East Devon Conservatives have taken a half page advertisement in the local press this week (* see link below). In this advertisement they make claims for what they have achieved during the last 4 years.
Let’s take a look at these claims.
First though let’s look at what ISN’T in the advertisement:
No Local Plan – four years and still nowhere near completion, the lack of a Local Plan has allowed a development free-for-all throughout the entire district.
No Knowle relocation – the vanity project of the Leader and three of his Executive Board councillors (see blog of Councillor Ian Thomas:
Using the construction estimate of £2,439/m2, and a building size of 2,776m2, overall construction costs at Honiton are expected to be £6.77M. However, the market value of the resulting premises is estimated to be only £3.25M. From an investment point of view, this indicates that there is an immediate deficit on the project, of £3.52M.
A RECORD OF ACTION
Local homes for local people, building and buying homes for rent
Look at their latest press release dated 15th March 2015, which begins:
“Due to high house prices, relatively low incomes and a high need for affordable homes but limited existing stock, we have a major shortfall of affordable housing in East Devon. To overcome this shortfall, new residential development will need, in most cases to include some affordable housing.
However, recent developments have been allowed to cut their affordable proportion to NIL (e.g. Tesco site, Seaton) as house builders have pleaded poverty and EDDC has gone along with them. Saying you need affordable housing is not the same as getting it!
Waiting list cut from over 3 years to less than 1 year
In 2011, EDDC said that:
As at 17 January 2011 there are 2,800 people on the council’s housing register. There are currently 45 empty council owned properties in total. About a third of these are “long term voids” which are being re-developed, have serious structural problems or have suffered fire/flood damage.
Many councils have cut their waiting lists by simply deciding that certain people will no longer qualify for social housing – e.g. people under 25. Where have all our housing waiting list applicants gone. Certainly not into affordable homes.
Community Development Workers to help local communities
Thriving communities do not need Community Development Workers – they are usually employed either in new towns (such as Cranbrook) or towns with multiple social problems or deprivation. Indeed at one time having a Community Development Worker was seen as a bad thing!
Cranbrook – a new town with employment opportunities close by
Well, yes, but have you been there and seen it! Tiny houses, tiny “gardens, narrow streets, very little parking, currently one shop (a pharmacy). Housing for Exeter people with Exeter jobs!
Supporting leisure opportunities, encouraging a healthy lifestyle
“Supporting” – such a useful word. Not “funding” – “supporting” – that’s all you really need to know!
Good development in the right places.
Now, that’s rich: in the last year we have had so much bad development in the wrong places, perhaps they have run out of wrong places! Just about every town, village and (currently) hamlet has its own “development horror story” and it is about to get even worse.
LOCAL ISSUES, LOCAL ACTION
Council Tax frozen for the 5th year
Sure, but many services have been stopped or charges raised, or they have been taken over by town and parish councils. It is simply the transfer of costs from EDDC to them which means an increase for us!
Supporting our local economy through regeneration projects
There are two: Exmouth and Seaton. Exmouth consists of a concrete jungle of paid-for “leisure facilities” and Seaton’s consists of a small Jurassic Coast Visitor Centre, a Tesco and over 200 high cost homes on the regeneration site (the developer having pleaded poverty and had 40% affordables reduced to 20% and then zero)
Improving recycling rates
Councils are penalised if they do not achieve certain recycling rates. EDDC still does not collect cardboard.
Conserving the Jurassic coastline, our nature reserves and AONB’s
One phrase: “Sidmouth’s beach management plan” – rather like the local plan – the promise of jam tomorrow, or maybe the day after, or maybe not.
Conservative East Devon offers “excellent value for money”*
*Independent auditors report
Ah, best not dwell on what this blog, others such as Sidmouth Independent News, and http://futuresforumvgs.blogspot.co.uk/ have said about this – just that a cosy relationship breeds contentment on both sides!
Here’s the EDDC ad. in question: Toryad17thMarch2015