Tuesday, 30 December 2008

Sailing through Life

Shaldon Sailing Club is riding the crest of a wave after they were awarded a £4000 by Devon County Council.The early Christmas present will fund the capital costs of refurbishing the clubhouse. I’m very pleased to have helped the club win this funding, and putting them in touch with other funders.

The DevonC.C. grant is the last part of an ambitious plan by Shaldon Sailing Club to increase participation in sailing. Shaldon Sailing Club, working with Teignmouth Community Association, will be providing young people, from all walks of life, a sailing experience during the summer holidays. Many young people from Teignmouth Shaldon and Bishopsteignton will now get the chance to sail, especially those who do not ordinarily get the opportunity. Learning to sail is great fun, but also can help to develop character, build self-esteem and teamwork.”

Saturday, 27 December 2008

Boxing Day Dip

With about a hundred other people, many in fancy dress, I went for a for a Boxing Day ‘dip’ in the sea by the pier. My daughter and niece, dressed as Hawaiians, and fellow councillor Terry Falc√£o -dressed in a suit (well he is a solicitor!) braved the cold and went into the sea; all to raise money for the RNLI. Our MP Richard Younger-Ross judged the best fancy dress costume – Richard chose a couple dressed as Adam and Eve, though there wasn’t much of a costume to judge!
Then it was over to Shaldon to watch the three-legged race around the village, my nephew was taking part in the children’s race; a really great event with some amazing costumes. The three-legged racers have to drink a pint at each pub in the village, sadly there was one less stop this year, the popular Shipwrights’ Arms having closed.

Saturday, 13 December 2008

Keep it local

Teignmouth, has a host of unique and friendly shops, Bishopsteignton and Shaldon are fortunate to have thriving local shops. Both villages have a chemist, general store and post office, it is always a case of use them or loose them.

Teignmouth Traders' Association have made a great effort to brighten up Teignmouth for Christmas; I've supported them with 1,000 grant and the town council agreed to match their fund raising. Our local shops and businesses need our support more than ever. Local shops boost the local economy, provide genuine choice and are a good environmental option. The most important thing you can do is to buy more from your local shops - choosing local products wherever possible.

You can find out more about your local shops by clicking on the link for the Teignmouth Traders site; the Bishopsteignton and Shaldon village sites list village businesses. (on the right under 'Links')

Sunday, 30 November 2008

Fish Quay Agreement

The feasibility study has been completed and there is agreement on regeneration of the Fish Quay and Gayles Hill area . The project group - consisting of the Teign Fishermen & Watermen's Association Chairman Nigel Roberts and Vice-chairman Barry Wilson, Teignbridge District Council, my neighbouring Devon county councillor Chris Bray and myself, have agreed to move ahead with phase 1. We've had great support from Steve Bailey, Fisheries Funding Officer who's enthusiasm, humour and 'can do' attitude, has helped us reach this stage.
Chris Bray and I have already netted £450 000 for the project through a Devon County Council fund . The project will regenerate the Teign’s fishing and mariculture industries, including a new Fish Quay, Fishrmen’s stores and ice plant. There will be a boost for the sea leisure industry, retail and training sectors. The scheme is a partnership between the County Councillors, Teignbridge District Council and Teign Fishermen and Watermen’s Association (TFWA).

Friday, 14 November 2008

Teignmouth & Shaldon Museum Gets Cash Boost

Liberal Democrat Devon County Council has successfully bid for vital funding for the Teignmouth and Shaldon Museum on behalf of Teign Heritage.The project to create a new heritage centre at the museum will receive £376,676 funding from the new Sea Change fund, jointly managed by the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE) and Department for Culture Media and Sport (DCMS), which will enable the £1million architecturally significant scheme to go ahead.

Thursday, 13 November 2008

Council Fights the Credit Crunch

Liberal Democrat led Devon County Council is responding to the economic downturn with a £5 million capital investment in the local economy. The £5 million capital investment is aimed at encouraging economic growth by supporting key projects. The funds will be allocated over three years with £1.7 million proposed for Devon Employment Space Strategy, £1.4 million for Skypark (a science park by Exeter Airport), £700,000 towards ICT Strategy, £450,000 for Renewable Energy for Devon and £750,000 for community infrastructure in coastal towns. Tim Jones, the Chairman of Devon and Cornwall Business Council has welcomed the funding. He described it as “a timely intervention that recognises the gravity of the current economic circumstances. Strategic investment in these sectors will give a massive boost of confidence to kickstart the initiatives and encourage the private sector to follow suit.".
The County Council Executive is to look at accessing EU funding to help the development of small businesses
Also DCC recognising the difficulties facing Devon’s small businesses, DCC itself is reducing its payment terms to creditors from the industry standard 30 days, down to 20 days.This means that the Council will endeavour to pay its suppliers 10 days sooner than previously to help businesses with their cash flows.
The announcement follows a report in the Financial Times last month that the retail giant Tesco has decided to extend its payment terms to non-food suppliers from 30 days to 60 days, effective from next month. DCC pays out approximately £400 million to suppliers per annum, so reducing their payment terms is expected to help businesses considerably.

Saturday, 8 November 2008

Napoli Inquiry

I am one of the two Devon County Council representatives on the Napoli Inquiry chaired by Professor Ian Mercer.

On 18 January 2007, the MSC Napoli was on passage in the English Channel, loaded with 2,318 containers and bound for South Africa when she suffered a catastrophic hull failure and got into severe difficulties. Working with the French authorities, the SOSREP (Secretary of State’s Representative for Maritime Salvage and Intervention) decided that the ship was in danger of breaking up and polluting the English Channel and should be towed to Portland Harbour.
As the Napoli was towed towards Portland, the condition of the ship deteriorated rapidly, it was decided to beach the Napoli at Branscombe in order to avert a potential environmental catastrophe. There then followed a period of looting on the beach, as containers from the Napoli washed up on the shore; described by one villager as like something out of 'Mad Max'.

We have just completed a week of taking witness statements, reading hefty tombs of technical information and evidence. It will be a few weeks before we submit our final report. It’s been a really interesting experience; there are some important lesions to be learnt in dealing with emergencies.

Saturday, 1 November 2008

Stokeinteignhead Community Shop

A very successful public meeting in St Andrew’s Church Stoke-in-teignhead; resolved to set up a co-operative to re-open the shop and post office. The village shop closed in August, after the post office cut the branch.

The key purpose of the meeting was to gauge public support for the shop – without that support the scheme is doomed to failure. Stuart Travis and many others have done a brilliant job getting thing to this stage. Villagers can join the co-op for £5, however to raise the necessary capital, villagers who can afford it are being asked for £100. There is still a lot of hard work to be done, before the community shop (hopefully with a post office) can open.

The Community shop would employ a paid part-time manager, however much of the extra work – keeping the shop open for longer hours, – would be done by village volunteers. As a Co-operative Society villagers who join would be able to elect a committee and help to plan and decide what the shop should stock, procuring interesting extra goods and services which would be sold in the shop. I'm working on finding organisations to help with grants and advice.

Saturday, 4 October 2008

Bishopsteignton Parent and Toddler Group

It was lovely to meet with Bishopsteignton Parent and Toddler Group, a great group of mums (and I'm please to say the odd dad) and their children, who meet in the Methodist Hall; they made me very welcome with a cup of tea and a biscuit. I was able to present them with a cheque for £200 towards toys and equipment. It’s these small groups of volunteers who make a big difference to our lives. We are so lucky in this part of Devon we have so many people willing to devote time to a wide variety of good causes, many of which provide real help and care for people in need. Without them many of our much valued activities would cease overnight. So it’s one of the great parts of being a councillors to say thank you and give something towards their work.

£165,000 Investment for Orangery


Teignmouth’s famous Orangery is in line for a £165,000 ‘makeover’ to restore it to its former glory, if plans are approved on Monday (October 6) byTeignbridge councillors.

Teignmouth councillors David Cox and Alex Cross represent the ward which includes the Orangery, have welcomed the plan to renovated the listed structure and said it would add to the overall regeneration of the town and was also an opportunity to boost visitor numbers.

Cllr Cox said:” This is great news for the Orangery, it is a shame grants have not been forthcoming from the Heritage Lottery Fund, but Teignbridge has legal duty it can't dodge and will renovate this historic building.”

Cllr Cross added “ I very pleased, along with David Cox, I’ve been working on finding funding for the Orangery, so I’m really pleased Teignbridge will be restoring the Orangery to it’s former glory.”

The Orangery is a grade 2 listed structure and needs major refurbishment. It is next to Bitton House, now used by Teignmouth Town Council and was once the home of Admiral Pellew. He succeeded Nelson as Commander in Chief of the Mediterranean and was created Viscount Exmouth.

The Orangery is in use and the local Friends of the Orangery maintain the plants and open the facility for visitors several times a week.

The last partial refurbishment was undertaken in 1985. However, since then, the building’s condition has deteriorated and it has also fallen victim to vandal attacks, says the report to be considered by councillors at Teignbridge, which owns the Orangery.

Councillors will hear that around £130,000 is needed for renovation work while a further £35,000 is essential in order to repair the structure of the Orangery, which has recently had a full inspection by the authority’s own engineers.

Once renovated, if councillors agree, the Orangery will be offered to Teignmouth Town Council or another suitable conservation or heritage group. As a last resort, says the report, it could be sold.

Thursday, 2 October 2008

Councillor's Net Cash

TEIGNMOUTH’s two County Councillors, Chris Bray and David Cox have netted a massive £450 000 cash boost for plans to regenerate the Teign’s fishing and mariculture industries, including a new Fish Quay, Fishrmen’s stores and ice plant. The scheme is a partnership between the County Councillors, Teignbridge District Council and Teign Fishermen and Watermen’s Association (TFWA).The money has been secured through a Devon County Council fund set up to distribute the proceeds of the sale of Exeter Airport, and looks set to benefit the whole Teignmouth and Shaldon area and its fishing industry. David Cox and Chris Bray had to give a presentation and face tough questioning to ensure the scheme met the criteria and to convince the funding committee the scheme was viable.Devon County Council leader Cllr Brian Greenslade said “This was a large amount of money to ask for, with a very ambitious scheme, so the committee looked very carefully at all the aspects; however Chris and David put a very well argued case, showing they had a strong partnership to deliver the project.”The estimated project cost is £1.8 million and Devon County Council has committed the £450 000 on the proviso that a 50% contribution can be secured from EU Fisheries funds with the remainder coming from local match funding and other grant opportunities.David Wilson, captain of Teignmouth trawler Propitious and member of the Teign Fishermen and Watermen’s Association, said: “It is good to see a little bit of light in such dark days for the fishing industry.”Teign Fishermen’s vice-chairman, Barry Wilson and County Councillors Chris Bray and David Cox have been working with TeignbridgeDistrict Councils Economic Development team to bring the project forward. The South West Regional Development Agency has ploughed £10,000 towards a Feasibility study into the scheme, with some additional DCC funding from Councillors Bray and Cox and in-kind support from Teignbridge. The report is due out in the autumn.Cllr Cox said: “We are really pleased we have been able to secure this funding. It will now allow us to draw down match funding from the EU to build a new fish quay, leading to the regeneration of the fishing industry. There will also be have positive knock-on effects for the leisure and catering industry in the town. It’s also a good example of how the County Council is using money to empower councillors to make a real difference to the communities they represent.” Cllr Bray added: “This will provide half of the match funding we need to make a strong bid to get a grant from the EU Fisheries Fund. Other agencies will see that we are serious about improving the facilities for fishermen in Teignmouth.”