Community has 6 months to bid for Sidmouth’s Drill Hall

“Community groups have been given six months to make their submissions by January 11, 2019.

Exeter-based JLL, have been appointed by East Devon District Council as property marketing advisor, and will be offering advice and taking bids from non-commercial organisations immediately.

In the autumn, the company will open the bidding up to commercial property sector who will have only three months to put forward a bid.

Councillor Jeff Turner, of Sidmouth Town Council, said: “I’m pleased to see that the six month period has now started for the local community in Sidmouth to come forward with any ideas they may have.

“This commences the next stage of the process in finding a way forward for this area of the seafront which is of significant interest to a great many people in Sidmouth.”

It follows 18 months of consultation, which included a scoping study around the town’s Port Royal area to find out what the community would like to see there.

EDDC also carried out a marketing exercise to see about the possibility of adding attractions such as a high quality restaurant/bar development or something similar.

An EDDC spokeswoman said: “As a result of hearing what local people wanted and also acknowledging the constraints of the site including increased risk of flooding, a lack of financial viability in relation to large scale mixed use development and existing covenants, it was agreed that the original proposals should be ruled out.”

Cllr Philip Skinner, Deputy Leader of East Devon District Council and its economy portfolio holder, said: “I’m delighted that we are now able to offer this opportunity for the local community in Sidmouth to come forward during the next six months with their ideas for the site.

“Our property advisor will be available to offer guidance to interested parties and I look forward to seeing a range of proposals when the marketing period concludes in January next year.”

EDDC street trading policy backfires

From “Positive Development for Everyone in Seaton” Facebook page:

“Seaton Markets in 2018 have been CANCELLED.

In view of the recent discussions and correspondence between the Market Organisers and Licensing Officers of East Devon District Council, both the Seaton Branch of the Royal British Legion and Seaton Lions Club have decided with regret, that they cannot proceed with organising Seaton Charity Street Markets in 2018.

These were going to take place on Bank Holiday Monday 7th May, Bank Holiday Monday 28th May and Sunday 15th July. Seaton Carnival Committee have yet to meet to discuss their proposed street market.

This of course will be a financial loss to the charities of between £400 and £800 per market. We have also had the expense of paying DCC Highways a road closure fee of £75 per market.

There will also be a financial loss to Seaton. We estimate that visitors on a market day spend at least £25,000 throughout the town. They patronise the pubs, cafes, coffee shops, ice cream sellers, fish and chip shops, souvenir shops, tramway and Jurassic Centre. This money will not now be spent locally to Seaton, perhaps not even in East Devon.

Although the Act of 1982 is still in force, EDDC interpretation of the requirements since October 2017 have changed. They have introduced a Street Trading Policy which prints out at 20 pages and covers everything possible, putting all of the responsibility onto the market organiser. The policy absolves EDDC of all responsibility. There is also a further 3 pages of another policy for the market organiser. Both of these policies hold the threat of prosecution if the organiser does not comply with the requirements.

The question is why would anyone want to organise a street market when they fully understand the responsibilities which are being passed onto them by EDDC.

EDDC have then combined this with a six page application form which has to be accompanied by an insurance policy, a letter giving permission to use this policy and a map which details exactly where every trader will go in the area being applied for 30 days BEFORE THE EVENT.

EDDC are also asking for proof of permission from the land owner. In the past was DCC Highways but now includes EDDC Street Scene.

To accompany this application EDDC are asking for each trader attending to complete a two page application form, submit photos of their stall and include insurance and hygiene certificate details. They have specified that the hygiene certificate should be level 3, this level applies to restaurants.

If you add all of this paperwork up, it now comes out at over 150 pieces of paperwork for an average street market. Last year we submitted a three page application form and insurance details, that was it.

We also now have to complete a six page application form from EDDC Street Scene which by the way doesn’t co ordinate with the Licensing application form. Street Scene are also asking for a £35.20 fee,so although EDDC Licensing are generously waiving the £20 license fee, it has been substantially increased in 2018 by another department.

The Seaton Charity Street Markets have been held four times a year for over 30 years. They are all organised by volunteers. EDDC increased regulation has turned the organising of a street market into a full time task fraught with extra responsibilities.

It feels as though EDDC have decided to shut down the street markets using over regulation to do so.”

Danger of Exmouth’s “temporary” attractions

Letter in Exmouth Journal:

“There is very important meeting at the Town Hall on Tuesday 6th March at 10 am.

The future of Queens Drive is at stake. Do not be deceived by the description that the planning application is for 12 months only and is “temporary”.

Our Town Council has been bullied and harassed by EDDC paid officials and members of the Regeneration team to try and force this through using the threat of dereliction if they don’t get their way.

This plan reduces the play and recreation of this area to about a quarter. The bulk of the site is to be cheap food outlets and a big screen and spurious as yet unnamed and untested events. To this end to also force the issue EDDC has signed a contract for some play equipment and hired an events manager without consulting our elected representatives.

This area up to now has been protected by the Masterplan for Play and Recreation. Even in the wonderful, could now say fantastical, plans in Reserved Matters last year there is a huge area put aside for water play and other recreational activities. All this can now be lost forever if this so called “temporary attractions“ application goes through in its current form.

If you care about our Seafront, send someone to this meeting. We must stand up to bullying. We must stand up for democracy and above all we must continue to stand up for our lovely Seafront.

Sally Galsworthy, Exmouth”

Given its large subsidy to Thelma Hulbert Gallery, should EDDC now save Exmouth museum?

“Exmouth’s museum faces a race against time to raise £200,000 if it is to secure the town’s heritage.

If the six-figure sum cannot be raised, the museum’s Sheppards Row home could be sold on the open market and the town may lose some of its historic artefacts, such as the original mechanism from the seafront clock tower.

Landowner South West Water (SWW) is looking to sell the Victorian building after the museum’s lease expired at the end of 2017.

The Museum Society of Exmouth has been told it needs to raise at least £130,000 to buy the building, but has set its sights on £200,000 to allow them to undertake ‘much needed’ renovation works.

Brian Leader, steward organiser at the museum, has warned that if the money isn’t found, the artefacts could either be transported to other museums out of town or may even have to be ‘dumped’.

He said: “The museum contains a unique collection of artefacts and documents dating back hundreds of years to the present day – to lose this would be unthinkable.

“If we were not able to raise the funds, we would probably have to distribute the artefacts to other museums.

“The town would definitely lose them and they could be dumped because we haven’t got anywhere to store them.

“We’re pushing for £200,000 because we need to do a lot of work to it. …”

Council 2018-2019 budget – many elephants in the room!

Recent comment on “pay to pee” article (below):

“Notice the contradiction here: one councillor says the idea is not being looked at, another group of councillors say town and … [quote from original article]

Might I suggest that there is fake news (or misdirection).

Instead of concentrating on the big savings – the biggest costs/budgets under management, we are being misdirected to something we actually understand (don’t forget the seaside towns are over endowed with the elderly, whose needs include lavatories) so that we can gain a small ‘win’ by demanding the facilities, so that we forget the elephants in the room. And there are several of them.

A gallery that only Councillor’s want.
A move of headquarters that only Councillors want.
A drastic reduction in healthcare services, that only Councillors want.
Seafront developments that only Councillors want.

William of Occam would say I have over-made the point.

Do you suppose there is a picture developing here?

I could add the absolutely fantastic budget demand coming from a Police body that has a management cost out of all proportion to its actual size. You could make significant savings by firing the bosses and not lose any quality of service?

And what about getting rid of the LLP [LEP] which, in my view, has achieved precisely nothing since it was created (except increase the salaries of the leaders although they have yet to achieve any results). That would make some tidy savings.

Maybe we can afford a health service after all!”

BBC to highlight ‘Save Our Devon Seafronts’ campaign this Thursday (27 July). Port Royal, Sidmouth, will be featured.

“Campaigners from Devon’s seaside towns have united in an initiative to ‘Save Our Seafronts’. Sidmouth is included. This Thursday, BBC Radio Devon breakfast show will include an interview with Sidmouth Councillor Matt Booth, one of the four East Devon District Councillors who are leading the 3Rs campaign for an alternative vision for Por Royal – Retain,Refurbish,Reuse’.

The debate may continue on the radio lunchtime phone in programme (tel 0345 301 1034) and possibly on Spotlight TV on BBC 1 that same day.”

BBC to highlight ‘Save Our Devon Seafronts’ campaign this Thursday (27 July). Port Royal, Sidmouth, will be featured.

A tale of two seaside towns


BIG seafront development plans, unpopular with locals, lots of income for land-holding EDDC and big income potential, quick tender and choice of partner:


SMALL seafront development plans, popular with locals, almost no EDDC land- holding or big income potential, no tender, no progress:

Gung-ho Exmouth, inertia on Seaton

If anything illustrates EDDC as business-led rather than resident-led this is it.

Planning permission rescinded in Birmingham before threatened judicial review

“Birmingham City Council is to revoke planning permission for a supermarket after admitting it made an error and facing a threatened judicial review.

The dispute over a proposed Lidl store at Stirchley saw a local group gain pro bono help from the Environmental Law Foundation to pursue the case.

Birmingham’s assistant director for planning and regeneration Ian MacLeod said: “A planning application to redevelop the Fitness First gym and Stirchley Ten Pin Bowling site for a food store was made by Lidl in 2016.

The application was presented to the planning committee in December, when it decided to grant planning permission for the new store, subject to the completion of a legal agreement securing funding for local environmental/public realm improvements. The planning permission was issued last month.

“A legal challenge has been mounted against the council’s decision, based around the application of planning policy with respect to sporting/leisure facilities.

“Regrettably, the council accepts that a mistake was made and so the challenge has strong merit and it will not resist the claim. As such, the planning consent will be revoked shortly and it is anticipated that the council will re-consider the application in due course, including returning to the planning committee for a new decision.”

Local campaigners had objected to the loss of the gym and bowling facilities, saying the nearest alternatives were some four miles away. They also said more than 670 jobs would be lost and traffic problems would result from the store’s presence.”

How to reinvent the tourism wheel in Exmouth!

Owl says: The headline shouts “Survey shows Exmouth popular with visitors”. BUT they don’t mention wanting a watersports centre, and Owl is certain that is what Councillor Skinner and his “Regeneration Board” will spin!

The survey has been used to say that people spend half as much money in Exmouth as in the rest of East Devon. Might that be because they are not STAYING in Exmouth just visiting? Duh! And owl bets they STILL spend more than visitors to “regenerated” Seaton!

[Surveys commissioned by EDDC] reveal much praise for the town from visitors, although the results show the amount of money they spend is lower than in other local areas.

The 2016 Exmouth Visitor Survey quizzed 1,000 people who visited between June and October.

The survey, commissioned by East Devon District Council for the Exmouth Coastal Community Team, was carried out by the South West Research Company.

The survey found visitor satisfaction levels were generally good, with high scores for accommodation, places to eat and drink, outdoor places to visit, the beach, ease of navigation, public transport, the upkeep of parks and open spaces, cleanliness of the streets, and the general atmosphere. …

… Areas where visitors were less satisfied with Exmouth included shopping, the range of indoor attractions and places to visit, nightlife and evening entertainment, the availability and cleanliness of public toilets, and car parking. …”

Now rural toddlers are penalised!

The freeview channel Tiny Pop, which features programmes including Postman Pat and Miffy’s Adventures, was re-tuned yesterday and is now only available in cities. …

… An announcement earlier this month stated that, from yesterday, Tiny Pop will only be available on Freeview in and around the following locations:
Basingstoke, Birmingham, Brighton, Bristol, Cambridge, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Grimsby and Hull, Leeds, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Nottingham, Norwich, Oxford, Preston, Reading, parts of the Solent area, Sheffield, Swansea, Teesside, Tyne and Wear. Coverage will soon come to Aberdeen, Ayr and Dundee.

Exmouth: Dinan Way extension paused by government

Yet another example of problems with the planning process in East Devon:

“In a statement issued by the National Trust this week, a spokesperson said: “We have no objection to the principle of the road, but we are concerned that the planning process designed to protect our historic environment has not been followed thoroughly.

“Conservation issues raised during the consultation period have not been addressed in the current plans.

“The National Trust’s concerns centre around the impact of the proposed route on A la Ronde, a Grade I listed building, but also on how the road might harm the wider A la Ronde setting in the longer term.

“The concerns of the National Trust are such that we felt that our only option was to submit a request to the Department for Communities and Local Government for the planning application to be considered at national level.

“Historic England, the Government’s advisory body on heritage matters, corroborates the view that the application has the ‘potential for very long-term harmful consequences to a heritage asset of the highest significance.’…”

EDDC Arts & Culture Forum meeting 1 February, 2.30pm at the Beehive Centre, Honiton.

Ever wanted to know what cultural development is planned for Cranbrook? Or how much more money is going to be poured into the Thelma Hulbert Gallery to keep it on life support? This meeting should be right up your street!

AND you can hear what the council has to say about health and wellbeing throughout the district -information which has been pretty thin on the ground during the NHS crisis we have been, and are still, experiencing.

Following the adoption of a Cultural Plan for East Devon DC we have set out clearly how important the work that various Council teams deliver for cultural tourism, health and wellbeing.

At this forthcoming meeting we have the Arts Council England talking about their priorities and their fit with our work, Martin Thomas; Director for Exeter Cultural Partnership, Karin Frewin; Marketing Consultant for Seaton, Cllr Jenny Brown; Tourism
Champion updating on her cultural tourism project, plus updates on Cranbrook’s cultural development work and much more.

The meeting is open for everyone to attend, network and hopefully better understand the opportunities and work that we do in encouraging cultural activities across East Devon. So come along and find out more…”

Click to access the-knowledge-20-january-2017-issue-34.pdf

The “Exmouth Creative Group” vision deconstructed

The existence of the group was first mooted here:

and later further (unverified) information was offered here along with its terms of reference:

So, let’s look at its “creative vision” point by point:

“the creative vision” must:

• Put Exmouth on the map
This is an utterly useless point. Whatever anyone does on the seafront they will claim that it has put Exmouth ” on the map” – i.e. made it more popular, though, of corse, Exmouth appears on maps already!

• Be unique but ‘true’
Yet again an utterly useless point. It would be the only one in Exmouth, so unique. And, if it wasn’t true, it would be untrue!

• Be high quality, intelligent and cultural
Jesus – how arty pretentious!

• Not be a ‘one off’ attraction but be something that encourages repeat visits
So, just like the Seaton Visitor Centre then – ah, we seem to be getting somewhere now!

• Be of value to the local population and attract visitors all year round
Yep, another Visitor Centre!

• Financially and ‘footfall’ viable and sustainable
Most definitely a Visitor Centre!

• Main target audience is ‘National Trust’ but also can’t ignore the youth?
A visitor centre with a skateboard park? Or linked to a “key stage for school trips with bored teenagers? Or next to a watersports centre?

• Be appropriate to Exmouth’s history
And the opposite of this is – to be inappropriate to Exmouth’s history – duh. And, yes, it definitely sounds like a visitor centre! But, of course, an upmarket, trendy, creative visitor centre.

• Enhance our natural assets (ANOB, SSSI estuary, Jurassic Coast, sea front)
A visitor centre! (And it’s AONB by the way).

• Be low impact so it doesn’t detract from the natural environment and maintain the ‘open’ feel of the town and seafront
EVERY tourist attraction these days must make these claims to be “right on” or whatever the current “creative” phrase is these days (is “wicked, bro” already passe?)

• Inspire a wider vision for Exmouth and other developments
Translation: it must make money and be linked to other things that make money – a visitor centre next to a bowling alley or a watersports centre for example?

• Turn ‘locals’ into advocates and inspire them to contribute to the vision
It must have a coffee shop and/or restaurant facing the sea and should be staffed mostly by unpaid local volunteers – just like Seaton!

• Bring employment to the town
Four cheap apprentices, a newly qualified cook and a highly paid manager, plus free volunteers.

• Encourage year round ‘holiday’ trade
Open 365 days a year – with just volunteers in quiet times.

• It must be achievable and sustainable

• Involve local craftspeople
Have a little area in the gift shop for local wares.

• Create a ‘culture’ in Exmouth
Er, pass! Though it is rather arrogant to assume that without this group there is no ‘culture’.

EDDC Cabinet Meeting – 14 September 2016: highlights

Agenda here:

Click to access combined-cab-agenda140916final.pdf


Forward plans: discussion on public toilets at Cabinet in November 2016. Closing them or charging for them?

Next relocation update: 21 December 2016 Cabinet meeting
in line with burying bad news at the start of a long holiday.

Business Support and Thelma Hulbert Gallery reviews – no dates set.
Obviously a new grouping to take the place of the East Devon Business Forum and giving the Gallery longer to lose its (subsidised by us) money. Perhaps it will be relocated to the new HQ (wonder how much costs are increasing on that?)

Agenda Item 12 – Port Royal, Sidmouth – Scoping Study and Project Brief.
Whose scope, whose project?

“Franksy” artwork update

The reason given by the council for removal of the art work was “it didn’t seem particularly contentious ” but E.D.D.C. were “trying to create a positive vibe in the town.”

As the site was re-visited this morning in order to remove any staples left sticking out by the hasty removal, these photographs were taken of a ripped circus poster to the back of the building, there clearly dated July 13 to 17:


and various little piles of screws left around the base of the building:


The art work was much admired and had a Great Vibe. The torn poster and abandoned debris and weeds less so.

It seems that if it does not emanate from the Thelma Hulbert Gallery (heavily subsidised by EDDC) it isn’t art!


This shows Councillors Diviani, Chubb and O’Leary perhaps indicating their idea of portraiture.

Exmouth’s (fleeting) answer to Banksy … not EDDC’s cup of tea

DJs café was temporarily wrapped with some ‘art’ work yesterday. ‘Franksy’, the artists, left a message and a mobile number clearly displayed in 3 places so that contact could be made for removal and stated that responsible residents would do that. Nothing was dangerous and no criminal damage was incurred. It may have been seen as slightly contentious. Political art can be!

This morning residents saw it had been removed. Stolen? The staples had been left sticking out dangerously. At least 2 hours later, the work was tracked down to a council’s rubbish depot in Camperduin. It’s removal had been ordered by ‘the powers that be.’

Nobody had contacted Franksy on the given mobile number.

Advice is being sought on what should now be done.