A tale of two seaside towns

Exmouth

BIG seafront development plans, unpopular with locals, lots of income for land-holding EDDC and big income potential, quick tender and choice of partner:
http://www.devonlive.com/here-s-what-the-exmouth-seafront-development-will-look-like/story-30067091-detail/story.html

Seaton

SMALL seafront development plans, popular with locals, almost no EDDC land- holding or big income potential, no tender, no progress:
http://www.devonlive.com/multi-million-pound-seaton-seafront-redevelopment-plans-revealed/story-30194330-detail/story.html

Gung-ho Exmouth, inertia on Seaton

If anything illustrates EDDC as business-led rather than resident-led this is it.

Seaton’s new DCC East Devon Alliance councillor starts fight for Seaton and Honiton hospital beds

PRESS RELEASE

“On Monday 19 June (2.15), Devon County Council Health Scrutiny Committee will consider the NEW Devon Clinical Commissioning Group’s responses to 14 questions asked of the CCG by the Committee. If the Committee is not satisfied, it has the legal power to refer the CCG’s decisions to the Secretary of State for Health.

(http://democracy.devon.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=429&MId=2581&Ver=4)

Seaton and Honiton are the two hospitals which serve my constituents in the Seaton & Colyton Division. Both are slated to lose all their in-patient beds. I have sent the attached 6-page letter to the Chair of the Committee, Cllr Sara Randall Johnson, showing why the the CCG’s replies are inadequate, their decisions still demonstrably flawed, and the Committee should use its power to refer them.

I shall be speaking at the Committee, along with other representatives of the Seaton, Honiton and Axminster communities which are worst affected by these decisions. My main points are:

Plans to halve the numbers of community beds do not take into account that the numbers of older people in Devon will more than double in the next two decades.

East Devon needs more beds than other areas because it has the oldest population in Devon and this will continue to grow.

Community beds are crucial to older patients without transport and when they are distant many relatives will have huge difficulty visiting their loved ones.

Savings from the closures will be small. Both financial logic and CCG planning suggest that the real agenda is to close a number of hospitals.
The CCG’s consultation was flawed because it gave no option to keep Honiton’s beds, and the CCG ignored the stronger support for Seaton from people who responded.

The CCG’s reasons for choosing Sidmouth over Seaton are based on misleading use of evidence about population and age distributions.

The concentration of beds in Tiverton, Sidmouth and Exmouth will leave the eastern margins of East Devon entirely without. The CCG’s claim that this is ‘a more even geographic spread’ is entirely false.

The CCG ignored the fact that Seaton also serves the Axminster area, and has reneged on the commitment it gave when it recently closed Axminster Hospital’s beds, that beds would continue to be available in Seaton.
Communities in the Seaton, Axminster and Honiton are angry about the decision and expect the Health Scrutiny Committee to refer it to the Secretary of State.

We are holding a public meeting in Seaton on Wednesday 14th (7 pm, Marshlands Centre, Harbour Road) to plan the community presence at the Health Scrutiny Committee. I will issue a further press release on Thursday.

Martin Shaw
Independent East Devon Alliance County Councillor for Seaton & Colyton”

Seaton: “Hospital Beds Fight Shifts Back to County Council”

Press statement by County Councillor Martin Shaw (Seaton & Colyton)

The battle to keep in-patient beds in Seaton Hospital should now return to Devon County Council’s Health Scrutiny Committee, according to Seaton and Colyton’s new County Councillor, Martin Shaw.

The Council has the power to refer the decision of the NEW Devon Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) to the Secretary of State for Health. In March, the Scrutiny Committee asked the CCG to answer 14 questions before the Council exercised this power. The CCG responded, but the answers will remain confidential until the June meeting of the new committee, whose members will be nominated at the Council’s Annual Meeting on May 25th.

Councillor Shaw says: ‘I have now seen the CCG’s answers but I am not allowed to reveal them publicly, which I think is deplorable. However I can state that, particularly in relation to the decision about Seaton, the CCG’s case remains flimsy and threadbare. I shall be raising this matter as soon as the new committee meets and I urge other interested parties in the Axe Valley to join me in making representations. I have had a preliminary talk with Axminster’s new County Councillor, Ian Hall, and I hope we can make a cross-party case for the whole local community on this issue. I am also talking to Honiton campaigners.’

Councillor Shaw made his announcement after an urgent appeal for £20,000 for the first stage of a judicial review of the decision, the preparation of a ‘letter of complaint’, failed to raise enough money to proceed. He said:

‘I was moved by the response in which about 70 donations have been made. Sadly, however, the total raised, while over £5,000, was still not sufficient to pay the solicitors to prepare the letter, for which would have charged £16,800. It might have been possible to raise the balance after the letter was sent, but within three weeks the action itself, requiring a fighting fund of many tens of thousands, would also have had to be launched. In the light of this response, there seemed no prospect of raising the further money in the time available. I therefore decided not to proceed with the action. I felt it was unfair to the donors to spend their money on something which could not be followed through. I have incurred some legal costs but most of the money will be returned, and I will be writing to donors.’

‘The appeal has had a positive effect, however, in that new evidence came to light which strengthens the case that the CCG acted wrongly in the way they made the Seaton decision. This will be used in representations to the County Council. I also urge voters to make the Seaton and Honiton hospital beds a priority with all candidates in the General Election, so that whoever is our MP makes the new Health Secretary aware of local anger about this issue.’ “

Seaton Town Council will not challenge hospital bed closures

SEATON Town Council has decided against seeking a judicial review of NEW Devon CCG’s decision to close beds at the town’s hospital.

Town councillors made their minds up after having taken initial legal advice.

Seaton Town Council met on May 2nd to discuss a report produced by solicitors.

The town council subsequently issued a statement this afternoon (Fri), which said: “Seaton Town Council voted against proceeding with legal action against the Clinical Commissioning Group.

“The potential cost of undertaking a judicial review is at least £100,000.

“Neither Seaton Town Council or Seaton Hospital League of Friends are in a financial position to underwrite this cost pending public donations.

“Both parties, having considered the advice given, felt the case for judicial review was not as strong as they hoped it would be.

“However, the council and the league of friends will continue to do everything that it can including lobbying the Devon County Council Health and Wellbeing Scrutiny Committee, the local MP and the Secretary of State over the matter.”

Seaton mayor Marcus Hartnell said: “Whilst the council is not in a position to proceed to judicial review, this is not the end of the matter.

“We will work with our colleagues at the league of friends to continue to fight this decision.”

https://www.viewnews.co.uk/judicial-review-hospital-beds-closure-ruled-seaton-town-council/

Express and Echo names EDDC Vice-Chair Helen Parr as councillor under police investigation at Colyton

Councillor Parr is standing for the DCC Seaton and Colyton seat at elections tomorrow.

“The vice-chairman of East Devon District Council is under investigation over an allegation she influenced plans to develop her area while failing to declare an interest.

Councillor Helen Parr will be speaking to police officers on a voluntary basis, the Express & Echo understands.

The investigation into the councillor for Coly Valley regards late changes to the East Devon Villages plan made after she was among those who spoke at the meeting of the East Devon District Council strategic planning committee on February 20.

Cllr Parr is a director of a company which owns land next to the former Ceramtec factory site in Colyton. The factory was due to be slated for housing until Cllr Parr spoke at the planning meeting and it was decided to recommend that it remains for employment.

She told the committee: “The main concern and why people are not at all happy about what is proposed in the document is that the built up area boundary line now has suddenly, after the consultation, gone out round the built section of the Ceramtec site.

“It is a very large site and will accommodate, if it went only to houses, about 80 houses. It would be a large development for Colyton which nobody, until now, had any inkling of, in that the built-up area boundary excluded this site.

“There is concern because the bottom line for Colyton is that we lost 80 jobs when this factory closed and we would like to retained as much as possible for employment land.

“I would ask the committee to agree or to propose that the wording should make it clear that on the preamble to the plan that on page 20 it includes words that show that this is protected as an employment site and it should be retained for employment use.”

The East Devon Alliance – a group of independent district councillors – has raised concerns about Cllr Parr’s conduct with Devon & Cornwall Police.

Members say she should have declared and interest and not spoken on the issue.

Cllr Parr and her husband are directors of J & FJ Baker & Company Limited, which owns land at Turlings Farm, next to the Ceramtec site.

East Devon Alliance Councillor Cathy Gardner, at last week’s East Devon District Council meeting, revealed that there was an ongoing police investigation into the council’s handling of the matter.

A spokesperson for Devon & Cornwall Police said it could not confirm or deny the scope of the police investigation. Cllr Parr was asked for comment, but said that due to purdah – rules brought in before an election – she could not say anything.

Last year J & FJ Baker & Company Limited bought land on the south side of Turlings Farm which connects the Ceramtec site to the farm that the Parrs own. They paid £1 for the strip of property.

Cllr Gardner said at last week’s meeting of East Devon District Council: “It may be proven that undue influence has distorted the content of the plan. If that does turn out to be the case, do you agree that it is the responsibility of this council to rectify the result of this influence – in order to ensure the residents of Colyton are not adversely affected and to do so before the plan goes to the (Planning) Inspector?”

In response, Cllr Paul Diviani, the council’s leader, said: “In terms of the village plan, I can’t see a reason why we should be inclined to second guess what an inspector or other authority or otherwise is going to do and in that respect I will reserve judgement as to when we actually do take action.”

An East Devon Alliance source told the Echo: “She is the vice-chairman of the council and has been the chairman of the planning committee for years, so she knows what she is doing, so we have got to pursue this.”

An East Devon District Council spokesman said: “Only the three statutory officers at the council together with one other officer were aware that there was a police investigation prior to the meeting of council on Wednesday and these officers have kept the matter confidential.

“Given that there is an active police investigation, and the sensitivities around purdah for both the county and General Election, it would be wholly inappropriate for the council to comment on the investigation at this time. The council also cannot comment on how Cllr Gardner became aware of the police investigation, and the chief executive and monitoring officer were surprised that she raised this matter at a public meeting.

“The process that has been followed for the village plan and the representations made/considered by officers and reported to the strategic planning committee, can be found on the East Devon District Council website.”

The East Devon Villages Plan – a blueprint for development in the area – is currently out for consultation”.

REPRODUCEABLE IMAGES:

UNFORTUNATELY SOME IMAGES IN THIS ARTICLE ARE NOT REPRODUCEABLE HERE – SEE LINK TO FULL ARTICLE AT END OF THIS POST WHICH IS REPEATED VERBATIM FROM THE DEVON-LIVE WEBSITE. FOR FULL STORY AND ALL EVIDENTIAL IMAGES SEE:

http://www.devonlive.com/east-devon-council-vice-chairman-to-speak-to-police-over-plan-changes/story-30310460-detail/story.html

Seaton Hospital: closure by stealth?

From Facebook today – surely an issue for any judicial review – manipulation of bed figures to enforce closure?

“I had to take my dad to the hospital in Exeter for a procedure. This has all gone well and they were going to move him to a different ward to recuperate perhaps for ten days.

I said it would be good if he could be moved to Seaton Hospital. I was told that staff had been told not to send people to Seaton. The look of disgust on the doctors face suggested that there was more to that sentence along the lines of ‘because they want to keep it empty so that it looks like it is not being used’.

I then walked out of the ward with my father and the porter of whom I asked where my father would be going. He did not know because there were no beds at that time!! In the words of John Lydon ‘Do you ever get the feeling you’ve been cheated?”