Exeter and Devon County Council debate climate change – EDDC CEO refuses to allow debate

Press release from Transition Exeter below. EDDC CEO Mark Williams has refused a similar request for debate from an independent councillor.

“Green Councillor Chris Musgrave is bringing a motion to Exeter City Council on Tuesday February 26th calling on it to

Declare a ‘Climate Emergency’;

Pledge to make the city of Exeter carbon neutral by 2030 or sooner, taking into account both production and consumption emissions;

Call on Westminster to provide the powers and resources to make the 2030 target possible;

Continue to work with partners across the city and region, including Devon County Council, to deliver this new goal through all relevant strategies and plans;

To support the motion letters to city councillors would be very welcome; and supporters plan to gather outside the Guildhall before the motion is heard, at 5 pm on 26th February.

Devon County Council will also discuss a similar motion on Thursday February 21st.

Our Facebook page shows the {minority of} councillors who have pledged to support the motion. https://www.facebook.com/transition.exeter/ .

Cabinet has recommended changing the motion to aim for 2050. This is not much of an emergency! Please to your county councillor asking them to support the motion with the original target date for being carbon neutral of 2030. They will not be able to do this with their present budget and powers but the motion would be a strong call to Westminster to make realistic action possible!

Find your county councillor here

https://democracy.devon.gov.uk/mgMemberIndex.aspx?bcr=1
The motion is here https://democracy.devon.gov.uk/mgAi.aspx?ID=17450

One (Tory) councillor nearly sabotaged a highways safety project in Otterton

Honestly, EDDC Tories will stop at nothing to try to stop Claire Wright …. even if they cut off their own noses to spite their faces!

EDDC Councillor Tom Wright thinks he knows better than Otterton residents. Perhaps residents angry at his intervention should ensure they DON’T tick HIS box in local elections on 2 May!

Blog of Claire Wright.

“Otterton Parish Council has agreed to part fund a 20mph limit through the village, at a packed and testy meeting last night.

[This is the road being discussed below]

The agreement was made, despite a Conservative councillor selected to stand for Otterton in the East Devon District Council May election suggesting repeatedly during the meeting that the 20mph limit was a waste of time.

This did not go down with residents who made it clear they disagreed with him.

The vast majority of the village of Otterton wants a 20mph limit. I have carried out a consultation, had a public meeting and made a case based on the policy requirements.

Also backing the proposal is the Otterton Primary School headteacher.

And the parish council wrote to Devon County Council highways officers last year to support the case.

I have worked towards this over the past year or so, but despite meeting virtually all the policy requirements, the scheme fell recently as there has not been a speed related death in the village. A traffic accident resulting in a death, yes. But not a speed related death.

This very silly rule will hopefully be overturned thanks to a new government report which a Devon County Council highways task group is currently working on. This very much emphasises a ‘can do’ approach to 20mph limits as they are beneficial in slowing traffic and

Despite having no jurisdiction over Otterton – neither a resident nor a councillor representing the village, EDDC Conservative, Tom Wright continued to pour cold water all over the plans for the revised speed limit and claimed it was a waste of money.

At one point he even accused me of blogging that I would fund the entire project myself.

I replied that this was never the intention, as the upper limit cost would use up half my entire locality budget!

I also said it was quite wrong for him to be trying to undermine my work and the wishes of the vast majority of residents of Otterton.

Nevertheless Cllr Tom Wright, backed up by two managers attending from Ladram Bay, attacked me several times for this.

The Ladram Bay managers were on the warpath because I had asked them to fund a third of the scheme, given that a significant proportion of traffic travels to Ladram Bay. Local traffic surveys have confirmed this.

Otterton Parish Council Chairman, John Fudge received a statement from Ladram Bay about an hour before last night’s meeting which he read out.

It has taken about six months for the company to produce a response following my initial approaches to them, which they ignored.

The parish council clearly had reservations about the cost and the implications on the precept so I increased my offer to half funding the scheme. This will be decided at a later date, assuming the scheme finally gets approval.

Here’s the letter:

Dear Otterton Parish

Regarding the proposed introduction of an 20mph speed limit and the request of Councillor Claire Wright for Ladram Bay to part fund.

All the present information leads to the ineffectiveness of such an initiative, during a meeting in 2018 that was held in Otterton, with the Parish Council and the Highways Authority, it was communicated by Highways that a 20mph scheme without any relevant traffic calming measures would have absolutely no effect on speed reduction. This is also backed up by the latest government research study (Nov 2018) that confirms “no significant safety outcome in terms of collisions or casualties have come following the implementation of a 20mph zone” Unfortunately no scheme can legislate against the mindless minority who unfortunately drive recklessly.

Should Devon County Council support and approve such a scheme, or come up with a different scheme with proven results, then we will certainly consider funding part of the project in conjunction with other businesses in Otterton, if approached by the Parish Council.

Please can it be noted that we, like many residents, are vexed that Councillor Claire Wright has reneged on her promise at the public meeting January 2018 to fund the scheme in it’s entirety.

Ladram Bay Holiday Park

Thank you to Otterton Parish Council for agreeing to contribute to the costs of the scheme, should it be approved. We now await the results of the Devon County Council taskgroup, which should report its findings back in the next few weeks.”

http://www.claire-wright.org/index.php/post/otterton_parish_council_agrees_to_part_fund_20mph_limit_at_ill_tempered_mee

Vote for (Tory) me and the kid gets it!

… Which well-known, long-serving Tory councillor was overheard suggesting to children at a youth club that a vote for him would be a vote for a skate park?

Presumably meaning votes by their parents – not even an EDDC Tory would be that thick? Er ….. moving on …

Naughty, naughty councillor – your card is marked …!

Guess which council is very picky where it (sort of) recruits new councillors?

Teignbridge District Council is actively promoting new councillor candidates via numerous events throughout the district.

When challenged, EDDC it seems is not – choosing instead to send CEO (and supposedly neutral civil servant) Mark Williams to selected events, only upon invitation. Like trueblue Budleigh Salterton.

It’s almost like they don’t want any new candidates signing up – thus allow the incumbents to romp back home without a contest thus maintaining (their trueblue) status quo…

Odd that …..

And maybe time to check that electoral roll again.

We don’t want to find ourselves with 6,000+ too few voters again do we, Mr Williams.

As Private Eye might say: Shom mistake shurely …

Greater Exeter Strategic Plan – Exeter leaks its “vision”*

“But not yet in East Devon until July 2019 (see below). It seems East Devon is the only council keeping ALL its plans secret until after the 2 May 2019 district council elections.

Fishy? You bet!

Anyway, here’s what we currently know:

Interesting proposals for changes to Sidmouth Road and Junction 30 of the M5. The Motorway Services and Sowton Park and Ride being developed as a “Mixed Neighbourhood” (see image above).

The Governments require the Greater Exeter Housing target to be 53,200 new homes over the next 20 years. That is for the combined area governed by East Devon, Teignbridge, Mid Devon and Exeter.

Exeter’s housing ambitions

Karime Hassan, chief executive and growth director of Exeter City Council revealed this week a proposal for 12,000 new homes in the City of Exeter over the next 20 years. His vision of “Liveable Exeter”, for delivering a transformational housing programme for Exeter from 2020 to 2040. involves the creation of 8 new neighbourhoods.

Exeter’s published Vision

Red Cow Village (St David’s) – 664 homes in new neighbourhood, including new work space, on both sides of the railway around St David’s Station.

Water Lane (close to Exe Valley Park) – 1,567 homes. A space for expanding leisure attractions near the quay, with low traffic or car-free development with attractive cycle and walking connections.

Marsh Barton – 5,544 homes in a new neighbourhood. It will remain an important employment and retail area, but with the integration of living and working, to make better use of riverside location. Development linked to the new proposed train station. Creation of new types of work space, including light industrial, workshops, office and shared work space.

East Gate (Heavitree Road) – 962 new homes, an enhanced approach to the city centre from the east, reduced traffic on Heavitree Road and a greater provision for public transport, walking and cycling. New places to live close to the city centre will exist alongside existing neighbourhoods.

West Gate (Western Way) – 617 new homes, opening up access to the river and canal from the city centre, a new cultural destination, an expanded and connected park at the heart of the city, a “Green Bridge” promoting active travel across the river.

South Gate (Holloway Street/South Street linked via Topsham Road) – 300 new homes, establishing an improved link between the city centre and the historic quayside, with a greater emphasis on the wall, city gates and Southernhay.

North Gate (North Street) – 308 new homes, a new approach to the city from St David’s, uncovering the medieval city wall.
Sandy Gate (land off Sandygate roundabout) – 1,050 new homes in a new sustainable and well-connected mixed-use neighbourhood, bridging the city and the new and existing neighbourhoods to the east, providing recreational, cultural and entertainment space where Exeter meets the proposed Clyst Valley Park.

Mid Devon’s published ambitions.

Mid Devon’s Local Plan is almost complete with a Planning Inspectors hearing due in the next few weeks to consult on their final draft.

Culm Valley on the South side of the M5 opposite Cullumpton create a new community of up to 5,000, with a new Motorway junction and railway Station.

Junction 27. A landmark project for a leisure and tourism development involving Tim Smit from the Edan Project
Tiverton Eastern Urban Extension will cover 153ha, to the east of Tiverton.

Teignbridge future ambitions.

Teignbridge has just started a review of their Local Plan and therefore their plans are in the infancy.

Brownfield Their preferred option to develop brownfield land for development however, the required number of homes the government require Teignbridge to build, is not possible to meet the housing needs from brownfield land only. Therefore, open countryside will need to be considered for development to meet the housing needs.

Garden village is being considered with the new settlement proposal to be between 1500-10,000 homes.

So – What are East Devon’s Ambitions?

Hard to say.

Although the other 3 Authorities are keeping their residents well informed on their sections of the GESP proposals, East Devon has been an almost total blackout! There has been a Local Plan in place since 2016 with most of new development being built in an area known as the West End. That is an area close to Exeter’s border plus the new Town of Cranbrook.

At East Devon District Council Strategic Planning Committee on Tuesday 29th January it was hoped that Agenda item 12 would be able to explain more on the Greater Exeter Strategic Plan strategy and provide councillors some clarity on the East Devon Local Plan, plus the East Devon Villages Plan only agreed last year which most councillors only learned the previous week, would be jettisoned and replaced with a brand new East Devon Local Plan by 2023.

Local Plan to be replaced

At the meeting last week, the Head of Planning Ed Freeman explained that the present Local Plan was in 2 parts, with the section on Policies would require total re-writing because the Policies would be “substantially superseded” by the emerging GESP Policies. He also explained that the Villages Plan policies, will be merged into the new Local Plan.

Tory Councillor Philip Skinner who along with Tory Councillor Paul Diviani who are the only 2 East Devon`s elected representatives on the GESP “steering group committee” along with 2 elected members from the 3 other Authorities gave only a few hints on some of the latest thoughts for the GESP Strategy for East Devon.

Higher Density Housing for Exeter proposed for GESP

Regarding a question on Housing, he explained that it had been decided by the steering group, that each authority had a certain quota of dwellings proposed and it was not correct that if one Authority was unable to provide the housing numbers, other Authorities were required to build extra dwellings to offset the shortfall. He also explained that Exeter City Council had to return to the drawing board to enable extra dwelling numbers through “much higher density” within the confines of the City.

East Devon will take on most of the Industrial and commercial development for the GESP

Councillor Skinner also told the meeting regarding business development that he aimed to “Get the best for East Devon” and explained that to “Our strength and Exeter’s demise, they do not have the capacity, but we do!” and claimed most of the commercial and industrial development “will be in our patch”

After 2 years of joint secret meetings.

Exeter’s residents know what to expect with “Liveable Exeter”, Teignbridge residents are being told that their local plan is being re-assessed and are having public consultations, and Mid Devon residents have been through their public consultations and an agreed local plan about to be approved.

However, the residents of East Devon only know that their local plan is now being superseded by a new plan with substantial more housing and more industrial, commercial and business development.

All will be revealed in July 2019 after the District Council Elections. Who will you trust to steer East Devon through the next few years of obtaining the most appropriate and suitable Planning Policies. Leave it to the Tory Councillors who have kept everyone in the dark?

Or choose an Independent who are the major opposition for East Devon?

Will Swire have anything to auction at this year’s Tory fundraising ball?

The annual Tory Black and White Ball is in trouble:

“Tory insiders have revealed that the annual Black and White fundraiser (it used to be called a ‘ball’, it’s now a mere ‘party’) is struggling to attract interest from donors and activists.

Less than a fortnight to go, mimimum-priced £500 tickets are not shifting, PoliticsHome reports.

https://www.politicshome.com/news/uk/political-parties/conservative-party/news/101400/excl-£15000-table-tory-fundraiser-turmoil

”Most donors now see the Prime Minister as toxic so prefer the private events, not the event that ends up on the front page of Mail Online,” one donor says.

Intriguingly, leadership contenders are now inviting donors for private dinners instead. An activist adds: “The obscene ticket prices go directly into CCHQ’s coffers and then local associations have to beg for that money back during elections.”

Source: The Waugh Zone, Huffington Post

So, will its usual auctioneer of very expensive goodies, Hugo Swire, have anything to flog?

https://eastdevonwatch.org/2015/02/11/hugo-swire-is-auctioneer-at-15000-per-head-tory-ball/

https://eastdevonwatch.org/2018/02/08/tories-auction-off-access-to-pm-and-ministers-at-their-annual-ball/

And why, oh why wasn’t he employed to flog off the contents of The Knowle!

Brexit: East Devon – a district divided.

So, Swire voted against May’s Brexit deal, Parish voted for it.

Just where does this leave East Devon?

Piggy-in-the-middle.

Not a good place to be!

The no confidence vote later today will be interesting. If Swire votes to retain May after voting down her deal will that make him a hypocrite?