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Stand Up For Seaton (SU4S)

Community Action for Seaton's Regeneration Area, 80% owned by Tesco - a floodplain on a World Heritage site bordered by nature reserves, tidal river, the sea and the unspoilt town. SU4S is a state of mind - no members, no structure, no politics. SU4S has objected to 2 planning applications by Tesco, including one for a massive superstore/dot com distribution centre which led to the recent closure on the site of 400 tourist beds with the loss of 150 jobs,a gym and pool - all used by locals.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Watchdog rebukes muddled Thames Gateway regeneration

Government attempts to regenerate the Thames Gateway, the biggest regeneration programme in western Europe, are being blighted by poor planning and rudderless leadership, according to the National Audit Office.
A damning report says ministers must moved quickly to improve programme management, "making its plans more coherent and ensuring that investment is better targeted and that risks are better identified and managed".

Although the government has spent £7bn in the area since 2003, the report finds that ministers still do not have "a single costed plan for the programme to join up local initiatives".

The authors recognise that the government has a vision for sustainable development in the area with a low carbon footprint, but add: "It has not yet translated these aspirations into clear objectives, built them into local strategies, or developed plans to achieve them."

Full story : Guardian

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Squatter becomes millionaire landowner after lengthy legal battle

A homeless pensioner who has slept rough in one of London's most treasured beauty spots since 1986 was celebrating Thursday after the Land Registry granted him the deeds to his million-pound plot of land.

Harry Hallowes, 71, secured ownership to a 800 square-metre plot in Hampstead Heath, after a two-year legal battle with developers who tried to evict the pensioner from the grounds of Athalone House.

Dwyer Asset Management had tried unsuccessfully to evict Hallowes from his makeshift shack since March 2005 as it sought to redevelop the former nursing home into luxury flats.

The fiesty pensioner dug his heels in and consulted lawyers who provided evidence which showed that he had been living unchallenged on the plot for 21 years, and this became the basis for his claim to the land.

"Someone mentioned a million and someone else said two million, but I'm not impressed with figures. I just wanted a place to live," a very composed Hallowes said after hearing the news.

Hallowes, who counts Monty Python star Terry Gilliam among his friends, laughed that he might now build himself a bigger residence.

"Maybe I'll build myself a house -- everyone else around here seems to love building houses," he said.

Source: Yahoo News

Friday, May 25, 2007

Community Renewal News 25 May 2007

From an article by Jamie Carpenter:

Ministers have announced their intention to use most of the hundreds of
millions of pounds lying in dormant bank accounts to fund youth services
and financial inclusion projects. There is a proposal that the Big
Lottery Fund be a "single co-ordinated UK-wide distribution mechanism"
to hand out the funds.

The consultation document is at www.regen.net

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Axe Vale Conservation Society...

Donald Campbell of the Axe Vale Conservation Society is opening his
garden at Combpyne to the public for charity on Saturday 7th and Sunday
8th July 2007.

The garden will be opened by Seaton Mayor, Sandra Semple at 11 am on
Saturday 7th July.

Donald and his wife are looking for volunteers to do teas in shifts of
11 am - a pm, 1 pm - 3 pm and 3 pm - 5pm on both days.

Please email friendofseaton@yahoo.co.uk if you want to volunteer and you
will be put in touch with Donald. Many thanks

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Events, Comments, Notices

Do you have any notices, events, or just want to comment on something you have read on the Blog ?
Then feel free to email :friendofseaton@yahoo.co.uk

Monday, May 21, 2007

New homes rush 'fails eco test'

Full Article: BBC

Environmental concerns have been neglected by ministers in their attempt to get new houses in England built quickly, a watchdog has warned. Too many old homes are demolished and amenities are often not ready, says the Sustainable Development Commission.The watchdog also urged ministers to cut carbon emissions from older houses.

The government said new planning rules make clear councils must block any development that fails to meet tough environmental standards. "Eco towns" hits the headlines last week when Gordon Brown set out plans for 100,000 new carbon neutral homes. Mr Brown, who will succeed Tony Blair as prime minister, said that he wanted to see five new "eco towns" created as part of a general increase in house building to meet "pent up" demand for homes.

Zero carbon

But the SDC's report warns that while it was "hugely encouraged" by the way in which ministers were addressing sustainability, "few communities built so far are living up to the promise of being environmentally sensitive, well-connected and inclusive". The report, Building Houses or Creating Communities?, found homes were being built in areas where there are concerns the water supply will not meet rising demand.

The government has made real progress on climate change with its pledge that new homes will be "zero carbon" by 2016, the report said, but needs to offset carbon from now until then by drastically reducing emissions from existing homes.
Some of the issues identified by the SDC report, which is based on site visits and interviews with local authorities, developers and residents, include:

* A significant amount of undeveloped land is still being used for new houses.
* Despite a change in government policy on the issue, there are still plans for extensive demolition of occupied homes in the North and Midlands, which breaks up communities and creates huge amounts of waste.
* A lack of co-ordination means some communities are left without vital facilities like community centres and bus routes when the residents move in.
* Consultation with residents has often been poor.

The commission is urging the government to connect new homes with existing communities, rather than sprawling into undeveloped land, and to remove the current VAT incentive for developers to demolish homes instead of refurbishing them.

'Not up to scratch'

The SDC also demanded water and energy efficiency should be improved in houses by installing water meters and high quality insulation in all homes, and that parks, community gardens and sports areas should be provided in all new communities. In addition, residents should be consulted extensively about the future of their communities and co-ordination should be improved so residents get services and public transport on time, the report says

'Attractive and affordable'

Rebecca Willis, vice chairwoman of the SDC said: "People want safe, attractive and affordable places to live. "Despite the government's good intentions, our research shows that new communities aren't always coming up to scratch. "She said there was a huge opportunity for the government to get sustainable development of housing right.
"The priority must be to turn our existing communities into eco-towns. Communities can be green and prosperous, with well planned public transport and great facilities.
"But the government must learn from past mistakes and put residents' needs before commercial interests and housing targets," she said.

A Communities and Local Government spokesperson said that the government was committed to making sure new homes are built to a high quality design. "That is why we recently introduced new planning rules that make clear councils must block any development that is poorly designed or fails to meet tough environmental standards," she said.

Looking at that last statement, seems we should have nothing to worry about at Seaton.... then again....

Folk and accoustic music at The Grove Night Club - Wednesday 23rd May 2007

This Wednesday, 23rd May, at 8pm sees the start of what will hopefully be a regular venue for folk and acoustic music fans and performers. After getting a good response to the need ,which was highlighted in the local press, for somewhere for local singers and musicians to get together on a regular basis, the organisers Peter & Hilary Arnold have decided to grasp the nettle and give it a go.

The Grove Night Club at Seaton very kindly offered their premises on one of the midweek nights when it is not used, and so the first night has been scheduled for this coming Wednesday.

Everybody is welcome, performers and audience alike, and as well as established local artists we hope to be able to give many first-time performers the chance to air their talents in public, but get there early to be included in the night's programme.

Admission is absolutely free, and there will be a bar to keep everyone suitably refreshed.

For further information call Peter or Hilary on 01297 20064.

More information available from www.eastdevonfolk.org

'Simpler' planning rules unveiled

From the BBC...

Ministers are concerned about the time and bureaucracy involved an overhaul of the planning system which will make it easier to build home extensions is being announced by Communities Secretary Ruth Kelly. The White Paper will suggest that minor projects like conservatories should no longer need planning permission where there is little impact on neighbours.

It will also propose replacing public inquiries into major schemes with an independent commission.

The Tories and Lib Dems say the plans take power away from local communities.
Environmentalists fear they could lead to a rash of controversial developments such as new roads, waste facilities and nuclear power stations.

Less bureaucracy

It is believed the changes could reduce the number of applications by up to 90,000 per year.

Ms Kelly will say the system should support people's aspirations to improve their homes, while retaining safeguards on noise, siting and size to protect their neighbours.

"Many people do not want to move but do want more room to bring up their kids, or to make minor home improvements or tackle climate change through micro-generation."

Urban sprawl

For more major developments, an Independent Planning Commission (IPC) would look at the potential impact on air quality, noise and traffic problems.

But critics say the IPC starts with the assumption that the development will be given the green light.

Dan Rogerson, Lib Dem spokesman

Shadow Local Government Secretary Caroline Spelman said: "Conservatives will vigorously oppose the plans for a new undemocratic government quango to dump developments on local communities."

Liberal Democrat housing spokesperson Dan Rogerson said: "All the indications suggest the changes will help Labour's friends in the nuclear and supermarket industries, rather than giving local people a genuine say in planning.

Other measures in the White Paper include:
Allowing minor amendments to be made to a planning permission without the need for a full planning application, for example the minor repositioning of a door

Reducing bureaucracy by for example introducing a standard application form.

Introducing a new fast-track appeals system Hugh Ellis, from Friends of the Earth, criticised the proposals, saying: "The planning White Paper will give the green light to massive new developments while stripping away opportunities for affected communities or the wider public to input on the decisions.

"This is policy making at its worse - it will destroy local communities and exacerbate climate change."

Full article: BBC

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Kelly: town centres still come first

Communities secretary Ruth Kelly has given assurances that next week’s
planning white paper will not abolish the “town centres first” policy.
….. She says: “I remain absolutely committed to promoting the viability
of town centres”.

Come down to Seaton and say that Ms Kelly.

Too many high-rise small homes causes social imbalance

“Hyperdense development in inappropriate locations is in danger of
destroying attempts to create community cohesion in the Thames Gateway
project [a massive development on the floodplain of the River Thames].

The report says that “naïve and over-generalised planning guidance” has
helped to create a situation “frankly inimical to the creation of mixed
communities”. It adds that the development of too many high rise blocks
could create the conditions for “social imbalance, economic failure and
ethnic tension”.

The report follows the publication of statistics showing that 90% of
recent development in the Lower Lea Valley consists of only one and two
bedroomed flats.”

This type of accommodation is built because it gives maximum profit and
is sold quickly. We won’t be getting this in Seaton will we? Well,
perhaps, as the Liatris planning calls for many 3, 4 and 5 storey blocks.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

An example of what a small group of people can do...

Local residents redevelop land and create a traffic-safe "home zone"

In order to redevelop a brownfield site in their neighbourhood, residents from a community in Bristol formed the Ashley Vale Action Group Ltd in 2000. They raised money to purchase the site by selling plots of the land to self-builders and to a local housing association.

As the site developed so did concerns about speeding vehicles and parking problems. Initial consultation with residents showed support for a low-speed ‘home zone’, where traffic would be managed to make the streets safer for pedestrians. The residents decided to use money they had left to develop this idea, a proven way to make local roads slower and safer. Further consultation was done with Sustrans with involvement by over 80% of the residents. Limited funds led to local residents working on low-cost alternatives to the traffic problems encountered in each street in the area. Over the following months the design was refined to bring costs down to a minimum and to secure permission from the Highways Authority.
Local knowledge was invaluable for the project. One local resident is a Traffic Engineer who used his in depth understanding to work with the local authority bureaucracy and obtain the necessary permissions as well as design the home zone. The new layout was constructed as part of the planning requirements for the self-build scheme and was paid for by AVAG and the self-builders. Local residents contributed materials, labour and plants.
The total cost of the Ashley Vale home zone was just £12,500. The work was straightforward and, from agreeing a design to completion, took only eight months. Even when the time and materials given voluntarily by people in the community are added in, it is still an extraordinarily small amount of money in light of the impact it has had on the area.

Source: Every Action Counts

Friday, May 18, 2007

Congratulations to Seaton ...

Seaton Beach has moved up a level on the Marine Conservation Society Good Beach Guide 2007. We have moved up from Basic Pass to EC Guideline.

Beach NameCountyRegionGrade 2007Grade 2006
SeatonDevonSouth WestEC GuidelineBasic Pass

Recommended = MCS Recommended. Highest water quality standard & adequate treatment of any
continuous sewage discharges
EC Guideline = Good water quality standard
Basic Pass = Passed EC Mandatory standard for water quality (statutory minimum)
Fail = Failed EC Mandatory standard for water quality (statutory failure)

The full list is available from the BBC (PDF File)
The Full story from BBC

Thursday, May 17, 2007

South West has potential to lead the world on zero-carbon development

Taken from regensw

New Report shows zero carbon housing is technically viable

Posted: 03 April 2007

A major new study shows that South West England has the potential to be a world leader in zero carbon housing development. The groundbreaking report, commissioned by the South West Regional Assembly, South West RDA and Government Office for the South West shows that zero carbon homes are now technically viable in larger housing developments in South West England.

With over half a million homes expected to be built in the South West of England within the next twenty years, the study, thought to be the first of its kind in the UK, shows that the bulk of carbon savings from new construction in the region will come from using renewable energy in new homes. The study also estimates the cost of a number of technological options and suggests that biomass fuels like wood chip will be the dominant renewable energy source for new developments built to zero carbon standards. Regen SW has published a briefing which summarises the findings of the report.

A zero carbon development policy is included in the draft Regional Spatial Strategy which is being examined this spring before final adoption next year. If approved, the policy will apply to all new development in South West England. Meanwhile, the Government has recently announced that it would like to see building regulations ratchet up to zero carbon standards by 2016.

Matthew Spencer, Chief Executive of Regen SW said:

“It is easier to make dramatic cuts in carbon emissions from new homes than from existing homes so it is sensible to aim high in new construction. This study shows that zero carbon standards are achievable, and strengthens the case for the South West to move ahead faster than the rest of the country.

“This study is already creating interest in central government because it is the first to look at zero carbon standards in depth. It is another example of where the region is showing leadership on climate change, and those organisations involved have shown real foresight in commissioning this work “

Source: South West Renewable Energy Agency

Now it strikes me that importing one million tons of infill in 65-90 lorries, 6 days a week, 10 hours a day for 3/4 years to raise a flood plain isn't exactly going to help Seaton's Carbon footprint ?

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

A £1.5m carbon neutral food market in Devon has gone into administration three months after it opened, with the loss of 60 jobs.

From todays BBC Devon Website....

Foodeaze owner Nick Hess said it could not compete with the new £220m
Princesshay development in Exeter. The sustainable food business, based
in St George's Hall Market, used locally sourced produce and all transit
vehicles ran on bio-diesel. Mr Hess said the development in Southernhay
had had a huge impact.

He said within five weeks of opening they were close to their break-even
forecast point, but then the opening of the new Princesshay development
in April had a bigger impact than originally forecast. "We put a
percentage into our business plan the effect we thought it was going to
have but unfortunately it was far greater than what we actually
forecasted," he said.

It just shows what happens when the big boys come to town.

Full story from BBC

Youth Council Open Meeting - TONIGHT 7pm

Please don't forget that the Youth Council are holding an open meeting in the Town Hall for volunteers to help with all aspects of the Seaton Youth Festival.

Local community opposes Tesco superstore...

From the site of the Environmental Law Foundation:

With the help of the Environmental Law Foundation (ELF), residents of Yiewsley in Hillingdon are opposing the construction of a new Tesco superstore.
Two earlier planning applications for sites in the area were unsuccessful, but Tesco has come back for a second round, appealing the original decisions.
Through ELF’s Advice and Referral Service, the Yiewsley Residents’ Association have received legal advice and help on how best to use the planning system to voice their concerns.
The group hopes to defeat Tesco’s appeal on the grounds that the new store would increase traffic congestion and generate air pollution and noise pollution.

There are already significant concerns about local air quality: Yiewsley was previously designated an ‘Air Quality Management Area’.Tesco put in planning applications to Hillingdon Borough Council for two separate sites back in August 2006. Both were unsuccessful and Tesco sought to appeal. David Whiting, Chief Executive of ELF, commented: ‘A developer can use the current planning laws to its advantage because it has the resources to make multiple applications and appeals.’Members of the Yiewsley Residents’ Association took to the streets to prove Tesco’s figures wrong. By counting cars, locals showed that the traffic flow rate was 400 times the figure provided by Tesco. Tesco was forced to withdraw the first appeal and the decision on the second appeal will be handed down on 19th March.

Gay Brown, Secretary of the Yiewsley Residents’ Association believes that the group has a 50-50 chance of overturning Tesco’s appeal, despite praise from the Inspector on the quality of their presentation at the hearing. Ms Brown commented: ‘It’s time that the local authorities took back control of what is built where, instead of allowing greedy developers to wipe out one community after another’.

Full article from ELF

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

What can you get for a £ these days?

From the BBC website today Tuesday 15 May 2007....

Communities Secretary Ruth Kelly says the initiative will create "a new
era of civic pride" by giving local people more say in how local assets
are used. Councils will be asked to identify unused sites, such as old
hospitals, empty pubs and disused police stations. Councils queried
whether assets owned by taxpayers should be sold for £1.

The announcement comes after Chancellor Gordon Brown, the favourite to
succeed Tony Blair as prime minister, called for more community
involvement in local decision-making.

*'Unused powers'*

Ms Kelly, who will launch the initiative in Sheffield at a former
Victorian school transformed into a community centre, will announce a
£30m fund to support 20 pilot projects across the country. It follows
the publication of a report by Lewisham Council chief executive Barry
Quirk, which argues that handing public assets to communities leads to
better services and stronger communities. Local authorities already have
powers to sell or lease assets at prices below the market value, but the
Quirk Report found that these powers were not often used. Ms Kelly will
argue that "if you give local people more power, you'll get a better
result". The outcome is "better services, greater satisfaction with the
neighbourhood, and greater satisfaction with the local authority", she
will say.

*Fund created*

Under the scheme, councils will be given the go-ahead to sell assets for
as little as £1 where it is clearly for the good of local people. The
Department for Communities and Local Government is to provide £400,000
to monitor the 20 pilot schemes. And a £30m Cabinet Office community
assets fund, managed by the Big Lottery Fund, will support the
buildings' new community owners. The government believes up to 1,500
community organisations could benefit from the initiative. A spokesman
for the Local Government Association said councils were "committed to
delivering an ever-better deal for the taxpayer". But he added:
"However, serious questions must be asked as to whether a prime piece of
real estate that is owned by taxpayers should be sold for as little as
£1. "Local authorities are willing to realise community assets, but only
when they can be sure that it will make a positive contribution to the
local area and provide value for money for taxpayers."

So, Seaton - £1 for the disused youth club and we sort it out to be used
until the developers build us our brand new community centre (well, you
can dream can’t you). Can we do it – of course.

Full article available from BBC

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Who rules the word – a local community, Ruth Kelly or Tesco?

From “Regeneration and Renewal” magazine 11 May 2007:

“Tesco has launched a High Court battle over rival plans to redevelop a
key waterfront site it owns in Sunderland.

Urban regeneration company Sunderland Arc’s housing-led proposals for
the Vaux Brewery site were backed by communities secretary Ruth Kelly
last month. But Tesco has its own retail-led plans for the site. Tesco
corporate affairs manager, Max Curtis, said “In our proposals, we have
demonstrated our willingness to include the elements Sunderland Arc
would like to see on the site … as well as a Tesco store.”

Sunderland Arc wants to turn the site into 1,000 homes, office space,
two hotels, shops and restaurants. Operations Director, David Walker,
said the URC has asked Tesco to shelve its Vaux brewery plans and open a
store in the central Homeside area instead.”

This will be a real test of who rules the world: the community doesn’t
want the Tesco store, the Communities Secretary Ruth Kelly doesn’t want
it but Tesco does.

I wonder who will win that one!

Friday, May 11, 2007

A message from Sandra......

Many of you will know that I have now not only become a Town Councillor but also Mayor of the town for the next year. As a result of this, I am no longer able to take a part in the "Stand Up For Seaton" blog and nor are other councillors who used to take an active part in it, as it could compromise our position as councillors. There are some people who would make mischief if we were to be wearing "two hats" so we have to stick to the one where we think we can be most useful.

This does not mean that the blog will stop - far from it. It was never a "one person" effort and we are very lucky that several people who were "in the background" whilst we took an active part have agreed to take over the blog from now on.

As there is little that we know about the planning application at the moment (the District Council still will not give us a timetable for when the Liatris Planning Application will go to the Development Control Committee) the blog will, for the time being, also include general local information. However, when the "big story" breaks again (and I expect it to be soon) when community action is urgently needed it will spring into life again and continue to be the considerable force that it has been so far.

Rest assured that I will look at the blog EVERY day! And those of you who want to contribute continue to do so - you haven't been stopped and the more people who contribute the more seriously this blog will be taken!!! Perhaps you could bookmark the blog and check it at least once a week - or even once a day - as when the news does break the more
quickly people know about it the better.

One of my last acts before becoming a councillor was to be interviewed for two magazines on how blogging and campaigning has changed - ("Heyday" - an Age Concern magazine and "New Start" - a magazine which specialises in news about regeneration). A blog is a really important
tool in getting information out to the public and it must continue to perform that service.

Any of you who see any of us around Seaton, please feel free to approach us and let us know what your concerns are, what you think our priorities should be. As councillors we are hoping to have a regular newsletter to let people know what is going on - but we represent you and your views are the important ones.

May I conclude this (final) posting with a plea for EVERYONE in this town to work together. In the past there have been divisions and splits - this has done us no good and has meant that we have not been able to show a united front when it has been needed. Stand Up For Seaton has
changed all that - all our meetings, demonstrations and other events have brought together different sections of the town in a way never seen before. PLEASE let us keep this up - there is strength in unity and we know that this new show of unity has seriously worried those who thought that they could use "divide and rule" for their own ends. Whatever your political persuasion, whatever your particular group or interest just Stand Up For Seaton - wherever and whenever you can.

I was handed a postcard by one of our supporters:

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed it's the only thing that ever does" (Margaret Mead).

Let's show that this is indeed true.

WE DID IT!!!!!!!!!!

Well, clean sweep - we all 8 got in! Thanks to all of you who made this happen - we hope we can repay your faith in us.

Here are the full results:

Sandra Semple (Stand Up for Seaton) 1580
Jim Knight 1379
Graham Jones (Stand Up for Seaton) 1323
Mel Greenyer (Stand Up for Seaton) 1312
Claire Wise (Stand Up for Seaton) 1268
Pepita Collins (Stand Up for Seaton) 1231
Bob Palacio (Stand Up for Seaton) 1229
Peter Burrows (Seaton First) 1220
Julia Roebuck (Stand Up for Seaton) 1214
Sophie O'Connell (Stand Up for Seaton) 1203
Larry Garner (Seaton First) 1114
John Meakin 1077

All the above people were elected.
The people who were not elected were:

Stephanie Jones 1032
Ray Morgan (Seaton First) 754
Jim Pigott (Seaton Resident) 715
Ron Farlow (Seaton First) 683
John MacDougall (Seaton First) 622
Rosemary Partridge-Hogbin (Seaton Resident) 596
Darcy Ashman (Seaton Citizen) 478

Electorate (number of people eligible to vote): 5964
Ballot papers issued (number of those above who actually voted): 3419
Spoiled papers: 36
Turnout: 57%

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Youth Council Open Meeting - 16th May 7pm

The Youth Council are holding an open meeting in the Town Hall for volunteers to help with all aspects of the Seaton Youth Festival. Volunteers can be any age group and can offer any kind of help. Please turn up at the town hall and let them know what you can do if you think you can help in any way.

The Seaton Youth festival is to be held on 17th and 18th August 2007.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

A "thank you" to everyone who has contacted us to congratulate us

We have been inundated with people congratulating us - by message, telephone, email and via the blog on having been successful in taking all the 8 seats we stood for in the local council election.

We have all tried to reply individually but to anyone who has not yet received an acknowledgement, please bear with us - we do thank you very much but it may take a little time to get around to everyone.

Our success (on a 57% turnout) shows that we have a mandate from the town and will all Stand Up For Seaton to the best of our ability!

Saturday, May 05, 2007

What is an "independent" councillor?

Here is a definition from the Local Government Association of "independent" councillor:

"Being an independent candidate does not mean that one has no political views. Nor does it mean that one does not support a political party. Almost everyone has some political views, and tends towards supporting a political party on national issues. Independent councillors generally believe, though, that national concerns very often do not translate well to the local scene.

What predominantly characterises independent poltics is a belief that no party has a monopoly of good ideas, and that local governance depends on people of goodwill, people who listen to advice, argue and debate, are capable of arriving at sensible decisions on their merits, and who do not let their allegiances to their party political masters cloud their judgment.

Independent councillors have a wide range of views, and more and more we are seeing people who are members of all political parties becoming independent, in order to throw off the shackles of the party whip and escape from decsion-making behind closed doors"

Friday, May 04, 2007

Seaton Town Council results about to be counted at The Knowle

First of all, a big thank you to everyone who turned out to vote yesterday - however you voted. It was so good to see so many people at the Town Hall - there was a real buzz about the place from 7 am when the doors opened (and it was freezing cold) to 10 pm when they closed (when it was still quite warm). You can see the results of the elections for District Council below.

There are no results yet for who has been successful (or unsuccessful) in the Seaton Town Council elections. As far as we are aware, they will be counted some time this morning at The Knowle, along with all other town council votes.

We think that Seaton will be amongst the first to be counted, in which case results could be through by about 11 am. As soon as we know who has been successful, it will appear on this blog.

Fingers crossed!

Successful candidates for Seaton for East Devon District Council

The three people who will be representing Seaton on East Devon District Council for the next four years:

Jim Knight (Conservative) 1329 - also voted on to Town Council, see above
Margaret Rogers (Liberal Democrat) 1282
Stephanie Jones (Conservative) 1123

Those who were not successful were:

John Meakin (Conservative) 1059 - voted on to Town Council, see above
Peter Burrows (Liberal Democrat) 1022 - voted on to Town Council, see above
Larry Garner (Liberal Democrat) 921 - voted on to Town Council, see above
Gordon Langford (UKIP) 362
Elaine Langford (UKIP) 343
Jim Partridge-Hogbin (UKIP) 331
Judy Blackwell (Labour) 169

Turnout: 48.1%

Stand Up For Seaton did not contest at district level, only at town council level - see above.

Well done all. Let's hope Seaton can make its presence felt VERY strongly over the coming years.

If you want the full results for the whole of East Devon go to the EDDC home page:

www.eastdevon.gov.uk and follow the link to election results.

There is no change in control of the council (Conservative) but the Conservatives have gained more seats than at the last election at the expense of Lib Dems and Independents (now 43 conservatives, 10 Lib Dems, 6 Independents).

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Please vote on Thursday 3 May 2007





Voting is from 7 am - 10 pm at the Town Hall. You do not need to have your voter's postcard with you to vote.

Please use your votes, whichever candidate(s) you prefer.

Developers - love 'em or hate 'em?

Someone posted a remark lower down on the blog that Seaton needs developers more than developers need Seaton and we should just let them get on with it - anything they do will benefit Seaton.

It raises an interesting question. Do we allow any developer in to develop anything anywhere and hope that it will solve our problems? Or, do we insist that developers put in sensible, viable propositions that suit the town at least as much as the developer, whilst allowing the developer to make a reasonable profit? What is a reasonable profit on land bought very cheaply many, many years ago by people who could afford to leave it derelict whilst its value increased?

Just remember that a developer is in a project ONLY to make money - the more money they make, the more the believe their project has succeeded - there is no other measurement that they use. Indeed, once planning permission has been received for a development, most developers then immediately sell on their interest in blocks to housebuilders, supermarket chains and other groups. This is what EDDC has decided to do - sell its land to the developer on the day they receive planning permission from EDDC, this decision has already been taken - in November 2006, even before the planning application was put in.

Developers do not hang around to make sure that everything works out for the best for the town in which they have their land holdings - they move on to the next development. Developers are not do-gooders or philanthropists - there is no reason why they should be - they exist to develop and move on.

So, do we allow development at any price?

So we get 650 new homes - who buys them? If they aren't affordable, it is the usual people - mostly retirees or second homers. If they are of working age - where do they work? How do they get to work? They can't all work in the supermarket, or the visitors centre. If they have children - how will their children spend their time if there are no open spaces, no sports facilities, no youth facilities?

Who benefits most from a large supermarket? The population of a town or the shareholders and directors of the supermarket? How big should a supermarket be for a small town - should it be bigger than the one at Honiton (the one planned is and Honiton is MUCH bigger than Seaton) or should it be the same size as the one we already have? Why does Seaton need such a large store when it is not needed in Sidmouth which is twice the size of Seaton? Should it be a supermarket, or should it be a market hall with local produce? What happens to the shops in Fore Street, Cross Street, Queen Street and Harbour Road if there is a massive supermarket? Does it matter? If so, why does it matter. If not, why not?

Who will visit our Visitor's Centre (the thing you can barely see stuck between the main road and the supermarket, where our visitors have to share 3 hour parking with shoppers?) Why will they visit? If faced with a 3 hour time slot how do you decide what to do - the tramway, the land train, the visitor centre, the supermarket - you can't do them all (and if it is a busy day at the supermarket, you may not be able to do any of them - especially as the traffic will be piling up around the area as people queue to get in from the right angle turn from Harbour Road where there will need to be more traffic lights).

What is acceptable about how your build a development? Is it acceptable to do it on a flood plain. Is it acceptable to bring in a million tons of infill - 65-90 lorries a day, 6 days a week, 10 hours a day for 3-4 years PLUS the construction traffic? How do you deal with the pinch points the lorries have to negotiate around the traffic lights at Harepath Road or the turn down from Seaton Down Hill? What about the pollution and its effect on the health of people living in the area? Do you build sustainably, or do you import vast quantities of materials from other parts of the UK and abroad, using plastics and cheap, chemical-laden components? Do you insist on renewable energy wherever it can be accommodated? Do you just build little boxes as fast and as cheaply as you can or do you build homes that will last at least 100 years (the shelf life of the current development is planned at no more than 75 years for the homes and less for the shops and visitor centre).

Who takes these decisions - the developer, the district council or the people of Seaton? Who guards the guards?

Each time you look at the Seaton Wetlands National Nature Reserve (that's all you will be able to do as we won't have any community facilities) will you care that it was bought by demolishing 400 tourist beds occupied 80% of the time which bring some 60% of custom to many Seaton shops? What will happen to the cyclists who come the 70 plus miles from Minehead on the new SUSTRANS cycle route to Seaton - where will they stay? (When they opened the trans-Pennine cycle way all the accommodation on the route was booked for 2 years ahead). 90% of our tourist accommodation will have gone. Where will people go (guess?).

So, I ask again - do we let developers do what they want where they want? If so, what is the planning system for and who is the planning system for?

Over and out.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Goodbye from a few of us - perhaps

These will be the last blog entries today for those of us who are lucky enough to get on the council. Should we be successful we will have to ensure that we are not partisan and so will not be able to partake of this blog. This does not stop us being independent Stand Up For Seaton councillors but we will ensure that there are no grey areas about what we are involved in (perhaps that is the source of the latest odd rumour - see below?).

The blog will be run by others (NOT on the council, of ocurse) who will carry on its work as they see fit.

We have no way of knowing which of us will be elected, so we can't say for certain who will have to leave but, rest assured, we shall all be keeping beady eyes on everything that goes on in the town!

And - no, being independents on the council does NOT stop us from speaking - sorry! If so, all independents and all single issue councillors would have to leave councils all over the country! Just remember, there is even a single issue, independent MP in Parliament!

People who protest can also speak - it is allowed in a democracy!

Just for people who don't quite understand the system, it is possible for people who have protested about things to then speak about them if they are elected to a town council.

A really good explanation of how this works is in today's supplement to The Guardian entitled "One track minds". I will give you some quotes from the article.

"How badly Labour performs, and whether the Conservatives can capitalise on public discontent, will the the national story of tomorrow's local elections. But in town across the country, the key battles will be local - ones that pit tiny grassroots independent parties fighting on single issues of local importance against established political parties of all hues .....

One of these is in Farnham ... local people up in arms against proposals to build a £100m retail, housing and cinema complex on the site of a grade 2 listed building ..... 18 local residents are standing tomorrow as independent councillors with the aim of saving the character of the Georgian town .....

In Lincolnshire the Boston Bypass Party will be fielding 32 local candidates and challenging every seat on the town council .....

In Middlesborough, the former Labour leader on the council has formed the Middlesborough Independents party in opposition to proposed redevelopment in the town's Gresham ward .....

Kidderminster .... the only such "protest party" with an MP, is fielding 16 candidates for the district council and 11 for the parish council. It already has 12 seats on the council......

[One of the people standing for election says]: [We] do not have a party line on anything but local issues. Having a party whip means that you are voting for a party pollicy, not for the interests of local people"....

[One of the Farnham people] states that governments like to talk about localism but ..... the Conservatives in 2003 [in Farnham] .... had a commercial confidentiality agreement with the developer Crest Nicholson/Sainsbury's which is being debated in secret and the people that make decisions are based ... 13 miles away. "

So, there you are - what's happening in Seaton is happening (and has happened) all over the country.

We WILL be speaking - often and loud - for Seaton and Standing Up for Seaton all the time. This obviously worries some people VERY much! We've even had hate mail and anonymous letters (no writers, we won't be acting on these letters - if you have something to say, put your name to it) so you can see just how worried some people must be.

Use your votes wisely.

The latest rumour - which surpasses all others!

The latest rumour sweeping town: if Stand Up For Seaton people are elected as councillors they won't be able to speak on anything to do with Seaton! It even comes with the source named (needless to say the so-called source knows nothing about this).

Keep the faith, keep the faith Seatonians! Seaton is what we are here for - just try to stop us speaking!!!!!

However, it does show how scared some people are that they have to try this sort of thing - a backhanded compliment if ever there were one.

Fortunately, people in Seaton are much too sensible to fall for something so crass.