Sidmouth husting cancelled … so what would we have liked to see debated?

It appears only two of Sidmouth’s DCC candidates were prepared to attend tonight’s husting, which has now been cancelled at short notice – Stuart Hughes (Conservative ex- Monster Raving Loony) and Marianne Rixson (Independent East Devon Alliance).

Such a pity as there are burning questions for the Sidmouth and Sidford candidates, and the incumbent in particular, such as:

Asking Councillor Hughes why he seems to value photo-opportunities and silly songs

over action (for example, Alma Bridge…talk for years…no action)

The state of our roads in Sidmouth and Devon – Councillor Hughes having been in charge of them at DCC for years.

His worrying lack of preparedness about said highways when he should have known the information about them that should have stopped Sidford Industrial Estate ever getting into the local plan – information Sidmouth Councillor Rixson uncovered and used to help to stop it. A story of too little too late.

Councillor Hughes also needs to clarify his views on the NHS. While Sidmouth retains beds in this round of cuts, no-one can predict the future and the hospital will certainly come under pressure with extra patients from Axminster, Honiton and Seaton.

Unfortunately, a vote for Councillor Hughes is a vote for cuts – NHS and just about everything else including social care and education – big DCC responsibilities.

Councillor Rixson, and the local community, stopped the industrial estate. Councillor Rixson is an indefatigable supporter of our NHS and sees the issues way beyond the narrow confines of whipped party politics.

Councillor Rixson is the ONLY credible contender to beat Councillor Hughes, given the results from the 2015 election and to help beat any future cuts in the pipeline.

No wonder other candidates didn’t plan on turning up!

All three EDA candidates for Devon County Council have You Tube links

Marianne Rixson – Sidmouth and Sidbury

Paul Hayward (Axminster) and Martin Shaw (Seaton and Colyton):

https://eastdevonwatch.org/2017/04/23/axminster-and-seaton-independent-dcc-council-candidates-youtube-videos/

and all three have signed the pledge to make NHS protection a top priority:

https://eastdevonwatch.org/2017/04/26/east-devon-alliance-candidates-for-dcc-have-all-signed-nhs-pledge/

“Nearly 40 million people live in UK areas with illegal air pollution”

Owl says: you don’t hear (current) DCC councillor and its roads supremo Stuart Hughes (Conservative, ex- Monster Raving Loony Party) mentioning this in his election speeches … though you DO hear contender Councillor Marianne Rixson (Independent East Devon Alliance)doing so and drawing attention to its implications for the health of local communities.

“…The extent of the air pollution crisis nationally is exposed in the data which shows 59% of the population are living in towns and cities where nitrogen dioxide (NO2) pollution breaches the lawful level of 40 microgrammes per cubic metre of air. …”

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/apr/22/nearly-40-million-people-live-in-uk-areas-with-illegal-air-pollution

Sidford hustings: strong performance from Councillor Rixson (Independent EDA)

Best candidate for County Council? It’s your choice. Voting’s on 4th May!

The Devon County Council hustings at Sidford on Wednesday evening (19 April),brought together five of the six candidates vying for the Sidmouth division, which now covers the whole of the Sid Valley.

They are Jeannie Alderdice (Green), Ray Davison (Labour), Stuart Hughes (Conservative), Marianne Rixson (Independent East Devon Alliance) and Richard Wright (UKIP). Only Lewis Ragbourn (Lib Dem) was unable to attend the event, which was Chaired by Cathy Debenham of the Sidford-Sidbury Residents’ Group.

A common thread for most candidates was “transparency, accountability and listening to residents”; concerns about cuts to NHS, social care, and education; and inappropriate development. Despite passionate speeches from Jeannie Allerdice (“EU environmental rules should apply post-Brexit”); Ray Davison (“Conservative austerity policy is past its sell-by date”);and Richard Wright (“countryside not concrete”), just two serious candidates emerged based on their respective records as serving councillors: Marianne Rixson, and Stuart Hughes.

Cllr Rixson has a solid reputation for thoroughness and efficiency, much appreciated by local people in the successful fight against the planned Sidford business park. Long-serving Cllr Hughes offered promises such as “the long-awaited Sidmouth traffic management plan”, and “funding for Alma Bridge” this year.

On the basis of this hustings, Caroline Lucas’ suggestion this week of an informal coalition of e.g. Greens, Labour and Lib Dems, against the Conservative Party machine, sounds a sensible idea.

A second hustings, arranged by the Vision Group for Sidmouth, is scheduled for 28th April , 7pm, in the cellar bar at Kennaway House. For details, see futuresforumvgs.blogspot.com Voting for this DCC election is 4th May, 7am-10pm.

DCC Hustings: Sidford tonight 7 pm

From Save our Sidmouth website:

Who do you want to represent us? Quiz Devon County Council candidates at hustings TONIGHT, 7pm, Sidford Social Hall

All six candidates have been invited to answer the public’s questions at tonight’s hustings, organised by the Sidford-Sidbury Residents’ Group. Don’t miss this chance to assess who will be your best choice.

Jeannie Alderdice (Green)
Ray Davison (Labour)
Stuart Hughes (Conservative)
Lewis Ragbourn (Liberal Democrats)
Marianne Rixson (Independent East Devon Alliance)
Richard Wright (UKIP)

Whatever happens at national level, your vote at the local Devon County (DCC) elections on 4th May will affect your daily life. Sid Valley has experience of this, having being let down by a flawed County Highways report, which initially supported a proposed Business Park site at Sidford. The report was only re-assessed, and the proposal rejected, after massive public pressure inspired by meticulous research from our newly elected District Councillors and the Sid Vale Association (a founder-member of the Save Our Sidmouth, SOS, campaign).

As reported in the Sidmouth Herald (14 April 2017), the date limit for an appeal on the Business Park refusal expired on 27th March 2017. Richard Thurlow, Chair of the Sid Vale Association (SVA) Conservation and Planning Committee , is quoted as saying, “We were all delighted when the application was refused in September last year, but there was always the chance that the decision might be appealed. We can now feel relieved that this ‘Sword of Damocles’ has been lifted. However, the site still exists in the Local Plan as an ’employment site’ and we must still be aware that other proposals might come forward–and we must be prepared to fight them if they do.”
Meanwhile, South West Water began drilling boreholes on the ’employment site’ in January this year. Results of their testing for water quality, apparently relating to a possible new supply for a rapidly expanding Sidmouth, are awaited.

Who do you want to represent us? Quiz Devon County Council candidates at hustings TONIGHT, 7pm, Sidford Social Hall

Sidford Fields industrial estate: no appeal by developers … but

… stay on guard! It probably simply mean that they are formulating a new planning application to overcome objections. And they have very, very influential backers and allies.

And DO remember that it has been DCC candidate Marianne Rixson (Independent East Devon Alliance) that saw off this application – not ex-Monster Raving Loony Party member and current Conservative candidate for DCC Sturat Hughes.

East Devon District Council (EDDC) said it is now up to the landowner to consider future options for the site off Two Bridges Road.

However, the wider 12-acre plot has a strategic allocation as employment land in the authority’s Local Plan, so EDDC expects the site will be developed by 2031, according to a spokeswoman.

EDDC refused plans for the major development in September.

Councillors said the proposed development would harm the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, depend on ‘unsuitable’ roads and impact on neighbours without adequate mitigation.

A petition to ‘say no’ to the business park attracted more than 1,100 signatures and 384 objections were lodged with EDDC.

The applicants had until last Monday, March 27, to appeal the refusal.

The Sid Vale Association was among the opponents.

Richard Thurlow, its conservation and planning committee chairman, said: “We were all delighted when the application was refused in September last year, but there was always the chance that the decision might be appealed.

“We can now feel relieved that this ‘Sword of Damocles’ has been lifted.

“However, the site still exists in the Local Plan as an ‘employment site’ and we must still be aware that other proposals might come forward – and we must be prepared to fight them if they do.”

The landowner and applicant were approached for comment.

http://www.sidmouthherald.co.uk/news/no-appeal-against-refusal-of-9-3-acre-business-park-outside-sidford-1-4975241