Leave a comment

The budget priorities survey 2015 is now closed and the responses have been considered.

Below you will find comments left on this page during the consultation.

50 comments on “Leave a comment

  1. ve stone says:

    bus 366
    To run only one bus per day is ludicrouse. It fair comment that we have an altrnative bus being the 366
    I have attempted to use this service only to find the X46 doesn’t always come up the ramp to the bus stop it travels on into Exeter.
    I have been carried way past the bus stop as the driver said he was not aware that i wanted to get off.
    I am a pensioner I do not drive it seems if I want to go shopping or lunch in Exeter I have to have an early lunch and get the 13’15 back.
    I am patially disabled and the extra walk to the otherside of the A38 is terrible and will have some impact on whether I go out.
    I do not have a free bus pass and use the service on a regular basis,

    • Devon County Council says:

      If you would like to give us your views on the public transport proposals and have your views taken into consideration as part of the consultation, please use the online feedback form. The consultation closes at midnight today (Monday 20 April 2015).

  2. Alan hemming says:

    Okehampton town bus services should be expanded to serve the new housing sites being built in the town not discontinued as the council is proposing. Everyone who uses the service needs it as the number of older residents in the area do not all have their own transport. Most would be prepared to make a payment of some amount that was reasonable to keep the service. The arrangements at Digby for the park and ride service to the hospital shows that sensible planning and costing can keep services running for the elderly who use the free bus passes.

    • Devon County Council says:

      If you would like to give us your views on the public transport proposals and have your views taken into consideration as part of the consultation, please use the online feedback form

  3. Crispin Taylor says:

    Hi,

    I use the bus service the 98 in Exmouth almost every day. I use it to get into town and to get to the Men’s Shed 2 or 3 times a week. This is invaluable for me as I am mentally ill and cannot work. It gives a sense that I am contributing to the community and helps me socialise as I can be reclusive. Please do not cut the 98 bus service as there is no other bus service to the Men’s Shed for me.

    All the best,

    Crispin.

    • Devon County Council says:

      The 98 in Exmouth is not supported by Devon County Council and is therefore not part of the proposals.

  4. Mrs K M Dodwell says:

    I have appreciated buses and buspasses over the years and am now worried and concerned that I shall be cut off in Littleham from the Rodney Close and Capel Lane services for connection to Tesco, Budleigh Salterton and Exmouth and for trips to Exeter for hospital appointments and generally for shopping these are essential services.

    Becoming more elderly and reliant on buses, such as the 157 to see my friends in Otterton and Sidmouth as well as wider afield, the bus services are a lifeline.

    Mary Dodwell

  5. Roberta Atkinson says:

    I am very concerned that places such as Otterton in East Devon will not be able to sustain their population and will become holiday villages or die out. The bus service at present 157 Stagecoach is under threat and causing reidents and those who would come into the vicinity anxiety.
    Attn. John Hart and Hugo Swire MP

  6. R Rendle says:

    why are you spending over a £1m at Dartmouth for indoor swimming pool, When the district and town council have concerns over the business plans

    • Devon County Council says:

      Devon County Council, along with many other bodies, supports the principle of the establishment of a new indoor swimming pool for Dartmouth. A financially viable business plan has been produced by the Dartmouth and District Indoor Pool Trust with support by the Amateur Swimming Association.

  7. Geoff G says:

    I am a pension and I have a car. I also have a bus pass. Yet in the few months I’ve been living here, I have not used the pass at all as my car is more convenient for me.
    So perhaps the council should:
    a) consider means-testing pensioners and allocate bus passes to those most in need, i.e. those with little to no disposable income or those who are physically or visually impaired.

    b) offer bus passes at an annual token price to those who fail the means-testing.
    This would mean an overall reduction in the bus passes being issued and raise a little revenue.
    c) Introduce a concessionary ticket price structure for pensioners in lieu of a bus
    pass – if one doesn’t already exist.

    These are my first thoughts on the matter. I’m sure a lot of pensioners like me would agree with these proposals.

    • Devon County Council says:

      Devon County Council administers the National Bus Pass according to statutory legislation contained in the Concessionary Travel Act 2007. As such it is not possible – by law – for Devon County Council to request payment for the first issue of a National Bus Pass or to request that the passenger pay a contribution to the bus fare. It would require an act of Parliament to alter the legislation governing the National Bus Pass scheme.

  8. Jed Falby says:

    Cancel the Free Bus Passes!
    That’s £10 million saved right there.
    I am 80 years old and I didn’t ask for
    an expensive Free Bus Pass.
    It seems a luxury for a financially strapped Council.
    Walking into town would help the local high street too!

  9. Stuart says:

    Due to unfairness in the benefits system those of us on ESA (£112.05 /week, £5826.60 /year) have to pay 100% of our council tax bills. Mine amounts to 14% of my total house hold income so it is imperative that it doesn’t rise any further unless the rules change and there is help for those who are long term ill and so can’t work. Those recieving income related benefits only have to pay 20%.

  10. Andrea says:

    I find it outrageous that education funding isn’t ring fenced, and even more outraged by how much money is given to Sure Start!! I work in Early years in the PVI sector and can only dream of the money that allows Sure Start to pay hugely inflated wages, buy outrageously expensive equipment that nobody needs..be fair and spread the money around…it’s not just Sure Start helping families in the community…and really all that money on transport getting children to school, what a waste. Mind you maybe if you reduced all your HIGH wages…didn’t expect a high pension maybe there would be more services around for the elderly and teenagers alike.

    • Mike says:

      High Wages? – Yes maybe those at the top but mine are paltry by comparison.I’m staggered as to the salary levels managers in the private sector receive.

  11. J B Day says:

    At some time in the future, the government in power will have to enforce retiring age, and pensions on all civil servants, to be in line with government retiring ages and pensions for the private sector.
    This will mean that no cuts to services will be necessary, and I suggest that all local authorities implement their own schemes, before being forced to do so by central government.

  12. Mike says:

    I genuinely believe that councillors really don’t have an idea around how services work. The introduction of the 2014 Care Act will INCREASE the number of people eligible for services and (rightly) introduce personal budgets for carers In a time of cuts how will DCC fund these statutory changes? Councillors will fire off the rhetoric around austerity and savings but as the previous post points out – we are reaching the tipping point where the cuts will just exacerbate the situation and cost more in the long term.

    Stand up councillors and be counted and don’t just be yes men, and find out what really goes on the frontline services – somewhere you are so far removed from.

  13. VMills says:

    At what point does a reduction in services become so ineffective in terms of providing high quality, accessible services for people that the whole ethos of “public service” is eroded? I have worked my entire life in public service, out of choice and a desire to serve communities with the highest quality provision to enable them to thrive. I am watching the demise of public service and the birth of psedo-privatisation in the name of austerity.

  14. Micky says:

    Hello,

    Not sure if this is the right section to make the following comment, but here goes:

    Why not amalgamate East Devon District Council (and-?-others, such as Mid Devon, West Devon, etc) into the wider/ larger Devon County Council.

    Although it might take time and initial costs, surely in the long run it would result in a net efficiency and cost saving as it would remove a layer of bureaucracy leaving the larger County Council and remaining Town Councils. The mid-layer of the (East Devon) District Council could surely have many of its functions absorbed (within the greater cost savings and economies of scale of a County Council) – especially if other District Councils are similarly amalgamated.

    It would also obviate the costly set-up costs (and ongoing costs) of East Devon’s HQ (currently Knowle in Sidmouth & due to move to Skypark in East Devon).

    Just an idea!

  15. Philip Barnes says:

    There is no reason for cuts to services. The deficit results from supporting the banks and spending on vanity projects eg. the proposed HS2, Olympics and Nuclear Power.could be reduced gradually. this is an ideologically driven series of cuts. If taxes were collected from corporations and rich persons avoiding tax then none of the cuts would be needed. I suggest we get rid of the Tory’s and install a proper government of the people and for the people.

  16. Graham Sessions says:

    I would also like to add that I would trust my local authority over the government any time. If the government concentrated on getting taxes from those who avoid paying it – rich and not so rich – then local authorities might have more to spend on essential services. It is the government that is to be blamed for poor services.

  17. Graham Sessions says:

    The problem for all authorities is consecutive goverments underfunding local authorities because they are trying to reduce the burden of income tax and tell people that they are better off. They are not! In my younger years when income tax was over 30% we used to get all of these services and if we want services we have to pay for them. All authorities should stand together and tell goverments that this is what is required in terms of funding and this is what they will get. A togetherness of local authorities is what is required. Successive goverments waste billions whilst cutting funding to local authorities.

  18. Chris says:

    I can only repeat what has been said by many others on this forum; cutting library services is very short-sighted and will not lead to any massive savings in the long run but will discourage use of an already diminishing service due to poor funding and support. It is a vicious circle and one you as councillors should fight tooth and nail as your duty to yourselves and the paying public.
    As for the other ‘savings’… what happened to SERVICES and everyone paying into a system for everyone? You clearly know the cost of everything and the value of nothing.
    Why not cut some of your enhanced public service salaries, council perks, backhanders and lobbyist pandering, planning debacles and out-of-keeping building monstrosities, ridiculously wasteful spending programmes, etc etc

  19. Eve Kingdom says:

    Hi Mr Hart.
    I have found it useful to be able to pay my Council Tax in weekly payments as on ESA so I can budget my money and keep anye on things whilst physically recover from RD+E in 2011. The CAB were very helpful at first but I was very able to go forth. Not sure for me as a citizen where I have benefitted the most as It is a great shame the taxi service from the DCC at Mobility Centre next door to the Civic Centre is being stripped just when I need it to assist me to pace myself, as trying to now have a go at getting back to work. But agree, things need to go and not everyone’s going to be happy. Though shops seem to increase and some balance surely, for our next generation and what money means (as a previous pre-school and Youth Worker) needs to be thought about here continually, as it seems you are through points in Council Mag. More communication definately needed though in Exeter for working together-love to see this. Regards. E. Kingdom

  20. Simon says:

    The service we get in Devon is appalling, high rates of council tax and poor service. The roads are in such a state some can barely be driven costing the innocent motorists hundreds of millions in repairs, wheels and tyres damaged in potholes.

    For our council tax we get a bi-weekly rubbish collection – you charge people to use the public tip and wonder why there is a fly tipping problem?

    We never see a police patrol or other services in this area – perhaps you should be charging the trouble areas more to deal with their own problems and policing issues??

    There are so many ways to improve services across the country, not just Devon but councillors are just too blinkered and public servants sit on their fat salary’s and huge pensions not worrying about the real working public.

    Bring back the FAIR poll tax, pay per head not on the size of your house – every adult should be working so every adult should be paying, not fleecing those who live alone or inherit a big property. No administration of council tax discounts for single occupancy as you’re paying per head. Those with many adults in one house pay more – perfectly fair as they use more services.

    Its not rocket science – so why do councils whinge so much and make a meal of everything they do.

  21. celia lebbon says:

    When will you if ever stand up to this rubbish government and say enough already ? maybe when our young people are roaming the streets in crisis because they have no help any more because the only help for them is some untrained volunteer as trust me the training cost money. Also CRB checks cost money do not think we are taking this laying down it is bad enough we work at a food bank and these would not be needed if the benefit system was not so harsh people are litterally killing themselves .We are volunteers and there are not enough of these to do all you crap councilors expect. I have just had enough of you who are prepared to end our lives as we know them. Bad idea and when the devon streets run with blood do not be surprised the young people are our future as also are our old Celia lebbon

  22. Brian John Kelly says:

    My mother in law is 100 years old, and she lives with us. She is mentaly fine, but is now wearing out in other parts of the body. My wife is her carer. We have appreciated all that DCC have provided for her in the past, but are concerned for her future, now that DCC seems to be closing the services she uses. She loves going to springfield day centre to socialise, have her bath, and her hair done. She also uses respite care when we are on holiday. I hope that DCC have a credible plan to support her needs, and the budget needed to support her.

  23. Rory E says:

    I am sickened and horrified at the recent communication sent out from Devon County Council stating that they intend to close down the council owned Dementia specialist residential homes in Devon. Well done DCC, kick those that cannot answer for themselves. Have any of you any idea of the detrimental effects that moving a resident with advanced alzheimer’s? I suggest that you read the latest cllinical publications. I will certainly be attending an imminent meeting at the dementia specialist residential home where my father in law resides. The suggestion that you want to keep people in their own homes is a great one, but why dont you listen to those of us who have been down that road, the impact on the family / partner. Offering a carer (who are brilliant) to go on 3 or 4 times a day for 20-30 minutes at a time is just not good enough. What do the patients do for the other 22 hours in the day – they often do not sleep at night, they are often doubly incontinent, they dont know when to eat or drink, as the disease progresses they lose the inability to communicate. Dementia is on the increase, over the next 10 years, those over the age of 70 eill increase by 34% – why oh why are you being SO short sighted and reducing the excellent services that are in place now? East Devon (as NHS dementia training stipulates) has the highest percentage of dementia patients – and what do you do – ignore it. The salary for one of the managers for the service providers for the local area is well over the £90k mark – may i suggest that you start by looking a little closer to home!

  24. Mr & Mrs M Allwood-Coppin says:

    We have been doing research into my family history over the last 3 years. We have found the record office in Barnstaple to be a superb source of information and the staff very willing to assist. Anyone looking into their family history that relates to the North Devon area would need to visit this office – it would be very sad indeed if this very valuable and informative facility was lost. The staff appear to have lots of personal knowledge and are able to guide any researcher into the correct area.
    Please keep this marvellous record ffice and its staff!

  25. kelly lamerton says:

    Please keep safe our Library services; they are SO much more than just borrowing books.

  26. Liz Gold-Lewis says:

    School transport seems to be a huge expense – 10 times the amount that is spent on safeguarding children?

    i have a friend who said that there is a school opposite her in Exeter, for children with special needs, and a long line of taxis each with one child each comes to drop off and collect daily. There must be a more cost effective way of transporting children to and from school – the taxi companies must be making a fortune!

  27. Kelvin Groves says:

    I wonder how different the response would have been with regard to reducing the expenditure on the environment and countryside if this survey had been completed following the current flooding and continued extreme weather pattern affecting many people in our area. This area of expenditure is ignored at our peril!

  28. Alan Arnold says:

    I am not a resident of Devon, but I am the seventh plus generation of Devonians and one of my hobbies in genealogy. However I think that the core services should be protected so far as possible and the ancillary services that you have provided such as family history centres should be self funded and supported at least in part by volunteers or run jointly with organisations such as Devon Family History Society.
    Regards
    Alan Arnold

  29. hugh meller says:

    I attended a meeting at the Devon Heritage Centre on Jan 20th when plans to amalgamate Devon & Somerset heritage services were discussed. Sources for funding the planned charitable trust which would oversee the new proposals seemed vague. I would suggest a voluntary charge to be introduced for users of the service as applies in some museums & cathedrals. On speaking to staff at the event I gathered that some users already offer to make a donation, why not make it easier to do just that?

  30. Chris says:

    I also heard somewhere that it costs a large amount taxi-ing kids to school….there must be a more cost-effective way than this.

  31. Chris says:

    How about a small charge to use toilets in some areas (but not areas where it would encourage public urination!), people wouldnt mind paying for decent, clean facilities. Or even a voluntary contribution box would probably raise a reasonable amount? Tourists might even be willing to “donate” if they feel its contributing to decent facilities, or as a thank you!

  32. Adrian H says:

    There is scope for significant savings without impacting on the level of service for the most vulnerable. A few recomendations:
    – phase out over 2 years the tens of thousands of pounds voluntarily paid out in third party recycling credits. Most of this activity is financially viable in its own right and will continue without tax-payer subsidy;
    – default to sending all post 2nd class where legally allowed;
    – make highway contractors accountable for sub-standard repairs by structuring payments so that there is a payment on completion and the remainder paid after, for example, 18 months if the repair is still sound. I’ve lost count of the botched pothole repairs that have failed within weeks or months.
    – halt the spread of traffic lights in Exeter. Operate a 1 in 1 out rule so they are only located in priority locations. Traffic lights cost money to instal, operate, service and replace. Every additional set that is introduced is loading more cost onto tax payers for many years to come.
    – stop non-statutory health/lifestyle programmes. It’s not the Council’s duty to eliminate adult obesity or smoking!
    – reduce spending on ineffective economic engineering : “To even out some of the disparities in Devon’s workforce across the county, some areas have a very skilled workforce, others less so”. Most skilled jobs are in cities, so that’s where most of the skilled workers live. Throwing money at overturning the logic of commerce is a waste of resources.
    – challenge every post against how it aligns to a statutory duty. There are still authorities that have ‘Women in Sport advisors’ , ‘Local Agenda 21 Officers’, and other ‘vanity’ posts that can no longer be justified. Now’s the time to focus on what is truly essential and to do that well.

  33. gill waddup says:

    How much is being spent each year on using private car parking firms to police staff car parks within Devon e.g. George Street, Exeter ?. Why should staff at other offices have free, 5 day a week parking, when other DCC employees have to pay and can only park for 3 days a week.
    Surely this is an area where savings could be made with absolutely no effect on ‘front-line’ services to the people of Devon, or savings could be used to keep some of the items proposed to be cut from the public transport budget open for Devon people.
    Thank you

  34. councillor Steve Seldon says:

    We must protect and improve our youth services in Combe Martin as it is 6 miles to the nearest town, Ilfracombe with a limited bus service.
    Our youth of the village will be left with nothing.
    Without our youth there is no future for the village. They are leaving in their droves..
    If it was not for the one or two dedicated volunteers we have in this village, who I sadly have to say get no help from the parish council, the youth would have nothing

  35. Christopher Curtis says:

    I don’t understand how you can say that council tax has been frozen for the past 5 years or is mine the only one to increase every year..

  36. Alan Drew says:

    I understand that some public toilets around Devon are under consideration for closure to save money. I think it is important that we have the appropriate number of clean, hygienic and well maintained toilets in our region and I believe it would be perfectly acceptable in the current climate to levy a small charge for the use of these. When I travel around Europe this appears to be the norm and accepted by the local population and tourists alike. I recognise that it might not be cost effective to convert existing toilets into fee paying facilities.

  37. Pamela Valentine says:

    In 2012 my property flooded. A report on the flooding by Devon puts the probable causes to poor maintainance, further cuts to maintance of gullies,ditches and drains will cause further flooding of my property, if this happens will Devon accept the responsibility and pay my insurance claim?

  38. Edna Doswell says:

    1. Our street light goes off at 2am until 6am doesn’t it cost less to leave it on?
    2. We are now able to recycle food, garden waste, paper, cardboard, some glass and plastic which leaves little to go in our black bags so why not reduce this to a fortnightly collection and maybe use any savings to keep things going for children and the elderly.

  39. Miriam Westaway says:

    Funding should go to the sure start childrens centres for the excellent services they provide for early years age children and their families.

  40. Bruce Freeman says:

    I am disturbed about the impact that Vacancy Management will have on DCC services. On the face of it, not replacing posts when people leave is a pain-free way of saving large sums of money. But the reality is that this is not a managed process at all and it is purely random when employees retire or choose to leave their job.
    Additionally, the lower paid staff are often those whose services matter most and if a number of lower grade face-to-face workers quit, their much better paid managers do not step in and continue their work with clients. Hence in this scenario, which is the most common, the more expensive employees (manager grades) become far less useful to DCC because they do not plug gaps and are prevented from using their supervisory skills to the maximum.
    So Vacancy Management may save money, but it simultaneously impairs DCC effectiveness and customer care. A far more logical approach would be to require senior staff to act downwards when the need arises so that services are maintained during employment freezes. And that in turn should direct attention to pyramidal management structures and provoke debate about why flatter structures with lower grades (which would save jobs at the service end) aren’t becoming the norm. If there are less employees in a given department or section, shouldn’t that be reflected in the salary a manager receives?

  41. Caroline Witts says:

    I am voting to protect the budget for Early Years

  42. Caroline Witts says:

    I do not agree with the reduction of services to the Early Years budget. It provides essential services for the wellbeing of children – our future leaders.

    It would be more to the point if DCC could ensure that all post is sent out 2nd class; I have just had a 2-paragraph letter (small letter) from the County Solicitor’s department franked with 79p, not 33p.

  43. ALAN STEWART says:

    What efforts is Conservative controlled Devon County Council making to make more vigorous representations to the majority Conservative controlled government for a fairer share of government funding for DEVON overall? Or aren’t you – perhaps these cuts are more about ideology and “not rocking the boat” than getting the best deal for people born, bred and living in Devon?