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Caught exceeding the speed limit; Coronavirus cases rise slightly in the South West; Active Streets trial starts in Exeter; Broken things fixed at The BIG FIX; and ready for coworking?

Data shows a rise in coronavirus cases in the South West

There was a report this week of a national rise in the number of coronavirus (COVID-19) cases, with the highest rates currently in the South West of England. 

It took data from the ZOE health app, which indicates that there are between 931 and 1,628 new cases per million people, every day in the South West, with a 30 per cent rise overall in daily cases since the start of July.

On the face of it, that sounds quite significant, but the overall levels are very low, says Public Health Devon. 

Simon Chant, Public Health Devon’s data expert, explains:

“Really, what we’re seeing is the regular ebb and flow of coronavirus cases in the UK, which has been present and will be present for some time to come. While a headline grabbing ’30 per cent rise’ sounds like a lot, it’s from a relatively low baseline at the start of July, and therefore we shouldn’t read too much into it at this point. It is however an important reminder to us all that coronavirus hasn’t gone away, and that we need to keep an eye on it.”

As more is known now about coronavirus, and as the virus itself has evolved and changed over time, there are now more symptoms attributed to COVID-19.

The NHS website lists the current symptoms and has advice for people who may have them. It also has advice for people who test positive, although you are no longer required to do a COVID-19 rapid lateral flow test if you have symptoms.

Active Streets trial starts in an area of Exeter

“I want to thank everyone who attended our information events who asked questions and gave verbal feedback,” said Councillor Su Aves, one of our local members in Heavitree, following two public engagement events about the Heavitree and Whipton ‘Active Streets’ trial.

The trial began yesterday, (Thursday 3 August), and aims to address the 2,000 plus vehicles that travel along many of the residential streets in the Heavitree and Whipton area each day, deterring people from walking or cycling.

The trial seeks to make a safer, cleaner less congested environment for people to walk and cycle.

It will run for up to 18 months but may be amended or halted during this timescale. Public consultation will run during the first six months, and local residents are invited to let us know what they think.

More public engagement events are planned to run during September, which we’ll publicise nearer the time.

For more information about the consultation, visit our webpage,

Or you can read more in the story on our news page.

Plea to slow down!

More than 1,800 drivers were caught exceeding the speed limit on a 40mph stretch of the busy A380 Torbay Link Road, in just over six hours of speed monitoring.

1,821 drivers were detected travelling over the speed limit, of which 126 drivers were travelling over 60mph.

The top speed recorded on the 40mph stretch of road was 75mph.

Between 2018 and 2022, there have been nine serious collisions and 30 slight collisions on the A380 between Edginswell and Tweenaway Cross, prompting a safety warning from Devon & Cornwall Police’s Head of Road Safety, Superintendent Adrian Leisk.

“We know that speed is a major cause in fatal and serious collisions,” he said. “Travelling too fast not only gives you less time to react but also significantly increases the likelihood of sustaining fatal or serious injuries in the event of a crash.”

Vision Zero partners – that’s ourselves, Devon & Cornwall Police, Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service, South Western Ambulance Service NHS Trust, Devon Air Ambulance, Plymouth City Council, Torbay Council and others – have all issued a plea to motorists to slow down.

The Speed Detection Team will be making regular visits to this section over the coming weeks.

“This isn’t about making money, it’s about keeping people safe,” said Superintendent Leisk.

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

Helping transform connectivity in Woolacombe

Owners of a popular caravan and camping site, looking out across picturesque Woolacombe Bay, have struggled for years with a slow internet connection.

Now, through our Connecting Devon and Somerset programme, their business has been ‘transformed’, using Airband’s full fibre network.

“Whatever business you’re running, you have to have a good internet connection,” says Helen, one of the Directors and owners of Damage Barton Caravan and Camping Site.

“Everything’s gone online these days, so updating our accounts, our payroll and online booking was becoming impossible when we had a speed of less than 1Mbps.

“Airband came in and it has transformed it. It’s brought us up to date. We’ve got a fast enough speed now to run our business easily. Our online booking system is more reliable and customers get a good connection across the site, whether they’re in a tent at the bottom of the site or in the biggest motorhome right by our reception. Good connectivity improves the overall customer experience during their stay.”

You can read more about Helen and the difference that good, reliable broadband has made to her business, in the story on our news page.

2,761 ‘broken things’ repaired at BIG FIX 2023

Thousands of broken things were repaired in May as part of The BIG FIX 2023, coordinated by us.

Over 800 volunteers from Devon and across the UK joined forces to help 2,242 residents fix their broken belongings, preventing the items from going to waste.

Skilled volunteers at Repair Cafes up and down the country gave over 3,500 hours of their time to fix everything from jewellery and clothing to electricals and bicycles.

83 Repair Cafes took part across the month, successfully fixing 2,761 broken items.

The repairs resulted in an emission saving equivalent to flying nearly 80,000 miles, driving 125,500 miles and showering 3,966 times!

“Thank you to everyone in Devon and nationally who took part in The BIG FIX 2023,” said Councillor Roger Croad. “It’s great that Devon is leading the way in coordinating this very worthy event.”

You can read the full story on our news page.

National campaign encourages people to ‘Take the Bus’

The government has launched a campaign to encourage people over the age of 66, and others eligible for concessionary bus journeys, to make the most of free bus travel to meet friends, connect with nature and visit new places this summer.

The ‘Take the Bus‘ campaign comes as statistics show concessionary journeys are down by more than a third since before the COVID-19 pandemic.

It reminds passholders of the benefits of using bus travel, including staying active, visiting new places, taking up hobbies and seeing friends and family while saving money on travel.

Along with the current £2 bus fare cap scheme, the campaign aims to get more people using the bus to help reduce congestion and emissions while supporting the bus industry and helping grow the economy.

For those looking for free or low-cost events happening across England this summer, there is a new interactive map, linked to a Help for Households campaign.

And for more local ideas, visit our Travel Devon website.

Ready to give coworking a try?

If you’re an entrepreneur, freelancer, self-employed or someone whose week includes working remotely, and you fancy seeing what coworking is all about, now’s your chance.

Some of our Devon work hubs are marking International Coworking Day next week by inviting people to come and give coworking a try.

People usually become members of a Work Hub, but on Wednesday 9 August, these hubs are offering free trial coworking days for non-members.

  • Devon Business and Education Centre, in Payhembury
  • The Generator Hub, in Exeter
  • The Hub at The Bookery bookshop, in Crediton
  • The Tribe, for female entrepreneurs in Totnes

The day is an opportunity for people to experience coworking and see that our work hubs are far more than simply desk space. The many advantages include flexible working, networking and collaborative opportunities with like-minded people.

You can read more about the benefits of coworking, and details about taking up the invite, in the story on our news page.