Friday, 16 January 2015

Knowle relocation project: and the politics of maps ..... "What I have found most difficult to understand is why EDDC ever decided to base itself in Sidmouth where over 50 per cent of the area covered by a 20 mile diameter is in the English Channel."

Boyd Tonkin gave us an interesting piece in the Independent recently on 'The Lie of the Land':
Maps don’t always reflect the world, but they can change it - Comment - Voices - The Independent

For an example of how you can change perceptions, if you put Sidmouth in the middle of the map, then clearly half the area covered lies in the English Channel:

Sidmouth Location Map

Sidmouth Weather Station Record - Historical weather for Sidmouth, United Kingdom

This has been noted in the latest Exmouth Journal:

We now have arrived at a solution that will better serve our community throughout East Devon. A smaller purpose-built centre in Honiton which is, after all, the geographical and historical centre of East Devon.

We will also greatly enhance the services available to our main centre of population, and thus need, in Exmouth.

It is also planned to provide services at other centres throughout the district.

What I have found most difficult to understand is why EDDC ever decided to base itself in Sidmouth where over 50 per cent of the area covered by a 20 mile diameter is in the English Channel.

East Devon District Councillor for Budleigh Ward.

Home - Exmouth Journal

There are a few points that spring to mind.

Firstly, should your capital be at the geographical centre?

Well, the UK parliament is about to be 'partially relocated' - and yet this opportunity to move from London to somewhere more 'central', such as a field in Shropshire, has not been taken up:
Futures Forum: Knowle relocation project: 'badly rundown' late nineteenth century building will mean 'partial relocation'

Secondly, if not at the geographical centre, should your capital be at the 'historical/cultural/traditional/etc centre'?

Here are some maps  of East Devon which do indeed show Honiton at pretty much the 'geographical centre' of the District - and yet most of the 'activity' tends to be further south...

... whether tourism:

The South East Devon Map Guide to Devon Beaches - Devon Online

... or nature reserves and the like:

East Devon District Council - Local Nature Reserves

More maps are available of course - depending on the point you want to make.

Thirdly, if we are to make the number of people as the most important criteria, then Exmouth should clearly house the new HQ. In the meantime, Sidmouth is 'bigger than' Honiton:

List of towns and cities in Devon by population - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Lastly, it has been pointed out more than once, that it's about what serves the population of the District best:

“Centrality” was one of the original reasons for relocating to Honiton, even though Honiton is further from the average East Devon resident than Sidmouth.

R J Thurlow, Chair, Save our Sidmouth

Knowle relocation “far too risky in the current economic climate” . | Save Our Sidmouth

SIR – When promoting the move from Sidmouth to Honiton, East Devon District Council (EDDC) argues that Sidmouth is inconvenient for many people in East Devon while Honiton is much more central. Let me explode that myth...

The District’s populations are clustered around the coast. I looked at the numbers of people living in each East Devon ward and calculated the distance and travel time from each ward to Sidmouth or Honiton (using a TomTom SatNav to give shortest route and time for that route). 

On average, an East Devon resident might travel 9 miles to Sidmouth or 11.1 miles to Honiton. So an EDDC move to Honiton would add 19% to the typical journey. The time taken for travel averages 26.5 minutes to Sidmouth or 29.6 minutes to Honiton – a 10% increase if EDDC moves.

Robin Fuller, Sidmouth

Home - Sidmouth Herald
Exploding some myths re. Knowle relocation. | Save Our Sidmouth
Futures Forum: Knowle relocation project: comparing the Sidmouth and Honiton/Exmouth options

The EDDC relocation shortlist

8th November 2013

And how many of us will be able to get to any of these locations if we don’t have cars? Or is this to put us off visiting in the expectation that we will transact all our council business online (and what if we don’t have computers either?) 
East Devon District Council announces relocation site shortlist | Exeter Express and Echo

Our money is on Honiton …. so easy for the Cabinet member commute.

3 Responses to “The EDDC relocation shortlist”

Tim November 8, 2013 at 10:22 pm #

If you aren’t happy with access you could always go and complain to your MP at his office at .. er … Woodbury Salterton. Bus timetable here 
http://www.devon.gov.uk/56_bus_route.pdf. Maybe not then.

Mary Walden-Till November 9, 2013 at 6:27 pm #

All these pronouncements from the council leave me confused, I am beginning to think I am very stupid indeed.

Can someone explain to me why having a station near to the EDDC HQ will be an advantage to us? Are there many small stations dotted around the region which will make travel easy, or is it because Councillors have stations near their homes so it will make travel easy for them?

Why do they need major roads like the M5 and A 30 nearby? Is it for us or them or are the dustcarts/street cleaners etc going to be sited centrally and the roads are for their benefits?

Why is it better to be at the west end of the district and away from the coast when they were complaining that Sidmouth wasn’t central and Honiton was.

Why are they considering renovation and sharing at Clyst St Mary when they won’t consider renovation and sharing in Sidmouth? If they can upgrade cheaply there then why isn’t it possible to upgrade cheaply in the new bit of the Knowle?

By considering some of these places they have shot themselves in the foot as they should have been ruled out immediately on the same grounds that the Knowle has been ruled out.

Sandra Semple November 9, 2013 at 8:37 pm #

My thoughts too. If you live in Seaton, you can get to Sidmouth hourly, whilst there are only 4 buses a day to Honiton and back, one of those not leaving Seaton till 5 pm.

As an OAP I would have to catch the midday bus from Seaton to Honiton arriving Honiton 12.42 and then walking to the EDDC HQ. My only choice of return journey would then be 15.40 arriving Seaton 16.22. If EDDC offices close 1-2 pm I would have about 10 minutes there at their offices before having to walk back to get to the bus!

There is absolutely no way anyone from Seaton can get to Cranbrook or any of the other places.on the short list.

But then Seaton has never figured on the EDDC radar except for Tesco, with even the Wetlands under threat now from the development on Harepath Road green wedge.

Or is EDDC perhaps going to put special buses on to its new HQ? Dream on! If we want to visit EDDC HQ in future we will have to book ourselves into the nearest Premier Inn the night before!

The EDDC relocation shortlist | Sidmouth Independent News

Of course the centre of any 'merged' East Devon, Exeter and Teignbridge Districts would be... Exeter:
Futures Forum: Knowle relocation project: and the longer-term demise of district councils... part eleven: "Exeter, East Devon and Teignbridge councils to form Greater Exeter"


Tim T said...

Faulted though such argument is, I do not seem to recall Cll T Wright, or any of his colleagues at Exmouth or Honiton arguing this line when SykPark was on the cards.
It sounds, and looks like a desperate ill-thought through justification for plan b, or is it plan d - I've lost count.

Jeremy Woodward said...

Thanks, Tim.
Yes, it did strike me as very strange to suggest that a town on the coast is somehow not the right place - which would mean that the authorities in Brighton in Sussex or Bideford in North Devon should be 'relocated'...
Yes, let's see more devolution - with the District Council represented in every town of East Devon.
Some might even welcome the good old days of the Urban District Councils - when the Exmouth UDC would have lived in the Exmouth Town Hall and the Sidmouth UDC in the Knowle...