• The results (which I was asked not to publish) were worrying.  In almost all areas carers who took part indicated that they were worse off, or saw services as being poorer. What came out strongly to me that the three key areas of health, financial support and respite care, were all deemed as being poorer, according to the carers who took part. I proposed a review at the June scrutiny committee meeting but chair, Sara Randall Johnson suggested a meeting with Devon Carers staff first, at the Westbank League of Friends.  Devon Carers is commissioned to provide support for carers in the[...]

    Read more

    Around 40 students were present and fired questions at us to get us to defend our positions. This time it was a bit less confrontational between panel members than it has been in the past, but James and I did have a mini argument about the need for cutting policing budgets as I took exception to his defence of austerity! We didn’t manage to convince the students to back our position this time, but it was still fun and I really enjoy engaging with them. They’re always challenging! Here’s my speech: Police officers have never been more stretched, or challenged, and in my [...]

    Read more

    Dear Otterton resident Following the public meeting organised by Cllr Geoff Jung and myself in January, I am really pleased to report that two senior highways officers are to recommend Otterton for a 20mph limit, following my work to prove that the village meets every policy requirement bar one. The recommendation is that the new 20mph limit should replace the existing 30mph limit. Beginning and ending in the same places. Two short speed checks were carried out in April and September and found that mean speeds were around 20mph (although of course I am aware of many reports of speeding at [...]

    Read more

    Currently, strong EU legislation exists which means that companies and government will be breaking the law if they engage in such activities. Unfortunately, one of the many downsides of leaving the EU is that these strict laws will lost once we Brexit. Devon County Council’s cabinet had previously recommended that the spirit of my motion be endorsed, which is not the same as actually acting on it. The Conservative councillors all supported this recommendation last Thursday. I have no idea why Conservatives, whose name appears to mean some kind of protection, seem to not give a fig about[...]

    Read more

    The proposed delay of two years before the significant pay cut is meted out to over 100 of the most experienced foster carers in the county, who are looking after the most challenging children, was the last minute amendment tabled by officers at the children’s scrutiny committee meeting, on 17 September. A further amendment by the children’s scrutiny committee to retain income for all current placements (with no two year delay), has been rejected on the grounds of it being too expensive to implement. There was also concern from foster carers that this model (retaining income for current [...]

    Read more

    In Devon the buildings are very much at risk. Most small hospitals have lost beds, and sadly around five hospitals have been closed, or are in the process of being closed at the current time. More closures are likely to follow, which is what prompted my motion, which was urging councillors to strongly support the retention of all community hospital buildings and oppose any plans to sell them off, was not supported by Devon County Council’s all Conservative cabinet, last month, who claimed it was a matter for the NHS and did not take account of old buildings. This argument came up in [...]

    Read more

    In January 2017, 12 community hospitals across Eastern Devon previously owned by the local NHS were acquired (no money exchanged hands) by NHS Property Services. A private company in the sole control of the post of the Secretary of State for Health. NHS Property Services has a remit for managing the NHS Estate - and selling off property that is considered ‘surplus to requirements.’ NHS Property Services is a ruthless operator (not my words, those of people who have had the misfortune to have to deal with them) and demand massive rents, that they like to suddenly and unexpectedly [...]

    Read more

    As a replacement Lloyds are now providing a mobile branch service from the Land of Canaan car park on the following days: Monday:  1.00pm to 3.15pm Wednesday : 10.00am to 12.00 noon Lloyds will monitor the transactions and depending on use are willing to consider other days and the hours the mobile branch is open. The mobile branch will have disabled access. I am told by the Business Forum that it has been difficult to find a central location but agreement has been reached with EDDC to locate the mobile branch at The Land of Canaan Car Park. Lloyds say they would consider another [...]

    Read more

    An alternative to the scaffolding has been confirmed as not possible, following a survey by an industrial shoring company.  A Mabey representative reported to me this afternoon that any steel struts put in place would be in a similar position to the scaffolding, because access is needed inside the building for refurbishment activities.  This would mean that the road could not be re-opened any earlier. Last night Ruud Jansen Venneboer, Chair of the Ottery Business Forum and Jacqui Taylor, managing director of Otter Nurseries attended Ottery Town Council meeting. Ruud explained how [...]

    Read more