Sidford Business Park already being touted for relocated Lidl

Or Alexandra Business Park – where its inadequate size and location for businesses was given as a reason for development of Sidford Business Park!


Independent councillor gets policy on car parking charges changed

“A motion put forward by councillor Paul Millar, to add car parking strategy to the list of policy areas which need the approval of full council, was approved on Wednesday (October 23).

Previously, final decisions on parking were made by the cabinet, which is made up of councillors from the ruling party.

As a result of Cllr Millar’s motion, cabinet can make recommendations to full council which will have the final say.

In its last meeting, cabinet decided to launch a consultation process on proposals to increase the hourly rate in East Devon car parks from £1 to £1.20.

The decision has been called in by the district council’s scrutiny committee which was due to hold an extraordinary meeting on Thursday (October 24).

A task and finish forum has also been set up to look at the issue.”

Tories pretend to try to solve problems they caused!

Er, who caused these problems?

“The housing secretary has warned that developers building poor-quality homes will have to “change their practices”.

Robert Jenrick called for a “systemic change” in Britain’s approach to planning and design, saying: “For too long there has been a misconception in the housebuilding industry that quality is the enemy of supply.

“In fact, experience shows us that it is those developments of the highest quality and the most attractive designs which are approved faster, sell faster and which are the most enduringly popular.”

Speaking at an event hosted by the Policy Exchange think tank and Create Streets, a research institute, he said: “Design now matters in this country and developers who bring forward poor-quality designs are going to have to change their practices.”

The government issued a national design guide this month setting out ten principles of good building. There was previously no accepted standard for new homes. The guide will be followed by a more detailed “national model design code” early next year. Local authorities will be encouraged to create their own versions of the code, giving communities a legal right to hold developers to account.

James Brokenshire, the former housing secretary, warned housebuilders in March that they must end “unacceptable” punitive costs and “nightmare” snagging problems in new homes if they wanted to continue to benefit from Help to Buy — the government-backed equity loan scheme that has supported home ownership. Some of its biggest housebuilder beneficiaries, such as Persimmon, have been criticised about the quality of their homes.

Mr Jenrick, 37, said that he would give “careful consideration” to how his department could use a revised version of the scheme in 2021 to stipulate improved build quality.

He also announced a “heritage preservation campaign” under which the government will commit £700,000 of funding for a campaign to encourage people to nominate buildings and assets in their local areas to be protected with listed status.”

Source: The Times

Local Enterprise Partnership: DCC scrutiny committee in crisis?

Comment as post:

“This positive change has long been requested by East Devon Alliance DCC Councillor Martin Shaw (Colyton and Seaton). See …

On 13 October I made a comment on the Heart of the South West (HotSW) Joint Scrutiny Committee meeting scheduled for the 17 October. I pointed out that attendance at this essential exercise in democracy had steadily fallen through the year from eleven to just five councillors [correction, should read six] and added my opinion that this scrutiny committee has all the appearance of being in crisis.

Sadly this view seems to have been confirmed from the October 17 meeting.

From the minutes and associated documents of this Joint Scrutiny meeting of 17 October attendance is recorded as follows, down again to a bare quorum of five:


Councillor Jerry Brook Devon County Council (Chair)
Councillor Richard Hosking Devon County Council
Councillor Julian Brazil Devon County Council
Councillor Gareth Derrick Plymouth City Council
Councillor Barrie Spencer South Hams District Council

Councillor Ray Bloxham Devon County Council
Councillor Mike Lewis Somerset County Council
Councillor Jonny Morris Plymouth City Council

Councillor Rod Williams Somerset County Council (Vice-Chair)
Councillor Ann Brown Somerset County Council
Councillor Simon Coles Somerset County Council
Councillor Lee Howgate Torbay Council
Councillor Karen Kennedy Torbay Council
Councillor Norman Cavill Taunton Deane Borough Council
Councillor Richard Chesterton Mid Devon District Council
Councillor Ian Dyer Sedgemoor District Council

[Only 16 councillors are listed though the Terms of Reference of the Scrutiny Committee sets the number at 17 – see Appendix 1 of the October briefing pack]

Three of these attendees: Councillors, Hoskins, Brazil and Derrick were also among the six attending the previous meeting in June. These Councillors deserve credit for taking their scrutiny responsibility seriously where the majority clearly have not. Note that not a single Councillor from Somerset attended. This is democratic deficit writ large.

As reported by Owl, the meeting did agreed that future meetings be webcast to continue to increase transparency of the Committee; and that public participation be adopted at future Committee meetings in line with Devon County Council’s public participation scheme. This is something that should have been included at the beginning but nevertheless represents progress.

In my comment I conjectured a number of reasons why members might find attendance to be a waste of their time and, mischievously, raised the rhetorical question as to whether HoTSW might be using creative administrative devises to make scrutiny difficult or seem unimportant. So it is interesting to read, from the minutes that among the topics discussed were the following:

1. the challenge of actively scrutinising the LEP when funds had already been allocated and projects begun;
2. the need for Scrutiny to have sight of policies before they are agreed and implemented by the LEP, to add value and effectiveness to the governance process;
3. the requirement of the Committee to scrutinise strategic documents and the cost effectiveness of the LEP.

These are excellent questions which would certainly have benefitted from members of the public being able to follow the details through webcasting. We now need to know the HotSW’s response.”