Archive | December, 2013

A Christmas present from SIN – we will return on 2 January 2014 (or earlier if important news breaks)

23 Dec

In the meantime, as an antidote to all those councillors who think they are the greatest thing since sliced bread, here is a blog that punctures that idea:

http://glumcouncillors.tumblr.com/

The BBC can get answers from EDDC that residents can’t get even with Freedom of Information request

23 Dec

See post below.  A local resident is STILL waiting for an answer from EDDC about how much profit they made out of car parking charges.  Yet, today, this BBC website

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-25497675

tells us that they made £1,740,00 profit.

The BBC obviously ranks above residents.

Council profits from car parking charges

23 Dec

Councils in Devon and Cornwall generated a combined ‘profit’ of £24.4 million from their day-to-day, on and off-street parking operations in 2012-13, according to figures from the RAC Foundation. This was an increase on the £24.26 million collected in 2011-12 and follows on from above-£20 million hauls in the previous two financial years.  Full story HERE
Which makes it all the more interesting that the following Freedom of Information  request  about how much profit EDDC has made from parking charges so far remains unanswered:

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/use_of_off_street_parking_revenu#outgoing-321646

Bear in mind that ALL profits from car parking charges are meant to be ploughed back into transport-related improvements in the district.

Jurassic Coast Management Plan Review…..have your say!

22 Dec

Deadline for  comment is now 6th January 2014. You can check the plan for your area at this link to the Friends of the Jurassic Coast latest newsletter:

http://jurassiccoast.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1188&catid=293&Itemid=365&utm_source=newsletter_19&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=friends-of-the-jurassic-coast-e-newsletter-17-december

Two Devon councils try managing without a Chief Executive

22 Dec

Story here.

It makes you wonder what arrangements are being made for when the agreement to share our Chief Executive with South Somerset comes to an end in 2015.   Though it seems EDDC has already made a financial arrangement for a 100% post as this comment from the Audit and Governance Committee meeting of 27 June 2013 states:

Members discussed EDDC’s shared services and shared Chief Executive with South Somerset District Council. The Head of Finance outlined the financial implications of the Chief Executive returning to EDDC fulltime . This had been factored into future spending predictions as a prudent measure.

If we have been managing with o.5 of a Chief Executive this long do we really need a full-time one, bearing in mind also the savings that have been made on his salary to the tune of about £70,000 a year – around £350,000 over the five year period.  A not inconsiderable sum that could pay for a lot of services in the district.  Or according to the story above, do we need one at all?

Still, should he return full time he should be back in full-time post just in time to enjoy a luxury new office!

Jurassic Coast World Heritage-disappearing Site ..further erosion at Budleigh

21 Dec

This press release was issued yesterday,  after the announcement of the Judicial Review decision:

High Court Budleigh Salterton Longboat court case fails

 

CO/9096/2012 The Queen on the application of David Daniel v East Devon District Council

 

The Budleigh Longboat Association and its many friends are surprised and disappointed that in a written judgement issued today, Judge Birtles, did not find sufficient merit in its claim to quash the Longboat planning consent of 2012. Judges do have considerable discretion and the case has to be exceptionally strong to succeed. Although all who supported the appeal are disappointed, the decision is accepted.

The challenge was made because this was a controversial planning decision to build a two-storey contemporary café on an important site on the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site. Importantly, it was the first planning application in what is supposed to be one of the most highly protected sites of outstanding natural beauty in England. The plan, which also involved the demolition of the last known example of an Admiralty Longboat House, attracted widespread local opposition. In a poll conducted by the Town Council, three out of four voted to keep the historic building and even more were opposed to a two-storey development. No less than 36 per cent of residents voted, compared to 33 per cent in local elections.

This development was also opposed by the World Heritage Coast Management Team and Natural England who raised further objections relating to the vulnerability of such a large structure on the beach to storm surges.

We believe it was important and responsible to make this challenge as two other similar applications had been rejected by the planning committee, one a few months before and another quite recently. We felt that members of the planning committee had been misled by the Planning Officers’ report.

When considering planning matters, the East Devon District Council (EDDC) is supposed to act, and to be seen to act, in a quasi-judicial and fair way. By pursuing this action we have made the point that the EDDC faces the real risk of legal challenge from objectors whenever they attempt to push procedural boundaries to support their recommendation. There are already signs that, as a result, EDDC is now paying more attention to the correctness of their procedure.  For example, they are bringing important consultee comments, from groups such as Natural England, to the committee however late in the process they arrive, rather than ignoring them; and they are making full audio recordings of proceedings so that there can be no doubt about what was said.

So far the Longboat applicant has refused to work with the community to find a solution which is sympathetic to the history of the existing building and natural beauty of this World Heritage Site. We recognise that to remain economic the Longboat House needs refurbishment and remodelling. It is still not too late to find a solution that enhances rather than dominates the heritage landscape; most importantly, the solution should be one which commands local support without which local businesses cannot flourish.  

 

The legal challenge was issued in the name of David Daniel and he would like to thank all those in the Budleigh Longboat Association who have supported him over the past six years. All concerned greatly appreciate the specialist professional support received in recent months from the newly- formed East Devon Alliance and from local councillors.

 

David Daniel

More comment and background to this important test case, defining how far a WHS site is protected from commercialism, was posted on SIN yesterday . Click here for link   https://sidmouthindependentnews.wordpress.com/2013/12/20/r-i-p-longboat-cafe/

When is a “giveaway” not a give away?

21 Dec

When newspapers refer to the consultation about how to use “Section 106” money for sports facilities in Sidmouth.  EDDC is NOT giving away £250,000.  This money has been paid to Sidmouth, via EDDC, to compensate them for the concreting over of large parts of Sidmouth by developers.  It is money Sidmouth deserves but it is not a give away by anyone.  You don’t think developers would give money away.

Oh, and the money has been sitting in EDDC’s bank account for a long time before it gets spent, earning interest that they don’t distribute and if they don’t use it within a given time the developet can ask for it back – and this does happen.   There is no such thing as a free lunch!