Issued:  21st May 2020                     Status: Chairman’s Informal Commentary

1. Government Advice

Please continue to comply with and support the UK’s response by following Public Health England’s advice and information on the Gov and NHS websites: and

2. Free Help  Combe Martin  (FHCM) – Community help if staying at home

The response from the volunteers of FHCM continues to impress and confirms what a caring community Combe Martin is. The Helpline is currently not available on Sundays, but we will keep this option under review.

A ‘virtual’ meeting has been held to discuss the distribution and purchases required from the grant money received. Volunteers are reminded to keep records of their mileage. A future leaflet drop is being considered to ensure we get the maximum coverage and get to vulnerable individuals if their situation changes.

Would all volunteers please note:

You may still be waiting for the call to help, but the fact that you are there and are willing, is a huge reassurance to the community in these uncertain times.     

3. Helpline: How to ask for (non-medical) help

The Parish Council Office telephone number 01271 883403 will be available from 10:00 to 17:00hrs every day (*including Saturday).  

The office is shut but the Council e-mail is available; however, there may be a delay in reading the messages.

*Sunday has had zero use and cover will cease, but be kept under review.

4. Requests for help  – the usual disclaimer

COVID -19 requests to the Parish Council will be passed to Free Help Combe Martin for action. It is important to recognise when using this service that this is a ‘neighbour to neighbour’ relationship and the normal requirements of data protection and DBS vetting cannot apply. In using this service you understand and agree to your information being shared with volunteers.  The Council will note any concerns raised and look for an alternative means of support if needed.

5. Business Support

Bryan Cath, Chairman of Combe Martin Business Association (website: continues to trawl the Govt helplines for relevant information and help for businesses.

6. Some Current Parish Council Issues  

The Parish Council has had to introduce ‘virtual meetings’ and the next monthly CMPC meeting will be Monday 8 June at 7 pm using the Zoom platform. Any member of public wishing to join the meeting must inform the Clerk by Midday on Friday the 5 June.

Meeting agendas are posted on the CMPC website.

6.1 Car Park Charging Reinstated

CMPC had made the decision to suspend charging in its carparks as a way of demonstrating our solidarity and support to our Parishioners. Signage stated clearly that the car parks were for local use only and ‘shut to visitors’. However due to the changes made to the ‘lock down’ arrangements, this is now benefiting people who are prepared to travel considerable distances to make use of our ‘free parking’! Unfortunately, physically shutting/locking the car parks is not an option.

Therefore Car Park Charging is reinstated in all of CMPC’s car parks from first thing Saturday morning, 23 May 2020.

Individuals using the machines will have to take responsibility for their own personal hygiene.

In the longer term once we have the funds we may decide to invest in a cashless system. See below for information on permits.

6.2 Seasonal Beach Dog Ban Enforcement Reinstated

As Parishioners are now able to travel more widely to exercise their dogs and the beach is now ‘open’ for recreational use, the enforcement of the seasonal dog ban is reinstated with immediate effect.   

6.3 NDC Public Toilets Kiln Car Park

CMPC continues to seek clarity over the opening of the public toilets and what enhanced cleaning will be provided by North Devon Council.  In addition the issue of provision of soap (or rather the missing soap) within the dispensers will be strongly pursued until a satisfactory answer is provided.

6.4 Public Spaces Protection Orders (PSPO Consultations)

NDC will be issuing the details on consultations on the Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) for Dog controls within Combe Martin in June. The current Dog control orders remain in force until October 2020.

6.5 Financial Impact of COVID-19 – Furloughing of staff

 The Council is facing a significant deficit in its income and members of staff are being furloughed on a rota system, the situation remains under active review, but the office will remain closed and CMPC’s ability to respond to requests is restricted.

6.6 Existing Car parking Permit Holders

Charging within the CMPC car parks was suspended on Monday 23rd March and shall be reintroduced on Saturday 23rd May 2020. Any person holding a valid car park permit which was valid on the 18th of March 2020 remains valid and need not do anything regarding renewal until after the ‘lockdown’ period has ended and CMPC has been in contact. A maximum holiday period of 61 days will be applied pro-rata to those permits still in date. The issue of car park permits will be on the June CMPC meeting agenda. No new permits are currently being issued or renewed.

This informal briefing is the responsibility of:

Cllr David Woodbury

Chairman of Combe Martin Parish Council.

If you have any concerns over the content of this briefing, please inform the Clerk, Tel: 01271 883403 or on the council e-mail address: