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Hollowing out the local police service – new plans mean that East Devon will go from 9 to just 5 PCSOs in 2020.

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See this story in the Midweek Herald. Currently just one officer and one PCSO make up the entire police force between Branscombe and the Dorset border. We can’t afford to lose our PCSO!

CCG proposals for Teignmouth, including a new health/wellbeing centre, relocating services to Dawlish and selling the hospital site, go to Health Scrutiny at County Hall on Thursday (2.15)

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The proposal to be presented will include ‘a commitment to support the vision of integrated services in Teignmouth and the further development of health and wellbeing services in a new centre on Brunswick Street involving the co-location of the three GP practice sites, the health and wellbeing team and the voluntary sector.’

In order to deliver this vision South Devon and Torbay Clinical Commissioning Group (now merging with NEW Devon CCG) says it would need to:

  • Relocate community clinics from Teignmouth Community Hospital into the health and wellbeing centre
  • Relocate specialist outpatient provision from Teignmouth Community Hospital into Dawlish Community Hospital
  • Relocate theatre services from Teignmouth Community Hospital into Dawlish Community Hospital
  • Reverse the decision following the consultation to establish 12 rehabilitation beds in Teignmouth Community Hospital
  • Close Teignmouth Hospital and sell the site for reinvestment in the local NHS.

The health centre will be built by private firm Health Innovation Partners and local people have been opposing the closure of the hospital (I was at their demonstration in June).

An inauspicious start for new Scrutiny Committee for the Heart of the South West Local Economic Partnership

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Who would have known? The previously unaccountable quango, the Heart of the South West Local Economic Partnership, which dispenses public money but whose board is made up mainly of businessmen, now has a scrutiny committee all of its own, recently established in some haste to meet newly imposed legal requirements. The first meeting took place five days ago, but little seems to have happened, judging from the minutes. There is currently no opportunity for public participation and no webcast.

The committee will have 17 members, with 13 Tories (11 confirmed – two representatives of Conservative-controlled district councils to be named), 3 Labour members (2 from Plymouth and 1 from Devon) and 1 Lib Dem from Somerset. Thus Independent and Green members have been entirely excluded, while there is only minimal opposition representation. The ruling Tories on the two county councils have used their majorities – obtained with less than 50 per cent of the votes in the 2017 election – to collar three quarters of the county seats, in addition to all those from the districts they control.

It’s worth mentioning that the Heart of the South West (geographic Devon and Somerset – but few local residents will recognise it under its marketing name) also has a Joint Committee of the Councils, with 19 members even more unevenly distributed by party (16 Tories, 2 Labour, 1 Lib Dem, no Independents or Greens).

Will all this bureaucracy give a new steer to the LEP, notorious so far for its bias towards the Hinckley new power station (it is even funding a hotel for officials of the foreign companies behind the project to stay in), its neglect of coastal and rural areas, and its fantastical plans for the South West to overtake London in productivity?

Devon swings to Remain, says Channel 4 mega-poll – time for local politicians to catch up

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The biggest poll ever undertaken of attitudes to Brexit estimates that, whereas the majority of voters in 6 out of 8 Devon districts backed Leave in 2016, now the situation is reversed – only 2 out of 8 still have majorities for Brexit.

East Devon still shows a narrow Leave majority, but 4 districts have seen Leave majorities overturned.

LEAVE % 2016 LEAVE % 2018 CHANGE 
East Devon Leave 54.11% 52.24% -1.87%
Exeter REMAIN 44.72% 37.49% -7.23%
Mid Devon Switched to REMAIN 53.34% 47.44% -5.90%
North Devon Switched to REMAIN 57.04% 49.04% -8.00%
South Hams REMAIN 47.15% 43.49% -3.66%
Teignbridge Switched to REMAIN 53.90% 48.61% -5.29%
Torridge Leave 60.83% 53.99% -6.84%
West Devon Switched to REMAIN 53.20% 48.52% -4.68%

 

I’m supporting 3 important local history initiatives – an excellent WWI exhibition in Colyton, the ‘Living Memories’ project to help dementia patients, and discussions on making Seaton Museum more accessible.

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Colyton's WarIf you’ve time in the next couple of days, head to the church in Colyton for the really excellent First World War centenary exhibition, the product of much loving labour by numerous local volunteers, but very professionally presented and above all a moving evocation of the lives of local people in that terrible episode in our country’s history.

I supported this with my Locality Budget, and I’ve also recently approved an ‘Invest in Devon’ grant for another Colyton-based project, Living Memories, which aims to use documentary films from the mid-twentieth century as a means of aiding the personal memories of older people, especially dementia patients.

This week I also attended a meeting of the committee and trustees (of whom I am one) of the Axe Valley Heritage Association, which began to discussions on how to make the wonderful collections of Seaton Museum more accessible in the future. The Association elected a new chair, Roger Bookman, and I hope its decision to develop a plan for the future of the Museum will be a fitting birthday present for its founder and Curator, Ted Gosling, who reaches 90 in January 2019.

The Museum, to the side of the Town Hall (Gateway), will have its Christmas opening on Thursday 29th November from 2-5 pm and will be open 10-5 the following day.

‘NHS vs Brexit’: on Sunday I joined 700,000 people to march against the shambles which is draining resources from our health system and public services

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NHS versus Brexit.jpgOn Sunday I marched in London with 700,000 other people to call for a chance to end the nightmare which Brexit has become – a mess which is sucking the lifeblood out of our country, draining resources from the NHS and public services and driving away many of the doctors and nurses we so desperately need in Devon.

I know many people in Seaton and Colyton supported Brexit in 2016, but surely you didn’t vote for the chaos which it is causing. Johnson, Gove and Farage didn’t tell you how difficult it was going to be – maybe they didn’t even understand themselves. It is time now for us to vote on whether we like the outcome.