Council only owns allotments
PUBLISHED: 07:00 01 April 2009 | UPDATED: 23:17 15 June 2010
Can we clear up a common misunderstanding, which has been evident from recent letters, that Seaton Town Council is responsible for everything that happens in Seaton and owns every public building in the town!
Can we clear up a common misunderstanding, which has been evident from recent letters, that Seaton Town Council is responsible for everything that happens in Seaton and owns every public building in the town! Oh, how I wish that were true (though others may disagree)! The toilets at West Walk are NOT owned by Seaton Town Council, they are owned by East Devon District Council. We were NOT consulted about the new design or the work to be carried out. A planning application was submitted by East Devon District Council on May 22, 2008, (ref: 08/1396), but almost immediately withdrawn on June 3.EDDC decided that it did not need planning permission, so the plans did not come to the town council for consideration. That document is still online on the EDDC website, where it can be seen that on the covering form, where question 8 is asked: "Have you consulted your neighbours or the local community about the proposals?" The answer that is ticked is NO. Some months after the planning application was withdrawn, EDDC wrote to us to say that the refurbishment of the toilets would take place shortly. Assuming, in our naivete, that EDDC were planning refurbishment of the existing toilets (and having no plans to look at) we said that the toilets should be made as vandal-proof as possible, that ultra-violet light should be used to deter anti-social behaviour, defensive planting should be used behind them and that the Chine Cafe toilets should be open at all times when West Walk toilets were being refurbished. We were not asked our views on foot showers. We were as surprised and angry as everyone else when we saw what was being done and that the work was not refurbishment but demolition and rebuilding. However, EDDC maintains that under Part 12 of the Town and Country Planning Order, it does not have to get planning permission to do this work and does not need to consult. I know that our district councillors are working hard on trying to resolve this problem and I believe some concession is being considered by EDDC. We, as a town council, have also made strong representations to EDDC and to our district councillors about the unsuitability of this building and the loss of covered seating. This is an on-going saga and will be reported on by the district councillors themselves and by town councillors at their regular meetings, which are open to the public. Please, do understand that the only land owned by Seaton Town Council at the moment is the allotments - we do not even own our small office in the town hall for which we pay rent to EDDC. Many buildings (including all toilets, the town hall and the derelict youth and community centre on the regeneration site) belong to EDDC; some (such as St Clare's) belong to Devon County Council. It is to EDDC or DCC that complaints about these buildings should be addressed. Sandra Semple ChairmanSeaton Town Council