Author Archives: Jill Elson

Community Hospital Consultation Nov 2016

Exmouth Hospital

Exmouth Hospital


Monday 21 November 2016   From Phil Twiss, Group Secretary 

Conservatives call for second opinion

on Devon NHS funding crisis treatment 


East Devon Conservatives are deeply worried about proposals from the NEW* Devon Clinical Commissioning Group to restructure hospital care in the North, East and West of the county in a bid to plug a £400 million budget shortfall over the next three years. 

They believe the hospital bed closures proposed by the Devon health provider as the cure for a funding crisis may be the wrong treatment – and could have harmful side-effects for patients. 

The majority of the Conservative members of East Devon District Council are sending a collective response to the CCG’s current consultation in the hope of persuading the NHS commissioning group to change its approach to tackling the immediate £100m funding gap, expected to rise to £400m by 2020. 

The Conservative councillors are advising the CCG that it would be dangerous to move from a system of mostly inpatient treatment to care at home until a robust structure is in place to provide the alternative cover. Taking this step without the necessary resources in place and with no vital transition budget to call upon, could put patients at risk, they say. 


Having studied the CCG’s report, Conservative group members were unimpressed with the strength of the argument in favour of bed closures and home care, especially because the CCG has not been able to provide accurate and meaningful financial detail or convincing trial evidence to back up its proposed Community Care Package. 

They also wonder if the massive funding gap could not be closed by greater attention to efficiency savings. 

And they are counselling the commissioning group not to adopt a “one-size-fits-all” approach to tackling the area’s financial ills, bearing in mind the differing demographics and age profiles of each local authority area in Devon, especially remote rural communities. Patient vulnerability and loneliness must also be addressed. 

The CCG appears to favour a new model of care that has been subject to limited testing, with little hard evidence that it improves the service to patients.

The Conservative group are not convinced by the scant evidence provided after their requests for more detail and are nervous of the CCG’s reliance on a notional target of county hospital beds, regardless of variations in proven need. 

Blunt instrument

They want to know more about the 80 clinicians the CCG claims to be in support of the new model. And they are sceptical of a ‘blunt instrument’ approach to treatment, especially when many elderly patients have dementia in addition to multiple clinical problems. 

Finally, the Conservative members contest that many areas in East Devon appear to have a reducing stock of nursing and residential home beds. This only aggravates the situation, because these beds are often required in the short or long term for patients stuck in hospital.

Phil Twiss, Conservative Group Secretary, said: “Some people want to boycott this consultation process – but that won’t help anyone. We believe constructive feedback is the best way. 

“We all agree that bed-blocking is a serious issue and we also accept that the clinical commissioning group need to save money. The question is how should they go about it so as to deliver results without making the situation worse. 

“We feel that they have the solution the wrong way round. They want to move to a care-in-the-home model at a time when the resources just aren’t there to support that model. It might be the right approach in theory, but it will only work in practice if the social care infrastructure is robust enough to take the strain – and it is not. 

Panic measure 

“We’re not convinced that the new model has delivered the right standard of success in trial areas and we don’t believe it can be rolled out across other parts of the county until the necessary support structure is in place. And we should not be moving to a new model as a panic measure to solve a funding shortfall that could be tackled by other means. 

“For example, a lot of money can be wasted on high-cost agency staff who appear to be a short-term emergency man-power fix but all too often are relied upon as part of the workforce establishment. 

“We don’t know whether the budget shortfall was perhaps caused by wasteful practices that are still in place, and so we don’t know whether the CCG could find alternative ways to save money. What we do know is that their current proposals are unconvincing and ill-advised”. 

East Devon Conservatives, will be responding to the CCG consultation with their views and will be calling on the commissioning group to think again. 


* NEW stands for North East and West Devon Clinical Commissioning Group 

Editor’s Notes

Below in more detail are the concerns of the Conservative Group members, set out under headings that will form part of the response to the CCG consultation.


From the beginning the CCG have been reluctant to examine and discuss, in any depth, the budget drivers and financial imperatives needed to reduce costs. Initial figures they produced made no economic sense and were not explained. The business plan proved difficult to read and thus difficult to prompt conclusions. The group agreed we should demand from the CCG a clear breakdown of the economic drivers and the true cost elements relating to the pressing desire to reduce beds. The CCG appeared reluctant to provide such information and without it neither alternative conclusions nor agreement with the business plan could be made. The group understood the degree of difficulty faced by the CCG in relation to the chosen model of care and the need to save over £400m in a very short time. But the approach adopted by the CCG was not supported due to concerns related directly to standards of care in far-flung rural communities. 


Delays almost always resulted from a lack of care packages leading to congestion and bed- blocking.  The CCG have concluded that they must close beds to provide for Care in the Community. This is backwards thinking and will put patients at risk when the standard of care falls short of what is needed.  Existing Care Commissioning trials are scattered, lack direction and lack the necessary particular skill-based teams required to care for complex cases. 


The CCG insists that some areas in Devon are working well, that outcomes are good and patient vulnerabilities are significantly reduced.  However, the public reaction to this contention was negative, volatile and immediate, especially from the Torridge area. The group was concerned at the lack of evidence provided to back up the CCG contention that outcomes were good and the model of care was working well. Only anecdotal reassurance has been presented. We also needed examples of true costs of the trials concluded in North Devon and to what degree the results were skewed by investment or funding from elsewhere.  


Discharging patients once beds are closed, without a proper care and rehabilitation package in place, is irresponsible and unethical. The issue is being addressed back to front.  If care in the community worked, there would be a case to reduce beds except for complex or special circumstances. The CCG started the process from the wrong place.  Put the care packages in place, technically resourced and nursing care led, and the need for hospital beds would simply fall away.  BUT the resource needed has not been addressed and it must be accepted that without a properly funded transition budget the desired outcome will not be achieved.  Robbing Peter to pay Paul will not work. Intermediate beds would always be needed but the true need was not identified. The only justification was the experiment in North Devon, which we have rejected.  All the evidence, and a lack of same to the contrary, suggests that there are insufficient choices other than a “much needed elsewhere” hospital bed. The model of care regime has clearly been adopted but the initial funding support is not evident.  Indeed it could be concluded that the CCG and their funding partners were trying to avoid costs but were risking levels of patient care as a result.

The group remained concerned that the necessary investment in nurses and clinicians had been underestimated and as a result trying to fund the process by closing hospital beds had been adopted as an alternative to that very necessary investment. This concern raised questions related to the responsibilities and providers of care systems, including the NHS, Devon CC and the CCG. Concerns were raised that plans to cut community care by £30m were misguided and should be suspended until the Community Care Package scheme was running successfully and properly funded.   

Other questions

There are special questions to be addressed within the overall community care process regarding the use of community hospitals, associated Hospice facilities and the formation of MIU centres and Clinical Hubs whether managed by GPs or not. The group were really concerned about the future of the services from the buildings and the considerable element of care they continued to provide in support of their communities.

The discussion regarding the future provision of such services and care centred hubs cannot be set to one side and ignored during the on-going debate over beds and rural clinical care.

The staffing levels needed to make this work are not attainable locally or nationally. 


There is no plausible argument that supports closing beds before the alternative is up and running.

Going into hospital is easy – it is leaving hospital that is difficult. There are neither enough choices available nor are there sufficient resources to cover the medical and clinical needs.

The older age demographic, single person issues and rural delivery variables have not been addressed in a way to satisfy even impartial observers. The fear is that patients will be even more vulnerable than they are today and bed occupation rates will increase leading to impoverished clinical outcomes especially in rural areas.

The hoped-for ‘Model of Care’ cannot be done in bits and pieces.  It needs investment on a spend-to-save principle. If the community care package works, and there is some evidence that it might, some of the beds will prove to be unnecessary, and clinical outcomes will improve.

Some aspects of patient vulnerability are greater in a rural, lower populated area, particularly when social and family care is missing. Loneliness must be understood and its part in causing poor clinical outcomes must be properly considered. 


Queens Drive

Tory anger at Queen’s

Drive ‘done deal’ gibes 




East Devon Conservatives have reacted angrily to “politically motivated” claims that proposals for parts of the Queen’s Drive leisure upgrade in Exmouth are “a done deal”. 

And they have called suggestions that officers working on the project for East Devon District Council should be sacked as “shameful”. 

The Conservative Group were reacting to accusations made by East Devon Alliance (EDA) representatives at a meeting of EDDC’s Cabinet last week, when a decision was taken to persevere with proposals to reinvigorate the “tired” leisure zone to attract more visitors and make Exmouth a year-round holiday destination. 

They believe that EDA are using a sense of uncertainty about the seafront proposals among a dwindling group of people in Exmouth to stir up unrest purely for political gain. 

And they poured scorn on suggestions that officers working for the district council should be sacked for the part they are playing in delivering the vision for Exmouth described in the Exmouth Masterplan. 


Phil Twiss, Conservative Group Secretary and Cabinet Member for Corporate Services, said: “We’re growing tired and angry at the EDA’s continuing attempts to stir up protests against our plans to refresh and revive Exmouth’s seafront. We accept that there will always be people with differing views on the right ingredients for success, but the silent majority in Exmouth are not being represented by those who just want to stir up trouble to gain a perverse political advantage”. 

He said suggestions that the emerging plans for a water-sports centre and other facilities on Queen’s Drive are a ‘done deal’ were absurd. “It shows either a very blinkered view – that anything they disagree with must be wrong – or a pitiful ignorance of the procedures that must be followed before any decisions are taken. All these procedures include public consultation and are subject to scrutiny by bodies like the town and county councils and the Regeneration Programme Board”. 

He dismissed fears over funding shortfalls, saying the council was committed to delivering the proposals and was confident that these could be financed by a combination of private sector investment and grant funding. 

Phil Twiss added that, against difficult odds, council officers were working hard to deliver the aspirations set out by the council’s Conservative leadership, which are not only consistent with ideas first outlined in the Exmouth Masterplan in 2011, but have been the subject of public scrutiny since.  He said it was “shameful” to suggest that officers should be sacked when they were doing their job. 

He went on: “Voters in Exmouth have long been fully aware of our plans – and yet we retained many Exmouth seats on the district council in 2015 and have won most by-elections in the town since then. We’re confident that we have a mandate from the public to forge ahead with our plans to reinvigorate the resort’s economy and improve employment opportunities for young people growing up in Exmouth. 


“Exmouth Community College is the largest secondary school in the UK. We owe it to the young people studying hard and leaving school to provide employment opportunities for the many who would like to stay in the area, rather than being forced to move elsewhere by a shortage of jobs other than those offering only short-term, seasonal work. 

“We have heard from a few people in Exmouth who have questions about the proposals. Many of these queries are based on a lack of knowledge about some aspects – or sometimes a wish to know details when a plan is in its early stages and details are still unavailable. We are committed to continue informing the town as proposals are firmed up and there will be ongoing chances to comment, but you can’t jump the gun on such a complex, many-faceted project. 

“No planning application has yet been submitted by Grenadier as to their final vision for the water-sports centre, which we do know will be run by a not-for-profit Community Interest Company, with full public access. I understand they will carry out their consultation on the plans early in 2017, so people can offer their views when there is something specific to comment upon.

 “Before the end of the year we hope to release analysis of a survey carried out among visitors to Exmouth during the summer. This research was carried out by an independent company and was designed to gain a better understanding of what will attract people to visit or holiday at the resort.

 “We’ve also heard from people who agree with us that the long-standing facilities in Queen’s Drive are ‘tired’ and in urgent need of upgrading. We are grateful for this support, which we believe is more in tune with the views of the silent majority, many of whom just want to see improvements delivered without further delay, to make the most of our world-class estuary and sea views”. 


Enthusiastic supporters include Exmouth Chamber of Commerce, which this month urged councillors to keep going and not succumb to pressure groups’ attempts at ‘delaying and frustrating’ efforts to raise the resort’s standard so it ‘reflects modern day requirements’ of residents and tourists alike.  

Recent developments in Europe and the US could well boost interest in ‘staycations’ – holidays in the UK – and Phil Twiss said his party wanted to ensure that Exmouth had a world-class offering to help it compete for the business of thousands of potential British holidaymakers who want a range of all-weather facilities for families to enjoy. 

He pointed to projects already completed in Exmouth that were now delivering a brighter future – despite initial opposition from “diehards”. These include the revitalised Strand, now a more vibrant retail space with an expanding café culture, and of course the highly successful Premier Inn, standing on a once hotly-contested site. The new, improved Mamhead Slipway would be opening quite soon, while plans have recently been announced to re-develop the long empty Thomas Tucker building. 

Phil Twiss concluded: “Forward-thinkers are urging us to get on with our plans so that Exmouth can benefit from the improvements. Further delays that further increase costs will only be counter-productive. Conservatives will not be derailed from doing what’s best for Exmouth – especially not by political opportunists. We are the party with the town’s best interests at heart and we’re determined to deliver the brighter future that residents and visitors demand and deserve”.


EDDC Shared House in Exmouth

St Andrews Road SharedHouse 2016Hugo and Jill at 102 October 2016







Council opens door to new and innovative low energy social housing property

Single person ‘EnerPHit’ quality approved accommodation in Exmouth is designed to help reduce heating bills for tenants

Local councillors, residents, contractors and officers from East Devon District Council attended an informal event yesterday, Thursday 6 October 2016, to celebrate the official opening of the council’s newly completed and highly innovative shared housing property for six single people between 21 and 55 years of age, at 102 St Andrews Road in Exmouth.

What makes this Victorian style terraced house stand out from other types of single person accommodation, is that it has been refurbished to exacting low energy Passivhaus design principles, which have ensured that it meets required low energy standards for EnerPHit, a highly successful approach to refurbishing buildings so that they achieve specific energy values.

102 St Andrews Road is now officially certified as a Quality-Approved Passive House, having passed a number of stringent tests. The house has excellent thermal performance qualities, requiring very little energy to heat or cool it. This in turn will reduce its dependence on fossil fuels, which will in turn mean lower heating bills for the tenants.

It is the first time that the council has provided this type of accommodation for single people and the ground-breaking decision to create it came about in response to recent welfare and benefit changes, which highlighted an urgent need to tackle fuel poverty. It has underlined the council’s resolve to help its tenants reduce fuel consumption and associated heating bills and confirmed the council’s belief that there is a demand for this type of social housing in East Devon.

The house will provide occupants with six individual bedrooms, complete with en-suite shower rooms and access to a communal kitchen and dining room. Each bedroom is furnished with a single bed, wardrobe, chest of drawers, small table and an easy chair. The kitchen is fitted out with basic cooking utensils – eg, pots and pans.

Communal areas within the property feature three pieces of artwork created by members of the local community. There is a montage of photographs, taken by young people involved with the council’s SWITCH project, which shows the Exmouth lifeboat and lifeboat tractor and a sand sculpture, created by young people on Exmouth beach. The other two are paintings done by a local community artist, Hayley Watson, who works closely with the council’s Community Development team on projects involving young people and the community group Link-in Together.

The refurbishment of the house has been undertaken by Mi-space, part of the Midas Group, who began work on the property in February 2016.

Councillor Jill Elson, East Devon District Council’s portfolio holder for sustainable homes and communities, welcomes the opening of this accommodation.

“A need was identified to provide housing for single people who find themselves vulnerable and insecure from their changing circumstances. The tenants will be offered a licence based on the tenancy agreement. The house will be supervised by our staff on a regular basis and any breaches of the agreement can be settled very quickly. We have provided these rooms with en suites and shared

areas to a high quality standard, that we would hope can be provided by the private sector. The house retrofitted sustainably to ensure low energy costs to the tenants.”

Amy Gilbert, Property and Asset Manager for East Devon District Council, said:

“We have had to work closely with our partners MiSpace on the delivery of this challenging project and, consequently, we have learnt a great deal in terms of producing our first Quality Approved Passivhaus property. I would like to extend my thanks to the team who have worked hard to deliver the project within a tight timeframe.

“We look forward to offering six individuals the opportunity to live in the property and who will benefit first hand from the technology that has been installed in it. We will be monitoring the house carefully in terms of savings that we are able to demonstrate and we look forward to the possibility of further projects that could be considered.”

The official definition of a Passivhaus, is a building, for which thermal comfort can be achieved solely

Exmouth Business Fair

2016-10-27 09.39.55Jill Elson opened the first Business Fair organised by Exmouth Chamber of Trade as Chairman of Governors, Exmouth Community College with Ian McQueen Chairman of Exmouth Chamber of Trade.

Exmouth Community College is very pleased to welcome the Exmouth Chamber’s Business Fair during October Half Term. The College wishes to work in partnership with business, as it is an essential for our students. Young people have to make choices when they are aged 14yrs (Year 9) on their future studies for exams. The College is educating young people for the future and we want them to be successful in the ever changing world of work – apprenticeships, further education college, University or straight into work. Our businesses need to tell us the skills they need and employ our young people. It may be in the future we can help business with their need to upskill their workforce for example in digital working within our sixth form.

Community Hospitals in East Devon

Exmouth Hospital

Exmouth Hospital

Jill Elson’s speech to the opposition motion

to Full Council 26 October 2016

It is important to recognise the challenges the New Devon CCG is facing and that we as a council are aware of those. We have a growing population, but with an increasing number of people over the age of 75 yrs, which is thanks to the success of the NHS.

We cherish our community hospitals. They were, after all, originally provided by philanthropic people or donations before the NHS began. Our Community Hospitals still receive legacies, donations and fundraise for extensions, specialised equipment and other comforts for the benefit of patients.

Our residents are telling us that they wish to be cared for at home – if it is safe, if it can be adapted or the client can move into a property that is suitable. They wish to be as independent as possible, living in their own homes.

In Seaton it has Hospice at home being provided by Exeter and District Hospiscare in partnership with Seaton Hospital League of Friends. It is hoped it can be rolled out throughout East Devon in the next few years.

In Exmouth we have Hospital at Home. Some patients, when they are discharged from hospital to home, they have many visits for the first few days, reducing over approximately 28 days, when they are fit to transfer to Social Services or other home care if required. Equipment is provided in their homes to achieve this.

All of us recognise some changes that have been made to the provision of services, with difficulty, as it is in addition to the increase in demand. It is now regulation that it has to be 1 nurse to 8 patients instead of 1 to 10 patients previously, since various public inquiries. Nursing Homes are also finding recruiting nurses very difficult. Some have deregulated to Residential Homes. The funding for Nursing Homes and Residential Homes by Devon County Council is less than that requested for private patients. The private owners are saying the County Councils across the UK are not paying sufficient fees per person. There is an extreme lack of personal care workers for ‘Care in the Community’. Recruitment is difficult and in many cases, they are viewed as low paid work and some are not paid for travelling between clients, which in a rural county can be many miles. Community Nurses are also required. Many clients have very complex needs.

At the moment, we need inpatient beds at our Community Hospitals, otherwise the RDE cannot discharge all patients, due to either lack of beds in nursing or residential homes or a package of care for them in their own homes is not available. We, as a Council do have to provide the Disabled Facility Grants – each home has to be assessed by an Occupational Therapist before work can be done/ ordered etc.

Community Hospitals have been transferred to the NHS Properties division from early this year. Are they going to charge commercial prices for the buildings? Community Hospitals are a resource for outpatient consultations, if the consultants can provide these locally, saving clients travelling to RDE or further afield.

Community Hospitals already provide dialysis, transfusions, X Rays, Eye surgery, minor operations, audiology and many more. Can these buildings provide other services, not just medical services? Budleigh Salterton Hospital has been trying for several years to change into a ‘Well Being Hub’ with the support of the community and the local voluntary organisations. It is hoped it can start next year.

All of us are aware that social isolation is an issue. More people being cared for in their own homes – do they receive a phone call, do they meet anyone, other than the care workers – who do not seem to have time to chat to their client, can they access transport to go out and visit places, do their own shopping etc. How do we ensure that the carers are looked after? If we do not care for their full time carers – majority are husbands or wives, they cannot care for their loved one. Do they have close family? Do their close family wish to take some responsibility for helping them?

The voluntary sector is no longer the ‘jam’ on the ‘bread and butter’ service but the actual service. It has to be recognised that larger charities like Hospiscare, receive NO grants from the NHS. The Exeter and District Hospice only receives £1.2 million per annum in NHS grant towards the cost of the ‘In Patient Unit’ (this is under review). Exeter and District Hospiscare needs £6.4m to provide all its services per annum. Many people do not know this. The Voluntary Sector is also having difficulty in finding enough volunteers now the pension age has risen and it has to raise sufficient funds – since Local Authorities have reduced their grants, low interest rates also means many trusts do not have as much money to give grants as before, but there is also increased demand. Lottery is NOT available for revenue funding. Many of us in the voluntary sector have had to change our constitutions to meet the many challenges and digital working. 

Jill Elson

EDDC Cabinet Member for Sustainable Homes and Communities

EDDC Councillor for Exmouth Halsdon Ward


East Devon Conservative Councillors


Exmouth Hospital

Bed cuts: How can community hospitals survive after surgery? 


East Devon Conservatives have called for a pragmatic and collaborative approach to the threat of hospital bed closures in towns across the district and elsewhere in Devon, as local NHS bodies pursue the dual goal of massive budget savings and delivering a sustainable service for the future. 

They are seeking a unified strategy with local MPs Neil Parish and Sir Hugo Swire in a bid to secure minimal impact on community bed provision from vital financial savings, wherever they fall. They hope to find a realistic but humane solution to the current funding challenge faced by the district and the region, in common with the rest of the country. 

The Conservative Group are responding to the Your Future Care consultation launched by North, East and West Devon Clinical Commissioning Group on 7 October and running until 6 January 2017. 

They want to see assurances that any closures that may come about following the consultation exercise will have a minimal effect on health care provision in any affected communities. Local health care facilities must be preserved and must reflect the higher-than-average ratio of older people in East Devon and the rest of the county. 


And they insist that any bed closures are matched by the preservation or enhancement of social care in the home to levels that ensure the district’s increasingly ageing population do not lose out. 

They are fully aware that patients waiting for treatment can be delayed because vulnerable people not capable of fending for themselves alone cannot go straight home, and so block much-needed hospital beds. The solution, they believe, is to work closely with GP practices and the new Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), to find a pragmatic but patient-friendly solution to the funding issue. 

East Devon Conservatives fully support the efforts of local GP groups to protect and enhance facilities across the district, not only serving current needs but future-proofing services against the challenges posed by ongoing increases in patient expectations, advances in medical techniques and the emergence of more sophisticated surgical options. 

Conservative-run EDDC now has a statutory duty to protect, maintain and improve the physical and mental health and wellbeing of individuals living in, visiting and working in East Devon. This includes providing warden-controlled sheltered housing for the elderly. 


Meanwhile, Devon County Council has responsibilities for health and social care – an area that is key to the success of looking after people at home but which itself has been the subject of reduced central funding in recent times. 

Summing up the response of East Devon Conservatives to the Your Future Care consultation, Councillor Jill Elson, Cabinet Member for Sustainable Homes and Communities, said: “Much as some parties want to just say ‘No’ to the proposed cuts in beds, we believe that approach is too simplistic and unworkable. It’s unfortunate, because cuts in beds at local hospitals will save relatively small amounts of cash compared with the disproportionately high impact that such cuts will have on individual towns and communities. But we have to deal with the reality of the situation we face. 

“The Conservative Group believe that our energy is best applied to ensuring that each affected community not only retains the best possible healthcare facilities but also expands its day-care health provision so that it adds value. Any new model of care must be an improved model of care. 

“Some see this latest challenge as a threat, but handled the right way it could turn into an opportunity to improve healthcare provision for everyone in Devon, now and into the future”. 


“As a baseline requirement, we want an assurance that care for frail residents will not be compromised. But over and above that we need to find ways of upgrading healthcare for all, as well as future-proofing services to make them sustainable in the long term. 

Whilst they recognise the need for savings and for greater efficiency, East Devon Conservatives are realistic about the many challenges posed by the proposals for bed closures. 

These include:

Finding the right numbers and mix of trained staff to offer an alternative service to the traditional practice of occupying a hospital bed

  • Identifying transition funding to keep vital services in full working order whilst the changes come into effect
  • The need for alternative beds to be available for patients well enough to leave a ward but too frail to fend for themselves at home
  • Offering a range of services at local hospitals that have lost beds, so the establishment continues to make a full contribution to education, preventive medicine and diagnosis
  • An estates strategy that recognises the contribution many communities have made to creating, maintaining and equipping many local hospitals
  • Special provision for end-of-life care and mental health needs
  • Greater transparency and better communication with the public.


Jill Elson concluded: “If the alternative to bed closures is home care, then it has to be quality home care. Nothing else will do. That means the various organisations and services that offer different services across the wide spectrum of health care must learn to work together much more closely. In many cases this will involve a shift in mind-set among staff and a change of culture in the organisations themselves. 

“East Devon Conservatives will be working hard to ensure that our residents and visitors are assured of the best possible health provision, combined with the best possible value for money for the taxpayer”. 

Notes for Editors

East Devon MP Sir Hugo Swire will debate Devon’s future healthcare needs on Tuesday 18 October at Westminster Hall in London. 

EDDC’s Scrutiny Committee will discuss the Your Future Care consultation at Knowle Council Offices on 24 November.


Exmouth Business Fair – New Hall, Green Close

Exmouth Community College is very pleased to welcome the Exmouth Chamber’s Business Fair during October Half Term. The College wishes to work in partnership with business, as it is an essential for our students. Young people have to make choices when they are aged 14yrs (Year 9) on their future studies for exams. The College is educating young people for the future and we want them to be successful in the ever changing world of work – apprenticeships, further education college, University or straight into work. Our businesses need to tell us the skills they need and employ our young people. It may be, in the future, we can help business with their need to upskill their workforce for example in digital working within our sixth form.

Jill Elson

Exmouth Community College – Chairs Update for September 2016

EXMOUTH COMMUNITY COLLEGE    Update  September 2016

I would like to begin this update by congratulating our students for the superb exam results they achieved this summer, which were a just reward for both their hard work and excellent teaching provided by the College staff. They have gained the university, college, apprenticeship and other job opportunities by their achievements; they are a credit to the College and their families and I wish them well. We welcome and thank all parents and carers for the support the College receives from them in helping students achieve their potential.

You will have seen that there has been a lot of building and refurbishment in the summer holidays to improve the environment in and around the College. The new Maths Block was officially opened on Thursday 15 September 2016. This is an excellent building with 8 classrooms, with 2 classrooms on each floor able to be joined together to make a larger space. Thanks to all the contractors under Interserve.  We are hoping that the second phase of 8 classrooms will start next term which will make a huge difference to the College.

All of the Governors wish to thank all members of staff who volunteered to take young people for extra lessons, various trips both during activities week and throughout the year. During the last academic year staff led trips to a variety of destinations including Euro Disney, Madrid, Prague, Munich, Paris, Rome, Italy and the WW2 war graves.

The College, as a state funded Academy, is set up as a Charity, and receives most of its funding from Government. You will be aware, that in recent years, as with all public sector organisations, funding is very tight so we have to work very hard to ensure we get the best value for that money.  We also endeavour to raise money from other opportunities. Our staff, under our business manager – Kim Dearsly – have been very successful in putting in excellent bids, based on evidence and a good business case to the Education Funding Agency. These are very complex and time consuming. We were successful this year in gaining £720,00 to refurbish part of Green Close site.

We have had a very good year of sporting success highlighted by an excellent awards evening in May to celebrate their successes. We are working closely with Withycombe Rugby Club. It has gained a long lease from East Devon District Council to enable the club to make grant applications with our support. We wish to work in partnership with the WRFC as we use their pitch for many activities. I am attending EDDC Playing Pitch Strategy meetings to ensure our young people get the pitches and space they need for future development.

The Children & Young People’s Emotional Psychological and Social Wellbeing Early Intervention Service has begun slowly. This is specifically to help young people in schools and train staff across Devon to help young people who may have an emotional or mental health need. This is seen as a preventative service to help young people at a very early stage. I am part of the Devon County Council review team to ensure it is providing this service as specified. This is as a Governor of the College and member of the Devon Education Forum. I am very happy to be part of the team to look at how best to help young people.

We are very grateful to the ICE team, who are part of the ‘Exmouth Churches Together’ who work from the Open Door Centre. The ICE team has been working in the Exmouth Community College for the past 15 years delivering assemblies, RE lessons and providing lunch-time and after school support. More recently, the work of ICE has expanded to include 1:1 and group mentoring for those students who are struggling with school issues. The ICE team is led and managed by Jenna Burnett seeks to provide students with support when they need it and they are highly successful.

I would like to thank you all for your continued support of a good College that I am proud and privileged to be its’ Chairman of Governors. 

Jill Elson

Chair of Governors


Exmouth Queens Drive

Copy of Letter to the journal (full version)

I am very concerned that a letter ‘Don’t be fooled by signs’, carried in the Exmouth Journal (29 Sept, 2016), is not only misleading but is factually incorrect.

As the author of the letter is fully aware, East Devon District Council gave full notice to all  its tenants on the Queen’s Drive site and where possible we have worked with some of them so that they can continue trading. The Railway Carriage Café reached an amicable agreement with EDDC to leave, received compensation and is now up and running elsewhere.  DJ’s Café did not respond to the council’s approaches and had repeatedly fallen into arrears on its rent.  On the day that the council finally came to take back the premises, council officers were surprised to arrive at the café at the same time as bailiffs who we learnt were there to enter and cut off the café’s gas supply.

There have been some negative statements concerning the Queen’s Drive site by a vociferous group. It is very easy to criticise from the sidelines. We welcome constructive suggestions by those who bring forward new ideas to help Exmouth to grow and change as the world changes around it.  Exmouth is Devon’s largest town.  Our population is growing and ageing and much of our economy is low paid and seasonal.  This is true of other seaside towns and they have recognised the challenge and responded to it. So too is the District Council by investing in the town.  The Strand, as an events space, and the Premier Inn, now employing more than 40 people, are successes that we can be proud of and the council is spending £1.2m on Mamhead Slipway to restore Exmouth’s leisure maritime place on the Devon coast. As Chairman of Exmouth Community College with over 2,000 students, it is important we look to the future to provide homes and jobs for our local young people.

For Queen’s Drive, the council has its plan in place to move the road and car park further back from the beach (Phase 1).  This new beach side space will contain a national Watersports centre, open air performance space, seafront business units and public areas (Phase 2).  Just as the Strand has brought new life to the centre of town, this will be a new place connected to the beach which will be safe without having to cross a busy road.  The council is currently finalising the development agreement on Phase 2 with the proposed developers of this site.

The final phase (Phase 3) of the development is the remainder of the fun park and Harbour View sites.  Having been held up by court actions for the best part of two years the council has decided that because of these costly time delays Phase 3 is worth revisiting.  Time has moved on.  The vision remains a mix of leisure uses combining indoor and outdoor attractions with good public space, play areas and all year round attractions.  We are looking to refresh the ideas for Phase 3 of the site and will bring in expertise to work with us in consultation with the people of Exmouth to make that happen.

For Phases 1 and 2 there is a clear plan.  For Phase 3 we are right not to tie ourselves to a previous developer and it’s plan, when time has moved on.

We believe in Exmouth.  We have a great vision for the town and we have continued to share this with our residents. We began this process in 2010 and we have been listening, and will continue to listen, to our residents. We must ensure that Exmouth meets the needs of all our residents and visitors so that it has the thriving economy that we all want to see. I, for one, don’t want Exmouth to become a town preserved in aspic.

Jill Elson,



Exmouth Brixington By Election

DArryl Nicholas 2016Exmouth Brixington will have a by election on THURSDAY 6 OCTOBER 2016 Polling between 7am and 10pm

Conservative Party Candidate will be Darryl Nicholas


Former Mayor bids to represent

Brixington on Town and District 

Darryl Nicholas, a former Town Mayor and district council Champion for Exmouth, is bidding to re-join the district and town councils in seats occupied by his close friend, the late David Chapman. 

Whilst business took him to London and abroad, Darryl’s heart remained in Exmouth and he has retained a home here for much of his time working away. 

He and David Chapman were first elected as Conservatives in the Brixington ward back in 2007. Darryl went on to be appointed as the district council’s Exmouth Champion, as well as serving as Town Mayor from 2009-11. When work took him away from East Devon he gave up his positions in local government. 

Now he is back in Exmouth full time and has been nominated by Exmouth Conservatives and East Devon Conservatives as their candidate to fight for the vacant Brixington seat – a gap left by the sudden and sad death of David Chapman on 26 June. Polling Day is Thursday 6 October. 

Darryl worked as head of marketing at Exmouth’s World of Country Life, and then spent a year working and studying in Canada, helping organisations such as Canadian Testicular Cancer Association raise awareness as part of his studies. 

For the past three years, he has worked mainly in London as National PR and Communications Manager for the Association of Town and City Management – supporting town and city centre improvement across the UK, Ireland and Europe. During this time he continued to travel back every weekend to spend time with his young daughter. 


Darryl said: “I grew up in Brixington and have spent the majority of my life living in that area and so I am determined that Brixington, and the town as a whole, should achieve their full potential. The Conservative-led councils at East Devon and Exmouth are committed to seeing Exmouth thrive and I want to add my experience and enthusiasm towards the process of ensuring we get the best for our town.  

“The town centre has in recent years attracted a range of quality businesses – a mix of great independents and nationals. Their confidence in investing in Exmouth is a clear indication that our future is bright. The addition of the Premier Inn has been a real success and, with further areas of the seafront earmarked for change, I want to help ensure that the final result will include high-quality, sustainable facilities that are a positive and exciting addition for both residents and visitors. We need to get it right and I am determined, if elected, to make sure that we do get it right.” 

On a personal level, Darryl is sure that his experience and continuing passion for Exmouth can only benefit the people of Brixington and the wider Exmouth community. “I worked very hard and believe I made a worthwhile contribution to the well-being of the town and district in my last spell as a councillor. I have more to offer in future and would be honoured if I were to be elected again,” he said. 

Passionate about local community 

“I am a previous board member of Leisure East Devon and of Exmouth and District Community Transport, and also held a seat on the Exmouth Regeneration Board. In 2014, I wrote, in a voluntary capacity, a detailed report about the future of tourism for the town, which was adopted by Exmouth Town Council. I am currently Chairman of Exmouth Lifeboat Management Group. 

“Exmouth is a fantastic town, with so much to offer, and I am passionate about making sure it’s the best it can be. There’s a huge amount of community spirit and we can feel really positive about the future. We need to ensure that Exmouth continues to improve facilities for people of all ages, maintains our high quality of life, and that the important decisions are tackled to enable the town to reach its full economic and social potential. 

“I want to see that businesses continue to move in and invest, keeping up the momentum of recent years, boosting the local economy and providing good jobs. 

“For Brixington, I want to protect the green belt and ensure that any further housing comes with much-needed infrastructure and facilities for the community”. 

“District-wide, the Conservative administration has been driving tangible progress in very difficult financial circumstances. There is an agreed Local Plan, a five-year land supply, regeneration success in Exmouth and Seaton, plus plans for upgrading Axminster and other communities. Under Conservative leadership, East Devon is about to further enhance its waste and recycling collection service to make it the envy of many other communities”.