British Gas shares plummet – CEO’s salary soars

“The boss of Centrica [formerly British Gas] is fighting for his job as investors lose faith in his leadership.

Iain Conn has been chief executive of the British Gas owner since 2015 – picking up £11.1 million in pay along the way.

But the FTSE 100 group’s shares have tumbled 60 per cent on his watch and are at their lowest level since 1999.

The father-of-three’s position is seen as particularly vulnerable since the arrival of Charles Berry, who succeeded Rick Haythornthwaite as chairman in February. …

Conn has also attracted the ire of retail investors who have seen the value of their savings plummet from 279p a share when he took over in 2015 to 109.05p at the close of business yesterday.

The slump has slashed Centrica’s value from £15.9 billion to £6.2 billion.

The backlash among shareholders comes a week after it emerged that Conn, 56, enjoyed a 44 per cent pay rise to £2.4million in 2018.

The rise of £740,000 covered a year when British Gas hiked bills for millions of families and saw 742,000 customers leave. …

Centrica this month announced another 500 jobs are at risk – 400 of which are based in Glasgow –- as part of the company’s plan to cut 2,000 jobs this year. It has axed 7,700 jobs since 2015.

Centrica declined to comment last night. …”

Cranbrook urgently needs temporary GP practice

Owl is amused at the idea that an extra GP practice would increase footfall in the “town”. But you just cannot call a settlement of 2,000 houses with 5 shops a town – maybe “suburb of Exeter” is now more appropriate!

“… Cranbrook temporary GP Practise
The Projects Director presented the report which sought approval for up to £150k of funding from the Enterprise Programme to enable the delivery of a temporary GP practice in Cranbrook town centre. This was an urgent requirement because of the lack of capacity at the current practice. Whilst Access Healthcare had had their contract extended there were significant concerns over the ability to deliver increasing patient numbers. Expanded facilities were therefore urgently required.
Discussions included the following:

 if not supported this would create a massive health inequality
 this was a loan therefore the borrowing would be repaid
 as well as helping the health service, this was a benefit to the residents of Cranbrook as the existing provision was under pressure. …

The current GP practice in the Younghayes Centre was at capacity. The temporary GP practice would enable the continued delivery of primary care services in Cranbrook for a period of 5 years. It would also bring increased footfall to the town centre and act as a catalyst for attracting wider investment.”

And yet another Tory councillor from far, far away (170 miles) it seems – this time Seaton?

NOTE: if this is NOT the same person, Owl is very happy to be contacted by either or both of the people with this name to clear up the matter ( as quickly as possible.

This time a sitting councillor in West Sussex – Mrs Jacquie Russell. On her nomination paper for Seaton she gives her address as “East Devon District”:

Click to access seaton.pdf

She appears to be an East Grinstead Town Councillor:


“Jacquie sits on the Public Services Committee at present and is also a West Sussex County Council for East Grinstead South and Ashurst Wood.”


though apparently not standing for re-election this year:

and she sits on her local district council too:

“Jacquie Russell is a former Co-Director of a Construction Project management company and is now a Property Developer. Previously she has been Leader of East Grinstead Town Council and Chairmen of its Planning Committee. She is a mother of five, grandmother of two, and enjoys walking and photography.”

though, again, not standing this year.

So, is this a coincidence? It seems unlikely as she DOES tweet about our area – although her tweets are private) you can see this Google listing:

Maybe she is/was a second home owner? If so, it would no doubt be useful for them to have a voice on the district council, there being so many of them!

Or maybe she has just moved or about to move into the district?

But not immersed in East Devin local politics with all that work in East Grinstead!

Seaton voters, if they see her about, might well have a few questions to ask her!

PegasusLife ‘to build in phases’ at Knowle

Owl says: Won’t be much fun for those in Phase 1 (or their neighbours) to live on or near a building site until other phases (how many?) are completed.

“… Sidmouth Town Council revealed on Monday night 3.5hectres of land at Knowle could be transferred sooner than expected after members were told the land and car park would not be available until the completion of PegasusLife’s 113-home retirement community.

Town clerk Christopher Holland told the meeting the developer has decided to build its 113-home retirement community in phases, rather than one go, meaning it will be able to contain its construction materials without using the public car park.

In November, the Herald revealed the developer had been allowed the use of the lower car park and meadow as storage space for the duration of the works. …”

Can you be an effective councillor from 218 miles away?

Owl has received the email below from an anonymous source.  However, on checking, it does appear correct – the person in question who wants to represent Sidmouth Sidford [edited from Sidbury – ed mistake] ward as a Conservative will need to spend the majority of his time in Cambridge for the foreseeable future.

Gosh – that’s 50 miles further than our London-based MP – who we rarely see!

Information: The AA

“As an elector who takes an interest in who might be representing us on the incoming District Council, I was pleased to see that a young man was standing in the Sidmouth Sidford ward.

However, my pleasure then turned to uncertainty when I realised that this young man is student at Robinson College in Cambridge. It appears that he started his degree course in the autumn of 2018.

I then asked myself the question – how will someone who must surely have to spend much of his time studying in Cambridge over the next few years be able to full represent the electors in Sidford as well as playing a full part in District Council activities? AND University life?

I see that the distance between Sidford, which would be where his electors live, and Cambridge, where he will be studying for his degree is a good 218 miles which on a good day could take upwards of 4 hours to drive.

This has all left me a bit bemused as to how this young man, will be able to balance his studying, with effectively representing his electors, with having a reasonable social and family life.

Is this really fair on young Zachary Marsh – or is his political party so short of candidates that it thinks its right to have an elected Councillor who would live so far away from those he wants to represent?

A concerned elector”