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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.

Sunday, December 31, 2006

Another choice gem from the Liatris planning application

My thanks to a correspondent for this one from the Liatris planning application Sustainability Assessment:

Para 4.1.32 - "the developer has no formal sustainable procurement policy".

Para 4.1.33 - we note that "a Sustainable Urban Drainage System (SUDS) will
not be possible due to the HIGH flooding potential of the site".

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Leaflet dropping - any more volunteers?

We are doing really well with volunteers to leaflet drop. We have three routes left if you feel up to volunteering.

One centres on Court Lane and the roads around (Meadow Road etc), one centres on the roads west of Scalwell Mead (Scalwell Pk etc) and one on the roads around Drovers Way (Heather, Primrose, etc). These are not particularly large routes.

We do have people already doing a route who may volunteer to do a second one but it would be really good if we could get more people so that the others won't need to do two runs.

Email to: axevalleyrocks@yahoo.co.uk

Friday, December 29, 2006

Climate change and the coast

There is a glossy magazine called "Coast" which celebrates all things seaside. In its editorial this month they talk about how global warming will mean that many more tourists will choose to holiday in the UK as the Mediterranean gets too hot for them. They go on to say:

"The tourist industry will flourish, our seaside towns be regenerated and we can holiday closer to home. Mind you, we would have to share our favourite bits of coastline with millions more tourists - and beside the problem of finding a towel's worth space on the beach, will there be the infrastructure to cope with this massive influx? Well, no, is the answer. Many more hotels and restaurants would have to be built and, given the decidedly dodgy planning decisions that seem prevalent in any of our seaside towns, imagine the outcome as our traditional and quirky seafront buildings are bulldozed to cram in hundreds of soulless high rise apartment blocks..."

But, of course, the tourist industry will NOT flourish in Seaton where the one bit of land we might use to capitalise on our natural coastline (see below) will be covered with the "soulless high rise apartment blocks" are already being planned. Did you know that some of these blocks will be five storeys high - and in fact that means six because the land is already being raised 2-3 metres which is the enquivalent to one storey.

So, what have we got to look forward to? A clone estate (described by someone who commented on Town Design as "Barrattville on Sea") on the World Heritage Jurassic Coast - where visitors can't come because there will be no-where for them to stay (unless, of course you count the as yet non-existent 30-40 bed hotel which has yet to make an appearance on another part of the site). Of course, the tourists could take over the soulless blocks as holiday apartments and then we will then get the sort of tourists that Benidorm is now trying to evict.

We could have made this such a fantastic place and what do we get - 600 - 700 (yes, 600 - 700 in the whole development - and possibly more) bog standard houses and flats, a supermarket and a DIY store. And we know how things can change when outline planning has been agreed. Somehow there is always more room for extra homes, extra shops, extra tarmac for parking spaces. Oh, and I keep forgetting, a tiny Visitor's Centre where you park in the supermarket car park to visit as long as you don't stay more than 3 hours and a Wetlands Centre where the deposit for the acres and acres of extra land that EDDC has decided to buy (so that visiting tourists can stay "in the area" - and we all know what that means) has been paid for by the people of Seaton through a Section 106 agreement.

Thanks EDDC and Liatris. Could you see this happening in central Sidmouth or Budleigh Salterton!

Thursday, December 28, 2006

What If .... My Regeneration Dream

We are all, of course, discussing how awful the Liatris scheme is for the regeneration area and we have said that we want - at a minimum - to return to the plan in the Development Brief.
HOWEVER, what if you could do anything you wanted on this site and in central Seaton generally - what would you do?

My dream: Knock down the chalets at the holiday village and replace them with a state-of-the art ecovillage for ecotourists - cabins set on decked walkways with walks to the river. Clad the buildings that house the swimming pool, restaurant, etc in local wood and make them look much more modern and smart but basically keep them and use them for - gym and swimming pool and day nursery (as we have there now) new tourist information, SUSTRANS cycle route terminus, community facilities - you name it - it would all fit in there (even a Visitors Centre but that could also be elsewhere).

In the middle section (more or less where the derelict holiday camp is now) have this as public open space - a recreation ground, football pitches, indoor sports facility, children's play area. Have a community garden (perhaps even some community gardening).

On the remaining third build your visitors centre and tramway and (if you really must) a SMALL supermarket (a bit bigger than the current Co-op). Link the Visitor's Centre to the marshes with another decked walkway and have the Visitors Centre surrounded by water, rushes, etc.

We've already had a couple of hundred homes built in Seaton recently so let's just get the rest that we need to have (about 150 - 200) as infills and small developments here and there - perhaps build affordable homes through a Community Land Trust.

Have solar panels, photovoltaic cells, ground source heat pumps, tidal power, wind power.

Our market: the discerning eco-tourist (who will stay in the eco-lodges) and the university/school visitor market and families who want to visit a tourist area which is as carbon neutral as it can be and which trumpets the glory of its river, coast and marshes. Encourage them to come to Seaton by tram leaving their cars beside major roads. Let them go around the town by the land train (or better still, on foot) visiting the seafront and shops.

The seafront: make the bit between Beach Road and Fisherman's Gap pedestrian only and have a summer Mediterranean cafe culture. The businesses in that area could build out towards the road and become all weather attractions in their own right.

I'd make Fishermans Gap more attractive - decked cafes and other small attractions on the seafront.

Cliff Field - build a gorgeous geodome - but sink it far into the ground so that only the top of the dome showed and didn't cause interference to current neighbours. Make it a "Jurassic Coast Eden" with flora and fauna of the Jurassic Coast past and present. Go into it from West Walk (where there would be a stunning new Chine Cafe) and up an ammonite spiral (like the kids designed for the Visitors Centre) or from a stop outside Cliff Field on the land train.

So, what's your dream?

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Stand Up For Seaton

"Stand Up for Seaton" says it all for me really - no party politics, no factions, no special interests, no personalities. Just as many of us as possible standing up for the town we all love and want to see prosper - but in a way that benefits all of us for many years to come and not just a few people who probably don't even know (or care) where we are - just getting rich quick.

I personally will be very happy to see this planning application defeated so I can get back to my Open University studies and hopefully get better marks than I've been getting recently!

Why doesn't someone do another wrap around View from Seaton?

Marilyn (see comment below) asks the sensible question: Why doesn't Stand Up 4 Seaton or some other group do a similar wrap around to the one Terry Dinham did on View from Seaton?

Well, Marilyn, we are doing our best but our limited funds mean that we have been able to afford only one half page black-and-white ad in this week's View (2 January) as that was all we could afford with our limited funds - Terry Dinham has literally millions of pounds to play with and a wrap around is a drop in the ocean for him and his backers.

We are having thousands of leaflets printed at the moment so that one goes to each home in Seaton and also to surrounding areas (hopefully: volunteer to deliver by contacting us at:axevalleyrocks@yahoo.co.uk) before our two days of information and advice at the Town Hall on 9 and 10 January 2007. These have only been possible thanks to various donations we have received - including Seaton Licensees Association and a number of people who wish to remain anonymous - including local business people.

However, the local tradespeople should surely be getting together and doing SOMETHING that's for sure. But here we come to the problem that within the last couple of years the local Chamber of Commerce was expelled from the national group and split into no less than three new groups (or possibly even more - I've lost count). Many traders were disenchanted and refused to join any of the new groups. None of the groups seems to have the membership or the "oomph" to do anything and Liatris is exploiting this weakness.

Many of these traders will lose business either when the holiday camp closes (and don't underestimate the value of these tourists to the town - they spend a lot of money in Seaton) or when the supermarket and DIY store open within a year or two of planning permission being granted and when new coffee shops, restaurants or cafes open on the new site.

Some I have spoken to are totally unconcerned and seem to be of the opinion that nothing much will change and they will be able to carry on as usual. They say "Well, there will be a new housing estate and that will bring us business" - no, it won't - it will have the supermarket and the DIY store on its doorstep and unless we can find upwards of 1,000 jobs in and around Seaton for these people they will be retired or second homers and will make little impact on the "old" town - and we will have lost the long-stay tourists.

Few seem to have understood just what a really hard time Seaton is in for if this plan is accepted when, for two or three years we will have NO holiday village, NO tramway (whilst it is rerouted), NO Visitors Centre, NO parking, a huge building site and 60-90 lorries coming through Seaton 10 hours per day six hours per week for 2-3 years with infill and 1-2 years with construction materials. And after that when we have only day trippers and "shopping as leisure" (as long as you stay less than 3 hours in the supermarket car park). Traders should be gearing up to fight back NOW.

And, by the way, who is buying the empty shops in Seaton and why are they not open? If this is a thriving town that won't suffer if a big supermarket and DIY store come here surely some of them should be selling something by now - unless the developer has bought them!

Cost of a holiday at Hollybush Hotels holiday villages

I haven't been to the Hollybush holiday village at Weston super Mare (Sand Bay) but it looks on the web very similar to Hollybush Lyme Bay, although I have heard several tourists say that they prefer Lyme Bay. Here from the Hollybush internet site today are prices charged for both sites:

4 nights full board - Christmas
Sand Bay £335
Lyme Bay (reduction from £335 shown as original price) - now£269
difference: Lyme Bay £66 less

2 nights New Year half board
Sand Bay £209
Lyme Bay (reduction from £209 shown as original price)- now £169
difference Lyme Bay £40 less

So, they seem to start off at the same prices which would indicate that they are similar, but Lyme Bay gets reductions which do not apply to Sand Bay.

And, as for the grey pound being a falling market, the site (i.e. all its hotels and holiday villages) says this on its internet front page:

"Hollybush has developed an excellent reputation in recent years for offering-high quality, value-for-money short breaks, specifically tailored to suit the over 40s market. Great emphasis is placed on facilities and amenities to ensure they are attractive to guests who no longer wish their holiday experience to be dominated by children."

Compare this with Mr Harrison's letter to Terry Dinham:
"Lyme Bay Holiday Village continues to rely very heavily on an ageing and declining market. The majority of the guests are the over-55 age group and the retired with very limited budgets. It is the latter groups of customers in particular that has come under intense financial pressure due in part to pensions not pace with inflation and discretionary spending reducing as a consequence".

Now, if the last paragraph is correct, then the Hollybush Sand Bay site should also be threatened with closure. HOWEVER, there is another interpretation of this: let's say that pensioners ARE feeling the squeeze. Then those pensioners currently going abroad or taking Med cruises will be equally feeling the pinch and will need to downshift their holidays to suit their new circumstances. Where better then than the holiday villages that are now too expensive for the poor pensioners but now within the reach of better-off pensioners also feeling the pinch.

And Hollybush seems to be the only company that thinks there is a reduction in the "grey pound" market. For example, the BBC News website says: "In 2000 there were about 132 million over-50s in western Europe. By 2025 there are expected to be 177 million. In the UK, there were almost 20 million over-50s in 2000. By 2025 there are expected to be nearly 27 million."

Are all these pensioners going to be so well off they won't want cheaper holidays?

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

What are tourists and staff being told about the future of the holiday village?

If you are a visitor to Lyme Bay Holiday Village and you pick up a local newspaper (such as the one with the four page wrap around advertisement produced by Terry Dinham for View from Seaton a couple of weeks ago which said that the holiday village has no future) you could quite legitimately ask the staff "What's going on here?" to which staff have been instructed to answer "We are not at liberty to comment".

Free Speech? Everywhere, it seems, except the place where you are (in the near future) to be made redundant and/or lose your home. If I were a member of staff there I would make sure that I belonged to a union!

And please do not make the mistake that just because the holiday village is taking bookings into the future that this means that it will stay open until all bookings are honoured. Given that Hollybush has other tourist accommodation in this area (none of it seemingly affected by the relative poverty of its tourists except Lyme Bay) it can easily offer similar holidays in its other locations or it can farm the tourists out to other holiday villages around the country. This is what happens, for example, if somewhere has to close because there is a bug or something.

The holiday village could close tomorrow if the management found that it was convenient to do this.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Stand up For Seaton takes its luxury yacht to the Caribbean for Christmas - we wish!

The Stand Up for Seaton bloggers are taking a well-earned rest from today until 28 December 2006. We are presuming that Terry Dinham and his friends at Liatris are on their yachts in the Caribbean or perhaps ski-ing in some exclusive resort, sitting back and thinking of the riches coming to them in the next few years, thanks to Seaton (sorry, make that East Devon District Council).

We will be staying in Seaton, using parts of the View from Seaton wrap round from last week to keep our fires burning! If you want to post anything to the blog during this time, we will put it on the site.

Please put these important dates in your diary:

9 and 10 January 2007 - Information and Advice Days for the planning application - Seaton Town Hall - 10 am to 10 pm both days - come along to get advice or just to talk to us about what you think about the development.

17 January 2007 11 am - demonstration outside the holiday camp at 11 am. We are protesting at our loss of facilities when the camp closes - swimming pool, gym, day nursery, meeting and conference facilities, Grizzly headquarters for 2,100 runners and more than 400 overnight tourist beds currently operating at 80% capacity year round. FANCY DRESS OPTIONAL.

26 January 2007 - all objections have to be received by East Devon District Council.


And it's still not too late to volunteer to take our newsletter round Seaton. If you want to take a walk (short or long) delivering some of them, then contact us at: axevalleyrocks@yahoo.co.uk.


Tuesday, December 19, 2006

So - who do you believe then?

We are just SOOOOO flattered that Terry Dinham needs a four page spread to deal with us! But is anyone else as cross as me about this? Honestly, you’d think that Liatris had ridden in on white chargers to save the town. Is this really what people think? Why do you think Liatris is developing this land – do you think they’ve fallen in love with this little place and want to help us? That would be so nice - like a fairy story come true!

Straight down to brass tacks:

Page 1:

386 HOMES:

What’s proposed: 386 homes. No, No, No – for the WHOLE site the proposal is:
Liatris – 386 now plus the 64 later they had to leave out because they are on Riverside Workshops land = 450
Dwellings above shops on the East Devon District Council part of the site: 30
Dwellings on the Axe Riverside site (old Racal site): the planning application isn’t in yet but expect about 150. Total number of dwellings on the site: at least 630.

And then, when they deal with Riverside Workshops - what do you think they will put there.

a) more houses

b) more shops

c) more parking spaces

d) a top of the range community centre as a thank you to Seaton for making their lives a misery as their 90 lorries a day 10 hours a day 6 days a week for two years trundle through Seaton, as the pilings go in hour after hour after hour and when the construction lorries bring in load after load of bricks, windows, doors .....

Answers on a postcard to: Terry Dinham!

Who will buy these homes? What jobs will the 1,000 or so people get? How will they commute? Where will they commute to?

NEW AND REPLACED COMMUNITY FACILITIES: apparently according to page 2 the Tourist Information Centre is a “community facility”. Hope you can play your short mat bowls there, friends. And the Youth Club will be replaced: point it out on the plan, Terry – I can’t see it. We are losing: a swimming pool, a gym, meeting and conference facilities, short mat bowls club, ballroom dancing club, table tennis club, craft and other sales space, Grizzly Race headquarters, day nursery and 90% of Seaton’s overnight tourist accommodation. We gain: er – a youth centre we can’t find on the plan and “possibly” a “community room” which could be a gym OR a nursery which we have to share with a SUSTRANS cycle route terminus in an annex to the Jurassic Coast Visitor Centre approximately 30 ft x 30 ft. Thanks, Terry.

A JURASSIC COAST VISITORS CENTRE: The ground floor of this Visitors Centre is around the same size as the supermarket café – 480 sq m (café 400 sq m). The consultants said it needed a minimum of 1,500 sq m so let’s say it has three floors – the plan shows that one of the floors is in the roof space! At least 10 – 15% of each floor has to be for lifts and staircases. It also has to house toilets, storerooms, staff rooms and plant and services. Just how much of this building will be given over to interpretation of the Jurassic Coast for the visitors to see then, Terry?

A RANGE OF SHOPS INCUDING A QUALITY FOOD SUPERMARKET: How many shops, Terry – and what will they sell that will stop us going to Exeter, Bridport and Taunton? What will they be selling that our current shops don’t sell, given that the supermarket will dominate the town? It’s bigger than the supermarket at Honiton - and don’t tell me the café won’t end up as selling space – it has done in Axminster Tesco and Honiton Tesco so why will it stay here? It’s just a way of getting extra food selling space later on. The Jurassic Coast Visitors Centre will be a maximum of 1,500 sq m and possibly smaller according to EDDC; the supermarket is 5,000 sq m (including the café which will compete with a tramway or Visitor Centre or Wetlands Centre café), the DIY store 2,000 sq m. For comparison the current Co-op is 750 sq m. Enjoy your “shopping as leisure” folks. And don’t forget that those 555 parking spaces (Honiton Tesco approx 250, Axminster Tesco approx 200) which you also share with visitors who will only be able to stay 3 hours before they are faced with enormous fines for parking longer – currently a fine of £70 at the Tesco in Axminster.

TERMINUS FACILITIES FOR THE WESSEX CYCLE WAY CYCLE ROUTE: If I was SUSTRANS I would be seriously cross about this one. The Wessex Cycle Way Terminus was planned LONG before you got involved with this area, Terry and it was ALWAYS going to need a terminus. Except now, instead of being a dedicated building, it may have to share its facilities with a gym or a nursery!

FOOTPATHS AND CYCLEWAYS: You can’t build a development without these nowadays – you are forced to put them in. Surely you don’t expect credit for this!

A PUBLIC SQUARE PROVIDING A FOCAL POINT FOR THE COMMUNITY: to do exactly what, Terry? I can’t honestly see myself playing table tennis there in the middle of December. You have to have a Town Square if you have the entrance to the supermarket, the Visitors Centre and the Tramway are there – you couldn’t get the punters into these things without leaving space for them to get in. And just who will own this square, Terry – will it be the town or whoever you sell the development on to? And just who will use it at night when the off license in the supermarket is open?

OVER 300 NEW JOBS: Watch the small print here, ladies and gents – we have no idea exactly where these jobs are coming from and the developers say in the planning application that many of them will be “part time” – you bet – how many of them will be minimum wage and can you give us a list of EXACTLY where you expect the jobs to be? How many people will lose jobs when businesses in the town close and when the nursery closes. Some mothers with children at the nursery will be forced to give up their jobs if they cannot find child care – have you factored those in? When the holiday camp goes 174 people lose their jobs and 60 people who live in become homeless – have you taken those into account?


FLOODING: Guys, you’re the ones who said that the site will become a “self-contained island” in extreme weather and suggest two “refuges” with medical facilities on the site AND two shallow draft boats OR high wheeled tractors to get people off the island, not me.

And this is the first time I’ve heard a monsoon drain called a “cycle route”! – it’s a MONSOON DRAIN people which goes from the front of the site (opposite Burrow Road) to the marshes, to take the water down there when just before the “extreme” weather that gives us the island (see paragraph above) . It’s 49 feet wide and 10 feet deep but apparently if you put grass on the bottom (presumably always wet grass, or damp grass or dry grass) you can call it “public open space” or a “cycle route”. I LOVE IT!!!

WHY REGENERATE SEATON. Sorry – this should read: Why develop the site. This is NOT regeneration, it is pure and simple development – you could plonk this down in any town in the country. And that zoning plan – you know what they left out – the height of the buildings, some of them 5 storeys high. Where is the “mix” of development – it’s day trippers, shops and houses – is that a regenerative mix? Where are the leisure activities for Seaton residents – whoops, sorry, we are supposed to be shopping! And do any of us think that this development does justice to the Jurassic Coast?

I just LOVE the benefits box:

We will have right of way through the site on footpaths and cycle ways – WOW!
We will have a public square which the supermarket, visitor centre and tramway has to have to get their punters through the front door – WOW!
We have a Jurassic Coast Visitors Centre with a “community room” that MIGHT have a small gym or nursery – MORE WOW
A quality restaurant – WOW – we will be able to visit that EVERY day now we have our part-time jobs!
A range of new shops and a supermarket – DOUBLE WOW!
Improved public transport – sorry, I missed that – which bus company has agreed to run extra services then, I can’t find any mention of one in the planning application.
New homes – WOW – 630 of them – 20% more people in Seaton in the next five years and no new infrastructure.
Use of the SUSTRANS terminus – well, I guess if my shower stops working I could go there and have a shower!
Improved access to the wetlands area – I can walk there on the level now, Terry – what will improve?


BOOSTING SEATON’S ECONOMY: Er – we go to the supermarket and spend a lot of money. Exactly how much of this money stays in Seaton, Terry?. Well, of course there will be the part time jobs. But we just lost the jobs at the holiday village and in the “old town” – and we have around 1,000 people to find jobs for – unless they are all retired or second homes, of course.

And do you really think a pelican crossing from the Underfleet to the supermarket will be “improved access to the Old Town”?

TOURISTS: Now there we REALLY have a problem. Where exactly are they going to be spending money if they can park for only 3 hours and have nowhere to stay in Seaton. Just which towns in East Devon will benefit from their overnight stays? Just remember the Government says that for every lost tourist bed you MUST attract 3 day trippers.

PAGE 4: The Holiday Village currently operates 80% full all year round – there are tourist businesses that would die for those figures. However, it DOES charge very low prices for these stays because it can’t invest because the developer’s own the land and there is a clause in their lease that says if the developer gets planning permission they immediately get 12-18 months notice. Would you invest with a lease like that? And, if the “grey pound” is a declining market, presumably all Mr Harrison’s other south west coast hotels and holiday villages will have to close as he specialised is holidays for “the over 40s market without children”. What’s going on here Mr Harrison – why is it only this Holiday Village that can’t pay its way when all your other tourist interests are booming and you can afford to chair Weymouth Football Club – not a cheap pastime.

And - finally - did you know people that you are entitled to be consulted on how the money that EDDC gets from the developer is spent? Has anyone asked you? Or you? Or you? Or me!

True Fiction

Now having read the view from wrapper, I'm torn between whether to sink to the bottom of the barrel where Liatris' PR co seems to reside, or using the thing as a firelighter.
A major dissection would seem to grant them more of the oxygen of publicity they crave, and dignify what some well-read colleagues of mine said when they saw it, "rubbish"

So let's examine one bit I can agree with...the 'facts not fiction' section.

The first sentence says much for the communications in itself, so let's move on, they've only themselves to blame;-)

Community facilities - ooh look, spot the weasel words "if that is what EDDC want" Actually it was a protest by the people of Seaton that got the youth club back on the agenda. It is true it'll be down to EDDC, they approve or disapprove, and they are public servants, Liatris is not, but they're making sure they're wearing the teflon here.

It is also true that the leisure facilities are privately owned...but then you will find most of East Devons leisure facilities are now privately run. That is why Liatris can define a 30 square foot room on 3 floors as an addition. The local brief doesn't define particular community facilities, but it isn't that detailed a document. Overall there will be a net loss. (don't forget, the number one request in 2003 by Seaton folk was...a swimming pool)

Again, they say that "Normally most major planning permissions contribute to wider public works if they are related to the scheme and are affordable" - Hmm, quite so, the small matter of the 2 metre infill makes this one fairly abnormal, so on that basis, contributing money to the unrelated megamarsh project is par for the course. Can't argue with that logic then...but if you didn't want to make so much profit.

I've no idea who said that the risk of flooding will increase...the risk of flooding on a floodplain is pretty straightforward...it depends how you define risk when your own environmental impact assessment calls for the provision of a boat as the whole thing will be an island when it floods.
So there is a risk of flooding, but the increased risk is at the mercy of global warming...anyone want to go into denial here?

"The shops will be just a couple of retail sheds" - well, as the person who uses the word "shed" for any large store, they must have thought I said it...you wish. The predominant retail stores will be 2 sheds, there will be some other shops. I lived in a town that had a development just like that, one shed and 6 shops...only the shed kept wiping out all the shops if they happened to be selling anything similar to the sheds lines. I never said "just" but look at the map and you'll get the gist:0)

And I find myself agreeing with the last point, except, it wasn't because of the public consultation, because that was a Liatris presentation, and their boys admitted they had "speculatively" carparked the play area.
But seriously, how long will the residents of novaSeaton put up with the "yoof" in its expensive back garden?

Sooo, I could have sat in an office and made these "fictions" up, I must be a PR co and I claim my £5...funny they didn't go for "facts".

The rest, to paraphrase others, is a firelighter.

The Liatris Spin Machine Goes into "Fast Cycle"

By now most of you will have seen the wrapper around today's View from.
There are many facets to this which we'll be looking at over the next couple of days.
One of the more immediate curiosities about it is the conflation between the "view from" banner, Liatris and EDDC...the text and content could lead a casual observer to the conclusion that this is a Liatris/EDDC co-production...this is commonly called "spin"

More later, meanwhile, your observations are welcome as always.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Planning Application Thought for the Day - Monday - the Monsoon Drains

Flood prevention. There will be two enormous "monsoon drains" to take excess rain water away from the site. One will go east to west parallel with the tramline at the top of the site. There is already a drain there but it will be at least doubled in width and depth.

There will be another enormous open water drain going south to north roughly opposite Burrow Road. This open drain will be 15 metres wide and 3 metres deep (approximately 49 feet wide by 10 ft deep) with sloping sides to the bottom. It will run through the entire site from opposite Burrow Road to the marshes in the north. One of the roads in the development will run over it via a bridge but this will be the only crossing point.

Many people are worried about this monsoon drain (a) when it is full, as it could be a safety hazard to anyone nearby (b) when it is only partly full when it would also be a safety hazard (c) when water in it is stagnant when it would be both a safety hazard and a health hazard and (d) when it is empty and could be filled with litter and debris, again a safety and health hazard.

Perhaps it will be fenced off, or have railings on each side - we don't know as it isn't described in detail. Trouble is, some kids see fences and railings as a challenge.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Volunteers wanted - leaflet delivery

We have quite a few volunteers who are willing to deliver leaflets for us between Christmas and 9 January but more would be better. If there is anyone else who fancies walking off the extra pounds after Christmas by pounding a few Seaton (and neighbouring village) streets for us, will you please get in touch at: axevalleyrocks@yahoo.co.uk saying what parts of the town you could cover.

Regeneration - Ground Conditions and Contamination

In the Environmental Impact Assessment it mentions that on part of the site there used to be a gas works with three gasometers (storage) and probably railway repair workshops associated with Seaton station, as well as 3 old electricity sub-stations. They mention potential contaminants such as Ammonia liquors, cyanides, pehnols, hydrocarbon fuels and pcb's - scary stuff. They say that contamination could be "moderate to high".

They mention that they took only five soil samples on the site (they don't say which part) which showed no evidence of contamination and that whatever contamination there is they think it is moving southwards (from the site towards the sea). They say that no ground gas investigations have been done. They say that they will do investigations later and decide on remedial works depending on the results of those investigations.

Is it usual to have an Environmental Impact Assessment that is so vague about possible contamination of a site? How can a district council make an informed decision about what and where to build on such a site if they don't have full information about it?

I don't know about Environmental Impact Assessments so I don't know if this is normal practice. Does anyone else know?

We have an organisation that will look at this Environmental Impact Assessment for us but it is still not available as a digital file. It is supposed to be available next week but until it is, they can't check it for us.

Anyone out there know how these things work?

Planning Application Thought for the Day - Sunday

Today we talk about fish and water - it's a bit technical but when you look behind the flim flam you can see what they mean, so study it carefully. Environmental Impact Assessment, paragraphs 15.103 - 15.107:

15.103 Construction activities and earthworks for the site have the potential to significantly impact on the surrounding environment.

15.104 The proposed earthworks will consist of raising of the site levels by means of importantion of inert materials.

15.105 Two signifcant impacts could potentially result from these activities. The first is the generation of particulate laden surface water run-off, whichmay find its way into the local surface water environment, either by means of the existing surface water drainage system, or by the general uncontrolled surface water run-off into the rhyne at the northern end of the site. If uncontrolled, this silt laden water could drain into the River Axe. Should the quantities of such run-off be high, such as during winter storm events, then a significant amount of particulate laden water may discharge into the estuary.

15.106 The River Axe is a SSSI [site of special scientific interest] and SAC designated area which is an important winter spawning ground for a number of fish species (lamprey, salmon and sea trout), some of which are sensitive to increased sedimentation/particulate loading in the water. These species may suffer a moderate adverse impact as a result of the increase in particulate matter in the water. Such effects would, however, be short term and temporary.

25.197 The second impact may result from the use of uncontrolled contaminated fills being brough on to the site for use as bulk fills during the earthworks/construction phase. Any run-off generated and discharged into the River Axe may contain elevated chemical constituents which have been leached from the imported soils. This may lead to a decrease in water quality which would affect the sensitive fish species. Run-off and therefore decreased quality of water would be most significant during times of high rainfall and run-off (i.e. during the winter) which coincides with the spawning season of the fish. These species may suffer a moderate adverse impact, which would be short term and temporary in nature.

So - the muck they bring in could well contaminate the river and the spawning fish. But, don't worry, it will be short term and temporary ..... Sorry, but thousands of pounds have just been spent on stocking this river with trout, salmon, etc and lampreys are the food for many of the sea birds in the estuary. There's no such thing as a "temporary" or "moderate" adverse impact for these fish and birds - they die and you can only die once, there isn't anything "temporary" or "moderate" about that.

I recall that, once upon a time, there was a suggestion that the infill should come from the river itself. What happened to that idea? Too expensive or something, I guess - easier and quicker to bring contaminated muck along the roads of Seaton and let the fish suffer the consequences.

And let's not forget we are relying on people who live on the site (though no-one will live on it at this point0 and the neighbours to monitor to see if things go wrong. Well, if anyone notices lots of fish belly up or fighting for air in the River Axe, be sure to tell the developers won't you!

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Planning Application Thought for the Day - Saturday

The Environmental Impact Assessment says that people near the superstore should not be worried about noise because the car park will operate only between the hours of 7 am and 11 pm.

HOWEVER, Chapter 11, page 209, paragraph 11.86 says:

"n addition to the car park being used for customer parking, it is also understood that the car park will be used for access to the proposed residential units in the south east corner of the site. It is likely therefore, that whilstthere will not be any vehicle moments associated with the store at night, there will be some movements associated with the proposed residential units. However, it is anticipated that such movements would be both limited and sporadic, and will also be away from the nearest receptors, such that no impact is anticipated."

So basically, the flats above the shops on the current EDDC land (roughly where the tram terminus is now won't be able to have car parking spaces and will need to park in the supermarket car park. They will come and go from that car park at all hours of the day and night, slamming doors, revving up - all the usual stuff. So the supermarket car park WILL be used 24 hours per day.

Also, if there are shops under these residential units - how will they be serviced? We can't imagine that heavy goods vehicles will be allowed to park on The Underfleet to unload (especially so close to a roundabout - that would be obstruction). So, presumably they also will need to go into the superstore car park to make deliveries to the back doors of the shops. Will they observe the rules of not doing this between 11 pm and 7 am? If the shopkeeper lives "above the shop" - what's to stop them taking stuff from his car which has to be parked in the superstore car park to their shops at any time of the day or night?

So, what is it boys - is it a 24 hour car park or not? You can't have it both ways. And what if the superstores (and the other retail shops) open 24 hours per day before Christmas - where do the punters park? And what about the petrol station - will that be open 24 hours per day?

Reply from Hugo Swire, MP

As promised, I am posting below the full text of a letter received from our MP - Hugo Swire (see below for our notes on our meeting with him of 1 December 2007):

Thank you for coming in to see me at my most recent Advice Bureau at the Knowle in Sidmouth on Friday 1st December 2006 and for outlining your concerns about the proposed redevelopment of Seaton. It is my understanding that by the time you receive this letter the outlining planning permission will be in the public domain and a period will have commenced whereby representations can be made about the Regeneration Project. However, I have very much taken on board your views about the Community Centre and how there needs to be a facility for the Town's residents and particularly younger people to include a children's play ara; ideally a pool, a public meeting room; gym and indoor bowling facilities, etc. I also understand your concerns about the size of the Visitors Centre and your sense that this is too small on the new design.

You made the point about the loss of 500 beds with 80% occupancy rate maintaining they bring approximately £8 - £10 million per annum to the town and that as a result of these proposals 90% of holiday beds will be lost. You also have concerns over car parking and the worry that if Seaton is to be developed to enhance day visits that it will be at a cost to the Town and will create parking problems. You have further ocncerns about the effect on the local economy, loss of jobs, etc. I also fully understand your desire for transparency, as you know.

I have always said that any redvelopment of the Town should be in ther interest of the residents as well as visitors. There will no doubt be a lot of publicity over the next few weeks whilst the consultation period continues, but I shall of course communicate your concerns to Karime Hassan at East Devon District Council and seek reassurance that these perfectly valid points will be taken into consideration. I will ask him to address each one individually before I get back to you.

Yours sincerely
Hugo Swire, MP

Friday, December 15, 2006

Large Tesco thrown out in Torrington; smaller Somerfield accepted

Here, in full is an article on the BBC web site published today. Notice any similarities?

Tesco town store plans rejected
Controversial plans for a supermarket in a Devon town have been thrown out.

Permission for a Tesco store in Torrington has been refused but the green light has been given for a smaller store run by Somerfield. Residents protested against Tesco's original plans for a 30,000sq ft store, saying it would result in the destruction of local facilities. A 40% smaller store was then proposed for Vicarage Field but this was refused by councillors.

Available sites

Planners at Torridge District Council said the decision was made after they focused on the size of the schemes.

They assessed the knock-on effects to local businesses, as well as seeing whether the land to build any of the planned stores was actually available. Tesco's original plans were for a site that is currently a football ground, swimming pool and children's play area. Some locals protested, saying it would cost the community vital facilities and cost more local jobs than it would create.

Tesco's second plans, drawn up after an extensive public consultation, would have been on the site of the football ground.

Options assessed

The pool and play area would have remained and Tesco offered to move the playing fields to another site, as well as provide a new clubhouse and a 200-seater stand. However, Somerfield's scheme was for a brown field site near Vicarage Field. About 100 people attended the planning meeting on Thursday at the Howe Concert Hall on Castle Street. Somerfield said it was delighted at the decision while Tesco said it was disappointed by the move and was assessing its options.

Planning Application Thought for the Day - Friday

Heavy Goods Vehicles bringing infill to the Harbour Road site:

Transport Assessment, Volume 1, page 45 section 17.3 about the number of vehicles needed to bring infill to the site along the two main roads into Seaton (ie excluding coming in via Axmouth):

The maximum import levels are unlikely to exceed 50,000 cubic metres in any three month period. Using 16 ton heavy goods vehicles this equates to an average of some 90 inbound vehicle movement per day assuming a six day a week operation. The number of vehicle movement could reduce to approximately 65 if 20 tonne vehicles were used.

Bear in mind this is the developer's figure, so take it with a pinch of salt - and don't forget they are talking about vehicles NOT runs, which are double, as the empty vehicles have to go back. Even so, their best calculation is that 10 hours a day, six days a week lorries will thunder down Seaton Down Hill or along Harepath Road at least one every five minutes (one in each direction) for certainly months and possibly one or two years. They will cause problems with the road surfaces, and bring in dust and increased pollution. Enjoy.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

The Terry Dinham website - what a disappointment

So, the developer's "planning application" website is up and running. I was naive enough to believe that it would contain all the documents they put in for the planning application. But no, it's just a "puff" job.

Nothing about the site being a self-contained island in the event of extreme weather, which will need shallow draft boats or high wheel tractors to evacuate people, nothing about how much landfill will be needed before a brick can be laid, no mention of the increase in nitrous oxide levels for the 2-3 years that lorries will be humping it through the nearby villages and the town.

Well, I guess I should have known.

For those who want a full copy of the documents on CD, contact Nick Wright at East Devon District Council: nwright@eastdevon.gov.uk

In the meantime, I will regale you with choice bits from the documents on a daily basis!

Planning Application Quote of the Day - Thursday

Environmental Impact Assessment, section 6.68, page 83:

“The application will provide for a children’s play area in the north west corner of the site [there is already one there], although the swimming pool, gymnasium and community hall are to be demolished. However, it is proposed that additional accommodation will be provided adjoining the new Visitor Centre to be used as a ‘community room’ [Terry Dinham’s quotation marks] which could have a number of purposes including the operation of a small gymnasium or a community meeting facility. It is also proposed to provide a SUSTRANS terminus (shower/changing facilities, bike racks, etc) adjacent to the Visitor Centre. Notwithstanding the above, the loss of the swimming pool (despite relatively low numbers using the facility) would represent a moderate negative impact.”

Right: this building adjacent to the Visitor Centre that is supposed to house a ‘community room”, a small gymnasium or community meeting facility AND a SUSTRANS terminus with showers, changing facilities and bike racks has a footprint of around 30 feet by 30 feet. Also, there is mention in other documents that it might contain a crèche (the nursery used by Seaton residents at the holiday camp is also being demolished) AND a Youth Centre. It could possibly have more than one floor but, even then – given that each floor will be only 30 ft x 30 ft - can you imagine the kind of facilities one could have there!

Now you know why I have renamed it the TARDIS Annexe!

You can just see it can’t you – the gym users turn up for the daily work out. They make their was around the SUSTRANS bikes, dodge the five a side football team on the ground floor, go up the stairs to the first floor, tripping over the toddlers, go to the second floor to start their work out. Hang on, haven’t they been doing the work out for the last five minutes just getting over the obstacles?

AND if you have a building of more than one floor, the building will need a lift (if people with disabilities are to get upstairs – unless of course you make it like the Town Hall, so that they can’t get upstairs) AND emergency stairs for when you are on the island after the extreme weather event and there is no electricity - just before you are evacuated in the shallow draft boats which are also quite possibly stored somewhere on the site (see below). That won’t half cut into the 30 sq ft of fl oor space on each floor!

Please, someone, tell me I'm wrong!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Is there anyone out there who wants to be positive about this development?

Is there anyone reading this blog who wants to put the positive argument for this development? We REALLY would like someone to do this and promise that (as long as it is polite) we will publish their entire post. All we ask is that you identify whether you are a local resident of Seaton (i.e. an EX12 2... resident) and whether you have any personal or financial interest in this development, as it would be unfair not to declare this when posting.

We have not yet met anyone who is for this development but we are told that there are a lot of people out there who are and that we are in a minority. So, please do feel free to participate here.

Notes on our meeting with Hugo Swire 1 December 2006

I sent a copy of this blog entry to Mr Swire a week ago and asked him if he had any comments. I have not received a reply. However, I did promise Mr Swire that if he does want to comment on anything below I will publish his entire reply.

The meeting with Hugo Swire on 1 December 2006 – SU4S meeting notes

Mr Swire began by giving us his idea of the situation so far. It was apparent that he was not fully up to date on some of the issues, so we briefed him as follows:

Mr Swire appeared to think we had had only one meeting – we told him there had been two of ours and a third: 300 plus at the first Stand Up For Seaton meeting and 150 supporters who turned up at EDDC. We also told him of the Seaton Development Trust meeting in the Town Hall which attracted 500 – 600 people.

He mentioned that the illustrative master plan had a boulevard – we pointed out that it did not. There had been a boulevard in the Development Brief but this had not been taken up in the developer’s plans and did not appear in their master plan. (The only street with direct sight to a viewpoint to the river is behind the supermarket delivery area and, if viewing from the tramway, you cannot walk from there as the tramway itself forms a barrier).

He said that the marshes project was part of the regeneration package. We told him that it is not part of the regeneration area and was first mentioned to a small audience of 150 people on 1 November 2006. There has been no public consultation about the project and, at the presentation on 1 November 2006, no mention was made that part of the funding (the only part currently available) is coming from Section 106 money from the regeneration area. (We have since learned that EDDC is prepared to match funds offered to the Marshes project but it cannot afford a purpose built community building on the regeneration site).

He had not realised that 90% of Seaton’s overnight tourist beds (and 50% of the tourist beds in the area between Branscombe and Axmouth and north to Colyton) would disappear if the holiday village closes.

He said that the idea of a supermarket had been supported. We pointed out that this supermarket had been about one-third the size of the current supermarket with only 176 parking spaces whilst the current plan has a supermarket with 555 parking places and a petrol station. (Information has now been obtained that the original plan for a supermarket on the site is no longer valid, even though it says in the Development Brief that it is. It was for a supermarket half the size of the current one). There has been no recent consultation about whether a very large supermarket is acceptable to the town.

He thought that the plan had 450 homes. We pointed out that in the Local Plan Seaton was scheduled for only 300 homes and since then at least 100 (and possibly many more) had already been built. The plan has at least 625 homes (around 450 on the developer’s site, possibly 150 on the Axe Riverside site and 25 on the EDDC site, although it could be more).

He said that tourists would still spend in the town. We pointed out that government surveys show that for every overnight tourist bed that is lost at least three days tourists must take their place.

He mentioned that Seaton had been considered for a marina. We said that we had heard nothing about such a plan.

He mentioned how much the Jurassic Coast Visitors Centre would contribute to the town. We pointed out that already EDDC is talking not only of scaling down the size of the centre but also trying to jam into it a SUSTRANS terminus, a youth centre and a gym or crèche along with the Tourist Information Centre. [Mr Swire is a member of the All-Party World Heritage Sites Group in the Houses of Parliament].

He mentioned the waterside area. We pointed out that no planning application for this area has gone in so it is not something that we could comment on.

He seemed to think we were a political group – we told him that we are apolitical and simply concerned for the future of the town in which we all live.

We then went on to put our own points, which were (briefly):

Lack of public consultation since the O’Rourke report;

The lack of community facilities in the town, what we would lose when the holiday village closes and the diversion of funds from this to the marshes project and;

The economic effect of the planning application in terms of the destruction of the tourist base, the decline of current town centre shops, the effect on pubs and restaurants, the inability of the area to support jobs for the 600 plus homes; where was the evidence that what is on offer would give the town what it needs.

We told him that we realise that he cannot influence these things alone but pointed out that as an MP and Shadow Minister he has access to people and networks that we cannot access. We expect him to use his influence in such situations to represent the views of the majority of his constituents and to persuade others of the need for action on the above points.

Planning Application Thought for the Day - Wednesday

How will controls of the development be provided?

Well, according to the Environmental Impact Statement Chapter 1, section 5.132, page 63:

“Any conditions imposed in respect of the use of the various components of the site will be the subject of scrutiny by adjoining uses (sic) and future residents, as a result of the mixed-use nature of the proposals which include residential development. This provides in-built monitoring of the site.”

What this means: how will we able to tell if the developer breaks the rules? We will rely on the shop-keepers, neighbours or the residents of the site to spot that we have done something wrong and tell somebody who will put it right so we do not think that any other kind of monitoring programme is necessary.

This is like saying: “I’m a doctor, I’ve killed a hundred patients. I expect current and future patients to spot this, so no-one else needs to check on me”!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Tourism in Seaton post-development

Projected figures for tourist visits in the planning application are:

250,000 for the Visitors Centre
100,000 plus for the Tramway
30,000 plus for the Wetlands Centre.

Let's says that 25% of them visit two attractions whilst they are here (they won't visit all three as they can park for only 3 hours - after that it is a £70 fine if they follow the principle that Tesco uses in Axminster), so that gives us:

187,500 for the Visitors Centre
75,000 for the Tramway
22,500 for the Wetlands Centre plus
an unknown number of tourists using the SUSTRANS cycle route and
an unknown number of tourists using Seaton to "Shop for Leisure"

Total number of tourists: 285,000 minimum

Let's say that these attractions are open 50 weeks a year for 7 days a week (I know that the Tramway shuts down for most of the winter but let's imagine that it stays open to service the Wetlands tourists) = 350 days per year.

This means that they expect a minimum of 800 tourists per day, 7 days per week, 50 weeks a year, to fulfill this projection.

Do you think that 800 tourists per day will come to Seaton 7 days a week, 50 weeks a year to park for a maximum of 3 hours to visit one or two of the three attractions available to them? And, if so, WHERE WILL THEY STAY?

And, bear in mind, for at least 2-3 years, the regeneration area will be a building site. There will be no Visitor's Centre, no Tramway, no Wetlands Centre, nowhere to park and nowhere to stay and lorries will be trundling in at the rate of at least 60 per day so we will have no tourists at all.

Although they are going to get the supermarket, the DIY store, the 555 car parking lot and the petrol station up and running first so at least we will be able to shop for leisure (or fill up your car and escape the mess) quite quickly!

Would anyone like to put me right on this?

Planning Application Thought for the Day - Tuesday

The Environmental Assessment says that the (very small) visitors centre might attract some 250,000 visitors per year. The tramway should attract more than 100,000 visitors a year (as it does now). And the Wetlands Centre – 30,000 visitors a year. Now, let's say that a quarter of those people visit two attractions: that means that the wetlands centre would actually be attracting about 22,500 extra vistiors to the town. The planning application's Environmental Impact Assessment, section 6.65, page 82 says:

“The implementation of the Seaton wetland nature reserve and the visitor numbers that are anticipated would therefore represent a slight beneficial impact on the town’s economy.”

So – all that Section 106 money that SHOULD be going to community AND all the money EDDC will pour into buying up the land for the wetlands project will result in SLIGHT benefits. Why is this being done - at the expense of losing 90% of our overnight tourist beds?

Monday, December 11, 2006

Planning documentation - if you can't get a copy from the EDDC website

If you want a copy of all the planning documentation that is on the East Devon District Council website and you are having trouble downloading, contact us at: axevalleyrocks@yahoo.co.uk with your name and address and we will send you the information on CD.

Planning Application at Town Hall

Sorry, in all the excitement about rescue boats (see below) I forgot to say that the planning application is now at the Town Hall and anyone can go and peruse the documents.

If you do this and see anything you think we should know, please get in touch.

Planning Application Quote of the Day - You will need a boat if you live on the regeneration site!

Each day we will have a quote for the day from the Liatris planning application.

Today’s quote comes from one of their “Flood Risk Assessment” documents – Report No P8877/G201/E, November 2006 – Planning Consultation Issue (Expanded) prepared by Jubb Consulting Engineers, Plymouth, page 28:

6.7 Warning Systems

It is proposed that the site be linked to the Environment Agency’s automated early warning systems.

A site evacuation management plan is proposed (details to be agreed with the Environment Agency) to be implemented on this site.

Because the land surrounding the development site is all below the 3.96m AOD level, in extreme conditions the site would become an island, with surrounding water in excess of 960mm deep. Accordingly refuges are proposed with emergency medical attendance in two publicly accessible buildings on the site (e.g. the foodstore and the visitor centre).

6.8 Site Evacuation

The site itself will become a self contained island in the event of extreme flooding. In addition to the provision of refuges, therefore, consideration will be given to the supply of one or two special access vehicles (e.g. deep-wheeled transport or shallow draft boat) to be stationed at one of the refuges.

Comments welcome!

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Why isn't Terry Dinham's planning application web site working?

How come you can get the planning application documents from the EDDC website (or at least you could earlier this weekend though I gather it is not so easy at the moment) but not from the Terry Dinham/Signet Planning website (www.seatonplan.info) - more than a week since the application went in, at which time it was promised that the site would be up and running "in a few days"?

Terry - that big black screen with "Under Construction" doesn't look nice!

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall looking to open a store in Axminster - disapproves of Tesco (Axminster)

Anyone see the big article in today's Guardian about Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall (who now lives close by in DEVON and not in DORSET - he WILL keep saying he lives on the Devon/Dorset border!) wanting to set up a store in Axminster because he doesn't think Tesco should be the only store in town that sells fresh fruit and veg.

Hugh - we have TWO privately owned shops in Seaton and a Co-op that sell fresh fruit and veg and we are about to have a supermarket BIGGER than the Tesco in Axminster and BIGGER EVEN than Tesco Honiton which could destroy them all. We have other local shops AND the World Heritage Jurassic Coast on our doorstep.

Where are you when we NEED you Hugh!

Planning application - objections to be in by 26 January 2007

Interestingly enough a contact in Beer has had her letter about the Seaton Regeneration Area planning application but I haven't had mine and it's on my doorstep! Still, I'm sure it's on its way. If you feel you need help with your objection, we will have our advice days in the Town Hall on 9 and 10 January 2007, 10 am - 10 pm and we will be able to help people individually then

Friday, December 08, 2006

TD/Liatris plans almost available...

A visit here will take you to the documents relating to the Liatris/TD application.
SU4S (stand up for seaton) will be taking note of these docs over the next few days before we make any comment. You the public, are free to post comments at will here meantime.
The only thing we will note, is that, in the docs so far scanned, it appears that the vistors centre has now grown (topsy come home!) to 1500 sq metres, but we'll be looking at that before we comment on it as well.

The main immediate concern is the EDDC database allocating 29/12/06 as the deadline...will somebody at EDDC (hi boys and girls!) look into that and correct, that will only create a "you're rushing this thru" feeling, which is not a fair reflection of TD/Liatris who would welcome an extensive public consultation....they think there's been one....but let's not quibble right now, get the deadline set for objections to the end of January as promised, I'm sure Terry will post to agree with me. I'll allow his comments should he wish to post. No personal attacks, no defamation, no patronising, no editing, that's the deal Terry, just communicate with the concerned residents is fine.

A note to dial up users: some of these docs are quite large, it is probably better to either wait for the town hall to have available copies or view this site and links from the local library suite...book yourself an hour and take a notebook!

It's the odd boy who doesn't like sport...

A Sport England report is busy making the news right now.

Our area appears to be in the median range of the survey at 20.24 - 22.35% of adults taking 30 minutes or more moderate intensity sport or activity at least 3 times a week.
Astute readers will spot that in the top 3 activities, swimming and gym appear, just after walking at number 1, in the list.

Let me take a leap of assumption and suggest that the current plan will remove 2 out of 3 of the main exercise-intensive local activities in this area?
Critics of my assumption will point out that these points will be replaced by more of point 1 - walking.....yes..it's a big Tesco innit?

I note that Harrogate scores slightly better...perhaps they have a bigger Tesco....or dare I suggest....better community facilities?

Thursday, December 07, 2006

The Importance of Being Tourist

One of our diligent researchers has noticed the Visitor's Centre building's relative size compared to that main leisure activity envisioned for us. Bear in mind the Visitor's Centre building is likely to have at least 3 uses (quote HS) and possibly as many as 5...so don't lose sight of that when you see this montage below. We've shown the relevant part of the plan, and then taken a copy of the building "housing" the Centre and superimposed it onto the superstore.

Click on this image for a bigger picture

Use the browser's "back" button to return here.

As you can see, the whole building appears to be less than one-sixth of the area of the supermarket. The Visitor's Centre part is (and I estimate) approximately one-tenth of it. Interestingly, the Visitors Centre just about fits into the hatched area shown between the supermarket and the DIY store which, on one of Terry Dinham's earlier plans, is shown as "possible area for expansion".

Sustrans and "other Community Facilities" - even less; at 85 square metres (approximately 900 square feet, or a room 30 foot a side), this is the bit where we have cyclists, and.... and .....?

Suggested name for the Visitors Centre: the Tardis Visitors Centre!

So, tourist or shopper Algy? Because there's next to no community facility.

Campaign for Protection of Rural England objections

Someone has asked what the Campaign for the Protection of Rural England are objecting to in the Seaton Regeneration Area planning application.

As far as I am aware they plan to object on several grounds. I have not seen their letter of objection but from conversations I have had with them I believe that they doubt the value of the scheme to the permanent prosperity of the town, they say it is not in accordance with the Local Plan in a number of ways, that consultation of various parties was inadequate, that statement by the developer that the cost of raising the floodplain prevents a more sympathetic scheme is one that developers often use and is not one that should be taken at face value, they doubt the use of S106 money outside the scheme for projects and they don't think that increased visitors can be achieved by the provision of food and DIY stores that already exist in nearby towns.

All sounds sensible to me.

Where are the Terry Dinham plans promised for the web?

In Terry Dinham's press release which accompanied the planning application on 4 December 2006 it states

For further information visit http://www.seatonplan.info

I have tried this site every day since 4 December 2006 and each day I get a black screen with "Under Construction" on it. This deprives us all of seeing something of which Terry Dinham is proud. Why?

Major Wildlife Charity will check the Environmental Statement

Good news - one of the major wildlife charities has agreed to check the Environmental Assessment that comes with the planning application. I cannot name it yet as I have not yet asked their permission to do this but I will publish it as soon as I can. This is a crucial document and needs expert input and we are really pleased that they have agreed to help us.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Campaign for the Protection of Rural England objecting to planning application

The Campaign for the Protection of Rural England has informed me that it will be making its own objection to the Seaton Regeneration Area planning application which went in on Monday.

Generous donation from Seaton and District Licensed Victuallers

My thanks to the Seaton and District Licensed Victuallers Association for a generous donation which will go towards paying for advertising for the information days (see below) on 9 and 10 January 2007.

Who was "Diplomat" the anonymous blogger?

Just to let everyone know that I have received a letter today confirming that it was, indeed, someone at East Devon District Council who made the anonymous posting ("Diplomat") to this blog in mid-November. It was a reply to a letter I had sent to EDDC and the blog post arrived in my moderating box just as I was reading the letter which had come by snail mail.

So anyone with a blog expecting a letter from EDDC - check your blog first - "Diplomat" may well have posted a reply there first and if your blog is not moderated you may be lucky enough to read the reply before you get it in the post - very useful if letters are delayed by Christmas post!

Monday, December 04, 2006

The "new" planning application - the town is seething

Is it just me or is everyone in the town seething? Everyone I meet is SO angry about this planning application! Great - that's exactly what we need. Our target - to get as many objections in to this planning application as we can get - try to break the record on the number of objections.

The plan: We (and, I hope, others) will be booking the Town Hall for a whole day in early January (10 am - 10 pm) to give people help and advice with their planning objections. There will also be a petition in the Town Hall that day (and earlier and later) which anyone can sign. I will be putting up blank copies of the petition tomorrow on this web site.

There will be other events - if you want to be kept informed of them, send me an email (axevalleyrocks@yahoo.co.uk) as I have no intention of putting some of the stuff we will be getting up to on this blog - I don't see why Terry Dinham should know all our business!

Just remember as Edmund Burke said: "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men [or women] do nothing". Please do NOT let this be said of Seaton - rise up to this challenge.

And, by the way, by Seaton I mean: Beer, Axmouth, Colyford, Colyton and Musbury and beyond - all those of you who visit Seaton, use its facilities and want it to thrive - we need you too.

Planning application in - and its bad news everyone

Well it's in and it is as bad as we expected - houses and shops - lots of houses, some shops. The files and press release can be found here and you can all see for yourselves. And enjoy the press release - but if you suffer from high blood pressure, probably best to leave it until you have taken your medication.

The period for objecting has been extended to: 26 JANUARY 2007.

Let battle commence - it may be David versus Goliath - but remember, David won!
More soon .....

Sunday, December 03, 2006

No posting doesn't mean no work!

There may be no posting for a few days whilst we try to see the planning application and assess its impact on the regeneration area and the town. The online version (promised at www.seatonplan.info within the next few days) will not be sufficient for us to see many aspects of the application in detail as some documents are up to 6ft x 6ft maps which will need to be seen as originals. As you all know, the devil will be in the detail. At the moment we have no idea how many copies will be made available for inspection. There is usually one at the Town Hall and I imagine we will all be queuing for that one! We are not talking by the way, about a few drawings and maps - we are talking about possibly hundreds and hundreds of pages of information.

We are awaiting a response from Hugo Swire after our meeting last Friday and Sandra will be talking with the Seaton Licensed Victuallers on Tuesday at their request.Sandra is also awaiting a first response from EDDC about her complaint about the leaking of Kate Little's letter a few weeks ago (before Sandra even saw it herself) and that is due around 6 December 2006.

Much is going on in the background relating to various difficulties that the planning application may cause but it is too early to talk about this as new information comes in all the time. We are still in touch with Planning Aid and the Environmental Law Foundation, who will be assisting us in the next stage of what is going to be a long saga.

If you have anything you want to add at this point, do click on the "comment" link under the relevant posting and have your say.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Meeting with Hugo Swire MP Friday 1 December 2006

This evening a group of four people from Stand Up For Seaton, along with a member of Seaton Town Council whom we had invited to attend with us, met with Hugo Swire, MP. We were limited to this small number by the size of the room available at The Knowle.

A useful exchange of views took place and Mr Swire has promised to respond to our concerns - all of which are covered in this blog.

As soon as we have received Mr Swire's response to the information we gave him we will post a more detailed account of the meeting.