Archive | November, 2012

Business Forum getting nervous?

27 Nov

Controversial links between the business lobby group East Devon Business Forum and the EDDC will soon be under scrutiny by the special council committee of enquiry  known as a Task and Finish Forum (TAFF),  due to begin work on 11 December.

The Forum, represented by chairman Cllr Graham Brown, has just written to Chief Executive Mark Williams expressing concern “if it was found that the membership of the Task and Finish Forum contained members that they considered had preconceived ideas about the Business Forum and its operation.”

This is curious, considering that Cllr Brown tried – and failed- to get on the committee himself!

Is the Forum perhaps targetting committee member and independent councillor Claire Wright? She has often expressed widely shared concerns that its influence has resulted in excessive amounts of industrial land finding their way into the Local Plan.

So far, TAFF chairman Cllr Graham Troman has bravely resisted attempts to water down his committee’s terms of reference.

If the attempt to sack Claire fails, watch out for moves to swamp the TAFF with EDBF sympathisers!

(For the full story see )




Plan for more cars to exit through Knowle Drive/ Station Road/ pinchpoint!

25 Nov

More-than-one-man, quite a few women, and a dog, and photographer Eve Mathews, hope you get the picture of exactly what’s planned for the parkland.

For details, see link at top of SIN blog : for comment, go to  23 Nov EDDC Planning Officers approve EDDC Outline Plans for Knowle, and DOCUMENTS.

Here’s where EDDC plans the boundary for Zone E

Human (and canine) chain at Knowle

25 Nov

      ..showing boundary of planned building in the lower part of the parkland. This is close to the King of the Knowle  and the Monkey Puzzle Tree.  They’re just out of the picture, to encourage you to go and see them for yourselves, in their present unspoilt setting.   Both look stunning in the rain!!

Photo courtesy of Eve Mathews.

(Not just) human chain at Knowle

25 Nov

Did you know….the boundary of proposed new 3-storey  housing extends far beyond the front of the existing building (to be demolished)?

Photos by Eve Mathews

EDDC – next week’s secret meetings

24 Nov

More than half of next week’s council meetings are secret:

Project Martini (which describes itself now as a “mobile working project”)

Joint Corporate Servicesd and Corporate Business Think Tank – so, is the joint working with South Somerset back on the cards or perhaps joining up with another/other councils?  Will we be told?

Capital Strategy and Allocation Group – in spite of directives that say that council financial meetings should be transparent this new group will not be subject to public scrutiny.

Waste Systems Thinking work (waste as in rubbish or waste as in waste of time? – again we will never know)

Asset Management Forum – these meetings used to be in public but then, suddenly, they became secret.  As they are about selling off assets, again government directive says that the meetings should be open.

East Devon Business Forum – yes, our old friends who keep telling us that (a) they are not secret and (b) they are independent of EDDC.  Down as secret and EDDC meetings!

As soon as you step in…

24 Nov
Some thoughts here on Knowle, by young and old, from the Art and Writing project organised by Mike Temple and Frances Deegan.  A selection from the 221 entries has been published in the Sidmouth Herald (Extolling Knowle). Here’s a small sample in case you missed them:
As soon as you step in (by Elliot Wright, aged 10)
As soon as you step in,
birds tweet,
squirrels scuttle,
rabbits twitch
and trees sway.
As soon as you step in,
foxes scram,
badgers burrow.
Children laugh
and the king of the Knowle stands firm and strong
and for generations it’s watched life grow and go….
The words of my Special Tree (by Hanna Benny Areeckal, aged 7)
I am a special Ginkgo tree and I am very old. You can call me ‘Ginki’.
I am very friendly to everybody and I love everyone. I have got yellowish and greenish leaves. My granddad and my grandma are about millions and millions of years old.
I have sheltered lots of birds and and animals. Lots of birds sat on me. Lots of squirrels ran on my arms. I cuddled everyone who asked for shelter.
I like it when the sunlight shines on me. When it is windy, my leaves start dancing. I love listening to the music of the wind.
I am a beautiful tree when the rain-drops fall on me. I am very useful because you can get good medicine from me. Lots of butterflies and honeybees like to have honey from my flowers.
My seeds are very tasty and healthy food for all. The things I have I wish to share with everyone.
Even though I am very old I want to live thousands and thousands of years more.
Please don’t chop me down, but save my life so I can be with you many years more.
(The mature Ginkgo is beside the historic building. Both will be destroyed if EDDC’s planned building is permitted by EDDC).
Knoll (by Brian Swallow, aged 85)
I sit on the grassy Knoll.. Leaves rustle in the trees.
A squirrel chews an acorn.
A council man comes by.
“Are you going to cut these tress?” “No, they are too beautiful,” he answers.
I sit on a grassy Knoll.
A man with a chainsaw comes by.
“What are you going to do?” I ask. “Cut down some trees,” he says.
I sit on a grassy Knoll.
The council man comes by.
“Why are you cutting down trees?” I ask.
“We have houses to build,” he says.
I sit on a concrete Knoll.
No trees to rustle their leaves. No squirrel eats an acorn.
The council man comes by.
“What have we gained?” I ask. “Funds for our project,” is what he replies.
“But what of the trees?” I ask. “That’s life,” he says.

Re Sale of Knowle

24 Nov

Here’s another white elephant story for comparison (see also SIN posts for 17 Nov, Relocation in deep trouble  and for 1st Nov, EDDC could disappear.)

Thanks to the former Shropshire resident for alerting our local Councillors to this tale, which she saw unfold:

A Borough/district council  spent £millions on a new HQ just before a unitary authority was voted in. So the building was handed over to the new unitary which did not require the same space – hence they rented a large part of
it to the newly formed Shrewsbury Town Council (ie another organisation). Before long, the unitary Council found themselves obliged to consider selling the building, to recoup some of the taxpayers’ money.

(Story reported in Shrewsbury Chronicle, December 2010, Guildhall to be sold for flats?)


No connection between the substantial loss of employment at the Knowle and a planned industrial site on AONB at Sidford….

23 Nov

….so says Councillor Paul Diviani.

How puzzling,  as Sidmouth resident Barry Curwen points out, in his letter of 15 November 2012, to the Town Clerk. (Extracts reproduced with permission)
Referring to Sidmouth Town Council’s split decision on plans for Knowle, Mr Curwen writes,

If the Members resolution to protect all employment land still stands I cannot understand the logic of supporting part of an application which proposes to change the current use of office employment to residential. The Knowle is the most important (by number of employees) single site for employment in Sidmouth and Members have decided not to defend this status.

I can see no compelling reason why a split decision was necessary, an outline planning application would normally be considered in its entirety and Members had legitimate planning reasons to decline the whole application.

As Members are well aware there is a proposal in the East Devon Local Plan 2006 to 2026 for a new employment site between Sidford and Sidbury which is partly designated for office use. By conceding the current office employment land within the town, Members have strengthened the argument for this new site. I would not be surprised if the landowner or developer now submits a planning application in advance of the Local Plans final period of consultation.

I accept that you cannot of course speak for Members and their decisions. I have therefore copied this correspondence to all Members who were involved with this planning decision and I would welcome their individual replies to the issues I have raised. This might help me understand this baffling decision.’

“I looked out of my bay window. There it was: the sewer”

23 Nov

From account of yesterday’s flooding in Feniton, by resident who also has message for developers eager to build in areas prone to flooding. Sidford Fields is just one in East Devon. You certainly know of others…..

Reality check  at today,  ‘Novel sanitary arrangements for Feniton residents’

By-pass or accidents?

21 Nov

Trinity House department store in Axminster has had scaffolding ripped off it by a passing lorry.  Story here.  It was sheer luck that no-one was hurt in the accident in this busy main street through the town.

We welcomed people from Axminster to the Stroll to the Knowle on 3 November 2012.  When consulted about the Local Plan the majority of those responding preferred to have major development to the east of the town (where there is a potential site) because it could fund a much-wanted and much-needed bypass of the town centre.  EDDC preferred to allow development by EDBF member Axminster Carpets on a site to the north of the town, despite objections to flood risk and traffic management problems.  Then Planning supremo Kate Little said that the northern site was preferable as the eastern site was unlikely to result in a bypass, as any road through a new development would not probably be qualified to be called a by-pass.

A judicial review is taking place about this decision – taken whilst the new Local Plan was in its first consultation period and not included in the old Local Plan – early next month.  The High Court has taken the rare step of issuing a “protective costs order” in this case where, if local people do  lose the case, they will only have to pay a small part of the company’s legal costs.