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                          COMMENTS AND QUESTION ON HOUSING 1. In the EDDC response to the LDF Proposals, Exmouth appears to have been given much too large a percentage of the housing allocations imposed by the previous government. (1,850 homes on top of 970 the District Council has already committed to or given planning permission for in the last three years.) We appreciate that proximity to the business areas in Exeter will be a consideration, but feel that other towns such as Honiton and Ottery St. Mary, which are on a direct approach road, should share the programme on a much fairer basis.  What is proposed amounts to a massive urban sprawl of housing on the north and eastern sides of Exmouth, destroying much of the green belt, and inevitably creating a big burden on traffic and infrastructure. 2. Health and educational needs, as well as local shopping and leisure facilities, will need planning alongside the housing, otherwise congestion will be intolerable on the approach roads to Exmouth. There needs to be a balance maintained between home care and specialist provision for the elderly. 3. East Devon is not a homogeneous community. It comprises a series of towns and villages with their own independent character and needs. This should be recognised in the overall plan, and the additional housing needs to reflect these features as closely as possible. The towns and villages need to have a degree of self-sufficiency, which must include local shops. Large hypermarkets are no longer ecologically acceptable.  At a time of diminishing resources, eco- efficiency is essential. We need to encourage micro energy projects, the use of public transport, cycling and car sharing wherever possible, with spaces for allotments to encourage local food production. 4. There is a clear case for more low-priced housing, suitable for young people or poorer elderly people. Exmouth is already overburdened with too many retirement residences, which will strain the health and social services to breaking point in a few years time. This serious housing deficiency needs tackling as a first priority at national level. A big house-building programme would create more jobs and help get the economy moving. 5. Despite the statement made by EDDC, there is no evidence that their stated policy of one job for every new house has been thought through. The allocation of land for business use does not guarantee work for local people. QUESTIONS: What representation are you making to the new government on these housing and environmental issues?  Will you be expressing views on these matters to East Devon District Council on behalf of your Exmouth Constituents?  COMMENTS AND QUESTIONS ON EMPLOYMENT 1. Apart from those in the tourist trade, poor road connections mean that the only substantial employers likely to find Exmouth an attractive location are those in the administrative sector, research or new technology. These businesses require a good broadband connection. The acquisition of fibre optic broadband would enhance the town’s chances. 2. There is no major employer in Exmouth, and we are deeply concerned about the closure of the Job Centre, which means that local job seekers from the largest town in Devon need to travel to Exeter to seek work and claim benefit. This is time consuming and costly. Telephone enquiries about benefit queries have to be made to Plymouth and the lines seem to be almost always engaged.  This is very inefficient and wearing for those concerned. 3. More recently we have learned about the slimming down of Connections. The unemployed, particularly school and college leavers, need every help they can get. It is demoralising for young people, some of them quite well qualified, to face these problems and depression can begin to sink in after long periods of unemployment, rendering the young people less likely to present themselves well. 4. The closure of Action for Employment, an agency focusing on the needs of the     vulnerable unemployed seems expressly inappropriate at such a time. They were running courses to help young people with special needs to develop the skills needed. 5. We are appreciative of your efforts to ensure that Rolle College campus will be retained for educational purposes, and believe that these premises have a vital role to play in matters like those described above, such as providing a base for skills training in relevant areas. 6. We trust that every assistance will be given to voluntary bodies who aim to help the unemployed.    QUESTIONS: As our MP, what representations can you make to government on these issues. How can churches be members of the “Big Society”?  Can we be assured that they are not going to be expected to take over roles that have been done so far by professionally trained, salaried people in the public sector. We are interested in helping to rebuild community. We have facilities and we have skills, but our desire is to work in partnership with statutory agencies, not to replace or compete with them. Do you agree with this approach? How can we work together?
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