A 'champion' with bias?

PUBLISHED: 14:41 18 March 2008 | UPDATED: 08:54 10 June 2010

We refer to Councillor Skinner s justification for his position as Champion for Exmouth (Journal, February 28), when he launched the building of the new bowling complex. The commencement of this long-awaited facility is most welcome. However, on the

We refer to Councillor Skinner's justification for his position as "Champion for Exmouth" (Journal, February 28), when he launched the building of the new bowling complex. The commencement of this long-awaited facility is most welcome. However, on the East Devon District Council website the role of "champions" such as Councillor Skinner is to promote the policies of the council. This would clearly be biased, and unrepresentative of all the residents.Apparently, Councillor Skinner says that he lives in Talaton, so is not even a resident of Exmouth. He should be available locally, and be sensitive to the very strong opposition to the proposed ASDA development. What does he propose to do about this? David and Margaret Ritchie,6 Kincraig,Cranford Avenue, Exmouth. DISCUSSION OVER ASDAAn extraordinary general meeting and a members' meeting of the Exmouth Residents' Association will be held on Tuesday, March 25, at the Open Door Centre, Exmouth, starting at 7pm.The main part of the evening will be dedicated to a discussion about the plans to site a new ASDA store on the estuaryside. This is undoubtedly one of the most important issues to confront Exmouth's residents in recent years and one that may have a profound impact upon our town. The committee therefore felt that as much time as possible should be allowed so that members can voice and debate their opinions before deciding upon the association's stance with regard to the proposals.Prior to this discussion, there will be an extraordinary general meeting to consider changes to the constitution which were not dealt with at the annual general meeting on January 22, 2008.As there was some confusion at the AGM, could I just emphasise that this is an evening for members only. If you are not a member at the moment, you may come along and join on the night after the EGM. Subscriptions for 2008 are £3 and there is a concessionary rate of £1 for students. New members will be able to play a full part in the discussions, but those who were not members in 2007 may not be able to vote at this meeting.If you would like any more information, contact me at the address below.Geoff Morris,Chairman,Exmouth Residents' Association,9 Trinfield Avenue, Exmouth.RE-ROUTE THE CYCLE PATHIt is with some interest that I have viewed the furore, since my initial letters on the cycle route, some weeks ago, and I felt minded to pass comment on the topic again. Last week's Journal was graced with several letters on the subject, with a similar theme! That is the negative effect the cycle route is having on the village.You would think from reading the points raised that the cycle route's destructive powers were akin to a tactical nuclear strike rather than an environmental alternative to car travel. We were told how the village is being destroyed and how it is not the peaceful haven of tranquillity it used to be. One wonders where these detractors of the route have been for the past 30 years - for Lympstone's grace, charm and tranquillity was destroyed many years ago. The moment the first Land Rover Discovery filled with deck shoe-wearing yuppies rolled to a halt outside their new holiday cottage! Unluckily, the myth that the M5 turns into a cart track south of Bristol has yet to be dispelled and the ubiquitous "Chelsea tractor" is a "must have accessory" for every "yummy mummy" in the village - quite often to accompany daddy's Z3 roadster and little Tarquin's Golf GTI cabriolet (all great aids to peace and tranquillity).I remember when my parents first moved to Lympstone, many years ago, from Exmouth. Unlike many of today's incomers, they relished "fitting in". They helped get the youth club running, got involved with the tug of war club, helped out with village fetes and generally became part of the village and its life. They made lasting friendships with local people and, in turn, became local themselves (or adopted locals at least). Over the years, like many similar villages and quaint coastal towns, such as Salcombe, Noss Mayo, Polperro etc, Lympstone's infrastructure and services have become overloaded. They were never designed to cope with the volumes of people and traffic that currently frequent the village. Combine this with the lack of parking and the multi-car families which have become a feature of life today, and then you have, sadly, as big a problem as the hordes of cyclists and walkers now directed into the village. Yet those who criticise the cycle route are often so blinkered they cannot see that their need to speed around its narrow lanes in a "Chelsea tractor" to deposit their offspring the half a mile to the primary school is as damaging as that which they criticise. However, after all the above being said, the village does have a problem - mainly in the incompatibility of cyclists/walkers/car drivers being thrust together in the lower village with narrow roads and ignorant attitudes on all sides. The council itself has a golden opportunity to partially alleviate the problem; now the traffic chaos is shown to be as bad as some predicted, they must with all haste re-route the track alongside the railway from Sowden End. A bridge is not necessary immediately, merely a well marked crossing point, leading to an up-ramp to rejoin the railway line and carry the cyclists and walkers on toward either the main car park or the station itself. I am sure, with the delays currently being experienced in Exton, the provision of an amendment to the route in Lympstone would not delay the overall route's progress.While this would go some way to alleviate the concerns regarding Cox's Hill and Sowden End, it is at this point that a large onus goes back on to the users of the roads in the village to behave in a sensible and polite manner, something which is sadly lacking on any public highway today.The unfortunate fact of life is that the cycle route is here to stay. It is a fantastic idea, supported by sound environmental and safety issues, which, sadly, are compromised whenever the route's progress involves interaction between different user groups. There are, and will be, those in the village who will hate the influx. There are others, perhaps, who will seize the opportunity to generate jobs, income and promote sustainable tourism, which does not involve the infernal combustion engine. While many retirees to the South West are lucky to have no mortgages and fat index-linked pensions, there are local people who actually need to earn a living and I, for one, would rather see income generated by a scheme such as this and the businesses it supports, than see more factories and industry on our doorstep.Perhaps the village should look at Polperro, with its relatively car-free streets, and consider a car-free or residents-only access to Lympstone, with a large car park on the A376 for visitors wishing to walk or cycle and explore its charms and support its pubs and shops - without the need to clog its streets with acrid fumes and huge 4x4s.Ian R Woolger,16 Otter Court, Budleigh Salterton.STATE OF BUDLEIGH IS A DISGRACESo, it's let's knock dog owners time in Budleigh Salterton again.Those of us who keep dogs as companions do so because of the unconditional love, loyalty and friendship dogs give, unlike humans or, in many cases these days, sub-humans.Yes, there are a few irresponsible dog owners around to spoil things, mainly men who do not pick up and bin.It is a pity we didn't hear a call from councillors to 'shop' the human vandals who recently caused so much damage around Budleigh, smashing shop windows etc.It is time councillors took a good look around Budleigh and did something to help this dead town. We all pay large amounts of Council Tax and we get less and less for it, unlike Sidmouth, I may add.It is almost Easter and the seafront is a disgrace. The railings still have not been repaired. The beach area is littered and untidy. We do not have adequate street lighting, the streets are not swept and the whole High Street is old-fashioned, run down and inadequate for our needs - no wonder most of us shop elsewhere.It needs a shake up of attitude as well. The same old 'clicky' faces into everything has to change - we are not all old here. Give others a chance.So, leave the dog owners alone or you will really have a fight on your hands. Get on with the real job - improving Budleigh. It really needs it.Budleigh Salterton resident and dog owner.

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