Town & Parish Newsletter - August 2020
I hope you are all well out there during these strange times.
There are loads of forums and advice for clerks on line DALC, SLCC and NALC just being a few.
- DALC are running some on-line courses which you may find useful. Here.
- SLCC are offering a free welcome pack for new clerks and you don’t even have to be a member. Here.
It may be a while before you can hold face to face meetings again, please refer to Government Guidance if you are thinking of doing so and consider the amount of public that may attended so you can enforce social distancing.
Devon Community Resilience Forum
While the Devon Community Resilience Forum would usually have a ‘normal’ style event around this point each year, this year we have a virtual event.
This information has gone to town and parish councils but please see the schedule of sessions here and encourage those communities you feel would particularly benefit to attend. Do feel free to join any sessions of interest yourself too! For session details and sign up please see - https://www.devoncommunities.org.uk/projects/devon-community-resilience-forum/free-virtual-devon-community-resilience-forum-event
With best wishes,
Louise Manager DCRF Project Manager
Mid Devon District Council (MDDC) is introducing free parking in its main towns as it continues to support the economic revival of the district.
The lockdown period has seen shops, businesses and restaurants closed for many months and MDDC is acutely aware of the economic impact this has had on local traders and jobs.
With the reopening of the High Streets, in line with Government guidance, the Council is committed to encouraging people to visit their local shops and boost trade for Mid Devon businesses.
From 1st August to the 30th September, visitors will be able to claim two hours free parking in selected car parks in Crediton, Cullompton and Tiverton. Cllr Alex White, Cabinet Member for Finance, said:
“We recognise the importance of doing everything we can to encourage people to return to our town centres safely. By offering an element of free parking, we’re able to balance the need to secure some income from parking to maintain our service delivery, whilst encouraging more time in our High Streets and spending in our local businesses.”
As well as free parking, the Council has supported businesses through a number of grant schemes that were introduced to support traders and those who are self-employed. So far the Council has issued more than £20 million through the combined schemes. In addition, the Council has been working in close consultation with the town councils, providing and monitoring safety measures to protect the public and increase visitor confidence.
Deputy Chief Executive, Andrew Jarrett, said:
“Our staff have been working non-stop to support our local businesses. We’re lucky they’ve been able to quickly adapt to ensure the funds were released to those who needed it in Mid Devon, as soon as possible. We’re working with business forums and the county council to ensure this work continues as the lockdown eases and the focus turns towards economic recovery, with the strict safety measures in place.”
The following car parks will allow a two hour free parking period between 8:00am and 6:00pm:
- Market Place, Tiverton Market Street, Crediton
- Station Road, Cullompton
A 'free ticket' from the machine must still be displayed on arrival by entering the last 3 digits of the car's registration number and pressing the green button to print.
Mid Devon joins Team Devon with countywide recovery plan
Team Devon has pledged to re-build the county’s economy to be stronger, more inclusive and sustainable as it unveiled the prospectus for its COVID-19 Economy and Business Recovery Plan.
Team Devon is a public and private sector partnership drawing in expertise from business, education, skills and public sector organisations, has developed the plan with the backing of business representatives, Devon’s County, District and City Councils, the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership, Dartmoor National Park and Devon’s MP’s.
The prospectus states that Devon is predicted to be the fourth worst impacted county in England and seven of the 20 worst affected districts in the UK are expected to be in the south west region.
The programmes and projects listed in its prospectus have the potential to create 30,000 new jobs, 80,000 new training places and secure investment of £550 million, generating £2.8 billion of additional economic output.
Cllr Graeme Barnell, Cabinet Member for Planning and Regeneration, Mid Devon District Council, said:
“The prospectus sets out a shared vision across Devon for building back a strong and sustainable local economy. It provides the focus for local authorities to work together as “Team Devon” and to work with local business and with Central Government to get the job done.”
The county’s economy is predicted to shrink by around 8% this year, roughly 1% more than the rest of the UK, according to a new impact assessment commissioned by Team Devon.
It suggests that the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic will continue in the medium term with recovery likely to be slow through to 2023, but the prospectus outlines the vision of how the county can level up its economy in response to the crisis. Read more here
ACRE Release Updated Information for Reopening of Village and Community Halls
Action with Communities in Rural England (ACRE) have published new information for the reopening of village and community halls. Government has announced that from 25th July halls will be able to host indoor sport and exercise, dance classes and other activities within the bounds of regulations.
This document includes practical resources for those responsible for the management of such facilities including sample risk assessments for COVID-19 for hirers and a questionnaire for regular users.
Second Reading of the ‘Toilet Tax’ Bill
The second reading of the Non-Domestic (Public Lavatories) Bill had its second reading in the House of Commons on 16th July.
The Bill seeks to provide 100% business rates relief for standalone public toilets in England and Wales. As the law stands now all public lavatories are liable to pay non-domestic business rates unless they have been exempted or given statutory relief from liability.
Local authorities are currently not allowed to grant discretionary relief to any public toilets owned by themselves or any authority which can raise a precept as laid down in Section 47 (9) Local Government Finance Act (1988).
Both NALC and SLCC still strongly advise local councils to continue to meet remotely, without the need for face-to-face contact. If your council wishes to consider returning to face-to-face meetings we have produced a checklist to help ensure this decision is made in accordance with relevant regulations and requirements.
Meet the Parishes
Hemyock is the largest village on the Blackdown Hills, Devon, which is now designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). The parish has an area of about 2350 hectares, and lies on the NW of the Blackdown Hills. The village has a very long history, some prehistoric remains may be found, from about 100 BC to well beyond. In the middle ages local iron ores were smelted in small bloomeries (furnaces) to produce pure iron. In Saxon times a battle was fought at Simonsburrow between the native Britons and King Ime's Saxon army, which put an end (temporarily) to the Kings expansion to the west.
The name Hemyock could have originated from the British stream name "Samiaco" (meaning summer), other authorities suggest a Saxon origin from a personal name "Hemman" coupled with a Saxon word for a bend or a hook (occi).
Hemyock gave its name to the Hemyock Hundred, a unit of 7 parishes, that was an administrative unit of local government during the Saxon period.
After the Norman conquest a castle was built adjacent to the Parish Church, the remains of some towers may still be seen.
Hittisleigh is a small rural parish and village just north-east of Dartmoor in Devon. Once part of the ancient district of the Wonford Hundred, it is now administered by Mid Devon District Council and part of the Central Devon constituency. The name Hittisleigh may be derived from Hyttin's leah (from the Old English for wood/clearing). Alternatively it may come from the Old English "hithisce" (a family or tenants) and have meant 'tenant's place or pasture'. Although difficult to date the initial settlement Hittisleigh is mentioned in the Domesday Book. Hittisleigh is known as the birthplace of Samuel Bellamy the eighteenth-century pirate.
It has a church, Church of St Andrew, Hittisleigh, village hall, several farms and a public telephone box. In the past it has also boasted a school, public house (The Hunters Inn), post office, blacksmith, bakery and Wesleyan Methodist chapel. These have all since closed with the buildings often becoming residential. The church has a nave and chancel of the 14th century and a 15th-century aisle built of granite. According to John Betjeman, "it was restored late and lovingly" and is "an adorable little church".