THE community has rallied round to save an unofficial car park potmarked with potholes from becoming unusable.

A piece of land next to Yelverton’s St Paul’s Church has long been used by worshippers, church hall users, shoppers and walkers, but has become riddled with deep holes which have resembled a tarmac Swiss cheese and deterred parking.

Two anonymous residents, businesses and a village charity joined forces to raise £5,500 to employ a company to fill the twenty-plus holes and the work was completed last week.

The land is owned by Maristow Estates which does not manage the land as a car park. Maristow Estates was approached for comment by the Times, but has not responded.

Public bodies, such as local authorities Buckland Monachorum Parish Council, West Devon Borough Council and Devon County Council, all have rules which restricts spending public money on private land.

Therefore, parish and borough councillor Ric Cheadle, recognising the importance of the land to villagers decided to seek funding from business owners in Yelverton who might benefit from customers parking on the strip of land. He was given donations from the Rock Inn, Scarlet’s Kitchen cafe and Cards and Moor gift shop. He is also the chair of the village charity Yelver Community Projects (a volunteer organisaton dedicated to improving villagers’ lives) which also provided some funding.

Cllr Cheadle said: “Although this is private land and not officially a car park, it is very well used by all manner of people includng shoppers and walkers and church and church hall users. It became very badly damaged by potholes and people did complain to the parish council saying something needed to be done because they were worried about damaging their cars.

“Many older people who use the church have reduced mobility. So, they don’t have the option of walking far and need to use their cars. There was also the danger they might trip and fall due to the holes. So, I asked around for help from businesses who might benefit from the car park users and, very generously, three have contributed, along with two very kind anonymous donors and our very own Yelvercare.”

Sally Perring, of Cards and Moor, said: “When Mr Cheadle contacted Cards and Moor about helping to fund the repair of the car park we were glad to be in a position to be able to help.

“Cards and Moor opened in Yelverton in November 2022 and we soon realised how important it is to have enough parking for such a popular and busy parade of shops.

“The long stay car park has been an ongoing obstacle course due to the huge potholes but with the repairs now complete, it is no longer a challenge for customers to have to negotiate and hopefully their shopping experience will be all the more enjoyable.”

Sue Callow, the joint owner of the Rock Inn said: “The ‘church’ carpark has deteriorated drastically over the last couple of years. One of my main concerns was for the children leaving the hall after Rainbows and Brownies in the dark. The holes - ankle breakers - were at least four inches deep and the situation was exacerbated by the single street light not working either.

“So, the Rock Inn was very happy to support the community in this instance and in any other way we can.”

Dave Evans, of Scarlet’s Kitchen, said: “The car park by the church was in such a bad condition that it put people off visiting the shops and cafes, so anything that improved it is welcome.

“I’m really pleased to have contributed to the surface being repaired. It’s a really important car park for many people using the church and the doctors and businesses.”