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​Don’t Lose Your Chance to Vote in 2021

Don’t lose your voice - residents in the South Hams urged to look out for their voter registration details from South Hams District Council. Local residents are being warned not to lose their voice on decisions that affect them by making sure their electoral registration details are up to date.

With elections taking place in the South Hams in May 2021, including the postponed Police and Crime Commissioner Election this is an important opportunity for residents to make sure they can take part.

The annual canvass ensures that South Hams District Council can keep the electoral register up to date, identifying any residents who are not registered so that they can be encouraged to do so. They would then be able take part in any future elections.

Steve Mullineaux, Deputy Chief Executive at South Hams District Council, said:

“It’s important that residents keep an eye out for messages from us, so we can make sure we have the right details on the electoral register for every address in South Hams. To make sure you are able to have your say at elections, simply follow the instructions from your local authority.

“If you’re not currently registered, your name will not appear in the messages we send. If you want to register, the easiest way is online at www.gov.uk/register-to-vote, or we’ll send you information explaining how to do this in the post.”

“This year’s canvass, which we have to carry out by law, is taking place during a challenging public health situation. We are working to ensure that we take account of public health guidelines, including the continued importance of social distancing.”

People who have moved recently are particularly encouraged to look out for the voter registration messages from South Hams and check the details. Research by the Electoral Commission indicates that recent home movers are far less likely to be registered than those who have lived at the same address for a long time. Across Great Britain, 92% of people who have been at their property for more than sixteen years will be registered, compared to 36% of people who have lived at an address for less than one year.

Melanie Davidson, Head of Support and Improvement at the Electoral Commission, said:

“It’s really important that everyone who is entitled to vote is able to do so. Making sure you provide the necessary information to your local authority when it is needed will ensure the process runs smoothly. This is particularly helpful in the current public health situation, as it will help avoid the need for home visits from canvassers.

“There’s lots of helpful information about registering to vote on our website https://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/i-am-a/voter.”

Any residents who have any questions can contact their local registration team at South Hams District Council via the website www.southhams.gov.uk/annual-canvass

SHDC update - Shielding pauses from Saturday 1 August 

From this Saturday (1 August), the government's shielding programme will pause, unless the transmission of COVID-19 in the community starts to rise significantly. This means the support from the National Shielding Service, including free food parcels, medicine deliveries and care, will stop. Supermarket priority delivery slots will remain.

For the rest of us, easing the strictest lockdown has been a gradual process, and most people will now be relatively used to our new normality of social distancing and face coverings. But many residents who have been shielding, and haven't really left their homes since March, will probably be feeling a little uneasy about the end of this period. 

Venturing back out and being around other people, for example at the shops, with face coverings and one-way systems, is a daunting prospect and the transition could be as difficult as the sudden lockdown was in March. And just as it took a while to adjust back then, it will take a while to adjust now as shielding lifts. 

Take it at your own pace, share any concerns or anxieties with those closest to you and remember that the friends and neighbours that have helped you over the last few months are still your friends and neighbours even after the shielding ends and they are still there for you.

Since March, communities have rallied round, with volunteers helping those who have most needed help. Many of those charities, local groups and volunteers, are still there and still able to help. You can find a map of them on our website.

NHS Volunteer Responders will carry on delivering the groceries you buy and prescriptions if you need it. You can call them on 0808 196 3646 (8am to 8pm).

There is also support available to help people who are feeling anxious about leaving the house.

So, for those who have been shielding and are worried about venturing-forth from this weekend, please know that you are not alone and support is available. And for the rest of us now going about our slightly less restricted lives, please continue to look out for those we know who have been shielding - they may need your continued reassurance as they become as independent again as possible.

SHDC alert - cold-calling tree surgeons targeting vulnerable residents

SHDC have been made aware of cold-calling, potentially uninsured contractors claiming to be tree surgeons operating in the districts, targeting vulnerable (particularly elderly) residents and claiming to be fully qualified, fully insured tree surgeons, offering to do tree and garden works for cash. They are stating they can carry out works to protected trees legally and provide residents with a certificate to submit to us to avoid prosecution. No such certificate exists and this is not the case. An application to SHDC/WDBC in some form is required prior to carrying out works to any trees subject to a TPO or in a Conservation Area.

If you hear of any residents being approached by such contractors, please encourage them to take as many contact details for the contractors as possible along with vehicle registration numbers and descriptions of the individuals (if safe to do so) and report them to the police on 101 or via their website at https://www.police.uk/101/.

Please also observe the following important points:

  • Prior to agreeing to any tree works, residents should check the contractor’s insurance certificate and qualifications – anyone who has gone through the training and paid the necessary insurance premiums will be proud to share the information with prospective clients. A checklist for choosing a tree surgeon is available here
  • If the trees are protected by a TPO or in a Conservation Area, residents will need to be in receipt of written consent from the SHDC or WDBC Tree Officer in a decision notice or occasionally email prior to carrying out works to such trees to avoid potential investigation which may lead to prosecution.

Resident’s responsibilities in relation to ‘Protected Trees’ are outlined via the following links:

If you have any queries, please contact:

Tracy Webb, Case Manager (Trees), Tel: 01803 861470, trees@swdevon.gov.uk
South Hams District Council & West Devon Borough Council

​Reopening of Leisure in South Hams

South Hams District Council and Fusion Lifestyle are delighted to welcome the phased reopening of the District’s leisure Centres.

Everyone was pleased to hear the Government announce that Leisure Centres could reopen from the 25 July, with many users keen to get back to their regular exercise. However the centre operators want to make sure that when users do return they can do so in the safest way possible. This does mean that in order to make the centres COVID-19 secure, the full reopening of the centres will take a little bit longer.

Thanks to the hard work of the Fusion staff, we are pleased to be able to provide both wet and dry activities at the Ivybridge Leisure Centre from week commencing Monday 3 August. This will include reopening the new pool, dry sports activities and the gym. Then from week commencing Monday 10 August, Fusion hope to be able to provide dry sports activities and the Gym in the Quayside Leisure centre in Kingsbridge. Fusion will confirm the exact opening dates in due course with all details around booking and the procedures they have put in place to ensure that you have a safe and enjoyable visit.

Anthony Cawley, Director of Operations at Fusion, said:“We know our leisure facilities are really important for the health and well-being of the local community and we want them open again as soon as they are safe and viable. Therefore, we are so pleased our doors are beginning to open again and together with South Hams District Council, we hope our members will bear with us whilst we implement our reopening plans and they can soon enjoy their centres once again.”

Cllr Jonathan Hawkins, Executive Member for Wellbeing, said: “This is fantastic news for the District. Fusion are working hard to enable our residents to get back to their activities as quickly and safely as possible. However, this is going to be a tough time for the leisure industry, they estimate that 48% of all public leisure facilities face closure, meaning as many as 1,300 could disappear by the end of the year, along with more than 58,000 jobs. Due to social distancing, taking part in your favourite leisure activity may look and feel very different, but let’s not be put off, let’s give our leisure centres our full support and get back to doing healthy activities when the centres open.”

South Hams and Fusion are supporting the #SaveLeisure campaign launched by Community Leisure UK urging the UK Government to commit circa £800m relief funding to enable the full reopening and recovery of the public leisure sector. Without this dedicated relief fund, a third of all public leisure facilities in the UK may not reopen and half will face permanent closure by the end of the year. To find out more about this campaign and ways you can support, go to: www.communityleisureuk.org

Devon County Council Highways -Planned road works, 27th August 2020

DCC Highways are planning to carry out repairs to the road surface from Coleridge Cross to Towns End Cross and from Town End Cross to Lower Green Cross. This work is programmed for 1 day on 27th August. Access will be maintained for properties along the road but the road will be temporarily closed to through traffic.

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