Wednesday, 26 June 2013

VGS AGM: the Futures Forum looks back over the last twelve months

The Vision Group for Sidmouth will be holding its AGM this evening Futures Forum: Vision Group for Sidmouth AGM 26th June: poster. The Futures Forum will be giving a brief report on what it's been up to over the past year:

3rd September 2012

Dave Chapman of Locality gave a presentation about Neighbourhood Planning.

‘Locality is about self-determination, community needs and building resilient economies’. Whilst the town should avoid going ‘bananas’ (Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anyone), Sidmouth needs to consider where its future lies, whether under the new community right to build under the Localism Act, or seeking to influence the local housing market through the Sustainable Communities Act.

Citing other local initiatives such as the Lyme Regis Development Trust, Dave stressed the importance of working with the authorities. Firstly, EDDC planning officers, who would welcome an eventual NP as a reference for planning policy, should be contacted with a proposal to set up a NP process. The Town Council, who would lead the NP process, would in turn be contacted by EDDC officers to formally initiate proceedings.

A year ago, central govt provided some guidelines for preparing the NP, ‘at the point when local people will begin collecting their ideas together and drawing up their plans’:
With a neighbourhood plan, communities will be able to establish general planning policies for the development and use of land in a neighbourhood. The NP will set a vision for the future and can be detailed, or general, depending on what local people want. However, the NP must generally be in line with local and national planning policies: if the local planning authority says that an area needs to grow, then communities cannot use neighbourhood planning to block the building of new homes and businesses. They can, however, use neighbourhood planning to influence the type, design, location and mix of new development.

A ‘Working Together’ conference was hosted by EDDC at Knowle: Weds 14th September: reports are to follow.

STC will be considering the NP process: Monday 5th November: “Neighbourhood Plan: Creation of a Neighbourhood Forum”: ‘STC to lead the NP process whilst harnessing the expertise of members of the community’.

September and November

Futures Forum work on the Knowle Plans

These documents were sent to the East Devon District Council on behalf of the VGS Futures Forum:

Objection to the Outline Planning Application 15th September 2012

Objection to the Amended Outline Planning Application 15th November 2012

7th January 2013

Futures Forum to discuss cycle routes and the EDDC Local Plan:

Most of the meeting was taken up by considering the FF submission to the Local Plan on behalf of the VGS:
> In the preface there should be mention of the fact that the FF has held regular open meetings, with Cllrs and professionals in attendance; research conducted by members further contributes to the authoritativeness of the FF.
> As part of the VGS, the FF looks to the future requirements of Sidmouth, understanding the emphasis on employment and housing; although other areas of strategic policy-making have been taken up at FF meetings.
> Individual comments in the FF submission should include ‘we object/we support’.
> As submissions will be for the attention of the Inspector, comments will have to be repeated, as most have been largely ignored by District officers in compiling the final draft. The VGS can ask to address the Inspector on his visit to Sidmouth later in the year.

The Representation on the Draft Local Plan was sent to the EDDC in January.

11th March  2013

Regular Meeting Futures Forum

Port Royal 
> next STC chair John Hollicks has offered to meet RobertCrick /Richard Eley re Port Royal Steering Cttee 2010 report: Sidmouth residents’ ideas for Port Royal regeneration - News - Sidmouth HeraldSidmouth Port Royal development hope - News - Sidmouth Herald
> latest proposals for Drill Hall: sidmouthdrillhall | Save Sidmouth Drill Hall Campaign


Health Centre/Devon NHS 
> ‘Sidmouth NHS meeting fears for the future: Feb 23 2013’ notes attached: Robert's notes from a recent meeting to discuss NHS in Sidmouth

12th March 2013

Cash for Planning Consents: VGS Reaction

VGS reaction to the recent Daily Telegraph investigation published on 11 March.

The revelations published in the Daily Telegraph since March 11th have come as no surprise to the Vision Group for Sidmouth (VGS). They do not distract or deflect us from our determination to continue exploring positive options for the solution of the many real problems confronting the valley. 
For many years the Sid Valley has been frustrated by the persistent failure of our town and district councils to agree a strategic plan for the town. This lack of vision was the reason why the VGS was established by the Sidmouth Town Council (STC) and Sid Vale Association (SVA) 8 years ago. Planning consents given to assertive developers with powerful lobbies have been an inevitable consequence of this strategic vacuum. Similar short-term perspectives have bedevilled other communities across East Devon.
We hope and believe that the current scandal, which has already led to the suspension of one senior EDDC councillor, will serve as a wake-up call before the de-regulated development flood gates are opened by the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) later this month. The VGS continues to offer its voluntary expertise and advice to our elected representatives and their officers, hoping for positive outcomes for the town and valley in such areas as housing and commercial development, employment creation, coastal defence, traffic management, and food and energy security and energy.
We also deprecate EDDC Cabinet's fixation on making a quick profit from the sale of our assets. At present this appears to be a separate issue. We are however gratified that opposition to such proposals has encouraged the whole community to come together successfully. We hope that this unity can be harnessed positively as soon as our local government chooses to engage with us.
Robert Crick, Chair of the VGS Futures Forum

25th April 2013

Futures Forum Blog

A newly created blogging opportunity for all interested in the Futures Forum activities
If you are interested in engaging in informal online discussions about activities and topics discussed at Futures Forum meetings, you can now do just that via the Futures Forum blog site

18th May 2013

Coastal Communities Fund - finance for Feniton cycle route

Futures Forum is working with representatives from local councils, Sustrans and Otter Cycling group

The Vision Group has been keen to help the County, together with Sustrans, in its determination to see the Feniton to Sidmouth cycle track project get off the ground. We are aware of DCC’s commitment and of Sustrans’ own research – and it has been with this in mind and after consulting with DCC, Sustrans and other players that the VGS has submitted an application to the Coastal Communities Fund for finance towards this worthy project.

Warm thanks to Michael Brittain and Matt Booth for their invaluable input and guidance in putting this bid together: we will hear in June how this first stage has gone.

20th May  2013

Futures Forum meets

Cycling Matters! Do you have any questions about cycling in Sidmouth and the Sid Valley?

Devon County Officials will be taking questions on this topic. All Welcome to join the debate. We are very fortunate in having several key players in attendance:
>> DCC Officer Zsolt Schuller will be addressing the meeting – he is responsible for the Devon Cycling Strategy, which is out for consultation, and is currently collating responses from all interested parties. At the FF meeting he’ll be explaining the Strategy and hopes to obtain some feedback from us in attendance.Futures Forum: Cycling: Devon Cycling Strategy  
>> The Devon representative of Sustrans, Peter Grainger, will be coming along to contribute
>> Several members of the Otter Trail group will be attending – including students from King’s School - as we will be considering the proposed DCC cycle route from Feniton which they are also keen to promote. Futures Forum: Cycling: Otter Trail
>> And newly-elected DCC Cllr Stuart Hughes, portfolio holder for Highways which includes cycling in the county, will be in attendance too. Futures Forum: Cycling: Tour of Britain in Devon
>> STC Councillors have also been invited. Futures Forum: Cycling: in Sidmouth

21st June 2013 

Following Sidmouth Town Council’s call for bids for a share of the £150k sports fund Futures Forum: Sidmouth funding for cycling? the VGS has suggested a contribution be made to the Sidmouth to Bowd (to Feniton) cycle track Vision Group for Sidmouth - VGS proposal to STC for funding

26th June 2013

VGS Annual General Meeting.

Kennaway House
The Annual Business Meeting followed by a Public Meeting on 'Sustainable Development'

The agenda for the AGM:
1. Welcome and address by the Chair
2. Reports from Officers Action Groups
--- Treasurer, Press and Publicity, Action Groups: SVEAG and Futures Forum
3. Election of Officers 
--- Chair, Deputy Chair and Coordinator: do we wish to fill this role, Press and Publicity Officer, Secretary, Treasurer
Close AGM at 7.25pm

Following on from the VGS AGM business meeting, we will have a public discussion on the subject of ‘Sustainable Development’, starting at 7.30 pm.  The aim is to inform and raise our understanding on what Sustainable Development means to various organisations and individuals in practical terms.
The panel members will give a short presentation about their own sphere of responsibility or concern. This will be followed by a general discussion on the topics arising.
> Cheryl Hiles - Regen SW Regen South West - delivering sustainable energy
> Jill Elson - East Devon District Councillor, Exmouth: portfolio holder for Sustainable Communities 
East Devon District Council - Homepage
> Mabel Cornwell and Chris Turner - Sidmouth College Students 
Sidmouth College
> Keith Bennett - Otter Brewery 
Welcome to one of the South West's leading breweries - Otter Brewery
> Peter Endersby and Lynette Talbot - Sidmouth in Bloom 
Sidmouth In Bloom
> Ruth Hancock - Fresh and Green 
Fresh and Green
> Simon Tytherleig - Economics, Sustainable 
Bradninch Bradninch Climate Action Group
We are inviting the participants to reflect and share ideas on what 'sustainability' means to them in the contexts of work, community and social activities, planning, education, travel, commerce, manufacture and other businesses.
The VGS does not promote or endorse any specific position, but provides an independent forum for the sharing of ideas and research into the issues that confront Sidmouth.
“Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”


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