“Claim ‘too many decisions at EDDC made by officers’ “

Owl’s question: why is EDDC involved in running a theatre at all? Perhaps it’s because Leader Diviani has a soft spot for them as he worked in the entertainment industry in the 1970s and 1980s!

“A debate over pay-and-display parking charges at a Sidmouth venue spilled over into claims key parties were not consulted and that officers repeatedly go over councillors’ heads.

East Devon District Council’s (EDDC) scrutiny committee raised concerns the proposed regime – aimed at raising up to £30,000 a year for the Manor Pavilion – could deter users and be ‘counter-productive’.

Members were told they could not ‘call in’ the cabinet’s decision to approve the new charges, but they could make recommendations on the implementation.

Graham Liverton, an honorary alderman of the council, said: “I do appreciate the efforts you’ve gone to get this on the agenda, but I fear it won’t make a jot of difference.”

He chairs the Manor Pavilion steering committee, but said he had received a letter from an officer saying it is ‘no longer required’.

The meeting heard that, while members can still meet, it will no longer be administered by an EDDC officer.

Mr Liverton said: “In other words, because we disagreed with the decision [to introduce charges], we get the sack. I think that’s a great shame. The whole thing, from beginning to end, has been disgraceful.”

He said many key users had to learn of the proposals in the Herald, adding: “The communication from EDDC has been so abysmal – it’s beyond belief.”

Officers said Sidmouth’s ward members had been told about the proposals, but admitted the town council was not consulted.

Councillor Maddy Chapman raised concerns no vote was taken about the future of the steering committee, adding: “Too many decisions are being made in this council that aren’t going through the proper channels. 
“Any amount of money won’t be enough to put new chairs in that theatre. It’s not going to work.”

Cllr Cathy Gardner added: “This is another example of how the council seems to be acting in a heavy-handed way of ‘we know best’. There are ways to make this usable for people who actually use the Manor Pavilion.

“If it means people don’t use the car park, that’s counterproductive. I can’t see how much money it will raise – it could have a big negative impact.”

The income from the car park’s 21 spaces will be ring-fenced for investment in the theatre and arts centre.

Theatre manager Graham Whitlock said its 277 chairs ‘will not last’ another five years and a previous quote said they would cost £150 apiece to recondition.

EDDC also hopes to bring in an online ticketing system he said will cost £10,000 a year.

“By charging for the car park we can continue to develop for the future,” added Mr Whitlock.

Scrutiny committee members backed EDDC’s plan to extend the maximum parking time from three to four hours, and called for the charges to end at 6pm, not 8pm as proposed.

They also said consulting users, ward councillors and Sidmouth Town Council should be an important part of the process.

http://www.sidmouthherald.co.uk/news/claim-too-many-decisions-at-eddc-made-by-officers-1-5024478

EDDC wants us to donate to Sidmouth beach protection!

Presumably so their £10 million vanity relocation doesn’t have to be cut! Note: only Sidmouth beach management plan is being dealt with this way (so far) – no other town. We pay council tax – now we are expected to make donations! Though perhaps they will soon install a “make donations to our relocation” boxes in the Knowle reception!

“East Devon District Council is asking you to help fund a multi-million pound plan to protect the beach in Sidmouth. The council is appealing to residents and visitors to Sidmouth to help contribute financially to the town’s beach management scheme via a donation box on the seafront.

A £5.7million grant from central government will go towards delivering a scheme to protect the coastline. But a further £3.3m of partnership funding is required for the scheme.

A donation box and its accompanying explanatory sign has been designed to help visitors understand the role of the beach in flooding and coastal erosion and has been placed on Sidmouth seafront, and the public are being asked to donate to help fund it.”

http://www.sidmouthherald.co.uk/news/donation-box-installed-on-sidmouth-seafront-to-help-raise-3-3million-for-coastal-protection-scheme-1-4984794

Sidford hustings: strong performance from Councillor Rixson (Independent EDA)

Best candidate for County Council? It’s your choice. Voting’s on 4th May!

The Devon County Council hustings at Sidford on Wednesday evening (19 April),brought together five of the six candidates vying for the Sidmouth division, which now covers the whole of the Sid Valley.

They are Jeannie Alderdice (Green), Ray Davison (Labour), Stuart Hughes (Conservative), Marianne Rixson (Independent East Devon Alliance) and Richard Wright (UKIP). Only Lewis Ragbourn (Lib Dem) was unable to attend the event, which was Chaired by Cathy Debenham of the Sidford-Sidbury Residents’ Group.

A common thread for most candidates was “transparency, accountability and listening to residents”; concerns about cuts to NHS, social care, and education; and inappropriate development. Despite passionate speeches from Jeannie Allerdice (“EU environmental rules should apply post-Brexit”); Ray Davison (“Conservative austerity policy is past its sell-by date”);and Richard Wright (“countryside not concrete”), just two serious candidates emerged based on their respective records as serving councillors: Marianne Rixson, and Stuart Hughes.

Cllr Rixson has a solid reputation for thoroughness and efficiency, much appreciated by local people in the successful fight against the planned Sidford business park. Long-serving Cllr Hughes offered promises such as “the long-awaited Sidmouth traffic management plan”, and “funding for Alma Bridge” this year.

On the basis of this hustings, Caroline Lucas’ suggestion this week of an informal coalition of e.g. Greens, Labour and Lib Dems, against the Conservative Party machine, sounds a sensible idea.

A second hustings, arranged by the Vision Group for Sidmouth, is scheduled for 28th April , 7pm, in the cellar bar at Kennaway House. For details, see futuresforumvgs.blogspot.com Voting for this DCC election is 4th May, 7am-10pm.

DCC Hustings: Sidford tonight 7 pm

From Save our Sidmouth website:

Who do you want to represent us? Quiz Devon County Council candidates at hustings TONIGHT, 7pm, Sidford Social Hall

All six candidates have been invited to answer the public’s questions at tonight’s hustings, organised by the Sidford-Sidbury Residents’ Group. Don’t miss this chance to assess who will be your best choice.

Jeannie Alderdice (Green)
Ray Davison (Labour)
Stuart Hughes (Conservative)
Lewis Ragbourn (Liberal Democrats)
Marianne Rixson (Independent East Devon Alliance)
Richard Wright (UKIP)

Whatever happens at national level, your vote at the local Devon County (DCC) elections on 4th May will affect your daily life. Sid Valley has experience of this, having being let down by a flawed County Highways report, which initially supported a proposed Business Park site at Sidford. The report was only re-assessed, and the proposal rejected, after massive public pressure inspired by meticulous research from our newly elected District Councillors and the Sid Vale Association (a founder-member of the Save Our Sidmouth, SOS, campaign).

As reported in the Sidmouth Herald (14 April 2017), the date limit for an appeal on the Business Park refusal expired on 27th March 2017. Richard Thurlow, Chair of the Sid Vale Association (SVA) Conservation and Planning Committee , is quoted as saying, “We were all delighted when the application was refused in September last year, but there was always the chance that the decision might be appealed. We can now feel relieved that this ‘Sword of Damocles’ has been lifted. However, the site still exists in the Local Plan as an ’employment site’ and we must still be aware that other proposals might come forward–and we must be prepared to fight them if they do.”
Meanwhile, South West Water began drilling boreholes on the ’employment site’ in January this year. Results of their testing for water quality, apparently relating to a possible new supply for a rapidly expanding Sidmouth, are awaited.

Who do you want to represent us? Quiz Devon County Council candidates at hustings TONIGHT, 7pm, Sidford Social Hall

Sidford Fields industrial estate: no appeal by developers … but

… stay on guard! It probably simply mean that they are formulating a new planning application to overcome objections. And they have very, very influential backers and allies.

And DO remember that it has been DCC candidate Marianne Rixson (Independent East Devon Alliance) that saw off this application – not ex-Monster Raving Loony Party member and current Conservative candidate for DCC Sturat Hughes.

East Devon District Council (EDDC) said it is now up to the landowner to consider future options for the site off Two Bridges Road.

However, the wider 12-acre plot has a strategic allocation as employment land in the authority’s Local Plan, so EDDC expects the site will be developed by 2031, according to a spokeswoman.

EDDC refused plans for the major development in September.

Councillors said the proposed development would harm the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, depend on ‘unsuitable’ roads and impact on neighbours without adequate mitigation.

A petition to ‘say no’ to the business park attracted more than 1,100 signatures and 384 objections were lodged with EDDC.

The applicants had until last Monday, March 27, to appeal the refusal.

The Sid Vale Association was among the opponents.

Richard Thurlow, its conservation and planning committee chairman, said: “We were all delighted when the application was refused in September last year, but there was always the chance that the decision might be appealed.

“We can now feel relieved that this ‘Sword of Damocles’ has been lifted.

“However, the site still exists in the Local Plan as an ‘employment site’ and we must still be aware that other proposals might come forward – and we must be prepared to fight them if they do.”

The landowner and applicant were approached for comment.

http://www.sidmouthherald.co.uk/news/no-appeal-against-refusal-of-9-3-acre-business-park-outside-sidford-1-4975241

Sidmouth “red line” Save our Hospitals pics – Tory councillors conspicuous by their absence

Spot the Independent East Devon Alliance councillors: easy
Spot Tory councillors – impossible!