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Important Message from the Mayor

It is true to say that we are living through extraordinary times.  It is now seven months since the whole country went into Lockdown at the end of March to stop the spread of the coronavirus and to prevent our health services from being overwhelmed.  Until we come up with a vaccine, it looks like we shall be living with some form of restrictions on our daily lives until well into the Spring of next year and possibly even longer.

The Torridge District, which includes  Northam, Appledore, Orchard Hill and Westward Ho! has one of the lowest rates of the virus in the country – which is partly down to us being a little off the beaten track – but it has also been helped by the way we as a community have adhered to the rules, listened to the guidelines on social distancing, worn  face masks,  washed  our hands and generally been sensible over meeting with non-family members and people outside our bubbles.  Our low rate of infection is all the more extraordinary when you consider the number of visitors we have received this summer, from not just those living locally, but from around the whole country.  I know that there was a concern amongst some residents that visitors would bring the virus with them and spread it to local residents, but in the summer that just did not happen.   Visitors saw how we conducted ourselves and the vast majority followed and respected our lead.

At the beginning of the school holidays in July when visitors started to arrive in vast numbers, Covid- 19 was in retreat, with infections going down nationwide.   Starting this weekend and for the next 10 days we can expect a huge influx of visitors from across the country, as it marks the Autumn schools half term,  just as we are living through  the second wave of the pandemic.  For weeks now cases of Covid- 19 have been increasing in all parts of Britain – even here in Torridge – and have reached such numbers in areas like Liverpool, Manchester and West Midlands – that they have been put back into almost total Lockdown.

In the past couple of days, I have seen that Councils in Devon have asked visitors from those tier 3 areas to stay at home and not travel to Devon.  I know that hotels and holiday accommodation are being asked to cancel bookings from those areas where coronavirus is on the increase.  In reality that is going to be very hard to enforce, as the list of highly affected areas is added to by the day.  Only another total nationwide Lockdown like the one in March would have made that effective. The Government has decided against that route for now. And in any case do we really want that?  

Many of our local businesses, restaurants and cafes rely on visitors to survive, with many residents also dependant on tourism for their livelihoods.  Throughout this pandemic we have welcomed visitors in our usual warm way, and I hope that we shall continue to do so.  For many people – a visit to our area is their one opportunity to take a break from the pressures of life in these challenging times.  Their memories of their holidays with us will stay with them forever. However, we have to acknowledge that there has to be a balance here.   

Over the next week whilst there are going to be many more visitors than normal, I would urge local residents to be very cautious.  When you go out try to avoid the areas where there will be lots of tourists and remember to keep your distance, carry a face mask at all times, put it on when inside and wash your hands more often than usual. I know that many of you may feel resentful and no doubt annoyed that you are being asked to do this where you live, in what is your home.  But the alternative is that the virus takes a hold here, spreads through our local community –  we have a higher percentage of elderly residents in the high risk category of catching and dying from the coronavirus – and forces us into a more restricted Lockdown later down the road – just like those in other parts of the country.

I am so proud how we as a community came together earlier this year.  Just look at the number of volunteers who gave their time to do the shopping and collect prescriptions for their neighbours, so that those most vulnerable did not put themselves at risk and be exposed to the virus.  We need to find that community spirit again.  As I said at the beginning of my message – this pandemic is far from over – and now 7 months in – is the most dangerous and challenging of times.   We are all getting weary, the novelty has worn off and there appears to be no end in sight.  This is just when we need to be most vigilant and careful.  The next ten days could be critical for us, how in the long run, we as a community come out of this and are affected by Covid-19. 

Right now, we are one of the Districts with the lowest rates of infection in the country- lets help keep it that way.

David Chalmers

Mayor of Northam  

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Bakers Estates have circulated information to properties adjoining the proposed development at Wooda Rd

For anyone who has not received the details there is a link below

https://www.bakerestatesconsultation.co.uk/appledore

News from Devon County Council on grant funding

Small businesses and the tourism sector across Devon, Plymouth, Somerset and Torbay will be able to apply for grants of up to £3,000 through the Growth Support Kickstart Grant Scheme. phone 03456 047047

Coronavirus (COVID-19)
The Council have prepared information that you may find useful, view the dedicated page here.

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Welcome to Northam Town Council
the local Council for Appledore, Northam, Orchard Hill and Westward Ho!

TEST AND TRACE SERVICE:

The Government has launched a NHS Test and Trace service whereby anyone with symptoms will be tested and their close contacts will be traced. New guidance means those who have been in close contact with someone who tests positive must isolate for 14 days, even if they have no symptoms, to avoid unknowingly spreading the virus. See https://tinyurl.com/y7bbgqbe

The aim of the service is to help identify, contain and control coronavirus, reducing the spread of the virus to save lives. Anyone who tests positive for coronavirus will be contacted by NHS Test and Trace and will need to share information about their recent interactions. This could include household members, people with whom they have been in direct contact, or within 2 metres for more than 15 minutes. 

People identified as having been in close contact with someone who has a positive test must stay at home for 14 days, even if they do not have symptoms, to stop unknowingly spreading the virus. If those in isolation develop symptoms, they can book a test at nhs.uk/coronavirus or by calling 119. If they test positive, they must continue to stay at home for 7 days or until their symptoms have passed. If they test negative, they must complete the 14-day isolation period. 

Members of their household will not have to stay at home unless the person identified becomes symptomatic, at which point they must also self-isolate for 14 days to avoid unknowingly spreading the virus. 

Please contact Torridge District Council website for details they are providing in relation to Corona Virus. www.torridge.gov.uk

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Visit the Contact Us page for all the details on how to contact the Town Hall. You can also send us an e-mail via the online form.

Final Round of Discretionary Grants launched today.

£10K-£25K grants for businesses affected by Covid-19. Window closes next Wednesday 29.7. Expanded eligibility to include construction, taxi drivers, larger companies, and more. Companies can check to see if they are eligible and apply here https://tinyurl.com/yaumtmzt

See Torridge District Councils website

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