Another railway station for Cranbrook?

Just how big is Cranbrook going to be?

Just how are other towns and villages going to benefit from development in the East Devon if Cranbrook gets all the funding?

Honiton hustings for district council includes East Devon Alliance candidate

“Honiton residents will have the chance to quiz candidates for a district council seat in Honiton’s St Michael’s ward.

The opportunity comes off the back of Cllr David Foster’s sudden resignation.

Three candidates – all currently serving on Honiton Town Council – are set to attend a hustings at Honiton Methodist Hall, on Friday, July 15, from 2pm.

They are

Ashley Alder (UKIP),
Henry Brown (Labour) and
John Taylor (Independent East Devon Alliance)

June Brown, chair of Honiton Senior Voice, said: “We have been approached to hold a hustings because we have a proven track record over many years and because people want more information about candidates who present themselves.

“The district council controls many services and it is only right electors get the chance to meet and question those who wish to serve them as councillors. We are very pleased that with one exception the candidates have agreed to come along.”

For more information about Senior Voice and what the organisation does, visit http://www.devonseniorvoice

MPs election expenses – not forgotten by Democratic Audit

Probably not good news for Police and Crime Commissioner Hernandez!

With all the constitutional chaos following the EU referendum result,
it’s easy to forget that up to 30 MPs are still being investigated for
breaking election spending limits by twenty police forces across the
country. But we’re still on the case!

Last week we hosted a meeting of politicians and campaigners to talk
about two things:

How can we bring MPs who have broken the rules to justice?
How can we fix the broken election expenses system?

Our friendly legal experts had some good news – there are legal options
to pursue MPs who have broken election spending limits even if the
police aren’t already investigating them! The allegations that the
police are already investigating could just be the tip of the iceberg in
this election expenses scandal.

It shouldn’t take a crack team of investigative journalists to keep our
elections fair and protect democracy. One big obstacle in the way of
holding MPs to account is that election expenses aren’t publicly
available. The only way you can access them is by going down to your
local council offices. We are working behind the scenes to change this
in time for the next general election (whenever that may be!) We will be
talking to the Electoral Commission to put pressure on local councils to
make this vital information available online.

With Brexit and Chilcot dominating the news, the election expenses
scandal could drop off the radar. We won’t let that happen.

Best wishes,

Alexandra Runswick
Director, Unlock Democracy

Parliament starts inquiry into housebuilding capacity

“The Communities and Local Government Committee has launched an inquiry into the capacity of the housebuilding industry to meet demand for new homes.

Inquiry: Capacity in the homebuilding industry
Communities and Local Government Committee
Purpose of the inquiry
The Committee is expected to invite the chief executives of major developers to give evidence.

Other areas to be covered by the inquiry include the role of small and medium-sized developers, the skills, size and sustainability of the workforce, the planning process and development finance.

The Committee also considers innovative ways of overcoming constraints on the industry, such as self-builds, off-site construction and direct commissioning by central Government.

The Committee is likely to invite ministers and representatives of industry bodies, the Homes and Communities Agency, local authorities and housing associations to give evidence in public. Skills and training experts, members of the off-site construction and self-build sectors and debt and equity financiers are also expected to be called.

Terms of reference

The Committee invites submissions of evidence on the following issues:

whether the numbers of builders and types of firms in the homebuilding industry is sufficient to meet housing demand

the structure of the homebuilding industry, in particular the role of small and medium-sized developers

housebuilders’ business models and how risk and uncertainty affect incentives to expand

the sustainability, size and skills of the building industry workforce
why fewer homes are being started and completed than the number of planning permissions being granted

the extent to which current planning approaches cause delays to the building of new homes

innovative approaches to increasing the housing supply, for example self-build, off-site construction and direct commissioning by central government and local housing companies

the role of development finance and how it can promote or constrain housing investment

The Committee would be grateful to receive written submissions by 12 September 2016. …

… Clive Betts MP, Chair of the Committee, said:

“The capacity of the homebuilding industry is a key factor in housing supply, which is simply not keeping up with demand and has left us in the midst of a crisis.

The Committee will cast a critical eye over the major homebuilders, examine the decline of small and medium-sized developers and look closely at the skills shortages, planning delays and finance issues hampering the industry.

Our wide-ranging inquiry will also explore alternative models, such as self-builds and off-site construction, to see if such innovative approaches to homebuilding can help address the country’s housing needs.”

Sidmouth: EDDC reasserts its authority over Port Royal

Probably stung by the popularity (and speed) of local residents who were able to organise and display interesting designs for Port Royal, EDDC has now announced funding for a scoping study (i.e. a PRE-study study) for the area. Not everyone is happy about the prospect:

EDDC deputy chief executive Richard Cohen added: “Good proposals, which are innovative as well as practically and financially possible, will be critical to the success of Port Royal’s development.

“Throughout the process, there will be a clear focus on consultation and collaboration with local people, businesses and organisations, to ensure that any future development is achieved with their understanding.

“The improvements that this scheme will bring about will help maintain Sidmouth as one of the UK’s premier seaside resorts.”

But concerns were voiced at Monday’s town council meeting.

Councillor Ian McKenzie-Edwards said: “A lot of funding in Seaton came from Tesco. OK, it funded Seaton Jurassic, but two of the businesses it replaced were in tourism. Seaton is at a pretty low ebb. Tesco is a hell of a way of getting funding.”

Cllr Louise Cole welcomed the opportunity to regenerate eastern town, but said: “There’s a massive issue of trust between EDDC and the community.

“People are very concerned their voices aren’t heard. The two latest developments [the Knowle redevelopment and plans for a business park in Sidford] have reaffirmed that. People are extremely angry.”

Cllr Turner countered that people had always been cynical and it was up to the councils to try to involve them in the process.”

Mr Cohen expects the £10,000 project to be completed by mid-November, with a decision on the next step before Christmas.