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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, November 28, 2008

EDDC wants YOU to help to shape East Devon to 2026

Yes, HONESTLY, EDDC says it wants you and me to help them to shape East Devon to 2026! There will apparently be a questionnaire on the EDDC website (www.eastdevon.gov.uk) from 8 December to 13 February. Click on the headline above to be taken to the press release.

There will also be exhibitions being held across the district - of course there will be one in Seaton won't there? Sorry, what's that EDDC you will have to get back to me on that one one, and when you do, you may be right or wrong, so don't contact me us email, send us a formal letter by registered post, and even then, don't bank on what we say being right ..... .

Remember: smoking can kill and the value of your council can go up or down depending on the value of its advice.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Why have the Tesco signs come down?

No, it isn't because they have sold the site back to Liatris! It's because East Devon District Council has refused them planning permission (which initially they forgot to ask for but for which eventually they put in a retrospective application).

EDDC say it contravenes Policy D8 of the Local Plan. I looked this up on the EDDC website and it says that Display advertisements will be granted only if

1. the sign is appropriately positioned in relation to the design of the building (!) and is of an appropriate scale

2. the advertisement does not create a hazard to traffic safety (whether vehicular or pedestrian)

3. Advertisements are kept to a minimum, and amalgamated wherever possible, to avoid clutter which would detract from the character of the building and the street scene

4. Where a sign is lit the type and level of illumination is appropriate given the general level of lighting in the area

5. The construction materials and the colours of the advertisement are sympathetic to the building and the area.

Presumably, they refused permission on the grounds of 1, 3 and 5, seeing as how the advertisements were big, on scaffolding and bright blue and orange.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Mondays in Lyme

I dropped by the Lyme public meeting last night to do a little fact-finding. Suffice to say that I did indeed find little fact and spent a feedback laden hour with 75-ish others and learnt what?
What I was interested in really was how far the "shop local" campaign had moved the residents.

Bear in mind that the application Tesco are making in Lyme is nothing like a regeneration plan, it revolves around moving into an existing retail premises and therefore there's a series of applications relating to building alterations and the like.

First the credit, to Lyme's mayor and town clerk for respecting the rules that state that they have a public meeting when requested, thereby having to put up with a jibe by others who thought they shouldn't. Democracy is alive in Lyme and its elected representatives did their job, even if the "I can shout loudest so I'm right" were in residence!

From then on, what started out as a "shop local" campaign centred around the Tesco takeover of the Woolies store started to slide into a "what's wrong with Lyme" type of debate. Of this, sides were quickly drawn, and going by the applause, there were three pretty evenly split groups...the "LoveLyme" group concerned about shopping local; the (for want of a tag) "OldeLymers" who wanted cheap shopping, didn't give a toot about tourist and art shops etc. Then a third group who were either a bit of both, or sat and clapped nothing.
For brevity, that's a bit of simplistic labelling, but it'll give you a feel.

Choice cuts from the meeting?

"Tesco couldn't see the point in coming so that's how much they care"
"They have a narrative of inevitibilty about them (Tesco)"
"The Co-Op is too expensive here, I shop in Seaton/Axminster/Bridport"
"The Co-Op is a convenience store" (met with the rejoinder - "So is the Tesco Express")
"Done Deal", "LymeLuvvies"
"Why don't you all move to North Korea?"

But thereafter I witnessed the same old problems it appears that lots of towns face, of empty shops, parking, traffic, affordable housing, the balance between tourism and local trade, and how far you'll go to shop. This last one seemed to be answered not by whether a superstore solves this, but, people will travel in any case, one resident openly saying they go to Sidmouth.

So the idea that we (Seaton) all travel to Exeter because of the lack of shops, isn't so, a more accurate answer is "Have car, will travel"

After an hour, the meeting started to meander, and it was time I ate, there's a chippy outside the Marine Theatre...but it was Monday so it was home for a sandwich.

What did I learn then?

+++UPDATE: another view of the meeting can be seen here

I also see that the "view from seaton" is publishing letters about the Lyme situation, which adds to confusion as you have to know what's happening over there to know it's Lyme they're referring to.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Careful with that taser Eugene


While Seaton Quay sleeps

Over at Weymouth, they have started consultation for Osprey Quay.

Click on the title to go the full article but here's a few excerpts:-

"The South West Regional Development Agency has appointed a sustainable developer to build 70 eco-homes at Officer's Field, Osprey Quay."

Councillor Tim Munro, mayor of Weymouth and Portland Borough Council added: "This scheme is a vitally important key to unlocking the overall regeneration of Portland and will go a long way in meeting the housing needs of the future."

Councillor Richard Denton-White from Portland Town Council "The community have fought very hard to retain it as a public open space. We understand that there is now money available to beef up the leisure and sports use of this area and I... am delighted to see local people given a genuine opportunity to put forward their own ideas."


Saturday, November 22, 2008

Today's news and rumour

News: another Seaton shop closed. I haven't seen this for myself - in Fore Street - so I won't name it until I am sure that it has happened. If it has, it won't be the last.

Rumour: overheard by a correspondent in local chemist shop: Tesco pulling out of Seaton.
Personally, I think it unlikely given the millions they have spent on buying the floodplain (!) but you never know - perhaps they have their hands so full with Ottery, Honiton and Lyme they have decided to punish us by not coming here!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Classic quote from an EDDC councillor

The Sidmouth Herald of Friday 21 November 2008 leads with a story that Sidmouth Garden Centre were told (by email) by a senior EDDC officer that it would be OK for Riverdale Organics to have an annex there. The emails were copied to the Development Control Manager, Mr Belli, and to the Planning Department and, with apparently no negative response, the building and leasing of the annex etc then took place.

Sidmouth Garden Centre were then apparently told by EDDC planners - after Riverdale had moved in and started trading - that, in fact, they were in breach of planning regulations and the Riverdale store would have to close because the business is not "ancillary to the garden centre".

Head of Planning, Mrs Kate Little, is qyoted by the Sidmouth Herald as saying: "We have acknowledged the fault made in advice. We accept that it was wrong. Advice should always be in writing, formally, with the planning authority if you want to proceed". One would have thought that copying in the Head of Development Control and planning into an official email which generated no negative response would be formal enough.

The classic quote by EDDC Councillor Mrs Ann Liverton - a member of the EDDC Development Control Committee - also in the Sidmouth Herald:

"Members of the public don't understand this. They think if they call the council and get advice that what they are given is right".

Too right, Mrs Liverton, too right. And these are the people who hold Seaton's future in their hands.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Everything Lyme Regis ever wanted to ask Tesco and their (PR company's) reply

Lyme Regis residents and councillors had a meeting with "Tesco" on 28 October 2008. However, it appears that their PR guru John Taynton from Tesco-nominated PR Dogs was the person put in the firing line.

Read about it here.

Really, the number of times he said "I don't know, I'll get back to you on that" (between 6 and 8 times depending on how you define his answers) makes you wonder why Tesco can't front their own meetings. But perhaps they think there is no point in having a dog and barking yourself. Though, in this case, it might have been the better way!

Friday, November 14, 2008

The Axe Riverside site - update

A correspondant has asked that we talk about the Axe Riverside site. Here is what we think we know.

The Axe Riverside Company put in their planning application for around 90 flats on their site, 40% of which would be affordable about a month ago - this was reported in the press. They put their plans in the library for people to see and on the hoarding in front of their site (they called it Seaton Quay).

The town council was due to hear the planning application about 2 weeks ago but just before their meeting Axe Riverside were told that East Devon needed more documents so the town council were not able to discuss it because the paperwork wasn't complete.

We assume that this is what is now holding the planning application up. Not sure if the plans are still in the library - they probably are and may also be at the town hall. If you want to be up to date about what is happening, contact the planning department at East Devon District Council or Axe Riverside on the number they show on their publicity material.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Magna Housing and Sainsbury's talking together about building leisure facilities?

According to the View from Seaton today Magna Housing say they are in talks with Sainsburys about providing leisure and community facilities across the road from their projected new housing development on Harepath Road.

This seems surprising as Sainsburys never mentioned this at their exhibition and yet Magna say they have been talking to the district council for two years about their proposed housing site and the proposed industrial and recreational land on the other side of the road. Surely Sainsburys would have mentioned this - it might have got them 100% backing from everyone in Seaton if it is correct!

Perhaps Magna or Sainsburys could enlighten us, as you can bet your bottom dollar EDDC won't!

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Tesco trying to stop Sainsbury's building in Dawlish

Sainsbury's was given planning permission to build a store in Dawlish. On the day that planning permission was granted to Sainsbury's Tesco put in a planning application which was later refused on the grounds that planning permission had already been given to Sainsbury's.

Tesco are not happy with this and are threatening legal action. See full story here. From what has been said, Tesco will be putting in their planning application in Seaton before Sainsbury's, so if they are successful, presumably Sainsbury's can use the arguments against Tesco in Seaton that Tesco are using in Dawlish! It's a strange world.

And yes, yes, yes - if you can find a similar story about Sainsbury's doing the same thing to Tesco we WILL publish it! ALL stories of supermarkets doing unusual things are published here if we get the information.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

The more green spaces the healthier the people

Full story here.

So that's Seaton's health down the pan then - fewer and fewer green spaces, no gym, no swimming pool. Anyone would thing someone wanted to polish us all off!

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Tesco buys Old Mill site at Ottery St Mary

We gather (although we have not yet verified this for ourselves, others may do so) that, according to records at the Land Registry, Tesco unconditionally purchased the Town Mill in Ottery St Mary in February 2008. Apparently,they are working with a company called Churchill Property Group (South West) Ltd. on a planning application, which will presumably include a Tesco store.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

The size of superstores

Reading the comments of late, there is a side issue developing on the sizes of the stores. In order to give people a reference to work around, here is the story so far...**

Population - approx 7000
Tesco store - approx 40000 sq ft
Sainsburys - approx 25000 sq ft

OK, these are just numbers, a completely off the wall comparision (and to prove that SU4S is watching all supermarkets) let's go to Crewkerne.

Crewkerne has a similar size of population, and guess what? Yep it's having a supermarket, this one is Waitrose and it's projected as a 19300 sq ft one.
As far as I know, Waitrose doesn't do white goods (yes there is a a small John Lewis bit in the Sidmouth store) so it would be a reasonable assumption that Tesco propose to do white goods or similar, whereas Sainsburys may not be able to fit them in. Please discuss in the comments section, that's what it's there for.

**happy to be corrected on these numbers