Clinton Devon Estates and Newton Poppleford – a lesson from Budleigh Salterton

The people of Budleigh Salterton would advise the people of Newton Poppleford not to hold out much hope in acquiring a surgery or anything of benefit to the village. (see East Devon Watch 11 July) They have been down a very similar route with Clinton Devon Estates.

The failure of the BS Neighbourhood Plan to include all the hospital garden as open space, leaving only under a half leased to the new hospital hub left Clinton Devon Estates controlling the other half. A planning application was submitted for the construction of 2 open market dwellings and associated access in its plot. Like Newton Poppleford the estate lodged an appeal against the delay in making a decision by EDDC. However, the Inspector turned down this on appeal concluding that the benefit to the town of building two houses in the garden was outweighed by the negative effect upon the recreational space within this part of Budleigh Salterton.

“In the absence of evidence to indicate that the remaining garden would adequately meet the needs of visitors to the health and well-being hub, in relation to this main issue, the proposal would have a negative effect upon availability of recreational space within this part of Budleigh Salterton, contrary to LP Strategy 6. The proposal would not result in an enhancement of the retained garden and so would not comply with LP Policy RC1.”

So what did CDE do? Did this estate whose motto is


allow the continued access to this land which cottage hospital patients had enjoyed since 1887?

No, the estate chose to ignore the spirit of the Planning Inspectorate’s decision.

They erected a fence. I am sure many of Owl’s readers have seen the “abomination” (BS Journal Feb. 15 2018) and may have seen children confined to playing in just under a half of the garden.

So those patients living in Newton Poppleford and seeking to consult their GP will have to continue to travel to Ottery St Mary. (Remember that Newton Poppleford is within the Ottery St. Mary practise boundary, not the nearer Sidmouth!) If they rely on public transport there is no direct bus route, patients have to travel into Exeter and out again, a distance of around 23 miles with a round trip time of at least 2hrs 30 mins. (and don’t ask about the cost)!

Surfers Against Sewage warn bathers to avoid Exmouth and Budleigh Salterton after recent heavy rain

“Pollution Alert: Storm sewage has been discharged from a sewer overflow in this location [Exmouth and Budleigh Salterton] within the past 48 hours.

Otter and Axe estuaries added to Marine Conservation Zones

“The Axe and Otter estuaries are amongst 12 new Marine Conservation Zones created in the south west of England.

The expansion of the UK’s ‘Blue Belt’ was announced by Environment Secretary Michael Gove today (Friday May 31).

Among the species and habitats given greater protection by the designation are fan mussels, native oysters, tentacled lagoon-worms and the deep sea bed. …”

Budleigh and Raleigh – 2 Tory 1 Independent

Budleigh and Raleigh (three seats)
Alan Dent (Conservative) – 1,112 ELECTED
Pete Duke (Green Party) – 971
Brigitte Graham (UKIP) – 518
Patsy Hayman (Conservative) – 982
Paul Jarvis (Independent) – 1,187 ELECTED
Penny Lewis (Liberal Democrats) – 907
Thomas Wright (Conservative) – 999 ELECTED

Budleigh Salterton and Tesco … accelerating high street decline

Tesco has announced it is cutting out butchers, fishmongers, bakeries and delis from its stores.

Spare a thought then for the poor traders of Budleigh Salterton High Street.
The Budleigh Salterton Journal of 23rd January reports that a variation of an approved planning application has been submitted to EDDC by Tesco because “a review has concluded that a smaller store could work better in this site than that of the approved plan”

Many inhabitants of the town are fearful, as before in 2014, that its wonderful delicatessens, butcher, greengrocer, florist, stationers and its 2 invaluable general stores would be put at risk of surviving with the opening of a Tesco. Locals had all dared to hope that the 5 years that this project had been gestating meant that it was no longer viable.

This move just doesn’t make sense when as Owl of 28th January highlights:

“TESCO is set to axe 15,000 jobs as part of £1.5bn cost-saving measure that will see fish, meat and deli counters across the country close down. Bakeries will also be overhauled, with the supermarket giant now ordering staff to use pre-frozen dough instead of making it on site. ..”

Many in Budleigh Salterton will not be happy to contribute to (last year’s) CEO Dave Lewis’ £4.87million pay packet and the chief executive’s short-term bonus of £2.28million on top of his base salary of £1.25million.

AND on top of that see the decimation of Budleigh Salterton’s High Street.

East Budleigh – rare bats or bulldozers? Special council meeting 7 November 2018

Clinton Devon Estates – which frequently touts its so-called environmental credentials – now has a difficult choice to make in East Budleigh – as does East Devon District Council.

A short notice special meeting of East Budleigh Parish Council has been called for 7pm on Tuesday 6 November to discuss the findings below which will bring into sharp relief a pressing question: which is most important: environmental sustainability and bio-diversity or cold, hard profit?

The East Budleigh Parish Wildlife Protection and Conservation Group was formed earlier this year to try to save what were thought to be 11 species of bat from having their habitat destroyed as a result of 18/1464/FUL — Demolition of existing barn and construction of a single dwelling behind the Pound. As a result of their observations they have recorded as many as 14 of the 18 known species in the UK.

This not only confirms but extends the survey conducted by Richard Green Ecology between 2012 and 2017 for Clinton Devon Estates (CDE). This survey found: the rare Greater Horseshoe (roosting); Lesser Horseshoe (roosting); the very rare Grey Long Earned (roosting); Natterer (roosting); Soprano and Pipistrelle (roosting). These findings make this site one of the most species rich in the County.

Of these, the finding of Grey Long Eared, Greater and Lesser Horseshoe bats are, perhaps, the most exciting as they are some of the rarest bat species in the UK.

EDDC, in order no doubt to inform the DMC, has just published an independent review of the CDE commissioned Richard Green ecology report. We the ratepayers have paid for this review and Owl wonders whether it represents value for money in these hard pressed times. All it appears to be, as is clear from the Terms of Reference, is a review of the 2012/2017 work done by Richard Green to see whether it was reasonable and in line with best practice, given the ecological constraints identified. Not surprisingly, since it was conducted by a reputable ecological survey firm, another equally reputable firm concludes it was fine.

This ratepayer funded review presents no new data to support or reject the more recent local finding of 14 bat species, indeed it couldn’t really do this because it was conducted too late in the year when bats are less active as they begin to hibernate and the surveyors didn’t venture onto private ground.

The original surveys were undertaken on 31 August and 10 September 2012 including a dusk bat emergence survey and placement of an automated bat detector in the barn between 11 and 17 September 2012, allowing recorded bat calls to be analysed. Further bat emergence surveys were undertaken on 25 May and 22 June 2016, and 31 July 2017. The East Budleigh Group have spent many evenings conducting observation using computer aided bat detectors this year, 2018.

One question not satisfactorily answered is whether the barn is being used as a maternity roost. This is particularly important as some species like the Grey Long Eared bat are so rare that research advice from the University of Bristol states that maternity roosts should not be destroyed under any circumstances as this would compromise the favourable conservation status of the species, particularly as research has shown maternity roosts of this species do not respond to mitigation measures.

In the UK, Grey Long-Eared bats tend to live in close proximity to human settlements and roost almost exclusively in man-made roosts making the barn in East Budleigh an important roost. The overall estimated population size is around 1000 making it one of the rarest of UK mammals. Its extinction risk is high due to its habitat specialisation of foraging close to or within the vegetation, its small foraging ranges and limited long distance dispersal ability is a result of its flight profile. There are only eight known maternity colonies left in the UK and females have only one pup a year. So there has to be one near the Pound.

Another question is whether the demolition and rebuild will destroy too much habitat so the bats will never return, despite “mitigation”. (When CDE developed the Budleigh Salterton allotment site their slow worm “mitigation” was a disaster, they were simply bulldozed away by mistake).

Surely we ought to be celebrating the discovery that East Budleigh has one of the most species diverse bat colonies in Devon rather than sending in the bulldozers – again.

Everyone involved would do well to read this recent article: