Keeping town and parish councils up to date

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Information, advice and support for town and parish councils

23 July 2020

Leisure centres reopening

Our leisure centres will be reopening on a phased basis from Saturday (25 July). Newton Abbot will be the first to open; followed by Broadmeadow on Monday (27 July) and Dawlish on Saturday 1 August.

By phasing re-opening we can focus on ensuring the safety of our customers.

swimming pools reopening

All leisure centre users are asked to pre-book sessions online, and we will not accept walk-ins. More information is available on our Teignbridge Leisure website.

Unfortunately the government decision to reopen leisure facilities came too late for us to be able to open the Teignmouth Lido for the remainder of the season. Reinstating the facility will incur significant costs and take time to ensure it is safe to use, especially as the building and surrounding grounds haven’t had their usual pre-season tidy up.

Although the Lido runs at a loss every year, we offset this with income from other parts of leisure services as we recognise its value to local communities.

Having lost significant income while the centres have been shut and social distancing requirements meaning that we can accommodate fewer swimmers at any one time, it is not financially possible to open the pool given the costs involved and the need to avoid further losses.

Our leisure services team has produced a video for returning customers, with lots of information on what the new service will look like, and telling them everything they need to know about how we’re making it as safe as possible for people to return to our leisure centres.


Guidance on play parks and outdoor gyms

Guidance on play parks and outdoor gyms has been published by The Association of Play Industries.

The BHIB has also published guidance on the reopening playgrounds and outdoor gyms

face covering

Compulsory face coverings extended 

The government has published its rules for face coverings and from tomorrow (Friday 24 July) they must be worn in takeaways, banks, building societies and post offices as well as in shops, supermarkets and travel hubs.

Wearing face coverings will not be compulsory in hairdressers, gyms, dine-in restaurants and pubs or cinemas, concert halls or theatres.

Banks and post offices will be able to ask people to remove face coverings for identification purposes.

People wearing face coverings are still strongly advised by the Government to:

  • wash their hands or use hand sanitiser before putting one on or taking it off
  • avoid taking it off and putting it back on again a lot in quick succession
  • store it in a plastic bag in between washes or wearing
  • avoid touching their eyes, nose, or mouth while wearing on


Acting to control future outbreaks

Last Friday's coronavirus briefing from the Prime Minister sets out plans to give more powers to local authorities to introduce measures, including the option for a local lockdown, to reduce the risk of and contain local outbreaks of coronavirus.

We have been involved at all stages of planning and shaping local plans alongside Devon’s other district councils and Devon County Council.

We are in a very good position to respond quickly and efficiently to any local outbreak, and have good data and monitoring systems that will give us an early warning of any potential increase in the rate of transmission, enabling us to take swift preventive action to reduce further escalation.

The Local Outbreak Management Plan (LOMP) provides an outline for managing coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreaks in Devon to protect residents and support the most vulnerable. It sets out measures to prevent any further local outbreaks of coronavirus in Devon as well as action to respond rapidly to any outbreaks, limiting further spread.

We’re also looking at how best we can support businesses and communities to get back on their feet after the pandemic, and what our role will be in this process, and this involves helping us understand how people have been affected and what their future plans are.

ballot box

Reform of the annual household canvass

The annual canvass is getting underway next week - the process by which Electoral Registration Officers contact every household within their area to check whether they have the correct people registered to vote. 

Traditionally each household receives an annual enquiry form through the post but this year the government has changed the way we can do this.  To make it simpler and cheaper, we are now allowed to contact households in different ways, using for example email or text messages.  Where we do not hold e-communication contact details for a resident, a paper form will be sent in the usual way.

More info

Agreement not to bid for Reopening High Streets Safely funds

Working closely with Bovey Tracey, Dawlish, Newton Abbot and Teignmouth Town Councils, we explored the options for accessing funding through the Reopening High Streets Safely scheme and have collectively decided that the financial risk and minimum spend would potentially outweigh the benefits. We therefore did not submit the application by the 17 July deadline.

The funding is aimed at temporary, additional measures, solely for the purpose of safety and related communication. It cannot be used for the benefit of independent businesses or as part of any wider destination promotion, for example through existing Visit South Devon channels. 

Each town prepared an action plan including delivery options and costings (where available), which were considered against the scheme criteria. It operates on a reclaim basis, with a minimum spend of £30k for the period 1 June 2020 to 31 March 2021, and monies are spent upfront with submissions being made quarterly in arrears.

Under the scheme, funding is expected to be managed at the lowest responsible tier of local government. This meant that each town council would be responsible for the associated cost and procurement of any goods such as hand sanitiser supplies and equipment, communication or temporary signage. A service level agreement would then be required to enable the district council to subsequently reclaim in arrears and redistribute spend. However, if the submission did not fully meet the scheme requirements, monies would not be paid out.


Community resilience event

Devon Communities Together is hosting a FREE online community resilience event as part of its role as facilitator of the Devon Community Resilience Forum.

The event, on 29 and 30 July, is designed for Councillors, Community Response Team members, flood wardens, and all community members interested in resilience.

Attendees will be able to sign up to a variety of different sessions and workshops, all designed to support communities to become more resilient, particularly in relation to the challenges of Covid-19 and the recovery from it.

tree council

The Tree Council Branching Out Fund

Grants between £300 and £1,500 are available for UK community organisations, parish/town councils and schools for tree planting projects, ideally during National
Tree Week, Saturday 28 November to Sunday 6 December 2020.

More information and application forms are available from the Tree Council website

Devon newspaper

Watch out for Devon newspaper 

Devon County Council, NHS Devon Clinical Commissioning Group and the Police and Crime Commissioner’s Office have commissioned a one-off newspaper on behalf of Team Devon, for news and information related to coronavirus across all of Devon’s districts

Devon Together is being distributed to 300,000 households and households that we know are less likely to have digital access to news and information are being prioritised.

Take a look

Building up council tax arrears?

Recognising the financial pressures the pandemic has placed on residents we have not taken any recovery action in recent months in relation to unpaid council tax.

Faced with a multi-million pound shortfall this year as a result of extra costs and lost income, it is important that we recover the money due to the council.

In the coming weeks we will be writing to all residents in arrears encouraging those who can pay to clear any debt and asking those in financial difficulties to get in touch so we can support them to access help that may be available. Individual circumstances will be taken into account with each case and our aim will be to support residents by agreeing realistic payment plans which can be reviewed as circumstances change.

Virtual council meeting next week

A meeting of the full Council will be held virtually on Tuesday, 28 July, starting at 2.15pm.  The meeting can be viewed live on our YouTube channel and papers can be viewed in advance on our website. 

R number stay alert

The latest government advice on staying alert and safe

Click on the images below for more information about each.

Face coverings
every mind