It’s going to take more than a yew tree branch to ward off evil at EDDC new HQ!

And who at EDDC was responsible for this press release that gives the (totally erroneous) impression that the sale of Knowle is 100% financing the new HQ?

https://eastdevonwatch.org/2018/06/16/sums-on-knowle-relocation-not-adding-up-for-us-the-taxpayers/

“A yew tree branch has been placed on top of East Devon District Council’s new HQ to “ward off evil spirits”.

The topping out ceremony took place at Blackdown House in Honiton, which will be the council’s new home by January 2019.

As part of the ceremony, a yew tree branch was attached to the highest point of the building.

The ceremony was completed by council chairman Andrew Moulding and leader Ian Thomas. A council spokesman said it was “an age-old tradition”.

The authority plans to move from its current HQ in Sidmouth to Blackdown House in December 2018. The move will be financed by selling the property to Pegasus Life Ltd for £7.5m, which will turn it into a 113-apartment assisted-living community. …”

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/live/uk-england-devon-44465408

People power leads to shake up (down?) at East Budleigh with Bicton Parish Council

Owl says: what IS going on? First the sudden exodus of Tory grandees Moulding and Godbeer at the same time at Axminster Town Council and now the Chair of East Budleigh and Bicton departs extremely swiftly! All change? Hhhmmm … maybe …

“An overwhelming vote of no confidence in East Budleigh with Bicton Parish Council was made at a Parish meeting in the village on Sunday evening (March 25th)

The meeting had been called by a number of residents including the Friends of East Budleigh Recreation Ground after exhausting every other means of engaging with the Council. Over 100 residents were in attendance. Several East Devon District councillors and a Devon county councillor were also present.

Leading up to the vote of no-confidence, many issues and allegations were brought up by the residents as reasoning for their vote against the Council, principally a failure to observe their own codes of conduct.

Two days later at the Parish Council meeting it was announced that the chair of the Parish council had resigned. Amongst other items on the agenda the long running and emotive issue of restrictive use of dogs on the recreation ground was finally resolved through a vote by the councillors to shelve plans for any restrictions in favour of a voluntary community strategy to monitor and maintain the area.

A spokesman from the ‘Friends group’ said “The parish community has come together as a whole and made it very, very clear we’re unhappy with what’s currently going on.”

He also added ” I have to say, in all fairness, the remaining council members have responded swiftly and correctly. There was a much more inclusive atmosphere at the last Parish Council meeting. We feel that they now have a genuine will to see a positive way forwards and work with the village community.”

EDDC councillor freebies

Can be found here:

http://eastdevon.gov.uk/council-and-democracy/councillor-conduct/gifts-and-hospitality/

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:
https://eastdevonwatch.org/2016/04/04/axminster-regeneration/

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

And it seems that Bovis has its own troubles:
https://eastdevonwatch.org/2017/04/30/bovis-slow-down-will-hit-east-devon-hard/

Although again Owl drew attention to another problem affecting house sales on the site:
https://eastdevonwatch.org/2016/12/23/axminster-and-cranbrook-slums-of-the-future-says-councillor-hull-whilst-councillor-moulding-says-nothing/

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:
http://www.constructionenquirer.com/2017/06/21/new-bovis-homes-boss-buys-extra-2m-shares/

“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.”

https://www.viewnews.co.uk/housing-development-axminster-stop/

“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.” …

https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/feb/20/bovis-to-pay-7m-to-compensate-customers-angry-at-poorly-built-homes

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

https://www.tivertonhonitonconservatives.co.uk

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 …