Greater Exeter – will city living take some of the pressure off East Devon?

It seems that, after years of decline, living in cities has become more and more popular for all age groups, but particularly you g professionals. Given the decline in rural services such as loss of transport, infrastructure, sixth forms, community hospitals and shops, this is not too surprising.

However, when it comes to living in Exeter it seems less popular with its city council (headed as CEO by former EDDC Head of Regeneration Karim Hassan) which appears to favour student housing and leisure centres and cinemas over homes.

And our developer-led Local Enterprise Partnership sees housing growth in areas which its developers favour for very high house prices – pretty towns and commutable rural villages, the coast – including AONBs.

There is no data for Exeter in the article but Plymouth’s city centre population has increased by 34%.

Here is what a BBC article has to say:

“The growth in city centre living is down to young people – older generations have not returned from the suburbs in significant numbers.
Some are students, whose numbers grew with the expansion of university education.

For example, the student population in Sheffield city centre grew by more than 300% between 2001 and 2011, according to census data. By 2011 there were 18,500 students, accounting for about half the population.
Similarly, Liverpool’s city centre student population grew by 208% (6,300 more people), and Leeds 151% (7,700 more people).

But the popularity of big city centres among young, single professionals is the main factor.

The number of 20 to 29-year-olds in the centre of large cities (those with 550,000 people or more) tripled in the first decade of the 21st Century, to a point where they made up half of the population. There is no reason to think that this trend has eased since the census.

Only one in five city centre residents were married or in a civil partnership, while three-quarters were renting flats and apartments.
More than a third had a degree, compared with 27% in the suburbs and outskirts of cities. …”

Will the Greater Exeter Strategic Plan (now held over until after local elections in May 2019] recognise this new trend? It would certainly take a lot of pressure off East(ern) East Devon.

Exeter or Cranbrook … Exeter or Honiton … hhhmmmm.

SWIPE – South West Independent Party for England! A pipe dream …?

A post from East Devon Watch August 2015 is recently seeing revived interest from readers. Here it is again – the points it makes no less relevant now:

“Following on from our post about how much the South-West loses out to other areas of Britain, particularly the South-East, we have been considering the suggestion that we should create in this region a party similar to (but definitely not the same as) the Scottish National Party – a party representing an area which finds itself time and again the poor relation to other areas.

One should recall that the South-West has had a long tradition of non-conformity. Indeed, search on the words “south west england” and “nonconformity” and a whole host of links will turn up. Devon County Council even has web pages for it:

Admittedly, this refers specifically to religious non-conformity. But the South-West showed its independent thinking by being a hotbed of liberalism when liberalism was something more than Nick Clegg getting into bed with the Tories. From Yeovil to Cornwall, this area steadfastly refused to be buttonholed into conformity to the pendulum swings between Labour and Conservative.

So, given that the area is now so definitely politically blue, are we getting a better deal? The post from earlier this week shows very definitely that we are not:

So, Owl thinks it is time we started thinking about alternatives.

Firstly, what is the South-West? Officially (for political and statistical purposes) it consists of nine official regions of England: Gloucestershire, Bristol, Wiltshire, Somerset, Dorset, Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. The Owl thinks that we can discount Gloucestershire (hunting, shooting, fishing, the residences of Prince Charles and the Princes Royal and MI5 keep them firmly blue!) and Wiltshire seems just a little too close to the Home Counties and includes Swindon – definitely out. Dorset we dismiss too – they are totally conformist (see Letwin, Oliver and Grand Designs)!

That leaves Bristol, Somerset, Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. Bristol has gone extremely green over recent years and are likely to remain so (hopefully) and the Isles of Scilly have always done their own thing and have never considered themselves part of mainland life, but they can have the option of joining us within Cornwall (as at present). This leaves Devon, Cornwall (including the Isles of Scilly if they so wish) and Somerset. These three counties have so much in common. Long sea coasts, poor infrastructure and transport links, large retirement communities, large number of second homes, tourism forming an important part of economic life, a history of being overlooked when the honey pot is being shared out.

Imagine a specific party for Devon, Somerset and Cornwall! Imagine what a group of people from this area who held the balance of power in Parliament could achieve. Imagine just how powerful that could be.

And the acronym: South West Independence Party England – SWIPE!

Take a SWIPE at London-centric politics – devolution for the Cornwall, Devon and Somerset region!

Alas, just a pipe dream – for now …”

BHS’s Sir Philip Green worried about his reputation in auditor’s report, seeks gagging clause

Owl says: impossible to harm this bloke’s reputation any further – he already managed it all by himself.

And as for PwC auditor who spent only 2 hours on the BHS audit file – wonder how much that cost BHS!

“Sir Philip Green is seeking a gagging order to prevent the full publication of a watchdog’s report that casts fresh light on the BHS scandal.

On Thursday, Green launched a high court bid to stop the Financial Reporting Council publishing its damning report on the failures of the auditors responsible for checking BHS’s accounts.

The Topshop tycoon wants sections of the FRC analysis to be redacted or changed, arguing that references to him and other members of the former BHS management could cause “serious and potentially irreparable harm” to their reputations.

Last week Steve Denison, the senior PricewaterhouseCoopers accountant who audited the BHS accounts ahead of its sale for £1, only a year before the department store chain collapsed, was given a 15-year ban and and record personal fine of £325,000 after he admitted misconduct. …

On Thursday, a leaked email sent to nearly 1,000 PwC partners and written by the firm’s UK chairman, Kevin Ellis, was heavily critical of Denison who, it emerged, had backdated his BHS audit opinion and spent just two hours working on the file.

In the email, Ellis described Denison’s supervision of the audit as “inadequate” with too much work delegated to a junior team member. “This situation should not have happened and we need to face up to the failings and learn the lessons,” he wrote.”

A BUS to get to hospital? How quaint! How shameful! How hopeless!

The comment below on reductions to bus services deserves its own post – herewith:

“I have been contacted telepathically by several local politicians who have asked me to respond to this on their behalf:

Person A: Surely everyone has a car (or a friend with a car) in order to get to hospital? Honestly, buses are so 20th century.

Person B: I feel very strongly that the bus services should be retained and even enhanced. After all, how will the people of the Maldives get to hospital if their bus services are withdrawn?

Person C: If people can’t get to hospital under their own steam, then it is probably too late for the medical teams to be able to help them. Perhaps your local pharmacy can help instead? Or maybe the local herbalist or witch doctor?

Person D: The Government is committed to a strong and stable bus system, and we will be implementing an integrated, multi-service, joined-up bus-service consultation once the Brexit negotiations and transition period are complete and the economy has recovered.”

Air pollution: move children and other vulnerable people out of Sidford?

Owl says:

Can you imagine the damage to the health of vulnerable people (including children) on current and future levels if roadside pollution if Sidford and in the AONB if Business Park goes ahead?

“Air pollution harms one in three children

One in three children in Britain is growing up with air pollution damaging their health, a study has found. About 4.5 million children, including 1.6 million aged five and under, live in areas with levels of particulate matter above what the World Health Organisation considers safe, according to the charity Unicef UK. Separate research has found that children are exposed to 30 per cent more pollution than adults when walking on busy roads because they are shorter than adults and nearer the exhaust pipes of vehicles, the environmental charity Global Action Plan, which commissioned the study, said.”

Source: Times p7, Sky News Online, Independent Online, Mail p34, Mirror p21, Guardian p22, Telegraph p7

No use “improving” health service if you can’t get your bus to hospital!

“Threat to buses as councils fear £5 billion shortfall
Nearly half of all subsidised bus routes in England are under threat, the LGA has warned. Councils in England face an overall funding gap that is expected to exceed £5 billion by 2020 and are struggling to maintain current subsidies for bus routes across the country, which could leave many people isolated. The concessions come at the cost of other discretionary subsidised bus services – such as free peak travel, community transport services and post-16 school transport – and other services like collecting bins and filling potholes.

Cllr Martin Tett, the LGA’s Transport spokesman, said: “It’s nearly impossible for councils to keep subsidising free travel while having to find billions of pounds worth of savings and protect other vital services. The way the concessionary travel scheme is funded by government has not kept up with growing demand and cost. Councils are being forced to subsidise the scheme by at least £200 million a year. By giving councils control over the Bus Service Operators’ Grant, and properly funding national free bus pass schemes, the Government could help us maintain our essential bus services, reduce congestion and protect vital routes.”

LGA Resources Board Vice Chairman Cllr John Fuller discussed the story on ITV’s Good Morning Britain. LGA Vice Chairman Cllr Marianne Overton and Deputy Chairman Cllr Peter Fleming have recorded interviews for BBC local radio and Five News, respectively.

Source: Express p17, Mirror p13

Clinton Devon Farms Partnership charged with corporate manslaughter

A Devon farm partnership has been charged with the corporate manslaughter of a 25-year-old worker who died in a tractor crash.

Clinton Devon Farms Partnership, which is based in East Devon, is alleged to have caused the death of Kevin Dorman on May 19, 2014.

The charge relates to a fatal incident involving Mr Dorman who was driving a tractor at Houghton Farm near Newton Poppleford.

The company, which is registered to Bicton Arena, Budleigh Salterton, entered a plea of not guilty to the charge that it caused the death of Mr Dorman by failing to properly maintain machinery, which amounted to a gross breach of care. It also denied a failure of care for its employees under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.

George Perrot, 51, of Colebrooke, Crediton, is also charged with manslaughter and breaching health and safety law in relation to the death of Mr Dorman. He also entered a plea of not guilty.

Magistrates sent the case to Exeter Crown Court. The next hearing will be on July 17.

Tributes were paid to Mr Dorman, a former Sidmouth College student, after his death. He had been one of Sidmouth Town Football Club’s star forwards for several years and the club said at the time he would be ‘sorely missed’.”