EDDC councillor freebies

Can be found here:


Councillors Diviani and Twiss appear to have only ever met only one developer (Baker Estates) but have done so twice in September 2017 and December 2017 to discuss “future projects in East Devon”, Councillor Skinner has been a beneficiary of rugby tickets paid for by the Carter family (Greendale) several times, Councillor Moulding has met developers St Modwyn and Heritage Developments and Clinton Devon Estates treated several councillors to a concert at Exeter Cathedral.

Free Sandy Park rugby match tickets seem to be quite popular with Councillors Diviani, Godbeer, Skinner, Wright and Moulding.

Developer Bovis too poor to finish Axminster estate – and “steep slopes” came as a surprise (and Owl says ‘I told you’!)

Owl predicted problems with this development LONG ago:

Recall the site was acquired below market value when Axminster Carpets got into difficulty.

And it seems that Bovis has its own troubles:

Although again Owl drew attention to another problem affecting house sales on the site:

So, it’s hardly surprising we find that Bovis blames everyone but themselves for their so- called plight – though its directors are probably not too worried about their bonuses:

“HOUSE building on the Bovis Homes Cloakham Lawn estate could cease unless planning conditions are removed or eased.

Bovis Homes says the scheme is in the process of stalling and, unless it can be brought back into viability, the company will have “no option but to cease work and mothball the development”.

But Axminster Town Council feels it is an attempt by the developer “to wriggle out of its commitments”, with district councillor Ian Hall saying: “‘Trying it on’ comes to mind.”

Bovis Homes has submitted a planning application to East Devon District Council (EDDC) to vary the Section 106 agreement (a set level of affordable housing and contributions towards the local infrastructure and facilities).

The development includes permission for up to 400 dwellings, and the company celebrated the second anniversary of its on-site sales office in September last year.

But a summary of an independent viability assessment, produced by chartered surveyor Belvedere Vantage Ltd, says: “The local market in Axminster has proved very difficult, with interest in the first phase of the development having slowed significantly, resulting in a large number of completed unsold ‘standing units’.”

The summary also referred to a number of physical constraints at the site, and “potential abnormal costs” associated with the constraints, which started to become clear during detailed site investigations after outline planning permission had been given.

Constraints include areas with very steep slopes, a flood plain boundary, two distinct drainage catchments, a watercourse running through the site, the need to maintain access to existing leisure facilities.

The negative impacts, including an inability to plan the scheme effectively, of a tree preservation order are also mentioned.

Axminster Rural district councillor Ian Hall, having declared an interest as he is the chairman of Cloakham Lawn Sports Centre (a Bovis Homes tenant), said in a formal response: “I have absolutely no sympathy.

“This land was purchased by Bovis for £2.9m cheaper than the market price when the failing Axminster Carpets Ltd was winding up.

“Bovis representatives (who were the strong arm of Bovis during the purchase of the land) were very aware of the agreements and were more than happy to proceed with the bargain of the decade.

“I am not one to make unnecessary fuss, although, on this issue, I will not compromise.

“ ‘Trying it on’ comes to mind.”

The independent viability assessment is confidential because it contains commercially sensible information, which is not included in the publicly available summary.

Axminster Town Council has requested more detailed confidential information and, in its formal response to EDDC, said: “The town council objects to this application, which appears to be an attempt by the developer to wriggle out of its commitments.

“There is insufficient information on which to make a well-reasoned response.”

The town council requested a meeting with EDDC and the developer so that it would be able to “respond in the light of more detailed, commercially confidential information”.

The town council also requested a site meeting in the company of a planning officer.

Town clerk Hilary Kirkcaldie said EDDC replied it could not share confidential information, but had appointed an independent viability consultant.

EDDC also expressed a willingness to host a site visit, which is yet to be arranged.

In her formal response to the application, EDDC housing strategy officer Melissa Wall said: “We are disappointed that the applicants have not approached the council before submitting their application to vary the S106 contributions to discuss their viability concerns.

“We are open to suggestions regarding changing the tenure and numbers of affordable units in order to assist viability.

“We are hopeful that agreement can be reached between the council and the applicant to ensure that the development can support some form of affordable housing.”

Bovis Homes would not say how many houses have been built and how many are under construction – nor would the company comment on Councillor Hall’s claims.

A spokesperson said: “We cannot comment on live viability applications but we will continue to work closely with the local authorities to deliver the new development at Axm- inster, which is providing much-needed new homes as well as an economic boost and jobs for the area.”


“Bovis to pay £7m to compensate customers angry at poorly built homes”

Owl wonders how many affected homes are in East Devon, given the coruscating remarks made about the company here recently – particularly in Axminster by Councillor Douglas Hull, though Councillor Moulding did not seem concerned.

Oh, and Cranbrook … Cranbrook … poor, poor Cranbrook. Already with district heating problems, estate rents and garages too small for cars …

“Bovis Homes is being forced to pay £7m for “remedial action” to fix customers’ homes, after irate owners spent their own money fixing faults at newly built properties.

Angry homeowners formed a Facebook group with some accusing Bovis of pressuring them to move in to incomplete houses to hit sales targets.

Bovis’s boss on Monday apologised to customers for the poor quality of their houses and promised he would “make sure [we] finish their homes to their satisfaction”.

Earl Sibley, Bovis’s interim chief executive, announced the £7m “customer care provision” as home owners prepare to protest at the company’s annual meeting in Tunbridge Wells in May. …

… More than 1,400 have joined the Bovis Homes Victims Group on Facebook while others have posted a series of videos showing their poorly built homes on YouTube. Marc Holden, one of the group’s administrators, had said: “We are not going to stop our active campaign. There are a lot of unhappy people.

“We were getting a lot of people joining the group just before Christmas who were posting about being ‘encouraged’ to complete by 23 December, some were being offered money and other incentives.”

The company conceded that some customers were “offered an incentive to complete before the year end” but insisted that all of the homes were “habitable”.

Chad Clifton said he and his wife were “forced” to complete on their four-bedroom Bovis house in Brockworth, Gloucestershire, on 23 December and found the fridge had not been fitted and that the hallway was unfinished – just two points out of a list of 115 defects. They were offered £350 and a free move. “We were told we didn’t have much choice – if the house is ready we have to complete on 23 December.”

Rob Elmes said he was offered £3,000 if he and his wife completed on 23 December, but declined the offer because there were so many defects with the £320,000 three-bedroom property in Inkberrow, Worcestershire. “It became one of the most stressful weeks we have endured,” Elmes said. “[It was] not the Christmas we were hoping for.” …


Diviani steps down from DCC “to concentrate on being Leader of EDDC”

Honiton and Tiverton Conservative constituency has announced its candidates for DCC elections:

We have now completed the selection of our candidates to stand for the Conservative Party at the Devon County Council elections in May 2017. Paul Diviani has withdrawn his candidacy to concentrate solely on Leading East Devon District Council.

Therefore the candidates are as follows:-

Axminster, Ian Hall
Seaton and Colyton, Helen Parr
Feniton and Honiton, Phil Twiss
Whimple and Blackdown, Iain Chubb
Tiverton East, Colin Slade
Tiverton West, Polly Colthorpe
Willand and Uffculme, Ray Radford,
Cullompton and Bradnich, John Berry


Oh poor, unlucky DCC to be missing out on all his experience …

And Councillor Moulding presumably needs to keep his eye on those Bovis builders in Axminster, some of whose purchasers are none too happy with the quality of their homes.

Still, with his work on increasing housing numbers for the Local Enterprise Partnership AND all the developments going on all over East Devon, those developers will be needing a firm hand … AND there is “Greater Exeter” to be sorted too …

Axminster and Cranbrook – slums of the future says Councillor Hull whilst Councillor Moulding says – nothing

At EDDC’s full Council Meeting on 21 December, venerable Axminster Lib Dem councillor Douglas Hull asked members to support a statement criticising the standards of the big national housebuilders.

He said the “little boxes” they were building in places like Axminster and Cranbrook were so appalling that they were creating “the slums of the future”

He circulated a local newspaper story of a young Axminster couple whose new purchase was so “ticky tacky” as to be virtually uninhabitable.

There was some tut tutting and the Chief Executive stepped in to say he would write to the offending companies, and Douglas was very grateful.

Interesting that Tory Axminster councillor Andrew Moulding had nothing to say about the problem.

But then he is a guiding light in Cloakham Lawns Social and Sports Club which has very cordial relations with Bovis!

Tell EDDC what you want Section 106 money spent on so they can ignore you and spend it on what they want!

That is, of course, if they can be bothered to collect the money ( at least £200,000 due but not invoiced when external auditors KPMG did a spot check recently:)

“New document sets out what contributions will be required for roads, affordable housing, schools and play areas

Residents are being invited to have their say on how East Devon District Council (EDDC) will require developers to pay towards infrastructure such as roads, affordable housing, schools and play areas in the future.

The new Planning Obligations Supplementary Planning Document sets out what contributions will be required for, when they will be required and how much they are likely to be.

EDDC deputy leader Councillor Andrew Moulding said: “The document applies to a large range of people from major housebuilders to individual house owners who may want to develop part of their garden.”

To comment, email localplan@eastdevon.gov.uk by January 16.


And Councillor Moulding might be advised to watch his words too!

On the question of hospital Moulding says in this week’s Midweek Herald that EDDC’s health scrutiny committee should examine the CCG’s audited accounts.

The Scrutiny Committee isn’t even allowed to see EDDC’s own accounts and information for things like relocation, let alone ask for and scrutinise other people’s!

And aren’t this years EDDC accounts being held up by auditors who have not yet signed them off (due in September) as they are not happy that some £700,000 plus of Section 106 money seems to be a problem area?

Don’t do as we do, do as we say?