Archive | September, 2013

Many councils running out of burial space

30 Sep

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-24283426

And at this point EDDC starts discussing raising charges for burials.

Does anyone know if Cranbrook includes a cemetary?

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BRE 365 (3)

30 Sep

Of great importance with sustainable urban drainage is not only its construction but its ongoing maintenance and repair.  It needs to be established by nearby property owners exactly who will be responsible for ongoing maintenance and repair and what the insurance situation is if properties are damaged if such maintenance and repair is not carried out in a timely manner.

Also be aware that if structures are not far from adjoining properties, it may be necessary for the landowner to enter into a party wall agreement at least 2 months before construction can be commenced.

The government guide to party walls (which are not necessarily  adjoining walls, is here

https://www.gov.uk/party-wall-etc-act-1996-guidance

Of relevance here is paragraph 27 of the above document

27 What does the Act say if I want to excavate near neighbouring buildings?

If you plan to:

  • excavate, or excavate for and construct foundations for a new building or structure, within 3 metres of any part of a neighbouring owner’s building or structure, where any part of that work will go deeper than the neighbour’s foundations (see diagram 6); or
  • excavate, or excavate for and construct foundations for a new building or structure, within 6 metres of any part of a neighbouring owner’s building or structure, where any part of that work will meet a line drawn downwards at 45° in the direction of the excavation from the bottom of the neighbour’s foundations (see diagram 7)

    you must inform the Adjoining Owner or owners by serving a notice – see paragraphs 7 and 8.

King Alfred Way drainage (2)

29 Sep

For those of technical bent, there are many examples of BRE Digest 365 available on the internet, of which 3 random ones are shown below, each presenting it in slightly different ways.  I believe that BRE Digests are available to order from local libraries if further study is needed:

http://www.plymouth.gov.uk/bredigest365.pdf

http://www.capitasymonds.co.uk/pdf/06%20Soakaway%20Tests.pdf

http://www.broxbourne.gov.uk/PDF/BRE%20DIGEST%20365.PDF

The non-favoured east side of East Devon – strange goings on

28 Sep

News reaches us, for a change, from the unfavoured east side of our district (well, that bit of the east side that isn’t Axminster).

In Seaton it appears that the third town clerk in 2 years has resigned after only a few weeks in office.

In Colyton, it seems that the natives are getting restless about the pecuniary and other interests of some of their councillors (town and district).

Seems like this part of the world is due a bit of TLC!

What DO they know? And why are they not telling us?

28 Sep

A perusal of the whatdotheyknow website on which people can register their Freedom of information requests makes interesting reading for those queries unanswered for a VERY long time or refused.

Taking only the most recent three pages and only from July 2013:

A request on WEEE recycling made on 8 July – still awaiting classification

Calculation of cost of officer time from 20 May 2013 still awaiting clarification

List of community assets – long overdue.

Unredacted Minutes and Reports of Relocation Working Parties – refused.

Roles of officers in Relocation and Knowle OPA – long overdue (15 May 2013)

When has councillor Graham Brown declared an interest – refused.

Councillor Graham Brown correspondence – refused.

Bowling Centre Exmouth – refused.

Voting Records – refused.

Adopted assets of Exmouth Urban District Council – awaiting internal review since 6 March 2013

Employment Land at Pound Lane Exmouth – awaiting classification.

Exmouth Masterplann – long overdue and awaiting internal review.

Graham Brown – awaiting internal review

Now, it may be that bureaucratic mess has meant that some of these have been answered but have not made it into the system.  But equally this may be an accurate assessment of the situation.

Seems like a job for an EDDC officer to sort out – it gives the council a bad name if people access the whatdotheyknow site and see this sort of outstanding queries.

And those refused tell their own stories.

 

 

 

 

King Alfred Way, Newton Poppleford – a caveat to watch for

27 Sep

The Development Management Committee issued a caveat when approving the Clinton Devon planning application:

condition 9 being amended to read ‘Prior to the commencement of development a detailed scheme for dealing with surface water from the site shall be submitted for approval. The scheme shall take the form of a SUDS scheme that shall be designed to mimic greenfield run-off levels as discussed in the submitted FRA and to a standard to deal with a 1 in 100 year storm event. Percolation tests to the standards detailed in BRE digest 365 shall be carried out and submitted for approval as part of the scheme. The scheme shall thereafter be carried out in accordance with the approved details prior to first occupation of any of the proposed dwellings.’ 

If I lived near that site I would ensure that this caveat is followed to the letter, as if surface water drainage on this site is not appropriate, heaven help those below the highest dwelling!

The “not putting up council tax” myth

26 Sep

This is something EDDC constantly pushes: we must be a wonderful council because we have not put up council tax.  This myth has been exploded in today’s Times where it reports that one in three councils makes more money from parking charges, planning charges and other domestic charges than from council tax.

The Audit Commission says that councils raised £10.2 BILLION by charging for rubbish, pest control, funerals and parking and such like.  Woking raises 87% of its income from such charges.  The report is here:

http://www.audit-commission.gov.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/Fees-and-charges-VFM-briefing-FINAL-for-web-23-Sept-2013.pdf

from which it can be seen from the maps provided (page 6) that EDDC is amongst those councils raising the most from domestic charging.

The chairman of the Local Government Association said …”the funding system for local government is bust … some councils are in danger of being unable to fund their statutory responsibilities”.

And against this background, EDDC continues to tell us that an HQ move will be “cost neutral” even though it is going to need a loan of nearly £5 million.

Might it be that these “hidden” charges will be the ones that will rise if/when a financial black hole appears in EDDC finances – where a deficit has already been predicted for the next financial year?