Saturday, 17 March 2018

How to revive the health of high streets > businesses thriving on Temple Street

Revitalising our high streets is more than just keeping open the shops:
Futures Forum: How to revive the health of high streets > focus on bringing back jobs and leisure activity to town centres

The centre of Sidmouth does not have too much to fear - although some would say there are not enough small local businesses:
Futures Forum: “Sidmouth needs more small shops”
Futures Forum: "Sidmouth's different shopping experience is disappearing."
Futures Forum: In defence of Sidmouth's independent businesses

And that there are too many charity shops and cafes:
Futures Forum: Do charity shops benefit the local economy?
Futures Forum: "We don’t want a main shopping area of charity shops and coffee chains."
Futures Forum: Sidmouth: a town of charity shops and coffee shops?

It's the satellite high streets which have more to worry about.

Sidford has lost its butcher's and stand-alone post office:
Sidford business owners speak out about fears for village’s future | Latest Sidmouth and Ottery News - Sidmouth Herald
Sidford – car parking and loss surgery and shops – Herald asks for views | East Devon Watch

It's about to lose another shop-front, once occupied by the Lloyd's chemists:
Lloyds Pharmacy closes 190 stores, blaming government cuts | Business | The Guardian

However, it's about to gain a Hospicecare centre, the former Sidford surgery:
Sidmouth Hospiscare announces takeover of Sidford Surgery | Latest Sidmouth and Ottery News - Sidmouth Herald

Meanwhile, the Temple Street hub is not what it used to be...
Traders’ takings hit by Sidmouth roadworks | Latest Sidmouth and Ottery News - Sidmouth Herald

... having lost its butcher's, green grocer's, newsagent's, DIY store and an Oxfam:

Sidmouth’s Oxfam shop to close after 30 years

10 February 2016 Stephen Sumner

Changing shopping habits blamed for demise of town’s first charity shop: Sidmouth’s first charity shop is to shut next month after more than 30 years, with changing shopping habits blamed for its closure.

Oxfam store manager Andrew Pinney said Temple Street was once bustling - with a greengrocer’s, butcher’s, cafés and clothing stores all serving customers. But with the arrival of supermarkets and online shopping, several premises have been converted into homes, the road is no longer the centre it once was and trade has been hit.

“Oxfam has been at these premises for 30 or 40 years,” said Mr Pinney. “Shopping in Sidmouth was completely different then – there was no Lidl, no Waitrose, you just had a couple of tiny supermarkets along Temple Street. Shopping habits have changed and all the businesses have gone out of business. You used to be able to pick up everything by foot locally. This was a great place for the shop - it isn’t the place to be any more.

Chartered surveyor Richard Heard, who has been asked to look at the Oxfam shop, said: “It’s the way of most neighbourhoods. Parking isn’t terribly good and neither is visibility coming out. Traffic flow is constant and heavy and the pavements are very narrow. Young families are far more nervous about pushing pushchairs – they would rather get in their cars and drive to the supermarket. I suspect that’s the way it will continue to go.”

He said he suspected that the conversion of Temple Street’s shops into houses and offices will continue – and artificial means such as refusing planning permission would not slow the decline. In contrast, Mr Heard said Woolbrook has the draw of Lidl and the benefit of free parking.

What shops do you remember in Temple Street? Email sidmouth.letters@archant.co.uk 

Sidmouth’s Oxfam shop to close after 30 years | Latest Sidmouth and Ottery News - Sidmouth Herald

However, there are other things going on...

The Hair Temple has invested in a revamp:
The Hair Temple – The Place We Come to Worship Our Love Of Hair
The Hair Temple - Home | Facebook

Mr Fish's Bike Shop continues to do well, also after some investment:
Excellent service - WV Fish Cycle Shops, Sidmouth Traveller Reviews - TripAdvisor

And the reopening of the Volunteer Inn has brought further life to the street:

Volunteer Inn
Couple take over Sidmouth's Volunteer Inn pub after £180k revamp | Latest Sidmouth and Ottery News - Sidmouth Herald
Great refurb - it's a different pub! - The Volunteer Inn, Sidmouth Traveller Reviews - TripAdvisor

As for new businesses, plumbers Kingdon have established a new HQ on Temple St:
Welcome To A & S Kingdon Ltd

We have a very smart place to get e-cigarette products:
Vape shop opening in Sidmouth | Latest Sidmouth and Ottery News - Sidmouth Herald

And there's a great new place to get your Easter chocolate - as featured in the latest Residents magazine of the Herald:

Independents’ Day - Chocaholics Paradise, Sidmouth

27 February 2018

Martin Osedo of Cocaholics Paradise.

I love chocolate so much, pure chocolate, nothing comes close, I had to make fresh chocolate and showcase what it’s about, and to this end, after a few years, Chocaholics Paradise Ltd was born, December 2016.

I work the shop with my wife. I hand craft all the chocolates on the premises and she tends the shop. Our little chocolate taster always has something to say, so we try to make and set up during his nap! This is what determines our opening hours 12-4, Wednesday to Saturday in the winter, and 12-5.30, Wednesday to Saturday the rest of the year.

We do have tasting days, at least once a week, where we showcase and have clients taste what we hope to bring out soon. We recommend and welcome all; feel free to come in any time, and say hello, and maybe have a nibble. You will find us on Lawn Vista, just off Temple Street.

Independents’ Day - Chocaholics Paradise, Sidmouth | Latest Sidmouth and Ottery News - Sidmouth Herald

And as the i newspaper today suggested, not all is lost for the High Street: 

This row of shops in Blackburn shows there are reasons to be optimistic about the great British high street

Darwen Street in Blackburn is facing the same pressures as other British high streets. (Photo: Jon Super)
Friday March 16th 2018

As the great British high street continues to be rocked by big name closures, Dean Kirby visits a row of 10 shops in Blackburn and finds that retailers are far from gloomy.

“All high street shops are facing unprecedented pressures from rising business rates, car parking charges and changing shopping habits. The effects of the economy on people’s spending are huge.

”But where shops can offer a unique service for customers, they will survive. The high street is constantly evolving and there’ll always be a place for shops that can adapt.“

British high street: These Blackburn shops show reasons to be optimistic

Campaigning to fit all new buildings with solar panels

Another anniversary:
First Solar-Powered Satellite Still Flying at 50
BBC - Future - The world’s oldest scientific satellite is still in orbit

From the 10:10 campaign:

Today is the 60th anniversary of the world’s first solar satellite. Vanguard 1 - used to measure the weather - paved the way for the advancements in solar technology that power our lives today.

But if it’s been 60 years since we launched solar panels into space, surely we should be putting them on more of our roofs?    

We’re calling on the government to make sure all suitable new buildings have solar panels fitted as standard.   9,000 people have already signed our petition - will you join them to make sure the government hear our voice? 
Sign now

Thank you,
Emma Kemp, campaigner

All our campaigns — 10:10

Act on plastics for healthy oceans

Honiton MP Neil Parish is also the chair of the Parliamentary Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee:
Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee - UK Parliament

He is also pushing for less plastic - as part of next weekend's Earth Hour: 

Devon MP pledges to make the planet a priority ahead of Earth Hour

Tiverton & Honiton's MP Neil Parish says "together we can make a difference"

Lewis Clarke 16 MAR 2018

Tiverton and Honiton MP, Neil Parish has pledged to make the planet a priority ahead of WWF’s Earth Hour, the world’s largest event to protect the planet.

Taking place at 8:30-9:30pm on Saturday March 24, the event is the world’s largest show of support for our planet. Lights around the world will go out for the hour, from the Taj Mahal to Buckingham Palace, as well as hundreds of millions of people around the world. In the UK alone, more than eight million people and 300 landmarks, including The Shard, Edinburgh Castle and Carnaby Street, are expected to participate.

WWF is calling on politicians to show their commitment to tackling key environmental issues such as restoring wildlife, acting on climate change and ending plastic pollution by joining in and making a pledge. Yesterday Neil Parish joined the call by pledging to act on plastic for healthy oceans.

WWF Earth Hour

This year WWF’s Earth Hour is also calling on people to make a #PromiseForThePlanet – a lifestyle change that combined with thousands of other pledges can make a big difference. The promises include refusing plastic cutlery, switching to a green energy provider and reducing the amount of meat you eat by becoming a flexitarian.

Neil Parish, MP said: “WWF’s Earth Hour provides an opportunity to raise awareness of some of the biggest environmental challenges facing our generation. I hope by making this promise today that I can encourage others to make a pledge too. Together we can make a difference.”

Tony Juniper, executive director of campaigns at WWF added: “Much of the wildlife we love is being seriously threatened by the pressures we put on our planet, including the effects of climate change, pollution, deforestation and generally living beyond the Earth’s means.

“We’re delighted to see MPs from across the UK give their support to Earth Hour and make a pledge to protect the planet. We hope they will inspire many others in their constituencies and communities to make a promise of their own.”

Devon MP pledges to make the planet a priority ahead of Earth Hour - Devon Live

Exeter University launches crowdfunding campaign to fund eXXpedition North Pacific 2018 and other research into plastics in the oceans

The University of Exeter is at the forefront of research into plastic
Ocean Plastic | Grand Challenges | University of Exeter
Exeter research influences Government blueprint for environment | Exeposé Online
Sustainable Futures | MTEH | University of Exeter

The latest is a trip to the North Pacific:

Exeter crew to sail the pacific on plastics research mission

The crew will travel over 3,000 miles on a 72ft scientific exploration vessel

Josh Herbert 14:03, 16 MAR 2018

Emily Duncan will lead the team (Image: Steve Greenwood)

An all-female crew including sailors, scientists and film-makers will cross the north Pacific later this year to study plastic pollution.

The team set up by ‘eXXpedition’ will set off on June 23 on a five-week trip across the North Pacific Gyre – better known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch because of the plastic that gathers there – from Hawaii to Seattle.

The crew will be sailing Sea Dragon, a 72ft scientific exploration vessel (owned by Pangaea Exploration) from Oahu, Hawaii to Vancouver, British Columbia and then from Vancouver to Seattle.

The eXXpedition voyage team is a diverse and international group of 24 women, split over two voyage legs, travelling over 3,000 nautical miles through the densest ocean plastic accumulation zone on the planet.

They will focus on micro-plastics and links to environmental and human health.

The team will be led by British skipper and ocean advocate Emily Penn, and the head of science will be Emily Duncan, a PhD researcher at the University of Exeter.

Emily Penn, co-founder of eXXpedition, which specialises in all-women sailing expeditions, said: “eXXpedition is a radical mix of adventure, science, advocacy and action to help understand the nature of a complex problem; the contamination of our bodies and our seas.”

“We hope our journey from the tropical islands of Hawaii to the wild coastlines of British Columbia and the Pacific Northwest will contribute to important scientific studies while inspiring action to protect these great places of outstanding natural beauty and importance.”

Erik Solheim, Head of UN Environment, said: “Such front-line support for our #CleanSeas campaign will help get the message further out.”

The university is about to launch a crowdfunding campaign, where the contributions will help fund projects including eXXpedition North Pacific 2018 and other research into plastics in the oceans. For more information, check out the crowdfunding page or follow @Exalumni on Twitter.

All other costs are covered by crew contributions and mission sponsors which to date include The Copernicus Marine Service, Mercator Ocean, Princess Yachts, Hawk Yachts, ​Daedalus Yachts, Y.CO, Iridium and Finisterre.

Exeter crew to sail the pacific on plastics research mission - Devon Live

Plastic in your bottled water

Plastic is everywhere:
Futures Forum: It's a plastic world
Futures Forum: Are we poisoning our children with plastic?
Futures Forum: The truth about plastic: how to cure our addiction
Futures Forum: Taking the plastic out of your teabag
Futures Forum: Plastic: can you live without it?

Even in highly-processed bottled water: 

Plastic particles found in bottled water

  • 15 March 2018

Tests on major brands of bottled water have found that nearly all of them contained tiny particles of plastic.
In the largest investigation of its kind, 250 bottles bought in nine different countries were examined. Research led by journalism organisation Orb Media discovered an average of 10 plastic particles per litre, each larger than the width of a human hair.
Companies whose brands were tested told the BBC that their bottling plants were operated to the highest standards. The tests were conducted at the State University of New York in Fredonia.
Sherri Mason, a professor of chemistry at the university, conducted the analysis and told BBC News: "We found [plastic] in bottle after bottle and brand after brand.
"It's not about pointing fingers at particular brands; it's really showing that this is everywhere, that plastic has become such a pervasive material in our society, and it’s pervading water - all of these products that we consume at a very basic level."
Currently, there is no evidence that ingesting very small pieces of plastic (microplastics) can cause harm, but understanding the potential implications is an active area of science.

Filtration of larger particlesImage copyrightORB MEDIA
Image captionAfter filtration, the larger particles - yellow marks - are easy to see

Commenting on the results, Prof Mason said: "It's not catastrophic, the numbers that we're seeing, but it is concerning."
Experts have told the BBC that people in developing countries where tap water may be polluted should continue to drink water from plastic bottles.
Contacted to comment on the findings, the companies behind the brands have insisted that their products meet the highest standards for safety and quality. They also point to the absence of any regulations on microplastics and of the lack of standardised methods of testing for them.
Last year, Prof Mason found plastic particles in samples of tap water and other researchers have spotted them in seafood, beer, sea salt and even the air.
This latest work comes amid growing international attention on plastic, fuelled by the BBC's acclaimed Blue Planet 2 series in which Sir David Attenborough highlighted the threat of plastic waste in our oceans.
The research into bottled water involved buying packs from 11 different global and national brands in countries chosen for their large populations or their relatively high consumption of bottled water. These were:
Leading international brands:
  • Aquafina
  • Dasani
  • Evian
  • Nestle Pure Life
  • San Pellegrino
Leading national brands included:
  • Aqua (Indonesia)
  • Bisleri (India)
  • Epura (Mexico)
  • Gerolsteiner (Germany)
  • Minalba (Brazil)
  • Wahaha (China)

Testing bottles
Image captionA dye is used that binds to pieces of plastic

To eliminate any risk of contamination, purchases in shops and deliveries to courier companies were recorded on video. Some packs in the US were ordered over the internet. The screening for plastic involved adding a dye called Nile Red to each bottle, a technique recently developed by British scientists for the rapid detection of plastic in seawater.
Previous studies have established how the dye sticks to free-floating pieces of plastic and makes them fluoresce under certain wavelengths of light. Prof Mason and her colleagues filtered their dyed samples and then counted every piece larger than 100 microns – roughly the diameter of a human hair.


Some of these particles – large enough to be handled individually - were then analysed by infrared spectroscopy, confirmed as plastic and further identified as particular types of polymer. Particles smaller than 100 microns – and down to a size of 6.5 microns – were much more numerous (an average of 314 per litre) and were counted using a technique developed in astronomy for totalling the number of stars in the night sky.
The make-up of these particles was not confirmed but Prof Mason said they can "rationally expected to be plastic". This is because although Nile Red dye can bind to substances other than plastic - such as fragments of shell or algae containing lipids - these would be unlikely to be present in bottled water.

Graphic: Type

Since the study has not been through the usual process of peer review and publication in a scientific journal, the BBC has asked experts in the field to comment.
Dr Andrew Mayes, of the University of East Anglia and one of the pioneers of the Nile Red technique, told us it was "very high quality analytical chemistry" and that the results were "quite conservative".
Michael Walker, a consultant to the Office of the UK Government Chemist and founder board member of the Food Standards Agency, said the work was "well conducted" and that the use of Nile Red has "a very good pedigree".
Both of them emphasised that the particles below 100 microns had not been identified as plastic but said that since the alternatives would not be expected in bottled water, they could be described as "probably plastic".
One obvious question is where this plastic may be coming from. Given the amount of polypropylene, which is used in bottle caps, one theory is that the act of opening a bottle may shed particles inside.

Graphic showing the rising number of plastic drinks bottles thrown away
Presentational white space

To check that the process of testing was not itself adding plastic to the bottles, Prof Mason ran "blanks" in which the purified water used to clean the glassware and the acetone used to dilute the Nile Red dye were themselves investigated. Small quantities of plastic were found in them – believed to be from the air - but these were subtracted from the final results.
A surprise to researchers was the wide variety of findings – 17 of the 259 bottles tested showed no evidence of plastic but all of the rest did, with big differences even within brands. A few bottles were found to have thousands of particles - the vast majority being the smaller ones that are "probably plastic" - but others from the same pack had virtually none.

David and Prof Mason
Image captionProf Mason takes David Shukman through the results of the study

We contacted the companies involved and most responded.
Nestle told us its own internal testing for microplastics began more than two years ago and had not detected any "above trace level". A spokesman added that Prof Mason’s study missed key steps to avoid "false positives" but he invited Orb Media to compare methods.
Gerolsteiner also said it had been testing its water for microplastics for a number of years and that the results showed levels "significantly below the limits for particles" set for pharmaceutical companies. It said it could not understand how Prof Mason’s study reached its conclusions.
It also said its measures exceeded industry standards but added that microparticles are "everywhere" so "the possibility of them entering the product from ambient air or packaging materials during the bottling process can therefore not be completely ruled out".
Coca-Cola said it had some of the most stringent quality standards in the industry and used a "multi-step filtration process". But it too acknowledged that microplastics "appear to be ubiquitous and therefore may be found at minute levels even in highly treated products".
Danone said it could not comment on the study because "the methodology used is unclear" but added that its own bottles had "food grade packaging".
It pointed out that there are no regulations on microplastics or a scientific consensus on how to test for them, and it also highlighted a much smaller German study last year that found plastic particles in single use bottles but not above a statistically significant amount.
PepsiCo said Aquafina had "rigorous quality control measures sanitary manufacturing practices, filtration and other food safety mechanisms which yield a reliably safe product".
It described the science of microplastics as "an emerging field, in its infancy, which requires further scientific analysis, peer-reviewed research and greater collaboration across many stakeholders".
The full Orb Media report can be found at www.OrbMedia.org

Plastic particles found in bottled water - BBC News

Friday, 16 March 2018

Tune into Sid Valley Radio!

A new project has just been set up to serve the Sid Valley:

Sid Valley Radio goes live for first time

PUBLISHED: 12:15 16 March 2018
Sid Valley Radio's official launch. Ref shs 10 18TI 9119. Picture: Terry Ife
Sid Valley Radio's official launch. Ref shs 10 18TI 9119. Picture: Terry Ife

The Sid Valley’s first radio station, made by the community for the community, has officially gone live for the first time.

Sid Valley Radio's official launch. Ref shs 10 18TI 9109. Picture: Terry IfeSid Valley Radio's official launch. Ref shs 10 18TI 9109. Picture: Terry Ife
Broadcaster Bob Weeks has ploughed thousands of pounds of his own money into launching Sid Valley Radio with the aim to make it a place where people can share their stories and musical tastes.
The online station has been active for a number of weeks but held its official launch on Friday at its base in the Alexandria Industrial Estate.
On launch day he was joined by fellow presenters Chris Ward, Adrian Brown and Janet Dowling, who will each have slots during the week.
Bob, of Peasland Road, said: “It has to be a community thing, it is made for the community by the community.
Sid Valley Radio's official launch. Ref shs 10 18TI 9115. Picture: Terry IfeSid Valley Radio's official launch. Ref shs 10 18TI 9115. Picture: Terry Ife
“If we do not get the interest it will die.
“That’s how much I believe in it, you wouldn’t have ploughed thousands of your own money in if you did not believe in it.”
The presenter said the station would seek to run around the clock with a schedule full of different musical genres 24 hours a day.
He said it would also act as a platform for youngsters to use to gain industry experience.
Sid Valley Radio's official launch. Ref shs 10 18TI 9121. Picture: Terry IfeSid Valley Radio's official launch. Ref shs 10 18TI 9121. Picture: Terry Ife
Bob said: “There is no reason why anybody couldn’t have a show on the station if they can hold a conversation with a microphone in front of them.
“The listener numbers will be small to start with and grown over time.”
His dream for the station is to eventually get a full FM licence from government regulator Ofcom.
The former freelance photographer thanked Sid Vale Carnival Club members for helping to build the studio and East Devon District Council for its support.
Sid Valley Radio's official launch. Ref shs 10 18TI 9122. Picture: Terry IfeSid Valley Radio's official launch. Ref shs 10 18TI 9122. Picture: Terry Ife
Ian McKenzie-Edwards, chairman of the town council, declared the station opened before chatting to Bob live on air.
He said: “This is a great idea. This is about community involvement and it will help get in people who have interesting things to say.”
To tune in to Sid Valley Radio visit sidvalleyradio.co.uk
Or if you are interested in presenting or volunteering for the station, email Bob Weeks at sidvalleyradio@gmail.com

Sid Valley Radio offically launches onto the airwaves for the first time | Latest Sidmouth and Ottery News - Sidmouth Herald