Parliamentary Select Committee: are Local Enterprise Partnerships ignoring rural communities

“19 October 2018
The Select Committee on the Rural Economy questions local authorities and Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) on their role in the rural economy.

Parliament TV – Rural Economy
Select Committee on the Rural Economy
Witnesses
At 9.45am

Cllr Sue Baxter, Chairman, National Association of Local Councils (NALC)
Cllr Bob Egerton, Cornwall Council
Cllr Mark Hawthorne, Chairman of Local Government Association (LGA) People and Places Board and leader of Gloucestershire County Council
At 10.45am

Richard Baker, Head of Strategy and Policy, North East LEP
John Mortimer, Chairman, Swindon & Wiltshire LEP
Cllr Louise Richardson, Chair, Leicestershire Rural Partnership, Leicester and Leicestershire LEP
Areas of discussion
Likely areas of discussion include:

Access to rural services
How the battle against rural crime is tackled
How devolution arrangements can be reformed to support the rural economy more effectively?
The impact of Brexit on rural economies and the role of LEPs

https://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/lords-select/rural-economy/news-parliament-2017/leps-local-gov/

“Air pollution linked to greater risk of mouth cancer, finds study”

“High levels of air pollution are linked to an increased risk of mouth cancer, new research has revealed.

Scientists have previously linked high air pollution to a host of health problems, from an increased risk of dementia to asthma and even changes in the structure of the heart, with recent research suggesting there is no “safe level” of air pollution.

Now researchers say that at very high levels of air pollution, the risk of developing mouth cancer appears to rise.

Writing in the Journal of Investigative Medicine, researchers in Taiwan describe how they discovered the association by looking at air pollution data from 66 air quality monitoring stations around the country collected in 2009, and combing this with data from the health records of more than 480,000 men aged 40 and over from 2012/13. In total, there were 1,1617 cases of mouth cancer among participants.

The team focused on tiny particulates of pollution known as PM2.5s, and took the men’s exposure to this air pollution as being based on where they lived. They then sorted the participants into four groups, from lowest to highest levels of exposure.

After taking into account factors including age, exposure to ozone, levels of other particulates, age, smoking status and whether the men chewed betel quid – a mixture of ingredients that includes areca nut and betel leaf and is known to increase the risk of mouth cancer – the researchers found that men exposed to the highest levels of PM2.5s had an increased risk of mouth cancer. …”

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/oct/09/air-pollution-linked-to-greater-risk-of-mouth-cancer-finds-study

New National Park for East Devon? Not while people like Diviani are councillors!

This is the aspiration:

“A new Dorset and East Devon National Park could be created.

Cllr Martin Shaw had called for Devon County Council to support the establishment of a Dorset and East Devon National Park and to submit a case for this to the DEFRA review of national parks.

But Devon County Council agreed that any expression of support for the establishment of a Dorset and East Devon National Park should be deferred until the overriding benefit was clearly demonstrated and that it would come from additional funding. …”

https://www.devonlive.com/news/devon-news/new-national-park-could-created-2090631

This is the reality (November 2017 and nothing has changed:

It has been suggested that the area might secure some £10million of annual central government funding with more than 90 per cent of this being invested in the local economy.”

Responding to the question, council leader Paul Diviani stated that EDDC is not directly involved in the proposals and awaits further consultation as it progresses through the process of consideration.

When asked if he agrees with claims that a national park would bring significant economic benefits to the district, Cllr Diviani said: “National parks and AONBs are not about making money. The AONBS are much more localised than national parks ever can be.

“It is an opportunistic type of approach that people in Dorset are taking about our assets here in East Devon.”

https://eastdevonwatch.org/2017/11/09/dorset-positive-about-national-park-we-cant-join-up-as-diviani-doesnt-want-to-lose-control-of-assets/

“Cash Machines Closing At A Rate Of More Than 250 A Month”

Rural areas and small businesses hit hardest:

“…A total of 76 protected ATMs – those which are located one kilometre or more away from one another – were lost in the period.

Of those, 43 had Post Office over-the-counter services available nearby while 12 could not be accessed by the public. Some 21 machines were shut down with no alternative access to cash.

The Federation of Small Businesses expressed concerns that the closures could hit small business owners in remote areas. …”

https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/atm-closures_uk_5b993a88e4b0162f473313f0

Loss of public services and spaces leading to social problems

“As well as the stripping-back of some of the most essential public services, one of the key effects of 10 years of austerity has been the crushing of countless other shared spaces: drop-in centres, libraries, Sure Starts.

Perhaps the most overlooked casualties have been the hundreds of youth centres and clubs that have closed since 2010. More than 600 such facilities in Britain have shut over the last six years, with the loss of 139,000 youth places and 3,650 staff.

In our major cities, anxiety about this organised neglect is focused on gangs and knife crime. In quieter parts of the country people’s worries are more basic – as in Gywnedd, north Wales, where recent plans to close all 39 of the county’s youth clubs were greeted with the unanswerable argument that “young people will have nowhere but the streets to socialise with each other in the evenings”.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/sep/04/britain-shared-spaces-pubs-youth-clubs-libraries-austerity

Is YOUR village on the EDDC list for expansion? And another east/west divide

East Devon District Council Strategic Planning Committee are going to discuss:

“Principles for accommodating the future growth needs of East Devon”

on 4 September 2018.

The Committee are being asked to endorse

“The proposed principles for growth” as the basis for future discussion and consultation on accommodating extra growth in the district.”

The document is described as the “start of the debate” for future East Devon growth points for both the GESP (The Greater Exeter Strategic Plan) and the East Devon Local Plan review, which is required to be updated within the next two years.

For the last few years East Devon District Council have achieved their own Local Plan agreed target of 950 dwellings per year. (EDDC Target is 17,100 dwellings between the years of 2013 to 2031).

Recently Central Government decided to calculate each District`s housing requirement targets on a set matrix. East Devon’s build out figure has been set to be 844 homes per year. However, the report suggests that rather than achieve the Government target of 844 new houses per year there is a proposal to build out much higher levels of growth.

The report explains that the objective of higher growth could be achieved by what is called a “Growth Deal” with Central Government where a group of Councils agree to build more housing in return for infrastructure investment from central funds.

This proposed “Growth Deal” is being prepared by the Councils of East Devon, Exeter, Teignbridge and Mid Devon through the “GESP” Greater Exeter Strategic Plan.

It is recognised that Exeter is unable to provide the housing land required to sustain the expected growth of the city, and the rural areas and towns in the rest of the combined area will be required to increase their housing requirements in exchange for the infrastructure improvements for access to and from the city of Exeter.

Improvements to the motorway junctions, new roads, extra park and rides, rail improvements, new stations and an integrated transport system are all identified as priority improvements to overcome the already chronic delays on Exeter`s transport network. There are also aspirations for a “sports hub and concert venue” for Greater Exeter to be included in the GESP infrastructure needs.

The report gives a brief synopsis of the towns in East Devon and concludes that other than the new town of Cranbrook there is limited scope for growth due to the various towns’ proximity to the AONB designated areas, or they are bordering on the coast or close to flood plains.

The conclusion from the report is that the existing towns will only accommodate minimal growth, and with two-thirds of East Devon being included in the AONB of the Pebblebed Heaths or the Blackdown Hills the only area that can accommodate substantial growth is within the North West part of the district.

The report describes this area as the Western most quadrant of this district to the North of Exmouth and West of Ottery St Mary. The land is described to benefit from being relatively flat with no landscape designations. It is also well served by main roads with good vehicle access via the M5, A30, A3052 and A376 and has good existing public transport links with the railway line and existing bus routes.

There are 3 possible ways described as to how development could be achieved in this area.

1. Establish a further new town. Basically, create another Cranbrook. However, the report considers that the creation of another new town in the area could harm the delivery of Cranbrook.

2. Establish a number of new villages. Create a series of modern Devon villages but the report considers that this option would be most damaging in landscape terms.

3. Centre Growth around Existing Villages.

Growth would be required to be substantial with around 400 to 500 extra homes to be added to a number of existing villages (The report does not state how many villages will be required within this area). However, this could harm the character of the village and the existing community.

The new NPPF acknowledges that:

“The supply of a large number of new homes can often be best achieved through planning for larger scale development such as new settlements or significant extensions to existing villages and towns, provided they are well located and designed, and supported by necessary infrastructure and facilities.”

A list of the Parishes within the expansion area for extra housing area

By referring to a map of the area these are the Parishes(villages) which are within the West of the district which could have development of between 400 to 500 extra dwellings, parishes identified could be:

Nether Exe
Rewe
Brampford Speke
Upton Pyne.
Stoke Canon ​

All these Villages are North of Exeter and access is by way of the A377 – which is not listed as one of the featured roads, so it is unlikely these will be included.

Broadclyst
Clyst Honiton
Sowton
Rockbeare
Wimple.​

These Villages are close to Cranbrook and therefore unlikely to be selected to avoid the villages and town merging.

Clyst Hydon
Clyst St Lawrence
Aylesbeare
Marsh Green

These Parishes are remote from a main road or railway station which probably eliminates them because of their unsustainable location.

Lympstone

This Village is already designated in the report to provide growth for Exmouth.

This leaves the following Parishes most likely to be included for further expansion in the proposals:

Poltimore
Huxham
Clyst St Mary
Clyst St George (includes the village of Ebford)
West Hill
Woodbury​ (includes the village of Woodbury Salterton and Exton)
Farringdon.

The “Principles for Growth” which the committee are being asked to agree to:

• A significant proportion of growth to be in the Western part of the district by either a new town or extending a number of villages or building new villages.

• Plus, modest growth in existing towns with strategic growth around Axminster, Exmouth (including Lympstone), Honiton and Ottery St Mary.

• All other Villages to be encouraged to provide modest growth through their Neighbourhood Plans.

• Focus development on main transport corridors if possible.

Conclusion:

For the last few years, East Devon has successfully complied with the government`s Housing Strategy, with their current Local Plan and at present build out rates, this will over subscribe the Government Building Target until the year 2031.

The Government is not forcing East Devon to co-operate with Exeter to provide some of their housing needs. This decision is totally at the discretion of the District Council and their leaders.

Yes, Exeter is a thriving growth city, and it is recognised that the road and rail connections are dire, but why destroy the character of a part of East Devon for these improvements?

The very reason people choose to relocate to Exeter, its surrounding towns and villages is the beautiful Devon countryside; the building of a mass of new housing will simply make the area a mirror image of the existing areas the people are wanting to move away from!

So, to satisfy the aspirations and needs of the City of Exeter, the rural west area of East Devon will be required to build many more houses with either another new town or new villages or building an extra 500 houses to a number of existing village communities.

Will the Strategic Planning Committee endorse this proposal or not?

Project Planning Fear: MP Truss says rip up planning rules or get Corbyn!

“A cabinet minister faced a furious backlash yesterday after saying the Tories must build homes in the countryside – or they will hand power to Jeremy Corbyn.

Liz Truss, Chief Secretary to the Treasury, said planning laws should be ripped up as she complained about the number of Nimbys in Britain.

The outspoken minister said ‘a lot more’ sites needed to be opened up. She also called for those living in cities to be allowed to add extra floors to their homes without needing permission. Miss Truss argued the house-building overhaul was needed to keep Mr Corbyn out of Downing Street at the next election.

Liz Truss argued the house-building overhaul was needed to keep Jeremy Corbyn (pictured) out of Downing Street at the next election

But Tory colleagues warned the party would be ‘run out of office’ if it went ahead with ‘catastrophic’ proposals that fail to protect rural Britain and the green belts around London and other major cities.

The row comes a day after campaigners warned the green belt is already being ‘gobbled up at an alarming rate’ to build thousands of homes.

A report from the Campaign to Protect Rural England, published yesterday, showed plans for almost 460,000 homes have been pencilled in for green belt land since 2013 as councils lift planning protections, opening the way for developers.

Asked in an interview whether she would you be happy to ‘start paving over our green and pleasant land’, Miss Truss replied: ‘I do think we need to open up more land for building, a lot more. There are a lot Nimbys in Britain.’

Questioned on whether there are many ‘not in my backyard’ objectors in her own party, she said: ‘There are, but I think it is a dwindling number.

‘People recognise the choice is building on more greenfield sites and making sure there are enough homes for next generation or losing the election and ending up with Jeremy Corbyn, whose policy appears to be appropriating property.

Liz Truss, Chief Secretary to the Treasury, said planning laws should be ripped up as she complained about the number of Nimbys in Britain

‘So I know which one I’d choose – it’s having more homes available on the open market for people of whatever generation to afford.’ The minister added: ‘I also think we need to make it easier to build up in cities. I quite like the Japanese system where essentially you can build up on top of your house without having to get extra planning permission. I think we need to be more liberal about these policies.’

Miss Truss, who was appointed second-in-command at the Treasury last June after previously serving as justice secretary and environment secretary, said in the interview with the Financial Times’ politics podcast that she would one day like to be the country’s first female chancellor. ‘Well, who would say no to that?’ she said.

But when asked if she would like to be prime minister, Miss Truss, who is MP for South West Norfolk, replied: ‘I’m not sure about that one.’

Tory former minister Crispin Blunt last night warned the party it would suffer an electoral ‘catastrophe’ if it does not protect the green belt. The MP for Reigate, who is co-chairman of the all-party parliamentary group for London’s green belt, said Conservative local councillors already faced being ‘run out of office’ in areas where ministers had raised housebuilding targets.

‘Residents’ associations are going off their rocket,’ he said.

Mr Blunt said trying to meet demand in the South East was ‘sucking the best and brightest out of the North’. Hindering development in the South-East would encourage growith in the North, he added.

Tom Fyans of the CPRE said: ‘We agree that there is a severe lack of affordable homes available for people to buy and rent.

‘However, what Liz Truss fails to recognise is that, opening up the green belt will not solve this issue.

Tory former minister Crispin Blunt (pictured) last night warned the party it would suffer an electoral ‘catastrophe’ if it does not protect the green belt

‘Almost three quarters of the homes built on green belt land last year were unaffordable.’ He said the ‘perfect solution’ to ‘this barbaric assault on the green belt’ was to use brownfield land to its full capacity.

The CPRE’s report showed there are plans for almost 460,000 homes on green belt land. Green belt areas can be built on if councils grant planning permission directly or remove the land’s official status. Both methods have been used.

Only 70 houses or flats were built in the green belt in 2009/10 compared with 8,143 in 2017/18.

Miss Truss has become one of the most prominent advocates in the Cabinet for free market liberalism. Earlier this year, she attracted attention for a speech in which she appeared to ridicule the Prime Minister’s plan to ban plastic straws.”

http://35.192.208.249/2018/08/07/tory-minister-liz-truss-sparks-fury-after-demanding-laws-protecting-green-fields-are-ripped-up/