When consultation goes wrong … again

How many examples of OUR council doing these things can YOU think of from these examples from the Consultation Institute!

Loaded questions on reducing the number of councillors:

Consultation described as “deplorable” on future delivery of services:

Telephone consultation had leading questions on Local Plan:

“Shambolic consultation” on police station closures:

“Shoddy” consultation on mental health cuts:

Growth gets sucked up into profits as south west wages now more than 30% behind south east

It’s what we all suspected – money goes into profits not wages – yet who are the people in charge of our LEP? Those who suck up those profits! That’s the market economy.

“The UK is the most geographically unbalanced economy in Europe and needs radical reform, an IPPR think-tank report has concluded.

The study highlighted that 40% of the countries output is produced in London and the South East and average incomes in the North West, South West, West Midlands and Wales are now more than 30% lower than in London. …

It stated gains from growth have gone largely into profits rather than earnings, and the UK economy is now in the longest period of pay stagnation for 150 years.

IPPR noted that though GDP per head has risen by 12% since 2010, average earnings per employee have fallen by 6%.

Since the 1970s the share of national income which has gone to wages has gradually declined, from 80% to 73%, while the share going to profits has increased.

The wage share is now the lowest it has been since the second world war, said the report.”


“Study: mild floods are declining, but intense floods are on the rise”

“… What this study does is to show, using just data and no model projections, that flood risk is indeed increasing but at the rare to very-rare flood end. The milder floods that are more of a nuisance than a threat to property and lives, are actually decreasing. This is worse news than before though, as it is these milder floods that make up the bulk of the refill to our water supply reservoirs.”


Woodbury Common money spinner for Clinton Devon Estates? Rent a hut?

The various protections on Woodbury Common must be a real headache for Clinton Devon Estates which controls the land via the Pebblebed Heaths Conservation Trust

Fear not, they have a plan!

Rent-Iron-Age-hut anyone – just an idea …


“… The nationally important archaeological site and prominent landmark was previously put on Historic England’s at risk register when it became apparent that the area was suffering, predominantly from erosion due to a high volume of visitors but also due to damage from tree roots and scrub growth.

But last year the Pebblebed Heaths Conservation Trust secured funding from Natural England’s Countryside Stewardship scheme to undertake extensive restoration work that will directly contribute to conserving and protecting the site, resulting in its eventual removal from the at Risk Register.

The funding will enable better interpretation at the monument, creating a sense of welcome for visitors so they become aware of its archaeological significance upon arrival, while promoting an understanding and appreciation of its national and historical importance.

… Volunteers are being sought to assist with some of the work, and the Trust plans to establish a volunteer archaeological monitoring scheme to give local people with an interest in archaeology or natural history the opportunity to be involved in ongoing preservation work. The Trust is also planning on hosting guided walks for people to learn more about the site.”



Pebblebed Heaths Conservation Trust is an environmental charity and forms part of conservation group that includes a Land Management Company. It is funded by Clinton Devon Estates with financial support from DEFRA.

Additional support comes from charitable donations. The Trust’s outdoor countryside learning education work is supported by the Ernest Cook Trust and the Otter Valley Association.

Clinton Devon Estates owns 80% of what remains of the Pebblebed Heaths, the core area of which is designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest, a Special Area of Conservation and a Special Protection Area. The Commons owned by Clinton Devon Estates include Aylsebeare, Harpford, Hawkerland, Colaton Raleigh, Woodbury, Bicton, East Budleigh, Dalditch and Mutter’s Moor (the latter is not a Common), with all but Aylsebeare and Harpford managed by the Pebblebed Heaths Conservation Trust.

Wow – local MP does something for his community and attacks “jobsworths” at his local council

Relax! It isn’t Swire or Parish – it’s MP Kevin Foster in Torbay! Can you honestly see Parish doing something similar for cut-off Seaton or doing anything that isn’t about the A 303? Or Swire bringing up the fact that in Sidmouth the council has also declined a petition about the future of Port Royal? Get a grip!

Torbay Council has been blasted during a debate in the House of Commons for a ‘Jobsworth’ attitude to a local bus campaign. As reported by DevonLive, residents in Torquay are dismayed at the axing of the number 65 bus.

They have prepared a petition containing more than 1,200 signatures, but Torbay council has declined to accept it at its next meeting.

Torbay MP Kevin Foster duly took the petition to the House of Commons and presented it there, at which point the Deputy Speaker Lindsay Hoyle told him: “You need to have another word with that local authority.

Mr Foster joined a group of 30 residents battling to get the 65 bus route reinstated after it was axed in April. The route covered some of the hilliest areas of the town including Hele, Babbacombe and Ellacombe.

Campaigner Val Baker said: “Since the bus was axed, many of the most vulnerable and elderly members of the community have been left cut off and isolated. People say they feel cut off from the outside world now and their only alternative is to use a taxi, which they can ill afford.”

The nationwide Campaign for Better Transport is urging Torbay Council to rethink its transport plan and consult with the community. They say the misery of the bus cuts is an all-too-common story all over the country.

In the House of Commons Mr Foster handed in the petition and said: “Some Jobsworths at Torbay Council have decided they wish to reject this petition, so it’s welcome that this House is more responsive to my residents’ views than some officers at their local council.

“The petition declares that the cancellation of the 65 bus will have detrimental impact on local residents and in particular elderly residents. The petition therefore requests that the House of Commons urges Torbay Council to commit to providing a similar service to the previous 65 service for the sake of the local residents as soon as possible.”


Budleigh “well being” hub has to have minibus to collect patients – but only from the “nine parishes” that contributed to it

Good for those people who have raised their own money for this service. Perhaps the CCG can now provide dedicated buses from the proceeds of the sale of assets from rest of East Devon, where Leagues of Friends also tirelessly continue to raise funds for their bedless hospitals, for similar buses to other “health hubs” or to the two remaining community hospitals in Sidmouth and Exmouth – otherwise those people outside the “nine parishes” will have an inequality of service.

And Owl loves the optimism of the last sentence: “When phone lines are established at the hub, residents will be able to ring up and arrange for the bus to collect them.” Anyone who has ever tried to maintain a rota for such a service and who has had to prioritise how such a service is funded, maintained and accessed will understand Owl’s qualms when the private company running the hub starts to make the executive decisions about who uses it and when.

“New community mini bus will help transport people to new health and wellbeing hub

A ‘ring and ride’ bus which will transport residents to the new Budleigh Salterton Health and Wellbeing Hub has officially been handed over.

The bus was purchased two years ago following an cash injection of more than £20,000 from the Parishes Together Fund.

Now, the bus will give residents in the nine parishes that contributed towards that initial cost transport, a form of transport to the former hospital. It will also allow people in the Budleigh area to get transport to Exmouth Hospital for appointments.

That includes Budleigh Salterton, Colaton Raleigh, Otterton, East Budleigh with Bicton, Exmouth and Lympstone.

Dr David Evans, chairman of Budleigh Salterton Hospital League of Friends, said: “The Hub Bus and local transport is of immense importance to the Budleigh Salterton Community Hospital Health and Wellbeing Hub.”

The tail-lift minibus will be kept at the hub in what used to an ambulance bay.

The running costs of the bus will be shared between Budleigh Hospital League of Friends and their Exmouth counterparts and the bus will be managed by Westbank Community Health, which has the lease of the new hub.

Hub project manager Rob Jones added: “What we wanted to try and do is to reduce worry about not being able to get to the hub.”

Dr Evans also revealed that a grand opening of the new health and wellbeing hub is due to take place this November.

He added: “The contractors have now finished the refurbishment of the hospital and moved out last week.

“They have completed an excellent assignment and the result is absolutely superb.

“It is desirable that the hub is fully functional for the grand opening in very early November.

“This will show what can be done when a community hospital faces closure.”

Furniture and fittings funded by the League of Friends are due to be introduced in the next month with services being phased in during September and October.

Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital is due to move some its services into the hub next month.

When phone lines are established at the hub, residents will be able to ring up and arrange for the bus to collect them.”


Environment: Claire Wright asks us to write to Swire

Claire Wright Facebook:


If you care about nature and environmental protections please email Hugo Swire about this.

He simply parrots Michael Gove’s misleading nonsense about all nature laws being transferred over, but there very different plans afoot within the Tory Party.

I know someone will say what’s the point, but if we don’t lobby him he will simply claim no one really cares or people don’t believe it is a priority.
He needs to speak and vote the right way on this Bill.

I lodged a motion on this very issue at Devon County Council earlier this year and got it through virtually unopposed, however the response from central government was anything but reassuring.

No promises whatsoever.

In East Devon there are important landscape legal protections and there are also many species currently protected under EU law that are at risk of losing that protection…. at a time when nature is more depleted than ever before.

If you are on Twitter tweet him with this link. The more public the better.
Even better back it up with an email. Simply paste the points in the article into an email as a request, with a short personal intro.

It will take just two minutes 🙂
Let’s hold Hugo Swire to account.

Bovis: another “poor” developer upping dividends

“The City gave the thumbs-up to new boss Greg Fitzgerald’s “small is beautiful” turnaround plans for struggling Bovis Homes on Thursday, marking the shares up 8% despite a slump in first-half profits.

Bovis sacked its previous chief executive David Ritchie in January after profit warnings and controversy over “bribes” for buyers to move into barely finished homes — triggering opportunisitic takeover bids from rivals Redrow and Galliford Try.

Fitzgerald’s medicine involves rebuilding the business’s scarred reputation with customers and scaling back its growth plans, now aiming to sell 4000 homes a year instead of 6000 by 2020.

The firm has also shed 120 jobs to cut costs by merging two of its regional businesses.

But the payouts are getting bigger, with investors in line for £180 million in special dividends, funded by cutting exposure and investment on its larger sites, and selling some developments.

The ordinary dividend is jacked up 5% this year, with the promise of an extra 20% in 2018.

Shares jumped 8% or 85.7p to 1140p despite a 31% slide in profits to £42.7 million in the first half of the year.

The ex-Galliford boss, who took over in April, said the housebuilder’s woes were “very fixable”.

He said: “I’ve got a great hand of cards, we’ve just got to play that hand of cards better than we have in the past.

“Our strategy represents the minimal risk for the maximum shareholder return. Where Bovis is at the moment, that’s the right thing to do instead of charging on to get to 10,000 units. We’re well on the way to fixing Bovis but it is going to take more than a day.”

Jefferies analyst Anthony Codling called the strategy a “new dawn” and upgraded his estimates for the firm’s annual profits.”