How will we cross the road?
Councillor Philip Skinner's advice to 'Try the roundabout test' reported in last Thursday's Exmouth Journal raises a number of questions in my mind. Firstly, this is clearly going to be a huge building if it is to encroach onto the roundabout on Marine W
Councillor Philip Skinner's advice to 'Try the roundabout test' reported in last Thursday's Exmouth Journal raises a number of questions in my mind.Firstly, this is clearly going to be a huge building if it is to encroach onto the roundabout on Marine Way? Secondly, given the current levels of traffic, plus the extra we can expect to be generated by those visiting the store, library and other facilities, how will people, and especially children, get safely across the road to visit the town centre without causing major traffic hold-ups?However, much more importantly, just who is this so-called 'Champion' supposed to be representing? Why is he promoting a private development when I thought his job was to represent the interests of council tax payers in Exmouth? Can we now be sure of an unbiased and analytical appraisal of the planning proposal? Will he assure us that any profits that East Devon District Council gains from selling off council-owned land in Exmouth is spent on the town and not syphoned off to further enhance the environs of Sidmouth or other favoured schemes of this remote and uncommunicative district council? No doubt he will soon be inviting Norman Tebbit down to tell us to get on our bikes to beat the congestion that the development on the estuary will undoubtedly cause on the A376.Mike Hinds,The Brambles,Cranford Avenue, Exmouth. I WOULD 'SHOP' BAD DOG OWNERSREGARDING your recent story where Budleigh Salterton Town Council is encouraging people to 'shop' bad dog owners. Yes, I would be willing to report someone not cleaning up after their dog. Several times I have approached dog owners and asked them to pick up after their dog, offering them one of my bags. I really do not want to lose the option of taking my dogs to certain areas due to others' ignorance and laziness.Perhaps, as part of the penalty, they could be instructed to pick up a carrier bag of plastic and other human-discarded rubbish on their daily walks. Kim Escott-Bennett Ivydale, Exmouth.DEVELOPMENT IS INEVITABLEWhile I have great sympathy with the Exmouth Citizens' Forum, over the ASDA development, I fear that their extreme attitude, and the hot air generated, might prove to be somewhat futile. I doubt whether any number of petitions, referenda, protest marches, angry behaviour at council meetings etc will have any effect on our two intransigent councils. The "estuary site" has been earmarked in our local plan and, as this document has been approved by East Devon and even by the appropriate government department, it would seem to be virtually cast in stone at the highest level. It seems inevitable that some form of development will take place on this site, but it does not mean that this development should be a massively over-sized supermarket. The art of any campaign should be to limit the scale of the development. We need to be smarter in our approach.When I served on the old Liberal Democrat council, I honestly believed that we had fought off ASDA and that we were going for a smaller, food-only supermarket, such as Waitrose or Marks and Spencer, but, when the council control was swept away by a surge of Conservative enthusiasm, the doors were then opened wide for ASDA. (Incidentally, only one-third of the population bothered to vote.) Now we have two Tory councils that are determined to see the project through.It looks as though all the trump cards are held by the 'supermarketeers', but I do perceive two chinks in their amour:When this now largely discredited "Unlocking Exmouth" document came to light, we were told by the East Devon District Council chief executive that "if Exmouth doesn't want it, Exmouth won't get it". Just how we get Exmouth's opinion is an open question. Does it mean a referendum? Letters of objection to the planning department? The sole opinion of the town council? Or will they trot out the old chestnut of the "silent majority"?During the previous local council elections, last May, the Tory manifesto stated that the town council should listen more to residents' opinions and "take action", suggesting that the Liberal Democrat council was not doing enough. Now is the time to hold the Tories to their promises. Leaving the possible prospect of change to the next round of elections will be too late.Brian Toye241 Exeter Road, Exmouth. LET'S GOVERN OURSELVES AGAINREGARDING your article entitled "Opposition to council unitary bid". You asked (April 3) if the unitary bid is an expensive and unneeded distraction from governing.You have allowed me in the past to write on this issue and may I now repeat and expand as follows?In the "good old days" before we joined the "Common Market", we ran our own affairs at county and district level, but later, when the Major and Blair governments signed the Maastricht and Nice Treaties, they committed to delivering a system of regional government which is required simply to conform to an EU template. The EU works via regional government and in the long term, national governments are effectively by-passed. Kenneth Clarke has proudly opined that he "looks forward to the day when Westminster is a provincial debating chamber within the EU".The process of distributing regional policy, including the distribution of the important social and economic cohesion funding, is via regional agencies responsible to elected bodies, hence the drive for the ill-fated regional assemblies, which we now know are to be abolished in England before they managed to get elected!However, the government has to come up with a Plan "B" to meet the commitment for regional government, and unitary authorities, which are to be elected, appear to be that plan, and surrounded by rearranged councils of some as yet undefined nature, to deliver services. Note that the full title of the EU is: The European Union of the Cities and Regions.In our area, of course, Exeter - championed by the Minister for the South West (Ben Bradshaw) who is also the MP for Exeter - would be the (politically) obvious unitary authority but what then happens to Devon County Council and East Devon District Council?What a mess and no wonder EDDC leader Sara Randall Johnson prefers the status quo, but she's too late and still in denial that it was her party that signed the Maastricht Treaty in the first place.So we, the council taxpayers who have never been consulted on any of this, will be hit with the costs of all this unnecessary and unwanted change simply for the sake of complying with an alien system imposed on us by the EU.It's time we governed ourselves again, in the way we developed for our society based not on bureaucracy but representative democracy, where the people who pay the taxes take the decisions as to how they should be governed.John Kelly,Timbers Chase, Marley Hayes,Hulham Road, Exmouth.JOIN AMMIES' CELEBRATIONSIn May 1958, a public meeting resulted in the forming of Exmouth Amateurs Football Club.To celebrate this event, the Ammies are holding a dinner and dance at the Exmouth Pavilion on Friday, May 30.We are trying to trace any players and officials who were involved with the Ammies during the past 50 years, in particular in the early years of the 1950s, '60s and '70s.Further information and tickets costing £20 can be obtained from chairman Ross England on 07709 960487.R England,14 Madeira Villas, Exmouth.CONSIDERED JUDGEMENTThe ASM/ASDA initial sketch layout proposals shown in the Journal on March 8, being informative and, to some extent detailed, do now allow a considered judgement of what is generally proposed and so what is needed to give it any sort of popular and successful appeal. Three things particularly stand out. Firstly, the creation of a whole raft of new and popular additions and improvements to the town on the side of the estuary for the express purpose of galvanising the adjacent run-down town centre, must also be able to accommodate the big increase, which will follow, in pedestrian and vehicular traffic over what is now Imperial Road, quite simply by re-routing vehicular traffic elsewhere, otherwise it defeats its own professed purpose.Secondly, it must also provide parking spaces for all those additional vehicles coming to all those popular new additions and improvements, as well as to the anticipated restored and regalvanised town centre, as the enlarged Imperial Road car park will be grossly inadequate, even as shown.Thirdly, the access provisions for bus and rail passengers are also seriously inadequate and require a rethink of the whole transport interchange concept as shown.The present layout proposals as depicted appear to have been put together from too narrow a perspective rather than with an all round concern and so changes need to be made to meet what are, after all, the fundamental requirements of the scheme as a whole and the way in which it will have to work and interact with everything and everybody involved with and by it, if it is to succeed and gain wide popular appeal. Does ASM/ASDA have a postal address yet please to which one can write?Patrick Moore,18 Hamilton Court, Salterton Road, Exmouth.ASDA: TIME FOR DEMOCRATIC VOTEASDA -- to be or not to be?a) Not on our lovely, unique riverside site; b) because it would mean the destruction of our fine swimming pool and sports centre for which many Exmothians worked hard to collect funds; c) the loss of the bus station parking facility - 17 buses parked there last week; d) possible alteration to our important railway station and environs. Direct rail services to Exeter, Barnstaple and all stations to Paignton. Main line connections for countrywide venues.As a nation, we are now encouraged to keep fit and to travel by public transport whenever possible. Many of us are able to do this because we are blessed with our present facilities.As ratepayers to the East Devon District Council coffers, we should insist that ASDA must find a more suitable site for their business.Colleagues tell me that protesting is a waste of time because EDDC and our Exmouth Town Council have already agreed to the demands and have even agreed to sell ASDA the site! The latter must never be allowed - rent out our land, but never sell such a choice local venue.Hopefully, common sense will prevail and we, the ratepayers of Exmouth, will be given a democratic vote.J M Stanbury,(A third generation Exmothian),111 Ryll Court Drive, Exmouth.RIGHT IMAGE FOR EXMOUTH?I hope your correspondents who say they have "no problem with ASDA" will have noticed an item in the national press. It appears that ASDA/WAL-MART are the only one of the main supermarket businesses to call for the exclusion of overseas suppliers from the new code of conduct designed to ensure that the big supermarkets do not use their buying power to impose unfair trading terms, a measure that could help overseas workers on low incomes.So ASDA/WAL-MART could go on selling two shirts for £5 made by workers being paid 15p (yes, 15p) an hour (all profits direct to the US of A). Is this really the appropriate supermarket to improve Exmouth's image?Arnold Page,86 Foxholes Hill, Exmouth.QUALITY BRINGS MORE AUTHORITYI would encourage Budleigh Town Council to press ahead with Quality Council status as we have already for Exmouth Council. I feel very comfortable that our councillors now have authority in some areas of activity. These will surely grow over the next few years.S Tuck,71 Salisbury Road, Exmouth.***I see no negative reasons why our Budleigh Salterton Town Council should not seek the status of being a Quality Council as it would surely be of benefit to the town. This would mean better value for our Council Tax payment as those who know the town best would make the decisions on some issues and, as time goes by, more and more.J F Pratt,6a Victoria Place, Budleigh Salterton. THE ROLE OF OUR CHAMPION...I note from last week's Journal that Cllr Skinner has a "roundabout way" of getting us to accept the presence of a superstore on our estuaryside. While pointing out how close the superstore will be to the town centre, he fails to mention that the main entrance will be at the other end of the building, facing the rugby ground. More importantly, he unwittingly draws attention to its sheer size. It will stretch from the "town side" of the Marine Way roundabout virtually to the estuary itself.We are also reminded that Cllr Skinner is Exmouth's champion. One would have thought that our champion would have local supporters, his constituents, within our town - but no - Cllr Skinner is not an Exmouth councillor, he hales from Tale Vale ward, which I believe is near Honiton. And so, if he damages our town, he will not have to answer for it at the next elections. His "patch" is far away.Now let me just explain a couple of things about the role of a "champion", according to East Devon District Council's website. This says that a champion is supposed to "engage community groups". The Exmouth Residents' Association has not heard from him and I am not aware of any local group that has. Even more worrying is the fact that, according to EDDC: "Champions cannot allow themselves to 'go native' and forget their broader role as a councillor." In other words, even if he does have our interests at heart, he MUST NOT represent OUR VIEWS if they conflict with council policy!Unaccountable and remote, we trust our champion's pronouncements at our peril. I would consider it impertinent of me to advocate what should happen in Sidmouth, so why should we accept this intrusion into Exmouth's affairs from someone who does not even live here?This is just one example of how EDDC appears to be distancing decision making from the people of Exmouth which it affects. Other examples include un-minuted meetings held in secret and the transfer of open meetings from Exmouth to Sidmouth where "selected representatives" will meet behind closed doors regardless of the matters under discussion.All this at a time when the government is advocating enhanced community involvement!Geoff Morris,9 Trinfield Avenue, Exmouth.ASDA FEEDBACKI would like to take the opportunity to thank the Exmouth residents who have provided us with feedback on our proposals. We launched our ASDA Exmouth community website last week - which you can visit at www.asda-exmouth.co.uk - and we are pleased that so many people are taking the time to visit the site, learn more about our proposals for the town's bus station site and provide feedback to us. Allison Darling,Property Communications Manager, ASDA.