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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.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Tesco exhibition times

Tesco has advertised in the View from Seaton that its open days at the Eyre Court Hotel will be:

Friday 3 October 2008 - 11 am - 7 pm
Saturday 4 October 2008 - 10 am - 5 pm

They have also set up a web site where residents can email comments (see above), although it appears not to be working at the time of posting this blog entry.

Should you make comments to either supermarket during the exhibitions we would be pleased to hear what you have said - post your comments here. It would also probably be a good idea for you to let EDDC and Seaton Town Council know what your views are.

Monday, September 29, 2008

The effects of climate change on flooding in the UK

Click on the link above to see several articles on how ill-prepared the UK is for floods such as the ones we have had in the last couple of years.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Windows project:- Local businesses read on...

Following up the "views from seaton" windows project, the SU4S blog is opening up the top right hand 2 spaces for local businesses to advertise.
If you can get your artwork into a readable 275pixel wide space (I can attempt this feat for you) and get it to me with a crisp £5 note attached, I'll make sure it's displayed for a week, minimum. Beer taxis have already come forward, so you can see where I'm talking about.
The money? I'll give that to Seaton Phoenix, a local charity for causes within Seaton (and probably nearby villages for all I know).

Use the email "contact us" button.

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Friday, September 26, 2008

A little bit of history - Hallsands

For those with an interest in man and the sea, have a read at BBC Devon here

Also worth a morning's surf time (apologies for the pun) we have the extract below from this page

It has been suggested (Joint Nature Conservation Committee, 1996) that large areas of sea bed sediments in Lyme Bay and seawards of the 20m isobath south of Hope's Nose are 'lag' (winnowed) deposits. This is easiest to accept where there are local accumulations of gravels and sandy gravels containing flint, sandstone, chalk and limestone clasts. However, recent and modern abrasion of the clay bedrock beneath shallow water in Lyme Bay could create fine material that occupies the interstices between coarse clastic particles (Pingree, et al, 1983). It is therefore likely that gravel and coarse sandy deposits are relict, (probably pre-Holocene in age) and immobile under the present day seabed hydrodynamic regime.

and lots more at SCOPAC

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Thursday, September 25, 2008

Holiday Camp profits soar - tourists looking for greater value

Western Daily Press, Monday 22 September 2008, front page main headline:
"Holiday Camp profits soar". Second page headline: Tourists looking for greater value

Main points:

Butlins annual profits up more than £100 million revealing that hard-up holidaymakers are choosing destinations like Minehead over sunnier climes such as Malaga.
Bourne Leisure and Haven UK caravan park at sites such as Weymouth, Poole, Burnham on Sea and Doniford Bay say profits rise 6.7%.
Visitor numbers at Butlins increased by 15% over this summer.
The figures are no surprise to South West Tourism with head of marketing, Kirsty Cumming saying holiday camps' soaring profits were a true reflection of current trends in holiday-making. "People are lookingg for more value for money when taking holidays at the moment" she said.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Axe Riverside has put in its planning application for the Racal site

Axe Riverside have put in a planning application to EDDC for the Racal site. Copies of their preliminary brochure outlining their plans are available at Seaton Town Hall and at Seaton Library.

Dates for Tesco and Sainsbury presentations announced

Dates havenow been announced for both the Tesco and Sainsbury presentations for the Seaton Regeneration area.

Tesco will present first at the Eyre Court Hotel on 2, 3 and 4 October 2008. Sainsbury will then present on 23, 24 and 25 October 2008 at the Town Hall. Times for each presentation are not yet available.

Please note that no planning applications have been put in so far by either Tesco or Sainsbury, only by Axe Riverside (Racal site) - see above re Racal site.

Jersey has public inquiry as to why homes built on a floodplain flooded!

Full story here.

Basically, permission was given to build on a marshland floodplain where the drainage was assessed as "fair" so 102 homes were built on it. Campaigners said that it should not have been re-zoned for building as homes would flood and this is exactly what happened.

A Committee of Inquiry has now ruled that calling the drainage "fair" was "in hindsight an understatement".

The report also recommended that public consultation processes should be made clearer and more precise so that people had confidence that their views were being listened to.

Friday, September 19, 2008

The half-term doors and windows project on the Axe Riverside hoarding

Those of you who saw this week's View from Seaton will know that Seaton Town Council is organising a project for half-term (last week of October) to paint a large section of the hoarding around the Axe Riverside site on Harbour Road.

This is being called "Views from Seaton" and anyone - individual, families, organisations, companies, charities - is invited to reserve a door (or doors) and/or window (or windows) on which they can use their imagination to paint a scene which fits in with the name of the project.

Each window will cost £5 (or £10 if you want an artist to do it with you or for you) and ALL proceeds will go to charity. There are no sponsors of this project - it is a project to bring the community together.

There is a small exhibition in the town hall foyer (which can be viewed Tuesday - Thursday 9am to midday each week) where you will also find more information and reservation forms.

There are currently 46 doors and windows to paint (though more could be added if it becomes popular) and some have already been reserved. Get down to the Town Hall and reserve yours.

Archmaster interrupt....>>>here's one windows prepared earlier

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Flooding 0 newbuild homeowners exposed to policy hikes

Jill Johnstone, director of policy at the National Consumer Council in Guardian:

"Much has been made about government plans to build three million new homes by 2020. What is probably less well known is that several of the locations earmarked for development are considered high-risk flood aeras, including large parts of the Thames Gateway, east of London."

"It is estimated that more than five million people live or work in flood risk aeras in England and Wales alone. We think it is in the consumer interest to oppose newbuild on flood plains, as it makes future householders vulnerable."

"If new homes are built on flood plains, it will be difficult for consumers to get buildings and contents insurance. The issue is already affecting existing homeowners, who, after the high-profile floods of recent years, are finding it difficult to get insurance cover" .....

..... "Not all properties on flood plains are likely to flood eveyr year, so we think that insurers have enough scope to spread the risk , and ensure that they can offer policies to homeowners who need them most. There are continuing discussions between the Environment Agency and the Association of British Insurers on the whole issue of flood defence, which we hope will ensure that consumers are able to insure their homes as they always have - even if they are on flood plains".

Monday, September 15, 2008

Richard Wright

Richard Wright, one of the founding members of Pink Floyd, has died today following a struggle with cancer. He was 65.

HT: The Guardian

Friday, September 12, 2008

EDDC staff do swimathon for charity

Picture here of EDDC staff doing a swimathon at Sidmouth pool for charity.
Perhaps next time they will come to Seaton to swim in our pool. Whoops, forgot - we won't have a pool soon. Never mind, they are talking of building a new one in Sidmouth - perhaps we can have their old one .....

Meanwhile...I Go Swimming...

Thursday, September 11, 2008

regeneration - a liberal view

As Dave Hill says, regeneration schemes evoke passion...and when I look around the web the one thing that strikes me is "we are not alone"

Finding the "right" answer is no easy task...but listening, and more importantly, accepting what the local populace want for their area is key.

I often feel that some corners of society have all too quickly adopted the "We hear what you say, but you're wrong" attitude and "it's for the best really" is probably the worst cliche. But I digress, Dave's article can be found here


Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Small seaside town wins planning appeal against large supermarket

Sherimgham in Norfolk is a small seaside town (pop around 7000) where a major supermarket has just lost a planning appeal to build a supermarket in the town. The reasons the planning inspector gave were:

1. The effect of the proposal on the retail function,l vitality and viability of Sheringham town centre.
2. The effect of the supermarket on the character and appearance of the area.
3. Whether there would be unacceptable congestion on the local highway network.

The full planning inspectors report is here

The opening paragraph says:

"I consider that there are three main issues that are common to both appeals.
The first is the effect of the proposal on the retail function, vitality and viability
of Sheringham town centre. The second is its effect on the character and
appearance of the area. The third is whether there would be unacceptable
congestion on the local highway network."

On each issue she decided that there were no grounds to build a new supermarket in the town.

To read the blog of the people who objected to the store go here.

"One nation under water"

Interesting and informative article by Jonathan Glancey in The Guardian today on what the architectural response to flooding should be. Read the full article here. Meanwhile, here are the opening paragraphs with some parts highlighted:

"After a weekend of heavy rain, the forecast remains gloomy for the week ahead. The rain will keep on falling in the months and years to come as Britain experiences flooding on an increasingly dramatic scale. By now we all know, or should know, that continuing to build on floodplains is not a very good idea. Unless we begin to design a new generation of buildings on stilts, or learn how to raise land up from the water as the Dutch do, or design new towns along the lines of Venice, then we should abandon all plans to build where waters are likely to rise."

"Will we? Not a chance. In Britain floodplains are cheap land. We want lots of cheap new housing, ever more supermarkets, major roads, distribution depots and heavy traffic to serve the latest low-cost estates. You can see these homes currently marching their way along the flanks of Ely in Norfolk, capital of the water-sodden Fens, and, in particular, along the length of the Thames Gateway, the lands along the Essex and Kent banks of the Thames. We should be very wary indeed of building here."

"Governments want targets for low-cost housing to be met. Regeneration quangos and local authorities go along with this, a dim tide of witless development that would have had Noak knocking up an ark even before God had warned him of the Great Flood to come."

"If we must build on floodplains, then we need to spend huge sums of money on long-term investemnt in either flood defences or new forms of architecture, building, land use and urban planning. We need to invest in major drainage programmes. We need to ensure that the majority of new homes are built well above projected flood levels. Lower down, new houses really do need to be raised on stilts and even provided with boats. We might build a number of small towns set above floodwater moats. We could design modern pumping stations as attractive as the windmills that performed this job in the Fens two and three hundred years ago."

It goes on to say that the East Anglian fens rely on 300 pumping stations and 3,800 miles of artificial channels to keep the water at bay. The article ends:

"Meanwhile, as long as we can sprawl unsustainably across cheap land, we will continue to do so with official as well as commercial blessing. Only a disaster of epic proportions will teach us to plan ahead, as a hard and ever harder rain falls."

Monday, September 08, 2008

UN threatens to de-list seven UK Heritage sites

UNESCO says it wants urgent action to protect seven world heritage sites in the UK which it says are in danger from building developments and said, in some cases, the UK is ignoring its legal obligation to protect them. Sites are: Stonehenge, neolithic ruins in Orkney, Edinburgh Old Town, Bath city centre, Liverpool waterfront, Westminster and the Tower of London.

Its strongest criticism is for Edinburgh, where UNESCO deeply regrets the city council's decision to press ahead with a hotel, housing and offices development which it says will ruin the medeival old town's unique form.

The Chairman of "Save Britain's Heritage" says "Heritage has taken a back deat to Cool Britannia and encouraging everything modern and we're now uncomfortably in the limelight for failing to have proper policies to protect our world heritage sites, and timely criticisms are now being made".

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport says it is introducing a heritage protection bill which will give allsites in England the same legal protection as a conservation area.

Personally, I'm shocked that the World Heritage Jurassic Coast doesn't have the same protection as the Seaton town centre conservation area - but then, how much protection has conservation status given the town centre?

Sunday, September 07, 2008

light relief for the blog episode 3

oookayyyy, Seaton isn't quite up there with Korea, but we could experience some incredible sights in the next few years!

Daegu in South Korea played host to the World Bodypainting Festival, it's the largest bodypainting event on the planet.

The main festival is held every year in Seeboden, Austria, but expanded into Asia for the first time this year with a bonus exhibition. It lasted until 31 August.
The World Bodypainting Festival is the biggest annual event of the body painting culture and community. The festival is the first of its kind in the world and has become the “Mecca of Bodypainting”. It draws over a hundred artists and models, and thousands of visitors, from all over the world every year.

Mmm mm, is that the mayor in that get-up??



Friday, September 05, 2008

Whoops, Tourism

Worth a read, as whilst we don't have "large" hotels, we are in a location that begs tourism in a region that depends on tourism.
Whatever your views on supermarkets, tourists bring their money...though it sounds like Mrs Hodge thinks of Italy.

Click here for the story.

HT: Western Morning News

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Tesco chief says "We must go green"

Tesco Chief Executive Sir Terry Leahy is given a full page in the Guardian Environment Supplement today (page 9). Full article here.

Highlights from the article include [with our comments in these square brackets]:

"only by acting now on cutting emissions will we save money in the future" [not sure who the "we" who is saving money here is - Tesco or the customer]
"Get the consumer onside and the task of tackling climate change becomes possible" [surely that should be get the retailer onside!]
"I trust and listen to consumers" [good - presumably he will be trusing and listening to the people of Seaton too]
"Tesco's core purpose is to create value for customers to earn their lifetime loyalty" [we thought it was to make money for their shareholders]
"We aim to halve emissions from our group's stores and distribution centres by 2020" [we think, to be fair, that's what most retailers are aiming for and what the government has said they must have - at current energy prices they can't afford to do anything else]
"We are saving energy in our stores by hanging curtains on freezer doors, better insulation, low-energy lighting and new refrigeration systems" [common sense really if you want to save money - all retailers are doing this, not just Tesco]
"We are reducting the number of empty trips our vans make by ensuring they are fully loaded" [someone should be asking why vans were not going out fully loaded in the first place]
"We are saving water - next year our Chinese business will begin rainwater harvesting and using grey water for things such as washing cars and toilets." [good heavens - waiting to do this in China next year - there are people who have been doing this in the UK for the last 10 years or more]
"In Thailand we aim to plant 9m trees" [how about of a few of them in Seaton]
"We are developing a label that will tell customers the size of a product's carbon footprint" [how long will it take to develop the label?]
"If retailers help customers, customers will go green" [if customers help retailers, retailers will go green]
"Billions of purchases send a signal to cut carbon right down the supply chain" [how many of those billions of purchases are REALLY necessary?]

There is absolutely no doubt that rising fossil fuel prices, higher manufacturing costs and lower spending power will be impacting on all retail outlets and forcing them to go green(er) - when green means cutting costs and making more profit it makes total sense for a business. Until now it didn't really matter - energy costs were a minor fraction of the costs for big business, but now energy costs are really biting they are all hitching themselves to the "green" bandwaggon. But there is a LONG way to go yet!

Look below in the comments for the official Tesco reply - it won't take long to arrive here!

Monday, September 01, 2008

Charity shops beat the crunch

We are so used to hearing that charity shops are a sign that a town is failing. Now comes a story from the BBC that says it is a retail sector that is outperforming others. See the story here.

Maybe we will all be glad that we have charity shops in Seaton over the coming months .....

"Credit crunch brings big rise in supermarket offers on sugary foods"

Guardian, Monday 1 September page 5:

"Supermarkets have dramatically increased cut-price promotions of cheap sugary amd fatty foods as the credit crunch bites, a consumer watchdog [National Consumer Council] says today ....."

....."only one in eight promotions features fruit and vegetables ....."

....."The NCC ranks supermarkets according to four health indicators ... Overall, Sainsbury's came top for the second time in a row, with the Co-op second, Waitrose third, Marks and Spencer fourth, Asda and Tesco joint fifth, Somerfield seventh and Morrisons last ....."

..... "Tesco questioned the NCC's method of judging nutrition labelling, saying its bias towards one colour-coded system recommended by the FSA clouded the facts. Morrisons also rejected the findings, saying "It's six months out of date, contains a number of inaccuracies and is a largely subjective assessement ....."

But a spokeswoman for the NCC discounted the reasonal argument, "We include frozen and tinned fruit and vegetables. Supermarkets could discount what there is and we did not find they were doing so. A spot-check like this is totally fair. We set out to replicate what it is like for a normal shopper.

Full article here and a BBC News article on the same subject here which adds "The Co-op, Tesco and Waitrose were praised for not having sweets at the check-out - but M&S scored zero for displaying a wide range of sweets and snacks at checkouts, although it says it intends to remove confectionery by January next year."

Cheap swimming pools

In a weekend newspaper (can't remember which one) there was an article about how to cut the cost of public swimming pools. They used old cut-down parts of cruise boats - permanently moored in rivers - where the former purpose-built swimming pools took in sea water (which was twice treated to make it safe for swimming in and then twice treated on its way out to make it safe for fish).

Seaton is, of course, ideally placed for a salt-water tidal outdoor swimming pool. See here for such pools in the UK.

Lateral thinking - we need more of it.