East Devon Green Party candidate who is selling farm land to BIG developers says climate change is his priority!

VOTE LIB DEM, LABOUR OR GREEN – and get TORY!

Honestly, you couldn’t make it up.

The East Devon Green Party has chosen “farmer” Henry Gent to stand against Claire Wright!

Gent has featured in this blog before:

He’s a councillor (with Rylance – the Lib Dem candidate) on the now notorious Broadclyst Parish Council:

https://eastdevonwatch.org/2019/10/12/broadclyst-twinned-with-mayfair/

Here is his declaration of interest, showing he has a large area of land optioned to Persimmon:

https://eastdevon.gov.uk/media/2437152/roi-henry-gent.pdf

Here is a 2014 planning application for his land – now the Tithebarn Lane housing development:

“14/2761/MOUT Demolition of the existing buildings and development of the site to provide up to 900 dwellings and a primary school with car and cycle parking, public and private open space together with landscaping and associated servicing (all matters reserved). Mosshayne Land North Of Tithebarn Lane Clyst Honiton 17/1019/MOUT Demolition of existing buildings and development […]”

Green? A very, very funny shade of blue-green perhaps!

and further info on the same area:

http://committees.exeter.gov.uk/documents/s38792/14%201090%2002%20Tithebarn%20Green%20land%20at%20Monkerton.pdf

Shocking.

Broadclyst Parish Council offices aren’t even in Broadclyst (and the rent is £16,000 a year)!

Broadclyst – where the council makes sure hedges don’t scratch your new car! Where bowls club members are heavily subsidised – and where the town council doesn’t even have an office – preferring to rent in Sowton for £16,000 a year!

AND where 4.5 employees share salary and pension costs of £204,000 – meaning if they were all paid the same they would be getting £45,000 plus per year. But they probably AREN’T being paid equally, which means someone – or a couple of someones – is probably being paid substantially more …

“Broadclyst Parish Council currently charges £244.51 for a band D property for its portion of the council tax, compared with the average in Devon of £42.20. …

Since the meeting [when new councillor Karl Straw tried to get the massive precept reduced] we’ve had this excellent cost cutting suggestion from a parishioner about re-locating the council office. The council pays £16,000 a year for office and car parking on the Sowton industrial estate, outside the parish, while the council owned village sports pavilion is a loss-making building, mainly used at weekends. The parishioner has suggested it would make sense to reduce costs and move the offices to the pavilion.

During the meeting one councillor said that we have to pay more because people with new cars would complain if they get scratched on uncut hedges. I don’t know what world they live in, but most ordinary hardworking people don’t have brand new cars, a lot of residents struggle even to have a car.”

Cllr Straw said that parishioners were also very concerned about the high cost of leasing a maintenance truck, at £4,500 a year, plus £3,000 for insurance and other costs.

Parish councillor Liz Straw, who joined the council in May and also voted to reduce the council tax added: “This council dramatically increased the tax now it’s time for a dramatic reduction and time to listen to local people’s concerns. We must behave responsibly and carefully with public money, other thriving Devon parishes charge a sensible council tax. We need to do the same.

“We can’t afford to subsidize the bowling club to the tune of £10,000 – it’s highly irresponsible, especially in a time of austerity. There have been a lot of complaints about the bowling club costs and I hope the club will take over most of the costs and not expect the public purse to fund their hobby.”

Councillors voted by six votes to two to reject the motion though, with the chairman not required to vote.

Speaking after the meeting, Cllr Massey, the chairman said that they welcomed the Straw’s motion looking to cut the cost and the council tax and that every line in the budget would be looked at, but cutting one third of the budget in one go was not something they felt they could support.

He said: “The council tax in Broadclyst is high, as it is in Cranbrook and Clyst Honiton, our neighbouring parishes. We do provide a lot of services and we have been asked by the community who don’t want to see things lost and we had a request to provide more services and so we have to set the council tax accordingly.”

https://www.devonlive.com/news/devon-news/bid-reduce-council-tax-parish-3427719

“To save on teaching costs, school heads are increasingly busting the 30-child limit — illegal for pupils under seven” [including Broadclyst]

“Broadclyst school [photograph from article above]in Devon has a specially built classroom where 67 children are taught simultaneously. Though unions say such class sizes are detrimental to learning, the school’s head teacher insists pupils are offered an “excellent education”.

It looks more like a lecture theatre than a primary school classroom. Welcome to Broadclyst Community Primary School in Devon, where year 6 pupils are taught in a class of 67 — sometimes with just one teacher.

A Sunday Times investigation has found that cash-strapped primary schools are packing pupils into giant classes to boost their budgets. A school receives between £3,500 and £5,000 a year for each child. More than 559,000 primary pupils were taught in “super-size classes” averaging more than 30 children last year, compared with 501,000 five years earlier, according to our analysis of official data.

In parts of northwest England — including Oldham, Bury, Trafford and Tameside — a quarter of primary children are being taught in such big classes, as per-pupil funding encourages heads to fill their classrooms.

It is illegal to teach children under the age of seven in classes of more than 30 pupils, but there are no such rules for older children. But we have found that nearly 5% of pupils aged 5-7, roughly 73,000 children, were taught in classes of more than 30 last year. Some heads use just one teacher for occasional classes of more than 60 pupils. Broadclyst has one of the highest average class sizes, 42, and at times teaches 67 older children together in a specially built room.

Teaching unions and experts have always warned that such big class sizes damage children’s education. But this weekend Jonathan Bishop, Broadclyst’s head teacher, defended the policy, insisting that the school, about five miles northeast of Exeter, offered an excellent education, and class size “was not the big factor” in a good-quality education.

The school is rated as “outstanding” by the regulator Ofsted.

Bishop said: “I do not think 30 is a magic number to get better-quality education. It is not class size that dictates the quality of education. Our year 6 classroom has got 67 children in one room. There are times when one teacher teaches those 67 children. Is that wrong? Of course it is not wrong.

“Our year 6 classroom is designed like a lecture theatre: I can seat 67 children in there. I know I will be public enemy No 1 by saying this.”

Experts warned that the UK was moving inexorably towards the giant classes found in parts of Asia.”

Source: Times (pay wall)

Broadclyst – twinned with Mayfair?

Following on from the story below Owl has been flying over Broadclyst.

It has an interesting parish council.

It includes Green Party landowner Henry Gent, whose declaration of interest notes that he has land on option to Persimmon that could net him a nice little earner very soon:

https://eastdevon.gov.uk/media/2437152/roi-henry-gent.pdf

Lib Dem District Councillor Sarah Chamberlain.

Lib Dem District Councillor Eleanor Rylance, who plans to stand again against Claire Wright in a general election.

Henry Massey, whose company provides web services to Broadclyst Parish Council:

https://eastdevon.gov.uk/media/1353424/roi-henry-j-massey.pdf

(Check those web services out here on the parish’s less than informative and clunky website: https://www.broadclyst.org/

and now new councillors Karl and Liz Straw – where Karl is certainly shaking up the very expensive parish council with some incisive questions!

Interesting features of the parish accounts show:

Of its £422,170 budget £204,320 is being spent on 4.5 FTE employees (including the clerk) PLUS £18,000 on a PART-TIME handyman whose LORRY costs £7,500 PLUS someone being paid £5,000 to maintain public toilets PLUS someone being paid £9000 to run the sports pavilion.

The council also has a bill of £16,550 for office/telephone/internet services, £2500 for staff expenses and £12,500 for PUBLIC RELATIONS. Of this £2050 is telephone charges and £3050 rates.

They love their sport too. £21,000 goes on sports field and tennis court, £12850 on the bowling green (for which they receive £1800 in return from the club.

Of the rest, £18000 goes on “projects” which included £10,000 on “bus shelters”, £12,000 goes on youth work and a whopping £34,320 is set aside for the eighbourhood plan.

Income is £2000 from the parish magazine, £1413 from DCC towards parish maintenance and £500 from allotments and that £1800 from the bowling club.

If Owl were a councillor there, it would DEFINITELY be asking some very awkward questions! And many of them!

[Broadclyst] “Parish council with £2,500 in reserves for grass seed will not reduce council tax after bid to cap it fails”

“Broadclyst parish councillor Karl Straw saw his motion to reduce the authority’s precept from £233.83 to no more than £160 per Band D household, be rejected by six votes to two.

Parish council chairman Henry Massey said the authority could not vote to ‘arbitrarily’ slash its precept by one-third, as it would immediately see funding dry up for some services.

Cllr Massey said the population of Broadclyst has increased from 1,000 people to 8,000 people in the last ten years, and the parish council provides services other parish authorities do not.

The vote, taken at Victory Hall on October 7, means Broadclyst remains the fourth most expensive non-unitary parish in the country, and the second most expensive precepting parish in Devon.

Cranbrook is the most expensive precepting parish, due to the maintenance bill for its country park.

Cllr Straw said Broadclyst Parish Council’s precept has ballooned by more than 66 per cent in the last five years.

He said: “Broadclyst pays on average £233.83 against the Devon average of £42.20.

“Seaton pays £101.60, Axminster pays £88.64, Sidmouth pays £72.36, Honiton pays £71.08, Exmouth pays £60, and Ottery pays £49.03

“The average East Devon parish charge is £46.55 and in Devon the parishes charge on average is £42.20.

“My motion was to reduce the precept by at least £75 in 2020/21 and to introduce a policy of continued reductions until the parish as charging no more than the average across Devon.”

Broadclyst Parish Council currently has £2,500 reserved for grass seeds for its bowling green.

However, Cllr Massey said nothing has been spent on grass seeds this year, and the figure would only be spent in full in a worst-case scenario.

Cllr Massey said Broadclyst has grown significantly from a ‘relatively small size’ since 2009.

He said: “We have to balance the needs of the people and groups who use the village as well as at the same time ensuring that we are giving good value for money.

“We provide a huge number of services for a parish council and, due to cutbacks in district and county council, have taken on additional services that otherwise would not be provided.”

Cllr Massey said the council welcomes the input made from Cllr Straw and will be carefully examining its budget in the next two months.

Cllr Straw said he is planning to request the council set up a people’s forum, which will invite residents to discuss what precept they would like to see the authority operate with.”

https://www.midweekherald.co.uk/news/broadclyst-precept-motion-outcome-1-6318881

Broadclyst result – 1 Tory (not Diviani) and 2 Lib Dem

Rebecca-Jayne Lipscombe (Liberal Democrats) – 397
Rob Longhurst (Conservative) – 345
Chris Pepper (Conservative) – 506 ELECTED
Eleanor Rylance (Liberal Democrats) – 555 ELECTED
Sarah Louise Chamberlain (Liberal Democrats) – 612 ELECTED
Paul Diviani (Conservative) – 319
Henry Frederick Gent (Green) – 426