“One in five wouldn’t be able to get to work using just public transport”

25% of working people cannot get to their place of work by public transport, so it’s one in four in this area.

“The Government is desperate for us to ditch our cars and replace them with zero-emissions electric models or use public transport in a bid to reduce air pollution in the country.

However, a new study has highlighted that more than 10 million Britons would be unable to get to work if they could only rely on buses, trains and other modes of public transport.

Direct Line Car Insurance said a fifth of workers either don’t have a public transport link into their nearest town centre or would have to use three or more modes of shared transport to get to work. … ”


NHS “Accountable Care Systems” – about money not people

Sustainability and transformation partnerships should tell NHS England if it is “getting in the way”, the HFMA annual conference heard yesterday.

Matthew Style, director of strategic finance at NHS England, encouraged local areas to adopt accountable care systems (ACSs) – which evolve from STPs – where possible.

But, speaking at the conference in London, he added: “I am conscious some things we [NHS England] do make local relationships at a local level more strained.

“We get in the way. You do and should keep us to account on that.”

NHS England was committed to ACSs, he said, and areas that did not have them – if they feel ready – should adopt the principles.

“The finance community has a pivotal role to play to drive forward this agenda,” he added. He advised the audience that any investments they made should “show demonstrably [they] are sustainable as a whole”.

Style also told the conference the Budget package “hasn’t taken away stark challenges we are facing” and that NHS England would not be changing the way fund was allocated next year.

Philip Hammond promised £10bn of capital investment to the health service by 2020 in the Budget last month.

Style also predicted there would be clinical commissioning group mergers in the future.

Bob Alexander, the deputy chief executive and director of resources at NHS Improvement, also addressed the conference. He told delegates they were doing a “tremendous job” but warned there was still a reliance on “non-recurrent stuff”. The Treasury stipulates NHS commissioners set aside 1% uncommitted spending at the start of a financial year as a buffer for ‘non-recurrent’ health economic priorities.

Alexander also warned NHS finance managers not to let “risks hang in the air” and advised: “Some of the best help comes from those colleagues who are a little bit removed from the day to day”.

This was Alexander’s last speech to the conference as he is leaving his role to become chair of Sussex and East Surrey STP next year.”


Greendale Business Park: Planning Inspector supports the East Devon Local Plan Rejects Greendale Business Park Appeal against an Enforcement Notice

East Devon Alliance Independent councillor Geoff Jung and local residents have fought a long and heroic battle for the residents of the area and now have the satisfaction of seeing that David can still fight Goliath and win!

Press Release:

”The Inspector concluded that the East Devon Local Plan and the emerging Villages Plan indicated that the principle of development on the appeal site was unacceptable other than in respect of one section (compound 11 that benefitted from an extant permission and therefore within the Greendale Employment Zone in the emerging Villages Plan.)

The inspector concluded that the development was contrary to Strategy 7 and Policy E7 which indicated that the principle of development in this location would harm the intentions of the local authority’s strategic plan.

The inspector also stated that the development was harmful to the character and appearance of the wider countryside.

The site to which the enforcement notice applied was open countryside in what previously would have been an undulating rural landscape extending to about 2.14 ha and located to the north-east of the Greendale Business Park.

The compounds 11, 39, 47 and 48a which are all gated and have metal security fencing and concrete surfaces. Compound 39 is a large concrete yard which has been excavated into the slope of the ground to create a level site. In the corner of the site is a recently constructed prominent green clad mono-pitched warehouse building. Next to this are concrete footings and the service ducts.

The appellants state that the site is occupied by “Actavo”, a scaffolding company having 8 employees. Compound 48A, has a portacabin office and is occupied by Data Solutions Ltd having 13 employees. Compound 47 has several portacabins and is occupied by “Flogas” with 4 employees. Compound 11 is lower down the slope and has been excavated in part to create a level compound. EBCS Leisure Ltd with 5 employees uses the compound for the storage of park homes of which about 30 were present at the time of the inspectors visit.

The Enforcement notice required:

1. Permanently remove from the land the concrete hard standing, foundations and associated drainage works from compounds 39, 48A and 47;

2. Permanently cease the use of the land as compounds and for use as storage of mobile park homes, caravans, shipping containers, Portacabin type buildings and storage of associated items;

3. Permanently remove from the land all fencing from the perimeters of and within compounds 39, 48A, 47 and 11; (compound 11 now excluded from this notice)

4. Permanently remove from the land all gates from the perimeters of and within compounds 39, 48A, 47 and 11; (compound 11 now excluded from this notice)

5. Permanently remove from the land all CCTV cameras and supporting ancillary equipment from within compounds 39, 48A, 47 and 11; (compound 11 now excluded from this notice)

6. Permanently remove from the land all light fittings and cabling from compounds 39, 48A, 47 and 11; (compound 11 now excluded from this notice)

7. Permanently remove from the land the two permanent buildings sited within compound 39 shown indicatively edged and hatched in black on plan 2;

8. Permanently remove from the land the temporary buildings including the shipping containers;

9. Permanently remove from the land the cubicle identified outlined in yellow and coloured red on plan 3;

10. Permanently remove from the land the mobile park homes caravans and associated items ( this refers to compound 11 which requires a “change of use” planning application)

11. (This condition to be replaced).

The topsoil in compounds 39, 48A and 47 to a depth of 20cm and reseed with an agricultural grass mix which shall be retained and maintained in perpetuity; 11 Inspectors new condition: Reinstate the surface of compounds 39, 48A and 47 to its condition before the breach took place.

12. Permanently remove, to an authorised place of disposal, all materials associated with compliance with steps 1, 3,4,5,6,7,8,9 and 10. The period for compliance with the requirements will now be 6 months from the date the the inspectors report is published (05/12/2017).

The Inspector disagreed with the appellant’s (FWS Carter and Sons) contention that the Local Plan is silent on the matter of employment provision/future development at the major existing employment sites of both Greendale and Hill Barton Business Parks.

He stated that although there may be no specific policies for the business parks, Strategy 7 and Policy E7 is perfectly clear in that the Plan seeks to apply a “restrictive policy approach” to accommodating further development.

The Inspector also mentioned that the unauthorised development had generated considerable opposition from residents, the Parish Council and the Woodbury Salterton Residents Association.

He noted that there is widespread support for the Council’s enforcement action against FWS Carter and Sons who the residents state has persistently failed to respect the planning process.

District Councillors Comments

District Councillor Geoff Jung said of the appeal decision.

“This is a significant decision by the Planning Inspector as it now provides further support to the local plan strategy for Greendale Business Park which is located in my ward village of Woodbury Salterton.”

“Whilst I appreciate the employment that the Business Park provides to approximately 1500 local people, the site is in the open countryside located some distance from where people live.

The Government and Local Authority strategy is to provide employment in locations close to where people live”

“Local residents, the Woodbury Salterton Residents Association and Woodbury Parish Council should be congratulated in their persistence and tenacity. It is through their continued pressure to the Local Authority over twelve years that there may at last be a sensible restriction to the growth of this Business Park which has persistently floated the planning process as noted by the planning inspector.”

“At the last Local Election, I stood as an East Devon Alliance Independent candidate against inappropriate development in the countryside, and I have always given my full support to the residents of Woodbury Salterton in their continued efforts” This decision along with the East Devon Local Plan and the Villages Plan that includes the full extent of the Authorised Employment Area at Greendale Business Park will provide the clarity and certainty that local residents have been fighting for so long.”

“Human rights commission to launch its own Grenfell fire inquiry”

Britain’s human rights watchdog is to launch an inquiry into the Grenfell Tower fire that will examine whether the government and the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea failed in their duties to protect life and provide safe housing.

The dramatic intervention by the independent Equality and Human Rights Commission, which has the potential to draw damning conclusions about the role of the state, could foreshadow the official inquiry, ordered by Theresa May and chaired by retired judge Sir Martin Moore-Bick, which has been criticised for excluding social housing policy from its remit. The commission’s recommendations are due to be published in April, considerably earlier than the official inquiry’s full findings.

The commission’s chair, David Isaac, said the EHRC, whose application to become a core participant in the official inquiry was rejected, had decided to launch its own inquiry amid concerns that key questions – including the extent to which the state has “a duty to protect its citizens”– were being neglected. While acknowledging that the move might be seen as “controversial” in some quarters, he defended the commission’s decision to become involved.

Six months on, Grenfell Tower fire survivors are left demanding answers
“We are the UK’s national human rights body and we have a statutory duty to promote equality and human rights,” Isaac said in an interview with the Observer. “We think the human rights dimension to Grenfell Tower is absolutely fundamental and is currently overlooked. Grenfell for most people in this country, particularly in the way the government has reacted, is a pretty defining moment in terms of how inequality is perceived.”

He recalled his reaction to the tragic events of 14 June. “Like everybody else, it was shock, horror, distress. I think it was a national moment that defined how certain parts of society experience the state’s public provision of housing and also how the state responds. We need to learn from what’s happened with Grenfell, look at it in the context of our human rights obligations, and think about how we can improve. There are loads of lessons to be learned.”

Last week it emerged that four out of every five families who were made homeless in the fire are still looking for new housing, with almost half of them likely to spend Christmas in emergency accommodation.

The EHRC inquiry, which will involve a panel of legal experts, will pay particular attention to the UK’s obligations to the tower’s residents under the Human Rights Act and international law. At a time when some want the act scrapped, the inquiry’s actions could be viewed as provocative.

“Human rights are for everybody,” Isaac said. “This is political and I know there is a view among some politicians, but also among society more generally, that human rights only protect extremists and terrorists but that isn’t the case at all. I always talk about Hillsborough as a really good example of where the Human Rights Act and the human rights lens has been used effectively to ensure justice prevailed.”

In a statement to be published on its website tomorrow, explaining its decision to launch what it refers to as its “project”, the EHRC will say: “The Grenfell Tower fire caused catastrophic loss of life for which the state may have been responsible. More than 70 people died in homes managed by the state. They should have been safe and they were not. The people who died and others affected by the fire come from diverse backgrounds. They include children, elderly people, disabled people and migrants. …

… The commission’s decision to examine the Grenfell Tower fire reflects a more muscular approach to addressing human rights and equality issues. Recently it has brought a number of high-profile legal actions and launched several major inquiries, such as that into the gender pay gap.

Isaac said: “We are a more confident organisation and this is a good example of us being that – holding the government to account by doing what only we can do. It might be perceived to be controversial but I believe that’s our role.””


Swire’s new preoccupation and Owl bets you would NOT have guessed it!

“Written Answers – Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs: Seahorses: Smuggling (8 Dec 2017)


Hugo Swire:

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many prosecutions have taken place for the illegal sale of seahorses in the last five years.”


Devon/Somerset devolution: DCC Tories and Labour votes Yes on deal that scrutiny committee savaged

From the blog of EDA Councillor Martin Shaw:

“Most Labour members joined the Conservative majority on Thursday in voting down my amendment for the County Council to revisit its controversial ‘devolution’ proposals to join Devon with Somerset in the so-called Heart of the South West, first in a formal Joint Committee and then (envisaged but not proposed at this stage) in a Combined Authority. I argued that the proposals for an extra layer of bureaucracy have no democratic consent – they were not even in the Conservatives’ Devon manifesto last May.

I argued that we were being asked to support ‘a regional economic strategy that doesn’t add up to a government which doesn’t know what it’s doing about devolution, and for this we’re prepared to enter a half-baked new constitutional arrangement which will probably have to be scrapped as soon as a more rational government devolution policy is devised.’

Six of Labour’s Exeter members followed the line of Exeter City Council which is joining the Tory-run County and district councils in supporting the current devolution proposals (one abstained). They believe that Exeter’s economy will gain from the (currently unknown) amount of money the devolution bid will gain from government (which of course will be giving back a small proportion of the money it is currently taking from services). I argued that the plan does not have a viable economic strategy behind it, and that rural, coastal and small-town Devon stands to gain virtually nothing from it.

Liberal Democrat and Green councillors joined Independents in voting for my amendment. The webcast will be available here:


Labour joins Tories at Devon County Council to support joint ‘devolution’ with Somerset, against Independent, Lib Dem and Green opposition