Where’s Hugo Swire? Not in New Zealand or Canada …

His staff say that because he has been travelling in New Zealand and Canada he hasn’t been able to study Dave’s EU deal so hasn’t decided how he will vote.


according to this website:


and this website:


he met the Indian Foreign Minister in London YESTERDAY (Wednesday).

And on 23 February (Tuesday) he was answering questions in Parliament about curries and trade with Commonwealth countries


It is unusual for Hugo Swire to take such an active interest in constituency business (see below). Is the NHS becoming an “issue” so soon after the election in which we, the electorate, voted on the basis that it was safe in Tory hands?

“MP for hub talks
Journal 25 February 2016

“East Devon MP Hugo Swire says he is “deeply frustrated” by delays to the reopening of Budleigh Salterton Hospital.

The hospital, closed since last summer, had been due to reopen five months ago as a health and wellbeing hub, but this has been delayed due to an ownership dispute, with NHS Property Services said to be needing to generate a commercial rent for the building.

Mr Swire said: “I have always been a keen supporter of this project. Like many of my constituents in Budleigh and the wider area, I am deeply frustrated by this delay. It is my plan to set up a round table meeting with all of the stakeholders involved in this project in an effort to find a solution to this particular problem. I have already invited the Health Minister, Lord Prior* and hopefully he will be able to attend.”

*Lord Prior’s real title is: “Parliamentary Under-Secretaty of State for NHS Productivity” and he sits in the House of Lords, not the House of Commons. He formerly worked for Lehman Brothers as an investment banker.

“In April 2014 he [Lord Prior] had a hip replacement operation paid for by private insurance but was treated in a public ward at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital NHS Trust.”


A couple of questions:

Will “stakeholders” include users and potential users of the hospital?

And don’t forget, everyone, Swire will not be able to bring the matter up in Parliament because he is a Minister.

Cottage left off developer’s plans to be surrounded by 700 houses: council suggests developers phone cottage owners to tell them


“A couple have been left horrified after they discovered their dream farm cottage is set to be surrounded by a modern 700 house estate.
Cheryle Walton, 56, and her partner Paul Jones, 50, were completely unaware of plans to build the mini town – insisting that at no point were they consulted.

It was only when they were speaking with passer-by who mentioned the development that they found out that the 507,500 square metre estate in Chippenham, Wiltshire, is set to completely encompass their detached cottage, which currently sits in miles of green fields.

The devastated couple’s house – estimated to now be worth £500,000 – doesn’t even appear on the submitted aerial drawings of the proposed new estate – despite being right in the middle. …

… If it goes ahead, they will be totally swallowed by the estate, joining up their currently rural home with the rest of the town. The plans propose erecting 700 homes on the 50 hectares site to the north east of Chippenham. It also includes 4.5 hectares of ’employment space’, 10 hectares of public open space, cycle paths, ‘retirement living’, a primary school and a nursery. …”


A spokesman for Wiltshire Council added: ‘The developers carried out public consultation events on these planning proposals and should have ensured all residents were told.

‘We understand from Miss Walton that she was not informed and was only made aware when she received a letter from us in January stating a planning application has been submitted by the developers.

‘We’ve suggested the developers call Miss Walton to explain what they are planning to do and why she was not involved earlier in the public consultation events.’


“Campaigners pursue judicial review over sale of sea-front land by council”

Campaigners have applied for a judicial review of Canterbury City Council’s decision to enter a contract for the sale, subject to planning permission, of seafront land in Whitstable.

The claimants, the Oval Chalet Preservation Community Group (OCPCG) and the Whistable Society, lodged their application in the Administrative Court last week (17 February).

They are advancing five grounds of challenge:

1. Failure to comply with the legal requirements for the disposal of open space land;

2. Entering into a contract that failed to fully accord with the expressed instruction of the council’s executive committee;

3. Excessive secrecy of the resolution-making meeting;

4. Failure to obtain best value for the land sold; and

5. Breach of the public sector equality duty in regard to disabled access to the site.

Angela Boddy, the Chair of the Whitstable Society, said: “Together with the OCPCG, we have tried to sort this out with the council, but to no avail. We have had no alternative but to ask the court to intervene.”

She added: “The council’s head of legal services, Sarah Bowman, told councillors last week that she is likely to spend over £20,000 on barrister fees to fight our claim, so nobody should assume we will win our case quickly or easily.”


More background:



Rural broadband: still only sticking- plaster solutions

Will BT being “asked nicely” to let other providers share their network more make a difference?


Hard to say, especially as EDDC has decided to “go it alone” with rural broadband and try to provide its own service (if or when funded).

Will rural mobile “not spots” improve (a different matter, but still important) – some towns and villages still having no service or just 2G (unable to connect to internet)?

If you want answers to these questions get in touch (if you can from where you are) with EDDC Councillor Phil Twiss:

Email: ptwiss@eastdevon.gov.uk

Telephone: 01404 891327

Address: Swallowcliff, Beacon, Honiton, EX14 4TT

who is the councillor tasked with improving these services