Archive | March, 2013

More overdevelopment…..this time in Ottery St Mary

31 Mar
Another link sent to SIN…Keep them coming!

Flood insurance…Still no deal on the table

31 Mar

Proposed developments in high-risk flood areas in the South West, such as Feniton and Sidford Fields, pose serious financial problems for neighbouring properties…and for occupiers of the new buildings.

A Sidford SOS supporter who is well aware of this, sent this link:  http://www.thisisexeter.co.uk/Thousands-families-Devon-Cornwall-face-flooding/story-18562919-detail/story.html

Freedom of Information request

30 Mar

Thank you to the East Devon Alliance member who sent in these thoughts, after reading the 28 March SIN post , Planning Advice.

In the light of the following comment in Martin Goodall’s blog “Is the planning system corrupt”:

http://planninglawblog.blogspot.co.uk/2013/03/is-planning-system-corrupt.html

There certainly needs to be some tightening up of the system so far as the conduct of councillors and local government officers is concerned. It is easier to deal with the case of local government officers than that of councillors. Officers’ terms of employment should already preclude any ‘moonlighting’, and if they do not do so, the nationally settled standard terms of employment should be amended to ensure that officers cannot engage in any other paid work, or act in any other capacity, whether paid or unpaid, which could involve them in doing anything that might give rise to a conflict of interest. Breach of such a condition of employment should be regarded as gross misconduct leading to summary dismissal.

The recent FOI submitted by Mike Paddison would seem timely.

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/planning_potential_conflicts_of interest

Planning planted firmly on the Business TAFF agenda

29 Mar

Some highlights from yesterday evening’s  Overview and Scrutiny Committee meeting at Knowle, to illustrate the mood in the Council Chamber:

  • Graham Troman, Chair of the TAFF on the East Devon Business Forum, complained about a “total lack of cooperation” from the officer responsible (Nigel Harrison) and from leading members of the EDBF.
  • There was continued strong opposition from the Chief Executive (Mark Williams) to the TAFF’s looking at planning. In reply to a question from Damien Mills he admitted he had taken no independent legal advice before telling the Task and Finish Forum they could not consider planning.
  • Robert Crick called for the Chief Executive to stand down from the O&S Committee, as it was impossible for him to give independent advice given that his own role might be examined by the TAFF.
  • In answer to a question from Barry Sangster, Mr Williams revealed that several officers who had left the Council had been the subject of “compromise agreements” (a.k.a. “gagging orders” . SIN: Why would that be?)
  • There were repeated calls from some councillors (including Bowden and Howard) for the work of the TAFF to be suspended until the police inquiry had finished. (SIN : There seemed little realisation that the police inquiry may not have actually started yet, and might take years!)
  • Cllr Bowden referred to a “murky past” concerning planning and the EDBF. Cllr Eileen Wragg mentioned “public concerns for years” over the EDBF. Cllr Derek Button said he had resigned from the Development Management Committee because of concerns over “procedures”.
  • Mike Allen, responding to a question from Richard Thurlow, seemed surprised that Cllr Claire Wright had been one of the many concerned people Anna Minton had approached while researching her report on Planning and conflicts of evidence in East Devon . See item headed ‘Local Mafia’, p. 17  at this link  Scaring The Living Daylights.final

Planning advice

28 Mar

SIN readers may be interested in comments at this link:  http://planninglawblog.blogspot.co.uk/2013/03/is-planning-system-corrupt.html

Chief Executive’s advice to TAFF is overturned

28 Mar

Despite Mark Williams’  intervention at the Task and Finish Forum which was set up to scrutinise the East Devon Business Forum, it has now been agreed that Planning matters ARE within the TAFF’s remit.

After tonight’s vote of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee, TAFF Chairman, Graham Troman, can now ensure it gets on with the job it was designed to do. In the light of the Brown affair, this is clearly more important than ever.

More at http://www.saveoursidmouth.com

 

 

 

‘The local mafia’: Conflicts of interest in East Devon

27 Mar

That’s the headline in an article published nationally today. See page 17 at this link:     Scaring The Living Daylights.final

More at http://www.saveoursidmouth.com today.