Combe Martin Parish Council Coronavirus (COVID – 19) Helpline and Community Briefing Note 7.

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: www.gov.uk and www.nhs.uk.

 

  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: www.visitcombemartin.com) 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: info@combemartin-pc.gov.uk

  

Combe Martin Parish Council is seeking new Council Members

INVITATION

To all parishioners registered to vote in

COMBE MARTIN

 

Combe Martin Parish Council is seeking to co-opt new council members at its October and November 2020 Parish Council meetings and is inviting anyone interested to contact the Clerk on:

Telephone: 01271 883403

Or email: info@combemartin-pc.gov.uk

Or you might like to contact one of the existing councillors to find out more about the role. Their names and telephone numbers are on the

Parish Council website and in the Shammickite magazine.

This dynamic village is facing an interesting and challenging future.

Step up and be a part of the action.

 

The closing date for expressions of interest is Monday 5th October 2020.  However due to the short notice, late applications will be considered.

Want to Help Transform our Community and Parish Council?

Here are some points for you to ponder if you are considering becoming a Co-opted Parish Councillor.

Introduction and context

What an amazing place and community Combe Martin is; just look at the content of the July edition of the Shammickite. So much activity, so much goodwill, so much more that needs to be done! Read the inspiring and positive Free Help Combe Martin (FHCM) article by Clair Rice and see the possibilities.

Combe Martin Parish Council (CMPC) has a crucial role to play in supporting the community and co-operating with FHCM activities, but first we have to recognise some Council issues:

12 Councillors elected May 2019

What a tremendous result, a good degree of representation, it is unfortunate how short lived was the benefit and celebration. A sequence of events and personal circumstance reduced 12 Cllrs down to 7 Cllrs by February 2020. Today we have a residual ‘team’ of six (shortly to be 5) committed Cllrs, effective but too few for continuity:

  • Co-option of replacement Cllrs was (and is) a priority, but there was a recognition that potential Cllrs may underestimate the complexity of the Council business and the rules that have to be followed.
  • Whilst some of the business of the Council is complex and rule driven, the role of a Cllr is not, particularly if time is taken to understand the whole picture and what can and what cannot be done in the best interests of the community.
  • CMPC was ready to roll out Cllr induction information, when COVID-19 hit and then it was all hands to the pumps, just to keep CMPC afloat.

Establishing and maintaining a healthy relationship with the community

CMPC has to operate within its powers, provide some services, respond to local issues but also promote the needs and aspirations of our community.

All parishioners have the right to hold CMPC accountable for its actions and check that the decisions made are in the best interests of our community.

 CMPC faces difficult challenges, constant change, and bureaucracy. In a worst case scenario it can also suffer from a lack of leadership, combined with the selection of ineffective, self-interested Cllrs. Parishioners have to keep a grip and participate!  In all cases, CMPC:

  • Makes difficult choices between competing issues and conflicting desires.
  • Sometimes has to make unpopular decisions.
  • May appear slow and unresponsive, (due to the rules).
  • Will never be perfect and always easy to blame.
  • Is what you make it!

CMPC is transparent and accountable

In August 2017, CMPC published a Summary Report on the ‘Internal Operational Audit/Review of the Council’ and agreed to reset and rebuild its operational and management systems:

  • Significant improvements have been made and more needs to be done.
  • A new part-time Clerk was appointed and the accountancy systems modernised.
  • CMPC ambition of being recognised as a good employer, with employee development.
  • A comprehensive sub-committee structure was put in place to action the many areas of interest and deal with the outstanding workload.
  • CMPC has reduced the amount of confidential business which excludes the public to the minimum.

CMPC Limp Mode – safe but reduced performance

Despite the good work being done by the Clerk and employees, CMPC delivery is in ‘Limp Mode’. Nothing to do with COVID-19 but all to do with lack of resources and limited capacity. Despite a successful 2020 Internal Audit and Annual Governance and Accountability Report, the CMPC office cannot deliver beyond the current level of service we have now and satisfy the basic legal requirements. Does this matter?

  • A serious number of unresolved legacy issues remain and present a potential future cost and risk to the community.
  • CMPC may fail to properly deal with existing major issues and ignore future opportunities.
  • CMPC may raise the precept to fund more resources and reduce the risk.

Future challenges and predictable pressure on the community

Like many coastal and rural communities, families and individuals who have a long association with the village and its organisations have experienced considerable change with the influx of new people. Combe Martin has experienced a lot of national media coverage, promoting the beautiful area, life style and its relative low property value. There is a tipping point when communities become unviable for the locals:

  • The physical shape of the valley causes significant difficulties with regard to provision of affordable homes and/or additional car parking.
  • This impacts on availability of workshops and small scale sustainable industry.
  • The continuing influx of people buying into the lifestyle or running holiday homes places further inflationary pressure on existing property prices and the sustainability of parts of the infrastructure.

The old solutions will not fix tomorrows problems

In 2013/14 Free Help Combe Martin came into being “out of a desire to change the world” and stay relevant to the Community. CMPC is now at that same crossroads, and there are a number of things which would start to make a difference.

  • Co-option of forward looking and engaged Cllrs who understand the complexity and leadership role of the Council.
  • The involvement of a younger generation of Cllrs, providing continuity and relevance to new challenges.
  • A restructured CMPC Office and workforce delivering a quality service.
  • CMPC using local individuals and traders to complete Council work.
  • A more active and positive engagement with the Business Association and the wide variety of village organisations and volunteer groups.
  • A framework where individuals can support CMPC with their expert knowledge and time to help deliver community projects.

Vision, delivery, and future proofing

Many of you reading this will already be helping and doing things for the village, thank you for that. Out of all of the successful and thriving organisations in the village, the Parish Council is the one that can tie this all together, invest, transform and deliver a sustainable framework for the wellbeing of the community:

  • The Vision must be relevant and deliverable, is pointless without resources, and commitment.
  • Delivery cannot happen without determination, organisation and resources.
  • Future Proofing is sustaining and protecting the investment for future generations.

CMPC needs more capacity to support existing village organisations

There are several opportunities to strengthen the support and infrastructure of our community that are either not recognised, missed or not possible due to lack of communication or resource, CMPC want to:

  • Employ local people/tradespersons, offer work experience and seasonal work.
  • Promote and facilitate improvements to community assets.
  • Consider a ‘framework arrangement’ that encourages volunteer involvement and partnership working.
  • Establish sustainable, environmentally friendly ways of working.
  • Make Combe Martin a better place.

CMPC has to work ‘smarter’ and if you want to do something interesting and worthwhile, are motivated, care for this community, and want to learn new skills, consider becoming a Councillor, or alternatively offer some skill and time.

Want to know more? Please contact the Clerk, Tel: 01271 883403 or email:  info@combemartin-pc.gov.uk

Parish Update from Selaine Saxby, MP for North Devon

We will be living with the coronavirus until such time as we have a vaccine and whilst we must all remain vigilant we do need to understand that in spite of our increased population, due to the many visitors we have in Devon, we still have one of the lowest rates of infection in the entire country.

Last week I visited our Covid-19 testing facility in Barnstaple which is currently at the far end of the leisure centre car park. I am delighted the site is back in Barnstaple and urge anyone with symptoms to get tested as soon as possible.

If you cannot book your test via https://www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test you can call 119. 

Devon continues to have very low levels of infection and is ranked 149/150 regionally. In the past 7 days there have been just 4 cases in the whole county. It is now more than a month since overnight visitors have been welcomed back to Devon and it is thanks to the excellent social distancing measures introduced by our tourism and hospitality sector and other local businesses, as well as residents and visitors alike, in the main, following the guidance that cases remain so low.

There have been 26 deaths in Northern Devon and just 122 confirmed cases in North Devon throughout the pandemic.

I know we have a higher than normal number of visitors this year, and many are anxious about how busy some areas are.  Outside transmission remains incredibly rare, with initial studies suggesting less than one in two thousand cases are transmitted outdoors.  Nationally there are currently 6 cases per 100,000 people.  In Devon its currently 1.2 cases per 100,000 people, so you need to pass nearly 100,000 people, to even pass someone carrying the virus, and then would have to be in close contact for a number of minutes to contract it.

I very much hope such ongoing low levels of the virus locally will help everyone feel more confident about going to support our local businesses. Inevitably whilst we are living with the coronavirus, there will be outbreaks, but we are very fortunate that here in Devon we have an excellent Local Outbreak Management Plan prepared by our County Council. You can view all the information about the coronavirus in Devon here: https://www.devon.gov.uk/coronavirus-advice-in-devon/

We really are very well prepared here in North Devon. We have a very low level of infection, and all cases are being tracked effectively, our Nightingale is ready if needed, and hopefully it won’t, we have indeed planned for the worst whilst hoping for the best as we move into the new normal.

Please remember to keep washing your hands, wear a face covering inside as required and keep your distance! #HandsFaceSpace

Selaine Saxby, MP for North Devon

10th August 2020

Free Help Combe Martin Helpline

From Monday 24th August 2020, the Parish Council office telephone number 01271 883403 is reducing its FHCM helpline cover to 10am until 1pm Monday to Friday. Closed Saturday and Sunday. 

This change reflects the level of current demand, the local Pharmacy may be able to access emergency cover, but people must take responsibility for their medication.   

Combe Martin Parish Council Coronavirus (COVID – 19) Helpline and Community Briefing Note 6.

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.

You may also wish to read the latest e-mail from Selaine Saxby, MP for North Devon, 10 August 2020, this will be posted on CMPC Website

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

Despite some of the volunteers returning to work, the response from FHCM continues to deliver and provide effective support. The Foodbank has moved into the Community Centre.

2. Helpline: How to ask for Free Help Combe Martin

From Monday 24th August, the CMPC Office telephone number 01271 883403 is reducing its cover to 10am to 1pm Monday to Friday. Closed Saturday and Sunday. 

This change reflects the level of current demand, the local Pharmacy may be able to access emergency cover, but people must take responsibility for their medication.   

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 provide information and help for businesses.

5. 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’, (13th July and 10th August) the next monthly CMPC meeting will be Monday 14 September 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 11 September.  Meeting agendas are posted on the CMPC website and notice board.

5.1 Public Participation at meetings

Public participation at CMPC meetings is welcome but has reduced most probably due to the ‘virtual format’, but the opportunity to participate is there and encouraged.

5.2 County and District Councillors’ Report

Cllrs Andrea Davis and Yvette Gubb, continue to give positive support to CMPC and inform on the wider County and District issues. Their written reports and comments are posted in the CMPC minutes.

New Baby Alert!

Some new born babies have not been registered due to COVID-19 restrictions, which is ok as long as you: fill in the Child Benefit Claim form CH2 found on line, or if claiming Child Benefit already telephone 0300 200 3100. – Claims can only be backdated for three months.

Electric vehicle (EV) questionnaire.

DCC has launched an on-line questionnaire regarding EV; charging points, attitudes and driving habits. CMPC has identified future EV infrastructure as an issue and suggested Combe Martin would make a relevant case study for the issues.

5.3 Planning Applications

CMPC has no actual planning powers, but seeks to make representations to NDC which are relevant and contribute to the overall benefit of the community and environment. It is therefore regrettable to note the numbers of alterations and works being carried out without the necessary permissions or consultations. In addition to the bad feelings and potential blighting of neighbours’ property there may be future difficulties in selling the altered property. Enforcement action may require reinstatement back to the original condition by the individual owner, but always comes at a significant cost to this community by reducing the overall NDC money available for other essential services.

5.4 CMPC Financial Position

The CMPC financial position requires careful scrutiny, but car park income is recovering due to the unprecedented number of visitors to the village. However like many businesses we are still very vulnerable to a second COVID-19 wave.

  • The routine finance reports are continuing to provide very accurate and timely information and are posted on the Website.
  • The Internal Audit report and Annual Governance and Accountability Return 2019/20 have been completed and signed off.

These reports show that proper procedures are being implemented and continued progress is being made, despite the backlog of historic issues. CMPC thank the Clerk and staff for their hard work and dedication.

5.5 E-mail Reports/Conversations with Police

The Chairman has contacted our very helpful Police team and had discussions on two main issues:

  • Jet Skis

Following reports of Jet Skis heading into and onto the Beach area, the Police confirmed that they would take action on video evidence that showed dangerous or reckless behaviour in the vicinity of other water users.

  • Bonfires on the Beach

In response to reports and emails received of local people having bonfires on Combe Martin beach, the Police have advised that an initial intervention by our local team of firefighters is an effective way forward. CMPC welcome the support of the village team of firefighters and shared concerns over public safety.

These beach bonfires pose a risk to public safety and raise a number of issues including:

  • Anti-social behaviour that’s upsetting to other beach users and nearby amenities.
  • Fires that are not being extinguished properly or turned into an invisible danger when they are buried under the sand, still burning.
  • Associated debris, such as nails from wood, which can then become a hidden hazard in the sand.

Bonfires are not permitted on Combe Martin beach.

Please note: In the recent past CMPC has had to pay compensation to a child injured by running over a sand covered BBQ left on the beach overnight. In these enlightened times, CMPC will look to recover costs from the irresponsible parties.

BBQs need to be restricted to the designated beach area – Which CMPC need to reinstate.

5.6 Car Parks

CMPC have received some complaints from permit holders and understand the current frustrations being experienced by the lack of parking spaces, but there is no easy fix and Parishioners are reminded that CMPC has agreed to review the current parking and permit arrangements.

  • CMPC is zoom meeting (today) with the new provider of the Devon wide cashless car park system and is hopefully close to implementing cashless payments. Thanks to NDC and our staff who have made this a possibility.

5.7 Website and Facebook work still in progress

CMPC have set up a CMPC Facebook page, but like our Website we are struggling to find the resources to fully utilise their potential at this current time. All Facebook enquiries should still be referred to the Clerk.

5.8 Combe Martin Football Club

CMPC applied to NDC, requesting the release of the Section 106 funding that has been allocated for the enhancement of the football club. Cllr Gubb has supported the request which will now go for NDC Committee approval, which be in October.

  • CMPC considered the Structural Engineer Report on the ground conditions at the site of the proposed new all-weather pitch at Hollands Park and have asked for a detailed plan for submission to the Planners along with some more details on the slope retention, drainage, etc.
  • CMPC will write to the Playing Fields Trust to confirm the nature of the application, along with the details of a new grounds maintenance work store and improved car parking spaces to the east of the clubhouse. 

CMPC will shortly submit a request to NDC for planning permission.

5.9 Correspondence – Conversations  -extract.

  • The Combe Martin Water Watch Group:  Continues to work with CMPC over continuing issues and actions required from South West Water and the EA.
  • Email from a Member of the Public: Request  a memorial bench in the Parade area. This raised a number of related issues, including the number of existing benches and their on-going maintenance. CMPC resolved to write a holding reply to the family, whist a policy for this sensitive issue is drafted.
  • Email from a Member of the Public:  CMPC approved a request for a dog litter bin at the Coach/Car Park, High St. Previous requests were noted. 
  • Peter James on behalf of the Combe Martin Coastal Community Team: Green Hill steps. Has confirmed that funding is available for a ‘safety gate’ to be fitted to the top entrance. Site meeting today to identify the final works required for opening of the steps. Steps currently closed.
  • Scar access, The intended concreting of the beach BBQ area is withdrawn from the planning application, the access improvements will be completed. Email from a Member of Public: Regarding overgrowth at Mill Weir Lane, CMPC enquiries are continuing, as a detailed reply is required.

6. Park and Open Spaces

  • CMPC are investigating an unauthorised intrusion and damage to Normans Ham land and are seeking legal advice on the matter.
  • CMPC welcomes the visual benefit of the boat recently moored in Combe Martin bay.
  • Detailed preliminary work and enquiries are continuing over a sustainable strategy for managing the beach, harbour and seafront area.

7. Health and Safety

CMPC removed the unauthorised tree swing at Hollands Park for H&S and Public Liability reasons. CMPC are available to discuss the possibilities of an alternative approved provision at Hollands Park.

  • Street lighting Failure in the Seaside Area

The Parish Council has complained about the continuing delay by Devon County Council and its contractors to repair and replace the defective street lighting in the seaside area.  COVID -19 has obviously had an impact as it has also delayed the installation of the replacement set of Parish Council decorative lights.  In addition, the Parish Council is waiting for an answer to the established historic use of the (new) columns to support the lightweight decorative lighting.

CMPC are looking to identify a local contractor to install the CMPC’s replacement decorative lighting to the existing CMPC poles and make temporary fixings to the DCC Highway lighting standards.

  • Village wide Consultation on new PSPOs -Dog Controls for Combe Martin. All of the Dog control PSPOs for the village lapse in October 2020 unless the authority (NDDC) undertake consultation and replaces them. CMPC have with the help of the Water Watch group completed village wide leaflet consultation on the PSPOs.  The purpose of the CMPC consultation was to draw attention the NDC consultation and to gather local opinion on the local controls. CMPC supports the retention of Dog PSPOs in the Parish. Results will be published shortly.

8. Combe Martin Community Centre

Prior to the start of the July CMPC meeting, the Managing Trustees of the Combe Martin Parish Community Centre Charity, Coombe Martin National Schools (Ref No: 4052972),  met  to agree the governance arrangements and a number of priority actions for the charity.

CMPC then agreed the following related actions to facilitate the separation between the Charity and the Parish Council:

  • To agree to the Clerk being the ‘manager’ of the Community Centre.
  • To set up a separate financial system for the Charity.
  • To identify and recharge all relevant costs to the Charity.
  • To ask NDC for a review of the rate payments made since 2012.
  • To establish the level of financial support provided to the Charity. 

A copy of the agenda for the meeting of the Managing Trustees of the Combe Martin Parish Community Centre charity, is available to view and download on Combe Martin Parish Council’s website at: www.combemartin-pc.gov.uk.

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: info@combemartin-pc.gov.uk      

2020 Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) Dog Control

CMPC and Water Watch Group Consultation

All of the current Dog control PSPOs for the village (in place since 2014) lapse in October 2020 unless North Devon Council (NDC) undertake consultation and replaces them.

The Parish Council and the local Water Watch Group are consulting on the current dog controls in the village and have carried out a leaflet drop. If you have not received a leaflet with details of our consultation, please find a copy here: dog-ban-leaflet.pdf

Parishioners are encouraged to engage both with the NDC online survey www.northdevon.gov.uk/consultations and this Village consultation.

Please return the completed questionnaire to the Parish Council office by 31st July 2020 by post to Seacott, Cross Street, Combe Martin EX34 0DH or email to: info@combemartin-pc.gov.uk.


Combe Martin Parish Council Coronavirus (COVID – 19) Helpline and Community Briefing Note 5.

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      

Car Parking Permits

Combe Martin Parish Council has suspended the issuing of all twelve month permits while it undertakes a review of its car parking permit system.  Six month permits and short-stay four, seven, and ten day permits are available.  As the office remains closed, permit applications may be made via email to: info@combemartin-pc.gov.uk , or by telephone to: 01271 883403, or by writing to the office address at Seacott, Cross Street, Combe Martin EX34 0DH.

To process your car parking permit application, the office will require:

  • Your name, address, and contact telephone number.
  • Car registration number.
  • The make and model, and colour of your car.
  • The date you would like your permit to start.
  • The name of the primary car park that you will be using. *

Upon receipt of the above information, a permit will be made up and an appointment will be made for you to come to the office to pay for and collect your permit.

Permits will be available from Monday 15 June 2020.

Prices

Six month permit                             £90.00

10 day permit                                    £40.00

7 day permit                                       £30.00

4 day permit                                       £18.00

*Please note that permits for the High Street Coach Car Park are restricted and there is a waiting list for this car park.

Combe Martin Parish Council Coronavirus (COVID – 19) Helpline and Community Briefing Note 4.

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: 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 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 info@combemartin-pc.gov.uk 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: www.visitcombemartin.com) 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: info@combemartin-pc.gov.uk