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Devolution deal for Devon, Plymouth and Torbay gets closer; Support to help with rising costs of living; Rein in your speed for horses; More money announced for roads; and help keep Devon clean this Spring

Devolution deal for Devon, Plymouth and Torbay moves a step closer

A new deal that will transfer money and powers into the hands of local Leaders across Devon, Plymouth and Torbay, has moved a step closer today, with the backing of the Government’s Levelling Up Minister, Dehenna Davison.

Outline approval has been given for a Devon-wide devolution deal which could bring greater local control and allow partners to tap into additional resources to help tackle key local priorities, such as affordable housing, better public transport and connectivity, and providing for the skills that the local economy needs.

The deal wouldn’t require a change to the established democratic structures across the area, or the need for an elected Mayor. Instead, new powers would be devolved to a partnership of existing local councils who would deliver on a joint programme working alongside a wide range of other local stakeholders.

Local partners across Devon have now been invited to work together to prepare a Final Business Case to present to Government for approval later in the year.

Any final deal would require local consent with the full agreement of all the constituent councils as well as Parliamentary approval.

You can read more about the new deal in the story on our news page.

Devon to receive largest share of additional funds for roads

Devon is to receive an extra £9.4 million from the Chancellor’s budget, to help fund vital highways maintenance.

The county’s share of the additional £200 million capital funding is the largest among County and County Council Network unitary authorities.

Our Leader, Councillor John Hart, said:

“I’m delighted that the Chancellor has announced extra money for us to tackle potholes. I’d like to thank all our MPs for their support, especially those identified by the Chancellor who he said had lobbied very strongly on our behalf.”

At around 8,000 miles of roads, Devon has the longest road network in the country. This winter’s weather, with torrential rain and very cold snaps, has played havoc with the condition of the roads, so this additional money is especially welcome.

You can read the full story on our news page.

Two funding pots to help with rising costs of living

We’ve announced two pots of funding this week that are to support people who are struggling with rising food and energy costs.

Firstly, we’ve secured a little over £10 million to support households in most need, and specifically those who may not be eligible for other support that’s already available from the Government.

It’s called the Household Support Fund, and we’ll be working again with our District and City Council colleagues, Citizen’s Advice Devon and others to help deliver that support.

You can read more about this latest allocation of the Household Support Fund in the story on our news page.

The second pot of funding, the Growing Communities Fund, is one that not-for-profit groups, charities, church or faith groups, schools and councils can bid for.

That’s making grants available for groups to deliver local projects that help with the rising costs of living.

So far, we’ve awarded grants totally upwards of £320,000 to groups and organisations for projects that help people who are struggling with rising energy and food costs.

You can read more about our Growing Communities Fund in the story on our news page.

Drivers asked to rein in their speed for horses

New roadside posters encouraging drivers to slow down for horses and their riders are being displayed in parts of Devon.

We’re supporting The British Horse Society’s (BHS) “Dead Slow” road safety campaign, teaming up with the BHSHorses and Road Safety Awareness (HRSA) and Vision Zero South West to promote the campaign in the county.

Horse riders have the same right to be on the road as motorists, but they are vulnerable and horses can be startled, despite the best efforts of the rider. The aim of the campaign is to educate motorists on how to approach and pass horses safely on the county’s roads, with the posters advising drivers to reduce their speed to a maximum of 10mph and leave at least two metres space.

Since 2018, around 375 incidents involving equestrians on Devon’s roads have been reported to the Police and the BHS. These collisions have left 19 horses injured and three dead, while 29 horse riders have been injured and one rider killed.

Read the full story on the news page of our website.

Trading Standards warns lettings agents to protect client’s money after firm fined £8,000

Our Trading Standards service is reminding letting agents of their legal obligation to protect any money they are holding on behalf of a client.

It follows a tribunal upholding an £8,000 fine we imposed on a firm after they had repeatedly ignored our advice to obtain Client Money Protection that protects the landlords and tenants’ money held by a letting agent.

There’s a legal requirement for all letting agents and property managers in the private rented sector, who handle their money on behalf of their clients, to belong to one of the six prescribed Client Money Protection Schemes.

These schemes protect the money of both the landlord and tenant in the event of the insolvency of the agent. This is different from Tenancy Deposit Protection and covers items such as rent.

For more information about the Client Money Protection Scheme, please visit the Government’s website.

Volunteer to give nature a helping hand!

Nature volunteering helps your local area, but it also has many benefits to you! It’s great physically, mentally and socially. And with the days finally getting longer and warmer, now is a great time to take part!

But what if you don’t know where to start, who to contact, or what activities are best to participate in? Don’t worry, the Devon Local Nature Partnership has you covered! 

They’re holding a webinar later this month where different groups and organisations will talk about volunteering opportunities, where and when you can take part, the purpose of the activity, the impact they have made so far, and future goals for the project.

? Tuesday 28 March

⌚ 6pm to 7pm

? Online

Sign up for your FREE spot now

Help give Devon a spring clean

People across Devon are being called on to do their bit to ensure that our county remains one of the most beautiful in England by joining Keep Britain Tidy’s ‘Great British Spring Clean’.

Taking part is easy, just visit the Great British Spring Clean website to join the #BigBagChallenge and make a pledge to pick up and bag as much litter as you can from Friday 17 March to  Sunday 2 April 2023. You can pledge as an individual, a group or a school and help to beat last year’s national pledge to collect nearly half a million bags of rubbish.   

Litter is an avoidable problem and, according to Keep Britain Tidy, is responsible for the deaths of almost three million small animals trapped in littered bottles and cans along our highways. Litter can also block drainage channels leading to flooding and can injure livestock. 

To support this event, Devon’s local councils have over 500 litter pickers and other equipment available to borrow all year round. If you need support, want to ensure your litter pick runs smoothly, and need to know what to do with the litter collected, visit Clean Devon, or contact your local District council directly.

? Calling all parents or parents-to-be!

Devon Maternity Voices Partnership want to know what you think about antenatal education in the county.

Take part in the survey and help with developments and improvements ?

Take part in the survey

Interactive Coronation celebration map launched

The Government is asking people to share how they will celebrate the Coronation of His Majesty The King on a digital map. From street parties and Coronation Big Lunches, to community events and Big Help Out activities, if you’re hosting a Coronation event, they want to hear from you! 

It’s designed to showcase the events, activities and celebrations happening across the UK and beyond, and encourage people to find out what events are going on near them and get involved with their local community. 

The Coronation website also includes lots of useful information and resources for getting involved in the celebrations, including inspirational recipes, bunting templates, a party playlist and printable activities for children and families.

Don’t forget, if you’re planning a street party, please apply for road closure permission through the simple form on our website. We’re receiving lots of applications – approximately 160 street closures were granted ahead of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations last year – so please apply as soon as possible, and ahead of the cut-off date of Sunday 26 March.