Issued:  18th June 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: www.gov.uk and www.nhs.uk.

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

The response from the volunteers of FHCM continues to deliver and provide support very effectively. The fact that they are there and are willing to help, is a huge reassurance to the community in these uncertain times.    

 The Foodbank is providing an essential service . It’s there, if in need, use it!

The community response to keeping it supplied with products is impressive.

 Special thanks to Louise and Nick Jenkins and the Football Club for providing the venue and support.  The Foodbank will be moving into the Community Centre sometime in July.

  • CMPC congratulates Clair Rice for the recent recognition of her hard work and commitment to the Community.
  • Helpline: How to ask for Free Help Combe Martin

The Parish Council Office telephone number 01271 883403 is available from 10pm to 3am  Monday to Friday, 10pm to 1am Saturday. Currently closed Sunday.  

The office is shut but the Council e-mail info@combemartin-pc.gov.uk is available; however, there may be a delay in reading the messages.

3. 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.

4. Business Support

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

CMPC notes the ‘Exmoor National Park COVID-19 Tourism Response & Recovery Plan (24 pages) and will identify actions to support this such as: Beach, water quality, facilities, litter and future events 2021.

5. Some Current Parish Council Issues  

The Parish Council held a ‘virtual meeting’ on the 8th of June  and the next monthly CMPC meeting will be Monday 13 July 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 10 July.  Meeting agendas are posted on the CMPC website and notice board.

5.1. CMPC Financial Position

It will come as no surprise that the CMPC financial position remains difficult and under careful scrutiny.  

  • The Parish Council is seeking clarity on North Devon Council’s recent statement about its financial shortfall situation and the potential of a section 114 notice, which is a reduction to provide essential services only.
  • The meeting received and approved the minutes and recommendations

made by the CMPCs Audit Committee at its meeting Wednesday 27 May 2020. The role of the Audit Committee is to review the working of the CMPC – to carry out a financial check, and check that CMPC adheres to all of its written policies and to review those policies yearly. A copy of this agenda is on the CMPC website: www.combemartin-pc.gov.uk.

5.2. Car Parks

CMPC agreed to review the current permit arrangements and set up a working party to consult with the community, NDDC and relevant village organisations.

  • CMPC will seek information on the Devon wide tendering process on cashless ticket issuing system. CMPC will look at ways to maximise ticket purchase.
  • CMPC agreed to start re-issuing six monthly and 4-7-10 day tickets until the review is completed. 12 month permits will not be issued.
  • To avoid hardship during the COVIC-19 crisis, CMPC will accept payment by instalments. Contact the office by telephone on Mondays, Wednesday, 10am – 3pm, Thursday 10am -1pm, if you need this option.
  • Car Park Charging reinstated in all of CMPC’s car parks 23 May 2020.

5.3. Facebook

CMPC agreed to set up a CMPC Facebook page to be able to communicate more effectively with its parishioners. CMPC will ‘post’ but not engage in ‘conversations’. All enquiries to be referred through the Clerk.

5.4 Combe Martin Football Club

  • CMPC agreed to approve the football club’s list of repairs for the clubhouse and to obtain quotes for improving the car parking spaces to the east of the clubhouse from the section 106 monies allocated to the football club.

5.5. Public Participation and Correspondence  -extract.

CMPC is encouraged by the increasing input and engagement of the public during this difficult time. The issues and comments are  helpful to the work of CMPC.

  • Flood Alleviation and Bathing Water Quality

CMPC has responded to the letter from the Environment Agency (EA) and had a short zoom meeting with the Area Director and Area Manager. CMPC continue to press them on the actions required and performance of South West Water. Selaine Saxby continues to take an active interest in the situation.

  • CMPC will shortly publish an update file note on these important issues.
  • Email from the Combe Martin Water Watch Group:  To note the Combe Martin Water Watch Group’s request to support its efforts with South West Water and the EA about their operations and monitoring of bathing water quality.
  • Email from a Member of the Public: Request for more dog litter bins in the village to help improve Combe Martin’s bathing water quality. CMPC response is that  Dog Bins and servicing currently cost £1,352 per annum. Depending on size a single bin will cost between £214 to £334 per annum. CMPC remains open to suggestions as to how additional bins can be funded.
  • Email from Peter James on behalf of the Combe Martin Coastal Community Team: To note the update on the Coastal Community Team’s Combe Martin Beach projects and to consider the additional work required to open the Greenhill Steps. CMC has identified additional work and signage required and is seeking information on the history of the steps and relationship to the concreting of the sewer outfall pipe.
  • Scar access, Concerns were raised over the suitability of the intended works for wheelchair users. CMPC recognise that the access onto the beach needs to be improved and that the long term accessibility solution is at the main entrance point. The intended concreted BBQ area is to be withdrawn from the planning application.
  • North Devon Council: To note the forthcoming public consultation on plans to introduce a new Public Space Protection Order on dog controls. See item 6 below

6. NDDC Consultation on new PSPOs -Dog Controls. All of the Dog control PSPOs for the village lapse in October 2020 unless the authority (NDDC) undertake consultation and replaces them. For many reasons the control of dogs by PSPO(s) is divisive and evokes strongly held views. Given the level of community interest and the fact that dog ownership has increased, CMPC have agreed to  a comprehensive village wide consultation on the PSPO.

  • CMPC is not anti-dog, but pro safe dog free areas.
  • CMPC regrets that the majority of responsible dog owners are restricted by the actions of the irresponsible ones.
  • CMPC notes that even with the introduction of Dog PSPOs, the village and surrounding environment meets the Kennel Club expectations.
  • Parishioners are encouraged to engage both with the NDC and Village consultations. 

7. Combe Martin Community Centre

A file note has been produced which sets out relationship between the Corporate Management trustees (CMPC Cllrs) and CMPC, it identifies deficiencies in the current management arrangements.. There are a number of actions arising from the fact that the charity and actions of the trustees are completely separated from CMPC business. A Cllr and an individual have agreed to work with the Charity Commission on some of the actions required. This item will make more sense once the file note is posted on the CMPC website.

8. Hollands Park Council Work Store

Work continues to consider the viability of a new shared work store at  Hollands Park.

9. Personnel Committee

CMPC agreed to include all current Cllrs as members of the Personnel Committee.

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: info@combemartin-pc.gov.uk