Heart of the South Hams, Devon

Items of Interest & Council News

SHDC No One's at Home

It is Empty Homes Week between Monday 23 and Sunday 29 September. South Hams District Council is calling on residents to help reduce the number of long-term empty homes in the District. 

Empty homes can be a magnet for crime and vandalism and the Council wants to bring vitally needed homes back into use.  They are asking residents to report homes in their area that they know have been left unoccupied for a long period of time. 

The Council currently has 65 homes which have been empty for over two years (source Council Tax base October 2018). All of these homes are paying 150% Council Tax.  There are also 332 houses which have been empty from between one month up to two years, with a further 93 properties uninhabitable due to structural work.

There are many reasons why a house can become empty, from the death or illness of a relative, homes being repossessed by the bank or due to maintenance or value issues.  This is where the Council can help.

Perhaps, you have a home that needs work doing to get it up to scratch?  If so, do you know that you may be able to access a loan through the Council?

If you are a homeowner, a landlord or an empty property owner the Council may be able to offer you a low cost loan from Wessex Loans.

Loans cover essential home repairs (such as installing or upgrading heating systems, roof and structural repairs, replacing old and inefficient windows and doors,  electrical and plumbing repairs or anything other issues deemed essential to keeping you warm, safe and dry in your home).  Repair/refurbish empty properties to enable you to sell or rent the property. 

Cllr Judy Pearce, Leader of South Hams District Council, said: “It’s really important that empty houses in the District are turned into much needed homes.  We know that it’s hard for some residents to get on the housing ladder and if these empty homes were improved then we can support the owners to get them back up to scratch.  That’s why we’re really pleased to take part in the national Empty Homes Week.

If you live near an empty house, get in touch so we can help you to solve this problem.  I wouldn’t want to live near to an abandoned house because apart from being an eyesore, they attract crime and lower the value of everyone’s properties by as much as 10%. 

“If you own an empty home, there are lots of things we can do to help, such as loans for home improvements but you need to get in touch so we can put the wheels in motion.“ 

If you would like to tell us about an empty home, please visit:

For more information about Wessex Loans visit:

Watch our videos:

Video 1 - How Wessex Loans Work



The Environment Agency have recently updated the information re requirements for licenses to abstract water.  Find out more HERE



Devon County Council are  currently leading the way in the county with positive actions to encourage tree owners to take responsibility for their ash trees and to have them inspected by a qualified arborist  where they present a risk to the Highway network.

DCC have produced a general information leaflet (attached)  which they are distributing to householders around the County and have also created a highly informative website about the disease and who is responsible for infected trees. This can be viewed at  

If  you have concerns that Ash trees  within your parish that grow alongside highways, byways, bridleways or footpath may be infected by Ash Dieback, these trees need to be reported to Devon County Council highways via their website at  

If  tree owners require assistance in finding a suitably qualified and insured arborist, information is available via the following link:  

Furthermore if trees suspected of being infected are located within a Conservation Area or are subject to a Tree Preservation Order, an arborist should be able to advise whether the tree owner should apply for recommended works by the normal 6 or 8 week process or under a 5-day notice for emergency works to dead trees or trees which pose an immediate threat to persons or property.   In either scenario, the tree owners or their appointed agent are responsible for following the required procedures for works to protected trees. 

Further information on the tree works application procedure is available here: or



We're seeing more victims of Cyber Crime – this link is for a booklet which you may find helpful:  Cyber Crime 

Don't become a victim of SCAMS - we're seeing more vulnerable people targeted, find out more at 

this site includes information re free sessions and an online learning facility that will help prevent you from being a victim. 


Malborough Neighbourhood Plan; At the referendum held on 27th February 2019 you voted to APPROVE the MNP.  

Here are the final documents for the Malborough Neighbourhood Plan:

  • Malborough Neighbourhood Plan 2014-2034 HERE
  • Basic Conditions Statement HERE
  • Plan Appendices HERE
  • Consultation Statement HERE
  • Habitats Regulations Assessment Screening Report HERE
  • Principle Residence Addendum HERE
  • SEA Environmental Report HERE
  • SEA Scoping Report HERE
  • SEA Addendum HERE

Full information including the examiners report can be found HERE