Issued:  16th October 2020                                                                             Status: Chairman’s Informal Commentary


  1. Government Advice

The situation is changing rapidly – this link takes you to the Covid-19 pages on the Devon County Council website.  It has daily updated information as to positive cases within the area and information about testing and track and trace.

At the time of writing (16.10.20) there are clusters in North Devon, nearest to Combe Martin Rural are the Braunton area, Ilfracombe and another in the Woolacombe/West Down/ /Georgeham area.

Bulletin issued by North Devon Council, 14.10.20: The NDC Customer Services team has closed Lynton House in Barnstaple.  Ilfracombe and South Molton Town councils have also closed their joint reception areas.  This means that all three councils can now only be contacted online or via telephone.

Refuse collections may not always be completed.  If bins are missed, leave them out for 48 hours but if they aren’t collected, take them back in and put them out again on their next scheduled collection day.


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

A meeting is arranged for Tuesday 20.10.20, with District Cllr Yvette Gubb and Clair Rice to consider what we can do to meet any increase in demand.  CMPC remains grateful to the volunteers.  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 CURRENTLY 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 getting a second telephone line, number not yet known.


  1. Requests for help – the usual disclaimer

COVID -19 requests to the Parish Council will be passed to Free Help Combe Martin for action.  This service 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.


  1. 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 – they will appear on the CMPC Website.

Like all organisations our ability to respond to parishioner questions and issues has been reduced by the additional workload created by COVID-19. I have instructed the Clerk to concentrate on priority and urgent issues, I apologise for the lack of a timely response on the some of the general (but still important) issues.

The Parish Council continues to hold ‘virtual meetings’, (12 October)  the next monthly CMPC meeting will be Monday 9th November 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 6th November.  Meeting agendas are posted on the CMPC website and notice board.

The minutes from the virtual CMPC meeting 14.09.2020 were approved.

A virtual Personnel Committee meeting was held Monday 28.09.2020 at 7pm, see agenda item 7 below.

5.1 Public Participation at meetings

Public participation, continues to provide an opportunity for Parishioners to raise issues and ask questions, (See 5.8 agenda item below.) the numbers  of attendees being boosted by the co-option process.  The November CMPC meeting is another opportunity for co-option, please send your expressions of interest to the Clerk.

5.2 County and District Councillors and Police Report

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

5.3 Co-option of new Councillors

CMPC is pleased to report that; Alan Cossey, Simon Daukes, Claire Davidson, Maureen Richards, Pamela Walker have been invited to join the Council as Co-opted Cllrs.  The Clerk has to formally write to ask them to complete the statutory paperwork and confirm their acceptance, so they can participate in the next meeting.

Martin Worth was not co-opted and is thanked for his continuing interest in Parish matters.

Co-option Context

Co-option is not the best way of filling several vacancies, The NDC Monitoring Officer was approached to explore the possibilities to allow Combe Martin to have an election (accepting the cost).  The introduction of COVID-19 lockdown and government rules meant we could not hold an election until May 2021.

5.4 CMPC Planning Comments

CMPC accepted the observations made by the Planning Committee on 72052, Scaena, Shackhayes and expressed concern over the loss of hedge and highway verge adjacent to the footpath, which is not in the ownership of the applicant.

NDC decisions: Application 71901 Approved. Application 72218 withdrawn.

5.5 CMPC Financial Position

CMPC received and approved the September 2020 finance reports and statements.

Agreed to purchase a Royal British Legion Wreath for Remembrance Sunday.

5.6 Act of Remembrance and wreath laying Ceremony

CMPC approved a COVID-19 Risk Assessment for the Act of Remembrance Service and Wreath-laying Ceremony at the War Memorial on Sunday 8 November 2020.

Due to COVID-19, the service this year will be small and access to the War Memorial  limited to invitations only.  It is hoped that the service will be live-streamed on social media.  CMPC remains uncomfortable over the imposition of restrictions for this important act of remembrance and hopes an alternative community based event will prove an acceptable alternative. Look out for further details.

5.7 Car Parks and car park permits – Review

CMPC agreed to delegate powers to the Chairman, Vice Chairman, one Cllr and Clerk to agree the submission to NDC and consultation process, by the 23rd October 2020.  The  intention is to submit draft documents to NDC and then consult on the draft proposals before later confirming to NDC what orders are required.

A member of public raised three questions in the public session which had been previously answered in writing by the Chair. The Chair confirmed there was no error in the information supplied.

A member of public wrote complaining about the number of vehicles parked without visible tickets or permits, lack of enforcement and cost of parking in Cormelles car park. The Clerk will write to the parishioner on the issues raised.

5.8 Correspondence  -extract.

  1. To consider the Government response to the consultation regarding 5G planning permission. Two members of public spoke of their continuing concerns for the welfare of the community regarding COVID-19 and the effect of 5G. The request for a Public meeting was refused.
  2. Agreed the response to the public consultation of the Devon County Council updated Local Flood Risk Management Strategy. In addition there has been some positive movement by the EA on the ‘river bed issues’. CMPC need to carefully consider what this means and establish what will happen next.
  3. To note the request to install a series of chicanes on the road from the top of Combe Martin to the seaside to allow safe passage for mobility scooters.  A member of the public described the difficulties and dangers of navigating the A399 down through the village on a mobility scooter.  Cllr Andrea Davis outlined the discussions she had had with the relevant DCC Highway experts, which indicated that there was no solution to the narrowness of the road and condition of the pavements.  This problem has been looked at many times and is a highway responsibility. CMPC undertook to find the file which sets out the individual ownerships of the pavements down the A399 and consider if any option has been overlooked.
  4. To note a casual vacancy in the Parish Council representation on Exmoor National Park Authority. No action required.
  5. To note the date for the virtual Exmoor Local Access Forum meeting 16th November at 10am. (Rights of way).
  6. Delayed replies to correspondence included; Resident of Barton Gate Lane asking for the area adjacent to the bridge to be tidied up and their offer to keep it tidy.

Requests from one parishioner seeking clarity on maintenance of Mill Weir Lane, (CMPC to confirm legal opinion.) and for copies of the Beach policy and Green waste policy. Clerk to reply.


  1. Park and Open Spaces

Too late for the agenda but to  note the recent reports on social media of motor bikes being ridden through Adderstable Woods. Would members of the public please report such instances to CMPC as soon as possible so that any chance of taking action is not lost.


  1. Exclusion of Press and Public

Approved  the minutes and recommendations made by the Parish Council’s Personnel Committee at its meeting held on Monday 28 September 2020.

This informal briefing is the responsibility of: Cllr David Woodbury, Chairman 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: