Archive | February, 2013

Is this how it was done?

28 Feb

Those attending will recall that, at the Development Management Committee earlier this month, most Conservative members of the DMC chose to say nothing at all when the “debate” on the 5 year land supply came up, leaving poor Independent Ben Ingham to fight a lone battle to get some sensible amendments on the table.  Other councillors and the public were banned from speaking.

How, we asked at the time, did the DMC members manage to “debate” an issue without actually speaking?

Could THIS be the answer?  Have researchers moved on to test the technique on humans!


What is Britain’s No 1 manufacturing industry?

28 Feb

According to today’s Guardian – farming.  £18 billion in exports in 2011, supporting 4 million jobs and adding £900 billion to the economy.

So why, here in East Devon, are we building on our fields?  EDDC says it is because we must encourage economic development.  But surely, we should be encouraging the economic development of farming.

Perhaps Councillor Graham Brown, EDDC Councillor for Feniton, representative of the National Farmers Union at the East Devon Business Forum, the man who says Feniton must accept more development to ensure it doesn’t get more (that’s right), could enlighten us.

Why destroy the biggest manufacturing industry in the country with its green fields to replace it with lesser industries in concrete sheds?

It is patently obvious that UK farming is going to have a renaissance because of the horsemeat scandal – are we biting the hands that feed us?

We presume the Chief Executive has checked the legal position for tomorrow …..

28 Feb

Full story HERE

.….  The decision is fraught with controversy and at last night’s full council meeting, there was doubt cast on whether the development management committee would even be quorate, as Cabinet councillors and those who have attended relocation working group meetings, are advised that they could have compromised their impartiality and should not take part in the debate or vote. …..

We can only assume that the Chief Executive has checked his edition of Cross on Local Goverrnment Law (see earlier posts on 20 February 2013): “An interesting exchange of correspondence …..”)  ) and assured himself and the Leader of the legality  of tommorow’s meeting.  Though we will probably never know what page he found his evidence on …. anyone who wants their own copy (it is becoming increasingly necessary as a source reference) can buy it for £485.00 HERE.

The book is advertised with the following updating, some of which should make Sidmothians, Fenitonians, Ottregians, Seatonians and Exmothians (but possibly not Honitonians) VERY unhappy:

“Forthcoming releases in 2012 will cover a range of recent Acts, including the Education Act 2011, the Localism Act 2011 and the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011, and further delegated legislation. The Localism Act 2011 makes major changes, including:

  • Giving councils a general power of competence
  • Allowing councils to choose to return to the committee system of governance and allowing for referendums for elected mayors in certain authorities
  • Abolishing the Standards Board regime and the model code of conduct, and introducing local accountability and a criminal offence of deliberate
  • Failure to declare a personal interest in a matter
  • Giving residents the power to instigate local referendums on any local issue and the power to veto excessive council tax increases
  • Allowing councils more discretion over business rate relief
  • Providing new powers to help save local facilities and services threatened with closure, and giving voluntary and community groups the right to challenge local authorities over their services
  • Changes to planning and housing law.”


Who are the reprobates photographed in today’s newspaper?

28 Feb

Just who are the bunch of reprobates photographed HERE by the press at last night’s Full Council meeting!  Sidmothians will probably recognise most of them!

Longboat Cafe saga continues

28 Feb

For those not up to date with the Longboat Cafe saga you can read about it HERE or see the planning application HERE

Latest news is that a new application for a judicial review was made by Mr Daniel in the Royal Courts of Justic yesterday. Details:

(Sitting as a Deputy High Court Judge)
Wednesday 27 February, 2013
At 2 o’clock
Applications for Permission
CO/9096/2012 The Queen on the application of  Daniel  v East Devon District Council

For news on what is happening elsewhere with World Heritage sites in the UK THIS LINK tells the story of how the National Trust tried to stop a golf course being built adjacent to the Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland.  As is usual these days, they lost their case.


EDDC Leader says Cranbrook won’t be sold to local authorities – can we be sure?

28 Feb

In this week’s Midweek Herald (no link available at this time but in e-edition page 22) Councillor Paul Diviani is quoted as saying that housing at Cranbrook will not be sold to other councils.

Er, that isn’t quite the same as saying that the houses will not be occupied by people put there by other councils, surely?  What if a big company buys, say, 50 houses and then enters into an arrangement with another council from anywhere else in the country to house its residents?  What’s to stop them?

Sure, EDDC would not then have sold houses to another council – it would have sold them to a developer who then either rents them or sells them to another council!

Cornwall councillors vote for planning permission to be required for second homes

28 Feb

Story HERE

….. Councillors have voted in favour of Cornwall homeowners being forced to ask permission to use their property as a second home or holiday let.More than 14,000 of Cornwall’s 260,000 properties are second homes.Cornwall Independent councillor Andrew Wallis said if it “gets past government” it could bring “regulation into an unregulated market”.Mr Wallis said: “If you have a little bit of control, you can protect communities.”  In some areas, more than 40% of houses were second homes, according to the council figures released last month. …..

Wainhomes for BERC of the Week Award?

27 Feb

BERC = Build Everywhere Regardless of Consequencess

Several readers have recommended that Wainhomes be acclaimed BERC (“Build Everywhere Regardless of the Consequences”) of the Week.

It has just been announced that they will soon apply to build 83 more houses in the beleaguered village of Feniton, taking the current total number of homes applied for (and many of which have already been approved) to 300.  The village has a Local Plan allocation of 35 homes to 2026.

In true BERC fashion they have totally ignored the  huge scale of public opposition to more development in the village, the fact that Feniton is seriously flood-prone, has a sewerage system close to collapse and a village school bursting at the seams.

After all, it’s the bottom line that counts. (Unless like Costa Coffee in Totnes you have the gumption to realise that your public reputation might be more important!)


Why some newspapers are reluctant to print local news

27 Feb

Those of you who have followed the libel trial of James v. Thomas reported below may be interested in this post from the blog Carmarthen Planning, which was posted in January 2013.

“Censorship from County Hall [in Carmarthen, Wales] takes yet another turn for the worse as an attempt by the Plaid Cymru group to have the issue of press freedom debated in the chamber has been blocked by the Chief Executive.

The recent revelation over the ‘leaked’ email concerning the withdrawal of advertising from the South Wales Guardian for ‘negative reporting’ seems to have been the tipping point and has galvanised the 28-strong opposition group into action. As regular readers of this and Cneifiwr’s blog will know, this was far from an isolated incident. Plaid are correct that this issue is of public importance, not something to be discussed in secret with a pliant Executive Board Member loyal to the culture of spin and censorship.

In an effort to thwart ‘controversial’ motions you will remember that the constitution was altered to require a unprecedented seven seconders to a Motion [I hesitate to put this in, in case EDDC gets an idea, but this is a post about censorship!]. This was no problem for the group but, despite Plaid making sure that the variety of obstacles to getting the motion on the agenda had been overcome, there was clearly no way on earth that this was going to be discussed in the Chamber.

However, it should be becoming increasingly obvious to all concerned exactly where the biggest obstacle lies.

Plaid press release;


The Plaid Cymru group on Carmarthenshire County Council has accused the authority’s Chief Executive of stifling free speech by blocking a debate in the council chamber on press freedom.

Plaid had drawn up a Notice of Motion asking councillors to express support for a free press following allegations by a local newspaper that the council were operating a ban on advertising in the paper, due to adverse news reports.

But Chief Executive Mark James has refused to place the Motion before the full council, referring it instead to an Executive Board member for consideration in private.

“It is very alarming that a motion asking Carmarthenshire County Council to support press freedom has itself been censored,” said Plaid group leader Cllr Peter Hughes-Griffiths. “How ironic that, in trying to stand up for free speech, we find ourselves being gagged. Elected members have been barred from discussing a matter of public concern by the Chief Executive. It is exactly this kind of obstruction to democratic debate that gives this council such a bad name.”

Plaid Cymru, with 28 members, is the largest political group on the Labour/Independent controlled council. Plaid attempted to raise the issue after the South Wales Guardian published an e-mail, sent in error by the council’s Communications Unit, giving an instruction that the council should not place adverts in the paper due to ‘negative publicity’. The Plaid motion reads: “This council respects the freedom of the press and recognises the essential role of local papers in communicating, educating and sharing information about the council’s activities and services amongst local communities.”

Plaid Cymru maintains that the Notice of Motion is not an Executive Board matter, as it refers to the wider relationship between the council, press and public – a relationship which is currently under considerable strain due to the authority’s attempt to control, not only the news it chooses to release through its Communications Unit, but the content of reports in local newspapers

Jan 2013

Exmouth Splash: a rethink

27 Feb

First, the “good news”: according to THIS press release from EDDC, councillors are to rethink the design of the Exmouth Splash development in response to public consultation.  The changes they are looking at are:

•The Watersports hub would move to the far eastern edge of the site in response to water users’ comments on beach safety and size of site for required storage.

•The public open space area would now be in the centre front of the site (where the watersports hub was originally proposed) giving a more natural and open feeling to the area on arriving from the west.  Rather than have a fenced pay-to-enter area, attractions such as mini-golf would be included within public open-space.  This would be similar to arrangements on regenerated seafronts in other towns such as Teignmouth.

•Car-parking would amount to at least 280 spaces but remain as surface car parking only.  This would be nearly 80 more than the number there now.  Additional spaces specifically for the hotel/holiday accommodation could increase this by approximately another 50.

•There will be a further investigation of market demand for a hotel or other type of holiday accommodation at the north western part of the site.

And the bad news?  Well, surely if such basic mistakes were made in the original design, how come the public had to spot them and not the councillors and officers who worked on the original plans?

Shows just how essential public consultation is, even if we are always being told that “EDDC knows best”.