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.