Temporary ‘street café’ licences to be dished out in Devon

Temporary ‘street café’ licences are being served up in Devon to help businesses to reopen as coronavirus lockdown restrictions continue to ease.

About Author East Devon Reporter eastdevonnews.co.uk 
County council bosses are introducing the ‘informal’ measure to boost social distancing and aid the hospitality industry in the coming weeks.

The move will allow successful applicants to place tables and chairs on paved or pedestrianised areas that are classed as public highway.

Devon County Council (DCC) says it has sped up the application process by allowing outdoor seating while a consultation is being undertaken.

The process for a normal year-long renewable licence for a street café normally takes three months including a 28-day notice period for any representations to be made.

DCC says it remains any applicant’s responsibility to assess the layout of its customer seating area in relation to the Government’s social distancing guidelines.

Councillor Stuart Hughes, cabinet member for highway management, said: “The street café culture in our town and city centres across Devon has always been popular and we’re hoping that accelerating the application process on this issue can help local cafes and pubs when they reopen.

“We’re doing what we can to support local businesses and this is another way that we can help our local economy to recover.

“The temporary licence will be supplied free of charge and the street cafe licence fee will only be applied when the formal licence has been issued.

“Applications will be assessed as quickly as possible, and, as long as they are safe, in line with the guidance, and provide pedestrians with a minimum of two metres to pass, an informal temporary licence will be issued.”

A DCC spokesperson added: “The temporary licence will enable businesses to provide outdoor seating while the consultation is being undertaken, rather than once the consultation is complete, as long as the application is not contentious and is in line with the council’s terms and conditions.

“The county council will continue to seek the views of guide dog owners, sight impaired and mobility groups in advance of any licence being issued where appropriate.

“If objections are not received during the 28-day notice period, a formal 12-month licence will be issued in the normal way.

“However, if objections are received during the formal consultation, or complaints are received regarding the temporary period, the street cafe may be removed, and the temporary licence may be withdrawn until such time that issues can be resolved.

“Businesses that have existing street cafe licences, but wish to consider expanding their area to accommodate social distancing guidelines for customers, will be able to apply for a temporary informal licence for the increased area. This will follow a similar process, subject to the same conditions.

“No additional licence fee will be payable for expanding an existing street cafe, and if no objections are received during the 28-day notice period, the additional area will be incorporated into the formal 12-month licence when the next renewal is processed.”

Breaking news – Changing of the Guard at East Devon District Council – Two women now hold the Chair and Vice-Chair, surely this must be a first and represents real change

In an uncontested election.

Cllr. Dr Cathy Gardner has been elected as the new Chair of EDDC by 38 votes with 5 abstentions

(Proposed by Cllr. Paul Arnott and seconded by Cllr. Eileen Wragg)

In another uncontested election.

Cllr. Val Ranger has been elected to continue in the role of Vice – Chairman by 39 with 4 abstentions

(Proposed by Cllr Tony Woodward and seconded by Cllr Luke Jeffrey)

13 councillors sent in their apologies including Cllrs Moulding, Hughes and Tom Wright, from the tally of numbers another 3 did not attend including Cllr. Ben Ingham. (Mostly Conservatives)

The whole meeting was, as Owl hoped it would be, conducted with respect and dignity.

Dr. Cathy Gardner said in her acceptance speech that she would uphold the Nolan principles.

In complete contrast to the shambles of the previous extraordinary meetings this meeting lasted barely 25 minutes a fitting prelude to the the business approach shown by our new Chairman and Vice Chairman.

Stay Alert, go to the pub, save Jobs

June 22 plan for reopening of England’s pubs and restaurants by ‘save summer six’ ministers.

Don’t worry about the R value this is London calling the shots – Covid Cocktail anyone? (Owl)

Independent Staff www.independent.co.uk 

Pubs in England could reopen again two weeks earlier than planned on 22 June, according to reports.

Ministers hope to speed up the timetable in an attempt to prevent up to 3.5 million workers in the hospitality sector losing their jobs, it is claimed.

Under the current schedule, bars, hotels and restaurants are due to stay shut until July at the earliest – although they can serve customers outside their premises.

However, a group of ministers including chancellor Rishi Sunak are said to be looking at ways to help pubs to reopen using beer gardens, terraces and marquees.

The Financial Times, which claims to have confirmation of the plans from three Whitehall officials, reported that the ministers were calling themselves the “Save Summer Six”.

Mr Sunak is said to be in favour of a full reopening of pubs and restaurants before 4 July, with social distancing rules in place.

However trade association UK Hospitality has warned that pubs and other businesses would not be able to operate profitably if the two-metre rule had to be observed.

Boris Johnson is believed to have asked business secretary Alok Sharma to make the case for cutting the UK’s social distancing rule to one metre.

Meanwhile Robert Jenrick, housing and local government secretary, is reviewing planning rules to make it easier for pubs and bars to use outdoor areas, it is claimed.

The other ministers in the group are said to be cabinet office minister Michael Gove, transport secretary Grant Shapps, and culture secretary Oliver Dowden.

It comes after industry bosses warned that as many as 15,000 pubs could be forced to permanently close if they are forced to wait until September to emerge from lockdown.

Emma McClarkin, chief executive of the British Beer and Pub Association, also warned the sector could be facing a “double hit” if the public continue to stay away from busy social hubs.

“I am very, very worried about the sector,” she said. “There are going to be much fewer people inside our pubs and that is part of the reality going forward.”

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Independent review backs introduction of Highly Protected Marine Areas

 

Lyme Bay has been used as a case study in this review – Final Report (page 26 to 29). Owl’s view is that  Marine Conservation Areas, creation of a new East Devon and Dorset National Park and the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Coast are all components of the  “joined up” environmental approach EDDC needs to be thinking about.

An independent review led by former Fisheries Minister Richard Benyon, and published today on World Ocean Day, is calling for the introduction of Highly Protected Marine Areas in English waters. The review was commissioned on last year’s world ocean day by then Environment Secretary Michael Gove as part of the Government’s drive to protect our waters.

Executive Summary here

Final Report here

These highly protected marine areas would enable a greater recovery of the marine ecosystem and enhance the Government’s commitment to a national ‘Blue Belt’, which has already seen an area of 92,000 square km protected – 40% of English seas.

The UK currently has a range of protections in place through a network of 355 Marine Protected Areas, which offer protections for a designated feature or habitat within their boundaries. Highly Protected Marine Areas would go further by taking a ‘whole site approach’ and only permitting certain activities within their boundaries such as vessel transit, scuba diving and kayaking. Activities that could have a damaging effect on habitats or wildlife, including fishing, construction and dredging would be banned. The review claims the introduction of such areas could lead to a significant biodiversity boost for our seas by giving our marine life the best chance to recover and thrive.

The review, which was supported by a panel of independent experts, also sheds light on the potential social and economic benefits of introducing highly protected marine areas. These benefits include increased tourism and recreational activities, opportunities for scientific research and education, and positive effects for human health. It also suggests that any potential fishing restriction could be counterbalanced by a stronger and biodiverse marine wildlife – with potential long-term benefits for the fishing industry from providing areas where sea life can develop and breed undisturbed.

Three Marine Protected Areas: Flamborough Head, Lundy Island and the Medway Estuary currently have in place ‘no take zones‘ which prohibit all methods of fishing.

The panel has made a number of recommendations which will now be considered by Government with a formal response made in due course.

Devon Wildlife Trust has a comment from one of the Review panel, Plymouth-based, Joan Edwards, director of marine conservation at The Wildlife Trusts.

She says:

“Our seas are in an impoverished state and it’s hard for our generation to comprehend how abundant our waters once were. Cod were once as long and wide as humans are tall, and whales, dolphins and basking sharks were many times more common than they are today. We need to let the sea show us what it’s capable of. Today’s publication proposes a vital way of achieving marine recovery. We want to see real ambition from the Government with a commitment to HPMA delivery plan agreed before World Oceans Day in 2021.

“Existing Marine Protected Areas are limited in their ability to restore habitats and wildlife because their remit to protect nature only extends as far as maintaining the status quo. In these areas only some of the most damaging activities are prevented and even then, only in some locations.

“In Highly Protected Marine Areas, on the other hand, all damaging activities including fishing, dredging, construction and sea angling would be banned. This new type of designation means that nature could properly recover. HPMAs could be monitored to allow us to understand what a thriving seabed and restored marine life really means. They could set a bar against which other sorts of protected areas could be measured.”

“When bottom trawling was banned from Lyme Bay, off the Devon coast, in 2008, we learnt that recovery in the marine environment can happen, and sometimes much sooner than scientists thought possible. Beautiful sunset cup corals blossomed and pink sea fans grew across the area. By removing all pressures and damaging activities, HPMAs will give parts of our sea the best opportunity to recover to as natural and pristine condition as possible.”

In May 2019, the Government announced the creation of 41 new Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs) to complete a network of 91 MCZs. With the aim of protecting vulnerable and rare habitats and species, these sites added to the rich tapestry of MPAs in the UK. This was progress towards becoming an ‘ecologically coherent’ network – one that is large and well-connected enough to allow an array of habitats to thrive. Well-enforced HPMAs could be designated across parts of these areas and offer the strictest form of environmental protection; they would become the gold standard of protection, the first of their kind in the UK.

Dominic Cummings: call for new investigation into Durham trip

A campaign for a new investigation into Dominic Cummings over alleged breaches of the lockdown rules has been launched by lawyers with the backing of health workers and some families of coronavirus victims.

Matthew Weaver www.theguardian.com

A campaign for a new investigation into Dominic Cummings over alleged breaches of the lockdown rules has been launched by lawyers with the backing of health workers and some families of coronavirus victims.

The law firm Hodge Jones & Allen, which specialises in human rights and civil liberties, said the move was part of a “citizens’ bid” for a thorough investigation into Cummings over his trips to Durham and Barnard Castle.

One of the firm’s partners, Mike Schwarz, says a three-day investigation by Durham police last month was flawed after it found that no further action was required.

He is heading a legal team that is calling for a specialist unit from the Metropolitan police to investigate Cummings’ behaviour during the lockdown. It will also press for the Crown Prosecution Service to consider a public prosecution. If these routes fail, the campaign is considering a private prosecution against Boris Johnson’s chief adviser.

Schwarz said: “The focus has been so heavily centred on Durham, but the Met have yet to examine properly, if at all, the original breach and all his surrounding activity, in London and beyond his journey to stay in the north-east.”

He added: “The broad consensus of public opinion is that he broke the law on public health, and the entire weight of the state has been deployed to prevent proper investigation and proper due process.”

The initial three-day investigation by Durham police into Cummings’ travels found that he might have breached health protection regulations when he took a 52-mile round trip to the town of Barnard Castle, County Durham, with his wife and son on her birthday.

But it said Cummings’ 516-mile round trip from London to Durham and back had not broken health protection regulations. The force decided to take no further action after making no finding in relation to “stay at home” government guidance.

Schwarz argued that under the coronavirus regulations, Cummings had failed to leave home for a good reason. He said the campaign would encourage Durham police to explain their investigation. “It seems clear even from what they have said that they were rushed, the wrong criteria were applied, there was an incomplete examination of evidence and actions taken.”

He also believes other aspects of Cummings’ behaviour warrant investigation, including his decision to return to work on 27 March after tending to his wife, who was showing symptoms of coronavirus

Schwarz said Durham police’s investigation had taken no account of the damage to public trust in the government’s health message caused by Cummings’ actions.

He said: “I have no desire to cast doubt on the integrity of Durham police, but it is clear they were operating in a highly charged political environment, and we want to know exactly what they did to establish what Cummings did in Durham, given the many inconsistencies in his own account.”

Those backing the campaign include Andy Toogood, a mental health nurse from Hull, Dr Caroline Dickinson, a London GP, and Seamus McNally from Newmarket, whose family was unable to say goodbye to his father-in-law before he died of coronavirus.

The campaign includes the barrister Matthew Ryder, who is a member of the Scott Trust, which owns the Guardian Media Group.

Today at 6.00pm, “Changing of the Guard” at East Devon District Council – Act IV (of V) 

(Or how the Conservatives with only one third of the Council seats tried to retain power for ever and ever. A comic tragedy in five parts.)

Act IV: In which Councillors will elect a Chairman and Vice-Chaiman of the Council and the Conservatives may make a spectacle of themselves again. (We already have had to endure a meeting to call a meeting, and a meeting crashing into chaos when Conservative Cllr. Tom Wright swore so badly, YouTube cut the live streaming service)

Owl hopes that this election can be conducted with a degree of respect and dignity whether contested or not. Watch live or streamed here.

Recapitulation (More detail here)

The local election in May 2019 removed a Conservative majority of 9 and left them with 19 seats in a council of 60 members.

Cllr. Ben Ingham, Leader of the opposition prior to the election, with 19 other Independents formed an arrangement, compact, understanding or coalition with the Conservatives to form an administration. Eschewing any arrangement with the other Independents.

Despite this arrangement, the Conservatives were deemed to be the official Opposition, holding chairmanship of the Scrutiny Committee. 

By January 2020 two Independent Councillors had left Ben Inghams Group leaving him with 18 members to the Conservatives 19, essentially becoming  their puppet. 

In March 2020 members of the Green, Independent East Devon Alliance and Liberal Democrat parties and an Independent combined to form a new group with the title the Democratic Alliance numbering 23. At this point they replaced the Conservatives as the Opposition.

In May 2020 eight more Independent Councillors had left Ben Ingham. One joined the Democratic Alliance the remaining seven formed the Independent Progressive group. The Independent Progressives then signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Democratic Alliance to work together. At this point the Democratic Alliance and Independent Progressives held an absolute majority of 31.

On 18 May Cllr Ben Ingham sacked his cabinet and resigned as leader.

On 29 May Cllr Paul Arnott was elected Leader of the Council

On 1 June Cllr Stuart Hughes resigned as Chairman

On 4 June Cllr Ben Ingham, who campaigned as an Independent, recruited others to join him to form the Independent Group administration, joined the Conservatives.

Somewhere along the line the Conservative Council Chairman Cllr. Stuart Hughes decided to cancel the Annual Meeting. On election the new Leader, Cllr Paul Arnott, said: “ He took the opportunity provided by a change in legislation by the government to prematurely cancel the annual council meeting, and this decision has predictably created five meetings at a time of crisis to do the same business.

“I have no doubt that he hoped for an outcome where he simply stayed in the chair for a second year, described by his leader last week as ‘the regular term’, wrong constitutionally and undesirable politically.

“He claims to have filled the chair as a ‘civic’ role, but this sweeping statement on his way out parrots Tory press releases.

Constitutionally, The Annual Meeting is the most appropriate point for a change of administration as all posts are re-affirmed or changed as a matter of course. 

Act V (to follow) One more meeting is still needed to decide committee places, forum and panel memberships etc .

Dramatis Personae in their political groupings can be found here of a cast of 60

Democratic Alliance +  31 [including the 7 Independent Progressives]

Conservatives                20

The Independents           5    [Remaining members of Ben Ingham’s original group]

Cranbrook Voice             3

Independent                    1

 

Extraordinary Virtual Meeting of the Council of the District of East Devon

 on Monday, 8th June, 2020 at 6.00 pm

1 Public speaking Information on public speaking is available online 

2 Apologies

3 Declarations of interest 

4 Motion: To elect a Chairman and Vice-Chaiman of the Council Following the decision of Council at the Extraordinary meeting of Council held on 28 May 2020, the Council shall elect a Chairman and Vice-Chairman of the Council for the remainder of the civic year.

This meeting is being recorded by EDDC for subsequent publication on the Council’s website and will be streamed live to the Council’s Youtube Channel at 

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCmNHQruge3LVI4hcgRnbwBw 

In the event of unsuccessful streaming to Youtube, the meeting will be streamed live to the Council’s Facebook page at

https://www.facebook.com/eastdevon/