Archive | October, 2012

Not-so-public consultation last time round…

31 Oct
but only if you have very good eyesight

Spot the Public Communication poster about Knowle relocation….No, NOT the big one on the left. Kneel down to read the small notice on the right, bottom row.


North Devon and Torridge commission supermarket and retail space analysis

31 Oct

North Devon Council and Torridge District Council have commissioned a survey of how much extra supermarket and retail space is needed in the area in the foreseeable future.  Details here.

It shows that the area currently needs only 3,972sq m of supermarket space over the next 20 years (for comparison, the new Tesco in Seaton is 6,000 sq m). Torridge needs only 464 sq m of such space.  The newspaper article goes on to say that the results could have a major bearing on two planning applications for a 2,787sq m Morrisons store on the Evans Transport site and a 6,820sq m Asda store at Anchorwood Bank, both in Barnstaple.  They could also hold some sway over on-going talks between NDC and Tesco about a supermarket in South Molton’s Central Car Park area.

Now, wouldn’t it be a good idea if our district council did something similar.  But what did it actually do?  It sent half a dozen of its councillors to local towns and asked them to report on how they found them in terms of “shopping experience”.  Now, I don’t know about you but some of our councillors strike me as pate de fois gras shoppers and others strike me as “I’ll have those manky looking apples at the back please” shoppers!  This is no substitute for hard EVIDENCE.

But we all know what EDDC thinks of evidence.  As has been said before here:  if they like it, it is evidence; if they don’t like it, it’s opinion – even when it comes from experts.  Remember two consultants (Atkins and Tym) came to pretty much the same idea about how much extra industrial land was needed in East Devon – not very much.  But EDDC preferred to go with its East Devon Business Forum friends who want LOTS and LOTS.  There can’t be enough for them and coincidentally several of them own vast tracts of current and potential industrial land.  Now that’s evidence!

Misleading Leader

31 Oct
Sent in by Hamfisted :
Cllr Diviani’s embarrassed replies to Cllr Hughes’s questions at the Scrutiny Committee meeting: we have checked both points and find that Cllr Diviani was… er … misled.
The  revised application on the Knowle was submitted by Deputy CEO Richard Cohen, not by an independent consultant. The powers that be in EDDC are deeply implicated in this unprecedented bit of strange footwork in their application to themselves. Congratulations to the hundreds of citizens who have successfully bombarded our MP to achieve the promise of a Call In on this possible chicanery.
The Sidmouth Herald Chief Reporter confirms that the misled Leader explicitly stated that access to the Alexandria Estate was too problematic. The point is that the access was organised by Cllr Hughes too soon. First we need to demonstrate that it is inaccessible so we can move all the Fords containers to the Sidford flood plain. That will allow us to move Bradfords from Sidmouth and Honiton to a super-site in the AONB. Then EDDC can move to the Bradfords site at Honiton station. Then we can flog off the Knowle to pay for these moves. Then Morrrisons can move into the AONB on the A3052 with 500 car parking spaces, rescing Sir John Cave from the deprivations caused by the recession. Then we can, finally, secure easy access to the Alexadnria site in order to put in a load of second homes and investment properties for EDBF members to ensure their comfort in retirement.
Stuart Hughes’s creative work with DCC Traffic managers wrecks this neat plan. No wonder the Leader is annoyed.

ITV Westcountry News report on SOS tonight

31 Oct

Reporter has just confirmed it will be on this evening.  Get set to watch or record!

Knowle and white elephants

31 Oct
Some arguments against Knowle relocation (sent in by local resident, Sidmouth surfer): ‘…The economic case for relocating is very weak on several grounds. These include that the land value of the Knowle  is presently very low at the bottom of the economic cycle, and the move would be much more viable when land values recover, as they always do. Secondly, the passage of time would allow for the proposals to be refined and improved. And thirdly, that it is not at all clear that EDDC will exist in ten years time, and the likelihood of therefore creating a white elephant at Honiton should be factored into any calculations.’
Lots more, formal, objections on

Axminster Carpets Irish factory closes

30 Oct

Full story here.  The Irish factory has gone into voluntary liquidation blaming difficult trading conditions.

Currently, Axminster Carpets is embroiled in a judicial review regarding its planning decision to allow  Axminster Carpets to build houses on land it owns at Cloakham Lawns to the north of Axminister.  EDDC’s decision to grant the company planning permission is being judicially reviewed in the High Court in December 2012.  Unusually, the people in Axminster bringing the judicial review forward have been granted “protected costs” which means that even if they lose they will have to pay only minimal costs to the other side and not full costs which could have run into hundreds of thousands of pounds.

Managing Director of Axminister Carpets and EDBF member Josh Dutton had said at the time of the planning application that the company the capital from the scheme to expand the Axminster factory and create more jobs in the town.  However, if current trading conditions are so bad it would seem unlikely that this might happen in the near future.

Many people in Axminster would prefer to see much more housing constructed to the east of the town rather than to the north in order that a much-needed bypass might then be built and funded by developers who own the land there but EDDC has always been adamant that development should take place at Cloakham Lawns despite flooding and traffic worries.

Former head of Planning Kate Little said in the past that no by-pass would ever be built by developers to the east and any road through a new development to the east would simply be a “through road” rather than a bypass and had refused to add potential development of the east of Axminster to the current Local Plan.

More support for Mass March

29 Oct

Supporters from all over East Devon are preparing their banners for next Saturday’s Mass March (details on

SOS are delighted that Kelly Lynch will be joining the March.  For details of her treatment by EDDC, see blog at

Anyone for donuts ?

28 Oct

Sent in today by a Sidmouth correspondent:

‘I  see that people power in Totnes has seen off Costa’s plan to open in the town
despite them receiving planning permission. I heard Costas spokesman on Radio 2
saying that the company respected the communities wishes and wouldn’t be
It is never too early to launch a similar campaign against
morrisons moving into Sidmouth which would do untold damage to our town. ‘The
Donut effect’ sucking the centre out of our town.
We also need to retain all
the employment sites in the Sid Valley which all of a sudden are seeing
applications for houses on them Frys Lane, Chalky Whites Sidbury.’

Improving Local Government transparency: a consultation

27 Oct

Not everyone is as enthusiastic about “consultation” as the government as we all know from bitter experience what “consultation” can mean.  The government wants the views of organisations on how transparency in local government can be improved.  The consultation document is here and you have until 20 December 2012 to make your views known.

The document’s remit includes:  adding clarity, transparent specifications when services and contracts are handed out, transparency on how grants are dealt with, on policies, performance, external audits and key inspections, the location of public land and building assets and something they call ” democratic data”.

Exmouth resident berates local politicians

27 Oct

Exmouth, as we know, is having its own problems with EDDC, particularly with the Elizabeth Hall which will now be demolished to make way for a Premier Inn.  Friends of Elizabeth Hall say they were given almost no time to work up a bid to run the building as a Community and Arts Centre in spite of the government’s so-called committment to a “Community Right to Buy” and a 12,000 strong petition in favour of their plans.

A letter on today’s Exmouth Journal website here  from a Ms Sawyer with the heading “Hold your votes” makes several interesting points about EDDC’s “Big Brother” attitude towards the people of Exmouth.   The writer says in her letter  “In my view, EDDC is entirely surplus to requirements, and we taxpayers must be subsidising an awful lot of extra overheads”.

There are an awful lot of angry people in East Devon at the moment!  Let’s hope some, most or all of them, attend the rally next Saturday (see banner headline for details).