Tax avoidance demo: Sidmouth, 1 February 11 am

From the Facebook account of Councillor Claire Wright (Independent, DCC)


Please bring your own placards!

There will be a high profile PROTEST against the forthcoming vote in the House of Commons, which will see Devon County Council lose £28m, while big business tax receipts could fund Devon’s public services to around £380m.
The Conservative government’s austerity measures mean that our precious public services are being eroded each year, which is hitting the poorest and most vulnerable the hardest.

I wrote to Hugo Swire asking him to take action on t his subject last week—including speaking against, and voting against the budget cuts.

But this subject is too important to leave it there…..

Here’s a map –

It is REALLY important that there is a big turnout to give a clear message that we think it is unacceptable that our council services are being cut so severely, while the government does little or nothing to address the persistent loopholes in the tax system.

The House of Commons vote will probably take place on Wednesday 3 February.
Here’s more information –…/devon_portion_of_avoided_cor…

Local Plan: Save our Sidmouth press release

“The following press release has been issued (20/01/2016), on behalf of Save Our Sidmouth:

‘Response to East Devon District Council’s update on the LOCAL PLAN
The Inspector’s recommendation that the Local Plan should include both the Employment site at Sidford and a Housing site at the Knowle for 50 dwellings is a huge disappointment. It ignores the clear wishes of a large proportion of Sidmouth residents, Sidmouth Town Council and all the Sidmouth EDDC councillors.

At the Knowle, the decision to allow 50 houses on the site instead of continuing local employment for 400 professional staff will in economic terms, severely affect the town, as well as have a detrimental effect on the Parkland. In view of his decision, it will be interesting to hear how EDDC will reconcile this with the potential developer’s desire to build over 120 dwellings on the site.

At Sidford, we know that the decision to include the site is flawed, and is based on fallacious data. There is evidence to suggest that EDDC and their now disgraced Business Forum, canvassed developers for potential sites, and then manufactured the rationale and analysis to support their internally chosen site. EDDC let the proponents of that site produce “evidence” to support it, and never questioned the data. This included flawed traffic figures, no real visual analysis, and unsupported flood analysis, amongst other deficiencies. The Employment allocation arises solely because of the commercial pressures of one landowner and a business in the town.

Later, EDDC, under pressure from Sidmouth Councillors, saw sense and accepted that the site should not have been included. They decided to omit the Employment allocation from the third and final submission. Unfortunately the Inspector had ruled that no revisions were allowed at that late stage.
Thus the town may well end up with having an obtrusive, flood-prone, traffic- congesting group of sheds on its doorstep. Or the possibility of a large retail park, which will destroy the nature of the town forever. Moreover, the residents of Sidford will now have blight on their homes because of the impending development and a continuing worry about traffic and flooding.

Sidmouth does not need a further Employment site; the town already has one at Alexandria Road, which with a modicum of attention could accommodate all the minor employment opportunities that is needed.

We are extremely grateful for all the support that Sid Valley residents have given in time and money over the last few years, and they may rest assured that although we are naturally disappointed with the outcome, we have not given up.

R J Thurlow. Chair, Save Our Sidmouth’

This is followed on the website by illustrative photographs.

MP refuses BBC interview because she can’t select questions to be asked!

“The MP embroiled in claims she faked a death threat and bullied her parliamentary staff has reportedly pulled out of a BBC interview because she couldn’t veto the questions.

Lucy Allan, Conservative MP for Telford, Shropshire, was scheduled to appear on an upcoming Sunday Politics programme, but pulled out at the last minute after learning she would not be able to influence the line of questioning.

Rather than acquiesce to Allan’s demands, the BBC tweeted the development and wrote a short news story on its website.”

East Devon could solve more than 50% of Devon’s housing need …

… if every one of the new houses in the Local Plan was social or affordable housing.

According to a report on Spotlight tonight, Devon has 32,546 on its waiting lists.

EDDC is planning to build more than 18,000 houses here.

How many will be social or affordable? Depends on who you believe – but somewhere between almost none and hardly any is the best guess!

Sidford Fields: a suggestion to DCC and EDDC Councillor Hughes

… that he uses some of his council Locality Budget £10,000 per year at DCC) and/or Parishes Together funding to pay for a pollution measuring station on the Sidford-Sidbury road, to get baseline measurements of current and future pollution figures.

As Highways councillor for Devon this should be just up his street, so to speak.

Money where mouth is?

What happens when your Local Enterprise Partnership sets housing targets

Extract from article published in G2 20 Jan by Patrick Barkham concerning the development of Bicester, Britain’s only “Garden Town” entitled “Dog’s breakfast springs to mind”.

“In Bicester, as across the rest of England, high housing targets are driven by genuine need but also by the priorities set by unelected, unaccountable groups of businesspeople: Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs).

Bicester must take so many homes because the Oxfordshire Growth Board, a joint committee of the six councils of Oxfordshire, commissioned a strategic housing market assessment to determine the county’s housing needs.

This assessment is strongly influenced by the LEPs, according to the Campaign to Protect Rural England. “Housing targets are very much informed by the LEPs’ growth aspirations and these growth aspirations aren’t informed by a county’s capacity to take that growth,” says Matt Thomson, head of planning at the CPRE. “LEPs do all their work on aspirations for economic growth without considering the environment or social impacts but also without any public input. There’s no consultation, there’s no accountability’.

The housing target for Oxfordshire is particularly ambitious: 100,000 new homes by 2030 – increasing the county’s population by a third. Thomson doesn’t think it will be possible to build homes at double the highest-ever previous rate.

If those targets are unrealistic, what’s the problem? “By setting very high targets you have to identify lots of sites. Once those sites are identified, builders will choose the ones that are cheapest to buy and most profitable to build on – greenfield sites,” says Thomson. Cherry-picking the best sites will create unnecessary sprawl, a lack of affordable homes and half-built estates badly served by infrastructure.

Also, if this ambitious target is not met, there is a very strong chance that the government will allow reversion to a developer free-for all.

Built-in failure for Local Plans – hmmm.

Sidmouth beach management steering group – update

EDDC Press Release about last Friday’s Sidmouth Beach management Steering Group:

For feedback to the members of the Vision Group for Sidmouth ( a more detailed explanation) see:

Advice for East Devon Businesses from our Local Enterprise Partnership

Our Local Enterprise Partnership is pouring millions of our pounds into the Hinckley Point nuclear power plant:

Click to access growth_deal_2015_heart_of_sw-final.pdf

It is to be owned by the French and it is said that they are finding it difficult to get investment because it is the wrong kind of design:

and part-owned by the Chinese:

Half the suppliers will be from outside the UK:

including suppliers of steel, where the UK has just lost thousands of jobs:

Notwithstanding this, there is a puff job in the Express and Echo offering businesses in the LEP area a meeting to

A puff job in the Express and Echo East Devon says businesses are being advised by the LEP on how to “maximise opportunities” arising from the

Good luck with that people – but don’t forget East Devon is quite a way from Hinkley Point and there are an awful lot of businesses competing for these crumbs!