As the New Year approaches, some seasonal left-overs require some imagination. For SOS they include the turkey of EDDC’s relocation project, and the mincemeat that was made of the relocation budget, for its uncertainty and overspends, by Opposition Councillors and members of the public*, at the final Full Council meeting of 2016. That meeting (21 Dec, at Knowle) is pictured below, viewed from near the microphone stand used for public question time. (See link below**, for comments on this seating / speaking/ arrangement.)
With seasonal irony, Sidmouth Town Ward Member, Cathy Gardner (Leader of East Devon Alliance), spoke of a revelation by Deputy EDDC Leader, Andrew Moulding as “a miracle”. She was drawing attention to Cllr Moulding’s surprise statement a few days earlier, (rather oddly included in a press release on Sidmouth’s beach management plan), that the District Council’s relocation project is “cost-neutral”. Cllr Moulding, looking serious and possibly flustered, did not respond, and disappointingly was not asked to do so by the Chair, Stuart Hughes. But councillors and the public alike will presumably want to know what change has brought about this new “cost-neutral” stance.
No doubt all will become clear as 2017 unfolds..
Happy New Year to all who have contributed to the Save Our Sidmouth campaign (There’s a reminder of actions and progress timetabled on the OUR CAMPAIGN page). 2016 has seen curtailed two major developments planned for the Sid Valley : a large Sidford Business Park on a floodplain, with highways problems; and at Knowle, a change from major employment land to restricted (over 60’s) residential use. The outcome may result in a more appropriate type and scale of development to secure Sidmouth’s future as a unique, balanced community and tourist town. But SOS is very aware that the Port Royal and seafront ‘regeneration’, in EDDC’s hands, will be key.
So let’s raise a New Year glass to continued active public support for our new EDDC local representatives; to the Neighbourhood Plan Team born of the refreshed Town Council http://www.sidmouth.gov.uk/index.php/neighbourhood-plan ; and to all other Voluntary Groups, notably the Sid Vale Association http://sidvaleassociation.org.uk and Vision Group for Sidmouth http://futuresforumvgs.blogspot.co.uk , and the recently established Sid Valley Residents’ group https://www.facebook.com/sayNOtoSidfordBusinessPark/. All contribute to ensuring that those responsible for re-shaping the Sid Valley, led by Cllr Andrew Moulding, and Deputy CEO Richard Cohen, will get things right.