Jack Rowland’s latest report gives a good rundown on many important Seaton issues

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I’m grateful to Jack for sending me this report, which was presented to Seaton Town Council last night.

Jack Rowland (right) together with Dan Ledger (left), our other Independent district councillor, and me

EDDC Councillor report for Seaton Town Council meeting on 5 September 2022

Report produced by Jack Rowland on 30 August 2022 Subjects directly related to Seaton

Racal brownfield site

The site has recently been purchased by Seaton Quay Ltd (a wholly owned subsidiary of the Rich Group who are a property investment and development company). I arranged a meeting on 23 August with the key personnel involved and invited the other EDDC Ward Councillors to attend as I wanted to hear their plans, timescales and to suggest that a joint press release should be issued at an appropriate time. By the time you read this the press release should have been issued and the development plans mirror the existing latest approved planning application as that is still live as the previous owners had cleared the site.

The new owners are keen to start work on the site as soon as possible using local contractors I understand and hopefully at long last we will see this brownfield site being developed at a key location in Seaton that will potentially encourage other inward investment to help the local economy.

Seaton Heights – Planning Ref No. 21/1782/MFUL

I continue to keep in regular contact with the site owners, Lyme Bay Leisure, regarding their plans for the site. The EDDC Landscape Architect had sent a response report to the owners in January this year following the submission of the application and now understand that only very recently has a response to that report been sent to EDDC. I’ll continue to keep in contact and also bring to the attention of the owners any instances of the site being unsecure as has frequently happened.

Hook & Parrott site

As previously reported the owners of this site, having secured planning approval at the beginning of this year, recently decided to put the site for sale having yet to submit a demolition plan to EDDC as part of the planning conditions.

I understand that a sale, subject to contract, has now been agreed.

Seaton Coach Park

As part of Cllr Haggerty’s work on achieving coach friendly status for Seaton I had obtained agreement to make the coach park free of charges. However, as many of you know this resulted in the law of unexpected consequences as the school bus companies have taken advantage of this to the detriment of tourist coaches finding spaces on many occasions.

In order to find a solution to this issue I have recently been in discussions with the recently appointed EDDC Carpark Manager and also talked to Cllr Haggerty. My idea

is to offer a limited number of hours free of charge and then make an hourly charge for subsequent hours sufficient to dissuade the school buses from using the site, but at a cost that will not deter tourist coaches. The EDDC Officer is now making arrangements to speak to the school bus companies and local businesses prior to then introducing a formal 21 day consultation period on a proposal depending on the feedback the officer receives.

Axe Valley Levelling Up Bid

The bid that includes a seafront enhancement scheme, redevelopment of the Moridunum site and development of 2 employment sites in Seaton was submitted in the timescale required and following meetings with Richard Foorde (MP for Tiverton & Honiton) who supplied his required written support shortly after he was elected on 23 June.

Moridunum site

See the comment on this site in the previous subject. In addition EDDC continue to have discussions with Fossway Transitions Ltd (FTL) regarding their development and the party wall agreement etc in connection with the Moridunum structure.

Jurassic Centre

I continue to respond on Seaton based FB sites as periodically residents raise the subject of the empty building to either ask what is happening or making suggestions as to uses for the building. I respond as the latter suggestions do not take into the facts as 40% of the original build costs were funded by DCC, the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Coastal Community Fund with clauses regarding the use of the building. If those clauses are not adhered to within 10 years of the building completion then EDDC are liable to repay the £1.68m to the funders.

The site is being commercially marketed with those clauses and has attracted interest. Once EDDC Officers have reviewed the expressions of interest and evaluated the required business cases then an options report will be presented to an EDDC Cabinet meeting potentially in October.

Public Toilets

Seaton Hole / Jurassic Bites

I continue to keep in contact with Officers to ask about the discussions between the lessees of Jurassic Bites and the adjoining toilet block. The discussions are ongoing with the lessees even though the block is being marketed for a dual use in case that produces a meaningful bid.

Thury Harcourt

An EDDC press release was issued in late June, following intervention by myself and Cllr Ledger, that contained assurances from the Leader that a public toilet provision will still be provided at this site regardless of the outcome of the current marketing campaign.

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Wider EDDC subjects within the Finance Portfolio

Motorhomes / Campervans proposed policy

In view of the pilot that has been operating in Exmouth regarding the use of suitable EDDC carparks to allow overnight motorhome / campervan parking and sleeping I chaired a working party on 11 July that involved EDDC / DCC Officers and Exmouth based Cllrs at Town, District and County level.

The outcome from the working party discussion has resulted in a proposed motorhome / campervan policy and the report is on the agenda for the EDDC Cabinet meeting on 7 September. The report is recommending that relevant EDDC towns, such as Seaton, set up their own representative working party to consider adopting the same Exmouth policy for relevant EDDC carparks, but have the ability to decide on a local charging structure based on local knowledge and requirements taking into account local private companies that provide facilities for these type of vehicles.

Carparks

The latest available data shows that almost 60% of the income is now paid by card or the Ringo app and cash now accounts for 28% with the remaining balance from permits.

Despite the reservations expressed at the time that some car park charges were doubling (bearing in mind that charges had not been increased for 10 years and during that time VAT had also increased from 17.5% to 20%) the actual income against the budgeted income almost matches and I will provide more detail on this in my next report.

In Seaton the situation regarding the “free for all” carpark following the closure of the Co-Op store and the hiatus before Aldi redesign and re-open is not helping the use of the EDDC carparks at the Underfleet.

EV charging points in EDDC carparks

Work from the 3rd parties has at long last visibly started in some EDDC carparks to install EV charging points – for example, although not operational yet, the points have been installed at the Roxburgh site in Sidmouth and at the Dolphin Way site in Colyton and the 3rd party just needs to install the required signage now.

In Seaton the lease has been signed for the spaces in the Orchard carpark and the civil engineering work is due to start the week commencing 5 September. Similar work is due to start in September at sites in Axminster, Beer, Budleigh Salterton and Honiton.

Other subjects

There are many other subjects that I have not mentioned in this report that fall outside my Finance Portfolio such as:

The EDDC allocation of £1,796,363 over 3 years for the UK Shared Prosperity Fund that has resulted in a plan being submitted on 1 August.

The current status of the work being carried via the Strategic Planning committee on the new Local Plan for East Devon.

The work that has been carried out to formulate a new strategy for Sport & Leisure and Culture & Tourism across the district.

The current pressures resulting from people hosting Ukrainian families and the lack of a Govn lead policy when the initial 6 month agreement expires soon.

The work that is being undertaken to build social housing on EDDC owned land.

If Town Councillors have related questions on any of these subjects I will either answer them at the meeting on 5 September or provide written answers subsequently.

Jack Rowland
EDDC Councillor – Seaton Ward
Portfolio Holder – Finance JRowland@eastdevon.gov.uk

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