Month: January 2019

Vote for Seaton Wetlands in the Best Nature Reserve category of BBC Countryfile Magazine’s 2019 Awards

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Black Hole Marsh at Seaton Wetlands – photo courtesy of Matt Willson

The full story and link to vote are here

Local bus service 20, Seaton-Colyford-Colyton to Honiton and Taunton, will continue with a new contractor from 28th May

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Bus Service 20: Seaton – Colyford – Colyton – Shute – Wilmington – Honiton – Dunkeswell – Hemyock – Culmstock – Nicholashayne – Wellington – Taunton

The County Council contract for operating Service 20 reaches the end of its statutory maximum eight-year term on 25th May 2019.

Following a retender, a new contract has been awarded to Dartline who will operate the service in place of Stagecoach from Tuesday 28th May (Monday being a Bank Holiday with no service).

There are no changes to the route, timetable or single or day return fares. Weekly tickets will also be available. The National Bus Pass continues to be valid as now.

Neil Parish votes FOR Theresa May’s deal after all

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Despite having suggested he wouldn’t, Parish supported the government. Hugo Swire voted against.

Seaton Town Council issues statement on Peter Burrows’ actions, announcing meeting on 21st when a motion calling for his resignation as a councillor will be debated

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The statement issued by the Town Clerk earlier today:

On Monday evening 7th January 2019 at the Seaton Town Council meeting, Councillors were advised by Cllr Burrows that he had been involved in an altercation on Facebook which resulted in him referring to himself as Mayor and using a Twitter account named “Seaton TIC” to ask members of the public to “avoid” The Hat micropub. However, Mr Gary Millar, proprietor of The Hat, had not been involved in the altercation and was therefore an entirely innocent party.

Seaton Town Council wishes to make it clear that despite using the term “Mayor”and using what purported to be a Tourist Information Centre account, Cllr Burrows was not authorised to use his title for personal matters, nor was he authorised to represent the TIC. He was acting in a purely private capacity and the Council dissociates itself from his actions. Nevertheless, we apologise unreservedly to Mr Millar and The Hat for the impression which Cllr Burrows gave that he was acting on behalf of the Council.

On Monday Cllr Burrows tendered his resignation as Chairman and Town Mayor because he recognised that his behaviour had brought his office as Town Mayor and the Council into disrepute. The Council will now report Cllr Burrows to the Monitoring Officer for breaching our Code of Conduct. The Council will also be considering a motion at a meeting on Monday 21st January, calling for Cllr Burrows to resign as a Town and District Councillor. The Council has also asked Cllr Burrows to close the Twitter account involved and he has done this.

Seaton Town Council enthusiastically supported the opening of The Hat and recognises the distinctive contribution this attractive, well-run establishment has already made to the town’s life. The Council is keen to support the town centre and The Hat is exactly the kind of new business we want to see in Seaton. Mr Millar has conducted himself with dignity throughout this affair and we deeply regret the harm Cllr Burrows attempted to cause to The Hat. We wish it and Mr Millar the very best for the future.

The first man known to ride a penny-farthing on Seaton esplanade, our historian and only Freeman, Ted Gosling, is 90 next week – nice write-up in @Devonshiremag

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Go to and click for full screen. It’s on page 18. An opportune moment to think about how the Axe Valley community can secure his greatest legacy, Seaton Museum.

Squeezed @LEDleisure asks Seaton to pay towards part-time swimming facility while EDDC funds Sidmouth 5 x as much

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Seaton Town Council was asked last week to give financial support to the much-valued opening of Seaton Primary School’s pool to the public at weekends and in the summer. Outsourced charity LED (Leisure East Devon) operates the pool but it isn’t part of its £900,000 a year contract from EDDC. Because LED’s support from LED is at a flat rate, it is increasingly squeezed by rising wages, etc., and says it can’t continuing subsidising Seaton to the tune of around £10,000 a year and needs the Town Council to help.

Meanwhile Sidmouth, which has an all-year pool, is supported from EDDC’s £900k to the tune of £50k or so each year, without Town Council support. Something’s not right and it’s for EDDC to address, it seems. The funding request will come to next month’s Seaton Town Council.

Meanwhile, LED, EDDC and Colyton Grammar School are meeting shortly to discuss the dispute over LED continuing day time classes at Colyton Leisure Centre.

Disappointing response by DCC Cabinet to @cpredevon reports on housing need, but the issue will go to Council on 21st February

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The County Council’s leadership agreed an unhelpful recommendation on my motion to look at the implication of the Council for Preservation of Rural England’s recent reports for the Council’s policies relating to future development. Taking cover behind the fact that local planning authorities (like EDDC) are responsible for housing numbers, the Cabinet merely noted that the County’s role ‘is to ensure the necessary infrastructure is planned for’. This is a very narrow view of the DCC role as elsewhere it is made quite clear that we are a strategic partner in ventures like the Greater Exeter Strategic Plan. The recommendation is that ‘it is not necessary for DCC to commission work on the CPRE reports’ but I and others will challenge this at Council on 21st February.

I reminded Cabinet that this has cross-party support, with Hugo Swire having helped launch it and presented it to Government. The only other speaker was Labour leader, Rob Hannaford, who was under the mistaken impression that the CPRE is only concerned with rural areas and wants to prevent building of affordable housing in towns. I explained to him that nothing could be further from the truth – the reports advocate more social housing, concentrated in or near urban areas, but want to end the indiscriminate building of more houses for sale than are warranted by the growth in households, and government targets which encourage this.

The reports can be ordered by emailing

‘We haven’t got a clue yet’, says County Council leader about No Deal planning

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At yesterday’s DCC Cabinet meeting, Leader John Hart answered three questions I had put in writing about estimated risks from Theresa May’s Brexit and No Deal, about help to businesses for No Deal, and emergency planning for disruption to fuel, food and medical supplies in Devon as a result of No Deal.

Cllr Hart did not answer any of my questions. When I asked when he would answer them, he said ‘We haven’t got a clue yet’ about what is going to happen, and that there would be a meeting next week, with just 10 weeks left to when the UK will crash out of the EU with No Deal if no change is made. 

It can be seen that there are no protections in place to protect Devon from the effects of a No Deal. Economy Cabinet member Cllr Rufus Gilbert said ‘we can’t plan for a hypothetical’. Yet No Deal is the default scenario for 29th March.

This is why Devon and Dorset MPs like Ben Bradshaw, Sarah Wollaston and Oliver Letwin are absolutely right to try to block No Deal. I told Cabinet it was irresponsible of them not to support these moves.

Neil Parish voted against the successful cross-party attempt to prevent a ‘No Deal’ crash out

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Finance (No. 3) Bill – Minor amendments in consequence of EU withdrawal (8 Jan 2019)
Voted (no) against preventing the Government implementing the “no
deal” provisions of Clause 89 without the explicit consent of
Parliament for such an outcome. (division #287; result was 303 aye, 296