Archive | April, 2013

Chancellor can veto fraud investigations

24 Apr

Article in today’s I newspaper HERE:

….. George Osborne has a secret veto over large and potentially politically sensitive fraud investigations, The Independent has learnt. Under a government agreement the Serious Fraud Office must get permission from the Treasury to launch any complex new inquiry which comes on top of its normal budget. But controversially the Treasury can keep its decisions secret – potentially allowing it to veto politically sensitive fraud inquiries, either before or midway through an investigation, without public scrutiny. Ministers have now become the final arbiters of which major financial crimes are investigated as a result of 25 per cent cuts to the SFO’s budget over the past three years, Labour warned. …..

What price relocation?

24 Apr
A correspondent writes, “Has anyone else noticed that on 16th March the Herald published a statement saying EDDC had spent about £244,000 on relocation but by last week the Herald figure had gone up to £255,000.”
£11,000 in about 3 weeks? I wonder what this is being spent on?
On the same topic, another FOI request that has not been answered is referred to in this email from the WhatDoTheyKnow team:

East Devon District Council have delayed.

They have not replied to your FOI request Breakdown of relocation costs of the Knowle promptly, as normally required by law.

Click on the link below to send a message to East Devon District Council reminding them to reply to your request.

Leader’s crystal ball

23 Apr

Paul Diviani’s election leaflet has infuriated voters, it seems.

Already sent out, the leaflet  has a photo with the caption, ‘Paul attended the opening of the new play area in Stockland in April this year’.

A hopping-mad local resident  says, “This is quite a feat as the event does not take place until this Saturday (27th).  I find it sad that he has to mislead people in this way about a project that involved a lot of hard work by village residents.”
The current EDDC Leader is standing in the Honiton St Paul’s Ward, for the Devon County Council Elections on 2nd May.
SIN readers may like to be reminded of two earlier posts  Misleading Leader (31/10/2012) , and Questions to EDDC Leader (03/11/2012)

East Devon Alliance shows how it is done

22 Apr

Each meeting of the East Devon Alliance draws more and more enthusiastic participants.  At its latest meeting on Saturday, officers were elected (very transparently and without trauma), a constitution was agreed (with only one small, very sensible and totally agreed change), and all the administrative hurdles that attend the creation of a new group were dealt with politely and democratically.  No secret meetings, no “mine’s bigger than yours”, no party politics, no whips.

What a refreshing change!

Wake up to Huggy…. only AFTER 2nd May elections.

22 Apr

A disappointing ruling for Devon County Council candidate Stuart Hughes, is reported here:

Green spaces and mental health

22 Apr

Exeter University’s research on this topic has been pointed out by an EDA supporter: Here’s the link:


Localism and campaigning

20 Apr

Some light (bedtime?)  reading offered here, in this link to a Guide to Localism. It includes such riveting stuff as whether or not Councillors can campaign.

Click to access 1896534.pdf

SIN passes 50,000 threshold

19 Apr

Hits now total 50, 210. Thanks to all SIN-ers!


Food security and the NPPF

18 Apr


David Walsh, of  the useful website , writes:

Have you seen this article?
It suggests a second front on planning law.


I have sent the following to David Heath MP as minister for agriculture, and the questions to DEFRA as an FOI request,


“Given your remarks on food security, with which I largely agree, I would like you to consider the following:



a) what area of land is likely to need to be brought back into use for cultivation of crops by 2030?


b) what additional area of land will need to be assigned to meat and dairy production by 2030?


c) The new planning laws have opened a window that allows developers to slap successful outline planning applications on prime agricultural land, without restriction. What is the likely effect on food security, of the loss of this land to housebuilding?


I suspect that the answer is not readily quantifiable, but I would like you to consider the issue.


You may be unaware of the issues in (c), but briefly:


Any Local Planning Authority without a Local Plan adopted since March 2012 is deemed not to have a plan.


In such a case, there is a presumption of consent to any planning applcation for houses (via NPPF).


Developers prefer agricultural land, as it is cheaper to develop. Infrastructure issues can be dumped on local authories or utilities.


Significant chunks of agricultural land have already been diverted to housing, and much more will follow.


The Growth and Infrstructure bill will be used to bludgeon any LPA into submission if they try to resist (see Clause 1 of the bill).”



You could try a variation of this on your own MP. Note that the Growth and Infrastructure bill has returned to the Lords after the rebellion in the commons (Pickles declared himself “aggrieved” by this exercise in democracy!).


More from at 13 April  National Planning Policy Framework News.

The “very strange” behaviour of the Chief Executive

17 Apr

This letter from District and County Independent Councillor Roger Giles, was sent to SIN by an East Devon Alliance supporter, with Councillor Giles’ approval.

Dear All

You may be interested to see my report to the Feniton APM on 15 April (ATTACHED). You may be interested in my third paragraph about the EDDC Chief Executive`s message to the EDDC Development Management Committee about the Acland Park and Ottery Road planning applications, which was sent on the morning of 2 April. My very strong view remains that this was entirely inappropriate. Attached to my report (ALSO ATTACHED) is my question about this at the EDDC meeting of 10 April, and the answer of the Council Leader, Paul Diviani.

Not only am I very unhappy about the action of sending the message to Development Management Committee members on 2 April (which we would not have known about had not a Development Management Committee member brought it to Claire Wright`s attention), but I am also very unhappy about the reply. The reply entirely fails to address the point about DevMan members making decisions on information in the public domain. The Chief Executive`s message to DevMan members was not in the public domain; this was wholly wrong. In my supplementary question on 2 April to Paul Diviani`s reply (almost certainly written for him by Mark Williams) I asked him: “Does he not think that by failing to condemn this, he effectively condones it?”. Having failed to get any sort of acknowledgement that what occurred was wrong, and an affront to the proper way of deciding planning applications, I am contemplating what further action to take.

It was most interesting to hear Cllr Peter Halse (Feniton`s interim councillor, and Chairman of EDDC and of the EDDC Standards Committee) concerning my report on the matter say at the APM on 15 April: “I find (what the Chief Executive did) very strange.” He then went on to say that he had better not say any more or he might get into trouble.