Borough council helping the community

In response to the challenges and opportunities faced by communities, West Devon Borough Council’s Hub has set out its priorities for the coming four years.

The Council Plan 2024-2028 and its supporting Year 1 Delivery Plan was considered by Hub yesterday, Tuesday 30 January, with recommendations that Council should adopt both plans and approve the funding needed to bring them into action.

The Council Plan has eight key priorities which include tackling housing challenges, protecting the environment, strengthening the local economy and enhancing health and wellbeing across the Borough. This will be underpinned by delivering good quality, value for money services which are accessible to West Devon communities.

The plan is funded by an investment of £17.3m. This is made up of £388k of money released from reserves and capital schemes that are no longer needed together with £16.9m from government grants such as the UK Shared Prosperity Fund and the realignment of core budgets.

The Council have secured funding to deliver a number of projects to support the Borough on the journey to net zero. One such scheme includes working with Plymouth and South Devon Community forest to identify opportunities for tree planting and increasing biodiversity across the Borough. The launch of a thermal imaging camera lending scheme will also allow residents and communities to identify weak points in their home which can be improved with better insulation.

West Devon is a special place of global importance and maintaining its distinctive character, while helping it to be a thriving, active and accessible environment is a careful balance. Projects like the Okehampton Transport Hub, local cycle and walking plans, preserving the Duke of Bedford cottages and working in partnership with Network Rail and Devon County Council on proposals for rail links to Tavistock are just some of the few currently in action.

To complement the housing priorities in The Council Plan, The Hub also approved a specific action plan focused on Housing and Homelessness prevention. The focus for the next twelve months includes working with partners and communities to create good quality, genuinely affordable, energy efficient housing and making the best use of housing that already exists.

Using funding from the UK Shared Prosperity Fund and Rural Prosperity Fund (UKSPF), a series of projects are being delivered across West Devon to help build up the local economy and encourage job growth. Part of the economic growth has been the joint partner project of the delivery of the projected Okehampton Transport Hub by March 2025, following the success of the re-opening of the Okehampton rail line.

These priorities are underpinned by good quality core council services that are easy to access and respond to the needs of our customers. The Council will do this by working closer with our communities, improving customers access to services, making sure it is financially sustainable and putting the right governance in place. Residents can access digital services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and engage with the Council through many different ways, including face to face.

Cllr Mandy Ewings, Leader of West Devon Borough Council, said: “I’m pleased the Hub has approved the proposals set out in The Council Plan and the linked Delivery Plans. They are well thought out actions that meet the challenges which many residents are currently facing.

“The ongoing cost of living is putting a squeeze on household incomes and the affordability of housing means that many of our residents are struggling to access quality housing and are facing issues with rental properties not being up to current standards.

“Change is all around us, the environment, the economy and we must be adaptable and practical to the changing needs of our residents and work with our partners and communities to channel our resources to where we need to be.

“By sound financial management which we have shown consistently and by being open with our residents and businesses about our plans, engaging them and our partners as we work through them, we are set up for the challenges ahead. There is a lot to be hopeful about if we all work together towards our common ambitions.

“We are doing all we can to support our residents and to protect West Devon for our future generations. The actions set out in this plan aim to deliver on our commitment.”

To find out more information on each of the reports discussed during Hub, go to:

The meeting can be viewed in full on West Devon Borough Council's YouTube channel.