At home but still open!
In the space of a 10 days, the Town Council and the Keynsham community have had to respond to a series of increasingly drastic but necessary measures introduced by the Government to support the NHS from being overwhelmed, protect our High Risk population and sustain businesses and workers through what will be a lengthy period of social distancing and self-isolation with all that will entail.
The flight announcement that says “put your own oxygen mask on before you help others” was never more applicable as to how the Town Council has been preparing in order to ensure it can provide sustained support for the community during the COVID19 Pandemic.
The Town Council has maintained a detailed Risk assessment, which has been constantly updated to reflect emerging scientific knowledge about the virus, its spread within the UK and the changes in Government advice. Some staff and Councillors were felt to be at more risk than others owing to medical conditions or age, (or dependents At Risk) so plans were put in place in mid February to ensure appropriate protection measures were in place early on whilst the staff continued to work at the Civic Centre. Subsequently the requisite portable devices, remote connections and Zoom videoconferencing was sourced to keep everyone connected once certain staff/Councillors were required to work from home. Plans had also been made to ensure there is sufficient resource to upkeep the Council’s play areas and open spaces including the Cemetery, with due regard for staff safety.
However in response to the most recent Government announcement on Monday 23rd March, the Council has had to quickly adapt its Business Continuity Plan to ensure it can provide as much service and support to the community within the confines of the most recent announcement.
Full advice from the government, NHS and Public Health England can be found at www.gov.uk/coronavirus.
Town Council Services/Business Continutity
The three main priorities for the Council in respect of its current services and facilities are:
- Ensuring the Health and safety of staff, Councillors, volunteers, contractors and members of the public participating in Council activities
- Maintaining effective and lawful decision-making processes
- Maintaining the continuing operation of essential services and contractual obligations
Office closed - All staff are working from home
Until the office re-opens, there is a temporary mobile number to ring that will be manned by staff from 8.30-5pm Monday to Wednesday and 9pm to 3pm Thursday and Friday as follows: 07904 161097
Some enquiries such as waste, council tax etc should be directed to B&NES. A full list of services for both Councils can be found on our Council Services page.
All Councillors are working from home
They can however still be contacted via the details on the website by using details on the Councillors page.
All meetings and events have been suspended
Obviously we have to comply with the Government orders in respect of social gatherings so sadly the Annual Parish Meeting , Bandstand Events and quarterly Business Forum have all been suspended. The Local Government Act (1972) requires the Council and its Committees to meet in person and be open to the public so again all meetings are suspended and the Council has implemented a delegation of authority policy to enable the Town Clerk to take decisions to keep the Council functioning in the interim. It is hoped that legislation is on the way to enable the Council to re-start its meeting schedule using videoconferencing, enabling members of the public to log on if they wish to by requesting a link from the Town Clerk.
Annual Grants Awards
Grants will still be awarded this year. Decisions may be delayed a couple of months and although it will not be possible to hold the Grants Awards Evening in The Space this year, the Council is hoping to provide a virtual alternative.
Application forms will be available from Wednesday 1st April 2020 until Friday 31st July 2020 and can be downloaded from our Grants page
The deadline for completed applications is Friday 31st July 2020. Applications received after this deadline will not be considered.
Green Spaces and Play Areas
The Council has had to shut all its play areas by order of the Government. They will no longer be subject to their weekly inspections so please do not use them.
This also applies to the MultiSports courts and SkatePark in Upper Memorial Park. The goal posts at Manor Road Playing Field have been removed but the playing field itself will remain open in line with current Government guidance. This also applies to Holmoak in Bilbie Green.
Kelston Park, Memorial Park and other recreational areas in Keynsham such as Teviot Rd and Park Rd are managed by B&NES and will also be kept open in line with current guidance.
The Cemetery will remain open to the public to provide a peaceful space for exercise and reflection and for people to continue to visit their loved ones. .However there may be times when we will need to close it to the public for a short while.
Whilst using the Open Spaces in Keynsham to take your daily exercise break (either alone or with one other person only) , please do not gather in groups and at all times keep your social distance from other users.
We are waiting clarification from the Government on the essential duties that permit our Grounds Maintenance Team to be out and about. We envisage this will include the emptying of Dog and litter bins, and generally keeping open spaces free of vegetation to enable everyone to take their daily exercise. If you see any member of our team please do not approach them but if you do need to talk to them, please maintain a distance of at least 2metres.
Following discussion with the Allotments Association, the Town Council has decided that the Park Road allotments can be kept open (as it constitutes daily exercise), provided that certain rules are adhered to.