Sunday, 13 January 2019

And (not) making progress at East Devon

It's all about 'progress':
Futures Forum: 1939: Walter Benjamin on 'the storm we call progress'

And that ideology is very much with us at local government level too.

When it comes to the tricky area of FINANCE, there is always going to be 'progress' - despite the realities:
Futures Forum: District and County Council announce spending plans in a new year of austerity for local government

For example:

The progress of the service plan objectives is reported on quarterly through our performance reporting pages

Monthly performance reporting
Performance reports are provided once a month to our cabinet committee to monitor progress of selected measures and identify any service areas where improvement is necessary.
The first section of the report is a monthly performance snapshot which provides information on a selection of performance targets and some of our service achievements and activity for the month. The report moves on to show progress against our key performance indicators for the month, including sickness absence...

Monthly performance reporting - East Devon

Let's look at a couple of other areas - and the spin of the press release.

Ten years ago there were all sorts of promises made about the 'progress' of CRANBROOK becoming some sort of 'eco-town':

Exeter and East Devon Growth Point
Housing Minister John Healey today announced that East Devon District Council is to receive a share in a £10 million funding pot to help Cranbrook meet pioneering eco-town standards for sustainable growth. The £200,000 share will enable East Devon District Council to develop their Masterplan for Cranbrook test the potential for higher standards, helping them to lead the way as "Green Champions".
Talking about the addition of Cranbrook to the eco-town second wave shortlist, (together with a settlement in Fareham), Housing and Planning Minister John Healey said "I am pleased to announce two new areas in the eco-town second wave. Councils are making great progress and already highlighting where they can apply tough green standards in new developments. This signals real and radical momentum to change and re-think how we design our towns and homes for the future".

Latest News - Exeter and East Devon Growth Point 

Then there is HOUSING, with regular 'progress reports' coming out of the council, but at the time of the creation of the Local Plan, these were somewhat overshadowed by the promises made to undercover Telegraph reporters:
‘Perfect storm’ brewing as EDDC gives progress report on the new Local Plan | Save Our Sidmouth
One step forward and two steps back | Susie Bond
Futures Forum: Housing in East Devon: "I don’t see it as the floodgates opening, but I do see a stampede coming.”

Meanwhile in Sidmouth there has been the BEACH MANAGEMENT PLAN, with 'progress' promised last year - after many other such assurances, including from Cllr Graham Brown who had chaired the BMP group some ten years ago:
4 June 2018 - Outline business case for Sidmouth and East Beach Management Scheme makes steady progress - East Devon
Futures Forum: Beach Management Plan: District Council press release on meeting of 10th May > "Outline business case makes steady progress"

And in Exmouth we've had all sorts of promises for their seafront: 

Save Exmouth Seafront campaigners challenge ‘arrogant’ Queen’s Drive plans
21 November 2018 
EDDC said it was ‘making sure’ it was on track to deliver what residents want.
An EDDC spokeswoman said: “The council is not prepared to allow further delays on the delivery of a new road and car park, which will pave the way for the much awaited water sports centre and a vision for the wider Queen’s Drive site.”
She added: “We also appreciate that there are a number of long term detractors who have their concerns about how the new seafront is taking shape, so we want to provide reassurance that we are constantly keeping under review the programme of development and maintaining progress while keeping Exmouth people informed on what we are doing.”
She said the council was ‘fully committed’ to the ongoing consultation with the public about changes to the seafront.

Save Exmouth Seafront group challenges redirection of Queen's Drive | Latest Exmouth News - Exmouth Journal

Then of course there is KNOWLE - where there was considerable reluctance by the council to reveal 'progress reports':
Disclosure of Progress Reports for the Knowle - a Freedom of Information request to East Devon District Council - WhatDoTheyKnow
Futures Forum: Knowle relocation project: "Progress reports to date must be released"

The opposite of 'progress' is 'barbarism':

Save Our Sidmouth campaign hits Private Eye | Save Our Sidmouth
Futures Forum: Gavin Stamp: late architectural historian and critic >>> as Piloti in Private Eye, he gracefully thundered against architectural 'barbarism' - including plans to demolish Knowle, Sidmouth

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