Archive | March, 2014

Guilty … not guilty … guilty … not guilty

31 Mar

Can you work this puzzle out?

Two new political animals make their appearance: Delighted of Cranbrook and Disgusted of Ottery St Mary

31 Mar

Two new animals have appeared on the political scene of East Devon:  Delighted of Cranbrook and Disgusted of Ottery St Mary!

These animals keep very much to their own territories.  The Delighteds of Cranbrook wax lyrical about their new town, its facilities and its closeness to Exeter and Skypark.  Nothing is bad in Cranbrook-land – it is a garden of earthly delights.

In Ottery St Mary, it is a different story:  the Disgusteds of Ottery St Mary can say nothing good about the place.

They have one major difference:  the Delighteds are happy to append their real names and addresses to the letters pages of local rags and to blogs that delight them even more – their hero is Councillor Diviani.  The Disgusteds, on the other hand, prefer to remain anonymous and tend to write grouchy letters or post only to blogs that do NOT delight them – their bogeyman is Councillor Roger Giles.

Could this be because we have now entered election year and Delighted and Disgusted are electioneering – surely not!

And are Delighted and Disgusted really two different animals or the same ones that roam the area by day (happy and delighted) or by night (grouchy and disgusted)?



Helping in the Byes

28 Mar

Thanks to the Friends of the Byes (FOTB), Sidmouth now has an established community orchard there, complete with benches!  Like the trees, the group continues to flourish. Here’s their latest message:

Come and join us…

This coming Saturday 29th March, 10am – 12 midday

Meet in the Community Orchard in Sid Meadow at 10am where we will be planting primroses, more trees along the river and clearing up the Water Lane entrance to the Byes.

Contact: Would anyone interested in helping with FOTB volunteer events please e-mail their contact details  to Kati Fitzhenry at , or phone her on 01395 578344 or 07817 041239

This will help us coordinate numbers, achieve more, and make our our time volunteering even more enjoyable. Any suggestions are welcome, on what FOTB volunteers could do to improve the Byes, remembering that we give a couple of hours every other week.

The following Saturday the 5th April

We will be fundraising in the town, to help pay for the wildflower show in Sid Meadow. Obviously all help is very welcome. We will be meeting at the Toll House, entrance to the Byes, at 9:45 and will collect  until midday. Please do come along and help ‘shake a box’.

Contact: To find out more about this event, kindly email Annie Brierley or phone her on 07921 760110

More on FOTB here:,d.ZGU







The Red Lion revived by community action at Sidbury

27 Mar

An excellent example of localism at work , in this announcement sent to SIN :

‘Sidbury Community Enterprises’ purchase will give the Red Lion back its roar!
Agreement reached for Sidbury Community Enterprises to buy Red Lion pub, Sidbury

Sidbury Community Enterprises is excited to announce that the Red Lion pub in Sidbury village looks set to become the first pub in East Devon which having been listed as an Asset of Community Value becomes a community owned pub. The pub’s owner, Punch Taverns, placed it up for sale in April 2013 and in response to a local campaign to retain the pub its owner has today agreed to sell it to Sidbury Community Enterprises.

Once purchased the Red Lion will be owned by Sidbury Community Enterprises which is a community benefit Industrial Provident Society limited company which is run as a co-operative enterprise.

Sidbury Community Enterprises wants to ensure that the Red Lion becomes a good quality village pub that attracts and retains regular customers. The creation of a Red Lion business has its roots in its local community. The pub will be offered for maximum community use, small or large, formal or informal occasions. Sidbury Community Enterprises intends to support community projects and organisations, as well as providing non-core services to the community.

Sidbury Community Enterprises wants to create opportunities for families, youth and older residents to all see the Red Lion as a social space that they can all share beyond using it for the traditional pub offerings. We will work with community organisations to develop these opportunities. Sidbury Community Enterprises sees the opportunity for our wider community to use the space that the pub has to offer, particularly at times when it is underused.

The next steps in purchasing the Red Lion will be raising the funds need not only to buy it, but also in providing the start up costs for the new Red Lion business, as well funding the refurbishment works required to bring the pub up to acceptable trading standards.

Sidbury Community Enterprises will therefore be launching its community share offer in the next few weeks. Anyone interested in supporting this community initiative will be able to invest up to £20,000 in buying shares at £50 each. Details of this share offer will be published in April.

In welcoming this exciting milestone in the creation of East Devon’s first community owned pub Chair of Sidbury Community Enterprises, Fred Burnett said “From the very start of our campaign to retain the Red Lion for our local community, under the banner of Save The Red Lion Campaign, a great deal of hard work has gone into being sure that we can make the Red Lion a profitable enterprise.”

Fred Burnett continued “We have a solid business plan and this has allowed us to determine what we think the Red Lion is worth and what we can afford to pay for it. We are very pleased to have agreed a purchase price that is below what the owner has been asking for it. We need the community in Sidbury, and the wider Sid Valley, to now open their wallets and purses in order to raise the funds we need to establish a new Red Lion business.”

Supporting this, Sidbury Community Enterprises Company Secretary, John Loudoun commented “We really need everyone to buy as many shares as they can in the new Red Lion business because if we cannot raise all the money needed in the next couple of months then we will not be able to purchase the pub. In those circumstances this community focused venture will not happen. We need local people to help us give the Red Lion back its roar.”

A share offer prospectus will be published next month and anyone who is interested in knowing about the share offer or what Sidbury Community Enterprises plans are for a new Red Lion business will be able to come along to two open days that are planned to be held in Sidbury village hall on Friday 25 April and Saturday 3 May.

Details of the new Red Lion business share offer will be published next month. For copies of it, or Sidbury Community Enterprises’ recently published vision for revitalising the pub, contact or visit the blog at’


The lives of others

26 Mar

Some thoughts from last Friday’s Opinion page :   Letter to Sid Herald 21 03.14 Contrasting roles of parents and EDDC senior staff

Important cases on village greens to be decided at Supreme Court – one very similar to Knowle situation

26 Mar

Sidbury Red Lion – campaigners well on the way to safeguarding village asset

25 Mar

Congratulations to campaigners who are working so hard to retain this village landmark asset:

Proof that a 13 week deadline does not exist and that at least one councillor has been informed?

24 Mar

Comment by Damien Mills on

Further to my earlier posts on this thread and what Rose has said above, I’ve now spoken to a planning expert who has confirmed what we all suspected.

Regardless of when this planning application was validated, the notion advanced by EDDC in the local press, that it is being held now because otherwise it may fall foul of the 13-week rule is entirely bogus.

I’ve sought to alert the councillor for this area to my concerns but it would appear Cllr Peter Bowden is not a bit interested. I’d suggest that if the council’s rationale for taking this decision at tomorrow’s DMC does not stand up to scrutiny that, having had it brought to his attention, Cllr Bowden has an obligation to to pursue it.

Why, I wonder, is he so unwilling to do so?!

Party Whips: have we been looking at things the wrong way?

23 Mar

More from the new book by ex-MP (1980s) Jerry Hayes “An Unexpected MP – Confessions of a Political Gossip” who devotes a whole chapter of his book to the party Whips, where – amongst much more gossip – he has the following to say about them:

…”The job of the whip is to fade into the background and sniff out what Members are up to.  They are a sponge to soak up all the gossip, intrigue and backstabbing and report back to the Chief about who is trustworthy and who is a total shit. … The job of the Whips office is not to bully or threaten but to flatter and cajole.  Lots of carrots and just a little bit of stick when absolutely necessary.  Their power is knowledge. … To gain brownie points there are always those who will quite happily stitch up their colleagues in the hope of personal advancement. …

…[now speaking of the latest intake of MPs in 2010] … “There seems to be a misunderstanding … about what the role of the Whips’ Office really is.  One poor dear was moaning that his whip never took him to one side, bought him a cup of coffee and listened to his woes and brilliant policy ideas.  The whips aren not the Samaritans.  Their over-riding resp0nsibility is to push through [the Government’s] business.

… All [Governments] arrange for questions to be planted, and the whips distribute helpful suggestions for supplementary questions and “lines to take”

So, of course, they don’t tell people what to do – it seems they have enough inside information so that they really don’t have to – just an arched eyebrow or a wink or a nod will probably suffice!

Another strange thing ….. about the notice board outside Pure Indulgence

23 Mar

Why has the planning appeal for the notice board at the side of Pure Indulgence been extended to 1 April 2014.

Sidmothians will recall that EDDC objected to this notice board – with its myriad of useful notices – and the owner of the shop put in an appeal.  It appears that currently there are 40 letters of support for retaining it and 1 letter objecting.  Have the un-whipped Tories all suddenly realised  – at the same time and totally coincidentally – that they simply MUST do something about this dreadful state of affairs!

The good news is that, if you want to support the retention of this local amenity, you now have another week to to so.  Details of what to do HERE.