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).