Seaton Hospital: closure by stealth?

From Facebook today – surely an issue for any judicial review – manipulation of bed figures to enforce closure?

“I had to take my dad to the hospital in Exeter for a procedure. This has all gone well and they were going to move him to a different ward to recuperate perhaps for ten days.

I said it would be good if he could be moved to Seaton Hospital. I was told that staff had been told not to send people to Seaton. The look of disgust on the doctors face suggested that there was more to that sentence along the lines of ‘because they want to keep it empty so that it looks like it is not being used’.

I then walked out of the ward with my father and the porter of whom I asked where my father would be going. He did not know because there were no beds at that time!! In the words of John Lydon ‘Do you ever get the feeling you’ve been cheated?”

Will Colyton village plan revelations and local health issues affect DCC election choice?

Three major developments may affect how people choose to vote in Devon County Council elections next week.

First, and most tantalising, is the ongoing serious allegation that there seems to be a police investigation ongoing into Colyton’s EDDC villages plan, see here:

https://eastdevonwatch.org/2017/04/27/police-investigation-into-colyton-village-plan-question-raised-at-eddc/

This project is somewhat similar to the Neighbourhool Plan project which also hit controversy right from the start, as reported by Owl:

https://eastdevonwatch.org/2016/03/22/colyton-parish-councils-reputation-takes-yet-another-serious-knock/

https://eastdevonwatch.org/2015/09/23/a-few-tips-for-the-colyton-and-colyford-neighbourhood-plan/

Seven volunteers resigned from the project, their letter stating:

… This is the community’s plan, not the parish council’s or a few of the individuals who seem to control it. The entire community has the final say in what goes into it. We urge all residents of the parish to ensure that the plan is truly representative of everyone’s collective aspirations for the parish in the coming years. Our concern is that a few could perhaps dictate how the communities are shaped, which would be disastrous for the parish as a whole. …
http://www.colyton-today.co.uk/article.cfm?id=104098&headline=COLYTON

Colyton voters might be advised to perhaps go for a DCC councillor from outside the parish this time round.

Second is, of course, the closure of Axminster Hospital in-patient beds to the north and scheduled closure of Honiton’s in-patient beds to the west and Seaton’s to the south. DCC candidate Mrs Parr (Conservative) is on record as having been persuaded by CCG plans to close these beds. Jim Knight, who having been passed over for selection is standing as an “Independent” Conservative (whatever that is – how do voters differentiate it from UKIP these days?) is between a rock and a hard place on this one too?

DCC has the major committee for holding health authorities to account and Independent Claire Wright is doing a sterling job of fighting for us, but she desperately needs the help of others prepared to fight with her.

So, who is left?

Well, that’s the third issue.

Let’s dismiss tha Labour candidate – who had to be parachuted in from Exeter who no-one (including Labour activists) seems to know anything about!

Let’s also dismiss Peter Burrows (Lib Dem) – who declined to face voters at a recent hustings (but apparently crept into the back of the room towards the end). Who uses family connections to the health service to boost himself, rather than his own actions, which are surprisingly thin on the ground. Also Burrows has recently become notorious as a censor on the 1500-strong Facebook group, ‘It’s Seaton Devon Thank You Very Much’, of which he is administrator. After deleting posts by Shaw and others about the hospital beds, he even removed Shaw – and various other people with no connection to his campaign – from the group, provoking a considerable backlash.

With this controversy around Burrows’ role, Knight could come in ahead of him and see Burrows struggling to come third as in 2013.

This leaves the field wide open for the only other contender – Martin Shaw, Independent East Devon Alliance. Shaw has been vociferous in his support of retaining beds at Seaton Hospital, instrumental in organising a legal opinion to fight closures and has proved to be something of a tiger in his role on the town council’s planning committee.

Will voters feel minded to dismiss the “same olds” of the past and vote for someone untainted by past choices and misdemeanors?

Let us hope so.

Is a Tory councillor calling women “nutter feminist bitches” worse than “culling” Tory councillors?

“An Exeter Tory election candidate has been forced to apologise on social media for a series of shocking and offensive messages he sent from his Twitter account.

Aric Gilinsky, candidate for St David’s & Haven Banks in next week’s county council elections, made several inappropriate remarks in 2011 concerning members of the Catholic Church and other Twitter users, including one he branded ‘some nutter feminist bitch.'”

Well, at least he didn’t suggest a cull of councillors … THAT remark led to EDDC Tory Phil Twiss reporting Claire Wright to the police – even though his Leader used exactly the same words in an article in the Daily Telegraph:

!http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/conservative/12179802/David-Cameron-backs-down-from-grassroots-cull-after-outcry-from-Conservative-backbenchers.htm

No such worries for THIS candidate – he just has to apologise and all is forgiven.

http://m.devonlive.com/tory-candidate-apologises-for-offensive-feminist-bitch-and-catholic-church-tweets/story-30298429-detail/story.html

All three EDA candidates for Devon County Council have You Tube links

Marianne Rixson – Sidmouth and Sidbury

Paul Hayward (Axminster) and Martin Shaw (Seaton and Colyton):

https://eastdevonwatch.org/2017/04/23/axminster-and-seaton-independent-dcc-council-candidates-youtube-videos/

and all three have signed the pledge to make NHS protection a top priority:

https://eastdevonwatch.org/2017/04/26/east-devon-alliance-candidates-for-dcc-have-all-signed-nhs-pledge/

Police investigation into Colyton Village Plan: question raised at EDDC

Something rather odd happened at East Devon District Council’s full council meeting earlier this week.

With some Tory eyebrows shooting skywards, gutsy EDA Leader, Councillor Cathy Gardner asked the following question of EDDC’s Paul Diviani:
“I am sure you are aware, as I am,” she began, “that there is an ongoing Police Investigation into aspects of the Colyton section of the emerging Villages Plan. It may, therefore, be proven that undue influence has distorted the content of the plan. If that does turn out to be the case, do you agree that it is the responsibility of this Council to rectify the result of this influence – in order to ensure the residents of Colyton are not adversely affected and to do so before the plan goes to the (Planning) Inspector?”

What could she be referring to?! “Undue influence”? Surely not.

The two previous questions to Cllr Diviani had been vigorously taken by CEO Mark Williams. Williams didn’t seem to fancy answering this one, though. He sat impassively, even though Chairman Stuart Hughes leaned in to see if he wanted to contribute.

Cllr Diviani replied in somewhat woolly terms thus:

“Well, in terms of the Villages Plan that’s on its progress as it currently stands. I can’t see a reason why we should be inclined to second guess what an Inspector or other authority or otherwise is going to do and in that respect I will reserve judgement as to when we actually do take action.”

Tories shot glances at each other. Action? Against whom? And why? And what did he mean by “other authority”?

The Colyton Village Plan was the subject of a last minute amendment on 27th February 2017 when the Coly Valley’s two district councillors spoke about the disused Ceramtec factory. Of them, Cllr Godbeer was present last night.

Not available to comment was Vice Chairman Helen Parr (also a County candidate) who chose to attend Colyton’s Annual Parish Meeting instead.

LEP announces 8 new board members – four of which already held LEP positions

No surprises here:

Karl Tucker, Joint Managing Director Yeo Valley Farms (Production) Ltd
· Member HotSW LEP People Group
· Member Somerset E & Skills Steering Group
· Member Somerset Economic Growth Board
· Member SW CBI Council

Richard Stevens Managing Director, Plymouth Citybus Ltd
· Chairman Plymouth & Devon Chamber
· Chair Plymouth Growth Board
· Member PRTFu
· Numerous other local groups

Fiona McMillan Non-Executive Director, EDF Energy New Build Gen Co Ltd
· Member HotSW LEP People Group
· Chair Somerset E & Skills Steering Group
· Member Somerset Economic Growth Board
· Previously Principal Bridgwater College

Helen Lacey, Managing Director, Red Berry Recruitment
· Member HotSW LEP People Group
· Chair IoD Somerset
· Vice Chair Somerset Chamber
· Previously Vice Chair FSB Somerset
· Non-Executive Director Inspire To Achieve

Mel Squires, SW Regional Director, NFU
· Member SW CBI Council
· Member SWRFN
· Previously Member HotSW LEP Executive
· Chairman of the Seale-Hayne Education Trust

Jackie Jacobs, Board member and joint owner
EIC Group / SW Metal Finishing Ltd
· Board member WEAF

Stuart Brocklehurst, Chief Executive, Applegate Marketplace Ltd
· Governor Petroc College
· Patron of Pilton House Trust
· Previously Group Communications Director Amadeus IT Group Madrid, Senior Vice President Visa International, Bishop’s Council Diocese of Exeter

David Bird, Santander Corporate and Commercial Banking
Board member DCBC

http://heartofswlep.co.uk/news/eight-new-non-executive-directors-appointed-heart-south-west-lep-board/

Persimmon and Crest Nicholson shareholders rebel on executive pay rises

“Pirc advises shareholders to abstain on the annual remuneration report because of high pay for the chief executive, Jeff Fairburn: “The CEO-to-employee pay ratio for 2016 is at an unacceptable level of 55:1,” it says.

Mr Fairburn was paid £2.1m for 2016, up slightly from £2m a year earlier but less than half the £5m paid to then-chief executive Mike Farley in 2012.

Persimmon may be insulated from a large-scale pay rebellion because Institutional Shareholder Services, the largest proxy adviser, says shareholders should vote in favour of all motions at its annual meeting.

But the criticism of its pay scheme follows a revolt at Crest Nicholson, where 58 per cent of voting shareholders opposed the remuneration report in March after it cut profit targets at which incentives under its long-term pay plan kick in. It also comes at a time of growing disquiet over UK listed companies’ multimillion-pound payouts to top executives.

Housebuilders have been increasing profits and dividends as their businesses thrive thanks to house price rises, a shortage of new homes in areas of jobs growth, and the Help to Buy equity loan scheme. This programme enables buyers of newly built homes to receive government-backed loans so they can buy with deposits of only 5 per cent. At Persimmon, this scheme supports about 45 per cent of home sales.” …

https://www.ft.com/content/bb8628b8-269b-11e7-a34a-538b4cb30025

Bovis compensates buyer for 9 month completion delay on new home

Letter in Guardian:

“We reserved a Bovis home in February 2016 and exchanged on 6 June. However, after signing the contract, we were informed the completion date had been delayed from October 2016 to March 2017. This was a complete surprise as we weren’t made aware of any issues. It’s since been further delayed to May 2017.

We’ve not been given any explanation. Meanwhile, the sale of our flat completed and we are incurring large costs renting a home and paying for our furniture to be in storage. My wife has also given birth to our baby, who we’d planned to have in our new house. Bovis insists the original October completion date was realistic. At the end of January, it finally offered us £1,100 to cover storage and commuting costs, but our total costs are nearer £16,700 including the early mortgage termination fee we were forced to pay.” RJ, Watford Herts

ANSWER

“Since you wrote in, the completion date has been put back by another month. This means you will have to apply for a new mortgage as your current offer expires in late May.

Bovis has offered to let you withdraw from the contract but that would mean you have to start searching for a new home from scratch. It blames “operational issues”, but declines to explain how problems great enough to cause an eight-month delay had not been identified when you signed the contract the day before the completion date was postponed.

It has now agreed to your demand for £6,000 to help with some of your costs, but you are still in suspense, wondering whether you and your new family will have a proper home in June.”

Taylor Wimpey gears up to compensate buyers for lease greed

“Housebuilder Taylor Wimpey PLC has revealed it will make a £130mln provision to cover disputes over leases taken out by customers that have left some of them with a doubling in ground rent as it unveiled a good start to trading in 2017.

In a trading statement ahead of the housebuilder’s annual meeting today in London, Taylor Wimpey’s chief executive, Pete Redfern said that following conversations with freeholders and lenders the group is unveiling “measures which will address our customers’ concerns in an appropriate and fair manner.”

The FTSE 100-listed firm said it entered into the lease structures in 2007 “in good faith”, but that a review sparked by customers’ complaints showed the clauses are causing “understandable concern”.

As a result, the firm said it will make a gross provision of around £130mln that will be recorded as an exceptional item in its first half accounts.

Redfern said: “Whilst there is a financial cost to the Group related to this course of action, we confirm that our dividend targets and land investment programme are not impacted”.”

https://t.co/2yV9OlrDMi