Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Boxing Day Dip

Went in for a Boxing Day dip in aid of the RNLI.

Friday, 21 December 2012

Politicisation of the Police

I always feared the politicisation of the police with the creation of Police and Crime Commissioners; however I never quite foresaw just how quickly the situation would become shambolic and downright disgraceful. Already we have stories of high farce, cronyism and arrogance. The Northamptonshire PCC, Adam Simmonds has raised a few eyebrows; Mr Simmonds worked in a “politically restricted role” (Local Government Officers (Political Restrictions) Regulations 1990) for the last few years. He was selected as the Conservative candidate for PCC in Northants in the summer. Now how you might ask, did he managed to go through a selection process whilst being paid by the public purse for a politically restricted job? That is an interesting question that has never been satisfactorily answered. Neither was the strange case of his pay-off – three months in lieu of notice even though he was leaving his politically restricted job because he was a political candidate so could not work the notice period! During the campaign Mr Simmonds refused to outline his plans for how he would run the police, saying that people would find out once he was elected. However he did join the criticism of a new job advertised at the police authority at £70k as “management madness”. So imagine the surprise a few days later when he appointed four assistant commissioners , yes FOUR at £65,000 each – (and you couldn’t make this up) one of whom was his election agent and another his press officer! Worse was to come as news leaked out of his seventeen person commission, an increase on the seven people working at the existing Police Authority. One of these jobs was promptly given to the existing Conservative Political Assistant at the County Council! Its little different in West Mercia, PCC Bill Longmore has appointed of his election agent Barrie Sheldon Deputy PCC at £50K a year, despite the West Mercia Police and Crime Panel refusing to back the appointment. The PCC in the West Midlands, Bob Jones, has appointed a councilor colleague Yvonne Mosquito, as his ‘Deputy Commissioner’. She is going to be paid a total of nearly £92,000 per annum, if you include her continuing pay as a Birmingham city councillor. So that’s £65,000 for being part-time Police Commissioner; the Birmingham City Council’s basic allowance of £16,267; and SRA as Ladywood District Chair of £10,574. Making a grand total of £91,841. How many PCSOs and PCs would that pay for?

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Good News for Fish Quay

Back in 2008 my council colleague Chris Bray and I , managed to net a massive £450,000 grant for plans to help the Teign Estuary’s fishing and mariculture industries, with a refurbished Fish Quay. This money was needed as match funding in order to secure EU Fisheries funds. I got a phone call Tuesday from the Teign Fishermen and Waterm
en’s Association (TFWA) to tell me the EU money has been secured. The EU wants a few tweaks to the plan and there are a few more things to sort out over land ownership; this is really good news for all Teignmouth not just the fishing industry.

Monday, 10 December 2012

Winter Warmer

A simple idea from a Widecombe-in-the Moor mum, Emma Perrett will help protect the most vulnerable children in the district from the cold this winter. According to research by Save the Children, one in seven of the poorest children in Britain do not have a warm winter coat. Seeing a project in Brighton and Hove, where children’s coats are donated and distributed to children without a winter coat; Emma enlisted the support of her daughter’s primary school, in collecting coats. Widecombe-in-the-Moor Primary School enthusiastically supported Emma’s project and collected a large number of coats. Teignbridge District Councils Customer Excellence, offered to help Emma distribute the coats through CVS and local charities who work with families in need.
Anyone who has clean good-quality coats that will fit children up to 18 years of age, they wish to donate, can take them to the Teignbridge reception a Forde House, Newton Abbot.

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Cold Winter

It's going to be a cold winter. If you know of any vulnerable or older people who need practical support to deal with the adverse effects of winter, please contact me. Support available includes advice and help with heating and insulation, benefits advice and help with changing energy suppliers. If necessary help can be given with emergency shopping, collecting prescriptions and essential heating repairs during the winter. Regarding rough sleepers, for the next few nights Teignbridge District Council are instigating the Extreme Weather Protocol. If you are aware of any Rough Sleepers please direct them to council services for possible booking in Emergency Accommodation. Please don’t hesitate to contact Steph Rixon (01626 215315) if you have any questions.

Saturday, 1 December 2012

Shepherds Lane

The developer has now formally announced they want to build 200 homes on the eastern side of Shepherds Lane (this is in the civil parish of Bishopsteignton), and has commissioned archaeologists (Cotswold Archaeology) to survey the fields to discover whether there are any significant historic artefacts on the site. Items suggesting a Romano-British farmstead have been found.
As I've said before Cotswold Archaeology is quite candid about what they do: “We work closely with developers and contractors to ensure efficient programming of attendance to reduce costs and avoid delays to construction programmes.” They are about helping developers deal with the archaeology requirements of a planning application. The recent heavy rainfall caused some properties to be flooded in Haytor Close; clearly the run-off from any development would pose the danger of flooding to properties lower down the hill in Moorview Drive. The developer, told the Teignmouth Post that they were prepared to donate about 12 acres opposite TCS Mill Lane School as an ”ecological park, and also provide much-needed extra parking space for the school.” Anyone familiar with the topography of the land will know it is the least ideal for building on. The school prides itself on having the majority of its pupils walking to school and does not want any parents’ parking, nor do I imagine do Mill Lane residents want more traffic. Proposals to construct hundreds of new homes in the area were rejected in 'Plan Teignbridge' local plan, thanks to the many people who made their views known to the council. The area is designated "Undeveloped Coast" a similar designation to "Coastal Preservation Area"; however because the council voted for a higher number of houses (on the Conservative chairman's casting vote) there is always the danger a developer will use 'housing need' to overcome the Undeveloped Coast designation. A plan to build over 300 houses on designated countryside in Dawlish was rejected by councillors on the planning committee on the 26th November. It will be an interesting to see if the developer gets permission when he appeals to the Planning Inspector on the grounds of 'housing need'. We certainly need housing for local families; however there are more sustainable sites in the town close to amenities to provide that housing. I have the support of my colleague, Alan Williams the councillor for Bishopsteignton (the proposed development is in his ward).

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Servants not Masters

Councillors and council workers should be the servants of the people; however all too often they behave as if they are "lords and masters" telling off people for daring to question anything. It's a great privilege to serve the people of West Teignmouth, I never forget it is your services and your taxes. We shouldn't be buying painting for Bitton House whilst folk are waiting for replacement bus shelters. Whereas councillors are inevitably political, council officers have to be scrupulously apolitical. Evens at Tuesday’s town council meeting have caused some serious concerns. The town clerk has briefed some town councillors about bus shelter replacement – unfortunately they were all Conservative councillors, thereby giving them an advantage. By incredible coincidence the clerk (himself a former Conservative councillor) was completely unable to contact any of the Liberal Democrat or Independent councillors; aparantly it couldn't be done by phone, e-mail or carrier pigeon. It doesn’t look very good for impartiality.

Friday, 23 November 2012

Bus Shelter Battle

If anything symbolises how out of touch the town council is with ordinary people, it is the saga of the bus shelter at Kingsway. As one resident pointed out, wheelie bins are better looked after than people, contrasting the well built bin storage sheds with the almost derelict bus shelter. Despite my motion to the council requiring replacement of the bus shelter, being democratically agreed; get
ting the town council to actually do it has taken nearly two years. With excuses every time I asked when would it be done; surprisingly my mention of this on Radio Devon and KRA’s protest featured on today’s front page of the Teignmouth Post seems to have had the desired effect. Supposedly the new shelter will be in before January 2013; however local residents and I won’t believe until I see it! Bet the Conservatives try to claim credit, for the council finally doing what it should have all along.

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Diggers in the Fields

The good news is the diggers in the fields around Sheppard’s Lane are part of an archaeological dig, not building houses. The bad news is this is part of the preparation for a planning application to build houses! Concerned residents contacted me when they saw the heavy plant and men in hard hats roaming the land near Shepherd’s Lane, on the boundary with Bishopsteignton, last weekend.Cotswold Archaeology is quite candid about what they do: “We work closely with developers and contractors to ensure efficient programming of attendance to reduce costs and avoid delays to construction programmes.” They are about helping developers deal with the archaeology requirements of a planning application. Proposals to construct hundreds of new homes in the area were rejected in 'Plan Teignbridge' district plan, thanks to the many people who made their views known to Teignbridge. The area is designated "Undeveloped Coast" a similar designation to "Coastal Preservation Area"; however because the council voted for a higher number of houses (on the chairman's casting vote) there is always the danger a developer will use 'housing need to overcome the Undeveloped Coast designation. A plan to build over 300 houses on designated countryside in Dawlish comes to the planning committee on the 26th November. It will be an interesting test case. In the meantime, as I have reported elsewhere, a developer has put in a ‘scoping’ application to Teignbridge planners, which is a precursor to a planning application. I suspect the developer will submit a planning application early next year.

Children in Need

Supporting the Spar staff's Children in Need cake sale.

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Diggers in the Fields

Cotswold Archaeology are currently carrying out a field survey -digging of exploratory trenches on the site. I expect the developer will be putting in a planning application in early 2013, I'm going through all the paperwork from the scoping option.

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Pure Lunacy!

The town council has spent £3,000+ on a Thomas Luny picture of Teignmouth. Whilst councillors rejected the idea of the council buying the picture we did agreed to help the Museum buy it – but last night we discovered the council has bought it! Yet the town council somehow just can't replace a bus shelter on Kingsway. We need to sort the council out.

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Countryside Under Threat

Having won the won the battle to protect the countryside between WestTeignmouth and Bishopsteignton in Plan Teignbridge. A new threat has emerged - a developer has asked Teignbridge Council for a 'Scoping Opinion' for residential development on land around Sheppard’s Lane
Basically a 'Scoping Opinion' is where a developer formally contacts the planning department asking what information should be included within an Environmental Statement. This is very concerning, having gone to the trouble and expense of a scoping opinion, the developer will almost certainly put in a planning application - which most likely will be refused because it goes against the “Undeveloped Coast” policy. The danger is if the developer appeals any refusal on the grounds of 'housing need' - then we will be in the hands of a planning inspector. This situation has not been helped by the Chairman of the Council changing his mind and using his casting vote to build 12,400 Houses instead of 10,000 across Teignbridge. Please contact me if you wish to be kept up to date with this matter:

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

The Real Housing Numbers

The claims being banded around that the Lib Dems promoted the building of 15,000+ houses in 2008 is simply wrong, I know I was there! Anyone who wishes to, can check the figure on Page 57 of the previous Core Strategy Development Document, and will see the figure of 7,250 houses. This document is available to the public to look at. I believe this figure increased to 10,400 at the end of the Public Examination. The 15,000 figure seems to have come from the minutes of Newton Abbot Chamber of Commerce, where is was reported the Conservative leader of the council said "15,000 houses would be build half in Newton Abbot". So the only U-turn seems to be on the part of a number of Conservatives councillors who only a few months earlier had enthusiastically supported the work of the all-party review group who recommended a figure of 10,000. The Chairman of the council, Cllr Clarance was full of praise for the review group and eager for his vote to be recorded in favour of 10,000 in May, only to use his casting vote against at the full council

Monday, 22 October 2012

Green Deal

Householders insulating their homes from January will be able to claim hundreds – and potentially thousands – of pounds back in cash from the government. The Liberal Democrat energy secretary, Ed Davey, has launched the Green Deal. The Green Deal is designed to encourage businesses and home owners in the UK to employ green technologies in their properties. Throughthe scheme, applicants will be able to install new green technology into their properties with no upfront costs involved. The cost incurred through the installations will be met through the applicants’ energy bills over a period of time. Businesses will be able to apply for funding to help improve the energy efficiency of their current building. After an assessment has been carried out outlining which technologies will be the most effective a business owner can apply for funding to have the installation made. The scheme will offer finance or loan support for business owners to improve the property that they own through energy efficiency measures. This finance is in effect a ‘free loan’ for the installation of energy saving improvements which will be charged back through the property energy metering. There will be a range of options available through the scheme. Examples of the Types of improvements that may be funded include the following: Green Deal Insulation Cavity Wall Insulation Flat Roof Insulation Insulated Doors Loft Insulation Solid Wall Insulation Windows Green Lighting Micro Power Generation Air Source Heat Pumps Ground Source Heat Pumps Micro CHP Solar Photovoltaics Thermal Solar Power Both householders and businesses are able to register to have their properties assessed for the Green Deal. The first loans are expected to become available in January 2013.

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Taste of the Teign

We'll be meeting on Monday night to plan a food festival for the Teign Estuary area.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Harvest Festival

Trinity school pupils collected a bumper crop of food donations for a local charity I chair, as part of their harvest festival assembly organised by Year 8. The charity, Homeless in Teignbridge Support (HITS) will use the items to help stock up our ‘Foodbank’which sees volunteers providing essential food items to families who have suffered in some way, as well as the homeless.
On behalf of the charity trustees, I would like to say a very big thank-you to all the students and parents at Trinity School for the tremendous generosity. The large food donations will go to helping people in crisis. I’d particularly like to thank the Year 8 students who organised the Harvest Festival; and took the initiate to use the Harvest Festival to help those in need. HITS is an award winning registered charity, founded by Christians Together. The charity seeks to work with the statuary sector to help the homeless and those in crisis in Teignbridge.

Monday, 15 October 2012

More Teignbridge Waste

After wasting £3000 on an outside video filming service, whilst they had an in-house video service, once again taxpayers money has been wasted by Tories. This time £8000 has been spent on a council management review from which there will be no final report! Teignbridge council hired retired local authority chief executive Jeffrey Ligo to review the council's management structure and suggest improvements and potential savings; however now, after seven months of work, its been revealed that Mr Ligo has been told not to bother with a final written report to Teignbridge's councillors. Instead, a report from the council's chief executive, Nicola Bulbeck, on the 'way forward' will be considered by the council's ruling Conservative Executive. It's astonishing that after seven months of work by an outside consultant that there will be nothing to show for the £8,000 we have been told this review has cost.

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Territorial Army

So Philip Hammond wants to do away with the name "Territorial Army" - the man has no idea of history.The Territorial Army was created over one hundred years ago by the Liberal Secretary of State for War, Richard Haldane, when the Territorial and Reserve Forces Act 1907 combined the previously civilian-administered Volunteer Force, with the Militia and Yeomanry. Picture: Colours and badge of 1st Bn Wessex Regiment (Rifle Volunteers)

Saturday, 13 October 2012

Broadmeadow FC Win FA Award

BROADMEADOW Football Club has been named the FA’s chartered standard club of the year.
Broadmeadow won the honour after showing great staying power. With the Broadmeadow pitches declared contaminated in 2000, the club was homeless for more than a decade, until Michael’s Field was opened earlier this year. Thanks to the volunteers’ hard work, the club, boasting more than 120 players, survived the wilderness years. Club members received the award from Sir Geoff Hurst and Pat Jennings, before watching England play San Marino in a World Cup qualifier. Hurst said: “Broadmeadow embodies the spirit of a community football club. They faced several difficulties in the past but with the help and hard work of volunteers, staff and players have really bounced back to become the outstanding club they are today.”

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Teignmouth Post Front Page

At a time when we seem to only read only bad things about young people in newspapers; it was heartening to see the Teignmouth Post give front page coverage to a teenager, Danny Packwood, who organised a MacMillan coffee morning. The vast majority of Teignmouth’s young people are a credit to the town, so it is good to see our local newspaper give due prominence to positive news .

Friday, 28 September 2012

Teignmouth Harbour Fiesta

Good to see the traditional blessing of the boats at the Harbour Fiesta on Saturday. It is great that the Fiesta is back as a regular Teignmouth event.

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

12,400 Houses!

Plans for 12,400 new houses to be built in Teignbridge were pushed through on Friday (21st) on the casting vote of the council's chairman. This was a bit of a supprise because the chairman Cllr Clarance at earlier meetings on 22nd May had voiced support for a lower number, and is recorded as voting for the figure of 10,000. The proposals fortunatly took out the plan for a massive housing estate between Teignmouth and Bishopsteignton. Opposition Liberal Democrats continued to support a lower number of 10,000 houses to be built over the next 20 years. It was supported by most of the council's Independent members but narrowly failed. In a tied vote, 18-18, it was council chairman Chris Clarance who used his casting vote to rule against the 10,000 houses, which allowed the Conservatives who run Teignbridge to then vote in their plans for 12,400 homes -- that's 620 a year for the next 20 years. The proposal for 10,000 houses was supported by one Conservative, Cllr Kelvyn Shantry, who had led a special review group of councillors looking at how many houses the district needed.

Sunday, 23 September 2012


An ugly underpass between Parson Street and the Library has been transformed by the installation of beautiful mosaics designed by schoolchildren from Teignmouth's primary schools and made by Shelley Brown. Little over a year ago I was painting out graffiti with Sue Potts and Terry Falcao. Well done to Teignmouth First.

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Council Waste

“I will always speak out against unnecessary and extravagant expenditure” so said our Conservatives County Councillor and 'star' of an Olympic video. Yet what would you call the spending of some £3,200 by Teignbridge Council on an official video of the Olympic Flame arriving in Shaldon and Teignmouth – even though the council has its own professional video production department! Imagine what local sports clubs could do with £3000. The spending, ordered by the council’s Conservative leader, comes at a time when the council is making cutbacks and faces tough spending decisions next year with changes in the way funding comes from Government. Challenged about the spending when the in-year budget was reviewed earlier this month, the Council Leader told councillors he was aware of the cost when the video was ordered and that he was very happy that the video was made. It’s incredible that the council need to spend over £3,000 on this video when the council has a member of staff who produces videos and a fully equipped video production department. This could have been done for much less if the council had used its own video production service. What does it say when, for the big events, where Conservatives are interviewed they commission a video from an independent service.

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Kingsway Meadow Centre

In an extraordinary turn of events Teignmouth Town Council voted not to take on the lease of the Kingsway Meadow Centre. The centre is much loved and the prospect of a council taking on the day-to-day management was met with protests. Picture; Volunteers paint the centre.

Monday, 17 September 2012

Warm Front Changes

Winter is coming and heating costs are going up. The eligibility criteria for Warm Front changed, many more people now qualify. The Warm Front scheme installs insulation and heating improvements to make homes more energy efficient. Find out more about the Warm Front scheme, including who qualifies and how to apply, on the website:

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Boiler Scrappage

Eligible Residents can claim £400 off a new boiler. Homeowners and tenants who are over 75 years-old and have a household income below £16,000 or receive disability living allowance can receive a £400 discount voucher if their current boiler is rated E and above. Replacing an old gas boiler with a high-efficiency condensing boiler could save up to £300 in energy bills and over 1kg of carbon dioxide emissions each year. With autumn and winter on the way, the council is urging people to apply soon if they’d like to complete the work in time for the colder weather. Once the voucher is issued, it is valid for eight weeks. As long as the new boiler is an A-rated or equivalent gas, oil or LPG boiler and is fitted by a registered installer, it could save up to 20 per cent a year on current household heating bills. Vouchers are limited so it's first come first served.

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Shaldon Council Chairman Resigns

This post has been removed at the request of Shaldon Parish Council.

Sunday, 9 September 2012

Land Banking

The Times just revealed that the big national housing developers have been quietly squirreling away large tracts of prime development land and then just sitting on it - known as land banking. There is enough land for a quarter of a million houses. The developers defend not building because the sites are ‘commercially unviable’; this is a term councilors get to hear a lot at planning committee, when the developer wants to reduce the number of affordable homes for local families. However it’s not so much unviable as slightly less massively profitable. Just look at their share prices of developers - Taylor Wimpey up from 30p to 54p; Barratt up from 76p to £1.50; Persimmon up from £4.25 to £7.00.

Friday, 7 September 2012

The Boots are Marching Back

The Environment Agency have said they will return Boot Hill at the end of the month. Just need to make sure they keep their word.

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Boots gone a walking

With Tricia Kirkby of Garstone’s, I’m asking the Environment Agency to return a collection of old boots to the New Quay at Teignmouth Back Beach, now flood defence work by the location has ceased. ‘Boot Hill’ is a collection of old boots with flowers growing in them, attached to the wall of Garstone Garden Ornaments on the New Quay. Boot Hill is believed to have started in 1947, and is said to be the first meeting place of the Teign Fishermen and Watermen’s Association. The site featured in a 1968 Teignmouth holiday guide. it a uniquely Teignmouth feature, many visitors photograph and comment about it. I remember it as a child when the Harbour Fiesta was held, I have asked the EA to return it, and perhaps they might like to donate a suitably inscribed boot to the collection.

Monday, 20 August 2012

People Power!

Incredible! People power has won the day. Whilst we are yet to formally vote on this, but I can't see this being changed. to build 1,000 homes in the countryside between West Teignmouth and Bishopsteignton have been abandoned in the ‘Plan Teignbridge’ strategy. Can I say a really big thank you to all the people who supported me in opposing this desecration of our precious countryside. You will be Plans able to see the Draft Submission on the Teignbridge website after 4pm today.

Broadmeadow Footballers Play a Home Game

Great to see the Broadmeadow STFC teams playing at home; because this junior/youth football club have been without a home for over a decade. The Club does great work with youngsters up 17. The new sports pitches at Michael's Field, were opened Sunday. It’s testament to the dedication, dignified persistence and tenacity of a great group of outstanding people that kept the club together in those wilderness years; the superb facilities at Michael’s Field are a just reward for the Club. My only regret is it was too late for many young footballers.

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

No Longer the Grot Shop

What a difference a coat of paint and bit of cleaning can make. It’s a shame I had to get the council to threaten enforcement action; but in fairness to Tesco they have acted to deal with the problem. I'm pleased to report, Tesco have made positive noises about using the former One Stop for the community, so fingers crossed.

Friday, 10 August 2012


‘Plan Teignbridge’ is the new name for the plan to build 12,400 houses in the district, including plans for a massive development between West Teignmouth and Bishopsteignton. On the 20th August the plans will be published and councillors will be briefed. I believe Teignbridge Council has got its figures wrong, and housing needs to be built sensitively preserving those things that make our area so special. The first meeting (Overview & Scrutiny)about the plan will be on 4th September. The key vote will take place at a spcial meeting of the full council on Friday 21 September, before submission to Secretary of State.

Town Council Secrecy

Teignmouth Town Council has become far too secretive, as the way the Meadow Centre was dealt with shows. We cannot rebuild trust in politics without making the council more inclusive, open and accountable. It sometimes seems a genuine item requiring privacy is found, in order to make the entire debate secret. There remain many unanswered questions about the Meadow Centre issue - who knew about
the town council’s secret talks with Teignbridge. Why was this issue not dealt with at an earlier council meeting – considering the vote was 5 to 6 with one councillor on holiday, this is a very important question.

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Town Hall Taliban

A residents' association and registered charity - KRA had applied to run the Meadow Centre, all was going well until out of the blue, the town council asked to take it on - with few councillors knowing. On Tuesday 7th August we debated the issuse - behind close doors! I’m disappointed that by one vote we failed to stop the town council taking the licence, and supporting the residents' association. I believe the best people to run a community centre are the community not politicians. There were parts of the meeting that had to be in private because personal details were discussed, but holding the whole meeting without the press or public, was in my opinion overkill. We need to be open and transparent. However it could have been worse, and believe the compromise of letting KRA the residents’ association run the Meadow Centre under the town council is a better outcome than I had anticipated. It is very important that all the good work at the Meadow Centre continues, so I am pleased that is guaranteed for the next three months. I doubt we would have got that compromise, without the people coming down to Bitton House to support the trustees.

Friday, 3 August 2012

Big Drop in Crime

Local Teignmouth Police beat manager PC Phil Colley is being praised by community leaders; after recently released crime figures showed a phenomenal drop in anti-social behaviour in West Teignmouth.Between 2008 and 2011 criminal damage dropped by nearly half (48%), whilst anti social behaviour saw an even more dramatic fall, dropping by over two thirds (67%) PC Colley puts the successes down to teamwork with other agencies and building strong relationships with the community. Antisocial behaviour and criminal damage are the issues that most affects people’s quality of life, so it’s really great to see the impact the team has made, reflected in the figures. However the figures are not the whole story, I can not speak highly enough about Phil and Saul’s dedication to the community they serve; as I’m sure many residents will testify. It’s a pleasure to work with them.

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Bishopsteignton Clean Up Day

Help from above in the form of Rev
West at Bishopsteignton Clean Up Day.


On Friday the Teignmouth Post reported a brilliant idea from Teignmouth Traders, very attractive banners promoting the town centre. Unbelievably by Monday Devon County Highways had removed the traders’ banner.

Community Clean Up Day- Saturday

This year’s clear up will be Coombe Vale Road. We are meeting at Bitton House car park, for a safety briefing and to pick up tools and equipment. Please wear clothes you don’t mind getting dirty, it may be wise to bring sun-screen and water, though we will be providing drinks and snacks at 11.30am. As we are working near traffic hi viz vests will be provided. We will doing some litter picking on the banks of the Bitton Brook in Coombe Park Road, hower we won’t be able to clear all this ‘grot spot’ for safety reasons. Last year’s clean up in Kingsway was a great success, so I hope we can repeat it. You don’t have to stay for the whole session, so if you can only spare an hour, you are still welcome.

Friday, 6 July 2012

Twenty is Plenty

The Devon County Council area highways committee (HaTOC) have voted to kill any chance of a 20 limit on Kingsway and other West Teignmouth roads. In a performance worthy of an episode of Yes Minister, councillors were given the impression that we must have 'speed calming’ and there isn’t any money for it (interesting to note the council did find £167,000 from road safety grants to spend on offices and furniture). The truth is whilst 20 mph SPEED ZONES do require some sort of traffic calming, this dosen’t have to be physical or expensive; 20 mph SPEED LIMITS can be introduced without any form of traffic calming. Speed Zones refer to a collection of streets with a 20 mph limit whilst Speed Limits are set for individual roads. Some local authorities have set 20 mph speed limits on a number of individual roads so creating a blanket coverage of residential areas with a 20 mph speed limit. Liberal Democrat Transport Minister, Norman Baker, has made changes in signage requirements which make it far easier and cheaper for local authorities to implement wide area 20mph limits for towns and villages. Many thanks to James McMurray for supporting me - putting Teignmouth before politics. Thanks also to the Kingsway residents who have been helping me get signatures and evidence for the ‘Twenty is Plenty’ campaign Professor Danny Dorling has shown that adopting a default speed limit of 20mph in residential areas is a driver for widespread social progress as well as a successful road safety policy.

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Grot Shop update

Steven Hobbs, Senior Planning Enforcement Officer, has approached the owner about taking steps to tidy the appearance of the building. He will visit the One Stop site this week and discuss the matter with a senior officer about taking enforcement action.

Friday, 29 June 2012

I’m calling for Teignbridge District Council to use its enforcement powers against the owners of the former One Stop on Bitton Park Road, unless they tidy up the building. The neglected property has become an eyesore, and despite numerous requests, including the offer of a community clean up, Tesco had done nothing and the building had continued to deteriorate. I am concerned about the impact of the neglected building on surrounding properties in the area. A local resident, who asked not to be named told me: “We are trying to sell our house and been told by estate agents the state of the shop is pushing house prices down.”

Monday, 20 February 2012

I’ve always had sympathy for people who have to do difficult but necessary jobs, like traffic wardens. So it with much soul searching that I have to ask are Teignbridge Traffic Wardens on commission? (or Enforcement Officers to give them there official title), is parking enforcement a money raising scam?

I’ve been contacted by a resident who was booked for parking on their own land! What is worse... the ticket was only cancelled after Land Registry evidence was provided. I read on FB of a resident having to remonstrate with wardens as they sought to book cars displaced by the closure of Fore Street to replace a bridge, early on a Sunday morning. There are many other examples of a lack of common sense and refusal to use any sort of discretion.

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Alex Hilton AKA Recess Money is in the news for saying he’s lost faith in Ed, but I wonder if this isn’t the Mayor of Baltimore getting revenge.

In 2009 Tory Chris Grayling compared parts of Britain to The Wire (a crime series set in Baltimore). Alix created a spoof Mayor of Baltimore website with a fake press release, which suggested that if we Brits compare Baltimore to TV series The Wire, Americans may as well compare Britain to Midsomer Murders – where the bodycount is astronomical per capita ( The Guardian, The Independent, The Baltimore Sun and bloggers all got hooked, lined and sinkered by this hoax

Monday, 13 February 2012

Teignmouth Town Council, tonight unanimously rejected the “Western Extension” option of Teignbridge’s Core Strategy. This option would cover the fields in this picture with buildings.

Sunday, 12 February 2012

There been no curtailing of “the right to worship … a fundamental and hard-fought British liberty,” as Eric Pickles has suggested in the Bideford Council prayer case. In fact for the National Secular Society (NSS) this is a Pyrrhic victory. Mr Justice Ouseley rejected the main part of the NSS case, that incorporating prayers into its order of business the council was unlawfully discriminating against Councillor Bone and abusing his human rights.

Mr Justice Ouseley said: "A local authority has no power under section 111 of the Local Government Act 1972, or otherwise, to hold prayers as part of a formal local authority meeting, or to summon councillors to such a meeting at which prayers are on the agenda." However the Judge added: "The saying of prayers in a local authority chamber before a formal meeting of such a body is lawful provided councillors are not formally summoned to attend." So we’ll just carry on as normal at Teignmouth Town Council.

Eric Pickles is well aware of the limits to the powers of councils. As Bradford Council leader in the 1980s he tried to have a ticketing system to control who entered the public gallery for council meetings. The judge quickly declare Eric's idea ultra vires – and contrary to "a fundamental and hard-fought British liberty" l

Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Teignmouth Mayor Cllr David Cox is strongly urging residents to give their opinions to the single largest issue affecting the town since the war. The Core Strategy document S18, once adopted, could see a large increase in the town’s population, with wide-reaching implications for housing, employment and local services over the next 20 years.

Councillor Cox is very concerned that the scale of impending developments has been largely overlooked by the public which he says ‘Is hardly surprising as the district authority hasn’t exactly gone out of its way to make this known. There has been little or no use made of the local press, and public consultation meetings have been held to largely invited audiences’.

For those who know what to look for, copies of the summarised document are available online from both Teignbridge District and Teignmouth Town Council websites, the same document, is on display at council offices and the library but can cost up to £1 for your own copy, so the average resident can be forgiven for not having seen one before.

Time is running out for residents to make their opinions heard, the closing date for comments is 2nd March and it is essential that input on the issues raised is received before that date. Councillor Cox will be spearheading a campaign to raise awareness of the current plans and will be handing-out free copies of the consultation document at the TAAG centre in Northumberland Place on Saturday 4th February.

Cllr Cox concluded, ‘although I have my own views on the proposals it is ultimately the people of Teignmouth who can influence them to the greatest extent, yet there is a very real danger that widespread ignorance of the plans will lead to their implementation without any public scrutiny or modification’.

Copies of the Core Strategy Preferred Options for Teignmouth and other documents are available online at:

Monday, 2 January 2012

A warm sea this year, for the RNLI walk into the sea on Boxing Day.