Feniton triple public inquiry appeal for 230 houses The government’s national planning policy framework with its powerful presumption in favour of development is mostly responsible for developers encircling Feniton like hawks hoping for a kill. The triple inquiry kicks off on Tuesday 7 January and is expected to last for around two weeks. I will be arguing against the plans, on behalf of the community, as will Feniton Parish Council, Fight for Feniton’s Future and Cllr Susie Bond.
The decision of the planning inspector is expected in February.
EDDC local plan examination in public Then, we are straight into EDDC’s local plan examination in public, which Mr Anthony Thickett, planning inspector, will carry out over three weeks or so, starting on Tuesday 11 February. The event will take place at the Knowle, Sidmouth.
EDDC has been asked to produce a series of topic papers, including on housing and employment, due to be published shortly. Sessions will be broken down in line with various sections of the local plan. Evidence will be heard from both developers (who are largely demanding higher levels of development) and residents (who are mostly requesting lower levels of development). I will be presenting evidence in several areas.
Mr Thickett is expected to submit a report on how sound EDDC’s plan is, whether it needs much or not very much work, shortly afterwards.
This report will be scrutinised intensely by developers and residents. If significant changes are required, the current climate of major speculative planning applications being submitted, is likely to continue. Hopefully, this won’t happen. We will see.
Some time in January or February, the decision of the planning appeal for around 170 houses between Colyford and Seaton, will be published. This is pivotal and is likely to have implications for other major appeals and planning decisions around the district, including at Feniton.
Consultation and decision on a large quarry at Straitgate Farm, between West Hill and Ottery St Mary Devon County Council will consult residents for the final time before a decision is made on plans for a large sand and gravel quarry of up to around 80-100 acres at Straitgate Farm, being included in the minerals plan.
The Environment Agency and Natural England have both asked for more information on Aggregate Industries proposals to limit the damage that would be caused by disturbing an underground watercourse that is crucial to the survival of ancient woodland at Cadhay Wood and Cadhay Bog. The woodland at Cadhay Bog in particular, is thought could date back to the ice age and may be one of very few examples in the country of “wildwood.”
Currently, there is no date for a consultation or decision, which will be made by Devon County Council’s planning committee, only that it will be this spring.
Changes to local health services There are major changes afoot to our community hospitals in Devon. Plans are being worked up for consultation on new ways of using community hospitals, which are likely to include a loss of beds and perhaps more services. There is less money in the NHS as everywhere else, as it is expected to make high levels of “savings,” despite ministers peddling rhetoric on a “ringfence” around NHS funding.
I am a member of Devon County Council’s health overview and scrutiny committee so again, I will keep you posted.
Cuts to youth services Last autumn we heard broad proposals for youth service funding to be cut, as part of the “tough choices” budget cuts by Devon County Council, which has lost around £110m to the government, in addition to a similar amount being lost in the last council term.
The government appears to be keen to remove money from services that help people – and that are very much needed by people – instead preferring to pour billions of OUR money down the drain on big infrastructure projects such as high speed rail two, which is almost universally opposed … hmm …. oh yes, and on ineffective and cruel badger extermination programmes, which have already cost millions in policing alone.
Firm proposals of where and what the cuts will look like, which will be subject to a short period of consultation, will be announced in the next few weeks. I will publish the news on this blog.
The list of services to be cut, will no doubt be added to, as the year progresses….
EDDC is also facing a deficit, following government withdrawals of funding, and is currently working up proposals for budget cuts. The overview and scrutiny committee will examine the budget for 2014/15 on Wednesday 15 January, starting at 9am.
The badger cull The infamous and appalling badger cull could be coming to Devon next, after doing terrible damage in Somerset to community relations. And after wiping out an estimated two thirds of badgers in the county.
DEFRA says that 940 badgers were shot in total, but many others could have been illegally killed.
Bovine TB is a dreadful disease, but culling badgers is ineffective and wrong.
Badgers are highly protected (well at least they are unless you have a licence to shoot them from DEFRA as part of the so-called cull), but the licence to kill seems to have encouraged those who enjoy slaughtering wildlife, to go out and do so, with considerable enthusiasm.
On Twitter earlier this week, a photograph was circulated, which appeared to show live chickens being gassed using chemical foam, as an experimental new way of more “efficiently” killing badgers. The process was being watched by people in white hooded suits from behind a glass screen. I cannot vouch for the veracity of the photo, but I have no reason to believe it was a forgery.
It was the most sinister picture I have seen in a long time.
Motion on banning the badger cull from Devon County Council land Devon County Council labour councillor, Jill Owen, has lodged an excellent motion urging councillors not to allow any badger cull to take place on Devon County Council owned land. The council owns many farms.
The motion will be discussed at cabinet on 8 January and will be referred to full council for a decision on Thursday 20 February.
A repeal of the hunting ban? While we are on the subject, some campaign groups are gearing up to battle what appears to be a desire to overturn the hunting ban. Certainly, some MPs, including Neil Parish, have been lobbying hard for the ban to be repealed, as per the wishes of the Countryside Alliance, which claims to speak for people living in rural areas.
I really really hope that the government does not repeal the ban. Bloodsports have always sickened me. But I am worried that they have every intention of doing so, and if their track record continues, they will do so amid claims that wildlife will be protected, just as they pretended that they were protecting our countryside and weren’t gagging charities.
Hardship And all the while, the numbers of people visiting foodbanks is rocketing. In Ottery, the demand has doubled in just over one year and is expected to increase further as the welfare reform bill bites.
Donations of non-perishable food products can be made at any of the parish’s churches and Roberts Hardware.
First, select more candidates by open primary, preferably by postal ballot to maximise local involvement. This allows anyone who registers – not just members of the political party – to come to the final selection meeting and have their say on the candidate. Having gone through the process, I know it leaves an indelible mark. People don’t necessarily want a maverick or compulsive rebel. But they do want to be persuaded that – if push comes to shove – you will back your conscience and constituents, not just roll over and ape the party line.
Second, a robust right to recall an MP, who behaves improperly or neglects his duties, would strengthen public confidence, and focus MPs’ minds on their local accountability. The coalition has introduced recall-lite, which lets Parliament filter the decision. This month, Zac Goldsmith MP proposed beefing it up, by allowing 20 per cent of the local electorate to trigger a formal vote directly. Backbench MPs backed the idea by 127 to 17. Now would be a good time for the Government to take it up.
Third, having strengthened the independence of MPs, Parliament as a whole needs to push back on the creeping power of government. That includes greater Parliamentary control over its own business, so the Whips (the party political enforcers in Parliament) can’t shove awkward issues off the agenda. For years, the Whips have honed the French philosopher Paul Valéry’s definition of politics as “the art of preventing people from taking part in affairs which properly concern them”. In my own experience, they assiduously ensured there has never been Parliamentary time to debate any amendment to legislation I have tabled, from extradition to deportation reform, despite strong cross-party support in each case.
Likewise, Bill committees – which consider the nuts and bolts of new laws – should be elected by the House, not hand-picked by Whips for their malleability. And, by cutting the number of MPs on the government’s payroll – and scything off the number of posts outside ministerial rank, which are nonetheless offered on condition of voting loyalty – we could reduce political patronage, leaving Parliament a commensurably stronger bulwark against an overbearing executive.
Evan Davis presents a program exploring the effects of immigration in the UK by focusing on Wisbech, a town in Cambridgeshire. Since 2004 this once prosperous market town has received up to 9,000 immigrants seeking work - the majority from Eastern Europe. But with nearly 2,000 locals unemployed and claiming benefits, many of them blame the foreign workers for their predicament. To test if the town needs so many foreign workers, immigrant employees are temporarily removed from their jobs, and the work given to the local unemployed. Now the town's British workers have a chance to prove they can do it. Eleven British unemployed workers are recruited to go into a range of different Wisbech workplaces including a potato company, an asparagus farm, an Indian restaurant and a building site run by a local landlord. Moving beyond the workplace, Evan Davis investigates how the town's local public services, such as schools and the NHS, are coping with the demands of the new arrivals. As the British unemployed workers get to grips with their new jobs, this documentary examines the facts and dispels the myths around the subject of immigration.
That was the Sidmouth that captivated the Poet Laureate, John Betjeman, and it will captivate you, too. Beautiful gardens and leisurely walks, Regency history and fine hotels, clean beaches and friendly shops….
It’s all here in this lovely seaside town that nestles beneath majestic red cliffs and the green hills of the glorious Sid Valley. Look through the Visit Sidmouth website to discover why so many ‘Select Sidmouth’ to relax and unwind through all the seasons of the year. You will discover, too, why so many return.
‘Although the application for the solar farm on Sidbury Strips was rejected today, one strong supporter was John Dyson, who stated at the EDDC meeting that he was chairman of the Sidmouth Town Council (STC) Planning Committee and although they ,the STC, voted against it he thought that they had made the wrong decision. At the Development Management Committee (DMC) meeting today he supported the solar farm very strongly. Sidbury Solar Farm plans rejected | Sidmouth Independent News
Recently launched, a very useful news blog from Exmouth:
The number one site for Exmouth news and views
Sunday, 18 August 2013
Apart from being an acronym for the full title Exmouth independent news it is also German for the number one and it is hoped that this blog will be considered as the number one site from which readers can get the low-down on the latest good or bad things happening in Exmouth and the surrounding area.