Sid Valley Neighbourhood Plan Public Meeting on Friday

“Invitation to the Neighbourhood Plan event, this Friday (27 Jan) at Kennaway House:

You are warmly invited to look at the results and ideas so far, and to give your feedback, at the next public event which takes place in Sidmouth on Friday this week. Details as follows:

“Define the Vision, Shape the Future” Sid Valley Neighbourhood Plan Stakeholder and Residents Event

On 27th January 2017 at Kennaway House, Sidmouth EX10 8NG.

10am -5pm (Morning Session: 10.00 – 13.00 OR Afternoon Session: 14.00-17.00)
Refreshments and a buffet lunch will be provided.

Please confirm attendance by the 23rd January 2017”

For more information on the Neighbourhood Plan either go to the website or contact Deirdre Hounsom on 01395 576736 or Tim Salt at Sidmouth Town Council offices.

EDDC forced to publish documents on Knowle relocation – again

Owl loves the EDDC description: “there were no costs to the taxpayer because they were all ‘internal’. Everything that happens at Knowle obviously costs us absolutely nothing!

East Devon Council is to publish previously confidential documents relating to the sale of its HQ.

The action follows the authority’s decision to drop its appeal against a ruling by the Information Commissioner which ordered it to release the documents.

The information relates to the bidding process for the council site at Knowle, Sidmouth, and its contract with the buyer Pegasus Life.

The appeal followed requests for the information from Jeremy Woodward of the Save Our Sidmouth campaign group.

The council is planning to move its HQ from Sidmouth to sites in Honiton and Exmouth.

In December last year East Devon councillors rejected plans from Pegasus Life for 113 apartments for older people at the Knowle site.

The move has been opposed by Sidmouth town council and residents’ group who want to protect the land from development.

The commissioner criticised the council in 2015 over the way it had handled a Freedom of Information request from Mr Woodward made in 2013, relating to the proposed £7.5m sale. The council refused, Mr Woodward appealed, and the commissioner ordered the documents to be released.

The council said in a statement in November last year it lodged appeals for a second time against the Information Commissioner’s order to release information about the sale process because of the sensitivity of the information at that time.

It said: “With the PegasusLife planning application having been refused, it is considered that this sensitivity has now been reduced and that publication of the information is acceptable.

“In addition, the ICO, through the appeal process, has clarified that the council was right to question the way the decision was made and, as such, the council has now obtained much needed clarity on the position relating to the confidentiality of tendering processes, not just for Knowle, but for all its commercial activities.”

The council added paperwork relating to the sale up to September 2016 would be available on the relocation section of its website soon.

It said there had been no cost to East Devon taxpayers from the appeal process.

The statement said: “The council would like to reaffirm its commitment to publishing information relating to the relocation project as and when it is appropriate to do so. The next tranche of paperwork, which covers up to September 2016, should be available online very shortly.”

Thoughts on Exmouth regeneration …

The recent report in The Exeter Express and Echo (13 January 2016) on the treatment by EDDC of one its tenants, Chris Wright whose family run Exmouth Fun Park, raises serious concerns about the veracity of the Council’s version of events, as well as its competence.

Alison Hayward, EDDC’s Regeneration and Economy Manager sent a document to all councillors on 25 April 2016 which gave the clear impression that Mr Wright had refused to accept a generous offer to extend his family’s lease as part of the EDDC’s Queen’s Drive Regeneration. She says his refusal provoked an expensive legal process which caused delays and threatened to “blight the seafront”.

This version was later repeated by Cllr Phil Twiss in an email to councillors in which he added that Mr Wright had also failed to reach an agreement with Moirai Capital Investments, the council’s “preferred developer” for the regeneration of the seafront.

But, as the Express and Echo reports, it seems from EDDC’s answers to a Freedom of Information request, that Mr Wright did NOT refuse the council’s offer, but that the council withdrew it unilaterally while negotiations were still continuing.

This is serious because it suggests allegations that Mr Wright, by his obduracy, involved the council in expense and delay are inaccurate and damaging to his reputation. They could verge on the defamatory.

The reference by Cllr Twiss to Mr Wright’s failure to do a deal with Moirai raises another question. Did the Council, Ms Hayward in particular, perform due diligence on this company before signing an agreement with it?

Many observers warned that Moirai was unsuitable, a verdict the Council finally seems to have accepted in July last year when it ended its relationship, plunging the whole Queen’s Drive project into confusion.

The decision may have been made – in whole or in part – following a detailed analysis of the company’s record drawn up by members of the public and sent to Mark Williams CEO of EDDC. It was the sort of in-depth investigation which the council appears not to have bothered to conduct since the information could be obtained – with a little research – in the public domain.

In all, a not very flattering picture of a council appearing to traduce a tenant for not agreeing quickly enough to an offer which he thought he was still negotiating and appearing to criticise him for not cooperating with a “preferred developer” whose suitability was in doubt.

Clyst St Mary Neighbourhood Plan news

“Neighbourhood Plan (Voting this Thursday 26th January)

Following the Inspector’s Report and some amendments, the NEIGHBOURHOOD PLAN has been accepted by East Devon DC.

The Referendum to decide on the adoption of the Plan will be held on 26th January and polling cards have been sent out. Even if you have not received a polling card, all registered voters can participate in the Referendum and cast their votes at Clyst St Mary Village hall.

Please support the Plan by voting for adoption in the Referendum. Once adopted, the Neighbourhood Plan will greatly strengthen the powers of the Parish Council to resist inappropriate development.

The final version of the plan can be viewed on our website:

If you have any questions on the referendum or the Neighbourhood Plan, please ring Rob Hatton on 01392 874305 or the Chairman, Mike Norman on 01392 877012.”

Engage with Police and the Police and Crime Commissioner

“You are invited to attend the Annual Conference of the East and Mid Devon Community Safety Partnership at Broadclyst Victory Hall on

Wednesday 5th April 2017

Please arrive at 9:15am for a prompt start at 9:30am. This year it is a morning only conference which will finish at 1pm after which there will be a free buffet lunch.

The main speaker will be the Police and Crime Commissioner for Devon and Cornwall, Alison Hernandez but there will also be inputs on local policing, modern slavery, Bethe change and the RISE Hub at Axminster.

Booking is essential as places are limited. Please email: or phone 01884 234997 to book a place.”

PS: Perhaps next time a venue could be organised that people can get to more easily on public transport from the east of the district.

How to contact our Local Enterprise Partnership (but don’t send them a letter)

Owl thinks that our Local Enterprise Partnership’s contact details need a wider audience, especially as its CEO, Chris Garcia, has just had a 26% salary increase as it must be a VERY IMPORTANT organisation.

We know from Devon County Council that it has 4 full-time officers ( though we have no idea where they are based) and “a few” part-time employees ( though it does employ a lot of consultants).

We also know that its books are kept and audited by Somerset County Council – though they are not available for public inspection or scrutiny.

Here is a list from their web presence of how you can contact them – there is also a web contact form. But note they do not pick up their snail-mail very often – not good news for anyone they owe money to who sends them a paper bill ( perhaps because they have no rural broadband where they live, for example):

“You can contact us in the following ways:

By email:

By telephone: 01935 385977 – The LEP’s reception service is provided by Yeovil Innovation Centre, supported by South Somerset District Council. Our partners who provide this service will forward any messages to the relevant contacts at the LEP.

Contact Helena Davison, LEP Communications Manager
Telephone: 07525 806333

Inward investment enquiries
Contact Julia Stuckey, LEP Inward Investment Manager
Telephone: 07920530880

Contact by post
Heart of the South West LEP, PO Box 805, Exeter, EX1 9UU
(Please note this PO Box is not regularly monitored and email contact is the recommended way of communicating with HotSW LEP.)”