Chairman’s Report 2019

The Trust has been involved in a number of projects over the past year, but two, in particular, have taken most effort:

Woodside Bridge:

After a relatively slow start to fundraising in 2018, this past year has seen a massive uplift in the effort, resulting in sufficient funds having been raised to replace the iconic Woodside Bridge in the Watersmeet Valley.

My thanks must go to the members of the subcommittee who, working in partnership with the Exmoor National Park Authority (ENPA) and the National Trust (NT), have ensured work will start on the replacement bridge in late April 2020.

Special mention must be made of the ENPA Caremoor fundraising scheme, which has supplied the majority of funds through the efforts of the coordinator, Philip Kiberd, and the generosity of ENPA members in allowing ENPA staff to run the Project from tendering through Planning and on to the appointment and overseeing of the successful contractor. ENPA will continue to manage the project through to completion.

Between ENPA and LCDT, over £73,000 has been raised and a special opening ceremony at a date to be arranged will be a fitting tribute to all our efforts.

At the same time, efforts have been made to improve access from the bridge to Middleham Gardens, and my thanks go to the Royal Marines Commando Engineers from Chivenor who have dismantled a two-ton boulder and fallen tree, removing them from the path just above Middleham.

Overall another very successful project which has raised the profile of the Trust considerably.

Affordable Housing:

Another major project was undertaken by the Trust, in conjunction with Wessex Community Housing, under the leadership of Chris Sleep. After initial enthusiasm and hard work from the members of this subcommittee, matters stalled somewhat following elections to the North Devon District Council (NDDC), and subsequent delays in dealing with new officers.

However, progress has been made with a number of potential sites having been identified, and discussions are underway to see if any

one site can be taken forward through the various necessary stages. This is very much a long-term project, but one which the Trust sees as vital to the needs of the local community.

Other activities:

After the successful implementation of the Air Ambulance landing site at Holman Park, the Trust is playing a monitoring role to ensure the site continues to be fit for purpose.

Under the leadership of Suzette Hibbert, the maintenance and improvement of the Middleham Gardens site continues, with the felling of dangerous trees and replacement of signage and interpretation boards being the primary aim this year.

The Market Hall premises in Lynton is a prime asset which the Trust runs, and a lot of work has been undertaken in the past year, and beyond, to maintain the fabric, put in place sound contractual leases on various parts of the site and generally manage the premises. My thanks must go to Phil Taylor for his ongoing hard work, expertise and commitment to this area of the Trust’s workload.

The Trust is both a Charity and Limited Company, and just recently a resolution was passed to move to a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO). The intention is to maintain the charitable status of the Trust, simplify the necessary paperwork involved and protect the members’ liabilities. The conversion process is ongoing and, once again, my thanks go to Phil Taylor who is leading this work on the Trust’s behalf.

In closing, I would like to record my grateful thanks to the Directors and Officers of the Trust for their hard work and support this year, and to all local organisations and individuals who have assisted the Trust in any way.

David Wilde