Latest News

West Down Parish Council Vacancy for Clerk and Responsible Finance Officer

West Down Parish Council is looking for a proactive and enthusiastic individual to take on the role of Clerk to the Council and Responsible Finance Officer (RFO).

Number of hours: 18 hrs per month (flexible schedule).

Salary Banding:  In line with the National Association of Local Councils pay scale and is dependent on qualifications and experience.

Start Date: As soon as possible.

West Down is a small parish with a population of about 700.  There are 8 Parish Councillors who normally meet on the first Wednesday of each month at 7.30pm in the Parish Hall.  The successful candidate will need to work from home.  The Council will provide a laptop, printer and consumables.

The Clerk will be responsible for managing the day-to-day business of the Council, including the production of the agenda/minutes for all Council meetings, liaising with outside bodies as well as implementing Council decisions.  The Clerk/RFO will also be responsible for all the financial transactions and records of the Council and the administration of its finances.

We are seeking someone with confidence, interpersonal and communication skills to deal with a wide range of people.

Prior experience of local government or committee work would be beneficial, but training and support in all aspects of the job will be provided.  We work as a very supportive and friendly team.

To apply, please email your CV and a covering letter, including contact details, to the council Chairman on

A full Job Description and Person Specification are available from the Chairman on request. Closing Date for applications is 13th August 2021.

Scam calls with matching numbers

The National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) is warning the public to be vigilant of scam calls that appear to be coming from numbers similar to their own. Commonly, the first seven digits (07nnnnn) match the victim’s own number.  The calls impersonate well-known government organisations, or law enforcement agencies, and will ask the recipient of the call to “press 1” in order to speak with an advisor, or police officer, about unpaid fines or police warrants.
In May 2021, Action Fraud received 2,110 scam call reports where the caller’s number matched the first seven digits of the victim’s own phone number.  Of these, 1,426 (68%) referred to HMRC or National Insurance.  Victims have also reported receiving these types of calls, and messaging, via widely-used messaging apps, such as WhatsApp.

What you need to do: 

  1. Government and law enforcement agencies will not notify you about unpaid fines or outstanding police warrants by calling or texting you. Do not respond to any calls or texts you receive about these.
  2. Always take a moment to stop and think before parting with money or your personal information, it could prevent you from falling victim to fraud. Remember, it’s okay to reject, refuse or ignore any requests.  Only criminals will try to rush or panic you.
  3. If you receive a suspicious text message, you can report it by forwarding the message to 7726. It’s free of charge.
  4. Suspicious telephone/mobile calls can be reported to Action Fraud via their website:

For more information about how to protect yourself online, visit and and follow @DC_CyberProtect on Twitter.

IMPORTANT – A399 Brayford Road Closure

The A399 will be closed for a length of 3km between Mockham Down Gate and Bray Barn, Brayford.  The Closure will be enforced 8:00am – 8:00pm from 12th – 15th July and 19th – 22nd July.

As you may be aware, there are many Ash trees across Devon that have been infected with Ash Dieback (Hymenoscyphus fraxineus).  This infection is an invasive species and slowly kills Ash trees from crown to root.  This is a highly destructive fungal disease with a devastating effect on the native ash trees across the United Kingdom, which causes the structural integrity of trees to be significantly reduced posing a hazard to public safety.

Devon County Council commissioned a detailed inspection of the trees in falling distance of the A399 highway at Brayford, which took place on 08th June 21.  This inspection identified 220 trees along the highway that were either dead or in a poor condition and require removal by the end of July 2021.

We understand the frustration and inconvenience to the public in this case and are doing all we can to ensure this work can be done with the least disruption.  The priority here must be the continued safety of the highway for which we are working tirelessly to maintain.

Further information and diversion routes can be found at the Devon Webpage:

West Down Community Shop is Seeking a New Weekend Assistant

West Down Community Shop is the hub of the village.  During COVID, staff and volunteers not only served our community but they also looked after them, making sure all was well with people who were isolating.  We are looking for someone who has a friendly disposition who can help maintain a welcoming atmosphere.  We would like someone who can work well in a team and deliver the highest standards of customer service.  Experience within a retail environment would be desirable but not necessary as full training will be given to the successful candidate.

The job will entail but not limited to:

–  Delivering great customer service
–  Taking delivery of Newspapers
–  Stocking up shelves ensuring stock rotation
–  Taking and making orders
–  Cash handling
–  Shop tidying and cleaning
–  Opening and securing the premises
–  Deputising when the Manager is absent

If interested, please contact Sue Bond 01271 864264 or email

Braunton Neighbourhood Police Newsletter July 2021

(Click here for PDF)

Devon & Cornwall Police have launched a summer-long campaign to help reduce
Demand on their 101 non-emergency number

The new campaign – whichever way you choose to contact us, #ItsPersonal, aims to educate residents and visitors to the area about the different ways to contact the police and explain that every contact the Force receives about a policing issue is answered by a member of their team, whether it’s online or by phone.

By reassuring anyone who wants to make contact with the police, be that online or over the phone, that their query is being dealt with by a real person, it is hoped more people will choose to use the online contact options and there will be a reduction in the non-emergency call waiting times.  If more people use the police online contact methods, it leaves the phone lines free for those who might not have access to the internet to contact the police.

Anyone wishing to contact the police with non-emergency queries or reports can easily access the online options – WebChat, Report Crime Online and Email 101.

WebChat – 
WebChat allows you to talk online directly with the police contact centre – just the same as calling us.  WebChat is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and can be used to ask questions, report non-urgent crime, and receive updates on existing crime.

Report Crime Online –
Report Crime Online is an easy way to report information to us or report an incident or crime.  Simply record all the details on the online form then submit the form via the website.

Email 101 –
Email 101 to ask a question, tell the police something or report non-urgent crime.  The email service is monitored daily.

Alternatively, the Force’s contact centre staff are available to answer your calls day or night should you still wish to call.  We would recommend before calling the 101 non-emergency number, you visit the force’s website to check the current waiting times –

Every contact the police receive about a policing issue is answered by a member of their team, whether it’s through one of their online options or on the phone.  Whichever way you choose to contact the police, #ItsPersonal.

West Down Community Shop

Dear Villager,

I am writing on behalf of West Down Community Shop Ltd.  We are aware that many new people have moved in to the village over the last year and we hope that this will be of interest to them as well as being an update for more established residents.

The community shop that we are lucky enough to have in our village today was taken on by a small group of villagers in 2012 as a means of serving the people of West Down, who would otherwise be reliant on public transport or their cars for day-to-day groceries – not very convenient or environmentally friendly if all you need is a pint of milk or loaf of bread.

The business side of the shop is run by a small committee of local people who take on the roles of treasurer and vice-treasurer, secretary and vice-secretary, chair and vice-chair, with other tasks including publicity, minute taking and DIY expert being equally important.  The shop cannot run without these people but at least four of these roles will become vacant in the near future.

Do you have any skills that could help us?  Have you any experience in running a business large or small, book-keeping, or could you perhaps develop a web page for us? We really need to hear from you and nominations for places on the committee are now available ahead of our AMM in June.  The closing date for nominations at the AMM is 10 May.  Please consider anything that you might be able to contribute, either for a regular slot in the shop or on our (honestly very friendly!) committee by contacting either Sara Hodsman at or Wendy Neligan at, or just pop in to the shop for a chat.  We’d love to hear from you and frankly, we can’t carry on without you.

The shop is run entirely for the good of the village and does not aim to make a profit above what is needed to cover our costs.  To keep our overheads to a minimum, only our manager and weekend assistant earn a salary, with all other staff being volunteers.  As a volunteer myself, I have found this to be a very rewarding experience, allowing me to get to know far more people in the village, learn new skills, and I really feel that I am contributing to my local community.  Over the last year, this has been particularly important as we have been able to support vulnerable and shielding villagers with grocery deliveries and to allow many people to be able to ‘stay local’ – and we never ran out of loo rolls!  We are also a hub of local knowledge, look after the village defibrillator and will always, always be happy to chat.

On a less altruistic note, having a village shop has a very positive impact on our house prices.  Watch a couple of episodes of Escape to the Country and it becomes obvious that a pub and local shop are the absolute musts for the perfect village to move to.  Add to that our excellent school and pretty church and we would seem to have it all. However – times are tough for the shop at present.  Many of our volunteers have not been able to help us due to the pandemic and some will not be coming back, it has recently been very difficult for us to maintain our usual hours.  We desperately need a few new people to step up and don the WDCS apron.  Full training is given and most people commit to just a two-hour weekly shift, which is a small amount of time but would make such a big difference.

Finally – there is no point in having a shop unless we use it.  Consider perhaps ordering your regular milk, bread, newspaper, yogurt or eggs from us, put in a weekly grocery order or buy your wine and beer from us, or maybe just make sure that you pop in for the odd ice-cream or tin of beans, it all helps.  We try to buy locally grown and produced items as far as possible, so we may be a couple of pence more expensive than Tesco but we try and be competitive and many items are identical in price and after all, you don’t have to get your car out.  Our stock is constantly changing and if we don’t stock something that you would like to buy from us let us know, we’ll do our best to get it for you.

Please, please, don’t let this precious service to our village and visitors disappear.  Once it’s gone it’s gone and we’ll all be the poorer for it.  Give us a little bit of time, custom or expertise and we will thrive and so will our community.

With our very kindest regards
Wendy Neligan
Vice Chair
On behalf of WDCS Ltd.

Police and Crime Commissioner Election – Situation of Polling Stations

(See details)

A3123 Mullacott Cross to Lynton Cross

Works are to take place between the 28th June and 6th July inc.  The works will be carried out at night during a temporary road closure (7pm to 7am), with the road reopened during the daytime.
The works have also been extended so there will be a temporary closure between Lynton Cross and Easter Close Cross.  A further diversion route will be in place during this time via A399 Combe Martin, Ilfracombe, B3230 New Barnstaple Rd.
Should you require any further information please contact:
James Millichope – Devon County Council
Tel:  0345 155 1004

Voting safely at this year’s elections

On Thursday 6 May 2021 residents in North Devon and Torridge will go to the polls to have their say on who represents them at the Devon County Council and Devon and Cornwall Police and Crime Commissioner elections.

Voters have a range of options for casting their ballot: in person, by post or by appointing someone they trust to vote in their place (known as a proxy vote).

The deadline to register to vote for the May 2021 elections is midnight on Monday 19 April.  The deadline to apply for a postal vote is 5pm on 20 April, and for a proxy vote the deadline is 5pm on 27 April.

For those who choose to vote in person, safety measures will be implemented to make polling stations safe places to cast your vote on 6 May.

Voters are encouraged to keep themselves and others safe by:

  • wearing a face covering
  • bringing their own pen or pencil
  • cleaning their hands when entering and leaving the polling station
  • keeping a safe distance

Voters should not attend the polling station if they have symptoms of COVID-19, or if they have been asked to self-isolate.  There will be measures in place to apply for an emergency proxy vote if required due to health circumstances.

Judith Dark, Electoral Services Manager at North Devon Council, says: “The elections this year are very important – they’re an opportunity to make your voice heard and have a say on who represents you on issues that directly affect day-to-day life here in North Devon.  We’re thinking about these elections now so that, however you choose to cast your vote in May, you can do so safely.  We’re putting arrangements in place to help you stay safe at the polling station; you can expect many of the measures you’ve become used to in shops and banks over recent months, such as hand sanitiser, floor markings and face masks.  But you also have the option to apply to vote by post or by proxy.”

Tom Vanstone – Senior Electoral and Democratic Services Officer at Torridge says: “Making sure you’re registered to vote is important so you can have your say in this and all future elections.  Being on the electoral register may also help if you want to apply for financial products or even things like a mobile phone contract.  Options for voting have expanded over the years with many people finding the convenience and simplicity of postal voting an appealing alternative to attending a polling station.  Whichever way you decide to vote make sure you don’t miss out and apply before the deadlines stated.”

Ailsa Irvine, Director of Electoral Administration and Guidance at the Electoral Commission says: “The choice on how to vote at next May’s elections is yours – you can have your say in person, by post or by proxy.  If you’re thinking about voting by post, you can apply now.  This will make sure your application is processed early and your postal vote can be sent to you more quickly.  It’s easy to apply and you can find out how by visiting the Electoral Commission website.  You need to be registered to vote in order to have a say at the elections – the easiest way to register is online at

Residents can visit the FAQ page on the council’s website to find out more about the elections on 6 May 2021. The page will be updated with new information as it becomes available.

Any residents who have questions can also contact the elections team at or

Beware of Census 2021 Scams

Braunton Neighbourhood Police Newsletter April 2021

(Click here for PDF)

West Community Shop Newsletter April 2021

Once again a big thank you to all our customers for your continued support.  Please check out our Facebook page for new products and let us know if there is anything you would like us to stock.  Orders are very welcome and delivery can be arranged within the village.  You can order meat and veg as well as grocery items.  Easter Raffle – tickets are £1 from the Shop.

Your Village Shop – do you want to make a difference?
The Community Shop is run by an elected management committee and the next Annual Members Meeting will be on 7 June.  Would you like to get involved?  To vote at the meeting or become a member of the committee you need to be a shareholder (shares are £1).  Please email the shop for more details or a share application form.

In the shop Volunteers are always needed, but now more so than ever.  We have many shifts that we are having difficulty covering and staff shortages mean we may need to adjust our opening hours.  Please can you help us to avoid this?  Minimum slot of 2 hours. Please call Sue on 864264.

Outside the shop
We are also looking for someone to help us further improve our web site – please get in touch if you can help.

We are constantly reviewing how we do things in light of the changing Government advice on Covid so please look out for any notices and work with us as we try to keep the Shop safe for customers, staff and volunteers.  We now require all customers to wear a mask in the shop.  If for any reason you don’t feel able to do this we are happy to take any order by phone or email for you.

Community News

Mobile Library in the Square
Every first Thursday of the month 10.50 to 11.20 am, limited to one person at a time with a face mask.

Dog Waste Bins – please use them – thank you!
Located by the school, at the Parish Hall, on the green triangle by the Coronation Tree and on West Down Village Green Field.

The Post Office
Your local cash point at the Parish Hall Monday: 1.15pm – 4.15pm / Wednesday & Friday: 9.15am – 12.15pm.  Services include post & parcels, car tax, banking and cash withdrawal (most banks) and Gift Cards with a value of choice, usable at most stores.  Facemasks must be worn.

Miles Fish and Chips is back!
Every Monday from 5-7pm, starting 18 January.  MSC Certified, freshly prepared and cooked in their mobile unit.

The Crown Inn
Open for takeaway (pre-order preferred).  Friday & Saturday 6pm – 8pm / Sunday 12pm – 2pm.

St Calixtus
Sunday services have resumed at St Calixtus but they are not held every week for the time being.  Check posters and the website for up to date information.  This is being reviewed and it is hoped weekly services will commence soon.  The Easter Sunday service will be by bookings only.  Please let Andy Odell know if you wish to attend – 864427 or
Plans are now recommencing for the deferred 100th Anniversary of the erection of our war memorial.  Please look out for details soon on the website.  Save the date – Sunday 12th September at 10.30 am.

Gardening Club
Hoping to start again on Thursday, 17th June with a talk at the hall on Fuchsias.  For more information contact Jan Oades on 01271 865554

Parish Council Meetings
Via Zoom until further notice.  Please contact the Clerk or Councillors via if you have any issues you wish to discuss.

All of the above a subject to change to reflect current Covid restrictions.

Useful links

Pharmacy 2U
You can order prescriptions which are delivered direct to your door at no extra cost, please visit

West Down Covid Volunteer Group
Here to help anyone who is shielding or self-isolating.  If you need confidential help with shopping, prescriptions or errands please contact 07795529711 or

NHS Volunteer Service
Available to help those who are vulnerable to Covid, especially those over 70 or who are pregnant or have a disability, and are also there if you just need someone to talk to.  Contact 0808 196 3646 or visit

Live Well in Braunton 

Live Well has been tasked by One Northern Devon, to identify gaps in food provision for families and children with the aim to see how the community sector could step in to help.

The Survey… 
During the current Covid 19 pandemic, it has been recognized by many agencies that not only have peoples’ food habits changed but that food insecurity has become an issue for many people.  In order to gauge the impact of this Live Well in Braunton are working with One Northern Devon and the Devon Community Foundation to engage with the community around the issues being faced in our local area.  From this engagement it is hoped that specific issues may be identified which Live Well in Braunton can then help to address in some small way.

We would love to have your input and would be grateful if you could answer the questions in this short questionnaire.…/Live-Well-in-Braunton…/

A361 Road Closure for Structural Maintenance from 4th May for 4 weeks

(See details)

Everything you need to know for School on Monday 8th March

(See details)

Devon Libraries

Devon has been placed in National Lockdown, Libraries Unlimited has decided to temporarily close our buildings.  Our Choose & Collect, mobile library and computer services have been suspended until further notice.  Learn more on our Covid-19 updates page.

Devon Domestic Abuse Service

(See poster)

Notice from West Down Parish Council

We have received a great many complaints about


Please watch where your dog ‘goes’ and pick up after it.
If you have more than one dog off lead you can’t expect to watch them all.
All dog owners have an idea of when their dog needs to go. We are just asking you to be responsible for the mess and remove it.

There are 4 dog waste bins around the village –
Parish Hall, School, Community Field and Coronation Triangle


We live in a lovely village and it is in everyone’s interest to keep it that way,
so, it is important that we all do our bit.

Urgent appeal for community equipment

If you’ve got any community equipment you no longer need, please can you return it?

We urgently need commodes, walking frames, shower stools, and raised toilet seats, as increased demand during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak means these items are in danger of being in short supply.

Please contact Millbrook Care on 0330 124 4491 to arrange a free contactless collection

Selaine Saxby MP Contact Details

Dear Clerk,
I hope you are keeping safe and well at this challenging time.
I write on behalf of Selaine Saxby, MP for North Devon to share her contact details and ask if you would mind adding these details to your website and/or community newsletters.
At this time of uncertainty communities are coming together and relying on parish councils and each other more than ever, and Selaine wanted to ensure that if anyone wished to contact her for help, they were able to find the information easily. Parish websites and newsletters are a great source of information and I know are widely distributed, particularly in our villages. In particular, newsletters are important for those who may not be able to access the internet or send emails, much like the posters you were recently sent.
Selaine’s website, which is updated constantly with new information, is:
Her social media channels are:
• Twitter: @SelaineSaxby
• Instagram: @selaine_saxby_mp
• Facebook:
She can also be contacted via email at and at her office in Barnstaple for urgent cases at 01271 327990.
If you could pass these details on to the editors or administrators of your parish website and/or newsletter I would be very grateful, and if I could be copied in on that email I would also be grateful, so I might have the contact for them as well.
Please excuse the generic nature of this email, I have sent it to every clerk in North Devon.
If you or the editors should have any questions, or want more information, please do not hesitate to get back in touch with me.
Thank you for all your efforts in supporting our communities at this difficult time.
Kind regards,
Oliver John Kerr
Communications & Engagement Manager to Selaine Saxby MP
Member of Parliament for North Devon

Church House, Church Lane, Barnstaple, North Devon, EX31 1DE
01271 327990 | 07514 158914

Parish Council – Ash dieback

Ash die-back is becoming increasingly prevalent and landowners are reminded that it is their responsibility to ensure public safety. Dead or diseased trees need to be removed or made safe where they could fall across roads or pathways. Advice and information can be found on

Air Ambulance

West Down has become one of the latest villages to provide a safe landing space for the North Devon Air Ambulance.  Having already experienced the need for casualties to be evacuation using the Air Ambulance, the community came together to ensure that the helicopter could land safely by day and night.

The success of this initiative is a real tribute to the community spirit that exists, with all sections of the community coming together to provide the necessary facilities.

The Trustees of the West Down Village Green Field Association offered the landing site and the Parish Council obtained the necessary planning permission.  Fund raising for the lighting mast was aided by County and District Councillors.  West Down Women’s Institute held a cream tea which raised a substantial amount as well as being a most enjoyable event.  A grateful parishioner, who benefitted from the services of the air ambulance, was among the donors.  A local resident is providing the electricity for the mast and the air ambulance has already completed a test run.

The general Feeling is a hope that it will not be necessary to use the landing site, but it is reassuring for villages in remote locations to know that they are accessible and that aid is within easy reach.

West Down Parish Council

West Down Parish Council wish to make everyone aware that we have a fully operational AED in the village.  This is a Zoll machine and it is sited in the porch at the West Down Community Shop.  It is stored in a plastic box with an alarm on it, but there is no code to access the box and the alarm is for noise purpose only.


This machine is simple to operate and once open you follow the instructions provided by the machine – with good quality CPR the best possible care is provided to a casualty and chances of survival in a life threatening situation are raised considerably.

If anyone would like further information regarding the machine or you wanted to consider some training, please do not hesitate to contact:

Sue Ayre – 07980 182317