Issued:  16th September 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


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

Demand on the service has declined and conversations will shortly take place to ensure that the community can respond to any increase. CMPC remains confident and grateful that Yvette Gubb and Clare Rice and the team will be there when needed. Remember the Foodbank has moved into the Community Centre.

  • Helpline: How to ask for Free Help Combe Martin

The CMPC Office telephone number 01271 883403 is available 10am to 1pm  Monday to Friday. Closed Saturday and Sunday.

The local Pharmacy may be able to access emergency cover, but people must take responsibility for their medication.  CMPC is investing in a second telephone line to ensure that it is better equipped to respond.


  1. 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: continues to provide information and help for businesses.


  1. Some Current Parish Council Issues

The official minutes from the Parish council meetings are still being properly recorded, but there is a delay in their production as the part-time Clerk has been instructed to concentrate on keeping the Council functioning. The minutes will appear on the CMPC Website in due course.

The Parish Council continues to hold ‘virtual meetings’, the next monthly CMPC meeting will be Monday 12 October at 7pm using the Zoom platform. Any member of public wishing to join the meeting must inform the Clerk by Midday on Friday the 9th October.  Meeting agendas are posted on the CMPC website and notice board.

The minutes from the virtual CMPC meeting 29.04.2020 were approved.

A virtual Personnel Committee meeting will be held Monday 28.09.2020 at 7pm.

5.1 Public Participation at meetings

Public participation, showed an encouraging interest in the co-option process with a request for clarity on how previous expressions of interest would be handled. The October (and November if needed) meetings are opportunities for co-option.

5.2 County and District Councillors’ Report

Cllrs Andrea Davis and Yvette Gubb, reports will be in the CMPC minutes and on the Website.

5.3 CMPC Planning Comments

Last month CMPC made a number of observations as to the importance of compliance with the planning rules. This month, we learnt that the owner of the Hansons Garage site has obtained planning permission for a supermarket. CMPC had raised significant concerns over this decision and the immediate and long term effects on the community. This and other recent  representations made to NDC has led CMPC to conclude that the central government planning rules are broken and local representations, relevant to the overall benefit of the community and environment are ignored or excluded by the process. CMPC is to write to NDC and our MP to highlight these concerns.

5.4 CMPC Financial Position and internal Audit

The CMPC financial position remains uncertain, but the routine finance reports are continuing to provide information allowing CMPC to manage immediate issues and also to consider some long term options for the community.

Actions for emergency repairs to a hole in Newberry Beach sea wall and a replacement street lantern at Water Lane were approved.

The minutes and recommendations made by the Audit committee 03.09.2020, were approved, subject to a minor clarification on one procedural action.

5.5 Co-option of new Councillors

CMPC agreed to issue a new notice seeking co-option of new Councillors. The recruitment process was delayed as CMPC concentrated on the issues arising from COVID-19 lockdown and the fact that staff were furloughed. It has been confirmed that all previous expressions of interest had been acknowledged and the individuals contacted on the 2nd of April informing them of the delay.

A poster will be displayed shortly. Co-option is an opportunity for you to contribute and promote the interests of this lively community.

Due to the tight timescale, interested parishioners can apply for the October meeting and if there are still vacancies for the November CMPC meeting.

If you are interested, you can speak to the Clerk or any of the current Cllrs:

David Woodbury, tel: 01271 882777

Chris Wyer, mob: 07890 796913

Keith Wyer, mob: 07790 558495

Andy Forgan, tel: 01271 882195

Helen Mallinder, tel: 01271 883220

Celia Withers, tel 02392521398

Please note: A Council is not compelled to fill all vacancies, Co-option is not an automatic right, the submission of an ‘expression of interest,’ means you are entering a simple selection process requiring a vote by the current Cllrs.

One of the most important things to recognise is that ‘the rules are the rules’ and they are there to protect the communities’ rights and interests. They don’t stop good things, but they can prevent bad things happening. Currently, you would be joining a very supportive and positive team of Cllrs.

5.6 Car Parks and car park permits – Review

CMPC understand the current frustrations being experienced over the lack of parking spaces. This is a complicated issued, not helped by the fact that CMPC has to submit any changes to NDC by the 23rd of October for the parking orders to be agreed and in place for next year.

Expect an update on permits and cashless parking in the October CMPC meeting and to see if we have managed to negotiate an extended consultation period following the submission to NDC.

5.7 Combe Martin Community Centre Trustees

This motion, bringing the numbers of Trustees in line with the original scheme of the charity, is sufficient for the effective management of the charity and completes the separation of the Trust from CMPC business.

“The number of councillors required to form the Board of Trustees for the Combe Martin Community Centre Exempt charity (National Schools ref no 4052972) also known as Coombe Martin Girls and Boys School  shall be limited to a maximum of  five named elected Councillors plus the Chairman and Vice Chairman, giving a total of Seven Parish Council councillor trustees”.

The report compiled by the CMPC Finance Officer setting out the current total annual costs of the Community Centre, will be posted on the CMPC website for the October meeting, it will not be included as an agenda item.

5.8 Combe Martin Landmark Tree Planting Ceremony

Subject to COVID-19 restrictions, Cllrs Chris Wyer and Andy Forgan will organise a small public ceremony for planting the Landmark tree at a suitable site,  inviting local residents and  representatives from Parish, District and County Councils to attend. Date and location to be confirmed.

5.9 Correspondence – Conversations -extract.

  1. To note the response from the Environment Agency on flood alleviation and bathing water quality.
  2. To note the enquiry about CMPC’s future intentions regarding the Parade toilets.
  3. To note the continuing complaints from the public, and representations made by the Parish Council regarding Devon County Council’s (DCC) street lighting at Seaside.
  4. To note the complaints about the cleaning of North Devon Council’s public toilets situated in Kiln car park.
  5. To note DCC’s Public Consultation of the Updated Local Flood Risk Management Strategy for Devon. Consultation closes on 15 October 2020.
  6. To note the request from the Leys Charity for a CMPC Cllr representative.
  7. To note the details of the new community orchards grant scheme that the North Devon Biosphere is organising.
  8. To note the correspondence about the Government response to the consultation regarding 5G planning permission.


6. Park and Open Spaces

To note the recent report from a member of the public about alleged intimidating behaviour of teenagers using the Arnolds Plot play area. This is clearly unacceptable and future concerns will be reported to the Police. Suitable signage will be sourced and erected so that the ‘zero tolerance’ approach can be seen.

If there is an underlying problem, we need to engage with the village youth and discover what is possible to improve their provision.

  1. Exclusion of Press and Public

Three items were discussed, to be made public as soon as circumstances allow.

This informal briefing is the responsibility of: Cllr David Woodbury, Chair of CMPC.

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: