I wanted to tell you all that your Association, the OVA, is alive and well, although largely in hibernation. We have had to curtail so many of our activities and even ones that were planned in the future. However some activities have still been taking place, observing government restrictions.
The walking group has resumed their programme, but generally restricted to six participants. However at the discretion of the walk leader this may be increased to twelve persons. Heather Fereday advises me that we are exempt from the restrictions to social gatherings as per the directive of 22nd Sept. Nevertheless it is necessary to book a place.
On Saturday, 19th Sept. we held our delayed annual litter pick in partnership with the Pebblebed Heaths Conservation Trust. It was organised by Geoff Porter and Kate Ponting of the PBHC. The event was limited to thirty persons and because of this restriction we were unable to invite all our usual participants. I am sorry if this has disappointed some of you, who like the famous hippopotamus, love to wallow in glorious mud. It did fit in with the national litter pick. A full report along with reports of other such activities can be found in this week's Exmouth Journal.(Sept.30th). No prizes this year for the best finds, however the best ones were a traffic cone and an oil drum. Although other groups carry out the same activity, I believe that we are the only ones that actually clear the estuary. It was heartening that the amount collected was less than in previous years. Dare I hope that people are becoming more rubbish aware?
We made a submission to the East Devon District Council , being supportive of the decision that they made regarding rejection of the Greater Exeter Strategic Plan. We continue to respond to significant planning applications in our area. A response has been submitted to the government's 'Changes to the current planning policy'consultation on changes to planning policy and regulations. For this we followed closely EDDC's excellent response which had cross party support in the Strategic Planning Committee - this involved future calculation of housing numbers and how affordable housing could be increased in the current system. We will also respond to the White Paper 'Planning for the Future' due by 31st Oct. These will be found on our website in due course.
The Himalayan Balsam campaign lead by Patrick Hamilton has again been taking place, with several new volunteers. They continue to 'fight the good fight, with all their might', and although the season is coming to an end have chalked up their usual successes. This year has been quite rewarding for them as they have been tackling the brook from Squabmoor Reservoir through to Budleigh. This is a doable stretch as they were able to start at the source. They have also made really good progress with the Colaton Raleigh Brook. There are still a few weeks to go, so if you feel so inclined call Patrick on 01395 445351. Plucking balsam can be very therapeutic.
The Local Heritage Project continues, led by Dee Woods, but is restricted. However contact with the designated planning officer from EDDC is still taking place to establish local listings.
Sadly, our Xmas party has been shelved this year, as has our season of winter talks which Peter Baldwin had arranged. We are continuing of course to follow the various rulings as they unfold and will enlarge on our activities as we are able.
I hope that you all weather this dreadful storm and emerge unscathed.