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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.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Tourist beds in Seaton

For all those of you who have been somewhat confused about PR Dogs assertion at the Winston's meeting, which I attended as an observer, that there are 2,200 tourist beds in Seaton and that holiday park accommodation is reducing, I think I can throw some light on this (though no doubt PR Dogs will tell me by comment here if I am wrong!).

I think they got their figures from the Devon County Council Tourism Report "Capacity of Tourist Accommodation In Resorts" of 2006. In this report, only three towns in East Devon are named: Exmouth, Sidmouth and Seaton. We therefore have to assume that the figures below for "Seaton" include Branscombe, Beer, Axmouth, Colyford and Colyton (and quite possibly other villages around Seaton, possibly even Axminster and beyond - this is not made clear in the report). By the way, East Devon is shown as having over 30,000 tourist beds in total.

Of the Seaton AREA (whatever that is):

220 serviced accommodation, average spend per night £56.59
40 flats and houses, average spend per night £33.37
970 holiday park units (includes static caravans and chalets) average spend £33.30 per night
1,000 touring pitches (touring caravans, , motor caravans, tents and trailer tents) average spend £20.78 per night

However, regarding PR Dogs assertion that the holiday park component is falling, if they used this document, again there is some confusion, as tables 28 and 29 in the report show that 33% of holiday parks report stable visitor numbers and 63% report increased numbers on the previous year.

PR Dogs: we do need citations for statistics, please.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Earth Hour

Meeting and Demonstration against the closure of the Lyme Bay Holiday Village

I have been asked to put the following notice on this site. Please note that this announcement has no connection to Stand Up for Seaton councillors, who must be seen to remain neutral in order to be able to speak and vote on anything concerned with this situation. This does not mean that they may not have a predisposition to a particular outcome:


There will be a RALLY against the forthcoming closure of the Lyme Bay Holiday Village on

Saturday 29 March 2008 at 11 am

Fancy Dress optional. Please inform everyone you know to ensure a good turnout. If you have any media contacts, please write to them or email them and get the story out there to as many sources as possible


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Thursday, March 27, 2008

Press Release - Tesco and STC

Members of Seaton Town Council and representatives of Tesco held a two hour meeting, and both sides agreed it was a very useful meeting with an exchange of views, hopes and aspirations for the town, which was appreciated both by the council and by Tesco. The two sides agreed to keep each other informed on an ongoing basis as the regeneration proposals are developed.

Monday, March 24, 2008

The Mysterious Death of the Petrol Station

This item caught my eye, as there are pros and cons to the whole problem of petrol/fossil fuel usage.

On the one hand, Seaton has one petrol filling station and a lot of residents are car dependent. Even with 250+ jobs replacing the 150+ people will still have to travel, by car, to work/school/leisure activity...in my view because East Devon is a predominantly rural area with towns dotted over it.

On the other, there is a growing push to reduce the petrol use by changing the local community area into a more sustainable one, thus reducing dependence on oil.

Read the article and see what you think.
See also Sustainable Seaton.

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Sunday, March 23, 2008

"Spam" postings

Please be aware that it is quite common on blogs for people to try to influence opinion by making multiple postings, in different names, either pro or against whatever that particular blog stands for.
This is something where common sense needs to be used.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

PR Dogs

It is very flattering to be the subject of so much attention from a PR company - it hasn't happened to me before! Am I a celebrity yet!

Friday, March 21, 2008

Welcome to PR dogs

The PR firm representing Tesco over the acquisition and closure of Lyme Bay Holiday Village has joined the commenting public on this blog - handle is prdogs.
I think it is fair to them to point out that they have responded to Sandra's topic on the Survey below, so please take time to read. I declined to accept it as a separate subject, but that does not preclude complete posts being presented either from them, Tesco, EDDC or indeed anybody, in future.

Whatver you think of the closure, join the debate, just keep it civil....annnnnd, use a handle other than "anonymous"

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Thursday, March 20, 2008

To PRDogs

Feel free to post your draft press release responding to my posting about the shopping survey here - it will not be edited, it will be printed in full.

Unfortunately, I haven't been sent a copy of it myself so far, otherwise I would have put it on myself.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Ok the survey people got me!

Well, the survey people are doing their jobs. A nice lad got me pinned down for 5 minutes and asked me questions, starting with:

Which two of these things are most important in your town: children and young people, older people, tourists, job opportunities, training and skills, shopping and affordable housing.

My reply: they are all equally important and I'm not going to make any choices - you can't have one without all the others if you are to have a successful and thriving town. Unfortunately, they didn't have a box for that (as with many of my later replies!).

They then went on to ask (for all categories) what did I think was needed. Are you kidding? What do we need for children and young people - well we have nothing (except the one evening that Councillor Sophie O'Connell started at The Grove) - nothing at all, so ANYTHING would be a start surely! We just want what every other town seems to have - a youth club, opportunities for sport and leisure - well, you can see where I am going. What do we need for older people: things to do, ways to keep fit, adequate transport and facilities to give them support and companionship if they want or need it. And so it goes on .....

However, strangely enough, he wanted to concentrate on shopping and therefore many of the questions were about shopping. Where did I shop (well, every day at the Co-op of course), what sort of shopping did I do in Seaton (well, just about everything). And finally, did we need a supermarket. Now, as a councillor, I can't tell you what I said about that one except to say that there wasn't a box for it.

I did ask the nice young man who he was doing the survey for - Tesco, presumably to enable them to collect statistics.

Does anyone recall the old adage - lies, damned lies and statistics!

Tesco doing telephone shopping survey?

Two readers report being telephoned today by someone who said they were speaking on behalf of Tesco and wanting to do a shopping survey. One reader reported being asked about "attitudes to the young and the old in shops". The reader asked for the surveyor to send information about who they were etc. by post but he or she said they were not able to do that.

You will recall that we had this once before when Liatris were putting in their planning application as a justification for having a store as big as the Tesco at Honiton, though no question was asked about the size and scale of the store when that telephone survey was made (I know, I was one of the people telephoned).

I wonder if one of the questions is: Which would you prefer - Tesco or one of the other Big 4 supermarkets? To be comprehensive and open, it really should ask that question.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Positive view of regeneration

is a page on Durham County Council's website
One of the finer points is....

"Development means change; it means environmental impact of some kind; and it brings in its wake community and social effects. Careful preparation, including working with local people, is essential if we want support and a positive attitude to change. Creating a vision is challenging, and it will not be successful unless it is genuinely shared ..."

Over to you Tesco and naturally, the people of the Axe Valley, comments please!

...Oh and hi!

Information from Tesco - Melanie Chiswell

Hello, I’m Melanie Chiswell (not Chisholm as stated elsewhere on this site) from Tesco, and I’d like to explain what has been going on since we acquired the Seaton regeneration site from Liatris late last year.

You will be aware that Hollybush Hotels had freely entered into an agreement to sell to Liatris some years ago, and that arrangement remained in place when Tesco bought the site. Hollybush were offered and decided to continue operations for 12 months.

As you will all be aware from public statements, we have moved to make the site safe and to improve its appearance. Much of that work has already been carried out.

What is less noticeable is that we have been conducting a programme of very detailed environmental assessments on the site, and we need the results from these assessments before we can complete our detailed proposals. We have also been holding discussions with other stakeholders including the management of Seaton Tramway and the Visitor Centre. We have been in touch with Seaton Town Council, and have arranged a meeting with them for Wednesday 26 March

We fully understand the frustration that it is taking a long time for residents to see any tangible progress towards regeneration, but it is important that we do our best to make sure we produce the best possible revised proposal for Seaton – one that addresses all the concerns and issues raised previously with Liatris, and latterly with ourselves.

This regeneration will bring significant and lasting benefits to the town and its residents, including new employment opportunities, with 250 or more new jobs being created by the new store alone, attractive shopping facilities, and affordable housing. Tesco is in discussions with the council to make sure that the most appropriate uses for the site, including possible tourist accommodation developments, are fully explored.

With regard to nursery provision we are very happy to consider re-providing this service as part of the scheme in conjunction with private operators.

We are working with East Devon District Council to ensure that facilities on the regeneration site match those required by the local community.

Regeneration will make Seaton a far more vibrant resort, and increasingly attractive to potential inward investment. It will also create more opportunities for the town's retail traders and tourism service providers.

We will be arranging a public consultation when we have developed our proposals, hopefully in May, and we will look forward to sharing our plans with, and listening to the concerns and suggestions of, as many residents as are able to attend.

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Wednesday, March 12, 2008

STOP PRESS: Lyme Bay Holiday Village - bought by Tesco, to close at the end of 2008. 400 tourist beds, nursery, gym, pool to go

Well, it happened. Lyme Bay Holiday Village has been bought outright by Tesco and will close by the end of this year (final closing date first week in January 2009). The owner was obviously given a price he could not refuse (he could have waited until July next year and, if there had been no planning application in force, he could have then sold to Tesco - presumably he thinks he got a better price doing it now). Staff have been told they will get a "loyalty" bonus if they stay until the last day but, of course, will be looking for new jobs as from today - so it could close much earlier if it can't get the agency staff to replace them. No problem for Mr Harrison (who owned the camp until recently) - he's still got several hotels and another holiday camp in Burnham-on-Sea - he just moves tourists to them instead.

So - 150 people without jobs, 400 bedspaces (80% occupied all year round) lost to the town (that's 90% of the tourist beds in Seaton, more than 60% of the tourist beds in the area from Branscombe to Axmouth and north to Colyford). A large number of people (I think around 30-50) who live-in at the holiday camp become potentially homeless, some shops will see takings down by around 60% without the holidaymakers, some pubs seeing their trade plummet (particularly in winter, which is hard enough). No nursery - it will have to close, no gym in the town, no pool in the town.

Well, we have to hope that Tesco knows what it is doing and that they will be addressing these issues urgently - after all, they are a "caring" employer and only want to do good in the areas in which they build their new stores.

As a councillor I can say that - so far - I have so far not been given the opportunity to meet with anyone from Tesco to discuss this or any other proposal. As far as I am aware, councillors have not told about this in advance, learning of it from staff at the holiday village who had received their letters this morning.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Pollution alters brain function

An interesting news item here about the effects of pollution (in this case, traffic) on the brain. A study showed that, after about 30 minutes in a room polluted by traffic fumes, the brains of those in the the room displayed a stress response on an EEG, which is indicative of a change in the way information is being processed in the brain cortex.

As the article says, it is difficult to have trials with humans about the effects of pollution because of the ethical situation involved but it mentions a study of dogs in Mexico which found those who lived in highly-polluted Mexico City had brain lesions similar to those seen in Alzheimer's patients, while those who lived in much less-polluted rural areas showed a much lower rate of damage to the brain.

Remember, the Liatris planning application has not yet been withdrawn and we have yet to see what is on offer from the two competing supermarkets. The question of how you raise the Seaton Regeneration site by 2-3 metres has still not been answered so the problem of up to 100 lorries a day (plus construction traffic) on Seaton's few main roads has not been solved and how much traffic will increase on those roads in the future.

It will be interesting to see how others approach the problem. Of course - they won't have to live here before, during or after construction.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Seaside towns need to think "out of the box"

There was a big meeting in Blackpool last week to talk about the regeneration of seaside towns, held by the British Urban Regeneration Assocation.

They say that British seaside towns are trrning to creative industries as a blueprint for survival to take them beyond the traditional funfair and bucket and spade exerpience. This calls for an injection of funds from the arts and culture. Peter Spence of the South Coast Design Forum said "seaside towns have to think outside the box instead of building a bigger funfair and a bigger place selling ice cream".

Mhora Samuel, director of the Theatres Trust said, "Seaside towns need to create a distinctiveness and diversify economic activity". She said the Weymouth Pavilion, Morcambe's Winter Gardens and the regeneration of Margate's Theatre Royal were exampled of what could be done.

BURA did a poll asking if seaside towns need special attention when regeneration is involved. 82% of respondents agreed with this, 12% disagreed and 6% were not sure.

Well, I guess, as Liatris once said, our reinvention is "shopping as leisure" (that's how they described it). Bit odd for a seaside town when we have something better to offer - and no culture or arts there!

Friday, March 07, 2008

The new Banksy

We couldn't possibly comment

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

EDDC Regeneration portfolio holder does not want "a developer's paradise"

Hard luck everyone - he's talking about Sidmouth, not about Seaton.

Sidmouth has just thrown out the idea of a marina but is going to redevelop part of the seafront. Here is what Councillor Halse said to the Sidmouth Herald on 29 February 2008:

Councillor Halse said a planning brief would be a new beginning for the area, with the widest public consultation welcomed from all interested parties, including the Vision Group, which had already put up good ideas.

“It will take some time because we do believe in consultation”, said Councillor Halse.

“We will prepare the brief for the area; we have enough money for that.

"But we cannot develop it ourselves. We would put it up for private developers to progress, but we will be in the driving seat.

“What we don’t want is some monstrosity, some carbuncle. That would be a price too far. I would like to see a mixed development, not something that is a developer’s paradise or a resident’s nightmare, not a huge block of flats but something that is good for Sidmouth, which is a very special place, unique in the West of England”.

Just a hint here to people in Sidmouth: take a good, long look at the development brief and its small print - and keep the above press cutting for later!

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Let's hear it for the trees...

An interesting article on the BBC site regarding the loss of trees, something that Seaton Council and many residents will be concerned with.
The bit I think most relevant to any development in the regeneration area is the type of tree you get...rowan versus plane tree etc. Me? I'd go for the one that can stand the water....willow;0)

The article can be found here