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Hi all

I love spring, my garden is starting to bud and I feel the promise of longer warmer days on the horizon.

Some of you will have already hosted your first virtual Council meeting and some will be in the throws of setting this up. Having held a Parish Council Meeting via Zoom recently I found the whole process rather painless and it did help concentrate the minds. The meeting was quorate and lasted all of 15 minutes. Top tip is to have a practice meeting and fully brief your Chairman beforehand.

Many of you are co-ordinating community groups to help the vulnerable and those who are self isolating, I applaud everything you are doing. We have put the details of as many groups as we know of on our website, if there are any missing details please do let us know.

Carole
coliphant@middevon.gov.uk or Tel: 01884 234209

COVID-19: Support for Mid Devon businesses

In the difficult and uncertain times resulting from the Coronavirus pandemic, with the UK in lockdown, businesses need a central place to find up-to-date relevant advice.

The Council is regularly updating its website with information for businesses about support, guidance and rates relief. Information about Business Grants and Nursery Discount Business Rates is also provided at middevon.gov.uk/COVID19BusinessRatesSupport.

The Government will provide 100% business rates retail relief for the current 2020/21 year, for the following occupied premises:

  • Shops, restaurants, cafés, drinking establishments, cinemas, and live music venues
  • Sports, assembly and leisure premises
  • Hotels, guest and boarding houses, holiday accommodation, caravan parks

This is in addition to businesses that already receive 100% small business rate relief (SBRR).

Further to the rate relief, the Government has previously announced two Business Grants:

  • a business support grant fund, and;
  • a retail, hospitality and leisure grant

Eligible businesses can watch the Council's video to find out how to complete a claim form for the grant funding.

REDUCED OPENING HOURS

Please note the reduced opening times to the Phoenix House building below. These could be subject to further restriction at very short notice.

Whilst Customer Services are endeavouring to staff the service to meet ‘business as usual’, the coming weeks are going to be challenging. As we lose staff due to having to isolate our ability to maintain levels of service will suffer. Please be aware that enquiries may take a little longer to answer, and call wait times may become extended.

We would wish to reassure customers, that during office hours we will always have someone at the end of the phone. Where possible, all customers should be checking the website for updates on service changes across the council, and using the online services which can be found at https://www.middevon.gov.uk/do-it-online/ when they can.

Help us to protect the most vulnerable, by only contacting us if your issue or enquiry is urgent.

Monday            10:00am to 12.00pm
Tuesday            CLOSED
Wednesday       CLOSED
Thursday          10:00am to 12.00pm
Friday               CLOSED

Council launches Local Support Fund to help those in financial difficulties due to COVID- 19

Mid Devon District Council, in association with Devon County Council, Churches Housing Action Team (CHAT) and Navigate Charity, have launched a Local Support Fund to support those whose financial situation has been affected by the current pandemic and are now out of cash for basic essentials for their household.

The Mid Devon COVID-19 Support Fund can provide small emergency payments to help with basic essentials such as food, household essentials, electricity and gas, etc., to help people in financial difficulties if:

  • They run their own business, and cannot currently trade / their business has been drastically reduced because of the pandemic
  • Their employment situation has changed and their income now no longer covers needs
  • They have lost their job due to the COVID-19 outbreak
  • They have still not received expected government funding (i.e. self-employed)

You can apply for a grant online at middevon.gov.uk/COVID19SupportFund or phone the Community Support Helpline on 01884 234387 for help to fill in an application form.

Town and Parish Charter

The Charter between Mid Devon District Council and the Town and Parish Councils of Mid Devon was finalised in October 2017 and is now due for review.

Partnership working between town and parish councils (local councils) and the district council will only be successfully achieved if both partners recognise, understand and respect the role that the other plays and work to promote those roles.

Consultation will take place with Town and Parish Councils prior to the reviewed Charter being presented to the Community Policy Development Group.

I attach a copy of the Charter and we would welcome your thoughts and comments as well as any suggestions for improvements. If you feel that the Charter is still fit for purpose and requires no amendment, please could you let us know.

Please could you respond by 31st July 2020. You can find the current Town and Parish Charter here.

Covid-19 - Community Groups supporting vulnerable residents

As a result of the Covid-19 outbreak, many people have been asking about setting up local groups to support vulnerable residents with shopping, picking up prescriptions, or just keeping in contact.

If you are setting up a local group, make sure you are aware of the implications of the current legislation regarding data protection and safeguarding vulnerable adults. Although much of the legislation may not apply to you, there are some important principles you must follow around keeping personal data safe and confidential, and ensuring the most vulnerable are protected from harm.

You can find useful information and resources on the ‘Covid-19 Mutual Aid UK’ website on

https://covidmutualaid.org/, including information on data protection 
(https://www.resourcecentre.org.uk/information/data-protection-for-community-groups/ )

If they have any doubts about what you should be doing around data protection or safeguarding, you should contact your local voluntary support agencies:

Devon Association of Parish Councils - http://www.devonalc.org.uk INVOLVE Voluntary Action in Mid Devon - https://involve-middevon.org.uk/ Exeter CVS (now CoLab Exeter) - https://www.colabexeter.org.uk/

Advice concerning Covid-19 is developing rapidly, so make sure you are aware of the most current and correct advice before engaging with vulnerable residents.

Meet the Parish

Bradninch

“Branesh (Bradninch) was a Borough Town when Exeter was a fuzzy down”

At the time of William the Conqueror’s Domesday Book, Bradninch was the largest in area of forty-six manors in Devon. There is a long and proud association with the Duchy of Cornwall and still today many of the farms surrounding the town are owned by the Duchy and let to tenants. Bradninch had weekly markets on Thursdays and Saturdays and annual fairs on May 6th and October 2nd. A flourishing woollen industry, pillow lace making and farming were the mainstays of the area.

A huge fire in 1666 burnt out much of Bradninch except the Church and a few surrounding cottages. A second fire in the nineteenth century destroyed a greater part of the town again and it was rebuilt mainly in the Georgian style, changing the appearance again.

Latterly the different coloured rendering on the houses has brightened up the main thoroughfares of the town.

The Industrial Revolution had the effect of moving the population from places like Bradninch. Many residents now commute to the major local towns and city of Exeter situated 10 miles away.

The paper mill at Hele is the major employer in the area and the Regional Office of the National Trust at Killerton also uses local people in the offices, shop and grounds. One only has to glance at the advertisements in the Bradninch Magazine (published 10 times a year and available from the local shop in Fore Street) to see the list of the many small businesses being carried on in the town.

Burlescombe

Burlescombe Parish stretches from Fenacre in the north to Leonard Moor Cross in the south and from Maidendown in the east to Holbrook in the west. It includes Burlescombe, Westleigh, Canonsleigh, Westcott, Waterloo Cross, Junction 27 of the M5, Tiverton Parkway, Appledore, Southdown and Ayshford.

The parish has a long history with several properties mentioned in the Doomsday book. Canonsleigh Abbey, whose 11th century gatehouse still stands, was a wealthy and influential institution until its dissolution in 1539.

The manor house at Ayshford, with its chapel of ease, was the seat of the Ayshford family who owned much of the parish until as recently as 1939. The Ayshford’s were benefactors of the parish church of St Mary, well established by 1324. Elizabethan and Jacobean memorials are features of the interior. More recently the family was instrumental in building Burlescombe School that opened in 1859, eleven years before the great Education Act of 1870 which saw the establishment of so many village schools.

Although the parish is largely agricultural it is also surprisingly industrialised. The limestone quarry at Westleigh has been worked since medieval times and is still fully active. The Grand Western Canal crossing the parish from Waytown tunnel to Holbrook and now a country park is further evidence of the industrial past. Brunel’s Great Western Railway was built in the 1840s and, although Burlescombe’s station disappeared in the 1960s, still serves the parish at Tiverton Parkway. A more modern transport link, the M5 motorway follows Brunel’s route through the parish.

In more recent times the Parish Council has purchased a piece of land from Aggregate Industries along which the narrow gauge railway, that linked the quarry to the main line, used to run. It has become part of a delightful walk along the Old Railway Line. In addition the Parish Council maintains Park Wood which is a small 6 acre woodland.

Complaints about Councillors

Just a reminder to all Clerks that any complaints about councillors (as councillors) should be referred to the Monitoring Officer, Kathryn Tebbey, Mid Devon District Council. It includes any grievances raised by employees, as these too have to be dealt with as a code of conduct matter. This was confirmed by the high court in 2018 – unless and until the lawmakers or courts decide otherwise.

Citizens Access Customer Portal

Drum roll please! We in Revenues are introducing a new Citizen Access Customer Portal this week and I’d like to encourage everyone who lives in the District to sign up to it please click on the link https://www.middevon.gov.uk/MyCouncilTaxAccount and pass the happy news on to friends and relatives. Why I hear you ask should I do this? Well once registered you’ll be able to receive your Council Tax Bill electronically and there are a number of additional advantages to using the portal:

  • 24/7 instant access to your account
  • You’ll be able to see exactly how much you owe, when you next need to make a payment and what you need to pay; you’ll also be able to keep track of how much you’ve paid over the year
  • If you have a Discount or Rebate applied and the amount You can apply for or cancel a Discount
  • Let us know you’ve moved house Set up a Direct Debit
  • Upload documents
  • Even send us a message

By using the portal you can be confident that we have received everything from you; nothing will ever get lost in the post again. The information that you give us Direct Debit details for example will be automatically updated by our back office system so delays in responding to you will be drastically reduced. You won’t need to spend your valuable time on the phone trying to get through to us to tell us that you’ve moved house just log into the portal and do it online! It’s that easy!

The additional features detailed above will be switched on over the coming weeks as the new system beds in.

As we’ll be able to reduce the numbers of paper bills and letters produced we’ll save on printing, paper and postage so not only will we be able to save money we’ll be able to play a small part in Mid Devon’s pledge to reduce our carbon footprint.

Revenues Team

Council workers

There were two fellas working for the city council, one would dig a hole, the other would follow behind him and fill it in. They worked furiously all day without rest, one guy digging a hole, the other guy filling it in again.

An onlooker was amazed at their hard work, but couldn't understand what they were doing. So he asked the hole digger, "I appreciate the effort you're putting into your work, but what's the story? You dig a hole and your partner follows behind and fills it up again.

The hole digger wiped his brow and sighed, "Well, normally we're a three-man team, but the bloke who plants the trees is sick today."

Keeping up to date

Press Releases Issued

https://www.middevonnewscentre.info/

Dates for Mid Devon District Council Meetings

https://democracy.middevon.gov.uk/mgCalendarMonthView.aspx?GL=1&bcr=1

TO BE ADVISED

Dates for Devon County Council meetings:

http://democracy.devon.gov.uk/mgCalendarMonthView.aspx

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