“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. …”


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.


Sidmouth “red line” Save our Hospitals pics – Tory councillors conspicuous by their absence

Spot the Independent East Devon Alliance councillors: easy
Spot Tory councillors – impossible!

Sidford employment land victim of “electioneering”

District council chiefs who voted to remove Sidford’s controversial 12-acre employment site from a strategic plan were in fact powerless to enforce the decision, a campaigner has been told.

Councillor Marianne Rixson last week questioned why – after the decision was made unanimously in March 2015 – officers were never instructed to submit a ‘flood of new evidence’ to put it into action. Despite the last-ditch vote to have it removed, a Government planning inspector later ruled the allocation must remain in East Devon District Council’s (EDDC) Local Plan.

The answer to Cllr Rixson’s question, given at last Wednesday’s full EDDC meeting, confirmed the instruction was never given to remove the allocation from the plan – because a public inquiry was already under way.

Members heard that officer advice would have been to allow the planning inspector, who led the inquiry, to ‘reach his own conclusions’.

Last week’s meeting heard: “Members’ resolution to remove the allocation from the plan was, and could only ever have been, a suggestion to the inspector as, following its submission for examination, the council no longer had the power to make changes to it.

“There was, therefore, no opportunity to submit evidence to support this change, however, even if there had been, the evidence produced up to that point had supported its allocation and it is likely that any future evidence would have reached the same conclusion.”

Cllr Rixson, a long-time campaigner against the allocation who was elected last May, said the Conservative-majority council only took the vote because it felt threatened by her and her East Devon Alliance colleagues.

She said: “The final comment [above] confirms our suspicions that EDDC never changed its mind about the Sidford site being in the Local Plan.

“Voting to ‘remove it’ was purely an electioneering stunt just before the district council elections in 2015.”

An application to develop the employment site into a 9.3-acre business park was refused in September, although EDDC bosses said they remain committed to its development.

Cllr Rixson added: “The recent refusal of the application to develop the site exposed significant planning policies that should have been considered when the Local Plan was being drawn up.

“The outstanding question is why they did not come to the fore when they could have made an impact on the Local Plan?”


EDDC hints at return of Sidford Business Park planning application in future

Owl NEVER knew that delegated decisions could be made this way! And so quickly!

The latest press release sounds like a hint that if the applicant can put in lots of trees to largely camouflage it, hide it and baffle some noise, dig into their pockets for a little bit of traffic management and change the use of some of the buildings to generate slightly less traffic, they will be able to push it through.

Bet their agent is finishing off plan B as Owl writes. Keep those barricades up, Sidford – you may need them sooner than you thought yesterday!

East Devon District Council (EDDC) has this morning shed light on why it refused an outline planning application for a 9.3-acre business park in Sidford.

The decision was made yesterday (Tuesday) at the authority’s weekly planning chairman’s meeting.

In accordance with EDDC’s constitution, as both Councillor David Barratt, the ward member for Sidmouth Rural, and Sidmouth Town Council were opposed to the proposal – and the officer recommendation was also for refusal – the application did not need to be determined by the development management committee (DMC).

“The application was therefore presented by officers at the DMC chairman’s delegation meeting, where the decision was made in consultation with the ward member and DMC vice-chairman Councillor Mike Howe (standing in for the Cllr David Key), an EDDC spokeswoman told the Herald.

“The reasons for the refusal were that the application failed to demonstrate how the developers would achieve the high standards of design and landscaping, which are a requirement for all developments taking place in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The proposal also did not sufficiently prove that traffic likely to be generated from the proposed mix of uses at the site would not be harmful to highway safety.

“Members attending the delegated session were also not satisfied that any noise impact would be acceptable and were concerned that the application did not show how a cycle route would be put in place. The proposal also failed to include possible junction improvements and did not show how the site would be landscaped to reduce its impact on the surrounding area.

“The applicant has a right to appeal the decision to the Planning Inspectorate within six months, or they may wish to attempt to address the reasons for refusal through the submission of a new planning application.

“It is important to note that the council remains committed to seeing the Sidford Two Bridges site developed for employment purposes – its allocation remains in place and is supported by the Local Plan. All future applications for the site’s development must fulfil the requirements of the Local Plan and should include specific details that justify the extent and mix of proposed employment uses.”