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Personal comments by Cllr Jill Elson, East Devon Cabinet Member for Sustainable Homes and Communities

Mamhead Slipway

Conservatives Mamhead start 7 March 2015 no 107 compressedWORK NOW UNDER WAY ON A £1.2 million BOOST FOR RESORT’S WATER USERS 

Members of the Conservative Group on EDDC and Exmouth Town Council saw for themselves how work is progressing on the new £1.2 million Mamhead Slipway when they visited the project on Monday (7 March). 

Pictured are (left to right): Brian Bailey, Bill Nash, John Humphreys, Jill Elson and Pauline Stott.

The first task of contractors Raymond Brown Construction Ltd is to clear the Mamhead Gardens area to the side of the existing slipway, which will allow towing vehicles and trailers to manoeuvre, making access to the new ramp easier. The old slipway will be dismantled in late April, so building of a re-aligned slipway can take place through the summer. 

The small group who met on Monday  – and their Conservative colleagues – are delighted that work on the new facility is under way after the project was programmed to avoid disturbing overwintering birds. 

Their feelings were summed up by Pauline Stott, a long-standing district councillor who also chairs Exmouth Town Council’s Regeneration and General Purposes Committee. She said: “We’re so pleased to see that work has started on this project and we’re hoping it will be finished by the target date of autumn this year – weather permitting. 


“This is another example of Conservatives leading the way in the regeneration of Exmouth – and investing in the town to make it a more attractive resort for visitors and other investors. 

“There were doubters when we and our partners upgraded The Strand – but the town centre is more vibrant as a result. There was opposition to the closure of the Elizabeth Hall – but now it is the site of a thriving Premier Inn – and one that has the hotel industry talking. 

“Even now there are doubters over our Queen’s Drive plans – but the community has already had a good deal of influence on the proposals and there WILL be further consultation. We are determined to create a year-round leisure offering with appeal to families and people of all ages, whatever the weather. 

“Now we have made a start on the slipway – which is going to be a huge attraction to water users and will put Exmouth on the map for sailing, kite-surfing and other water-sports enthusiasts. So to the doubters I would say – ‘Conservatives are driving change for the better of Exmouth and for the district overall. We are delivering on our promises and the improvements are already bearing fruit’. 

“The Mamhead Slipway project means that Conservative EDDC is continuing to invest money and effort in Exmouth, which is a huge vote of confidence in the town and its hard-core businesses. As Exmouth continues to thrive and grow, we will see more interest from other investors and it will become a virtuous circle of investment and growth”. 


Exmouth Masterplan


Jill Elson – EDDC Councillor Halsdon Ward

The Masterplan is under constant review regularly by all the elected Councillors (29 in total – Devon County, East Devon and Exmouth Town Councils) that represent Exmouth. Over the last few years we have all listened to opinions of many Exmouth residents regarding potential developments. It is of course our role to listen to everyone and then attempt to reconcile these views including those of the silent majority who do not express their views publicly. The Masterplan was created to improve the economy of Exmouth for the benefit of everyone to extend the ‘season’ which we know can be extremely volatile and to create more job opportunities. The Masterplan is about planning for the future in a co-ordninated and thoughtful way so that businesses can thrive and our Town is sustainable and remains vibrant so that people want to visit, live and work here.

The latest proposals for the Queen’s Drive section of the seafront are constantly changing. All Councillors, representing all parties, have been invited to many meetings to voice their opinions on any plans put forward to agree a way forward. There seems to be some misunderstanding on the actual concept. The road is to be redirected away from the seafront at the old lifeboat station and to exit alongside the Maer (not over it). East Devon District Council is borrowing nearly £1.5 million to move the road and create a larger car park between the Amusement building and Madeira Bowling Club. The pavement alongside the beach will still be there for people to walk along.

After several meetings with Councillors, Grenadier’s outline planning proposal has been agreed and all the necessary work that has to be done for a planning application is now taking place. When it is deposited with East Devon District Council it will be available for public consultation over several weeks before it is considered by the Planning Committee which will take into account all the views expressed on planning matters before they make a decision. This proposal is for a Watersports Centre and the company has already consulted many water users. Moving the road will give safer access to the beach.

The other part of the Queens Drive proposals have not been agreed although elected Exmouth Councillors have been invited to several meetings with and without the company and discussions are still taking place and will continue making sure that all key stakeholders and residents have their say.

The leases were for 7 years and have been renewed on this basis since 1954.Two of these tenants are currently in litigation with EDDC and are  going through a court process so Councillors will not be commenting on any of this until this process has been completed.

East Devon has issued press releases constantly to try and keep the public updated. They are still available on the EDDC website. Newspapers have printed a version of all these on a regular basis.

Exmouth Hospital


Exmouth Hospital

Exmouth Hospital


It is with dismay I read that the New Devon Clinical Commissioning Board is proposing to reduce Exmouth Hospital to 16 beds. I was part of the Stakeholder Group as a Councillor and Cabinet Member as part of the many consultations.  We were told that in WEB Consortium area that Exmouth  would have 24 beds + extra for winter pressures and Budleigh Salterton Hospital would become a Health and Well Being Hub. This was supported by residents.

I do not understand how Exmouth as the largest Town in Devon, as part of the WEB Consortium area is reduced to 16 when the population of WEB is estimated at over 48,000 with development increasing under the emerging East Devon Local Plan in both Towns and rural villages by 2000 without ‘windfalls’. The Health Profiles of these Towns according to 2013/14 evidence by DCC is Exmouth area 48,323 and Tiverton area 38,539. Therefore the question is  ‘ how does Tiverton justify 32 beds in its Community Hospital and Exmouth 16 beds ?’

Many of us involved in the voluntary sector who transport patients to the RDE and with other conversations are aware that there seems to be a need for patients, if it is safe to do so, to move out of the RDE to vacate beds for new patients. They cannot move out, either because there are insufficient beds in the community either nursing homes or homes for patients suffering from dementia, their homes need adaptations or are unsafe and of course the lack of community carers.

I have for many years been in support of having a new Exmouth Community Hospital to meet the needs of the future with a new GP medical centre. I am aware that our GP’s have worked very hard to have more medical consultations in our Community Hospital instead of travelling to RDE, ‘safe’ transfusions are taking place, minor operations etc. Our residents like this arrangement but we will never understand why the NDCCG Board has reduced Exmouth Hospital to 16 beds.


Jill Elson

Councillor Halsdon Ward.

People in Genuine need

PeopleI am very concerned about people who are in a crisis situation not necessarily by their own actions.

I am working with many voluntary organisations throughout East Devon and Exmouth in particular.

When a person is made redundant and they visit the job centre the benefit calculations are quite complicated. All monies they receive on redundancy is taken into account. It seems that the DWP (Job Centres are now a ‘one stop shop for the majority of benefits) are taking approximately 12 weeks before any money is received by an applicant. It is very difficult to manage for 12 weeks or any weeks if they are living up to their income. Many people need help to fill in all the forms required.

The onset of Universal Credit is a logical direction for the Department of Work and Pensions to go as it will reduce the cost of administration. I am extremely concerned that it will also include housing benefit that is paid to a household to cover the costs or part costs of their rent in in the private sector or social housing sector. East Devon District Council has been calculating Housing Benefit and paying it according to the guidelines of the DWP and is able to do 97% of these with 6 days so that a client can come into the office on a Friday and the ensure their landlord has it by the following Friday. If DWP(Job Centre) continues to take up to 12 weeks, a tenant could lose their accommodation. Secondly EDDC is paying the Housing Benefit direct to the Landlord but under the new system it will be paid to the tenant unless they direct otherwise. There is considerable concern that a tenant may not realise this or not wish to have it paid direct. This could prove very difficult for those who do not manage their money very well because a person who receives the Housing Benefit but is in arrears with their rent could be evicted and become classified as intentionally homeless and the Local Council will not have a duty to house them.

There are many local voluntary organisations who can help these people. In Exmouth, but to name a few, Citizens Advice Bureau, Job Club at Glenorchy Church, Christians Against Poverty, Open Door Centre, The Community Larder, Credit Union. Many are working together for the benefit of clients.

East Devon District Council

East Devon District Council share of the Council Tax is £121.78 on a ‘Band D’ property which is £2.34p per week.  Government has reduced its formula grant from your income tax (central taxation) by 43% by 2015. As in your household you would find it is difficult when one part of youEDDC Budget 2014 to 2015r income is reduced by 43%. The expenditure of EDDC for 2014 to 2015 is made up as shown.



Refuse and Recycling costs 20% of the budget

EDDC still owns its own housing stock. Rents are in a Ring Fenced Account

EDDC is responsible for Homelessness, homes not fit for habitation, private water supplies, disabled facilities grants for adaptations for people to stay in their own homes, parks and gardens, car parks, administration of housing and council tax benefits, pays towards Sports Centres and Swimming Pools under LED (EDDC still owns and maintains the buildings) and planning.

East Devon has worked over many years to create the New Town of Cranbrook. This will eventually be the size of Sidmouth. This has saved many more homes being built in our existing towns and Villages. It is not just housing but 1 primary Kris Hopkins_redgloves_with reps from EDDC_DCC_0973_19-06-14_Credit GRW_2school and one ‘through school’ from nursery to secondary (not a post 16), community centre, railway station on the Waterloo Line. Part of this development is the Science Park in partnership with Exeter University and Skypark – a business park – this is to create skilled jobs with higher earnings within East Devon. It has a biomass heating system.





Exmouth Hospital

Exmouth Hospital

Jill Elson as Chairman of the Exmouth and District Community Transport Group with the GP Consortium on the changes to the local community hospitals to improve patient care.

Budleigh Salterton Community Hospital will change into a ‘Well Being HUB’ for the whole of the consortium area – these are Exmouth, Budleigh Salteton, East Budleigh, Otterton, Colaton Raleigh, Newton Poppleford, Woodbury and Lympstone. This will offer enhanced day care – to have bath, hair washed, lunch, chiropody, complimentary therapy and other services.

Exmouth Hospital will have the inpatient beds, X Ray, Day Case minor surgery, minor injuries unit and it already does certain blood transfusions. Other services will be added.

Consultants from the RDE are being encouraged to increase the number of outpatient appointments locally.