Plan for new park that will cover land ‘half the size of Exeter’

Plan for new park that will cover land ‘half the size of Exeter’

Consultation on a masterplan for a new regional valley park that will cover land ‘half the size of Exeter’ has been agreed.

Cllr Geoff Jung, East Devon District Council Portfolio Holder for Coast, Country & Environment, added: “I’m delighted that this exciting plan is available for a full public consultation. The coronavirus pandemic has been a stark reminder of the importance of spending time outdoors to our health and wellbeing.

Daniel Clark 

The Clyst Valley Regional Park is set to consists of a number of greenspaces will be linked by greenways and will extend from Clyst St George to the south to Killerton House to the north, and to the Cranbrook Country Park to the east.

A masterplan has been produced to set out a long-term, broad guide to how the Regional Park could develop and to set out the big picture and the general direction of travel and opportunity.

It articulates the potential benefits of delivering projects and in so doing, it will be used to support funding bids, attract investors, and to pull in partners and resources to work up and deliver projects.

The front cover of the Clyst Valley Regional Park masterplan

The front cover of the Clyst Valley Regional Park masterplan

The masterplan says: “The Clyst Valley Regional Park is crucial for the health and wellbeing of a growing population, and to restore the natural capital on which we all depend. The purpose of this masterplan has been to set out a long-term, broad guide to how the Regional Park could develop. It is a first draft and is not perfect. A five year action plan for delivery will then follow and progress will be monitored and reported annually to EDDC.”

Cllr Geoff Jung, East Devon District Council Portfolio Holder for Coast, Country & Environment, added: “I’m delighted that this exciting plan is available for a full public consultation. The coronavirus pandemic has been a stark reminder of the importance of spending time outdoors to our health and wellbeing.

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“Devon is well-known for its countryside with national parks, areas of outstanding natural beauty, estuaries and beautiful coastline. But there is greater pressure than ever on these stunning locations.

“With a growing population, it is necessary to provide much-needed homes, jobs and infrastructure. As more people explore the countryside, it is imperative that we protect and enhance our green spaces because getting active outdoors keeps us healthy and happy, plus the countryside can help us address climate change by storing carbon and water, as we work towards becoming carbon neutral by 2040.

“The Clyst Valley Regional Park will play a valuable role in providing new open spaces near major growth areas. The idea for a Regional Park was included in the East Devon District Council Local Plan in 2016 and will ensure that the new town of Cranbrook and developments close to Exeter are provided with large scale, high quality greenspace.

The Clyst Valley Regional Park area

The Clyst Valley Regional Park area

“The Clyst Valley Regional Park will enhance the land surrounding the River Clyst and its tributaries, with linked green corridors enabling people to visit the outdoors via cycleways and footpaths. The Park will improve biodiversity, for example through natural woodland regeneration, urban tree planting, creating nature reserves, and helping to reduce flooding by careful natural, waterflow management.

“The creation of the Regional Park will help reduce the pressure on more environmentally sensitive locations and help to conserve heritage assets, protecting our cultural identity. It will be managed to the highest standard.”

He added that pieces of this jigsaw are coming together as East Devon District Council is working with landowners and partners to deliver a Country Park at Cranbrook and at Pin Brook, the first sections of the Clyst Valley Trail are being built, 3,500 broadleaved trees and shrubs have been planted through the ‘Great trees in the Clyst Valley’ initiative.

Tuesday’s Strategic Planning Committee saw councillors unanimously agree the draft Clyst Valley Regional Park Masterplan for public consultation.

They heard the masterplan will be a material consideration in assessing planning applications within the Regional Park and it should be used by land owners, developers and their agents as additional guidance on how, and where, green infrastructure can be delivered

The view from an orchard in Whimple

The view from an orchard in Whimple


Ashclyst Forest

The National Trust provides access to 272 hectares of the forest along a choice of colourcoded trails ranging from 2.4 km to 11.3 km, and including a 3.5 km butterfly trail suitable for wheelchairs and buggies. The forest is an important site for pearl-bordered and small pearlbordered fritillary butterflies, twelve species of bats, dormice, and breeding birds. It is probably of national importance.

The National Trust plans to make the forest a more-attractive and enjoyable destination for walking, cycling and horse-riding. The intention is to create a visitor hub at Ashclyst Farm and an outdoor field studies centre at Caddihoe, the latter in collaboration with the Scout Association.

Bishops Court

A hugely important piece of the jigsaw. Ownership is split across three private land holdings but all have a desire to protect and enhance the natural and built heritage.

Over the next five years, parkland tree planting should continue alongside protection and maintenance of the existing old trees, one of which (an English oak) is estimated to be 700 years old.

A new permissive path and picnic area in Alder Croft woodland could create a circular trail from Sowton village without needing to use Bishops Court Lane, which is a ‘rat run’ during rush hour. A strategy needs to be defined, and funding secured, to restore, and if possible, provide public access to the wonderful tithe barn and stables.

Clyst Valley Trail

The Clyst Valley Trail will be a commuting and recreational trail for walkers, cyclists, mobility scooters and where feasible, horse riders. It will link the Exe Estuary trail with the historic Killerton House and Park, via an existing multi-use trail from Broadclyst. There is future potential to reach Ashclyst Forest and the Exe Valley Way

It will provide a direct, safe, green route to employment centres at Science Park, Sky Park, and close access to Exeter Business Park & Sowton Industrial Estate. On the way, it passes through historic parkland at Poltimore, forming the backbone of the new Clyst Valley Regional Park.

Hayes Farm

It provides a green buffer between the housing at Mosshayne and the Lidl warehouse as without this the landscape of the Park would be severed at this point, and the site is the only remaining recreational green space of useable size for the community of Clyst Honiton.

Planning obligations secured the enhancement of wetland habitats within this project area, including reed bed and additional wet woodland. There is potential to site a bird hide overlooking this small reserve, and a remote camera in the ‘bat house’, designed solely for the protection of a population of bats, could be an excellent educational resource.

Lower Clyst

This is a very significant area of freshwater grazing marsh and fen. It is at risk from sea level rise and the river banks downstream of Winslade Barton will not be defendable in the long term. Sea level rise will lead to the loss of internationally important mud and sand flats on the Exe Estuary, and this loss will have to be compensated by inter-tidal habitat creation elsewhere.

The route of the proposed Clyst Valley Trail from Darts Farm follows the ridge to the east of the river. This will be a multi-use trail, but a return footpath following the toe of the ridge back to Dart’s Farm offers great opportunities for screened wildlife viewing of the river and marsh, whilst also providing a beautiful circular walk for all abilities.


Mosshayne Farm is situated just north of Blackhorse/Clyst Honiton and together with the Hayes Farm site it is an important piece of green infrastructure between the new Lidl distribution centre to the east and land allocated for housing to the west.

The owner is keen to explore options for willow biomass or habitat creation (meanders, ponds, fen, wet woodland, marshy grassland) in conjunction with 1.7 km of river restoration and enhanced public access.

Pin Brook

The Brook is an important wildlife corridor flowing out of Pinhoe and into the River Clyst and is being delivered in connection with Linden Homes. The 7 ha Minerva Country Park has now been delivered by Barratt David Wilson Homes and, subject to contract, will be managed by EDDC Countryside Team. A further 3 ha immediately adjacent to it has been secured as public greenspace.

Poltimore House & Park

Poltimore House Trust and their dedicated volunteers continue to make excellent progress towards the conservation of the house and gardens. Paths in the arboretum have been improved and there are plans for a disability ‘sensory garden’ route. Full restoration of the house is acknowledged as a multi-million pound project.

A planning obligation has secured the restoration of 34 hectares of this parkland in connection with housing at Old Park Farm, which includes the restoration of the old carriageway and establishment of a public bridleway along it, extensive tree planting and linear permissive public access for 30 years.

A further 13 ha of this land is part of the 1840’s parkland extension. The land should be protected via extension of the Regional Park policy boundary, with new public access and replacement tree planting delivered as part of a holistic restoration scheme.

Winslade Park

Winslade Park is a late-18th century mansion built for an East India merchant. The sale particulars of 1905 noted the ‘pleasure grounds of great natural beauty’.

They slope away from the mansion in a southerly direction, and contain a large number of specimen trees. The terrace walk (early-19th century) along Grindle Brook, an ornamental lake formed by the widening of the stream, and parts of the kitchen garden survive.

It is hoped that a mixed use redevelopment of the site could secure the historic park and garden for public access along with the restoration of the sweeping carriageway, possibly as part of the Clyst Valley Trail.

Aylesbeare Stream & Holbrook

The Aylesbeare Stream and Holbrook are important biodiversity corridors connecting extensive habitat on the heathlands at Aylesbeare with extensive habitat in the Lower Clyst valley. They also connect with hotspots of biodiversity at Rockbeare (parkland), Beautiport Farm (broadleaved woodland and grasslands), and Farringdon (parkland and ancient woodland).

Grindle Brook

The Grindle Brook is characterised by smaller floodplain meadows and patches of riverine woodland. There are also some traditional orchards. It is an important biodiversity corridor. A public footpath passes through the site too. No other land is in an agreement and in many places intensive arable cultivation takes place right up to the river.

The reversion of arable to pasture and new woodland via natural regeneration would considerably enhance biodiversity, landscape, water quality and provide greater natural flood storage.


Land is safeguarded as SANGS and is contiguous with the existing Cranbrook County Park and also with the proposed greenspace at Rockbeare Court. The potential therefore exists to create a large, linked publically accessible greenspace with natural habitats, and enhanced landscape, as a buffer to Rockbeare village.

Cranbrook to Exeter

As Cranbrook expands eastwards and new housing comes forward at Tithebarn and Mosshayne, this will provide an alternative off-road commuting and recreational route . The route begins at Station Road and proceeds around the back of the Amazon/Lidl warehouse. A new bridge crossing of the River Clyst estimated at £1 million is required.

Nicola Sturgeon to follow Owl’s advice!

She said the Scottish system would start with a zero-level tier “which is the closest to normality we can reasonably expect to live with until we have a vaccine or a more effective treatment for this virus”.

A week ago Owl pointed out the absurdity of Boris Johnson’s three tier system starting at “medium risk” level. Scotland’s First Minister has also added another one at the top “just in case”.

Sturgeon accuses Johnson of ignoring advice on ‘extreme’ Covid curbs

Severin Carrell 

Nicola Sturgeon has accused Boris Johnson of ignoring expert advice about the need for a Covid restrictions strategy that includes an “extreme” top level close to the full lockdown imposed in March.

Sturgeon confirmed she would announce a five-tier system of restrictions on Friday that will partly mirror England’s three-tier traffic light system of controls, as Scotland’s Covid-19 infections and fatalities climbed sharply to levels not seen since May.

She said the Scottish system would start with a zero-level tier “which is the closest to normality we can reasonably expect to live with until we have a vaccine or a more effective treatment for this virus”.

After confirming Scotland had passed the 50,000 infections threshold overnight, with 28 new fatalities, the first minister said her government had heeded warnings from England’s chief medical officer, Prof Chris Whitty, that a very tough top tier of controls was needed in extreme situations.

“The English system starts at medium, which is quite a high level of restriction,” she said. “We also think we need another one at the top because if you remember when England published theirs, the chief medical officer in England said he thought that the top level was not enough to necessarily get the virus down.

“We think we need one above that which is not identical to but perhaps closer to a full lockdown, if things got to be that serious.”

The first minister said temporary restrictions affecting millions of people across central Scotland, including the closure of pubs and cafes that serve alcohol, and a ban on contact sports and outdoor live events, would remain until the five-tier system starts on 2 November.

Business leaders and hospitality firms are furious, arguing it will lead to thousands of job losses. They say the Scottish government’s emergency grants are inadequate, comparing badly with those offered to English councils.

Sturgeon refused to set out what each tier would involve in advance of Friday’s announcement but confirmed strict travel restrictions would be included at higher levels, while schools would not automatically close if the top tier was imposed.

Sturgeon said Ireland and New Zealand were among countries with five-tier systems; Ireland went to its top tier earlier this week, but the New Zealand government website shows it actually has a four-level alert system. Scotland’s new alert system will be implemented to coincide with council boundaries, and could flex up from regional level to national level if needed.

“We need to apply those tiers in a sensible way with allowing people to live with as proportionate and as targeted a set of interventions as is possible at any given time,” she said.

Stephen Montgomery, a hotelier in Glasgow who represents the Scottish Hospitality Group, an umbrella body for pub and hotel chains that employ about 6,000 staff in total, said many of the 17,000 businesses affected by the restrictions in central Scotland may no longer be viable.

The UK government furlough scheme would end next week but the ban on pubs opening would continue, leaving firms unable to keep on staff. Scottish government funding of £40m compared badly with the tens of millions offered to English cities, he said.

“Recent restrictions were framed as a ‘temporary’ short, sharp shock, but the extension is an indication that we can only expect a continued government stranglehold on hospitality that will have devastating consequences,” he said.

How did my MP vote on Marcus Rashford’s plea for free school meals

Heartless Tory MPs have defeated a bid to extend free school meals for hungry children over the school holidays. [Including “Jumping Jupp Flash” but no apparent sign of Neil Parish anywhere – Owl

Oliver Milne

In shameful scenes, Conservatives voted down a motion to feed more than 1.4 million children during school breaks until Easter next year.

The bid, tabled by Labour, was defeated by 322 votes to 261 – with a majority of 61.

Downing Street had ruled out a late u-turn after Boris Johnson repeatedly dodged pleas from MPs to support footballer Marcus Rashford’s campaign to guarantee meals for the poorest children as the pandemic’s second wave hits.

The England and Manchester United striker, who forced a u-turn on the same issue in the summer, said children would go to bed tonight “not only hungry but feeling like they do not matter”.

He appealed to MPs to put aside their differences, saying: “This is not politics, this is humanity.

“We talk about the devastating impact of COVID-19 but, if projections are anything to go by, child food poverty has the potential to become the greatest pandemic the country has ever faced. We must start working together and unite to protect our most vulnerable children.”

Shadow Education Secretary Kate Green said the Tories had let down struggling families and urged the Prime Minister to drop his opposition to extending the free school meals scheme.

“Boris Johnson and the Conservatives have badly let down more than one million children and their families,” she said.

“No child should go hungry over the holidays, but the Government is blocking the action needed to prevent this.”

Child Poverty Action Group Chief Executive, Alison Garnham, said the country had plummeted to new lows “if in the midst of a pandemic we decide we can’t make sure children in the lowest income families have a nutritious meal in the middle of the day”.

“Tonight’s vote means more children going without and more desperately anxious parents – just as a coronavirus winter approaches,” she said.

“In short it ducks our moral responsibility to protect the country’s most vulnerable children.”

The result comes after a day of furious clashes, with disquiet from some Tories over the failure to act to help the poorest children.

Kevin Courtney of the National Education Union slammed the “callous” result, adding: “No MP who voted against this will be going hungry tonight. This isn’t right. No child should return to school after the half term too hungry to learn.”

Five Tory MPs rebelled against the Government and backed Labour.

They were Caroline Ansell, Robert Halfon, Jason McCartney, Anne Marie Morris and Holly Mumby-Croft.

Mr Halfon said: “If we acknowledge that children risk going hungry in term time by providing them with free school meals… we know that they risk going hungry in the holidays too.”

But other Conservative MPs lined up to criticise the idea of feeding the 1.4million kids already eligible for free school meals and an estimated million more who have signed up since lockdown.

Brendan Clarke-Smith said parents needed to take responsibility, bizarrely adding: “I do not believe in nationalising children.”

David Simmonds sneered: “I have no doubt Mr Rashford is an expert in his own experience, but we should not forget the experiences he so movingly described took place under a Labour government.”

Tory Minister Paul Scully sparked fury by saying the bid would not be backed as kids “have been going hungry for years”.

When Tory MP Ben Bradley likened it to “extending freebies”, Rashford hit back: “The economy already pays a high price for child hunger. If children were fed properly you would increase educational attainment and boost life chances.” 

A Labour analysis found nearly 900,000 children in Covid hotspots will miss out on free school meals unless the Government extends the scheme.

Some 61% of the over 1.4 million children eligible for free school meals are living in Tier 2 and Tier 3 areas, according to House of Commons Library figures.

So how did your MP vote on the issue – you can find their name on the list below (Although hitting Cntrl and F to open up the seach function might make it easier if you are on a computer).

Here is the breakdown of the division list published after the vote as reported by Parliament’s own website.

MPs who voted against the measure

Tellers for the noes were Conservative MPs Tom Pursglove (Corby) and Leo Docherty (Aldershot).

318 Conservative MPs

Nigel Adams (Selby and Ainsty), Bim Afolami (Hitchin and Harpenden), Adam Afriyie (Windsor), Imran Ahmad Khan (Wakefield), Nickie Aiken (Cities of London and Westminster), Peter Aldous (Waveney), Lucy Allan (Telford), David Amess (Southend West), Lee Anderson (Ashfield), Stuart Anderson (Wolverhampton South West), Stuart Andrew (Pudsey), Edward Argar (Charnwood), Sarah Atherton (Wrexham), Victoria Atkins (Louth and Horncastle), Gareth Bacon (Orpington), Richard Bacon (South Norfolk), Kemi Badenoch (Saffron Walden), Shaun Bailey (West Bromwich West), Duncan Baker (North Norfolk), Steve Baker (Wycombe), Harriett Baldwin (West Worcestershire), Steve Barclay (North East Cambridgeshire), Simon Baynes (Clwyd South), Aaron Bell (Newcastle-under-Lyme), Scott Benton (Blackpool South), Paul Beresford (Mole Valley), Jake Berry (Rossendale and Darwen), Saqib Bhatti (Meriden), Bob Blackman (Harrow East), Crispin Blunt (Reigate), Peter Bone (Wellingborough), Peter Bottomley (Worthing West), Andrew Bowie (West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine), Ben Bradley (Mansfield), Karen Bradley (Staffordshire Moorlands), Graham Brady (Altrincham and Sale West), Suella Braverman (Fareham), Jack Brereton (Stoke-on-Trent South), Andrew Bridgen (North West Leicestershire), Steve Brine (Winchester), Paul Bristow (Peterborough), Sara Britcliffe (Hyndburn), James Brokenshire (Old Bexley and Sidcup), Anthony Browne (South Cambridgeshire), Fiona Bruce (Congleton), Felicity Buchan (Kensington), Robert Buckland (South Swindon), Alex Burghart (Brentwood and Ongar), Conor Burns (Bournemouth West), Rob Butler (Aylesbury), Alun Cairns (Vale of Glamorgan), Andy Carter (Warrington South), James Cartlidge (South Suffolk), William Cash (Stone), Miriam Cates (Penistone and Stocksbridge), Maria Caulfield (Lewes), Alex Chalk (Cheltenham), Rehman Chishti (Gillingham and Rainham), Jo Churchill (Bury St Edmunds), Greg Clark (Tunbridge Wells), Simon Clarke (Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland), Theo Clarke (Stafford), Brendan Clarke-Smith (Bassetlaw), Chris Clarkson (Heywood and Middleton), James Cleverly (Braintree), Thérèse Coffey (Suffolk Coastal), Damian Collins (Folkestone and Hythe), Alberto Costa (South Leicestershire), Robert Courts (Witney), Claire Coutinho (East Surrey), Geoffrey Cox (Torridge and West Devon), Virginia Crosbie (Ynys Môn), James Daly (Bury North), David T C Davies (Monmouth), James Davies (Vale of Clwyd), Gareth Davies (Grantham and Stamford), Mims Davies (Mid Sussex), Philip Davies (Shipley), David Davis (Haltemprice and Howden), Dehenna Davison (Bishop Auckland), Caroline Dinenage (Gosport), Sarah Dines (Derbyshire Dales), Jonathan Djanogly (Huntingdon), Michelle Donelan (Chippenham), Nadine Dorries (Mid Bedfordshire), Steve Double (St Austell and Newquay), Oliver Dowden (Hertsmere), Jackie Doyle-Price (Thurrock), Richard Drax (South Dorset), Flick Drummond (Meon Valley), David Duguid (Banff and Buchan), Iain Duncan Smith (Chingford and Woodford Green), Philip Dunne (Ludlow), Mark Eastwood (Dewsbury), Ruth Edwards (Rushcliffe), Michael Ellis (Northampton North), Tobias Ellwood (Bournemouth East), Natalie Elphicke (Dover), George Eustice (Camborne and Redruth), Luke Evans (Bosworth), David Evennett (Bexleyheath and Crayford), Ben Everitt (Milton Keynes North), Michael Fabricant (Lichfield), Laura Farris (Newbury), Simon Fell (Barrow and Furness), Katherine Fletcher (South Ribble), Mark Fletcher (Bolsover), Nick Fletcher (Don Valley), Vicky Ford (Chelmsford), Kevin Foster (Torbay), Mark Francois (Rayleigh and Wickford), Lucy Frazer (South East Cambridgeshire), George Freeman (Mid Norfolk), Mike Freer (Finchley and Golders Green), Richard Fuller (North East Bedfordshire), Marcus Fysh (Yeovil), Mark Garnier (Wyre Forest), Nusrat Ghani (Wealden), Nick Gibb (Bognor Regis and Littlehampton), Peter Gibson (Darlington), Jo Gideon (Stoke-on-Trent Central), Cheryl Gillan (Chesham and Amersham), John Glen (Salisbury), Robert Goodwill (Scarborough and Whitby), Michael Gove (Surrey Heath), Richard Graham (Gloucester), Helen Grant (Maidstone and The Weald), James Gray (North Wiltshire), Chris Grayling (Epsom and Ewell), Chris Green (Bolton West), Damian Green (Ashford), Andrew Griffith (Arundel and South Downs), Kate Griffiths (Burton), James Grundy (Leigh), Jonathan Gullis (Stoke-on-Trent North), Luke Hall (Thornbury and Yate), Stephen Hammond (Wimbledon), Matt Hancock (West Suffolk), Greg Hands (Chelsea and Fulham), Mark Harper (Forest of Dean), Rebecca Harris (Castle Point), Trudy Harrison (Copeland), Sally-Ann Hart (Hastings and Rye), Simon Hart (Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire), John Hayes (South Holland and The Deepings), Oliver Heald (North East Hertfordshire), Chris Heaton-Harris (Daventry), Gordon Henderson (Sittingbourne and Sheppey), Darren Henry (Broxtowe), Antony Higginbotham (Burnley), Damian Hinds (East Hampshire), Kevin Hollinrake (Thirsk and Malton), Philip Hollobone (Kettering), Adam Holloway (Gravesham), Paul Holmes (Eastleigh), John Howell (Henley), Paul Howell (Sedgefield), Nigel Huddleston (Mid Worcestershire), Eddie Hughes (Walsall North), Jane Hunt (Loughborough), Jeremy Hunt (South West Surrey), Tom Hunt (Ipswich), Alister Jack (Dumfries and Galloway), Sajid Javid (Bromsgrove), Ranil Jayawardena (North East Hampshire), Mark Jenkinson (Workington), Andrea Jenkyns (Morley and Outwood), Robert Jenrick (Newark), Boris Johnson (Uxbridge and South Ruislip), Caroline Johnson (Sleaford and North Hykeham), Gareth Johnson (Dartford), David Johnston (Wantage), Andrew Jones (Harrogate and Knaresborough), Fay Jones (Brecon and Radnorshire), David Jones (Clwyd West), Marcus Jones (Nuneaton), Simon Jupp (East Devon), Daniel Kawczynski (Shrewsbury and Atcham), Alicia Kearns (Rutland and Melton), Gillian Keegan (Chichester), Julian Knight (Solihull), Greg Knight (East Yorkshire), Danny Kruger (Devizes), Kwasi Kwarteng (Spelthorne), John Lamont (Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk), Robert Largan (High Peak), Andrea Leadsom (South Northamptonshire), Edward Leigh (Gainsborough), Ian Levy (Blyth Valley), Andrew Lewer (Northampton South), Brandon Lewis (Great Yarmouth), Ian Liddell-Grainger (Bridgwater and West Somerset), Chris Loder (West Dorset), Mark Logan (Bolton North East), Marco Longhi (Dudley North), Julia Lopez (Hornchurch and Upminster), Jack Lopresti (Filton and Bradley Stoke), Jonathan Lord (Woking), Craig Mackinlay (South Thanet), Cherilyn Mackrory (Truro and Falmouth), Rachel Maclean (Redditch), Alan Mak (Havant), Kit Malthouse (North West Hampshire), Anthony Mangnall (Totnes), Scott Mann (North Cornwall), Julie Marson (Hertford and Stortford), Theresa May (Maidenhead), Jerome Mayhew (Broadland), Karl McCartney (Lincoln), Mark Menzies (Fylde), Johnny Mercer (Plymouth, Moor View), Huw Merriman (Bexhill and Battle), Stephen Metcalfe (South Basildon and East Thurrock), Robin Millar (Aberconwy), Maria Miller (Basingstoke), Amanda Milling (Cannock Chase), Nigel Mills (Amber Valley), Andrew Mitchell (Sutton Coldfield), Gagan Mohindra (South West Hertfordshire), Robbie Moore (Keighley), Penny Mordaunt (Portsmouth North), David Morris (Morecambe and Lunesdale), James Morris (Halesowen and Rowley Regis), Wendy Morton (Aldridge-Brownhills), Kieran Mullan (Crewe and Nantwich), David Mundell (Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale), Sheryll Murray (South East Cornwall), Andrew Murrison (South West Wiltshire), Robert Neill (Bromley and Chislehurst), Caroline Nokes (Romsey and Southampton North), Jesse Norman (Hereford and South Herefordshire), Neil O’Brien (Harborough), Guy Opperman (Hexham), Owen Paterson (North Shropshire), Mark Pawsey (Rugby), Mike Penning (Hemel Hempstead), John Penrose (Weston-super-Mare), Chris Philp (Croydon South), Christopher Pincher (Tamworth), Rebecca Pow (Taunton Deane), Victoria Prentis (Banbury), Mark Pritchard (The Wrekin), Jeremy Quin (Horsham), Will Quince (Colchester), Tom Randall (Gedling), John Redwood (Wokingham), Jacob Rees-Mogg (North East Somerset), Nicola Richards (West Bromwich East), Angela Richardson (Guildford), Rob Roberts (Delyn), Laurence Robertson (Tewkesbury), Mary Robinson (Cheadle), Andrew Rosindell (Romford), Lee Rowley (North East Derbyshire), Dean Russell (Watford), David Rutley (Macclesfield), Gary Sambrook (Birmingham, Northfield), Selaine Saxby (North Devon), Paul Scully (Sutton and Cheam), Bob Seely (Isle of Wight), Andrew Selous (South West Bedfordshire), Grant Shapps (Welwyn Hatfield), Alok Sharma (Reading West), Alec Shelbrooke (Elmet and Rothwell), David Simmonds (Ruislip, Northwood and Pinner), Chris Skidmore (Kingswood), Chloe Smith (Norwich North), Greg Smith (Buckingham), Henry Smith (Crawley), Julian Smith (Skipton and Ripon), Amanda Solloway (Derby North), Ben Spencer (Runnymede and Weybridge), Mark Spencer (Sherwood), Alexander Stafford (Rother Valley), Andrew Stephenson (Pendle), Jane Stevenson (Wolverhampton North East), John Stevenson (Carlisle), Bob Stewart (Beckenham), Iain Stewart (Milton Keynes South), Gary Streeter (South West Devon), Mel Stride (Central Devon), Rishi Sunak (Richmond (Yorks)), James Sunderland (Bracknell), Desmond Swayne (New Forest West), Robert Syms (Poole), Derek Thomas (St Ives), Maggie Throup (Erewash), Edward Timpson (Eddisbury), Kelly Tolhurst (Rochester and Strood), Justin Tomlinson (North Swindon), Michael Tomlinson (Mid Dorset and North Poole), Craig Tracey (North Warwickshire), Anne-Marie Trevelyan (Berwick-upon-Tweed), Laura Trott (Sevenoaks), Tom Tugendhat (Tonbridge and Malling), Martin Vickers (Cleethorpes), Matt Vickers (Stockton South), Theresa Villiers (Chipping Barnet), Robin Walker (Worcester), Charles Walker (Broxbourne), Jamie Wallis (Bridgend), David Warburton (Somerton and Frome), Matt Warman (Boston and Skegness), Giles Watling (Clacton), Suzanne Webb (Stourbridge), Helen Whately (Faversham and Mid Kent), Heather Wheeler (South Derbyshire), Craig Whittaker (Calder Valley), John Whittingdale (Maldon), Bill Wiggin (North Herefordshire), James Wild (North West Norfolk), Craig Williams (Montgomeryshire), Gavin Williamson (South Staffordshire), Mike Wood (Dudley South), William Wragg (Hazel Grove), Jeremy Wright (Kenilworth and Southam), Jacob Young (Redcar), Nadhim Zahawi (Stratford-on-Avon).

One Independent MP

Julian Lewis (New Forest East).

MPs who voted to support the measure

Tellers for the ayes were Labour MPs Bambos Charalambous (Enfield Southgate) and Jeff Smith (Manchester Withington).

Five Conservative MPs

Caroline Ansell (Eastbourne), Robert Halfon (Harlow), Jason McCartney (Colne Valley), Anne Marie Morris (Newton Abbot), Holly Mumby-Croft (Scunthorpe).

191 Labour MPs

Diane Abbott (Hackney North and Stoke Newington), Debbie Abrahams (Oldham East and Saddleworth), Rushanara Ali (Bethnal Green and Bow), Tahir Ali (Birmingham, Hall Green), Rosena Allin-Khan (Tooting), Mike Amesbury (Weaver Vale), Fleur Anderson (Putney), Jonathan Ashworth (Leicester South), Paula Barker (Liverpool, Wavertree), Margaret Beckett (Derby South), Apsana Begum (Poplar and Limehouse), Hilary Benn (Leeds Central), Clive Betts (Sheffield South East), Olivia Blake (Sheffield, Hallam), Paul Blomfield (Sheffield Central), Tracy Brabin (Batley and Spen), Ben Bradshaw (Exeter), Kevin Brennan (Cardiff West), Nicholas Brown (Newcastle upon Tyne East), Lyn Brown (West Ham), Chris Bryant (Rhondda), Karen Buck (Westminster North), Richard Burgon (Leeds East), Dawn Butler (Brent Central), Ian Byrne (Liverpool, West Derby), Liam Byrne (Birmingham, Hodge Hill), Ruth Cadbury (Brentford and Isleworth), Alan Campbell (Tynemouth), Dan Carden (Liverpool, Walton), Sarah Champion (Rotherham), Feryal Clark (Enfield North), Rosie Cooper (West Lancashire), Yvette Cooper (Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford), Jeremy Corbyn (Islington North), Neil Coyle (Bermondsey and Old Southwark), Stella Creasy (Walthamstow), Jon Cruddas (Dagenham and Rainham), Judith Cummins (Bradford South), Alex Cunningham (Stockton North), Janet Daby (Lewisham East), Wayne David (Caerphilly), Geraint Davies (Swansea West), Alex Davies-Jones (Pontypridd), Marsha De Cordova (Battersea), Thangam Debbonaire (Bristol West), Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi (Slough), Anneliese Dodds (Oxford East), Stephen Doughty (Cardiff South and Penarth), Peter Dowd (Bootle), Jack Dromey (Birmingham, Erdington), Rosie Duffield (Canterbury), Maria Eagle (Garston and Halewood), Angela Eagle (Wallasey), Clive Efford (Eltham), Julie Elliott (Sunderland Central), Chris Elmore (Ogmore), Florence Eshalomi (Vauxhall), Bill Esterson (Sefton Central), Chris Evans (Islwyn), Colleen Fletcher (Coventry North East), Yvonne Fovargue (Makerfield), Vicky Foxcroft (Lewisham, Deptford), Mary Kelly Foy (City of Durham), Gill Furniss (Sheffield, Brightside and Hillsborough), Barry Gardiner (Brent North), Preet Kaur Gill (Birmingham, Edgbaston), Mary Glindon (North Tyneside), Kate Green (Stretford and Urmston), Lilian Greenwood (Nottingham South), Margaret Greenwood (Wirral West), Nia Griffith (Llanelli), Andrew Gwynne (Denton and Reddish), Louise Haigh (Sheffield, Heeley), Fabian Hamilton (Leeds North East), Emma Hardy (Kingston upon Hull West and Hessle), Harriet Harman (Camberwell and Peckham), Carolyn Harris (Swansea East), Helen Hayes (Dulwich and West Norwood), John Healey (Wentworth and Dearne), Mark Hendrick (Preston), Mike Hill (Hartlepool), Meg Hillier (Hackney South and Shoreditch), Margaret Hodge (Barking), Sharon Hodgson (Washington and Sunderland West), Kate Hollern (Blackburn), Rachel Hopkins (Luton South), George Howarth (Knowsley), Rupa Huq (Ealing Central and Acton), Imran Hussain (Bradford East), Dan Jarvis (Barnsley Central), Diana Johnson (Kingston upon Hull North), Kim Johnson (Liverpool, Riverside), Darren Jones (Bristol North West), Gerald Jones (Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney), Kevan Jones (North Durham), Ruth Jones (Newport West), Sarah Jones (Croydon Central), Mike Kane (Wythenshawe and Sale East), Barbara Keeley (Worsley and Eccles South), Liz Kendall (Leicester West), Afzal Khan (Manchester, Gorton), Stephen Kinnock (Aberavon), Peter Kyle (Hove), David Lammy (Tottenham), Ian Lavery (Wansbeck), Emma Lewell-Buck (South Shields), Tony Lloyd (Rochdale), Rebecca Long Bailey (Salford and Eccles), Holly Lynch (Halifax), Justin Madders (Ellesmere Port and Neston), Khalid Mahmood (Birmingham, Perry Barr), Shabana Mahmood (Birmingham, Ladywood), Seema Malhotra (Feltham and Heston), Rachael Maskell (York Central), Christian Matheson (City of Chester), Steve McCabe (Birmingham, Selly Oak), Kerry McCarthy (Bristol East), Siobhain McDonagh (Mitcham and Morden), John McDonnell (Hayes and Harlington), Pat McFadden (Wolverhampton South East), Conor McGinn (St Helens North), Catherine McKinnell (Newcastle upon Tyne North), Jim McMahon (Oldham West and Royton), Anna McMorrin (Cardiff North), Ian Mearns (Gateshead), Edward Miliband (Doncaster North), Navendu Mishra (Stockport), Jessica Morden (Newport East), Stephen Morgan (Portsmouth South), Grahame Morris (Easington), Ian Murray (Edinburgh South), James Murray (Ealing North), Lisa Nandy (Wigan), Charlotte Nichols (Warrington North), Alex Norris (Nottingham North), Chi Onwurah (Newcastle upon Tyne Central), Abena Oppong-Asare (Erith and Thamesmead), Kate Osamor (Edmonton), Kate Osborne (Jarrow), Taiwo Owatemi (Coventry North West), Sarah Owen (Luton North), Stephanie Peacock (Barnsley East), Matthew Pennycook (Greenwich and Woolwich), Toby Perkins (Chesterfield), Jess Phillips (Birmingham, Yardley), Luke Pollard (Plymouth, Sutton and Devonport), Lucy Powell (Manchester Central), Yasmin Qureshi (Bolton South East), Angela Rayner (Ashton-under-Lyne), Steve Reed (Croydon North), Christina Rees (Neath), Ellie Reeves (Lewisham West and Penge), Rachel Reeves (Leeds West), Jonathan Reynolds (Stalybridge and Hyde), Bell Ribeiro-Addy (Streatham), Marie Rimmer (St Helens South and Whiston), Matt Rodda (Reading East), Lloyd Russell-Moyle (Brighton, Kemptown), Naz Shah (Bradford West), Virendra Sharma (Ealing, Southall), Barry Sheerman (Huddersfield), Tulip Siddiq (Hampstead and Kilburn), Andy Slaughter (Hammersmith), Cat Smith (Lancaster and Fleetwood), Nick Smith (Blaenau Gwent), Karin Smyth (Bristol South), Alex Sobel (Leeds North West), John Spellar (Warley), Keir Starmer (Holborn and St Pancras), Jo Stevens (Cardiff Central), Wes Streeting (Ilford North), Graham Stringer (Blackley and Broughton), Zarah Sultana (Coventry South), Mark Tami (Alyn and Deeside), Sam Tarry (Ilford South), Gareth Thomas (Harrow West), Nick Thomas-Symonds (Torfaen), Stephen Timms (East Ham), Jon Trickett (Hemsworth), Karl Turner (Kingston upon Hull East), Derek Twigg (Halton), Liz Twist (Blaydon), Valerie Vaz (Walsall South), Catherine West (Hornsey and Wood Green), Matt Western (Warwick and Leamington), Alan Whitehead (Southampton, Test), Mick Whitley (Birkenhead), Nadia Whittome (Nottingham East), Beth Winter (Cynon Valley), Mohammad Yasin (Bedford), Daniel Zeichner (Cambridge).

46 Scottish National Party MPs

Hannah Bardell (Livingston), Mhairi Black (Paisley and Renfrewshire South), Ian Blackford (Ross, Skye and Lochaber), Kirsty Blackman (Aberdeen North), Steven Bonnar (Coatbridge, Chryston and Bellshill), Deidre Brock (Edinburgh North and Leith), Alan Brown (Kilmarnock and Loudoun), Amy Callaghan (East Dunbartonshire), Lisa Cameron (East Kilbride, Strathaven and Lesmahagow), Douglas Chapman (Dunfermline and West Fife), Joanna Cherry (Edinburgh South West), Ronnie Cowan (Inverclyde), Angela Crawley (Lanark and Hamilton East), Martyn Day (Linlithgow and East Falkirk), Martin Docherty-Hughes (West Dunbartonshire), Dave Doogan (Angus), Allan Dorans (Ayr, Carrick and Cumnock), Marion Fellows (Motherwell and Wishaw), Stephen Flynn (Aberdeen South), Patricia Gibson (North Ayrshire and Arran), Patrick Grady (Glasgow North), Peter Grant (Glenrothes), Neil Gray (Airdrie and Shotts), Neale Hanvey (Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath), Drew Hendry (Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey), Stewart Hosie (Dundee East), Chris Law (Dundee West), David Linden (Glasgow East), Kenny MacAskill (East Lothian), Angus Brendan MacNeil (Na h-Eileanan an Iar), Stewart Malcolm McDonald (Glasgow South), Stuart C McDonald (Cumbernauld, Kilsyth and Kirkintilloch East), Anne McLaughlin (Glasgow North East), John McNally (Falkirk), Carol Monaghan (Glasgow North West), Gavin Newlands (Paisley and Renfrewshire North), John Nicolson (Ochil and South Perthshire), Brendan O’Hara (Argyll and Bute), Kirsten Oswald (East Renfrewshire), Tommy Sheppard (Edinburgh East), Alyn Smith (Stirling), Chris Stephens (Glasgow South West), Alison Thewliss (Glasgow Central), Richard Thomson (Gordon), Philippa Whitford (Central Ayrshire), Pete Wishart (Perth and North Perthshire).

Nine Liberal Democrat MPs

 Alistair Carmichael (Orkney and Shetland), Wendy Chamberlain (North East Fife), Daisy Cooper (St Albans), Tim Farron (Westmorland and Lonsdale), Wera Hobhouse (Bath), Christine Jardine (Edinburgh West), Layla Moran (Oxford West and Abingdon), Jamie Stone (Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross), Munira Wilson (Twickenham).


Jim Shannon (Strangford).

Three Plaid Cymru MPs

Ben Lake (Ceredigion), Liz Saville Roberts (Dwyfor Meirionnydd), Hywel Williams (Arfon).


Colum Eastwood (Foyle), Claire Hanna (Belfast South).

One Alliance MP

Stephen Farry (North Down).

One Independent MP

Claudia Webbe (Leicester East).

Worried young help to slow spread of Covid-19

The rise in coronavirus cases in England has slowed as young people have been frightened into following social-distancing rules, officials believe.

Chris Smyth, Whitehall Editor | Francis Elliott, Political Editor 

The trend appears to have been a key factor in helping the northeast to escape Tier 3 restrictions. Concern about “long Covid” has been suggested as one reason for the young changing their behaviour.

A key government “gold” meeting on the pandemic, chaired by Matt Hancock, the health secretary, was told yesterday that infection rates appeared to be falling among younger people, slowing the national surge in cases.

Although the government is “very cautious” about the trend, there is tentative optimism that a rise in cases after university freshers’ week has been driven down and younger people have changed their behaviour as deaths go up.

Cases are still rising in the over-60s and hospital admissions and deaths are expected to carry on rising as a result. However, after a rise in infections was seen in the young first, there are hopes that a fall in the same group could be followed by an easing of infections in older adults.

Analysis by The Times has found that student-dominated areas now have infection rates 2.5 times higher than elsewhere, down from five times higher two weeks ago.

Infections among teenagers in the northeast have fallen by about a sixth in the past two weeks, government figures show, and as cases level off in the region it is understood that talks on moving Tyneside and Teesside into Tier 3 have been “paused”.

The government believes that tighter measures imposed on the region a month ago are starting to have an effect: there were 276.1 cases of coronavirus per 100,000 people in the northeast for the week to October 16, down from 316.6 the previous week. The prime minister’s spokesman said yesterday that the R rate in the region had “fallen slightly”.

Coronavirus: Call for clarity over half-term travel advice

Devon tourism boss calls for clarity.

A tourism boss wants clearer government advice on people travelling from areas with England’s highest level of coronavirus restrictions.

Sally Everton, from Visit Devon, said they had to rely on people sticking to guidance that they should not travel.

“Those areas are in lockdown and I’m trying to believe those people will remain in lockdown,” she said.

A holiday park owner said he had cancelled bookings made by people from tier three areas.

Ms Everton said tourism businesses were on a “knife edge” and she was concentrating on encouraging local tourism for day trips.

Malcolm Bell, chief executive of Visit Cornwall, urged all his members to call guests in advance to find out where they are from.

He said it was “easier to have that conversation” before people travelled down and he hoped those conversations would lead to people rebooking or maybe being refunded.

The government advice for people in tier three areas states: “You should avoid staying overnight in another part of the UK if you are resident in a very high alert level area, or avoid staying overnight in a very high alert level area if you are resident elsewhere.”

John Hyatt, the director at Hendra Holiday Park near Newquay, which has cancelled bookings, said he was surprised people from tier three areas had only been given guidelines, not restrictions.

He said: “We made contact with those guests from tier three and relocated their booking or gave them a refund.”

Carolyn Armstrong, who owns the Headland Hotel in Newquay, said the hotel was “extraordinarily busy still”.

She said: “We can certainly all look up the addresses of people who have made bookings but it is going to be jolly tricky because if they have got a contract and they are allowed to travel legally then they can travel.”

Oi! Northerners! Stay away! Contrasting stories from Torquay and Woolacombe

Devon holiday home provider refuses Barnsley booking

Ed Oldfield, local democracy reporter and Radio Exe News

A holiday let owner in Devon has warned others to beware of bookings from people in areas facing the toughest coronavirus measures.

They posted a message on Facebook reporting an inquiry from a visitor who lives in Barnsley in South Yorkshire.

It is one of the areas about to go into the tier three category at the weekend under the new coronavirus alert system.

The accommodation owner received a call in response to a listing on the Airbnb website for a double room in Torbay. The caller wanted to book a weekend stay from Friday night. When the owner asked where the caller was from and was told Barnsley, the booking was refused.

The caller then protested that the alert status did not start until after midnight on Friday night, so it should be accepted. But the owner stood by her decision, posted a warning on a Facebook page, and contacted the Local Democracy Reporting Service, run by the BBC and in which Radio Exe is a partner, to highlight the issue.

The ‘very high’ alert rules which will apply in South Yorkshire include residents being told to avoid staying overnight in another part of the UK.

Torbay, along with the rest of Devon and the South West region, is in the tier one ‘medium risk’ category.

The seven-day infection rate for covid-19 in Barnsley was reported on Tuesday as 335 per 100,000 population and rising. In the Exeter University and Pennsylvania areas on 10 October it was 322 cases per 100,000, but that has since dropped to 88.

The local council in Barnsley said around 875 people were being infected in the town every week, with around a quarter of them aged 60 and over.

Barnsley is one of several areas of South Yorkshire due to go into very high alert status from Saturday, along with Doncaster, Rotherham and Sheffield. Other areas of the country including Liverpool, Manchester and Lancashire are already in the highest category.

In Torbay, the seven-day average on October 17 was 76 cases per 100,000, just below the regional average and less than half the England rate of 169.

People in High alert areas including London, parts of the Midlands and the North East, are still allowed to travel, and an influx of visitors to Devon is expected during half-term next week.

Some comments on the post on the Spotted Torquay Facebook page praised the decision to to refuse the booking.  One said: “They should not be allowed to bring a killer virus to Torbay.”

Others warned that it was inevitable that people from higher risk areas would be visiting Devon.  One pointed out people needed the money from holiday lets and another said visitors should be encouraged to protect the economy. One commenter pointed out it was difficult for businesses to filter bookings if people did not say where they were from.

Torbay’s director of public health Caroline Dimond has said there are concerns about visitors from areas with a higher rate of infection, but so far Torbay has not seen a major problem from imported cases. She said it was important visitors followed the hygiene measures in place.

Dr Dimond told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme on Friday: “We would very much encourage people to make sure they were following all the guidance and remember even if they do come to Torbay we still have cases. 

Meanwhile up in Woolacombe:

‘Crazy, isn’t it?’ Devon resort reports no shortage of visitors

Steven Morris 

A bright, breezy day in north Devon. Hundreds of people are taking bracing walks along Woolacombe beach. The pubs, cafes, fast-food outlets and surf shops are doing excellent business.

“Actually we’ve had an amazing season,” said Roger Ashford, whose B&B, the Imperial, enjoys stunning views of the surf. “It’s never been so busy here. There are a couple of hundred people out there walking on the beach now, it’s unreal.”

Ashford, like most of the hospitality businesses in the village, has reduced his capacity to meet Covid restrictions. But over this autumn half-term his B&B is as full as it can be. “We could fill up twice over easily. People are desperate to get away. Crazy, isn’t it?”

Places like Woolacombe are expecting a late-season boost this half-term. But it does come with the risk that visitors could bring the virus into spots that have so far largely escaped.

Over at the Red Barn pub in Woolacombe, Roger’s cousin, Angus Ashford, said he knew people from tier 2 areas who were already in the village and that more were bound to come at half-term.

The pub has worked hard to keep its visitors and staff safe. “But there is a risk,” he said. “Visitors come here from Birmingham, Bristol, London. If you get some waves and some sunshine, people will come if there is no travel ban.”

During half-term more than 1,000 families are booked into the four holiday centres run by Woolacombe Bay Holiday Parks.

Kevin Darvill, the sales and marketing manager, said the different travel restrictions across England and Wales were making life difficult. The holiday parks have, with huge regret, had to stop people coming from Welsh lockdown areas where people are not allowed by law to leave without good reason.

But it has been trickier to tell people from areas of high infection in England not to come because the UK government has not imposed the same firm ban. “English customers are bamboozled and we’re bamboozled too,” he said.

Andrew Baragwanath, the national chairman of the British Holiday and Home Parks Association and a partner in the Ayr Holiday Park in St Ives, Cornwall, said he was sure people from high-risk areas continued to come to the south-west. He said a holiday business owner could not be expected to be a “tourism policeman”.

The presence of lifeguards on some Cornish beaches until the end of October shows the holiday season is very much still on.

Councillor Rob Nolan, a member of Cornwall council’s cabinet and the owner of a B&B in Truro, said the message there was that the county remained open.

Nolan conceded that some people were anxious at the prospect of people arriving from areas of high Covid prevalence and a few probably liked the idea of closing the border.

“Cornwall is open but anxious,” he said. “We want people who come down to be sensible. Book ahead and don’t come if you have symptoms. Wear a mask, be prepared to sanitise.”

Other areas across England are taking the same approach. The Liberal Democrat MP Tim Farron, who represents the Cumbrian constituency of Westmorland and Lonsdale, said visitors would still travel to the Lake District over half-term.

“I think that so long as people are compliant with the rules and respectful of local communities, people are happy for visitors to come,” he said.

The ban coming into force in Wales on Friday evening to stop people travelling into the country from hotspots in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland is a blow to holiday businesses there. The prospect of a circuit-breaker lockdown for the whole country is also deeply troubling for holiday businesses.

On Friday MWT Cymru, which represents 600 tourism businesses in mid Wales, was still making the point on its website that its region is still open. Its chairman, Rowland Rees-Evans, said people had worked tirelessly to keep the sector going this summer and autumn but business owners felt very worried now.

“The region has one of the lowest Covid-19 rates in the UK, which is a reflection on who we are in mid-Wales, the way our visitors, communities and businesses have all pulled together to protect our fragile economy whilst keeping everyone safe.”

The Association of Scotland’s Self-Caterers expressed concern that the Scottish government could follow the Welsh administration and impose a travel ban. Its chief executive, Fiona Campbell, said: “The unwarranted restrictions already imposed on Scottish self-catering have had a severely negative impact on our sector.

“Across our £723m industry, we’ve seen scores of bookings cancelled resulting in many self-catering operators facing uncertain futures with some even taking the ultimate decision of closing down completely.

“To hear that the first minister and her government are now entertaining the idea of imposing a travel ban further adds to the fear and uncertainty spreading throughout our sector and across Scottish tourism more generally.”

Work to begin on new Local Plan for East Devon

Work on a new Local Plan for East Devon is set to begin shortly with an issues and options report set to be consulted on from January 2021.

Daniel Clark

The existing East Devon local plan, covering the 18-year period from 2013 to 2031, was adopted in January 2016 and needs to be reviewed within five years.

Following the decision in August by the council to withdraw from the Greater Exeter Strategic Plan, officers were tasked with bringing forward the review of the Local Plan.

East Devon District Council’s strategic planning committee on Tuesday agreed to progress with the production of a new Local Plan but called for a further report to come back to their December meeting over the timescales.

While two options had been presented – one that would see the new Local Plan adopted in December 2023 and one in November 2024 – the committee called for a hybrid option to be explored, in which the timescale of the first option but with the consultation of the second option.

Cllr Susie Bond called for the “speediest option” to be taken to get a new Local Plan in place, saying that previously when there wasn’t one “it was truly dire and a miserable time for all the community”.

Cllr Eleanor Rylance said that there needed to be community engagement from those that will be affected, and called for the timescale of the first option but to consult more and to shrink the windows for consultation.

Cllr Philip Skinner added: “We need to move with speed, but need to ensure with the speed, we get things right. We can’t keep talking and talking and asking the public about everything, as we’ll end up with slippage.”

But Cllr Olly Davey said: “It feels as though we are looking and a straight choice between consultation and speed and I am wary of dichotomies like that.

“If you schedule a meeting and send out dates, people either respond if the first few days or not at all, and if you ask the right questions in the right way, then they will engage.”

Cllr Mike Howe added the length of time for consultation periods could be shortened, while Cllr Andrew Moulding said there was no need for engagement to take months of time.

The committee agreed to recommend to the Cabinet that the staffing budget for the Planning Policy Team be increased to enable the recruitment of two additional Planning Officers and to endorse production of a local plan issues and options report to come back to committee in December 2020 with a view to consultation starting in January 2021.

That December 2020 meeting will also see a further report brought forward around timescales for the Local Plan production to see if the amount of consultation in option 2 can be carried out with the option 1 timescale.

Exeter Council rejects PR voting system

The first-past-the post system favours the big, traditional, parties so Turkeys won’t vote for Christmas. This article shows how unfair it is, minority views are excluded – Owl 

Paul Nero

A small group of Exeter councillors who represent different parties or none and who collectively call themselves the Progressive Group have asked the city council to move to a system of proportional representation for electing councillors in future.

The sole Green, sole independent and two Lib Dems want the council to ditch the traditional first-past-the-post system so that seats are divvied up proportionately to parties based on their share of the overall vote.

The first past the post system traditionally favours established larger parties. Proportional representation can mean that small groups win seats, which in some countries has led to extremist parties gaining a greater share of voice and in other places more frequent elections as governments become deadlocked. 

Cllr Diana Moore, Green councillor for St David’s ward, said: “I urge all members to support reform of our electoral system for local elections so that all votes matter and all votes count. This will send a clear message to the government that any plans to reorganise local government must include the introduction of a fairer voting system.

“For example, in the last Exeter City Council elections held in 2019, Labour won nine of the 14 seats on just over a third of the vote, while councillors in the Progressive Group won three seats on just under a third of the vote. Clearly, the makeup of the council does not reflect the way people in Exeter vote.

Cllr Kevin Mitchell, leader of the Progressive group and a Liberal Democrat councillor in St James and Duryard ward, added: “Proportional representation has been shown to result in higher turnout in elections, lower income inequality, higher social expenditure, more effective action on climate change, and improved satisfaction with governance. This is not only a matter of making elections fairer; it’s about creating a more just society.”

Exeter City Council, in which the Labour Party has 28 of the current 38 councillors, six members are Conservatives and there is one vacancy, has rejected the proposal by the four Progressives.  

The Green’s Diana Moore seemed surprised that the larger parties don’t want to vote for a system that would see fewer of them being elected. She said: “We know the Tories are opposed to anything but our unfair First-Past-the-Post (FPTP) electoral system, but it was shocking to see the Labour leader block debate on our motion by preventing Labour councillors expressing their views. At least 54 other Constituency Labour Parties in the UK have passed motions backing PR and Cllr Bialyk himself acknowledged there is strong support amongst Labour members and voters for electoral reform.

“Clearly, Exeter City Council doesn’t have powers to introduce such a system by itself, but as our motion pointed out this was a chance to indicate support for PR for local elections by backing a straightforward call for reform. We made clear that the reason for raising this now is the proposed white paper on devolution. This provides an opportunity for councils to indicate to the government that they back changing local elections to a fairer system where seats match votes.”