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Colyford will get its crossing, and Seaton Down Hill an island

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IMG_0264A packed meeting of local residents, councillors and Highways officials, with Cllr Stuart Hughes (Devon Cabinet member for Highways) and chaired by Neil Parish MP, this morning in Colyford Memorial Hall (right with mock crossing), heard that the County Council has agreed to install a zebra crossing on the A3052 before April next year. The Council has also offered to install a ‘pedestrian refuge’ (island) at the bottom of Seaton Down Hill, Seaton.

These are significant successes for the dogged campaigns waged by the Speedwatch teams in the two areas. Council officials had reservations about residents’ more comprehensive proposals for traffic calming all along the A3052 in Colyford. The Council was open to ‘gateways’ and vehicle-activated signs (VAS), providing funding can be found (my Locality Budget for Seaton and Colyton could help), but residents will certainly continue to explore more ambitious options.

Council officials also undertook to ‘look again’ at extending the 40 limit on the Harepath Hill section of the A3052 to past the Tower junction, with an implied extension to Seaton Down Hill itself. Neil Parish MP, who played an admirable role in pinning down the issues, undertook to meet again in February 2018 to review progress in the two areas.

Seaton Town Council co-opting a new councillor

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Details with application form here. There is also a co-option coming up for Beer Parish Council.

Seaton is also holding a ‘Have Your Say’ session where members of the public can come and talk to councillors and the police, at Marshlands from 7 to 8 on Thursday (20th).

New sign for Stop Line Way

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Devon County Council’s Rights of Way team has agreed to my proposal for a direction sign where the cycleway / walkway leaves Seaton Road, Colyford, for the Wetlands.

X52 Jurassic Coaster bus service – use it or lose it!

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jurassic-coaster-appIt is uncertain whether this service, currently 5 times a day from Colyford, Seaton and Beer to Exeter and westwards to Lyme Regis, will continue after 2nd September – and if it does, it may be further reduced to 5 instead of 6 days a week and from 5 to 4 return daily journeys, possibly losing the early morning journey to Exeter.

First Wessex, who run the service, are currently tendering for a new service with the County Council. I will be discussing this issue with the bus company and the County Council. If you have concerns about the loss or reduction of this service, please write to Simon Newport (simon.newport@firstgroup.com) and me (cllrmartinshaw@gmail.com), letting us know how changes will affect your lives. David Morgan, the indefatigable Seaton campaigner who has alerted me and the Town Council to the issues, has suggested a loop to Colyton – would you use that? In the meanwhile, consider the X52 as an alternative to the car!

Seaton Museum looking for volunteers

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The Museum is looking for volunteers to help in its running, curator Ted Gosling tells me. If you’d like to help, ring him on 21278.

The group which runs Seaton Museum, the Axe Valley Heritage Association, has just published its latest newsletter full of interesting historical information, much of it supplied by Ted. One item caught my eye: a diary entry about an exceptional storm in February 1915: ‘mouth of the river washed away, dreadful havoc on the West Walk, asphalt all broken up and from this site of the Chine to Seaton Hole the walk is completely destroyed, nothing left but pebbles.’

You can join the AVHA (and receive the newsletter) in the Museum, in the top floor of Seaton Town Hall (to the left of the Gateway entrance) or send a cheque for £6 single or £10 per couple to Mrs C. Sargent, 32, Seaton Down Road, Seaton, EX12 2SB.

West Seaton will become part of Beer & Branscombe district ward, says Boundary Commission

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This proposal has been approved, despite opposition from Seaton Town Council and the West Seaton and Seaton Hole Association representing residents in the area which will become part of Beer & Branscombe ward from the 2019 EDDC elections.

The Boundary Commission for England argued that Seaton will have too many electors, and therefore to equalise the voters:councillors ratio, some part of the town needed to be hived off from the existing 3-member ward. Since no one put forward an alternative carve-up, the Commission stuck to its original plan.

EDDC approves yet another extension to Seaton’s iconic Check House, after biased photographic display

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3007021_4ebd9eaeEast Devon’s Development Management Committee (DMC) today approved a new extension to the Check House, the iconic house (named after its distinctive brickwork) which is now a care home.

Built by Sir Walter Calverley Trevelyan and Lady Pauline Trevelyan – the key figures in Seaton’s transformation from fishing village to seaside resort – in 1866, the Check House has a fine clifftop setting overlooking Lyme Bay. Yet this crucial part of Seaton’s heritage has long been compromised by the planners and councillors of East Devon District Council (EDDC). Large extensions were allowed in both its front and rear gardens in 1992 and 2004 respectively to serve its new role as a care home.

Last year a new proposal was approved for both an extension off the earlier rear extension, together with a ‘Victorian’ conservatory and greenhouse along the north side facing Beer Road, on the left hand side of the house in the picture above.

The earlier extensions, while partially spoiling the site and followed by the transformation of much of the garden into car parks, at least had a similar checked pattern to the original building. The small new extension which has been built (just off the right of the picture) onto the earlier rear extension is, however, an eyesore, completely out of keeping with both the Check House and the original extension.

The owners decided, however, not to build the approved conservatory and greenhouse, which – while spoiling one of the unspoilt sides of the original building – did at least nod towards its Victorian character and would have had a lighter impact because of the large amount of glass involved. Instead they asked to put a solid extension, without the original check pattern, where the conservatory would have been. This was to allow yet two more bedrooms so as to maximise income from the site – although of course residents will no longer enjoy a conservatory or greenhouse.

EDDC has now approved this proposal, despite the opposition of ward councillor Jim Knight, the Town Council (which I represented at the DMC) and local residents (represented by Steve Read). Steve and I mentioned, of course, the important fact that the Check House already has completely inadequate car parking and its staff and visitors’ cars spill out on to Beer Road where they cause problems for traffic – so this development will add to the problem.

Most disturbing, Planning Officer Chris Rose’s photographic display which preceded the discussion showed not one photograph of the original house, let alone of the sides affected by the proposal which are shown above. This was truly shameful, as was the lack of care of the committee.