WITH a population of just over 500 souls, no actual village and not even a hint of a housing estate to call its own, Gulworthy is punching its weight when it comes to residents finding out what’s going on in their neighbourhood.
The scattered settlement, officially referred to as a hamlet, has a school, a church and a village hall next to each other and, er, that’s it.
Nearest ‘big’ place is probably Tavistock, with more than 6,000 households, whose latest town council annual meeting attracted two, maybe three residents. Gulworthy, with around 280 homes or businesses at the last count, saw 20 people pack into their hall.
Cllr Kate Royston, who chaired the meeting, was delighted with the attendance by residents, who were told what the council were up to in their latest round of their battle to get better broadband connectivity for the area.
She said: ‘Gulworthy Parish Council was delighted to have so many local residents attend the annual parish meeting. It makes such a difference to us as a parish council to have feedback to guide our work.
‘This past year has seen extensive work and lobbying to improve broadband connectivity across the parish.
‘While we are pleased to be working with Airband and Connecting Devon and Somerset to connect part of the parish, there will remain households and businesses with unacceptably poor service. Rural broadband requires much more investment than is currently on the table.’
While broadband is a major bone of contention for the diverse community, parish councillors are also keen on on supporting our agricultural community, which forms a ‘significant’ part of the area’s business activity.
Members are also working on decarbonisation and biodiversity improvement and this year’s Platinum Jubilee events.
Local county councillor Debo Sellis was also impressed with public attendance, but added one of the reasons was probably poor broadband connectivity, so social media communication was more difficult in the area.
She said: ‘Luckily, the parish council is quite proactive and has a regular newsletter, but it was great to see so many people turning up.
‘Residents are interested in what’s going on in the area and they do need better broadband, but a lot of the interest is due to the councillors being very keen and generous with their time.’