Plans for Pegasus retirement tower blocks fall through in Sutton Coldfield because PegasusLife is “too busy”

PLANS to build tower block retirement homes on a prime piece of Sutton Coldfield land have fallen through.

Developers PegasusLife confirmed it has put a strip of land in Brassington Avenue and the railway line up for sale as it would not be able to start building work ‘for a number of years’.

Planning permission had been granted for five ‘rotated’ tower blocks with 240 retirement apartments in October last year and would have included a private cinema, indoor swimming pool, fully-equipped gym, a restaurant and café.

But no building works had taken place on the site and a for sale sign was erected this month.

Peter Askey, operations manager at Pegasus Life said: “Unfortunately due to the enormous demand that we have throughout the UK to develop over 37 sites we would not have been able to commence activities in Sutton Coldfield for a number of years and we therefore took the decision, through Savills, to put the site on the market to give other developers the opportunity to take this site forward.”

The Winchester-based firm had purchased 12 sites around the country and with asset manager Oaktree Capital Management had pledged to invest £500 million into the schemes.

But the proposed development has once again stalled just like the proposed £12 million scheme by City Lofts which in 2005 had planning permission for ‘Park Point’, with 295 apartments, a restaurant, three shops, two bars, a health and fitness club and multi-deck car park.

City Lofts went into administration in mid-2008 at the start of the ‘credit crunch’ and property insolvency specialist Allsop had been looking to sell the land to a supermarket chain, with outline planning permission granted by Birmingham City Council in 2012. However there were no takers and PegasusLife bought the land in 2013.

Sutton Trinity councillor David Pears said: “It sounds to me like they haven’t drummed up enough interest in it and people willing to put up the money.

“It’s good news potentially that we are not going to get five high rise apartment blocks on the site.

“But it’s bad news with further uncertainty on what is going to happen with that site. It gives us an opportunity to influence what goes on there and keep it in character with the town centre.

“Perhaps in the meantime the land could be used for parking before Christmas.”

Fellow Sutton Trinity councillor Ewan Mackey described the situation as ‘sad news’. He said: “I was pleased in one sense that something was being done with that land and would bring some money into the town and change that bit of an eyesore. It looks pretty bleak there now and nobody really uses that corner of Sutton.

“But it’s a good opportunity for someone to come in and put for some better plans that are aesthetically pleasing.”

http://www.suttoncoldfieldobserver.co.uk/Collapse-Brassington-Avenue-retirement-home-plans/story-28184380-detail/story.html

Councillors disconnected from decision- making

This is an old report (December 2014) but raises some current pertinent issues. With the creation of “Greater Exeter”, the “East Devon Growth Point Enterprise Zone” and the with interference of the Local Enterprise Partnership in the devolution process, what now is the role of the back-bench councillor? Or even the councillors on the Cabinet who have not moved up the pecking-order to be involved in these new Quangos?

Is there still a role for councillors who are not in the Golden and Platinum Circles of power? Councillors in the ruling party and other parties who are increasingly isolated from decision-making at just about every level except the parochial (the natural domain of town and parish councillors)?

“A new study suggests there is a growing split among councillors, with backbenchers and cabinet members effectively becoming ‘two tribes’.
... Councillors that exercise executive decision-making powers, or those in waiting to occupy such roles, expressed persistently different views from what we might term “backbench” members, regardless of political persuasion.
‘Party groups are a means whereby any potential divisions were mediated, but the poll raises questions as to whether the party group is up to the task of restraining the institutional drivers of the modernisation agenda.

‘This study shows there is a need to find a way to better recognise the contribution of councillors who may be focused on serving their communities but feel disconnected from decision-making.’

http://www.localgov.co.uk/Modernisation-has-caused-tribal-mentality-among-councillors/37844

Hard luck if you want to enter or leave Sidmouth and Seaton car parks more than once after 9 pm

Whilst it is commendable that EDDC should wish to discourage boy racers in two car parks, one each in Sidmouth and Seaton or does beg the question – how do you get your car into or out of said car parks when the barriers are down between 9 pm and 8 am? Or are all Sidmothians and Seatonians safely in their beds by 9 pm and never going to work before 8 am? And what of those who have annual permits – will they get a discount because these car parks are no longer available for multiple use for half the day? “Dragon’s teeth” may well let you only in or only out but surely there must be times when they will not be appropriate for the ordinary car user who may, for all sorts of reasons need multiple exits and entry at times? And surely overtime is going to need to be paid to those who do the locking/unlocking? Hmmm.

http://eastdevon.gov.uk/news/2015/11/boy-racers-to-be-deterred-from-using-seaton-and-sidmouth-public-car-parks/

Standards Board meets to hear claims Honiton councillor libelled (slandered?) town clerk

Someone needs to tell EDDC what the difference is between libel and slander. Interestingly, the hearing appears to be not about WHAT was said but HOW it was said:

http://eastdevon.gov.uk/media/1394025/301115-combined-standards-hearing-sub-committee-agenda.pdf

Why do councils need the LEP to direct them to work together?

Questions from a correspondent:

1. As I understand it the desire is that Plymouth, Torbay, Devon and Somerset County Councils and their districts will work together for the benefit of electors who (unsurprisingly) elected them in local elections.

The LEP gets funds direct from the Government and allocates them according to their perceived policies as (mostly) local unelected businessmen.

Why do these authorities NEED an LEP to co-ordinate their closer working at all? If they can’t do it by sorting it together without the LEP what hope is there for them working together at all?

2. We are told that the councils (all of them – counties cities and districts) will lose no powers.

So what will this devolved area actually be able to do that can’t be done now?

3. Are we going to be consulted?

Good questions!

Someone help me here!

Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership – in their own words

This is the unelected and unaccountable body that wants to run Devon and Somerset

http://www.heartofswlep.co.uk/

and this is what it wants to do:

“Our ambition is to maximise our area’s assets and inspire innovation and entrepreneurship to create long-term economic growth. We want to see our urban centres fulfil their capacity for growth whilst ensuring that our rural areas flourish through enterprise and improved competitiveness.”

This is their ” vision” for our area:

http://www.heartofswlep.co.uk/current-priorities

This is what it is currently spending our money on:

http://www.heartofswlep.co.uk/current-activities

These are the unelected people running it:

http://www.heartofswlep.co.uk/chief-executive-and-non-executive-directors

including our own Paul Diviani, who will be in charge of housing for Devon and Somerset if this comes off (hope you won’t be needing a Devon and Somerset Local Plan guys) and Andrew Leadbetter (DCC councillor in charge of the rural broadband omnishambles).

Most of their current money (around £65m) has already been pledged to their favoured projects and most of the leg-work of who does what appears to have been pretty much sorted out.

Makes the East Devon Business Forum look like nursery school! Oh look, it has its own Business Forum:

http://www.heartofswlep.co.uk/heart-south-west-business-forum

Time to re-read “Brave New World” and “1984” Owl thinks!