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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.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

"Tesco £1bn tax avoiding plan - move to the Cayman Islands" and building a "Megashed" near Stonehenge

That is the headline on the front page of "The Guardian" today. Apparently, Tesco has set up a large number of companies in the tax-haven of the Cayman Islands and, via a complicated set of accounting procedures, is managing to avoid the payment of perhaps up to £1 bn of UK tax.

The Guardian says: "Tesco's vast property portfolio in the UK has been crucial to maintaining its dominant position in Britain, where it takes almost £1 in every £3 spent on groceries. Now the supermarket group has set up a network of highly complex structures involving offshore tax havens to sell and lease back some of its £28 billion-worth of stores that will enable it to avoid what could be up to £1bn in corporation tax".

The full story is

Also, Tesco is planning an ENORMOUS warehouse near Stonehenge and adjacent to the A303.
Details of that story

In part, that story says:

"On a greenfield site just outside Andover, Hampshire, Tesco is planning to open a warehouse which, at more than 85,000 sq metres (21 acres), will be one of the biggest buildings in Europe. It will be bigger than Heathrow's terminal 5 and the height of four double-decker buses, each stacked on top of the other.

Every minute of every hour, day and night for 364 days a year, an average of one Tesco juggernaut will roll in or out of the so-called MegaShed.

Suppliers bringing in goods destined for Tesco's stores are likely to produce as much heavy goods traffic again. About half the lorries, according to the developer, will head east towards London and the M3 - back in the direction from which most of the goods have arrived. One in five will head down the A303 past Stonehenge, where the road becomes a single carriageway. Plans to build a Stonehenge bypass, complete with a tunnel, were thrown out by the government in December."

Wonderful news if you own Tesco shares - not such good news if you travel down from London on the A303!

Houseboats on the Axe?

The blog was contacted by a company that has just put three floating homes in Salcombe. They are not the traditional type of floating home (which looks exactly like any other house except that it also floats) these look more like houseboats. If you want to see what they look like and what they cost, see


Not to my mind the prettiest of solutions but I guess that, being boats, all they require is mooring rather than complicated planning decisions. I'm also not sure how they deal with their sewerage, etc. I gather that the tidal range in Salcombe is pretty much similar to Axmouth (but I'm no expert, so can't be sure).

Saturday, February 23, 2008

The things that forward-looking, creative district councils can do

1. They can offer reduced-price parking for locals - even starting them off with a £5 credit!
see here for details

2. They can pay shops, pubs, etc £600 per year to allow the public to use their toilets free-of-charge:
see here for details

It's amazing that some district councils are "do-er's" and some are "can't do/won't do/what do you mean spend our money on plebs like you lot - you're getting ideas above your station!" ....

I went on a training course where we were told what different councils had done. One was a small village where the one local pub was about to be sold to developers. The council couldn't buy the pub but they decided the village was short of car parking so they could buy a car park AND a pub if they came together - if you have bought something for a "primary use" (car park) and it also has a secondary use (pub) you can keep the pub open. So now the pub has a manager and the village gets the profits AND the car parking.

Another council (bigger) had its minor injuries unit closed by the NHS. They built a doctor's surgery with a minor injuries unit attached (which the GP's ran and charged the NHS for) and on top three offices which they let out to private business. In 10 years, the loan had been repaid, the GP's were happy, there was minor injuries unit and a profit from the offices.

Heigh ho .....

Liatris has not withdrawn its planning application

It would appear that our old friends Liatris have not withdrawn the planning application they put in before they sold out to Tesco (or at least we assume they did). Also, Tesco has retained Liatris's planning consultants (that well-known and much loved company in Seaton - Terry Dinham and Partners - TDP).

Fishy? I do hope not.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Supermarkets may be forced to sell land to rivals

An interesting scenario has been thrown up by the Competition Commission today, see link below to BBC News article. I wonder what this means for Seaton where our nearest large supermarkets are Tesco in Axminster and Tesco in Honiton:

See article here

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Insurers may refuse to insure homes built on flood plains

Interesting interview from the Today programme on Radio 4 this morning to be found


(at least for a little while).

Essentially, the Association of British Insurers (ABI) is unhappy that some homes are built on flood plains against the advice of the Environment Agency (it should be said here that the original Liatris scheme with the monsoon drain through the regeneration site WAS given Environment Agency approval).

However, the head of the ABI went on to say that homes that are built on flood plains today may be considered safe for a little while but when the effects of climate change (more water, raised sea level) are taken into account building on flood plains may not make sense.

There was a plea for "sustainable urban drainage" (planning for where water which would normally go on a flood plain will go if it is built on) and for buildings on flood plains to be more resiliant.

Fortunately, Tesco and Sainsbury claim to be a responsible developers and will no doubt take such things into account when putting in their competing bids on the site.

What flood plain? What premium?

See here

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Design in the south west is "unambitious"

From New Start magazine, January 2008:

"South West England needs to become more architecturally ambitious, according to a building design watchdog [the South West Design Review Panel].

It said it too often saw designs that were "stifled by short-sighted market constraints, and by clients and architects listening to those who know what the market is used to rather than what the market might like".

It took to task a development of sheltered homes in Ilfracombe whose original design was "not worth contribution to the townscape" but, after it was changed, local planners wanted to nominate it for an architectural award.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

How Eco is an Eco-town?

Developers are proposing to redevelop an old army camp in Warwickshire, using zero carbon footprint as the criteria....locals are happy? Wrong, they have a problem with what appears to be a lack of sustainability, infrastructure and the new residents having to drive to get anywhere.
See this video
And yes that is a councillor, obviously not prejudicing her position...

Friday, February 01, 2008

Contacts - Tesco, TDP and EDDC


Melanie Chiswell - Corporate Affairs

If you do contact her and get a reply, we would love to hear from you as a comment on this post!

TDP Partnership's Trevor Webb is the person working with Tesco on this project. He can be found at:
01905 758 995
07738 343 183

At EDDC, Karime Hassan is the officer in charge of regeneration (Seaton, Exmouth, Cranbrook)

The elected member with the portfolio for regeneration is Councillor Peter Halse:

The three district councillors for Seaton are:

(Jim Knight, Conservative, who is also a Seaton Town Councillor)

(Stephanie Jones, Conservative, who is also on the Development Control Committee)

(Margaret Rogers, Lib Dem, who is also the Seaton representative on Devon County Council)



You will see below that I mention that on Wednesday 30 January 2008, EDDC Executive went into secret session about its intention to form an exclusive partnership with Tesco to develop the Seaton Regeneration area.

The reason for this has now become clear.

In "The Knowledge" - the EDDC Council weekly magazine for councillors - on page 3 is a note of the following resolution passed at that meeting:

that Sainsburys be advised of the Council‟s decision to allow them 2 months to prepare their case for the proposed development in Seaton whilst the Council continues to negotiate with Tesco in respect of the redevelopment of land at The Underfleet and Harbour Road, Seaton with the issue being considered at the meeting of the Executive Board on 30 April 2008.

London has increased flooding risk ..... and Seaton?

From today's BBC website:

Experts have warned that climate change will put London more at risk from flooding in the future.

The Met Office prediction comes 25 years after the Thames Barrier was first raised to protect the city.
Scientists said London will face more "severe weather events" and more torrential rain, in the next 25 years.
The barrier was conceived after the 1953 floods and protects against North Sea tidal surges and high tides when the river is swollen by heavy rainfall.

Effective planning

The Met Office is currently providing advice to the Environment Agency on the potential impact of climate change in the South East. This information will be used to consider flood risk management strategies for the Thames Estuary up to 2100. Phil Evans, chief advisor to government at the Met Office, said: "Given a rise in sea level and warmer temperatures in the UK we can expect more severe weather events in the future than back then. "Making the most of the climate change expertise we have in the UK provides us with an unparalleled opportunity to plan effectively for the future."

We just have to hope that the Met Office, Environment Agency, Tesco and EDDC are taking heed of these warnings and applying them to solutions for the Seaton Regeneration area - the floodplain of the River Axe. But then, of course, we don't have London's "Square Mile" or the Houses of Parliament and House of Lords - the hub of our financial wealth and political system - we only have the World Heritage Jurassic Coast.