9th October 2020

Latest Updates and Information from Teignbridge District Council

Play your part in stopping the spread of Covid-19
Cllr John Hart, chair of Team Devon Local Outbreak Engagement Board this week praised the common sense of local people in following the rules and helping to prevent the spread of the virus.

Whilst Devon has not seen the significant increase in coronavirus cases and hospital admissions taking place in other parts of the country, he urged everyone not to become complacent and to continue to follow the guidance.

This means:

  • keeping a safe distance from others, preferably two metres
  • washing your hands regularly and thoroughly with soap and water; using hand sanitiser where it is provided
  • wearing face coverings in indoor settings and on public transport and those other locations set out in law.

He stressed the importance of self-isolating straight away if you have symptoms – a high temperature, new and continuous cough, or a change in your sense of smell or taste – and then getting a test.

While there has been a number of cases associated with the university in Exeter, Cllr Hart said that there was no evidence “of the cases amongst students being spread into the wider community”.

Whilst numbers remain comparatively low in Teignbridge and the rest of Devon, there is an increasing number of cases which reinforces the need for businesses to observe Covid secure practices so as to limit any spread of the virus.

Close contact is defined by NHS Test and Trace as:

If you do not fall into the above categories and are not showing symptoms, then you can go about your day to day life, following the guidelines.

The government this week updated its overview of the NHS Test and Trace service, including what happens if you test positive for coronavirus (COVID-19) or have had close contact with someone who has tested positive.

Be part of an independent review of councillors allowances
We have a great opportunity for a Teignbridge resident to join an advisory panel that reviews Teignbridge District Councillor allowances.

Under the ‘Local Authorities (Members’ Allowances) Regulations 2003  the Panel holds a meeting to look at the responsibilities of each of our 46 district councillors and what they are entitled to claim.  The Panel, which consists of five members representing residents, the voluntary and business sectors, recommend the levels of allowance.

This meeting will be ‘virtual’ and held online using ‘Zoom’ in November. You will be provided with lots of information electronically and you will have the chance to ask questions to help you reach a collective recommendations, which will be presented to the council for approval in January 2020. The role is voluntary but expenses can be claimed.

If you are interested in serving on the panel please email us your details with a paragraph describing why you would like to be considered before the closing date of 10am on 16 October.

Online applications for Test and Trace payments go live on Monday
Designed to help working people who face financial difficulty as a result of an instruction to self-isolate, the new Test and Trace payment application form is on target to meet the Government’s Monday launch date.

Only people told to isolate on or after Monday 28 September are eligible for a one-off payment of £500 if they meet the following criteria:

  • have been asked to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace on or after 28 September – either because they’ve tested positive for coronavirus or have recently been in close contact with someone who has tested positive
  • have an NHS Test and Trace ID
  • be employed or self-employed, unable to work from home and as a result will lose income
  • be currently receiving Universal Credit, Working Tax Credit, Income-based Employment and Support Allowance, Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, Income Support, Housing Benefit and/or Pension Credit.

More than 30 people locally have expressed an interest in applying for this payment and they will be contacted once the form goes live on Monday so that they can proceed with their application. Until Monday, you can still express an intention to apply through our website.

An international reminder to look after your mental wellbeing

Tomorrow is World Mental Health Day and a great opportunity to show your support for better mental health and to remind everyone to look after their own wellbeing.

This is especially important given the impact of Covid-19 and this year’s theme – “mental health for all’ – reflects that anyone can be affected by mental health problems and should feel safe and supported to talk about them.

NHS Every Mind Matters offers a range of resources that help spot the signs of common mental health concerns, offers practical self-care tips and guidance and, explains when to seek further support. It also has a free NHS-approved online tool called Your Mind Plan. which helps you take simple steps to look after your mental health, improve your mental wellbeing and support others too.

Locally, Devon Partnership NHS Trust’s Talkworks service  offers advice and support.

Radio Devon – pledge to talk
When Cllr Alistair Dewhirst was interviewed on Radio Devon this week about the Executive’s decision to end the rural skip service, presenter Gordon Sparks asked him to encourage support for Monday’s Local Radio Day 2020 and pledge to talk to someone who they hadn’t spoken to for some time.

The ‘Pledge to talk’ BBC initiative is aimed at contributing to efforts to combat loneliness and social isolation and you can contact the station on Monday to make a pledge.

Cllr Dewhirst’s interview on the rural skip service can still be heard on BBC Radio Devon website by scrolling to approximately 1hr and 23 minutes.

A meeting of Overview and Scrutiny Committee 1  will be held at 11am on Monday, 19 October, 2020 where the  rural skip decision will be discussed.

Play a part in tackling beach erosion

Beach visitors are being encouraged by Plymouth Coastal Observatory (PCO) to make a difference by helping to identify coastal erosion.

The Observatory has installed eight CoastSnap stations at key beaches around the South West (including Dawlish Warren) to encourage people to become community scientists and take a photo of the beach from a fixed point. Once this has been done, they can share it with Plymouth Coastal Observatory via their website or by email.

Over a period of time, the images will show the changes taking place, helping to gauge for example the impact of storms and will support action planning to manage the beaches.

The project, which is funded by the Environment Agency, is targeting particularly vulnerable beaches where there is significant erosion.

Find out more

Funding for scouts and guides
The Leslie Sell Charitable Trust makes one-off cash grants (up to £5,000) to scout and guide groups to help with the financing of small projects:

Building work eg small-scale repairs or alterations to scout/guide huts
Equipment, eg replacement camping equipment.
New start-up Scouts and Guides units.
One-off events
Further information, guidance and an application form is available on the Trust’s website

BAME grants available
The African Health Policy Network is offering Comic Relief funded grants up to £10,000 for small UK Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME)-led voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) organisations with an annual income of £150,000 or less to help them support their communities during and beyond COVID-19.The deadline for applying is Friday 30 October 2020 and more information is on the Network’s website.

Improving access and protecting wildlife areas
Dawlish Warren National Nature Reserve is an internationally important wildlife site which attracts an estimated half a million visits each year. With an increase of visits per year, suitable access through the nature reserve is essential for protecting habitats and wildlife within the site.

The Council has a legal responsibility to put in place suitable mitigation measures to alleviate damage to the site. In previous years, the timber boardwalk provided access in and around the nature reserve, but over time the boardwalk became badly worn and slippery which caused health and safety and maintenance issues.

Our project team was asked to design and appoint a contractor to replace the timber boardwalk with a more suitable and user friendly surface to ensure visitors kept on the designated paths to avoid damage to the wildlife areas.

The first phase of replacing the timber boardwalk began in May 2019, and took five weeks to complete. The timber board walk was replaced with a ‘Bodpave’ footpath which uses 100% recycled and recyclable plastic (highly sustainable and non-toxic) interlocking pavers which are infilled with clean stone to make the path free draining.

The next phase commenced earlier this year, and took six weeks to complete. The second phase solved the issue of the existing steep access up to the promenade which was unsuitable for some visitors and resulted in them taking an alternate routes through the nature reserve.

Prior to both phases commencing, TDC was given consent by Natural England to carry out the works, and the project was funded by Section 106 money (contributions made by developers towards the costs of providing community and social infrastructure).

Committee meetings
The Licensing and Regulatory Sub-committee will meet virtually on Wednesday,
14 October, starting at 10am.  It can be watched on our YouTube channel.

Dates of all council committee meetings, which continue to  be held virtually, are on our website.