Clinton Devon Estates to take over work of Jurassic Coast Trust

Oh dear sweet Lord – clifftop holiday homes and Disneyland here we come – and definitely no National Park!

An East Devon landowner is set to play a significant part in the future of the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site.

Clinton Devon Estates, which owns and manages 25,000 acres of land across Devon, has pledged its support to the Jurassic Coast Trust which is taking over the management of the 95-mile stretch of world heritage coastline, from Devon and Dorset county councils this July.

The landowner is joining the Trust as one of four Lead Business Partners, currently the only partner in Devon alongside three based in Dorset, and will pledge £3,000 per year to the charity, helping to safeguard its future.

The Trust’s link with businesses and landowners is essential in ensuring it can carry out its work looking after the world class coastline, which stretches between Exmouth in Devon and Studland Bay in Dorset, on behalf of UNESCO for the “benefit of the whole of mankind”.

A large part of the Estate’s East Devon acreage is made up of the Pebblebed Heaths, which are named after the Budleigh Salterton pebblebeds and are a designated conservation area.

The Trust is poised to support the landowner’s existing educational outreach, which focuses on the ecology and management of the heaths by the Pebblebed Heaths Conservation Trust.

Kate Ponting, countryside learning officer at Clinton Devon Estates, said: “We have had an informal, mutually supportive relationship for a long time as our paths have crossed over the years.

“The Estate owns land very close to, or on the Jurassic Coast, and the Trust is keen to extend its work in East Devon, so the partnership should afford more opportunities for collaborative working.

“We have a lot in common with the Trust whose work is based on geology; the geological story of the Pebblebed Heaths is part of our shared heritage which we’re passionate about.

“We hope to celebrate this heritage further, through extended community engagement and we’re hoping the Trust’s expertise will enhance what we already do.”

The Trust also plans to provide downloadable audio guides about East Devon’s geology for the Clinton Devon Estates’ website.

Guy Kerr, Programme Manager for the Jurassic Coast Trust, said: “We are delighted to have Clinton Devon Estates on board as one of our Lead Business Partners. The East Devon pebblebeds are a crucial part of the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site and we look forward to working closely with Clinton Devon Estates to preserve this landscape and enthuse people with its incredible stories.”

Some questions about the Heart of the South West LEP

If the Heart of the South West LEP is “dead in the water” and “there is no money left”

Where is the £25,000-plus coming from to pay someone to encourage a new threesome of Cornwall and Isles of Scilly, Devon and Dorset?

What’s happening about the divorce from Somerset and are we paying that county’s expenses still?

HOTSW LEP is the vehicle for taking business rates from Enterprise Zones such as the East Devon Growth Point – if it’s defunct what happens to that money?

Who pays Mr Garcia’s salary and those of the 3 or 4 other employees who presumably now have no jobs? Somerset or Devon?

What’s happening about the “Golden Triangle LEP”?

Where does “Greater Exeter” fit in and with whom?

East Devon – where do we fit in? Our Leader is a HOTSW board member and is responsible for HOTSW housing. Is he still responsible for housing in Somerset, Greater Exeter and/or the “Golden Triangle”?

What is DCC’s/EDDC’s role in this – where was it discussed, when and by whom?

Where are the minutes of the meeting where the current deal was dropped and a new deal thought up?

What does Somerset think about all this?

Do YOU recall being consulted on any of this?

Local Enterprise Partnership version 2 – Devon, Cornwall and Dorset

Again, no consultation of the people of these three counties plus Isles of Scilly – just a mad dash to hoover up money – any money – for what the Chair of the Heart of the South West LEP described as a defunct organisation yesterday! And what of the “Golden Triangle LEP” mooted last month? Add in Greater Exeter and we have lots of sows ears to be made into silk purses!

Unfortunately, the closing date is today! And can you IMAGINE the stress of reporting to THREE different LEP CEO’s! Still, at £25,000 plus for 4 days a week for 4 months there will be no shortage of takers.

“South West Partnership Executive”

Heart of the SW, Cornwall and Isles of Scilly, and Dorset LEPs are working together to support the development of cross LEP partnership across the whole of the south west.

We are seeking an individual with the right skills and experience to support and manage these developing opportunities; working with stakeholders from public sector, education and business.

Reporting to the three LEP Chief Executives, this role’s priorities will be: to support the development of a clear set of business propositions around the ‘added value’ of regional partnership; engagement with key stakeholder groups to align partnership working and initiatives; and facilitate use of a common brand.

This is a short term role for 3 to 4 days a week, for the next four months, possibly extendable on a quarterly basis. The ideal candidate will have a background that includes marketing and communications and building or managing partnership with stakeholders from the public, private and education sectors. Some exposure to economic development and related sectoral agendas will be useful.

The role will involve travelling across the south west and attract remuneration in the region of £400 a day plus out of pocket expenses.
Please send your C.V. to highlighting in a short covering note how you meet the requirements and challenges for this role, and confirmation of your fee rates. The following link provides access to an equal opportunities form which we would also ask you to complete as we are committed to equal opportunities in our policies and practices.”

Dorset to have two unitary councils if government agrees

Owl says: how long can Devon resist the change to one (or two) unitary councils in a county, entirely cutting out the district tier? Economies of scale now seem to require mergers or abolition of districts.

Will we be part of “Greater Exeter” or “Devon Unitary” by the next election – or both!

And where will headquarters be? Honiton isn’t exactly the centre of the Greater Exeter or Devon unitary universes!

“Based on the weight of public opinion, financial data and evidence of the likely benefits of change to the county as a whole, councillors have agreed that the two new unitary councils should comprise of the following existing local authority areas:

• Unitary A: Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole.

• Unitary B: East Dorset, North Dorset, Purbeck, West Dorset, Weymouth and Portland – including the services currently provided by Dorset County Council in this area.

If approved, the new council would ‘go live’ in April 2019.

Leader of Dorset County Council Robert Gould said: “This is absolutely the right decision for Dorset County Council to have made. The final decision lies with the Secretary of State, but Dorset county councillors have made an historic decision which will help protect the frontline services and is in the best interests of all our residents.”

Dorset Local Government reorganisation goes ahead despite 3 councils dropping out

Interesting that the Secretary of State for Local Government can force the three recalcitrant councils to join the others …

Six councils are to press ahead with asking communities secretary Sajid Javid to reorganise local government in Dorset, despite the remaining three opposing the idea.

A plan to create two unitary councils in the area at present covered by Dorset County Council and unitaries Bournemouth and Poole borough councils has now been voted on by all involved.

Christchurch, East Dorset and Purbeck have opposed the idea, though it was supported by the two unitaries, the county council and districts North Dorset, West Dorset and Weymouth & Portland.

The six are now expected to ask Mr Javid to reorganise the area into two unitaries. One would cover Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole and the other East Dorset, North Dorset, Purbeck, West Dorset and Weymouth & Portland.
Matt Prosser, chair of the Dorset Chief Executives Group, said: “We now have a mandate from our councils [for reorganisation] and we have the backing of the public and other stakeholders. That is clear from the consultation results.

“Now, we have a duty to respond to that mandate and secure a sustainable and even brighter future for Dorset.”

The dissident trio face the problem that Mr Javid has powers to enforce the reorganisation even against their objections.

Christchurch leader Ray Nottage said: “Changes to the structure of local government in Dorset present an historic opportunity to transform our services at a time when budgets are being cut and our priority must be protecting frontline services.

“The secretary of state submission made by those councils that have agreed the recommendation might see the final decision regarding local government reorganisation taken out of our hands.”

Spencer Flower, leader of East Dorset, said: “If other councils in Dorset choose to make a submission to the secretary of state, the final decision regarding local government reorganisation will not be ours to make.”
Purbeck rejected reorganisation only on the chair’s casting vote, with councillors tied 11-11 on the proposal.”

Relocation and local government reorganisation – a chance to save money!

What is currently more important in local government? Saving money, saving money by merger or being profligate? These seem to be the stark choices facing our district, with its reliance on the Local Enterprise Partnership for strategy, direction and funding.

Closer examination of the agenda for the next Cabinet meeting reveals that there are two references to local government reorganisation: at the bottom of page 111 and on page 115:

“Identify opportunities for rationalising/improving existing public sector governance arrangements and make recommendations to the constituent authorities/partners”

This appears to be a clear reference, as it not only refers to reform, but also says that the recommendations will go to ‘constituent authorities’. In other words we are not talking just about the LEP. The new Joint Committee clearly has mergers in mind. Add “Greater Exeter” into the mix and we come out with even more likelihood of massive changes. THEN add a mooted “Golden Triangle LEP” and we have a truly chaotic situation.

Owl wonders if these are circumstances in which to pursue a new HQ for EDDC at Honiton. Any proposal involving EDDC and avoiding building at Honiton can immediately claim to have made a minimum saving of £10 million plus interest payments, plus many associated costs – savings now being the mantra nowadays.

The relocation from Knowle could, in the above circumstances prove to be most expensive suicide note in the history of our district. And those EDDC members who waved through the move to Honiton, without the slightest idea of the cost, could in these circumstances be likened to turkeys voting for Christmas.

We have seen with the reorganisation in Dorset, that the reform and merger of local government authorities is very much in the air, and Dorset has been suggesting that the creation of two unitaries will lead to annual savings of many millions of pounds.

So it’s not surprising that things have gone very quiet with EDDC relocation. Firstly, there is local government reorganisation all around us and within our nearby city and the county. Secondly, the Pegasus deal for Knowle has seemingly gone very much on the back burner.

We have recently seen the formal separation – ‘decoupling’ – of the Exmouth Town Hall work from the Honiton proposal which seems to have had more to do with mothballing Honiton than it had to do with allowing Exmouth to proceed more quickly.

Work to refurbish Knowle is almost certainly millions of pounds cheaper than relocating. Plus, a new building in Honiton would immediately depreciate enormously on day one of occupation – 50% plus has been suggested.

Of course, PegasusLife could always put in a planning application for the Honiton site!

Dorset: 9 councils to merge into 2 – public majority agrees

“THE public has shown clear support for merging Dorset’s nine main councils into two, local authority bosses have claimed.

They revealed the results of a consultation which showed majority support for turning Bournemouth, Poole and Christchurch into one authority, with another to cover the rest of the county.

The consultation saw 4,258 questionnaires returned out of the 20,000 sent to selected Dorset households. Another 12,542 were filled out online or in person by people responding to the call for views.”