Village Voice 18/12/15

59 Village Voice 18-12-15 edition
Next Thursday is, of course Christmas Eve. Come and join with the whole community in the square as most of the village and parish welcome what many regard as the official start to Christmas, with carols supported by the village band, followed by mulled wine and mince pies (donations welcome). A collection will be made for local charities and the Crooked Spire will be open for post sing-song thirst-quenching. Midnight Mass of the Holy Nativity will take place at 11:30 p.m. the same evening and on Christmas Day, Family Eucharist will be at 9:30 a.m.
But before that, tomorrow Ermington’s Christingle Service will take place at 4 p.m. in church; all are very welcome.
On Boxing Day, the South Hams Hash House Harriers will meet for their traditional Boxing Day run which includes an optional dip in the sea and with a tot of rum as a reward for those brave, or mad, enough to do it. All welcome, including anyone new to hashing. Meet at midday at the beach at Challaborough, if you dare, and for those who don’t have to rush back to cook a Boxing Day lunch, we will round the run off with a drink at the Journey’s End, Ringmore. See the SH4 website for more info: http://www.sh4.org.uk/
And to end this busy year in our village, the annual parish Christmas walk will be on Sunday December 27th. The walk won’t be a hard trek, more a leisurely stroll with friends, both two- and four-legged ones included. Meet in the Square at 11am. (Weather permitting, if it is bad it will be postponed.)
The recent planning application for conversion of part of the Crooked Spire prompted a meeting of the Save the Crooked Spire group (ECSPAG) to discuss it. As the group sees it, there are a number of advantages to the proposed development in terms of utilisation of currently unused or redundant areas of the pub which would make for a more efficient and profitable business, especially if the capital raised was injected back into the pub. The inclusion of a kitchen to provide a pub food service was very welcome as was the provision of housing in Ermington.
However the group felt there were several concerns:
Firstly, the small size of the kitchen and lack of storage space for food and drink means that only a very limited service could be offered. The beer store is also very small, meaning that the pub would not be able to offer drinks to suit a wide range of tastes. Overall the plans seem to show that there is insufficient sized catering facilities. If the Crooked Spire was only able to provide basic sandwiches and snacks the operators would be unable to make a living.
The applicants say that one of the proposed dwellings uses the saloon bar part of the pub which is not used and which is redundant, but this is not the case, and the saloon bar is actively used by a number of community groups for socialising after an event, for group meetings and is used as a venue for coordinating a number of community events throughout the year. It is a valuable social venue for Ermington.
The Crooked Spire is now the only place in the village that has the potential to accommodate a village shop, for which there is now a heightened demand since the recent completion of The Spires housing development and resultant increase in population.
The two residential properties that are proposed do not provide any garden or amenity space for their potential owners. Also, the access has very restricted sightlines onto the road.
The view of ECSPAG is that this planning application signals the beginning of the end for the Crooked Spire pub and they intend to object strongly to the proposal. If you agree, they would encourage you to write your own objection letter to SHDC and to copy in the parish council who will be considering the matter on 5th January 2016. Of course the SHDC website also accepts supporting comments as well as objections. The group took a long time to make its decision and the last thing anyone wants is a village divided, but the loss of the pub would just be too sad to contemplate.
The Save the Crooked Spire Facebook page was taken down as there was no further need for it, but since then a ‘Residents of Ermington’ Facebook page has started up which offers a forum for discussion and the current planning application is one of the village matters on which views can be shared. You can still contact the group via email to: grant.ermingtoncrookedspire@gmail.com
The planning reference is 2659/15/FUL and a link to the application on the S Hams website is here: http://www.southhams.gov.uk/planningdetails?RefType=APPPlanCase&KeyText=150099