Thursday, 16 April 2015

Streetlife debates the election issues for Sidmouth

Three weeks ago, following the vote to sell the Knowle site, a new discussion thread appeared on the Streelife board - and it has continued to (and is continuing to) produce a lot of exchange on all manner of issues, which are highlighted:

Bye Bye Knowle

Local Politics in Sidmouth
Rob Hills
Dividing operations between Exmouth and Honiton will probably create more problems as far as I can see, it will be the usual "you need to talk to our Honiton offices" and vice versa. Mind you inefficiency goes hand in hand with bureaucrats. I just hope the expected neglect of Sidmouth by the exiting council doesn't happen in reality and that we keep this town the unique and lovely place that it is.
By the Byes
As I understand it there has been a programme of "managed decline" to the Knowle premises for some years, which then gives them justification for moving on/cashing in/take your pick. Had the property been properly maintained, there would never have been a case for moving premises at all.
The current estimate is that they'll be out of pocket for twenty years, (until the £11,000,000+ loan is repaid), after which it'll be plain sailing.
Of course, by this point it'll long since have become a Unitary Authority, and all the moving costs will never be reclaimed.
Keeping vital information a secret from us all can only lead us to draw our own conclusions about the real reasons for this sale.....
Pining Lass
Couldn't agree more RS!

It would seem that he is claiming that there are lots of plastic windows in the Conservation area. That may be so but I can't think of any in such a prominent position.

This is a very important building on the High Street, which is almost as important for tourist impact as the Esplanade, we need to get it right. So many of the shop facades have already got it wrong.
Barnacle Bill
He should stick to his guns - there are other premises with UVPC type windows - installed for a purpose - they are low maintenance and will not look drab and rot in years to come. There is a massive plate glass frontage to a church a bit further up the road - still in the Conservation Area - as are a couple of illuminated ATMs.

The only priority in getting this building sorted out is to stop it causing injury to passers by should any more of the rendering fall off. 

This project should not be singled out just because other facades have got it wrong - they went through the planning process didn't they? 

Just like satellite dishes - 'plastic' window frames are not such an issue now as they were 30 odd years ago.
Pining Lass
I didn't mean he should be singled out at all.

Most of the facades which are badly wrong, in my opinion, changed in the 70s and it would be wrong to make any new owners bear the burden of having to change them. So nothing can be done.

All I was suggesting was that he adhere to the standards which are in place now and not try to get away with a lower standard just because the building is in a desperate state. That seems like a sort of blackmail/holding to ransom.

To me satellite dishes etc are still an issue when they look out of place.
Real Sidmouthian
Two wrongs don't make a right. I think plastic windows in town look awful on shop frontages. That's re policy too. He knew it was in a conservation area and that it was an iconic building before he bought it. Tough.
Bob B
If he's the business man he says he would have been well aware of the rules and regs of a very prominent building in a very important conservation area. There are no white plastic windows in that part of town and however "good" they look now they would stick out like the proverbial sore thumb in that position . He is altering the building and being allowed to do that but trying to cut corners just for greed and laziness. We have had an eyesore for 10 years due to someone's illness. we want to make sure we don't have another one of our own making fir the next fifty just because we
It's perhaps worth saying that plastic, uPVC, windows have a life expectancy of around 25 years. There are plenty of examples of timber sash windows and casement windows around town that are getting on for 200 years old! You can tell the age of sash windows because they have slim glazing bars and no horns on the lower joints of the top sash. They are just a plain square joinery detail. The horns were not introduced in sash windows until about 1820s at the earliest. I know which I prefer.
Barnacle Bill
The planning documents currently available on the EDDC planning portal clearly indicate that the windows to the shop front will be painted timber. Only the side elevation windows will be upvc - I do not think these would be easily seen from the High Street.

There are plenty of upvc windows and doors in the town centre and a suprising number on some of the (iconic) hotels along the seafront - including the apartments at Trinity Court. They do not look out of place and compliment the buildings when the main structures have had a lick of paint.

Upvc windows that I had installed on a town property in 1977 are still doing the job,of being energy efficient, look smart, are nearly 40 years old now and have required no maintenance.

Iconic? Really? The only things memorable about the SES building is that it's local name is derived from the fact that it was used to sell stationery from the late 70s, it has more recently been the subject of discussion at council meetings, made local newspaper headlines, has been fenced off with barriers on the pavement and pedestrians would speed up when they walked past for fear of being hit by falling masonry from this crumbling wreck.

I only made a brief search - apparently the town council have supported the application and there are no objections recorded. What's the fuss about?
By the Byes
Conservation areas are there to protect the appearance of the front elevation - what can be seen from the road. Providing he complies by using timber framed windows on the front, there should be no issue with him using any other material at the sides, rear whatever.
It's in everyones interests to protect the appearance of Sidmouth for both heritage and tourism reasons, but a little unfair to pillary the chap for doing what is essentially a business decision. As BB says, if he follows the detail of the application, there should be no cause for concern, and the town will gain from a newly finished, timber windowed shopfront.
Pining Lass
BtB, a conservation area protects all aspects not just the front elevation. It considers the things which can be seen by neighbours and from hills/vantage points.

The whole point of it is to preserve the fabric and the 'feel' of the area.

However, I have no objection to him using them on the side where they really couldn't be seen. If he is going to push for that though I really should point out that he is getting away with making a huge change to the floor spanning window on that side already, which is a pretty major change.
By the Byes
Returning to the origins of this thread, it's interesting that in a letter "How disappointing" (pg 14 today's Herald) it is pointed out that ALL of our district councillors voted to push the sale of Knowle through before the general election. 
It really is time that local councillors understood that they are elected to their positions to represent the view of the local people, and not to blindly follow a party line. There is no place for party politics at district council level.
Isn't that why the vote took place before the election. I suspect all local district councillors know that they won't be 're- elected in May.
James B
Ok, so we know we are not being listened to by the people we elected to look after Sidmouth. What happens next?

We need to save the Knowle, we have all had the pleasure of the area, but our kids (and their kids)  deserve that pleasure too.

What do we do now?
Pining Lass
I must say that although I have never had anything to do with Mr Hughes I have had communication with Mr Troman about the Knowle and other conservation issues and he has responded promptly and appeared to be pushing Sidmouth's corner.

We don't want to throw out the ones who are trying and who also know the ropes in favour of people who may turn out not to be as good.

We have had contact at varying times with a lot of Sidmouth councillors who have been decidedly uninterested in stepping outside party lines and they deserve to go; for me Councillors Newth and Kerridge head the list; but on the other hand do we replace them with Matt Booth and Louise Cole who have done good work on the Sea Fest but have not seemed to push saving the Drill Hall in a high profile and inclusive way?

Other candidates give us even less to judge them on than Matt and Louise and I feel that we could be in danger of throwing the baby out with the bathwater if we just look for wholesale change.
Polarising Plebeian
PL, I fear the assumption that new councillors might not be "good enough" in their job is just that, an assumption. What's the alternative, going on with the people we've got for far to long already? Those who don't do anything or only ever vote along party lines? Too many C'llrs have developed a behaviour which is not driven by the wish to achieve anything sensible, because their risk not to be re-elected is simply to low. 

I would also doubt that the job of a Town Cllr is exactly high profile or requires a high degree of knowledge or experience. It does require a sense of personal integrity and the will to change for the good. I am sure this is better achieved with any of the new candidates, including both Matt Booth and Louise Cole. I have spoken to both and can assure you that their respective brain is very alive and working, unlike some existing Cllrs who just do what they've always done for the last umpteenth years, i.e. nothing.
Barnacle Bill
A message needs to be delivered to the local 'political classes' - by voting to retain the odd incumbent weakens that message. The whole caboodle needs ousting and the Independents given a chance - if they don't come up to scratch then vote 'em out in a few years time.

Recent letters in the Herald from an Independent candidate have highlighted the amount of 'puff and wind' that we've had to put up with simply over the issue of Alma Bridge. How long has that temporary 'mechano' structure been there now? Her idea to 'dog-leg' the bridge back inland away from falling soil, rock and vegetation is very good. Current plans to keep the eastern access to the bridge where it is, only feet away from collapsing hedgerows, soil and rock are simply stupid.

Drain the bath - wipe out the scum - and fill it up with fresh water. This will be the only chance we get for a good while.
By the Byes
As I said right at the very beginning of this thread, those Sidmouth councillors who voted to take EDDC out of the town must be given the boot. Now it appears that all the Sidmouth councillors voted to accelerate the process, thus ensuring it was a "done deal" before May 7th. On that basis - they should all go – if they’re nor “for us”, then they’re “against us”.

I understand there is still hope of a legal challenge, this being fought around the sale of any of the parkland, which is a public amenity, and should also be a right of way. Without any grounds for use of future residents, I doubt Pegasus would be quite as interested. 

I’d like to think it’s not over until the fat lady sings, at the moment, she’s only just stepped up to the mic. Perhaps instead of singing, she can be persuaded to pull the plug out of Bill’s metaphorical bathtub?
Lynn E
Newth and Hughes have always done a lot for our community. Chris Holland Town council has also been excellent. So we need to look at who has done what and supported the Town.
I'm with: Rotary
Err dont we need to decide ourselves who / what we vote for. Chris won't be affected he is an officer not a councillor.
By the Byes
Wish I could agree Lynn, but I don't think that anyone voting to remove EDDC from Sidmouth is acting "for or community".
Bob B
For everyone's talk for or against various decisions made by local government on our behalf most of our town councillors are being returned unopposed so really if none of us can be bothered to give up our time perhaps we shouldn't criticise those that can be bothered however useless, or otherwise, we think they are :)
Jackie G
Lynne E mentions Francis Newth and Stuart Hughes. Hopefully they will continue to work for the community, but you don't need to be a councillor to do that.
 As our representatives on the District council, their record is not so impressive. Francis Newth was on the Knowle relocation panel, and voted for the move, although herself pointing out the air pollution problems at Honiton business park (where EDDC plans to spend "in the region of £7m " on newbuild offices).  Stuart Hughes' attempt to start "an in-depth study" of the links between EDDC and the then East Devon Business Forum, was stifled, and he was removed as Chair of the Council's Scrutiny Committee. A furious Hughes called the EDDC leadership "spineless and arrogant" .
So that's why so many Independents (lots from the East Devon Alliance) are standing for District..and by the way, for Town Council too, Bob B. You can  'Meet the candidates'   (for District Council) this Weds 15 April, at St Francis' Hall, Woolbrook , 7.30pm for 7.50pm start.
Town Council candidates will be at Sidmouth College, 6pm on Tues 21 April. Organisers are Vision Group for Sidmouth www.visionforsidmouth.org
I'm with: Save Our Sidmouth
Sam K
I do wish that people would speak the truth about who voted for or against at the final vote on the Knowle.
Against Hughes Troman Sullivan Kerridge Newth
For Drew Wale
Jackie G
You're right, Sam K, that the final vote showed an abrupt change of heart for Francis Newth, who has previously spoken and voted firmly in favour of the move. Election coming up?
On Dec 17th 2014, the Full Council block-voted to back the relocation project. The 'Meet the candidates'  event this Wednesday evening 15 April (7.30pm, St Francis Hall, Woolbrook) will give a chance to ask Sidmouth representatives what did (or didn't) change their minds. 
I'm with: Save Our Sidmouth
Stuart H
Graham Troman and I voted against and actually moved an amendment requesting that the Sidmouth Exmouth model be considered. My notice of motion on Michael Heseltines report No Stone Unturned which he stated further unitaries should be considered wasn't ever debated and whoever wins the General Election will have to take another look at Local Govt. County have already made £100m of savings with another £30 m to be found this year
Bob B
Jackie g 3 new potential councillors have come forward and I believe only one of them is I believe with the alliance . Town councillors are only interested in the town East Devon councillors surely have to look at the bigger picture and do deals for the good of the whole not just for Sidmouth ? It seems a great pity that the ones that seem to be now making a real difference to our town (youth club , toilets , play parks , flowers , parks , red arrows , football club , skate park , folk week etc) are totally forgotten all but 3 of 18 seats are uncontested . Not exactly a great effort by the revolting masses ! I wonder, other than stopping the sale of knowle and keeping the old drill hall, what if elected our new independents want for east Devon ? We will see but I fir one will criticise the town council with a quieter voice seeing as no one wants the job and thank those that can be bothered a bit more loudly .
I think we all know what we want for our town and surrounding area and therefore in which box to place our X on 7th May.
Graham T
I did have a vote on two occasions and voted against the Knowle relocation and the Sidford site.
There where councillors from all parties who voted on those two important decisions 37 for relocation 13 against.The problem on the district council it's not just your Town that votes to keep the the Knowle but the whole council.
By the Byes
Main concerns throughout this have been, and remain as follows:
  • The refusal to disclose documents, despite the orders of the information commissioner.
  • The futility of such expenditure in light of the possibility/probability of this becoming a unitary authority - essentially ANY spending will be a complete waste, let alone borrowing £11,300,000
Until the undisclosed documents are in the public domain, there will always be suspicion surrounding the whole relocation project. The council could very easily have avoided this row had they simply done the decent thing and put all their cards on the table.

I don't find it in the least surprising that the public are looking for scalps!
Graham T - this is exactly why people are now favouring abolition of district councils and favouring more power for town councils - local politics should be just that - local. Why do we need this EDDC layer between County and Town?
Jackie G
In reply to Bob B's last comment, it's not what the Town Council does that is being challenged, but what it has failed to do! For years, it has ignored calls to produce a Neighbourhood Plan, leaving the Sid Valley wide open to speculative development 
(remember the 12 acre Sidford business park, in Deputy Chair of the Council, Christine Drew's words, "sneaked on" to the Local Plan? In their bid to bring more Independents to the Town Council, candidates Marc Kilsbie (of 'Flo & Us'), Louise Cole , and Paul Wright could improve its performance...and add a more youthful inspiration to the Council's work. It's their future! (Meet the Candidates Tuesday 21st April  6pm, Sidmouth College. Town Council Hustings organised by Vision Group for Sidmouth (VgS) www.visionforsidmouth.org )  
In the bigger picture, all our local District Councillors are being challenged by Independents (5 out of the seven, are with East Devon Alliance; the other 2 working closely with them) . Information on www.eastdevonalliance.org.uk , including links to candidates' profile on Youtube.  (VgS District Council hustings, Weds 15th April, 7.30pm for 7.50pm start, St Francis Hall, Woolbrook)
I'm with: Save Our Sidmouth
Stuart H
Jackie G is completely incorrect Neighborhood Plans can't contradict the Local Plan and therefore seeing as we still haven't an adopted local plan it would be unwise to move forward at this time and that is why the town council unanimously decided not to proceed ....It is also worth remembering that a Neighborhood Plan is a blue print in favor of development and not to prevent it ....but of course to encourage the right sort of development.....
One last point when Government came up with the idea of Neighborhood Plans they were for villages and not towns....Exmouth decided not to have one, however I feel that with three villages Sidbury, Sidford and Salcombe Regis coming under the Town/Parish Council  it is right that we should have our own plan that is in line with the Local Plan.
Barnacle Bill
You make a very relevant point Jackie G concerning the new candidates bringing a more youthful inspiration to the council. The present lot are old and stale and some have been sitting for far too long. It is certainly time for a bit of spring cleaning.

At District level it is imperative that the Conservative candidates are not successful - each one that fails to secure a majority will see Dianani lose his leadership grip.

Claire Wright and the East Devon Alliance candidates are a breath of fresh air.
Jackie G
Look forward to the importance of a neighbourhood plan being thrashed out at VgS 'Meet the candidates' meeting tomorrow (7.30pm for 7.50 start, Wednesday 15th April, St Francis Hall, Woolbrook) See you there, Stuart H!
I'm with: Save Our Sidmouth
Stuart H
Unfortunately you won't as this date clashed with a meeting where I'm pushing the case for Sidmouth and Dave Bramley was aware of this over a month ago. I would suggest that as many people as possible attend the Town Annual meeting at Knowle on Monday 27th April at 7.00pm and to submit questions to the town clerk beforehand
Barnacle Bill
An extract from the full council meeting at EDDC on 17th December 2014 - it appears that ALL Sidmouth councillors voted against this amendment from Cllr Wright.


Councillor Claire Wright proposed an amendment to the substantive motion. She asked that the relocation project be put on hold until the outcome of local authority reform was known. Following legal advice on the amendment, Councillor Wright gave a more specific timeframe as - following the outcome of the May 2015 elections. 

The amendment was seconded by Councillor Susie Bond. 

In proposing the amendment, Councillor Claire Wright advised that she was concerned about the costs incurred so far in the office relocation project and about projected costs, including borrowing, and lack of information being provided to the public. She said that in times of financial austerity, better use should be made of money earmarked to finance the project. The Knowle offices were in Energy Efficiency Band C – the same rating as for the Exmouth Town Hall offices – and therefore not a sound enough reason for the move. She said that the energy costs and predictions were inaccurate and the move was wrong in a period of local authority uncertainty. Councillor Wright supported the agreed checks and balances proposed by Councillor Troman. 

During the subsequent debate, the following points were made: 

 The Knowle office buildings were not fit for purpose - the decision to move was made a year ago.  The offices at Knowle could not adequately accommodate people with mobility problems.  New offices would facilitate use of modern technology and mobile working.  Costs would be fully scrutinised; the Council had a good reputation for financial prudence and effective and efficient use of budgets for the benefit of the whole of East Devon.  Sidmouth was not the best geographical location for offices to serve East Devon.  Exmouth was looking forward to an increased EDDC presence in the town.  Concern was raised that despite finance workshops being offered to Councillors to explain background figures, this opportunity was not being taken up by many.  The amount of information available to all Councillors was questioned.  Significant changes were anticipated at the May 2015 elections and so a decision should be delayed until a new council was in place.  Newly elected Councillors would rely on the advice already given.  The future of local government was too uncertain for a decision on relocating the authority’s offices to be made now.  The relocation budget should be used for other, more pressing and important projects.  Negotiations in respect of contracts and exchanges were already taking place – the work involved plus the agreed checks and audits was likely to extend beyond May 2015. 

Council 17 December 2014 


 The interest of local people beyond the Sidmouth area was questioned. 

Councillor Giles proposed a recorded vote – this was seconded by Councillor Ingham. When put to the vote, the proposal of a recorded vote was supported. 

In summing up, Councillor Wright referred to the importance of two-way communications and local democracy. She highlighted costs already incurred by the project – including legal fees – and projected costs. The amendment to put the relocation project on hold until the new council was in place in May 2015 was put to the vote. 

Results of the recorded vote: 

Those in favour: Susie Bond, Peter Burrows, Trevor Cope, Roger Giles, Ben Ingham, Brenda Taylor, Claire Wright. (7) 

Those against: Graham Godbeer, Christine Drew, Paul Diviani, Mike Allen, David Atkins, Ray Bloxham, Peter Bowden, David Chapman, Maddy Chapman, Iain Chubb, David Cox, Deborah Custance Baker, Vivien Duval Steer, Jill Elson, Steve Gazzard, Pat Graham, Steve Hall, Stuart Hughes, Douglas Hull, John Humphreys, John Jeffery, Stephanie Jones, Sheila Kerridge, David Key, Jim Knight, Andrew Moulding, Frances Newth, John O’Leary, Helen Parr, Pauline Stott, Peter Sullivan, Ian Thomas, Graham Troman, Phil Twiss, Chris Wale, Mark Williamson, Eileen Wragg, Steve Wragg, Tom Wright. (39)
Stuart H
The amendment was an amendment to an amendment put by Graham Troman for the financial case to be put and reported to Scrutiny etc ..... It would have been foolhardy to clock up even more expense. Both Graham who proposed and I seconded that the Sidmouth Exmouth model should be looked at when this went before the March Council meeting following the financial case being put... This amendment was lost although supported by some Conservative Lib Dem and Independent members.....It then went to the vote to dispose of Knowle and once again we voted against along with several other Conservative, Lib Dem and Independent members but not all Independents & Lib Dems did.... A sad day for Sidmouth but that is democracy.
Graham T
The amendment was to examine all the financial details by the Audit & Governace,Overview & Scutiny,Internal Auditors,External Auditors before ANY decision was made by the council.
The main Full Council meeting on the 25th March 2015 decided to relocate even though Stuart Hughes and I had put another amendment for the Knowle (new buildings) and Exmouth model supported by most of the Independants to cost this Model,but failed to gain support.
We have a choice this time...not a forgone conclusion.
Hi All
I believe Stuart H is incorrect about the importance attached to Neighbourhood Plans in the absence of a current Local Plan. There are some planning appeals where there is a NP but not a LP. In one case the Developer withdrew the application in the face of a likely judgement in favour of the Neighbourhood Plan and in another where the judge has found in favour of the Neighbourhood Plan. Once a Local Plan is in place, then I understand that overrules the Neighbourhood Plan if they are in conflict. 
Stuart H
Hi Jo I shall check but that doesn't appear to be the interpretation maybe the applicant wasn't aware? I know some villages which the plans were designed for have produced them but if the local plan differs then they will have to be brought in line with it.
Pity we are not voting for the Devon County Council elections........because after Green Close and the knock on problems with bed blocking.........

Green Close loss was loved by Sidmouth Community and well served/used by local people who were discharged from Hospital .......now we seem to have lost the caring attitude to wards service users..cost being the most emotive word.

I know it is a different Council but the money wasted by EDDC would have kept Green Close open for years.
Stuart H
Weed have been working on that so watch this space.... We've had to make some very difficult decisions at County £100m of savings so far another £30m this year and another £20m 16/17 ... Have had to find different ways of working in Highways and the success of the Snow Warden scheme with over 400 parish councils now involved in self help we are now rolling out the Road Warden scheme training volunteers to be able to carry out some work such as highway verge grass cutting ... I'm actually taking the Chapter 8 course (already Sidmouths Snow Warden) ....onwards and upwards

I rather you concentrated on pot holes....last year as I found out there was a huge pot hole in the new part of Malden Road....Trow Hill...instead of watching the road it was becoming avoid the pot holes!

Driving to Exeter has been interesting.....

But thank you for replying.....
Jackie G
Stuart H. Following your latest comments here, would you say you have been more effective as County Councillor than as District Councillor, where the leadership seriously clipped your wings? 
I'm with: Save Our Sidmouth
Stuart H
I think I've been effective on all three levels of local government the only things the public read about are the high profile issues ... They don't report on individual personal issues such as housing problems or calls at 2 or 3 in the morning or going out delivering sandbags and unblocking drains etc The electorate will decide if they think I've done a good job on May 7th and I welcome the chance for them to give me a mandate for the next 4 years
Stuart H
If you and the other Sidmouth Town Councillors had picked up and run with the recommendation to prepare a Community Flood Plan when the 2010 DEFRA Pathfinder project (and me) strongly recommended it to Peter Sullivan, Christine Drew, Frances Newth and yourself, then you wouldn't be called out at night to put out sandbags to prevent flooding: the flood wardens for the area would be doing it. Now your own Flood Prevention Department in County Council (which is under your control) is calling on you, in the Town Council, to prepare a Community Flood Plan. Perhaps you as County Councillor, will be more effective in getting you, as Town Councillor, to act on something that members of the community on the Pathfinder project could not.
Polarising Plebeian
Well, it is certainly commendable to deliver sandbags, or unblocking drains. It really is.

However, this is what we'd expect from any good neighbour. When I hear on Twitter that the river is about to flood the houses near the Nissan garage in Sidford in the middle of the night, I put my wellies on and see if I can help. This has nothing to do with the function of a local politician in office. If any politician, including Stuart H, boasts about doing such stuff (and I m not saying Stuart did, I simply don't know) then I classify this as a PR stunt, nothing more.

Looking for instance at the chairman of the town council, his primary qualification or action is apparently to show up at suitable "events" in his chain of office and grin into the camera. He delivered a speech once to the Chamber of Commerce members. which was the most uninspiring waffle I have ever heard in my now rather long life so far. It was a patronising blurb about the trivial fact that his councils work is paid for by the taxpayer. Yawn. Can we get rid of him? No, he goes in again as his seat isn't even contested. Houston, we have a problem (with the election system). 
[Blimey, this rant really reminds me of my hey-days in the senate, of Rome that is. I should really give ol Caligula a call to see how he's doing these days]
Stuart H
The role of a councillor now is as a community leader and not just attending meetings ... I can certainly think of better ways of gaining publicity than getting drenched, delivering sandbags and unblocking drains or driving around four miles of roads off the gritted network gritting estate roads etc to help residents and especially the elderly in our society get out onto the gritted network so they can do their shopping and go about their daily chores. I'm delighted to read that you are neighbourly and also help others and we should encourage more to take this stance as local authorities and especially county find their government funding being cut. As for a Chairmans role yes it does include photo opportunities but this is all down to those organising events inviting media. I expect the speech that I gave to Chamber was a subject they requested and I'm delighted that the electorate have an opportunity this year to go to the polling station and cross boxes as I'm pleased to say we do live in a democracy.
Stuart H
In reply to Jo The Pathfinder Project, which was actually April 2013- March 2015 and not 2010 as indicated,(I think the one referred to was re coastal flooding and led by Jim Masters) did not include Sidmouth as one of the communities involved in the Project. The Devon wide project focused on the theme of improved resilience for rapid response catchments. As part of the project we have communicated with a number of other communities to see if there was the appetite for developing a community emergency plan along the same lines as the Pathfiinder Project and Sidmouth were content with the EA regarding completion of their emergency plan, which i believe is well under way if not complete. The Town Council under my chairmanship completed its own plan identifying rest centres 4x4 owners, sandbag collection points etc...The question raised to the EA was for funding of a rain gauge to support the towns councils plan and this was passed to the Project Manager of the Pathfinder Project as a bid for funding. This wasn’t how the project was funded but we were looking at ways that we could link this sort of request to the Project. The Town Council has its own weather station which is frequently accessed by our HOCC at County and the Met Office. 

It is a strong recommendation that all communities have an emergency plan to ensure they have a local understanding of what to do during an incident. The building of local resilience is essential in ensuring they have the skills and potentially equipment to help them help themselves.

Streetlife | Bye Bye Knowle

See also:
Streetlife | Why do we need a district council?
Streetlife | Rubbish in the street ............
Sidmouth | Streetlife

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