This page has been included to enable the Sidbury Ward Town Councillor to be in touch with those who they represent and to ensure that Sidbury residents are aware of happenings that may affect Sidbury, and what may be of interest that is happening in the Valley.
The Town Councillor for the Sidbury Ward is:
Cllr. John Loudoun
Tel: 01395 597166
Sidbury Gun Slingers getting ready to take aim!
July 21st 2019
After a long delay the Devon & Cornwall Police have now vetted and approved a number of Sidbury residents to become the village speedwatch group. The speedwatch group was created by the Sidbury Traffic Action Group in response to local concerns about the speed, size and volume of traffic through Sidbury.
Last April in response to local concerns about the traffic the highways authority, Devon County Council, placed a static speed recording sensor on Cotford Road for a week. This sensor recorded the speed of each vehicle that passed through the village 24 hours a day for that week.
The speed sensor recorded that 30,255 vehicles drove through the village in the week and that 88% of the vehicles went at speeds in excess of the enforceable 20 mph zone that exists within the centre of the village.
The next step for the speedwatch group is to undertake their training which is hope to take place in early September. Once that has been completed then the group will, initially under the supervision of PCSO Phil Thomas, their police buddy, be training their speed guns on vehicles travelling through the village.
Currently the speedwatch group is intending to be locate at positions at both ends of the village. In this way it is anticipated that the group will be able to identify speeding vehicles travelling in both directions. Although the group do not have the powers to stop vehicles that are speeding, they will be recording full details of those vehicles that do.
The details recorded by the group would then be passed onto to the police who follow each one up directly with the driver. Any driver who travels in excess of 22 mph in the 20 mph zone makes themselves at risk of receiving a penalty.
Locally the group has been nicknamed the Sidbury Gun Slingers because they will be using speed guns!
Once the group has concluded their training then further information will be circulated.
Below is a photograph of the group at their latest meeting.
24 July 2019 Sidmouth Town Council Planning Committee
July 21st 2019
The next meeting of Sidmouth Town Council’s Planning Committee is being held on Wednesday 24 July commencing at 6.30 pm at the Town Council offices. Members of the public are welcome to attend.
This is the agenda for the meeting – https://www.sidmouth.gov.uk/images/PL_._AGENDA_24.07.19.pdf
Here are the Minutes of the previous meeting held on 10 July – https://www.sidmouth.gov.uk/images/PL._MINS._10.07.19.pdf
Report of 1 July Sidmouth Town Council Meeting
July 6th 2019
The Town Council meeting was held in a fairly hot room that even with the windows open and without the benefit of air conditioning was a bit on the warm side!
The new Council is starting to find its feet and there is good engagement between the Town Councillors around the table with a friendly workmanlike approach to business. As always there were a number of interesting issues that we discussed and/or made decisions on.
Here’s a flavour of the meeting.
Sidmouth beach lifeguards – last year the Town Council agreed to support the introduction of paid for lifeguards on the beach in Sidmouth. A report from the RNLI was commissioned about the requirements for lifeguards and sufficient funds appear to have been raised by the Sidmouth Lifeboat to fund lifeguards for about five years.
Unfortunately, so far nothing has come of the idea to provide lifeguards at peak times because it appears that the District Council, who’s responsibility the beach is, has determined that it would want a 10-year contract let for lifeguard provision. If the reason why the provision of lifeguards on our local beaches is down to contract issues that the District Council has put this issue to the back burner then that is wrong.
As I am also a District Councillor, I have started to ask questions of the relevant Officers and am pressing for this to be dealt with and resolved as a matter of priority.
Policing update – as always Sargent Andy Squire presented a report on local policing activities over the past month and provided key statistics looking at the past year’s activities.
Overall reported crimes compared to this time last year have increased whilst incidents have decreased.
Fairtrade Sidmouth – the Town has been a designated Fairtrade town for a number of years now. To be a designated town under Fairtrade it must encourage maximum promotion of the use of, and sale of, Fairtrade goods across Sidmouth and the Sid Valley. The Council agreed to renew its Fairtrade status.
Fire Beacon Nature Reserve – the Town Council owns the Fire Beacon Nature Reserve which it contracts the RSPB to look after and run on its behalf and has done so since the early 1990’s. A positive update was received from the RSPB about its management of the Reserve which is very popular not only with walkers, but also dog walkers and bird watchers.
If you haven’t explored the Reserve then perhaps it’s time you did! This link will take you to more information about the Reserve and gives you its location – https://eastdevon.gov.uk/countryside/our-reserves/fire-beacon-hill-local-nature-reserve/
Use of the Ham – the Town Council encourages maximum use of the Ham which is ideally situated to support local public events such as funfairs and festivals. Whenever large numbers of people gather for events they will always need to be policed and managed carefully. A small group will look at what requirements the Town Council should in future place on organisations which use the Ham, with a particular emphasis on keeping good discipline amongst those who attend the events.
Sid Valley Neighbourhood Plan – the Plan has been through local consultation and a subsequent redrafting which was submitted to an independent evaluator. The revised and final version of the Plan has now been submitted to the District Council which has the responsibility for approving it. This approval would be given in light of a positive vote amongst residents in a referendum on the plan. The referendum vote will take place on Thursday 19 September.
Unfortunately, it appears that there won’t be any postal votes allowed. I am however making representations to the local Electoral Returning Officer on this as I think that disallowing postal votes would lead to a lower turn out which would be unfortunate and unhelpful.
A group of Town Councillors is working on how to promote the Plan and to maximise the number of residents voting in the referendum. Watch out for more information in the local press. You can catch up with the Plan at – https://sidvalleyneighbourhoodplan.com/
Trial month for lower price bus fares to & from Exeter
June 25th 2019
Stagecoach have just started a month-long trial of reducing the cost of travel on route 9 which will allow local residents to travel to and from Exeter more cheaply. Depending on how this trial goes the fares will either remain at the lower level or they will revert back to the pre-trial level.
It seems therefore that the more people who take advantage of using the bus to go to and from Exeter during the next month then the more likely it is that the fares will remain at the lower price.
So, get travelling!
Here’s how the Sidmouth Herald reported the story –
26 June 2019 Sidmouth Town Council Planning Committee
June 20th 2019
The next meeting of Sidmouth Town Council’s Planning Committee is being held on Wednesday 26 June commencing at 6.30 pm at the Town Council offices. Members of the public are welcome to attend.
This is the agenda for the meeting –https://www.sidmouth.gov.uk/images/PL_._AGENDA_26.06.19.pdf
Here are the Minutes of the previous meeting held on 12 June – https://www.sidmouth.gov.uk/images/PL._MINS._12.06.19.pdf
15 June village fete
June 16th 2019
Yesterday saw a packed Sidbury village fete held next door to us in the grounds of the Primary School. It was great to see so many people there especially after so much recent rain the sun shone all afternoon.
It would have been awful if everyone’s hard work had been wasted due to bad weather. So many villagers work so hard it making the fete a fun and successful annual event.
People were queuing to get in a full half an hour before opening time!
Looking forward to finding how much was raised.
12 June Sidmouth Chamber of Commerce Breakfast
June 12th 2019
First thing this morning I was pleased to be invited to attend Sidmouth Chamber of Commerce's regular business breakfast. Here I was able to meet a couple of dozen representatives of our local businesses across the town. This was made the more enjoyable as I was able to indulge myself in a rare treat – a cooked breakfast!
On a sombre note the representatives present heard about the very sad death of the Chamber's young Treasurer, Matt Portman, who was only 35 when he passed away following having been taken ill whilst recently on holiday in Cyprus.
Matt leaves a wife, Sue, and two young children, Sophie and Will. Everyone at the breakfast clearly felt the loss of Matt.
If anyone would like to contact the Sidmouth Chamber of Commerce its website is https://www.sidmouthchamber.co.uk/
Representatives from Sidmouth in Bloom gave a presentation on their activities which brighten up the town and bring so much pleasure to residents and visitors alike. The floral displays across Sidmouth, as we were reminded receive regular awards not only within the South West, but nationally too.
I have asked Sidmouth in Bloom (SIB) to let me have their presentation from this morning and once I receive it, I shall post it here. In the mean time here are some of the key points that I took from what they said –
Ø SIB won the 2018 RHS Best park Award;
Ø On 15 July the town displays will be judged by South West in Bloom judges;
Ø For £15 you will be able to visit 7 different “Secluded Gardens” gardens across Sidmouth from 27 June until 1 July;
Ø SIB was actively involved in last year's Sidmouth Science Festival and works closely with local schools;
Ø SIB receives a couple of small grants from the Town Council and the Keith Owen Fund but needs to raise an additional £9,000 or so annually to fund its activities – a subtle hint here!
This was the business breakfast attendees watching and listening to the Sidmouth in Bloom’s presentation –
The village celebrating D-Day
June 12th 2019
The village's Grade II listed War Memorial dressed to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the D-Day Landings. Looking splendid!
12 June Sidmouth Town Council Planning Committee
June 11th 2019
The next Sidmouth Town Council Planning Committee is being held on Wednesday 12 June starting at 6.30 pm at the Council’s offices at Woolcombe House. The meeting is open to the public.
Here’s the meeting agenda – https://www.sidmouth.gov.uk/images/PL_._AGENDA_12.06.19.pdf
These are the Minutes of the previous meeting held on 22 May – https://www.sidmouth.gov.uk/images/PL._MINS._22.05.19.pdf
Report of 10 June Sidmouth Town Council Meeting
June 11th 2019
The Sidmouth Town Council had a packed agenda when it met last evening, 10 June. Here’s my report on the meeting.
Policing update – at each Town Council meeting our local police sargent Andy Squires provides Councillors with an update on policing activities. The main issue that dominated Andy’s report centred around policing the fun fair that occupied the Ham over last weekend. The fun fair is a regular sight in Sidmouth and is a welcomed attraction for families and youngsters in particular.
Sargent Squires was complimentary about the security within the fun fair itself and highlighted the difficulties that arise in and around Sidmouth at times like this. There are however two main difficulties that come with the fun fair.
Firstly, there are the number of youths who come to the into Sidmouth to visit the fun fair from other local towns such as Honiton and Ottery. This can lead to skirmishes between the various groups of youths.
Secondly, and this relates to local youths, as well as to those from elsewhere, and that is the problems associated with under-age drinking. The police, whose resources are incredibly limited locally, find themselves having to try to take illicit alcohol off of the youngsters, as well as having to handle belligerent youths whose attitude and actions have been fuelled by drink, and also having to respond to those who have been badly affected by excessive drinking.
Both of these sets of issues are similar to those that are encountered elsewhere in the country and the police don’t believe that the level and number of associated incidents have increased over recent years, but they are matters that use up much police time not only when they are dealing with them and also in the aftermath of the events.
Sargent Squires was at pains to say that he didn’t blame the fun fair organisers for the difficulties, but rather it pointed to a broader set of social issues which stretch what has become a very thin blue line.
Sid Valley Neighbourhood Plan – the text of the draft Plan is in the process of being amended to reflect the changes that the Independent Examiner had sought. Once this is complete then the draft Plan will be submitted, hopefully in the next week or so, to the District Council for its agreement.
Once signed off by the District Council, the draft Plan will then be put out to a referendum of local residents. All being well the referendum could take place as soon as mid-September. In the mean-time a timetabled communication plan is to be developed as the Council wants to maximise the number of residents who vote in the referendum.
Bank account – the Council agreed that it will review who it banks with in order to try to find a provider that has a good ethical record. I voted to support this proposal.
Prayers before Council meetings – it has been a long-standing tradition in many local government organisations, and in Parliament, to open Council meetings and Parliamentary proceedings with a prayer session. This is not obligatory and some time ago Parliament did away with its daily prayer session, as have many local authorities.
The Council discussed whether to follow suit and abandon the prayer session that it holds at the start of each Council meeting. I spoke about the fact that we now lived in a secular society which divided church from State, whilst recognising the important roles that the various religious faiths play in individual’s and wider society’s life. I felt that it was anachronistic to start our meetings with a religious offering.
The majority of the Councillors also felt the same way and so we voted by a majority to end the holding of a prayer session before Council meetings. For clarity, I voted to end this session.
Environment Committee – a new council committee, the Environment Committee, was agreed to be established. This Committee would have as its core objective “to coordinate and improve the natural and built environment of the Sid Valley”. Given the very real and current problems facing us all with an environment that is being disrupted and destroyed as a result of climate change, the creation of this Committee is most welcome. I voted in support of this.
The Committee will soon be taking steps to co-opt representatives from key local organisations and I argued for this to include some youth representatives. These could be representatives from the youth club and/or local schools. I believe its important to involve them as it very much will be their world that we need to help to survive.
Parking enforcement – we were invited to comment upon a number of parking restrictions in and around Sidmouth that were being proposed by the County Council. Surprisingly, one in particular exercised us for some while.
This parking restriction relates to a proposal to remove some existing parking bays outside the Kingswood and Devoran Hotels on the Esplanade in order to create a bus stopping site. We decided to recommend that the restriction should only allow stopping for up to a maximum of 20 minutes in order to ensure that the clients who sit outside of the Marine, Pea Green Boat and the hotels didn’t have their views blocked nor polluted.
Council’s energy supply contracts – the Council will look at how it can start to source the energy, gas and electricity, from more green energy sources as part of its approach to reducing its carbon footprint. Within this it will seek to avoid contracting to use energy created from nuclear sources. I voted to support this proposal.
Alma Field – the Council owns Alma Field on Alma Lane in Sidmouth and over recent years it has planted a great deal of flowers on it. The field at this time of year is spectacular and everyone is encouraged to visit it, not only for its own spectacle but also as it provides a great vantage point o view the town from.
The Sidmouth Herald reported four years ago of the Council’s intention to seed the field and in the story (see the link below) it shows how the field looked at the time –
The comparison to how it looks now (see the photo below) is incomparable. Don’t just take my view on this, go and have a look for yourself!
Railings to be repaired - at last!
June 5th 2019
Back around Xmas time a car skidded off the road at the junction of Cotford Road and Ridgeway breaking through the metal railings and ending up half on the pavement and half on the road. Luckily the car didn't hit a pedestrian or hit any of the cottages.
Since then a temporary set of plastic barriers have provided an inadequate and unsightly barrier.
I have been told that the railings will soon be repaired to match the existing metal ones. Whilst I'm pleased to learn of this I believe that the existing metal barriers are not strong enough to protect pedestrians and the cottages, nor are they really in keeping with their surroundings. I will continue to press for stronger and nicer railings to replace these.
In case you can't quite picture the scene as it is today have a look at this photo -
Sidmouth Town Council Meeting 10 June 2019
June 5th 2019
The next meeting of the Town Council is on Monday 10 June starting at 6.30 pm and it will be held at the Council’s office in Woolcombe Road, Sidmouth.
If you’re interested in finding out how the Council goes about the business of representing your local interests you can come along and observe and even at one point you can ask questions!
Here's the agenda for the meeting https://www.sidmouth.gov.uk/images/Agenda_STC-100619.pdf
And here are the Minutes of the previous meeting held on 13 May https://www.sidmouth.gov.uk/images/Mins-STCAnnual-200519.pdf
22 May 2019 Sidmouth Town Council Planning Committee
May 21st 2019
Attached is the agenda for the Town Council's Planning Committee meeting being held on 22 May. There are a few planning applications relating to properties in Sidbury. If you have any issues with any of these please let me know.
Sidmouth Town Council Annual Meeting – 20 May 2019
May 21st 2019
This was the first meeting of the new Council. Within the 19 Town Councillors there are 9, including myself, for whom this was their first meeting having just been elected for a four-year period of office.
Elections – with the failure of the previous Council Chair, Ian McKenzie-Edwards, to be re-elected by the voters in his Ward in the recent elections there was the opportunity for a new face to step into this role. I put my hat in the ruing but was beaten to the position of Chair by the previous Vice Chair, Ian Barlow (Salcombe Regis Ward).
With Ian having been elevated from his role as Vice Chair it was time to elected a successor. The well-respected Councillor with special responsibility for overseeing the Council’s finances, Paul Wright (South Ward), was elected as Vice Chair.
Here’s a photograph of all of the recently elected Councillors -
Police update – at each Council meeting Sargent Andy Squire, who leads our local police team, provides an update of key crime statistics. The good news seems to be – last month crime detection rates increased, year on year the number of crimes have reduced and despite pockets of incidents, such as anti-social behaviour by a few people, the area is seen as a safe one.
Andy has announced that he will be retiring next March. Hopefully, long before he goes, we will find out who will replace him in this important role.
Neighbourhood Plan – the Town Council has prepared a Neighbourhood Development Plan for the parish of Sidmouth with the help of the local community. The plan sets out a vision for the future of the parish and planning policies which will be used to determine planning applications locally.
The draft plan is currently being reviewed by an independent assessor. The plan will then be submitted to the District Council for its agreement and then it will be put out to a referendum of residents. It is not anticipated that a referendum will happen before either late summer or early autumn.
In the meantime, you can view the draft plan here –
Hopper Bus – the much-used bus, who’s season starts on Saturday 25 May, now has an additional welcome stop at the garden centre. The timetable for the hopper bus has as of yet to migrate to the Visit Sidmouth website. Once its available electronically I will post it. In the meantime, here’s how back in March the Sidmouth Herald reported the new route –
Sidbury War memorial – the War Memorial has now been given listed building status by Historic England. It is now pleasingly listed as a Grade II building and therefore it enjoys a degree of protection from future change. I believe that this is a most welcome move by Historic England and reflects the importance that the Memorial has as a commemoration of our war dead.
The Sidmouth Herald has reported this –
Meetings of the Town Council are held monthly at the Town Council’s offices in Woolcombe House which is located between the Byes and the police station. The meetings start at 6.30 pm and don’t usually last longer than 90 minutes to a couple of hours.
Town Council meetings are open to members of the public and you are able to ask a question of the Council in an open session. Why not come along and see for yourself how your Town Council works!
A final thought arising out of my first meeting is to ask the question – why does everyone at the meeting have to stand up every time they ask a question or make a contribution? I was told off for not standing up when I asked my first question! It seems to me to be a somewhat arcane practice. I hope that this unnecessary quaint practice will stop as it doesn’t seem to add anything to how the Council does its business.
Sidmouth Hopper Bus Leaflet
May 21st 2019
The link to the latest Hopper Bus leaflet which includes the route and the timetable -