Archive | August, 2013

‘Super Inquiry’ for Feniton to be held in 2014

31 Aug


There are no less than three Feniton developments currently at appeal. It has just been decided that instead of the informal hearing originally planned for next week, the Planning Inspector will consider the cases at a special ‘Super Inquiry’ next year.

More details at



EDDC’s Knowle figures demolished

30 Aug

EDDC’s case for moving their HQ from Knowle was demolished in a detailed letter in this week’s Sidmouth Herald from SOS supporter Robin Fuller.

He points  out that:

1. The inflated £15m figure given by EDDC for the refurbishment of Knowle is based on the cost of modernising ALL the offices including the converted Victorian hotel which many people agree is ‘not fit for purpose’. But this would be more than twice the floor space that EDDC say they will need.

2. The existing 1970s and 80s office block alone would be almost big enough to house the projected fewer staff. To refurbish these offices, according to EDDC’s own consultants’ figures, would only cost £2-£4.6 million compared with the £7-£8 million (excluding land) needed to build new offices  elsewhere.

3. This sum could be met by the sale of the older buildings for redevelopment as dwellings.

Ironically, Mr Fuller’s letter quotes EDDC’s consultants for ‘moving and improving’ (Davis Langdon) extolling the virtues of refurbishing existing buildings rather than building new ones. They claim on their website that it is usually quicker and less expensive.
A pity they didn’t tell their client!

Funding workshop on Rural Tourism

30 Aug

Tuesday 10 September 6-8pm, Escot Park, Ottery St Mary

The workshop starts with a tour of a red squirrel enclosure within Escot parkland.  This was funded by Making it Local and provides a good example of how wildlife can be a driver for tourism.

There will be an explanation of the Sustainable Development Fund, a small grant scheme  run by each of the AONBs, and which may be suitable for some tourism projects.  Project Development Workers Kate Tobin and Julie Fergusson will be asking people to share their thoughts on priorities for rural tourism in the area, which could be incorporated into bids that will be made next year for future EU funding for community-led projects. So if you are interested in developing tourism which builds on the outstanding natural surroundings or you are seeking ways to raise funds for a specific project, this workshop is for you.

Booking is essential. 01823 680626

If you have an interest in rural tourism in AONB’s please think of going along – while we have rural tourism and AONB’s left …..

Bridleways on Muttersmoor to be registered as ‘a Byway open to all traffic’?

29 Aug
Smugglers are now less common than nightjars   in this special moor above Sidmouth.  By day, it’s  popular with walkers and wildlife .
But Devon Clinton Estates are disturbed by a recent proposal  by Devon County Council to change the status of the Muttersmoor bridleways.
SIN has been told that DCE will object on the following grounds:

Environmental credentials

Public access issues (Horses, walkers, dogs)

Archaeological interest

County Wildlife site status

Higher Level Stewardship agreement with Natural England

Royal Marines training

East Devon AONB,  Sid Vale Association,  Otter Valley Association and Natural England are being approached by DCE, to see if they, too, want to register objections.

For details of the proposal, go to   29th August  Changes at Muttesmoor ?  

East Devon Business Forum Task and Finish Forum – latest news

27 Aug

Reproduced below are two comments on Councillor Claire Wright’s blog which give an insight into the way that the EDBF TAFF postponement has been justified and a comment on it:

At 06:52 pm on 27th Aug Graham Troman wrote:

yes, I have postponed the next Taff meeting for two reasons.We need more information regarding a new business group for eastdevon.The main O&S committee supported the Taff to look at planning issues regarding employment land,but not to hold up the local plan process.On balance we need a local in place and will resume when the Inspector
has done his Job.

Taff Chairman
Graham Troman

9. At 08:00 pm on 27th Aug Sandra Semple wrote:

Very disappointed, Graham.  There is lots that the TAFF could be doing without needing to wait for a new group to form.  The TAFF should be looking into historical evidence of the influence of the last group – particularly in the light of developments we all know about – and it is not necessary to wait for this.

And who is to say that any new group will be any more representative than the old one?  Most of the new people who attended an inaugural meeting appear to have decided it was not for them when they saw that the core group wanted to run the meetings on a voting system when they wanted discussion from which might or might not emerge a policy.

Again I say:  watch this space.  I very much doubt that we, the taxpayers of East Devon, will get what we are entitled to:  a full in-depth examination of the influence of EDBF on employment land input into the Local Plan and why Atkins and Tym consultants’ reports (commissioned by EDDC and which came to very similar conclusions) were ignored in favour of EDBF which wanted vastly more employment land – especially when EDBF say in their minutes that they never even discussed. Tym and many of those same EDBF members now have planning applications in for vast amounts of development.

The letter from Natural England that stalled the Newton Poppleford, King Alfred Way planning application

27 Aug

The letter, which has now appeared on the EDDC planning website, is linked below

88526 13-0316MOUT King Alfred Way Newton Poppleford

The Great British Seaside Sell-Off part 2

27 Aug

The article in The Guardian G2 of Monday 26 August 2013, a paragraph of which is dealt with below, ends with the following paragraph:

Other coastal towns have enthusiastically pushed ahead with reducing the municipal role.  In 2011, the Conservative-controlled Isle of Wight council voted to close the island’s six tourist offices and 27 public toilets, reduce spending on parks and gardens and axe the beach lifeguard and the Wightbus service.  The council said that tourist information offices were no longer needed, but this summer an “information point” for visitors opened in a private shop.

(The Tories lost control of the Isle of Wight this year, by the way…)

The Great British Seaside Selloff

26 Aug

Is the title of an article in today’s Guardian G2.

One paragraph:  Seasides were always about taking money off holidaymakers, but Thatcherism has pushed the tide out way too far.  Today, it’s too often about “profit centres”: if this piece of land on the seafront doesn’t make a big enough profit, let’s build something else on it, even if that means destroying the character of the resort.  In my 1979 AA Guide, Exmouth is described as a place that has “all the amenities of a popular resort whilst remaining free from excessive commercialisation”.  That just about holds true today, but won’t for much longer if East Devon District Council gets its way.  Despite a petition that raised 10,000 signatures, the council has sold Elizabeth Hall, a popular community facility on the esplanade that dates from the Victorian era.  It will be demolished and replaced by a four-storey hotel.  The council’s  “masterplan” for the redevelopment of the seafront includes more “retail areas” and “a large privately-run play and recreation area.

Modest pay rise recommended for EDDC Chief Officers

23 Aug

The following agenda has much of interest, including, on p. 67, the sentence: ‘The proposed 1% increase in Chief Officer pay is a matter of discretion for Cabinet’ .

EDDC  Chief Officers  are specified as the Chief Executive, the  Head of Finance(section 151 Officer), and Deputy Chief Executives x 2 (Monitoring Ogfficer).

Here’s the link

How big is Knowle? Depends who is holding the tape measure

23 Aug

According to the Government’s official Valuation Office Agency HERE

the official valuation on its website says that, internally Knowle is

4871.85 sq m

plus 727 sq m of outside space including 2 polytunnels and a Portakabin.

According to Langdon Davis, EDDC’s own consultants, the total floorspace at Knowle is

7,722 sq m.

Er, bit of a discrepancy there?