Now Exmouth seafront is up for grabs again, what of Seaton Heights?

East Devon District Council really is having problems with regeneration in Exmouth and Seaton.

In Exmouth, the relationship with preferred developer Moirai Capital Investments (see many East Devon Watch posts) has spectacularly bitten the dust. And what of the development at the old motel site in Seaton – grandly marketed as Seaton Heights:

which continues to deteriorate badly, despite promises made (many times) to either finish or start construction in June 2016 (it varies a lot depending just which press release you read) having been broken (though the company website STILL touts the off-plan £1,000 deposits it has been marketing for years).

EDDC Deputy CEO Richard Cohen was brought in specially for his regeneration expertise in London but, alas, he seems to have spent the vast majority of his time spearheading the relocation of council offices to Honiton and mopping up development issues in Cranbrook.

Now we have no less than THREE of our major towns with regeneration committees, as Axminster has joined Exmouth and Seaton as being in need of major new investment. Perhaps to be followed by Sidmouth when it is deserted by EDDC and has its replacement influx of more pensioners and Ottery as it struggles with more housing without accompanying infrastructure.

Not really a very good track record, is it?

Still, perhaps our LocalEnterprise Partnership will pump funds into these deprived areas.

EDDC votes to continue devolution deal despite absence of consultation and facts

Talks on the devolution of power from Westminster to East Devon will continue ‘in principle’ amid calls for a public consultation and more concrete facts.

If successful, the Heart of the South West (HOTSW) bid would see local authorities work with the Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) to take on more responsibility for economic growth and infrastructure in the region.

East Devon District Council’s cabinet agreed to carry on the conversation in principle at a meeting last Wednesday (July 13) but there was a consensus that more ‘concrete facts’ are needed.

[Independent, East Devon Alliance] Councillor Cathy Gardner said: “One thing that has concerned me since the beginning of this process is the complete absence of a public consultation. It could have a huge impact. It would be remiss of us to take this forward without seeing what people want.” EDDC’s full council will need to give the final go-ahead to continue talks.”

“Slum conditions return to Britain as housing crisis brings squalor, exploitation”

“Dickensian housing conditions reminiscent of the Victorian era have returned to Britain amid a rise in private renters living in squalid lodgings and rogue landlords demanding sex in return for delayed rent.
According to local authorities and housing activists the lack of housing stock, affordable homes and regulation is forcing more and more people, especially vulnerable and low-income workers into deceitful contracts and precarious rents.

A Sky News investigation spoke to dancer Sandrine Anterrion, who found herself in a homelessness cycle after being evicted for refusing to perform sexual favors on her landlord in exchange for rent. She now lives in a “flea-infested London flat with no hot water or working toilet.” …

Skypark – how’s it getting on?

Not too well if you read this story, where a large company preferred to go to the Hill Barton Business Park, further away from the M5 and a few miles extra driving on the A3052 road towards Sidmouth:

What is it about EDDC-owned Skypark that made Hill Barton more attractive, Owl wonders? Especially as developer St Modwen has gone to (expensive?) lengths to pretty it up, sacrificing 5 acres of rental opportunity land to do so:

Swire may be free to speak “as I see fit” but NOT free to act!

Swire pinched the first part of Claire Wright’s election slogan (“free to speak, free to act”) in recent press coverage about his recent demotion to the back benches but, tellingly, he did not pinch the second part.

Swire is NOT, of course, free to act. He is bound by the devices and desires of his national party policies and subject to a very firm whip to ensure that he behaves himself now and in the future.

It rather circumscribes his ” freedom”.

National Audit Office: “Government has ‘no coherent framework’ for implementing policy”

“The government lacks a “coherent, enduring framework” for planning and managing policy implementation, according to the National Audit Office.

In two reports published today, the NAO assessed the means by which the government plans and manages its business through Single Department Plans, and the execution of the 2015 Spending Review.

Almost £2tn was allocated to departments in last year’s Spending Review and another £2tn was budgeted for welfare and benefits payments over five years. This involved complex cooperation between the centre of government and departments to set overall strategy.

Despite improvements in this area, auditors found that the government was lacking an overall management framework. Adopting such a system would allow the government to plan into the medium term, set achievable goals, know whether it is on track, adjusting its approach where necessary, and provide Parliament with clear accountability.

The NAO refuted the government’s claims that it already operates such an arrangement in the form of processes and guidelines. The auditors said this did not add up to a framework, and said the outcome of this lack of structure could be seen in projects that were not value for money and blighted by an absence of long-term, joined-up thinking.

Making the change to a more effective system would not be easy, however, due to the scale of government and the significant challenges facing the country, which have been compounded by the recent vote to leave the EU.

Some progress had been made following previous NAO and Public Accounts Committee probes, but improvements had not been as significant as expected. Although the government is working with departments more effectively, it is not making the most of in-house expertise. Also, the report noted that a heightened focus on the spending period up to 2020 had drawn attention away from longer-term funding decisions and their impact.

NAO head Amyas Morse said: “Time and again, we find that problems in the delivery of public services can be traced back to the way government goes about planning and managing business in pursuit of an administration’s policy objectives.” …

Devon Health Service Commissioner reduces number of senior posts

From eight very highly paid senior managers to five – well, it’s a start.

Whereas, in East Devon, after managing perfectly well on half a CEO when we shared him with South Somerset, we had to take him back full-time when they decided they could do without him.

“A Dorset and East Devon national park could help with affordable housing”

Don’t get your hopes up – East Devon District Council has already stamped on it saying it would be just awful as they would lose control of planning!

“CREATING a national park across part of Dorset and east Devon could help ensure affordable housing goes to local people, according to campaigners.

The Dorset and East Devon National Park Team gave a presentation to Lyme Regis Town Council last week – pointing out the benefits the proposals could bring to the town and west Dorset.

Richard Brown, speaking on behalf of the national park team, said the proposals could “help affordable homes stay affordable”.

He added: “I think so many communities across Dorset are passing motions recognising that this is a great opportunity for Dorset.

National parks have a good track record in promoting the provision of affordable homes and keeping such homes affordable and available for local people.”

He added: “It would help develop affordable homes and a coherent Dorset tourism strategy.”

Speaking about a national park established in the South Downs, Mr Brown said that “people now stay longer and spend more”.

Although the project could be “five or six years away”, Mr Brown pointed out that “the proposed national park for Dorset remains unfinished business”.

The team say Natural England has already undertaken a positive first assessment of the proposal submitted to them in 2013.

The team’s current proposal for a national park includes the Dorset AONB land from Lyme Regis to Blandford Forum, excluding the Dorchester area, as well as much of Purbeck and east Devon, excluding Seaton and Sidmouth. But the national park boundary has yet to be finalised.

Mr Brown added: “The environment and the economy are two halves of the same coin.

“All of Dorset would benefit from the economic stimulus a national park brings. They are not against development. They work hard through local partnerships to deliver what local people want.”

The concept of creating a national park gained the backing of some town councillors.

Cllr Derek Hallett remained cautious, urging members to “look at it very carefully”, while Cllr Jeff Scowen described the proposals as “a marvellous idea”. …”

Hinkley C: awaiting May’s decision

“… Supposedly the costliest power station on Earth lies like a beached whale on the shores of the Bristol Channel. Whitehall’s department of energy hated it from the start, seeing it not as sensible investment but diplomatic fantasy. The French government, which owns the contractor EDF, is happy to proceed, but only if the soaring cost, now put at £37bn, is guaranteed by future British governments and energy consumers. Accountants working for EDF have run screaming for the hills.

The world of nuclear energy has moved on from these giant 20th-century plants, not one of which has yet been made to work. But the lobbyists have been hard at work: from Weber Shandwick, Bell Pottinger and Finsbury, to the pro-nuclear former minister, John (Lord) Hutton. The cry is always: stop arguing the cost and get building. We don’t want the lights to go out, do we? Someone else will pay.” …