Seaton

34 per cent of children in Coly Valley, 24 per cent in Seaton, living in poverty says shocking new report

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From devonlive – The End Child Poverty coalition has collated the data: altogether 251 children in the Coly Valley (34 per cent) and 232 in Seaton (24 per cent) are likely to be living in poverty. The figures are estimates of child poverty in different areas, calculated using HMRC data and the Labour Force Survey.

Sam Royston, Chair of End Child Poverty and Director of Policy and Research at the Children’s Society said: “It is scandalous that a child born in some parts of the UK now has a greater chance of growing up in poverty, than being in a family above the breadline.

He added, “There can be little doubt that the Government’s policy of maintaining the benefits freeze despite rising prices is a major contributor to the emerging child poverty crisis.”

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.

 

Green wedge plans to return?

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There is speculation that developers are planning to submit a new application to build on the ‘green wedge’ between Seaton and Colyford. Twice in recent weeks, residents have spotted people who appeared to carrying out preliminary surveys for such a proposal. The last application was defeated at the beginning of 2014 after a major campaign.

Environment Agency success over slurry pollution

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streampollutionscreengrabNo, not for the problems in the Beer Brook (which flows into Seaton Hole) which we exposed on BBC Spotlight in April (screen grab), but for another case near Bideford, where a farmer has been fined £30,000.

If the problems in the brook return, we’ll be pressing the Environment Agency for similar action. Report pollution to the EA straightaway on 0800 80 70 60, and email seatonmatters@gmail.com.

Joining up ‘Natural Seaton’

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This month’s Natural Seaton festival was a great success. My wife and I took the boat trip and the Undercliff walk during the weekend, and I’m more than ever convinced that this is the right way for Seaton’s tourism effort to go. The world-heritage Jurassic Coast with its dramatic red cliffs, the striking estuary, the Wetlands skirted by the Tramway, Holyford Woods – all framing a classic seaside town – it should be a winning package. I know a lot of people are sceptical about the Jurassic centre, but it really is a great chance to pull this all together and attract more visitors to the town.

Seaton WetlandsHowever it’s still coming together, and a lot still needs to be done. The amazing Wetlands are under the radar, deliberately it appears, because the car park through the cemetery is too small (in contrast, there are fears that Seaton Jurassic may be over-provided with car parking). However I think the softly softly approach has been taken too far – no sign to the Wetlands off the A3052, no special page in the classy new Town Guide (indeed the main entrance isn’t even on its map), and not even a proper website. Google ‘Seaton Wetlands’ and you have to go through EDDC to reach the nice leaflet that they’ve produced: seaton-wetlands-leaflet-updated-apr

I was also struck that the Undercliff tours are not regularly available: the landowners apparently limit Natural England’s vehicle access to the start point. Moreover the tour focuses entirely on the physical aspects of how the Landslip happened and the flora that has established itself on Goat Island – the dramatic human story of 1839 isn’t part of it at all. I hope this is something the Seaton Jurassic displays will address, since coastal change (also erosion, for example) is one of the most vivid parts of the human story of Seaton – at least as interesting to most people as the geomorphology.

For selling Natural Seaton to reach its full potential, we still need a more joined-up approach.

Beach huts: what kind of asset?

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At Seaton Town Council’s public meeting at the beginning of this month, Cllr Geoff Pook, East Devon District Council’s Chair of Asset Management, described beach huts as a financial asset for the Council and his aim as to ‘identify the market rate’ and get the ‘best value’ for them – even if EDDC’s proposed auction (not supported by any of the hundred plus people present) did not go ahead.
49D1AB1A-F664-4D32-85B8-8D05703F91C1Surely, however, the sites and huts are community assets of the people of Seaton and other towns in East Devon, and should be valued primarily for the use which many residents make of them? Huts should continue to be provided as a service, primarily for local people, at a fixed, fair price which reflects the real costs – which Cllr Pook admitted he doesn’t even know.
The difficult issues are fairness between existing and would-be users of the huts. Since so many people are on waiting lists, what about providing additional sites in Seaton and elsewhere?
Pook also said that beach huts are not the only asset he is looking to raise more cash from – what next?