Think Sink

Think Sink is the second strand of South West Water’s campaign to minimise blocked sewers.

You’ll doubtless remember the giant 64m long fatberg which was recently found blocking a sewer in Sidmouth. This was dwarfed by the massive 250m long fatberg weighing 130 tonnes found in east London in 2017.

Fatbergs form when people put things such as fat, wet wipes, sanitary towels, nappies and condoms, down sinks and toilets.

In essence don’t put fat, grease, or oil down sinks, or anything other than the three Ps (pee, poo, paper) down toilets.

Think Sink

Love Your Loo

Love Your Loo is one strand of a new campaign by South West Water to try and minimise sewer blockages.

In essence it’s about the three Ps – pees, paper and poo – which are the only things that should be flushed down your loo.

Flushing anything else can cause blockages which can lead to flooding and pollution, and of course costs a great deal of money to deal with.

Unblocking sewers costs South West Water about £8.5 million a year – money which is paid by the consumer.

Even if you’re not connected to mains sewage you’ll still want to follow the rules.

Love Your Loo

Not So Bad

The turnout in North Devon for the the European elections was a not too shabby 38.06%.  Slightly up on the turnout of 36.76% for the last European elections in 2014.

The votes aren’t actually being counted until Sunday evening with the result being declared sometime after 10pm. This is because it’s apparently  a criminal offence for any country in the EU to publish exit polls, or any information about how people have voted during the election, before 22:00 BST on Sunday 26 May.  This is to avoid the voting in one country influencing the voting in another.

The first elections were held on Thursday in the UK and the Netherlands.  Ireland votes today (Friday), as does the Czech Republic. The latter also votes tomorrow, along with Latvia, Malta and Slovakia.  The other 21 countries vote on Sunday.


Why are the North Devon planning office so stupid at times? I know they’re massively overworked, but why put a planning site notice so far away from the site in question (the little garage on New Road just before the road to Sainsbury’s) when there’s a perfectly good place to put it very much closer? It’s also unsafe to read because it’s pinned on the telegraph pole so that it can only be read if standing in the road!

The planning site notice is the big white bit of paper on the left flapping in the breeze. This also begs the question Why are there two poles so close to together?

Planning Site Notice

And no, it’s not for a house but for rebuilding the garage and turning it into a shed.

Putting the Figures Right

I’ve taken these snippets from our MP’s (the Conservative Peter Heaton-Jones) website:

” We had a lot of seats to defend, because the last council elections were held on the same day as the 2015 general election.”

The fact that the last council elections were held on the same day as the general election wouldn’t have made the slightest bit of difference in terms of the number of seats that had to be defended!

“But despite all that, the LibDems have failed to take overall control of North Devon, unlike councils elsewhere.”

Not true until the result of the Chittlehampton election, which is being held on 13 June, is known. At the moment the LibDems have 21 seats with the others having 20.

 “They lost a seat in South Molton, where we elected our first Conservative councillor for more than twenty years.”

The LibDems did NOT lose a seat in South Molton.  Before the boundary changes there were two seats in South Molton – one held by the LibDems and one by an Independent. Following the boundary change, the ward of South Molton is slightly bigger as it now incorporates Mill-on-the-Mole. It also has three seats. The LibDems won two of those seats and the Conservatives won one.

“And they also lost in their heartland of Barnstaple Central as well.”

The ward is an entirely new one and has only one seat – won by the Green Party. It’s predecessor Central Town (Barnstaple)  had two seats, both of which were LibDem.

Following a review by the Local Government Boundary Commission for England (LGBCE) the number of district councillors in North Devon was cut by one – from 43 to 42 – and a number of the ward boundaries were also changed.

” independent candidates and ward boundaries skew the figures too.”

They do skew the figures, but there fewer Independent candidates in this election than in the previous one – nine as opposed 20 previously. When all is said and done the Conservatives had 36% of the votes in 2015 and only 26% this year. Contrast this with the figures for the LibDems – 25% in 2015 and 38% this year.




How did the Parties do?

This a table of how the parties fared in the local elections.

Party Councillors Seats
Conservative 3,564 -1,330
Labour 2,021 -84
Liberal Democrat 1,351 +704
Green 265 +194
UKIP 31 -145
Others 1,178 +661

It seems pretty clear to me that the big losers were the Conservatives and UKIP. Labour not so much. On the other hand I am not a  psephologist, so what do I know.

The winners were the Lib Dems, Greens and Independents.

Possibly I’m interpreting the figures in a very biased way. But they don’t strike me as being as what one would expect if there were a pro-Brexit vote. After all, the two big winners – the Lib-Dems and the Greens – are anti Brexit. Of course, it’s impossible to determine the views of the many successful independents.

Having said that, national politics shouldn’t rear its ugly head at the local level , but it does.

The things that I heard most complaints about whilst campaigning (e.g. parking, inappropriate over-development, the state of the roads) can be laid squarely at the door of central government. Planning policies set by central government have largely determined parking spaces that new builds have to provide. Changes to parking restrictions (yellow lines for example) are, to a very large extent, determined by available funding. Of course, there is also no money to maintain roads.

According to the Local Government Association local councils would have lost almost 60% of their central government funding between 2010 and 2020.

The other big issue was (as ever) dog poo. Apparently it’s a big problem in South Molton. Has it always been a big issue? Are dogs starting to poo more ? Fewer owners picking up? Or, as I rather suspect, are there a few more owners who don’t give a damn!

Beggars Belief

This is what Mike Pompeo, the US Secretary of State said at the Arctic Council accord in Finland:

“Steady reductions in sea ice are opening new passageways and new opportunities for trade,” he said. “This could potentially slash the  time it takes to travel between Asia and the West by as much as 20 days.”

He’s quite right of course. But forgets to mention the many downsides: the flooding of much of the East coast of the States (and many other coastal cites around the world), the disappearance of many Pacific Island nations.

On the plus side Mar-a-Lago would disappear under water. Unfortunately Trump with his Yuuuuuuge brain would probably survive.



Town Council Results

South Molton – Twelve Seats 

Surname First Names Description Number of Votes
BUSHELL Matthew Thomas Liberal Democrats 783 ELECTED
CORNELIUS Marc Peter Independent 627 ELECTED
CRAIGIE James Andrew Labour Party 217
FOOTMAN Jacqui Liberal Democrats 677 ELECTED
HENDERSON Paul John Independent Candidate 815 ELECTED
HERNIMAN Ron Independent 559 ELECTED
HINCHLIFFE Steven Labour Party 354
HULLAND Mark Terence Independent 977 ELECTED
KING Terry Independent 551 ELECTED
KINGDON Martin James Independent 706 ELECTED
LOCK Christine Elizabeth   516 ELECTED
LOCK Stephen William Independent 599 ELECTED
NICHOLAS Sarah Jane Labour Party 270
WAY Mervyn Fredrick   961 ELECTED
WORDEN David John Liberal Democrats 907 ELECTED
Spoilt papers: 14 Percent Turnout 41.53%


District Results

South Molton – Three Seats

Surname First Names Description Number of Votes
BUSHELL Matthew Thomas Liberal Democrats 657 ELECTED
CORNELIUS Marc Peter Independent 402
CROFT Emily Jane Conservative Party Candidate 468
FOOTMAN Jacqui Liberal Democrats 489
HENDERSON Paul John Conservative Party Candidate 637 ELECTED
HINCHLIFFE Steven Labour Party 236
KING Terry Conservative Party Candidate 413
NICHOLAS Sarah Jane Labour Party 143
SAUNDERS Gill Green Party 202
WORDEN David John Liberal Democrats 807 ELECTED
Spoilt papers: 17 Percent Turnout: 41.43%