First they changed offices to homes, now it’s shops

Will they be affordable ……….

… Experts believe that turning unused shops into houses could stop the decline of town centres – as well as bringing down sky-high property prices.

Mr Hammond is also under pressure to freeze business rates which are blamed by retailers for helping to hollow out the high street.

A spokesman for the Treasury said: “We don’t comment on Budget speculation.

“Fire stations may need to be moved due to new housing developments” [including Cranbrook]

Owl says: does this mean ambulance stations, schools and doctors’ surgeries may now be in the wrong places?

“New housing developments across Devon and Somerset may mean a rethink of where fire stations are needed.

There are currently 85 fire stations across the two counties, but the stations are aligned to standards of fire cover from the late 1940s and are not reflective of the current and future demographics of the two counties.

Assistant chief fire officer Peter Bond, director of service improvement, told fire authority members on Monday morning that its risk mapping graphs showed that in the great majority of cases, the authority has a lot of good cover and high risk areas are within the targeted 10 minute response time.

But he added: “It is pleasing to see and that we have our resources in the right place. But there will be some developments in Devon and Somerset, such as Cranbrook, Sherford, Taunton Garden Town, and other towns that as they expand, will sit outside the existing 10 minute response zone.”

The “army” “weaponising” Ottery Hospital!

A few of the “weaponised army” at Ottery Hospital – the strapline picture from the blog of tireless health campaignet Claire Wright – the picture shows 2 children, a dozen ladies of a certain age and two mem. Can anyone see any weapons! Do placards and peaceful protest constitute weaponising?

Added to which, Claire Wright looks distinctly unarmed!

or perhaps this is more appropriate:

or this:


and remember, Swire signed up to this:

Open letter to Swire on hospital bed closures from DCC Independent East Devon Alliance councillor Martin Shaw

“Dear Hugo Swire,

In a recent Exmouth Journal article you said: “Regrettably, Ottery Hospital has been weaponised by an anti-Tory coalition for nigh on ten years with them telling a naturally alarmed local community that it will be sold off or closed. I have spent 10 years trying to counter this scaremongering. …”

It’s hardly scaremongering when the hospital has lost its beds and this July’s Devon NHS Sustainability and Transformation Partnership report said, ‘We know a large amount of space in our community hospital buildings is underused. The revenue cost of our community hospital estates is in the order of £20 million; money the NHS could use to improve other services. Working with other public sector partners, as part of the One Public Estate initiative, we will review the space that is required to deliver care, and plan to consolidate the number of sites to free up estate and generate money, which can be re-invested in technology and infrastructure.’

It’s also rich for you to talk about ‘weaponising’ community hospitals. In Seaton we remember all too well when the Clinical Commissioning Group launched its consultation on the future of community hospital beds in 2016, with its preferred option being Option A which would keep the beds in Tiverton, Exmouth and Seaton. You said in Parliament that ‘option B, which sees the beds retained in Tiverton, and also in Sidmouth and Exmouth, is the option worthy of support. Sidmouth has an extremely high proportion of over-85s, with people increasingly living longer, and of people with dementia. Exmouth is the biggest town in Devon with more than 35,000 people.’

Four months later the CCG followed your recommendation, changed its preference, and closed Seaton’s beds. The reasons given for preferring Sidmouth to Seaton were specious – Seaton has an almost identical proportion of elderly. In short, Hugo Swire, you sold Seaton down the river because it was no longer in your constituency (having been removed due to boundary changes in 2010) and you needed to save beds in Sidmouth as well as Exmouth to fend off the challenge from Claire Wright, who even so ran you close in the 2017 General Election.

Today Seaton Hospital, like Ottery, Honiton and Axminster, faces an uncertain future. If it closes, it will be a knock-on effect of the beds decision, and it will be partly on your head.

Martin Shaw, County Councillor for Seaton and Colyton”

Who’s ‘weaponising’ community hospitals, @HugoSwire? Two years ago you were happy to sell out Seaton Hospital to save your parliamentary career

Seaton councillor to ask searching question of EDDC on NHS

From the blog of DCC Independent East Devon Alliance councillor:

The question to be asked by former Mayor and Seaton Councillor Jack Rowlands:

“EDDC has recently decided not to list Seaton Community Hospital as an asset of community value citing that it does not meet the definition of “social wellbeing”. EDDC has now declined requests from 3 community hospitals in the district giving the same reason each time. Please explain why other district councils in Devon have agreed to list community hospitals as assets of community value e.g. Tyrell Community Hospital in Ilfracombe, Moretonhampstead Community Hospital, Bovey Tracey Community Hospital and Teignmouth Community Hospital.

Why is EDDC interpreting the definition differently to neighbouring district councils on this important issue where our community hospitals may be under threat of being fully closed and sold in the future by NHS Property Services?”

Why has EDDC refused to list Seaton and other community hospitals as ‘assets of community value’, when other Devon districts have done so? Jack Rowland will ask at the EDDC on Wednesday