“When Will Britain Acknowledge Our Countryside Poverty?”

“… If you live in a rural environment your chances of being successful in life are very much linked to your early years. I live in rural Worcestershire, and went to college from rural North Yorkshire. I remain the only degree educated person in my family and the reasons are clear – opportunities in rural areas are not as abundant for young people as they are in cities. As a result, our countryside has become a social mobility coldspot, with my local council of Wychavon rated 310th out of 324 councils in a recent government report. If your parents are plumbers or cleaners, bakers or builders, the chances are you will follow in their footsteps. For some, through choice, but for others, it is because options are limited.

It is easy to hide social mobility in the countryside. My town of Pershore is generally a well-off and affluent area. House prices and wages are above the national average, the town is a great place to raise children and the schools are generally good. But if you are from a working-class background and work in the service industry the average house prices of £300,000 quickly make the experience of living in the area unsustainable. And the recent revelation that house prices have been forced upwards by the government’s Help to Buy scheme, just adds to the issues people face. With housing unaffordable, people are struggling to help their children access opportunities to increase their chances in life.

Education is the key to success. Education opens doors to all, regardless of backgrounds. But in a rural area, education opportunities can be very limited. Schools have the added pressures of large catchment areas, with children travelling from a wide area. Class sizes can also be small and, in the current educational climate, unsustainable. So schools have to focus on traditional GCSE and A level subjects, limiting their students’ knowledge of other, potentially inspiring minority subjects. Similarly colleges focus on qualifications aimed at the local economy. In Pershore, our local college is an agricultural centre so, if a young person wants to study ancient history or geology, electrical engineering or photography, they must travel to neighbouring towns. This commute requires time and the money, and is also restricted further by the continued reduction of bus services in the area.

But it is an even bigger issue for the local economy if young people decide to go to university. As young men and women move into cities to study at university, they create a rural brain drain. This results in a drop in the 18-30 year old population, which further limits the opportunities of those who remain as it keeps job opportunities in traditional low paid professions. New industries rarely emerge and there are few incentives for young locals to return after graduation. With limited public transport and sluggish roll-out of high speed broadband graduates find no drive to return to their childhood homes. …

… Of course not everything is perfect in major cities, but it is clear that opportunities are more accessible and education is the driving force that helps students from more deprived environments succeed in life. Wychavon, however, is struggling to keep up with the pace, with education opportunities limited and access to transport becoming ever more a problem. Has social mobility stopped? Certainly not. But if you live in a rural area, your chances are being constrained, and maybe we need to seek alternative approaches to help our rural young people succeed.”

https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/countryside-poverty_uk_5c7da47de4b060c5e078048c

“Official Brexit rural impact report includes phrase: ‘we are f*****’ “

“An official report on the impact Brexit will have on rural Scotland includes the quote: “We are f*****,” it has emerged.

A document published by Scottish Rural Action (SRA) featured a side banner on page four carrying the statement.

It was one of a number of banners attributed to participants in a workshop which asked them to imagine what newspaper headlines they might expect to see after the UK leaves the EU.

Amanda Burgauer, SRA chairwoman, said the exercise had been used as an “icebreaker” and that several of the participants used “earthy language” in describing their feelings towards Brexit.

The comments are only explained on the following page, saying they had been put forward by those taking part in the workshop event.

Ms Burgauer said she would flag up the “design and layout” issue with the SRA design team. …”

https://www.standard.co.uk/news/politics/official-report-brexits-impact-rural-scotland-phrase-we-are-f-a4095061.html

Older, wealthier rural elderly people being targeted by fraudsters

“Fraudsters are increasingly moving out of the city and targeting older homeowners in the countryside, according to Experian, the credit checker.

Experian’s data shows a 29.5pc rise in third-party fraud against well-off homeowners in the country in 2018, with thousands of people affected.

Third-party fraud is where criminals steal an unsuspecting victim’s identity and then commit crimes in their name.

A classic example is to gather information on a victim, then apply for a bank account or credit card under their name.

This can be done with relatively little information. If a fraudster knows your full name, date of birth, plus current and previous addresses, then they are in a good position to clone your identity.

If the fraudster then intercepts the card by stealing post directed to your house, they can use the credit or debit card as if they were you.

Fraudulent credit card applications rose 31pc in 2018, Experian said.

Fraudsters have traditionally committed this kind of fraud in towns and cities, where they can rely on flats with communal mailbox areas and residents who might not challenge strangers.

But last year saw fraudsters start to change their tactics.

Nick Mothershaw, of Experian, said: “Fraudsters are now moving out of cities and into the nearby countryside.

“They will go to areas where there are wealthy houses.”

The frauds that criminals can commit under the name of a wealthy clone will be larger.

Mr Mothershaw said: “If you’re going to steal someone’s identity, you might as well steal the identity of someone with high net wealth, as the credit limits you are going to be offered are higher.” … “

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/money/consumer-affairs/financial-fraudsters-go-hunting-new-marks-country/

Rural communities and elderly will be hard-hit by cashless society

As banks and cash machines are being closed in rural areas, and where broadband for internet banking may be poor, people will struggle:

https://www.theguardian.com/money/2019/mar/06/uk-cash-system-on-the-verge-of-collapse-report-finds?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other

Ambulances not reaching rural areas quickly enough

The article includes a postcode checker to show the situation where you live.

“Critically injured patients in rural areas are at risk due to the time it takes the ambulance service to reach them, a BBC investigation has found.
Some rural communities wait more than 20 minutes on average for 999 crews or trained members of the community to reach life-threatening cases such as cardiac arrests and stab victims.

A response should come in six to eight minutes, depending on where you live.
Experts said delays could make the difference between life and death.
This was particularly the case for cardiac arrests where “every second counts”, the British Heart Foundation (BHF) said. …”

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-47362797

How many Retrospective Applications can one company do at once? Answer 9! Where? Greendale Business Park!

In 2017 FWS Carter and Sons, the owners of Greendale Business Park, appealed against an “Enforcement Notice” against the removal of various industrial compounds and buildings at their Business Park, which they had built prior to obtaining planning permission.

They lost their appeal with the Planning Inspector, who stated in his report that FWS Carter and Sons had misinterpreted the East Devon Local Plan and that their interpretation was “patently wrong”.

But undaunted the company challenged the Inspectors decision in the High Court. Early last year the company lost the appeal in the High Court. The Judge’s decision also restricted the owners any further opportunity to appeal and them to pay all costs arising from the case.

The Company was required to return the area back to agricultural use, but it transpires that they imported soil and laid this over the concrete yards and simply reseeded it.

It remains to be seen if the covering the concrete is enough to satisfy the Planning Inspectors requirement that the land must return to agricultural use.

Lessons learnt?

So once bitten, twice shy you would have thought with substantial losses, large court fees and professional fees involved!!

Unfortunately, it would seem not, for this family run business. Now there are 9 applications which are known to have been or are in the process of building work before the Planning Applications were submitted.

18/2866/FUL. A retrospective planning application for a rear roller shutter door and concrete pad on the rear of an industrial building onto agricultural land at Unit 11 Hogsbrook Farm. This application is before East Devon’s Planning Committee on Tuesday 4 March.

19/0034/COU. A Retrospective Application at Hogsbrook East 6. A retrospective change of use from agricultural use to industrial. An interesting history to this one! Originally built for a gas pipeline contractors’ compound that had to be returned to agricultural use when the pipeline was completed. However, FWS Carter and Sons applied for planning permission to retain the secure compound for fruit farming. Instead of fruit-growing, Woodbury Carbreakers as tenants stored scrapped vehicles there instead! After 3 years and a court case they were eventually evicted by the Environment Agency, but the owners then used it for commercial storage. Their application for industrial use failed 3 years ago, but just before an Enforcement Notice was served in late 2018 they submitted a further application. But they withdraw it and submitted this latest application.

19/0035/COU. A Retrospective Application next to Hogsbrook East 6. Very similar to the previous application which was used for the gas pipeline company. FWS Carter and Sons submitted, what is called a “Certificate of Lawfulness” which in planning terms means that after 10 years of illegal use they would not require planning permission, to allow to continue operations. However, their own documents clearly stated that gas pipeline contractors had been tenants until July 2009. As this was classified at permitted lawful use the submission was refused. Just as the previous application prior to an “Enforcement Notice” was served as the previous site in late 2018 they submitted a further planning application. They again withdraw it, a submitted this further application.

19/0332/CPE. This was a submission of a “Certificate of Lawfulness” at Greendale unit 33A. Following the publication of the East Devon Villages Plan it was realised that this unit was outside the permitted “Employment Zone” for Greendale Business Park. This was because in its 15 years of operations, planning permission had never been applied for! Therefore, the Local Authority asked the company to summit the paperwork to legalise the operation.

19/043/FUL. A Retrospective Application for 3 Freezer storage pods at Compound 31. The compound is used by DHL Logistics for parcel distribution, but early last year after winning a distribution contract with Kentucky Fried Chicken they started frozen food distribution as well. Several residents living close by the noisy freezer units and hearing the loading and unloading during the night reported the problem to Environmental Health at East Devon. They suggested to the Planning Department that a retrospective application should be submitted.

19/0288/FUL. A Retrospective Application for an extension to Unit 10 at Hogsbrook Farm to extend an Industrial Building which sits on the Employment Boundary of Greendale Business Park. This would mean that the extended building would straddle the boundary between Industrial/Agricultural use.

18/2867/FUL. A Retrospective Application to extend Compound 62 beyond the Employment Boundary into agricultural and landscaping area. The area has been built up over recent years with inert waste material under an Environment Agency permit but it would seem the Company has gone beyond the permitted landfill area.

There are 2 further Retrospective Planning Applications due for extensions to Agricultural units that have been reported to the Enforcement Officer at East Devon District Council.

That’s nine Retrospective Applications in a row. Is that a record!!

And the Government still insist that Planning Authorities treat Retrospective Applications the same as any other Application!

Newton Poppleford GP surgery: lost, never to be regained

This means that, should the NHS ever regain the funding and doctors it needs, and should the local surgery then be in a position to open a secondary surgery in Newton Poppleford, it can never happen.

Anyone buying a new Clinton Devon Estates house at Newton Poppleford (particularly if they have children, or a chronic health condition or are elderly) might want to think twice if this is a suitable location for them.

And EVERYONE should beware “promises” from developers.

A Devon development site once earmarked for a “much needed” GP surgery is being turned into housing instead – much to the disappointment of residents.

People living in Newton Poppleford have to travel miles for medical care.

It comes as a report from the government watchdog, the National Audit Office, has criticised how community infrastructure projects for healthcare, education, and transport are often abandoned once planning permission’s been granted.

In a statement, the developers Clinton Devon Estates said the withdrawal of the surgery plans was understandably very disappointing, but the decision was made by a local medical practice due to circumstances beyond their control with unexpected changes to NHS policy.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/live/uk-england-devon-47170553