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

East Devon resident calls out Tory government on environment and bats

 

“Thérèse Coffey

[Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs]

Cc Michael Gove

Hello Thérèse

I recently attended the red squirrel conference in Exeter and was impressed by your passionate video introduction. I believe that you and Michael Gove are sincere in your intentions but I am afraid you are being undermined by your own Party and would be more effective working for an organisation with real environmental integrity such as The Wildlife Trust. You and Michael may be the most progressive and forward thinking Conservative Environment ministers that we have had in decades. I was very impressed when Michael stated “Outside the EU we are going to make sure that our environment is enhanced and protected. We believe in a greener Britain.”

Unfortunately I am afraid that I, like many others have given up on all Council and Government wildlife initiatives. Whilst paying lip service to wildlife groups and claiming to be green the reality is that they actually have a total disregard for environmental issues.  The document “A Green Future: Our 25 Year Plan to Improve the Environment” contains enough positive ideology to satisfy most environmental campaigners. The document is elegantly designed and its content has been carefully thought out. It covers a huge range of subjects that I feel very strongly about: sustainable land use, enhancing the beauty and environmental worth of landscapes, and protection of wildlife.

The issue is the document is a vision and not legislation. It a collection of really good ideas but it is not law. When there is a conflict between potential industrial development, the provision of housing, and the environment, the ideals will get thrown into the river like toxic waste. If there is a chance for profit to be made councils will always find ways to get around even the most stringent protections. Sadly the “Green Future” is not seen as a moral compass for development it is just viewed as a bit of a nuisance.  The proposed development on the pound in East Budleigh is a classic example. It clearly goes against the ideals expressed in the 25 year plan and the protection afforded to endangered species by The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (as Amended)

The proposed development ( 18/1464/FUL. )  involves demolition of a barn (dating back to the 17th century) containing 11 species of bats (Including Grey Long eared bats, and Greater Horseshoe bats), Dormouse habitat destruction, and a Badger set relocation. It has caused a local outcry, the involvement of Sir David Attenborough, Devon Wildlife Trust, features on Radio Devon and BBC Spotlight.

When the development was put to the EDDC Development Management Committee the council chamber was packed with objectors. The plans were still passed paving the way for the a  new entrance to be put through a well loved and iconic local amenity space and the destruction of habitat for several endangered species. Councillors were not only out of step with the electorate but also showed a total disregard for Michael Gove’s twenty five year Environmental Plan and environmental protection legislation. The whole community as well a host of endangered species in East Budleigh will lose out just so that one house can be developed. Yet another totally unbalanced decision that will only benefit a local wealthy landowner by the Conservative lead East Devon District Council.

If you would like to see the site in order to draw your own conclusions I would love to be your host. If you need more background information do not hesitate to contact me.

Clinton Devon Estates, East Budleigh: bats not welcome here?

A correspondent informs Owl:

“I have been interested to see your website and in particular reference to the barn in East Budleigh where bats are present.

I drove past the barn recently and found that the barn door, which was previously ill fitting, which would have allowed easy entry and exit for the bats from the barn, has now been sealed with large sheets of plywood. [picture above]

This may have been to replace an unsafe door….but my fear is that it may have been done to prevent the flight of bats from and to their roost.

If the obstruction of the flight of bats is successful the bats will die and there will be no bats to protect.. Thereby allowing CDE to demolish the barn….

This is similar to the practice of netting trees and hedges, to prevent birds nesting, which then allows developers to cut down trees and hedges they would otherwise be unable to do if nests were present.”

Clinton Devon Estates strikes again

News from the East Budleigh Parish Conservation and Wildlife Protection Group:

Leaving for the development management committee on Tuesday the 12th Feb, where the fate of our rare bats was to be decided, members of our group (East Budleigh Parish Conservation and Wildlife Protection Group) were appalled and deeply saddened to see little left of ‘Frank’s patch’ in High Street, East Budleigh.

East Budleigh born and bred Frank Farr had run this patch of land on the High Street as plant nursery and smallholding for growing fruit and veg for 49 years until his death in 2011 in his late nineties.


Frank Farr with his ferrets Jim Lad & Ada at his veg stall (photo Simon Horn, Archant)

The site, as was, Frank himself, a much loved part of the village. Although Frank was a bit of a rogue, with a twinkle in his eye, you always knew you would never get ripped off as he sold his produce at the roadside. The weight of your purchase was always over not under, it was always quality, and you always got a wink, smile and wave as he saw you off.

Sadly after Frank passed away, it soon became overgrown. Cordoned off from sight, it was left to its own devices.

Recently, apparently, there has been one or two complaints about its appearance,

CDE’s answer, flatten it.

This ‘patch’, contained many rare trees and plants, including a rare walnut and a black oak to name but two.

There was no warning of this action, no survey carried out to see what wildlife was present, just an order to ‘clear it’.

Residents are very upset, one stating she can’t live here anymore because she can’t bear to see what CDE is doing to the village, even threatening to tie herself to the one remaining rare tree on Thursday morning before the workers resume the destruction.

This space has been earmarked for future building of a couple of hoses, but is outside the Parish built-up area boundary, so cannot be built on. So why was it flattened, why not sympathetically pruned and turned in to a memorial community garden in memory of a loveable rogue?

Why done on the day the group wouldn’t be present or have time to stop it?
Why within days of the group stopping the activity at the barn, only yards away? Coincidence?

You have to wonder if Lord Clinton himself, realises that his family name is getting a bad reputation.

For character sketch of this colourful old Devonian see:
https://www.exmouthjournal.co.uk/exmouth-life/tributes-2-20434/frank-farr-part-of-east-budleigh-s-heart-and-history-1-1006219

Bats (and Batmen and Batwomen) in East Budleigh – today’s development

Owl hears that, somewhat surprisingly, EDDC’s Development Management Committee voted to defer the bat habitat decision.

It also appears that yesterday’s activity in and around the barn, reported by Owl here:

https://eastdevonwatch.org/2019/02/11/bats-in-east-budleigh-barn-cleared-24-hours-before-eddc-planning-committee-meets-to-decide-their-fate/

has been reported to the Police who have allocated a crime number to it.

Here is how it has bedn reported in the local newspaper:

“Campaigners fighting the proposed demolition of a known bat habitat in East Budleigh have been given ‘breathing space’.


Image: Archant, Daniel Wilkins

More than 20 members of a conservation group gathered outside Exmouth Town Hall this morning (Tuesday, February 12) ahead of a crucial meeting to decide the fate of an East Budleigh barn known to be home to rare and protected bats.

East Devon District Council’s development management committee decided to defer their decision pending additional information from Natural England about wildlife mitigation on the site.

Landowner Clinton Devon Estates (CDE) is looking to knock down the barn and build a new dwelling on the site and has offered to build a separate ‘bat barn’ on the plot as mitigation.

Speaking after the meeting, Karen Alexander-Clarke, secretary of the East Budleigh Parish Conservation Group told The Journal this decision gives them ‘breathing space’ in their fight to protect the bats’ home.

The Pound, in East Budleigh, which is subject to a planning application to demolish a barn which is thought to be home to species of rare bats.

She also said they would be writing to Natural England to lobby them and ‘emphasise that there are councillors that feel as strongly as we do’.

Speaking at the meeting, councillor Brian Bailey also raised concerns over whether the bats would take to their new home.
He said: “The bats, I feel, have been served poorly because there is no guarantee what so ever that the bats will survive the demolition or would accept their new home.”

Cllr Geoff Jung said: “This is one house and one family that is going to benefit and how many bats and other wildlife are going to benefit?”

An independent ecology report commissioned by the council recommended that the mitigation being offered by CDE be accepted.

Cllr Mark Williamson said he did not feel confident that, if they refused the application and CDE appealed, the Planning Inspectorate would back their original decision.

He said: “As we do frequently, we would look to our statutory consultees to guide us.

“Natural England is giving quite detailed guidance and they recommend the planning authority follow advice from the ecologist.”

Councillors voted in favour of deferring the application pending information from Natural England on the suitability of the proposed ‘bat barn’.”

https://www.exmouthjournal.co.uk/news/east-budleigh-bat-barn-demolition-plan-deferred-1-5889261

Bats versus Building [and Clinton Devon Estates] in East Budleigh

From the East Budleigh Parish Conservation and Wildlife Protection Group.

What they do not mention is that the barn is owned by Clinton Devon Estates – the company that puffs itself up as “gold standard” when it comes to conservation …..

Planning application, 18/1464/ful. The Pound, East Budleigh.

Since April 2018, the East Budleigh Parish conservation and wildlife protection group, have sought to do its utmost to protect the rare, and the not so rare species of Bat, as well as the other wildlife that inhabit the barn and adjacent green space known as ‘the Pound’ in East Budleigh.

All through this application we have researched extensively, bat law, wildlife protection, mitigation studies, European and domestic legislation and directives from the Bat conservation trust, the Back from the brink project, and Natural England to name but three.

Each body has standing advice on how to protect and conserve EPS (European Protected Species). We have shared that information with all the concerned councillors from parish to district level.

The advice from Natural England and Conservation bodies state that for rare species, the avoidance method should be taken, yet here we are fighting for those methods and laws designed to protect to be implemented.

Through our many conversations with various conservation trusts, the overwhelming response has been, “the laws are there to protect these species, if the LPA follow the directives and adhere to legislation, permission will be denied.”

Having studied the plans for mitigation, We have found shortcomings in all of the mitigation offered by the agent on this application, and areas of complete misunderstanding, or disregard for the laws that are supposed to protect all wildlife. So much so, that this contentious application has reached the next stage of the planning….. the development management committee.

Getting the application to this point is a small victory for the wildlife, as we feel sure, that had we sat by and done nothing, by now, the site would have been levelled, the new house been built and the wildlife displaced, gone, or even worse, dead.(as suggested possible in Richard Greens ecology report) So we have done incredibly well to get this far.

Now…according to EDDC planning agenda, the application is recommended for approval with conditions. It is due to be discussed at the next DMC, on

Tuesday February 12th at
11AM, in the
Council chamber at Exmouth town hall.

But, of course, as is usual in a ‘democracy’, free speech and independent opinion is subject to what the ‘powers that be’, decide on as to what can be discussed and what should be taken in to consideration, so that an informed decision and vote can be made!

During this long process, it has been, and still is, the groups aim to get the best possible outcome for our precious, rare wildlife and our local green space.

We are putting forward the argument that:

1) the Pound is a significant site, regardless of numbers, with no less than four rare species of Bat,( with up to fourteen species recorded by ourselves), evidence of Hazel Dormice and an active Badger sett.

2) the mitigation measures are not adequate, with little to no evidence that these measures are successful for the rarer, disturbance intolerant, more light adverse species such as the Grey long-eared, Greater and lesser horseshoe Bats. An opinion upheld by DWT’s conservation manager in his ‘neutral’ letter to EDDC.

3) the lighting plan is not in line with current research provided by the bat conservation trust, nor the ILP,(institute of lighting professionals) suggesting the maximum light spill should not exceed 0.45 lux lumen on a moonless night. whereas the current proposed lighting plan stands at 0.95. so still more than double.

4) These species ARE protected by law, but human interest is, once again, being favoured above the interest and protection of rare species and local wildlife.

We are, teetering on approval being granted, everything hinging on a committee of councillors who may not be able to see the bigger picture. Which is, if we all stand by and do nothing to protect our local patch and its inhabitants, we will lose more and more green space, more and more species and biodiversity.

Now we may not be able to make a difference globally, but if we all made a stand for our own little corner, couldn’t we, wouldn’t we, make East Devon a better place to be, not only for our wildlife, but ourselves too?

PLEASE STAND WITH US ON THE 12th.

We are meeting at around

10.15am outside the town hall in Exmouth,

to hold a peaceful protest prior to the DMC. So if you have time, We would greatly appreciate your support to stand beside us and be a voice for East Budleighs wonderful wildlife.

EBPCWP Group
ebpcwpgroup@yahoo.com

CEO of Clinton Devon Estates shows how to be a gamekeeper and poacher at the same time!

It seems that, to CDE CEO Varley it’s a case of “Don’t do as we do, do as we say”:
https://eastdevonwatch.org/2018/11/04/east-budleigh-rare-bats-or-bulldozers-special-council-meeting-7-november-2018/

and the fact that they are happy to cut down vegetation wilky-nilly at Blackhill Quarry to expand the engineering company!

https://eastdevonwatch.org/2018/09/06/gove-wasting-his-time-wild-woodbury-responds-to-blackhill-quarry-incursion-further-into-aonb/

When it comes to Network Rail it seems things are totally different!

“Twigged: rail chiefs behind the misery of leaves on the line”

Leaves on the line have been causing misery for rail commuters for decades. Far from Network Rail solving it, however, the problem has become worse under the public company that runs the tracks.

A government review that is published today has revealed that delays caused by falling branches and leaves on the line have increased by two thirds since the start of the decade.

Network Rail’s failure to manage vegetation by the side of the 20,000-mile network had the “potential to impact as much on safety and performance as on biodiversity”, the review concluded.

There are about six million trees on Network Rail land, typically a boundary of 10 metres either side of the line, but the review, commissioned by the Department for Transport, said they were often viewed as an “afterthought”.
In 2009-10, there were 11,500 incidents of trees and branches falling on to lines, rising to almost 19,000 in 2017-18. Last year more than 1,750 trains were cancelled by falling trees. Separate figures showed that leaves on the line, which can cause train wheels to slip, caused 3,261 hours of delays last year, a 70 per cent rise in a decade.

John Varley, the chief executive of Clinton Devon Estates who led the review, said that management of vegetation had been “under-resourced for decades”. His team found that “overstretched resource and no dedicated budget results in the maintenance of line-side vegetation being squeezed by other priorities”. Network Rail has spent £40 million a year over the past four years on vegetation management, up from £15 million, but the company still has a huge backlog.

The company’s bosses also face losing their bonuses for over-running engineering work under new plans. The Office of Rail and Road said that senior staff could be required to surrender a proportion of performance-related pay, which totalled more than £52 million last year, to fund improvements.

Network Rail said that it welcomed the review’s findings and that it would provide a plan to implement its recommendations in the next six months.”

Source: The Times (pay wall)