Jan 242014

We would like to share with you all a letter we have received which we found very entertaining and thought provoking .  Please feel free to contact us with your thoughts and comments…

Today’s Midweek Herald (22nd January 2014) prints a lead story which could surely come only from rural England:

A company called Lyme Bay Leisure has applied for permission to redevelop a derelict site at Seaton Heights. They started planning consultations in June 2013. As part of this process they employed Acorn Ecology to report on any issues relating to local habitat and wildlife. Acorn’s chief concern was that there were bats roosting in the derelict hotel building on the site. Lyme Bay Leisure incorporated “…appropriate bat mitigation measures involving an expensive new building solely for the accommodation of the existing bats.”. (I’m not sure how one mitigates a bat, but clearly the developers’ hearts are in the right place.)

This would appear to have met all the relevant requirements and so thought all the relevant parties including “… all the local bat activists and other nature conservationists.”. (Perhaps someone has invented a bat activist detector box; it is difficult to see how anyone could otherwise be sure of netting all of them.)

In November 2013 Natural England suddenly awoke from a long period of hibernation and raised an objection. “Why”, they asked, “has no-one considered bat flight paths?”. Why indeed! Why, for the matter of that, have the developers not hired other consultants to examine the routes taken by starlings, swallows, herring gulls and a host of other winged creatures? And what about those animals so deprived that they are unable to “shake off the surly bonds of Earth”? Has no-one addressed the needs of transient badgers (if not already culled), foxes and roe deer, not to mention pygmy shrews, natterjack toads and crested newts? And beneath the ground, how are migrating earthworms going to fare when their traditional route is blocked by the foundations of the newly built bat hotel?

Clearly the environmental issues have not been thought through. No doubt the developers are already hatching plans for a properly signposted overhead bat tunnel. Now they have also to think about provision for a further (estimated) five hundred and eighty nine species of wild creature which have been recorded in the county at least once in the past five hundred years. If any significant number of by-passes, overpasses, underpasses, canals, ski lifts and other diversionary structures are found necessary it will be only a matter of time before it is noticed, for example, that one of the overground tubes would block the route of one of the others. The topological problems thus raised might well prove to be non-deterministic polynomial-time complete and so incapable of any simple solution.

Give up, Lyme Bay Leisure! It was a good try but the forces of unreason are against you. Perhaps Tesco can put another store on the site instead; they don’t seem to have much trouble with the planners, and if they do they can always promise to “make provision” for another two hundred and fifty affordable homes. What if they fail to meet the promise? “Well, we couldn’t really order them to demolish their nice new shop, could we!”

Afterthought: Has Natural England not tumbled to the simple facts that bats can navigate perfectly well in pitch darkness, and are amongst the most agile fliers in Creation?

Charles, A Local Resident

Jan 242014

I felt compelled to post a short note following the recent press articles referring to EDDC’s decision to refuse our application on Seaton Heights due to the lack of information submitted on the flight paths of bats. Setting aside the mitigation we submitted as part of our application, my Board of Directors have been greatly encouraged by the steady influx of communications from local residents supporting our scheme and the work we have put in to date. Some contributions have been very factual others very humorous but with a serious underlying message that common sense should prevail. I can say without fear of contradiction that your messages of support act as further motivation for us to deliver this scheme and we will not be easing up on our efforts to get this through planning and under construction at the earliest opportunity. We look forward to your continued support. James Hetherington – Managing Director

Jan 102014

Lyme Bay Leisure were looking forward to having their planning application for 38 two and three bedroom second homes, hotel and Gatehouse determined by East Devon District Council (EDDC) on 4 February 2014 having received very positive feedback from the various agencies involved. This was until EDDC received a letter from Natural England at the 11th hour suggesting that Lyme Bay Leisure complete additional surveys on the flight paths of the resident bats before construction commences. This is despite the company having already completed on site studies and having produced a mitigation plan which involves moving the bats under an EU licence to their new roosting house in the south west corner of the site.

Managing Director James Hetherington said “We are very disappointed with this turn of events especially at such at late stage in the planning process. We have been working tirelessly with our consultants to ensure that we commence with the first phase construction in April as originally planned. This glitch could easily delay the entire development by as much as six months as the flight paths cannot be monitored until the bats come out of hibernation in April or May of this year. In the meantime we are working very hard with the various bodies involved to find an immediate solution to this problem with a view to getting the project back on track”.

Lyme Bay Leisure have said they will continue to post updates on their website and Facebook page so the residents of Seaton are kept updated.

Oct 242013

It has been brought to our attention that there has been an error printed in the Seaton Midweek Herald regarding the date of the exhibition at Seaton Town Hall next week.  I can confirm that  the correct date is Tuesday 29th October between 3 and 8pm.

Oct 232013

A fortnight ago a new planning application was lodged with East Devon District Council for a state of the art boutique hotel on the site of the former Seaton Heights Hotel. Seaton Heights Resort will comprise of 38 luxury rental properties, hotel, gym, spa and restaurant.

Lyme Bay Leisure understands the importance of making the design deliverable, ensuring that new jobs are created for local people and that they attract visitors, which will benefit both the resort and the local area. Lyme Bay Leisure also plans to manage the site after completion ensuring that Seaton Heights Resort creates a lasting legacy that can be enjoyed by both visitors and local residents.

In September Lyme Bay Leisure held two public consultations which were attend by more than 350 people.  The site plans were met with an overwhelmingly positive response from local residents who were delighted that the resort would be open to the public. They urged Lyme Bay Leisure to press ahead with their plans but also to make the leisure facilities available bigger so that more people could benefit.

Lyme Bay Leisure plans to host a public exhibition of the revised scheme at Seaton Town Hall on the 29th of October to demonstrate to local residents that their ideas were taken on board and acted upon.

The new proposals announce a up-market leisure resort, a much less dense scheme including a hotel, restaurant, leisure and spa facilities and rental properties. Full details will be available at the public exhibition.

Sep 202013

Over the past week we have been busy sorting through the plethora of questionnaires which were completed over the course of the public consultation.  From sending out 3500 leaflets, we had approximately 350 people attend the consultation and nearly 200 questionnaires were completed.

The outcome of these questionnaires has been overwhelmingly supportive with the most popular opinion being that the development cannot come soon enough, to help bring more tourism and employment to the area.

The main question posed was Seaton residents wanted to know whether the leisure and food and beverage facilities would be available to them, as well as to the residents of the hotel and second homes.  The answer to this is that Seaton residents will be able to use all the facilities available at the Gatehouse.   The other main concern was that residents would like the site to be sympathetic to the surroundings.  It has always been an important consideration to us that the natural beauty is to be preserved and we hope that by using natural locally sourced materials to construct the buildings, as well as setting them into the landscape, the beauty of the surroundings will be preserved.  We will take into consideration the comments about the facilities being larger also and will discuss this with the EDDC.

In the coming weeks we will upload some of the plans for the site onto the website and facebook.

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Sep 132013

We would firstly like to thank you all for turning out in your hundreds to our Public Consultation’s on both Wednesday 11th and Thursday 12th September, we appreciate you giving up your time to let us know your thoughts on our proposal.

We are currently looking at all your comments and will give you a full report on the exhibition in the coming week.

We have also held meetings with key stakeholders, and adjacent business’. The outcome of these meetings were very positive. We will submit this along with the exhibition report.