Community

Council pledges to do everything in its power to help people through the crisis

County Hall with daffodils in the foreground

Posted on: 19 March 2020

Devon County Council leader John Hart today pledged the authority will do whatever it can to support residents and communities through the Coronavirus outbreak.

“This is an unprecedented situation and many residents will be deeply worried about themselves, their families and how they are going to cope over the coming weeks,” he said.

“I want to assure everyone that the whole council is working flat out alongside our partners in the NHS, districts and others to make sure we put everything we can in place to help people through this.

“We will do everything it takes to keep our care system fully functioning and ease the immense pressure our hospitals are facing.

“We are working with schools, nurseries and colleges to provide the care and support our key workers need to continue in their vital roles.

“We will redeploy our own staff and resources as necessary to help keep essential services up and running.

“And we will work with the Local Enterprise Partnership to support and advise local businesses via the Growth Hub as best we can.

“Our people and communities are already demonstrating the strong community spirit which has helped us through previous crises.

“All across the County, town and parish councils and community groups are setting up volunteer schemes to keep an eye on their more vulnerable neighbours.

“I know many of us who remain healthy and mobile are already offering our support and I urge more people to do the same.

“I am happy to pledge that Devon County Council will work alongside districts, towns and parishes, the voluntary sector and local businesses to help build on and support this emerging community response to help those people who are vulnerable, housebound or self-isolating.

“Devon has a strong community spirit and by pulling together and supporting one another we will overcome this crisis – however long it takes.”

Other actions include:

  • A suspension of non-urgent council meetings (pending a relaxation of government rules on democratic processes)
  • A move to digital invoicing for the council’s suppliers to ensure quick payment and help cash flow for local businesses.
  • The physical closure of library buildings to the public and suspension of mobile library services and events. Loan periods are being relaxed and access to digital books is being extended.
  • A relaxation of rules relating to bus passes to enable older people to access shops before 9.30 and enable people to take advantage of dedicated shopping times for older people being offered by some supermarkets.

Details of other specific actions and changes to services will be announced over the coming days and weeks.

30 comments on “Council pledges to do everything in its power to help people through the crisis

  1. Suzanne Cooper says:

    Please relax parking restrictions to help those in isolation and need during this time

  2. Donna Green says:

    Please do something about the holiday parks that are open.We already have a struggling NHS and we have NDDH that covers many areas.We can not afford to apply extra pressure by having people travelling to holiday when government advice is that social distancing is to be applied.We have no idea if these people have been in contact with Corona virus and are carrying it and we risk Devon getting infected more by leaving the parks open.

  3. Ashleigh T Johnson says:

    Please relax the parking restrictions. Here In Combe Martin we do not have enough parking as it is in the winter time when we are allowed to park on the single yellow lines. Now in summer, we cannot park on the single yellow which immediately takes away two spaces in front of our house. Now due to Coronavirus my high risk father has to stay and work from home, with nowhere for his car to go, so he got a parking fine for parking in front of the house. This is completely unfair.

  4. Doug Seymour MBE says:

    Can some of the parking restrictions and or enforcement be lifted in Combe Martin please

  5. Carol Barkwell says:

    What provision is there to link up socially isolated people with services that can support community deliveries ??

    • Hi Carol, All across the County, town and parish councils and community groups are setting up volunteer schemes to keep an eye on their more vulnerable neighbours. We will work alongside them to help build on and support this emerging community response to help those people who are vulnerable, housebound or self-isolating. Details of specific actions and changes to services will be announced over the coming days and weeks. Rebecca

  6. Clair E Rice says:

    Please relax seasonal parking restrictions as many people self-isolate and are part of multi-car households so they may not have a 2 car available parking provision at their home address.

    Work with holiday home & B&B owners and hotels to see if they can offer a percentage of spaces in their parking areas for their communities given that cancellations for guest bookings are coming in fast for April & May dates

  7. Laura W-T says:

    Please remove the parking restrictions.. for example.. here in combe Martin we still have traffic wardens giving tickets to cars who are parked because people are **having** to work from home, or self isolate, because of the coronavirus. This seems very unfair, especially as there is very little parking in Combe Martin. I’m sure there are many other people all over the County who are **having** to work from home or **having** to self isolate, who who can’t go and move their cars, or have nowhere else to park (who would normally be moving their cars during the day to go to work, or go elsewhere), and so they are having to worry about parking fines at the time when they’re probably worrying about less income… Please have a heart Devon County Council, and lift the parking restrictions.. Hopefully also the parish councils that control the other parking (such as Combe Martin Parish Council) will listen as well

  8. Pam Barrett says:

    What support do you have planned for parish councils and voluntary groups?

    • Hi Pam, We are aware that town, parish councils and community groups are setting up volunteer schemes to ensure people receive essential support. We want to work alongside them to build on this and support the community response that’s being established. Details of specific actions and changes to services will be announced over the coming days and weeks. Rebecca

  9. Ludmila Chard says:

    This is good news. Keep up the good work. We need flexibility at this time.

  10. Gary Milla says:

    Mr Hart
    Devon County Council and the UK Governments job is to look after us all.

    It is easy with to complain after the event. But you and your partners Exeter University should have have had plans in place. These guys below and many others new. Our system has failed us again. Climate Change is next !!!
    Do not answer this with the rest of the world also did nothing.
    Below Bill Gates 2015 told you so.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Af6b_wyiwI

    Stephen Petranek 2014 told you so.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HEfpxiUIZPs&t=45s

  11. Shakti Pruden says:

    It’s good to see the Council is taking action and being supportive of the community. I would like to know whether the bus passes for disabled people will also have their rules relaxed regarding usage before 9.30 am? We are being given the same conditions as OAP’s regarding early morning use of supermarkets before the general public are admitted so it would make sense that we can use our bus passes at the earlier time in order to take advantage of this support.

  12. Sally says:

    My husband is high risk – currently undergoing chemotherapy for cancer. We are both over 60. I’ve seen no evidence of any help whatsoever.

    • Hi Sally, Thanks for the message. Can you tell me where you live (just town or village, NOT full address) please? I can then try and investigate what support is happening / planned for your locality? Rebecca

  13. David Allwright says:

    I wish you could have some influence over Plymouth City Council which is in Devon. I am self employed. Run a small business. Not in the SBRR scheme and have been told they cannot help me at at all.

    The only help I have been told I may be able to get is the government backed loan. But if I have no income HOW ON EARTH am I supposed to pay it back?

    Small businesses are the backbone to this country and many will end up on scrap heap without help.

  14. Adrian Smith says:

    A reduction in Council tax would’ve been helpful.

    • Gus Brown says:

      Yes this is critical.
      The monthly payment is a huge spend on Council Tax.
      It is easier for the councils to borrow money from Government rather than individuals.
      This is the moment to also upgrade the Council Tax system as I pay nearly double my neighbour as the price bands are historic.

  15. Beth p says:

    Are there any plans for council tax breaks at all? Thank you,

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