Put not your trust in auditors!

“PricewaterhouseCoopers, the accountancy firm that has overseen the counting of the Oscars ballots for 83 years, has apologised for the most spectacular blunder in the history of the starry ceremony – when the award for best film was mistakenly presented to La La Land instead of the actual winner Moonlight. …

… PwC, one of the best-known accountancy firms in the world, has supervised counting the ballots, and the announcements, for the majority of Academy Awards. Its employees wait in the wings during the ceremony, passing the results to the presenters. The humiliating failure of a system that was supposed to be foolproof, checked and counterchecked repeatedly, could not have been more public – watched by Hollywood stars and millions of people across the world on television. …”


Exmouth seafront: reserved matters planning application WILL result in full planning permission

“Residents attending a meeting about East Devon District Council’s (EDDC) reserved matters application for the seafront said members did not debate relevant planning points.

They called for the vote to support the plan be declared invalid. Residents also said Councillor Lynne Elson should apologise to district councillor Megan Armstrong for interrupting her.

An EDDC spokesperson said: “EDDC’s monitoring officer has considered this letter of complaint, but, in a case such as this, neither he nor the council are in a position to interfere with the legitimate decision-making of Exmouth Town Council.”

The spokesperson said concern about the decision would be a legal matter for the courts, and added that even if a councillor had been found in breach of the code of conduct, this would not legally affect the decision.

They added that the monitoring officer had heard a recording of the meeting and ruled there was nothing ‘untoward’ in the exchange between Cllr Elson and Cllr Armstrong.

The spokesperson added that although the application would produce a ‘valid and implementable’ planning permission, only the district council could carry out the development if approved.

However, EDDC has confirmed it only intends to realign the road and carry out the car park works. Therefore, any developers would have to apply for permission for the watersports centre and remainder of the site.

In response, Ron Metcalfe, one of the complainants, said: “We thank EDDC for finally confirming that if the reserved matters application is approved it will result in a valid and implementable planning permission to build.

“The basis of our complaint was an EDDC and town councillor repeatedly claimed this was not the case.

“We remain concerned that the town council decision was made based on misleading and inaccurate information and lack of relevant discussion.”


Exmouth: grab your Warren View sports ground before it goes for development

If no suitable tenants are found EDDC could use that as an excuse to sell it. Maybe consider village green status asap too?


Seaton Heights up for auction at £2.5 – £3 million next month

20 March 2017, lot 141

“Arguably the single most important, anticipated and iconic holiday village, hotel & spa development opportunity in the South West of England enjoying a lofty position overlooking Lyme Bay and the Jurassic Coast (a World Heritage Site) benefitting from planning consent for 38 semi-detached ‘deck homes’, a 12 bedroom hotel and associated facilities.

Mother Nature has been very kind to the site with its near perfect topography, outlook and orientation while on the ‘man-made’ front there could hardly be a better proximity to the local and regional road network. With Lyme Regis, Charmouth and West Bay to the east and Beer, Branscombe and Sidmouth to the west, the property could hardly be more centrally located on the highly prized and popular stretch of coastline that spans West Dorset and East Devon.

Simple development, as per the current approval in the form of a holiday home sales/lettings and hotel operation, may be on the minds of some but the potential for multi-week disposals and future service charge and ground rent opportunities will be not far from the radar of many.

Finally, there may be opportunities to increase the number of holiday homes and hotel rooms by virtue of the relatively generous use of space thus far, subject to all necessary consents being obtainable. Interested applicants are advised to make their own enquiries with the ‘East Team’ at the Local Planning Authority, the East Devon District Council: Tel: 01395 517475. Website: eastdevon.gov.uk.

Site Measurements

The whole site extends to 2.7 hectares (5.13 acres).


Planning Permission has been granted by East Devon District Council, under ref: 14/0677/MFUL dated 5 May 2015, for the construction of two storey 12 bedroom hotel; 38 units of holiday accommodation; central amenities building for restaurant/leisure club and associated parking and access, subject to conditions.

A copy of the Planning Consent and proposed plans are available via the Local Planning Authority’s website.

Freehold with Vacant Possession”


Lincolnshire can’t vote on unitary authority on same day as elections – instead must shell out extra £1 million

“The Leader of Lincolnshire County Council, Cllr Martin Hill, has accepted that its proposal for a poll of residents on the creation of a unitary authority for the area cannot go ahead after some districts refused to be involved.

Earlier this month it was revealed that the districts had received legal advice from Timothy Straker QC of 4-5 Gray’s Inn Square suggesting that any attempt by the county council to combine their elections with such a referendum would be unlawful.

According to the City of Lincoln Council, Straker’s opinion said the plans were “contrary to the Election Rules and fraught with danger of litigation.”
Lincoln argued that this meant, in effect, “the referendum would need to be held completely separately or on a different day, incurring costs to Lincolnshire taxpayers of around £1m”.

Cllr Hill, Leader of the county council, had sought to argue that holding a poll on 4 May, when many residents would already be going out to vote in county council elections, would have kept administrative costs to a minimum and encouraged a high turnout.

“Unfortunately, it won’t now be possible to hold a poll on 4 May, which is deeply disappointing,” he said.

“For various reasons, some of the county’s seven district councils – the bodies responsible for conducting the elections – are not prepared to co-operate. Although I don’t personally agree with their legal and other objections, the county council can’t require them to help with the holding of a poll.”

At a meeting of Lincolnshire County Council last week councillors voted to seek the views of residents on the principle of moving to a unitary system of local government.

After receipt of the legal advice earlier this month, Cllr Ric Metcalfe, Leader of City of Lincoln, said (on 17 February): “If the county council had consulted on this proposal [for a poll on local government reorganisation] with any of the district councils prior to their announcement, we could have raised our concerns then. Sadly, they did not.”

He added: “I and my district colleagues are in favour of a collective debate on the future of local government in Lincolnshire, but to hold a referendum at such an early stage in discussions is ludicrous, especially at such massive cost.”

Describing the proposal for a unitary council for the whole of Lincolnshire as “ridiculous”, Cllr Metcalfe said: “We are one of the largest counties in the UK and contain a diverse range of areas with significantly differing challenges and needs….

“A county unitary would be too remote a tier of government – district councils are best placed to deliver services that meet the needs of all their residents and businesses and we want to protect these services. This will not happen under a county unitary.”


Claire Wright to kick off talks at new Ottery Library

“Have you ever wondered how an Independent with just a few friends but lacking a party machine, finance and experienced professionals can win more than 13,000 votes in a General Election?

If so, come to the new Ottery St Mary library on 16th March to hear Claire Wright discuss her campaign. As a member of the team, Philip Algar will offer a few thoughts and discuss the challenge of writing the book about the campaign, West Hill or Westminster?

The meeting starts at 7.00 and tickets are free.

Contact the library on 01404 813838 or
email ottery.library@librariesunlimited.org.uk”

Greater Exeter Strategic Plan consultation – only one public meeting to discuss implications for East Devon




Greater Exeter Strategic Plan Consultation: Issues

The local authorities of East Devon, Exeter, Mid Devon and Teignbridge in partnership with Devon County Council are working together to prepare a Greater Exeter Strategic Plan (GESP). This formal statutory document will provide the overall spatial strategy and level of housing and employment land to be provided up to 2040. Please visit http://www.gesp.org.uk for more information.

Engagement with stakeholders and communities will be critical to the success of the Plan. At this first stage, the authorities are consulting on an initial ‘issues document’ which, after setting out some background information, looks to explain the scope and content of the plan as well as describing the key issues facing the Greater Exeter area. This early stage of consultation is designed to stimulate debate and the local planning authorities are seeking your views on the scope and content of the plan as well as the key issues facing your area.

A number of other associated documents are also being consulted on:

Draft Sustainability Appraisal Scoping Report:

· The Draft Sustainability Appraisal Scoping Report is the first stage of work in undertaking the Sustainability Appraisal (SA) and Strategic Environment Assessment (SEA) for the plan. This process is used to assess the sustainability of the plan content as it develops.

Statement of Community Involvement:

· The joint Statement of Community Involvement (SCI) sets out the approach for consultation in the GESP. The SCI sets out the way in which we will be engaging with communities and other interested parties throughout the process.

The consultation will run from 27 February 2017 until 10 April 2017. To view the consultation material and to make your comments please visit http://www.gesp.org.uk/consultations/issues/.

Alternatively, paper copies of the consultation document are available to view at your local library and Council Office.

A series of exhibitions are being held during the consultation period in the following locations:

Honiton: Mackarness Hall, High Street, EX14 1PG – Wednesday 8 March 2017, 2pm-8pm

Tiverton: Mid Devon District Council Office, Phoenix House, Phoenix Lane, EX16 6PP – Wednesday 15 March 2017, 2-8pm
Exeter: The Guildhall, High Street, EX4 3EB – Thursday 16 March 2017, 2-8pm
Newton Abbot: Old Forde House, Brunel Road, TQ12 4XX – Thursday 23 March 2017, 2- 8pm

A ‘call for sites’ has also been arranged to run alongside the consultation. This is a technical exercise which allows interested parties to submit potential sites for development to the Local Authorities. The sites are then assessed to consider whether they are suitable for possible inclusion in the plan. Further information is http://gesp.org.uk/call-for-sites/.

If you need further information please visit the website, email GESP@devon.gov.uk or contact your Local Council using the phone numbers below:

East Devon: 01395 571533
Exeter: 01392 265615
Mid Devon: 01884 234221
Teignbridge: 01626 215735

As there are four Councils contacting their stakeholders for the consultation and call for sites, you may receive duplicate letters/emails. Please accept my apologies if this is the case.”

EDDC Councillors – tell us about your secret acres – so we can put them in our next plans says senior officer!

Extract from an unclassified (i.e. not confidential) email sent out to all councillors by Ed Freeman, Service Lead – Planning Strategy and Development Management, East Devon District Council on the lead-in to the “Greater Exeter Strategic Plan” consultation:

… The consultation paper is attached for you to get an advanced preview and we would welcome your comments by 10th April. Alongside this will be a call for sites to land owners and developers for housing and employment land across the area which can then be considered for allocation to meet the needs of the area for homes and jobs in the future.

So if you are secretly sat on a few acres of land and would like to put it forward for development now is the time to tell us! …”

Yes, you read that right.

Let us know about any secret land holdings you are sitting on.

NOT so we can report you to the Monitoring Officer for not listing them on your declarations of interest – but so that we can do our best to help you to get them developed.

Owl, for once, hootless!