The Parish of Stokenham, bounded by the black line on the map, covers the whole of the southern half of Start Bay, from Slapton Sands to Start Point and on to Lannacombe Beach. It encompasses the villages of Torcross, Beesands, Hallsands, Kellaton, Kernborough, Dunstone, Beeson and Chillington, as well as Stokenham itself, covers an area of some 20.6 square kilometres, and has a population of approximately 2,000.
The seven larger settlements and many smaller hamlets and farms are connected by miles of narrow country lanes, byways, bridleways and footpaths. The main arterial route in and out of the parish is the A379, which runs north to Dartmouth and west to Kingsbridge. This route is serviced by the First Western National Bus Company, with connections available to Plymouth (change for Derriford Hospital), Salcombe, Dartmouth, Totnes (our nearest main line railway station) and Exeter. The parish also enjoys the service of The Coleridge Bus, a community bus providing weekly runs from outlying areas to Kingsbridge. There are airports at Plymouth and Exeter.
UPDATED 28 May 2020
Your Parish Council is aware that the current situation is causing great difficulties for many in our community. We will be using this website to publicize community initiatives aimed at helping those for whom the crisis might present particular challenges. If you know of anyone who is having to self-isolate and as a result needs assistance with shopping we can put them in touch with volunteers who can help. See "Your Parish Council" for Councillors' names and contact details. The list below will be updated regularly and added to as required: please send edits or additions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
FOOD SHOPPING, HOME DELIVERY
Stokeley Farm Shop is offering a grocery delivery service to local residents, and reminds customers that they can add beer from The Taphouse to their orders. Call 01548 581605 or email email@example.com
Chillington Post Office and Store is offering a free local grocery delivery service to those in need. Call 01548 580371 for more details.
Britannia Shellfish Ltd is supplying the following local retail outlets with freshly frozen vac-packed fish and shellfish: Stokeley Farm Shop (see above); Springfield Farm Shop, East Charlton, 01548 521523; Slapton Community Shop, 07938 743543.
Dartmouth Dairy is offering a £10-veg-box delivery service, with one box donated for every 20 bought. Visit firstname.lastname@example.org.
COOKED FOOD, MEALS-TO-GO
The Church House Inn, Stokenham, is offering a takeaway menu every Friday evening, with orders taken by phone on 07497 766114 on Wednesday and Thursday.
The Bear & Blacksmith in Chillington is offering free local delivery on a selection of meals, either ready-to-eat or ready-to-cook, also fresh meat, fish, vegetables, fruit, and basic groceries. Call 01548 581171 for more details.
KINGSBRIDGE FOOD BANK CONTACTS
Gerrie Messer 07759 683567
Paula 07746 937514
A MESSAGE FROM CITIZENS ADVICE
In light of the Coronavirus outbreak we have taken the decision to suspend our face-to-face services. We are not currently offering advice to the public from our offices or outreach, and apologise for any inconvenience this may cause. Our staff and volunteers continue to work behind the scenes, however, and are able to offer support in the following ways:
Adviceline: 03444 111 444 (Monday to Friday, 9am - 4pm)
Email: www.southhamscab.org.uk From the ‘Contact us’ page select ‘Email’ and click ‘Use our online form’
WhatsApp: 07497 758779
Self Help: www.citizensadvice.org.uk
Letter: Citizens Advice, Follaton House, Plymouth Road, Totnes TQ9 5NE
Our paid staff and volunteers are doing all they can to keep our service operational. However we expect that you may experience a delay before your enquiry is responded to. We apologise for this and hope you will bear with us during these unprecedented times.
To all our patients: We would like to thank you for your forbearance, support and, indeed, cheerfulness in these unprecedented times. We greatly appreciate how your interactions with us have had to change over a very short time and with little notice.Thank you for adapting and for helping us to be here for you.
Please be reassured that we are doing absolutely everything we can to keep us all safe and well.
We would also like to say a massive thank you to all the community organisations and volunteers who have come together so quickly to help support us and you. This is truly a team effort and we have all been humbled by your efforts. Thank You!
We stay at work for you; please stay at home for us.
If you are interested in becoming a volunteer and supporting the NHS at this time, please download the GoodSam app and find out what you can do to help our local community.
A MESSAGE FROM NORTON BROOK MEDICAL CENTRE
Thank you for your support by following the stay at home and social distancing advice. We have made a few changes to how patients access medical care, but we are still here for you when you need us!
At the moment, we are not pre-booking appointments with GPs and our front door is locked. Please call the practice on the day that you wish to talk to us. We are managing most issues over the phone where possible, instead of seeing patients face to face - this is both to protect you and the staff at the surgery. We may offer you a video consultation where necessary if you have a smart phone, which involves being sent a link by text message which then connects you to the doctor with very good video quality. Your phone must have an internet connection and a camera for this to work. If the doctor feels you need to be seen face to face, an appointment will be offered (or a visit if absolutely necessary). If you need to come in, we will ask you to wait in your car, not the waiting room, and will call you in when the doctor or nurse is ready. You will be greeted at the door by the doctor or nurse wearing PPE, and will be given a mask and escorted into the consulting room. You should not have any contact with any common surfaces or anyone else.
Our nurses are still looking after patients too, but where possible this will be done by telephone. We have allocated specific times, usually in the mornings, where we can see highly vulnerable shielded patients. By coming in to see our nurses for your necessary treatments you are helping to ease the pressure on the district nursing team.
We have maintained high standards of infection control and have not had a suspected case of Covid-19 entering the building. Anyone with potential Covid-19 has been seen in the car park with appropriate precautions. We consider the surgery to be a clean site and the risk of contracting Covid-19 in the practice is extremely low.
With best wishes
South Hams Area Wellbeing (SHAW)
EMERGENCY PRESCRIPTION DELIVERY SERVICE
It is important that we look after each other at this time, so please look out for your neighbours, especially the elderly or vulnerable. Those who are unable to collect their prescriptions in person can ring 01548 580371 and we will arrange delivery of their medicines. Please allow plenty of notice for this service as there is a weekly or fortnightly delivery schedule to the surgery pharmacy. Those registered with surgeries further afield should contact their own doctor in the first instance.
COUNCIL TAX PAYMENT
If the current situation is causing you hardship and you are having difficulty paying your council tax, please get in touch with South Hams District Council via the website https://www.southhams.gov.uk or call them: 01803 861234.
TESTING FOR ESSENTIAL WORKERS
Testing is now available for essential workers: please see the following link https://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/UKDEVONCC...
Due to the reduction of bus services across the county, Devon County Council are trialling an on-demand subsidised taxi service for key workers accessing employment only. This service is intended to replace those journeys which were previously made by bus – a subsidised flat fare will be charged. Requests can only be made by email and should be sent to email@example.com. Please include the following information in your email: Name, address, key worker status, employer/payroll ref, journey requirements (pick up/drop off). We will aim to respond to all requests as soon as possible during normal office hours – journeys should be booked 48 hours in advance of travel.
If you're stuck at home and unable to get out with the dog, we can help: call our volunteer centre – 01548 580371 – and we will put you in touch with someone who will take your pooch for a paddle, and who can also do small errands, such as take letters or cards to the post office.
Unscrupulous individuals may take advantage of the extraordinary situation to try to part people from their money and possessions. Please beware of any unusual phone calls or emails purporting to be from the NHS or other public bodies, especially any that request personal information. Ignore any request for information that sounds intrusive, suspicious, or just plain wrong. Simply put the phone down, or delete the mail.
"Work is almost complete on bore holes and trial pits. We have continued to monitor the site for movement. With investigations complete, the contractor’s accommodation will be demobilised from site but we will continue to check the tell-tales for movement – this will be on a weekly basis unless conditions dictate otherwise.
We are currently reviewing some very outline options and getting the contractor to estimate the costs of these options. We have to continue to treat these works as emergency works, otherwise it is unlikely we can build a business case to support the economics to justify doing any work. As emergency works, we have to select the option with the best benefit / cost ratio. We believe that this will mean a new, much deeper, steel sheet piled wall with a capping that overlaps, but does not tie in to the existing wall (so it doesn’t directly transfer vibration to the existing structure and houses behind it.) We believe this would be affordable, but are awaiting confirmation, now that we know how deep the shingle is (14 – 17m or so) whether it would remain stable if beach levels were further depleted. We are hoping to understand this within a couple of weeks and will then need to confirm what consents are required (we believe planning permission and Marine Management Organisation consents would be required as a minimum) and what this means for programming work.
In the meantime, beach levels have risen by about 1.5 – 2.0m since January, which in itself is the best outcome possible. We’ll be interested to hear what the current weather is doing to levels – hopefully further raising the levels in front of the defence. If so, this would make any installation work much easier."
Dr Sarah Wollaston MP discusses the situation at Torcross with officials from the Environment Agency at a site meeting with residents
After weeks of worry and concern, some clarity was finally achieved at a meeting on Monday 15 February, when Sarah Wollaston, together with Environment Agency staff, officers from Devon County Council, and district and parish councillors, met residents to discuss a proposed way forward after the damage caused by recent storms to the sea defences at Torcross. Apart from the obvious signs of damage, including the collapsed sea wall, which forced the closure of the A379, locals told tales of cracks appearing in their houses, and of sleepless nights broken by terrifying vibrations as huge waves hit the exposed sheet pilings along the water's edge.
Officials from the Environment Agency, who own the sea wall, explained that movement in the wall had caused the construction joints in the concrete to open, leaving gaps of up to 30mm along the full length of the structure. In the short term the EA are proposing to place rock armour in front of the wall and have already secured funding for this, but this would only be a temporary measure – a longer term solution will have to await detailed engineering reports, which will attempt to find out what is going on underneath the wall. This, in turn, is made more complicated by the possible presence of unexploded ordinance in the area, which rules out the usual methods of surveying, most of which rely on drilling – obviously not an option if there's likely to be an unexploded mine in the drill site. In short, it is a complicated and delicate process. When asked for a timeframe for the survey and repairs, the official said that teams were being mobilized as he spoke and that it would be "days, not months" before things started happening.
In the meantime, the A379 would be reopened to light traffic via a diversion through the car park and, in response to complaints that 3,500 people had been left without bus transport, a replacement shuttle bus service has been organized, with seven return journeys a day between Kingsbridge and Torcross (see The Bus is Back! below).
Asked by residents for a longer-term outlook, and in particular whether the Powers that Be had given up on Torcross and the maintenance of the Slapton Line, Dr Wollaston reiterated that the official position was to "hold the line" until at least 2030. Householders concerned that their homes might not be in a safe condition were advised to contact Devon Building Control on 01626 215793 to arrange for a surveyor to advise them. Building owners would need to make their own arrangements with regard to damage that clearly does not pose a risk to safety.