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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.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Stand Up for Seaton wishes everyone a happy holiday season

Best wishes to everyone who has supported Stand Up for Seaton during 2007 - a big thank you to you all.

We look forward to an interesting New Year - a possible new development at Seaton Heights, an interesting time seeing just what Tesco has "in store" for us on the regeneration site and a hope that some of the Exeter Airport windfall millions come Seaton's way via Devon County Council (well, you have to have hope don't you!).

Just remember - Stand Up For Seaton is not about politics. Anyone and everyone, old or young, born and bred here or "incomer" can Stand Up for Seaton in their own different ways. Stand Up for Seaton has no membership, no committee, no bureaucracy - it's just people who love this town, think it has had a raw deal and wants a better future for all of us. It is a state of mind and one that we all need to cultivate for the benefit of our town.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Exmouth chooses Asda as regeneration partner

The following is a press release from EDDC. It took Exmouth Town Council only two days to decide on the future of the town with four developers pitching for the job. - and look what they get for it - , supermarket, sports centre, swimming pool, library, interpretation centre, improved public transport, 27 flats and 2 retail units for a town of 30,000 or more.

What was Seaton going to get from Liatris: 1 supermarket, a small interpretation centre, a small SUSTRANS terminus, 500 houses, several shops and a 30m x 30m community room. No public transport improvements, no improved library, no swimming pool, no sports centre.

If only we had four developers vying for our custom here!

The press release says:

AFTER two days of deliberations, elected representatives of Exmouth have agreed the ‘preferred partner’ they wish to work with to help the town gain community facilities and meet its full potential.

Responding to approaches from four would-be developers, the group has now asked East Devon District Council’s Portfolio Holder Economy to recommend that council land-owners should work with ASM Properties to develop a new ASDA supermarket on the Bus Depot site.

This gives the green light for the first phase of the town’s blueprint for regeneration to move forward. Among the additional facilities that Exmouth stands to gain from this partnership are:

* A new retail store in near the town centre
* A new sports centre and swimming pool – built before the supermarket
* A new 12,500 square foot library
* A possible interpretation centre as the forerunner to the proposed Visitor Centre
* A greatly Improved public transport facility
* Housing in the form of 27 two-bedroom flats
* Two retail units for shopping or café use

Monday, December 17, 2007

New report on the flooding this summer

A new report has come out today on the flooding situation this summer. According to the report, the floods in June and July led to the biggest loss of critical infrastructure since World War II.

Amongst its findings:

build more flood-resilient buildings
greater leadership from local authorities
a national flood emergency plan
clear responsibility for dealing with urban flooding
systematic stockpiling of emergency equipment, such as boats.
drainage systems were overloaded, and there needs

Of these we are very lucky that in the Liatris planning application (which has presumably been withdrawn now that Tesco has bought the site) one of them was dealt with – their engineers said in the planning application that, at times of extreme weather, the plateau would be surrounded by at least a metre of water and would be cut off. They therefore recommended that there should be first aid facilities in two locations (they suggested the visitor centre and the supermarket) and that these buildings should also store either two shallow draft boats or two sea tractors to aid in evacuation of the site. Although some of us are still wresting with the problem that they also say that the surrounding area will not suffer any greater risk of flooding that before!

When it came to local responsibility, Sir Michael Pitt, the author of the report, said local authorities should take a stronger leadership role, including mapping the drainage systems and working with the Environment Agency, local drainage boards, and water companies to get a better understanding of how drainage works.
Although he personally wanted as little building as possibly on flood plains, Sir Michael acknowledged that with 3 million new houses planned between now and 2020 there was bound to be some construction there. "Where that takes place why can't we build proper resilient properties so that if they do flood they can recover very quickly," he said.

He went on to say that there should be an urgent review of underwater rescue attempts as there was "ambiguity" surrounding procedures.
We are very luck that we now have a new owner for the site (Tesco) which can use this report to inform its own planning application and that, being committed to environmental inmprovements, Tesco will hopefully be much more creative about how the flood plain is used.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Stepford Regeneration

Here is the entire editorial from "New Start" magazine of 23 November 2007 (Austin Macauled, Editor):

Title: If we keep blurring the vision we'll create a new generation of Stepfords.

Some towns leave an impression on you for life - but for all the wrong reasons. it might be the sheer ugliness of the shopping centre, the mind-blggling one-way system or the rows and rows of identikit housing. The one that sticks in my mind had all the soul of Ira Levin's Stepford and if it hadn't been for the rather challenging road layout I might have escaped quicker.

It would be unfair to reveal the identity of the place in question. It's in South-West England and, inexplicably, remains absent from The Idler's list of crap towns. I can only assume those who've passed through forgot it the minute they left while the inhabitants - rather like the wives of Stepford - are trapped and numbed into submission by a secret lodge. If that's the case, it sirely follows that the architects of this conspiracy must also be the architects of the concrete shopping centre, the legoland town hall and the surrounding areas of tarmac.

But a visit to the local museum tells another story. An exhibition reveals the vision architects had for the town before it was built in the early 1960s and the designs that greeted prospective home buyers. The welcoming shopping centre, endless parks, tree-lined boulevards, meeting places and happy-looking families depicted in the drawings would have been hard to resist.

It's hard to imagine it's the same place ... because it isn't. The shortcomings of developments back then are well documented and we've moved a long way over the past 40 years. But there's still an almighty gap between the vision and what's actually delivered on the ground.

Talking to practitioners from the private sector over the last week has hammered that message home. One architect described the frustration of creating plans for developments that manage to combine imaginative design with sustainability only for the end result to be watered down beyond ecognitin by the time it has passed through a tortuously long planning process.

The gap between vision and reality was also a major feature of the public accounts committee's report on the Thames Gateway programme. It's message couldn't have been clearer: what hope to we have of turning the vision into reality when the management at the top is so disjointed?

But it's not just trouble at the top we should worry about. Deviaiton from the vision happens throughout the process and preventing it from happening is a matter for all involved.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Ben Bradshaw - MP with special responsibility for the South West

Has anyone who reads this blog EVER had a reply to a letter or email written to Ben Bradshaw, MP for Exeter, Minister for the South West and Health Minister?

I would guess that over the last couple of years I have sent him half a dozen emails or letters, not one of which has had an acknowledgement, let alone a reply?

I know this man exists - I was on a packed train to Norwich a few months ago and, as I got off, I saw that he had been standing in the corridor since London - I missed my chance to barrack him about the Seaton Regeneration area.

Brownie points for not ejecting someone from a first class seat or doing "do you know who I am?" but, come on Ben (or his constituency workers - we know these "important" people don't get to read everything they are sent) - most MP's have the decency to acknowledge communications - where's your manners?

Friday, December 07, 2007

Supermarkets can be so naughty

From today's BBC website:

"Supermarket firms Sainsbury's and Asda have admitted that they were part of a dairy price-fixing group that earned about £270m extra from shoppers. The supermarkets, along with a number of dairy firms, have agreed to pay fines totalling some £116m after an Office of Fair Trading (OFT) probe.

Cases against Tesco and Morrisons will continue after no deal was struck."

We have a lot of dairy farmers in this part of the world - they must be really angry.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Tesco and its committment to the environment

Tesco's committment to the environment is here.

For balance one critique of Tesco's committment to the environment is here.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

EDDC's press release regarding Tesco purchase of Seaton Regeneration site

The full text of the EDDC press release regarding the purchase by Tesco of the Seaton Regeneration Area here

Monday, December 03, 2007

Tesco buys Seaton Regeneration Area from Liatris Holdings Ltd

EDDC today put out a press release to say that Tesco has bought out Liatris Holdings Limited and now owns the majority of the Seaton regeneration area:

Tesco put out the following press release (a link to EDDC's press release will follow as soon as it is available on the web):

This is Tesco’s full press release:


Tesco is delighted to confirm that it has acquired the Seaton regeneration site and is excited at the prospect of being involved in this major project to make the town the centre of sustainable tourism for the Jurassic Coast.

A spokesman for Tesco said: “We are ooking forward to working with the whole community, the district and town councils and all other stakeholders to ensure that Seaton becomes the principal tourism destination and visitor attraction in the area. The revised project will bring enormous benefits, both physical and financial, and will help to halt the decline in traditional tourism that has affected so many destinations in the region. Seaton will at last be able to capitalise on the new high-spend and high-value tourism trend with a vastly enhanced attraction which will ultimately benefit residents of all ages.

We believe this regeneration project will also help the town to maintain a balanced population by providing employment opportunities and affordable housing which will help stem the flow of young people to other towns and cities. It will also begin to address the issue of flooding from the sea and will support the proposed wildlife development behind the site.

We are very conscious of Seaton’s heritage and personality and we will work with all parties to do all we can to ensure that this development blends into the town’s natural landscape.


Sunday, December 02, 2007

Insurance ban for flood-risk homes

Quotes from Observer, 2 December 2007, main section page 16:

"Homes built on flood plains against official advice should be refused insurance to stamp out the threat of millions more flats and houses being erected in high-risk areas, according to Britain's Environment Agency." [Seaton's regeneration area is being allowed to have homes on its flood plain because the Environment Agency thinks a big monsoon drain down the middle of it will make it - and the area around it - safe enough, but see below].

It goes on to say:

"In a separate report, to be published this week, officials warn that they are currently unable to provide meaningful warnings for imminent surface water or sewer flooding - the problem which caused much of this summer's chaos. With weather forecasters predicting an increase in river, sea and drainage flooding resulting from climate change the EA's Chief Executive, Baroness Young, has called on the insurance industry to refuse to insure new properties where planners have given the go-ahead against the agency's advice [Seaton's is with the Agency's advice but recall that the developers themselves say that, in times of extreme weather, the plateau will be a self-contained island and should have two sea tractors or two shallow draught boats and emergency first aid, to enable evacuation of the site].

Baroness Young goes on to say that many properties flooded this summer were built on flood plains in the 1960s, 70s and 80s.

Do you think the Environment Agency gave the go ahead for those projects at the time?

Buy on a plateau - safe from flooding (perhaps) but not safe from back flow of sewerage or being cut off! And check your insurance situation first!

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Ticking off from Tesco for couple who spent too long shopping

This is article is repeated in full - it is from today's Guardian newspaper, main section, page 4. Bear in mind that, if we get a supermarket on the regeneration site, it has to share its car park with tourists going to the Jurassic Coast Interpretation Centre AND the extended Seaton marshes. Read and weep.

Roland and Pauline Hodgson decided to make a day of their trip to the supermarket to do their Christmas shopping. As well as filling their trolleys with festive goodies and buying presents for their family at Tesco, they lingered in the clothes section as Mrs Hodgson, 75, tried on outfits, and in electronics while Mr Hodgson, 80, pondered whether to splash out on a television set.

They then sat down for a meal in the restaurant at the store in Trowbridge, Wiltshire, before returning to their car just over four hours after their arrival.

But days later the couple, who both have disabilities, were admonished for shopping too slowly. Tesco wrote to tell them their car had been parked for longer than the three hours the store felt was needed. The letter said: "We know from research that the time limits exceed the time customers spend shopping in our stores and feel that they are fair and reasonable. "Therefore could you please observe the time restrictions to avoid a parking charge notice being issued."

Mr Hodgson, who uses a wheelchair, said: "Between us we spent around £1.25 a minute. But they still want more. "We go there once a week and normally spend around £60. We won't be going back again. What a way to treat loyal customers. They're persecuting the disabled for shopping too slowly."

Mr and Mrs Hodgson spent more than £200. They were accompanied by their daughter Georgina, who spent £80, and the meal cost £20. The trip lasted four hours and nine minutes.

Tesco claimed the letter was a "gentle reminder" rather than a telling-off and said the rules were in place to make sure there were always spaces available for shoppers. "We feel that in the vast majority of cases three hours should be enough for everyone's needs," the store said.

New state-of-the-art toilets at Budleigh Salterton

The EDDC website proudly trumpets the new state-of-the- art toilets at Budleigh Salterton. Metal anti-vandal roof tiles (now wouldn't they be useful at West Walk toilets!), baby changing facilities (I guess we don't have babies in Seaton - we've never had any) AND the toilets lock themselves at night (they say you can get out after closing time but not in - let's hope so!). Then there are low energy lighting and special anti-vandal wash basins.

I guess my question is: why only Budleigh Salterton?