Successful town meeting in Seaton brainstorms ideas for local climate action

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Around sixty people joined in a two-hour discussion last night about how the Seaton community could play its part in addressing the climate emergency. Breaking into roundtable groups, the meeting discussed issues around food and lifestyle; trees, gardens and biodiversity; housing; transport; and the commercial sector in the town. The points raised in discussion will go a further open meeting on Wednesday 6th November at 7 pm in Marshlands, Harbour Road, to develop a practical plan of action and set up a local climate forum (name to be decided!).

The meeting, in the Old Picture House on Harbour Rd, was organised by Seaton Town Council’s climate emergency working group with the help of Seaton Extinction Rebellion (XR). Introduced by Cllr Jack Rowland, deputy mayor, the discussions were led by working group members councillors Tony Antoniou, Dan Ledger, Martin Shaw and Amrik Singh and XR member Helena Whitten. If you’d like to be kept informed, email

Fire station closures are getting to be like hospital bed closures, a litmus test of politicians’ support for local communities – my post on the Tories blocking discussion was viewed 932 times on the day it was published.

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Information for Devon and Somerset Conservative councillors who may be thinking of voting through the fire station closures. I’ve just checked my site stats and this post on how the Tories blocked the County Council discussing the closures was the most viewed ever in a single day on this site – and it’s now been viewed nearly 1400 times. Vote for this at your peril!

Seaton Primary School lost out £500k, Colyton £250k, Beer over £100k over last 5 years. Axe Valley lost £1m and Colyton Grammar nearly £900k. ‘Fair funding’?

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A new interactive map from shows the following losses:

Seaton Primary lost £501k, or £267 per pupil per year, from 2015-16 to 2019-20. The site summarises: ‘Class sizes are above average and increasing. Cuts are above average. Cuts are equal to the salaries of 2 teachers. Funding is below average.’

Colyton Primary lost £246k or £343 per pupil.

Beer Primary lost £117k or £101 per pupil.

At secondary level, Axe Valley lost £1m or £394 per pupil. ‘Class sizes are above average. Class sizes rose from 20.4 pupils per class in 2015 to 23.0 in 2018. Cuts are above average. Cuts are equal to the salaries of 4 teachers.’

Colyton Grammar lost £883k or £239 per pupil, equivalent to 3 teachers.

Winter ‘chaos’ looming at Wonford as RD&E posts worst ever summer performance in A&E

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Devon Live reports that the RD&E has posted its worst-ever summer A&E figures, with only 72 per cent of patients seen within 4 hours compared to a 95 per cent target. There are fears of an even worse situation once winter sets in …

Until now, A&E performance (while failing to meet targets) was the one key NHS target on which the Devon NHS was actually better than the national average – cancer care and general waiting lists were already well below par.

Our local NHS is creaking at the seams – we need more doctors; more nurses; more beds (I was told this week that there is a ‘severe beds crisis’ across the hospital).

Despite Boris Johnson’s frequent hospital photo-opportunities, his proposals for the NHS amount to refurbishing a mere 6 hospitals across the country (none of them in Devon) and do nothing to address the real issues.

New Statesman analysis shows that Johnson’s Government sees Claire Wright as threat in East Devon constituency

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Claire Wright

East Devon is one of the seats the Tories are most concerned to defend from rivals. According to analyst Stephen Bush‘Noteworthy is that – as is echoed privately by many Conservatives from the area – the government regards Claire Wright, of the independent campaign in East Devon, as a serious challenger for the seat.’

No Deal Brexit ‘as bad as Foot and Mouth’ for South West, business and council leaders say

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So on Thursday DCC leaders refused to answer my questions about No Deal Brexit. Yet the previous day, it turns out, the Heart of the South West Joint Committee and Local Economic Partnership – both of which include DCC – issued the statement below. Either the left hand doesn’t know what the right is doing … or the DCC leadership are so desperate to avoid public divisions in the Tory group that they won’t even claim credit  in the Council chamber for finally speaking out as I have been asking them to do!

This should also give Neil Parish MP food for thought after his inane comments the previous day.