Independent EDA Councillor Rixon speaks up for Sidford parking

Here is her speech to Cabinet which led to reconsideration of an increase in car parking charges.

“My comments echo those made earlier by Richard Eley, on behalf of Sidmouth Chamber of Commerce.

I would ask you to reconsider the proposal to standardise car park fees. Evidence in my Ward suggests that a one size fits all policy will not help small businesses to survive, let alone thrive.

Sidford is a clear example. We have already lost many shops over the years. Everyone knows that retail is suffering due to competition from online shopping from the likes of Amazon which makes huge profits but contributes little to the UK economy.

Business rates weigh heavily on SMEs, which pay a disproportionate rate by comparison with large business.

Add to this the increase in the minimum wage, high levels of VAT and general running costs.

And then the local council decides to hike up the cost of parking to your customers by a whopping 150%. Taking Sidford Spar as an example, why would anyone pay a 50p premium for half an hour to buy a loaf of bread or pint of milk when they can drive to Temple Street and park for nothing or onto Waitrose and park for nothing, or even Newton Poppleford and park for nothing?

The Operations Director of Spar told me they “lost significant customer flow when the Doctor’s surgery relocated and now these increases will only hit our business even more.”

The owner of Lexys, the hairdressers, said, “I am not happy at all with the charges proposed. If I were to raise my charges by 150%, I wouldn’t stay in business.”

Cllr Pook stated “the Council has listened carefully to what has been said during the public consultation and the cabinet report recommendations reflect the views of the respondents”.

This is not the case with regard to Sidford, where 64% agreed with the proposal to introduce free parking for the first two hours. Nor does it reflect the views of business owners.

Looking at the current revenue generated, this car park contributes only 0.32% towards annual revenue at £10,676 for 2016/17. There are 60 spaces which generate only £29 a day for the whole car park (so less than 50p per space per day). Raising the parking fees by 150% would only equate to £43.50 per day, which is still miniscule. And apparently the amount for 2017/18 was even less, £10,535, so still less than 50p per space per day).

In summary, a dramatic increase in car park charges could hasten the closure of more local businesses through lack of custom. Precisely how much do the Sidford companies pay in business rates? Could it be more than £29 per day? I would suggest that this information be made available, so that it can be reviewed by Cabinet.”

Speeches by councillors for Lympestone and Phear Park led to reconsideration of their charges as reported here:

https://www.devonlive.com/news/devon-news/parking-charges-rise-devons-cheapest-1948853

The (political) times are a-changing in East Devon!

Once upon a time, the saying was that a donkey could get elected to East Devon District Council if it wore a Tory blue rosette. But times are changing … And what do we have here – a plea from the local Conservative Party for candidates for next year’s local elections – anyone, anywhere – please, please, with a whiff of desperation!

as discussed on EDA DCC Councillor Martin Shaw’s blog post here:
Desperate Conservatives advertise for candidates on Facebook, as they try to cling to control of East Devon in 2019

It seems to Owl that some of the old (very, very old) guard Tories are throwing in the towel – but no-one wants to pick it up!

But when you think of councillors who are REALLY changing things, who do you think of?

Well, of course, Independent Claire Wright – but also EDA Councillor Martin Shaw (fighting long and hard for the NHS), EDA Councillor Cathy Gardner, constantly holding EDDC to account and fighting her Sidmouth corner, EDA Councillor Marianne Rixson and Dawn Manley – never-ceasing their crusade about the awful plan for a massive business park in Sidford, EDA councillor Val Ranger taking in developers, including Clinton Devon Estates in Newton Poppleford, EDA Councillor Geoff Jung – with some spectacular successes taming the Greendale tiger – which has now lost quite a few teeth! All EDA councillors, all making a big difference.

Voters – if you want to effect REAL change in East Devon, the Tories are a lost cause. Their MP in East Devon is an absentee, more interested in exotic foreign travel than his constituency. And even when down here he prefers to live in mid-Devon! Their Tiverton and Honiton MP puts all his energy into fighting for farmers after Brexit (well, not surprising as he is one in Somerset). Ah, and probably best not to go into the health service cuts and privatisations, Brexit fiasco, the austerity cuts, the drop in education standards, rising crime, inappropriate developments …

No, if you want to make a difference it has to be East Devon Alliance (note: this blog DOES support EDA but is not a part of EDA as everyone must surely realise).

Why become an EDA councillor? Because all EDA councillors ARE independent but do agree on the major issues facing the district and, while being free to vote as they wish – without the whipping by a Whip-who-says-he-doesn’t-whip that has seen some disgraceful behaviour of this majority party. And EDA councillors help and support each other in elections.

There MUST be a new approach to East Devon’ mounting problems and it must come from an effective and united independent opposition – that could hopefully become the ruling group.

So, if you are thinking of being an East Devon councillor, think carefully whether you want to continue to drag East Devon along the bottom and answer the plaintive Tory howl of anguish, or raise it up and contact East Devon Alliance!!!

They can be contacted at:
http://www.eastdevonalliance.org.uk/admin/contact-us/

or via their Facebook page

https://www.facebook.com/eastdevonalliance/

Greendale Business Park Tree Order – East Devon Alliance Councillor Geoff Jung instrumental in getting it passed

Well done, East Devon Alliance Councillor Jung! Others with business parks earmarked for their areas should take note! The tree order for the area around Greendale Business Park has been out for consultation and is now agreed and signed off. Let’s hope the owners of Greendale have the map – and understand it.

“Within the proposal for the 2009 extension to the business park back in 2009 there was an “agreed” landscaping proposal. However, agreements to maintain the landscaping proposals in a planning agreement do not generally extend beyond the agreed time of 5 years to maintain or replace the landscaping trees and shrubs in their first few years of growth.

Following many unauthorised tree and landscaping removals by the owners of Greendale Business Park, it was considered appropriate to instigate a review of all the trees existing surrounding the park and to include all the agreed landscaping.

The Local Authority (EDDC) following this review considered that the most appropriate way to stop further encroachment on the agreed landscape proposals would be to cover the whole area with a Tree Preservation Order.

Tree Preservation Order Proposal

The Tree Preservation Order (TPO) has been made to protect the significant individual trees and areas of newly created woodland. The TPO protects a total of 47 ‘Individual’ trees, 19 ‘Groups’ of trees, 3 ‘Areas’ of land and 17 ‘Woodland’ areas. The TPO collectively protects thousands of trees growing on and around the Greendale Business Park.

Extent of Tree Preservation Order 18/0002/TPO marked in green.

Most the trees within the TPO are contained within the landscape planting areas that were approved under the historic planning consent for the expansion of the business park (09/1195/MOUT). The extent of the business park is defined further within the adopted East Devon adopted Local plan 2013 – 2031.

Collectively the trees add to the rural character of the surrounding landscape. With the individual mature trees, their amenity is already significant. The landscape planting areas, will significantly increase in their amenity value, as the tree increase in size and develop into areas of woodland.

The protected trees and woodland areas are important in reducing the visual impact of the business park on the surrounding area and help maintain the rural character of the wider area.

Tree Preservation Order consultations

Three letters have been received requesting modifications to the provisional TPO, these modifications can be summarised as follows:

• Woodland, W2 – Request the removal of an area of land on the north-eastern corner of the woodland, as it does not contain any trees (Figure 2).

• Woodland, W8 – Request the removal the most southern end of the woodland as it is sandwiched between industrial units, is in places in contact with the buildings causing maintenance problems and it is of limited public amenity.

Area of Woodland (W2) showing absence of trees

What will this Tree Order mean?

No one can cut down, top, lop, uproot, wilfully damage or destroy a tree or cause or permit the cutting down, topping, lopping, uprooting, wilful damage or wilful destruction of any tree except with the written consent of the Local Authority.

This order does not restrict the management of these trees and woodland areas but if any work was to be carried out the landowner is now required to seek permission from the Local Authority.

Comment from the District Councillor

Councillor Geoff Jung (EDA Independent Councillor for Raleigh Ward which includes Greendale Business Park)

I really appreciate the work that the officers have done on this Tree Order that will in effect protect the trees and woodland in whole area surrounding the Business Park and the Rural Village of Woodbury Salterton.

I know that the Woodbury Salterton Residents Association and Woodbury Parish Council have been must concerned with industrial encroachment into the countryside within the area and important landscaping being removed prior to any planning approvals.

This TPO (Tree Preservation Order) and the shortly to be approved EDDC village development plan with its designated employment line around the business park will provide better certainty and protection to the rural landscape of Woodbury Salterton.”