Tourism in East Devon: Graham Brown’s LDF Panel and the Caravan Parks.

26 Nov

An interesting vignette from the minutes of the Local Development Framework Panel, chaired by Graham Brown, held on the morning of 1st October 2009 to discuss tourism.

 EDDC’s Countryside Manager, Charlie Plowden explained that the District:

had an exceptionally high-quality environment which acted as the major stimulus for the local economy by providing employment, and income for business’.

For example, thousands of visitors were attracted year-round by the South West Coast Path, generating approximately £18m per annum and supporting 7,500 jobs.

The Council should, he said, capitalise on the area’s natural assets and environment and exploit the District’s ‘brands’, such as AONBs and World Heritage Site  for marketing tourism in the area.


 Malcolm Bell, Director South West Tourism continued the clarion call for quality green tourism. 90% of people visited Devon for the environment, for the beaches, history and heritage, and the wildlife. The changing priorities for tourism in the South West, he said,  were:

  • Value not volume;
  • Quality of employment not quantity;
  • Respect for the environmental golden goose

Fascinating stuff but suddenly it was noticed that the Economic Development Officer, Nigel Harrison, was AWOL, no sign of him. Members were obviously miffed that he wasn’t present to hear this praise of a vital economic activity. The Corporate Director, Karime Hassan, was sent off to find him.

Fast forward two weeks to the meeting of the LDF Panel (15 October 2009). Same chairman; Item 1 –the minutes of the previous meeting- and an extraordinary rubbishing of the speakers who had put the case for quality tourism:

“ There was some concern raised as to the authenticity of the data given in both the presentation by the Countryside Manager and Malcolm Bell. Members were advised that the information came from surveys undertaken in the area, however it had been noted at the meeting that the data was out of date.” (LDF Panel Minutes 15/10/2009)

Inexplicable? Not necessarily.

Maybe Mr Harrison was absent on the morning of the previous meeting because he was busy arranging a trip for that afternoon for the members of the LDF panel to …………Devon Cliffs and Ladram Bay Caravan Parks.

It turned out to be a very smoochy occasion with members purring that such caravan parks “provided an important contribution to the local economy and “a quality family offer”.

This may have been quite true, but what is certain is that the massive expansion of both sites which was imminent – and was encouraged by the Panel- would have been difficult to square with the green tourism message heard on the morning of the 1st October 2009.

One Response to “Tourism in East Devon: Graham Brown’s LDF Panel and the Caravan Parks.”

  1. Sandra Semple November 27, 2013 at 4:37 pm #

    Just take a look at the places visited by the first LDF Panel: sites belonging to members, many of whom have since developed them or massively extended them. And rubbishing anyone who disagreed with them was the norm: even the council leader when she suggested that one of her own councillors should not be its chairman and they decided to ignore her and leave things as they were.

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