Welcome to The Paper for Honiton, a big step forward in the local press!

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Great to see that The Paper for Honiton has started to fill the big hole in the local press left by the demise of the View From series – now we need a Paper for Seaton and Colyton!

I’ve signed a petition for a fairer voting system in local elections in England and Wales

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Last week’s local elections delivered huge majorities on many councils to parties which won less than half the votes. On Devon County Council last year, the Tories won 70 per cent of the seats for only 44 per cent of the votes: they feel they have a right to rule but really they only represent a minority. The Electoral Reform Society has a petition to change this, and I was pleased to sign.

‘Time for a Change’ in East Devon – @EDevonAlliance holding conference to bring together everyone fighting on health, environment, planning and other issues

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Saturday 26th May, 10-1.30, Beehive, Honiton. A must-attend event for everyone who would like to see a change in local politics. If you’d like to come, please book your place via this link (there is no charge). I hope to see you there. https://www.eventbrite.com/e/45482525458?aff=d43c421797

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All across East Devon people are worried about their HEALTH, their HOMES and their JOBS. Never has it been more important to involve yourself with local democracy in your district.. YOU CAN MAKE THE DIFFERENCE.

The EAST DEVON ALLIANCE is trying to help with all of this, an umbrella group of Independent people, who since 2015 have won 7 district council seats and 1 county seat. The EDA is free from the negative influence of national parties who – at East Devon District Council – have acquired the arrogant habits of a Conservative one-party state.

This conference is for YOU. Speakers will include County Councillors CLAIRE WRIGHT and MARTIN SHAW, and PAM BARRETT, Chair of the Independent Buckfastleigh Town Council and regional expert on transforming democracy from the bottom up.

In two sessions you will be able to hear our experience and then CONTRIBUTE your own personal views:

a) how did the democratic deficit in East Devon happen? Or – the problem.

b) what can we do about it through democracy in our parishes, towns and district. Or – the solution.

Please come. We are all volunteers but if we band together now to fight for hospitals, homes and jobs we have a chance to change how our local area is run.

Parking: nearest is Lace Walk. 2 minute walk. If full, New Street, 5 mins

End single-use plastics, use refillable water bottles – ‘Refill’ campaign launched in Seaton

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RefillI spent this morning going round Seaton delivering ‘Refill Devon’ stickers like this, for shopkeepers and cafe owners to put in their windows if they are willing to let people refill their bottles – to reduce single-use plastic pollution. The response was encouraging but unfortunately Recycle Devon hadn’t sent me quite enough. If your business didn’t get one, but you’d like to join the scheme, email info@recycledevon.org.

Let’s make Seaton a ‘Refill town’! I shall be spreading the word to other places in the Seaton & Colyton division.

I have written to @CllrIanThomas, incoming EDDC leader, for assurances on health services and hospitals, after Conservative amendment leaves East Devon community hospitals vulnerable to closure

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In a debate at EDDC on Wednesday Independent East Devon Alliance councillor, Marianne Rixson, proposed a motion ‘requesting the NHS organisations to observe the following principles:
1.  All community hospitals which have lost beds should be maintained as health hubs.
2.  Wherever possible, services and clinics should be moved out of Exeter to local community hospitals.
3.  More outpatient services should be provided in each community hospital, with no overall cuts to the level of services in any town in order to minimise complex journeys between towns.’
image1I was disappointed to hear that this motion was completely replaced by an ‘amendment’ (left) proposed by Conservative Councillor Mike Allen, which was then carried.
I have written the letter below to express my concerns to incoming Council leader, Ian Thomas, the member for Trinity ward, to ask him to join me in pressing for each of our hospitals to be kept as a hub for outpatient services.
LETTER TO IAN THOMAS
Dear Ian, 
 
Belated congratulations on your nomination to lead EDDC, which I assume will be agreed at the Annual Meeting in a fortnight’s time. I am writing following last week’s Council resolution on health, to ask for your clear support for keeping all community hospitals in East Devon as health hubs. As this is a matter of great public interest, I shall make this letter public.
 
Since I could not be present at the meeting, I will not comment on the procedure adopted, except to inform you that members of the public have complained to me about the way Cllr Rixson’s motion was ‘amended’ by Cllr Allen. My concern is rather that the resolution potentially increases the vulnerability of some of our community hospitals to closure when the CCG announces its Local Estates Strategy.
 
I welcome the resolution’s call for the CCG to provide ‘evidence-based forward plan of proposed changes to health services in East Devon, for initial discussion at a future Cabinet’, and the reference to ‘consultation with local communities’ about community hospitals, as well as the review of service changes (bed-based to home/community-based care). You will need to press hard on the latter, as Claire Wright has been asking for it repeatedly without success at DCC.
 
My worry is that the resolution removes the benchmark assurances that Cllr Rixson’s motion sought. While the resolution says that all efforts should be made, in consultation with local communities, to ensure the existing estate of community hospitals is retained for health care purposes, it only recommends that, Where appropriate, the potential development of “Health Hubs” be investigated. 
 
Unfortunately this can clearly be read as implying that hubs will not necessarily be appropriate in every hospital – and that EDDC might therefore accept the closure of those hospitals which are not developed as hubs
 
I remind you that when the Conservatives fought the County elections last year, you said you wanted ‘bed-less hospital buildings adapted to accommodate new health-related services and boost community health provision‘. There was no suggestion of any exceptions then.
 
I would like you to give an explicit assurance that you will join me in pressing for
 
(1) each of the hospitals which has lost its beds (Axminster, Honiton, Ottery and Seaton), as well as Exmouth and Sidmouth, to be kept open;
(2) achievement in each hospital of the ‘boost’ in health provision which your 2017 policy rightly asked for – and any in any case no overall cut in services in any of them; and
(3) a formal public consultation in the affected town and surrounding area should a closure of any community hospital, involving substantial relocation of outpatient services, be proposed.
 
Kind regards,
 
Martin

My message of support to the legal team who are fighting the dismantling of the NHS in a crucial case in Leeds Crown Court tomorrow #Justice4NHS

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Tomorrow, the crowdfunded legal case brought by 999 Call for the NHS to stop US-style ‘Accountable Care Organisation’ (ACO) contracts being introduced into the NHS will be heard in Leeds Crown Court. Supporters from all over the country are gathering in Leeds and I’ve sent them this message:
‘On behalf of the councillors and activists who are campaigning against the Integrated Care System in Devon, I send best wishes to our legal team and everyone who is campaigning to keep a universal, comprehensive and fully public National Health Service.
‘Following our opposition, the Devon STP has given up the idea of Accountable Care Organisations for the time being. We believe that this legal case has already played a key role in slowing down the moves by the Conservative Government and NHS England to place our health service in the ACO straightjacket. We now look forward to a legal victory which will turn the tide against the dismantling and privatisation of the NHS.’ 

New local, chemical-free food cooperative coming to East Devon soon – launches online survey of local residents’ opinions, please complete

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In My Back Yard is a new East Devon food cooperative, a group of local, chemical-free food producers based in Branscombe. They say:
‘We’re aiming to provide a service offering the local area more choice, more convenience and more reliability, so you can enjoy delicious produce from East Devon and neighbouring counties, with regular availability every week. How the co-operative grows can be helped by you and your feedback here today. More information will be available as we continue to bring together resources and services. We appreciate your opinion as local residents, so we’d be very grateful if you’d complete this quick survey.’ 

https://goo.gl/forms/eCyiw6H5UND3lC7m1   

I’d like to urge every reader of Seaton and Colyton Matters to complete the survey – thank you! If you know someone who isn’t online who’d like to print off and post the survey back, here is a printable form: In My Back Yard – market research survey April.