Higher car parking charges, work to address climate change, beach management protection plans, the start of work on Cranbrook’s town centre, and a big screen on the Strand in Exmouth are among the objectives for East Devon District Council in the next 12 months. Seventy-three proposals (all listed below) are in the council’s draft budget and key service plans developed by the Independent councillors who run the council.
Daniel Clark, local democracy reporter www.radioexe.co.uk
They’re planning to review the business case for a fixed big screen on the Strand, Exmouth, using funding set aside for the area after its redevelopment some years ago. A large screen could run local advertising and council promotions as well as events such as Wimbledon, concerts and proms.
Most car park charges haven’t been increased since 2010 and some have been reduced significantly. Increasing the capacity of Manor Road car park in Sidmouth, the Ham car parks in Sidmouth and Coombe Lane Car Park in Axminster is also considered, while they’ll consult on how to manage several currently free car parks.
The council plans to deliver the Sidmouth and East Beach Management Scheme and submit a business case to the Environment Agency. Work could begin next year.
Upgrades to play areas are planned, as is a new tram halt and boardwalk at Seaton Wetlands, using part of Seaton Tramway’s Heritage Lottery Grant Fund, while The Manor Pavilion theatre should improve its customer experience.
Work on a vibrant town centre for Cranbrook is planned, while the revision of the Axminster Urban Extension masterplan and the development of a masterplan for the Hayne Lane, Honiton will take place.
Not all of the service objectives are new, and some may not be finished by March 2022, but work to begin them is targeted.
THE 73 SERVICE PLAN OBJECTIVES
- Delivery of Wild Honiton project as a local Nature Recovery Network pilot with a target of green space improvements to existing EDDC green spaces – wildlife, access and recreational enhancements
- As part of the Wild Exmouth Heritage Lottery Fund, deliver, design and deliver Green Space map for each household in the town, install interpretation boards of the map in key green spaces, Sow and cultivate 2 new wildflower areas and complete the second phase of Artist in Residence’s Tree and Orchard Trail, developing 2 more Orchard Locations and provide grafting and pruning workshop for volunteers
- Creation of a new volunteer group in partnership with natural England at the Undercliffs National Nature Reserve and creation of a new Wild Honiton volunteer group to help manage green spaces in town
- Develop a further pilot (third stage) with Active Devon for over 55s, including Wild swimming for two towns TBC, along with Outdoor Club in Exmouth.
- Deliver the Sheep’s Marsh inter tidal habitat scheme to creates 62,200 m2 of salt marsh habitat, an additional 150m metres of public access, and to deliver a new improved habitat for wildlife, increasing visitor interest in the south of the site
- Creation of a new Tram Halt and linking boardwalk to Seaton Wetlands as part of Seaton Tram’s Heritage Lottery Fund grant.
- Deliver new visitor infrastructure to Seaton Wetlands to enhance visitor experience and monetise the increased footfall, including the creation of a café offer and installation of contactless payment points and car park machine for donations
- Collaborative work at the Holyford Woods Local Nature Reserve to manage woods and to set up a new natural regeneration project, continue Dormice monitoring project, improve habitat for Devon Greater Horseshoe Bat project and utilise wood products for charcoal initiative.
- The tree team to develop a Tree Strategy that sets out the framework for engaging with climate change, tree wardening and community engagement and tackling pests and diseases.
- The Thelma Hulbert Gallery to deliver Creative Communities 2021 – through exhibitions, public programme and events, to invite communities to join us to explore complex issues such as equality and environmental justice, whilst celebrating the importance of individual creative expression and the joy it can bring.
- To develop and deliver phase 2 of Culture + Climate – the Creative Cabin / Climate Cabin The ‘Climate Cabin’ programme is a new strand of activity developing against the context of East Devon District Council’s commitment to Devon’s Climate Change Emergency declaration and the University of Exeter’s Declaration of an environment and climate emergency.
- Develop Phase two of the Abode of Love – enabling an artist of national acclaim to work with schools and groups of young people to develop a public artwork which responds to the site and context of the climate emergency
- The Manor Pavilion theatre to improve its customer experience by setting up a Theatre Club and a theatre volunteer group, deliver pantomime performances in June 2021 by Hot Lock Productions as part of COVID recovery & reimagining performances, for Ballet Theatre UK going from strength to strength plan 3 new ballets for 2021/22, working with new production company – Complete Theatre Company to produce high profile and commercially successful musical, and a target of 90% advance hiring for theatre for 2020, with target 60% advance bookings for 2021- 2022.
- Support work of EDDC’s Arts & Culture Forum during 2020/21 to agree and oversee the delivery of a rural touring programme for Villages in Action programme
- To work across the Council to identify opportunities to reduce the impact of our activities including reductions in both commuting and business miles travelled by the implementation of our green travel plan
- To work with other public and private sector partners to develop electric vehicle charging infrastructure linked to sustainable generation of electricity and on-site storage.
- To continue to work with the Director of Public Health to ensure that the Council continues to respond to and recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.
- To work with the Member Champion for Mental Health to consider the options around an officer role to support the Council’s commitment.
- To work on one or more public health projects during recovery phase from the Covid-19 pandemic, which could include support for national / regional / local activities such as poverty initiatives and/or climate change mitigation, e.g. fuel poverty
- Subject to the outcome of the car parks Task and Finish Forum, propose to increase our car parking fees and charges during 2021, as the majority of our charges have not been increased since 2010 and some have been reduced significantly, and over that period we have not passed on the increase in VAT (from 15% to 17.5% to 20%).
- To consult on developing our car parks portfolio during 2021/22 by increasing the capacity of Manor Road car park in Sidmouth, the Ham car parks in Sidmouth and Coombe Lane Car Park in Axminster
- Subject to outcome of the Car Parks TAFF, the council proposes to consult widely on how their customers would like them to manage the following car parks during 2021/22 – The Green (Victory Hall) car park in Broadclyst, School Lane car park in Newton Poppleford, Manor Farm Estate Yard car park in Sidbury, Temple Street car park in Sidmouth, Jarvis Close car park in Exmouth, Upper Station car park in Budleigh Salterton, Brook Road car park in Budleigh Salterton, Church Street car park in Sidford, Coach Park in Seaton, Town Hall in Seaton and Cliff Top, Beer
- To work with partners including NHS Property Services, the CCG and Devon County Council to review the way in which the Blackmore Gardens car park, Sidmouth is currently managed and make any appropriate recommendations to Members for a new management regime going forward
- With the assistance of Strata continue to utilise Firmstep to introduce more efficient online process and continue to increase email contact with customers over printing and post.
- Develop a poverty dashboard drawing upon data from internal systems that are linked to low income households to help support decision making
- Take additional measures to support the recovery of our income collection performance across Council Tax, Business Rates and Sundry Debts which has been severely impacted by Covid-19 whilst balancing this against residents and businesses ability to pay.
- Review of Taxi Policy to help seek to meet climate change targets and reduce emissions
- Revising the Cemetery Regulations to ensure an updated and fit for purpose regime for burials.
- Deliver the Clyst Valley Regional Park proposals including engaging with key stakeholders and the community
- Identify, design and help to bring forward proposals for Suitable Alternative Natural Green Space to serve Cranbrook
- Ensure the large scale delivery of zero carbon development in the West End of the District through agreeing a pathway for achieving zero carbon development, submitting a bid for Heat Network Investment Programme funding and engaging with landowners/developers and energy companies to help broker and deliver a solution
- Complete a review of delivery vehicles to support the implementation of the new Local Plan up to and including the establishment of a Development Corporation.
- Lead the delivery of the Enterprise Zone programme to accelerate the delivery of new commercial space, to bring forward investment proposals, and Manage the investment programme ensuring that key outputs are realised
- Support the delivery of a vibrant town centre for Cranbrook including bringing forward specific investment proposals in conjunction with the One Public Estate programme
- Support the development of a sustainable aviation cluster focused on Exeter Airport in line with the ambition set out in the Local Industrial Strategy
- Carry out an updated Stock Condition Survey on our Council owned housing stock in order to collate up to date information, including energy performance, and use it to inform a new stock investment programme to decarbonise the Housing assets
- Lead on the production of a corporate Poverty Strategy aimed at reducing the effects on East Devon residents.
- Produce a new Housing Strategy focusing on how we will deliver our services and how we will increase our supply of housing stock from 2020-2024.
- Develop the re-use and recycling furniture programme to assist residents with setting up their home, recognising the increasing amount of people arriving in our homes with few possessions.
- Meet the increased demand from homeless households and secure suitable temporary and permanent accommodation, supporting households who present with physical and mental health needs, poverty and other issues, to ensure they are able to sustain their tenancies
- Publish a five year planned maintenance and cyclical decoration programme to provide tenants with visibility of planned works
- Develop the Axminster Fairshare project working with Tesco in Axminster and Nourish to collect food from the supermarket, cook and freeze it, and distribute to people with an identified need. Aim to do more for rural areas and link with other work
- Identify areas of Housing land that are being used by residents without permission and ensure the appropriate signage is posted at all entrances and exits to prevent future claims of easements over our land.
- To reduce the carbon footprint of the organisation with the installation of more energy efficient lighting and equipment to all of the 9 leisure centres and swimming sites
- Revise the Axminster Urban Extension masterplan to consider what elements can be delivered in the absence of external funding.
- Ensure that new developments are required to deliver appropriate levels of open space and promote walking and cycling to deliver better health and wellbeing outcomes.
- Investigate the potential for the wider use of development orders to reduce red tape and pro-actively promote the development of sites.
- Enable the delivery of affordable housing, gypsy and traveller pitches, homes for life, self build plots etc to enable our diverse range of housing needs to be met.
- Work with the land owners to develop a masterplan for the Hayne Lane, Honiton employment land allocation in the Local Plan and a plan for its delivery
- To work with the Cranbrook consortium of developers to promote and enable the development of Cranbrook Town Centre in a way that secures a sustainable economy within the town and meets the communities
- Investigate and trial more sustainable alternatives to herbicides for weed control and to reduce the use of glyphosate and other chemicals by undertaking an audit of use and analysis of alternatives across sports pitches, green spaces and public realm areas.
- Ensure all major parks/public realm areas have an event or engagement activity during the year which offers opportunities for health & wellbeing.
- Apply for Blue Flag retention at Exmouth and Sidmouth in 2021 and Seaside awards for Sidmouth, Seaton and Budleigh following another year of excellent water quality results and to continue work at Seaton to reach Blue Flag criteria
- Work with Sidmouth lifeboat to support them in setting up beach lifeguards for Sidmouth, finalising the contract of service arrangements as agreed previously
- Apply for Green Flag awards at Connaught Gardens Sidmouth, Manor Gardens Exmouth and Seafield Gardens Seaton and to improve the management plan of the The Glen, Honiton and aim for a Parks Award 2021/22 working towards green flag status in the future.
- Continue work to maintain and build on a recycling rate of 60.5% so it becomes our annual rate, striving to be in the top 10 Local Authorities in England for recycling.
- Help to publicise the circular economy and reduce, reuse, recycle through resident participation schemes and the Clean Devon doorstep/schools education programme.
- Achieve target of 15,000 green waste bins, helping improve our recycling rate and capture of green waste (removing from residual stream) in 2021/22.
- To support the delivery of the Lower Otter Restoration Project (LORP)
- A Play Strategy linked to our adopted Green Space Plan to improve outdated sites, ensure appropriate provision and introduce play space and ‘play along the way’ micro parks.
- Plan and deliver the Sidmouth & East Beach Management Scheme as now the funding gap has been closed, submit the Outline Business Case for approval by the EA, with Permissions to follow including planning and works to be tendered to start late 2021/22.
- Review the economics model for the project to achieve a greater degree of grant funding, to meet the increased project costs, but to continue working with Network Rail to deliver the under track crossing and to deliver phase 3 & 4 to complete the Feniton flood alleviation scheme.
- Update business case and economics to include railway damages and review project funding for the Whimple Flood Alleviation Scheme
- Continue work to close the £150k partnership gap for the Seaton Beach Management Plan and to submit Outline Business Case to Environment Agency for approval and access to funding
- Form a stakeholder group, and agree scope of beach management works for Exmouth.
- Repoint northern section of harbour wall and resolve drainage issue on stone track to south at Axmouth harbour
- The replacement of play areas which have reached the end of their service life at well used sites on EDDC land and continue the important provision of high quality, free to use play at Lime Kiln – Budleigh Salterton, Liverton Copse – Exmouth, Jerrard Close – Honiton, Pale Gate Close – Honiton, Baker Close – Sidmouth, The Crescent, Exmouth, Greenway Lane, Budleigh Salterton, Butts Close, Honiton and Millway, Axminster.
- Rebuild of boundary retaining wall at St Swithun’s church, Woodbury.
- Design and, if approved, deliver a layout for motorhome parking at the Northern end of the Exmouth Estuary car park. Incorporate recycling/bin points, toilet access and water/sluicing access
- Continue to investigate feasibility and funding for installing a network of water refill points in key town or park/beach areas in line with our climate change themes and reuse/waste reduction.
- Assist Exmouth Town Council with the design, procurement and project management of the Bapton Valley cycle route.
- Complete the long term public toilet review taking account of Covid secure building design, staffing and cleaning frequency, investment in improved toilet facilities, the right toilet in the right location and medium term financial plan savings requirements.
- Review the business case for a fixed big screen on the Strand in Exmouth, using the Strand redevelopment reserve, giving us the ability to run local advertising, council promotions and messages as well as screen large scale events such as Wimbledon, Concerts and Proms.