Issued: 24 March 2020
We recognise that these are very difficult times for businesses and residents within South Hams District and West Devon Borough Councils and it can often be hard to find all the information you need in one place to access support and help.
The Councils have put together a fact sheet summarising all the various funding packages which have been announced by the Government and ways in which people can receive financial assistance.
Businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sector will receive a business rates holiday for 2020/21 and we are working hard to rebill all eligible businesses as soon as possible. The revised business rates bill will show there is nothing to pay.
Cash grants of up to £25,000 are also being made available by the Government for businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors. Businesses in these sectors, who on 11 March would have been eligible for the expanded retail discount scheme, with a rateable value of under £15,000 will receive a grant of £10,000. Businesses in these sectors with a rateable value of between £15,001 and £51,000 will receive a grant of £25,000.
There is also a cash grant available of £10,000 for businesses who, on 11 March were eligible for small business rates relief, to help meet their ongoing business costs.
In the next day or so, the Councils will send a letter by post to the business rates contact address of businesses who might be eligible for the cash grants. Please look out for this letter at your business rates contact address as it will contain a unique reference number to enable you to apply online. Eligible businesses will be asked to apply online on the Councils' websites in order for a payment to be made direct into their business bank account. The payment should be received by eligible businesses in early April.
There are also things you can do if you are struggling to pay bills like your rent, mortgage or energy bills because of Coronavirus. Our advice would be to speak to the organisation that you owe money to. They might be able to help you by letting you pay smaller amounts or taking a payment holiday. It is also worth checking with your bank or building society as they might be able to help you with your debts or let you delay loan or credit card repayments or have a payment holiday.
If you are not working because of Coronavirus, you might be able to claim benefits (the Universal Credit scheme) if you’ve lost your job or you’re self employed and can’t get work. What you can claim will depend on your situation.
The Government has also recently announced a Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme where the HMRC will reimburse 80% of employees’ wages, up to £2,500 per month. The scheme will cover the cost of wages backdated to 1 March and is initially open for three months. All UK-wide employers with a PAYE scheme will be eligible to apply. HMRC expect the first grants to be paid within weeks and they are aiming to get this done before the end of April. If your business needs short term cash flow support, you may be eligible for a Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan.
Details of all of the various types of support and financial assistance are on the Councils' website. Please keep an eye on our websites and social media for updates and announcements as they become available so that we can keep businesses and residents informed.
Broadband Universal Service Obligation (USO) update
We are writing to inform you of the latest position on the broadband Universal Service Obligation (USO) which opened for applications on Friday 20 March.
As you may know, from that date, consumers and businesses who do not have access to 'decent broadband' (10 Megabits per second download speeds, 1 Mbit upload) will be able to request a USO connection up to a reasonable cost threshold of £3,400 per premise (this cost threshold can be combined across multiple premises). The USO is just one part of an extensive programme of work to improve broadband connectivity in rural areas. The USO is intended as a safety net to ensure no-one is left behind on unreliable and slow speeds.
Ofcom is responsible for the implementation of the USO and has designated BT as the universal service provider together with KCOM (as telecommunications provider for the Hull area).
Ofcom and BT will be launching a page on their websites which will go live on 20 March (see below). Ofcom’s website will contain key information along with a factsheet and details of who to contact for more information/queries.
Who is eligible? There are two key conditions, consumers must:
• Have no access to commercial ‘decent broadband’;
• Not be within 1 year of UK Government or Devolved Administration supported rollout (with a defined date for delivery).
If consumers have access to a decent service that is priced more than £46.10/month, they will also have the right to request a universal service connection.
Consumers will be able to check if they are eligible by contacting BT (or KCOM). BT will be mailing out to eligible customers.
Arrangements for monitoring and reporting progress of the USO will be through Ofcom’s Connected Nations reports.
Devon Communities Together
Unit 73 & 74 Basepoint Business Centre,
Exeter EX2 8LB
Devon County Council have suspended the 9.30 a.m. restriction on bus passes to enable elderly residents to take advantage of dedicated shopping times for older people being offered by some Supermarkets. Whilst appreciating that some communities have little or no bus service, it is hoped that this is helpful to those that do.
We don’t need to tell you that the Country is currently in the middle of a massive public health and economic crisis, the like of which has not been seen in peacetime in modern times.
We both want to assure you that South Hams District Council and West Devon Borough Council are doing everything they can to help you, your family, your friends and your businesses. There is no doubt that the current crisis will have a profound effect on all of us, and that if we are to come through it in the best shape possible we must work together, support our communities and look out for each other.
The Prime Minister has made it quite clear that he is expecting local government to work closely with communities nationwide to beat this disease. We have reorganised many teams at the councils so that we can put your needs and concerns first in everything we do, whilst keeping as many of the everyday services going as we can, which, at the moment, is all of them. We are coordinating closely with the County Council, the NHS, the Government and other partner agencies to build resilience.
We know there are many high-risk vulnerable people in our communities. Our main role is going to be to harness community effort and volunteers as part of a nationally integrated plan to ensure that they are cared for, looked after and protected. This plan will be directed at Devon County Council level, co-ordinated by the Red Cross. Please see the volunteering details below this message.
We shall be working with local businesses to deliver the help and assistance that was promised by the Chancellor in the Budget last week and subsequently. There is ample evidence that the local economy is in a precarious state. Help and assistance has been promised and the details are currently being worked out by Government departments. We will get information about how to access that help to you as soon as it is available and will support businesses who need to apply for grants and loans. Details will be on both Councils’ websites.
We are also acutely aware that there will be difficulties ahead for employees, the self-employed and many workers who are on zero hours contracts. As soon as there are details of the help that will be available we will ensure that information is also published on our website. We, and our partner agencies, will do whatever we can to support individuals in need during this difficult time in whatever way we can.
You can find below some of the things the Council, or our partners, have set up to help you:
Business help or individual help with loss of income: Please go to the Coronavirus page on our websites.
Specific information about the Coronavirus outbreak, including Government financial help can also be found on the above links.
Volunteering: We are asking existing, or forming, local groups of volunteers to register with us so that we can get information and assistance to them.
To register contact: CommunityCoordination
Information will be continuously updated as details come down from Central Government.
Public Health England resources can be found here: www.gov.uk/government/
Some of this is a duplication of previous posts which is to ensure the relevant previous information remains easily accessible.
The government advice on isolating yourself and family if you show symptoms and advice on isolating/shielding is on the link below.
The link below is the the government advice site for employees with information about entitlements etc. This is clearly evolving quickly but the site should be updated frequently.
If you believe that you might need support from the community please contact Cllr Andrew Hollett, details below. If you have neighbours or friends who may not be accessing this site but you feel they may benefit please ask them to contact Andrew or give permission for you to do so.
If you are willing to be a Community Volunteer to help with the above or be willing to make regular phone contact to someone to ease the isolation please contact Cllr Trudie Timlin Brown also details below.
Cllr Andrew Hollett. Tel. 830361 email@example.com
Cllr Trudie Timlin Brown Tel 830683 firstname.lastname@example.org
It may be useful to gather some names of volunteers willing to dog walk and this may suit dog friendly teens and others, please contact Trudie.
As mentioned in our previous post we are aware that the level of media coverage can make this situation feel overwhelming and frightening leading to anxiety in people. If you are concerned or don't understand some of the terms in the media or advice sites Clr Baumer (Retired Consultant) and Di Baumer ( Retired Public Health Nurse) have kindly offered to give telephone or email advice. They can be contacted as detailed below. This is NOT an alternative to receiving individual advice from your GP or Specialist Medical Care Team. It is part of our broader community response.
Dr H. Baumer 830274 email@example.com
Di Baumer 830274 firstname.lastname@example.org
Many people will have stocked up on staples but be finding fresh produce more difficult. Holbeton Village Stores already delivers milk and will be happy to deliver vegetable boxes/bags. Please discuss with Jack Purkis. 830246 or holbetonvillagestores@
If you plan on using supermarket deliveries it may be prudent to arrange an account now if you do not already have one. Ocado for example is only delivering to existing customers and not accepting new customers at present.
Prescription Collection Service.
We have some noble volunteers who have agreed to collect prescriptions from those who are isolating or are unable to for other reasons. Cllr Baumer has kindly agreed to support this service.
Sue Collins (Flatman) will collect from Modbury H.C. 830406 suecollins@yahoo.
They are willing to be contacted for out of hours emergency prescriptions.
For those who have a laptop or mobile phone they can be an invaluable way of maintaining contact with family and friends, locally, nationally or internationally. Many of us have them but are unsure of how to use these features to for example make video calls so we can chat for example with grandchildren. Jack Purkis has kindly offered to help anyone who would like to set up a What's app group on an android mobile phone. Pete Stevens can assist with setting up Skype on laptops, and What's App/Facetime on phones (Tel 830780 petestevens150@gmail.
Otter Garden Centre charges £8. for home delivery and takes telephone orders. 01752 405422. There is no reason why those isolating can't get out in the garden if you are lucky enough to have one. I remain optimistic that spring is about to appear and it is worth supporting our local businesses so they are still there when we emerge from our enforced hibernation!
In the interest of keeping fit and healthy Helen Norris suggests the following:
Beginners Pilates Workout with Kim Saha on You Tube.
Yoga with Adrienne on You Tube.
If you have a Smart TV you should be able to access them on there which from experience is much easier to follow than from a phone!
Even if isolating we are lucky to live somewhere where we can walk and run without bumping into people. If you want to take up running or as I call it shuffling try the wonderful NHS Couch to 5k app link below.
By the time you have finished isolation could be over and you can join Holbeton Harriers! I am sure existing Couch 2 5k'ers will be happy to offer support.
For those who are missing exercising their vocal cords have a look at sofa singers link below. Even in dark times there are chinks of light with people doing wonderful things.
Jack Purkis is interested in fundraising to provide outside equipment such as goalposts on the sports field for the young ( and not so young ) people ,if you are interested please contact him directly.
If you have other suggestions for activities (that I can print!) please share with me via email email@example.com
We have been liaising with Ivybridge Food Bank about providing support for those in need. Food banks are really struggling as people prioritise themselves. If you are able to donate food locally it will be much appreciated. Financial donations can be made online to the Trussell Trust.
Many thanks to all the people who have volunteered, it is much appreciated . We are in this for the long haul and you will be needed. Can I also thank my fellow councillors for all they are doing.
C L Ackroyd
Issued: 6 March 2020
South Hams District Council’s consultation on whether an Aldi supermarket is wanted by the people of Ivybridge has now closed, with results showing that over two thirds (69%) of residents support the new supermarket proposals.
The consultation, which ended on 19 February, had a robust response from residents with 66% of respondents telling the Council that they felt a new supermarket would improve footfall into the town centre.
The Council listened carefully to previous public feedback where residents clearly said that they didn’t want a drive through or pub included in the proposals. As such, the consultation was based on a smaller scheme which concentrates on key priorities to boost the town’s growth.
There was strong support from survey respondents for a short stay car park with a whopping 87% in favour of changing from the current long stay. Residents also felt that they would increase their visits to the town centre if they were able to get an hour and a half of free parking to allow them to access the town’s shops and businesses more easily. While 57% responded to say they would support out of centre parking for the 6% of people who work in the town.
The results revealed that most shoppers drive to do their main, or top up, shop during the day, suggesting there would be a marked improvement to the economy of the town by those who would take advantage of the free parking opportunities.
Respondents also felt that by improving shopping choice, it would drive down the cost of food shopping and would encourage people to shop locally within the town, rather than outside of it.
The Council feel that these results demonstrate that residents, and those living outside of the town, recognise the benefits of supporting regeneration and economic activity within Ivybridge’s town centre.
The Council’s next step is to consider the business plan and make a decision to proceed or not.
In Kingsbridge’s consultation, which also closed recently, there was a mix of ideas for the future of the Rope Walk and the District Council will now take time to review the results. Both sets of results will be published as soon as the final analysis is complete.
Cllr Hilary Bastone, Deputy Leader for South Hams District Council, said: "We are really pleased with feedback from both of these consultations. There was a really robust response from residents which is exactly what we were hoping for and Ivybridge in particular, were very clear about what they want to see in their town.
“Having such solid support from the Ivybridge community to our revised plans shows that we’re now on the right path and it is very heartening. These proposals will be a substantial financial investment from the District Council and we’re determined to get it right.“
The data is currently being analysed and the full results will be made available on the Council’s consultation website www.engagement.southhams.gov.
South Hams District Council (SHDC) have wholeheartedly agreed to back the Local Electricity Energy Bill which is soon to be re-introduced in Parliament.
The Bill hopes to solve the problem of local renewable energy producers who are unable to sell the energy they have generated to local people due to the huge set up and running costs involved.
If the Bill is passed by Government, it would create a right to local supply. This means it would make the cost of selling locally generated clean energy comparable to the scale of the operation. These cheaper costs for community energy groups means that they can supply their energy in their local village or town, rather than back to the National Grid.
The District Council, who is determined to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and promote renewable electricity as part of its Climate Change and Biodiversity Emergency, unanimously backed the motion brought to Full Council by Cllr Chown, and seconded by Cllr Jonathan Hawkins.
SHDC joins a growing number of over 120 local councils and authorities who have backed the Bill, which is also supported by both the South Hams MP’s - Sir Gary Streeter and Anthony Mangnall.
If the Bill was to become law it would pave the way for local authorities to set up their own energy companies. This would improve the Council’s carbon footprint and that of their communities. Money gained from such a scheme could then be ploughed back into things like energy efficiency schemes and other local services and facilities.
South Hams District Council’s Ward Councillor for Wembury and Brixton, Cllr Matthew Chown, said: ““Many areas of the South Hams are fortunate enough to have community energy groups within them. They are often created by a small number of incredibly passionate and dedicated volunteers. One of my local energy groups, Yealm Community Energy, have been involved in the creation of two solar farms which produce enough renewable energy to power all of the homes within its five local parishes, but under the current system, this energy gets sold back to the central grid.
“However, if this Bill was passed in Parliament it would help these local groups to achieve their vision of supplying the generated energy back to the local area, helping us to achieve our carbon reduction goals and also bringing multiple benefits to the local community. I am sure that this kind of micro generation and distribution is an important part of the renewable landscape as we move towards our carbon zero targets.”
South Hams District Council’s Executive Member for Environment, Cllr Keith Baldry, said: “We have got to support national policy change to help improve our environment and to reduce our carbon footprint. If we all lobby our local MPs to get this Local Electricity Energy Bill passed as a law, it will have a huge impact on the South Hams by cutting out utility companies and allowing communities to become registered suppliers.
“It can only be a good thing with local energy companies creating self-sufficient renewable energy which will benefit all of us. The people of South Hams would get to take more ownership of who provides their electricity, so it’s a win-win scenario.”