Planning applications validated by EDDC for week beginning 6 September

Devon covid down again

Devon’s covid infection rate is now lower than the national average.

[Up to date data can be found on the Devon Covid dashboard]

Joe Ives, local democracy reporter

Government figures for the week up to Sunday, 12 September show that the average rate of infection across all Devon councils was 295 per 100,000 of the population. In the Devon County Council area, which excludes Plymouth and Torbay, the rate of infection was 255 per 100,000.

In contrast, the average infection rate across the country is now 337 per 100,000 of the population.

The only council area to report a rise in cases was Torridge, which recorded 248 new cases, 57 more than the previous week. The infection rate in the district is at 361, the highest in the county.

Plymouth recorded 822 new cases, 354, or 30 per cent, less than in the previous week. The rate of infection in the city is now 316 per 100,000 of the population.

Torbay also reported a significant drop in infection, recording 120 fewer cases than in the previous week. Its total of 431 cases represents a 22 per cent drop on the previous seven days. The rate of infection in the Bay is now 316 per 100,000 of the population.

Devon councils will be hoping this trend continues ahead of the autumn and winter months. This week the government set out “Plan A” and “Plan B” scenarios for the winter. “Plan A” is designed to prevent the NHS from being overwhelmed and promotes vaccines and testing. “Plan B”, to be used if the NHS is coming under “unsustainable pressure”, includes measures such as a return to widespread use of face masks.


The decline in infection rates in Devon have continued to translate into a reduction in hospitalisations. The latest figures [Tuesday 14 September] show that across Devon, 128 people are in hospital as a result of covid, eight fewer than the previous week.

Of these 128 patients, 58 are at Derriford, 42 are at the RD&E, 21 in Torbay, while 7 are being cared for in north Devon.

Fourteen of the patients in hospital with covid in Devon are on mechanical ventilation beds.


Deaths have risen in Devon, with a further 29 people dying within 28 days of a positive covid test in the most recent seven day period (up to and including Sunday, 12 September), thirteen more than in the previous week.

Eighteen people died in the Devon County Council area, which excludes Plymouth and Torbay. In Plymouth, nine people lost their lives, whilst three deaths were recorded in Torbay.

The total number of people who have died within 28 days of positive covid test in Devon is now 1,183.


Eighty-seven per cent of adults have had their first dose of a vaccine in the Devon County Council area, which excludes Plymouth and Torbay, with 82 per cent receiving both doses.

In Plymouth, 84 per cent have had one dose, while 76 per cent have had both.

In Torbay, 86 per cent have received one dose, while 79 per cent have had both jabs.

This means that vaccination rates in Devon are still slightly behind the rest of the UK. Eighty-nine per cent of adults in the country have had one dose, while 82 per cent have had both jabs.

Alison Hernandez says she takes it seriously but……

Violence against women may not be in crime plan 

Philip Churm, local democracy reporter 

But police commissioner says she takes it seriously

The police and crime commissioner for Devon and Cornwall says she wants people to know she takes violence against women seriously, but might not include it as part of the new police and crime plan. 

Addressing the Devon and Cornwall police and crime panel in Plymouth on Friday, Alison Hernandez responded to suggestions that tackling gender-based violence isn’t given high enough priority in her draft plan.   

Unveiling her strategy for 2021-25, Commissioner Hernandez said key community priorities are breaking the cycle of violence, reducing drugs harm, tackling antisocial behaviour and improving road safety. 

But panel member Cllr Laura Wright (Labour, Exeter, St Thomas) said, although ensuring the safety of women was clearly indicated in the report, the commissioner had not given it the weight it deserved. 

Cllr Wright said: “All the way through the commissioner’s update report, I really strongly heard the voice of women through the Safer Streets project funding and bids …  with the focus on women and girls in public spaces – their safety.” 

Cllr Wright highlighted the focus on community safety, extra out of hours support for victims of domestic abuse, and investment for domestic abuse perpetrator-focused programmes.   

The plan also mentions a stakeholder recommendation that there should be a specific focus on women, children and families and highlights the national focus on victims of domestic abuse.  

But Cllr Wright added: “When we come to the draft plan itself, we have to go to page 10 before we see a small paragraph which then highlights this work that’s being done and that you want to carry forward.

“Here, at last, I can hear the voice of the woman elected to a position where her voice on these matters can actually echo down through the ranks of the force and reverberate around the streets of Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.”

Cllr Wright asked Ms Hernandez to speak more about gender based violence.    “Would you amend this report and pump up the volume of your voice and give more prominence to your plans  to tackle the violent crimes that disproportionately affect women and girls?” she asked.

Ms Hernandez made it clear that she is committed to tackling abuse and violence against women and wants this to be publicly known.  

“I will go back and reflect on how we enable people to understand that I do take that seriously,” she said.  

“I am actually wondering whether I need to have a policy written around this – as opposed to it being necessarily in the plan – but a policy about what I’m doing in relation to violence against women and girls.” 

But Ms Hernandez said it was important to note that, although violence against women is an important issue, it is crucial to see the statistics in perspective.   “I will just highlight that men are more likely to be a victim of crime than women, and that more men are likely to be murdered than a woman,” she said.

“This plan is for everyone. I do not want young boys thinking that they can’t report violence against themselves because we ‘only care about women’. So I have to get the tone right on this, in particular.”

In the draft plan the police and crime commissioner lists her priorities as: 

  • Breaking the cycle of violent crime
  • Tackling antisocial behaviour
  • Reducing harm caused by drugs
  • Improving road safety

She adds: “I am committed to tackling and reducing all forms of violence. This includes focusing on ending violence against women and girls, addressing domestic and sexual violence and learning from the national end-to-end rape review, driving out modern slavery, countering terrorism and extremism and reducing murder and homicide rates – the most serious outcome of violence.” 

The meeting began with a minute’s silence in remembrance of the people murdered in the mass shooting in Plymouth last month.

Members were updated on efforts to support Keyham residents in their recovery. The commissioner told the panel how she has been supporting partnership efforts across the city and how she made additional resources available in the immediate aftermath of the shootings. 

Ms Hernandez is also supporting a funding application to central government to help the community in the longer term.

Beachgoers witness dramatic cliff fall in Sidmouth [Saturday]

Cliffs in a popular Devon seaside town have crumbled again in the latest of a series of falls this year.

Sam Beamish

People in Sidmouth witnessed the incident which happened by the town’s beach and near the Esplanade at around 5pm today (September 18). [Saturday].

The moment was captured on camera by Chris Heywood who was walking along the seafront at the time.

He said: “I’ve been at the Sidmouth Classic Car Show today and walking the Esplanade aftewards.

“I just saw the cliff fall and then dust – there was no sound.

“I wouldn’t say it was scary because we were far enough away, standing by the pedestrian area and crossing.”

Chris Heywood caught the cliff fall on camera

Chris Heywood caught the cliff fall on camera

It is not the first landslide to have occurred this year in Sidmouth.

Back in June there were four colossal landslides at the same beauty spot.

They were so large that they prompted a warning from Beer Coastguard Rescue Team.

Coastguards asked people attending the beach to stay clear of the cliffs in case another incident occurs.

And In May, this year there was another cliff fall at the same spot.

People sat on the sand watched as part of the cliff face crumbled down, leaving behind a huge sandy red cloud that could be seen across the beach.

Continuing planning controversy in Clyst St. Mary

Owl has received the following updates from a correspondent:

Enfield Farm

We have become aware of a new planning application regarding Enfield Farm and the Biodigester plant. The applicants intend increasing the annual input of crops into the Biodigester these proposals increases in annual input tonnages to the site from 26,537 to around 66,000 tonnes together with the annual output tonnages leaving the site from 21,354 to around 56,000 tonnes this will create significant detrimental effects which will impact on Clyst St Mary.

These tonnage increases are virtually identical to those previously applied for in 2018. Planners found inappropriate and excessive and consequently REFUSED the application but the Applicants challenged EDDC’s Refusal decision with a subsequent Appeal to HM Planning Inspector, the Inspector agreed with EDDC’s Refusal Decision and DISMISSED their Appeal in November 2020 – but now the Applicants are again challenging both previous refusal and dismissal decisions by re-applying for these increases in 2021 under new variation applications to EDDC. 

Links to the planning application

The Parish Council will discuss this at Clyst St Mary Village Hall EX5 1AA at 3pm on Monday 20th September. 

Winslade Park Zone’s A and D

We have received notification from East Devon District Council that the developer Burrington Homes have now submitted full planning applications for a new development on the green field (previously known as the Brethren field)(zone A) and 3 blocks of apartments on the car park, opposite Winslade Manor (zone D). This will effect a number of residents that have houses that back onto the proposed site. The EDDC Councillors previously overruled their own plans and policies on economic grounds in order to grant outline planning permission for this development. This planning application provide the in depth detail.

Links to the planning application

The Parish Council will discuss this at Sowton Village Hall EX5 2AF at 19.30pm on Monday 4th October.

Afghan refugees to be housed in an Exmouth hotel

A number of Afghan families are to be placed in temporary accommodation in an Exmouth hotel.

Daniel Clark 

The bridging accommodation is a temporary measure until individuals and families are found permanent, long term accommodation in locations across the country.

Up to 15 families are expected to move into the temporary accommodation over the coming week, consisting of individual adults and families with young children.

They will be placed there as part of the government’s refugee resettlement programme.

Cllr Roger Croad, Devon County Council’s cabinet member with responsibility for communities, said: “All local authorities have been asked to help support with Afghan refugees who worked with and for our UK forces in Afghanistan and who were forced to leave their country as a result of the collapse of the country following withdrawal of US and UK forces.

“We have received notification from the Home Office that a group of these refugees will be placed temporarily in Exmouth as part of the Government’s national Afghan resettlement programme, pending their onward journey to long term accommodation, which could be anywhere in the country.

“We are working closely with our District and Town Council partners, NHS Devon, and local community and voluntary groups to make sure we are ready to welcome them.”

Cllr Steve Gazzard, chairman of Exmouth Town Council, added: “Local authorities across the country are being asked to step up and support this national effort to provide temporary accommodation as part of the re-settlement programme for Afghan families.

“Exmouth is a town with strong military connections and many of the refugees will have been working for our military services.

“Exmouth Town Council will do all it can to provide a safe environment for them to start the process of coming to terms with what has happened to them.”

Cllr Paul Arnott, Leader of East Devon District Council, said: “East Devon District Council, along with other authorities in the area, will be working closely with the Home Office, which has helped a number of Afghan evacuees find emergency accommodation at an Exmouth hotel while further, more long-term, measures can be found.

“We will be offering as much support as we can to help the families who have lost their homes in such tragic circumstances. We would like to thank the Exmouth and wider East Devon communities, in advance, for their understanding, support and compassion for the men, women and children who have been offered sanctuary after living through some truly harrowing experiences.”

Councils across the UK have also been asked to help identify suitable long term accommodation for the resettlement scheme, and in Devon local appeals to private sector landlords have resulted in some potential homes being found.

The Afghan refugees, who worked with and for the UK forces in Afghanistan, are understood to have been flown into the country from the capital, Kabul, in the final days before flights out of the country were stopped by the new Taliban regime. Since then they have been living in quarantine hotels in London.

In Devon, district councils, which have responsibility for housing, are attempting to identify more long term accommodation specifically from private sector landlords, so that there is no impact on their local housing waiting lists.

Devon County Council is now working with local community groups and volunteers to ensure that, once refugees are found suitable accommodation in the county, support around them is available quickly to help them settle in, access local health services and education, and find employment if possible.

For the record, Simon Jupp’s views on vaccine passports: “unethical”

There is comment in the media that Boris Johnson’s “freedom day” Covid plan is becoming another example in his pandemic response of doing too much too soon; and that the contingency Plan B is another example of doing too little too late.

So for the record here is Simon Jupp’s view on vaccine passports – “unethical”.

Does this put him on the “libertarian” wing of the party? – Owl

Link here

Photo of Simon JuppSimon Jupp Conservative, East Devon

Make no mistake: vaccine passports will create a two-tier society with the hospitality industry having to police an unethical policy that will hammer its recovery. Given the Government’s own words that we need to live with this virus, will my hon. Friend confirm how long vaccine passports will be in place—if passed by this House?

Photo of Nadhim ZahawiNadhim Zahawi Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy), The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care

We will set out in detail in due course exactly how the vaccine pass will work for domestic use: for example, in nightclubs.