Note to our LEP

… “The South West has more people living in villages, hamlets and isolated areas than in any other English region.” …

and a comment here in the same article by one of the LEP’s most gung-ho nuclear interest representatives – involved with creating the new town of Sherford near Plymouth:

Tim Jones, chairman of Devon and Cornwall Business Council, board member of the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership and a member of the Sherford project board said: “It is crucial that people have a variety of amenities and businesses on their doorstep.

This offers them not only a broad choice for leisure and retail, but it also provides local employment opportunities.

… “Part of the foundation for Sherford is to create a unique package where you can live and work in the same place, should you so wish.

“In the South West, we often suffer from the ‘brain drain’ of young, talented individuals moving away from the area, only to return at around 35 to 40 years old for the quality of life. “Retaining young adults is essential, as is enabling them to develop quality businesses.” …

Amazing what a change of hat can do … and Mr Jones has SO MANY hats for so many different purposes!

Paul Hayward: independent councillor and a top parish clerk!

“All Saints Parish Council has been given Quality Foundation status – one of only six local authorities in Devon to achieve the accolade.

The award from the National Association of Local Councils (NALC) demonstrates that the authority has the required documentation and information in place for operating lawfully and according to standard practice.

The council also has policies for training its councillors and officers and so has the foundations for improvement and development in place.”

Wonder why only six councils in Devon have reached this status?

Taunton Deane + West Somerset = Williton White Elephant?

As recently reported, Taunton Deane amd West Somerset district councils have recently agreed to merge.

This merger came about because West Somerset got into financial trouble. This was almost entirely due to the fact that they decided to build a brand new HQ at Williton (population around 2,600 whereas its biggest town, Minehead has a population of 12,000 and where only a sub-office is available) at a cost, then, of £3.8 million.

With the sharing of staff, and now a full-blown merger, presumably the new HQ will be a complete white elephant.

In the words of Theresa May: ‘Remind you of anybody’?

Oooh … a new road through the Blackdown Hills AONB!

Not IF there will be a new road, but which of two options is preferred:

Devon County Council is developing route options for the scheme and will be holding a two month consultation, starting on Wednesday 3 August and running until Friday 30 September.

The Council is proposing to replace the existing narrow, substandard single carriageway in the Monkton area with around 8km (5 miles) of new road between the Honiton Bypass and Devonshire Inn (the junction of the A30 with the A303).

The scheme will comprise a wide carriageway with 3 lanes. It will be a laid out with two lanes in one direction and one lane in the other to enable overtaking in one direction, alternating along the route.”

Consultation on highway improvements for A30 Honiton to Devonshire Inn

Add that to the refusal by the government to fund faster broadband in the area and one wonders if the Blackdown Hills is finally taking its share of AONB intrusion in East Devon – at last!

Councillor, Leader Diviani’s view (he is DCC and EDDC Councillor for the area):

“I am delighted that Devon County Council is taking such a positive response to our section of the A30. It is such an important part of the region’s connectivity and the proposals will improve the quality of life for all users, whether on long or short distance journeys.”

Exhibitions will be held at the following venues:

Thursday 4 August, 8am-6pm – Honiton Show
Friday 5 August, 2pm-8pm – Upottery Village Hall
Saturday 6 August, 10am-6pm – Upottery Village Hall
Tuesday 16 August, 12pm-8pm – Monkton Court Hotel
Saturday 20 August, 10am-6pm – Mackarness Hall, Honiton
Saturday 10 September, 10am-6pm – Upottery Village Hall

Construction shrinks enormously – particularly for industrial units

Sidford Industrial Park makes even less sense.

The sharpest decline came in commercial activity, which fell for a second month running and at the fastest pace since December 2009 as investment in offices, industrial units and retail space slumped.

Piles or no piles, that’s the question in Seaton

Owl is – as so often being an East Devon Owl – confused.

According to today’s View from newspapers, EDDC has again turned down affordable housing on the Seaton Tesco site being built on by Bovis, in part because of the high cost of raising the land because it was on a flood plain. This led, it says, to it being unviable to build three storey or terraced housing without the use of “prohibitively expensive” piled foundations. This means that density and height of the houses on the site has to be reduced and this means building affordable homes is unaffordable on the site. EDDC Development Management Committee has agreed.

So why did original plans show more and higher housing WITH affordables when it was known that this would not be financially viable to developers who would not want to take on the extra cost of piling? Why was it not mentioned that the original plans relied on piling and might need to be changed? Did Bovis know when the bought the land that it could only build lower density, lower rise housing and that this would rule out any affordable housing?

And what of the three-storey houses that have already been built on the site – are they in any danger of subsiding or do they have piling or other strengthening construction:

(early part of the sales video showing at 20-30 seconds in shows three-storey housing – and an impression at 1 minute 20 seconds that somewhere close to the site (“local amenities”) has a beautiful indoor swimming pool, too).

A check with the planning application shows that (terraced) Premier Inn IS being built with piling, so that’s a relief!

“Home ownership in England at lowest level in 30 years as housing crisis grows”

“Home ownership in England has fallen to its lowest level in 30 years as the growing gap between earnings and property prices has created a housing crisis that extends beyond London to cities including Manchester.

The struggle to get on the housing ladder is not just a feature of the London property market, according to a new report by the Resolution Foundation thinktank, with Greater Manchester seeing as big a slump in ownership since its peak in the early 2000s as parts of the capital, and cities in Yorkshire and the West Midlands also seeing sharp drops.

Home ownership across England reached a peak in April 2003, when 71% of households owned their home, either outright or with a mortgage, but by February this year the figure had fallen to 64%, the Resolution Foundation said.

The figure is the lowest since 1986, when homeownership levels were on the way up, with a housing market boom fuelled by the deregulation of the mortgage industry and the introduction of the right-to-buy policy for council homes by Margaret Thatcher’s Conservative government. …

… Lindsay Judge, an expert on housing at the thinktank, said the problem was one of affordability. “House prices began to outpace earnings in the early 2000s,” Judge said. “When the market fell so did earnings – house prices began to come down but so did people’s pay, or it was stagnating at best, so few people were able to make the most of falling prices.”

The analysis showed that across England levels of private renting almost doubled from 11% in 2003 to 19% in 2015, while in Greater Manchester the figure more than trebled, from 6% to 20%.

The Resolution Foundation said this shift in tenure could mean problems in the future, as individuals would need to find a way of funding their housing in retirement, or may need to turn to the benefits system for help. Clarke said: “The shift to renting privately can reduce current living standards and future wealth, with implications for individuals and the state. We cannot allow other cities to edge towards the kind of housing crisis that London has been saddled with.”

Anne Baxendale, head of policy and public affairs at the housing charity Shelter, said house prices were now “completely out of step with average wages”.

She added: “Sky-high rents are leaving many families struggling to make ends meet each month, let alone save up enough for the deposit on a home. Far from being the stepping stone it once was, many young people and families are now facing a lifetime stuck in expensive and unstable private renting. …”n