Good job EDDC’s HQ is almost finished … and let’s hope it is perfect … !

“Cabinet Office mandarins are believed to have sounded out Interserve’s rivals about the possibility of taking on some of the outsourcer’s work.

The cleaning and building company is heading for a debt-for-equity swap with its lenders as it creaks under debts of £650m. The swap could wipe out shareholders.

Interserve is a significant government supplier, with long-term deals for schools, hospitals and motorways. Jon Trickett, Labour’s shadow minister for the Cabinet Office, last night called for a temporary ban on the company bidding for public contracts — “until they have proved they are financially stable and there is no risk to the taxpayer”.

Interserve said: “The fundamentals of the business are strong and the board is focused on ensuring Interserve has the right financial structure to support its future success.”

Source: Sunday Times

“The fight against fast food continues …” but … but …

Cranbrook Town Council wants to block a kebab van from selling food in The town:
https://www.midweekherald.co.uk/news/the-fight-against-fast-food-continues-cranbrook-councillors-object-to-kebab-van-s-seven-days-a-week-trading-bid-1-5807445

Cranbrook has only a pub for eating out, which sells a mix of what is crudely called “healthy food” and junk food:
https://www.cranberry-farm.co.uk/our-food/?menu=513118

Cranbrook is installing outdoor barbecues at its “country park” where no doubt junk food will be cooked:
https://www.midweekherald.co.uk/news/plans-for-outdoor-barbecues-to-be-installed-in-cranbrook-before-easter-2019-but-council-is-looking-to-share-the-cost-1-5810127

Is it fair to try to stop the van? A poll says 58% want it.

EDDC liberalised street trading rules to encourage more street trading.

Confusing!

“Children in charge of the council for a day at takeover event”

Owl was under the impression that children have been in charge of EDDC for some considerable time …

“Year 6 children from Exeter Road Community Primary School were among the region’s schools to take part in a takeover day at the East Devon District Council Offices – getting a sense of life in local government, making decisions which impact on people’s everyday lives

In a mock council meeting, the children put on their best acting performances as they pretended to be adults in professions from butcher through to builder and debated what to do with a new plot of land. …”

https://www.exmouthjournal.co.uk/news/children-east-devon-takeover-1-5810494

EDDC Independents call for action on poverty

Owl says: prediction – watch all these motions get watered down or struck out by block+voting Tories!

“Pressure to provide more help to struggling families, affected by benefit changes and low wages, is mounting on council bosses.

A motion calling for action will be put forward to East Devon District Council (EDDC) at a meeting on Wednesday (December 12).

The move looks to bring two reports before the authority, from the UK Equalities and Human Rights Commission and the UN Special Rapporteur, which put a spotlight on the impact of benefits changes and spending cuts on people in the UK.

The motion has been proposed by Councillor Cathy Gardner, of East Devon Alliance.

She said EDDC was due to receive a report on the potential impact on residents in East Devon and the need for further support, helping those affected by the roll-out of Universal Credit (UC) and supporting homelessness prevention and food banks.

Cllr Gardner added: “Residents in East Devon are not immune from these effects and in fact the rollout of Universal Credit is already having an effect.

“We have seen two homeless people die since 2015, both in Sidmouth.

“An increasing number of people, some with children are relying on foodbanks in all our towns, including Sidmouth, Honiton, Axminster, Seaton Ottery and Exmouth.”

The news comes in the same week that organisers of the Sid Valley Food Bank said that more people were needing help every week. And the numbers of people needing help were higher than they had ever been.

Co-ordinator Andie Milne said the top five reasons were:

• Delays in benefit changing transferring to UC, which could be up to 5 weeks.
• Repayment of loan provided in the case of delayed UC payment.
• Low wages and difficulties paying private rent over the housing benefit cap.
• Zero hour contracts – reduction in hours/sickness.
• Low wage unable to have contingency funds for unexpected expenditure – very noticeable with families needing to but school uniform, coping with school holidays, car repairs, winter bills and household repairs.

Cllr Garnder said: “I’m calling for the council to review whether more support is needed by people in East Devon and whether it can be provided.

“If the council does not have sufficient resources, then we must call on Government to review funding and make changes to Universal Credit. EDDC have statutory obligations, especially for housing, and it’s likely that increased demand will not be met.

“There is an urgent need to provide more social housing as well as support families who are at risk of homelessness.”

Cllr Gardner said there currently were five verified rough sleepers in East Devon – including the gentleman on Sidmouth seafront.

She added there were 27 households in temporary accommodation via EDDC – made up of 16 singles and 11 families, eight single people and two families in supported accommodation in Honiton, eight singles and two families in B and B accommodation, one family in a private sector lease property and six families in the council’s own housing stock that is being used as temporary accommodation.

Cllr Gardner said EDDC was required to help families and individuals in need of housing and was doing so, but Government cuts would likely mean it would not able to provide all the support it does or would want to in the coming years.

An EDDC spokesperson said: “This is one of three motions that are on the council agenda and officers of the council will take any necessary action arising from the council’s consideration of the motions and the decisions that are taken.”

https://www.sidmouthherald.co.uk/news/calls-for-help-for-struggling-families-1-5809034

Food resilience after Brexit – councils must set up risk teams”

“An advice notice sent to all UK local authorities says they should set up a team to make risk assessments of how different outcomes for Brexit might affect food availability and supplies in their areas.”

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/live/uk-england-devon-46370313

We know that EDDC has done nothing:
https://eastdevonwatch.org/2018/09/06/eddc-has-done-no-brexit-planning/

So let’s hope DCC is on the ball …. hhhmmm, get back to you on that!

And just what are councils supposed to do with no money and no resources?

Sidmouth flood defences delayed so PegasusLife can gobble up car parks and meadows to store building materials!

“A £750,000 scheme to protect hundreds of town-centre homes and businesses from flooding looks set to be delayed until the building of a controversial 113-home retirement community at Knowle is completed.

The news comes after the district council agreed with developers PegasusLife to allow the use of the lower car park and nearby flower meadow for storage space during construction. It is not yet clear on what basis the council’s car park is being used.

The use of the lower car park would mean phase two of the £759,000 Sidmouth Surface Water Improvement Scheme will have to be redrawn as the proposed lagoon feature and above ground storage area are located adjacent to the car park.

Devon county councillor Stuart Hughes said officers will meet the district council on Thursday (November 29) to discuss options at the site.

Cllr Hughes said: “After all the work that’s gone into getting the funding for the scheme, it will be delayed.

“East Devon District Council [EDDC] has agreed to the storage equipment of PegasusLife for their construction and will not allow county to use this area until after construction is complete.

“Hopefully the officers will find out at the meeting which option they prefer and whether we can achieve the level of flood improvements we desire.

“I do hope that we can find an alternative for the lagoon SUDS system so that the 300 properties and businesses in the town will be protected from future flood events.”

An EDDC spokeswoman said the authority is in discussion with the partners involved.

In January, PegasusLife won an appeal to turn EDDC’s headquarters at Knowle into a large scale 113-home retirement community after its application was rejected in December 2016.

Campaigner Ed Dolphin has slammed the use of the car park as a ‘slap in the face’ and claims it is likely to be a blow to Sidmouth’s economy as it might affect the park and walk service into town.

Mr Dolphin said: “Many people objected to the Knowle development as a blight on the green corridor as visitors entered the town. This move will bring it to the forefront, right down to the roadside.

“Even worse, it seems that the developers need even more space and so they are to be given the flower meadow next to the car park as well, the one that was mown by mistake in the summer and which EDDC promised to care for in the future. The meadow is already waterlogged for the winter and storing building materials and machinery on it will probably ruin it for years.

“I do not see why PegasusLife need this extra space, their site has three large car park areas that could be used for storage at various times in the development.”

He called the park and walk car park in Station Road a ‘valuable asset’ as it reduced the strain on the town centre, was popular in the winter and boosted the town’s independent traders.

PegasusLife has been approached for a comment.”

https://www.sidmouthherald.co.uk/news/eddc-pegasuslife-throw-flood-scheme-at-knowle-into-question-1-5798537

Greendale industrial unit dog care business taken to court by EDDC

This took place in August 2018. The accompanying photograph is very upsetting. This is what can happen in an industrial unit. Perhaps the Greendale owners should audit their tenants:

“A dog day care business in Devon has been unsuccessful in appealing against an order and new rules after concerns were raised about the welfare of animals in its care.

A Dog’s Day Out, which is run from an industrial unit at Greendale Business Park in Woodbury Salterton, was found to have insufficient staffing levels for the number of dogs, a lack of beds which meant dogs were sleeping on concrete floors, and dogs and staff were being put at risk because they were being kept in large packs.

Reports received from former staff members, some dog owners and staff at East Devon District Council, said at times there were fewer than four staff looking after 65 dogs. …

It was deemed operators were not taking sufficient responsibility under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 for the health, safety and well-being of the dogs.

To address the concerns, officers decided it was reasonable to require that the dogs were kept in groups of no more than 10 dogs, and staffing levels should be sufficient to ensure continual care throughout the day.

The conditions were included in the council’s 2018 licence for the business but the operator of A Dog’s Day Out appealed against them.

He said that the new conditions requiring the grouping of dogs was not reasonable and the animals should be allowed to run freely all day in what had become a very large pack of dogs.

The operator said that staff could be given the responsibility to separate out any dogs causing problems or needing quiet space, even when the licensee was not on site.

… An appeal hearing was recently held in Exeter. The witnesses were all of the view that the risk to dogs and staff was low if the dogs were allowed to function as one large group.

The magistrates decided that the council had been reasonable in imposing the conditions, which are similar to those included on other dog day care licences in East Devon, and dismissed the appeal.

Costs of almost £6,500 were awarded to the council.

… The owner and manager of A Dog’s Day Out is Dean Wilkinson describes itself as the south west’s premier day care centre for dogs. …”

https://www.devonlive.com/news/devon-news/inside-dog-day-care-centre-1884523

Companies House shows that 4 other directors have resigned between 2015 and 2018 and that Mr Wilkinson gives a business address in Ottery St Mary.