Monthly Archives: April 2015

Can politics be brought into (any more) disrepute?

9 April 2015

The main issue in our campaign is quite simple: why have the authorities chosen to defend Torcross and Beesands from the sea, but leave Hallsands to fend for itself? The response of our MP (who still remains invisible at Hallsands) was tweeted thus: @NorthHallsands the majority would not support diverting scarce resources for coastal erosion away from prioritising Slapton Line.

So, despite the proven low cost of so doing, defence of Hallsands is unaffordable. In fact the only source of money is to steal from the fund allocated to Slapton Line. I am not paraphrasing the good doctor unfairly, am I?

But on this morning’s Today programme (http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p02nqxbs) we hear of the constituency of Great Yarmouth where UKIP and Labour are threatening to take the seat from under government minister Brandon Lewis.

They have coastal erosion problems there too, but more serious and therefore much more expensive to counter than at Hallsands. In their case unstable cliffs are collapsing into the sea. It takes more than a few boulders to sort that out. But, nevertheless a minister’s seat is threatened, so Mr Brandon has announced that he has secured funds to pay for the necessary works.

Scarce resources‘? Not in a marginal constituency at election time. Just reach into the money tree and pick off a few fivers. Magic. Or is that the right word? Isn’t there another word, Dr Wollaston, for saying one thing and doing another? Now lets see if I can bring it to mind …

We are back

The fight has been going on even though the blogs have been thin on the ground of late.

For the Easter visitors we have decided to go back to a method of publicity that predates the web slightly – it’s called a notice. And here it is:

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Not much to look at perhaps, but a lot of people have been reading it. Here is what it says:

Whether you’re someone who’s known Hallsands for years, visiting for the first time, passing through on the coastal footpath, on holiday here or just spending a day at the beach make the most of your visit. Hallsands beach, the coastal footpath and the car park may not be here much longer.

The sea was kind to us this winter, but the winter of 2014 brought storms that washed away our sea defences. We expected the authorities to repair them, as they do for the other villages along Start Bay; especially so because the road that runs behind the boulders is a public highway maintained by Devon County Council.

But no. In a document called the Shoreline Management Plan (www.sdadcag.org) the bureaucrats say there is nothing here of any value, so Hallsands, unlike neighbouring Beesands and Torcross, has been given the status of No Active Intervention. The authorities need do nothing.

We pay our council tax just like the villagers of Torcross and Beesands. Public money is used to repair their sea defences. Hallsands gets nothing. Last winter our repairs were paid for and carried out by residents. The total cost was about £10,000. Compare that with the quarter of a million pounds of public money that was recently spent on trucking shingle down the coast to Torcross only for the tides to wash it away again. We are not asking for much and our repairs are more durable.

We persuaded a government minister, Oliver Letwin, to visit us last summer when he was on a tour of inspection. He gave an undertaking to establish a ‘stream of funding’ for future repairs to sea defences carried out by residents. He has not honoured that undertaking.

We hoped that we might get some support from our MP, Dr Sarah Wollaston, but she turned down our invitation to meet us. Instead she discusses Hallsands at secret meetings in Whitehall then tells us that the country can’t afford to repair our sea defences because the money is needed for repairs elsewhere.

Early in the last century the MP and war profiteer Sir John Jackson refused to listen to villagers’ pleas when they asked him to stop dredging shingle from the bay.  The result was that old Hallsands was destroyed by the sea. Nearly one hundred years later Hallsands is again under threat from the sea and again an MP refuses to listen.

Hallsands was betrayed by politicians once. They will not betray Hallsands a second time.

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If you love Hallsands and agree that it is being treated unfairly please support our campaign.

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Please remember that Hallsands beach is private property. Please respect it. Please don’t leave litter, please don’t leave dog mess and please don’t drive on the beach without permission.