Permit allowing Devon carers and health pros to park on double yellows made permanent

A scheme that allows care and health workers to park on double yellow lines across Devon is to be made permanent.

Daniel Clark eastdevonnews.co.uk 

The pilot to allow professionals visiting people at home to stop in normally-restricted spaces in certain situations was launched earlier this year.

Professionals with a Care and Health Worker Parking Permit can currently park in on-street, limited waiting and residents’ parking bays when delivering essential services to residents.

The new permits allow stop-offs on double yellow lines for an hour, but only if there is no other parking available.

Devon County Council’s (DCC) cabinet heard at its December meeting that a one-year trial had seen 9,000 permits issued to care givers, social services and NHS providers.

Members unanimously agreed that the scheme is retained and becomes permanent.

It will also be extended to allow up to three hours’ parking in ‘no waiting’ areas.

Permits will have a time clock, similar that for Blue Badge holders, which must be displayed.

Councillor Stuart Hughes, DCC cabinet member for highways, said: “Many care and health workers have told us that they struggle to park in some areas and it can affect their ability to deliver essential services to vulnerable people and adds to their stress. With the Covid-19 crisis, this has been invaluable.”

An officer’s report to the meeting said: “The Care and Health Worker Permit has delivered real benefits to its users.

“Of the 228 responses received in our recent survey, 100 per cent of current permit holding responders want the scheme to be continued as it has made a difference in their ability to deliver an efficient service and improved the quality and quantity of time spent with their client/patients.

“They report that savings have been made and that staff retention and recruitment has been improved as a result of a permit scheme minimises the risk to care staff of being fined when parked when providing care to a client/patient.

“The pandemic has seen the general public come to recognise and appreciate the value these key workers play in society.

“In our initial consultation to introduce a permit scheme for care workers, over 94 per cent of responses were in favour of the introduction of this permit.

“The council would appear in a very poor light and suffer reputational damage in the eyes of its residents, if the scheme were now to be withdrawn.”

‘Build, build’ Johnson opposed new homes in his constituency

Boris Johnson has been accused of hypocrisy after he objected to a scheme for 514 homes in his constituency claiming it was “inappropriate” and “out of character” for the area.

George Grylls www.thetimes.co.uk 

In letters obtained by The Times through a Freedom of Information request, Mr Johnson said that the plans for houses in his Uxbridge and South Ruislip seat constituted “overdevelopment”.

Robert Jenrick, the housing secretary, has now intervened in the case and is blocking planning permission from being granted to the scheme, which includes 179 affordable homes.

Boris Johnson has been under pressure to resist an application by Inland Homes to build on the Master Brewer site

Boris Johnson has been under pressure to resist an application by Inland Homes to build on the Master Brewer site

Earlier this year the prime minister unveiled radical reforms to overhaul the planning system and limit people’s ability to object to individual applications. He recently decried the “cumbersome planning procedures” that prevented young people from getting on the housing ladder and attacked a culture of nimbyism in a speech over the summer where he demanded that developers “build, build, build”.

Mr Johnson’s majority of 7,210 in his west London constituency is the smallest of any prime minister in recent times. He faces pressure from a number of residents’ groups to oppose the application by developers Inland Homes to build on the Master Brewer site.

In September Sadiq Khan, mayor of London, approved the plans but Mr Jenrick overruled the decision and directed officials to issue a holding order.

Mr Johnson wrote to Hillingdon council’s head of planning in February last year: “While I welcome additional appropriate housing in Uxbridge and South Ruislip, having considered the plans this application appears to be an overdevelopment for the location with too high a density proposed.”

He added: “A 12-storey tower block in amongst this development is wholly out of character for the locality.” He said that he and residents were worried that the development lacked sufficient parking. He urged planners to take account of the extra pressure on services, including schools and doctors, “to ensure Hillingdon welcomes sustainable developments and inappropriate applications such as this are refused”.

Mr Johnson had also written to the leader of Hillingdon council that the homes lacked “aesthetic quality”.

Stephen Wicks, chief executive of Inland Homes, said that the prime minister, was putting politics over planning.

“The hypocrisy of all this is that Boris is on one hand saying ‘build, build, build’ but on the other hand he’s quietly nobbling councillors behind the scenes,” he said. “It’s difficult to demonstrate it but I’m pretty certain Boris will have had a word with Robert Jenrick and said ‘Look, this one’s a bit difficult for me, the locals don’t like it, so can you just quietly issue a holding order’.”

A government spokesman said that officials in Mr Jenrick’s department had issued the holding direction and denied that the housing secretary had had any involvement.

He added: “The government has set out its vision for a planning system that delivers high-quality, sustainable homes and puts local community agreement at the centre of proposals.”

Backing PR would make it easier for Labour to join with like-minded parties

Labour should show it could work with like-minded parties by committing to proportional representation

Editorial www.theguardian.com 

More than a year ago, Labour won its lowest number of parliamentary seats in a general election since 1935. Sir Keir Starmer began by saying Labour was “under new management”. He now offers new leadership. That is unlikely to be enough. Whereas managers want to do things right, leaders do the right thing. Leaders scan the horizon for destinations; managers are guided by short-term considerations. Sir Keir’s task is to lead his party to victory while building a coalition to unseat the Conservatives. Organisations fail when they are over-managed and under-led.

Sir Keir says Labour has a “mountain to climb”, higher than that scaled by the party in 1997. It needs to win 124 seats to form a majority at the next election, expected in 2024 but possibly sooner given the government’s ambition to repeal the Fixed-term Parliaments Act. The political situation may be even worse in four years’ time. The law requires independent reviews of constituency boundaries every five years. The next review could recommend changes that, if enacted, could see Labour left with a steeper ascent and a higher peak to conquer.

Some think the party has become too liberal socially and too radical economically for voters. This seems an overreaction. In a paper for the Compass thinktank, Neal Lawson and Grace Barnett suggest Labour ought to drop its tribalism rather than its policies. The electoral map holds out hope for Labour if it could work with like-minded parties. The Compass report identifies two clear battlegrounds emerging primarily in England: one between Labour and the Conservatives, another between the Liberal Democrats and the Conservatives. There are few constituencies where Labour and the Liberal Democrats are vying for supremacy. Hence Mr Lawson and Ms Barnett’s call for a progressive alliance formed from parties given to tolerance, solidarity and greenery – a politics that sets them apart from the me-first, rightwing nationalism of their opponents.

These lines may be harder to draw in the years to come. Sometimes coalitions in politics are overt. Often they are covert. Whether they work depends on whether political allies are closer to each other, and to the mood of the nation, than they are to those outside their ranks. An informal agreement among centre and centre-left politicians has an undeniable appeal. But it is difficult to see how a Lib-Lab rapprochement would lead to a majority government without building bridges with the Scottish National party.

To defeat a common enemy, parties should set aside differences and cooperate. The political right understands this. The Conservatives have been in power for seven out of the last 10 years thanks first to a coalition with Lib Dems led by Nick Clegg and then a pact with the Democratic Unionist party. What might bring about a progressive alliance in Britain? All its major constituent actors – apart from Labour – recognise that the first past the post (FPTP) electoral system has frozen a dysfunctional pattern of politics.

Brexit shows that a different political culture is desperately needed. Proportional representation is a way of redistributing power more fairly and encouraging consensus to be built across party lines. FPTP’s defenders say it delivers durable single-party administrations rather than fickle pacts. This is untrue: the Tory party is an unstable coalition in government. Labour is unlikely to change a voting system that took it into government unless it adopts a policy to do so before entering power. Progressive parties could limit the damage to each other’s chances in an election with a common front. But they need a shared sense of policies to unite them.

Plan to stop Devon towns becoming millionaire holiday play parks

A strategy that aims to help stop parts of the South Hams and West Devon become ‘millionaire holiday communities’ and to ensure people can afford to live in the region has been devised.

South Hams and West Devon have a different interpretation of: “Build back Better” and “Planning for the Future”. Essential reading for EDDC? – Owl  

Daniel Clark www.devonlive.com

The ‘Better Homes, Better Lives’ strategy sets out the housing strategy for the two districts for the next five years, as they aim to make the best of our beautiful natural environment, but also delivers for those who need it the most.

House prices have been increasing in the area with a 27 per cent increase in house prices in West Devon in the last five years and a 17 per cent increase in the average house price in South Hams, and the ratio of lower quartile house price to lower quartile gross earnings has correspondingly increased such that it is now 11 times the average earnings in South Hams and 10.42 in West Devon.

At the same time, levels of fuel poverty in the district and borough are above the national average, affecting occupants of existing housing stock. The national average proportion of households in fuel poverty in 2017 was 10.9 per cent compared to West Devon 12.6 per cent and South Hams 11.2 per cent.

A total of 8.2 per cent of the total dwellings in the South Hams are second homes with up to 50 per cent in some areas, while the availability of housing is further restricted by many otherwise available homes being registered as a holiday homes business.

And the impact of ever-increasing house prices is the continued shift in demographic profile for both South Hams and West Devon, with the median age of homeownership in the two areas ten years older than the national average.

South Hams and West Devon housing strategy

South Hams and West Devon housing strategy

Both council last week agreed to go out to consultation on their ‘Better Homes, Better Lives’ housing strategy which aims to devise plans for the future that will deliver healthy and well-balanced communities, and to provide more affordable housing for locals who are unable to get on the housing ladder.

Speaking at last Thursday’s South Hams executive committee, Cllr Jonathan Hawkins said: “The strategy and policy is really good and easy to read. We have to provide affordable and social housing for local people to be able to live in the South Hams. Some of the communities are becoming millionaire’s holiday communities but we have to provide homes for local people who can afford them. It should be one of our priorities and we have to achieve that in the next few years.”

Cllr Hilary Bastone added: “This comes at a time of great uncertainty for people and a time when home took on a greater meaning. Important that we build back better and make commitments to change.”

Salcombe in the South Hams boasts many second homes

Salcombe in the South Hams boasts many second homes

At last week’s West Devon hub committee, Cllr Debo Sellis said: “As we start to recover from the pandemic, it is important that we build back better. We want to deliver the key commitments so we ensure the residents, current and future, benefit from strategy that makes the best of our beautiful natural environment and delivers for those who need it the most.”

Cllr Chris Edmonds added: “I hope this brings forward more affordable housing, not just through developer contributions, and my wish is for a good mix of tenure’s so people have the chance to at least own a share of a house. I hope we can deliver some truly affordable housing in some form or other.”

In the foreword to the strategy, Cllrs Bastone and Sellis in the introduction state: “As our areas start to emerge and recover from the pandemic, it is important that we build back better, revisit our priorities and make commitments to change. That’s why we have called our strategy Better Homes, Better Lives

“We want to deliver on these key commitments to ensure all our residents, current and future benefit from a strategy that makes the best of our beautiful natural environment, but also delivers for those who need it the most.

“This popularity has over a number of years had an impact on the affordability levels of housing for local people. Average house prices have continued to rise well beyond the rise in the average local wage, making home ownership an unrealistic aspiration for many people living and working the area today. Most recent estimates show the average house costing 11.6 times the average wage in South Hams, and 10.6 times in West Devon.”

The strategy adds: “The sensitive natural landscape present challenges in terms of building large numbers of new homes, and most of the towns and villages are ill-equipped to adapt to the additional of large scale housing development, with local infrastructure, particularly transport networks in town centres, unable to be adapted to accommodate significantly greater usage

“Understanding the key characteristics of a place can help to devise plans for the future that will deliver healthy and well-balanced communities that are resilient to change. In order to create a housing strategy for South Hams and West Devon, it was important to know what issues needed to be addressed. Whilst the affordability challenges are well understood, the implications of this are less well known, for both the built environment and the people that live in South Hams and West Devon.”

The strategy says there is anecdotal evidence of an increase in home ownership from people outside Devon since the start of lockdown in March 2020, adding: “These home owners are relocating to a more desirable area, and taking advantage of the fact that very few people needed daily access to their place of work, indeed in a lot of cases people were actively discouraged from physically going to work.

“There is a chance that if remote working remains the norm for many people, the baseline data for average earnings in South Hams and West Devon will be artificially increased by virtue of people living in the area but working further afield in areas where average earnings are typically much higher.

'Rise in second home ownership is distorting the South Hams housing market and pushing house prices up'

‘Rise in second home ownership is distorting the South Hams housing market and pushing house prices up’

“But the displacement of people earning lower wages does not mean that the affordability problem has gone away, but simply that the people earning lower wages can no longer afford to live in the area, and have had to find somewhere to live in a cheaper area.”

The most recent census data shows that the dwelling stock in South Hams and West Devon is distinctly different from the national average. Both areas have far fewer one and two bed homes, 34 per cent, than the national average for England which is 40 per cent, while at the other end of the spectrum, with the housing stock of South Hams and West Devon comprising an average of 27 per cent of four and five bed homes compared to 19 per cent nationally.

It adds: “Household sizes have been getting smaller for a number of years, and this trend is projected to continue well into the medium term, and is just as applicable to rural areas as it is for urban areas. The difficulty this creates is that with every passing year the housing stock of South Hams and West Devon is becoming less aligned with the needs of the households that live in these areas.

“Combine this with the fact that larger homes typically cost more in South Hams and West Devon than in many other parts of the country, and you get a formula for further economic and social displacement for people living here.

“Of course many people will choose to under-occupy their home because it allows for flexibility of use like working from home or for accommodating occasional guests, but the proportion of homes that are significantly under-occupied in South Hams and West Devon however is also well above the national average.

“This identifies homes with at least two unused bedrooms, and data shows that 46 per cent of homes in both South Hams and West Devon are considered to be significantly under-occupied compared with the national average of 34 per cent.

“It may be that the home owners do not wish to live in smaller accommodation, but the data suggests a housing stock that does not align well with household sizes, and without a significant increase in the delivery of smaller homes this trend is only going to get worse

The blanket of snow made for some beautiful scenery on Dartmoor

The blanket of snow made for some beautiful scenery on Dartmoor (Image: Matt Gilley/Plymouth Live)

“There are also pockets of poor quality housing located in South Hams and West Devon that feature both disrepair and overcrowding. The quality of housing has a direct impact upon the health and wellbeing of its occupants.”

The key aims of the strategy are:

Ensure sustainable housing growth

Housing needs to be delivered in places that are well served with services and amenities, and in sufficient quantity to meet the identified housing needs of the area, and if new development is going to contribute to making better places for people to live, we need to look beyond the number of new houses, and ensure that new homes are of the right type, in the right place and are accessible for those in most need.

Through the Joint Local Plan, the councils aim deliver 7,000 high quality, sustainable and affordable housing during the lifetime of the plan across South Hams and West Devon.

Promote Balanced and Sustainable communities

The long term resilience of rural communities depends upon having a diverse housing stock that can meet the needs of a wide range of households. By ensuing that new development adds diversity to the housing stock, we can help ensure our communities are inclusive and equitable places to live, and that can create communities that are well prepared to respond to change.

Ensuring that homes support the Health and Wellbeing of the area

The Council wants to meet the housing needs of all communities and the challenges of an ageing population. This Strategy aims to promote the best use of current housing stock, whatever the tenure, and enable new housing that is built to a standard that will enhance the health and wellbeing of future occupants.

Homes that support the Health and Wellbeing of our residents

The Councils are compelled to addressing hardship, deprivation, ill health and inequalities that exist within our areas.

Make the best use and improve the quality of existing housing

The Council is committed to making better use of already existing housing to meet the needs of residents and to encourage long-term empty homes back into use and address under occupation and overcrowding within social housing stock and by doing so reduce length of time on the housing register.

Following both council’s approval last week, the strategy will now go out for consultation, with the aim of it to return to both of them for adoption in March 2021. This would be accompanied by a Year 1 delivery plan that outlines how both South Hams and West Devon councils would achieve the aims within the first 12 months.

Planning applications validated by EDDC for week beginning 30 November

In a galaxy far, far away: ideas for Community Care Apartments

SINGAPORE: A new type of public housing with senior-friendly design features and subscription to care services will be launched for sale in February’s Build-to-Order (BTO) exercise, authorities announced on Thursday (Dec 10).

By Cheryl Lin @CherylLinCNA www.channelnewsasia.com

The flats, known as Community Care Apartments, are for home buyers aged 65 and above.  

To be located at Bukit Batok West Avenue 9, buyers will have the flexibility to choose a lease ranging from 15 to 35 years. The flats cannot be resold or rented out.

“(The apartments) will offer seniors aged 65 and above an affordable housing option which integrates senior-friendly design features with care services that can be scaled according to care needs,” said the Ministry of National Development (MND), the Ministry of Health (MOH) and the Housing and Development Board (HDB), which jointly developed the housing concept.

Under the model, eligible seniors will have to buy a variable housing lease and subscribe to a compulsory basic care package, with the option of adding on more advanced care services.

There will also be communal areas, services and programmes to “enable meaningful participation and social interactions amongst residents”, the authorities said.

The new housing concept was developed as Singapore deals with a rapidly ageing population. By 2030, almost a million Singaporeans will be aged 65 and above, nearly double the figure in 2017, they added.

“This pilot will broaden today’s options for seniors who require some care and support within their homes, but are still able to and wish to live on their own,” said National Development Minister Desmond Lee in a Facebook post.

Health Minister Gan Kim Yong added:”With the new Community Care Apartments, our seniors can look forward to living independently even as their care needs change, and enjoy more opportunities to stay active and take charge of their health.”

CARE SERVICES, SENIOR-FRIENDLY FEATURES

There will be 160 flats up for sale, housed in a single block with 14 units on each floor.

Under the mandatory basic service package, residents will have access to 24-hour emergency monitoring and response, key card access to their flats, basic health checks and simple home fixes.

These will be facilitated by an onsite community manager.

Residents may also opt for extra care services at an additional cost, including personal home care, medical transport, meal delivery, laundry and housekeeping.

They will also get priority admission to the nearby Bukit Batok Care Home in future if needed.

To facilitate social interaction, the community manager will also organise programmes for residents, said MND, MOH and HDB. On top of that, they can mingle in communal spaces of about 50 sqm on each floor.

“Residents of the Community Care Apartments at Bukit Batok will also enjoy convenient access to a variety of retail, leisure, healthcare and public transport amenities that support seniors’ daily needs,” the authorities said.

These include a hawker centre, community garden, the Bukit Batok polyclinic, malls and wet markets.

Each flat, measuring 32 sqm, will come with senior-friendly fittings, including wheelchair-friendly doors, large bathrooms, grab bars and slip-resistant flooring.

There will also be built-in wardrobes and cabinets, along with a furnished kitchen so that minimal renovations will be needed before seniors can move in, said the authorities.

The flats are designed with an open layout, with sliding partitions separating the living room and bedroom space. It was a design adjustment made after feedback from focus groups.

WHO’S ELIGIBLE

Applicants must be 65 years old and above, with an average gross monthly household income not exceeding S$14,000.

Only families with at least one Singaporean applicant, and singles who are Singapore citizens may apply.

Those who have previously received two public housing subsidies and who bought HDB Studio Apartments or short-lease two-room Flexi flats in the past are not eligible.

Applicants who already own a private property or HDB flat must sell the property within six months of collecting the keys to their Community Care Apartments.

Similar to other housing types, applicants must purchase a lease that can cover themselves and their spouse, if any, until they are at least 95 years old.

That means possible lease lengths are between 15 to 35 years, in five-year increments. 

Community care apartment lease options

Applicants for the assisted living flats must purchase a lease that can cover themselves and their spouse, if any, until they are at least 95 years old. (Source: Housing & Development Board)

While the apartments cannot be resold or rented out, owners who no longer need the flats can return it to HDB for a refund on the value of the remaining lease.

Authorities added that seniors “with more pressing care needs” will get priority, such as in cases where one applicant or occupier needs permanent assistance with daily living activities.

More details on the quota for this group will be released at the BTO exercise in February.

Seniors can also jointly ballot for the flat with a friend or family member who is eligible. If successful, both applicants will get to book their flats together.

PRICING STARTS FROM S$62,000

Indicative prices for the Community Care Apartments go upwards of S$62,000 for the shortest lease of 15 years.

This price includes both the cost of the unit and the subscription for the basic service package.

Applicants must pay for the flat lease fully upfront, using cash and/or their Central Provident Fund balance.

Buyers will also have to pay stamp, legal and other fees for the flat purchase, which will add up to around 2 per cent of the flat price, the authorities said.

For the basic service package, they can choose to pay either fully upfront, or partially upfront while paying S$50 a month throughout the flat lease. This monthly fee will be reviewed periodically.

Community care apartment indicative prices

An example of the total upfront payment applicants would have to make depending on the leases they opt for (Source: Housing & Development Board)

The public can find out more about the apartments at an exhibition held at HDB Hub in Toa Payoh from Dec 14 to Mar 31.

There will be a mock-up of the communal space, along with 3D models of the apartments, while a showroom of the flat will be available from Jan 4 next year.

In line with safe distancing measures, visitors must book an appointment to visit the exhibition. Appointments can be made from Dec 11, before the exhibition opens.

Covid ‘clusters’ in 18 parts of East Devon – with 154 new cases in a week

A further 154 coronavirus cases have been confirmed across the East Devon in the last week – with another 111 in Exeter.

East Devon Reporter eastdevonnews.co.uk 

And ‘clusters’ of the virus remain in all but two areas of the district and all but one of the wards in the city.

The new cases recorded in East Devon represent an increase of five when compared to the previous seven days.

Exeter’s number is a decrease of 38.

Eighteen wards in East Devon – spanning Exmouth, Honiton, Budleigh Salterton, Ottery St Mary, Seaton, and Cranbrook – currently have three or more coronavirus infections.

Clyst, Exton and Lympstone and Sidmouth Town are the only areas where ‘clusters’ of the virus have not been identified.

The district’s highest numbers are currently in Exmouth Withycombe Raleigh (15 cases), Honiton North and East (15), Cranbrook, Broadclyst and Stoke Canon (13) and Sidbury, Offwell and Beer (13).

Exmouth’s five wards have a combined total of 46 cases.

In Exeter, Countess Wear and Topsham is the only part of the city without a ‘cluster’.

The biggest numbers of cases are in Central Exeter (19) and Wonford and St Loye’s (15).

A total of 869 new cases have been confirmed across Devon and Cornwall since December 4 – the lowest weekly tally since the beginning of October.

It is 178 less than the total of new cases across both counties the week before.

Clusters across district and city

Covid ‘clusters’ – where three or more Covid cases have been confirmed – have been identified in 18 wards in East Devon:

  • Exmouth Withycombe Raleigh (15 cases);
  • Honiton North and East (15);
  • Cranbrook, Broadclyst and Stoke Canon (13);
  • Sidbury, Offwell and Beer (13);
  • Budleigh Salterton (12);
  • Exmouth Brixington (11);
  • Feniton and Whimple (ten);
  • Ottery St Mary and West Hill (ten);
  • Dunkeswell, Upottery and Stockland (nine);
  • Seaton (nine);
  • Axminster (eight);
  • Exmouth Town (eight);
  • Exmouth Littleham (eight);
  • Kilmington, Colyton and Uplyme (seven);
  • Honiton South and West (six);
  • Sidmouth Sidford (five);
  • Exmouth Halsdon (four);
  • Newton Poppleford, Otterton and Woodbury (four).

The ‘clusters’ data, last updated yesterday afternoon (Friday, December 11), is based on a rolling rate of new cases by specimen date ending on December 6.

‘Clusters’ remain in 14 wards in Exeter:

  • Central Exeter (19 cases);
  • Wonford and St Loye’s (15);
  • Middlemoor and Sowton (nine);
  • St James Park and Hoopern (nine);
  • Heavitree West and Polsloe (eight);
  • Heavitree East and Whipton South (eight);
  • Pinhoe and Whipton North (eight);
  • St Leonard’s (seven);
  • Exwick and Foxhayes (five);
  • Alphington and Marsh Barton (five);
  • Mincinglake and Beacon Heath (four);
  • Pennsylvania and University (four);
  • St Thomas West (four);
  • St Thomas East (three).

New cases across Devon and specimen dates

 Of the 869 new cases confirmed in Devon and Cornwall since December 4, 154 were in East Devon and 111 in Exeter.

There were 64 cases in Mid Devon, 92 in North Devon, 154 in Plymouth, 16 in the South Hams, 56 in Teignbridge, 48 in Torbay, 30 in Torridge and 41 in West Devon.

Cornwall recorded 103 cases.

Of the 869 new cases, 664 had a specimen date between December 4 – 10, with 109 of these in East Devon and 86 in Exeter.

There were 51 in Mid Devon, 78 in North Devon, 136 in Plymouth, 11 in the South Hams, 41 in Teignbridge, 32 in Torbay, 21 in Torridge and 30 in West Devon.

Cornwall had 69 cases with specimen dates in the last seven days.

Hospital admissions

The number of people in hospital in the South West though has risen slightly from 904 to 913 in the last seven days.

Figures have been revised upwards in all areas of the UK – but there are 51 patients in mechanical ventilation beds, down from 60 as of last Friday.

NHS England data shows that, as of Tuesday morning (December 8), there were 231 patients across Devon and Cornwall in hospital after a positive Covid-19 test.

This compares to 255 as of December 1.

There were 88 coronavirus patients in the Royal Devon and Exeter (down from 101); 36 in Derriford Hospital in Plymouth (down from 45); 23 in Torbay Hospital (down from 28); and 37 in North Devon District Hospital (unchanged).

And the Nightingale Hospital in Exeter has seen an increase from 20 to 32.

The number of Covid-19 patients in mechanical ventilation beds has fallen from 19 to 12 – with four at the RD&E, five at Derriford Hospital and three in North Devon District Hospital.

In the last week there have been 25 deaths within hospitals in Devon and Cornwall within 28 days of a positive Covid-19 death.

Fourteen of these have been in Exeter, seven in North Devon, three in Torbay, and one in Plymouth.

Tier 1 move ‘unlikely’ for now

County council leader John Hart and Devon’s director of public health Steve Brown have warned that it is unlikely that a return to Tier 1 restrictions before Christmas is ‘unlikely’.

The Government will review national tier allocations next week.

Councillor Hart said: “As much as I would like to see restrictions lifted a little in order to support our local tourism and hospitality industry, I fear case numbers are not yet coming down sufficiently to warrant a move to Tier 1.

“I fully recognise that there is a very fine and difficult balance to strike between lives and livelihoods here in Devon.

“If we are to stay in Tier 2 then I would like to see more support from the Government for our hard-pressed local businesses, and the hospitality trade in particular.”

Mr Brown added: “We are still concerned about positive rates among older people, and those in care homes, where we’re seeing most cases being asymptomatic.

“The decline in cases that we have seen in recent weeks has started to slow down and numbers are stabilising.

“We know, from our previous experience in Tier 1, that restrictions at that time did not stop our case numbers rising.

“I therefore do not believe that we are seeing a sufficient drop in cases yet for the Government to decide that Devon should be in Tier 1.

“Please continue to follow the Tier 2 guidance. Do not do not meet up indoors with anyone not in your household or bubble; please remember at all times to maintain your social distance and wear face coverings when you’re indoors in a public space; and please wash your hands regularly.”