How to vote tactically in East Devon if you are a Remainer

Vote Lib Dem in Tiverton and Honiton (Neil Parish)

DO NOT VOTE LIB DEM IN EAST DEVON (Hugo Swire) – vote Claire Wright (Independent)

Tactical voting site says vote Lib Dem in Tiverton & Honiton constituency and Claire Wright, Independent, in East Devon

Jurrasic Park: a Halloween scary story

A scare story fit for Halloween. So scary that Owl is hooting with laughter.

 

Here is Owl’s dissection of the substance of the scare story recently spun by EDDC ex-Tory Councillor (and ex-leader) Ian Thomas, previously posted here:

https://eastdevonwatch.org/2019/10/22/eddc-ex-tory-councillor-doesnt-like-the-idea-of-a-jurassic-national-park/

Whilst he may now claim to be “Independent” the “Project Fear” he spreads is the established view of the previous Tory Council (and many in the current council).

It’s all about the proposal to create a new National Park by combining the East Devon and Dorset AONBs.

This proposal is not new. Like the creation of the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site before it, a considered and reasoned case has been building for a number of years now.

The bit that SCARES Cllr. Ian Thomas (and others in the council) is that, despite EDDC attempts to pour cold water on the idea in the past, it has now been given endorsement by the Glover Review. (The Glover Review of Designated Landscapes was commissioned by Michael Gove to report in the 70th anniversary year of the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act).

It calls for National Parks and AONBs to have a clear national mission to reverse environmental decline and specifically calls for the creation of two new National Parks and a National Forest – one such park being the area of the Devon and Dorset AONB/World Heritage site.

Click to access landscapes-review-final-report.pdf

Cllr. Ian Thomas’ stated FEAR is that house prices in East Devon could rise ‘considerably’ if proposals for a new ‘Jurassic’ national park’ covering East Devon and Dorset are successful (when did prices last fall,in the recession)?

The REAL FEAR, however, is, Owl thinks, loss of power, particularly the power of development. As Ed Freeman (Service Lead Planning) put it in the penultimate paragraph of his review of Glover Report for Cllr. Susie Bond’s Strategic Planning Committee:

“….there may also be felt to be concerns around loss of power by this authority to another body.”

Click to access 4Protected%20Landscape%20Report.pdf

It is interesting that Dorset has no such worries and has enthusiastically endorsed the idea.

How fitting then at Halloween that Owl should do the scary thing and examine the FACTS!

In terms of protective policies, both National Parks and AONBs have identical aims. These are to “conserve and enhance natural beauty”. (National Parks have the further responsibility to conserve and enhance “wildlife and cultural heritage” as well.) National Parks also have a duty to seek to foster the economic and social well-being of local communities within their park (note – communities not just developers). The Glover review proposes that in respect of this duty, National Parks should go further and “respond proactively to local housing needs”.

So where is the scare?

Could it be that under past EDDC regimes AONB responsibilities to “protect and enhance” the area have simply been ignored, something that might be harder to do under different management and wider scrutiny?

If this is the case, then EDDC is in for a REAL SHOCK – a LOOK BEHIND YOU moment – because the Glover Review also proposes that both AONBs and National Parks should be staffed by a shared National Landscape Service and that AONBs should be given greater status in the planning system. AONBs should become statutory consultees, and should be supported to work towards local plans for their areas, prepared in conjunction with local authorities. For larger AONBs such as East Devon (specifically mentioned), this plan should have statutory status in place of local authority plans. So even if the National Park idea doesn’t get off the ground immediately, the cavalier approach EDDC has adopted in the past to its AONB will have to change if the Glover Report is taken up.

We don’t know what the next government might make of the Glover Review but, whatever political persuasionit has, we can safely assume it will look for ways of demonstrating its Environmental Protection credentials. Not pushing forward with Glover would be an obvious own goal.

There are many positive reasons to embrace the proposal to create a new National Park by combining the East Devon and Dorset AONBs with the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site. Here are four in addition to the proactive management of local housing needs mentioned above.

1. Wildlife

East Devon and Dorset AONBs have distinctive and valuable ecologies which are important on a national scale. The East Devon Pebblebed Heaths, which forms 5% of the East Devon AONB is one of the largest areas of lowland dry heaths in England and has European designation. Consolidation of these two AONBs within a new National Park would increase the biodiversity of the environment creating a continuous wildlife corridor nearly 70 miles long.

2. Farming Culture and impact on Heritage Landscape

In the past, only the larger landlords like CDE had the management structure and financial stability to promote landscape enhancement projects within the AONB. However, subsidies based on acreage are going to be changed to supporting specific environmental enhancements, distributed more widely. Depending on how it is managed this could make significant changes to protected landscapes. For instance, there could be haphazard re-wilding on a considerable scale. AONBs in the future will need to be more involved and supportive of the independent sector of farming if the Landscape is to be conserved and enhanced, thus becoming more like National Parks.

3. Tourism and Economic benefits

National Parks promote understanding and enjoyment of their area’s special qualities by the public. A clear identity as a National Park would bring an economic boost to East Devon. The South Downs NP has attracted over £100M in core support and project funding since 2011 and it is reasonable to expect an East Devon and Dorset NP to attract a similar level of funding. On a smaller scale, experience from the Pebblebed Heaths are that funds and grants become more readily available with higher environmental designations, in this case SSSI, SPA and SAC.

4. Recreation and Well-being for an ageing and growing population

Encouraging Recreation is already a National Park priority. Improving public enjoyment would go hand in hand with promoting activities to improve health and well-being. Improving these will become an overriding priority in our area which is not only set to grow and age but already has more than 30% of the population aged 65 or older. It will become even more necessary if Cllr. Phillip Skinners dream of creating a North West Quadrant of linked villages to support immigration of 12,000 is realised.

https://www.devonlive.com/news/devon-news/east-devon-could-getting-network-3454612

A confidant and forward-looking EDDC would now seek to form a joint liaison committee to work with the East Devon and Dorset National Park Team so as to get a seat at the table and maximise the opportunities, rather than continue to sulk in its (developer built?) kennel.

Are you scared now?

So, who is going to be the Tory candidate in East Devon?

A local person?

Someone parachuted in to what was once a safe seat (that’s how Swire got it with no connection to East Devon at all) but which is now very, very unsafe?

Will the Brexit Party contest it?

Will Lib-Dems split votes and allow a Tory to keep the seat?

So many questions, so few answers …

But at leadt it won’t be a very long campaign!

“Professor John Curtice Makes Surprising Prediction For General Election 2019”

East Devon: be a trendsetter – elect Claire Wright – Independent!

“Professor John Curtice Makes Prediction On General Election 2019

The UK’s leading election expert Sir John Curtice told LBC he expects parties other than the two major ones to have a record number of MPs in the upcoming General Election.

The UK is expected to go to the polls on 12th December after Jeremy Corbyn told Labour MPs to back Boris Johnson’s proposal for an early General Election.

Sir John is the man who predicted Brexit and has been in charge of the accurate exit polls in the recent elections in 2015 and 2017.

And speaking to Shelagh Fogarty, he gave a surprising prediction of what we can expect.

He said: “I think the safest prediction is that we will have a record number of non-Conservative and non-Labour MPs in this parliament.

“The SNP look set to win the vast majority of seats in Scotland. The Liberal Democrats given their position in the polls should do extremely well. We expect Caroline Lucas and the Green Party to hang on to her seat.

“We could have more than 100 MPs that do not belong to either of the other two parties.

“That matters for two reasons. The first is that it makes it difficult for either Conservative or Labour to win an overall majority if you’re taking the fact that 100 of the seats are already spoken for.

“Secondly, it matters because this is an asymmetric election. It’s an election that Boris Johnson has to win. If he does not get a majority or something very close to it, he will not be able to stay in government because the Conservatives do not have any friends elsewhere.

“The Labour Party, by contrast, at least has the possibility of doing a deal with the SNP, a deal with the Liberal Democrats, getting support of the Greens and maybe even the DUP not standing in their way.

“Bear in mind, this is not an election that Labour have to win to stop Brexit, but it is an election that they and the other opposition parties simply need to deny the Conservatives a majority.”

https://www.lbc.co.uk/radio/presenters/shelagh-fogarty/professor-john-curtice-makes-surprising-prediction/

Tactical voting – and how Claire Wright could be a VERY powerful MP!

“The major UK political parties go into the election with radically different positions on Brexit. In short:

A vote for the Conservative party is a vote to take Britain out of the EU.

A vote for the Labour Party is a vote to put any Brexit deal to a referendum, in which voters could vote to remain.

A vote for the Liberal Democrats is a vote to revoke Article 50 and cancel Brexit.

A vote for the Brexit Party is a vote for a no-deal Brexit.”

https://www.insider.com/tactical-voting-guide-how-to-vote-tactically-2019-general-election-by-constituency-brexit-2019-10

AND A VOTE FOR CLAIRE WRIGHT (INDEPENDENT) IS A VOTE FOR EAST DEVON!

Claire Wright could be a powerful figure if elected to Parliament. She could be amongst a handful of MPs that could tip the balance in a hung parliament.

EDDC spending £3.5 million in Exmouth: Tory gets the spotlight, Independent has reservations … dog, tail and wagging again?

Here’s Tory Skinner waxing lyrical about £1.5 million for Exmouth College (though Tigger Nick Hookway has concerns):

https://www.exmouthjournal.co.uk/news/cil-money-for-community-college-expansion-1-6344922

and here’s news of cash for the completion of a road in Dinham Way – with Skinner again seeming to have the biggest voice and Hookway again expressing reservations:

https://www.radioexe.co.uk/news-and-features/local-news/exmouth-projects-backed/

Tail … dog … wagging … again?

And so near general election time.

And when will other towns and villages get their shares of Community Infrastructure Levy goes into one big pot rather than being locality-based like Section 106?

Planning, dogs and tails: another correspondent writes

“The East Devon electorate were, indeed, hoping for a significant change by voting for an Independent Council and, therefore, it is frustrating to read such controlling comments from the Tory Councillor Philip Skinner (he who was responsible for the extending mahogany table fiasco and who lives in the rural village of Talaton which is not one of the proposed GESP Clyst Villages) stating that  ‘this is a really exciting project and I hope people grasp it with the enthusiasm, that I have so we get the good things for the area that we live in’!

Who are the ‘we’ he is referring to? Perhaps, not the numerous residents of the 10 rural  village communities of Poltimore, Huxham, Clyst St Mary, Clyst St George, Ebford, West Hill, Woodbury, Woodbury Salterton, Exton and Farringdon who appear to be the prime targets for his exciting large scale development? Living in the small, rural idyll of Talaton, he should be aware that those who have also chosen to live in rural village communities may not wish them to mutate into sprawling suburbs of Exeter and, therefore, many may question Councillor Skinner’s motives?
Yes – we all have to be forward thinking – but aren’t these 10 villages the very essence of the intrinsic nature and indispensable quality of East Devon? Some may be persuaded that the proposed idyllic concept of happy, peaceful, picturesque environments labelled ‘Garden Villages’ would be pure nirvana – but, unfortunately, the vision in planning terms is not always what you get in reality! 
 
Sizeable growth in this North West Quadrant, without adequate road infrastructure improvements in the surrounding districts, already results in the regular gridlock of the entire highway network! ‘The cart before the horse’ approach of continuing large-scale commercial growth and adding more people to the equation before the provision of an appropriate, sustainable transport system is an unsatisfactory method for success.
 
There is no doubt that we must do better with designing new communities than we have in the past and East Devon District Council Planners  are fully aware that there are lessons to be learned from pursuing misguided judgements and courses of action by barking up the wrong tree!
Hopefully, the Independents are canines with character strength and principled, with adequate bite at the sharp end! Dogs can control their tails but often wagging lacks conscious thought!  Canine body language is so much more than just tail movements, so to achieve control, it is very important to pay attention to other factors. Furthermore, excessive tail wagging  can often be associated with fear, insecurity, social challenge or a warning that you may get bitten!

Councillor whose group enabled Sidford Business Park now wants traffic cuts!

EDDC’s Hypocrite of the Year Award should go to Tory councillor Stuart Hughes, whose Tory group when it was in power sneaked in permission for Sidford Business Park to be included in the Local Plan at the last minute. Now he is “trying” to get a vehicle weight restriction in the village!

In 2018 he said it was pointless trying to stop the development on Highways grounds:

https://eastdevonwatch.org/2018/11/19/calls-for-removal-of-sidford-business-park-site-in-local-plan-are-unrealistic-says-highways-boss-stuart-hughes/

Background from 2016 when he and his fellow councillors acted positively and some might say disingenuously to support the business park in Sidford:

https://eastdevonwatch.org/2016/02/05/could-councillor-stuart-hughes-have-done-more-for-sidford-fields/

Rumour has it that Councillor Hughes is spending much less time in his area these days so try to catch him when you see him if you want to give him your opinion!

New Statesman: Tories very worried about Claire Wright in East Devon

“… Very few surprises in terms of the Labour-Conservative battlegrounds. But noteworthy is that – as is echoed privately by many Conservatives from the area – the government regards Claire Wright, of the independent campaign in East Devon, as a serious challenger for the seat. …”

https://www.newstatesman.com/politics/elections/2019/10/where-boris-johnson-thinks-next-election-will-be-won-and-lost