Archive | April, 2013

The right tools for the job. Does your Parish Council have them?

30 Apr

Thank you to the councillor (not from Newton Poppleford), who sent this ‘toolkit’  link to to SIN. Part Five deals with such matters as Code of Conduct, Complaints and Investigations, and Conflicts of Interest:


Bulldozing in Newton Poppleford

30 Apr

What is going on in Newton Poppleford?

Just over  two weeks since a planning committee meeting ended in chaos after crude attempts to silence Cllr Graham Salter who opposed Clinton Devon Estates’ application to develop a site near King Alfred Way , another Parish Council meeting last night has raised eyebrows.

Cllr Salter again argued that the process, by which the King Alfred Way site was proposed for development, was fatally flawed. A  roar of laughter greeted his revelation that Parish Clerk, David  Atkins, had completed a questionnaire describing the land as flat. It’s on a hillside!

But Cllr Salter thought it a serious matter if this kind of inaccurate information was fed back to the EDDC as part of the SHLAA (Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment ) process. He  proposed to repeat the SHLAA for Newton Pop  following “proper procedures” but had no support from other councillors.

Some critics of the Clinton Devon Estates’ application think their offer to provide land for a new village hall is a “bribe” which is not needed by the village and their suspicions may have been confirmed by what happened next.

Minutes handed out stated that Cllr Dave Jefferies had said at a previous meeting that the Management Committee of the Village Hall, ‘may decide to sell the Hall’ But people at last night’s meeting claimed Cllr Jefferies had actually said the opposite, that there was no intention of selling the Hall. The councillor himself was not there to put the record straight but watch this space!

The village hall “offer” took another battering when the head teacher of the village school confirmed to the meeting that he would like the school hall to be used by the community when it is rebuilt in 2015. Christine Channon,  County Councillor,  who was present, supported the school’s  chance for a rebuild.

Parish Clerk David Atkins then argued that there was an urgent need for development to provide a five year land supply for the District. Cllr Salter pointed out that the two proposed Feniton Developments had been turned down on 2nd April.

Mr Atkins – who, with another hat,  is a member of EDDC’s Development Management Committee- said he’d been advised that one of the Feniton applications would “definitely go through”. He loudly said he considered this would have been “a practical solution”.

Cllr Salter retorted “Was that the one you voted for or the other one?” The public laughed.
Mr Atkins was one of the few to vote in favour of the first Feniton Application at the DMC, and had left the meeting before the second one was unanimously voted against.

The public asked Mr Atkins when the next meeting will be for the Parish Council to vote on King Alfred Way. He said he only had to give three days’ notice, but revealed that it would be on  Monday 13th May 8 pm in the Newton Pop Village Hall.

Observers of Cllr Atkins’ long and chequered career are beginning to wonder about possible potential conflicts of interest in his role as parish clerk, who has negotiated closely with Clinton Estates over their Newton Poppleford plans, and his role as a member of the District “planning committee” which will decide on the application.

 No-one would accuse Cllr Atkins of being “anti-development”, in fact some critics from Exmouth with long  memories  have claimed he belongs to the Build Everywhere Regardless of Consequences school!


Your vote WILL count

29 Apr

To those who are thinking “Why bother to vote” please think again.  It is possible that in some constituencies the decision may come down to a handful of votes.  That handful will be crucial.


Tactical voting

29 Apr

For those who are worried that an incumbent or other highly unpopular candidate may win power even if they are not wanted by the majority of voters, this article on tactical voting might be useful.

Two meetings at Knowle next week

29 Apr

Both with agenda items of particular interest to East Devon Alliance members:

7th May Development Management Committee .

From 11 am, Ottery St Mary planning applications will be discussed.

From 2pm other planning applications on the agenda include  yet-another highly controversial Planning Application, this time for Waldron’s Farm. Also, a new application on land on a Budleigh Salterton floodplain.



8th May, 5.30pm. EDDC Cabinet meeting. Includes discussion of possible schedule change for Freedom Of Information (FOI) Requests. EDDC has received a lot of FOIs over the past year. 

(SIN: What possible reason could there be for this situation to have arisen?)  Here’s the agenda:

Who’s signed EDA Charter?

28 Apr

The fifty-two Devon County Council candidates have been invited to sign this:  Charter of the East Devon Alliance

Here is the list of signatories, from all parties, to date:

Paul    Hayward                 Independent                    Axminster
Sylvia    Brownlee             UKIP                                       Broadclyst & Whimple
Henry    Gent                      Green Party                          Broadclyst & Whimple
Roger    Saunders             Green Party                          Budleigh
Oliver    Davey                   Green Party                         Exmouth Brixington & Withycombe

John    Hone                        UKIP                                      Exmouth Brixington & Withycombe
Tim    Dumper                    Liberal Democrat              Exmouth Halsdon & Woodbury
Bernard    Hughes             Conservative                      Exmouth Halsdon & Woodbury
Ray    Davison                    Labour                                   Exmouth Littleham & Town
Ben    Jones                         Green Party                         Exmouth Littleham & Town
Ann    Prior                          UKIP                                      Exmouth Littleham & Town

Jonathan  Underwood    Liberal Democrat              Honiton St Michael’s

Sharon Pavey                      Green Party                         Honiton St. Michael’s
Cathy    Gardner                 Independent                   Honiton St Paul’s
Paul    Newman                  Liberal Democrat               Honiton St Paul’s
Martin    Paine                     Green Party                         Honiton St Paul’s

Andrew Blackwell              Labour                                   Ottery St Mary Rural
John    Kelly                         UKIP                                       Ottery St Mary Rural
Claire    Wright                    Independent                   Ottery St Mary Rural
Jim    Knight                         Conservative                       Seaton Coastal

Judy Blackwell                    Labour                                   Sidmouth Sidford
Lawrie    Brownlee             UKIP                                       Sidmouth Sidford
Stuart    Hughes                  Conservative                       Sidmouth Sidford

Susie    Bond                         Independent                   Feniton & Buckerell

List correct at time of publication            24

Question Time with candidates at Sidmouth hustings (Mon 29 April)

28 Apr

Send questions in advance, or bring them on the night (by 7.10 pm) . Details at

Remember, Devon County Council elections are this week, Thursday 2nd May, 7 am -10 pm.

“The work of scrutiny…”

25 Apr made clear in a report that was on the agenda at today’s Devon County Council meeting (25 April) .

A SIN correspondent notes:

The meeting which was (as usual) webcast, included item 12: “Scrutiny Annual report 2012/13”.

There are a few interesting comments in the written report emphasising the value to DCC of an effective and independent scrutiny function (eg p7 “Scrutiny is not just about a Cabinet Member of Officers turning up to present a glowing report of progress……..”)

Cllr Brian Greenslade, when discussing the report, said: “The work of scrutiny doesn`t stop just because an election is taking place.”

Who gets your vote on 2nd May?

25 Apr

There’s nothing like a chance to meet the candidates, to make up your mind! So Vision Group for Sidmouth has organised a hustings (evening of 29th April, Kennaway House cellar bar) , with those standing for the Sidmouth/ Sidford Division in next Thursday’s County Council Elections. Details today at

Axminster Town Council refuses to be recorded

24 Apr

View from newspapers publish an account of an Axminster Town Council meeting where a councillor (Paul Hayward) suggested that meetings should be recorded and offered to purchase the recording equipment himself and do all the trials.  However, the offer was refused by a 5-4 vote.

Which makes us wonder what is happening to the decision to record EDDC meetings.  Councillor Ian Thomas put a lot of effort into proving that a small outlay (very, very small in the tens of pounds) would mean that council meetings could be recorded and posted to the internet.  Councillors were reluctant to give it the go ahead until the next annual council meeting, which is now due in May 2013.

Let us hope that what was agreed goes ahead.  If not, we have to find people with an eidetic memory  (being able to perfectly recall images, sounds or objects – thanks Big Bang Theory ) for future council meetings!  Or lean on Eric Pickles who has said time and time again that it is our right to have recorded meetings and to be able to blog and tweet about them but who has not codified his advice into law (yet).