Goodleigh Parish Council

 

Minutes of the meeting held via Zoom on Tuesday 2 February 2021 at 6:30pm.

 

Present:                       Cllrs A Gockmann (Chairman), M Cloake, Dr S Ley and A Seaford.

 

In Attendance:            Mr T Watkins & Mr C Leworthy (Airband), Cllr Mrs A Davis (DCC) Parish Clerk.

 

72.       Presentation from Airband Community Broadband

Mr Watkins reported that Airband had been awarded the contract to provide fibre broadband n the Exmoor and Dartmoor areas, working with Connecting Devon and Somerset. Goodleigh was among the first list of parishes to be connected, in the Spring. The contract allowed the company to use existing ducts and poles used by Openreach, although it was possible that additional poles would need to be erected. 

A powerpoint presentation was given explaining the scheme. After the presentation councillors were given the opportunity to ask any questions that they may have. It was noted that although the village of Goodleigh already had a good connection, the outlying areas including Gunn had a very poor connection speed.

Any parishioner interested in being connected was invited to register an interest on the Airband website.

 

73.       Items from the public

A member of the public had expressed concerns to a councillor that the parish council had disappeared during the Covid-19 pandemic, as no minutes had appeared on the website. The parishioner preferred not to attend the meetings via Zoom. The Chairman explained that there were problems with the website that he had been unable to fix, and that he was willing for someone else to have a look at. It was noted that the agenda and minutes were displayed on the notice board. It was agreed to place an explanation on the facebook page. The Clerk was willing to email a copy of the minutes to any parishioner who would like to receive them.

 

It was reported that Mr Thorne had worked hard during the year to keep the drains at Northleigh cleared, and had helped during the recent flood. It was agreed to send a card expressing the council’s appreciation on the voluntary work that he had done.

 

74.       Apologies

Apologies for absence were received from Cllrs S Clarke and Mrs C  Karniewicz,           

 

75.       Approval of Minutes of meeting held 5 January 2021

The Minutes of the last meeting were agreed as a true record.

 

76.       Matters Arising from the Minutes      

            None.

 

77.       Reports

1.         District Councillor

                  None – District Councillor not present.

 

2.         County Councillor

Coronavirus updates from Devon County Council

The link below may be of interest to residents with the situation changing and many interested in what is happening locally this link is a useful starting point for questions and the current situation in Devon.

The link takes you to the Covid-19 pages on the Devon County Council Website, it has daily updated information as to positive cases within the area, information about testing and track and trace. 

https://www.devon.gov.uk/coronavirus-advice-in-devon/coronavirus-data/

 

Further social care funding

·       Following pressure from the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services, the Government has provided additional £269M funding to adult social care. This breaks down as:

·       £149M, equating to £2.5M for Devon to support staffing levels in care homes. The funding will support existing activity that we have had in place since wave 1 of the pandemic to ensure we can access the skilled staff we need.

·       £120M, equating to £1.7M for Devon to support testing in care homes. 80% of the money being given to the care sector on a per beds basis, with 20% used at the local authorities discretion to support the care sector in delivering additional lateral flow device testing.

 

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·       Although short term additional payments like these are welcome, and indeed a standing feature in normal times, we can’t forget the bigger picture and the real need to finally see the long awaited reform of adult social care.

 

Care and Health working priorities across Devon

·       Adult Care and Health has moved to Business Important A. This status reflects the growing escalation of the COVID pandemic and further supports our response. Business Important A means the vast majority of all transformation and change programmes have temporarily paused enabling staff to be redeployed to the areas of the service that are experiencing significant activity and pressures. This status is regularly reviewed.

 

·       Similarly the CCG has reduced its focus to three priorities that major on the vaccination programme, the COVID-19 response and keeping essential services running.

 

Mass vaccination programme

·       Work is continuing across the county at pace to deliver the local mass vaccination programme. The CCG is producing regular vaccination briefing notes and I shall endeavour to circulate these as they are published. People aged 70 and over and the clinically extremely vulnerable have begun to receive invitations for vaccinations as of the 18 January, alongside frontline Health and Care staff and the over 80s who were the initial priority groups.

 

·       With so much going on and at such pace it can be hard to keep track with developments. To date there are three main ways the vaccine is being delivered in Devon:

o   All four of the county’s main hospitals – in Plymouth, Exeter, Torquay and Barnstaple – are giving the vaccination to priority groups in line with national guidance

o   GP practices are working together in groups to set up local vaccination centres. Across the county, 20 centres are now in operation, serving all 123 of Devon’s GP practices

o   GP-led facilities are delivering the vaccine to residents and staff in care homes

 

 Community Testing

·       Following the government announcement on 10th January, Devon County Council is working at speed with partners to introduce community testing. This will support existing testing arrangements and complement the national roll-out of lateral flow tests in some settings such as universities and schools and with some large employers. Community testing will help to find individuals who have COVID-19 but do not have symptoms and need to isolate and who may inadvertently be spreading the virus.

 

·       Testing will be prioritised to help key workers and workers in high-risk occupations who still have to attend work, and people who are in contact with vulnerable individuals, such as carers. The first site is planned to open near the end of January, at County Hall in Exeter, with other sites planned to become available across the County in February and March. Updates on community testing will be provided on the community testing pages of the DCC website

 

Children’s Services.

With the third lockdown services are very busy. Last week 825 children were in care, and the pressure on Early Help is very high. Some additional funding from COVID 19 funds is supporting this pressure. The Edge of Care Service, which is mostly support for teenagers and families, is starting to make a difference. Social work staff on the front line are starting to be vaccinated and this will continue to be rolled out over the coming weeks.

 

Schools are having a difficult time. There are more children in school in this lockdown. It has settled a bit now and we are seeing an average of about 30% of children in school. There has been concern about some children not having suitable devices, to learn virtually at home.

 

The DfE has made available additional devices (laptops or tablets) available for

·       disadvantaged children in years 3 to 11 who do not have access to a device and whose face-to-face education is disrupted disadvantaged

·       children in any year group who have been advised to shield because they (or someone they live with) are clinically extremely vulnerable

·       disadvantaged children in any year group attending a hospital school

·       Disadvantaged children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND)

 

 

Disadvantaged children in this context are those with:

·       with no digital devices in their household

·       whose only available device is a smartphone

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·       with a single device in their household that’s being shared with more than one other family member

This offer applies to maintained schools, pupil referral units, academy trusts and hospital schools, as well as sixth-form colleges who have enrolled 14 to 16-year-olds.  

Secondary Schools can request the devices now and it is anticipated primary schools will have access over the coming weeks.  Local Authorities can also make requests for specific children.  

The number of devices schools can request is determined by the DfE and is based on the number of children in years 3 to 11, the number of children in on free school meals ( FSM ) and the number of devices the school has already received. (These laptops are in addition to the approximately 4000 DfE funded laptops for vulnerable children without access and other disadvantaged children that where distributed by the LA and schools during the summer term. A further allocation was made directly to schools in the autumn term.)  Orders should arrive within 5 days of the request.

 

The DfE is also providing support for pupils who have no internet access or who cannot afford increased data charges.  Information on this scheme is available here. ( Increasing data allowances on mobile devices to support disadvantaged children -

It should be noted that Parents, carers and pupils cannot apply for digital devices or internet access through this scheme themselves. They should contact their school to discuss requirements for accessing remote education.

There are also several charities donating devices. The advice is that parents must talk to their school about the need for help.

The pandemic has been going on for ten months and staff in child social care and schools have been brilliant, but everyone is getting tired.

 

Devon Recycling Centres are still open, with restrictions.

Our recycling centres are still open, although the resale areas within them are closed.

The national lockdown advice right now is for us to stay at home as much as possible and only to make journeys out of the house for essential reasons only.

Therefore, we are encouraging you to think about how you can reduce the amount of waste you create.

• Try to postpone projects at home that produce waste that would normally require you to make journeys to recycling centres

• If you do produce waste that you would normally dispose of at a recycling centre, can you temporarily store it at home safely instead, until we’re out of the current lockdown restrictions

• Remember that garden waste and other recyclable material can be removed as part of your usual curb side collections

If you make a visit to the recycling centre, please expect them to be operating differently during this lockdown period.

Restrictions are in place, including social distancing, which may lead to queues. If queues do start forming, we may need to restrict vehicles from joining the queues towards the end of the day and if queues become a safety hazard on the public highway, we may need to temporarily close the site.

https://www.devon.gov.uk/coronavirus-advice-in-devon/document/waste-disposal-and-recycling/

 

Highways Update.

The Highways and traffic management service is maintaining a business as usual approach to this current lockdown, works have been able to carry on as the supply chains are still active.

Unlike the first lockdown in the Spring the traffic flows have not seen the reductions that happened then.  At the moment weekday traffic flows (on A roads) are down 33% and weekends about 50%.

A few headlines on winter maintenance to date

·       Lowest road temperature -7.2°C on Dartmoor on 31st December

·       About 7cm of snow fell on Dartmoor on 4th December

·       Over 10,000 tonnes of salt used so far (more than total for last winter)

·       23 tonnes of salt provided to Snow Wardens

 

The graph adjacent shows the number of treatments that have been carried out so far this winter (blue) compared to the 7 year average (red).  This graph clearly explains why we have used more salt so far this winter !

 

February will start with northerly airstream and low pressure dominating but high pressure may build by middle of month bringing drier but cold conditions, but there is low confidence of this !

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The beast from the east #2 is not predicted now to roar as the Sudden Stratospheric Warmer event is most likely to bring northerly airstream rather than easterly from current predictions and hence more impact on the NE of UK.

 

Assistance to NHS with COVID vaccination centres

 

The Network Operations Team have been supporting the NHS with their deployment of Vaccination Centres by:

-        Supplying salt and grit bins where requested

-        Increasing salting routes to take in most centres where not already on the network

-        Enabling the NHS to achieve an acceptable Traffic Management Plan for Westpoint and working with TCS to allow local buses to divert through the site.

-        Supporting with VMS where appropriate.

 

Call for evidence seeks views and evidence from all those with an interest in rural transport.

https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/future-of-transport-rural-strategy-call-for-evidence

 

The government published the Future of mobility: urban strategy, in March 2019, the Department for Transport are now seeking views and evidence on what could be incorporated into a Future of Transport: rural strategy.

There are three sections in the consultation document:

This consultation is part of the Future of Transport programme, which aims to shape transport innovation and secure the UK’s position as a leader in the transport sector of the future.

 

The consultation closes on the 16th February.

   

Goodleigh Road works

Firstly; The installation of additional drainage gullies. These works have been completed.

As you are aware we currently have temporary traffic lights on Goodleigh road due to a failed section that supports the highway. Unfortunately we will need to excavate a section of Goodleigh road to install the new retaining wall. This will reduce the carriageway width making the road unsuitable to support traffic. Once the majority of the retaining wall has been installed, and the highway is once again safely supported, we will then reduce the traffic management to temporary traffic lights in the final construction phase.

Please note we are also installing the new drainage cross pipe as part of these works, this will also be completed under the same closure as DCC will need to excavate a trench across the entire width of the carriageway.

Unfortunately it is predicted a 2-3 week road closure will be required, followed by 1-2 week temporary traffic lights. The preliminary start date for the works is the 22nd of February 2021. Please note this start date is pending agreement with the landowner etc. If we experience any complications on-site (inclement weather, Covid 19, etc) then this may extend the duration of the closure/temporary traffic lights.

I did ask the officer dealing with this if there as any update today on the dates etc and e has responded;

Unfortunately, the start date of 22nd February is still preliminary at this stage. I have a very tight deadline to turn this scheme around, but the worst-case scenario is it will be starting in March 2021.

Could you please extend my apology to the Parish Council for the delay in these repairs. I would also like to mention that we sympathise with how disruptive closing this busy road will be, but unfortunately this is the safest option for both our contractors and the members of the public. We are also carrying out additional works during the road closure to try and alleviate future disruption.

If there are any questions regarding the scheme following the meeting please let me know.

 

Finally, if you are a family who are worrying about money and struggling to pay for basic household essentials, please be aware that you can apply for help through funding that is  available via the District Council hardship funds, this was the money sent to the District Councils from DCC for any households requiring extra help. There’s more about what financial and food support is available for families in Devon on the website. 

 

Reminder about reporting a highway problem:

https://www.devon.gov.uk/roadsandtransport/report-a-problem/

telephone: 0345 155 1004

 

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78.       Planning Applications:

            None received.

 

79.       Surface Water/Drains/Highways

            No matters raised.

 

80.       Grass Cutting & Land Management

The Chairman had spoken to Mr Mallabone who advised that there would be an additional cost involved if some areas were only cut annually to allow wild flowers to grow, and the cuttings removed.

It was agreed not to incur any extra cost at the present time, but to enquire from Cllr Karniewicz if she was willing to take this on and organise a village working party.

 

81.       Parish Climate Change

            The Chairman had contacted Mr Benbow at Bratton Fleming, and was awaiting a reply.

 

82.       Rural Transport Review

It was agreed to put the details of the consultation on the facebook page, and to encourage parishioners to take part.

 

83.       Damaged Wall – Crow hill

Cllr Dr Ley reported that it was not the roadside wall had been damaged, but a wall to a deep well. The owner of the field had been contacted, who was not aware of the well. He had checked his deeds, and there was no mention of the well. As it was not included on his deeds, the landowner stated that it was not his responsibility. It was agreed to contact Planning Control at North Devon Council to ask them to take the necessary action.

 

84.       Review of Neighbourhood Plan

A meeting had taken place, but it had not yet been possible to progress the Plan. It was hoped that this would be done within the next week.

            Examples had been found from other parishes which could be borrowed and adapted where appropriate.

 

85.       Diseased Tree at the Playing Feld

Cllr Dr Ley reported that a local farmer had inspected the tree, but it was in the neighbouring field, and not on the hedge. It was therefore not the responsibility of the parish council.

 

86.       Correspondence Received

            1.         Notification had been received that the safety inspection of the play equipment would be carried out in March.

            2.         DALC Newsletter. Circulated to councillors.

 

87.       Matters from the Chairman               

            None.

 

88.       Finance

1.     Payments

North Devon Council – Dog Bins           £117.00             Cheque No. 893

Clerk’s Salary & Expenses                     £  89.22            Cheque No. 894

                                                                                                           

The two accounts were approved for payment.

 

89.       Items for the next Agenda:

            Grass Cutting;  Neighbourhood Plan; Damage to Well.

                 

90.       Date of next meeting: Tuesday 2 March 2021 

                 

There being no further business, the meeting closed at 7:45pm.

 

 

 

Signed . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  . . . . . . .                                 Date . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Chairman