[Ottery] “Hospital faces 18 month wait to apply for community status”

“East Devon District Council (EDDC) announced on February 27 that supporters must wait until February 2020 before re-applying for the hospital to be listed as an asset of community value (ACV). When a building is listed as an ACV, the local community has to be informed if it goes up for sale and the public can enact the ‘community right to bid’ which gives them a period of six months to determine if they can raise the finance to purchase the asset.

The initial decision not to list the building as an ACV came in December when Ottery was one of four East Devon hospitals to be nominated. EDDC stated that it did not believe the hospital furthered the social wellbeing or social interests of the local community.

At the council meeting on February 27, Cllr Roger Giles, who also sits on the Ottery Town Council, raised the matter and referenced Southwold Hospital, in Suffolk, which was successfully listed as an ACV, before becoming the first hospital in the country to be bought by the community.

As part of the decision to list it as an ACV, Cllr Giles said the strategic director of WDC stated the owner’s assertion there is no evidence of the community social wellbeing being furthered defied common sense.

Cllr Giles said this is a view shared by many local Ottery residents about their hospital and warned that Ottery and other local community hospitals are at risk because of this perverse decision. He said EDDC is suffering reputational damage as a result of this ‘very regrettable’ decision.

Cllr Ian Thomas, leader of EDDC, said each case is considered on its merits and there had been no new evidence to warrant a review for Ottery.

Last week, leading figures from the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital and the Northern, Eastern and Western Locality Devon Clinical Commissioning Group attended a discussion to review plans for the building. A statement from the working group said: “A wide-ranging and constructive discussion took place, and a number of tasks were allocated.”

A further meeting will be held in early June.”


“Pork Barrel politics”: why ‘good news’ always comes just before elections

Portishead Independents tell it as it is!

“Pork Barrel Politics

There’s a lot of good news in Portishead at the moment. In our local papers you may have seen headlines like

“£180,000 to be spent on precinct regeneration”
“New investment brings rail line closer”
“New playground opens “

And without a doubt these are all great news stories,but have you ever stopped to wonder why we as a town are suddenly so lucky. Well it’s down to something that the Americans call Pork Barrel Politics.

It works like this a Cllr or two worried about their seats asks their party boss if there is any spare cash available to fund some projects that concern their voters say a new railway line that’s been delayed for years or a shopping precinct that’s in urgent need of repair.

They put out a press release with a quote from the Councillor so that the voters know whose “working hard” for them and just like that they expect the voters to forgot how awful they’ve been the last 4 years and re-elect them.

And if anyone mentions this and complains then the councillors supporters say “look at these people, you see they are never happy”.

Expect the papers in the next few weeks to be full of good news stories.

Why ?

Because they are scared of you, they are scared that you know there’s a better way. They are scared that change is coming to our town.

Portishead independents, your team, your town.”

EDDC Monitoring Officer censures Seaton Lib Dem Councillor Peter Burrows

Recall that Owl broke the original story about Seaton Town Council and EDDC Lib Dem councillor Peter Burrows here:


and the updated story here:

Although Councillor Burrows resigned as Mayor of Seaton Town Council he did NOT resign as a town or district councillor. It remains to be seen if local Lib Dems select him again to stand for district council elections in May 2019.

Now EDDC’s Monitoring Officer has also given a statement.

On or around the 1st January 2019, Councillor Peter Burrows posted a tweet on the SeatonTIC Twitter account [which was not an official Seaton Town Council website or an official Seaton TIC but a personal account of Mr Burrows, now closed] which alleged that a local business had bad-mouthed “the Mayor of Seaton” and [he] asked people to avoid [using] that business.

The tweet was a direct response to comments made by an individual who Councillor Burrows believed worked at the business concerned. This was not the case and neither the business nor its owner had any involvement in the making of the comments in relation to Councillor Burrows.

The tweet was inappropriate and breached Seaton Town Council’s Code of Conduct in that;

It failed to promote and support high standards of conduct,

It failed to treat others with respect,

It could not be justified to the public.

Councillor Burrows conducted himself in a manner that brought his office and Seaton Town Council into disrepute.

Councillor Burrows is hereby formally censured for the breaches that have been found in relation to his entirely inappropriate tweet.”

“Jacob Rees-Mogg ‘has earned £7,000,000 from investments since Brexit’

Isn’t the (dormant) company that Swire owns with his Russian oligarch-serving pal Lord Barker set up to invest in “emerging markets”?

Wouldn’t it be super if profits MPs made while in Parliament had to go to their constituencies!

“The rest of Britain might be fretting about the impact of a no-deal Brexit, but leading Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg is doing very nicely, thanks. An investigation by Channel 4’s Dispatches found that the Conservative MP could have earned up to £7,000,000 from Somerset Capital Managment, which invests in emerging markets such as China and Russsia. In the programme, one expert suggests that the fall in the value of the pound has helped to drive SCM’s profits – but Rees-Mogg dismissed such claims as ‘living in cloud cuckoo land’.

Rees-Mogg refused to disclose his earnings from the firm, of which he owns 15% and which he set up in 2007. Records show that its profits have doubled and it has paid £47m to members since the referendum. Rees-Mogg told Dispatches, ‘The amount that I received is not for public disclosure. I’m entitled to the same privacy in my affairs as anyone else in parliament is.

Mr Rees-Mogg declares in his House of Commons Register of Interests that he is paid £500 an hour for his work at SCM and takes home around £15,000 a month on top of his MPs salary. SCM invests in emerging markets like China and Russia and one expert said that the fall in the value of the pound since the referendum result has helped SCM’s profits. Rees-Mogg also rejected claims that SCM’s decision in the past year to open two new funds in Dublin rather than London had anything to with Brexit.

Our decision to do it predates Brexit,’ he told the programme. Dispatches also revealed how some hedge funds have built up huge bets against British business and hoping to make big profits if the economy hits the rocks after Brexit.

Dispatches reveals that the US investment firm Blackrock holds the most bets against British business totalling more than £1bn. The hedge fund run by leading Brexiteer Crispin Odey is betting almost £500m against British businesses. Odey made more than £200m on the night of the referendum by betting that the value of the pound would plummet.”


Seaton Wetlands runner-up in Countryfile Magazine awards

“Popular wildlife haven is runner-up in Best Nature Reserve category in BBC Countryfile Magazine’s 2019 Awards

Stunning Seaton Wetlands, one of East Devon District Council’s most popular nature reserves, has won a top national accolade after being voted for by readers of the BBC Countryfile Magazine.

The beautiful wildlife haven is runner-up in the Best Nature Reserve category in the 2019 Awards, which celebrates the best of the British countryside.

The Wetlands was nominated by the magazine’s readers alongside other nature reserves from across the country and a panel of six judges whittled them down to a shortlist of five in each category. Readers were invited to vote for their favourite place online or via a postal form from January to February this year.

The Falls of Clyde, managed by Scottish Wildlife Trust, won the Best Nature Reserve category, with Seaton Wetlands as runner up and Suffolk Wildlife Trust’s Carlton Marshes coming third.”

Older, wealthier rural elderly people being targeted by fraudsters

“Fraudsters are increasingly moving out of the city and targeting older homeowners in the countryside, according to Experian, the credit checker.

Experian’s data shows a 29.5pc rise in third-party fraud against well-off homeowners in the country in 2018, with thousands of people affected.

Third-party fraud is where criminals steal an unsuspecting victim’s identity and then commit crimes in their name.

A classic example is to gather information on a victim, then apply for a bank account or credit card under their name.

This can be done with relatively little information. If a fraudster knows your full name, date of birth, plus current and previous addresses, then they are in a good position to clone your identity.

If the fraudster then intercepts the card by stealing post directed to your house, they can use the credit or debit card as if they were you.

Fraudulent credit card applications rose 31pc in 2018, Experian said.

Fraudsters have traditionally committed this kind of fraud in towns and cities, where they can rely on flats with communal mailbox areas and residents who might not challenge strangers.

But last year saw fraudsters start to change their tactics.

Nick Mothershaw, of Experian, said: “Fraudsters are now moving out of cities and into the nearby countryside.

“They will go to areas where there are wealthy houses.”

The frauds that criminals can commit under the name of a wealthy clone will be larger.

Mr Mothershaw said: “If you’re going to steal someone’s identity, you might as well steal the identity of someone with high net wealth, as the credit limits you are going to be offered are higher.” … “


People now shopping for “needs” not “wants”

… “Helen Dickinson OBE, chief executive of the British Retail Consortium, said: ‘While real incomes have been rising over the last year, the uncertainty surrounding Brexit appears to be driving a needs-not-wants approach to shopping…. “


Don’t buy Comic Relief PLASTIC red noses

Scoop, Facebook post:

“Red noses…

They are plastic and we buy 6-7 million of them each year!!! The worst bit about it is that you pay £1.25 and only 65p of that goes to comic relief. Buy something useful instead I.e a t-shirt or better still avoid the ‘stuff’ and donate the entire £1.25 (and more if you can afford to) by texting or ringing.

Huge amounts of waste and unnecessary paraphernalia. It’s a fab cause but actually the people who will suffer most from climate change are being supported by money which is spent on things that are causing it! Ironic!”

“Axe personal allowance and pay everyone £48 a week, says thinktank” [and no-one will be worse off!]

What a genius idea – many people better off and no-one worse off!

“… The proposal, from the New Economics Foundation thinktank, is for a £48.08 “weekly national allowance,” amounting to £2,500.16 a year from the state, paid to every adult over the age of 18 earning less than £125,000 a year. The cash would not replace benefits and would not depend on employment. …

The weekly payments would be fully funded by the abolition of the tax-free personal allowance, which has seen inflation-busting increases under the Conservatives over the past 10 years, but which NEF said had benefited richer households most.

For someone on £25,000 a year, the personal allowance means that the first £12,500 of their earnings, from this April, are not charged basic rate tax at 20%. This is worth £2,500. But if the same person is paid £48 a week instead, they will receive £2,496 a year, so they will be no better or worse off. …”