East Devon warm hubs help hundreds with the cost-of-living crisis 

Warm hubs set up across East Devon to help with the cost-of-living crisis have already helped more than 300 people after a fortnight of opening.

Becca Gliddon eastdevonnews.co.uk

East Devon District Council (EDDC) said the reaction to the warm spaces – in Axminster, Broadclyst, Exmouth, Honiton, Ottery St Mary, Seaton, Sidmouth and Woodbury – was ‘overwhelmingly positive’.

A number of spaces and EDDC community centres have been identified as warm hubs, and were set up at at the end of November as places to go for people struggling to heat their homes – they can have free hot drinks, snacks, daily papers and game, plus pick up free gloves, hats and blankets.

And Waffle Seaton is open on Mondays for EDDC tenants to have free tea, coffee and toast all day.

The district council said the warm hubs will run until the beginning of April 2023 with a wide range of activities starting in the New Year.

EDDC urged residents to go along, make new friends, and keep warm.

East Devon

Christmas lunch has been on the menu at the warm hubs.Photo: EDDC.

Councillor Dan Ledger, portfolio holder for strategic development, sustainable homes and communities, said: “It’s really heartening to see residents utilising this project to socialise and interact with each other.

“I cannot thank the officers enough who have been involved in setting these sessions up and delivering them.”

An EDDC spokesperson said: “More than 300 people have made the most out of the ten warm hubs opened across East Devon, in response to the cost-of-living crisis.

“East Devon District Council’s housing service has seen an overwhelmingly positive response to the project during its first two weeks.”

They added: “Officers, along with the help of volunteers, help provide a warm space for residents to play games, have hot drinks and snacks, meet neighbours and friends and collect free warm items such as bed socks, blankets and woolly hats.

“In the run up to the festive season, the hubs have also provided over 100 free Christmas lunches to all visitors, which has proved extremely popular.”

East Devon

An East Devon warm hub Christmas party.Photo: EDDC

The warm hubs, and opening times, are:

SundayAxminsterMillwey Community Centre, EX13 5EW9.30am – 11.30amAnthony Chape (minister in training)
MondayExmouthBurnside Community Centre, Withycombe, EX8 3AQ10am – 4pmEDDC
 HonitonDunning Court Community Centre, nr Thelma Hulbert Gallery, EX14 1FQ10am – 4pmEDDC
 SeatonWaffle Café, Seaton Community Hospital, EX12 2UU9am – 4pmWaffle Seaton
TuesdaySidmouthTrumps Court, nr the Ham Carpark, EX10 8BL10am – 4pmEDDC
 AxminsterMillwey Community Centre, EX13 5EW10am – 4pmEDDC
 ExmouthBidmead Community Centre, EX8 2TF10am – 4pmEDDC
WednesdayBroadclystBroadview Community Centre, EX5 3HA10am – 4pmEDDC
 ExmouthBidmead Community Centre, EX8 2TF1.45 – 5pmLittleham Community Fridge
ThursdayOtteryYonder Close Community Centre, EX11 1HE10am – 4pmEDDC
 SidmouthLymebourne Community Centre, EX10 9HZ10am – 4pmEDDC
FridayWoodburyPark Close Community Centre10am – 4pmEDDC

Macavity’s comment and how Sidford’s Greenfields became Brownfields 

Yesterday, Macavity reminded us of the escapades of ‘we plan anywhere’ Cllr. Hughes (Council Chair 2015) during EDDC’s “build, build, build” era.

Owl thinks this provides an opportunity to review the “goings on” that led to Sidbury Fields being slipped into the Local Plan at the last moment, (and Cllr. Hughes hypocritical attempt to “save them”).

First Macavity’s comment on:

Controversial “Build, build, build” Exeter council boss to step down after ‘golden decade’

…not forgetting Cllr Hughes YouTube video – ‘we plan anywhere’, which was released when Karim was at East Devon District Council

Now to the grubby history of Sidford business park (extract from this post)

“Incredulous locals wonder how it was possible for a council to allocate an ‘employment site’ in its local development plan that is on a flood plain, is a rich wildlife habitat, and whose main access would be a narrow street where two lorries can’t pass without mounting the pavement!

For the dominant Tory group on East Devon District Council it was easy!

First, they let landowners and developers decide where to build. In 2007 they asked East Devon Business Forum how much employment land the district would need over the next 25 years. EDBF was a lobby group which included the Carters of Greendale, the Stuarts of Hill Barton and Tim Ford of Sidmouth. Their answer was predictable: lots and lots!

Second, they put Chair of EDBF, Cllr Graham (‘I ain’t doin’ it for peanuts!’) Brown:  Disgraced ex-EDDC Tory Councillor scandal refuses to die.

in charge of quietly asking landowners where they would like to build. Apparently, the proposal for a Sidford business park was first mooted at one of these confidential meetings in July 2010.

Third, in 2011 they elected Paul Diviani, founder member of EDBF, as leader. Under him the District Council became what many saw as a ‘Development Corporation’, the planning system became less about protecting the environment and more about encouraging building.

Fourth, they didn’t listen to the public or community groups whom they ignored or misrepresented. Sidmouth Chamber of commerce said the business park would be catastrophic for local businesses, Council minutes recorded the Chamber as supporting it!

Fifth, they whipped their large political majority to vote through the Sidford allocation. When hostile public reaction worried them just before the 2015 council elections they voted to ‘remove it’ from the Local Plan. Universal Rejoicing! But in 2016 the Inspector kept it in the Plan. Why? Because East Devon’s chief planning officer had not been instructed to give the Inspector reasons for the council’s change of mind!”

As for Cllr. Hughes:

2019 EDDC’s Hypocrite of the Year Award should go to Tory councillor Stuart Hughes, whose Tory group when it was in power sneaked in permission for Sidford Business Park to be included in the Local Plan at the last minute. Now he is “trying” to get a vehicle weight restriction in the village! (In 2018 he said it was pointless trying to stop the development on Highways grounds).  Extract from this post

2012 to 2016

Whilst it’s true that Councillor Hughes consistently criticised the business park proposal some major questions remain about his record in this whole sorry scandal. These are reviewed here.

Clinton Devon Estates’ Head of Property and Land to retire

Clinton Devon Estates’ head of property and land, Leigh Rix, has announced his retirement from the role at the end of this year.

Owl’s got a little list – of those who won’t be missed!
There’s the City growth director who should really have been banned.
And now the Lord’s estate manager of property and land.
That’s two ticked off the list, that’s two ticked off the list!

Adam Manning www.exmouthjournal.co.uk

Since joining in 2010 from his previous career with the National Trust, Leigh, who will be 65 in January, has overseen the planning and development of new homes and commercial premises, the restoration of historic buildings and agricultural reorganisation across the estate.

Clinton Devon Estates Director John Varley said: “Leigh’s contribution, during his tenure with the estate, has been significant, notably his support in the delivery of new and affordable housing at Plumb Park and phase two of Liverton Business Park in Exmouth. The restored 19th Century China Tower, once a derelict folly near Bicton Arena, is now one of The Landmark Trust’s most popular holiday lets.”       

Leigh said: “I’m privileged to have worked alongside excellent people on some outstanding projects that will contribute to the long-term stewardship of the Estate and I’m now looking forward to working as a consultant and exploring  non-executive positions, whilst continuing to support the work of the CLA and the Historic Houses Association.”

Leigh is a Fellow of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and a member of the Country Landowners Association (CLA). He has also been a member of the South West Council of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) and was appointed by the Secretary of State to sit on the Environment Agency’s South West Flood and Coastal Committee, representing agriculture, farming and land management, serving two terms

Christmas spirit saves farm shop after Otter flooding

In a true display of the spirit of Christmas, a kind gesture from a construction company has stopped a local shop being forced to close. Pynes Farm Shop, in Budleigh Salterton, was cut off from the main road by flood water along South Farm Road, but thanks to Kier at Lower Otter, customers are able to receive their Christmas goodies.

Shannon Brown www.devonlive.com 

Henry Riddell, shop manager, said they are “used to the road flooding” but the recent “more extreme” weather – and a ‘waterlogged van’ has made access to the shop impossible over recent days. The Lower Otter Restoration Project, currently being completed down the road from the shop, will aim to prevent future flooding when complete in Summer 2023.

Until then, however, heavy rain still causes flooding along the road. Recent heavy rain has caused more flooding than usual, and Henry said the shop has been cut off from the main road. But, thanks to their neighbours at KIER construction, working on the restoration project, the store is able to open in the run up to Christmas – and the spirit of the season is still alive.

After posting on Facebook on Tuesday, December 20, that flooding had forced the road closure, the farm shop said they’ll “bring the shop to you” by setting up a pop-up shop in their site buildings. The temporary new location is at Kier Site Offices, Granary Lane, EX9 6EW.

“As you turn off the main road to us as normal, instead of going left down the hilll, go slightly right then the entrance is on your left,” a Facebook post said. Henry said it was “less of a drive” to get to the shop, and the new location is right on the main road.

Pynes Farm Shop has temporarily moved into KIER at Lower Otter so customers can still get their orders in time for Christmas (Image: Henry Riddle)

The Facebook said: “Unfortunately South Farm Road is now not only still flooded, but also blocked by a waterlogged van. We don’t think the road will be passable before Christmas, which is clearly a disaster for us.

“But we do have a plan. You can’t get through to us, so we’ll bring the shop to you! Thanks to a lovely offer from our friends at KIER at Lower Otter we can open on Thursday. We are going to do a pop up shop in their site buildings so you can all come and get your veg and meats and goodies. (and collect your turkey orders etc!)

“We will be open 9am to 5pm Thursday, 9am to 5pm Friday and 9am to 1pm Saturday. All you have to do is follow the farm shop signs pointing in to the Kier work site at the start of South Farm Road. There will be plenty of car parking and it will be clear where to go.

“Thanks for your understanding at this difficult time, we appreciate your ongoing support of our small family business. We will be accepting cash and card.”

The store will be open till 5pm today, between 9am-5pm on Friday, and 9am-1pm on Christmas Eve (Image: Henry Riddell)

KIER at Lower Otter yesterday said it was “looking forward to welcoming Pynes Farm Shop” to the site, but reminded shoppers that it was an active and working building site.

“The pop up shop is going to be situated in the canteen, but what we’d like to remind everyone that it is still a working (albeit slowed for Christmas) site. Please can everyone visiting be mindful of this, travel slow into the site and park in the dedicated area as some teams are still working.

“The ground is slightly uneven, so please also be mindful if unsteady on your feet or using walking aids. It is also still wet, so sensible footwear is advised. Please note that Kier and partners, will not accept any responsibility for any issues that might occur when visiting site as a result of this pop up event.”