Honiton Community Centre

Honiton is split and I’m being asked which side I’m on….

For many (many) years there has been a group of people in the town who have been trying to develop and realise plans for a community centre or complex in the Devon town.

I have lived in the area now for almost three years, having moved here with my Honitonian husband Daniel and our two children aged nine and five. In my opinion, there are not enough good venues in the town for community activities and when I heard about the plans for a community centre, I thought yes, surely that would be a very good thing for this town. A bespoke building for the whole town to use for meetings, events, classes and more.

Then came the town poll, did they say it cost £2000 to administrate? And off the top of my head, I think it was about 70/30. That is 70% AGAINST the community centre. Very disappointing BUT this was a democratic way of measuring the feeling within the town. Democratic as far as this only measured the feelings of the minority who come out and vote in the town (I think this was ONLY about 30% in the last local elections!!)

Many objectors were opposed to the huge costs involved and money to be borrowed especially in the current economic climate. Then East Devon District Council withdrew the offer of the land to build on (the car park near the tourist info office & the Thelma Hulbert gallery).

Now I may be wrong (but my knowledge of all of this is just the same as the average Honiton resident, we pick up what is in the local papers etc) but I believe the town council is ignoring the results of the poll and pressing on with plans for the centre?

So this brings me back to whether I think Honiton should have a community centre.

I do think a town of this size should have a community centre and I do think that had the whole community been truly engaged in this debate, that many more local parents like me would have voted yes to the poll. I lived outside town at the time of the poll so couldn’t vote (which is strange in itself as my family, like many in the surrounding parishes use town facilities).

Although I think we should have a centre, I also think that we don’t need to be burdened with huge debt for future generations of Honiton. I read recently of another town in the region (I forget where) who had successfully raised enough to build their own community centre. What an admirable community!

I would like to see the plans and start thinking about how the centre could pay for itself. Perhaps this has already been discussed over the twenty or so years of planning but what about the centre being built of a low cost recycled material, eg tyres, glass, used wood etc ? Will the building be producing it’s own energy (solar etc) and making money from feed in tariffs? I presume there are also grants available for community ventures like this? if so many community groups want the venue then everyone should pull together to raise the funds to make it happen.

I think I’ve probably just touched on this issue and I do apologise if I have got my facts wrong. I welcome all comments on the issue and would like to find out more. Please add your comment below.

Sharon Pavey
Coordinator East Devon Green Party
Regional Fundraiser for South West Green Party
Prospective Green Party candidate for Honiton St Michaels ward

Proposed Solar-Farm near Whimple

MO3 Power is a renewable energy solar photovoltaic (PV) developer that wants to build a 5 Mw solar farm on 30 acres of land at Strete Farm adjacent to the north side of the A30 dual carriageway near Whimple. It is holding a public consultation on Monday 21st February at 4.30-6 p.m. at Whimple Parish Hall, to  present its plans before submitting a planning application. It could generate enough power for 1,000 homes and save between 1,600 and 2,000 tonnes of CO2 annually. Come along and find out more.

THE GREAT GREEN CABARET

Proudly presents

Matt Harvey

And many more astounding acts

Refreshments

Totnes Civic Hall

Friday 28th January

7.30pm (Doors open 7pm)

Tickets : Advance/concessions £6 On the door £8

Available from Bishopston Trading, 79 High St. Totnes

& Rhythm & Light, 47 High St. TOTNES

Or phone 01803 865166

A South Hams Green Party Fund Raising Event

Drowning in Devon Water Bills!!!

Been working on our household budget and had to call the water people again to check that they were charging me the right amount. We moved here (small 3 bed semi-detached) in August and our monthly bill is £65, which is a lot every month. That’s for water in and sewage out. When I called them back in August, I asked them about getting a meter and they said they would estimate it at £75 for a family of our size, two adults and two children.

We have been spoilt the last three years living in the sticks with water from wells/bore holes etc and only charges for clearing our cesspits. So I’m asking friends on twitter, facebook etc for their water charges to compare to South West Water. Be interesting to see what everyone else is being charged. Here’s the results – will add more as they come in or add your own comment below.

Lisa who lives in the next street to us and has three children says “Get a meter we only pay £45, and haven’t cut down usage at all”

Catherine who is @QcattQ on twitter is in Horsham, West Sussex and tweeted “that’s loads! We pay £25/month and I think that’s a lot.”

Lynne @plymouth blog says “I pay £81 per month to South West Water!!!!”

Simon @simondevon75 in Devon says “personally on a monthly dd installment of about £25 a month. on a meter too.”

@tanwenhaf on twitter says “£25 a month with Welsh Water. Was on a meter briefly with 2 of us in a flat and it still came to £25 a month.”


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Children of today will have to deal with consequences of climate change

My letter made it into the Midweek Herald this week…

It is such a shame that Geoff Powell thinks man-made global warming is a sham. It’s a shame for my children aged just five and eight who will inherit this world long after Geoff is gone and will have to deal with the inevitable consequences of climate change in their lifetime and that of their own children.

It’s also regrettable that people like Geoff are unhappy about wind turbines. Personally, I think they are beautiful and welcome them onto our land and into our seas. They are just one solution to the rising challenge of fossil fuel depletion. It’s unfortunate that there are such negative people around when we all need positive energy to move forward.

Luckily, there are many people all over East Devon who are rising to the environmental challenges facing us, and joining the East Devon Green Party. We are looking forward to success in the May elections, with councillors elected who will work hard to ensure we are all doing everything we possibly can to reduce climate change.

Sharon Pavey

Hazelwood Close

Honiton

Communities Before Developers

I’m now part of a campaign group opposing East Devon District Council’s proposals for future development in East Devon. Communities Before Developers (CBD) was set up a few weeks ago and includes Ottery St Mary Town Councillors Claire Wright and Jo Talbot, Devon County, East Devon & Ottery St Mary councillor Roger Giles and the LibDem former parliamentary candidate for Tiverton & Honiton Dr Jon Underwood.

The public consultation on these plans (local development core strategy) started on 6 September 2010 and runs until 29 November 2010. Communities Before Developers says these proposals can only be described as a developer’s charter, resulting in urban sprawl across one of the most beautiful districts in the countryside, mainly thanks to new ‘flexible’ village built-up boundaries.

The council wants to build around 19,400 homes over the next 15 years or so. This is over 2,000 more than the previous Government imposed on East Devon, figures which were then widely regarded to be far too high. The previous Government’s housing targets have now been scrapped and most local councils have since revised their housing figures down.East Devon has increased them.

Read more over on the new website http://communitiesbeforedevelopers.org/

Honiton Allotments

NSALGI sent off my second letter today to Honiton Town council regarding the allotments they should be providing for the residents of Honiton. Did you know all councils in England & Wales (with the exception of inner London) have to, by law, provide allotments? Any group of adults over the age of 18 and registered on the electoral roll can group together to request the council provide allotments. All local authorities have a mandatory obligation to provide allotment provision.

Honitonians have been trying to get allotments in town for years and now the East Devon Green Party (which I coordinate) is picking up the baton and trying to nudge the whole shabang along a bit….

Wish us luck !!!

Sharon

East Devon Green Party Opposes Maternity Cuts at Honiton Hospital

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The East Devon Green Party have written to all 20 councillors on the health scrutiny committee to object to the proposals to close the Maternity Unit:

Dear Councillor

I am writing representing the East Devon Green Party and would like to raise our objections to the proposed changes to the services at Honiton Maternity Hospital.

The East Devon Green Party objects to the closure of the unit and the changes to the way mothers and expectant mothers/parents will been cared for in the East Devon area. After attending several meetings, both at The Knowle and public consultation meetings and reading the literature involved, we do not feel that the proposed changes offer any improvement in services in our community. Quite the opposite in fact, we feel that moving the care from the unit to home based/midwife care will be extremely detrimental to the service. This is not offering women more choice, again quite the opposite. It limits choice and for many women. 24 – 48 care within the unit is what they need to establish breastfeeding and simply recover from an exhausting physical experience.

The East Devon Green Party are an active part of the Honiton Maternity Matters group which involves representatives from four political parties (Green, Labour, Conservative and LibDems) as well as many councillors, medical professionals and parents. There is a huge amount of upset and outrage about this proposal within this community and we are hoping that the scrutiny committee, of which you are a member is listening to all of the objections and will do the decent thing and not allow these unworkable and unfair proposals to go any further.

I look forward to hearing from you & hope to attend the meeting in the morning.

Kind Regards

Sharon Pavey (resident in Honiton)

Coordinator East Devon Green Party

www.sharonpavey.org

Photo above – Sharon Pavey on the right & Sharon Howe demonstrating at the East Devon District Council offices at the Knowle in Sidmouth.