SHDC – Housing Consultation

South Hams District and West Devon Borough Councils are asking local people to share their thoughts on the most important issues for local housing.

These are challenging times for the South Hams and West Devon.  If 2020 has taught us anything, it is the importance of our homes and where we live. That is why the Councils want to hear local views on their proposed Housing Strategy 2021-2026. A seven-week consultation on the strategy launches today, 14 December 2020. Titled, Better Homes, Better Lives, it sets out a series of priorities around housing, which will help support the health and wellbeing of residents whilst recognising the unique qualities of the local area.

Many important local issues are highlighted in the plan. These include:

  • The need for quality, affordable housing
  • Access to the Disabled Facilities Grant to fund essential adaptations in homes and to promote independent living
  • The role housing planning can play in meeting climate change targets

This is your opportunity to help shape housing priorities for the future of our communities. Public feedback is vital to the success of the plan and will help the Councils to identify if any significant changes need to be made before it is formally adopted.

That is where the Councils need your help.  To make sure everyone has a chance to join the conversation, there are several ways to have your say.  Firstly, you can complete the online survey at www.westdevon.gov.uk/wd-housing-strategy or www.southhams.gov.uk/sh-housing-strategy This should only take a few minutes of your time. A series of super-quick 10-second polls will also run across the Councils’ Facebook, Instagram and Twitter feeds. These are designed to capture local views on some of the most important elements of the strategy. Please follow us on Twitter @SouthHamsDC or @WestDevon_BC, Facebook @southhamsdistrictcouncil @westdevonboroughcouncil or Instagram @south.hams or @westdevon.boroughcouncil and have your say. Alternative formats are also available on request.

Cllr Hilary Bastone, South Hams District Council Executive Member for Homes said:  “To make sure our plans truly meet local need, we now want our residents to join in the conversation. To make this easier for more people, we’ve got a choice of ways to have your say. We’ve got a short online survey that should only take a few minutes to complete. We’re also planning a series of mini-surveys on Facebook and Twitter. These make it simple to share your views and we hope they will encourage even more people to get involved. ”Cllr Debo Sellis, West Devon Borough Council Hub Lead for Homes added: “This strategy comes at a time of great uncertainty following a year of restrictions and lockdowns as a result of the global coronavirus pandemic. A time when “home” took on a stronger meaning.

“As we move forward, it is important that we revisit our priorities and make commitments to change. That’s why we have called our strategy Better Homes, Better Lives. I urge everyone to spare just a few moments to have their voice heard. By telling us what is most important to you, we can deliver a plan that really will make a difference to our communities.”

The Housing Strategy focuses on six important themes:

Housing for Place

  • Ensuring sustainable housing growth
  • Promote balanced and sustainable communities
  • Ensuring that homes support the health and wellbeing of the area

Housing for People

  • Homes that support the health and wellbeing of our residents
  • Make the best use and improve quality of existing housing
  • Ensuring that people can access the support and advice they require

Both Councils have declared a climate emergency and greener initiatives that deliver on carbon reduction, green energy and improving homes in a sustainable way are key aspects of this strategy.

There are a number of ways to join the conversation and have your say about the proposed Housing Strategy.

You can read the Housing Strategy 2021-2026 here: www.southhams.gov.uk/housing-strategy or www.westdevon.gov.uk/housing-strategy

You can take part in the full consultation survey here: www.southhams.gov.uk/sh-housing-strategy or www.westdevon.gov.uk/wd-housing-strategy

To make it even easier for more people to get involved, the Councils will also be asking for feedback via social media. Please follow the Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts and look out for a series of posts inviting you to have your say.

  • Twitter @SouthHamsDC or @WestDevon_BC
  • Facebook @southhamsdistrictcouncil @westdevonboroughcouncil
  • Instagram @south.hams or @westdevon.boroughcouncil

The consultation runs until 10am on 1 February 2021.

SHDC – Commitment to Climate Change

A report highlighting South Hams District Council’s strong commitment to tackling key climate change and biodiversity issues is to be taken to committee this week.

Developed by the Council’s Climate Change and Biodiversity Working Group, the Draft Strategy and updated Action Plan, will be presented to Full Council on Thursday 17 December to request formal adoption.

Since the Council declared a Climate Change and Biodiversity Emergency in July 2019, officers have continued to work on tasks and projects that will help the District to become net zero by 2050.

These include reducing the Council’s own carbon emissions, continuing to work with partners, including the Devon Climate Emergency Response Group and our Joint Local Plan partners, Plymouth City Council and West Devon Borough Council, and to increase biodiversity by 10% in its green and wooded public habitats by 2025.

From the original funding allocation of £400,000, £20,000 has been committed to provide officer support for the expenditure of in excess of £500,000 to improve energy efficiency of residents’ homes using the Green Homes Grant Scheme. The Council is now committing to split the remaining £380,000, with £180,000 to address the Council’s own carbon footprint and the remaining £200k delivered over two phases, to support community initiatives through a range of match-funded grant awards.

Cllr Judy Pearce, Leader of South Hams District Council, said: “I am really pleased to report the progress of our Climate Change and Biodiversity initiatives. We remain committed to using the remaining £380,000 to the best effect. We are determined to reduce our own carbon footprint and also to support our communities to reduce theirs. We will do this through a range of actions including, funding a series of grants. It is important to back up our commitment in a way that maximises the benefits by levering in match-funding and capacity wherever we can.

“We continue to work closely with our Devon-wide partners and we are actively working with community representatives to get their views and expertise on an ongoing basis. We have started to change some of our fleet vehicles to electric and will continue to do so, as and when our existing contracts allow. Public electric charging points are in place in some areas of the South Hams with more already in the pipeline. We have supported eligible residents through the Green Homes Grant Scheme to help improve their homes’ energy efficiency.

“We are also publishing a monthly Climate Change and Biodiversity e-bulletin to share updates and good practise with our residents, which you can sign up for on our website. All in all, I am confident that we are making strong and steady progress to our Climate Change and Biodiversity agenda.”

The Council understand that Climate Change and Biodiversity loss are of critical importance and interest to a wide range of individuals and groups across the District. With this in mind, they arranged a Climate Change and Biodiversity Community Forum session, which took place on Wednesday 9 December and was declared a success by those in attendance. Together the Forum will continue this valuable relationship, where the Council and community representatives share expertise and knowledge to work together and support common goals.

Any new opportunities and initiatives will be updated in the continually evolving Action Plan as they arise.

A member of South Hams District Council’s Climate Change and Biodiversity Working Group, and Leader of the Council’s Green Party, Cllr Jacqi Hodgson, added: “This week’s formal publication of our Climate and Biodiversity Emergency strategy is very timely as it coincides with Devon County’s Interim Carbon Plan that was issued last week and the emergence of a number of climate action plans from parishes and town across the South Hams.

“Collaboration and ‘joined up thinking’ across the Councils with strategic incentives and ideas for the public to participate in meaningful actions to address the climate emergency will help us all to reduce our carbon footprint.”

To find out more about the Council’s commitment to the Climate Change and Biodiversity Emergency, visit:

www.climatechange.southhams.gov.uk/achievements-and-activity

SHDC – Grants for Businesses which were Ordered to Close

Businesses in the South Hams and West Devon which were ordered to close when the national restrictions began on 5 November 2020, can now apply for a grant of either £1,334, £2,000, or £3,000 depending on the rateable value of the business.

From today (Monday 16 November) businesses can apply for the grant through the councils' websites – www.southhams.gov.uk

Applications will be processed on a first come first served basis and the first payments will reach bank accounts from Wednesday 25 November.

At the beginning of the current national restrictions, central government announced that there would be further support for businesses who could not trade.  This grant is called the Local Restrictions Support Grant (LRSG) and is aimed at those businesses which were told that they must close because of the threat posed by COVID-19.

Businesses  from the hospitality industry, including pubs, restaurants, and holiday accommodation are included in the list of those eligible for the grant. Those which provide personal care, such as hairdressers, beauty salons, and many businesses in the leisure industry such as gyms, swimming pools, and soft play centres are also on the list.

If a business (included in the list) is substantially closed but still able to offer some click and collect or take-away service, it is  still eligible for this business support grant.A full list of all the businesses that were instructed to close, and those on the exemption list can be found on the Government's business advice pages: www.gov.uk/government/publications/further-businesses-and-premises-to-close/closing-certain-businesses-and-venues-in-england

Once approved the grant will provide those eligible businesses with a rolling 28-day grant, lasting as long as the national restrictions apply.

Cllr Judy Pearce, Leader of South Hams District Council said: “In a matter of days we have made all necessary arrangements for you to be able to apply for this grant. All businesses in the South Hams are really important to us and we know how hard this pandemic has affected you. Our aim now is to get this money to you as quickly as possible.”

The amount of Local Restrictions Support Grant (LRSG) awarded to you will depend on the rateable value of your business premises:
To be eligible for this current Local Restrictions Support Grant (LRSG), there are four conditions with which your business must comply:

  1. Occupy and be liable for business rates on a property that appears in the Local Rating List on 4 November 2020
  2. Have been trading on 4 November 2020
  3. Have been open as usual on 4 November 2020 and providing in-person services to customers from their premises; and
  4. Mandated to close from 5 November 2020 to visiting members of the public for a consecutive period of no less than 28 days as a result of regulations made under the Public Health (Control of Disease) Act 1994.

You must also have the following information to hand before you start your application process. We do not want your payment to be delayed so please make sure you send in the correct information:

  • Recent bank account statement showing account number and address
  • Your company number

In addition, the councils are encouraging all businesses to keep following them on social media and to sign up for their business email alerts.

Cllr Judy Pearce added: “These grants are being administered differently from the grants we administered earlier in the year. We will not be writing to you telling you to apply, simply go to our website and begin your application.

“We would also strongly recommend that you sign up for our Business E-Bulletin.  That will ensure that you get information about further grants and business support when we publish it.”

Apply for the grant on the councils’ Business Support Pages

southhams.gov.uk/LRSG

Find out which businesses should be closed under current national restrictions

www.gov.uk/government/publications/further-businesses-and-premises-to-close/closing-certain-businesses-and-venues-in-england

 

SHDC – Stay alert this International Fraud Awareness Week

Local authorities across Devon are joining forces to protect residents and themselves to combat fraud this International Fraud Awareness Week (IFAW), which runs until 21 November.

With the Counter Fraud Services Team at Devon Audit Partnership, local authorities are aiming to raise awareness of what fraud is, as the first step in preventing it from taking place.

Raising awareness of fraud, often referred to as a scam, is more important now than ever.  Fraudsters are trying to take advantage of people during the COVID-19 (C19) crisis. They are adopting a C19 camouflage to play on residents’ fears and lack of knowledge, taking advantage of them at this unusual time.

Based on fear and risk during the COVID-19 crisis, the most common examples, reported to action organisations include:

  • victim alleged to have breached stay home regulations - scam with text messages from .GOV.UK issuing fines
  • free school meals scam - fraudulent messages (text or email) to parents entitled to free school meals
  • fraudsters pretending to be from a research group that mimic the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and World Health Organisation (WHO)
  •  fraudsters providing articles about the virus outbreak with a link to a fake company website where victims are encouraged to click to subscribe to a daily newsletter for further updates
  • investment fraud including pension liberation fraud – fraudsters could take the opportunity to create bogus investments in commodities in high demand

West Devon Borough Council’s, Lead Member for Customer First, Cllr Jeff Moody, said: “We are constantly hearing how fraudsters are targeting our vulnerable residents with scams. It is appalling how these people can prey on the unsuspecting, especially in a pandemic where lots of people are experiencing impacts on their finances already.

“Only this week, we have heard about how one of our Horrabridge residents managed to evade being caught out with a Council Tax scam, where the scammers claimed to be from the Council and offering a refund. Always contact the Council for clarification if you are suspicious. Take the time to find out how to protect yourself and your family against fraudsters and what to do if you have unfortunately been caught out.”

Fraudsters understand how many of us think and react as human beings aiming to create a situation which causes an overwhelming and emotional response to a stimulus such as an email or text that increases our stress levels. This  triggers our fight or flight responses with normal logical thought is over ridden by the need to take immediate action.

Counter Fraud Services Manager at Devon Audit Partnership, Ken Johnson, says: "There has never been a more important time to raise awareness of fraud and those who commit it at this time of national and global crisis. It is a disgrace that dishonest people will commit fraud against another individual or organisation at any time but in the current situation is far worse.
"Committing fraud against local government at the expense of those who need local services stops funding going where it is needed the most. Every £ taken from the public purse is a £ that someone in real need has to go without. If you know or suspect someone of committing fraud then report them."
 
South Hams District Council’s Cllr Jonathan Hawkins, Executive Member for Health and Wellbeing, said: “I urge residents to take the time to educate themselves on how to identify fraud. If you have been scammed, please make sure you report it to one of the trusted agencies so public awareness can be raised.

“There is no shame in having been conned by these terrible people. They make their scams very difficult to spot and we have to do everything we can to stop them so we can protect our loved ones.”

Detailed counter fraud advice is available online, including from these trusted sites:

Only use trusted sites and or those displaying that they are secure - site address starts with “https” or displays a padlock image next to the site address.

A case of fraud, or suspected fraud, can be reported in confidence in the following ways:

SHDC – ‘Super-fast’ Electric Vehicle chargers unveiled for public use

Cutting-edge ‘rapid’ Electric Vehicle (EV) charge points have now been commissioned for public use at three council car parks in South Hams and Teignbridge.

From this week EV users can charge their electric vehicles at Ivybridge’s Glanvilles Mill car park, the Chudleigh Library car park and at Buckfastleigh’s Mardle Way car park. The £175,000 project is a partnership of Devon County Council (DCC), South Hams District Council and Teignbridge District Council has been made possible by funding from Highways England.  The ‘rapid’ charge points are among the fastest chargers available - EVs should have an 80 per cent charge within 30 minutes, and will be operated by SWARCO and compatible with all EVs currently on the market.

This scheme is the latest example of Highways England’s Designated Funding programme assisting local authorities to improve air quality across the country, helping DCC and district councils to work together to deliver EV charging points along the A38 in Devon. Currently DCC and the district councils are working to deliver the government-funded Deletti project, the first phase of which aims to deliver at least 25 charging points in public carparks across the county from early next year. And DCC is working with the private sector on the government-funded ‘Street Hubz’ project which aims to deliver at least 100 on-street EV charging points in Exeter from next year.

All three projects are part of local authority efforts to help reduce carbon emissions in Devon. Last year DCC declared a ‘climate emergency’ and formed the Devon Climate Emergency Response Group (DCERG). The DCERG is a group of 25 influential business groups, public sector bodies and councils - including South Hams District Council, Devon County Council and Teignbridge District Council. They are working together to reduce carbon emissions and create a Devon Carbon Plan – a road map to carbon neutrality.

South Hams District Council’s Portfolio Holder for the Environment, Cllr Keith Baldry, said: “It’s really important to us to deliver as many electric vehicle charging points across the District as quickly as we can. The charging points in Ivybridge are a good starting point towards us reducing our carbon footprint. They are perfect for the town but also for travellers on the nearby A38 corridor. We are committed to our Climate Change and Biodiversity Plan and have already started to change over some of our fleet to electric vehicles.”

Councillor Stuart Hughes, Devon County Council’s Cabinet Member for Highways Management, said: “I recognise the difficulty in encouraging more people to use electric cars until there are more charging points and that’s why we are working closely with our district and government partners to deliver charge points in prime locations such as this.

“While the government has committed to banning the sale of all new petrol and diesel cars and vans from 2040, we want more people to start using electric vehicles long before that. Fewer petrol and diesel cars will lead to a reduction in emissions, cleaner air and an improved quality of life for all residents.”

Highways England Project Sponsor Brian Cull said: “We’re pleased to be working with councils across the country to make more provision for drivers making the switch to electric, and over 95% of England’s motorways and major A-roads are now within 20 miles of an electric vehicle charging point.

“The charging points will help drivers of electric vehicles make longer, cleaner journeys and reduce the anxiety of potentially running out of power.

“Elsewhere in the South West, we have already funded charging points along the A303 in Somerset, and this is another example of how we are using designated funding to benefit the environment and communities alongside our roads, as well as the people travelling and working on them.”

Councillor Jackie Hook, Teignbridge District Council’s Executive Member for Climate Change, said: “These two EV charging sites in Teignbridge mark a major milestone in our commitment to move to a more sustainable mode of transport, and we’re grateful to our partners at Devon County Council and Highways England for their contribution to this. Use of electric vehicles will be part of the solution to a cleaner, greener and more sustainable future, alongside increased use of cycling and walking, and better public transport links. We want to promote the use of all these modes of transport through improved facilities and increased safety, to give our residents more ways to reduce their carbon footprint.”

District Council’s Hopes For Improved Home Insulation

As part of its drive to be carbon neutral by 2050, South Hams District Council is recommending committing over £500,000 to improve the energy efficiency of households within the District.

A successful Council bid for The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) funds, through the Green Homes Grant Scheme, has secured over £330,000 to help improve older homes’ energy efficiency as part of a plan to save households money and to cut carbon emissions.

The Council is now proposing to commit a further £200,000 specifically targeted at low-income families living in fuel poverty and to underline its commitment to do it all can to tackle the global climate change and biodiversity challenges.

A Green Homes report going to the Executive Committee, on Thursday 22 October, recommends that whilst the majority of the Council’s reserves are kept under review during the uncertainty around the pandemic, it is prudent to release £20k from the Climate Change and Biodiversity Earmark Reserve. This is to support delivery of these schemes and help some of the most vulnerable in our community.

In line with the Council’s emerging Climate Change and Biodiversity Strategy, the extra funding, if agreed, will also help to reduce carbon emissions from existing housing, which remain a major source of CO2 emissions in the District.

The Green Homes Grant project will focus on the installation of external wall insulation and air source heat pumps for eligible households.

This scheme would mean properties, which are not on the mains gas supply and rely on alternative, less efficient sources of heating, such as oil and solid fuel, would benefit from these improvements early next year.

Whilst the additional funding, if given the green light, will help secure further reductions in fuel poverty and carbon emissions through a range of different interventions and by levering in additional funds.

South Hams District Council’s Leader, Cllr Judy Pearce, said: “I’m delighted that we have been able to secure crucial funds to improve energy efficiency in homes, and to support some of our most vulnerable households while underlining our commitment to the Climate Change and Biodiversity Emergency.

“With recent information forthcoming from Government on local authorities’ funding for the coming year, we are now able to go the extra mile by recommending further funding from our reserves to deliver this vital project and to provide extra officer time in looking at further ways to help carbon reduction.

“This is an important step in reducing the District’s carbon footprint in homes which don't currently benefit from efficient insulation or use inefficient methods of heating.”

A member of South Hams District Council’s Climate Change and Biodiversity Working Group, and Leader of the Council’s Green Party, Cllr Jacqi Hodgson, added: “It is so very important that we tackle this particular carbon issue with these very welcome new funds that have become available to us. It is very timely as the winter chill sets in and we provide a low carbon alternative to turning up carbon heavy thermostats. “Insulating homes and providing more efficient, renewable sources of heating can result in energy savings of between 10 - 30% and the installation of air source heat pumps and external wall and roof insulation will go a long way towards this. I’m very positive that additional resource has been allocated to support this incredibly important work.”

To find out more about the Council’s commitment to the Climate Change and Biodiversity Emergency, visit: www.climatechange.southhams.gov.uk/achievements-and-activityTo find out more about the Green Homes Project and to see if you are eligible, email: eco@swdevon.gov.uk

SHDC – Council Prepares for New Recycling Service

PLEASE NOTE: CHANGES BEGIN FROM 5 OCTOBER  - THIS MAY INCLUDE A CHANGE OF COLLECTION DAY - CHECK YOUR COLLECTION DAY ONLINE

14 September 2020

In Spring 2021, South Hams District Council will be introducing an all new ‘Super Recycler’ service, so that every household can recycle more.

The planned changes will add glass and a wider range of plastics to the list of items collected at the kerbside.

In preparation for the new service, a full review of the collection rounds has taken place and new routes will come in to effect from 5 October 2020. From this date, it is possible that crews will  collect at a different time of the day for every household so it’s important that all waste is out by 7 a.m. For about two thirds of residents, actual collection days will change.

Reviewing the days and weeks we collect recycling and waste is a common part of delivering the service.  These reviews are needed periodically to take account of new properties, and this round review is long overdue in South Hams.

With the incoming new service, now is the perfect time to implement a full review of the rounds. This will ensure that the rounds have been amended to take into account the changes that are needed for the new service to work effectively in 2021.

The new recycling service was originally planned to come into effect in September 2020 but has been delayed due to the impact of lockdown on vital supply chains and preparations.

Residents in the South Hams are already very good at recycling all of the items currently collected. With the introduction of the new service, South Hams District Council wants to help residents become Super Recyclers and recycle even more every single week.

Recycling more and throwing away less reduces the impact on the environment because less energy is used producing new materials and we can make the best use of our resources.

In 2019, South Hams District Council joined many other councils and Central Government, in declaring a climate change and biodiversity emergency.  While tackling the global issues seems an overwhelming task, recycling is one of the easiest way for every household to do their bit.

The new service will introduce a new weekly separate food waste collection and weekly recycling collection. It will allow residents to recycling glass and plastic packaging, such as yoghurt pots, margarine tubs, meat trays and fruit punnets, at the kerbside. Garden waste and refuse collections will remain fortnightly.

All properties impacted by the day changes will receive a letter this week, 14 – 18 September, informing them of their new collection day. If residents have not received a letter and want to check if they have been affected they can use the ‘find my collection day’ feature on our website, www.southhams.gov.uk/recyclingwaste. Households not affected by the day change may notice that the time of day their collection is completed may change. Residents are reminded that collections can happen any time after 7 a.m. on their collection day.

Cllr Keith Baldry, South Hams District Council’s Executive Member for Environment, said: “We are delighted to be bringing this improved service to our residents in Spring 2021.  Many of them have been telling us that they want to recycle more materials, because they know how important recycling is.

“The collection route changes are a necessary step in the preparation for the new service. Residents may experience low levels of disruption while our hard working collection crews adjust to the new routes. If missed collections do occur they can be reported on our website the following day.”

Cllr Baldry added: “While we’ve unfortunately had to delay the new service until 2021, we hope the delay will mean that we have more time to talk to more people about the new service as lockdown restrictions ease.”

Residents will receive further information on the new service through their door in early 2021.

Collection calendars issued with council tax statements in March finish in September. This was in preparation for the original new service date. A downloadable copy of the calendar for the rest of 20/21 is available at www.southhams.gov.uk/recyclingwaste.