Views wanted on East Devon street trading

Owl says: make no mistake this is simply an EDDC cash cow. Instead of having a few regulated streets where outdoor trading can take place with a licence, this extends to ALL streets – bringing in more income for the council but potentially setting permanent traders with increased overheads (including business rates) against temporary traders without them.

No problem in vibrant, thriving towns but a big problem elsewhere. Except Sidmouth where local traders were so vehemently against it, the plan was dropped for that town only.

“District bosses are consulting on their latest plans for new street trading rules.

East Devon District Council (EDDC) is proposing to designate the whole of the district as a consent street, meaning street traders would have to apply to the council for a licence to trade.

However, following its initial consultation, EDDC now plans to exclude Sidmouth.

To take part in the consultation, visit, or to obtain a paper copy call 01395 517569. The closing date for responses is April 26.”

Plans for apartments at Sidmouth hotel ‘misleading’

“Town councillors fear they supported plans for eight apartments at a Sidmouth hotel on the basis of ‘inadequate and misleading’ information – after claims the properties could be sold into private ownership.

Permission for the apartments was granted in 2011 – when it was the Westcliff Hotel – after an application from hotel owner Nicolas James Group Ltd.

The new plans are in the name 
of Nicolas Roach, the company’s executive chairman.

Mr Page said: “The application implies it is all part of the Harbour Hotel, but it was submitted not by the hotel, but by Nicolas Roach.

“The proceeds will flow not to the hotel to support its viability, but to Mr Roach’s own pockets.

“What’s to stop further flats on the site when the Harbour Hotel directors decide it’s failed as a hotel? It’s prime land for residential development.”

Mr Page said the architecture was ‘banal and unworthy of the site’ and raised concerns that the apartment block has been moved three to five metres towards Peak Hill Road from its approved position, adding: “I think the application is unacceptable, whichever way you look at it.” …”

Building new roads makes traffic worse, say campaigners and don ‘t boost economy”

New roads in England not only fail to ease congestion and benefit local economies but worsen traffic, countryside campaigners warn.

Road-building also “obliterates” rural views and harms nature, the Campaign to Protect Rural England says.

Its study of 86 road schemes completed between 2002 and 2012 says the majority damaged the surrounding environment.

But Sir John Armitt, of the National Infrastructure Commission, said it was essential to increase road capacity.

The government will spend £1.2bn on building and maintaining roads in the next year, which it says will cut congestion and improve journey times while boosting businesses and jobs.

‘Depressing cycle’

Ralph Smyth, head of infrastructure at the CPRE, said road-building projects led to a “depressing, self-perpetuating cycle of more and more roads”.
Roads were not delivering the congestion relief promised, he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme. “They improve it for the first year or so, then traffic rapidly increases.”

The CPRE’s research drew on official evaluations of 86 road schemes, which Highways England carries out for road projects costing more than £10m.

It said 69 of these road schemes had had an “adverse impact” on the landscape, including obliterating views and destroying ancient woodland and mature hedgerows.

And each road project it looked at, excepting one, saw traffic grow “significantly faster” than other regional roads.

In addition, the CPRE examined 25 road schemes which the government promised would boost the local economy.

The CPRE said that in 15 of these cases there was only “thin and circumstantial to non-existent” evidence that this had happened. …”

EDDC Manstone Depot relocation cost so far: £70,000 – £106,000

Freedom of Information Question:
“Could you provide me with the full and exact costings for this planning application; the building costs of the new offices; and where the finance for this project is coming from

Full and exact costings are not yet known. We have a working estimate which indicates that the cost of this element of the project is likely to be between £71,750 and £106,750 but, as we will soon be securing bids for this work, we are not prepared to disclose our budget estimate breakdown as this will seriously weaken our contract negotiating position and our ability to achieve best value for the work needed. We are withholding this information under Reg 12(5)(e) of the Environmental Information Regulations. We believe that the overall budgetary cost being in the public domain allows for the public interest in this matter to be adequately served.

This is an existing costed element of the relocation project and £100,000 is included within the overall re-location budget for this project and was in the budget when considered by the Council back in March 2015.”

Rural health concerns

“The government must improve the way it collates information on the health of people who live in rural areas, according to the Local Government Association and Public Health England.

One sixth of areas with the worst health and deprivation levels are located in the countryside, says the organisations said in a joint study released over the weekend.

Izzi Seccombe, chair of the LGA’s community wellbeing board, said: “We often think of rural areas as picture-postcard scenes of rolling green fields and farming land, yet this idyllic image is masking pockets of deprivation and poor health.

“Although many rural areas are affluent, this is not the case for everywhere.”

The report points out 55% of rural households compared to 97% of urban ones are within 8km of a hospital. Eighty per cent of rural residents live within 4km of a GP surgery compared to 98% of the urban population, Health in rural areas highlights.

Rural areas have on average 23.5% of their population over 65 compared with 16.3% of urban areas aged over 65.

“Rural communities are increasingly older, and older people often experience worse health and have greater need of health and care services,” said Seccombe.

“We are also concerned that the make do attitude and reluctance to make a fuss of some older rural residents means they may not seek out health care or treatment when they need it.”

This stores up worse problems later on, she explained, when they will need more serious and emergency care.

Councils could better plan how to provide services and meet the needs of people in rural areas if the government collated better information on health of people in these areas, the LGA and Public Health England believe.

Duncan Selbie, chief executive of Public Health England, said: “Local authorities are already finding new and imaginative ways of reaching out to people in remote communities who so often go unnoticed.

“This report offers a number of great examples that other areas can use to ensure they do not miss out on the opportunity for better health and wellbeing.”

Now home care is in crisis

Owl says: if you believe that final paragraph you will believe anything and, if you are old or otherwise vulnerable should not complain when you get no help! Though some, of course, will be rich enough to buy their way out of trouble – but it was ever thus.

“Home care contracts are being ripped up across half the country as companies say they are no longer paid enough by councils to look after the elderly.

Dozens of care providers are going bust and a quarter are at risk of insolvency as local authorities force down what they pay for carers to go into the homes of the elderly and provide essential help, research has found.

Hundreds of thousands of older people are already going without help with everyday tasks such as washing and dressing as councils cut back and there are fears that the problem will worsen if companies collapse.
The elderly care system was promised an emergency injection of £2 billion over three years in the budget, but councils say a long-term solution to keep pace with an ageing population is needed if the money is not simply to delay disaster.

Freedom of information requests by the BBC Panorama programme found that 95 of 197 councils which replied had seen home care contracts cancelled.
Mears, one of the largest home care companies, handed back a contract with Liverpool city council in the summer, saying they could not cover costs at the £13.10 an hour they were being paid. “That was a terrible thing to do for both service users and for care staff. We absolutely did not take that [decision] lightly, but frankly what choice did we have?” Alan Long, from the company, told the programme.

Colin Angel, of the United Kingdom Homecare Association, an industry body, said: “We have some really desperate providers who really do not know whether they’re going to be able to continue in business beyond the next year. That means they’re really having to make some hard commercial decisions, whether they might need to cease trading or indeed just hand back work to local councils.”

Analysis for Panorama by the consultancy Opus Restructuring found that a quarter of Britain’s 2,500 home care companies were at risk of insolvency, and 69 had shut down in the past three months.

A Department of Health spokeswoman said: “Older and vulnerable people must get compassionate care, which is why we have provided councils with £9.25 billion of dedicated funding, including an extra £1 billion in 2017-18 to provide immediate relief. We will bring forward proposals later this year to ensure a more financially sustainable social care system.”

Source: The Times (paywall)