Okehampton Town Council have a number of facilities and services which are provided for use by the general public, including the Charter Hall which can be rented for a wide variety of functions and events. The impressive Council Chamber is available for hire and may be used for civil ceremonies. The Committee Room is also available for hire for meetings. Wifi is available in all rooms.
The town of Okehampton is situated on the northern edge of Dartmoor in West Devon. Okehampton is an ancient town and was initially settled in the Bronze Age. It lies at the confluence of the East and West Okement Rivers from which is takes its name. Okehampton has been described as the walking centre of Dartmoor. It is also popular with cyclists and walkers taking the Granite Way, a beautiful trail from Okehampton to Lydford.
The town has many attractions including the spectacular ruins of Okehampton Castle which date back to Norman times and the beautiful expansive parkland at Simmons Park with leisurely river side walks, ornamental gardens and a Swiss style chalet, multi sports facilities and playing areas for all ages as well as the Parklands Leisure Centre. The impressive tower of St James Chapel (15C) dominates the main street which in times gone by was the Old London Road lined with coaching inns which can still be seen today. The Town Hall, a handsome building with granite façade built in 1685 adds a touch of elegance to the town centre which also boasts a number of vibrant shopping arcades as well as the acclaimed Museum of Dartmoor Life.
Following a period of anti-social behaviour last autumn and in the early part of this year, Okehampton Town Council agreed to purchase body-worn CCTV devices for use by its members of staff who are employed to work in Simmons Park and other outdoor areas it maintains.
The devices have been purchased, the paperwork agreed and in place and the devices will be operational from Monday 8th June 2020. If necessary recorded footage will be passed to the Police and may be used as evidence of crime.
Okehampton Town Council's objectives for the use of the body-worn CCTV:
- to promote the health, safety and wellbeing of employees when going about their normal day to day duties
- to promote the health, safety and wellbeing of users of the Council facilities
- to reduce the likelihood and frequency of confrontational incidents
- to reduce the possibility of the escalation of any incidents that occur
- to capture evidence of a crime in progress in the event that an employee comes across such an incident, for example vandalism or assault
Exercise of Public Rights
The period for the exercise of public rights and the publication of the Council's unaudited Annual Governance and Accountability Return has been delayed this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic and as permitted within The Accounts and Audit (Coronavirus) (Amendment) Regulations 2020 (SI 2020/404). It is anticipated that the period will commence on Monday 6th July 2020, ending on Friday 14th August 2020, subject to confirmation.
Town Council Meetings
Meetings of Okehampton Town Council will be undertaken remotely during the COVID-19 crisis as permitted under the Coronavirus Act 2020. Members of the public and press are welcome to attend remotely and should contact the Town Clerk for details of how they can do so: email@example.com or
Details of meetings will be available on the Agendas and Minutes page of the website.
COVID-19 Grant Funding
The Council has put aside an amount of £3,000 to support organisations who are providing COVID-19 assistance and to provide financial aid to individuals who reside within the Okehampton town boundary and are referred to the Council by Okehampton Citizens Advice. Further information about this scheme can be found on the grants page of the website.
Message from the Mayor of Okehampton, Councillor Julie Yelland
As I come to the end of my first Mayoral Year, I think I can safely say that it has very much been a year like no other. Throughout the year I have been invited to many different events that have been about stimulating community pride in our town, supporting local businesses and promoting the voluntary sector. It has been an honour and a privilege to be part of our wonderful community and to see first-hand the incredible amount of work that goes into making it so - from the excitement and enthusiasm of a new initiative just getting off the ground to the experience and tenacity of those involved in well-established organisations. I have met some incredibly talented people of all ages and from all walks of life and I am extremely grateful for having had the opportunity to play a small part in their journey.
So, it was all going swimmingly until, during March, life as we know it changed - completely, utterly and totally. For us all, our priorities had to be re-adjusted. We found ourselves being required to maintain social distancing and only able to leave our homes for specific purposes. Our children were no longer able to go to school and our interaction with others meant getting to grips with new technology.
There are people in our community grieving for lost loved ones who have not been able to say goodbye in the traditional manner or draw on their closest friends and family for face to face support. My heart goes out to you and I offer my deepest sympathies at this incredibly difficult time.
In an area that relies upon tourism and leisure, the impact of COVID19 was and continues to be enormous and is affecting people's daily lives in ways we couldn't possibly have imagined a few months ago. Our community has come together to help others with our businesses being resourceful and creative in how they operate with many offering home deliveries. Okehampton Town Council has offered funding, equipment and staff time to the newly established local support group and set aside a discretionary £3,000 Hardship Fund for individuals in need. Details of how to apply are on the website.
Many of our established voluntary organisations have had no choice but to suspend activities such as sporting fixtures in line with government regulations around social distancing while others have been able to continue to offer their services to assist those affected by the pandemic. To everyone who is working so hard to help others - whether as a volunteer or as a key worker, I say a huge thank you. You are all doing an amazing job which is very much appreciated by us all.
Traditionally, at the end of the Mayoral Year, the Town Council nominates local groups and individuals in recognition of the contributions they have historically made to the town and these are normally presented by the outgoing Mayor at the Mayor Choosing Ceremony. As and when the restrictions are relaxed sufficiently to enable us to meet, I intend to make presentations to the following:
- Tom and Sue Baxter - in recognition of their service to Dartmoor Railway Supporters Association and carrying out regular visits to ensure the security and upkeep of the facilities for the future benefit of the people of Okehampton and the wider community.
- Paul and Isobel Jarrett - in recognition of their service to Okehampton Foodbank for the support and benefit of the local Okehampton community.
- Okehampton Ladies Hockey Club - in recognition of the celebrations of the Centenary of the Club in 2019.
- Ray Vallance - a posthumous award made in recognition of his lifetime service to the town, for the benefit of the people of Okehampton.
I should like to say a very special thank you to the Mayor's Cadet, Sergeant Lily Howes from the 2443 (Okehampton) Squadron Air Cadets and to the Mayor's Chaplain, Cllr Rev Mike Davies from Inspiration Church for all their support throughout the Mayoral Year. I must also mention Hilary Bacon, who is the Receptionist at the Town Hall and also the Mayor's Assistant as she is retiring at the end of May. She has been with the Council for 20 years and done a sterling job. She will be very much missed by her colleagues and councillors alike and I wish her every happiness with all her future plans.
During the previous Mayor year, I held several fundraising events for my chosen charity which is OkePADS. They install community defibrillators around the town and provide free training in CPR and the use of the equipment. A grand total of £1,403.26 was raised and I should like to thank everyone for their help and support with this tremendous fundraising effort.
Due to the pandemic, we have had to cancel our annual Mayor Choosing Ceremony in line with current government guidelines on social distancing and gatherings. This means that I shall be continuing as Mayor for the next Mayoral Year and I look forward to being able to support our community as we move forward together. Once we are able to go out and about, please do use the local shops, eateries and businesses as much as you can. As residents of Okehampton, our support will be absolutely vital to them being able to get back on their feet. We are a resourceful town, well able to stand on our own two feet and look out for each other. Stay safe. Stay well.
Cllr Julie Yelland
Okehampton Town Council has taken the decision to close its offices in the Town Hall due to the Coronavirus pandemic for an undetermined period of time.
Predetermined Council Policy means that the Council is prepared for emergency situations and for members of staff to work from home in order to maintain services to the best of their ability during this difficult time.
The Council will still be contactable:
Emma James, Town Clerk - firstname.lastname@example.org
Caroline Ellis, Assistant Town Clerk & Accounts - email@example.com
Hilary Bacon, Enquiries and Bookings - firstname.lastname@example.org
James McGahey, Park-Keeper - email@example.com
Information and updates as available will be published on the website, facebook page and in the local press.