Consultation on plan for new Clyst Valley Regional Park in East Devon

A public consultation is under way over proposals for a huge new regional park spanning the Clyst Valley in East Devon.

This adds a little more detail to the previous post – Owl

East Devon Reporter 

The green space will take in Clyst St George, Broadclyst, Poltimore, Killerton, Ashcylst Forest, Cranbrook, Whimple and Bishops Court.

Many areas mooted for the Clyst Valley Regional Park are not currently accessible to residents and visitors.

A masterplan for the project proposes to restore nature and historic buildings, create trails, and tackle climate change and flooding.

East Devon District Council (EDDC) launched a consultation and survey on the scheme on Monday (November 9). It runs until Thursday, January 7, 2021.

Poltimore Park in East Devon. Picture: Simon Bates

Poltimore Park in East Devon. Picture: Simon Bates

EDDC leader Councillor Paul Arnott said: “This exciting project is central to East Devon’s commitment to conserving beautiful areas not protected by formal status as well as encouraging the return of the bio-diversity the world is in desperate need of in the 2020s.

“I would encourage everyone to take part in this consultation.”

Some of the ideas mooted in the masterplan include:

  • A Clyst Valley Trail linking the Exe Estuary Trail to the Exe Valley Way;
  • An extension to Cranbrook Country Park;
  • A land-based learning centre and café at Broadclyst Community Farm;
  • A new cycle trail linking Cranbrook to Exeter along a quiet route;
  • Renaturalising the River Clyst between Clyst Honiton and Cranbrook;
  • A major increase in trees through both planting and natural regeneration;
  • A new visitor hub at Ashclyst Farm and cycle/pedestrian links into the forest from Cranbrook, Broadclyst and Killerton.
The area covered by the proposed Clyst Valley Regional Park. Image: EDDC

The area covered by the proposed Clyst Valley Regional Park. Image: EDDC

East Devon portfolio holder for coast, country and environment Cllr Geoff Jung added: “Although the concept of the Clyst Valley Regional Park was agreed through the East Devon Local Plan in 2016, this consultation proposes many exciting and creative additions to help provide easier access for people to enjoy this wonderful countryside area on Exeter’s doorstep.

“It will also improve and enhance the biodiversity and habitat, to protect this special area for the long-term.

“Therefore, it is vital that you tell us how you would like to see this valuable ‘green space blueprint’ develop and grow.

“I would like all residents and businesses to help us define the priorities of the park, as it takes shape over the coming years.”

The view for a Whimple Orchard. Image from the masterplan

The view for a Whimple Orchard. Image from the masterplan

The masterplan says: “The Clyst Valley Regional Park is crucial for the health and wellbeing of a growing population, and to restore the natural capital on which we all depend.

“The purpose of this masterplan has been to set out a long-term, broad guide to how the regional park could develop.

“It is a first draft and is not perfect.

“A five-year action plan for delivery will then follow and progress will be monitored and reported annually to EDDC.”

East Devon residents can take part in an online survey here.

Any enquiries about the masterplan can be emailed to

Image from the Clyst Valley Regional Park masterplan.

Image from the Clyst Valley Regional Park masterplan.

Clyst Valley Regional Park major projects

Ashclyst Forest

The National Trust provides access to 272 hectares of the forest along a choice of colour-coded trails ranging from 2.4 km to 11.3 km, and including a 3.5 km butterfly trail suitable for wheelchairs and buggies.

The forest is an important site for pearl-bordered and small pearl-bordered fritillary butterflies, 12 species of bats, dormice, and breeding birds. It is probably of national importance.

The National Trust plans to make the forest a more attractive and enjoyable destination for walking, cycling and horse-riding.

The intention is to create a visitor hub at Ashclyst Farm and an outdoor field studies centre at Caddihoe, the latter in collaboration with the Scout Association.

Bishops Court

A hugely important piece of the jigsaw. Ownership is split across three private land holdings, but all have a desire to protect and enhance the natural and built heritage.

Over the next five years, parkland tree planting should continue alongside protection and maintenance of the existing old trees, one of which, an English oak, is estimated to be 700 years old.

A new permissive path and picnic area in Alder Croft woodland could create a circular trail from Sowton Village without needing to use Bishops Court Lane, which is a ‘rat-run’ during rush hour.

A strategy needs to be defined, and funding secured, to restore, and if possible, provide public access to the tithe barn and stables.

Clyst Valley Trail

The Clyst Valley Trail will be a commuting and recreational trail for walkers, cyclists, mobility scooters and, where feasible, horse riders.

It will link the Exe Estuary trail with the historic Killerton House and park via an existing multi-use trail from Broadclyst.

There is future potential to reach Ashclyst Forest and the Exe Valley Way.

It will provide a direct, safe, green route to employment centres at Science Park, Sky Park, and close access to Exeter Business Park and Sowton Industrial Estate.

On the way, it passes through historic parkland at Poltimore, forming the backbone of the new Clyst Valley Regional Park.

Hayes Farm

It provides a green buffer between the housing at Mosshayne and the Lidl warehouse as, without this, the landscape of the park would be severed at this point.

The site is the only remaining recreational green space of useable size for the community of Clyst Honiton.

Planning obligations secured the enhancement of wetland habitats within this project area, including reed bed and additional wet woodland.

There is potential to site a bird hide overlooking this small reserve and a remote camera in the ‘bat house’, designed solely for the protection of a population of bats, could be an excellent educational resource.

Lower Clyst

This is a very significant area of freshwater grazing marsh and fen.

It is at risk from sea level rise and the river banks downstream of Winslade Barton will not be defendable in the long-term.

Sea level rise will lead to the loss of internationally-important mud and sand flats on the Exe Estuary, and this loss will have to be compensated by inter-tidal habitat creation elsewhere.

The route of the proposed Clyst Valley Trail from Darts Farm follows the ridge to the east of the river.

This will be a multi-use trail, but a return footpath following the toe of the ridge back to Darts Farm offers great opportunities for screened wildlife viewing of the river and marsh, while also providing a beautiful circular walk for all abilities.


Mosshayne Farm is situated just north of Blackhorse/Clyst Honiton and, together with the Hayes Farm site, is an important piece of green infrastructure between the new Lidl distribution centre to the east and land allocated for housing to the west.

The owner is keen to explore options for willow biomass or habitat creation (meanders, ponds, fen, wet woodland, marshy grassland) in conjunction with 1.7km of river restoration and enhanced public access.

Pin Brook

The brook is an important wildlife corridor flowing out of Pinhoe and into the River Clyst and is being delivered in connection with Linden Homes.

The seven-hectare Minerva Country Park has now been delivered by Barratt David Wilson Homes and, subject to contract, will be managed by the EDDC Countryside team.

A further three hectares immediately adjacent to it has been secured as public green space.

Poltimore House and park

Poltimore House Trust and its dedicated volunteers continue to make excellent progress towards the conservation of the house and gardens.

Paths in the arboretum have been improved and there are plans for a disability ‘sensory garden’ route.

Full restoration of the house is acknowledged as a multi-million pound project.

A planning obligation has secured the restoration of 34 hectares of this parkland in connection with housing at Old Park Farm, which includes the restoration of the old carriageway and establishment of a public bridleway along it, extensive tree planting and linear permissive public access for 30 years.

A further 13 hectares of this land is part of the 1840s parkland extension.

The land should be protected via extension of the regional park policy boundary, with new public access and replacement tree planting delivered as part of a holistic restoration scheme.

Winslade Park

Winslade Park is a late 18th century mansion built for an East India merchant.

The sale particulars of 1905 noted the ‘pleasure grounds of great natural beauty’.

They slope away from the mansion in a southerly direction and contain a large number of specimen trees.

The terrace walk (early 19th century) along Grindle Brook, an ornamental lake formed by the widening of the stream, and parts of the kitchen garden survive.

It is hoped that a mixed-use redevelopment of the site could secure the historic park and garden for public access along with the restoration of the sweeping carriageway, possibly as part of the Clyst Valley Trail.

Aylesbeare Stream and Holbrook

The Aylesbeare Stream and Holbrook are important biodiversity corridors connecting extensive habitat on the heathlands at Aylesbeare with extensive habitat in the Lower Clyst valley.

They also connect with hotspots of biodiversity at Rockbeare (park land), Beautiport Farm (broadleaved woodland and grasslands), and Farringdon (park land and ancient woodland).

Grindle Brook

The Grindle Brook is characterised by smaller floodplain meadows and patches of riverine woodland.

There are also some traditional orchards. It is an important biodiversity corridor.

A public footpath passes through the site, too.

No other land is in an agreement and in many places intensive arable cultivation takes place right up to the river.

The reversion of arable to pasture and new woodland via natural regeneration would considerably enhance biodiversity, landscape, water quality and provide greater natural flood storage.


Land is safeguarded as SANGs [Suitable Alternative Natural Greenspaces]and is contiguous with the existing Cranbrook County Park and also with the proposed green space at Rockbeare Court.

The potential therefore exists to create a large, linked publicly-accessible green space with natural habitats, and enhanced landscape, as a buffer to Rockbeare village.

Cranbrook to Exeter

As Cranbrook expands eastwards and new housing comes forward at Tithebarn and Mosshayne, this will provide an alternative off-road commuting and recreational route .

The route begins at Station Road and proceeds around the back of the Amazon/Lidl warehouses.

A new bridge crossing of the River Clyst estimated at £1million is required.

Planing applications validated by EDDC week beginning 2 November

Chumocracy first in line as ministers splash Covid cash

As a former head of MI5, Lord Evans of Weardale spent a career defending British democracy against immediate threats. Last week he warned against a more insidious danger to public life.

Gabriel Pogrund and Tom Calver

Evans was making a speech in his role as chairman of the committee on standards in public life — the anti-corruption watchdog — on whether the country was now in a “post-Nolan age”.

That refers to Lord Nolan, first holder of the position, who was drafted in to clean up Westminster 25 years ago when it emerged that MPs had been bribed in cash to ask questions in parliament.

The verdict given by Evans at a virtual conference was damning. “Quite simply,” he said, “the perception is taking root that too many in public life, including some in our political leadership, are choosing to disregard the norms of ethics and propriety that have explicitly governed public life for the last 25 years and that, when contraventions of ethical standards occur, nothing happens”.

Those warnings are given new urgency this weekend as it is revealed that the government has awarded £1.5bn of taxpayers’ money to companies linked to the Conservative Party during the coronavirus pandemic. None of the firms were prominent government suppliers before this year.

In normal times, ministers must advertise contracts for privately provided services so that any company has a chance of securing the work. A person’s connections are not supposed to help.

The government is also legally required to publish details of awarded contracts within 30 days, so the public knows how its money is being spent.

During the pandemic, neither has happened. Facing a sudden need to deliver millions of items of PPE, test kits and vaccines, ministers used emergency procedures to award work directly.

According to Tussell, a data provider on official spending, Whitehall departments have taken an average of 72 days to publicise who has received money, meaning public debate has often moved on before decisions can be scrutinised.

It is a less straightforward situation than the bribery or “cash-for-questions” scandal investigated by Nolan. As the government mounted a war effort to combat Covid-19, it has instead resembled more of a “chumocracy”.

This is a world in which ministers have turned to friends with links to the Conservatives because of a mixture of trust, convenience and a panicked need to deliver, rather than a desire to benefit themselves financially.


The end result, however, is arguably similar: friends of the Conservatives have played a central role in responding to the pandemic, securing high-profile positions and contracts along the way.

This pattern of conduct became visible in May, with Britain in lockdown, when Boris Johnson and the health secretary Matt Hancock turned to trusted contacts to run parts of the pandemic response.

Baroness Harding, a Conservative peer and the wife of John Penrose, a Tory MP, was appointed to run NHS Test and Trace. The former TalkTalk executive, 53, had spent a career in the private sector before Hancock awarded her the position, announcing it in a tweet.

In the same month Kate Bingham, a family friend of Johnson’s whose husband, Jesse Norman, is a Tory MP and Treasury minister, was appointed to oversee the vaccines taskforce. She accepted the position after decades in venture capital, having received a personal call from the prime minister.

According to a speech that Bingham, 55, gave to a group of US venture capitalists, she responded to Johnson’s offer by saying: “I’m not a vaccine expert, why should I be the right person?”

Then there is the layer of “chums” who have been brought in as advisers and intermediaries between Whitehall and outside companies. Some have sat in on meetings with ministers and contacts who go on to secure lucrative contracts.

In March, for example, Lord Feldman of Elstree, former chairman of the Conservative Party, was quietly appointed as an unpaid adviser to Lord Bethell, a hereditary peer and nightclub baron turned health minister.

According to a government source, Feldman’s role, which was never announced publicly, was to assist Bethell, 53, in his “work with industry” during the pandemic.

That included sitting in on a phone call on April 6 between Bethell and Meller Designs, which supplies high-street shops with home and beauty products. It is owned by David Meller, who would have been a familiar face to Feldman.

Meller, 60, is a Tory donor who has given more than £63,000. Most of that came during Feldman’s spell as chairman, when he was responsible for fundraising. Meller Designs later secured £163m in PPE contracts.

Government transparency data suggests such coincidences are not unusual.

Three days later, on April 9, Owen Paterson, a Conservative MP and former secretary of state for Northern Ireland, took part in a phone call with Bethell and Randox, a Northern Irish diagnostics company. Randox pays Paterson £100,000 a year as a consultant.

It is also linked to Harding, who sits on the board of the Jockey Club, the horse racing body. Its biggest annual event, the Grand National, is sponsored by the company. Paterson’s late wife, Rose, also sat on the Jockey Club board.

It is unclear why Paterson, 64, was on the call, but government sources say it was a “courtesy call” to discuss testing and the MP was involved because of his role for Randox. The company has received £479m in government testing contracts this year, acquiring more orders even after it had to recall half a million tests because of safety concerns.

Whole organisations have achieved remarkable penetration within Whitehall during the pandemic, often under the cloak of secrecy. They include Portland Communications, a political lobbying firm whose clients include HSBC, Pfizer and BAE Systems. It employs a number of former Tory advisers.

In March its chairman, George Pascoe-Watson, was parachuted into government, again without any announcement, to advise Harding and Bethell on strategy and communications.

It is understood that Pascoe-Watson, a former political editor of The Sun, participated in their daily calls, prompting civil servants to raise concerns about “appropriate channels”. A source said: “Nothing happened. They loved him.”

Pascoe-Watson appears to have made the most of his access, sending advance information about policy to paying clients. He also defended the government against criticism on social media, while failing to disclose his role.

For instance, when The Sunday Times revealed that Bingham had charged the taxpayer £670,000 for boutique PR consultants last week, he responded on Twitter: “Only in this country could we shaft a true hero.”

He also said that Bingham and Harding, whom he advises, should be cherished. “We should celebrate that two highly distinguished women are in critical roles in this country,” he said.

For months, Pascoe-Watson was joined by Lord O’Shaughnessy, a Tory peer who served as David Cameron’s policy chief. Today it can be revealed that he was both a paid “external adviser” to the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) and a paid Portland adviser at the same time.

The apparent conflict of interest went further when, in May, O’Shaughnessy took part in a call with Bethell and Boston Consulting Group (BCG), a client of Portland’s. BCG has received £21m in Covid-19 contracts, with some of its advisers paid £7,000 a day.

Over the past month, a number of ministers appear to have acknowledged that some contracts have not given value for money.

Lord Agnew, the Cabinet Office minister, has expressed frustration with the amount spent on consultants, writing in a leaked letter that Whitehall had become “infantilised” by reliance on outside professionals. He even floated the idea of creating an in-house consultancy of civil servants, called Crown Consultancy.

Yet when it comes to those who have received high-profile roles, or large contracts, the government has been outwardly defensive. Last week, Johnson himself wrote in support of Bingham.

Hancock has rewarded Harding for her work on NHS Test and Trace, which Sage advisers say has had a “minimal impact” on Covid-19 transmission, by appointing her as head of the National Institute for Health Protection, the successor body to Public Health England.

When details of Feldman’s role emerged, the government thanked him.

Such conduct might help to explain why Evans last week added: “It is not unusual or wrong for governments to want to appoint people who share their views, and political activity is not a bar, but it cannot be a reason for appointment. Merit must be at the heart of the system, not cronyism or patronage.”

He added: “The government’s ability to lead the country through the coronavirus crisis will be strengthened, rather than undermined, by an adherence to high standards.”

Last night the DHSC said: “As part of an unprecedented response to this global pandemic we rightly have drawn on the expertise of a number of private sector partners who provided advice and expertise to assist in the vital work.

“As a result of public and private sector organisations working together at pace, we were able to strengthen our response to the pandemic.”

Pascoe-Watson said: “I was honoured to be asked to serve the NHS Test and Trace service in my personal capacity as an unpaid adviser. I fully declared my role and responsibilities at Portland Communications to the DHSC.”

O’Shaughnessy said he was proud to be involved, adding: “This role, which involved providing policy advice to DHSC ministers and officials around testing innovation, was approved by the permanent secretary and declared in my register of interests.”



Pascoe Watson to clients — 12.30pm, 15 October


I have been privately advised that tier 2 restrictions will be imposed on London until at least the spring of next year. This will be subject to review every few weeks. But the decision-makers have told me personally that spring is likely to be the first opportunity to lift the restrictions (1). The impact of this is clear. No meeting of people from different households INSIDE (a house, a bar, a restaurant) and essential travel only. Offices and schools remain exempt although the advice is to wfh rather than travel.

1 “The decision-makers have told me personally that spring is likely to be the first opportunity to lift the restrictions”

Publicly, ministers had refused to be drawn on when London’s tier 2 restrictions might be eased. The health secretary, Matt Hancock, said the situation would be “reviewed fortnightly”



George Pascoe Watson, chairman of Portland

Portland to clients —29 October

From a senior partner at Portland

National restrictions

We are told that as it stands, it is likely that the PM will announce next week that he is prepared to “sacrifice November to save December” (1)

● This would mean London and the South joining the rest of the country in tier 3 restrictions

There are discussions ongoing about whether this should be extended to a new tier 4 which would be closer to national lockdown (2) (and could include closures of non-essential retail)

● If no action is taken, the whole country will be in tier 3 restrictions by Dec 11 anyway, which means Christmas will happen with no social contact 6 So it seems inevitable there will be fresh restrictions on London and the South in November

● Should it be tier 3 — that means bars and pubs to close (unless they serve full meals) and restrictions on travel. They could go further but the PM would not countenance a French system of carrying papers

● The PM hopes that if this strategy is implemented then he will be able to lift restrictions in December for the sake of the economy and for families to enjoy Christmas

He particularly wants hospitality and retail to benefit from the Christmas period (3)

● They are then weighing up a week’s break from restrictions over Christmas — during which people will have to take responsibility for their own behaviour and they will be warned to be very careful about who and how they mix with others

This debate in ongoing for the next few days but as it stands, a decision is due by the middle of next week.

1 “We are told that as it stands, it is likely that the PM will announce next week that he is prepared to ‘sacrifice November to save December’ ”

On October 31 — two days after the email was sent — Johnson announced a lockdown lasting until December 2. He later said the country would “open up again in December” if the measures worked.

2 “There are discussions ongoing about whether this should be extended to a new tier 4, which would be closer to national lockdown”

The day the email was sent, the communities secretary, Robert Jenrick, said the government was doing “everything in [its] power to avoid a blanket national lockdown”. Two days later the stricter measures were announced.

3 “He particularly wants hospitality and retail to benefit from the Christmas period”

On October 31 , Johnson said that he wanted to “give people the chance of some shopping and economic activity in the weeks … up to Christmas and beyond”.

Covid ‘clusters’ in EVERY East Devon ward – with 217 cases in a week

Coronavirus ‘clusters’ have been identified in every ward in East Devon – with 217 new cases confirmed across the district in the past week.

East Devon Reporter

 All 20 wards in the area – spanning Exmouth, Honiton, Sidmouth, Budleigh Salterton, Ottery St Mary, Seaton, Axminster and Cranbrook – currently have three or more Covid infections.

The highest numbers are in Exmouth Town (22) and Ottery and West Hill (18).

And the new cases recorded in East Devon in the last week represent an increase of ten when compared to the previous seven-day period.

There were 189 new cases in Exeter – a small week-on-week decrease.

A total of 1,130 Covid-19 cases have now been confirmed in East Devon and 2,279 in Exeter.

Some 2,068 new coronavirus cases have been recorded in the last seven days across Devon and Cornwall – the highest weekly number yet.

The previous seven days (October 31 – November 5) had seen 1,946 cases recorded.

A total of 14,071 cases have been confirmed in both counties since the beginning of the pandemic.

‘Clusters’ in 20 East Devon areas

 Twenty ‘clusters’ – where three or more Covid cases have been confirmed – have been identified in all of East Devon’s wards:

  • Exmouth Town (22 cases);
  • Ottery St Mary and West Hill (18);
  • Cranbrook, Broadclyst and Stoke Canon (17);
  • Exmouth Littleham (17);
  • Exmouth Withycombe Raleigh (15);
  • Newton Poppleford, Otterton and Woodbury (15);
  • Feniton and Whimple (15);
  • Clyst, Exton and Lympstone (13);
  • Honiton South and West (12);
  • Honiton North and East (nine);
  • Budleigh Salterton (eight);
  • Seaton (eight);
  • Exmouth Halsdon (eight);
  • Sidmouth Town (seven);
  • Axminster (seven);
  • Exmouth Brixington (five);
  • Sidbury, Offwell and Beer (five);
  • Kilmington, Colyton and Uplyme (five);
  • Dunkeswell, Upottery and Stockland (four);
  • Sidmouth Sidford (four).

The ‘clusters’ data, last updated yesterday afternoon (Friday, November 13), is based on a rolling rate of new cases by specimen date ending on November 8.

Figures are based on Middle Super Output Areas (MSOA) in England – broken down into zones of around 7,200 people.

‘Clusters’ have also been identified in all of Exeter’s 15 wards:

  • Pennsylvania and University (28 cases);
  • St James Park and Hoopern (26);
  • Wonford and St Loye’s (20);
  • Central Exeter (16);
  • St Leonard’s (16);
  • Middlemoor and Sowton (14);
  • Pinhoe and Whipton North (14);
  • Heavitree West and Polsloe (12);
  • Countess Wear and Topsham (ten);
  • Mincinglake and Beacon Heath (ten);
  • Heavitree East and Whipton South (nine);
  • Alphington and Marsh Barton (seven);
  • St Thomas West (five);
  • Exwick and Foxhayes (five);
  • St Thomas East (three).

New cases across Devon

Of the 2,068 new coronavirus cases confirmed in Devon and Cornwall since November 6, 217 were in East Devon and 189 in Exeter.

There were 67 in Mid Devon; 108 in North Devon; 496 in Plymouth; 73 in the South Hams; 100 in Teignbridge; 270 in Torbay; 52 in Torridge, 56 in West Devon; and 440 in Cornwall.

Of the 2,068 new cases across Devon and Cornwall, 1,558 had a specimen date between November 6 – 12.

And of these 165 were in East Devon, 147 in Exeter, 53 in Mid Devon, 78 in North Devon, 348 in Plymouth, 58 in the South Hams, 71 in Teignbridge, 200 in Torbay, 46 in Torridge and 43 in West Devon.

There were 349 cases in Cornwall.

Total Covid cases

A total of 1,130 Covid-19 cases have now been confirmed in East Devon and 2,279 in Exeter.

Torridge has had 263 positive cases; West Devon 327; with 502 in the South Hams; 559 in Mid Devon; 586 in North Devon; 827 in Teignbridge; 1,530 in Torbay; 2,984 in Plymouth; and 3,084 in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.

Covid-related deaths

No coronavirus-related deaths were recorded in East Devon and Exeter in the latest weekly figures.

It means the district has gone a fortnight without a fatality due to the virus and the city four months.

Weekly Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures published on Tuesday (November 10) show 11 Covid-related deaths have been logged across all of Devon.

Six of these were in Torbay, two in Plymouth, and one in each of Mid Devon, the South Hams, and Torridge.

The data relates to deaths that occurred during the week of October 24 – 30, but were registered up to November 7.

Across Devon, Exeter has gone 20 weeks without a coronavirus-related death, West Devon eight weeks, East Devon two weeks, and North Devon and Teignbridge one.

Cornwall had gone three weeks.

In total, 50 Covid-19 deaths have been registered in East Devon; 19 of them in hospital, 29 in care homes and two at home.

The total for Exeter is 39; 16 of them in hospital, 21 in care homes and two at home.

Some 624 coronavirus-related deaths have been registered across Devon and Cornwall; 332 in hospitals, 245 in care homes, 46 at home, one in a hospice, and one ‘elsewhere’.

Of these, 106 have been in Plymouth, 77 in Torbay, 35 in Teignbridge, 27 in North Devon, 22 in Torridge, 21 in Mid Devon, 19 in West Devon, and 14 in the South Hams

A total of 213 deaths due to the virus have been registered in Cornwall.

The ONS figures for Devon and Cornwall include people who have died at home, in hospital, in care homes, hospices, ‘other’ communal places, or ‘elsewhere’.

They are broken down by the local authority area in which the deaths were registered.

Hospital admissions

The number of people in hospital in the South West has risen to 759 from 514 from last week, but admissions data has stopped rising.

And the most recent day of data available was the lowest since October 30, while there are currently 58 people on a mechanical ventilator, down from 67 as of last Friday.

NHS England figures show that, as of Tuesday morning (November 10), there were 220 patients in hospital across Devon and Cornwall after a positive Covid-19 test.

Of them, 69 were in the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital (up from 38); 43 in Torbay Hospital (38), 19 in North Devon District Hospital (16), 76 in Derriford Hospital in Plymouth (64), three in Cornish Partnership Trust hospitals (0), and four at the Royal Cornwall Hospital (down from six).

The number of patients in mechanical ventilation beds has fallen from 18 to 17 in the last seven days (as of November 10).

Two of these were at the RD&E, one was at Torbay Hospital, five in Derriford Hospital, and nine in North Devon District Hospital.

‘Fewer people are out and about’

Devon County Council leader John Hart has thanked residents for responding positively to the national lockdown restrictions.

Councillor Hart said: “The figures suggest that fewer people are out and about, and making journeys only if and when they’re necessary.

“That’s what we need to see. I want to thank our residents for the positive way that they have so far responded to this second national lockdown.

“Even with the welcome announcement this week of a vaccine, we must not become complacent.

“While that of course is an excellent breakthrough, we must not relax our efforts. We must continue to follow the national rules around Space, Face and Hands.”

Flybe revival hopes hit by Irish contract miss

Flybe’s hopes of returning to the skies have been dealt a blow after missing out on a key contract to run flights to Ireland.

By Oliver Gill 15 November 2020 

Aer Lingus sprung a surprise over the weekend by handing control of its regional operations to Emerald Airlines, a new carrier set up by to Irish businessman Conor McCarthy.

Hedge fund Cyrus Capital, Flybe’s former owner, announced plans in October to restart the airline next year.

Flybe was one of a number of regional carriers bidding to run the Aer Lingus Regional franchise, The Telegraph understands.

Others are believed to have included Loganair and Stobart Air, which had run services on behalf of Aer Lingus for the past decade.

Stobart Air has been put up for sale by its listed parent, who also owns Southend airport. Boss Warwick Brady was hopeful earlier this month that a deal could be struck to continue running services for Aer Lingus for another 10 years.

Mr McCarthy was Stobart Air’s chairman between 2018 and 2019. He previously worked for Aer Lingus and Ryanair, and set up Dublin Aerospace, an engineering firm that has maintenance contracts with the likes of Lufthansa and Saudi Airlines.

Flybe collapsed into administration in March after ministers rejected a plea by its owners, which also included Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Atlantic, for a bailout of up to £100m.

Cyrus Capital relaunched the carrier last month after acquiring Flybe’s brand, stock and equipment from administrator EY.

At the time, Flybe’s new owner warned the relanch was subject to “certain confidential conditions” and was hoping to convince the UK’s aviation regulator to grant it a new operating licence.

Mr Brady said: “Whilst a disappointing decision by Aer Lingus, we believe that Stobart Air is a strategic and attractive asset for a potential buyer with a number of options open to it in terms of continued operations beyond its current franchise agreement with Aer Lingus.”

Flybe declined to comment.