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.


Colyford traffic calming under discussion

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IMG_0168.JPGI met yesterday with members of the Colyford Speedwatch team, who are campaigning for traffic calming in the village. We discussed various possible measures, including a crossing and a mini-roundabout on the A3052, and a Gateway on Seaton Road where the cycle way meets the road (Colyton Parish Council have already supported a funding bid for this proposal, and I reported on my discussions at their meeting yesterday evening).

I hope to meet soon with Cllr Stuart Hughes, the Devon Cabinet member for Highways, and the Speedwatch teams in Colyford and Seaton Down Hill (Seaton) will soon be convening a new meeting with the County and Neil Parish MP, which will follow up from an initial meeting held in March.

EDDC posts Seaton Beach Management Plan information

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Following the public consultation on 25 May, the information and feedback form are now online at http://eastdevon.gov.uk/consultation-and-surveys/seaton-beach-management-plan-consultation/

Funding to make properties safe from flooding

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Devon County Council is offering a funding opportunity that may be of interest to residents whose properties are affected by flooding.
At the Cabinet meeting held on 8th March 2017 an item under the Flood Risk Action Plan for 2017/18 highlighted the initiative to introduce a Property Level Resilience (PLR) Grant Scheme. This will give vulnerable property owners the opportunity to apply for a grant of up to £5,000 to make their properties more resilient against the risk of flooding. The scheme, which will have a limited annual budget, is broadly based on previous opportunities and pilots released by the government and will follow a strict prioritisation criteria to ensure those in greatest need will be successful in securing the grant.
Through Defra’s 6 Year programme (2015-2021) Devon County Council has an allocation of £50,000 each year for the next 4 years to support this scheme and propose to match this figure from the annual Flood Risk Management budget, subject to availability, and further supported with a £10,000 allocation from Local Levy. The average cost of providing PLR to a single property is approx. £5,000, therefore it is anticipated that around 20-25 properties could benefit from this scheme each year. With over 1500 properties having suffered internal flooding in recent years there is the need to target properties at high risk, where they are unlikely to benefit from any catchment or community wide flood improvement scheme in the near future. Funding will be allocated in accordance with the strict prioritisation criteria set out in the Policy for PLR Grant and not on a first come first served basis. There can therefore be no guarantee of funding for every applicant.
For the opportunity to be considered for a PLR grant the property owner must first review the policy and if they believe that they meet the criteria they need to complete the Application for PLR Grant. These can both be provided in paper format for those that do not have access to the internet, by telephoning Flood Risk on 01392 383000.

‘Have Your Say’ sessions

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Where you can raise matters with Seaton’s Mayor, Cllr Jack Rowland, your County and District councillors and the Police. I’ll be at Marshlands, Seaton, on Thursday (unfortunately I can’t make Beer on Saturday).Have your say May - July 2017