Axminster and Sidmouth voted in worst 9 town to live in by locals!

“A website which lists the worst places to live in the UK lists nine places as the worst in Devon – and the reviews on the website iLiveHere.uk are all written by local people. It includes Axminster and Sidmouth.

7 – Axminster – Blink and you’ll miss it

Axminster is a small town where everybody knows everybody, in fact most people know about your business before even you do.

8 – Sidmouth, it is paradise… for the retired or elderly

Visit the Donkey Sanctuary, it’s the richest charity in the UK which takes the p*** a bit because donkeys are no longer needed for anything.”

http://www.devonlive.com/news/devon-news/nine-worst-places-live-devon-931270

Oh dear!

Two councils, two very different approaches to retirement housing

It is interesting to compare the Millbrook development in Exeter with PegasusLife’s at the Knowle, Sidmouth.

At Millbrook [the retirement complex in Exeter, Exeter City Council being the planning authority] the development was considered to be C3 (dwelling houses) and therefore attracted affordable housing provision which consisted of a payment to the Council of £5.65 million plus the transfer of land at no cost to enable the Council to construct a public extra care facility on the site. In addition the developer contributed almost £300,000 towards sports facilities and £35,000 towards archeological recording.

And what are PegasusLife, who are backed by Oaktree, a billion-dollar equity giant with offshore tax-haven connnections, contributing?

Answer: nothing, whether the development is adjudged to be C2 (residential institution) or C3. Unless of course, you include an information board to tell you where the elegant lawn terraces in the public gardens used to be.

So how many “affordable” houses (or other provision) is East Devon losing out on?

Casino Capitalism comes to Sidmouth?

The recently-leaked ‘Paradise Papers’ on tax havens seem to have revealed an interesting side to the activities of the billion-dollar US equity giant behind Pegasus Life the developer currently appealing EDDC’s refusal to give it planning permission to build 113 luxury flats for old people at Knowle in Sidmouth.

As the Pegasus Life website proudly proclaims, Oaktree Capital Management founded the company in 2012:

https://www.pegasuslife.co.uk/?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIrLb85_bZ1wIVz7vtCh0bLAZkEAAYASAAEgKf3fD_BwE

The Paradise Papers suggest that, at about the same time, Oaktree was setting up a joint venture with Australian and Chinese billionaires to fund a 3.2 billion dollar casino in Macau through the offices of legal firm Appleby in the the British Virgin Islands tax haven:

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-11-10/paradise-papers-melco-crown-investment-money-laundering/9137232

Appleby became alarmed about the refusal of Oaktree and its partners to allow identity checks on its shareholders – the cornerstone of global efforts to stop money laundering and the financing of terrorism.

Oaktree and the others allegedly threatened to take their business elsewhere if Appleby insisted on the checks. Appleby didn’t, and the joint venture was duly incorporated in the British Virgin Isles with the shareholders remaining secret! The Casino opened in 2015.

All this is literally thousands of miles from the fond hope expressed by Philip Hammond in this week’s budget speech that local homes should be provided by small local companies with a real stake in their community.

Howard Phillips, current CEO of PegasusLife, was, until 31/08/2012, CEO of McCarthy & Stone. He led the restructuring of McCarthy & Stone’s £900M debt and under his watch the company is alleged to have engaged in the dubious practices exposed by Ch 4 Dispatches that year.

On 24 September 2012 a Channel 4 Dispatches programme on retirement leasehold was a brilliant example of television journalism that was extremely damaging to both McCarthy and Stone, and to Peverel, including their effect on this site:

https://www.betterretirementhousing.com/channel-four-dispatches-exposes-retirement-leasehold/

Knowle Pegasus inquiry details

The Inquiry will commence at

10.00am on
Tuesday 28 November 2017
in the Council Chamber, Council Offices,
Knowle, Sidmouth EX10 8HL

The Inquiry is expected to be heard for the duration of five days.

Independent East Devon Alliance councillors spearhead rethink on Port Royal development

“Cllr Cathy Gardner, who jointly led the ‘Three Rs’ campaign to retain, refurbish and re-use existing buildings at Port Royal, said: “I’m delighted that the reference group has reacted to the views of residents and the consultant will reconsider their recommendations.

“The redevelopment of this area of town is important to all of us and a chance to do something wonderful for the town.

“The Three Rs campaign group will be working to encourage a community-based solution that makes the most of the heritage of the area without over-commercialisation.”

http://www.sidmouthherald.co.uk/news/report-on-renewal-of-port-royal-unlikely-before-next-year-1-5238392

Sidmouth Drill Hall ‘propaganda’

Owl says: starting a consultation by illustrating it with a detailed schematic plan of 5 storey buildings is asking for trouble – duh!

If you then go on to construct those 5 storey buildings, it would get very murky indeed!

A campaigner determined to see Sidmouth’s Drill Hall considered as part of any regeneration plans for Port Royal has slammed ‘propaganda’ from project leaders.

Mary Walden-Till’s research into the history of the eastern town has covered much of the same ground as the scoping study commissioned by landowners Sidmouth Town Council (STC) and East Devon District Council (EDDC).

Town clerk Christopher Holland and Councillor Jeff Turner sat down with the Herald in a bid to reassure residents nothing has yet been decided – but Ms Walden-Till took issue with several of the points they raised.

She raised: “I know that both Cllr Turner and Mr Holland are committed to doing what they think is the best for Sidmouth so I was very disappointed to read something in the Herald (‘Port Royal could see massive development – or nothing at all’) which appeared to be propaganda rather than unadorned fact.

“If we want the best outcome for the town, we all need to make sure we are not playing games, even accidentally. If they can’t avoid ‘spin’ then they can’t claim to be open-minded on the issue. It is a matter of fact that both of them are on record as being vehemently opposed to preserving the Drill Hall.

“If the starting point is that the Drill Hall must be demolished, then it has to be accepted that it is unlikely that a developer would be interested in such a small plot, so then the search begin for a way to make it worth a developer’s time.

As a designer, it is important to me to start a project with no preconceptions about what should be removed or retained in order to achieve the desired result.

“The scoping exercise consultants should have started from the same point, and we should be able to see that they had considered a range of ways of increasing what Port Royal can offer to the town.

“This development should be about the town and not about ways of making money for the district as a whole. The district has already benefitted from Sidmouth’s loss in far too many circumstances: for example the loss of Fortfield Hotel to expensive apartments, the Section 106 money from which went to the district not solely to Sidmouth, and the upcoming loss of the council jobs at the Knowle, moving employment from Sidmouth to other areas of the district.

“To suggest that reusing the Drill Hall will of necessity ‘take away from other users’ of Port Royal is clearly ridiculous. How would preserving what is there at the same time reduce what is there?”

In a joint statement, Mr Holland and Cllr Turner said: “STC and EDDC would like to reiterate the aims of the scoping study. It is to research, investigate and report on the opportunities and constraints of improving the whole important Port Royal area.

“The councils have yet to receive the independent consultant’s Scoping Study to even begin discussing issues such as detailed designs, which would come further along in the project.

“The study is the start of a process that would, if supported by the councils, involve a much more detailed visioning for future consideration.

“To champion a single building at this stage which is a small part of a much larger area and be in constant opposition to a simple study which only aims to help inform councillors is not helpful.

“Members of both councils will decide how and if to proceed once the scoping study report is presented to them.”

http://www.sidmouthherald.co.uk/news/drill-hall-campaigner-hits-out-at-port-royal-propaganda-1-5194185