Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Old boiler - talk to Teignbridge

Teignbridge District Council is reminding local people that they may be able to benefit from £400 off the cost of replacing their old boiler as winter draws in.

The district council runs its own scheme to help qualifying residents afford new energy efficient boilers which can help keep costs down and homes warm as colder weather fast approaches.

The scheme was launched in April this year to help fill the gap left by the end of the former national boiler scrappage scheme. It is open to private homeowners or private tenants who are aged over 75 and have a household income of under £16,000. It’s also open to any private homeowner or private tenant of any age if they are in receipt of a disability living allowance in the middle or higher care rates. Applicants must be upgrading an E, F, G or lower rated boiler to a new A-rated model.

To take part in the scheme, residents should contact the council to request a £400 rebate voucher. Their eligibility will be checked by completing an application form and viewing evidence of their status. If the criteria are met, a £400 voucher is issued, valid for eight weeks. Customers can then proceed with the installation of a new boiler, so long as it is an A-rated or equivalent gas, oil or LPG boiler being installed by a Gas Safe registered installer; or for oil boilers a person registered with a competent person's scheme such as OFTEC or HETAS.

Vouchers are limited to one per household must be obtained prior to installation. Funding for the scheme does have a set limit, and vouchers are issued on a first come, first served basis.

Saturday, 9 October 2010

New Ipplepen Councillor

Congratulations to new councillor Alistair Dewhirst who won the Ipplepen seat on Teignbridge District Council. The Liberal Democrats gained the seat with a massive 34.5% swing from the Tories following the death of the previous councillor. Turnout was up too, and high for a council by-election: 58.7% compared with 52% in the main elections in 2007.

Saturday, 22 May 2010

Council to look at Charging Points

Electric cars are increasing in popularity. They are currently not widely available to everyone and still quite expensive. Most are not suitable for driving long distances or Devon's hilly topography. However the technology behind electric cars is constantly improving.

One of the key issues many people are worried about before purchasing an electric car is where they can charge it. Public electric car charging stations are on the rise and I'm pleased Teignbridge council is actively looking at charging points for the carparks it owns.

Saturday, 24 April 2010


Amazed to see former Tory MP Patrick Nicholls pictured with a pothole.

His Tory colleagues who control Devon County Council are spending £167,000 of taxpayers’ money from a Government grant for road safety work on new conference facilities instead of dealing with potholes.

It’s said the scheme will save money on hiring outside rooms and bring in new business. But further enquiries have confirmed that the room hire ’savings’ are in fact mostly from within the county council.

Friday, 26 March 2010

Cox on the Box

I was interviewed about the Youth Inclusion Programme (YIP) for the BBC's Politics Programme. So I may get five seconds of fame on Sunday. Pleased to say Liberal Youth have taken up the cause, and will be campaigning for the YIP.

Friday, 12 March 2010

Town Council signs up to 10:10

Teignmouth Town Council has signed up to 10:10, the vote was unanimous. Teignbridge District Council and Teignmouth Community College are already signed up. If you are wondering what 10:10 is, you can find out more at It is very simple, we all cut our carbon by 10% this year. You, me, the council, local businesses, schools...

Friday, 5 March 2010

Residents in Teignbridge have seen the lowest rise in Council Tax over the past seven years compared to other district councils in Devon, new figures reveal.

The highest increase has been in West Devon where residents have seen a near 40% rise in their council tax.

West Devon’s council tax is £192.15 for an average Band D home.

Over the seven years since 2003, council tax for Teignbridge District Council (excluding all other authorities like police, county council) has gone up by 19.1% — the lowest for any of the eight district councils in the county and well below the average rate of increase, reports local councillor Alan Connett.

The seven year increases for each council are:

•Teignbridge 19.1%.
•Mid Devon 25.9%.
•East Devon 26.3%.
•North Devon 26.8%.
•Exeter 27.5%.
•South Hams 28.2%.
•Torridge 31%.
•West Devon 39.6%.
The average increase over the seven years is 28.2% and the average amount payable for a band D property is £151-64. The Council Tax for Teignbridge Council’s services is £150-17 – equivalent to £2-88 a week, added Cllr Connett.
He explained:” Since our first budget in 2004, we have set ourselves the target of low or no increases in council tax in Teignbridge and the fruit of that work is now being seen.

“Council Tax in Teignbridge has fallen below the Devon district average compared to being above average seven years ago. In addition while every other district council in Devon has seen a seven-year increase above 25%, we are well below at 19%”.

Last week (22 Feb) Teignbridge set a lower than predicted council tax of 1.97% — equivalent to a rise of six pence a week.

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Youth Inclusion Programmes

I am appalled that Conservative led Devon County Council will be cutting the Youth Inclusion Programmes (YIP) in West Teignmouth on 31 March.

I understand the great pressure upon the council’s finances at this time; however this cut is really stupid and a false economy. Projects like the YIP that improve the life-chances for young people, more than payback their cost in the long run. What is the cost to society of having someone on benefits for most of their life, what is the cost to society of someone in and out of prison? The YIP programme lived up to the promises made at the launch, with a significant drop in crime and anti social behaviour, and young people supported into gainful employment or training.

West Teignmouth is one of the most deprived wards in Devon according to the Index of Multiple Deprivation. The YIP built on, and gave depth to the outstanding work of PC Colley and his Neighbourhood Police Team, TCA, Teign Housing, and many others, in dealing with West Teignmouth’s problems. It is very sad that the hard work of these people should be undermined in this way.

Thursday, 4 February 2010

More Parking Spaces

Up to fifteen, desperately needed, new parking spaces have recently been created in Teignmouth Town Centre, simply by re-jigging some of the town’s existing parking bays.

Chris Bray and I noticed last year that some of the existing parking bays around the town did not make the best use of the road space available. So armed with a tape measure and 'Manual for Streets' , we set out to drawn up plans to create more parking and put our ideas to the Highways Authority. We're delighted to see that our proposals have now resulted in approximately seven extra spaces being created in Carlton Place and with a similar amount of additional spaces being formed in other parts of the town.

It all started when whilst walking through Carlton Place I noticed that even with cars parked on either side of the street there was still enough room for lorries to pass with ease, and I remembered from my childhood, that the road was originally a two-way street. It struck me that the parking spaces parallel to the Riviera building were a throw back from that time and hadn’t been up-dated when the road became a one-way street a several decade ago. Chris and I then looked for other areas to create more parking and found

Of course we realise that this isn’t going to resolve all of Teignmouth’s parking issues, however the new parking bays will give Teignmouth over a dozen extra spaces from virtually thin air, and at the negligible cost of painting few lines; that's got to be a positive result.

Thursday, 21 January 2010

Council Tax

Teignbridge District Council's annual budget consultation is underway, with a brand new online tool enabling local people to show how they'd prioritise and spend money across Council services.

The public consultation runs until Tuesday 16 February, with local people able to go online to show the Council what they'd spend money on using a notional £10 budget to proportionally represent Teignbridge's whole budget. For those without internet access there will also be a public meeting on Friday 22nd January at Teignbridge's Forde House offices from 6pm - 7.30pm where a similar exercise will take place.

The online consultation can be accessed at, and is a first for the Council, with the results going on to help inform the Council's debate on the budget for 2010/11. Further information including initial discussions by Members regarding potential Council Tax levels and changed can also be viewed on the same web page as the consultation, and may help participants make an informed choice. Teignbridge’s possible budget proposals are not limited to the options already discussed by Members.

Using the online tool people can see how Teignbridge spent its 2009/10 budget as a proportion of £10. They can then split £10 between 11 areas of Council service by adding to, reducing or keeping the current amount. Alternatively they can even opt to 'Stop the service' entirely. When setting their budget they'll be able to use the whole £10, less or more. However, if they go over budget they'll have to explain how they'll find the extra money. The Services are:

· Street Cleaning

· Waste Collection & Recycling

· Public Toilets

· Housing - including affordable housing, homelessness etc.

· Parks, open spaces & play

· Leisure and sports

· Concessionary Bus Fares (non-negotiable as it is set by the Government)

· Economic Development & Tourism

· Planning and Building Control

· Community & Culture - including crime reduction, diversity, engagement, partnerships and more.

· Environment, Food and Safety

The responses to the survey will then be considered by Councillors as they debate and set the budget for the coming year.

Thursday, 14 January 2010

Treat roads for ice whilst the sun is shining

The chaos on Telegraph Hill highlighted the old problem of grit lorries not being able to get to areas blocked off by accidents caused by the ice they have come to clear. Devon's greenest councillor Gordon Hook thinks he may have an answer. Gordon wants to the County Council to recycle summer sunshine collected by Devon's roads and use it to keep them ice-free in winter. Gordon has been looking at an experimental scheme that uses pipes installed underneath a section of road to gather solar energy in summer and recirculate it in winter.

The technology is known as interseasonal heat transfer, or IHT. Scientists believe the IHT could be a way to treat the roads which are the first to freeze, and to heat and cool buildings, cutting energy bills and lower greenhouse gas emissions. In summer, when road temperatures can reach 40C, the water is warmed and pumped to pipes insulated with polystyrene. In winter, when sensors detect the temperature at 2C, warm water is pumped back under the road to heat the ground and prevent ice forming. IHT technology has been the subject of a two-year trial on a little-used access road on the M1 by scientists at the Transport Research Laboratory.

More information about Interseasonal Heat Transfer can be found here:http:

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Details of Boiler Scrappage Scheme

The Government has announced details of the Boiler Scrappage Scheme. A scheme championed by Teign MP Richard Younger-Ross and Teignbridge District Council; that will reduce CO2, fight fuel poverty and will boost jobs. Richard managed to get cross-party and some high profile support for the scheme including a government minister, and much to the surprise of many of us the Chancellor announced a Boiler Scrappage Scheme in PBR.

Households in England can apply for a £400 voucher to help with the cost of replacing old, G-rated boilers for a new A-rated boiler or renewable heating system such as a biomass boiler or a heat pump. Teignbridge District Council may be able to top this amount up for certain qualifying groups, subject to the budget being approved in March.

The scheme is open to householders, including tenants, and landlords who privately own and rent dwellings. To be eligible, the boiler to be scrapped must be the main boiler used to heat the home. If the householder is under 60 years of age the boiler to be scrapped must also be in working order. However, householders aged 60 and over can apply regardless of whether the boiler is in working order.
The £400 vouchers will be issued from 18 January 2010. Vouchers are only valid for 12 weeks from date of issue.
If you believe that your home has a G-rated or worse boiler and wish to register an interest in the scheme to receive a £400 cashback voucher towards the cost of upgrading to an A-rated boiler, then arrange for your nominated installer to visit and provide you with a quote. You will be required to provide all of the following information:
i) Your full name.
ii) The address of the property you wish to claim the voucher for.
iii) The make and name of the boiler being scrapped.
iv) The company name, address and contact details of the installer carrying out the work.
v) The type of replacement boiler to be installed e.g. gas, biomass.
vi) Confirmation that you have received a quote or visit from the installer to carry out the work.
Once you have this information please email or call ACT ON CO2 advice line on 0800 512 012. Email:

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

New Use for Old Boxes

Every year we fight to keep our telephone boxes from being removed by BT. The increase coverage for mobile phones has reduced the income from telephone boxes. Slowly but surely BT is removing our telephone boxes, they claim it costs more to look after the boxes than they generate in income. So I was intrigued to see an Environmental Transport Association (ETA) report about how Spain has found a new use for their public telephone boxes - as re-charging points for electric vehicles

Many of Devon's rural telephone call-boxes would be relatively easy to adapt as recharging points because they tend to be located close to the roadside and already have their own electricity supply and obviously telephone line and payment point.Following Spain's example could give our boxes a new lease of life and new source of revenue for BT.

A trial in Spain will see 30 telephone boxes around the city transformed into charging points as part of a network of 546 state-subsidised recharging points, which will also cover Seville and Barcelona.

The Spanish government plans to spend the equivalent of £8.7m on encouraging the use of at least 2,000 electric cars in the three cities over the next two years.


I was surprised to read in the newspaper that Mike Hockin Chairman of Dawlish Chamber of Trade blaming Teignbridge District Council, because Tesco has won a High Court battle to stop rival Sainsbury's plans to build a new store in Dawlish.

The fact is Dawlish’s Conservative district councillors pushed for the Sainsbury’s application to be approved without delay, despite warnings that the council would almost certainly face a legal challenge. Dawlish councillors were under extreme public pressure, one Dawlish councillor said it would be ‘political suicide’ for any Dawlish councillor not to support Sainsbury’s; however they could have supported my amendment without compromising their position, they chose not to. Read the minutes of the 23rd June 2008 here: and the notes here: and the minutes of 10th November here:

The amendment I proposed, seconded by Alan Connett, was for deferral. This would have delayed but not necessarily refused Sainsbury’s planning application, allowing for both applications to be consider together; and avoided giving Tesco the opportunity to mount a legal challenge, as well as negotiate a better contribution for Dawlish town centre from Sainsbury than the derisory £200,000 offered –Dartmouth got £383,700 from Sainsbury.

Regrettably my amendment was lost 9 votes to 13 votes. Had the committee accepted my amendment, Teignbridge council taxpayers wouldn’t have to find an estimated £40,000 in legal bills. However the ultimate irony of this sorry tale is that Dawlish may end up with Tesco after all. Tesco has been refused planning permission, mainly because Sainsbury had permission, now the court has taken Sainsbury’s planning permission away; Tesco has a pretty strong case to take to the planning inspector.