“New Cranbrook” and creeping unitisation worry Greater Exeter councillors

Owl says: Read with the post below Owl thinks there will be more than one “New Cranbrook” in the Greater Exeter area!

Consultation events held in Devon this week shed light on the creation of a major strategic blueprint, which could lead to new settlements on the same scale as Cranbrook.

Mid Devon, East Devon, Teignbridge and Exeter City Council, in partnership with Devon County Council, are teaming up to create a Greater Exeter Strategic Plan (GESP) which focuses on the creation of jobs and housing until 2040.

Hundreds visited Exeter’s Guildhall today to see early Greater Exeter plans between 2pm and 8pm. Similar consultations were held at Phoenix House, Tiverton yesterday and at Mackarness Hall, Honiton on Wednesday, March 8.

Andrew Robbins, city development manager for Exeter, said: “We need to provide more houses for the population and more jobs. What we’re looking to do is plan for the next 20 years, with Exeter City Council working with its neighbours because we see the influence of Exeter outside its boundaries. We’re looking at the best places for new housing and the best places for new jobs.

“For example, the new settlement at Cranbrook has been developed in recent years. One of the things we’re thinking of is ‘do we need another settlement outside of the city.'”

“What we want to do is get people involved in the process at what we call the issues stage. This is the absolute beginning of the process and its asking people for their ideas for how they see the region developing, before consulting on a draft plan at the beginning of 2018.”

Cllr Jeremy Christophers, Leader of Teignbridge said: “The creation of a strategic plan across a wider geography responds to how people actually live their lives. Combining housing options with job opportunities and providing the proper transport will support our ambition for local people to live the lives they wish for. As councils, we need to work together to deliver better results for the future – clearly, this is the way forward.”

Cllr Paul Diviani, Leader of East Devon said: “It has been clear for some time that there was a significant gap left with the demise of the Devon Structure Plan and without wishing to re-invent the wheel, we should be establishing a strategic plan for our Greater Exeter area which has input from Exeter, Mid Devon, Teignbridge and ourselves, alongside the County Council. We are the epi-centre of the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership and we need to ensure we have a central, aligned, significant role to play as we take our well-established partnership forward.”

Cllr Pete Edwards, Leader of Exeter City said: “Every weekday 37,000 people commute into Exeter and 11,000 people head out of Exeter. These volumes are second only to Cambridge and it is imperative that we address housing, transport and infrastructure in a joined-up way to respond to this reality.”

Cllr Clive Eginton, Leader of Mid Devon, said: “This is an excellent opportunity to reflect on how our residents and businesses live their lives across council administrative boundaries and to start embedding our shared aspiration for a successful future in plans for the Greater Exeter area.”

Cllr John Hart, Leader of Devon County Council, said: “The emerging relationship between the four local authorities in preparing a single Strategic Plan for the area is a very positive step and will help the planning system to work efficiently to boost the supply of housing and growth required. We are pleased and well-placed to be part of this collaborative way of working, which will improve and streamline our planning system.”

However the plans have raised fears that councils are “sleepwalking” into becoming unitary authorities. Liberal Councillor Jenny Roach who represents Silverton expressed fears that Mid Devon District Council would be ceding powers.

She said: “We’re looking like we could be ceding power to this planning partnership, and I know people will shake their heads and say no, but there are several points which worry me.

“Exeter needs land and you can imagine where I sit in my ward, Exeter City Council could be looking at developing the swathe of land that is between Silverton and Exeter and similarly between Thorverton and Newton St Cyres. If you look at the East Devon side there are huge estates marching across that land, so this worries me.

“It worries me that it’s being done by degree and almost by stealth. When we went to the public to talk about the sort of governance the district wanted, they didn’t like the cabinet, but unfortunately we didn’t get the 3000 signatures we needed in that period of time.

“There are a tremendous amount of people who were not happy with the governance of this authority as it is now, they don’t like the cabinet system, and it is the cabinet system that is sleepwalking us into a unitary authority. I’ve seen this happen before and I would really like to know that the very least we would do is have a state of the district debate on this Greater Strategic Exeter Plan.”

An online consultation form can be found at http://www.gesp.org.uk/issues”

http://www.devonlive.com/greater-exeter-plan-could-lead-to-a-new-cranbrook/story-30209261-detail/story.html

“UK government woos world’s housebuilders”

“The housing minister, Gavin Barwell, has told the world’s housebuilders that if they cannot find enough land on which to build new homes they can “come and see me” and he will try to help.

Barwell told developers at the world’s biggest property conference in Cannes on Thursday that he wanted to be “clear and unequivocal” that he was there to help them build hundreds of thousands of new homes to help fix the UK’s housing crisis.

“If you’ve got parts of the country where you want to build homes and you’re struggling to find land, you come and see me and I will then raise those issues with the relevant local authorities,” he told investors at the UK government’s first promotional stand on the famous waterfront in the south of France. “I don’t want people who want to build unable to do so because they can’t find the sites they want.

“That’s an offer to anyone in this room – if you’re struggling to find sites you [can] come talk to me and I’ll try and do something about it.” …

… Barwell told property industry figures that he wanted to “change the politics” of housebuilding so that local people did not automatically protest at the suggestion of new construction. The Croydon MP also vowed to have “hard discussions” with local politicians who held up development.

Barwell said he would try to make sure housebuilding projects came with fresh infrastructure investments to allow communities to cope with additional residents. He also said more needed to be done to ensure newbuild homes were of good quality and design.

“People welcome homes that are really innovative in design, or fit in with the local area,” he said. “What they don’t like are homes that look like they could have been plonked down in any area of the country.”

https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/mar/16/uk-government-woos-worlds-housebuilders

When planning goes horribly wrong

“The family of a businessman who helped shape the future of development in South Devon are set to make hundreds of thousands of pounds after a plot they bought at a knock-down price was designated for housing. Paignton residents have expressed concerns over the future of the land in Waterside Road.

They are unhappy that the space, which backs onto Dartmouth Road, has been cleared of trees and identified for housing in the latest draft of the Brixham Peninsula Neighbourhood Plan.

The land is owned by the family of the neighbourhood plan forum’s vice-chair Adam Billings and was bought at auction from Torbay Council as amenity land in 2014.

Neighbours say the plot would have generated far more money for the taxpayer if it has been sold with planning permission rather being designed to be a green space.

Mr Billings did not wish to comment on the plans for the land but hit out at ‘factually incorrect claims’ that had been made about his actions. He declared an interest in the land during the neighbourhood plan process. …”

http://www.devonlive.com/residents-concern-over-potential-development-of-green-land/story-30203442-detail/story.html

Recall EDDC’s senior planner recently wrote to councillors suggesting that if they had any development land hidden away now was the time to bring it forward!

It’s Sunday and a hard-working MP is talking to his wife …

SUNDAY WORKING FOR A BUSY MP AND HIS WIFE

It’s Sunday at B’stard Towers, the second home of Sebastian B’stard MP (younger brother of Alan B’stard). Seb and his beautiful, willowy, blonde wife Suki are sipping their Lapsang Suchong tea from antique china cups:

Seb: Oh, by the way darling, I’m booked on a fact-finding visit to the Seychelles next week for 10 days. You are down as my PA, of course.

Suki: Oh, lovely, darling, I’ll put it in the diary. I’ll nip out to Harrods tomorrow and get us some new designer swimwear to put on expenses.

Seb: Oh, and when we get back I’ve got to go to some god-forsaken part of the country on something called a battlebus to do something or other … and they’ve booked me into something called a Premier Inn …

Suki: Oh, darling – no, no, no – we can’t have that – that’s cattle class! I’ll call cousin Horace and we can stay at Twattings Castle for a few days.

Seb: Thank you, darling. What would I do without you. I think that deserves a jolly good raise for you, you work SO hard for me!

Suki: Oh, and by the way, can you get Janet from the office to come and babysit the kids at the weekends whilst Nanny has a break. God knows you pay her enough – £15,000 in London is a bloody fortune for her so we might as well get our money’s worth.

BOTH our MPs pay their wives to work for them. Another one says it’s good because they can “discuss work” on Sunday over a cup of tea!

Data from the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority shows that Sasha Swire, spouse of East Devon MP Hugo Swire, earned up to £209,996 between 2010 and 2016 for work as his parliamentary assistant. Mrs Swire was paid £35,000 during the last tax year.

IPSA chair Ruth Evans has described the situation as ‘out of step with modern employment practice’.

Neil Parish, MP for Tiverton and Honiton, pays his wife Susan a more modest £15,000 for her role as his junior secretary. Janet Streeter is employed by her husband Gary Streeter MP for South West Devon as a senior parliamentary assistant – also earning £15,000 a year. …

… Mr Streeter said: “I completely understand why IPSA have made this decision on the grounds of transparency but it will make some MPs less efficient.

“Our offices are like small businesses working crazy hours and things happen at all times of the night. This is why having a family member as part of the team can be so valuable. For example, on a Sunday afternoon me and my wife can have a sit down for half an hour and plan out the week ahead over a cup of tea.”

http://www.devonlive.com/mps-barred-from-hiring-family-members-as-staff/story-30208052-detail/story.html#vFdS2B4qDxbhY9vE.99

SUNDAY WORKING FOR A BUSY MP AND HIS WIFE

It’s Sunday at B’stard Towers, the second home of Sebastian B’stard MP (younger brother of Alan B’stard). Seb and his beautiful, willowy, blonde wife Suki are sipping their Lapsang Suchong tea from antique china cups:

Seb: Oh, by the way darling, I’m booked us on a fact-finding visit to the Seychelles next week for 10 days. You are down as my PA, of course.

Suki: Oh, lovely, darling, I’ll put it in the diary. I’ll nip out to Harrods tomorrow and get us some new designer swimwear to put on expenses.

Seb: Oh, and when we get back I’ve got to go to some god-forsaken part of the country on something called a battlebus to do something or other … and they’ve booked me into something called a Premier Inn …

Suki: Oh, darling – no, no, no – we can’t have that – that’s cattle class! I’ll call cousin Horace and we can stay at Twattings Castle for a few days.

Seb: Thank you, darling. What would I do without you. I think that deserves a jolly good raise for you, you work SO hard for me!

Suki: Oh, and by the way, can you get Janet from the office to come and babysit the kids at the weekends whilst Nanny has a break. God knows you pay her enough – £15,000 in London is a bloody fortune for her so we might as well get our money’s worth.

New website to promote south devon National Park

https://southdevonnationalpark.wordpress.com/

Imagine if you could link it with these two other areas:

https://dorsetandeastdevonnationalpark.wordpress.com
http://www.dartmoor.gov.uk

A wonderful tourist draw!

Will it ever happen? Not while the current Tories are in charge at East Devon as their Leader, Paul Diviani, was aghast at the idea of losing their control over planning along the East Devon part of the Jurassic coast.

No such worries in Dorset where it is supported. Odd that.

Now rural toddlers are penalised!

The freeview channel Tiny Pop, which features programmes including Postman Pat and Miffy’s Adventures, was re-tuned yesterday and is now only available in cities. …

… An announcement earlier this month stated that, from yesterday, Tiny Pop will only be available on Freeview in and around the following locations:
Basingstoke, Birmingham, Brighton, Bristol, Cambridge, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Grimsby and Hull, Leeds, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Nottingham, Norwich, Oxford, Preston, Reading, parts of the Solent area, Sheffield, Swansea, Teesside, Tyne and Wear. Coverage will soon come to Aberdeen, Ayr and Dundee.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4320000/Children-s-meltdowns-Tiny-Pop-channel-tuned.html

Employing your spouse in Parliament – a solution for Mr Swire and others

To those MPs who employ their spouses and partners (including Hugo Swire), some of whom say they need to employ them for their loyalty and trustworthiness, Owl says:

It’s easy – employ them as unpaid volunteers.

“Big Society” in action! Sorted!

More NHS crisis evidence from front-line staff

As reported by health campaigner and Independent DCC councillor Claire Wright:

Patients are being left stranded on trolleys without access to vital medical supplies and sent home too soon amid widespread hospital crowding, doctors say.

More than half of medics polled by the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) said patient safety has deteriorated over the past year and three quarters fear dangers to patients within 12 months.

The survey of more than 2,100 RCP members from across the UK found that 84 per cent had experienced staffing shortages. And less than half thought doctors at their trust would speak up if they were concerned about risks to patients.

In the survey, doctors said they were “firefighting”, “papering over the cracks” and “hanging on by their claws”. One said: “The hospital is operating at full capacity all of the time, We are asked (almost daily) to ‘lower our thresholds’ for what we consider to be a safe discharge.”

Medics said they were working in circumstances which were “completely unsafe” for patients, with one describing 55 emergency beds being opened, without extra staff.

“Currently the hospital is overfull, with patients on trolleys in corridors and in the middle of the bay (with no curtains, access to electricity, oxygen etc) .. elective surgery has been cancelled (including cancer surgery)” said one. “I feel like I’m on the Titanic” said another.

Research by the royal college found 43 per cent of doctors were working in departments with shortages of medics.

Prof Jane Dacre, RCP President, will today tell the college’s annual conference that doctors were being “pushed to their limits”. “We worry that there are inherent safety risks in a hospital running at full or over capacity – from an increase in hospital acquired infections to the impact of burnout from overworked staff,” she said.

Janet Davies, chief executive and general secretary of the Royal College of Nursing, said: “Hospital doctors are blowing the whistle on sliding standards in patient care – wards are full and without the staff to cope.
“Nursing staff share their fear that things will get even worse in the next year.”

Philip Dunne, health minister, said: “We want to make the NHS the safest healthcare system in the world supported by world-class doctors and nurses – that’s why there are already 34,800 extra clinical staff, including over 11,600 additional doctors and over 13,400 additional nurses on our wards since May 2010. “

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/03/16/doctors-warn-increasing-safety-risks-amid-hospital-overcrowding/

Lecture: Natural Capital and Sustainable Growth

Natural Devon’s 2017 Lecture

Professor Dieter Helm CBE – Natural Capital and Sustainable Growth

Thursday 6th April 2017, 6pm
Newman Blue Lecture Theatre, Exeter University, Streatham Campus, EX4 4ST

Professor Dieter Helm is an economist specialising in utilities, infrastructure, regulation and the environment. He is a Professor of Energy policy at the University of Oxford, a member of the Economics Advisory Group to the UK Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change and Chairman of Defra’s Natural Capital Committee, as well as being Honorary Vice President of the Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust.

In the face of growing environmental pressures Professor Dieter Helm is looking to offer a set of strategies for establishing natural capital policy that is balanced, economically sustainable, and politically viable. He believes that the commonly held view that environmental protection poses obstacles to economic progress is false, and that the environment must be at the very core of economic planning.

Professor Helm’s lecture is particularly relevant this year given opportunities presented by Brexit, the development of Devon Local Plans and the development of the Heart of the South West Productivity Plan.

In partnership with The University of Exeter

Directions: http://www.exeter.ac.uk/visit/directions/streatham/
The Newman Blue Lecture Theatre is number 18 on this link – htttp://www.exeter.ac.uk/visit/directions/streathammap/

If you would like to book a place please email – tom.whitlock@devon.gov.uk