Month: September 2018

Seaton Visitor Centre Trust series of Winter Talks begins on Thursday 18th October with Richard Edmonds on the Great Bindon Landslide of 1839

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‘Creeping towards a modern model for the Great Bindon Landslide of 1839’

Richard will summarise the great event and focus on where the work is going in terms of understanding this most famous of landslides.

Thursday 18th October, Marshlands, Harbour Road, Seaton, EX12 2LT, 7pm for 7.30pm. £3 on the door.  Licensed bar

View the poster

Devon’s Real Housing Needs – How many new homes are REALLY needed in Devon? Important report by @cpredevon to be launched at Tiverton meeting on 12th October

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housingCPRE Devon says: Have you noticed how many new houses are being built everywhere in Devon? Do we need so many? What is the REAL underlying need? Brand new CPRE Devon commissioned research, cuts a swathe through official figures and, for the first time, reveals the truth about Devon’s real housing needs.

How many new homes are planned for your community and where? How many have already been built? How many are genuinely affordable? Who are the planned new houses actually for?

To objectively assess the situation, we commissioned an independent study undertaken by a leading research firm, ORS, (Opinion Research Services) and the evidence based findings are produced in a comprehensive report, to be launched at our seminar. The data includes housing projections, targets, costs and tenure, numbers planned and population trends across the entire county. The data should prove invaluable to anybody faced with an unwanted proposal in their community.

Please join us for this important opportunity to find out what the evidence says – How many new homes are really needed in Devon?

Presentations:

‘Why Government Housing Policy is Wrong for Devon’ – Dr Phillip Bratby

Devon Housing Needs Evidence – Report of Findings – Mr Jonathan Lee, ORS

Followed by questions and answers from the floor. Admission by ticket only. £5, to include refreshments. Book your place here (by the way, no need to pay £5 upfront, you can choose ‘pay at the door’ option)

New signs in Beer, paid for from my Locality Budget, are now routing heavier traffic away from the centre of the village

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Finally … Beer has been waiting all year for new signs on The Causeway and Mare Lane, routing traffic away from Fore Street. We missed the summer, but the Parish Council and I have finally achieved this step forward towards rational traffic management, which should help spare the village and also the narrow cliff road at the top of Common Lane.

Beer signs.jpg

My plea for a new deal for health in Devon’s towns falls on deaf ears, as Devon’s Conservative Cabinet refuses to generally defend community hospitals

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claireThe indomitable Claire Wright made a new challenge to Devon County Council’s Cabinet yesterday to support keeping our Community Hospital buildings. I made a strong appeal which you can watch here for a new health deal for Devon’s towns, saying that if we really have ‘integration’ of health, wellbeing and adult care, DCC must take its share of responsibility.

As Claire writes (I had to leave before the discussion concluded) the Conservatives largely refused this – it amounts to the fact that we’re not integrated when it comes to the hard choices, which are being left to the CCGs.

Interestingly, the Chief Executive, Dr Phil Norrey, proposed the backstop position that funds from selling buildings should be retained and reinvested in Devon, rather than ‘hoovered up’ by the national NHS Property Company. Let’s be clear – they should be used for Devon’s towns, and especially in any towns which lose their hospitals, and not hoovered up either into funding the acute hospitals.

Outsourcing is a problem, not a solution, say Opposition councillors at Devon County Council

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Councillor Yvonne Atkinson (Exeter, Labour) proposed this motion at Devon’s Cabinet yesterday:

This Council is concerned that outsourcing Devon County Council (DCC) contracts can reduce financial flexibility and the ability to respond to changes in policies and facilitate effective cross department working across interrelated DCC services in complex areas like the health and wellbeing of children. Accordingly, DCC can no longer afford to be locked into long term, difficult if not impossible to vary contractual schemes for services like Children and Mental Health if it wishes to remain responsive to the needs of Children from birth to age 25.

In view of cross party concern to fully and effectively integrate cross department working in children’s health and mental health services and education Devon County Council should bring back key services in-house and manage them in the wider public interest including value for money (defined broadly to include effects on public revenues and community wellbeing at large) and social value tests.

The Conservative Cabinet did not accept this but you can watch to the debate starting with Yvonne’s speech and concluding with mine, which focused on the failure of outsourcing in Highways – especially the botched handover between contractors last year.

I put the Dorset and East Devon National Park idea on Devon County Council’s agenda – the Cabinet will invite the national review to visit the County

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Yesterday Devon’s Cabinet discussed my proposal, in response to the Government’s review of National Parks, that the County Council support a National Park for Dorset and East Devon.

The official briefing paper stated: ‘A National Park brings together in one organisation responsibilities for conserving and enhancing the environment and heritage; promoting enjoyment, recreation and wellbeing; and fostering the economic and social wellbeing of its communities.’ In my speech (which you can watch here) I talked about the threats to the existing Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty from development – for example at Woodbury as well as these advantages.

The Cabinet’s response (see minutes, 12c) was positive in so far as it welcomed the review and invited the review panel to visit Devon. I hope this will give those of us in favour the opportunity to present the case.

At the same time, the Cabinet ‘deferred any expression of support for the establishment of a Dorset and East Devon National Park unless or until the overriding benefit of this approach to Devon’s wider interests is clearly demonstrated.’ This caution was quite expected but it does not close the door, and that is encouraging.

Part of the problem over this issue is that East Devon’s ruling Conservatives refuse to engage with the proposal. This is driving Dorset campaigners to focus simply on their county (see logo), which is crazy since East Devon’s areas of outstanding natural beauty adjoin theirs, and we share the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site for which a National Park would be an obvious complement.