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Saturday, 19 August 2017

Beach Management Plan: and asking the public to fund a public project >>> four months on and £100 richer

Very slow progress is being made on the Beach Management Plan for Sidmouth:
Futures Forum: Beach Management Plan: Consultants for 'investigatory work' appointed

The District Council set up a contact point with the public:
Futures Forum: Beach Management Plan: and asking the public to fund a public project

Progress on that front has been even slower:


Donation box for Sidmouth’s beach plan nets ‘more than £100’

PUBLISHED: 06:50 18 August 2017



A collection box has been installed on Sidmouth seafront to raise money for the beach management plan


More than £100 has been donated in the four months since a collection box for a project to shore up Sidmouth seafront was installed

East Devon District Council needs to find £3.3million in partnership funding to put towards its beach management plan (BMP).
It installed the box and a board with information about the project on The Esplanade in April, for a combined cost of £1,400.
An EDDC spokeswoman said: “Over £100 has been contributed to date through the donation box - and the council will be working with its partners to secure further funding for the BMP as the outline design progresses and as the capital and maintenance costs are refined through the outline design process.”
The box and board were funded by EDDC and county councillor Stuart Hughes from his locality budget.
Letters will also be sent to town businesses to ask if they would be willing to contribute to the £3.3million target.
EDDC expects to get a further £5.7million from central government to implement the BMP.

Donation box for Sidmouth’s beach plan nets ‘more than £100’ - Latest Sidmouth and Ottery News - Sidmouth Herald
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Plans for Port Royal: an alternative view: a new campaign: an online petition > The '3Rs' vision to "retain, refurbish and reuse" > public meeting Wednesday 23rd August >>> the line-up

Next Wednesday sees a public meeting to consider where we are at Port Royal - as well as where we could be going, one way or another:
Futures Forum: Plans for Port Royal: an alternative view: a new campaign: an online petition > The '3Rs' vision to "retain, refurbish and reuse" > public meeting Wednesday 23rd August

This meeting will look at the proposals being put forward by the consultants for the Scoping Study:
Futures Forum: Plans for Port Royal: anticipating a Regeneration Board >> Scoping Study consultation > 'No plans or designs are being considered or decided on at this stage, purely the possibility of improvement and viability of the important seafront site.'

It will also consider alternatives for the site:
Futures Forum: Plans for Port Royal: an alternative view: a new campaign: an online petition > The '3Rs' vision to "retain, refurbish and reuse" unveiled

This is the programme for the evening:

Alternative plan for Sidmouth's Port Royal - the 3R's | Campaigns by You
Sidmouth Councillors launch ‘3Rs’ alternative for Port Royal..Retain, Refurbish, Reuse | Save Our Sidmouth
THE SID VALE ASSOCIATION’S RESPONSE TO THE PORT ROYAL SCOPING STUDY QUESTIONNAIRE | Save Our Sidmouth
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Brexit: and South West consumers 'paying the bill'

Will a post-Brexit Britain be more business-friendly?
Futures Forum: Brexit: and a bonfire of EU red tape
Futures Forum: Brexit: and doing business beyond the EU

So far, not so good, though, at least as far as shoppers and employees, let alone UK-based businesses, are concerned:
Thousands of jobs at Wilko at risk after profits plunge | Devon Live

And there are EU-based businesses which are also worried:

Will EU-reliant Devon end up paying the price of Brexit?


By WMN_PGoodwin | Posted: July 28, 2017 | By Marie Segger

South West consumers could end up 'paying the Brexit bill', experts have warned, after new figures revealed just how much European businesses add to the regional economy.

The South West benefits disproportionately from the large contributions by foreign - and especially EU-owned non-financial businesses of any region in the UK.

EU-owned businesses in the South West contribute more than £15bn to the region's economy. This is a disproportionately high figure - EU-owned businesses generate almost 10 per cent of the total gross value added (GVA) from all South West businesses even though they make up less than two per cent of all companies in the region.

Allie Renison, Head of EU and Trade Policy at the Institute of Directors told us her concerns about what the situation could look like post-Brexit:

"The large contribution that these firms make to GVA does create a concern about what would happen if they began to plan to scale investment back here. One particularly important factor here is the lack of clarity for existing EU workers in the UK, and the unclear prospects for future movement of workers between the UK and EU."

She added that the Institute of Directors has been appealing to the Government to prioritise negotiating a deal with the EU in this particular regard.

Ms Renison hopes that EU-owned firms will lobby both sides of the negotiating table 'to push for a Brexit deal that keeps the level of friction for trade to an absolute minimum'.

"It's in their interest, as much as it for UK companies, that we get a transitional agreement that takes us smoothly to a new free trade agreement with the EU," she said.

Brexit is 'a new synonym for uncertainty' that is 'clearly negative for investment strategies and possible expansion plans', said Dr Pierre Gröning, Director of International Trade Policy at Brussel-based Foreign Trade Association (FTA).

"While retailers and fashion brands are not able to attach a price to Brexit, they expect to be hit by higher direct and indirect costs, supply chain disruptions, and increased price pressure," speaking exclusively to us, he said. "The sector is reluctant to currently invest in the UK because of the big risks and the lack of legal clarity about the Brexit consequences.

"At the same time, we do not predict any major de-investment from EU27-based companies but rather a period of business stagnation and lower profits. It is likely that the consumer will end up paying the Brexit bill in the form of higher prices."

Overall foreign-owned businesses contribute £314bn to the UK economy, accounting for 27 per cent of the total generated by business in the UK. More than a third of this comes from EU-owned businesses with a share of £123bn.



Will EU-reliant Devon end up paying the price of Brexit? | Devon Live
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Friday, 18 August 2017

Sidmouth Food Festival > tomorrow Saturday 19th August

Another little reminder about this month's big food event at Kennaway House:
Futures Forum: Sidmouth Food Festival >>> this Saturday 19th August!

Facebook pages are here:
Sidmouth FOOD Festival 2017

Here are a few photos from last year's session:



Vision Group for Sidmouth - Sidmouth Food Festival

And here's the line-up for tomorrow:



Futures Forum: Sidmouth Food Festival >>> Saturday 19th August

Remember this question from a couple of years ago?
Does Sidmouth need a food festival of its own? - What's on and things to do in Sidmouth - Sidmouth Herald
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The SouthWest continues to get a bad deal for its railways

There have been complaints for some time about how the SouthWest is being marginalised when it comes to spending on rail:
Futures Forum: HS2 and the South-West
HS2 billions should be diverted to rebuild south-west railways, say MPs | UK news | The Guardian

Meanwhile, tonnes of cash are being thrown at the HS2 infrastructure project:
Government refuses to publish report into scrapping HS2 | Daily Mail Online
“The £104bn HS2 cover-up: Government refuses to publish report into whether the controversial rail route should be scrapped” | East Devon Watch

A lot is also going on the London Crossrail project:
Crossrail 2 sparks anger in regions | Railnews | Today's news for Tomorrow's railway

This all means that there's less to spend elsewhere:
DfT scraps electrification schemes | Railnews | Today's news for Tomorrow's railway

Including the Great Western line out of Paddington, as reported by the Telegraph last month:

Government ditches plans to electrify three major railway lines

Jack Maidment, political correspondent 20 JULY 2017 • 4:46PM

The Government has scrapped plans to electrify three major railway lines in a move described by Labour as a “betrayal” of train passengers.

Chris Grayling, the Transport Secretary, announced plans for new trains which can run on both electricity and diesel to operate on the Midland Main Line, Great Western Main Line and in the Lake District.

The Department for Transport said the introduction of so-called “bi-mode” trains meant that long-awaited electrification works between Cardiff and Swansea, Kettering, Nottingham and Sheffield, and between Windermere and Oxenholme, were no longer needed.


Government ditches plans to electrify three major railway lines

The 'bi-mode' trains are also promised for lines to Exeter - but these will not be fully electric:
Test runs for Devon's new high speed trains carried out | Devon Live

Last week, investment in Devon trains was given the thumbs-down:

'Disappointment' as plans for first new South Devon rail station in decades gets red light

By TinaCrowson | Posted: August 09, 2017 Comments (4)

The latest bid in the project to create a Devon Metro frequent train service linking Exeter with other parts of Devon has been refused.

The decision not to give the funding go ahead to the proposed new station at the gateway to Torquay comes after a similar scheme at Marsh Barton on the outskirts of Exeter was also refused funding.

Edginswell would be the first new rail station in the resort for decades and is earmarked for woodland and open space alongside the railway and between Newton Road and Riviera Way.

Torbay MP Kevin Foster said it was disappointing that the bid for the latest round of new stations funding failed.

He said: "While this is a set-back, all is not lost as the letter confirming the outcome made clear that it had proceeded beyond the initial stage of consideration. It also invited those working on the project to meet with Network Rail and the Department of Transport to discuss how it could be further developed. One issue is the significant cost added to the scheme for track alignment work that needs to be undertaken before a station can be built at the location selected."


'Disappointment' as plans for first new South Devon rail station in decades gets red light | Devon Live

And to
day the Times got very angry about how rail fares just keep going up:

The government’s inflation trickery is ripping us all off

SCOTT CORFE
august 18 2017, 12:01am, the times

Nobody likes being ripped off. And there is something particularly distasteful about being fleeced by your own government.

But that is precisely what is happening. Rail fares are set to rise at a much faster rate than employee earnings, with annual season tickets of over £5,000 an increasingly common sight. And interest charges on student loans in England will rise to 6.1 per cent from the autumn.

From students to commuters, the cost of living in the UK is on the rise. And some of the biggest cost increases are in areas where the government sets the terms.

Both rail fares and student loans are linked, under government policy, to the retail price index measure of inflation, long ago discarded by economists as a flawed…


The government’s inflation trickery is ripping us all off | Comment | The Times & The Sunday Times
Government ripping us off – again | East Devon Watch

With mixed messages for fare prices from Waterloo:

Trains from Exeter to Waterloo set to increase in franchise takeover | Devon Live
Rail fares set to be capped between London and Exeter

Yes, there is some investment happening in the SouthWest:
Plymouth gets cash to build new £40m railway station | Plymouth Herald

But it's clear that services are not that good:
Stagecoach lose South West Trains franchise - ITV News
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Knowle relocation project: appeal process published: Inquiry to be held 28th November

In a couple of weeks time, the last opportunity to send in comments on the appeal at Knowle will be upon us:
Futures Forum: Knowle relocation project: PegasusLife appeal >>> deadline for submissions: 6th September >>> further information

Here are some points which could be raised:
Futures Forum: Knowle relocation project: visual impact of the proposed development
Futures Forum: Knowle relocation project: and flooding
Futures Forum: Knowle relocation project: and its Arcadian garden
Futures Forum: Knowle relocation project: green corridor

The full schedule for the appeal process has now been published:


See also:
Knowle proposal: Pegasus Life Appeal to be determined on basis of an inquiry. Deadline for representations, 6th September 2017. | Save Our Sidmouth
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Brexit: and the future for rural Devon in the global economy

Local MPs look forward to a green and pleasant land post-Brexit:
Futures Forum: Brexit: and how to make a 'Green Brexit' work

There are several options for rural communities:
Futures Forum: Rural tourism is 'worth more than farming'
Futures Forum: Brexit: and Countryside Matters
Futures Forum: Brexit: and 10 key questions for rural policy

The Devon Communities Together, the community council for Devon, is putting on an event next month:

What does the future hold for rural Devon in the global economy?

By Crediton Courier Newspaper in Local Peoplerev
WITH Brexit, globalisation and the environment dominating the political landscape, Devon Communities Together, the community council for Devon, explores what the implications might mean for the county’s rural communities.
Prominent academics and pioneers of industry will offer valuable insights at the sixth annual Rural Futures Conference, which will be held on Thursday, September 28 at Westpoint Conference Centre, near Exeter. 
Professor Michael Woods from Aberystwyth University will explore how rural communities in particular can respond to the challenges of globalisation.
Dr Sally Basker from Exeter Science Park will be exploring whether new technology can offer a new future for rural communities.

Philip Cork from Crediton Dairy will look at the international dimensions of running an essentially "local" industry.

Dr Christopher Balch from the University of Plymouth will be discussing the impact of globalisation and asking how the South West can respond.
Huw Davies from PETROC College will discuss the challenges of becoming a more caring and inclusive society through a period of economic uncertainty.
Elaine Cook, Devon Communities Together CEO said: “This conference is about taking a step back from the fast pace of the world and exploring how Devon fits into the jigsaw.
"This year, we’re delighted to invite a number of prominent academics and leaders of industry to speak. For anyone with a vested interest in Devon, or in rural communities generally, this is the place to be.”
Martin Rich, event co-ordinator, said: “There are differing views on the benefits, or otherwise, of global economic and social forces on rural communities. Brexit may be just a side-show to greater dynamic as international centres of influence and power shift. There is a reaction against globalisation, is this the future or just an adjustment?
"Can ‘me first’ ever be a reality? We will explore the issues, not the sound-bites and discover a new direction for Devon.”
Devon Communities Together, the operating name for the Community Council of Devon, is an independent charitable company, founded in 1961. It is part of a national network of Rural Community Councils.
Devon Communities Together supports communities in many ways, including technical support for local councils, community halls and social enterprises. It helps communities develop new and imaginative ways of meeting needs, working in partnership with statutory bodies and voluntary organisations.
To book tickets, or for further information, telephone Devon Communities Together on 01392 248919 or visit the website: www.devoncommunities.org.uk .
Alan Quick

What does the future hold for rural Devon in the global economy? | News | Crediton Country Courier
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Thursday, 17 August 2017

Plans for Port Royal: an alternative view: a new campaign: an online petition > The '3Rs' vision to "retain, refurbish and reuse" > public meeting Wednesday 23rd August

The official consultation on proposals for Port Royal has now concluded, with 250 responses:
Futures Forum: Plans for Port Royal: anticipating a Regeneration Board >> Scoping Study consultation > 'No plans or designs are being considered or decided on at this stage, purely the possibility of improvement and viability of the important seafront site.'

An unofficial consultation has been running parallel:
Futures Forum: Plans for Port Royal: an alternative view: a new campaign: an online petition > The '3Rs' vision to "retain, refurbish and reuse" unveiled

This has included a petition - to be followed next week by a public meeting to consider the 'alternative proposals':

Dear Friends,

Thank you for signing the petition "an alternative plan for Sidmouth's Port Royal - the 3R's".

We've been collecting signatures on paper as well and the total has now passed 1000. We want to get as many signautres as possible, to show how strongly people feel about having appropriate development around Port Royal. So please remind everyone you know to sign, and help spread the word by forwarding the link below to your friends:

We're preparing the agenda for the public meeting (Wednesday August 23rd, All Saints Church Hall, All Saints Road, Sidmouth from 7pm) and this will be available shortly. 

The other date to put in your diary is the Sidmouth Town Council meeting on September 4th. Please attend this meeting if you can to show the town councillors how you feel. It's their role to represent the town, but to do that they need to see how people feel and hear what they want. 

We look forward to seeing many of you on August 23rd.
Thank you,

Cllrs Cathy Gardner, Matt Booth, Marianne Rixson and Dawn Manley

See also:
Graham shares alternative vision for Port Royal - Latest Sidmouth and Ottery News - Sidmouth Herald
BBC to highlight ‘Save Our Devon Seafronts’ campaign this Thursday (27 July). Port Royal, Sidmouth, will be featured. | Save Our Sidmouth
If YOUR vision for Port Royal isn’t the EDDC vision – you are “scaremongering” | East Devon Watch
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Brexit: and making bold predictions from Exeter

The MP for Honiton is fairly optimistic about how things will work out post-Brexit:
Futures Forum: Brexit: and how to make a 'Green Brexit' work

The MP for Exeter has been very uncomfortable about the issue from the outset:
Futures Forum: Brexit: and the use of data analytics
Ben Bradshaw says Russian hackers 'probably' fixed the EU referendum vote for Brexit | Daily Mail Online
No, Russia didn't deliver Brexit – the will of the people cannot be hacked - Telegraph
Russia accused of rigging Brexit as MP 'hands over materials' | Daily Star

Last month he made his position very clear:

Brexit will not happen and this is the reason why, says veteran Devon MP


By maxc73 | Posted: July 19, 2017

A veteran Devon MP has claimed Brexit will not happen.

In a column for The Herald's sister website Devon Live, Exeter Labour MP Ben Bradshaw said: 


"I'm going to make a bold prediction. Brexit won't happen. There. I've said it.

"It's what a lot of people are thinking and many hoping, but not saying, for fear of appearing "undemocratic".

"Let me explain my reasoning for this prediction.


"I've always thought there was a good chance Brexit wouldn't happen once the British people were faced with a terrible negotiation and an even worse deal. But the general election and its aftermath have brought that moment forward.

"Only now are we having the debate about what Brexit actually means and the different types of Brexit that we didn't during the Referendum campaign and haven't since because an imperious Prime Minister closed down all discussion with her meaningless mantra 'Brexit means Brexit'.

"Only now are we having the debate about what Brexit actually means and the different types of Brexit that we didn't during the Referendum campaign and haven't since because an imperious Prime Minister closed down all discussion with her meaningless mantra 'Brexit means Brexit'.


"That Prime Minister has now lost her majority and with it her authority. The level and tone of public squabbling among her Ministers is unprecedented.

"This week Michael Gove's ex advisor and head of the Leave campaign described the Brexit Secretary, David Davis, as 'thick as mince, lazy as a toad and vain as Narcissus'.

"Soft Brexiter Cabinet Ministers hit back at Gove and Boris Johnson calling them 'testosterone-fuelled donkeys' and 'safe seat kids' who should 'go back to being the juvenile scribblers they were before they entered politics'.

"This might be entertaining were it not so serious for the country. With a Cabinet at war with itself, how can it be expected to negotiate itself out of a paper bag, let alone conduct the most complicated, challenging, important talks this country has ever embarked on?

"What these Cabinet rows have exposed is the basic incompatibility of the Leave campaign's two main groups. One want to reduce immigration, whatever the cost to our economy and the other want an ultra-free-market free trade Britain and aren't bothered about immigration.


"Mrs May has no parliamentary majority for her extreme hard Brexit – outside the Customs Union and the Single Market.

"But as soon as she retreats from this and adopts a more sensible, softer Brexit, the Conservative Party will descend into civil war and, in all probability, split.

"The greatest danger is that the UK Government, riven with divisions, is incapable of negotiating anything, talks break down and we fall off the cliff edge. I can't see that happening without Parliament intervening to stop what would be the worst of all possible outcomes. And what then?

"No hard Brexit, no soft Brexit, no chaotic cliff edge Brexit. And all the time the practical impact of Brexit hitting the public in lower living standards, less investment, more austerity and fewer jobs. Public opinion is already changing. Most now want to stay in the Single Market and Customs Union and most want a say on any final deal.

"The illusion of a pain-free Brexit that would stop free movement and payments to the EU while maintaining free trade is being shattered.

"If the British people are renowned for one thing – it's their common sense. I can't see them tolerating a course of action that will result in their own significant impoverishment."


Brexit will not happen and this is the reason why, says veteran Devon MP | Plymouth Herald
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Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Knowle relocation project: visual impact of the proposed development

One of the main reasons for rejecting PegasusLife's application to develop Knowle was the visual impact:

The application was refused on the grounds that it was an overdevelopment of the site which would impact on neighbours and the character of the area;

9 December 2016 - East Devon’s Development Management Committee refuse permission to build 113-apartments at EDDC’s offices at Knowle in Sidmouth - East Devon

The appellant considers its proposal is quite alright:
Appeal lodged against refusal of multi-million pound redevelopment plans for East Devon's HQ | Devon Live

Especially in that it 'will sit comfortably within the parkland and townscape context':
Futures Forum: Knowle relocation project: PegasusLife grounds of appeal

This is not very convincing:
Futures Forum: Knowle relocation project: >>> a far more imposing development than assumed >>> "in your face"
Futures Forum: Knowle relocation project: the setting of the Listed folly - and challenging the mass and positioning of the buildings
Futures Forum: Knowle relocation project: >>> a far more imposing development than assumed >>> "Until PegasusLife provide a proper Townscape and Visual Impact Statement covering all the views and perspectives on this massive development, (2.1 times the size recommended in the Local Plan), the DMC should not be asked to make a fair and accurate assessment of the proposal's worthiness for Sidmouth."

The Devon Live website carries a picture of how the development would impact on Sidmouth, from the Bickwell Valley:



Retirement village plan for East Devon Council's Knowle HQ rejected | Devon Live

Other photo-montages were made at the time.

Here is a montage of the view from Alma Bridge: the outlines are not perfect but the heights are accurate as demonstrated by helium balloon last October: 




Here is the  current view with existing roof line for comparison:




See also:
Futures Forum: Knowle relocation project: planning application to be considered by District Council: Tuesday 6th December >>> planning officers brush aside planning policies
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Sid Valley Bat Project: lower half of the Sid and shoreline: bat catching research session: Saturday 19th August

Things are well underway to track bats in the Sid Valley:
Futures Forum: Sid Valley Bat Project: White Cross: first bat catching research session: Friday 11th August

The next session is this coming Saturday - with a change of meet-up point:


Hi All,
I have changed the venue for our bat catching session to focus on the lower half of the river Sid and shoreline.
We will meet in the car park behind the swimming pool Grid Ref: SY 12795 87399  EX10 8BN in Sidmouth Town. The parking is free after six and we will still meet at 7:30.
Hope to see you there
Kind Regards
Louise


Louise Woolley BSc (Hons) ACIEEM - Ecological Services
louise@devonecologyandwildlife.co.uk
www.devonecologyandwildlife.co.uk 
22 Arcot Park, Sidmouth, Devon, EX10 9HP
01395 512536                  07905 418460



Sidmouth Bat Group.pdf
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‘Creativity on the Coast’ at the Museum

We've had some very creative work showcasing the area's maritime heritage:
Futures Forum: 'Working the Sea' > celebrating Sidmouth's fishing heritage on film
Futures Forum: Sidmouth Seafest 2017: celebrating a maritime heritage >>> "Working the Sea": "This stunning film: fascinating and inspiring, funny and humbling is a powerful reminder how lucky we are on the coast"

The Sidmouth Coastal Community Hub have been busy again - working with the Museum:


Sea-inspired activities draw youngsters to Sidmouth Museum

PUBLISHED: 06:56 16 August 2017




Children enjoy getting creative with Sidmouth Seafest at Sidmouth Museum. PICTURES: Sarah Hall


Sidmouth Museum and Sidmouth Coastal Community Hub team up to show youngsters about the town’s coastal heritage

Creative youngsters enjoyed a day of activities learning about the town’s coastal heritage at Sidmouth Museum.
The tourist attraction teamed up with Sidmouth Coastal Community Hub to host the day, which attracted nearly 40 children. Louise Cole and Coco Hodgkinson, from the hub, volunteered to bring their ‘Creativity on the Coast’-based activities to the museum.
The young visitors tapped 
into their creative side through a range of activities, including tile rolling, card designing and star fish rubbing.

Therina Mulder, leading the museum’s young visitors’ section, set the youngsters a sea-based quiz tasking the visitors to find items around the displays.
She added: “It is about encouraging them to go round the museum and see what’s on offer and hopefully [they will] come back.”
Louise Cole, director for the coastal hub, said the event helped youngsters to learn about the town’s coastal heritage.
She added: “The museum is trying to do more activities for children over the summer. We took these coastal connections and had pictures for inspiration of seasonal fish with information about them. They could then design their own tiles and cards and it was really nice.”


Seafest activities for Sidmouth youngsters - Latest Sidmouth and Ottery News - Sidmouth Herald
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The limits of neighbourhood planning: how 'the DCC Scrutiny committee decision may have legal implications for an effective Neighbourhood Plan being implemented, not just for Honiton but for other affected towns in Devon who are also losing their community hospital facility.'

Honiton's hospital is about to close:
Hospital beds in Seaton and Honiton to close before end of August - View News
Bed closures at four Devon hospitals to begin next week | Devon Live
Dates set for Seaton and Honiton hospital bed closures - Honiton, Axminster and Seaton news - Midweek Herald

And a 'direct action' campaign has started up:
Honiton patients' group promises 'direct action' - View News

This follows on from a controversial decision by the County Council's health committee not to intervene:
Futures Forum: The future of Devon's hospitals >>> a decision NOT to refer plans to close hospital beds across Devon to the Health Secretary
Futures Forum: The future of East Devon's hospitals >>> District Council urges County Council "to stop dithering" and refer bed closures to the Secretary of State

The vote is now open to scrutiny:
Conduct of health committee members investigated by Devon council | Devon Live

This all leads to the question of how much or how little local communities can really shape themselves.

This blog has looked at how neighbourhood plan processes have been stymied by developers:
Futures Forum: The limits of neighbourhood planning: how developers can 'outmanoevre'

It now seems that the council decision has thwarted the Honiton neighbourhood plan process:

Will it be back to the drawing board for Honiton’s neighbourhood plan?

HOSPITAL’S ‘EFFECTIVE CLOSURE’ POSES PROBLEM FOR STEERING GROUP
HONITON’S Neighbourhood Plan could be facing an uncertain future after the decision to close the inpatient beds and temporarily close the maternity unit at the hospital.
Neighbourhood Plan committee member Stephen Kolek says that after all the work the group had done in collecting facts and figures to help shape the Neighbourhood Plan, the hospital regularly came out on top as a vital service to the town and one it couldn’t do with out.
Mr Kolek said: “I am very concerned how the effective closure of Honiton Hospital will have on the Honiton Neighbourhood Plan steering group’s ability to deliver a suitable Neighbourhood Plan for Honiton. The process is still in the early stages. However, the first round of information gathering via a public questionnaire asking residents ‘What did people want in their town?’ showed a hospital was joint top.
“The Devon County Council Health and Adult Care Scrutiny committee decision on July 26th effectively closed Honiton Hospital and therefore leaves the next level of consultation for the Honiton Neighbourhood plan a much more difficult task.
“There may even be a case that the DCC Scrutiny committee decision may have legal implications for an effective Neighbourhood Plan being implemented not just for Honiton but for other affected towns in Devon who are also losing their community hospital facility.”
Mr Kolek says that through the process of developing the important plan, the town council has been very supportive but said that he was extremely disappointed that two former Honiton county councillors, Paul Diviani and Sara Randall Johnson, both voted to not refer the matter of closing inpatient beds to Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt and called it ‘a real stab in the back’ for the town and their ex-constituents.
“Did these Devon county councillors discuss their decision making with residents? Or did they make their decision on the basis of ‘I know best’. The Neighbourhood Plan is being put together by volunteers and we’ve collected the feelings of the people who have now been ignored.
“Cllr Diviani twice voted against the public’s wishes and yet had the gall to stand with residents on Red Line Day on April 1st in protest of the CCG’s decision.”
Cllr Diviani, who attended the scrutiny committee as the representative of Devon district councils, and Cllr Sara Randall Johnson, who was chairing the meeting and representing her ward of Broadclyst, have both clarified their views after residents from across the district expressed their anger towards their decision.
Cllr Diviani said: “My position on that scrutiny committee is by virtue of my being elected by the other leaders of all the Devon districts to represent the countywide views of the district councils (not just East Devon), a function I perform regularly both locally and in London (through the District Councils Network) where I represent the South West
“The major flaw appears to me to be the ever present ‘one size fits all’. Flexibility is key and our response should be the start. Attempting to browbeat the Secretary of State with a demand to overturn his own policies is counter-intuitive. I prefer the softer approach of asking him to rural proof our rural situation, before allowing any further reductions in service.”
Cllr Randall Johnson said: “I know there are many people who are concerned that the ‘new model of care’ and wrap around care – rapid response team might not be in place before the beds are closed. Members were reassured by the provider (RD&E) that no beds would be closed until the new service was in place and fully functioning.
“Over the coming months the Health and Adult Care Scrutiny committee will be holding NEW Devon Clinical Commissioning Group and the RD&E to account by closely monitoring the implementation and delivery of the ‘new model of care’ to ensure each patient has a care plan that supports their rehabilitation and longer term wellbeing.”
Will it be back to the drawing board for Honiton's neighbourhood plan?
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