Stuff that “growth” – Devon, Dorset and Somerset best places to retire to!

Top 10 best places for retirement

Prudential analysed data in 55 counties in England and Wales to come up with its retirement ranking for 2016 (research lag).

West Sussex
Dorset
East Sussex
Isle of Wight
Norfolk
Devon
Worcestershire
Oxfordshire
Somerset
Shropshire

…”if you were looking to move to an area which has the highest number of similarly-aged denizens, Dorset is the place, with some 28% of the 422,000 people living in the county are aged over 65. …”

https://www.which.co.uk/news/2018/09/revealed-the-best-places-to-retire-in-england-and-wales/ – Which

Greater South West Local Enterprise Partnership – partnership!

Another GREAT to add to GREATER EXETER – the GREAT South West Partnership!

For this one, Dorset now holds the purse strings (thanks to Oliver Letwin?) but developer Steve Hindley still holds on to the Chairmanship. Somerset County Council seems to have lost its financial control role – hardly surprising now it’s in a financial crisis.

And all still unelected, unaccountable and non-transparent.

Rather confusingly, in one part of the press release there is a reference to high productivity in this new LEP region but then it goes on to say: “When productivity in the South West matches current levels in the South East, the region will add more than £18 billion a year to the UK economy.” Do they really expect it to overtake the south-east? They could just as well have said “when productivity in the region the region overtakes China it will add £18 trillion to the UK economy”!

“Press release from Heart of the South West, Cornwall and Isles of Scilly, and Dorset Local Enterprise Partnerships:

A campaign to highlight the South West’s economic potential and make the case for Government investment on a par with other UK regions has been launched at Westminster.

An alliance of business leaders, local authorities and higher education chiefs formally launched its Great South West vision that aims to put the South West on the UK economic map, to Parliament.

The delegation of the Heart of the South West, Dorset and Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly LEPs (Local Enterprise Partnerships) were in London to promote the South West’s economic development ambitions.

They are calling on the government to give their vision for growth the same high-profile backing as other initiatives like the Northern Powerhouse and the Midlands Engine.

Great South West Partnership Chair & Chair of the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership, Steve Hindley CBE DL said: “The Great South West already has an economy twice the size of Greater Manchester’s and the West Midlands’. We have the largest building project in Europe underway at Hinkley Point C, as well as unrivalled natural assets that attract more visitors than anywhere outside London.

“This partnership stands out from the other UK public-led economic partnerships, as ours heavily backed by the business and university sector, and by working together we have the benefit of scale that gives us the chance to really show what we can do, given the right backing from Government.

“We’re now on the verge transformational growth in productivity, and we’re looking forward to realising our full potential and increasing our contribution to the UK economy on the back of increasing the prosperity of our local communities and businesses.”

Mark Duddridge, Chair of the Cornwall & Isles of Scilly LEP, said: “The government’s recent review of LEPs acknowledged their vital role in developing ambitious strategies for growth and driving investment and job creation.

“The Great South West is about cross-LEP collaboration on a shared agenda, such as transport and infrastructure that can deliver real growth in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly as well as the wider South West.”

Dorset LEP Chair, Jim Stewart, said: “The South West economy is nationally significant and is larger than any combined authority – double the size of both Greater Manchester and West Midlands.

“Yet we are not receiving the same financial investment from the government as these regions.

“Our Great South West alliance of regional business leaders, academic heads and local authorities is determined to win backing for our plans that will put the region on the economic map.”

In July a government review of LEPs said the partnerships played a crucial role in ‘supercharging’ economic growth and the delivery of its Industrial Strategy.

Representatives from the three LEPs met with South West’s MPs at a meeting in Westminster to launch Great South West.

The MPs received a presentation, which set out the economic significance of the region.

In addition to having double the size economy of Greater Manchester and West Midlands, Great South West also contributes more to UK Gross Value Added than both Thames Gateway and Cambridge-Milton Keynes-Oxford corridor.

It also has a bigger productivity than both the Northern Powerhouse and Midlands Engine but lags behind the English average.

When productivity in the South West matches current levels in the South East, the region will add more than £18 billion a year to the UK economy.

In addition, the South West is home to the single largest infrastructure project in Europe – the new Hinkley Point nuclear power plant in Somerset, which will generate billions of pounds worth of new business opportunities.

Tourism is a huge industry, with the region attracting more visitors than anywhere outside London.

And the region is also home to the largest aerospace sector in the UK, with pioneering automotive, nuclear and marine renewables and microelectronics industries. It also has a growing creative and digital sector.

Dorset West MP Sir Oliver Letwin worked with the LEPs on arranging the meeting with members of Parliament. He said: “This meeting provided a great opportunity for south west MPs to be properly briefed about this exciting proposition, which could grow to deliver a significant step-change in productivity for the south west.

“It is highly encouraging to see the diversity and number of stakeholders, even at this early stage – with Local Enterprise Partnerships, local authorities, universities, the CBI, Chambers of Commerce and many others all involved in the Great South West project.

“I hope that this project can continue to move forward with ever increasing momentum, and to help further realise the extraordinary economic potential of the South West.”

The Great South West partnership faces a number of challenges, including transport and connectivity, large dispersed populations and some of the country’s most deprived areas. This results in low productivity.

To tackle these challenges Great South West is calling the government to support it to improve transport connectivity and strategic routes, drive productivity in trade and build supply chains and increase economic connectivity in the rural sector.

A letter has been sent to James Brokenshire MP, Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, to seek formal government support and investment for Great South West.”

https://heartofswlep.co.uk/news/great-south-west-set-rival-northern-powerhouse-midlands-engine/

Big rival for Seaton Jurassic Centre planned for Portland by Eden Project founder

“Plans for a £20m underground visitor attraction on Dorset’s Jurassic Coast are due to be submitted at the end of this year, project directors have said.

The proposals, supported by Cornwall’s Eden Project, bring together previously shelved plans for an observatory and dinosaur-themed park on Portland.

The new scheme will make use of a stone mine on the peninsula which is due to close at the end of the year.

Directors say it will create 130 jobs and attract 320,000 visitors a year. …”

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-dorset-45394651

If Devon and Cornwall police merge with Dorset, who would make the best Police and Crime Commissioner?

Martyn Underhill is the police and crime commissioner for the Dorset Police force area.

Martyn is a retired Detective Chief Inspector who served with both the Metropolitan and Sussex Police forces. He is representing and working closely with the people of Dorset to further improve policing and community safety.”

https://www.police.uk/dorset/pcc/

The same site contains no personal information about Devon and Cornwall PCC Alison Hernandez, a career Tory local politician, but the Devon site says:

“Prior to my election I predominantly worked in public service except for a four year stint running my own management consultancy, working internationally helping companies with business improvement, particularly in the housing and transport industry.

Prior to my election I predominantly worked in public service except for a four year stint running my own management consultancy, working internationally helping companies with business improvement, particularly in the housing and transport industry.”

It then goes on to talk about how wonderful she was as a Torbay councillor and lists her hobbies as Netflix and sleeping.

http://www.devonandcornwall-pcc.gov.uk/about-us/the-police-and-crime-commissioner/about-the-pcc/

National parks and Devon unitaries – an intriguing solution

Councillor John Hart, Leader of Devon County Council appeared recently on BBC Spotlight, and explained that Devon was unlikely to become a Unitary Authority, because its population, at nearly 800,000, was greater than the Government’s preferred size for a Unitary, which is between 300,000 and 500,000. He may be right: Devon might be too big.

Meanwhile Michael Gove, Minister for the Environment, announces that he is to conduct a national review of National Parks, and says he is keen to create new ones.

Is there an opportunity here to kill two birds with one stone?

The Dartmoor and Exmoor National Parks already exist, and there are proposals for a Dorset and East Devon National Park, and a South Hams National Park. Were these National Parks to be created, and significant powers handed over to them, the rest of Devon’s population would be significantly reduced.

There is also the Tamar Valley AONB and the Blackdown Hills AONB, which could be incorporated into an expanded Dartmoor National Park and Dorset and East Devon National Park respectively.

A redrawing of boundaries to, for example, link the South Hams AONB/National Park with Dartmoor opens the prospect of three large parcels of Devon being created to create new National Parks, which would be at least semi-autonomous administratively from the rest of Devon.

The rump of Devon, still centred upon Exeter, and including, essentially, Teignbridge, Torridge, North Devon, Mid Devon, and much of East Devon, would have a population of around 500,000, and thus meet the Government’s guidelines.

All the existing District Councils would disappear, thus at a stroke removing an entire tier of local government and saving tens of millions of pounds. And the new and expanded National Parks will bring in greatly increased tourism revenue, and provide much-needed protection to our glorious countryside.

Tourism – where would you go …?

A correspondent writes:

Nice to see EDDC is doing all in its power to attract tourist into the area.

To park in a nearly deserted Lime Kiln car park in Budliegh at 6.00 pm cost £1 per hour (maximum £6)

To park in Lyme Legis long stay £2 …… all day

To park at an almost full West Bay, Bridport, car park 8.00 am to 10.00 pm £2.

So it cost 3 times as much to park in East Devon seaside resorts than it does to park on the coast in Dorset.

Where would you go?

“Two Dorset councils take out [allegedly] ‘fraudulent’ high-risk loans worth over £120m”

“Campaign group Debt Resistance UK revealed that Dorset County Council and Weymouth and Portland Borough Council have taken out £123m of Lender Option Borrower Option loans (LOBOs) in an effort to reduce their debts.
Dorset County Council took out £95.9m, while Weymouth and Portland Borough Council took £27m at the end of the 2015-16 financial year.
The LOBOs, which were uncovered on Channel 4’s Dispatches documentary series, allow private banks to propose or impose a new fixed rate on a pre-determined future start date.

This means that the borrowing party can either accept the new interest rate or repay the entire loan, paying a ‘breakage penalty’—the fee a client must pay its lender to break from the contract— incurring further costs on the local authority.

Last month the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) urged local councils to review their LOBO loans after auditing firms expressed concern at their impact on local authorities’ accounts. Channel 4’s Dispatches found that over 200 authorities had used the loans, totalling up to £15bn.

Cllr John Whitworth, chair of the Newham Council Scrutiny Committee, labelled the LOBO loans a “fraud on the people,” arguing that many local authorities took out the loans when they were struggling financially during the economic downturn in 2008. He added that the loans became “a very serious handicap” on councils dealing with austerity in later years.

Debt Resistance UK campaigner Joel Benjamin noted: “it is always cheaper for government to borrow than banks, and that PFI and by extension LOBO loans are therefore a fraud.”

Last week a merger between all nine Dorset councils was approved, creating the formation of Christchurch and Poole Council and Dorset Council. The deal is expected to deliver £6m in savings.”

http://www.publicsectorexecutive.com/Public-Sector-News/two-dorset-councils-take-out-fraudulent-high-risk-loans-worth-over-120m