Tuesday, 15 January 2019

UK government plans to improve air quality > not enough?

We have a problem with air pollution:
Futures Forum: What to do about car emissions: from Paris to London...

- and have had so for some time now:
Futures Forum: What to do about car emissions: from Paris to London ... yet again...

Whatever happens with Brexit, the UK will have to comply with regulations - and has been called on to do so time and time again:
Futures Forum: "The UK government is “flouting” its duty to protect the lives and health of its citizens from illegal and dangerous levels of air pollution."
Futures Forum: UK government again told to act on air pollution

And so we need to do something:
Futures Forum: Air pollution: urgent action needed

And so the UK government has acted: 

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has released its much anticipated Clean Air Strategy 2019, setting out how England will set out reducing the prevalence of harmful air pollutants.

Defra unveils Clean Air Strategy | Environment Analyst

With a few more details here: 

The government has set out new plans on air pollution that ministers say go beyond existing EU rules, with a pledge to improve air quality nationwide to the standards the World Health Organization (WH0) recommends.

Farmers will be subject to such air quality regulations for the first time to cut their growing contribution to pollution, under the government plans set out on Monday, while diesel vehicle drivers and owners of wood-burning stoves will also face restrictions.

New air pollution plans improve on EU rules, government claims | Environment | The Guardian 

But not everyone is happy: 

The government's clean air plan largely ignores traffic pollution

The government has published its new Clean Air Strategy, intended to improve air quality and the catastrophic impact of nitrous dioxide pollution on health with new restrictions on wood stoves, open fires and agriculture (BBC News).

The UK, and England in particular, has some of the worst nitrogen dioxide pollution in Europe, largely due to vehicles, but instead of introducing new nationwide measures to reduce diesel emissions, the new plan refers back to a woefully inadequate 2017 policy for tackling roadside nitrogen oxide pollution, which makes it largely the responsibility of local authorities.

The government's clean air plan largely ignores traffic pollution | WIRED UK 

Here's Greenpeace: 

Amid our growing air pollution crisis the Government have today announced their grand plan to tackle air pollution. In it are welcome recognition of the scale of the problem and levels of ambition. However there are clear gaps in their plan that make this yet another failed opportunity. 

The government's new Clean Air Strategy - what's wrong with it? | Greenpeace UK

And here's the Financial Times:

Air pollution crackdown avoids legally binding goals

Campaigners say new strategy ducks question of existing air quality targets

London fog: Public concern over the impact of air pollution is growing © Reuters

Leslie Hook in London 

A new UK plan to tackle air pollution will aim to reduce the number of people exposed to fine particulate matter, the government announced on Monday.

But the plan stopped short of outlining a target on fine particulates — one of the most damaging forms of pollution — and campaigners criticised the government’s new strategy for not including legally binding goals on air quality.

The campaigners also complained that the strategy ducked the question of how the government intended to meet existing air quality targets, which have been repeatedly missed in the past.

Britain is one of six EU countries facing fines at the European Court of Justice owing to persistent violations of air-quality limits.

Michael Gove, environment secretary, pledged “strong, urgent action” to improve air quality. “While air quality has improved significantly in recent years, air pollution continues to shorten lives, harm our children and reduce quality of life,” he added.

Public concern over the impact of air pollution has been growing, as an increasing body of research highlights the adverse health effects, particularly on children.

Last week attorney-general Geoffrey Cox granted permission for a new inquest into the death of nine-year-old Ella Kissi-Debrah, who lived in London and suffered from repeated asthma attacks. The inquest is expected to consider whether her death was linked to air pollution.

Bryony Worthington, a cross-bench peer in the House of Lords who helped craft UK climate-change legislation a decade ago, said the real test for the government would be what sort of air-quality protections were contained in its forthcoming environment bill. “The proof will be in that bill, if it is full of aspirations and no new policy, then it will fail that test,” she added.

Andrea Lee of ClientEarth, a non-profit organisation, said the government’s new strategy was “a bit like planning to do more planning”, as it promised to release a new study soon about what it would take to meet guidelines by the World Health Organisation on fine particulate matter. “At the moment the UK is projected to not meet quite a few of their emissions targets in 2020,” she said. “We welcome the acknowledgment of the need to have a more ambitious target on particulate matter, but we want it to be a legally binding commitment.”

Simon Birkett, head of Clean Air London, a group campaigning for cleaner air in the capital, said the government’s strategy was “pipe dreams and warm words, but nothing we can rely on”. “The real test is about existing commitments,” he added, saying Britain already had legally binding targets for curbing ammonia and nitrogen dioxide, but was not on track to meet them.

Academics welcomed how the government’s strategy sought to address air pollution from a wide range of industries. “Our past attempts to control air pollution made the mistake of focusing on one pollutant source at a time rather than the whole problem,” said Gary Fuller, a scientist at King’s College London and author of The Invisible Killer, an account of global air pollution. “It will come as a surprise to many to see agriculture and shipping in the new plans but we need action on all sources of air pollution if we are to reduce the intolerable health burden of breathing bad air.” 

Air pollution crackdown avoids legally binding goals | Financial Times

Are charity shops "crowding out the independent shops that are needed to ‘revive’ British high streets"?

Are there too many charity shops on our high streets?
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?

The Rural Services Network reports on the latest opinions: 



There are now 11,000 charity shops across the UK, the growth of which has been attributed to government subsidies of up to an 80 per cent discount on business rates, as reported by The Times.

Retail analysts now warn that that charity shops are crowding out the independent shops, cafes and leisure premises that are needed to ‘revive’ British high streets after the worst Christmas in a decade.

There is a huge incentive for landlords to rent empty properties to charity shops as they now have to pay full business rates if a shop is empty for longer than three months. As a result charities are often permitted short leases to rent spaces at low rents.

There have been calls for councils to use discretion to lower business rates for independent shops to rejuvenate high streets.

Impacts from the rise of charity shops - Rural Services Network

Here's the piece from the Times: 

Taxpayer’s charity shop subsidy blamed for high street decline

Andrew Ellson, Consumer Affairs Correspondent | Esther Roberts

January 12 2019, The Times

The number of charity shops has grown rapidly over the past 15 years JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP

Taxpayer support for charitable premises has grown by more than £1 billion over the past decade, adding to concern that subsidies are distorting high streets by fuelling an expansion in the number of charity shops.

Figures from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government show the cost of offering charities an 80 per cent discount on business rates rose to almost £1.9 billion in 2017-18 from £850 million in 2008-09. Retail analysts say this is crowding out the independent shops, cafés, and leisure premises needed to revive town and city centres.

The number of charity shops in Britain has grown rapidly over the past 15 years to more than 11,000 today. Residents and retailers in some towns complain that their high street seems to…

Taxpayer’s charity shop subsidy blamed for high street decline | News | The Times 

With a letter to the Times from the CEO of the Charity Retail Association:

Times Letters: Charity shops and decline of the high street

january 14 2019, 12:01am, the times

Sir, Your article “Taxpayer’s charity shop subsidy blamed for high street decline” (News, Jan 12) offers a limited perspective on the role of charity shops in the high street. Business rate relief is the only kind of subsidy that charity shops get, reflecting the fact that they largely sell second-hand goods and thus do not effectively compete with other retailers. They also undertake a whole host of sustainable community activities. There is no objective evidence that charity retail creates town-centre decline; on the contrary, we have plenty of evidence that the sector is responsible for keeping high streets going in what is undoubtedly a difficult climate, providing much-needed footfall and variety.

Robin Osterley
Chief executive, Charity Retail Association

Times Letters: Charity shops and decline of the high street | Comment | The Times

And here's an opinion from the Civil Society group:

Rob Preston: Why The Times is wrong about charity shops

14 Jan 2019 Voices

On Saturday, the Times published an article with the heading “Taxpayer’s charity shop subsidy blamed for high street decline”.

The article says the amount councils have given to charity premises through a mandatory 80 per cent discount on business rates has more than doubled to £1.9bn over the past decade and made it difficult for private retailers to compete.

It says the rate relief has led to a rapid rise in charity shops over the past decade which has “crowded out” independent shops, cafés and leisure premises.

The article also says charities benefit from a local authority charge on premises that are left empty for longer than three months. This scheme, it says, has led some landlords with empty premises to split the cost of discounted business rates with charities if they agree to temporarily use the space.

As a solution, the article suggested councils voluntarily introduce a similar discount on business rates for independent retailers.
Big subsidies

Let’s start with numbers. The Times article says charities received £850m in business rates relief in 2008/09, growing to £1.9bn in 2017/18.

One of these figures is wrong and the other is misleading. According to the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government figures, published in November, charities actually received £1.8bn in mandatory business rates relief in 2017/18. And the £850m for 2008/09 is not adjusted for inflation. £1.1bn for 2008/09 is the comparable figure.

Nevertheless, there has definitely been a big growth in the number of charity shops and therefore the amount the sector has received in business rates relief. It has been no secret that there are many more charity shops now than 10 years ago, so the related rise in business rates relief is not surprising.

However, as the past two Charity Shops Surveys have shown, charities are no longer expanding their shop chains as the same rate they were, if at all, so it is possible we have reached saturation point.

Scrap rate relief?

Thankfully, the article does not directly suggest removing rate relief for charity shops, which the Charity Retail Association believes would make at least half of shops uneconomical.

By putting the £1.9bn figure in the headline though, it goads the reader into questioning whether their hard-earned cash should be used to support charity shops.

It absolutely should. There are a number of benefits to there being more charity shops on and off the high street, but let’s start with their primary function – to provide a source of additional income for good causes.

About half of the charities that respond to the survey are hospices, the majority of which are local organisations. I’m sure most members of the public would be happy that their taxes are going to support palliative care, a service which is coming under increasing demand with an ageing population.

A Charity Retail Association report in 2017 listed additional benefits that charity shops provide, such as creating volunteering opportunities and providing a unique way for donors to recycle old clothes, the latter of which it suggested could even save councils money by preventing them from having to pay landfill tax.

Allies not adversaries

The main thrust of the article is a familiar line that charity shops and the subsidies they receive have led to tougher conditions for private retailers.

Private retailers have certainly endured a tough decade but to lay the blame for this at the door of charities is absurd.

A perfect storm of the 2008 financial crisis and a massive growth in online retailers such as Amazon is what has led to many shops closing in recent years.

Rather than pushing private retailers out, charities have kept high streets alive in a very difficult climate.

While some independent traders might be frustrated that voluntary organisations are offered a rate relief they are not, most value the role charity shops play in maintaining a high footfall on the high street.

Another key point is that charity shops are not direct competitors to private retailers. Unlike their independent neighbours, a majority of what charities sell is used goods. While some are beginning to sell some new products, these are often donated or facilitated by private retailers themselves.

In an age of increased scrutiny over all organisations’ ethical credentials, charity shops offer a perfect partnership for private retailers. It’s a win-win situation.


The article does not mention that the government has already tried to reinvigorate the high street by lowering business rates for all retailers by a third from April this year.

To be fair, the article’s suggested solution of councils offering a similar discount in business rates to independent retailers might help them to get established. However, councils are unlikely to offer this on a voluntary basis as they continue to suffer cuts in central government funding.

Recently, Sports Direct owner Mike Ashley suggested at a select committee hearing that a new 20 per cent tax should be introduced for online retailers to help high street shops compete. It is an interesting suggestion although it might be worth the government stopping online retailers avoiding the tax they are already required to pay first.

Unfortunately, the elephant in the room is that Brexit could lead to another recession and an even tougher environment for retailers.

Described by Napoleon as a nation of shopkeepers, Britain should fight to preserve independent retailers as an integral part of its DNA. But whatever the solution is to reinvigorating them, the answer is not to attack their charity neighbours.

Knowle relocation project: financial profligacy in a time of austerity

It seems that more and more people are questioning the cost-effectiveness, if not profligacy, over the extravagant move of the District Council from Sidmouth to Honiton:
Futures Forum: Knowle relocation project: fantasy 'cost savings over twenty years' are of no interest to people in East Devon

Especially in these difficult financial times:
Futures Forum: District and County Council announce spending plans in a new year of austerity for local government

Here is one estimate of the amount of money being spent on the relocation project:

= £10.5 million (+ new road) for the Honiton HQ + £1.5 million for refurbishment of the Exmouth Town Hall 
= £12 million

= £7.5 m for Knowle from PegasusLife

= £4.5 m to be financed by borrowing

This is when East Devon District Council’s new Honiton HQ will be ‘open for business’ | Honiton, Axminster and Seaton news - Midweek Herald
Futures Forum: Knowle relocation project: ready to move, but at what cost...

And here are other estimates :
Futures Forum: Knowle relocation project: "The true cost of relocation is almost certainly at least £20 million."

Futures Forum: Knowle relocation project: Freedom of Information requests > and questions of money, process and viability

A report was sent to central government last year:
Futures Forum: Knowle relocation project: ready to move, but at what cost...

Here is the opening section:


EDDC has chosen to divert funds it does not have to the building of new headquarters – as indeed have other councils, to their cost. As such, EDDC’s commitment to spending well over £10million can only be described “as a ‘milestone’ for debt – taken on by council tax payers in East Devon. No matter how you spin this project, it is not residents who will benefit. And few if any of the councillors making these decisions will be around in 20 years when the true costs and ‘savings’ are known.”

There has been a huge lack of confidence in these figures throughout the project.14 The campaign group Save Our Sidmouth has opposed the move, believing “that EDDC has not done its sums correctly, has not properly assessed the cost of renovations to part of the existing Knowle buildings and that the risk in building a new office – borrowing up to £4.8 m and paying for the ‘savings’ over a 20 year period – is far too risky in the current economic climate”. 

From the beginning of its relocation project, EDDC claimed it would be ‘cost neutral’ – but after vacillating between the options over several years, the costs have now escalated. And yet these principal reasons for relocation have been proven time and again to be totally spurious, if not hopelessly under-estimated. Borrowing: EDDC is taking out substantial loans to finance this project: at its own admission “the 2016/17 borrowing requirement is made up as follows: £5,990,000 Office Relocation” – although these figures seem to change as and when. 

EDDC continues to promote the notion that its ‘Worksmart’ project “is set to save the Council £6m over the next 20 years”. And yet the figures for staff numbers subsequent to the move continue to be unclear, casting doubt on these “savings” – with EDDC refusing to provide full details of their ‘hot-desking’ arrangements. 

Energy use: 
As for their initial promises of large energy savings, EDDC claim they will save £5.55m over 20 years by moving from Knowle; again, these figures have been proven to be wildly inaccurate and so extremely contentious. Moreover, EDDC has refused to provide detailed energy figures to verify their cost calculations; they will not countenance considering alternative costings, such as remaining at Knowle; and they have ignored their own scrutiny committee’s instruction to allow the commissioning of an independent survey on the state of Knowle. 

Asset value: 
EDDC has just sold Knowle site for £7.5million, a sale which had by no means been guaranteed. They will be spending the same amount to build new headquarters at the Heathpark industrial estate in Honiton – at a site which had been earlier rejected by buyers for £3million. EDDC admit that the value of the new Honiton building is far less than the cost of construction.

Knowle relocation project: a summary of the issues - Vision Group for Sidmouth

Sidmouth Plastic Warriors > latest beach clean > "Our drains are just not designed for modern life – they were designed to take rainwater and leaves and flush them out to sea which they still do – they just take all the other stuff with it."

We've got serious problems with plastic pollution here in Sidmouth:
Futures Forum: The Sidmouth fatberg and plastic pollution: "the wet wipe monster"

Parallel to this, the Plastic Warriors have just had their first beach clean of the year:
Futures Forum: Sidmouth Plastic Warriors > beach clean Saturday 5th January

And it went very well: 

Plastic Warriors take to Sidmouth beach for clean up

PUBLISHED: 08:01 12 January 2019
Denise Bickley with Sidmouth beach clean volunteers. Ref shs 02 19TI 7826. Picture: Terry Ife
Denise Bickley with Sidmouth beach clean volunteers. Ref shs 02 19TI 7826. Picture: Terry Ife

Eight bin bags full of plastic waste, broken glass, bits of metal and other litter have been cleared from Sidmouth’s beach.

Sidmouth beach clean organiser Denise Bickley. Ref shs 02 19TI 7819. Picture: Terry IfeSidmouth beach clean organiser Denise Bickley. Ref shs 02 19TI 7819. Picture: Terry Ife
The beach clean-up on Saturday, January 5 was organised by Sidmouth Plastic Warriors, supported by Surfers Against Sewage. Sixty people braved the freezing cold to come and take part.
The chairman of the group, Denise Bickley, said they returned with six bags of waste, weighing an estimated 42kg, plus another two bags of recyclable plastic bottles, glass and tins, which were taken away by Streetscene.
“Most of the rubbish was degraded plastic, including fishing wire and nets - a huge amount of that was found at the Jacob’s Ladder end, in the rocks,” she said. “There were also bottle tops, polystyrene, what looked like fan belts from boat engines, the obligatory single shoe, dummies, plastic cutlery, cigarette ends, some broken glass, bits of metal etc – none of which we want on our beach.
“I would say roughly 60% has come from the sea users – large ships, fishing, and so on – twenty per cent is left on the beach, and the rest is from the land, washed down through the river or drains. Squashed bottles fit beautifully down the drains in the streets and go straight down to the beach, as do plastic chocolate wrappers, crisp packets, cigarette ends and so on. Our drains are just not designed for modern life – they were designed to take rainwater and leaves and flush them out to sea which they still do – they just take all the other stuff with it.”
Sidmouth beach clean. Ref shs 02 19TI 7816. Picture: Terry IfeSidmouth beach clean. Ref shs 02 19TI 7816. Picture: Terry Ife
But there is some positive news. Denise believes that, because of the increasing public awareness of the amount of plastic waste in the world’s oceans, many people are inspired to take action locally.
“We were joined by two people who have just moved to the area, who have been on a cruise and saw for themselves the plastic trash islands floating in the oceans,” she said. “Once you see it, you can’t ignore it.”
The Sidmouth Plastic Warriors will be organising another big beach clean in February. For more information, or visit sidmouthplasticwarriors.org to make a donation.
Sidmouth beach clean. Ref shs 02 19TI 7804. Picture: Terry IfeSidmouth beach clean. Ref shs 02 19TI 7804. Picture: Terry Ife
Sidmouth beach clean. Ref shs 02 19TI 7787. Picture: Terry IfeSidmouth beach clean. Ref shs 02 19TI 7787. Picture: Terry Ife
Sidmouth beach clean. Ref shs 02 19TI 7784. Picture: Terry IfeSidmouth beach clean. Ref shs 02 19TI 7784. Picture: Terry Ife
Sidmouth beach clean. Ref shs 02 19TI 7782. Picture: Terry IfeSidmouth beach clean. Ref shs 02 19TI 7782. Picture: Terry Ife
Sidmouth beach clean. Ref shs 02 19TI 7774. Picture: Terry IfeSidmouth beach clean. Ref shs 02 19TI 7774. Picture: Terry Ife

Plastic Warriors take to Sidmouth beach for clean up | Latest Sidmouth and Ottery News - Sidmouth Herald

2012: a vision for Sidmouth as 'the greenest town in England'

The Arboretum's AGM is happening later today - giving a chance to see how greener the Sid Valley is becoming:
Futures Forum: Sidmouth Arboretum AGM: Tuesday 15th January

We do indeed seem to be getting there...

At the Vision Group's AGM some seven years ago, the VGS chair gave a personal vision for the town and valley:


3 minute panel

By 2030 – we want Sidmouth to be the greenest town in England.   

You will see from the pic (circulated) of BELMONT HOTEL in 1817 – with thanks to Sidmouth Museum - that there were mature trees and shrubs close to the sea -
and woodland stretching up Glen Goyle and up to the hills.     I would like to see the Belmont replace their tidy rows of pansies with the lush foliage of a shrubbery which unlike the pansies can give us scented roses and the hum of busy insects.    

I would like to see the RIVIERA HOTEL replace their rather cold grey and very heavy containers with an idea used in New York, where the winters are very cold.    You need to make some large troughs of stout timber or metal and place them on wheels, plant them with bright colours and big foliage to give the sub tropical garden effect.    These should tolerate our variable summer climate and then when the weather turns - just trundle the containers to a more sheltered spot.

I would like to see the HAM CAR PARK remodelled along the lines of the pic. (circulated) with 30 trees.     So that we feel welcome when we go there and our visitors get a good feeling when they come into town by car  - the feeling you get from a cool and shady French square.   This would be an extremely expensive project but it would transform our feeling about the Eastern Town and perhaps a vast underground tank for rainwater storage could be incorporated into the groundworks.

I would like to see more tree planting in town,   There are several opportunities – for instance :  There is new café between Tesco and the Co-op – wouldn’t it be pleasant to have a few street trees offering shade and interest to the pavement area.   All the estate agents have their offices up there, so they know that tree lined pavements help property prices.   

We can improve the aspect of our own neighbourhood by planting more streets trees and shrubs on our side roads.    

Sidmouth in Bloom is encouraging community projects.

Futures Forum: Plans for Port Royal: Arboretum

Monday, 14 January 2019

Knowle relocation project: fantasy 'cost savings over twenty years' are of no interest to people in East Devon

The District Council has been getting rid of the old stuff at Knowle:
Futures Forum: Knowle relocation project: selling off council furniture and chattels to councillors

As it's off to a new place in Honiton:
Futures Forum: Knowle relocation project: moving to Honiton...

The problem is that it's all costing rather a lot of money - however you frame it:
Futures Forum: Knowle relocation project: ready to move, but at what cost...
Futures Forum: Knowle relocation project: "The true cost of relocation is almost certainly at least £20 million."

And people have noticed - as pointed out earlier today by the East Devon Watch blog: 


On 10 January 2019 EDDC posted pictures of its glam new shiny HQ building in Honiton

Unfortunately, they didn’t think it through and here are a few comments on that post...

EDDC new HQ: take pics, post and boast on social media and …. | East Devon Watch

Here is that posting on the District Council's Facebook pages - together with all the comments which came flooding:

Here's a few photos of the inside of our new headquarters in Honiton which is quickly taking shape in readiness for staff to move in shortly. The building will be open to the public by mid-February.
James Beverley, Karen Hayes, Paula Parker and 34 others like this.

East Devon District Council Looking at your posts, we need to emphasise that our relocation to Honiton will save East Devon District Council tax payers £1.4 million over 20 years compared with the current costs. To remain at the council’s old headquarters in Sidmouth and carry out essential repairs would cost an additional £4.5 million over 20 years compared with the current costs.

Laura Corser

Laura Corser East Devon District Council but families that are having to use food banks and can’t afford to heat their homes or pay their council tax bills and are getting court summons etc, did not need to see these pictures! Very poor acknowledgement on what people of east Devon are really interested in. I can assure you, it is not the look of your new building!!

Peter Bending

Peter Bending And how much would the repairs to Knowle have cost?

Brian Cann

Brian Cann Laura Corser spot on!!!!!

Nicholas Thornton

Nicholas Thornton East Devon District Council that doesn't answer to the reason behind the extravagant interior, which I'm sure could have been fitted at a fraction of what this was. It seems to me that your main concern is not for the needs of the people, who you extract money from, but for your over indulgent selves.

Kay Bee

Kay Bee East Devon District Council Could you please show us how these amounts were calculated?

Andy Rook

Andy Rook Peter Bending £4.5m over 20 years if you bother to read EDDC response.

Brian Cann

Brian Cann East Devon District Council the self indulgence which obviously was the reason for posting these pictures, is really quite disgusting, and all the gobbledygook about costs over 20 years, who gives a damm about that, what about addressing the lack of council housing, the amount of people forced to use food banks, and the amount of people receiving court summonses because they can’t pay your thieving council tax, but I suppose we can all hope that now your saving all this money with your move to Honiton, ‘and saving tax payers £1.4m’, we will see a reduction in our council tax bills, but I doubt it very much!!!!!!! Pathetic, overpaid, self indulgent group of out of touch individuals!!!!!

Brian Cann

Brian Cann Nicholas Thornton he won’t answer that Nick Thornton!!!!!!

Brian Cann

Brian Cann Utter bullshit!!!!!!!!!!

Margaret Jury

Margaret Jury A pity that some of your housing tenants are living in damp-ridden conditions affecting their health and at of their young families as demonstrated on BBC Spotlight this evening - action needed now,not in a couple of weeks or longer!!

Brian Cann

Brian Cann Margaret Jury will have to wait twenty years no doubt!!!!!!!!!!!

Ian Woolger

Ian Woolger Spending £3,000,000 pounds to move a road in Exmouth, £200,000 to replace a family fun park,crazy golf and putting greens that earned income? £100's of thousands in subsidies propping up Ocean in Exmouth. £40k plus for Hemingway to produce PR to enable you to justify your largess with Exmouths Queens Drive and the Rape of the Maer Valley, so you could pick up some cheap covenants to ruin the seafront. What a sorry excuse for a Council you are. As for the disposal of the "Table" for £50. I would at least expect a contrite Councillor to have the balls to admit he got rather more than a bargain and donate a reasonable sum to one of the local food banks you have driven the public to use. Oh, also the undervaluation of the Knowle site, the pathetic excuses for its deterioration due to your neglect and the spurious claims as to how much your new HQ will save the ratepayer. What utter rubbish, if you dont paint, repair and maintain your new HQ, in 20 years you will have an HQ in the same state as you left the Knowle and will have saved the ratepayer nothing. You are beyond unfit for purpose.

Julia Roebuck

Julia Roebuck Shame you sold all the stuff from the old building off dirt cheap to the staff and councillors. £50 for a 24 seat mahogany table. Shame shame shame on you!!!

Les Lane

Les Lane Julia Roebuck they have no shame.

Judith Taylor

Judith Taylor That's unbelievable 😨

Diane Harris

Diane Harris Why couldn't they just take the furniture with them and save money. Oh no let's just buy some new 😠😠

Julia Roebuck

Julia Roebuck Yes that was my thought exactly! They should have taken it all, or opened it to public bidding in order to get maximum money to put towards the new furniture....but no.....

Ian Woolger

Ian Woolger I always thought Councils were tasked with achieving "Best Value" for the ratepayer, not thieving best value for themselves...I wonder how much their new table will cost?

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