Superfast Broadband?

Is Superfast Broadband coming to Pathfields?

I ask the question because I spotted the following in the Roadworks Alerts I get from Devon County Council:

Access To Pathfields Industrial Estate, Pathfields Industrial Estate, South Molton, Devon
30 January — 12 February 
Delays possible Traffic control (Stop/Go boards)
Works location: (Pcp5) Bduk. Opposite Across Carriageway To Outside Flat Apex House, Access To Pathfields Industrial Estate. 
Works description: Install 2 Of 1 Way Power Duct In Verge,Install 3m Of 1 Way Power Duct In Footway,Install 7m Of 1 Way Power
.  .  .
Works description: Install 2m Of 1 Way Poly Duct In Footway,Provide 1 Cabinet And Base (Nga Cabinets) 

I’ve highlighted the clues above:

  • BDUK – stands for Broadband Delivery UK which is supposedly rolling out superfast broadband in rural areas in the UK, including Devon;
  • Power Duct – unlike ordinary cabinets (those green boxes by the side of the road) fibre cabinets need to have a power supply;
  • NGA – Next Generation Access is the step up from copper i.e. fibre.

If superfast broadband is coming to Pathfields this is very good news for the businesses in Pathfields. Let’s hope it makes it to South Molton proper.

Swimming Pool

SMTC have decided to form a Working Party to help the swimming pool out of their difficulties. Andrew Collier, chair of the Swimming Pool Trustees, will be a member along with a number of councillors. The first meeting will be held ASAP.


It appears that the contract to rebuild the Community College and build the new primary school would be run as a joint project by the same contractor. Two lots of planning permission, two lots of owners, two different schools. Yet only one tender, one contractor and one contract. This doesn’t give me a warm feeling.

Disabled Parking

I’m quite astounded at the number of councillors who spoke out against disabled parking in the centre of town. I’ll name and shame, Tracey Lewis, Stephen White, John Moore and Matthew Bushell. Devon County Council can also be named as they apparently have said they wouldn’t support a disabled bay in the town centre.

New Primary Schools

As part of the plans for the development of South Molton the current Infants School will gain a junior section and the current Junior School will gain an infants section.

The Infants School will expand on its current site whereas the Junior School will move to a new site at Exeter Gate. The option of expanding the Junior School on its current site was looked at but rejected as being impractical.

Because of these proposed  changes there has to be a public consultation. The first stage of this will be an “information event” which will take place on the afternoon of Wednesday 28 January. This event won’t be run in the format of a public meeting so it will be possible to attend any time between 3:30pm and 6:30pm.

What concerns me greatly are the proposed catchment areas for the two schools. In my naivety I assumed that the two schools would have the same catchment area, thus giving parents a choice (as mandated by the government!). However it appears that the two schools will two entirely distinct catchment areas. The north of the town will be served by the expanded Infants School and the south by the expanded Junior School. Presumably both schools will be renamed!

South Molton Primary Schools Catchment Areas
South Molton Primary Schools Catchment Areas

The following map shows the detailed catchment area boundary in South Molton itself:

South Molton Primary Schools Catchment Areas Detail
South Molton Primary Schools Catchment Areas Detail

To my mind these catchment areas are a nonsense. Who on earth determined them!

All the developments which currently have planning permission (or are already being built) are to the north of the purple line which runs through South Molton. In other words in the catchment area of the expanded Infants School. (It’s a shame that the map that shows South Molton in detail is so out-of-date.)

The original maps can be found here and the details of the consultation are here (both Devon County Council).

It strikes me that what will happen is that there will be a split between ‘town’ and ‘country’.  The majority of South Molton being in the catchment area of the expanded Infants School and the expanded (and relocated) Junior School largely having a rural catchment area south of the town.

Something else I find strange is that the Junior School is a Voluntary Aided school. In Voluntary Aided schools the Governing Body is the admission authority and determines the priorities for admission if the school receives more applications than places available. How is it that the County Council seems to be determining the school’s future admissions policy? Or will the new school no longer be Voluntary Aided?

The more I think about this the more I’m wondering whether it might not have made more sense for the Junior School to join with the Infants School. This would mean less disruption for the pupils, parents and staff. It would also mean that the joint school would have a permanent strong leader straight away (the Junior School still has to appoint a permanent head teacher) and the new school could start from scratch. Of course it would probably mean that the Junior School would lose it’s Voluntary Aided status and the C of E, and many parents might not be happy with that.



Disgraceful Planners

I’ve decided that the NDDC planning department are an absolute disgrace. For large developments they speak on behalf of the developer. On smaller developments they appear to take an entirely different tack and seem to oppose everything on principle. Building 172 houses is deemed sustainable but converting a barn is deemed unsustainable. How?