 hours a day care – the same will apply in the proposed "extra care" development – what will happen to these old people then?

The South Molton Community Hospital has an ongoing problem with patients who no longer need nursing care but either do not feel able to return to their own homes and choose residential care or who need 24 hour care – how will the closing of a residential care home in the town increase the choices open to them?

I put the question; is this proposal that has been based on an "assumption" in the best interest of the elderly population of our town, or is it to save money or is it to fall in line with a flawed government policy?

Letter published in the South Molton News.

A Youth Resource Centre for South Molton?

The Tennis Courts in South Molton's Central Park
The Tennis Courts, South Molton.

A report in this weeks Journal states that the Council has decided to use the Tennis Courts (photo above) for the new Youth Centre rather than take up yet more space in Central Park - good news as far as the park is concerned as it is the only green space we have left in the centre of the town.  The park has over the years been built up to leave less than half the grassed area that existed when I was a lad.  Any more encroachment should be resisted - the park belongs to the people of the town and should not be used by the Council as a convenient building site!

It is reported that the Centre will be used for IT training and further education - have the Council forgotten that we have a Community College that is well equipped and able to provide these services.  Why go to the expense of duplicating what already exists?  As far as the agencies mentioned in the report why could they not use not use the offices in the proposed Amory House, after all they would have to be available in the evening when the youth of the town was not at school?

One more suggestion - when the library and council offices move to Amory House there will be a empty building that, with a few minor alterations, could be used to house the proposed Youth Centre.  No waiting for a new build, no loss of two tennis courts and a saving of £400, 0000 of taxpayers money!

I see that Cllrs. Worden and Sewell are, according to a local newspaper, set to "regenerate" South Molton's "ugly park".  May I remind our Town Council that the park has reached it's present state due to their neglect and continued encroachment, recently for instance by the Pip Centre and the Skate Park.  The two councillors engaged in this enterprise may not wish to be told that the Wikipedia definition of the word "park" in this context is "A piece of land with few or no buildings within or adjoining a town, maintained for recreational and ornamental purposes".  I wonder how much taxpayers money will be wasted on this project and what will be the benefits for Moltonians.

When I was a youngster in the late 1930s early 1940s the park extended from Mill Street to where the road enters from New Road.  There were two see-saws at the Mill Street end and several mature trees with iron seats placed close to the trunks.  There was a tennis court where the Skateboard Park is now.  Since then, with the permission of our Town Council, the following encroachments have taken place reducing by about two thirds the open space that was once our park.  The Cattle Market, the Scout Hut, the PIP centre, the Skateboard Park, the Swimming Pool, the Bowling Club and the Tennis Court which is soon to be used as a convenient building site for the proposed Youth "Resource" Centre, whatever that means!

And now the Council wants to "regenerate" our park.....

The photograph below was taken in 1936 and shows what a pleasant open green space it used to be.

South Molton Park in the 30s.

The lastest council building project on Central Park on the tennis courts.

The completed building - standing empty and unused April 2011.

Is it worth the bother complaining?

Last year we published a photo of the Churchyard showing the dandelions and weeds on the paths.  This year the weeds are just as bad - see the photo.  A letter to the town clerk, Malcolm Gingell, two or three years ago elicited the usual response from the South Molton Town Council - "not our responsibility".  However , correspondence with the District Council confirmed that the weeds on the cobbled areas were indeed the Councils responsibility and these were subsequently dealt with.  So why are the paths still a disgrace?  The recent appointment of a worker to market South Molton raises the question, how do you market a tip?  Answers on a postcard....

Well now - it appears that the Council have done a spray job on the weeds seen today 5th October 2007.  However the Churchyard still looks a mess - I wonder if the Council realises that due to their neglect all summer the weeds have dropped their seeds and a new crop is waiting to grow.  We shall leave these images in place to remind the Council to deal with the weeds next year before they seed - will they take any notice?

The following image from a postcard dated around 1905 shows the same path weed free - if they could do it why can't we?

On the other hand - well done to the Council for keeping the Recreation Ground in good order!

Below is an old postcard showing the "Rec" as it was early in the 1900s.

A New Twinning?

There is the possibility of South Molton being twinned with the German town of Bad Bevensen in Lower Saxony.  Bad Bevensen is a well known spa town - we hope to be able to include a few photos of the town in due course.
In the meantime here is the link to Bad Bevensen's website:   It is in German but there are photos to look at.

Another Twinning?

Well maybe not exactly a twinning - this is a report from the Town Council about establishing contacts between the South Molton area and a district in the African country of Ghana:


"Resolution for the establishment of Sister City relationship between South Molton and the Shama District of Ghana.


The South Molton Council at its meeting held on Tuesday 25th November 2008 considered the establishment of a Sister ‘City’ relationship between Shama District in the Western Region of the Republic of Ghana and the South Molton area in England.


The Council resolved to:


  1. thank the executive of the Shama region for their kind invitation to become ‘Sister’ cities and their outline of possible areas for future cooperation. The ideas are noted and although some may be difficult to fulfil, a start can be made on some of the suggestions and other areas will develop over time.
  2. take the necessary measures to establish Sister ‘City’ relations between Shama District and South Molton in order to bring benefits to both communities.
  3. ask the Mayor of South Molton to take the necessary action to sign a Memorandum of Understanding with the Hon. District Chief Executive of Shama District to be witnessed by the President of the African Global Sister Cities Foundation/Minister for Local Government, Rural Development and Environment.
  4. promote the linking of organisations between the two communities and develop areas of cooperation between the two areas.
  5. encourage exchange programmes between the two areas.
  6. invite the surrounding parishes to be involved in being part of this relationship"

There is an interesting report about the District of Shama by David Worden available here.  Here are some photos:

MA2K Ltd's Skateboard Park Project

The new Skateboard Park in South Molton's Central Park is now complete.  Although not yet officially open it is already proving popular with skateboarders.  Apparently MA2K Ltd. need to transfer the running of the Skateboard Park to a Management Committee to comply with the lease from the Town Council.  Latest news is that a date for opening has been fixed for the 23rd Sept. 2006 but no details are available - watch this space!  Yes there was an opening ceremony but there does not appear to be a Management Committee or any supervision of the Skateboard Park as was originally planned by MA2K Ltd.  Users of the Park will do so at their own risk.

The new Skateboard Park in South Molton's Central Park
The new Skateboard Park at South Molton.

The South Molton Union Workhouse

Anyone with an interest in South Molton's past will find a great deal of information about Beech House, formerly the South Molton Union Workhouse, on a Website run by Peter Higgenbotton .  It can be accessed at

The former South Molton Union Workhouse in North Road

What shall we do with the Old Infant School?

The former Infant School, New Road, South MoltonThe old Infant School in New Road has been empty now for over three years - no use has yet been found for the building.  According to the Devon County Council their solicitor has been unable to discover who actually owns the property and intends to "pass the keys and responsibility for the buildings to the local vicar and churchwardens".  Won't they be pleased!  (See the Contributions page for a short history of the school.)

With regard to the ownership of the property the following extract from a book containing notes about the history of South Molton held by the Museum may help.   The notes are believed to have been written in the latter half of the 19th century by the then Vicar of South Molton:

"In consequence of the National School being reorganized and placed under a Master no child was admitted under 6 years old.  The Infant School was consequently started in St. Anne's Chapel, then removed to a house in the Church Yard, then in 1853 to the house occupied by Miss ?, and in 1859-60 to new school built by subscription as British Schools on a site given by Sir T. Acland "

The latest development is reported in a newsletter from the Molton Area 2000 people.  This states that the police are negotiating with the landowners with a view to relocating the police station in the old Infant School building in order to be located in a  "town centre site".  Following this up we have discovered from Molton Area 2000 that the police are not actually negotiating but are trying to trace the owners.  So the report in the MA2K newsletter was at the least misleading!

The South Molton Archive is at present in the process of gathering material and photographs with a view to getting this important building listed.  

Latest news: the application to list the building has been turned down!

The temporary classrooms have been removed - picture below.

The former Infant School, New Road, South Molton

Subsequent to the above the police have put in a planning application for change of use to a police station.  The application is available to view at the South Molton Council Office (1 East Street).  There is not much information as to the intended use or alterations to the actual buildings but the road passing the site could be changed to a single carriageway with priority to traffic into the town centre.  Given the amount of traffic in New Road this is about as mad-brained a proposal as is likely to be heard from any so-called authority!  Why is this considered necessary?  Answers on a postcard.....

Latest News - very interesting!

We have obtained a copy of the agreement between the Trustees and the Police - this document is rubber-stamped Michelmores, Solicitors of Exeter.  The demise paid by the Police was £7,500, the annual rent is £1,000 and the document is dated 13th April 2006.  The agreement refers to the letting of the "former site of the South Molton C of E Infant School".  This is curious as the school was set up as non-denominational, was always referred to as the South Molton Infant School and continued thus when taken over by the Devon County Council in the 1930s.  So have the Police taken over a site that does not exist?

One further point is that an advert was placed in the Journal on 26th January 2006 referring to an application to the Secretary of State for Education for an order to "allow the assets of the foundation to be used for the benefit of new and continuing schools of the same denomination within the Diocese".  If the the former Infant School was non-denominational this application is meaningless as there is no Diocese.  So where would the assets go?

Would the trustees please clarify the situation?

We have received the following e-mail on behalf of the Trustees which we consider to be a totally satisfactory explanation of what is happening to the former Infant School.  Thank you Mr. Spain!

"Dear Mr Bray

Thank you for your recent e-mail, which I have discussed with Michelmores,Solicitors of Exeter and would address the points which you make as follows:

a. The premises included in the Lease are defined by reference to the Lease plan and not by reference to the address of the land on the front sheet of the Lease.The site taken over by the Police under the terms of the Lease is therefore the land edged in re on the Lease plan which is of course the site of the former South Molton Infants School.

b.The reference on the front sheet of the Lease to the school being Church of England is incorrect. The confusion arising from the fact that various parties had referred to the school as a Church of England school. However,trusts of the school are specifically non-denominational.

c.The purpose of the public notes published in The Times,Church Times and North Devon Journal was to invite potential reverter claimants to come forward before any scheme dealing with assets of the Foundation is made. No confirmed notice of any person claiming the benefit of the reverter has been received.

d.The scheme to be applied for by the Trustees will be a scheme which provides new charitable trusts for the property.New charitable trusts will be non-denominational in the same way as the original trusts.The new trusts is a matter for the Charities Commission and are likely to be similar in character to the original trusts

e. The school trustees were required as a matter of charity law and did indeed obtain independent valuation advice under the Charities Act in respect of the Lease to the Constabulary.The advice given by Richard Smith in his Charities Act Valuation Report dated 7th March 2006 was that the terms of the Lease were the best that were then available and his recommendation was that those terms should be accepted by the Trustees without reservation. The parties did of course enter into a separate agreement under which the Constabulary would undertake significant repairing as well as refurbishment obligations.

f. It is the Trustee's intention that any assets of the foundation should be used to the benefit of South Molton Infants School and South Molton United Cof E Junior School.

I hope that I have fully addressed the points raised


Robert Spain"

The new Police Station, South Molton.

Have you a comment about the former South Molton Infant School for our Guest Book?

New Homes planned

It appears that 200 new homes are planned for South Molton on land between the Hospital and Cook's Cross.  With the current price of nearly a quarter of a million being asked for a smallish family sized home one wonders who will able to afford to buy them and where will all these people earn the kind of salary to be able to get a mortgage?  Picture below shows work in progress.

Raleigh Mead, South Molton
Raleigh Mead, South Molton.

More New Homes

The photo below, taken looking south from near the Gunswell Lane pedestrian entrance, shows more new homes at West Lea off West Street.

New homes at West Mead, South Molton
West Lea, South Molton.

And yet more New Homes

This is an estate off West Street called The Meadows - the photo was taken from Livarot Walk looking North and shows the progress of the second phase.

And even more New Homes

Homes for the over 55s at Kingdon's Court, North Street in the former E J Kindon's builders yard.

The Town Council get it right!

A Town Council success story is the farmers market on Saturday mornings in the pannier market.  On sale are olives, flowers, fish, veg., pictures, pine furniture, hardware, plants clothes etc.  The market is well patronised and very popular with tourists.

The Pannier Market at South Molton
The Pannier Market, South Molton.

Our Dishonest District Council!

When the family housing estate Moorland Rise was built there was an access to a building site rear of Underhill prepared and approved by the Council - this was subsequently ignored by the planners and the entrance was allowed through Hares Green.  This decision changed Hares Green to one of mixed housing - seventeen years or so after the bungalows were sold on the basis of being a development of sheltered retirement bungalows with a minimum age limit of 55 and conditions to ensure the amenity of the residents.  These conditions do not apply to the new property!

By allowing the entrance from Hares Green the Council breached one of their own planning conditions, told a series of lies to try to justify the decision to the public and to the Local Government Ombudsman and then tried to cover up the lies following a complaint about them.  The money grabbing Council also demanded, and got, £25,000 for the right to cross the narrow strip of grass at the end of the parking area in Hares Green.

Read all about the lies, who told them and who tried to cover them up by clicking this link Council Lies. You can also read a letter from the former Leader of the Council, Cllr. Malcolm Prowse, in which he claims these allegations are "unjustified and unfairly discredit council staff".  This is very strange as all the allegations are supported by proof taken from the Council's own documentation!

There also a link to a page we call THE WEDGE which drive deep into the Council to expose the dishonest employees and Councillors!

Hares Green showing the drive to the new family house

The photo below shows the intended entrance from Moorland Rise - this was approved under planning application 30527 although curiously the Council's planners told the Ombudsman that this entrance had been carefully considered but was not acceptable to the Council.  So why was planning application 30527 approved as it clearly showed this to be the proposed entrance?  So now residents of Moorland Rise have a permanent eyesore on their otherwise neat little site. 

The intended entrance to the new property from Moorland Rise

Mole Valley Farmers open new store.

Mole Valley Farmer's new store at Pathfields, South Molton
Mole Valley Farmers new store at South Molton.

Mole Valley Farmers store at Path Fields Business Park opened on Tuesday March 2nd 2004 - The North Devon Link wishes this go-ahead local enterprise good luck in its new premises.  However, there is some concern over the direction this company is taking - you can read all about it on a website authored by John James MBE, one of the founding members of Mole Valley Farmers.

Smart new web site for East Street Surgery.

East Street Surgery now have their own smart new web site.  The site provides useful information on how to register with the Practice, the medical staff, services offered and the out of hours cover.  There is also a good section about caring for your health.  You can access the web site here.

East Street Surgery, South Molton
East Street Surgery, South Molton

Postscript - has anybody got a surplus dictionary?

The Journal reports that there is a proposal in the pipeline from Bray Valley Wines to set up a shop within the new units in the Pathfields Industrial Estate. It appears that Cllr. Sewell has proposed and had, remarkably, the proposal seconded by the Council to write to the applicant to ask how they intend to use the site. I can reveal that the term "shop" implies that, as stated in the Concise Oxford Dictionary, the use will be: - "Building, room etc. for retail sale of some commodity".  Just like Mole Valley Farmers (who sell wine) as pointed out by Cllr. John Mair who was apparently the only Councillor awake at the time.....

Bray valley wines new store.

Woodlands Enterprise Centre

This is the new Woodlands Enterprise Centre at Pathfields.  Not much of a take up to date - we will update as and when the rest of the units are let.

Update:  There are only two units let at present as Little Dart has disappeared!


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